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."
I contacted both Sean Kelly and Alfonso Montuori about the Morin thread at the adult development forum. Alfonso said he's too busy to engage it right now but Sean has joined and posed an opening question. I'll let you know how this develops.
Checking in with the adult development forum it seems Commons' dismissal of Morin was as far as that conversation was going to go. I asked for him to specifically delineate how Morin might just be horizontal but no response was forthcoming. A new discussion about political levels led me to Ross' paper on the topic here. A brief excerpt:
"Regardless of form, the unifying feature is the unidimensional measure of hierarchical complexity of
tasks. It enables content-free and culture-independent measures in any domain in which tasks are performed. [...] It is a Metasystematic stage 12 task to see patterns that are free of content and context and to generalize from them" (482-83).
It's the same circle-jerk, representational epistemology I've been discussing above and elsewhere. It presumes a "content-free and culture-independent" mathematical measure, the math itself being a Platonic ideal free from embodiment. And it jerks around this premise into being a characteristic of the metasystemic level itself. Yes, we can indeed make provisional and evaluative generalizations across contents and cultures, but they are not 'free' of those embodied constraints. The very notion that a (meta)system can be completely free, objective and independent of them is the very definition of a modernist and metaphysical (aka formal operational) premise.
So the question becomes how can we still make universal claims limited by particular embodiments (from individual to social bodies?). That's where Lakoff et al's embodied realism comes in, which seems to me to be at the very least an alternative meta-systemic or higher example. It should be even higher on the MHC scale, if creating a new field altogether is any measure--and it is in the MHC. From this article, describing cross-paradigmatic:
"Fits paradigms together to form new fields. Integrate paradigms into a new field or profoundly transform an old one" (10).
Which metaphysical premise is carried over into their higher levels, thus supporting Gidley's (2007, p. 111) contention that it is just more of the deficient rational structure according to Gebser (see here earlier in the thread).
See this post on integral economics. The delicious irony is that the likes of Morin, and presumably integral economics, are 'horizontal' when in fact it is those domineering scientific and mathematical reductionists that enact flatland.
Speaking of flatland, in the last post it references the Lingam's notion that scientific materialism reduced the value spheres to its domain. And that that domain was ruled by the modernist tendency to posit some kind of pure objectivism distinct from the subjective. Whereas recall this post earlier in the real/false reason thread, where some of the OOOers admit to a flat instead of hierarchical ontology. This is not the same as the flat epistemology of the mathematical objectivists, still caught in the notion that we can model and know directly the objective via mathematics, the latter itself from that purely objective plane. The OOOers, while acknowledging the objective beyond our epistemology, do not find solace or grace that we can know it directly via this mathematical means, or that the means itself is that objective plane. And that ontologically it is not hierarchical, at least in the mathematical sense, while still mereological but in the democratic sense.
From this post, distinguishing Merleau-Ponty's hyper-dialectic from the usual kind:
“What we call hyper-dialectic is a thought that, on the contrary, is capable of reaching truth because it envisages without restriction the plurality of the relationships and what has been called ambiguity. The bad dialectic is that which thinks it recomposes being by a thetic thought, by an assemblage of statements, by thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; the good dialectic is that which is conscious of the fact that every thesis is an idealization, that Being is not made up of idealizations or of things said… but of bound wholes where signification never is except in tendency” (VI 94)."
"Merleau-Ponty’s hyper-dialectic is envisaged as being a situational thought that must criticize all thinking that ignores the conditional nature of idealizations, and it must also maintain a vigilance to ensure that it does not itself become one of them. This is why Merleau-Ponty describes his project as propounding an ‘indirect’ ontology, rather than a direct ontology (VI 179)."
MP's emphasis on the conditional nature of idealizations is another way of saying the metaphysics of presence, which is one of those assumed presuppositions in scientific objectivism and the 'bad dialectic.' In this post he elaborates:
"Merleau-Ponty does not intend to suggest…an absolute awareness of one’s own ’subjectivity’…. Lived relations can never be grasped perfectly by consciousness, since the body-subject is never entirely present-to-itself….There is ambiguity then, precisely because we are not capable of disembodied reflection upon our activities, but are involved in an intentional arc that absorbs both our body and our mind (PP 136). For Merleau-Ponty, both intellectualism and empiricism presuppose ‘a universe perfectly explicit in itself’ (PP 41), but residing between these two positions, his body-subject actually requires ambiguity and, in a sense, indeterminacy.
