Dialectics and Cognition

by | Apr 15, 2018 | Culture and Science of Nonviolence | 0 comments

All cognition is the result of sensory perception.  Whatever a person (and groups of people) has learned derived from one’s encounter with the real world.  Even one’s body, and therefore their brain, is part of nature and part of the real world.

To discuss the role of dialectics in understanding cognition, let’s define cognition.  Dictionary.com:

“1. the act or process of knowing; perception.

 2. the product of such a process; something thus known, perceived, etc.”

Cognition is a act or the result of action.  Therefore, cognition requires action.  Dialectics shows the necessary interconnection between cognition and practice.   Cognition is connected with all natural phenomena as well as with all social, political, economic,  and productive activities.  Humanity’s  daily practical activities in production creates  the material basis of social existence, which has been the foundation of theory.   Theory, of course, is the collection of assumptions and ideas by which one explains reality.

Dialectics points out that individuals begin life with few if any ideas.  They begin with their protoplasmic-electromagnetic neurological system which perceives stimuli via the neurological system.   When one experiences internal or external sensory stimuli, it is recorded in the neurological system (the brain and other places).   When the same or similar sensory experience occurs, the brain records the similarity and begins the process of making patterns of the sensory experiences.   The patterns form the basis for the brain’s ability to create assumptions and ideas.  All ideas come from the brain’s chemical and electromagnetic capacity to connect millions/billions/trillions of sensory perceptions.   To have an idea, is to have a brain that receives and stores perceptions and has the working capacity to arrange perceptions into patterns.

Assumptions are ideas.  However, dialectics defines them as pre-ideas because many times they are subconscious and therefore can impact ideas in ways that lead one to the conclusion expressed by the phrase, “I don’t know why I think that, I just do.”   If one is immature enough they might also insist, “But I’m right!”

Practice (action) not only poses tasks for theory to solve, directing the natural and social scientist’s attention to the study of aspects, processes and phenomena of the objective world that are important for society.  It also creates the material means for their cognition.  Practice furnishes science (and practical life) with instruments and apparatuses to create sensory experiences and to make experiments in developing equipment and instrumentalities that further impact reality.

Social, political, and economic life is the scene of constant interaction of theory (idea making) and practice (sensory perception).  Thus, theory arises in response to the requirements of social, economic, and political life.  Dialectics points out that, during this epic of social and productive development, some of the primary aspects of social, economic, and political life include: a globalized economy with political, military, and cultural interconnections of both progress and negation; that is, interconnections of both compatibility and conflict.  Thus, many of the human relationships of this epic stem from class struggle, national competition, racism and an internationalized, full-time war economy.

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