Subsections

3. Introduction

In this part of the book we consider an intuitive explanation of the evolution of the kind of ``irrational'' behaviour which is discussed in Part IV, and then to subject this to analysis. The explanation is based in large part on ideas drawn from Howard Bloom's Global Brain [1].

The central thesis of this book does not concern us here. This is Bloom's answer to modern speculation about the emergence of intelligence in the electronic networks which span the globe with ever increasing complexity. Bloom's response to this speculation is to argue that intelligent global networks in the biosphere predated electronic artifacts by billions of years, and have been present throughout the evolution of life on earth.

An important subtheme in Bloom is the pervasiveness, again throughout the evolution of life on the planet, of social behaviour, and it is the evidence Bloom offers for this, together with its role in evolution upon which I draw here.

At a time when I was personally baffled by the course of analytic philosophy (as I saw it), the reading of Bloom's book came as an enlightenment. After absorbing this account of evolution I (rightly or wrongly) began to find the problems intelligible. Furthermore, to an extent much greater than that engendered by any other book on evolution which I had read, I began to see the world around me in a different way.

Such a sense of enlightenment carries in itself very little assurance. We have all seen others who have nursed an entirely illusory conviction of enlightenment on some topic. How can we tell whether such feelings are well-founded?

One way might be to translate these intuitions into a formal model, to derive deductively particular predictions using this model, and to observe whether these predictions come to pass. This would be an empirical application of a general method or class of methods which I call here nomologico-deductive methods. If we can do this we are on solid grounds.

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Roger Bishop Jones 2016-01-07