A brief introduction (revised 6.9.10)
Werner H. Gries (Hon. Prof.) and Johan B. Malherbe (Prof. and Head) Dept. of Physics, University of Pretoria
Ever more evidence emerges which suggests that the development of physical science (physics and chemistry in combination with mathematics) and its conceptualisations cannot be really understood without an understanding of the underlying neural processes in man’s brain. The Department of Physics at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) has (as of 2010) an eight-year history of support for the study of what physical science can learn from findings of the cognitive and human sciences (evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, developmental science, anthropology, linguistic, philosophy, and others).
One of us (Gries) has developed a (conceptual) Parallel-Systems Mind Model which can explain many features of human thinking, and which can serve as a basic framework for further investigations at this new frontier of science, which we have chosen to call “Cognitive Physical Science”. In the context just described, the term ‘ cognitive’ is to be understood in a wider sense than merely pertaining to the “faculty for knowing or perceiving things” (Oxford Dictionary). Rather, it is to be understood as pertaining to the influence that relevant findings of the cognitive sciences are likely to have on the findings of physical science as far as the relationship to the reality of nature (i.e. the What Is) is concerned, but also on the introduction of physical science into traditional cultures.
The Parallel-Systems Mind Model is presented and applied in a (first) essay on “Traditional thinking, physical science, and the brain”, made available in a new Collection "Cognitive Physical Science" at the Research Repository of the University of Pretoria, also known as UPSpace, and accessible under http://repository.up.ac.za/ . Further essays are in preparation for this Collection. These essays are subject to alterations at the authors’ discretions. Passages from these essays may be quoted with full reference to the source and date of excerpting.