EPILOGUE for Truth Value
By Dr. Angell O. de la Sierra, Esq.
These farewell notes are meant to briefly question what roles emotional mental states may play, if any, on your ability to dig deep into the abstract representational world in search of ideas to correlate with the situation being analyzed and identify the best alternatives to choose from. I tried to outline and discuss this issue in the last two chapters of my Volume III. I had been enormously stressed by family problems. My dear ex-wife Judy was not improving after her breast cancer had come back with a vengeance. I was getting ready to donate a kidney to my older son. My youngest daughter was having family problems and my oldest daughter left our house in Deltona to join her sister in North Carolina. I had to get my mind busy to avoid being mentally crushed by my own emotional feelings. Deep concentration isolates you temporarily from your existential problems. Besides which, I had been for some time preparing for retirement from academia; I would spend time synthesizing my ideas on reality and consciousness. I thought I could integrate data from inherited genetic DNA memory, perceptual sensory input, acquired memetic memory, conceptual inferential input (based on language processing), and the associated emotional mind state, all into one comprehensive hybrid biopsychosocial (BPS) physical/metaphysical package. It would embrace the physical ontological and metaphysical epistemological, and fuse them together with the quasi-deterministic glue of quantum theory, leaving room for free will and a credible explanation for self-consciousness. A big project, indeed! I would leave out my Catholic religion, because I was convinced I could use the same arguments non-believers use to prove my point, and be more convincing thereby. Somehow, I had to escape the classical dogma that only the human mind, sensations, and rationality constituted the exclusive cognitive faculty. I had to find out what was in between, e.g., how the sense-phenomenal perceptual was coded into general neuronal network representations, expressing the universality of otherwise direct, singular objects/events immediately present in the environmental niche, and also how the conceptual was coded into general neuronal network representations expressing the indirect, mediate attributions, explanations about their meaning to the body economy in the BPS spectrum. The search for meaning was to be found with the aid of language and sentential or symbolic logic representations, making possible the cogeneration of self-consciousness and the associated emotional mental state, corresponding to the particular judgment. The interactivity relation between the sense-phenomenal (internal/external) input, genetic/memetic memory input, and their associated emotional mental state is critical. Ideally, each input would be dynamically and globally integrated, and the resulting package would be dynamically updated and retrieved from cortical spaces on short notice, as our adaptive judgment on a given contingency. Sensibility to the body-proper internal and the environmental external, as a bottom-up process, would now include not only sense-phenomenal interoceptors, exteroceptors, and proprioceptors but also quantum electromagnetic energy absorbers. The top-down process of understanding the meaning entailed the possible emergence of self-consciousness with the help of an inner proto-language, generated as a forerunner of language processing.
The common denominator behind all these speculations was what, in my opinion, had escaped the imagination of most of my colleagues: the realization that both the perceptual, bottom-up and the conceptual, top-down processes are severely limited in their capacity of resolution in our human species. Thus, when making judgment about optimal adaptive spatiotemporal responses to important contingencies, we can no longer have certainty about the truth-value of our input or output content or meaning, respectively; we only have probabilities. We have no choice but to satisfy that human innate curiosity about origins and destiny, and make mental representations of that micro sub-Planckian and macro cosmological invisibilities with the aid of metaphysical epistemological logic tools and cross our fingers. Ergo, the ontology value of an un-aided scientific methodology is complemented and supplemented by epistemology, because understanding and sensibility are both subserved by the faculty of modeling with a hybrid epistemic-ontological approach, which I had promised myself to develop. Thus, incomplete in the absolute sense, the practical reason that Kant defended must be now reinterpreted to include evolving explanations on the structure/function of the invisible, non-existential reality that includes theological and physicalist faiths. The cognitive processing undertaken by the rational faculty depends on the quality of the bottom-up information to produce the logical inferences underlying our top-down modal judgments, hopefully consistent and coherent, within the context of our biopsychosocial existential reality. And this is necessarily reflected in our evolving legal codes and constitutions. It is clear that the self-conscious affirmation of one’s existence, the “I” as actor and observer, is situated at the executive vortex where all relevant perceptual/conceptual representations converge as the synthesis of the several semantic constituents of that cognition into the high-order cognitive singularity of a cortical premotor attractor space ready to be consciously chosen to activate the corresponding muscles or glands into action. How these primitive neural representations become further represented in the form of a priori logical constructs, assembled within the existential circumstance and ongoing mental state of the subject, and made available for free will access and choice may be outside the reach of rational tools. I anticipated much trouble examining what I consider the most crucial human cognitive faculty, that of making judgments. The most difficult will doubtless be explaining the induction or cogeneration of self-consciousness with the language faculty, and understanding the cooperative role between classical synaptic and electromagnetic quantum processing.
It is a new logical world we are all witnessing. The comfort of the quotidian existence under the Boolean world of truth or falsity and certainty has now evolved into the stressful uncertainty of a probabilistic world, where disjunctive and conditional statements always enter the decision-making process to preserve the truth-functional structure of logical reasoning. Many of us out there whose hobby is to model reality have to always keep in focus that our most serious brainstorm pronouncements are necessarily inferences on representations and never descriptions of observable reality. In the bottom-up phase, our brains represent inner and outer objects and events as inputs for linguistic processing into other types of metaphysical logic representations; the top-down outputs are only inferences representing a mediate cognition of that original object/event. Our particular judgment on a given situation, i.e., our opinion, is thereby the resultant of representations of previous representations until one final concept binds many representations, and worse, many concepts may comprise a single representation. Our judgments, far from being objective, are inferential and subjective. This is the best our species can offer in matters of cognitive certainty. Subjectivity combined with innate curiosity about our species’ origin and destination makes room for beliefs and faiths, theological or not. I had much difficulty marketing this unpopular idea among non-theists. No less difficult was my attempt at developing a convincing formulation, where I had to settle for the cogeneration of language processing and self-consciousness as just a convenient explanation for invisible processes, outside my limits of corroboration regarding the details.
Marketing these concepts to multidisciplinary audiences is most difficult, especially when dealing with theoretical physicists and mathematicians, who would not accept that their physicalist constructs are in themselves “beliefs” not radically different from classical-symbolic or sentential-logic representations, leading to belief-type theological “propositions.” The latter can be as fallible and uncertain as the former and, considering the intended influence in social conviviality, may be considered as subjectively necessary and sufficient defeasible/revokable propositions. Ultimately, both are the result of unconscious genetic and subconscious memetic processing of bottom-up inputs (from internal and external objects or events) into neuronal network representations, including their assignment of agreed-upon language-related label descriptions or attributions, predicated on their size, shape, color, etc., to be followed by conceptual elaborations, predicated on those or related previous representations of the same objects/events. At this level, the functional copula subject-predicate (object/event description or action, e.g., table is red, chair is moving) allows the formation of logical language rules, according to which judgments are expressed in a logical syntactic and semantic form necessary for communication in a given language. Ergo, both mathematically-induced propositions and theologically-induced beliefs are ultimately inferences about an invisible world, derived from the use and application of pure laws of logic, and expressed in a predicative copular format (subject-predicate, modal-conditional). Coetaneous with the modifications leading to the final structuring, according to truth-functional value considerations, a self-conscious identification with such circumstantial consideration ensues. In this respect, I took issue with Chomsky’s syntactic-semantic vector in formulating sentential logic as being the opposite vector, based on the primacy of the innate primitive biological self-preservation imperative “meanings” (“intension”) controlling syntax considerations, the details of which depend on the idiosyncrasies of the adopted language structure. Curiously, the actors behind the recent advances in technology have given low priority to issues only capable to be expressed in modal or conditional logic formats, especially when the brain’s emotional states, resisting logical formulations, exert a causal influence on the outcome of a decision to act or not. Somehow physical theoreticians seem to conveniently ignore the inexorable presence of the real-life existentialist component (emotions) in every significant human judgment. Unfortunately, it is not so much about the legitimacy of a rational, truth-valued, unified composite of objective, meaningful, and relevant parts defining a claim about the ideal world, as much as it is about how the lonely leader with a given emotional mental state circumstance will translate into the needs of the society he/she represents vis-à-vis his/her own. The logically structured, semantically well-arranged, truth-valued judgment representing the best legal, moral, biological, psychic, and social interests of a collective is only a goal in clear controversy with the bio-psychosocial needs of the individualized components of the collective. All propositional “facts” or theological “beliefs” are of necessity inferences about the visible and invisible aspects of existential reality, life inside an epistemic-ontological hybrid reality we cannot escape from. Ergo, existential reality does not equate with objective reality. The former is an acceptable, subjective constraint of reality in se, whose absolute truth and meaningful values are only apparent. On the other hand, how accurate and “objective” can the human brain representations of objects/events be? Especially when further constrained by the imposed linguistic compositionality in which they must be expressed in both inner and reported proto-rational syntax/semantic straitjackets. “Objective judgments” thus elaborated are not to be confused with the symbolic or sentential logic truth of their representations, as materialists/physicalists would have us believe, logical consistency being a necessary but insufficient outcome. Symbolic or sentential logic representations