a natural web of knowledge
tl;dr next link (long read)
Beginning with studies of spiders, this outrageously deep article goes into various Mind-Exo-mind investigations. In a nutshell, the starting point is that instructions for making a spider web are simple and built into the spider, not learned. After making a small bit of it, the spider uses that bit as a clue to the next bit. So if an experimenter alters the web assembly in process, the spider, lead astray, makes variations instead of corrections. IOW the overall plan resides in the web, not the spider.
Thoughts of a Spiderweb (extended cognition)
Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the body... a spider’s web is at least an adjustable part of its sensory apparatus, and at most an extension of the spider’s cognitive system.
philosophers of mind
theory of mind-body duality
embodied cognition cognitive tasks sprawl outside of the brain and into the body
cooperative evolution, different species
bees and flowers cooperate with ultra-violet specialties
Japyassú’s paper defines cognition in terms of acquiring, manipulating and storing information. That’s a set of criteria that a web can easily meet. But to many, that seems like a low bar. “I think we’re fundamentally losing a distinction between information and knowledge,” Wcislo said.
Whether this kind of engineered information-processing happens elsewhere in nature is likewise unclear (see my extrapolation below). Laland is a high-profile advocate for the idea of niche construction, a term from evolutionary theory that encompasses burrows, beaver dams and nests of birds and termites.
Extrapolation of previous article, by Marginotions
Humans may have evolved following the invention of writing, to export part of their mind to text, which acts like a bit of web, helping the mind to move on from there. Humans were already social before writing, thus a mutual understanding of the same written message helps members of the society to form a collective ("hive") mind. So now we are looking at two levels of exo-mind, author—text, and text—public, if readers react.
This seems to have occurred first among scribes of the first city-states, which leaked into their employers, religious and military (now known as 'government') organizations. Now that writing is almost universally understood, mass populations can become collectively tuned-in to each other's thoughts. That's why certain special groups (lookin' at YOU Jews), have tried to monopolize media to establish control without brute-force (the earliest means of population control).
Compare this hypothesis with the paragraph "Proponents argue that when animals build..." and the next one which brings up extended phenotype theory. (note: pays special attention to parasites that modify the behavior of their hosts)
So then, like bird's nests, exo-phenos, etc., writings (human's exo-phenos) take on an evolution of their own separate from anyone's mind.
the only really strong case is the one with the most metaphysical baggage: us. “It is conceivable for cognition to be a property of a system with integrated nonbiological components,” Cross and Jackson write. “That seems to be where Homo sapiens is headed.”
Continuing Spider thread, 1.3c of webs etc.
Slingshot Spiders, the hi-G force champs 3.5 min
RNA editing, Octopus genome; fringe science