Saturday, September 22, 2018

Implications of basic categories and image schema

Continuing this post, some commentary from the Ning IPS archive. From this (edited) Ning post:

So our basic categories are embodied with image schemas that arise from our interactions with the world. Recall that one of the image schemas is the part-whole gestalt, aka mereology. Since image schemas and basic categories operate below conscious attention we’ve come to assume that they are inherent to the world themselves and thus project this notion of 'natural hierarchy, with its most developed forms in Aristotelian abstract, nested, categorical hierarchies. All of which assumes a basic, particular and inherent 'constituent' as foundation at the bottom and/or a general and inherent 'being' as foundation at the top. Meanwhile the process actually begins in the middle of the classical taxonomy and we get more abstractly specific 'downward' and more general 'upward' from there with a useful but constructed hierarchy. This doesn’t necessarily eliminate hierarchy per se, just contextualizes it is a more naturalistic way and only eliminates its dualistic and metaphysical elements, elements which have some form of inclusivism and hegemony at its core. The notion of holons as involutionary givens is one of those metaphysical elements, and as we’ve seen this is much better explained by the part-whole gestalt properties of the container schema.

And this post discussing how Hartshorne uses relative and absolute terms, the latter asymmetrically dependent on the former:

Another way of approaching r/a terms is through basic categories and image schema. Recall that these prototypes are in the middle of classical categorical hierarchies, between the most general and the most particular. Basic categories are the most concrete way we have of relating to and operating within the environment. Thus both the more particular and more general categories are more abstract. And yet our usual way of thinking is that the more particular the category the more concrete or relative the object it represents is and vice versa.

Which is indeed related to the a-terms being asymmetrically dependent on the r-terms, if by r-terms we mean those concrete image schema which are the basis of more abstract derivations. It's easy to confuse them because our 'common sense' associates the more concrete objects of the world with the most particular objects on our constructed hierarchies; the same for the most abstract and emphemeral of thoughts, which do not seem physical or material. And yet these hierarchies are not constructed that way, instead being from the middle up and down via image schema and basic categories.

Such things are unconscious and not readily apparent. So of course we can 'reason' from both the bottom-up and top-down in such hierarchies if we associate the r-terms with the most particular and the a-terms with the most general or abstract. But we do so from the most concrete of image schema, the actual r-terms, while the top and bottom of the usual, classical hierarchy are the most abstract.

From this Ning post discussing Bryant's diagram and using more accurate images based on cogsci than the ladder or its extension in nested circles or spheres. Such images have a profound effect on our philosophies. The latter link also contains the middle out moving diagram described below.

So in terms of hier(an)archy, the 'object a' as embodied image schema 'in the middle' is the networked interactions of the particular and the general. It appears as a hole or absence in such diagrams but it's not nothing. Like Emptiness it is the transcendental interrelations of dependent origination, not some outside or transcendent force and ground. This doesn't negate hierarchy per se, just contextualizes it with the middle ground as that which transcendentalizes the apparent transcendent and abstract top/bottom on a vertical ladder via formal, metaphysical reason. The top/bottom curve back on themselves, infolding back into the middle, while the middle curves out to enfold and relate the top/bottom. Hier(an)archy indeed.

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