Natural Aesthetics

Part 1 evolution of the mind


How to become human (through art)

Part 1 evolution of the mind


Overall increases in hominid brain size had stopped by 1.2m years ago, when a few African hominids had the same brain cc as modern humans. Other African ancestors stopped increasing brain cc perhaps 200,000 years ago, and brains have been shrinking slowly since. So the question is why, during the most rapid period of brain growth, cultural development (as measured by stone tools) hardly changed – then, over a million years later, in the cultural explosion of early humans, brains actually started getting smaller? The answer is probably because internal structures are plastic and through the use of techniques to help us think and act, through cultural bricolage.

Ice Age Art exhibition, British Museum
Female Bison in Mammoth ivory


Human brains have 100 billion nerve cells: the permutation of firing patterns is vast, something like the number of atoms in the universe.ii Brain tissue of vertebrates is segregated into grey matter and white matter. Grey matter contains local networks of neurons that are wired by dendrites and mostly non-myelinated local axons. White matter contains long-range axons that implement global and fast communication via often myelinated axons. Some patterns are reinforced by experience, others weakened – learning seems to be a process of elimination. In a connectionist model of the mind, parallel processes of competitive patterns of activity (of individual neurons connecting up to large numbers of similar units over time) develop patterns of activity, reinforced and established by experience of individual developing brains. Our brains dance with the world.

The question of how electrical and chemical interchanges at the synaptic level, and nerve impulse translate into thoughts, feelings, memories is the key puzzle for philosophy, science and intellectual curiosity (along with how life began, the fate of our expanding universe and how to be happy).


Cognitive linguistics and evolutionary psychology both view basic capacities of the body and brain as products of evolutionary design, but cognitive modules are not necessarily fixed because brains are plastic.[i] Neural interactions, mapping and coordination, are not genetically determined, but develop in childhood through a complex process of topological constraints, redundant connections, and experiential strengthening.[ii]


One of the areas where we make most neurons is, in fact, at the front of the brain which receives odourant input, smells from the back of your nose, but the ones that live are the ones that receive appropriate odourant stimulation. So it’s a bit like you select out those neurons that the environmental signal activates; the cells that survive are those that are getting appropriate inputs from the environment. So this has driven me to sort of generate a broader hypothesis, in that the neuronal production in general is a way for us to adapt our environmental signals. This idea that we’ve moved from the static brain to a highly plastic brain both at the level of being able to change connections – and remember that your and my cortex has something like 1016 connections of which, as we’re talking now, probably many thousands of millions of those connections are slightly altering the level of conduction and also anatomically changing their form. So it’s not just the production of new neurons that’s related to this plastic brain, it’s also this ability to change the way neurons connect between each other.

Perry Bartlett[iii]

Gerald Edelman is a contemporary associationist who views consciousness as a process of dynamic feedback loops between various brain structures/states.[iv] He argues that the Darwinian process of variation and selection can apply to neurons, and suggests the survival of the fittest metaphor fits neuron webs. Edelman’s ‘theory of neuronal group selection’ models the mind as a dynamic state effecting the contingencies of local environments. Mind is not a material substrate wired into a brain’s structure.[v] Such a holistic account views mind as a process emerging from embrained, embodied organisms. Neurons create new patterns in relation to development and interaction with the environment, thus each constructs unique patterns or topobiological neural maps or nets; neuron patterns are selected as shifting connections of perceptive, memory and all other cognitive functioning. A clubfoot is mirrored in fused neuron connections but higher functions are much more diffuse and complex. Neural nets continually transform, learning in response to dynamic environments and ‘re-entrant connectivities’ between the neuronal maps. Edeleman’s notion of re-entrant stimulation is a variable feedback system for strengthening and weakening of neural maps, permitting bi-directional recategorisations at perceptual, conceptual, and linguistic levels.


Ecologic consciousness


I characterise Edelman’s model as an ecologic one in that it involves, ‘interpenetrating multiple levels of individual development, species evolution, and the interaction of cultural and neural processes.’  Heinz von Foerster began to change the focus in cybernetics from systems’ homeostasis (Norbert Wiener), to the core notion of ‘autopoiesis’ (self-organisation), exemplified by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela . The notion of ‘autopoiesis’ suggests that an individual observing a system being implicated in the emergent system; the ‘systemic perspective’ deals in formal, and functional, wholes.  This rich concept of autopoiesis is comprised of various sub-concepts ranging from self-creation to self-maintenance, and self-referentiality.


