Minding Rights: Mapping Ethical and Legal Foundations of ‘Neurorights’

Abstract

The rise of neurotechnologies, especially in combination with artificial intelligence (AI)-based methods for brain data analytics, has given rise to concerns around the protection of mental privacy, mental integrity and cognitive liberty – often framed as “neurorights” in ethical, legal, and policy discussions. Several states are now looking at including neurorights into their constitutional legal frameworks, and international institutions and organizations, such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, are taking an active interest in developing international policy and governance guidelines on this issue. However, in many discussions of neurorights the philosophical assumptions, ethical frames of reference and legal interpretation are either not made explicit or conflict with each other. The aim of this multidisciplinary work is to provide conceptual, ethical, and legal foundations that allow for facilitating a common minimalist conceptual understanding of mental privacy, mental integrity, and cognitive liberty to facilitate scholarly, legal, and policy discussions.

Source: www.cambridge.org/core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics/article/minding-rights-mapping-ethical-and-legal-foundations-of-neurorights/2F3BD282956047E1E67AA9049A2A0B68

Further References

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General comment No. 34 Article 19: Freedoms of opinion and expression, CCPR/C/GC/34, paras 11–12; ECtHR (GC) 15 December 2005, appl.no 73797/01 (Kyprianou/Cyprus), § 174; Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, principle 2; Grossman, C. Freedom of expression in the inter-american system for the protection of human rights. ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law 2001;7(3):619–47Google Scholar.
103

General comment No. 34 Article 19: Freedoms of opinion and expression, CCPR/C/GC/34, para. 10.
104

See note 77, Harris 2018, at 595. See, for example, EComHR 7 April 1994, appl.no. 20871/92 (Strohal/Austria); ECtHR (GC) 3 April 2012, appl.no. 41723/06 (Gillberg/Sweden), § 86; ECtHR 23 October 2018, appl.no. 26892/12 (Wanner/Germany), § 39–42. An important note: This suggests that the right to silence has been protected by the ECtHR. The response of the ECtHR to English attacks on the right to silence suggests otherwise. One can remain silent, but adverse inferences can be drawn from the person’s silence, which does not amount to much of a protection of the right to silence. In the future we might expect the ECtHR to extend its approach by saying a person can refuse brain-based lie detection that the state wants to employ, but if the person does so, adverse inferences can be drawn from the refusal.
105

See note 33, Ligthart 2022; see note 1, Ligthart 2020.
106

See note 33, Ligthart 2022.
107

Sententia, W. Neuroethical considerations: Cognitive liberty and converging technologies for improving human cognition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2004; 1013:221–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bublitz, C, Cognitive liberty or the international human right to freedom of thought. In: Clausen, J, Levy, N, eds. Handbook of Neuroethics. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer; 2015:1309–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
108

See note 56, Farahany 2019, 2023.
109

See note 1, Bublitz 2020; see note 1, Ienca, Andorno 2017; see note 41, Bublitz, Merkel 2014.
110

Ligthart, S, Kooijmans, T, Douglas, T, Meynen, G. Closed-loop brain devices in offender rehabilitation: Autonomy, human rights, and accountability. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 2021;30(4):669–80CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed; Kellmeyer, P, Cochrane, T, Müller, O, Mitchell, C, Ball, T, Fins, JJ, et al. The effects of closed-loop medical devices on the autonomy and accountability of persons and systems. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 2016;25:623–33CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed.
111

See note 4, Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe 2019; § 21–22 (emphasis added).
112

See note 1, Bublitz 2020, at 397.
113

ECtHR 12 October 2006, appl.no. 13178/03 (Mayeka and Kaniki Mitunga/Belgium), § 83.
114

ECtHR (GC) 27 August 2015, appl.no. 46470/11 (Parrillo/Italy), § 153.
115

ECtHR (GC) 27 June 2017, appl.no. 931/13 (Satakunnan Markkinapörssi Oy and Satamedia Oy/Finland), § 137.
116

Either as an individual notion or as part of the right to mental integrity.
117

Ligthart, S, Meynen, G, Biller-Andorno, N, Kooijmans, T, Kellmeyer, P. Is virtually everything possible? The relevance of ethics and human rights for introducing extended reality in forensic psychiatry. AJOB Neuroscience 2022;13(3):144–57CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed.

