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It seems to me that the question of whether we can step in the same river twice goes to the question of how we relate to our own “reason.” The capacity in question is what contemporary psychology calls executive function – the ability to plan, prioritize, categorize, critique, abstract, reflect, remember, shape emotion, etc, etc. It seems clear that these capacities helped certain of our ancestors pass on more copies of their genes to subsequent generations, which is “why” we think this way. However, the question “do these capacities correspond to some objective reality?” is a question that is impossible to answer. So: take your pick. Or: tailor your answer to your goals.


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