There is no centre of consciousness, no brain within a brain. Studies of anaesthesia show that whole areas are gradually extinguished in unconsciousness. Consciousness appears to be graded; the brain is never fully ‘asleep’. Susan Greenfield believes the phenomena emerges as sheets of millions of neurones co-ordinate chemical and electrical activities in a stream of ‘transient assemblies’ interacting with other parts of the brain and incoming sensory information to make humans conscious. Consciousness is a matter of flow and is very dynamic, but it should be kept in mind that tools and technology affect the flow, and that flows exist at various levels and scales.[vi]


There is wide support for two major breakpoints in hominid cognitive evolution, the periods leading to the speciation of Homo erectus (about -1.5 M years) and archaic Homo sapiens (roughly -0.3 M years). The latter probably coincided with the emergence of spoken language.[vii] In the first, hominids began using stone hand axes (some chimpanzees use stone hammers but there have been no observations of intentional flaking in the wild).[viii]  Hand axe manufacture, hunting, and colonisation would place substantial demands on hominid imagination, especially for species with limited linguistic abilities.[ix] The British archaeologist Steven Mithen argues that hand tools require four prerequisite cognitive skills, including aesthetics.[x] Mithen uses the fossil and archaeological record to argue that the mind is a product of co-evolving language and consciousness. At a stage when domains of technical understanding, social interaction, and natural history blended together, he argues, a new range of creative cognitive activity emerged, one in which art played an important role.


The Canadian neuro-psychologist Merlin Donald hypothesises a later major transition period that preceded the speciation of Homo sapiens, and was marked by another large brain expansion and the descent of the larynx.[xi] This third transition in human cognitive evolution in the Upper Paleolithic covers major differences, through cultural change not biological mutation. This arguably depended on the development of language, external memory, and the invention of permanent visual symbols. [xii]


Anne Russon has studied imitation behaviour in orang-utans who are clever and show ingenuity, but fail to match human performance in skills and intelligence.[xiii] Donald’s hypotheses can explain Russon’s observations in terms of lack of voluntary access to memory, which is why language can make the difference. Chimps pass knowledge from one generation to another, but only through demonstration: one break in the link, and the knowledge is lost. (Though the question of chimps and language does not impinge on the question of human language since our lineage diverged at least 4 million years ago, long before the physiological, behavioural and cognitive changes that led to language).


In my proposal all three stages introduced new memory features into the human cognitive system, and one important consequence has been greatly improved voluntary access to memory representations; in effect, humans have evolved the architecture needed to support what has been called ‘explicit’ memory retrieval.

Merlin Donald[xiv]


Donald influenced Steven Mithen who dates ‘the great cultural explosion’, representing the ‘budding and flowering’ of human consciousness (using evidence from artefacts, burials, artworks etc.) to 50,000 years ago, though the archaeology of indigenous Australians may well push that back.[xv] Mithen claims to have located the beginnings of human consciousness in the interactions among thought, language, behaviour and material culture. He argues that ‘cognitive fluidity’ (mapping across domains and making connections, the key to human intelligence and the arts) is a necessary precondition for culture (technology, science, art, and religion) and: ‘when thoughts originating in different domains can engage together, the result is an almost limitless capacity for imagination.’ [xvi] The paradox is that the remarkable technological stasis that endured during the Middle Pleistocene suggests that the technical intelligence these hominids possessed was quite unknown to them; that it was something excluded from whatever higher level consciousness that they did possess. Some subsequent arguments that tool use requires language is disputed; it may only require simple beaded use of words not syntax.[xvii]



The Self – a sense of a central agency is a vital part of the creative process


The neuroscientist V.S Ramachandran thinks the self is illusory, partly because of evidence form phantom limbs phenomena,[xviii] but also the fact that each decision, perception, feeling, image, or other mental state may appear serially in consciousness, but it must wait in line, at least for the psychological refractory period lasting on the order of 100 to 150 milliseconds.[xix] When a subject voluntarily moves a finger, the EEG potential (called ‘the Readiness Potential’) occurs – nearly a second prior to actual finger movement. This leads Ramachandran to argue that agency, the key to our sense of personhood, is illusory.[xx] There is no centre of consciousness, no ‘Cartesian theatre’; just what philosopher Daniel Dennett calls a ‘centre of narrative gravity’[xxi] – in accord with Ramachandran’s position based on empirical research. The self is ‘not a thing’ suggest Stewart and Cohen, ‘but a process, which preserves an apparent sense of identity even as it changes complicitly with everything around it.’[xxii] The self is not locatable in the organ of the brain but a process and activity, and this is not a new idea.[xxiii]


