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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http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10407413.2013.810469

Ecological Psychology
Volume 25, Issue 3, 2013
Special Issue: A Cognitive Science Slam in Honor of Guy Van Orden

Notes on a Journey From Symbols to Multifractals: A Tribute to Guy Van Orden

Abstract
Rejecting traditional cognitive science put us in a bind. On the one hand, traditional cognitive science is our heritage; our curiosity about the big questions of cognition led us initially to invest in the conventional approaches. On the other hand, we eventually became dissatisfied with the fundamentals of traditional cognitive science. Rather than criticize from the sidelines, we struggled for a new way to address the same problems with a new explanatory framework. Guy Van Orden spurred us forward on 2 counts. First, his work inspired us to consider fractal scaling as a new framework for exploring change in cognitive structure. Second, his provocative contrast between pink and white noises as diagnostic of interactions and components, respectively, intrigued us. Our struggle for a new direction became a struggle to understand what Guy meant and how his ideas might translate within our research domains. Guy helped us to forge a perspective that would have surprised us before, namely, the perspective that cognitive and, more generally, biological structure reflects turbulent flows structured over many different scales with multifractal fluctuations.

Another good article on the distinction between real and false reason: Johnson, M. (2015). "Embodied understanding." Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 875. E.g.:

"Kant insists that reason has an a priori structure that makes possible logical relations and logical inference that are supposedly in no way dependent for their structure on the bodily makeup or experience of any reasoning being. Kant was not a Cartesian substance dualist (where 'mind' and 'body' are two different kinds of substance); rather, he has a dualism that aligns sensing and feeling with the body, and conceptualizing and reasoning with acts of a transcendent ego, which is the source of a spontaneous organizing activity.

"This 'disembodied' view of understanding has seemed just right to many so-called functionalist philosophers of mind, since they regard mental operations as functional programs for manipulating representations based only on their formal (syntactic) properties. Kant’s view of determinate judgment as a synthetic operation through which concepts and other representations are combined into propositional judgments having a subject-predicate structure perfectly fit the information processing view of mind that arose in the middle of the last century. On this view, sentences in natural languages are taken to express subject-predicate propositions that can map onto mind-independent aspects of the world, thus generating objective knowledge of the world."

t, I agree - very good article. I like the succinctness of the abstract and the summary at the end.

I like the term bio-functional. It is also simplifying nicely for him to say that within "bio-functional," "embodied understanding" is implicitly contained.

I like that he brought forward the word, "allostasis" to speak of the contextually dependent resetting within a moving range of homeostasis - it takes away the sort of lessening dimensionality of saying "homeostasis."

I like this final sentence that I hear a bit as an injunction, a reinforced reminder to not revert to conventional, traditional, historical splits that aren't only not necessary, but seemingly incorrect. As you like to translate, t, false reason rather than real reason.

"However, we are beginning to develop the tools, techniques, and experimental methods for studying the nature and operation of our bio-functional understanding in sufficient detail to make it clear why we must never again revert to disembodied views of mind, thought, language, and values."



theurj said:

Another good article on the distinction between real and false reason: Johnson, M. (2015). "Embodied understanding." Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 875. E.g.:

"Kant insists that reason has an a priori structure that makes possible logical relations and logical inference that are supposedly in no way dependent for their structure on the bodily makeup or experience of any reasoning being. Kant was not a Cartesian substance dualist (where 'mind' and 'body' are two different kinds of substance); rather, he has a dualism that aligns sensing and feeling with the body, and conceptualizing and reasoning with acts of a transcendent ego, which is the source of a spontaneous organizing activity.

"This 'disembodied' view of understanding has seemed just right to many so-called functionalist philosophers of mind, since they regard mental operations as functional programs for manipulating representations based only on their formal (syntactic) properties. Kant’s view of determinate judgment as a synthetic operation through which concepts and other representations are combined into propositional judgments having a subject-predicate structure perfectly fit the information processing view of mind that arose in the middle of the last century. On this view, sentences in natural languages are taken to express subject-predicate propositions that can map onto mind-independent aspects of the world, thus generating objective knowledge of the world."

