C-15. [To] cognize

Collisions tell us that in addition to being aware of, alert to and attentive to other bodies with which we may collide (“may” being read as possibility with respect to both avoiding and arranging), we need to be prepared to respond by taking, and making, steps. What this implies, given our condition of incomplete instruction (III), is that identifying a focus of attention is only half the job (whether done by or for us). We are not completely programmed to respond. If we were, cognition could be merely recognition or knowledge qua acquaintance (as the dictionary would have it). (If cognition were but recognition, would we fly to the focus of attention like a moth to a light, or reach out to it with our tongue like a frog, or move our whole body toward or away from it like a Behaviorist?)

But we see in the use made by humans of cognition to identify foci of attention via characterization that cognition is nothing so simple as recognition. And there’s much more. What we are now prepared to do about how we respond to a focus of attention, given the development of cognition and communication capabilities (App. 3), surely liberates cognition from its ignominious (transitive) linguistic usage and limited identificatory function.

Cognition is a needed functionality, wherein relating via a relation is independent of, and precedent to, a relationship (cognition as noun), typically using an asymmetric relation (X) in order to provide a point ABOUT and FOR in response to our incompletely instructed condition. As elaborated in the Behavioral Manifold (V), such a term pertains to all of These stages: behavioral need (I:Pbeh), processes of relating one condition to another, products of those processes, situational needs (I: Psit), processes of product-tool usages, their products … and so forth.

Cognition resists treatment as a concept, just as it does being nothing but a body property. It requires theoretical treatment if we are to realize its tremendous productivity (Topics VI-XI), which we can bring about by developing both the behavioral capability (no matter its evolutionary origin as a simple capacity) and a language better capable of representing this capability. (The before-after relation needs better representation than logical necessity’s “necessary and sufficient” affords it, a representation more in accord with the Nature of things’ behavioral necessity.)

The process of cognition as we now experience it has been tooled up in conjunction with communication (App.3).
Communication most notably furnishes representation of the answer, whatever its existential status — whether thing or thingk, to (expressed) pointed questions (X). These answers are then available as foci of attention for further cognizing, perhaps to serve as guides for discovery or invention. (That some of the thingks produced and some consequences of further ideation applied to them have proved to be of dubious and/or dysfunctional consequence does not detract from the added strength that these compatriots have given humanity as we endeavor to cope with — and benefit from — incomplete instruction.)

When we see the several contributions cognition makes to knowing as a capability (IX), first in suggesting a move and then in viewing the step’s outcome, then it becomes very apparent that the worst thing we can do is to confound cognizing with knowing.

When we see how poorly logical necessity’s “causation” provides needed imagination for problem solving, we can turn to behavioral necessity’s cognition and communication to aid the advance of invention (X).

When we see that our agenda for minding is not that of (body-funded) observer-observed but rather one of (step-funded) observing-observed (App. 6), then behavior will be better served in the observing as well as the observed.

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter