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October 22, 2006

for philosophical cognitive science, thoroughly evolutionary in self-conception

Appropriations posting

OK, so I was a little eccentric (more than a little) in my enthusiasm for Habermas' "The Language Game....," in my Oct. 15 posting. You can't tell from its beginning what it will become, but the essay looks like a career-culminating statement of his sense of mind in nature. It's an essay that I've hoped, for many years, he would write. He doesn't intend to fundamentally venture beyond his earlier work, but he shows (relative to his selection of engaging others) how his thinking relates to recent engagements with the issue of mind in nature, and that's exciting news for me. I did virtually nothing the past weekend, Oct. 14-15, (not counting necessities) except work through the latter half of his essay. I can't briefly represent what a milestone for me that working-through process was, but it proved to me the validity of what I'm doing (in obscurity, by choice), as a detailed commensurability of my project with where Habermas' thought brings him toward the end of his career. I showed this in terms of revising his discussion (conscientiously—which is necessarily tedious, as constructive editing is generally).

When I read an essay by anyone, I'm hoping to have my thinking fundamentally changed (a thrill of thinking newly), so I welcome critical efficacy of the text. The current work, though, turned out to be appropriative (Habermas didn't venture new directions of thinking), though the working-through did educe some new terms for me (not from Habermas, but in the process of working with his text). The working-through provided an occasion to detail how his thinking can be conscientiously appropriated with (into) a philosophical approach to cognitive science that is thoroughly evolutionary in self-conception (beyond what Habermas intends in his discussion).

October 10, in the previous posting here, I indicated that I would provide "a long, free-standing discussion, to which [that] note will remain a link." That aim remains, and the content of that previous post (and this one) will more or less disappear in that linked discussion—someday, definitely, but maybe not soon. (Expression of your interest would be facilitative.)

But I wasn't earlier anticipating that I would get so involved with Habermas' essay, thus creating such a task for myself by fairly discussing it. I was then merely anticipating a detailed discussion of the last section of his essay, not a revision of many paragraphs of the latter half of the entire essay. (And his first section on free will calls for revision, too; but that's presently undone.) I was anticipating a short exercise in solidarity (with some critique), not an extended intimacy of "collaborative" work (i.e., my extended reworking of his discussion).

I can't literally provide my revisions because my text properly looks a mess: I've deliberately retained text of his that I've deleted, by using strike-through and insertion of my revisions adjacently in blue, as well as adding my own expansions of his discussion in blue, yet freely using terms from my own work (not yet explicated anywhere) that I understand, of course. So, the reader would find many of my revisions obscure, unless I do a lot of prefacing.

I say this (and what follows) in place of beginning to dwell with details of his essay because a concern for documenting a thinking process ("dialogue" with the text) was important to the working-through; so, dramatizing that interest here (otherwise looking like self-absorbed procrastination?) is pertinent—thematizing the revising that evinced the revision, a hermeneutical issue that belongs to the reading.

Accordingly, I need to gather all of my probable obscurities (for others) and write an introduction to my revisions. Add to that explication no mere indication of differences but contextual discussion showing proper appreciation for what Habermas says (rightly, as well as wrongly) and why a revision is appropriate—all of which is standard fare in discursive work, of course—and the discussion becomes a very long endeavor—which I won't make time for now.

I confess self-possession in this not-yet-making-time: being most interested in what contributed to my project development (now getting on with that), less interested in validating that publically. For the sake of manageability (given time), I should take a small part of the essay that's undergone major revision, introduce the background to that, and do the sorting through of differences for that paragraph (or set of paragraphs). That's the issue of "publication" (in this trivial sense of doing things publically). But my prevailing interest is the pre-public [re]searching (that keeps folding into itself as furthering the research).

Anyway, what I've done will surely get woven into other writing that I do link to soon, but there I may or may not indicate relationship to the revision of JH's essay—though, let me be very clear: I do not use Habermas' formulations without honoring him with due credit, let alone failing to cite him when I'm quoting his words. I'm devoted to the virtue of due credit. I have to say that because I am so influenced by his work.

Ultimately, I go my own way, relative to Habermas-in-English, which (apart from the rather trivial German-English issue) is to have appropriated his thinking in very new contexts, in my own way, making me a "Habermasian" that Habermas himself might regard ambivalently. Accordingly, I can't not do that discussion of his essay, one way or another. But I have to be led by my own project, which tends to go further from Habermas' thinking, rather than nearer (moving apart from "his" issues, rather than staying near). After all, I'm not him; and moreover, I feel receding importance of his work for the future of philosophy and for the foundation of human sciences, thus for my own development, which is fundamentally a conceptual prospecting.

The prevailing importance for me is philosophical: the [re]search for conceptual insight, with preference for new research (e.g., in cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary science, developmental psychology) for integration into my own long-ongoing conceptual experiments, rather than mainly appropriating Habermas' 20th-century inspirations to that work.

