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Introduction to Bence Nnays Elme s Evolci

(Mind and Evolution)


Natalia Lukes
1. Introduction
The book titled Elme s Evolci is discussed and presented in this paper.
The book by the Hungarian philosopher, Bence Nanay was published in 1999.
Inspirational scientists are listed in the prologue o the book. !e"eral papers o well#
known writers are applied by Nanay. !o$e o the$ are listed below% &il$os 's(nyi,
'saba )l*h, +ohn !earle, ,onald ,a"ison, L(s-l. Ne$es and so on/ The ai$ o
Elme s Evolci is to pro"ide introduction to the philosophy o $ind and to cogniti"e
science or both e"eryday people and e0perts too. The authors other goal is to
negotiate dierent topics in e"olutionary surroundings and to e$bed the 1uestions o
the philosophy o $ind into e"olutionary approach. The ai$ o this paper is to write a
re"iew about Elme s Evolci especially attend to its second chapter about
evolution. I ha"e chosen this chapter because this topic is the $ost coherent to
se$inar 2!entence !e$antics ro$ this book. How do we construct notions, words,
etc/3 4"olution is discussed irst. Then the wide topic o e"olution is narrowed and
resol"ed into the topics o e"olutionary biology, e"olutionary psychology and then
neural e"olution. The $atter o the book is clearly de$onstrated in the introductory
part. )hilosophy o $ind and cogniti"e science are briely deter$ined in the irst
chapter.
2. Main goals
The dierence between distinct "iews about the mind is discussed irst. The
irst is the 2traditional "iew about the spirit, where body and spirit segregate. There is
no need to talk about 2the $ind according to the second "iew. It is enough to talk
about the brain. It says that neurology is enough or the understanding o the brain
and thoughts. 5That "iew is called radical reductionis$.6 )hilosophy o $ind and
cogniti"e science are trying to ind the $iddle#o#the#road between the two aspects.
Body# spirit dualis$ and radical reductionis$ are both re7ected 5N(nay 86.
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9ccording to N(nay it is i$portant to talk about beha"iouris$ too as this "iew
is 1uite do$inant in the :;
th
century. Beha"iourists say that it is only the dierent
reactions o our brain that we can in"estigate. Beha"iourists belie"e that the $ind is a
black bo0< its inner parts cannot be obser"ed. 9ccording to cogniti"e scientists and
$odern philosophers it is not enough. It is clearly assu$ed that $ind works in
accordance with a certain model 5N(nay 86. I the presuppositions work about the
$ind then the $odel is ade1uate. 9ll in all as N(nay ad7usts it is not clear how the
$ind is constructed but it is easier to understand its operation i we obser"e it as it
would ha"e been working according to a gi"en $odel. Here, 29I, artiicial intelligence
is also $entioned. I so$ebody is interested in that topic, I would oer !te"en
)inkers book, titled% How the Mind Works 5)inker, 18#816.
9s N(nay says at this point the philosophy o $ind beco$es a practical
discipline. =oreo"er it is one o the $ost unco$$on parts o philosophy that has
practical ad"antages. The author re"eals that philosophy o $ind is a uni1ue ield as
it is not an abstract speculation that oten encloses philosophy but it is a group o
e$pirically testable hypotheses. 'ogniti"e science is a real science which does its
bit ro$ philosophy, biology, 9I#research, psychology, ecology and linguistic too
5N(nay 86. Both the philosophy o $ind and the cogniti"e science deal with the work
o the $ind. Their $ethodologies and ter$inologies are dierent. )hilosophy o $ind
uses classical philosophical notions while cogniti"e science is $ore e$pirical and
psychological.
3. Evolution- Chapter II.
The second chapter o the book is obser"ed now. !e"eral dierent
approaches o e"olution appeared in the last century thereore the organi-ation o
dierent ideas is necessary. The irst outstanding approach is the iolo!ical evolution
o" the mind which builds upon its $ain aspects on the act that hu$an beings e"ol"e
ro$ ani$als. >n the grounds o that there is no cutting edge between hu$an#and
ani$al 2$ind 5N(nay ?6. @The writer uses the ter$ animal mind which is a 1uite
a$biguous ter$ here.A
Evolution in the mind is another e"olutionary approach. 9ccording to this idea
hu$an thinking is range o atte$pts and error corrections 7ust like e"olution. Here the
1uestion is that whether thinking can be described with e"olutionary ter$ini.