I always perk up when I see references to Kant in relation to contemporary concerns. I have a sense that one of the necessary tasks of our age is to really come to terms with Kant, and to find our way beyond to the next big thing.  I once thought this was why Wilber was intent on writing a Kosmos TRILOGY - to somehow be a contemporary equivalent to The Critique of Judgement, The Critique of Practical Reason, The Critique of Pure Reason.  Needless to say (I think) is that if this was the unstated attempt, his work has not lived up to Kant's level of wisdom and insight).

I first became aware of the importance of dealing with Kant from reading After Fundamentalism by Bernard Ramm.  The book by one of the most highly regarded fundamentalist theologians about Karl Barth outlines Ramm's own movement away from fundamentalism, and how Barth's work was basically attempting to maintain an orthodox approach to Christian theology while dealing honestly with the truths coming out of the enlightenment, especially as outlined by Kant.

Then I noticed on my first reading of Wilber, in The Marriage of Sense and Soul, the same idea, but from a pretty different perspective, that if religion or spirituality is to become relevant again, we have to deal with Kant, we have to deal with what Modernity presents to us.

Even for most who live today, who don't understand Kant, his influence pervades our lives in many ways we don't even realize. So we must come to terms with what is good and true and beautiful in his thought, but we must also figure out where he went wrong, and where he needs correction, to find our way forward to the next healthy epoch. 

Bonnitta Roy offers some subtle distinctions on Kant's thought in her article "A Process Model with a View." Nancy Frankenberry offers a helpful "inversion" of Kantian thought in her magnificent book on "Religion and Radical Empiricism."  And finally, the article by Mark Johnson that theurj references above is, I think, another helpful elucidation of a place where our Kantian thinking needs to be upgraded. 

Thanks!

P.S. I do not wish to misrepresent myself as someone who thinks he understands even a smidgen of Kant's work, and the less than a smidgen of what I do know has come from secondary sources (especially those named above).



theurj said:

Another good article on the distinction between real and false reason: Johnson, M. (2015). "Embodied understanding." Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 875. E.g.:

"Kant insists that reason has an a priori structure that makes possible logical relations and logical inference that are supposedly in no way dependent for their structure on the bodily makeup or experience of any reasoning being. Kant was not a Cartesian substance dualist (where 'mind' and 'body' are two different kinds of substance); rather, he has a dualism that aligns sensing and feeling with the body, and conceptualizing and reasoning with acts of a transcendent ego, which is the source of a spontaneous organizing activity.

"This 'disembodied' view of understanding has seemed just right to many so-called functionalist philosophers of mind, since they regard mental operations as functional programs for manipulating representations based only on their formal (syntactic) properties. Kant’s view of determinate judgment as a synthetic operation through which concepts and other representations are combined into propositional judgments having a subject-predicate structure perfectly fit the information processing view of mind that arose in the middle of the last century. On this view, sentences in natural languages are taken to express subject-predicate propositions that can map onto mind-independent aspects of the world, thus generating objective knowledge of the world."

It seems that to go postmetaphysical we must also go postmetacomplexity.

I'm not sure what that means.

It means letting go of a certain form of complexity obsessed with meta-everything, aka deficient rational structure, false reason, metaphysical thinking etc.

I would be willing to let go of listening to this band, which I would agree holds a deficient rational structure:

https://metacomplex.bandcamp.com/

T & DM - in a biographical account I am reading right now, the writer has a moment that may be poignant with what you are speaking of. Though he doesn't articulate it, it could be that, as you will see, he has trouble relating to the complex American currency of apparently sophisticated socio-political ideas. Given this conversation and thread, I'm guessing that after being immersed in more embodied and simple connection with water and earth and 'third world' realities, what william read had a false ring, not a real ring to it.

