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."

Views: 5949

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Also this post and following of the referenced Batchelor thread addresses Gorampa's metaphysical distinction between the nominal and actual ultimate, and how this might be addressed more postmetaphyically.

I decided to move some posts over here, where they are more relevant. I'd mentioned Langacker's cognitive grammar in this post, referencing here one of Langacker's introductory articles on the topic and a free Google book preview on the same topic.

On pp. 6-7 of the book Langacker says something about grammar that I've frequently said about categorization more generally. While there are overlaps between lexicon, morphology and syntax, that doesn't necessary indicate that they don't each have their own definitive boundaries. Traditional syntax, e.g., is defined with a boundary so impenetrable as to be completely unrelated to semantics. Whereas in CG the overlaps between these categories provides for how they relate and thereby opens such strict boundaries. It doesn't eliminate the boundaries but enriches and more accurately defines each domain.

On p. 10 this is reiterated in that Chomsky's generative grammar uses formal mathematical models, the latter which assumes that math itself is a self-contained abstraction with either Platonic essences, or Aristotelian categories with strict set theoretical boundaries, or both, at its base. This thread has given ample examples of this phenomena. Whereas CG is more along the connectionist and embodied lines.

Also of note is that in formal math the symbols are contentless, whereas for CG the symbols are indeed full of meaning (10). Looking at this previous post CG does have contentless objects called (image) schemas, comparing them to archetypes. The former requires no embodied substrate, the latter is an embodied substrate. Also recall Knox discussing image schema as archetypes herehereherehere and some commentary here.

And speaking of word meanings, let's take a look at the word integral, since that is one of the defining terms of this forum, and the defining term of an entire philosophical movement. As an adjective it means, among other things, the relation of parts to wholes, aka holons and mereology. Hence the predominant fixation of all things integral with mereology. As a noun it is the integrated whole. It comes from the Latin for whole. Synonyms include essential, indispensable, requisite, hence mereology as the indispensable and requisite factor in kennlingus, including its essentialism. The term lends itself to both the dignity and disaster of kennlingus for choosing this as its defining banner.

It also relates to integrals in calculus, but I don't speak math. If anyone does, can they relate it to the above? In the historical notation it says:

"The modern notation for the indefinite integral was introduced by Gottfried Leibniz in 1675 (Burton 1988, p. 359; Leibniz 1899, p. 154). He adapted the integral symbol, , from the letter ſ (long s), standing for summa (written as ſumma; Latin for 'sum' or 'total')."

Also see this post earlier in the thread, which bears reiteration here given the holarchical fixation above:

I see similarities between Lakoff's critique of objectivism and Edwards' critique of a hierarchic-centric view in AQAL. For example, Edwards says in part 9 of the above referenced interview:

"AQAL metatheory has focused almost exclusively on the stage-based approach where development is seen as the holarchical emergence of qualitatively new forms of complexity and capacities. This is, what I call, the developmental holarchy lens. However, this is only one among many other explanatory lenses that might be used to describe and understand transformation.... We need to combine it with and differentiate it from many other lenses if we are to see how stage-based development aligns with other aspects of transformation."

Lakoff sees the objectivitst paradigm as being solely reliant on a hierarchical category theory, and as a result we get a very dualistic, metaphysical conception of the world. While I don't see that Edwards criticizes this particular aspect in AQAL you can see I've repeated made that same connection with the kennilingual metaphysical dualism. And both Lakoff and Edwards recognize that there are a variety of ways basic categories and/or lenses can combine and that all forms derived therefrom must be utilized and contextualized in a meta-theory. Hence neither oppose hierarchical complexity but both put it in a larger context and thus take out the metaphysics that seems inherent when this is the predominant lens used.

Even within a mereological containment schema, recall this post earlier in the thread questioning its universal, cross-cultural validity.

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).

And along these lines recall this and a few following posts from another thread. Some excerpts:

On this last point, kennilingus and the model of hierarchical complexity (MHC) assume a teleology. For the Lingam it is a morphogenetic gradient from involution that pulls evolution up toward it, like a strange attractor. For the MHC it is both Platonic ideal forms and Aristotelian universal categories. Both require that the lower be subsumed in the higher, and both assume that this higher is the real goal to which evolution is moving. Both require essences.

Note how the referenced system dynamicists still have a virtual dimension where strange attractors create paths which guide actual occasions. (Note the plural, attractors, so that depending on conditions different paths can be taken.) They seem like essences in that way but their attractors are entirely immanent, i.e., there is no essential or ideal dimension already in existence guiding this process with a goal 'in mind' (or in spirit, if you must). And this virtual dimension is intimately entangled with the actual domain, which provides the environmental conditions whereby the virtual can express. Under different environmental conditions a suobject will manifest in different ways. Any particular manifestation is not the way it is supposed to be according to a divine plan, or even some rational notion of ideal categories.

