Could Alien science and epistemology be incomprehensible to humans?

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of alien life and its potential differences from life on Earth. It mentions the possibility of alien psychologies being too different to communicate or even be interested in other lifeforms, and the idea that our knowledge and science may be subjective rather than objectively true. The conversation also brings up the idea of alien life not necessarily being biochemical and the potential for slower metabolisms in deep underground bacteria. It also mentions the epistemological basis for cosmic horrors explored in fiction by authors like Lovecraft and Lem. The speaker is interested in learning more about the biological evolutionary and epistemological origins of radically different alien consciousness and science.
  • #1
firerobin88
On Wikipedia, I was reading the Stanisław Lem article and got linked to the Hypothetical types of biochemistry and Fermi paradox article, particularly the section on They are too alien, where it states "Another possibility is that human theoreticians have underestimated how much alien life might differ from that on Earth. Alien psychologies may simply be too different to communicate with human beings, to understand the concept of communication, or to even be interested in other lifeforms at all, and so they may be unable or unwilling to make the attempt. Human mathematics, language, tool use, and other concepts and communicative capacity may be parochial to Earth and not shared by other life."
Can anyone provide any websites, articles, or books that explore this concept?
Specifically I would be interested in learning about the biological evolutionary and epistemological origins of a incommensurably radically different Alien consciousness, mathematics, perception, cognition and science.
As humans we get primarily depend on a specific range of light-waves as our way of perceiving the world. Our fellow mammals the bat "sees" sound, while the Platypus "sees" smell. Evolutionarily speaking, mammals are our close cousins. So the difference in perception of a an evolved species with a radically different environment is barely comprehensible.
At its core, I think the question comes down to whether you have a realist or instrumentalist view of science. If our knowledge and science is just what "works for us" or is "useful" than it might not necessarily be objectively True. It is caused by the mind-independent objective world, but might be experienced in radically different ways.
Does alien life need to even be biochemical ? Perhaps a purely electromagnetic life form can arise in the interior of stars. Or perhaps dark matter, whatever it is, is alive. Or, even if we talk about biological life forms, I believe there are bacteria which live deep underground that have much slower metabolisms than those we are familiar with. Yes, they aren't intelligent, but perhaps more complex organisms can exist with a similarly slow metabolic rate.
This would be the epistemological basis for the cosmic horrors explored by Hp Lovecraft and Stanisław Lem in which aliens are so alien to humans, that it leads to complete incommensurablity and even madness.
Anyway I look forward to any comments anyone has on this interesting topic
 
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  • #2
firerobin88 said:
Specifically I would be interested in learning about the biological evolutionary and epistemological origins of a incommensurably radically different Alien consciousness, mathematics, perception, cognition and science.

You expect quite a lot from Physics Forums, don't you?
 
  • #3
SW VandeCarr said:
You expect quite a lot from Physics Forums, don't you?
He should know that we can't give that information out.
 

Related to Could Alien science and epistemology be incomprehensible to humans?

1. What is alien science and epistemology?

Alien science and epistemology refers to the study of knowledge and understanding among extraterrestrial beings. This includes their methods of acquiring knowledge, their beliefs about the world, and how they make sense of their surroundings.

2. How could alien science and epistemology be incomprehensible to humans?

Since alien beings may have evolved in vastly different environments and may possess different cognitive abilities from humans, their ways of thinking and understanding the world could be radically different. This could make it difficult, if not impossible, for humans to fully comprehend their science and epistemology.

3. Is it possible for humans to learn and understand alien science and epistemology?

It is possible for humans to learn and understand some aspects of alien science and epistemology, especially if we make contact and communication with extraterrestrial beings. However, there may be certain concepts and knowledge that are simply beyond our understanding due to our limited perspective and cognitive abilities.

4. Could there be similarities between human and alien science and epistemology?

There could be some similarities between human and alien science and epistemology, especially if both species share certain fundamental laws of nature. However, it is also possible that there are fundamental differences in the ways that humans and aliens understand and interpret these laws.

5. How could studying alien science and epistemology benefit humanity?

Studying alien science and epistemology could give us a better understanding of our own ways of thinking and acquiring knowledge. It could also open up new perspectives and approaches to solving scientific and philosophical questions, and potentially lead to advancements in technology and human knowledge.

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