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."

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Near the end of chapter one he's talking about different logics. The law of the excluded middle does not apply to a general logic of possibilia, whereas it does to the particular logic of the actual. However there is an intermediate kind he calls neighborhood logic which seems closer to the general kind, in that it has more to do with those boundaries where something is and is not of a particular kind. And it is here that multitudinous points in possibilia are described as "infinitesimal monads" (24). I'm not sure if this is something like attractors that exist in the virtual; or actual, individual suobjects of the Bryant kind. And/or both, in that any given substantive suobject is a mix of virtual and actual, yet an autonomous individual nonetheless. But only in this intermediate "neighborhood?"

I've long argued that evolution doesn't necessarily equate with increasing complexity. I'm not in the least surprised that evolutionary biology is proving the point. But as they say, this is going to be a very hard pill to swallow* for those so attached to the complexity = evolution crowd criticized in this lengthy thread. Probably not so much for the pomo complexity crowd though. Or the SR/OOO crowd. As the article said:

"Perhaps the fact that people are stunned whenever organisms become simpler says more about how the human mind organizes the world than about evolutionary processes. [...] The environment selects whatever form handles the challenges at hand, be it simple, complex, or plain ugly.  Mother Nature, with her 4 billion years of experience, does not work like Steve Jobs, continuously designing sleeker versions. When asked whether de-evolution, a reversal from the complex to the simple, happens frequently, Dunn replies, sure. 'But,' he adds, 'I wouldn’t call that de-evolution, I’d call it evolution.'"

* "Swallow it down, jagged little pill..."

I add that this is not necessarily "how the human mind organizes the world" but about how a formal operational, metaphysical mind does so. A more evolved, yet not necessarily more complex, mind doesn't do this. Recall this thread.

Re-reading some old IPN thread posts I realized they belong here too. And that I'd like to further explore some of them. I ofttimes get on a research roll and rapidly fire off quotes from numerous sources with little follow up. I'd like to follow up on some of these sources so I'll re-post some of those posts below from p. 6 of the IPN thread:

Per above Fisher is into the dynamics of development but seems to be using, like Commons, a static mathematical model to measure it. So why not a dynamic mathematical model based on living systems? Just such a mathematical model exists in dynamic systems theory applied to cognition, which uses differential equations instead of nested algebraic sets.

Lewis, Mark D. (2000-02-25). "The Promise of Dynamic Systems Approaches for an Integrated Accoun... (PDF). Child Development 71 (1): 36–43

Smith, Linda B.; Esther Thelen (2003-07-30). "Development as a dynamic system" (PDF). TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences 7 (8): 343–8.

In the article cited below it says something interesting about the kind of increasing complexity in dynamic systems:

"Complexity does not have to be constructed from preexisting forms nor follow a universal direction" (39). Emergence comes about through instability when old patterns break down. They are not included or enfolded in the set of a more complex level. Complexity yes, hierarchy not so much.

Lewis, M. (2000). "The promise of dynamic systems approaches for an integrated account of human development." Child Development, 71:1, 36-43.

From the essay "Piaget, DeLanda and Deleuze":

"it is a central concern for Deleuze...to do away with all ideas about structures...with ideas about ‘timeless forms’ or ‘essences’ that emanate from some Platonic heaven to give shape to the world of real things. Deleuze finds that such ‘essentialism’ pervades our normal perception and ways of thinking...things are thought of as belonging to categories and sub-categories which are defined in terms of invariant properties or, again, essences.

"This is all the more noticeable since Deleuze draws on almost all other branches of mathematics – number theory, the theory of sets; catastrophe theory, the theory of fractals and other branches of topology and in particular calculus and differential geometry.

"I would like to elaborate on this by jumping to one of the places where DeLanda discusses evolution. He says that the idea that evolutionary processes possess an inherent drive toward increased complexity reintroduces teleology – another kind of essentialism – into Darwinism. In this connection he mentions a mechanism in biological evolution called neoteny, which shows that novelty need not be the effect of terminal addition of new features; on the contrary it can be the result of a loss of certain old features.