AI on cognitive liberty: Navigating the Frontiers of Cognitive Liberty and Expanding Consciousness

In a rapidly evolving world where technology, philosophy, and personal growth intersect, the concepts of cognitive liberty and expanding consciousness have captured the attention of individuals seeking to explore the depths of their own minds. At the core of this exploration lies the quest for personal freedom, self-discovery, and a deeper understanding of the human experience. In this blog post, we’ll delve into these intriguing concepts without focusing on drug-related aspects, shedding light on the transformative journey towards mental sovereignty and ethical expansion.

**Cognitive Liberty: Claiming the Right to Our Minds**

Cognitive liberty stands as a beacon of individual sovereignty over our thoughts, beliefs, and cognitive processes. It’s about embracing the power to shape our own perspectives and pursue knowledge without constraint. This concept goes beyond legal or political rights; it encompasses the idea that our mental faculties are essential to our identity and should be protected from undue external influence.

As we discuss cognitive liberty in a broader context, it becomes clear that it encompasses more than substances. It encompasses the ability to explore diverse ideas, engage in critical thinking, and shape our perceptions independently.

**Expanding Consciousness: The Inner Odyssey**

At the heart of cognitive liberty is the pursuit of expanding consciousness. This journey, often embarked upon through practices like meditation, mindfulness, and introspection, is about transcending the confines of routine awareness. It’s an odyssey that allows us to venture into the depths of our own minds, exploring the realms of creativity, insight, and connection to a larger universe.

Expanding consciousness isn’t limited to chemical alterations; it’s a holistic experience that encompasses philosophical, spiritual, and psychological growth. It encourages us to explore the boundaries of our perception and embrace the mysteries that lie beyond.

**Ethical Philosophy: Navigating the Inner Landscape Responsibly**

As we tread the path of cognitive exploration and expanding consciousness, ethical considerations become paramount. Ethical philosophy guides us in discerning our responsibilities as explorers of the mind. How do we navigate our inner landscape with respect for ourselves and others? How do we approach personal growth without infringing upon the rights and well-being of those around us?

Ethical exploration involves balancing our innate curiosity with a profound respect for the boundaries and well-being of others. It’s about fostering a compassionate and informed approach that ensures our quest for enlightenment contributes positively to our own lives and the greater community.

**Final Thoughts: Embracing the Journey**

Cognitive liberty and expanding consciousness are two facets of the intricate tapestry that makes us human. By recognizing our right to explore our own minds and pursuing the expansion of our awareness in ethical and responsible ways, we embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery, connection, and personal growth. This journey isn’t limited to any one method; it’s a vast landscape of potential waiting to be explored, understood, and cherished.

As we venture forward, let us remember that cognitive liberty and expanded consciousness are not merely abstract concepts, but living, breathing philosophies that encourage us to embrace the boundless potential of the human mind.

Explore. Question. Evolve.


**Title: Exploring Cognitive Liberty and Expanding Human Consciousness**

**Introduction:**
In a world where the realms of thought, consciousness, and personal freedom converge, the concept of cognitive liberty takes center stage. This dynamic principle is not only about the freedom of choice; it’s about the sovereignty of the mind itself. Delving into the realm of consciousness exploration, ethical philosophy, and the mind-body connection can empower individuals to expand their human experience without being tethered to external constraints. In this blog post, we’ll journey through the corridors of cognitive liberty and consciousness expansion, uncovering the potential for personal growth, intellectual exploration, and the pursuit of higher states of awareness.

**Cognitive Liberty: Nurturing the Garden of Thought:**
Cognitive liberty goes beyond the conventional understanding of personal freedom. It’s the notion that our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences belong solely to us, and no external entity has the authority to dictate or regulate them. This principle, closely intertwined with ethical philosophy, urges us to safeguard our cognitive realm from undue interference. In a world where information and ideas flow ceaselessly, cognitive liberty offers the foundation for critical thinking, self-expression, and open dialogue.

