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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown


Cognition has been defined as "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses" source

It's currently thought that all animate and inanimate objects are composed entirely of quarks, gluons, and electrons - sub-atomic particles which, individually, can't possibly have the capacity to 'learn' and 'understand'. Yet, somehow, very large collections of those particles, arranged in the right way, can.

Even the most basic of organisms - e.g. bacteria - can 'learn' to avoid harmful situations.

This puzzle has been studied since at least as far back as the days of Aristotle - who didn't know about sub-atomic particles but nevertheless assumed (correctly) that all matter is composed of atoms.

There is currently no agreement about any theory of any kind which might explain how cognition can 'emerge' from profoundly non-cognitive particles.

As Einstein put it "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."

Further reading : Wikipedia

Also see : Consciousnessplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigConsciousness


Does an ant carrying a piece of leaf across the forest floor ‘know’ it’s doing so? Is it conscious? If science could construct a machine as complex as the human brain, would it ‘know’ it existed? Will it oneday be possible to explain consciousness via the laws of physics?

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