Evolutionary epistemology differs from classical epistemology in that human conceptual knowledge is understood not only as the acquisition of socio-cultural information, but also as the ontic procedure of culture. The thesis is advanced that knowledge is the necessary condition of the existence of all open non-linear systems with internal information, and that therefore all living and cultural systems are able to know. That central thesis is made concrete in this paper by the metaphor of “the three readings” of reality: information gained by the first reading is preserved in the genetic memory of living systems; information gained by the second reading forms the informational content of the neuronal memory of animals with a CNS; that gained by the third reading is conceptually-coded socio-cultural information. In this context it is pointed out that the socio-cultural adequacy of knowing (truth) cannot have the same ontic correlation as the biotic adequacy of knowing (correctness). Truthful knowledge therefore belongs to a different ontic order than biotic knowledge. Insofar as it is made objective in a cultural system it cannot create duplicates of the natural structures, rather only the originals of a divergently-ordered cultural structures.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.