Below is text from one section of Douglas Galbi’s work, “Sense in Communication.”  This work includes text and images.  Some images may be missing (due to use restrictions) or improperly formatted below.  The full work in pdf format, which includes all images and text sections, is available at



I. Making Sense of Presence


About 31,000 years ago in what’s now southern France, human beings like you climbed through a cave stretching almost 500 meters underground.  They entered the cave not to live or take shelter, but to paint and engrave upon its walls.  They used yellow, red, and black paint, depicted individual animals and artistically composed multi-animal scenes, and made positive and negative hand prints.[1]  Why?

      Deep caves are not natural human habitat.  A scholar who has extensively studied cave art observed: 

 Everywhere and at all times, the underground has been perceived as being a supernatural world, the realm of the spirits or of the dead, a forbidding gate to the Beyond which  people are frightened of and never cross.  Going into the subterranean world was thus defying ancestral fears, deliberately venturing into the kingdom of the supernatural powers in order to meet them.[2]

Meeting supernatural powers means, more abstractly, being present in a myth, where myth can be understood in a general way:

myth is something other than an explanation of the world, of its history and its destiny; it expresses, in terms of the world, and what is beyond the world, or of a second world, the understanding that man has of himself in relation to the foundation and limit of his existence.[3]

Seeking this understanding, humans may have gone underground, into the dark.  But why did they create images there, rather than just speak and act?

Image of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave painting available in pdf version of "Sense in Communication" at      They may have created images in response to sounds separated from images.  Some evidence indicates that images of hoofed mammals tended to be drawn in environments where sounds, like clapping and chipping rocks, tended to be shaped into echoes sounding like hoof-beats.[4]  Other evidence associates rock art with shamanistic trances or hallucinations that might involve the dissociation of sounds and sights.[5]  In the course of the evolutionary creation of human beings, such dissociations have been abnormal.[6]  Prehistoric humans’ sensuous choices in communication suggest a willingness to pay a high price – the time and materials to make extensive cave art – in order to make sense of presence.

      Although making sense of presence has been important to humans from the beginning, trying to make sense of the way that humans make sense of presence can seem like a harrowing exercise on dead ground.  In our age of mechanical reproduction, some have perceived in objects an aura.[7]  Others have explored their self-consciousness in post-modern self-reflections on the complexities of representation.[8]  Yet as Pierre Bourdieu warned, “the properly anthropological project of reappropriating reified meanings would be negated by the reification of the reappropriated meanings in the opacity of abstraction.”[9]  In counterpoint, Roland Barthes affirmed in sight a certain madness:

Image available in pdf version of "Sense in Communication" at I like a photograph, if it disturbs me, I linger over it. …Lost in the Winter Garden, my mother’s face is vague, faded.  In a first impulse, I exclaimed: “There she is!  She’s really there!  At last, there she is!”…to scrutinize means to turn the photograph over, to enter into the paper’s depth, to reach its other side (what is hidden is for us Westerners more “true” than what is visible).  Alas, however hard I look, I discover nothing: if I enlarge, I see nothing but the grain of the paper...[10]

Is his mother really there?  Do you want to controvert the proposition that “what is hidden is for us Westerners more ‘true’ than what is visible”?

      Many in agon focus on enemies, allies, and strategies.  Communication thus becomes pre-occupied with death: “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.”[11]  Signs of mortal struggle are everywhere.  Responding to Hebrew scripture, a sensitive literary critic declared: “they [‘the Scripture stories’] seek to subject us, and if we refuse to be subjected we are rebels…we are to fit our own life into its world….”[12]  On a margin of this essay, a reader scrawled, “part of God’s plan!”[13]  A scholar exploring the “word-image opposition” declares that limitations in interpretation arise only from political positions and strategies, “not from any fictitious ‘real’ knowledge.”[14]  Then “all that we have is one ideology replacing another, everything becomes polemical, critical, bitter, humourless, and ultimately boring….”[15]  One loses the physical world, and loses the receptive sense that real presence in communication is ultimately that which boundlessly gives. 