"It is from the standpoint of this ontology...that Deleuze refutes evolutionism.... Returning to DeLanda’s example, in terms of genetic structuralism neoteny is a fine example of the way structure grows out of structure in a process that at bottom yields increased complexity by generating a new developmental level. The problem that makes discussions of evolution difficult is that Deleuze rejects the notion of epistemological and developmental ‘levels’, which is essential to Piaget. Instead, Deleuze introduces the concept of ‘strata’, which are intermingled or folded into one another and shot through by escape routes or ‘lines of flight’. At one point Deleuze says that among strata there is no fixed order, and one stratum can serve directly as a substratum for another without the intermediaries that one would expect from the standpoint of stages or degrees. Or the apparent order can be reversed.

"As mentioned earlier, Deleuze’s arguments draw heavily on calculus."

In my research I found an ebook called Continental Philosophy of Science and started a thread elsewhere in this forum. Therein I quoted from a chapter on Deleuze which is relevant here so it is copied below:

"Deleuze reads differential calculus not as a pragmatic matter of using differential equations to discover the slope of a particular function at a particular point. Rather, he sees in the differential an entire ontology of difference that can actualize itself into various functions and, consequently, specific curvilinear patterns" (247).

"In the later collaboration between Deleuze and Guttari, the writings of Ilya Prigogine become increasingly important. Prigogine, whose book La nouvelle alliance appeared in 1979, argues for a self-ordering of chemical components into patterns and relationships that cannot be read off from the previous state of chemical disarray.... It is not the introduction of some sort of ordering mechanism that makes the chemical clock appear. It is an inherent capability of the chemicals themselves for self-organization that gives rise to this phenomenon. It is as though there were virtual potentialities for communication or coordination contained in the chemicals themselves, or at least in their groupings, that are actualized under conditions that move away from equilibrium. As Manuel De Landa notes, in an echo of Deleuze’s treatment of Spinoza, ‘Matter, it turns out, can express itself in complex and creative ways, and our awareness of this must be incorporated into any future materialist philosophy'" (247).

Here's an excerpt from "Dynamical systems hypothesis in cognitive science":

"It should be acknowledged that the most widespread conceptualization of the mechanism of human cognition is that cognition resembles computational processes, like deductive reasoning or long division, by making use of symbolic representations of objects and events in the world that are manipulated by cognitive operations (typically serially ordered) which might reorder or replace symbols, and draw deductions from them. This approach has been called the computational approach and its best-known articulation is the physical symbol system hypothesis (Newell and Simon, 1972). The theoretical framework of modern linguistics (Chomsky, 1965) also falls within this tradition....the traditional approach hypothesizes that all processes of cognition are accomplished by computational operations that manipulate digital representations in discrete time. The mathematics of such systems is based on an abstract algebra dealing with the manipulation of strings and graphs of distinct symbol tokens. Indeed, Chomsky's work on the foundation of such abstract algebras (Chomsky, 1961) served as a theoretical foundation both for computer science and cognitive science, as well as modern linguistic theory."

In the last post "Piaget, DeLanda and Deleuze" is a section in the article "On the structure of history" by Lars Marcussen. The following paragraph is from the section "Jean Piaget's epistemology and psychology" and of relevance to this thread, in that it feeds my notion that further evolution requires a return and fuller integration of earlier stage-states (aka the fold). Also that math and science are man-made inventions, not a priori essences or reflective of reality per se. And out of the mouth of Piaget, the founder of developmental psychology!

"Piaget’s final conclusion is that mathematics and science arise and evolve as structures encoded in the mind at unconscious levels are made the objects of conscious reflection. In this connection he observes that the most advanced mathematical and scientific ideas sometimes seem to pick up threads from the earliest stages in the child’s development. Or, since it is not a question of conscious ‘fishing’, or of memory in any ordinary sense, advanced ideas are sometimes born when rudimentary ideas pop up at an appropriate moment from the deep unconscious past as inspiration for renewed reflection. For instance, the space-time continuum of modern physics has structural characteristics in common with a stage in the psychogenetic process where the primordial continuum is only vaguely differentiated; and it is no accident that in the history of mathematics the group of continuous topological transformations, which comes first in the child’s development, was the last layer to be added to the architectures of geometries."

From the last reference, he notes at the end: "Psychogenesis is cumulative: at each stage, the structural elements [my emphasis] that define the previous stage are transformed and enriched – not obliterated." As noted in the last post, the elements in earlier development come back 'up' in our most advanced mathematics but are transformed. Earlier in the article he talks about how when imagination comes on the scene (image schema) they add to perception and thus transform the latter. Same when symbol emerges, also causing changes downward.