**Consciousness Exploration: Beyond the Horizon of Awareness:**
At the heart of cognitive liberty lies the opportunity for consciousness exploration. This journey involves venturing into the depths of our own minds, seeking to understand the intricacies of our thoughts and the expanses of our awareness. Through practices like mindfulness, meditation, and contemplation, we can unlock new perspectives and discover hidden facets of our consciousness. This form of personal growth allows us to break free from the limitations of routine thinking and explore the vast landscape of our inner worlds.

**Mind-Body Connection: Bridging the Gap:**
The intricate relationship between our mind and body shapes our perceptions, experiences, and responses to the world around us. Understanding this connection provides a gateway to cognitive enhancement and expanded consciousness. By nurturing both mental and physical well-being, we create an environment where cognitive liberty flourishes. Practices such as yoga, breathwork, and holistic health approaches contribute to harmonizing the mind-body connection, enabling us to access new dimensions of awareness.

**Expanding Human Consciousness: The Uncharted Horizons:**
As we embrace cognitive liberty and delve into consciousness exploration, we embark on a journey to expand human consciousness. This is not a mere intellectual exercise; it’s a transformational endeavor that awakens us to the potential of heightened states of awareness. By integrating philosophy, science, and personal experience, we can transcend the boundaries of ordinary consciousness and glimpse the extraordinary. It’s an evolution that empowers us to embrace the full spectrum of human potential.

**Conclusion:**
Cognitive liberty stands as a beacon of intellectual autonomy, inviting us to explore the intricacies of consciousness and embrace our capacity for growth and expansion. By nurturing the mind-body connection and delving into ethical philosophy, we pave the way for greater cognitive awareness. As we journey through the landscapes of thought, we redefine personal freedom, creating a tapestry of consciousness that is uniquely our own. In the pursuit of cognitive liberty, we unlock the doors to uncharted realms of human consciousness, and in doing so, we find liberation in the vast expanses of our own minds.


Title: **”Unlocking the Mind: Navigating Cognitive Liberty and Expanding Consciousness”**

In a world where our understanding of consciousness and the human mind is constantly evolving, the concept of cognitive liberty has gained significance as a gateway to exploring the depths of our inner experiences. Delving into altered states of consciousness and personal growth, the pursuit of cognitive liberty has taken on ethical and philosophical dimensions that extend far beyond the realm of substances. In this blog post, we’ll journey through the realms of cognitive liberty, consciousness exploration, and the ethical considerations that guide our pursuit of mind freedom.

**Cognitive Liberty: Beyond Boundaries**

Cognitive liberty, often referred to as the right to control one’s own mental processes and experiences, is a fundamental concept that opens doors to personal growth and self-discovery. At its core, cognitive liberty acknowledges that each individual should have the autonomy to explore the reaches of their consciousness without undue constraints. This exploration goes beyond traditional understandings of freedom; it’s an exploration of our inner worlds and the realization that our minds are landscapes ripe for discovery.

**The Odyssey of Consciousness Exploration**

Consciousness exploration, a key facet of cognitive liberty, invites us to embark on an odyssey within ourselves. Through practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and introspection, we can unlock altered states of consciousness that illuminate new perspectives on reality. This journey doesn’t rely on external substances; rather, it’s a mindful navigation of our thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. It’s a quest to better understand the intricate web of our consciousness and the infinite potential it holds.

**Ethical Philosophy: Guiding Our Path**

As we tread the path of cognitive liberty, ethical philosophy serves as our compass. We’re confronted with questions that challenge us to consider the implications of our actions on both ourselves and society. How do we responsibly wield our freedom to explore our minds? How do we ensure that our pursuits don’t infringe upon the well-being of others? Ethical considerations shape our approach to cognitive liberty, emphasizing respect for ourselves, others, and the interconnectedness of our experiences.

