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 is 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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More from that thread:

From Lakoff & Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, Chapter 1:

“For the sake of imposing sharp distinctions, we develop what might be called essence prototypes, which conceptualize categories as if they were sharply defined and minimally distinguished from one another. When we conceptualize categories in this way, we often envision them using a spatial metaphor, as if they were containers, with an interior, an exterior, and a boundary. When we conceptualize categories as containers, we also impose complex hierarchical systems on them, with some category-containers inside other category-containers. Conceptualizing categories as containers hides a great deal of category structure. It hides conceptual prototypes, the graded structures of categories, and the fuzziness of category boundaries.”

This is the crux of the AQAL developmental holarchy lens/metaphor, itself only one of a multitude of lenses/metaphors. Its inference structure indeed hides a great deal of other categorical structures discussed in the book. While this lens is useful and consistent within its own limited inferential structure, it is inconsistent with other equally valuable metaphorical inference structures. L&J make clear there is no one structure that is the foundation for the others. Hence the problem is that we take the holarchy lens to be THE defining context within which all others must be contextualized, often based on some metaphysical premise that it's the way reality itself is organized.

We can also conceptualize container schema differently, i.e., where a so-called smaller holon is not subsumed in a larger one but in which they share a space-between as Edwards calls it. It offers an entirely different approach to hierarchy because the interacting holons retain their autonomy. They structurally couple and create another holon altogether instead of one being subsumed or nested in the other.

This is especially significant when you take into account basic categories, which are in the middle of typical taxonomic hierarchies. That is, a hierarchy does not start with the most particular type which is subsumed into the most general type. Those two abstract ends of the spectrum are literally tied together by the basic category in the middle, the most concrete and thus the most closely interactive with the world. Hence this hierarchy is in effect from the middle up and down so that the very nature of hierarchy is entirely different than the typical one. Hence hier(an)archical synplexity.

We can also conceptualize container schema differently, i.e., where a so-called smaller holon is not subsumed in a larger one but in which they share a space-between as Edwards calls it. It offers an entirely different approach to hierarchy because the interacting holons retain their autonomy. They structurally couple and create another holon altogether instead of one being subsumed or nested in the other.

This is especially significant when you take into account basic categories, which are in the middle of typical taxonomic hierarchies. That is, a hierarchy does not start with the most particular type which is subsumed into the most general type. Those two abstract ends of the spectrum are literally tied together by the basic category in the middle, the most concrete and thus the most closely interactive with the world. Hence this hierarchy is in effect from the middle up and down so that the very nature of hierarchy is entirely different than the typical one. Hence hier(an)archical synplexity.

I discussed this at length and in depth in both the states/stages and this thread.

More from Philosophy in the Flesh, chapter 7. It's relevant because much of developmental notions of hierarchy are based on set theory:

"Spatial relations concepts (image schemas), which fit visual scenes, are not characterizable in terms of set-theoretical structures. Motor concepts (verbs of bodily movement), which fit the body's motor schemas, cannot be characterized by set-theoretical models. Set-theoretical models simply do not have the kind of structure needed to fit visual scenes or motor schemas, since all they have in them are abstract entities, sets of those entities, and sets of those sets. These models have no structure appropriate to embodied meaning-no motor schemas, no visual or imagistic mechanisms, and no metaphor."

Chapter 7 also discusses the 3 levels of embodied realism: neural, phenomenological and the cognitive unconscious. Hence each has their own valid truth claims with no one level being ultimately true, and there not being any ultimate truth at all. Not even, or especially, a phenomenological satori that gets us out of that pickle. Sound at all familiar?

"There is no single unified metaphysics [...] But even if there is no one correct description, there can still be many correct descriptions, depending on our embodied understandings at different levels or from different perspectives."

From chapter 6: "As Kuhn saw, the history of science yields cases of scientific revolutions. For us, these are cases in which new metaphors replace old ones, in which the new metaphor is incommensurable with the old metaphor, and hence an entire discipline is reconceptualized."

