Back to David's theory of evolution of abstract thought (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Friday, July 31, 2020, 19:02 (8 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Friday, July 31, 2020, 19:23

DAVID: You really don't understand the difference. From Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_and_concrete
the terms "concrete" and "formal" to describe two different types of learning. Concrete thinking involves facts and descriptions about everyday, tangible objects, while abstract (formal operational) thinking involves a mental process.

dhw: This in itself is nonsensical: concrete thinking about facts and objects is still thinking, and thinking is a mental process. The difference is what is being thought about.


Sure it is thinking, but not all thinking is analytical/conceptual, and bees can't do that form of thinking.


In metaphysics, abstract and concrete are classifications that denote whether the object that a term describes has physical referents. Abstract objects have no physical referents, whereas concrete objects do.

dhw: That’s more like it. Concrete thinking refers to facts and objects, and abstract thinking refers to non-physical subjects. Leaves and flowers are concrete, God is abstract.

Yes. God is an abstraction. Leaves and flowers are concrete observation. but the biting of leaves and early flowering is an abstract relationship, only we can make.


DAVID: Simply, no animal can conceptualize cause and effect as you imagine. That is why God gave them instincts.

dhw: Why do you use the word “conceptualize”? I am not claiming that bees create an abstract idea from their observations. If you kick your dog, next time (let’s say two weeks later) he sees you raise your foot, he’ll run away.

You don't understand training dogs!!! Training for a good result or an adverse (unpleasant) result requires multiple repeated pleasant actions with food treats and praise, the repeats prolonged until the dog understands. Same with horses. They are only concrete thinkers and cannot understand the abstraction behind your training desire.

dhw: This is not the result of philosophical cogitation, but a simple association of one physical action with another, cause and effect: raised foot leads to pain, so I'd rather not repeat it. Bee observation: leaf bite leads to early flowering, so let’s repeat it. If the leaf bite had given our bee acute indigestion, do you think she would have tried another bite two weeks later?

The dog learns only though constant pleasant repetition, until He finally makes the connection you want. In house training, He never gets the idea that pee in the house is bad; that is abstract. He only realizes you want pee outside. Cats never learn this, so a litter box. Your thinking is totally out of accepted reasoning about concrete and abstract.

DAVID: Believe what you want, but animals think only concretely, have no conceptualization ability and require implanted instincts. They see objects for what they are without any cause and effect entering their minds.

dhw: I accept the second Wikipedia definition: that animals think about physical referents (concrete) and not about non-physical referents (abstract). This echoes the article’s definition of particulars (concrete) versus universals (abstract). Even you have used the word “think”, which is a mental process. We will simply have to disagree on whether animals are capable of associating cause and effect when observing the physical world, but I remain bewildered by your insistence that leaf-biting “requires the same degree of conceptual thought that we use”!

I know you are bewildered. I have trained animals and understand what is required because of their incapacity for abstract thought. I've never pointed out the point of view I present about human abstract thought compared to concrete animal thought is not my theory. It is a standard accepted by thinking folks. The title of this post is wrong. It is not my theory but an accepted concept.


Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum