Re: COMP/NEURO: Images Extracted from Cat Brain

Robert Owen (
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 17:48:26 -0400

Eugene Leitl wrote:

> Matt Gingell writes:
> > I find the notion that there exists some universal 'language of mind'
> > encoding system underlying cognition extremely implausible.

I would like your interpretation of the evident universality of some form of the "Law of Contradiction", "The Law of the Excluded Middle" the processes of "induction and axiomatic inference", interpretive prototypes like causality or conditionality, or evident perceptual stereotypes like "time" "quantity" and "space/size/distance". Not to mention the pervasive use of hierarchical categorical structures.

It can't be entirely due to cultural conditioning, unless we assume that all cultures are formally identical (then a new problem, why?) or regarded as an artifact of language, since it seems clear that linguistic communication cannot occur at all if these factors are not the basis for symbolic notation and syntax. And granting, e.g., that we can have "N" geometries, or "N" metalogical systems, we still must have a universal norm for deciding questions of identity, consistency and the validity of inferences.

None of this is argumentative; but I am always amazed that e.g. everyone everywhere has a chronometry of some kind. Perhaps you could help me understand this phenomenon.


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA