Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I posted the following in the Yahoo Adult Development forum and am cross-posting here. I'll keep you apprised of some key responses, provided I get any:
Building on the post below* regarding Lakoff's embodied reason, he seems to call into question the type of abstract reasoning usually found at the formal operational level. This appears to be false reasoning based on the idea that reason is abstract, literal, conscious, can fit the world directly and works by logic (also see for example this article ). If formal reasoning is false wouldn't this call into question some of the assumptions of the MHC? That perhaps this "stage" is a dysfunction instead of a step toward post-formal reasoning?
Now Lakoff has his own hierarchy of how embodied reason develops: image-schematic, propositional, metaphoric, metonymic, symbolic. (See for example "Metaphor, cognitive models and language" by Steve Howell.) So I'm wondering how the MHC takes into account Lakoff's work here and how it answers his charge of false reason? Terri Robinett noted in his Ph.D. dissertation (at the Dare Association site) that "work has already begun by Commons and Robinett (2006) on a hierarchically designed instrument to measure Lakoff’s (2002) theory of political worldview." So perhaps you can shed some light on this?
* This is the referenced post:
Since Michael brought up Lakoff as perhaps being "at right angles to the stage dimension" I read this by Lakoff this evening: "Why 'rational reason' doesn't work in contemporary politics." He distinguishes between real and false reason, the former being bodily based and the latter existing in some sort of objective, abstract realm. Very interesting indeed. Here are a few excerpts:
"Real reason is embodied in two ways. It is physical, in our brain circuitry. And it is based on our bodies as the function in the everyday world, using thought that arises from embodied metaphors. And it is mostly unconscious. False reason sees reason as fully conscious, as literal, disembodied, yet somehow fitting the world directly, and working not via frame-based, metaphorical, narrative and emotional logic, but via the logic of logicians alone."
"Real reason is inexplicably tied up with emotion; you cannot be rational without being emotional. False reason thinks that emotion is the enemy of reason, that it is unscrupulous to call on emotion. Yet people with brain damage who cannot feel emotion cannot make rational decisions because they do not know what to want, since like and not like mean nothing. 'Rational' decisions are based on a long history of emotional responses by oneself and others. Real reason requires emotion."
After listening to that lengthy tutorial I'm in agreement with much of Bonnie's presentation. Even up to the point where the transition between deficient rational and latent integral turns to paradoxical reasoning.* I too have used Gebser earlier in this thread and elsewhere, and combined with Levin, Goddard, Lakoff, Derrida (and more) have a different idea of what integral-aperspectival might mean. That's where we part ways for the most part, though still in partial agreement.
* Though as Hampson has noted (earlier in the thread), Gebser himself apparently did not have such a transition, which transition is typically labelled "postmodern." His life ended at the beginning of what might be called the pomo movement so many of its important insights were not incorporated into his oeuvre. Hence his own burgeoning ideas of the latent integral structure are deficient and would have benefited therefrom. Defining this latent integral structure is currently a proving ground where various theorists are struggling to legitimate their notions, vying for supremacy as to better paradigms.
In my research I came upon another free e-book at Scribd (I love that place) called From Perception to Meaning: Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics (Mouton de Gruyter, 2005).
Another connection occurring to me (as gift from my Muse) is that these image schemas, as well as Edwards' different lenses, taken singly can represent the various theoretical ideologies. We've already seen how a focus on the container schema can lead to an ideology of objectivist hierarchical complexity. And using Bonnie's talk above, how a focus on a cyclic image schema might lead to what Gebser called the mythic structure (or ideology). Gebser's integral-aperspectival (IA) structure though, at least according to Gidley (2007),* is a means to allow for all previous structures to be as they are and co-exist together simultaneously. The IA is not another isolated structure that transcends and replaces previous structures, including the mental. In this sense it breaks with the pattern of progression in deficient rational. And we see exactly this type of coordination of the various image schemas in Lakoff, that each has its place, none are replaced. Same for Edwards' lenses. This produces a new kind of transparent, postmeta paradigm of multiplicty, in Deleuzes's terms, or IA in Gebser's. One that is relative according to Lakoff, but also constrained by the real.
* For example: "For Gebser, integral-aperspectival consciousness is not experienced through expanded
consciousness, more systematic conceptualizations, or greater quantities of perspectives. In his
view, such approaches largely represent over-extended, rational characteristics. Rather, it
involves an actual re-experiencing, re-embodying, and conscious re-integration of the living
vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of mythic-feeling and the
purposefulness of mental conceptual thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in
order for the integral transparency to shine through" (111).
Gidley, J. (2007). "The evolution of consciousness as a planetary imperative." In Integral Review 5.
In FPTM Kimmel says: “The classical account has overlooked that image schemas are not only generalized entities, but also ones that are instantiated in socio-cultural contexts” (287). He contends that some of the biases of classical image schemas (i.e. Lakoff & Johnson) are that they are, for example, universal, shape culture but not vice-versa and act as the foundational building block of higher, abstract levels. While acknowledging basic schemas like container and link cannot be broken down into constituent parts, there are also compound schemas that can be so divided. The latter type seems to be more prevalent in actual experience. One consequence of the classical view is that by analytically defining a simple schema, instead of compounding it with other schemas in gestalt situations, leads to the notion that the simple schema is more ontologically primary. Thus we see a hidden metaphysical postulate that OOO also questions with its strange mereology.