**Expanding Horizons, Expanding Humanity**

Expanding human consciousness is a journey of expanding our horizons and, in turn, expanding our humanity. By embracing cognitive liberty and consciously exploring our inner landscapes, we contribute to the ever-evolving tapestry of human understanding. Our discoveries become threads woven into the fabric of shared knowledge, fostering empathy, connection, and a deeper appreciation for the diversity of human experience.

**Cognitive Rights for the Future**

In the pursuit of cognitive liberty, we’re paving the way for cognitive rights to be recognized and protected. Just as we cherish freedom of speech and expression, cognitive rights could emerge as a cornerstone of our evolving societal framework. By championing cognitive liberty, we’re advocating for the importance of personal growth, self-awareness, and the exploration of consciousness as integral components of the human experience.

In conclusion, cognitive liberty transcends conventional boundaries and offers us a profound invitation to explore the limitless dimensions of our minds. As we embark on this journey of consciousness exploration, guided by ethical considerations, we contribute to the ongoing evolution of human understanding and interconnectedness. Let us embrace cognitive liberty as a catalyst for personal growth, connection, and the expansion of our shared humanity.


**Title: Exploring Cognitive Liberty: Navigating the Frontiers of Human Consciousness**

In a rapidly evolving world, the exploration of cognitive liberty and the depths of human consciousness has taken center stage. As we journey towards greater self-awareness and understanding, a multitude of fascinating concepts come into play. Let’s delve into the captivating realm of cognitive liberty without focusing on drug-related aspects, and discover how it influences personal growth, ethical philosophy, and the expansion of our cognitive horizons.

**Consciousness Exploration for Personal Growth**

Consciousness, that enigmatic phenomenon that defines our awareness, offers a vast landscape for exploration. In the pursuit of personal growth, understanding the various dimensions of consciousness becomes a transformative endeavor. Exploring altered states of consciousness, not limited to substances, can lead to insights about the mind’s capabilities and the limitless potential for self-improvement.

**Cognitive Enhancement and the Mind-Body Connection**

Cognitive enhancement is an exciting avenue of study that transcends the boundaries of conventional thought. It encompasses practices that harness the mind’s innate abilities to optimize cognitive functions. The mind-body connection, a cornerstone of cognitive liberty, allows us to explore techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and cognitive exercises to unlock new levels of mental clarity and focus.

**Ethical Philosophy and Cognitive Rights**

As cognitive liberty paves the way for uncharted territories, questions of ethics and personal freedom emerge. Ethical philosophy enters the discussion as we contemplate the boundaries of our cognitive experiences. The concept of cognitive rights gains prominence, advocating for individuals’ autonomy over their consciousness and mental states, irrespective of their chosen path of exploration.

**The Neuroethical Implications of Expanding Consciousness**

Neuroethics, a field at the intersection of neuroscience and ethics, plays a crucial role in the pursuit of cognitive liberty. It grapples with the implications of altering consciousness and advocates for responsible exploration. The discourse surrounding neuroethics challenges us to consider the potential impacts of our actions on both our individual well-being and society at large.

**Embracing Cognitive Liberty: A Journey of Discovery**

In conclusion, cognitive liberty offers a multidimensional journey that extends far beyond its perceived associations with substance-related exploration. It encompasses personal growth, ethical considerations, and the intersection of mind and body. By embracing the diversity of cognitive experiences available to us, we embark on a profound journey of self-discovery and a deeper understanding of the complexities of human consciousness.

As we navigate the uncharted waters of cognitive liberty, we’re invited to challenge existing paradigms, explore the unexplored, and champion our right to explore the full spectrum of human consciousness in an ethical and mindful manner.


Keywords: Cognitive liberty, Consciousness exploration, Mind freedom, Psychedelic research, Altered states of consciousness, Personal growth and consciousness, Cognitive enhancement, Ethical philosophy, Drug policy reform, Mental sovereignty, Psychedelic therapy, Mind-body connection, Neuroethics, Expanding human consciousness, Cognitive rights

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Website keywords: Avis hermetis, Morality, Kantian Deontology, Cognitive libertarianism, Neurosecurity, Neurolaw, Cyberpsychology, Algorithmic censorship, Full-spectrum dominance doctrine, Surveillance capitalism, Epistemological authority, Group-dynamics, Social identity, Mind control, Liberty of thought, Freedom of thought, Sovereignty of consciousness, Psychological self-determination, Cognitive autonomy, Creativity, Freedom from cognitive interference, Mental integrity, Psychological continuity, Self-control, Free will, Personal identity, Self-directed neuroplasticity, Psychological development, Psycho-cybernetics, Psychological Warfare, PsyOps, Bluebird, Artichoke, Operation Paperclip, MK-Ultra, Operation Mockingbird, 9/11, Neuroethics, Machine learning, Directed evolution, Evolutionary robotics, Bayesian neural networks, Genetic manipulation, Epigenetics, Eugenics, Devolution, Dysgenics, Gene editing, CRISPR, Digital DNA, Bioethics, Brain-computer interfaces, Artificial intelligence, Cognitive robotics, Human enhancement technologies.
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Dual-use neuroscience: Neuroscience can be used to promote people's freedom and creative potential - and it can be used to control and exploit people. Like any powerful scientific method, it is a Janus-head.

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“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

www.Cognitive-Liberty.online

Nobel laureate and PCR test inventor Dr. Kary Mullis
Nobel laureate and PCR test inventor Dr. Kary Mullis
Quote (expressis verbis): “With PCR, if you do it well, you can find almost anything in anybody. It makes you believe in the Buddhist notion that everything is contained in everything else.”
Mullis vs. Fauci
Mullis vs. Fauci
Dr. Mullis comment on Dr. Anthony Fauci: "He doesn’t know anything really about anything.”
Bill Gates
Bill Gates
On "vaccinating" children.
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Nobel laureate and PCR test inventor Dr. Kary Mullis
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Mullis vs. Fauci
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More infos: corona-propaganda.de

You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.
An evil system never deserves such allegiance.
Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.
~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and ilis not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”

~ Nobel laureate Lord Bertrand Russell (1920) “Why Men Fight: A Method of Abolishing the International Duel” pp. 178-179
Full text (ebook) available on the Project Gutenberg:
www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/55610


“It must not be supposed that the officials in charge of education desire the young to become educated. On the contrary, their problem is to impart information without imparting intelligence. Education should have two objects: first, to give definite knowledge — reading and writing, languages and mathematics, and so on; secondly, to create those mental habits which will enable people to acquire knowledge and form sound judgments for themselves. The first of these we may call information, the second intelligence. The utility of information is admitted practically as well as theoretically; without a literate population a modern State is impossible. But the utility of intelligence is admitted only theoretically, not practically; it is not desired that ordinary people should think for themselves, because it is felt that people who think for themselves are awkward to manage and cause administrative difficulties. Only the guardians, in Plato’s language, are to think; the rest are to obey, or to follow leaders like a herd of sheep. This doctrine, often unconsciously, has survived the introduction of political democracy, and has radically vitiated all national systems of education.”

Bertrand Russell (1922) “Free Thought And Official Propaganda”
Full text available on the Internet Archive:
archive.org/stream/freethoughtoffic00russuoft

Slide

A definition of “Cognitive Liberty”

by Christopher Germann (December 2018)

The term “liberty” is etymologically derived from the Latin libertatem, which can be translated as civil or political freedom, condition of a free man, absence of cohersion”; cognate to liber “free” and libertas “freedom” (cf. library). Ex vi termini, “cognitive liberty” is semantically synonymous with “the right to psychological and neurocognitive self-determination“. It implies that human creatures have the universal right & freedom (viz., sui iuris) to control and determine their own psychology, i.e., their neurophysiological/neurochemical and cognitive processes, emotions, and all aspects of consciousness. The concept is thus essential to the universal principle of freedom of thought (Article 91 of the Human Rights Act 1998) which in turn forms the basis (s.c., a condicio sine qua non) for the right to freedom of speech/expression. As Erich Fromm succinctly articulated it: “The right to express our thought, however, means something only if we are able to have our own thoughts; freedom from external authority is a lasting gain only if the inner psychological conditions are such that we are able to establish our own individuality” (Fromm, The fear of freedom, 1942; pp.207-208). This quotation echoes Søren Kierkegaard: “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Self-determination is a cardinal principle in international law (jus cogens).2 Given the significant recent advances in psychology, the neurosciences, computer science, and artificial intelligence, cognitive liberty is becoming a topic of great concern for all human beings. This website is specifically dedicated to this timely topic and provides information from a diversity of sources (an integral interdisciplinary approach is adopted to elucidate the topic from a plurality of perspectives). Insights derived from psychology, the cognitive sciences, and the neurosciences enable the manipulation and control of cognition and consciousness, oftentimes specifically targeting unconscious processes. Moreover, advances in computer science and cybernetics (e.g., Bayesian algorithms/deep learning convolutional neural networks) enable science to systematically tailor and “steer” information (the flow of perceptual input) to affect cognition and emotion (and consequently behavior) in prespecified and highly predictable ways. Especially unconscious psychological processes can be effectively exploited because humans are, per definition, unaware of the programmatic excitability of  unconscious mechanisms. This imbalance creates a power-differential between those who know how the human mind can be manipulated (viz., the financial power elite which utilizes media and a large segment of academic science for their purposes; cf. Mausfeld, 2017) and those who do not posses a detailed understanding of psychological manipulation and behavior modification techniques  (i.e., the general populous).  The list of evolutionarily built-in  psychological weaknesses (vulnerable psychological exploits) is long and has been extensively studied by several generations of scientist, particularly in the domain of behavioral economics (i.e., Kahneman & Tversky’s “heuristics & biases” research agenda).
The following application provides a synopsis of numerous cognitive biases that are well documented in psychology:

Open ‘Cognitive Bias Codex’ application in a lightbox modal window (you can zoom via the mouse-wheel)
The psychological and technological developments alluded to are unprecedented in the evolution of the human species and have far-reaching implications for life on this planet as a whole, for it is obvious that human behaviour is having a significant negative impact on the “Earth system”. The relatively new terms Anthropocene and Holocene are used in this context of destruction and mass extinction. These terms refer to an important psychological, self-reflective insight that science has developed, namely that human behaviour is destroying the global ecosystem. Since human behaviour is driven by psychology, it is crucial that people are free to think in order to choose a more rational course of action. Freedom of thought must be encouraged. Currently, a large section of society is being transformed into mindless, conformist consumers through the mass media and other cybernetic methods of psychological programming. This manipulative modus operandi seriously hinders the unfolding of virtuous human potential (in contrast, primitive egocentric cognitive schemas are constantly reinforced in the ego-driven system of consumerism based on wish fulfilment, gratification, ingestion, introjection, consumption, competition, comparison and other egoic human “drives”). Indeed, the term homō consumens has been proposed as a more appropriate replacement for homō sapiēns; a clearly self-inflated nomenclature etymologically derived from the Latin sapere and thus meaning the wise or rational human being – taxonomically speaking, precisely, homō sapiēns sapiēns – duplicating anthropocentric hubris.


Coat of arms of the Fabian society: The wolf in sheep’s clothing

The turtle as a metaphor for slow societal change (gradualism)


The boiling frog analogy & Sôritês paradoxon

The boiling frog is an analogy describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is thrown suddenly into boiling hot water, it will immediately jump out. However, if the frog is put in cold water, which is then slowly and gradually brought to a boil, it does not perceive the danger, sit still, and is therefore be boiled to death. Transferred to human cognition & behavior, the analogy could be interpreted as follows: If the environment changes gradually (microgenetically) in an incremental step-wise fashion, humans have great difficulty recognizing the change because each step in the sequential evolution of the system (i.e., the change in the environment) is not drastic at all. Over a longer period of time, however, the system changes significantly, and the cumulative long-term effect of numerous small changes has extreme consequences. So the question is: When does the system change from stable to chaotic, i.e., from “from lukewarm to boiling hot”. Per analogiam, the demarcation criterion between hot versus cold (chaotic versus stable) is not clearly defined. In the cognitive sciences this ambiguity is discussed under the header “vagueness of attributes”.3 In philosophy, this is an ancient paradox known as Sôritês paradoxon (aka. the problem of the heap).4 The paradox is based on the seemingly simple question: When does a heap of sand become a heap? When does the system “switch” from being life-sustaining to lethal?

