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Darwin-L Message Log 1:114 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<1:114>From msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu  Mon Sep 13 22:17:31 1993

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1993 22:20:18 -0600 (CDT)
From: Morris Simon <msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu>
Subject: Re: A reply to Ramsden
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Wed, 8 Sep 1993, Peter Ramsden wrote:

> I guess you missed the point.  I didn't want to know how you test a
> taxonomy - I want to know how test your proposition that some taxonomy is
> independent of human perception.  You may also want to be a bit more
> careful about confusing the concept of perception with the concept of
> will.  Just because I create a perception of something doesn't mean that I
> "will into existence" the phenomenon I'm perceiving, does it?  A bit more
> care in throwing around labels like 'science' and 'theology' wouldn't be
> out of place either

I think it would useful at this point in the thread to distinguish
"perception" from "cognition". As most cognitive theorists as well as
physiological psychologists use the term, "perception" is relatively
cultureless until linguistic tags begin to segment and order physical
phenomena. A perceiver never "creates" a perception, but the perceiver's
cortex might modify the perception in order to force it into a learned
category. "Will" is such a higher order process of mentation than either
perception or cognitive processing that I find it difficult to use in this
context. Perhaps theology and/or psychology would be a good place to leave
such notions as 'willing phenomena into existence.'

But then again, cognitive models such as the ubiquitous phylogenetic tree
predispose analysts to interpret evolutionary continuity in terms of
discontinuous 'branches,' 'clades' and 'species.' "Willingly?" 8*}

Morris Simon <msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu>
Stillman College

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