Foundations of Science

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 395–428 | Cite as

Weaving, Bending, Patching, Mending the Fabric of Reality: A Cognitive Science Perspective on Worldview Inconsistency

  • Liane Gabora


In order to become aware of inconsistencies, one must first construe of the world in a way that reflects its consistencies. This paper begins with a tentative model for how a set of discrete memories transforms into an interconnected worldview, wherein relationships between memories are forged by way of abstractions. Inconsistencies prompt the invention of new abstractions. In regions of the conceptual network where inconsistencies abound, a cognitive analog of simulated annealing is in order; there is a willingness to question previous assumptions - to ‘loosen’ conceptual relationships - so as to let new concepts percolate through the worldview and exert the needed revolutionary effect. In so doing there is a risk of assimilating dangerous concepts. Repression arrests the process by which dangerous thoughts infiltrate the conceptual network, and deception blocks thoughts that have already been assimilated. These forms of self-initiated worldview inconsistency may evoke feelings of fragmentation at the level of the individual or the society.

abstraction autocatalysis censorship cognitive development cognitive origins consciousness cultural evolution deception distorted reality memory memetics repression representational redescription worldview 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liane Gabora
    • 1
  1. 1.Center Leo ApostelVrije Universiteit Brussel, Krijgskundestraat 33BrusselsBelgium

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