cause-and-effect

Cathy Woodgold woodgold at seismo.emr.ca
Tue Jun 21 11:37:04 EST 1994


In article 2nq at infa.central.susx.ac.uk, bafa1 at central.susx.ac.uk (Sydney Shall) writes:
>...
> Unlike mental processes, evolutionary processes are NOT goal-directed. 
>...

This is a matter of semantics, of how we think and talk about it.  It's not
a matter of fact.  It's all in how we define words like "goal".  I prefer
the goal-oriented language:  for example "This tulip is trying to push
through the layer of dead leaves to get up to the sunlight".  It's a way
of thinking.  All the time I know that it`s really just natural selection
at work.  Thinking about evolution can be clearer, more concise, more
efficient if  I allow myself this kind of semantics.

I say that evolutionary processes are indeed goal-directed.  Natural selection
tends to move in the direction of the goal of creating organisms that survive well. 
But it all depends on how you define the concept "goal-directed".

I could claim that mental processes aren't goal-directed, either, but that's
getting somewhat off topic.  I like R. Hofstadter's ideas about this sort
of thing.  (e.g. in Metamagical Themas.)

Cathy                   TISSATAAFL





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