of the invisibility of the noumenal or cosmological reality can be rationally intelligible, yet truth-valueless. Truth is a goal to be achieved as we travel the sinuous path along an evanescent asymptotic line. Consequently, we can only have opinions on the probable value of our representations of an invisible reality, and this is as close as we can go about knowing the truth of our reality. We can only aim at an isomorphic correspondence between the structure/function of an object/event and the symbolic/sentential logic representation as expressed in a syntactic/semantic copula we call an “intensional” explanation or opinion, not a description which we reserve for sense-phenomenal entities. This means that the brain cannot produce absolute truths, whether they be analytical (in differentiating) or synthetic (in integrating) representations before (a priori) or after (a posteriori) the empirical facts. For men and rabbits, all empirically-based, synthetic a posteriori judgments are the result of subconscious processing, and can, in theory, be programmed in a computer. They relate more to the guarantee of biological survival of the species, as they interact with a potentially hostile phenomenological environment with limited necessary resources. At the exclusively human level, where psychosocial considerations become part of the human species survival equation, we have to resort to brain representations of the chaos of sensations, and access an innate language faculty to classify, sort, combine, permute, and parse to extract the meaning of an otherwise atemporal, acausal, and asymmetric reality in se. Genetic and memetic memories of past and present provide the bottom-up input of coded representations, to evolve probable alternatives of adaptive responses to future contingencies, to be freely chosen by consent from dynamic cortical attractor spaces. In the process, both language and self-consciousness are cogenerated. The participation of the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, and limbic system in the formulation and synthesis of the representations (in harmony with natural law) into cortical phase spaces has to be detailed and remains a great challenge to cage into a credible formulation. The materialist/physicalist need not be challenged by a hybrid epistemic-ontological model of reality because, as Kant admonished, conceptual thoughts without perceptual meaningful content (“intensions”) are empty, just as pure physical ontology without metaphysical epistemology is blind. The indelible complementary/supplementary and semantic interactivity of the perceptual and conceptual (ontological and epistemological) is essential for an existential cognitive act to take place, because neither senses can conceptualize, nor rationality can sense.
However, all human species limitations in perceptual/conceptual resolution being considered, it is fair to say that there may be conceptual meanings without rational underpinnings (intuitions) or perceptual experiences that resist expression as logical constructs (revelations). Should they be considered empty, bogus, or meaningless and denied cognitive status? Just like quantum theory, nowadays the best “scientific methodology,” cannot qualify as objectively valid, it is nonetheless rationally intelligible about the invisibility of a sub-Planckian reality containing massless “objects!” Theological/theist experiences, though, cannot be combined with ontological measurements to generate quasi-objective valid arguments, as is the case with brain dynamics modeling. Recorded history and human experience of negentropy have validated the anthropocentric, self-referential, non-conceptual intuitions we know as religious beliefs. The Cartesian type of truth, preferred by materialists, would leave no room for scientific or religious beliefs, in that it requires the actual sense-phenomenal verification of the object/event being precisely reduced to symbolic/sentential representations in its physical absence. Beliefs, by and large, are defeasible and subject to evolutionary modifications. Moderation requires that belief be subjectively and objectively sufficient and coherent with sets of other beliefs. In theory, propositions may be false, yet believers (theoretical physicists or mystics) can demonstrate that their conviction is operationally justified, until revoked in the lab or the social ecosystem niche. The embodied finitude of the human species condition justifies more cognitive flexibility. And this includes a consideration of the inseparability of the human emotional affect at all stages during the elaboration of a final judgment, a very difficult element to include/formulate into the equation. The judging capacities of existential human beings in their circumstantial milieu cannot be ignored by self-serving purists. I hope this emphasis on human existential realities is not construed as a free-willing Sartrian type of existentialism. It simply means that the formulation of Fodorian “propositional attitudes” has to emphasize sense-phenomenal content at the expense of self-serving logical format. For the purpose of communication, we need to categorize ongoing sense-phenomenal perceptions within the framework of an agreed-upon universal a priori referential, which will provide guiding rules for the evaluation of objective truth content, freed, when possible, from irrelevant modal or affective “non sequiturs,” reminiscent of the Kantian “Categorical Imperatives” controlling the participation of fallacies and moral sins in the formulation of propositions. It may be necessary to psychologize modality in the structure of the subject-predicate copula to help identify the semantic content of a judgment. It is difficult to distinguish propositional attitudes from logic modalities. A predicate monadic logic concentrating on “intensional” content is valuable, yet insufficient for our limited purposes of a brain quantum dynamics model. We like to leave open the possibility of an interesting dualistic cooperation, mentioned in the last paragraph.
