Andrew Brown (2005) Profile. Acrylic on canvas.
The Latin name Homo agnoscens refers to Recognition.
To recognize is to realize that a sensation, emotion, notion or situation has been encountered previously. Recognition is anticipatory and as such depends on what has already been experienced and learned. Although we cannot engage with purely alien phenomena, we are primed to recognize sequences and patterns, discern family resemblances and make associations with remarkable looseness of fit.
Recognition falls under the general umbrella of perception. Our brains and our senses are, of course, inextricably bound. Sense perception involves active scanning for invariance and points of interest. The scanning is predictive and selective rather than random. The perceptive quest is informed by a backdrop of conceptual grids and narrative previously constructed to make sense of the world. Alertness for contrast, edge, pattern, coherence and relevance is unrelenting. Active perception also involves sharpening up and simplifying fuzzy data and disregarding extraneous phenomena.
We have seen that there are no naked perceptions. When we recognize, we recognize as. We utilize signifiers, for straightforward entities; simile and metaphor, for more complex phenomena; and narrative for complex and multifarious aspects of human interaction.
As a way of knowing recognition is also akin to intuition and recollection in that it is a fleeting but palpable, subjective experience that emerges from neural processes hidden below the level of conscious awareness.
Andrew Brown (2005) Figure. Acrylic on canvas.
A mantra of neuroscience is that “the mature brain talks mainly to itself.” What can this tell us about the nature of subjective experience, even consciousness itself?
Is consciousness a process rather than a thing? Is consciousness really rather simple? Is it a “qualia,”—nothing less than a very real and vibrant sensation of embodied awareness in the moment and, fueled by memory and imagination, recognition of oneself as an entity?
What is the relationship between consciousness and understanding?
What aspects of brain microanatomy and what model for brain function can account for a modus operandi of active, anticipatory pattern recognition rather than cold logic?
How can neuroscience explain our astonishing ability to deal with fuzzy input and incomplete data? To what extent do we sacrifice precision and infallibility with this looseness of fit? What is the relationship between the imprecision of pattern recognition and the polysemy of language?
What are the relationships between sense perception, memory and recognition?
Is induction our primal mode of reasoning given that the senses and interconnections within the brain and are anticipatory. Given that, at root, so much of our cognitive experience is based on fleeting, patterned, predictive projections coupled with lightning fast confirmations or refutations can we assert that we are living in the subjunctive?