Philosophical Darwinism: On the Origin of Knowledge by Means of Natural Selection by Peter Munz - ISBN 0415086027 - Routledge 1993


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


Quote from Cziko's WithoutMiracles regarding a fish being a model of its environment (cf its references).

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
    • distinction between knowledge and science and their respective roles, without having to use certainty as a distinction
      • science having to be public
      • knowledge potentially private
    • role of knowledge in social evolution
      • dividing in groups in order to have social stability
        • even if having to use "false knowledge"
        • emergence of dogma in order to insure that bounds will not be questionned
    • cell as a start for cognition
      • membrane as a selector of information by filtering what is good or not
        • a failure to do so resulting directly in death thus selection
      • no reference to Varela or Stewart with Life=Cognition (paper, short ppt)
    • study of the adaptive advantage of consciousness
      • despite the delay it causes
      • the difficulty to study it as an imprecisely defined concept
        • tied to language
      • moving from two-dimensional language
        • entirely descriptive and based solely on agents communication
      • to three-dimensional language
        • allowing the manipulation of non-existing objects
        • not being a mere extension but providing radically new affordances
          • with the high "price" of postponing action
        • "The most important aspect of having a three-dimensional language is that it enables the organism to go beyond the information given." p23
          • consequently allowing the process of finding mistakes to gain further information
  • main thesis in part IV
    • page 154, chapter V of part 4 - The Nature of the Mirror :
      • "Each organism is a theory about its environment."
      • regarding the concept of mirror see Konrad Lorenz's BehindTheMirror
        • quoted several times in the book
  • the hypercycle from part V.II

See also

Overall remarks and questions

One consequence of Munz's theory is that everybody (mathematicians, computer scientists, etc) building and converting models into tools, is making human beings embodying those models functionally useless in our society.

  • today it already is fundamental to be able to select the correct mathematical model and the relevant algorithmic model
    • it augment the ROI of software based on the resources need by the hardware but also the complexity of maintenance thus the cost of the overall structure
  • but also in the past, the ability to select the right model embodied by another human
    • by choosing the right person to cooperate with or delegate to the correct person, the ability to hire the correct person... thus selecting the adapted model!


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.


(:new_vocabulary_start:) inchoate to bestow ado slapdash modicum sensum to surmise innocuous an adze stultifying to bandy adroit innuendoes mendacious to wend (:new_vocabulary_end:)

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 PhilosophicalDarwinism page :

The Tinkerer's Accomplice
Foundations in Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience

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