Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The natural world as a philosophical problem

See the review of this book here. Chapter 3 reminds me of the basic categories and image schema of cognitive linguistics. The fundamental layer of the "natural attitude" are the manifolds of embodied sense qualities tied to their life functions. This is related to language in chapter 4, itself an extension of these bodily manifolds. And that language presupposes thought.

Which associates for me Thakchoe's paper on semantic nominalism from a Buddhist perspective.
My translation, using some outside sources, is that we cannot help but use our categories in designating anything, hence we can only know or translate reality via such categories. Which is not to say that reality is our categories, only that any reality we can know it filtered through those categories. This is not linguistic nominalism, since our basic categories/image schema are pre-linguistic but have semantic content via our embodied relationships. Hence there is this non-dualistic relationship between our pre-linguistic basic categories and objects which still allows for real objects to exist without that relationship. But when going linguistic we might make two mistakes: 1) forget this embodied grounding and separate the linguistic words from the pre-linguistic meanings; and thus 2) separate embodied meanings in words from reality as such into two distinct and separate ontological realms, one samsara and the other nirvana. Or a formal, metaphysical view by another name.

Per Balder's paper Sophia Speaks, it might be more akin in modern practice to comparing Chomsky's linguistics v. semantics with Lakoff's embodied and mutual entailing variety.

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