Ultimate Reality and Meaning vol:9 issue:3 pages:210-231
Contemporary psychology deals with perception and cognition as constructive processes involving the use of presuppositional 'implicit knowledge' that constitutes the 'software of the brain'. Hypothetical descriptions of the content and structure of implicit knowledge can be derived from data on human information processing. In this way, categories of implicit knowledge regarding 'good and evil' have been derived from psycholinguistic and social psychological research data. The present article shows that these categories, which underlie the brain's everyday information processing, prefigure certain philosophical and religious concepts. For instance, the brain seems inclined to stress the primacy of the good rather than to adhere to a Manichean dualism. Further, it produces phenomenal experiences of qualities 'good' and 'bad' which seem consistent with an objective theory of value. However, in order to account for the variety in the phenomenal experience of these qualities, we have to assume that on a deeper level the brain processes information in a way consistent with a subjective theory of value. Finally, the most widespread, and presumably universal, categories of implicit knowledge regarding 'good and evil' seem to reflect a personalized world-view. The present observations are argued to be relevant as part of the raw material from which reflections on ultimate reality and meaning should proceed.