Anyway, this prospecting (above) of undone public discussion is a beginning of that!

October 15, 2006

Toward a good metagenealogy on the genesis of learning

Appropriations posting

Oct. 10

I just now read the last part of Habermas' new essay on free will, naturalism, etc., which was a very personal experience, as I've been searching to clarify a "genealogy" covering all those "conceptual levels" (p.42) for some time. I recognize (and, I believe, well appreciate) his view of the condition of inquiry now (early 21st century), and I ambitiously anticipate a "natural genealogy of the mind [that is fated to be] a self-referential project" (ibid.) that in no sense "fall[s] back into metaphysics." Dare I say I'm getting close?

Yes, "it must remain uncompromising in its orientation to empirical science" (ibid.), while staying true to the manifold complex of relevant genealogicalities, so to speak, that may generatively integrate into (as) the evolutionarity of ongoing inquiry: evolving "universal" discourse, associating here to the evolution of science as singularity—ongoing for our self-designing form of life; and intending to contribute—hopefully in leading ways—to durable global human development, as cosmopoly, as self-designing flourishing, etc.

"[T]he genesis of the learning mind itself" (ibid.) becomes a discourse on genesis within the generativity of multidomainal inquiry. It can only be a long and difficult story that effects more inquiry.

Oct. 14

I'm very actively working through the paper, from its middle (at section IV) toward the end, after reading (without working through the argument) from the beginning to section IV. By "working through," I mean treating the paper as a draft discussion that I revise as I go along, in order to make the essay better (in light of my earlier Habermasian engagement with the same issues that JH is now engaging). The experience is like having a colleague I've known a long time send me a draft of his own results in research that we've both (coincidently) been doing; and, since (in the case of Habermas' essay) I'm so deeply influenced by the master in the first place, I'm able to revise the discussion.

A thrill of this is that, being unaware of what he has written in the upcoming paragraph (since I'm working with the document as I go along in first reading), I have revised a paragraph to be a better argument and found that my revision still allows that point of the essay to lead smoothly into his next paragraph as having strengthened the argument he was on the way to making.

For example, I've inserted points about contemporary research in philosophy of mind that expands his point against materialism, in biological terms that he didn't employ, which results in a different upshot for the enhanced paragraph, but then I find that his upcoming biological point is much strengthened, though his point is more limited than what my revision allows; so, I can revise that paragraph, too, to retain his point while enhancing the essay's argument.

This kind of collaborative endeavor gradually makes his discussion a draft in a collaborative writing project which goes beyond what he's doing, but in close accord with the argument he wants to make. This is something I'm very experienced at doing. It will probably result in critical points later in divergence from JH's argument. For example, I would make a case, in terms of my revisions, for the indeterminacy of the universe (Is this Nida-Rümelin's "underdetermination of higher emergent levels by physicalist laws" [32]?), which bolsters the integrity of intelligible self-determinability (rendering determinism a false thesis in the first place, thus the compatibilism problem a pseudoproblem). Is that contrary to JH's apparent acceptance of the "causal closure" of the universe (the determinist premise) that compels a hermeneutic of openness (or is he just going along with the determinist problematic as a matter of critical inquiry)? Indeed, I am in the middle of his argument, and I'm not reading ahead of where I'm working.

Anyway, I think that a better sense of the openness of intelligible self-determinability can be explicated in terms of the indeterminacy of causality (from quantum level through complexity of hybridization across and within systems levels of emergent properties) and in terms of the evolutionarily emergent determinability of choice in action, thereby posing intelligent life not against a deterministic universe; rather as self-determiningly (in the long run) emergent (albeit disentropically) from indeterminacy of an evolving universe (or "the life of the cosmos," as theoretical physicist Lee Smolin and others would put it). I suspect that JH takes a similar view, because my view in self-differentiation from his (during a first-thinking process with a new text of his) tends to anticipate his closing view, which wouldn't surprise me, given his influence on my thinking in the first place. It's just all so much fun!

Accordingly, we think that intelligible design is an emergent potential of life on this planet. Thus appreciation of emergent design in the evolving universe is an emergent prospect for an intelligible planet in such a universe (where laws of physics may be relatively regional—the ascendent sense of "multiple universes" with anthropic regions). Yes, I tend to find the anthropic perspective plausible (so, too, some leading theoretical physicists in recent years, beyond the dismissal of anthropic hypothesization before the notion of multiple universes came to make sense). Appreciation of emergent design in the knowable universe is a "destiny" of intelligent life, as we are just now (the past few decades) discovering, amid stars much, much older than ours in "Our" galaxy Of the Local Region, that intelligible design is not prior to order but emergent from it (as if a god outside all the universes threw some "marbles" of possible physics and has no idea which relatively Big Bangs led to universalistically-relative intelligent life in some of each's regions—and couldn't care less). So, we evolve toward competence for Contact with the Archive left by other forms of intelligent life who die away and pick up the evolving Archive, contribute to it, die away, and it goes on, like a self-determining cosmic Internet. In the meantime, we make the meaning that we are (spinning tropes like "self-determining cosmic Internet," so reflective of where we are in evolution), as ultimately self-designing form of life (that will spin an interstellar communications netweave?). We die away and leave archives. Life goes on, forgetting, retrieving, building, dwelling, thinking.