So how does this relate to psychological levels of development? Yes, the human form as evolved does indeed inherent certain capacities, our virtual attractors so to speak. But the actual occasions to date, the levels so to speak, are from these virtual capacities responding to environmental conditions, which include socio-cultural conditions. Of the latter capitalism is a huge one, which co-evolved with the egoic-rational mode, and both are gravity sinks within which we are caught. This wasn't inevitable according to an ideal plan, and both can be changed given our virtual capacities can actualize differently. Still, within this gravity sink we are still strongly 'attracted' to certain views, one of which is this notion of teleos to where we are moving based on where we have been and ideal notions of First Causes (like the Causal domain).

Recall in this post that the original spiral dynamics included both our internal capacities and how they related to environmental conditions, aka endo- and exo-relations. It too recognizes that our endo-structure, or 'level', can change based on its relationships with the environment or exo-relations. And yet it too seems guided by the gravity sink of formal operations in that what came before must set the parameters for what is to come, i.e., the past actual limits the future actual, a very formop metaphysical assumption on this trajectory of past to pre-planned future. It also assumes that formop was necessary and inevitable, whereas it was contingent and occurred given particular environmental and socio-cultural conditions in certain places. It was not universally predestined, one way or the other.

Nonetheless it's here and forms a strong gravity sink that pre-determines how we move forward. If we look at current psychological, environmental and socio-cultural conditions we see an emerging P2P paradigm that is breaking with metaphysical formop. It is following another gravity sink or attractor within our virtual capacities. It too is not the inevitable outcome of what came before but it is here now. And it is perhaps not a continuation that transcends and includes what came before a la the 'deficient rational' mode but more like a Gebserian or Luhmannian discrete and autonomous system that structurally couples with the other systems via exo-relations, its own endo-structural relations emerging from new virtual capacities, themselves constructed and responsive to environments.

Not because it too was an inevitable teleos but a response to the gravity of the material structure of the internet (for one), which has indeed changed everything. And can lead us to a new promised land of distributed knowledge, wealth and health, if we but choose to progress (create teleos) in this direction, not just the next generation as in Star Trek but in Homeland Earth trek. It will not necessarily be so from some inevitable teleos, as the internet's structure is continually being manipulated by capitalism's gravity sink, most recently in the court ruling to banish net neutrality and turn it into a market's wet dream. But many more of us have had our consciousness shifted by its structure to the emerging P2P meme and can change that course if we but take action, creating a stronger gravity sink to overcome it, one more in alignment with the internet's own structure, an emerging postmetaphysical socio-cultural structure of equality and justice for all. A universal wet dream, but one of our own design. (Recall Latour's Compositionist Manifesto here.)

On a practical level, the evolution of language is relevant to the above. If we have universal, neurolinguistic human structures then we might be able to correlate this with universal human cognitive structures of the type we all go through, the usual developmental hierarchy. But there are over 5,000 languages in the world, quite a diversity, so what is universal about language and what is particular to cultures, regions, dialects? And given the ontocartographical bent, even different climates and geographies? And does that say something about English language prejudices about cognitive structures?

This recent paper suggests that "language seems to have evolved along varied, complicated paths, guided less by neurological settings than cultural circumstance." It mentions Chomsky's universal grammar, and that there may be a limited repertoire of universals but contra Chomsky they are minimal and diversity is the rule.

Recall Lakoff challenged Chomsky's universal grammar for cognitive (embodied) linguistics, of which I've made much hay. Lakoff also claims universals like image schema that he claims cross all cultures. But in this post and following there have been challenges to this view, noting that some cultural factors indeed enact different image schema. And not only that, but cultural development can via downward causation actually create new image schema that were not there originally, given brain plasticity and growth.

This article by Sinha and de Lopez, for example [also cited in the last post], lauds Lakoff et al for going beyond Piaget's logico-mathematical modeling in formulating invariant cognitive structures, but still criticizes the former for engaging in the same "epistemic individualism" (29). And while Lakoff refuted the logico-mathematical basis of cognitive structure with an embodied structure, he also  retained the notion of universal, invariant structure in individuals. The authors notes that while embodiment theories might resolve the mind-body half of the Cartesian dualism it still needs work on the individual-social half (30).

In a later section of the paper he discusses Vygotsky, who includes material functionality into the mix of image schema. And that different cultures apply this functionality differently with the consequent difference in image schema, language and cognitive structure.