:
The third point is cultural evolution. 9ccording to the author, here e"olutionary
ter$ini can be useul. 'ultural e"olution contains the e$ulation o political ideologies,
the changes o ashion or artistic styles etc/ which are changing like #and ighting
si$ilarly or 2sur"i"al as# dierent species in the lora and auna. The work o $ind
and the e"olutional theory are in relation to each other on the basis o the three
points @iolo!ical evolution o" the human mind# evolution in the mind and cultural
evolutionA. Birst the notion o e"olution $ust be clariied. It is atte$pted in the ne0t
paragraph.
3. 1. Biological evolution, the !urvival o" the "ittest#
9s N(nay clai$s it is the natural selection that is the $ost i$portant
$echanis$ o e"olution 5N(nay ?6. 9 "ery si$ple $echanis$ can or$ an organis$.
That organis$ its in with the gi"en en"iron$ental conditions. Natural selection
consists o two steps% the or$ation o accidental "ariation and the selecti"e
e0tinction. The two notions are represented by the ne0t e0a$ple. 9 rabbit has ten
kits and all o the$ ha"e dierent eatures. >ne o the$ runs ast but cannot see ine.
The others nose is highly susceptible etc/ But that is not all they ha"e. The
en"iron$ent is not sae or the kits. )redators hunt the$ during their li"es. Csually
two o ten reach the $ature age, others die. Those who die are not able to react well
on the dangers o nature 5which cannot run ast, see the dog etc/6. But the two
successul rabbits can reproduce the$sel"es and so$e o their kits will inherit their
adapti"e eatures. 9ter se"eral generations the groups o rabbits will be "ery
successul in the sur"i"al 2race. The irst step o the natural selection is always a
process o replication. The selection works< as the replication is not 1;;D accurate. It
is i$portant that there is a de"iation in breeding% the kits are not the clones o the
parents. @I $ust add it here that there is a special type o newly identiied sel cloning
li-ard species in &ietna$ which does not ha"e a $ale 2"ersion. Be$ale li-ards clone
the$sel"es with their eggs. 54dwards n. page6. A
>ther step o natural selection is the selecti"e e0tinction. Here co$es the
a$ous saying% the Esur"i"al o the ittestF. In dierent conditions, dierent eatures
pre"ail. That is why "aried descendants pro"ide wider opportunity or sur"i"al, as the
en"iron$ent also continually changes. Gith the changing o the ani$als the whole
bio$e changes too. Bor e0a$ple o0es also $ust also be aster to catch the ast
H
rabbit. >r they ha"e to choose so$ething else to eat. But in dierent en"iron$ent,
thicker ur is $ore i$portant that ast legs. 9nd the i$aginary 2list is ininite. This
progression is called co#e"olutional process 5N(nay I6. 9n ani$al ad7usts to another
one and another to the ne0t one and so on/ It goes without saying it that co#
e"olutional process is not a considered or planned process. But how does it aect
hu$an $ind andJor hu$an co$$unication3 4"olutional psychology $ust be
obser"ed ne0t.
3. 2. Evolutional psychology
9s N(nay asserts, it is the work o the hu$an $ind that is one o the $ost
i$portant 1uestions at the obser"ation o the philosophy o $ind. 9ccording to the
author it is clear that hu$an $ind is e"ol"ed ro$ the $inds o the pri$ates 5N(nay
1;6. Thereore or a closer obser"ation it is necessary to clariy certain eatures in the
e"olutionary history o the hu$an $ind.
9ccording to N(nay, e"olutional psychology is the $ost signiicant ield o
science in the cognition o the history o the hu$an $ind. 4"olutional psychologists
say that our $ental abilities ad7ust to the en"iron$ent. Hu$an beings are also the
results 5or parts6 o natural selections where the ittest sur"i"es. It is our $ind that
shows signiicant changes. 9s N(nay says e"olution changes slowly but our
en"iron$ent luctuates ast thereore our $ind ad7usts to a rather ancient
en"iron$ent. In brie it is due to the act that $practicall%# in a population o" & illion
there are no evolutionar% e""ects' 5N(nay 116. 9ccording to the author the bigger
population shows ewer signiicant e"olutionary changes. @I $ust add it here that it is
diicult or $e to understand the relation between the nu$ber o the population and
the decreasing e"olutional changes as it is not e"ol"ed in the te0t. I would rather say
that e"olution is slower in a $ore co$plicated biological syste$ 59nderson K96.A
N(nay also declares that or a better understanding o hu$an $ind babies
$ust be obser"ed. ,escartess and Lockes theories about the birth with illed and
e$pty brain are re7ected as later :;
th
#and :1
st
century philosophers and psychologists
pro"e that hu$an beings are able to learn al$ost without any restraint. 9s N(nay
says one o the $ost i$portant linguists, Noa$ 'ho$sky launched an ideology
which or$ed the scientiic publics opinion about the i$portance o the inherited
attributes 5N(nay 1:6.