Oct. 15

9:50 PM: Just back from my usual, rather strenuous evening trek, in light of having finished (about 30 minutes ago) revising the second half of Habermas' essay.

What can I say briefly? That it's a much better essay now than it was? Yes. I can say that the beautiful kindredness of collaborative thinking is elating to recall—not involving overt critique (except tacitly as revision), rather being an improvement?, a deepening?, an enriching of his case, much beyond his own, now our better case for a philosophical cognitive science that is evolutionarily embedded—a case, I hope, he would enjoy.

[March 29, 2009: Oct. 2006, this posting was based on the copy of the essay presented by Habermas at a NYU symposium. That text was published in 2007. The above discussion was slightly revised and links updated, in view of the 2007 publication.]

October 09, 2006

"logos" of planetary evolution

Appropriations posting

"Logos in humanity" is a relatively spontaneous exemplification of secular conciliation with religious thinking, associating to Habermas' March, 2006, lecture "Religion and the Public Sphere" (PDF).

My discussion presumes the reader's familiarity with Pope Benedict's lecture—so, outside that presumption, my chain of themes would probably seem ill-conceived. Actually, though, I'd defend the integrity of the spontaneity as draftwork in Appropriative thinking that's not spontaneous at all, associating to the hermeneutical care for the text exhibited by Heidegger's exercises in "poetic thinking," following his deconstruction of Logos in the neo-Platonic tradition of Latinate metaphysicalism whose Veritas caused "withdrawal of the gift" of Alétheia, i.e. (for evolutionary Time, true "postmodernity"): enowning Emergence.

"Logos" is accordingly a keynote of Heideggerian thinking (in its deconstructive mode), as epochal conceptuality to be read, rather than structure to be advanced as Latinate legacy. Accordingly, the Catholic advocacy of a "Logos," in my discussion of Joseph's lecture, is read (albeit preliminarily), rather than simply adopted (let alone advocated—rather, the hermeneutical engagement is advocated). Situating thinking as commensurable with Catholic Logos—an ensitation of "Logos" (with Derridean marks) as Logos—explores a way to begin, rather than complete, a way of thinking with Christianity. What's "divine" in this belongs to a potentially-rigorous discourse of philosophical art, in which (by which, through which) any theological sense of 'divinity' may be read. In such reading, ultimate validity is evolutionary, as religion is a culturally evolutionary advent of humanity's sojourn of self-designing intelligent life.

That's quite a conceptual complex I just indicated: "humanity's sojourn of self-designing intelligent life"—in which extended advents E-vent, emerge, as if "stemming" Of human evolutionarity (which should "sound" odd).

There is no the Logos here, though It Is—it's singularity—for metaphysicalist mind.

What's the plural, logoi? Let's say, since logos was Greek for 'lecture' and plural lectures were called logoi. Benedict's logos to the university about Logos—God-in-reason—apparently simulates—as any brief lecture must—appropriating Logos in a logos—of Catholic rhetoric (in the classical sense of 'rhetoric').

But Logos is no mere lectural representation for Christian reason as such. As God is to be brought back into His apparent order of freedom (Benedict's point against Duns Scotus), so Logos is to be unconcealed in reason (Benedict, speaking from and to the southern Germany that had borne a hidden king) calls for retrieval of Unconcealing in-and-through reason. God of many faces is manifold singularity in capability of reason (humanly as capability of thinking—hermeneuin unto itself).

What, then, is the plurality of the plural Logos beyond metaphysicalism?—a discursivity of inquiry into such a question?—questioning of capbility for manifolding singularity (or integrating comprehensive comprehension of manifolding)? As there is no mere cultural relativity to the science that gains a Nobel Prize (in a universe with organic molecules wandering between stars governed by the same physicality for eons before Earth formed itself); and the university (as such, as form of intelligent life) is a planetary emergence, so any "logos" of planetary evolution emerges in the endless logoiing, in fractalic Singularity, yet, in a sense, pointillistically evolving by way of endeavors of comprehending comprehensively (or so aiming, with fateful but generative unsatisfactoriness, like the convergent realism of science itself) that may communicatively aggregate as some direction—some telic cohering—one may think admirably advocable or good or progressive—and so name.