      To understand how human beings make sense of presence, one needs faith in science.  As a leading contemporary scientist declared, “the faith of the Enlightenment thinkers in science was justified.”[16]  Some see little evidence for that faith in social sciences.  Against the empirical conviction of the limited importance and meager promise of social science in addressing real problems as actually debated in real societies here-and-now, this authority counsels:

It is the opposite conviction, blind faith if you prefer, that has propelled science and technology into the modern age.  Bear in mind that that the original Enlightenment died within philosophy but not within science.  The more pessimistic philosophers may be right about the social sciences, of course, but it is better to press on as if they were wrong.[17]

His wager is worth making.[18]  The biological sciences have already developed some wonderful knowledge concerning how humans make sense of presence.  This knowledge can help bring life to communication industry analysis, and to the social sciences and humanities more generally.  With faith in science, be not afraid and press on!

      Sense of presence is implemented in a living human body with networks of anatomical components.  A valuable neuroscientific model for a biological function is the optimal solution of a computational problem.[19]  Since making sense of presence among complex, self-aware, self-determining organisms is highly contingent and time-bound, an efficient solution is a form of active, comprehensive attunement.  The inputs and algorithms for solving the problem are a product of the evolutionary creation of human beings.  Evolutionary biology and historical anthropology suggest that non-linguistic images are relatively important inputs and that muscular activity has strongly shaped human algorithms for making sense of presence.  Some knowledge of the functioning of a living body can be intentionally, repeatedly, and verifiably created and represented.  Scientific experiments document that different sensory modes are integrated at early levels of sense and that relatively complex aspects of sense are made at early levels of sensory processing.  Overall, these different levels of scientific analysis all indicate that a living human body makes sense of presence in time and throughout the body in ways directly related to its physical structure.

      Although computational neuroscience, evolutionary biology, historical anthropology, and experimental psychology cannot be realistically expected to produce absolutely certain truth, never to be revised or doubted, about some part of human nature, and even less about all of human being, they provide interesting and pleasant fields, with distant but awesome promise, for the natural human urge to engage in intellectual activity.[20]  In addition, as this paper also attempts to show, these fields can serve the public here today by contributing to better public policy, greater job opportunities, and more valuable commercial communication services.


A. Computational Theory


Making sense of presence, as used in this paper, means making sense of presence of another like yourself right now.  This problem is similar to mind-reading or “theory of mind,” but it does not distinguish mind from body or cognition from perception-sensation.  Making sense is a function produced using all the physical capabilities of the class of subjects under consideration.[21]  Making sense of presence of another encompasses the other’s physical state and environment, all of which are not necessarily physically accessible or real.  Thus making sense is taken to be the same type of computation whether directed to a person in physical proximity, a person on the other end of a telephone, or a character in an engaging novel.  The qualification “like oneself” indicates that self-knowledge can provide knowledge of the other.  Like organisms make sense in like ways, from the configuration of sensory organs to the structure of the brain.  The qualification of time, “right now,” gives material structure to states of the other and the world.  The complexity of the organism and its historical interaction with the environment shape the computation.  Making sense of presence of another human being is a much different scale problem than making sense of the presence of a screwdriver. 

      Categorization is a pervasive and relatively simply computation.  Social, sexually reproducing organisms generally recognize others of their species by kinship, sex, and sexual maturity.  Such recognition concerns a small set of types pervasively inscribed in organisms.[22]  In many circumstances the necessary computation can be efficiently performed with a simple, state-independent sensory rule.  For example, newly born chicks categorize as their “mother” the first object that they see moving.  In scientifically designed experiments, chicks have been induced to put in this category a human being, a red cube, and a box decorated with randomly positioned dead hen parts.[23]  The chicks’ mechanism works as long as the right object triggers the imprint, and that object continues to generate the signals associated with the imprint.  More generally, the current environment and the lived history of an organism do not strongly affect its (genetic) kinship, sex, or sexual maturity.  Thus recognizing these characteristics is a relatively simple computational problem.[24]

      Recognizing characters in social life and constructed narratives requires much more computational resources.  A character is a collection of representations with associative and predictive power.[25]  Characterizing another involves applying pattern-matching algorithms across the historical and circumstantial span of known behavior of the other and like organisms.  The set of possible characters is defined by the patterns of past experience and the way organisms analyze that experience.  Social animals with relatively large brains seem capable of characterizing others as friends or foes.  Humans tend to use this categorization to lower the cost of making sense of others and to support rapid reaction, but they are also capable of much more intricate characterization.   Characterization is a fundamental aspect of storytelling, both fiction and non-fiction.  While some character stability is essential to the usefulness of characterization, characters can and often do change over time.  The complexity of characterization for a given organism depends on the physical capabilities of its brain, the scope of its experiences, and the richness of stories available to it.

      Both recognition of another like oneself and the distinction between self and other are assumed in making sense of presence.  Interactive knowledge, which is knowledge of the type “I know that you know that I know…,” expresses both separation of subjects and unity in knowing.[26]  Game theory typically assumes that each player has some interactive knowledge of an infinite order.  In theory, such knowledge is impossible to establish without perfect communication.  In reality, as long as organisms, their worlds, and their individual histories cannot be perfectly replicated, each organism is unique, and no organism can know with certainty what another knows.  Nonetheless, the success of game theory in explaining organisms’ behavior indicates that organisms behave as if they have some high-order interactive knowledge of each other.[27]  Making sense of presence of another like oneself depends on a prior, unspecified mechanism that establishes some interactive knowledge that the self and the other both have.

      Making sense of presence among humans is a different computational problem from characterization.  Consider an interrogator who exchanges text messages with a man and a woman, both of whom the interrogator has never met.[28]  Text messaging is the only possible means of communication between the interrogator and the other two persons.[29]  The woman attempts to convince the interrogator that she is a man, while the man tries to communicate to the interrogator that he is a man.  The interrogator, who is a woman, must correctly identify the man.  The female interrogator and the female and male respondents each recognize the others to be persons like themselves, with the same awareness of sex difference and the same free will.  While most animals are quite proficient at distinguishing between males and females, recognizing sex solely through text messages among highly intelligent animals with an incentive for strategic manipulation is a much different problem.  Moreover, mutual recognition means that characterizations of males and females are of no use in this strategic interaction.  Successful recognition depends not on a general process of characterization but on some mistake or some personal protrusion of awareness.  This is not the same as characterization, because only one category of persons is recognized and only one character represented.

      Experimental evidence indicates that in some circumstances a person's recognition of another like herself creates distinctive brain activity.  A study examined brain images of humans while they played a simple, standard two-person game called “trust and reciprocity.”[30]  Among humans who played a non-cooperative strategy, their brain images while playing against another human did not differ from their brain images while playing against a computer program.  However, subjects who played cooperative strategies showed different brain activity while playing against a human, compared to playing against a computer program.  When playing against the human, subjects activated their prefrontal cortex.  This pattern of brain activity is consistent with brain engagement in making sense of the other.

      Making sense of presence is a neurological computation that does not reach a decision but maintains a state of being.  It is attunement to potential differences between sense of the other and representations of him.  It is necessarily linked to the contingencies of a particular time and particular circumstances.  It involves mobilizing networks of sense without particular indicators of relevance.  Making sense of presence is a complex activity, and many species may not be capable of it:

All animals have a mental tool for recognizing others, distinguishing males from females, young from old, and kin from non-kin.  Only a small number of animal species have evolved a self-recognition tool, one that enables them to distinguish self from all other entities in the world.  Of this smaller subset of animals, our own species may be on its own in having the capacity to understand what it’s like to have a sense of self, to have unique and personal mental states and emotional experiences.[31]

“Unique and personal mental states” are difficult to verify scientifically, and the brain functioning of other species, particularly primates closely related to human beings, is a matter of considerable uncertainty and controversy.  An important insight is that sense of another like oneself is intimately related to sense of self.[32]  Making sense of presence of another like oneself is an activity more accessible to scientific study than the sense of self, and it leads to better understanding of that latter state of being.


