What are trees about?

Jerry Fodor

  • BuyIncomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter by Terrence Deacon
    Norton, 602 pp, £19.99, February 2012, ISBN 978 0 393 04991 6

Full disclosure: after a while, I began to skip. After a while longer, I began to skip a lot. That was reprehensible, but passages like: ‘but then a teleogenic process in which one critical dynamical component is a representational process that interprets its own teleodynamic tendency extends this convoluted causal circularity one level further’ started to get me down; as Deacon quite correctly remarks, ‘life and health are fragile.’ Also, I came to suspect that, when the terminology got to be heavy-going, that often masked the begging of questions that Deacon was most keen to answer. Some examples to follow.

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