Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Philosophy Wire: Epigenetic memories. Experiencing “outside” yourself. Reversing the questions.


Philosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2018-05-23]: Researchers have now discovered that environmental genetic changes can be passed down for a whopping 14 generations in an animal – the largest span ever observed in a creature, in this case being a dynasty of C. elegans nematodes (roundworms). [1] What is the difference between the “environment” and us? What are the boundaries between the “self” and the “others”? Seemingly stupid questions always show the road to the solution of great philosophical problems. And these questions have all been solved by Harmonia Philosophica. What we need to see is right in front of our eyes: We are blind to the obvious role of the environment only because we have defined it as something different than us in the first place. How can anything you experience be “outside” you? What is impressive here is not the fact that epigenetic changes pass over to future generations. What is really impressive is that a change from the environment may NOT be passed over to future generations. Reverse the question and you will have the same question but without the dogmas from which you started in the first place. And you will clearly see that what you ask are things which you (think you) know...

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