Hence embodied realism (real reason) transcends and replaces formal realism (false reason) a la worldview replacement.

From Chapter 13:

"What is philosophically important about this study is that there is no single, unified notion of our inner lives. There is not one Subject-Self distinction, but many. They are all metaphorical and cannot be reduced to any consistent literal conception of Subject and Self. Indeed, there is no consistency across the distinctions. Yet, the multifarious notions of Subject and Self are far from arbitrary. On the contrary, they express apparently universal experiences of an 'inner life, and the metaphors for conceptualizing our inner lives are grounded in other apparently universal experiences. These metaphors appear to be unavoidable, to arise naturally from common experience. Moreover, each such metaphor conceptualizes the Subject as being personlike, with an existence independent of the Self. The Self, in this range of cases, can be either a person, an object, or a location."

Therein one of the metaphors we use is the 'true' self, that we have a subjective essence. This is a particular instance of the more general metaphor of essences we inherited from the Platonic worldview. This sort of foundationalism has been transcended and replaced in postmetaphysics, yet we still unconsciously accept it via these ingrained cultural metaphors below our conscious awareness.

PS: Note this one of Stein's hallmarks of metamodernism:

"To be anti-essentialist, not believing in 'ultimate essences' such as matter, consciousness, goodness, evil, masculinity, femininity or the like–but rather that all these things are contextual and interpretations made from relations and comparisons" (190)

I'd add it is also recontextualized by embodied metaphor theory.

This 'true' subjective self still retains a privileged position in AQALingus, as does its relative partner the cognitive self (line) as the organizer of all other aspects of our relative being. And all of which is grounded (i.e., spiritualized) by the True Self with direct apprehension of ultimate reality. Essence much?

As to the charge of physicalism, note the following from PITF, Chapter Chapter 7, where they discuss phenomenology, functionalism and materialism. And that their type of embodied realism does not limit explanation to only one of those domains but embraces all of them while each having different validity criteria for their domains.

They also discuss eliminativism, which posits that the only real things are physical. Continuing the above, they do admit to being physicalists in that there is a physical basis for such non-physical entities like phonemes and verbs. But they do not accept that physical materialism is the only arbiter of reality.

"We have seen that reality and truth occur relative to our understanding at many levels and from many perspectives. This is inconsistent with the classical eliminativist program in the philosophy of science, which asserts that the only realities and the only truths are at the "lowest level," here the neural level, that is, the level of neurochemistry and cellular physiology."

The bottom line is that like Wilber they accept there are different domains of investigation and that there are levels of understanding within those domains. And that includes the material realm explored by physics, but taking account of other domains and levels is not reduced solely to that domain. Unlike Wilber they don't accept that there is any one domain or level (like consciousness) that is the final arbiter or source of all the others.

Also check out Stein's IR article here, where he lays out his interpretation of the tenets of metamodernism. Given the above this one seems in agreement:

"To be anti-essentialist, not believing in “ultimate essences” such as matter, consciousness, goodness, evil, masculinity, femininity or the like–but rather that all these things are contextual and interpretations made from relations and comparisons. Even the today so praised “relationality” is not an essence of the universe" (190).

In that sense L&J are also anti-essentialist. However this tenet seems to contradict the above and be more like Wilber's panpsychism:

"To explore visions of panpsychism, i.e. that consciousness is everywhere in the universe and 'as real' as matter and space. But panpsychism should not be confused with animistic visions of all things having 'spirits'" (191).

I guess it depends on how he defines consciousness, which he does not in this article, and which could be very different than how e.g., neuroscientist Damasio does.

Also see chapter 3 of my review of Thompson's book. E.g.:

"We cannot realistically infer that consciousness is the primary reality out of which everything is composed. Thompson sees consciousness as embodied, embedded and enactive within an environment. While consciousness might belong to us specifically it belongs to, or is enacted with, this overall physical and material matrix. Consciousness and embodiment occur together in mutual entailment. He asserts that he subscribes to philosophical emergentism, in that consciousness is a natural phenomenon, its complexity arising in concert with the complexity of its physical basis."

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