The Need for an Epistemontological Perspective on Existential Reality Analysis.
(“Clearly there is more to the classical analysis and knowledge of existential reality than the restricted standards of evidence and justification which are most accurately and explicitly represented by metaphysical logic tools and most successfully implemented in the natural sciences.” Dr.d)
There have been some linguistic purists that have challenged the characterization of our biopsychosocial model of brain dynamics (BPS) as ‘epistemontological’ and misleading. In Vol. II of “Neurophilosophy of Consciousness, an Epistemontological View of Reality” http://delasierra-sheffer.net/ID7-BPS-info/ID7-BPS-info/index.htm we said: “…….Natural language continues to play, in our opinion, a leading role in the formulation and explanation of what is alleged by cosmologists (and other brainy poets) to be a conformation and functioning of the all encompassing global consciousness. We still hope to identify that missing link connecting the sense-phenomenal ontology (of the perceptually falsifiable observations in objects and events, by external or internal sense receptors) and the corresponding abstract epistemology (of the conceptual, mathematical/modal-logic maps) of the experienced existential reality. A tautological, epistemontological hybrid model of reality would be our biggest contribution to the study of consciousness….we had hoped to give a complete ambitious description of the amygdaloid complex as a natural candidate for the seat of consciousness based primarily, among other things, on its well documented participation (with the hippocampus formation) in coordinating the avoidance reflex responses when humans were confronted with natural life-threatening environmental stimuli. This would arguably take care of the ontological aspect of the hybrid model of reality. As it turns out, the stimulating natural object / event in this case is meaning-neutral, the semantic tag being provided by inherited life-preserving amygdaloidal audio-visual (and other modalities) codelets as modified by experience. We called the amygdaloidal complex the inherited proto-semantic data base. Pursuant to the analysis, we designated the ‘shores’ surrounding the Sylvian fissure (perisylvian area) inter-connecting all sensory inputs traveling into Heschl-Wernicke’s-angular gyrus region and relaying them to Broca’s area (pre-frontal executive cortex), the ‘proto-linguistic organ’ (plo). We labored hard to weave together a meta-linguistic distributed network headquartered at ‘plo’ and modeled to integrate nativist considerations on syntax, semantics, referentials, phonology, truth values, pragmatics, vector space network theory and DNA-encoded language inputs. We even thought we had found the 4-d coordinates for Chomsky’s generative grammar as the same locus for a regenerative semantics, all embodied by the ‘plo’. There we could combine both elements (universal grammar & proto-semantics) and bring to life a comprehensive theory of ‘meaning’ linking linguistic elements such as figures, signs, noises, marks and body movements as different manifestations of a communication urge, mostly reducible in principle to ‘propositional attitudes’ as configured in syntax structure and semantics. We hoped it would represent the beginnings of a veritable truth-conditional theory of meaning of high coherence value. We laid the foundations, based on a reinterpretation of Fodor’s ‘mentalese’ and Piaget’s theory on language acquisition by the newborn as discussed in Volume I http://delasierra-sheffer.net/ID1-Neurophilo-net/index.htm, chapter 5 and elsewhere. We scattered many seeds on fertile grounds to germinate and flourish but still have not found the magic fertilizer concept to make them sprout into a luxuriant independent existence.” We found the classical interpretations of ‘ontology’ and ‘epistemology’ too limiting, as if we humans were reacting to different existential realities exclusive of each other and exclusively guided by reason alone. In the classical ontological view arguments excluded un-coded empirical observations of ongoing, real time existential reality in our 4-d space time reality where emotions often play a decisive role and were instead arguments for the conclusion that God exists, from almost exclusively ‘rational’ analytic a-priori premises and ‘objective’ scriptures sources to sustain it. Sometimes important and relevant, self evident and falsifiable information from vital experiences are ineffable and resist conventional linguistic formulation or coding; are they predictable object and/or future events acquired by revelations?