John McCrone suggests that there still could a neural landscape identified with the ‘self’ even if that ‘self’ was socially constructed, perhaps via  acquisition of various first person skills of perception, action, and memory (linguistic and practical competencies).[xxiv] D. A. Allport suggests a sense of control of cognition and conscious awareness emerges from interaction between preconscious, cognitive modules, which function autonomously, asynchronously and in parallel shifting across modules as changing conditions dictate.[xxv] The sense of a central agency may be merely an emergent property of the system as a whole from orderly flows of cognition.[xxvi] These complex interactions are harmonised in the subject/body, the senses work together with the subject body enabling a profound phenomenological richness.[xxvii]


[i] John Skoyles details how the neural maps of amputees shift as the brain adapts to its loss, neighbouring parts of the brain invade areas no longer receiving stimulation. Thus parts of the brain that would have had worked with writing develop sensing the face. A club foot is mirrored in fused neuron connections but higher functions are much more diffuse and complex. John R. Skoyles, Chapter 2, ‘A new physics for the brain – and the mind’, [DL 7.8.2001]. People are born with a club hand of fused, `webbed’, shortened fingers, syndactyly have fused neurons connections. In their brains, the maps of their individual fingers also form a `club’ hand. Jarred Diamond, at an anthropological scale, argues in The rise and fall of the third chimpanzee: the evolution and future of the human animal (Perennial, 1992) that it is not tool use that makes Homo sapiens such a unique species in the animal world but this plasticity of the brain.

[ii] Israel Rosenfield, The Strange, Familiar, and Forgotten: An anatomy of Consciousness, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

[iii] Perry Bartlett, ‘How To Save Your Brain’ Science Show ABC Radio National, 5.6.2004, with Robyn Williams. Interestingly he stated: “Anti-depressants actually stimulate the production of new nerve cells, in fact, they’re one of the most robust ways of stimulating them in those areas of the brain associated with memory and learning.”

[iv] Gerald M. Edelman, The Remembered Present, Basic Books,1989; Topobiology, Basic Books, 1988; Neural Darwinism, Basic Books, 1987. He outlines a theory of consciousness, neural group selection designed by two different evolutionary processes, one developmental involving Darwinian competition between populations of neurons partially constrained by genetics, and the other a learning process, selectional process that strengthens or weakens neuronal connections temporarily. Associationism links in with a syntagmatic (connective/combinatorial) paradigm rather than scientific and structuralist privileging of the paradigmatic (contrastive elements). The latter is key to Levi-Strauss’ methodology, See R. Willis, intro in R. Willis Ed., Signifying Animals: Human Meaning in the Natural World, Unwin-Hyman, 1990, p21.

[v] TNGS is based on: Developmental selection – DNA sets constraints on brain formation but does not provide instructions on the topobiological patterning, even in monozygotic twins, patterning very different, Also the wiring patterns is constantly changing.  Experiential selection – actual synaptic connections become established through bio-chemical reinforcement. Re-entrant mapping – is the interaction between patterns or ‘brain maps.’ Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of Mind, Basic Books, 1992, p83-5. His latest summary of his ideas is Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness, Allen Lane, 2004.

[vi] Manual Castells argues ‘the space of flows’ has emerged with technology and globalisation, integrated global networks, private networks, company Intranets; media, financial networks; and the public, open networks, the Internet. The process itself becomes important; ‘the power of flows takes precedence over the flows of power.’ Manuel Castells, The Power of Identity, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Vol. I, Blackwell, 1996, p469. There are three depths: Technical: the circuit of electronic impulses (the micro-electronics, telecommunication, hardware in general) that form the technological infrastructure of the network; Geographical: the topology of the space formed by its nodes and hubs in networks; and Social: the spatial organisation of capitalism and bureaucracy. Israel Rosenfield argues that consciousness, ‘comes precisely from the flow of perceptions, from the relations among them (both spatial and temporal), from the dynamic but constant relation to them as governed by one unique personal perspective sustained throughout a conscious life.’ He notes, ‘Compared to it, units of ‘knowledge’ such as we can transmit or record in books or images are but instant snapshots taken in a dynamic flow of uncontainable, unrepeatable, and inexpressible experience. And it is an unwarranted mistake to associate these snapshots with material ‘stored’ in the brain.’ Israel Rosenfield, 1992, p6.

