Friday, December 18, 2009

feelings, ethos and pathos…

By: Maria Odete Madeira

The above story and video show a situation in which one can speak of a long-term memory related with affective feelings between two species. In this case, regarding the lion, one cannot speak only of a core consciousness, one must consider an extended consciousness, we are far from a merely emotional plane, there is, in the lion, an autobiographical memory that functions with respect to the recognition of the others and of the past relational bonds created with these others. This is not merely mechanical.

Emotions are part of the bio-regulatory devices and are linked to core consciousness, but that is not the case of feelings. Feelings are linked to the extended consciousness, long-term memory, an ethos and a pathos... and semiology of affects.

Also, it is known, for instance, that predators with complex social relations, that hunt in packs, develop strategies in approaching preys, these strategies differing with the preys and the environmental conditions. Many animal species learn, have creative and adaptive responses to the environment. Monkeys develop tools and strategies to solve problems (even new problems related to an interaction with urban environments), the same with ravens. Ravens provide for a casuistic of strategic behavior, such that there is evidence that ravens are capable of strategic reasoning. It is not at all the case that animals do not plan or develop strategies.

Planning and strategies are not unique to humans, and the empirical evidence is by now widely divulged, worked upon by animal behavioral science, a branch of biology and cognitive science.

Moreover, from complex systems science, we now know that any complex adaptive system is goal-directed and has a strategic nature in regards to its activity. Any complex adaptive system is an agent. The notion of strategic intention linked to an elaborate cognitive planning has long since been abandoned. Any complex adaptive system produces natural and emergent strategic planes, anticipatory theory (Popper), adaptive schemata (Gell-Mann and Holland). Anticipation is inseparable of the agency of complex adaptive systems.

Even ants, that have basic rudimentary language and are mostly mechanic, produce emergent rational strategic responses through the known process of stygmergy. The studies in swarm intelligence show how strategic intention can emerge from more basic mechanical automata.

The notion of strategy and plan in human-centric terms has been abandoned in face of the bulk of biological empirical evidence.

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