B. Inputs and Algorithms


An organism’s sense of the world is the particular sense of its body.  Human beings see with their eyes using a narrow band of electromagnetic energy that humans call the visible spectrum.  Other animals see using energy in spectrum bands invisible to the unaided human eye.  For example, butterflies see in ultraviolet frequencies, while pit viper snakes see in infrared frequencies.  A human without the aid of instruments cannot hear what a cat hears, cannot detect the electric fields that a shark senses, and cannot feel the magnetic fields that some migratory birds use for navigation.  A human in the presence of other species is alone in her own particular sense of the world.  Selection for fitness among finite bodies ensures that no species naturally has a complete sense of the world. That has been too much knowledge for any organism to bear.

      Efficient sensory processing integrates sense throughout all levels of making sense.  A real object naturally has a regular collection of physical properties. When you smell, hear, and see a dog, you sense a dog.  Since the nose, ears, and eyes are spatially separated, distinctively shaped parts of the body, you might imagine sensory stimuli flowing forward from the dog through these different organs and associated neural pathways to converge on a representation of a dog somewhere in your brain.  The specialization of sensory modes gives an organism different “views” of the world with different value for pursuing different goals.  Different weightings of information provided in different sensory modes are optimal for making different decisions.[33]  However, stability over time in properties of real objects creates high redundancy in information provided in different sensory modes.  Moreover, organisms continually process a massive amount of sensory information.[34]  Decentralizing making sense is an efficient response to high sensory information load. 

      From the beginning, integration of sight and sound contributed to algorithms for making sense of presence in the absence of physical proximity.  Sight can provide signs of presence without physical proximity of another. The sight of a “home” – characteristic objects and arrangements – could function in this way, as could sight of bodily wastes and physical evidence of distinctive behaviors.[35]  The development of language and linguistic narrative might help organisms to respond more effectively to such signs.  Because language and narrative increase sensuous capacity, they also enable sights of signs to more effectively make sense of presence.  Sounds, in contrast to sights, dissipate rapidly.  Sound could be used to convey physical presence when darkness or obstacles obstruct sight.  These situations probably were more frequent and more relevant to inclusive fitness than being able to see another but not interact vocally.  Vocal interaction in the absence of sight might be more effective with the development of the capacity to create within the living body the missing sensory modes, e.g. an image of the person crying out. 

      Making sense of another like oneself has a close evolutionary connection to muscular movements.  Relationships among non-human primates are primarily maintained through grooming, i.e. manipulating and cleaning another’s hair.  Grooming brings primates in close physical proximity to each other.  This enables relatively low cost sense of the other across the full range of sensory modes.  Grooming adds structured physical interaction, similar to language, to physical proximity.  Grooming, like social telephone conversations among humans, might be understood as providing a valued good, sense of presence.  The relationships maintained through grooming contribute to effective group functioning.  However, the cost of maintaining relationships through grooming increases with increasing group size.  In circumstances of selective pressure for large primate group sizes, human verbal language may have evolved as a means to substitute brain activity and sound production for the muscular movements associated with grooming.[36]

      Gestures alone can provide the full expressive capabilities of human language.  Persons who are deaf from birth can quickly learn to communicate with gestures in a way not linguistically inferior to speaking French.  For more than two-thirds of human history, all humans may have used languages of gesture rather than spoken languages.[37]  As one scholar explains:

One of the challenges in piecing together an understanding of how our own species evolved is to explain the gap between the emergence of Homo sapiens 170,000 years ago and the appearance a mere 50,000 years ago of that dominating, technologically sophisticated cohort that eventually populated the globe.   Clearly, these people had something going for them, and there is no evidence that the secret of their success lay in their biology.  Nor is it likely that they suddenly invented language.  What they had done, I think, was to eventually rid language of the necessity to use gesture, with enormous consequences for manufacture, art, ritual, and culture generally.[38]

Accounts of the evolution of language are notoriously difficult to test scientifically.  Even if considered for this reason to be myths, these accounts have significant stylistic characteristics of scientific discourse.[39]  For the purposes of this paper, stories about grooming and gesture in the evolution of language explain that making sense of presence through language is not just a matter of the meeting of minds.  Movements of the body can be highly expressive, and they are probably closely related to the evolution of human linguistic capabilities.

