Monday, 24 February 2014

Anthropomorphic explanations are childish, ignorant and primitive - but is that a bug or a feature?


Anthropomorphic explanations of life and living are characteristic of young children, hunter gatherers, and people with low intelligence.

But does that mean they are more, or less, likely to be true?

Naturally enough the fact that anthropomorphism is characteristic of childish, ignorant and primitive people means that adult, civilized and intelligent people tend to regard anthropomorphism as low status. But what about truth?

I would say that IF human life has meaning, THEN knowledge of that meaning ought to be built-into human beings (built-in by whatever generates the meaning) - so that undeveloped, unsophisticated, uninformed and unintelligent people would be exactly the kind of people to whom that meaning would be clearest.

So the simplicity and obviousness of anthropomorphism is a feature, not a bug: evidence that anthropomorphism is true, and not that it is an error.