“Merleau-Ponty seems to be suggesting that the relationship that we have to ourselves is one that is always typified by alterity, on account of a temporal explosion towards the future that precludes us ever being self-present…. There can be no self-enclosed ‘now’ moment because time also always has this reflexive aspect that is aware of itself, and that opens us to experiences beyond our particular horizons of significance. Indeed, it is because of this temporal alterity, that Merleau-Ponty asserts that we can never say ‘I’ absolutely" (PP 208).
This goes for I-I as well.*
*From the integral glossary:
anterior self: One of the three major aspects of the overall self, along with the proximate and distal self. The anterior self is a person’s sense of the Witness, the pure Self, or “I-I,” shining through the proximate self at whatever stage of self-development. See I-I.
I'm a fan of alternative physics. One of the more interesting attempts to reconcile Relativity with the Quantum is Heim Theory -- the product of a literal Nazi rocket scientist who blew of his hand in the lab. He has several algebraic innovations but one of the factors which stands out is his approach to gravity and mass. Masses have gravitational fields. But gravitational fields have a de facto mass equivalence. Which means they have their own gravitational fields... and so on. Thus the mass of "objects" can only be located as a blurred gradient which opens between a hypothetical center and an indefinite outward slide of potentials.
If that is a good version of a particle then it is also a good version of the self.
"Alterity" seems like a complement or supplement to an overly simplistic notion of the encapsulated self-identity. It does not really oppose that model but extends it. The self is not lost to the not-self but redefined to include the not-self within the definition of self. This of course is MOA. Any entity, including the I-I must be defined as "not quite itself". But that is hardly a limitation! It is simply a more complete description of the obvious situation. Which is why so many different thinkers can arrive at this point from so many different directions.
In another of those directions also see this thread on Tom Murray. E.g.:
He starts a discussion of kennilingual ontological pluralism on p. 19 (including Hargens), specifically bringing in the kosmic address. He says:
"[It] does not address indeterminacy as deeply as Embodied Realism.... It does not directly address the question of how individuals operating from the same Kosmic Address might differ in their conceptualizations. Also it is not yet apparent whether the concept of Kosmic Address itself is
sufficiently determinate" (20).
A couple of points from Murray's "Embodied realisms and integral ontologies" in support of earlier claims in the thread. On 44 he is discussing various forms of flawed categorization, one being the "dialectical response" of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. He notes that this can miss unconscious and/or indeterminate aspects of theses like we've recently noticed above. Another is illusory recursive structures, like my complaint about the beautiful, self-same fractals of mathematical complexity. He said:
"Naturally occurring fractals have complex organic structure, not the hall-of-mirrors structure of precise nested containers. Natural organic structure can be shown to originate from simpler laws or ten dencies. Illusory recursions seem to be generated by successive workings of the mind's need for order, simplicity, and meaning" (45).
More excerpts from Murray's article that support issues in this thread:
“The embodied perspective is strongly supportive of the post-metaphysical stance on ontological issues, which avoids positing Platonic-type object (and ideals) that are said to exist outside of both physical reality and subjective (and intersubjective) reality” (11).
I'd add that it is also a critique of the Aristotelian model as well, which is of this physical world and its inter/subjective, necessary and sufficient logical categorical structure. He seems to address this is statements following the above quote, but not explicitly. On 14 he goes into the fallibility of classical rational/logical reasoning, which can be of either or both types, Platonic and/or Aristotelian.
On p. 18 he notes that developmental theorists like Commons "controverts the need for metaphysical propositions to explain higher human capacities" (18). Yet most all of his criticisms are directly related to Commons' own formulations per this thread, so not sure why he gives them a pass.
On p. 19 he notes that “the post-metaphysical pill can be a hard one to swallow.” Reminds me of my comment about the jagged little pill.
Also on 19 he discussed Habermas' rational reconstructive method, “the preconditions that must hold in order for something observed to exist.” Here we have Bhaskar's transcendental deduction, which he is going to discuss later.
On 22 he starts the discussion of prototype theory, much of which is in the thread above. For example, “real phenomena don't tend to exist in the neat categorical boxes that correspond to the constructs we create,” which may indeed “exist between categories, outside them, or in more than one category.” “The traditional logic-based notion of concepts, based on necesssary and sufficient conditions, does not match well to actual human cognition.” Of course I used this information in the thread to attack the MHC's reliance on these exact types of logic-based set theories that are the metaphysical mathematical basis of its constructions.