      Written language’s great value to civilizations and persons has tended to obscure the high cost of making sense with it.  A shared, conventional understanding of relationships between sights (marks) and sounds (phonemes or spoken words) defines a written language.   Written words do not themselves make any sounds, and the marks that make up written language are not usually themselves interesting or stimulating sights.  All animals other than human beings almost surely engage in little activity similar to writing, i.e. selecting and marking an impersonal array of signs on a moveable object.[40] Based on the best currently available evidence and analysis, humans developed their first written language about 5,000 years ago, while anatomically modern human beings first appeared in Africa much, much early – about 150,000 to 200,000 years ago.  Unlike learning to converse verbally, humans generally need to be taught formally to read and write.  Moreover, human beings today, even in countries with relatively high educational investments per person, spend relatively little time reading and writing.[41]  These facts suggest that making sense of written language requires algorithms that have relatively high bodily demands.[42]


C. Properties of a Living Body


In a living body, different sensory modes interact at an early level of sense to make sense consistent with past experience.  The sight of lip movements associated with a syllable shifts toward this syllable human subjects’ sense of a coincident sound of a different syllable.[43]  Where moving lips are seen shifts toward this location the sense of the location of verbal sound.[44]  In both cases, human sense acts in effect to recreate the typical multi-modal sense of a person talking.  Seeing lip movements characteristic of speech also activates the auditory cortex of normal hearing humans even in the absence of speech sounds.[45]  Persons are not just capable of hearing what they want to hear and seeing what they want to see.  Persons hear what they usually hear, very closely to their ear, even when they just see.

      Cross-modal sensory interactions can produce an interpretable change in sense in circumstances that do not correspond directly to typical experience.  Consider this experimental set-up: on a flat display screen, two identical disks, starting from opposite sides on the screen, move past each other at constant speed along a common line.[46]  If a distinct sound is presented at that time that the disks pass through each other, most human subjects sense an interruption in the motion of the disks (a “bounce”).  In the absence of such stimulus, most subjects sense continuous streaming of the disks through each other and hear nothing.  A discontinuity in motion is a characteristic sense of a collision of real objects.  In this experiment, that sense is evoked only in circumstances of an additional stimulus coincident with overlapping of the moving disks.

      Cross-modal sensory interactions also occur in ways not related to a common representation of events or objects.  Consider subjects presented with a sequence of displays synchronized with a sequence of tones.[47]  Each display consisted of four dots located at various points on a four-by-four grid.  The subjects’ task was to identify the target display that showed the four dots forming a diamond pattern and to indicate the position of the diamond pattern in that display.[48]  The sequence of tones included one distinctive tone.  The target display was equally likely to be synchronized with a distinctive tone or a non-distinctive tone, while non-target displays were always synchronized with non-distinctive tones.  Subjects performed the visual processing task more successfully for the diamond displays that coincided with the distinctive tone.  Note that the visual displays and the tones have no obvious common representation in typical events or objects.  Moreover, the tones provide no information about the location of the diamond and do not function as a typical attentional cue.[49]  The cross-modal interaction thus probably occurs at an early level of making sense.

      Early levels of making sense support multi-modal aspects of sense that go well beyond mapping or recording a particular sensory mode.  At the neurophysiological level, a neuron closely associated with one sensory mode can be triggered or inhibited by another aspect of sense.  A particular neuron in a cat’s brain responds to a wide range of auditory stimuli, but not when the cat’s eyes are closed or in darkness.[50]   Some neurons associated with muscular action in monkeys have similar patterns of discharge when the monkey performs an action, when the action is performed in front of the monkey, or when the monkey just sees the action, or just hears the sound characteristically associated with the action.[51]  Muscular action seems to be integrated in neurons similarly to the integration of sensory modes.  Doing functions neurologically like another sensory mode.  Although different parts of the body clearly are specialized in their interactions with the world, they are also interact with each other at the earliest levels of making sense.

      Some persons have unusual consciousness of this interaction.  Perhaps one out of every 25,000 persons has some stable, general, involuntary experience of cross-modal interactions, called synesthesia.[52]  A novelist known for exquisite aesthetic style sensed from early childhood letters, words, and music in colors.[53]  Other synesthetes taste shapes, hear colors, or experience other unusual sensory combinations.  Specific inter-sensory associations are stable throughout a synesthete’s life, but vary across synesthetes: a word that one sees as red, another might see as green.[54]  This subjectivity of experience increases the challenge of communication.  If, as a leading scholar of synesthesia suggests,[55] all persons are synesthetic at an early level of sense, it is not surprising that in most persons other aspects of sense act to suppress synesthesia.

