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Main page / "Knowledge. Understanding. Skill" Journal / Contents / 2015 / 1

Gorelov A. A., Gorelova T. A. Experience as an Evolutional Process

(The Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences),
(Moscow University for the Humanities)

Abstract ♦ The article looks at the changes in understanding the notion of “experience” throughout the history of philosophy, from antiquity till 20th century. We focus on various aspects of experience on biological and cognitive levels, defining it as an informational whole which has to be accumulated, processed and taken further to the level of understanding and mastering information.

It has been argued that experience, on the one hand, is an integral part of perception, and on the other, it is a tool for transforming the world. Both sides of experience interact and help human beings adapt in the most general sense, i.e. obtain and analyze information required for survival. As seen from the case of animals, experience further complicates itself, developing the following forms: 1) physiological mechanisms of primal reaction to the environment (these assess information, but do not accumulate it); 2) instincts as innate forms of behavior; 3) explorative (rational) forms of experience; 4) cognitive functions as a precondition of intelligible mind.

The substantial unity between experience, true information and survival purposes arising on the biological level can, with certain modifications, be extended to cover the level of cognitive evolution. The very first cultural experience is an immediate non-inheritable interaction. At the next stage, collective experience of the genus arises (analogous to animal instincts). This experience is very conservative and preserved through tradition. A new stage of cultural experience which appeared in the “axial time” increasingly gave preference to individual experience manifesting itself through philosophy, world religions and science. The dynamics of experience reflected the general direction of human evolution — from the natural (corporeal) to the cognitive.

Keywords: experience, evolution, information, understanding, spirituality, existentiality.


Gorelov Anatoly Alekseevich, Doctor of Philosophy, Chief research fellow, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences. Postal address: 14 Volkhonka St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 119842. Tel.: +7 (495) 697-91-28. E-mail: evolepis@iph.ras.ru

Gorelova Tatyana Anatolievna, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Culturology and Politology, Moscow University for the Humanities. Postal address: 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (499) 374-55-11. E-mail: fylosofy@mosgu.ru

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Citation: Gorelov, A. A. and Gorelova, T. A. (2015) Opyt kak evoliutsionnyi protsess [Experience as an evolutional process]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 18–28. DOI: 10.17805/zpu.2015.1.2 (In Russ.).

Submission date: 10.12.2014.

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