Sunday, April 8, 2012

Edwards' lenses & Lakoff's image schemas

There are different kinds of preconceptual image schemas and basic categories: container, part-whole, link, center-periphery, source-path-goal, up-down, front-back and linear order are some examples. Concepts then build on these schemas: categories in general build on container schemas, hierarichal structures in terms of part-whole and up-down, relations in terms of links, radial structure in terms of center-periphery etc.

I find an interesting correlation here with Mark Edwards' pluralistic lenses. See table 9.2 from this ILR interview for example, where he lists these categories of lenses with some examples: holarchical, bipolar, cyclical, standpoint, relational. Also see table 8.1 from this interview for some cool graphics for the lenses. From the latter he says:

"Table 8.1 is not a catalogue of forms of theories. It’s meant to show the generative (metatheoretical) lenses that, in isolation or in combination, can be used to construct theory."

Whereas for Lakoff the preconceptual image schemas are the generator for the later, more abstract metatheory(ies). However Edwards does see that the lenses seem to arise in an embodied morphology, though I don't as yet see a direct correlation with L&J's work. From the interview, part 8:

"These lens categories tap into some basic relationships that exist in the human experience of reality. Consequently, they show up within every attempt to understand, explain, or get some handle on the complexity that exists within and around us and between us and through us. I see them as coming out of some kind of morphological fault line in the Kosmos, windows that we create and which we are drawn to look through, proclivities that we innately possess as sentient beings who act and imagine."

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.

* Also for reference see Edwards' blog post on altitude lens sickness.

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