      Although a synesthete’s sense of the world is unique in an unusual way, synesthesia is a part of common language.  The phrases “loud colors,” “dark sounds,” “sweet smells,” and “bitter cold” cross sensory modes, but they would not be marked as distinctive language in ordinary speech.[56]  When an early nineteenth-century English poet wrote “Forlorn! the very word is like a bell,” he was evoking the sound symbolism of the vowel /o/.[57]  Low-pitched, round vowels like /o/ and /u/ typically suggest a dark, large referent.[58]  Artful use of language can create more complex forms of synesthesia.  Consider this poetic description of love:

Her body had already started to shine,

but it was her blaze that gave her eyes

their depth against the touch and Lisa's soft talk.

And it was the eyes that sometimes flared

against the words.  Lisa said she was wild

because she was young.  And bored, too,

when she couldn't get out, yet never bored

the way some horses dance from side to side,

spelling their weight, pressing their radiant,

stalled foreheads into the walls, or the way

some horses disappear inside, having

drawn and redrawn circles.  The barn was

full of the noise and silence of horses.

And filled with Lisa's voice in counter-

point: and Lisa's horse's stillness –

like love or what love's moment's stillness

really is, hands-high, and restless.[59]

The love between Lisa and her horse also evokes the sense of love between human beings.  Most human beings recognize each other to be of the same species and of a different species from horses.  Yet the sense of love in this poem overwhelms the difference in species.

      Highlighting this poetic achievement, a recent experiment indicates that categorization can occur at early levels of sense.  Monkeys were trained to categorize images as dogs or cats.  Neurons in these monkeys’ brains consistently categorized blends of images of dogs and cats, as produced by morphing software, through to 60%/40% blends.[60]  Extensive processing of sense typically produces more gradual category boundaries.  Moreover, category signals appeared very close in time to the first neural responses to the images.  This evidence indicates that monkeys implement learned categorization at an early level of making sense.  Humans undoubtedly have a similar capability.[61]

      The science of living bodies, which is advancing rapidly, indicates that a living body makes sense with all its historical experience and up to its physical boundaries.  A leading neuroscientist, extending the earlier work of a leading economist, states:

every percept has two components intertwined, the sensory-induced re-cognition of a category of cognitive information in memory and the categorization of new sensory impressions in the light of that retrieved memory.  Perception can thus be viewed as the interpretation of new experiences based on assumptions from prior experience –in other words, the continuous testing by the senses of educated hypotheses about the world around us.[62]

This active shaping of sensory experience is not just a way of processing external stimuli.  Thinking of an action involves a pattern of stimulation of motor neurons closely related to seeing the action or performing the action.[63]  Mental imagery is associated with activity in sensory neurons in the absence of external stimuli.[64]  Sense cannot be jacked directly into a mind that is hidden in some corner of the brain.[65]  The whole living historical body makes sense. 



[1] The discussion in this paragraph refers to the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave.  For discussion and views of the cave, see

[2] Clottes (2002) p. 3.

[3] Ricoeur (1969) p. 383.

[4] Waller (1993).

[5] Clottes and Lewis-Williams (1998).

[6] In the natural world, sights and sounds are characteristically associated in normal circumstances.  Communications technology developed within the past two centuries has created prevalent means for separating sights and sounds.  But the issue of dissociation of senses is relevant even with respect to writing.  See Eliot (1921).

[7] For an enormously influential statement of this sense, see Benjamin (1936).

[8] E.g. Lyotard (1984).

[9] Bourdieu (1965) p. 2.

[10] Barthes (1980) p. 99-100.

[11] Barthes (1968) p. 148.  Literary scholars seem to have overlooked the relationship of this work to an earlier work, Le Mort D’Arthur.

[12] Auerbach (1953) p. 15.