Likewise, classical epistemology focuses on the reliability of classical information sources in the generation of knowledge and justified beliefs in their perceptual descriptions or inferred explanations. When concerned for the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge they are only considering the classical sense-phenomenal or metaphysical logic representation sources where their structure and limitations are spelled out. The characterization as a justified belief is limited to rational sources amenable to analytic or synthetic tools examination not including emotionally-laden or ineffable intuitions that resist their framing into conventional linguistic formulations for communication purposes. And we ask, why should they be epistemologically ignored as a justifiable source? Epistemology is ultimately about the creation and communication of ALL knowledge that is relevant to the health, happiness and social conviviality of ALL living humans regardless of the source.
We then concluded: “The solution is a synthesis of the falsifiable empirical descriptions with the mathematical logic explanations using the metaphysical tool of quantum theory. This synthetic amalgamation of the perceptual and the conceptual required no less than a modification of both quantum theory and classical logic to accommodate the human ‘free will’ between the indeterministic epistemological explanations and the ontological descriptions of a probable world. Enter the epistemontological model successes and pitfalls as described below”. We now expand further on the justifications for this approach for the benefit of my detractors.
The most important philosophical issues about the human species existential reality, life and consciousness, lie at the triangular intersection of logic, epistemology and ontology. We never understood why these diverse fields within philosophy could not come together as one single philosophical problem when restricted to the discussion of the human species survival in the real time 4-d mesoscopic world. To realize this goal we have to give a corresponding reinterpretation about their inevitable co-relations between them forming what we have called an ‘epistemontological hybrid’. In this response article we will provide the argument/justifications for such -not so novel- approach if we analytically examine the human species condition in its consistent existential goal of attaining biological health, psychic happiness and social acceptance among our contemporary peers, i.e., BPS approach. We will stress where logic, epistemology and ontology overlap as a ‘living’ unit.
We realize that the premises we offer are themselves questionable but we invite anyone able to provide a more objective and credible model. We are talking about the same entity (individualized human being) living in a constantly challenging and changing ecosystem not necessarily consciously chosen/controlled by him according to biological and psycho-social imperatives/drives for self preservation against the body proper and external environmental demands for adaptive solution. Ongoing existential reality is one and exists in the individualized human brain. We argue about different aspects of same human entity and his circumstance which is not the same as when differences involve contentious philosophical ideas such as essence, concept, and meaning such as genetic memory endowment largely under unconscious control, acquired memory experiences largely under subconscious control and most importantly, the ability to make self-conscious choices from existing alternatives with the cooperation of the language machinery as detailed elsewhere. Our approach has important epistemological elements of scientific realism when including the content of our best theories and models about both observable and unobservable aspects of the perceptual/sense phenomenal world described by science methodology without excluding relevant metaphysical and semantic dimensions. It makes no intuitive sense to deny that the ongoing human existential reality is both brain and mind-dependent, i.e., no brain, no conscious mind reality. Why believe that relevant, consistent and important human experiences that cannot be directly observed or measured because of their sub-threshold phenomenal invisibility cannot exist? Why throw in the towel instead of attempting analytical and/or synthetic a-priori/a-posteriori symbolic or sentential representations and extract their epistemological and semantic probability content? Representation problems can be adequately managed by assigning probability scales on their different types. Sense-phenomenal and falsifiable descriptions of experienced objects/events by normal persons under similar circumstances that generate predictable and falsifiable events, including fMRI neuronal activation of otherwise normal subjects of different language backgrounds top the list of reliable beliefs; especially when mathematical logic principles are used, like the ‘law of the excluded middle’. It is much more difficult to consider sub clinical/sub threshold disease manifestations (inherited or acquired) whether subconscious or conscious and deliberately non ethical or amoral. Arguably, these objective controls would take care of conceptual schemes consciously adopted or not. Unfortunately even judgments rooted on model theoretic models carefully controlling all of known indeterministic variables may still be wrong because of the subthreshold dimension of ongoing evolutionary changes in structure and/or function of objects or events under consideration. Last but not least stands the most controversial aspect of the BPS equilibrium model good for any animal and human species in the most primitive state. We have also argued that, thanks to the exclusively human species capacity to introspectively co-generate a self conscious state and thought with the cooperation of an inner language, humans can transcend the subconscious state of other subhumans and linked/entangled with undefined transfinite sources of information and guidance in behalf of the species survival thereby adding a new metaphysical logic dimension to explain the apparent violation of the entropic natural laws that require that the micro and macro complex self evident order we witness cannot be spontaneous lest we revise the natural laws we so much revere. The ‘intelligent designer’ postulate, whatever, whenever or however manifested is required by metaphysical logic analysis and needs no support from theological arguments. This is the best argument we can market about the serious sense-phenomenal (internal body proper and external) and brain combinatorial conceptual limitations of our human species.
