The Structure of a Universal Belief System


We have noted that our concepts and beliefs are to be recognised in an instrumentalist sense; i.e. our beliefs are significant insofar as they are instrumental in affecting (or, perhaps, rationalising) our behaviour. The objective of our beliefs is to meet our physical and emotional needs and drives, as expressed in our everyday affairs and our worldviews – as adjudicated by reason, empirical evidence and the lessons of history.

We can recognise some common, genetically delivered architecture of the evolved human brain and senses producing some species-specific cognitive processes. We can recognise that these processes, in a reaction with the physical and cultural environment, produce some universal concepts and beliefs. We must now attempt to give a systematic account of this process.

The term a priori has been used earlier to indicate ‘a necessary given’. We can now define the use of the term here more carefully, i.e. as describing the experiential content of the innate processing capacities of the brain. We are now genetically programmed to think in these a priori terms. The term a posteriori is used here to indicate concepts or beliefs formed following exposure to the physical and/or cultural environment.

We have defined those concepts which are formed independent of empirical experience as synthetic concepts. We have defined earlier those concepts dependant on empirical experience as analytic concepts.