KARL JASPERS FORUM
TA 122 (Müller)
Commentary 2 (to R2 by Müller)
( EMBODIMENT AND REIFICATION )
by Harwood Fisher
23 February 2009, posted 28 February 2009
[ HF: MY RESPONSE IS IN CAPS ]
HFJM:  Because the mind creates and modifies its structures actively and concurrently within ongoing experience, thinking cannot be confined to already-structured algorithmic processes.
SUCH A METAPHYSICAL POINT OF VIEW SEEMS TO RESOLVE AN ANTINOMY. BUT THE MIND' DENOTES AN ONTOLOGICAL ENTITY -- FROM WHATEVER PERSPECTIVE. ACCORDINGLY, ONCE AN EPISTEMICS COURTS AN ONTOLOGICAL POSITION, ANTIMONY REARS ITS HEAD. IN THIS CASE, THE RESULT IS INCOHERENCE BECAUSE THE SET — OR CATEGORY -- OF MIND IS CLEARLY SUBJECT TO RUSSELL'S PARADOX OR SOME VARIANT OF IT.
'THE MIND'AS AN ENTITY CAN BE ENCOMPASSING, BUT EVEN FROM ITS 'POINT OF VIEW' OR POINT OF INCLUSION, IF IT INCLUDES ITSELF, IT EXCLUDES ALL POINTS OF ITS ORIGIN -- WHICH, EVEN IF ONE WANTED TO BE CHARITABLE AND NOT INVOLVE ONTOLOGICAL STATEMENTS, WOULD HAVE TO INVOLVE MORPHOLOGICAL CONSTRAINTS. ONE OF THESE CONSTRAINTS WOULD BE THE LOGIC OF EXCLUSION OR THE POSIT OF A COMPLEMENTARY SET, SUCH AS THAT WHICH WOULD NOT BE ENCOMPASSED.
ALL OF THE ABOVE DOES NOT DENY CONSTRUCTIONISM; IT SIMPLY SAYS THAT THE VERSION OF CONSTRUCTIONISM, WHICH PROFFERS BOTH GENESIS AND EPIGENESIS OFFERS A LESS INCOHERENT MODEL.
HFJM:  The described metaphysical (materialist) opinions have had a great influence on 20th century scientific thinking; for example in the behavioural psychology of Watson and Skinner (the latter was much influenced by Russell) : subjective experience was rejected as unscientific. Despite later corrections, this influence persists, and the denial of subjectivity continues in the literature on the mind-brain relation, on ‘analytic metaphysics’ (see discussion of TA110), and on ‘embodiment’.
HF: I PRETTY MUCH AGREE; SINCE RADICAL BEHAVIORISM UNLEASHES ANOTHER ANTINOMY. WHILE ONE CAN ARGUE THAT AN 'ENCOMPASSING SUBJECTIVITY' IS NOT SOLIPSISM, ANY WAY OF SHOWING THAT REVERTS TO AN ONTOLOGICAL POSITION AND ESCHEWS THE QUESTIONS OF ORIGIN AND THE CONSTRAINTS, IF NOT OF LOGIC, THEN OF REASONING. THE GENERAL POINT IS TO AVOID A REGRESS AS THE EXPLANATION OF CHOICE WHEN THE QUESTION OF BOUNDS ARISES.
 For instance, Mark Johnson (The Meaning of the Body, 2007, p.58) : ‘ There is no “I”, no single unified executive system that coordinates all of the necessary bodily changes ’ , and ‘ instead of saying that “I” monitor my bodily states, it would be more accurate to say that “my body” (or bodily systems) monitors the ongoing processes within the body, as it interacts with the environment ’ .
 Indeed there is no ready-made I, you have to create it. You are left to your own devices, and you have to make sure that that works properly. And you don’t have to replace your mind by your body. That would be a clear example of inversion of thinking - in which you become a mind-less appendage to your physiology, or else to your own mental tools, to your own products such as what you say (language).
HF: HERE COME THE REIFICATIONS -- ON BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE. I AGREE THAT JOHNSON'S STATEMENTS THERE MASH THINGS DOWN SO THAT THE LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE QUESTIONS OF AGENCY ARE INADEQUATELY AND ILLOGICALLY HANDLED. BUT THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN A 'PROTO-SELF' OR SENSE OF 'ME' AND THE 'I' WHILE INVOLVING A HEFTY DEPENDENCE ON CONCEPTS OF CONSTRUCTION, MAKE LITTLE SENSE WITHOUT WORKING IN ASSUMPTIONS OF BOUNDS -- WHETHER IN CLASSICATORY CONCEPTIONS OR IN CATEGORICAL DISTINCTIONS, REPLETE WITH THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE LOGIC NECESSARY FOR THOUGHT AND ITS EVALUATION.
HFJM:  Experience is something you do (a process, in Whitehead’s expression); its structures emerge (or at least should emerge) as needed within it while doing; they are not there without our structuring.
HF: WHILE I DON'T THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO AGREE, I'LL RESPOND SINCE THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL POINT OF VIEW IS TOO OFTEN MISCAST AND ESCHEWED. WE SURELY APPERCEIVE AND STRUCTURE, BUT WE ALSO 'NOTICE' OUR STRUCTURING. (PEIRCE'S POINT). HENCE, THERE ARE BOUNDS WITHIN BOUNDS, AND SOME ARE NOT THOSE WE NOTICE OR CAN EVALUATE. IT IS INTERESTING TO CONSIDER 'ORIGIN' OF CONSTRAINTS AS BOUNDS TO THE CONCEPTION OF MIND AS ENCOMPASSING--IF NOT, FALLACIES OF THOUGHT GET INTERMINGLED WITH AN ONTOLOGICAL POSIT.
HFJM:  The recent discussions (for instance by Fisher and Moodey) about ‘reification’ (thing-ification) and ‘construction’ in embodiment are not clear to me, and I would appreciate explanation, concerning the metaphysics-ontology aspect
HF: I HOPE MY POINT IS CLEAR, BUT I FEAR WE WON'T AGREE. WHEN YOU SAY THAT
HFJM: The real alternative is : imagined pre-structured subject-exclusive metaphysics versus active subject-inclusive structuring.
HF: I SEE YOUR ALTERNATIVE AS ONTOLOGICALLY LOADED AND HEADED TOWARD THE PROBLEMS I OUTLINED ABOVE.
e-mail < harwoodfisher (at) optonline.net>