I'm putting the following in this thread, even though it's a criticism of the speculative realists Harman and Meillassoux, because they also commit that same sort of realist fallacies inherent to the mathematical model of complexity. That is, the notion of some sort of Platonic and/or Aristotelian eternal or categorial essences outside time in an eternal presence. Note that Bryant is not guilty of this, as noted elsewhere, per his essay "Time of the object." I also referred to this elsewhere as the difference between shentong and rantong Buddhism, noting how Harman and even Morton are shentong in this regard (like here and following).
From “Post-deconstructive realism” by Peter Gratton in Speculations IV,2013, 84-90:
“Derrida’s argument is [..] that in Western metaphysics, time and again, there is a naïve assertion of some X transcending the play of differences, something not given over to the vagaries of time, an eternal essence beyond historicity” (85).
“For Harman, Derrida cannot be a realist since he denies the principle of identity, which is a strange, if all-too-well known, a priori investigation of things as they are—a presumption of identity that is then circled back to. But that reverses it: Derrida’s 'realism' precisely relates to his demonstration of difference as that which, over time, makes any self-identity impossible in the first place” (86).
“Harman’s work must deny the reality of time in order to make his own claims for a certain realism—a problem that only serves to highlight the import of a certain form of deconstruction today, that is, a thinking of the meaning of the day and the future to come tomorrow. We are getting a repetition of what happened earlier in analytic philosophy, where Derrida was deemed to be the worst of the anti-realists, yet what was crucially ignored was precisely the ways in which his rethinking of time would upend any notions of anti-realism, since, as he noted, there is no writing of the concept without the difference and deferral of time, a time that is real, even as it marks texts. The speculative realists thus far don’t heed this lesson, finding the real in the set theory of Meillassoux or the 'hidden objects' 'forever in the present,' as Harman puts it about his own object oriented ontology” (87).
“But the upshot is that if one wants to look to where a discourse begins to unwork itself, to unwarrantedly abstract a Platonic point outside the play of contingencies it itself announces [...] then one could do no better than looking to its thinking of time, and especially to Meillassoux’s hope for a future 'World' of justice beyond the vicissitudes of mortality. (87)
“We come to Harman’s conception of time. For, if time is but the sensuous, as Harman and Platonism before him held it, then it cannot touch the reality of the thing itself, as Harman himself notes there is no correspondence between the thing itself and its sensuous objecthood and/or qualities. Time would be, in the strictest sense for him, 'illusory:' […] This is axiomatic for Harman’s metaphysics: there is no time and the object is forever in the present. (89)
“What Meillassoux doesn’t yet describe is this: the physical world is not a set as in set theory, which are unchanging (and thus sets). But the physical world has things that come and go; such is the stuff that makes history and the world go round. […] One can’t just, as in Badiou, leap from order of ontology (set theory) to the order of appearing (stable), and expect that true existence is simply the Set of all sets in the mathematical meaning of the term. More than this, it assumes that the world is reducible to points (the base units of set theory), and thus also abstract points qua now. This falls victim to Whitehead’s fallacy of misplaced concreteness, while also failing to amount to a robust mathematical theory of the cosmos. While Badiou has attempted to correct this in Logic of Worlds with the use of category theory, he still seemingly fails to account for the dynamics of reality in the way that Zalamea’s use of sheaf logic does. It is thus ironic that Derrida’s first published text—which attempted to hash out the importance of the relation between the transcendent/immanent in Husserl’s Origin of Geometry, that is, how does mathematics remain iterable but also written into history?—wrestles with just the questions that befuddle the mathematics of a later generation who think they can trump him with their use of a Platonist set theory. After all, what is this eternal set theory forever creating the world if not an updated version of the interlocking triangles in the Platonic receptacle in the Timaeus out of which the realm of becoming appears?” (88).
Here's a preview of a new book, Mathematical Reasoning: Analogies, Metaphors, Images edited by Lyn D. English (2013, Routledge). Part II is written by Lakoff and Nunez, "Cognitive foundations for a mind-based mathematics." From L&N, chapter 2:
“This is an essay within a new field of study – the cognitive science of mathematics. […] You might think that this enterprise would leave mathematics as it exists alone and simply add to it an account of the conceptual nature of mathematical understanding. You could not be more wrong. Studying the nature of mathematical ideas changes what we understand mathematics to be and it even changes the understanding of particular mathematical results.”
This L&N quote supports Bryant's wonderings about universal mathematical structures and provides the material (embodied) basis for those structures:
"One of the properties of commonplace conceptual metaphors is that they preserve forms of inference by preserving image-schema structure. [...] One of the reasons why the inference structures of mathematical proofs is stable is that the inference structures of commonplace metaphors is stable. That feature of metaphors is one of the reasons why theorums, once proved, stay proved."