It is important to realize that, because human existential reality is in the brain, an understanding of its dynamics must start with the raw data of sense-phenomenal impressions, in the style of empiricist philosophy. These sensory impressions are limited in conveying information about the structure/function of existential reality. To compensate for ontological deficiencies in resolution, we need to complement/supplement the paucity of facts with an epistemological rationalist approach, based on credible, probable, but defeasible/revokable metasensorial facts, as found in metaphysical logic propositional representations. After all, cognitions arise not only from sensory data but also from innate genetic memories, acquired memetic memories, or a combination thereof. The epistemological component of the “hybrid” approach I am suggesting will accommodate whatever logical procedure is available that brings you the closest to an original sense-phenomenal description. This may take the cognitive format of substituting the invisible “form” for its visible “effects.” This transition from a sensory “description” (what) to an inferred “explanation” (how) as an acceptable identification has two modes, in order of reliability: logical and natural supervenience between the invisible object/event X and the credible manifestation of its inferred presence by logical induction or a measurable effect Y. How does invisible X determine or relate to Y? Ideally, one can isolate X with logic but not in nature. X will causally determine Y if and only if X features are necessary and sufficient to generate Y features so that changes of form or semantic content in Y will cause corresponding changes in X. In brain dynamics studies, we have only a limited number of ways of establishing the relationship between the X variable of interest (e.g., anger, interest, inhibition/activation, etc.) and Y, a measured physiological (increased circulation, metabolism, electrical activity, etc.) or behavioral (crying, laughing, etc.) effect, as a function of controlled input (sensory/environmental or spoken/semantic) by the investigator. When these a posteriori cognitive responses are elicited in the absence of sensory impressions, we suspect they respond to innate or unidentified a priori input. So long as mathematics is a valuable language tool to represent objects/events, semantic judgments, a priori or not, depend on their original tangible content and not on the language tool. It should also be noticed that sensory modalities are neutral, and only the circumstantial reality of the actor can give them meaning, as registered in the output/behavior.
I had previously been warned about the technological explosion of the post-computer, late 20th-century age, and the cognitive stranglehold theoretical particle physicists had on controlling the evolution of science and natural philosophy into the 21st century. I always like to stand on solid firm grounds before my mind soars into the virtual domain of open-ended abstractions. In real life, a good car mechanic may be more important than a physics professor specializing in automotive mechanics, when it comes to fixing a damaged real car. In the study of consciousness, we have many problems to solve in the brain, even before we understand how it works. Theorizing about how the mind processes sensory input and executes an adaptive solution transcends the immediate and sets the strategy for solving ALL putative and related problems that may arise. Still, the hands-on knowledge of a mechanic/professional about the structure/function of the car/brain is required. When, upon retirement, you work alone on mind/body relationships, neither the bright logic mathematician nor the skilled neurosurgeon will be satisfactory, unless you go multidisciplinary and constantly fear spreading yourself too thin. This is better than knowing everything about the computer formulations applicable to brain dynamics by studying more and more about less and less, until asymptotically you know everything about nothing! Needing to escape my emotional pain, I took the hard multidisciplinary way. This decision required choosing the logical foundations of my “existential” approach. My conclusions would hopefully be falsifiable in the laboratory (by measurements) and/or verifiable on the metaphysical logic desk. Ideally, my judgments on self-consciousness would be of the synthetic a posteriori variety, leaving to mathematicians the analytic a priori computer processing of their symbolic/sentential logic representations, which do not require familiarity with structural/functional aspects of e.g., the amygdala, hippocampus, or cortical columns. Likewise, knowing about them but not knowing what to do with them, other than excising them or injecting some specific medication when injured, was not the solution either. We had to develop a hybrid approach, combining respective contributions into one whole unit, the epistemic-ontological unit. We needed a synthetic a posteriori modus operandi, based principally on empirical or contingent results of varying degrees of generality. Our species’ sense-phenomenal resolution limits underdetermine sensory impressions as to their truth-value and semantic content. Consequently, the resulting judgments are based on empirical, not a priori, intuitions. The logical truths of analytic judgments include those possible noumenal worlds in which human experience is impossible. Their semantic content is not sensory-based, but conceptual.