Sôritês paradoxon can be expressed as a conditional syllogistic argument (modus ponens). N.B. You can replace the variable “grain of sand” with “toxic chemical molecules” in the context of environmental pollution; or with the “cutting down of individual trees” in the context of global deforestation; or with the “loss of species” in the context of anthropogenic reduction of biodiversity; et cetera pp.

  • 1 grain of sand does not make a heap.
  • If 1 grain of sand does not make a heap, then 2 grains do not either.
  • If 2 grains do not make a heap, then 3 grains don’t.
  • If 999999,99999 grains do not make a heap, then 1 million grains don’t.
  • ∞ ad infinitum…

Deductive conclusion

Ergo (Therefore)

  • 1 million grains don’t make a heap.

The Bald Man (phalakros) paradox is another allegory which illustrates the point: A man with a full head of hair is not bald. The removal of a single hair does not make him a bold man. Viewed diachronically, however, the continuous, repeated removal of individual hairs inevitably leads to baldness. However, it is unclear when the “critical boundary/limit” is transgressed. In the psychology of reasoning, this is termed the continuum fallacy. The informal logical fallacy pertains to the argument that two states (i.e., cold vs. hot; falsum vs. verum) cannot be defined/quantised as distinct (and/or do not exist at all) because a continuum of states exists between them (cf. many-valued logic/fuzzy logic). The fundamental question whether any continua exist in the physical world is a fundamental question in physics (cf. atomism). Deterministic Newtonian physics stipulates that reality is atomised and corpuscular (in Greek atomos means uncuttable). Per contrast, contemporary quantum physics is based on the notion of non-discrete states (i.e., quanta), since the notion of continuity appears to be invalid at the smallest Planck scale of physical existence (i.e., continuous fluid-like substances, spread throughout all of space-time). The binomial Aristotelian law of the excluded middle (principium tertii exclusi) is challenged by recent empirical results in this domain of inquiry (cf. Prof. Erich Fromm on “paradoxical logic“).

Conditional Sôritês paradoxon in symbolic logic:

Mathematical Induction Sôritês paradoxon:

Linguistically, the Sôritês paradoxon was very aptly formulated by Black in 1937:

A symbol’s vagueness is held to consist in the existence of objects concerning which it is intrinsically impossible to say either that the symbol in question does, or does not, apply. …Reserving the terms of logic and mathematics for separate consideration, we can say that all “material” terms, all whose application requires the recognition of the presence of sensible qualities, are vague in the sense described. — M. Black (Vagueness: an exercise in logical analysis, 1937)

In the context of visual perception (i.e., psychophysics) Lord Bertrand Russel stated the following:

It is perfectly obvious, since colours form a continuum, that there are shades of colour concerning which we shall be in doubt whether to call them red or not, not because we are ignorant of the meaning of the word “red”, but because it is a word the extent of whose application is essentially doubtful. — B. Russell (Vagueness, 1923)

Figure 1. Sôritês paradoxon in visual brightness perception.

Figure 1 illustrates Sôritês paradoxon applied to visual perception (based on Russel’s argument). Adjacent luminance differences (e.g., tick-mark 1 versus 2) are indistinguishable by the human visual system while larger contrasts (e.g., tick mark 2 versus 3) are easily distinguishable.