[vii] As argued by P. Lieberman, On the Origins of Language: An Introduction to the Evolution of Human Speech, Macmillan, 1975; The Biology and Evolution of Language, Harvard UP, 1984; Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought and Selfless Behaviour, Harvard UP, 1991. The fall of the larynx must have had survival benefits as the current position of the larynx makes humans much more liable to death by choking. Though as Wayne Allen points out, we can never know as we cannot return to conditions and contingencies to understand how the selection process worked. ‘The fact that larger, more complex brains imparted a selective advantage because of their ability to process greater amounts of information in new and innovative ways may not be precisely why they were selected.’ He suggests larger brains meant more ability to absorb toxins! Wayne Allen, ‘Biochemicals and Brains’ in Biopoetics: The New Synthesis, Ed Brett Cooke & Frederick Turner, ICUS, 1999, p169.

[viii] From 3 million years ago, pieces of flaked quartzite, basalt, chert and limestone been found in the archaeological record of East and South Africa. These are characterized as the Olduwan industry, named after Olduvai Gorge where the most substantial assemblages have been acquired. the extent of meat-eating Steven Mithen, 2001, p36.

[ix] Mithen examines early hominid handaxe construction which first appear 1.4 million years ago. He argues that their construction required not only sensory-motor control and an understanding of fracture dynamics, but also a desire for symmetry, an ability to plan ahead, and internal (unspoken) language. Mithen, 2001, p41.

[x] Steven Mithen, ‘Handaxes and Ice Age Carvings: Hard Evidence for the Evolution of Consciousness’, Cog Net, [DL 1.7.2001] ‘Handaxes: some hard evidence regarding the evolution of the mind and consciousness’ in Towards a Science of Consciousness, The Third Tucson Discussions and Debates, Eds.,  S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak, and D. Chalmers, MIT Press, 2000. Mithen asks how technical intelligence came about in Steven Mithen, The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion and Science, Thames and Hudson, 1996.

[xi] Merlin Donald, Origins of the modern mind,  Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 1991; and Precis of Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition, Cambridge UP, 1992. And Donald, ‘Human cognitive evolution: What we were, what we are becoming’, in Social Research, 60:1, 1993, p143-170.

[xii] As argued by P. Lieberman, On the Origins of Language: An Introduction to the Evolution of Human Speech, Macmillan, 1975 (See Ft 28 above).

[xiii] Anne E. Russon, Kim A. Bard and Sue Taylor Parker, Eds., Reaching Into Thought: The Minds of the Great Apes, Cambridge UP, 1996, p153.

[xiv] Merlin Donald sums up: ‘The first transition introduced two fundamentally new cognitive features: a supramodal, motor-modelling capacity called mimesis, which created representations that had the critical property of voluntary retrievability. The second transition added two more features: a capacity for lexical invention, and a high-speed phonological apparatus, the latter being a specialised mimetic subsystem. The third transition introduced external memory storage and retrieval, and a new working memory architecture.’ Donald distinguishes two types of external memory systems, the mythic: before Greeks external formalisms were mythic or narrative; and theoretic: the key innovation was writing – The Greeks began to record jotting, speculation, evidence – before whole learnt histories, narratives. Donald says these were ‘much more than a symbolic invention, like the alphabet, or a specific external memory medium, such as improved paper or printing’ in ‘the process of externally encoded cognitive change and discovery.’ Merlin Donald, Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1991, p343.

