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Cognition is how a living being's experience becomes it's innate (not
necessarily shared or shareable) knowledge. It implies knowing, as opposed
to feeling. It also implies various specializations within its body, from
hearing and vocal cords, to capacities to actually go out and seek
It is studied in several different fields:
* cognitive psychology which is concerned with perception and action
* biology which is concerned with neurology and genetics of senses.
* where the knowledge is regarding "what one should or should not do",
descriptive ethics - see the simple view of ethics and morals
* computer science where attempts at artificial intelligence, collective
intelligence and robotics focus on mimicking living beings' capacities
for cognition, or applying the experience gathered in one place by one
being to actions by another being elsewhere.
* epistemology which is concerned with categories of knowing
* ontology which is concerned with categories of being
* moral philosophy where it deals with the problem of ignorance, often
seen as the opposite of cognition.
* physics, where observer effects are studied in depth mathematically.
By the 1980s, researchers in the Engineering departments of the University
of Leeds, UK hypothesized that 'Cognition is a form of compression', i.e.,
cognition was an economic, not just a philosophical or a psychological
process. An implication of this view is that choices about what to cognize
are being made at all levels from the neurological expression up to
species-wide priority setting.
In education, for instance, which has the explicit task in society of
developing child cognition, choices are made regarding the environment and
permitted action that lead to a formed experience. This is in turn affected
by the risk or cost of providing these, for instance, those associated with
a playground or swimming pool or field trip. The macro-choices made by the
political economy in effect will be extremely influential on the
micro-choices made by the teachers or children. So at least on this level,
there is obvious feedback between the economic choice and the psychology of
the activity, and philosophy of rationalizations proposed.
On an individual being level, these questions are studied by the separate
fields above, but are also more integrated into cognitive ontology of
various kinds. This challenges the older linguistically-dependent views of
ontology, wherein one could debate being, perceiving, and doing, with no
cognizance of innate human limits, varying human lifeways, and loyalties
that may let a being "know" something that for others remains very much in doubt.
A simple way of stating this is that beings preserve their own attention and
are at every level concerned with avoiding interruption and distraction.
Such cognitive specialization can be observed in particular in language,
with adults markedly less able to hear or say distinctions made in languages
to which they were not exposed in youth.
Cognition is an international journal publishing theoretical and
experimental papers on the study of the mind.