What Does It Mean, To Have an Idea?

I am taking a MOOC about Cognitive Neuroscience – how our nerves let us feel and think. It refers to a book I have on my desk Metaphors We Live By – that explains how our brains use areas associated with practical matters, such as our ability navigate through space (a very complicated task!) – to think of abstract ideas, such as Love.

Plenty of smaller animals have most of these skills – the tiny flying insects, so common in the tropics, for example – can fly, walk, see, smell, and taste – and reproduce in vast numbers. But it takes a large brain (like the one we have) to use language, and be conscious.

We do have some understanding of how we feel and reason – by giving people some simple problems to solve, and watching how they solve them – in perhaps a fMRI, a functional MRI. Certain areas of the brain are used to do different things.

This is the basis of Experimental Science – one of the greatest advances in human knowledge. But one which most people today have rejected entirely.

No Science for them! They are not interested in the way things are – only in the way they should be. They are not interested in learning from the world – only in making the world learn from them.

A crazy idea if ever there was one.

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