So basic structures remain but change, whereas transitional structures (worldviews) are replaced. E.g., postmetaphysics replaces core assumptions about metaphysics. You can see this in the other section of the article on Deleuze and DeLanda quoted above:

"It is a central concern for Deleuze...to do away with...ideas about ‘timeless forms’ or ‘essences’ that emanate from some Platonic heaven to give shape to the world of real things. Deleuze finds that such ‘essentialism’ pervades our normal perception and ways of thinking...things are thought of as belonging to categories and sub-categories which are defined in terms of invariant properties or, again, essences."

Also in that section he equated Deleuze's virtual realm with Piaget's primordial and undifferentiated continuum. Deleuzes' virtual though, given the above, is not some kind of Platonic essence, since it took can be and is affected by the actual in a reciprocal process.

The author at the end of this section tries to argue though that Deleuze does allow for increasing complexity in an enveloping sequence, that the real including both the virtual and the actual have this tendency. An earlier quote above notes that Deleuze refutes evolutionism and levels, and sees it more as strata and lines of flight. I'd suggest that this too is the difference between the postmetaphysical and metaphysical worldviews, which replaces predecessors but includes previous but transformed structural elements.

I'm also reminded of Luhmann's notion of each 'level' remains an autonomous system that structurally couples with the others. Indeed the earlier levels set up embodied parameters for later levels while themselves undergoing further developmental transformations due to their coupling with later levels. But it's a different (postmeta or popomo) orientation to how the process is structured.

In the next section he admits as much: "One could say, then, that it is missing the point to confront Deleuze’s nomadic thinking with conceptualizations based on Piaget’s epistemology and psychology."

But he keeps trying and makes some good points on how space is structured by bodily image schema. He doesn't use that term but by his descriptions that is to what he is referring. Deleuze didn't make reference to such schema, at least in terms of cognitive science. And that frame could indeed expand on his ideas, as he did a few posts earlier showing how the fold relates earlier image schema with the most advanced math.

Here is an interesting article, a 20-year survey of dynamic systems applied to cognitive development. A few excerpts to start:

"A key characteristic of systems metatheory that both approaches share is the rejection of classical dichotomies that have pervaded psychology for centuries. [...] In their place, systems metatheory takes the 'organism in context' as its central unit of study."

"Four theoretical viewpoints have disappeared from the Handbook [of Child Psychology: Theoretical Models of Human Development] over time: nativism, cognitive and information processing, symbolic approaches, and Piaget’s theory. Of course, scholars still actively pursue all of these perspectives. It is notable, however, that they have something in common—an attempt to carve up behavior and development into parts (broad parts like nature versus nurture; specific parts like cognitive modules; or temporal partitions such as stages of processing or stages of development). Systems metatheory rejects this inherent partitioning."

"Systems are self-organizing. [...] Within the DS perspective, organization and structure come 'for free' from the nonlinear and time-dependent interactions that emerge from this multilevel and high-dimensional mix. Thus, there is no need to build pattern into the system ahead of time because the system has an intrinsic tendency to create pattern."

On Buddhist Logic (by Graham Priest)

In the essay Priest talks about ordinal numbers related to polyvalent logic. I'm reminded of this post on the ordinal:

The section "time out of joint" in chapter 7 (starting at 185) sounds similar to DeLanda above, but not quite.

"Rather than approaching  time cardinally in terms of succession, we instead seek to determine its ordinal structure...as the immutable form of change conditioning movement.... Put alternatively, conceived transcendentally, the past is that which was never present, the present is that which is only ever present, and the future is that which will never arrive" (186-7).

I'm reminded of Bryant's paper "Time of the object" introduced on p. 7. In the article he discusses this notion of ordinal time as the foundation for the withdrawn (virtual), which is distinguished from DeLanda's reading of Deleuze's virtual in posts above.


Also see the following posts on Torbert, Bryant, Bergson and Balder making use of TSK's future infinitive.

Priest also mentions how Gorampa deals with the issue of ineffability, which per this thread finds him too to be metaphysical compared with Tsongkhapa. I showed how Garfield, Priest's partner in some Buddhist writings (like here), is a Tsong dong. I also started to critique Priest (and Morton) as shentong dongs here and following.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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