The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Origin of Categories

The 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant held that experience is possible only if we have knowledge, and knowledge evolves from concepts. Some concepts must therefore be native. We must be born with an infrastructure that allows us to learn concepts and to build concepts on top of concepts.

Chomsky proved something similar for language: that human brains are designed to acquire a language, that they contain a "universal grammar" ready to adopt the specific grammar of whatever language we are exposed to. We speak because our brain is meant to speak.

Kant, in a sense, stated the same principle for thinking in general: we think in concepts because we are meant to think in concepts. Our mind creates categories because it is equipped with some native categories and a mechanism to build categories on top of existing categories.

Just like Chomsky said that grammar is innate and universal, so one can claim that some concepts are innate and universal.

 


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