Another alternative to the classical view noted above is that cultural factors can and do shape image schemas, more in line with Mead's and Vygotsky's notions of self-development. (He doesn't mention either by name but I see the connection.) For example we learn basic bodily spatial orientation via often unconscious cultural (family) practices of posture, movement and manipulation of artifacts, language being one of the most profound of the latter. Granted we are limited by universal features of human embodiment but these features themselves can and do change over time depending on specific cultural and environmental influences. I would venture that language has caused considerable changes in brain structure over time, most prominently in the expansion of the pre-frontal cortex.
This article explicitly connects L&J's image schemas to Piaget's work to the neglect of Vygotsky. It is like the former in that it is a universalistic and individualistic model of cognition.
"Our suggestion, then, is that a nonlinguistic sociocultural difference regarding canonical artifact use, embodied in the material cultures and exemplifed in nonlinguistic cultural practices, gives rise to slightly but significantly different conceptualizations of 'containment' in the different cultures" (35-6).
“In linguistics, in mathematical and logical models, in models of neuronal systems....the great hope underlying these attempts is that the small-scale autonomous models will, with much more work, scale up appropriately to models of human behavior. The justification for creating them is that—so goes the logic—we must start small to do science. We must build up from the simple to the complex....[but] there isn’t any evidence that human thought and action are the result of scaling little things up” (6).
Mark Turner (2011). “The Embodied Mind and the Origins of Human Culture.” In Cognition and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, edited by Ana Margarida Abrantes & Peter Hanenberg. Frankfurt & Berlin: Peter Lang. 13-27.
Also see this informative link.
This book appears to be a classic in the field, The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition (Harvard UP, 1999). In discussing the human adaptation of developing the ability to put oneself in another's shoes, this combined with "existing individually based cognitive skills — such as those possessed by most primates for dealing with space, objects, tools, quantities, categories, social relationships, communication, and social learning — and transformed them into new, culturally based cognitive skills with a social-collective dimension" (7). The humanly embodied image schemas and basic categories not only combined with cultural productions but the latter then transformed the former, and in many ways created new image schemas that are inherited via culture. This seems to be a major point in the last several posts by critics of the strictly uinversalistic notion of schemas in individual development.
The following I find interesting for those who favor (alleged) non-linguistic or non-conceptual awareness as some kind of higher ability or saving grace:
"As the child masters the linguistic symbols of her culture she thereby acquires the ability to adopt multiple perspectives simultaneously on one and the same perceptual situation. As perspectivally based cognitive representations, then, linguistic symbols are based not on the recording of direct sensory or motor experiences.... Linguistic symbols thus free human cognition from the immediate perceptual situation... by enabling multiple simultaneous representations of each and every, indeed all possible, perceptual situations" (9).
Not to mention that the alleged non-linguistic direct perception is in fact a cultural production-interpretation. And that we can never return to such a "pure" state. Unless we are wolf babies perhaps.
Researching something else I came upon this book, The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics by Stanislas Dehaene. (Free at Scribd in embedded link.) I was led to it by various reviews of his work, one of which is by Lakoff with high praise. And it just so happens that I've recently become aware of Dehaene, as he was one of the authors who refuted some aspects of Libet's famous experiment that reductionists have been using for years to justify the absence of conscious will. Synchronous indeed.
He has a new book out on the topic, Space, Time and Number in the Brain.
I appreciate the mereology without a top or bottom that I included in real/false reason. Except that he also doesn't find a middle and that's where image schemas and basic categories come in for cognitive linguistics, being in the middle of hierarchies without top or bottom and grounding or 'embodying' them. (I.e., basing them on 'objects,' as Morton might say?) Granted that doesn't seem to be like the 'middle' to which he refers:
"If there is no top object and no bottom object, neither is there a middle object. That is, there is no such thing as a space, or time, 'in' which objects float. There is no environment distinct from objects."
I also like the mereological reference to Cantor's empty set, which is absent from the more Aristolelian set theories of the MHC. I made vague references to this in the real/false reason thread, but my knowledge of math is pathetically lacking so I cannot make a more firm criticism of the MHC on this grounds as yet. This also refers back to the intro where they used Garfield and Priest's essay "Nagarjuna and the limits of thought" in refuting the law of the excluded middle,* which the latter used to support the emptiness of emptiness doctrine. I also did the same in "letting daylight into magic," but again, such mathematical logic is over my head so I cannot make coherent arguments about it.
And interestingly enough, Nagarjuna's philosophy is known as the 'middle way' between nihilism and essentialism, which is what Morton is trying to prove with OOO and given his own Buddhist background. But again, it is not the type of top, bottom or middle to which he refers otherwise. I'm sure I made this connection with Madhyamaka's 'ultimate' middle and the middle ground of basic categories somewhere, since both are grounded in dependent origination. And curiously enough, but of these middles are 'excluded' from the like of the MHC, given its implicit reliance on the formal law of the excluded middle.
Another reference in the intro is Graham Priest's book In Contradiction. Just check out the table of contents in the free preview. A couple of relevant highlights: chapter 1.5, "the demise of hierarchy"; chapter 2.2, "the cumulative hierarchy: it's lack of rationale"; chapter 2.3, "...and it's inadequacy in category theory"; chapter 10, "set theory and the philosophy of mathematics."
I like this quote from the intro of RM, consistent with my criticism of MHC:
"Because objects are themselves and not-themselves, the logic that describes them must be paraconsistent or even fully dialetheic: that is, the logic must be able to accept that some contradictions are true. Objects are dangerous, not only to themselves, but even to thinking, if it cleaves to rigid consistency. If thinking refuses to accept that objects can be dialetheic, it risks reproducing the dualisms of subject and object."
* "The ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth" (10).