Friday, January 17, 2014

Laske on dialectics

I brought in Laske in a comment to this post on Cook-Greuter. I want to move that comment to this new post and expand on it further. Using excerpts from Otto Laske’s article in the Aug/Nov ’13 issue of ILR I noted the following. The first 2 paragraphs question the scientific or ‘objective’ facts claimed by developmentalists and see them more as a product of their unconscious societal biases. One of those biases is that very blindness in accepting the modernist (formal) premises of a pure objectivity apart from more subjective biases, as if science or math could get outside of context and determine the final ‘truth’ of things. [...] Another example of that is the incessant obsession with classification in the third paragraph, and that those classes are rigidly structured with clear dividing lines: you’re either in the classification or not. Laske doesn’t see this a representative of dialectical thinking but a continuation of formal logic.

Also see  Laske in this ILR article. Note Bhaskar figures prominently therein.

"A simple-minded definition of dialecticism would be that contradiction lies in the nature of things, and that wherever reality is thought about holistically, the perception of contradictions enforces a privileging of larger organized wholes over isolated individuals and entities. Felicitously put, Reality is perceived as pervaded by negativity or absence (Bhaskar, 1993), simply because 'something' is defined as being both itself and not itself, and this 'not itself' stems from its intrinsic relationship to 'something else' without which it could not be what it is."

In the next quote I'm not quite sure what he means, given the confusing grammar. It seems that western dialectic at the meta-systematic level maintains that sort of 'positivity' that lacks an understanding of the kind of absence noted above.

"While Asian dialecticism is largely part of people’s common sense, in Western culture dialecticism has never penetrated culture as a whole but has remained more of a philosophical tradition. Due to this fact, Western dialectical thinking has retained a semblance of high-brow thinking (if not leftist ideology), and has set itself apart from understanding (including scientific understanding) as reason. This distinction has been elucidated by 20th century studies in cognitive development that, even when restricted to formal logical thought (Commons, 1981 f.), have shown empirically that adults’ thinking increasingly tends to re-fashion logical tools as a means of dialectical (meta-systemic) discourse and dialog. A not immediately obvious consequence of this is that a purely positive definition of reality—as if no contradictions existed—robs reality of its potential for change since contradiction introduces negativity or 'otherness.'"

This seems to be supported by Laske in his 2010 ITC paper, when he said "the absence of dialectical thinking in adult developmental research is palpable" (2). At 4 he notes that the only developmental psychologist to take up this sort of dialectic was Basseches. On 8, using Bhaskar's interpretation of Hegel, negation is preserved in memory, whereas in formop it is pushed out as false. It seems Wilber's use of Hegel is a different interpretation more like Common's MHC, and Laske notes this absence of absence leads Wilber to "purely logical thinking" (16).

Also on 16 he discusses the usual Hegelian thesis-antithesis-synthesis formula, but given the above it seems to be quite different from than that used by Wilber and Commons. At 17 this is clarified noting that his form of dialectics requires depth-first, instead of breadth-first as in Wilber. Therefore "integral thinking fails at the preservative negation of what it negates and then transcends, missing the dialectical moment while transcending."

He uses technical terms here with which I'm not familiar but my translation is that Wilber, in typical formop and metaphysical fashion, sublates the 'other' in the new synthesis as in set theory, whereas Laske's synthesis preserves the other in mutual entailment more like Zalamea's math using Peirce (here and following). It also seems to support my notion that postmetaphysical thinking spirals back down in depth to perserve/integrate/synthesize (or de/re) the absences or gaps dissociated by metaphysical formop and its more complicated or sophisticated metaphysical extensions a la the MHC. Therefore this spiraling down in depth is simultaneously spiraling up in height or breadth, like our image schema that do both from the middle.

On 19 he launches into a discussion of dialectics similar to that in the ILR article, where he repeats the above paragraph on meta-systematic ops retaining formop's lack of absence (21). In light of everything noted above it seems to support my interpretation.

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