sarah-ann-wright

We could not learn language and syntax without the ability to notice strange coincidences…Every word is in a sense an infinite object.  It’s not just a name for an individual thing, it refers to an infinite set of things.  

Take the word ‘dog’ - to understand that simple word you have to understand the name (Rover), the type (say, a black Labrador), all dogs, all mammals, all animals, all Labradors, all black Labradors (or black poodles or black Great Danes) all running things, all furry things.  Yet even children under 5 can be given just a few relavant examples of dog and learn to use it…

Children make these cognitive leaps by noticing coincidences – Labradors and poodles and other dogs bark, pant with their tongues on hot days, and in cities at least, appear on leashes led by humans…“

Josh Tenenbaum, an MIT cognitive scientist, quoted in Psychology Today’s article "The Power of Coincidence.”

image credit: Sarah Ann Wright / unknown editors on tumblr