K
9s the author details in his book there is a rarely e$phasi-ed proble$ against
the e"olutional psychology 5N(nay 1H6. 4"olution directly aects the geno$e and
genes encode the neural structure o the rain 5N(nay 1H6. !o i a theory wants to
e0plain the e"olution o $ind it $ust sol"e the brain#$ind relationship too. 9ccording
to Larl )opper it is the e"olution o mind that deter$ines the e"olution o rain
5N(nay 1K6 but as N(nay says it is 7ust the opposite% the e"olution o the rain
deter$ines the e"olution o the mind. The 1uestion is the how. How does the
neurological structure create $ental representations, e$otions, $eanings to words,
etc/3 The 1uestion o $ental representation is ignored by e"olutional psychology.
That is where neural e"olution beco$es i$portant% the e"olution () the $ind.
3. 3. Neural evolution- evolution in the $ind
4"olutional psychology tries to answer 1uestions about the phylogeny @what
happened beore birthA while neural e"olution deals with ontogeny @what happened
ater birthA 5N(nay 1K6. 9s N(nay clai$s it was Gillia$ +a$es who irst said that the
work o $ind is an e"olutionary process. He said that e"ery co$ple0 $echanis$ that
is in close connection with nature only can de"elop as a result o an e"olutionary
$echanis$. 9s thinking is a co$ple0 process and it is at one re$o"e ro$ nature, it
$ust be an e"olutionary process. =ore and $ore scientists stri"e to de"elop this
thought, 7ust like Larl )opper, ,a"id 'a$pbell, +ean#)ierre 'hangeu0 and the
Nobel#pri-e winner Merald 4del$an 5N(nay 1K6. 9s )opper clai$s, e"ery intelligent
act is nothing else but error correction. Bro$ the loco$otion o the a$oebae to threat
scientiic disco"eries< e"erything is error correction.
Neural connections are obser"ed by 'hangeu0
5N(nay 1K6. He clai$s that they are the en"iron$ental
eects that aect neural connections. 9 new#born baby has
$uch $ore connections than heJshe needs. The ones we
use stay, the ones we do not use ade. The na$e o the
theory is neural ,arwinis$. Neural connections are
represented in picture 596.

596
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The irst picture presents 2neural connections in an e$bryo. These
connections are 7ust de"eloping. The ne0t one illustrates connections in a new#born
child. The 2path out#o#use ades. The last one shows neural connections in a grown#
up hu$an being. 'onnections are strengthened and separated 5N(nay 186. 9s
N(nay clai$s, 2thinking is possible to be discussed in an e"olutionary language but
the $odel o e"olutionary transitions $ust be used. But how3 That topic is the
no"elty o the book.
%. Conclusion
N(nay Bences Elme s Evolci is presented in this essay. The irst chapter
is connected to $eaning and thinking that is why I ha"e chosen this part o the book.
This paper is intended to be a presentation o the N(nays work. Birst biological
e"olution, then e"olutional psychology and then neural e"olution are introduced
briely.
&or's cited
(nderson, )aul. et al. Evolution in *omple+ ,%stems. :;;K.
http%JJwww:.i$perial.ac.ukJNh77ensJco$ple0ityO1;OK9O;K.pd
Ed*ards, +in. )ewl% identi"ied sel"-clonin! li.ard "ound in /ietnam.
http%JJphys.orgJnewsJ:;1;#11#newly#sel#cloning#li-ard#"ietna$.ht$l
Nnay, Bence. Elme s Evolci.
http%JJ$nytud.arts.unideb.huJtananyagJe"olnyJnanayOel$e#es#e"olucio.pd
)in'er, !teven. Ho!%an m0k1dik a. elme. >siris Liad.. :;;:. Budapest. )rint.
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