Given that containment is a significant schema in forming mereological relations and extended in how we formulate levels of development, this could point to a different cognitive structure for said levels. He also notes that Vygotsky applied this to material linguistic mediators, and given the different languages that developed from different schema this also involved different semantic content (36).

The above is just one example of how the Piagetian and Wilberian (and even Lakoffian) notions of universal structure are not eliminated but certainly adjusted when we take account of the above.

Back on p. 1 of the thread I linked to Kurt Fischer's dynamic development lab. That link has changed to this one. His Harvard home page is here. Also see this recent comment quoting him from another thread.

In this post on p. 16 is a link to Foreman's interview with Laske. I posted a few comments thereafter. Picking up where I left off:

Developmental theories are "strictly a social theory that says very little about development" (10:10).

"I don't really care about CDF and what it says about people that much. That's developmental theory and as you know I have doubts that these developments really happen and it what sense they happen" (24:30).

“You cannot access dialectical thinking if you do not practice it yourself” (38:40). Prior to that he discussed the 4 phases of such thinking. The first is being able to contextualize a situation structurally. The second is seeing it as a process that includes both presence and absence. The third is seeing the relationships therein, how both identity and difference interplay. The fourth is how the first three lead to transformation.

Foreman returns to the question of development as a social theory, noting that there are hundreds of models that report a similar structure to our biological, neurological and psychological makeup. So how then can development just be a social construct? Laske answers that indeed there is a biological basis for formal operating thinking, and that once we as a race attain to it we will of course see such consistent structures. He relates this to the first phase of dialectical thinking. These theories know little of the other phases noted above (44:00).

Therefore such developmental models, enacting the formop or perhaps first stage of dialectical thinking, unconsciously support the societal control structure inherent to that level, i.e., the capitalist paradigm with its command-and-control hierarchical structures. Which of course also play out in structural developmental models (47:00).

I'd add that these later forms of dialectical thinking are what we see in much poststructuralist thinking, not to be confused with postmodernism per se. And that the developmental structuralists, caught in their own unconscious social constructions, can only interpret that as some sort of relativism and pluralism (green meme), since they themselves have not advanced into the other phases of this sort of dialectic. As someone once said, “the way out of postmodernism is through it” and these developmental structuralists have yet to go through it.

He relates this to the AQAL model and perspective taking, which are more classification schemes representative of structural thinking. It is not the same as dialectical thinking (52:00). Foreman defends AQAL as a tool that can lead to the sort of dialectical thinking Laske is talking about and Laske agrees. But AQAL is missing the 'you' dimension, which is about dialogue and the relationship phase of identity and difference (57:00).

In my research I came upon the following two articles. Just bookmarking them for now. The first is "Toward an integral theory of higher education" by Gary Hampsen, which compares Morin, Bhaskar and Wilber on the topic. Of interest to this thread is how Morin delineated what he calls "false rationality." The second is "False rationality and the tragedy of the commons" by Meyer and Braga. It uses Morin as source material and the paper was part of the 2013 ITC.

Oh, I was just going to mention this essay to you, in response to your recent reference of Hampson on the FB forum.  It was part of the ITC (but I didn't get to attend their presentation).

Skimming those articles they both frame Morin in developmental terms. Such terms of late just turn my stomach, as when one gets sick from eating too much cheesecake the mere thought of more churns the acid.

So I went to the horse's mouth in Morin's book Seven Complex Lessons for Education in the Future, available at this link. The section on false rationality begins on p. 17. He describes it as "abstract unidimensional rationalization" and "technobureaucratic rationality" (18) expressed in free market economics, since it is divorced from the sort of ecological thinking that takes account of multiple systems in interdependence, instead imposing on nature a fixed abstract ideal. In so doing environmental devastation has been wrought.

Also of interest is the footnote on that page that false rationality in the green movement is guilty as well. The well-intentioned Green Revolution sought to feed the third world with a program that selected a single vegetal genome which failed to account for how it would affect its local ecosystem to disasterous results. But note, this was not due to a "green" meme but how it still contained a false reason inherent to the orange meme. Recall Lakoff's complaint about how the liberals can't frame for shit because they still adhere to this false Enlightenment reasoning.

And as I've made the case in this lengthy thread, the same false reasoning that is carried forward into the more complex levels above green via the kind of complexity based on false reason. I've used Morin's form of complexity to counter it, as well as many other sources. Recall from above though that when asked Commons also relegated Morin's type to his heterarchical or lateral complexity, i.e., it's just the green meme stupid. That's all they can say when confronted with this stuff.

Same with Laske, who uses his interpretation of Bhaskarian dialectics as constituting postformal thinking instead of Commons hierarchical variety, seeing the later is still instituting the unconscious cultural norms of false reason.

Reply to Discussion


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.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2019   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service