Having Been Human
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Wed Sep 5 16:46:52 2012
Clustering and Identity

Working my way through the Lakoff/Nunez book on the origin of Mathematics in working with sense data. Continues to be good; they just identified some basic functions that seem to be innate that lead towards maths. I like the approach, but I suspect at least one of the foundations should be richer; I think the task of identifying objects and that of clustering them are likely either the same or substantially the same; if we imagine identifying a distant pack of animals as a group, or as identifying a mass of limbs and torso amidst visual noise as one or two objects, we see a lot of similar facilities; facilities that are performed by nonhumans as much as humans. This facility seems an apt foundation for methaphorical extension, particularly as we (and perhaps other animals) have the ability to shift perspectives as needed in terms of treating them as plural or singular. An individual is a cluster of features; a wolfpack can be an object we need to deal with. A forest is not necessarily interesting as a bunch of trees so much as a land-feature with distinct properties/dangers/opportunities.

The book hasn't covered this, but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets to it in a bit.