Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of animal behaviour deterministic; pre-programmed

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined by Douglas Hofstadter in his column Metamagical Themas, after a study of the behaviour of sphexide wasps.

Examples

  • (Experiments reveal that humans have areas in which they repeat the same mistakes endlessly too, so it seems we might be "sphexish" as well).

    Bunny and a Book

  • And then you need to decide if you are going to call something that might well be perfectly sphexish – without any ability to flexibly respond to novel circumstance – "intelligent" in the first place!

    Bunny and a Book

  • (Compare Dan Dennett’s idea that when we get distressed by the notion that humans lack radical free will, it’s really because we’re concerned with being sphexish rather than with being determined per se.)

    And the Moral Law Within

  • Now, what might well bother us is to see ourselves as what Daniel Dennett calls “sphexish “: determined in some crude or stupid way.

    If I Don’t Have Free Will, I Choose to Give Up

Comments

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  • "sphexish" - inflexible,mindless automatism ~ computer scientist Douglas Hofstader,

    p.67 in "River Out of Eden",Richard Dawkins,N.Y.,Basic Books,1995

    September 19, 2009

  • “They can be as sphexish or as intentional as you please.”

    Richard Dawkins, Viruses of the Mind (p. 11)

    July 24, 2010