In "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life," within his 20's and searching through Pacific islands for some uncharted surf destinations of 1978, he finds that the quests, questions, and inner disruptions are more than about surfing. Here is a snippet that may be an exemplar of this difficulty relating to the complexities of expertise. It is not clear to me how much is a post-metaphysical consolidation, simplification, condensation and how much is pre or a needing to reside in accord with simpler metaphysics. Yet this caught my ear:

"In the cemeteries in Tonga, late in the day, there always seemed to be old women tending the graves of their parents - combing the coral-sand mounds into the proper coffin-top shape, sweeping away the leaves, hand-washing faded wreaths of plastic flowers, rearranging the haunting patterns of tropical peppercorns, orange and green on bleached white sand.
A shiver of second-hand sorrow ran through me. And an ache of something else. It wasn't exactly homesickness. It felt like I had sailed off the edge of the known world. That was actually fine with me. The world was mapped in so many different ways. For worldly Americans the whole globe was covered by the foreign bureaus of the better newspapers - the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal - and, at that time, the big newsweeklies. Every place on earth was part of somebody's beat. Bryan understood that map before I did, having gone to Yale.but when I'd found an old copy of Newsweek on Captain Brett Hilder's bridge, and tried to read a George Will column,I'd burst out laughing.his beltway airs and provincialism were impenetrable. The truth was, we were wandering now through a world that would never be part of any correspondents beat (let alone George Will's purview). It was full of news, but oblique, mysterious, important only if you listened and watched and felt its full weight."

Do you think this is implying trying to get engaged with false reason and finding it unreal-ish?



theurj said:

It means letting go of a certain form of complexity obsessed with meta-everything, aka deficient rational structure, false reason, metaphysical thinking etc.




theurj said:

It means letting go of a certain form of complexity obsessed with meta-everything, aka deficient rational structure, false reason, metaphysical thinking etc.

Ambo, Perhaps there is a sense of the unsatisfactoriness of the false reason being detected on some level.  I like that he is noticing the "oblique, mysterious, important only if you listened and watched."  Being more familiar with radical empiricism than real and false reason, it sounds to me like what William James called a "full fact" that includes the fringe of the perceptual field, the knowledge of acquaintance, as well as what is contributed by cognitive function.

Nancy Frankenberry: "Summarily expressed, radical empiricism meant by "experience" a network of concatenatedly related  objects or things, selected out by human perceptual activity, consonant with the possibilities and limitations provided by nature, and historically structured by antecedent purposes and activities. Conscious human experience is an aspect of the flux within the processes of nature, itself also in process, unfinished, giving rise to novelties relative to inherited structures." (Religion and Radical Empiricism, p. 86).

I wonder if the above is consonant with "real and false reason." I suspect it is, but with the addition of additional insights not yet available to (or perhaps more dimly perceived by) James, et al. 

Regardless, for sure there is a reaction to George Will's "beltway airs and provincialism," which is quite understandable for someone who is out there experiencing the world unmediated by U.S. establishment media of the late 1970s.

Ambo and DM, yes.

Ambo, Perhaps there is a sense of the unsatisfactoriness of the false reason being detected on some level.  I like that he is noticing the "oblique, mysterious, important only if you listened and watched."  Being more familiar with radical empiricism than real and false reason, it sounds to me like what William James called a "full fact" that includes the fringe of the perceptual field, the knowledge of acquaintance, as well as what is contributed by cognitive function.
Nancy Frankenberry: "Summarily expressed, radical empiricism meant by "experience" a network of concatenatedly related  objects or things, selected out by human perceptual activity, consonant with the possibilities and limitations provided by nature, and historically structured by antecedent purposes and activities. Conscious human experience is an aspect of the flux within the processes of nature, itself also in process, unfinished, giving rise to novelties relative to inherited structures." (Religion and Radical Empiricism, p. 86).
I wonder if the above is consonant with "real and false reason." I suspect it is.
 
Regardless, for sure there is a reaction to George Will's "beltway airs and provincialism," which is quite understandable for someone who is out there experiencing the world unmediated by U.S. establishment media of the late 1970s.

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