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The Cognitive Closure

  • Progress has clarified many of the mysteries that haunted the ancient world. Every generation has a few more explanations for a few more natural phenomena that the previous generation regarded as "mysterious". Scientific progress will keep clarifying many more aspects of the universe. However, i believe that every cognitive system (e.g., every living being) has a "cognitive closure": a limit to what it can know. A fly or a snake cannnot see the world the way we see it because they do not have the same visual system that humans have. In turn, we can never know how it feels to be a fly or a snake. A blind person can never know what "red" is even after studying everything that there is to be studied about it.
  • I believe that each brain has a limit to what it can possibly think, understand, know. The human brain has a limit that will preclude humans from understanding some of the ultimate truths of the universe. These may include spacetime, the meaning of life, and consciousness itself.
  • There is a limit to what we can be.
  • There is a limit to what i can be. Maybe that is my ultimate identity. I am my limitations.
  • I am not sure if we (humans) could build a cognitive system whose cognitive closure is larger than ours, i.e., a cognitive system that can "think" concepts that we cannot think.
  • Sometimes i wonder if the relationship between humans and gods is exactly the opposite of what religion has traditionally assumed, if gods created humans to overcome their cognitive closure and therefore we humans are mentally superior to the gods that created us (we can think concepts that gods cannot think).
  • Colin McGinn: "The Problem of Consciousness" (1991) - There is a limit to what the human mind can understand.
  • David Deutsch: "The Beginning of Infinity" (2011) - There is no limit to what the human mind can understand.