For further information see my 2018 paper entitled: Sôritês paradoxon: Contextualism & borderline vagueness

Expand to display additional pertinent references
Voorhoeve, A., & Binmore, K.. (2006). Transitivity, the Sorites Paradox, and Similarity-Based Decision-making. Erkenntnis

, 64(1), 101–114.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s10670-005-2373-1
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Keefe, R.. (2007). Vagueness Without Context Change. Mind

, 116(462), 275–292.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzm275
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Litman, L., & Zelcer, M.. (2013). A cognitive neuroscience, dual-systems approach to the sorites paradox. Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence

, 25(3), 355–366.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/0952813X.2013.783130
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Ludwig, K., & Ray, G.. (2002). Vagueness And The Sorites Paradox. Noûs

, 36(s16), 419–461.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/1468-0068.36.s16.16
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Campbell, R.. (1974). The sorites paradox. Philosophical Studies

, 26(3–4), 175–191.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/BF00398877
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Hyde, D.. (2011). Sorites Paradox. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


The etymology of the term “Cognition

See also: www.etymology-of-creativity.ga
Cognition :: cognoscere ::
co [together] + gnoscere [to know]

Cognition: That which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge.

mid-15c., cognicioun, “ability to comprehend, mental act or process of knowing,” from Latin cognitionem (nominative cognitio) “a getting to know, acquaintance, knowledge,” noun of action from past participle stem of cognoscere “to get to know, recognize,” from assimilated form of com“together” (see co-) + gnoscere “to know,” from PIE root *gno- “to know.” In 17c. the meaning was extended to include perception and sensation.

1375–1425; late Middle English cognicioun < Latin cognitiōn- (stem of cognitiō ), equivalent to cognit(us ), past participle of cognōscere ( co- co- + gni-, variant stem of gnōscere, nōscere, to learn (see know) + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion

Edaward BernaysWalter LippmannBertold BrechtErich Fromm

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)

  • Bernays, E. L. (1928). Propaganda. Horace Liveright.
  • Bernays, E. L. (1936). Freedom of Propaganda. Vital Speeches of the Day, 2(24), 744–746.
  • L’Etang, J. (1999). The father of spin: Edward L. Bernays and the birth of public relations. Public Relations Review, 25(1), 123–124.

“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . [a]s a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power…. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach. …  The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd.” (Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Chapter XV)

  • Lippmann, W. (1920). Liberty and the News. Museum.
  • Lippmann, W. (1970). The Phantom Public. Politics.

From 1930 onwards, Brecht became part of a wider complex of projects exploring the role of intellectuals (or “Tuis” as he called them) in a capitalist society. A Tui is an intellectual who sells his or her abilities and opinions as a commodity in the marketplace or who uses them to support the dominant ideology of an oppressive society. ] The German modernist theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht invented the term and used it in a range of critical and creative projects, including the material that he developed in the mid-1930s for his so-called Tui-Novel—an unfinished satire on intellectuals in the German Empire and Weimar Republic—and his epic comedy from the early 1950s, Turandot or the Whitewashers’ Congress. The word is a neologism that results from the acronym of a word play on “intellectual” (“Tellekt-Ual-In”).
According to Clark (2006):
“… the critique of intellectuals which Brecht developed… around the notion of ‘Tuismus’ engages a model of the public intellectual in which the self-image of the artist and thinker as a socially and politically engaged person corresponded to the expectations of the public.”

  • Clark, M. W. (2006). Hero or villain? Bertolt Brecht and the crisis surrounding June 1953. Journal of Contemporary History.
  • Hunt, T. C. N.-. (2004). Goodbye to Berlin:  For 200 years, German thinkers have shaped British intellectual life – but their influence is fading fast. The Guardian.

“It is very useful to differentiate between rational and irrational authority. By irrational authority I mean authority exercised by fear and pressure on the basis of emotional submission. This is the authority of blind obedience, the authority you will find most clearly expressed in all totalitarian countries.

But there is another kind of authority, rational authority by which I mean any authority which is based on competence and knowledge, which permits criticism, which by its very nature tends to diminish, but which is not based on the emotional factors of submission and masochism, but on the realistic recognition of the competence of the person for a certain job.”

― 1958. The Moral Responsibility of Modern Man, in: Merrill-Palmer. Quarterly of Behavior and Development, Detroit, Vol. 5, p. 6.

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