Thursday, April 5, 2012

Women, Fire and Dangerous Things

I found a Scribd copy of the above  book at this link, which led me to continue the IPS "real and false reason" thread on p. 7. Following are the comments and quotes:

"The psychologically most basic level was in the middle of the taxonomic hierarchies....[and] is the only level at which categorization is determined by overall gestalt perception....[which is] perception of overall part-whole configuration" (46-7).

"The ability to categorize at the basic level comes first....basic level categories develop prior to classical taxonomic categories....classical taxonomic categories are 'later achievements of the imagination" (49).

"It is important to realize that these [basic categories] are not purely objective and 'in the world,' rather they have to do with the world as we interact with it.... 'It should be emphasized that we are talking about a perceived world and not a metaphysical world without a knower (Rosch 1978, p.29)" (50).

"The classical theory of categories provides a link between objectivist metaphysics and and set-theoretical models.... Objectivist metaphysics goes beyond the metaphysics of basic realism...[which] merely assumes that there is a reality of some sort.... It additionally assumes that reality is correctly and completely structured in a way that can be modeled by set-theoretic models" (159).

He argues that this arises from the correspondence-representation model.

And this one is significant, which was made apparent in my discussions with Commons:

"In objectivist cognition, concepts by definition exclude all nonobjective influences.... For example, the properties of basic level concepts [their embodiment]...cannot be true properties of concepts in an objectivist theory" (165). Hence the complete avoidance of Lakoff's (and company) work; it is not "objective" and proven (i.e., circle-jerked) with so-called objective, mathematical, set-theorectical axioms.

"The classical theory comes with two general principles of organization for categories: hierarchical categorization and cross-categorizaton. [In the former] a partition of a category into sub-categories such that all members are in one, and only one, subcategory.... [In the latter] a number of hierarchical categories at the same level.... [these] are the only organizations of categories that exist" (166-7).

We see exactly this in the kennilingual (and MHC) notions of hierarchy and heterarchy. Multiplicity, on the other hand, is both/neither (see complexity and pomo thread).

Lakoff sees such objectivism as metaphysical in both senses that 1) it is not embodied (and therefore transcendental) and 2) sees such a clear distinction between subject and object (like the clear distinction between categories), aka dualism, aka formal operations. He has  noted before (and in this book as well) that his embodied paradigm is metaphysics as realism but not in the other senses. Again, akin to what we're seeing with the complexity pomoers, de/reers and postformal operators. (The latter term should be sung to this tune.)

A key reason Lakoff is ignored by hierarchical complexifiers:

"It is the classical concept of a category, the concept that contemporary research on prototype theory claims is untenable as a fully general approach. If that concept changes in an essential way, then most, if not all, of objectivist metaphysics and epistemology goes. What is at stake is a world view" (174).

Yep, a formop worldview dressed up as postop and integral, with the math to prove it. Never mind that the math is also formop based on classical category theory. Lakoff challenges the  unconscious presuppositions and premises upon which such theory is based and taken as given.

Chapter 12 begins with a discussion of how a species is viewed since Darwin can no longer fit the category of natural kinds. We're seeing this same discussion at the end of the pomo and complexity thread from the DeLanda and the speculative realist camp (well scientific too, using DeLana and Delueze's science and math), which also decry objectivism (and essentialism and hierarchical set theory). Note that like Lakoff, they too have a place for hierarchy but it isn't the dominant place, just contextualized in a broader understanding. Classical category (and set) theory have to ignore evolutionary biology!

"The formalist program of separating syntax from semantics accompanied the mathematicization of logic and the unification of logic with mathematics. The separation was needed in order to make sense of axiom systems....[it is] an alien division...relative to human language and thought" (226-7).

Lakoff goes on to note that there is indeed a hidden interpretative (semantic) element hidden in the assumption that there can be a completely objective set of rules for syntax devoid an any interpretative element at all. In another context, this hidden performative contraction is the basis of claims of performative contradictions in pluralists who recognize that syntax cannot be separated from semantics. This specious claim is more a projection and limitation of formop than inherent in postop pluralism due to the original and hidden contradiction from its dualism taken as a given.

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