It is important that we learn more about brain dynamics, about how we humans make decisions on important and relevant bio-psychosocial (BPS) issues that control the quality of our quotidian and intellectual lives, because human rationality is essentially oriented towards making continuous adjustments to optimize the outcomes of our interactivity with changing environmental influences beyond our control. Because of the self-evident biological imperative for survival of the human species, as witnessed by the spontaneous, unconscious, servo-controlled adjustments, our efforts are biased towards an anthropocentric focus, sustained primarily by meaningful and trustworthy empirical/referential data inputs. Hence, the emphasis on formulating our judgments based on synthetic a posteriori propositions, especially when analyzing the relevant psychosocial aspects of existence, where the results may not necessarily be applicable in all possible worlds. This is not meant to stop the search for universal synthetic a priori truths as a goal, when budgetary priorities are assigned. If nothing else, we unavoidably come to the conclusion that, beyond sensory phenomena, a complex structured reality “exists” that resists being reduced to logical representations. This is an entity all languages explain as being caused by an “intelligent design” without being committed to a spatiotemporal description. While natural philosophies are systematically built upon propositions whose bottom-up inputs originate from directly referential sensory attributions, perceptual data, or their conceptualized representations, our innate self-conscious faculties generate a higher-order unity that requires the consideration of an “intelligent design,” as history and negentropic order testify to. Is there a non-rational or proto-rational consciousness that transcends existential reality? Quære!
One often wonders why anyone would insist on continuing to spend precious family time trying to explain things like life, consciousness, language acquisition and processing, brain neuronal representations of information, and their translation into inner and reportable language, etc. Is it not better to spend unpaid time during retirement in sports and entertainment or at the bar? Why this almost obsessive-compulsive search for explanations about an invisible world at both ends of a quasi-infinite spectrum? Does the mind hallucinate when burdened with an oversupply of gray matter? I also mean hallucinations on messianic ambitions or on controlling minds for universal or self-serving benefit. I never paid much attention to this slow but unrelenting drive to analyze, scrutinize, and forever find a reason or explanation for anything and everything that moves or not. This is enough to drive normal persons out of their minds, to witness on a daily basis. If not, ask my pretty wife Suzi, always solving problems in perpetual motion along the fast track of existence. All of which makes me think about what proportion of doers and thinkers society needs for survival. Can Volusia County survive without auto mechanics…? No! Can it survive without experts in classical mechanics theory…? Definitely yes! Should people be free to choose their hobbies after retirement? Some choose bar hopping, bed hopping, golf playing, lawn landscaping, stamp collecting, or music playing. Others choose reading, writing, cooking, or travelling. What could be wrong with marrying your computer in a joint search for invisible objects to be arbitrarily represented with letters, numbers, or words so that you can now play with them using arbitrary but convenient rules of play? Should that be considered a hobby or psychopathological behavior? Should we be saved from psychic self-destruction…?
Finally, we anticipate that future conceptual developments will consider abandoning the frustrating efforts of reconciliation/harmonization between the physical brain and metaphysical mind domains, and declare them instead “…independent, non-interacting worlds, and just consider how cooperatively we can synchronize their independent ‘activities’ so that, epistemologically, by becoming ‘entangled’ we can formulate an algorithm explaining how we transform the non-linear physical world into the linear sequence of events that our senses functionally experience as reality. Enter a conceptual ‘time,’ this time as an ‘emergent’ phenomenon. We do this by manipulating tensor space mathematics to cancel the effects of the temporal asymmetry nature tries to impose on us. We leave out the mathematical elaboration of the possible formulations for future discussions.”
Dr. Angell O. de la Sierra, Esq. Deltona, Florida Taken from “Neurophilosophy of Consciousness.”, Vol. III