Yes . . . and it depends. The first binary we ever experience - and we ALL experience it - is the realization, long before language or the ability to "think," that we are a separate organism from mom, environment, the "surround" (the term developmental intersubjective theorists use to describe the world of the infant, internal and external). Until we reach the formal operations level of cognitive development, most people cannot think outside of binaries.
Once we reach formal and post-formal cognition, however, binaries can become tenuous and resolve into a kind of spectrum. For people at this level, binaries still exist (those old cognitive structures are hold to undo) as a part of implicit consciousness, but they are not generally explicit in one's cognitive workspace when stating beliefs.
That's my opinion - watch the video to hear what these smart folks think on this topic.
The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI)
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Published on Nov 12, 2013
Are binary oppositions real? Watch Barry Smith, Hilary Rose, Luciano Floridi, and Hilary Lawson debate reality and opposition.
True or false, male or female, Heaven or Hell. Human thought craves oppositions. Can we transcend this way of thinking or are these oppositions fundamental to human thought, and even wrought within the fabric of the world?
Investigate new ways of thinking with top scholars:
- Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London Barry C Smith
- London School of Economics sociologist Hilary Rose
- Award-winning philosopher of the information age Luciano Floridi
- Post postmodernist thinker Hilary Lawson
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