Behind the mirror: a search for a natural history of human knowledge by Konrad Lorenz - ISBN 0156117762 - Harvest/HBJ 1978


note that this was finished much earlier but without recall, recall starts a month before the current date to already start with very spaced recalls


Evolutionary Epistemology page on Wikipedia.

Pre-reading model

Draw a schema (using PmGraphViz or another solution) of the situation of the area in the studied domain before having read the book.


  • Introduction - Epistemological prolegomena
    • "The physiological mechanism whose function it is to understand the real world is no less real than the world itself. This very obverse is the subject of my book." (p19)
  • Life as a process of learning
    • "as a Viennese friend of mine once put it, <<Life feeds on negative entropy>>" (p21)
  • The creation of new system characteristics
    • "Thorpe demonstrated that the most important creative principle in evolution is the emergence of a totality from a mass of different parts which become more and more dissimilar in the process - as well as more dependent on each other." (p32)
  • Strata of existence
    • Summary at the end of the chapter
  • Short-term information gain
  • Adaptive modifications of behavior
  • Feedback of experience: conditioning by reinforcement
  • The roots of conceptual thought
  • The human mind
  • Culture as a living system
  • Factors making for the invariance of culture
  • Culture and change
  • Symbols and language
  • The aimlessness of cultural development
  • Oscillation and fluctuation as cognitive functions
  • Behind the mirror
    • quoting Donald Campbell, including in references Evolutionary epistemology (to check too)

See also

Overall remarks and questions

  • quoting a friend "Life feeds on negative entropy." (p20)
    • one could consider this quote in the light of information transfert rate (ITR) used a measure in brain-machine intefaces (BMI)
  • how can the conclusion (p243) and evolutionary epistemology overall be applied? By applying popularity as selection (a la PageRank which seems to be showing its limit)?


So in the end, it was about X and was based on Y.


Point A, B and C are debatable because of e, f and j.


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Post-reading model

Draw a schema (using PmGraphViz or another solution) of the situation of the area in the studied domain after having read the book. Link it to the pre-reading model and align the two to help easy comparison.


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Other read books linking to the BehindTheMirror page :

The Tinkerer's Accomplice

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