[xv] J. A. Cheyne, ‘… signs appeared in the Late Paleolithic in relative abundance, rather suddenly, in great variety, and often reflecting great skill. A remarkable number of signs and techniques for producing appeared almost simultaneously. These include crude scratches and colored blotches, complex enigmatic signs and, above all, figurative art of surpassing beauty. They are placed on stone, bone, antler, horn, ivory, clay in small, portable (mobiliary) sculpture and etching and, most spectacularly, as murals (Parietal Art) on the walls of rock shelters and deep in caves. J. A. Cheyne, ‘Signs of Consciousness: Speculations on the Psychology of Paleolithic Graphics’ [DL 28.7.2002] Cheyne’s main argument is that the images ‘preceded and produced the very notion of representation itself.’

[xvi] Howard Gardner reviewing Mithen, writes, ‘I find most convincing Mithen’s claim that human intelligence lies in the capacity to make connections: through using metaphors as Mithen tries to do, for instance, or through the unexpected juxtaposition of images that make us laugh. To make connections is to link the various quasi-independent intellectual modules (as one does in learning to attach meanings to one’s own or others’ squiggles on a slab of stone or a piece of paper).’  ‘Thinking About Thinking’, New York Review of Books. 9.10.1997. He notes, ‘This seems a good time to attempt to integrate the separate intellectual traditions represented by evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, brain study, and cognitive archaeology.’

[xvii] See T. Wynn, ‘Layers of thinking in tool behaviour’ in T. Ingold & K Gibson, ibid, 1993, p389-406.

[xviii] People who lose a limb may still feel the limb and chronic pain. Ramachandran asks them to ‘exercise’ the phantom limb with the aid of a mirror arranged so that the existing limb is seen as occupying the position of the phantom. By attempting to voluntarily move both limbs in symmetrical motions, with the visual reinforcement, some patients perceive the ‘limb’ to have moved to a more comfortable position, or disappeared. V. S. Ramachandran & Sandra Blakeslee, Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, William Morrow & Company, 1998.

[xix]  H. Paschler, ‘Dual Task Interference in Simple Tasks: Data and Theory,’ Psychological Bulletin 116, 1994. p220-44.

[xx] This is based on work of Libet who found brain potentials are firing three hundred and fifty milliseconds before you have the conscious intention to act. So before you are aware that you’re thinking about moving your arm, your brain is at work preparing to make that movement!’ B. Libet, ‘Neural time factors in conscious and unconscious mental functions’, in Toward a Science of Consciousness: The First Tucson Discussions and Debates, Ed., S.R. Hammeroff et al.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996, p73. Ramachandran believes natural selection ensures the subjective sensation of intention is delayed to coincide not with the cortex or motor areas but the movement, so you feel you’re moving it. There is an inevitable time lag because of neural processing but the conscious intention of moving the finger coincides with the movement of the finger. This might appear to have implications for free will but as Gazzaniga suggests, ‘Once we understand that deliberation and decision are processes that are spread out over time, even, in some cases, very short amounts of time, then there is plenty of room for conscious components that are more than accessories after the fact. Such processes depend on a very basic biological function found in all living organisms: the feedback loop.’ Gazzaniga asks whether the brain ‘inventively tricks consciousness into thinking that we consciously decide matters and that our actions are personal events? Is free will nothing more than the sense or impression of free will?  I think that this problem can be solved as long as we do not think of free will as a momentary act. ‘The Neuronal Platonist: Michael Gazzaniga in conversation with Shaun Gallagher, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 5, No. 5–6, 1998, p706-17, [DL 21.2.2001]

[xxi] Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained, Little Brown, 1991.

[xxii] Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Figments of Reality, Cambridge UP, 1997, p224. The self for Hartley ‘is a complex psychological structure of memories, thoughts, and especially dispositions, arises out of a ground of purely physical responses to one’s circumstances. And it does so by… the ‘transference’ of emotion.’ Allen, ibid, p265-6. This notion is congruent with the recent autopoietic notions of Maturana and Varela (1980). Marvin Minsky suggests why there is a sense of self, ‘perhaps it’s because there are no persons in our heads to make us do the things we want – not even ones to make us want to want– that we construct the myth that we’re inside ourselves. The Society of Mind, Heinemann, 1987. Dennett (1991) has recently argued a similar case though goes further, claiming that language and culture act to install a serial machine in what is essentially parallel hardware, so creating the illusion of a virtual user dwelling amidst the multiple drafts of possible experience. William Calvin, ‘Your intelligent mental life is a fluctuating view of your inner and outer worlds. It’s partly under your control, partly hidden from your introspection, even capricious [dreams] . . .’ How Brains Think: Evolving Intelligences, Then and Now, Basic Books, 1996, p2.

[xxiii] ‘The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outwards to new and larger circles, and that without end.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Circles’ (1841) in Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ed. W. H. Gilman, New York: Penguin Books, 1965, p297. John Sanders, ‘Much of current discussion in cognitive science, having abandoned ‘knowledge’ as something that might be stored long ago, is now on track to the abandonment of beliefs, desires, emotions and a whole train of substantives that do not seem to capture anything that can sensibly be fit with the data that is coming in from neuroscience, or to cohere well with reasonable theory. Instead, it seems better to focus on dispositions of several kinds and types. John T. Sanders, ‘An Ecological Approach to Cognitive Science’, The Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 4, Spring 1996, The evaporating substantive is ‘self’. Ramachandran realised that ‘different aspects of self can be differentially disturbed in brain disease, which leads me to believe that the self really isn’t one thing, but many. Just like love or happiness, we have one word but it’s actually lumping together many different phenomena. ’Ramachandran’s defining characteristics of the self are 1. Continuity. You’ve a sense of time, a sense of past, a sense of future. There seems to be a thread running through your personality, through your mind. 2. Unity or coherence of self. In spite of the diversity of sensory experiences, memories, beliefs and thoughts, you experience yourself as one person, as a unity. 3 Sense of embodiment or ownership – yourself as anchored to your body. 4 Sense of agency, what we call free will, your sense of being in charge of your own destiny. I moved my finger.’ Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, ‘The Emerging Brain, Lecture 5: Neuroscience – the New Philosophy’, Reith Lectures 2003, BBC Radio 4.

[xxiv] John McCrone, ‘A Bifold Model of Freewill’, version of paper that appeared in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, August 1999. ‘So even if ideas to do with selfhood and willing might have a social, word-encoded, origin, they too could come physically to mould the brain’s neural landscape in ways that conceivably would show up in suitably deft neuro-imaging experiments.’ See also John Shotter, Selfhood and social accountability, Oxford: Blackwell, 1984.

[xxv] Paul Churchland characterises consciousness as: utilising short term memory (working memory); being independent of sensory inputs, we can imagine unreal things – fiction; displaying steerable attention; having the capacity for alternative interpretations of complex or ambiguous data; disappearing in deep sleep; reappearing in dreaming and harbouring several sensory modalities within a single unified experience. See The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul, MIT 1995.

[xxvi] See D. A. Allport, ‘Attention and Control: Have we been asking the wrong questions? A critical review of twenty five years’, in D. E. Meyer & S. Kornblum, Eds., Attention and Performance XIV. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1993; D. Norman & T. Shallice, Attention to Action: Willed and Automatic Control of Behaviour. In Consciousness and Self-regulation: Advances in Research & Theory, vol. 4, edited by Davidson, R., Schartz, G. & Shapiro, D. Plenum, New York, 1986; R. Sperry & P. Henniger, ‘Consciousness and the Cognitive Revolution: a True World Paradigm Shift’, Anthropology of Consciousness, Vol5:3, 1994, p3-7.

[xxvii] Harry Hunt, ‘We do not notice the gap between the senses because their intersensory combinations are organized into a system of pragmatic, sequentially directed intelligence that allows the sight of something to be its ‘name’ and that name to include an accent and emphasis that is also a postural readiness for various motoric ‘doings.’ Harry T. Hunt: ‘Relations between the phenomena of religious mysticism (altered states of consciousness) and the psychology of thought: a cognitive psychology of states of consciousness and the necessity of subjective states for cognitive theory.’ Perceptual and Motor Skills 61, 1985, p955. Abner Shimony notes of the settings, ‘One source of richness is the simultaneous involvement of several senses. Another is the array of ‘higher order variables of stimulus’’, such as spatial and temporal gradients, which are capable of conveying decisive information. Finally, in ordinary situations there are usually opportunities for exploration, by motion of the organism as a whole or by movements of the eyes, hands, and head, for the purpose of bringing small cues into prominence and achieving new perspectives. ‘Is Observation Theory-Laden? A Problem in Naturalistic Epistemology’ in R.G. Colodny, Ed. Logic, Laws, and Life, Pittsburgh UP, 1977, p196.

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