[13] Id.  Another hand (among at least four that have written marginal words in the first chapter) wrote an anti-semitic slur concerning the author’s intellectual integrity.  Besides being hateful and moronic, the slur is truly and memorably sickening to find in a book entitled Mimesis.  Defacing a book is generally against state law.  In Washington, DC, where Lauinger Library is located, “Any person who shall wrongfully deface, injure, or mutilate, tear, or destroy any book, pamphlet, or manuscript, or any portion thereof belonging to the Library of Congress, or to any public library in the District of Columbia…shall, when the offense is not otherwise punishable by some statute of the United States, be punished by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $1,000, and by imprisonment for not less than 1 month nor more than 180 days, or both, for every such offense.”  DC ST §22-3306.  For a different perspective on defacement, see Taussig (1999).

[14] Bal (1991) pp. 11-2.

[15] Balthasar (1975) p. 72.  Market failures in intellectual work have major implications for social justice and personal welfare.  See Galbi (2002b) pp. 35-8 and Johnson (2003).

[16] Wilson (1998) p. 45.

[17] Id. p. 209.

[18] Id. states: "The more forbidding the task, the greater the prize for those who dare to undertake it." With respect to bets against nature, there is no empirical basis for this statement.  Consider, for example, the task of jumping off a cliff.  It seems to me that the wager is that, for realizing good (the prize), it is worth expending resources, such as material, time, and attention (what is bet), based on the gamble that faith in science is justified (the risk).

[19] Marr (1982) and Glimcher (2003) describe this approach.  This approach seems compatible with the  network approach of Fuster (2003), where module is understood as a function, not a particular area of the brain.

[20] Nietzsche (1888), pp 47-8, argues that too much reading ruins scholars.  On the other hand, many scholars today seem much more interested in writing than in reading.  Neither reading nor writing is necessarily related to intellectual activity.

[21] Hayak (1952), an important early work by an economist, challenges the distinction between sensation and cognition.  Vilarroya (2001) argues that the distinction between sensation and perception is philosophical baggage that has no place in contemporary neuroscience, and that cognition and perception are closely related.  Fuster (2003) presents a similar understanding.  “Making sense” obliterates the distinction between sensation, perception, and cognition.  The division of making sense considered here, “making sense of another like oneself right now,” describes different boundaries for analysis.

[22] Even bacteria have means for recognizing each other and forming groups.  See Park et. al. (2003).

[23] Hauser (2000) p. 93; Johnson and Morton (1991) pp. 45-70, esp. Fig. 3.8, p. 61.  Wilson (1971), pp. 272-7,  tentatively suggests that social insects recognize nestmates through colony-specific body odors.

[24] The expression of these characteristics depends on the social and physical environment and particular lived history.  These factors thus matter for the practice of categorization, which among humans can be quite complex.  Individuals can effectively act as sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers to non-genetically related others.  Paternity laws imposing DNA testing on male human beings can effectively link genetic and legal paternity to a consensual sex act done outside of a planned or legally possible personal relation.  Some organisms in certain circumstances can hide their sex or undergo sex change operations.  Nutritional history can affect the age of maturity. 

[25] For an insightful discussion of character in narrative, see Peradotto (2002).   While social insects can recognize others by caste (Wilson (1971) pp. 277-8), even characters in popular television programs are far more developed than this.

[26] For a review of relevant literature in game theory and computer science, see Koessler (2000).

[27] Glimcher (2003) Chs. 11, 12.

[28] This example is inspired by Turing (1950).  While the “Turing Test” is rather famous, Turing’s life probably offers much more important teaching about respecting human beings and their struggles to be who they truly are.  Turing made key contributions to the British war effort in World War II.  In 1952, convicted of having had a sexual relationship with a man, he was given the choice of prison or drugs to obliterate his sexual desire.  He chose the latter, and in 1954 committed suicide.  Hodges (1983) provides a biography of Turing, with an associated website 

[29] Note that the way that respondents process texts, and not just the meaning of well-formed orthographic messages, can characterize the respondents.  See links and discussion at

[30] McCabe et. al. (2001).

[31] Hauser (2000) p. 113.

