Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cognitive science and developmental models

I started a Ning IPS thread on Tom Murray's contribution to the recent Integral Review issue here. After some of my posts Tom replied:

Tom replied: These are great L&J quotes Edward, thanks. As is obvious I am also a big fan of Philosophy in the flesh. But it also strikes me that the developmental lens never made its way into their work. Lakoff’s later work on political themes (Don’t think of an elephant) was even more hobbled by this lack. I understand why it happens and is hard to change, but its such a shame how academia operates in such tight sub-disciplinary silos. I had the same concern about Haidt’s work, excellent but noticeably could benefit from the developmental lens. I hear that Haidt has recently been turned on to developmental theories though, so we will see. Not that adult development is the end-all of theories, but its unfortunate how little of academia is even familiar with it.
I said: 
There could be a number of reasons for that. One is that the developmental metaphor (lens) is just one of a multitude. And as they note, each primary metaphor has its own valid and coherent inference structure. However they are not valid and coherent with other base metaphors. And typically philosophies are a hybrid mix of basic metaphors, revealing those internal inconsistencies that either get glossed over or require some rather twisted logic to get them to cohere. There is no dominant lens to rule them all, so to speak.

Another reason is as noted above that the hierarchical lens, key to developmental models, uses the container schema as one of its guiding metaphors. But that “hides conceptual prototypes, the graded structure of categories and the fuzziness of category boundaries.” Using the latter challenges the very structure of the developmental model. We can also conceptualize container schema differently, i.e., where a so-called smaller holon is not subsumed in a larger one but in which they share a space-between as Edwards calls it. It offers an entirely different approach to hierarchy because the interacting holons retain their autonomy. They structurally couple and create another holon altogether instead of one being subsumed or nested in the other. 
This is especially significant when you take into account basic categories, which are in the middle of typical taxonomic hierarchies. That is, a hierarchy does not start with the most particular type which is subsumed into the most general type. Those two abstract ends of the spectrum are literally tied together by the basic category in the middle, the most concrete and thus the most closely interactive with the world. Hence this hierarchy is in effect from the middle up and down so that the very nature of hierarchy is entirely different than the typical one. Hence hier(an)archical synplexity. 
I’m also thinking of the following from Chapter 7 of PITF, challenging the set theory aspect of developmental premises. 
“Spatial relations concepts (image schemas), which fit visual scenes, are not characterizable in terms of set-theoretical structures. Motor concepts (verbs of bodily movement), which fit the body’s motor schemas, cannot be characterized by set-theoretical models. Set-theoretical models simply do not have the kind of structure needed to fit visual scenes or motor schemas, since all they have in them are abstract entities, sets of those entities, and sets of those sets. These models have no structure appropriate to embodied meaning-no motor schemas, no visual or imagistic mechanisms, and no metaphor.” 
Hence that variety of set theory used to justify developmental hierarchy is not based on embodied premises. I explore this in great detail in the Ning IPS thread real/false reason.

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