[32] This insight is well-recognized in African culture.  A traditional Zulu maxim is umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (“a person is a person through other persons”) and a prominent African value is ubuntu (personal relatedness).  See Louw (1997).

[33] Massaro (1999).

[34] Fuster (2003) pp. 84-7.

[35] Smell could also function as a sign in this way.  However, genes associated with smell have deteriorated much faster in humans than in other primates.  See Gilad et al. (2003).  This suggests that sight, rather than smell, has historically been the more important basis for signs in humans.

[36] Rubin Dunbar’s work provides the basis for this paragraph.  See Dunbar (1993) and Dunbar (1996).

[37] Corballis (2002) pp. 211.

[38] Id.

[39] Scientific discourse does not necessarily imply dull reading.  Both Dunbar (1996) and Corballis (2002) are fun to read.

[40] Some animals mark their territory, e.g. pissing on a fire hydrant.  Such marks are generally drawn from a very small repertoire and directed at immobile objects.  Most human writers do not understand themselves to be engaged in similar activity. 

[41] See Table 3, Section V, infra.

[42] See Section V, infra, and also Kinsley (2002) and Eccl. 12:12.

[43] This is known as the McGurk effect.  See McGurk and MacDonald (1976).

[44] This effect is key to the practice of ventriloquism and is known in the scientific literature as the ventriloquist effect.  See Bertelson and Radeau (1981).

[45] Calvert et. al. (1997).

[46] This paragraph describes the experiment and results of Sekuler, Sekuler, and Lau (1997).  Since the disks are identical, an equivalent descriptions of the visual display is that the disks move toward each other until they perfectly overlap, then they reverse direction and move apart.

[47] This paragraph describes the experiments and results of Vroomen and Gelder (2000).

[48] The diamond pattern consists of four dotted grid points surrounding an empty grid point.  It could be located at the upper left, upper right, lower left, or lower right of the four-by-four grid.

[49] In particular, if the tone preceded the target display by 254 ms, which is within the observed range for attentional cueing in other experiments, visual processing is not enhanced.

[50] Stein and Meredith (1993) p. 108.  Id. notes that in the course of one late night’s work, “interrupted by the inescapable late-night giddiness suffered (enjoyed?) by those who do electrophysiological experiments”:

we finally concluded that cats must be deaf at night.  This, of course, began a string of other ridiculous conclusions: blind cats are probably deaf too; and on and on.

I hope that, if persons extrapolate the information in this paper to ridiculous conclusions, they do so only for their own personal enjoyment.

[51] Kohler et. al. (2002). 

[52] Cytowic (1995) ¶ 1.2.  Among synesthetes (persons who experience synesthesia) women and non-right-handers predominate. Id. ¶2.6-2.7,

[53] For additional details on Vladimir Nabokov’s synesthesia, see id. ¶ 2.4.

[54] The Russian composers Alexander Scriabin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov disagreed over the color of musical notes and keys.  Id. ¶ 5.1-5.2.

[55] Id. ¶ 5.6, 10.24.

[56] Marks (1978) pp. 211-2.

[57] John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale,” l. 71, available at

[58] Marks (1978) pp. 199-203 provides a detailed discussion of sound symbolism.

[59] Stanley Plumly, “Piano,” (excerpt), poem and author recording available at

[60] This paragraph describes the experiments and results of Freedman et. al. (2001). 

[61] Unsystematic evidence from some human experience in the U.S. indicates that some humans implement categorization into donkeys and elephants at early levels of sense, much earlier than would allow for any significant cognitive activity.   Ölvecky, Baccus and Meister (2003) show that cells in eyes can rapidly indicate moving objects and segregate multiple moving objects.

[62] Fuster (2003) p. 84-5, which references Hayek (1952).

[63] Rizzolatti, Fogassi and Gallese (2001) esp. p. 668.  On animals’ behavior with respect to imitation, see Hauser (2000) pp. 134.

[64] Frith and Dolan (1997).  McCann (2002) reviews work indicating that, in the absence of movement, conscious brain effort can increase muscular strength

[65] William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer popularized this metaphor, which was also taken up in the film The MatrixBartle (1999) provides an example of its influence on leading virtual world designers.