We are fully aware of the difficulty of accepting the premise about the cogeneration of language and thought as mediated by the proto language machinery and detailed elsewhere. This way we can communicate to ourselves and others and also achieve the introspective self-conscious state so important in freely willing the best adaptive solution to familiar and new contingencies in the environment that may pose a challenge to the BPS equilibrium dynamics of the ongoing human being or, in addition, consciously negating ourselves self preservation in the altruistic behalf of others. In this respect Wittgenstein provided, in our opinion, a metaphysical “language game” tool with its own individualized criteria for justification by adopting a particular solution tailored to the immediate and/or transcendental needs of the decision maker, one best suited to his particular needs and conveniences, i.e., his existential circumstances (genetic, acquired, etc). This opens the door to subconscious or conscious individualized circumstances, consciously willed or imposed (emotions, disease, deprivations, natural intelligence, etc.) where natural theology, materialism, cults or other forms of beliefs naturally thrive because we need to satisfy the innate drive to explain our origins and destiny according to our intellectual resources and existential experiences. Consequently the Judeo-ChrIslamic “language game” would model the best explanation of the relevant, consistent and falsifiable experiences of the sense-phenomenal invisibilities outside their perceptual threshold for scientific physical characterization and outside the 4-d space time of our existential reality, yet essential as they are at either end of the dimensional spectrum, from the sub-Planckian to the cosmological levels of organization. Organized religious beliefs, including the materialist physicalist faith or equivalent cults depend on recorded or embellished historical ‘facts’ such as the Judeo-ChrIslamic scriptures or other convenient falsifiable experience during the normal, diseased or self-induced hallucinatory mind state. What is important for the preservation of the human species viability is to achieve, maintain and sustain a state of biopsychosocial equilibrium as evolution slowly changes the survival scenario where the metaphysical commitment of the ‘religious belief’ as expressed in the language game credo is consistent with cooperative psychosocial survival during the ongoing and quotidian existential living in mesoscopic reality. It should be noticed that the language game does not exclude serious intellectual enquiry of the curious mind. So we now suggest a new type of ‘constructive empiricism’ by substituting the classical epistemological view that rejects as credible anything unobservable that scientific theories model.
Finally, one additional caveat concerning the ‘language game’ as when the rules of grammar are forced into a mathematical logic straight jacket. We have detailed the Fodorian ‘propositional attitude’ representations elsewhere. They are meant to cogently express human attitudes on beliefs, doubts, sorrows, etc. whose information content is true or false and possesses modal properties such as being necessary, possible or contingent but, we ask, are they still fit to accommodate the expression of factual, abstract, real or imagined entities effectively and still remain propositions?
Many of the problems about the reliability and flexibility of linguistic representations of observed or inferred existential experiences have been solved by the adoption of ‘Bayesian epistemology’ that essentially extends the certainty constraints of deductive logic of mathematical representations to the probable inferences of inductive logic, i.e., extends the justification of the laws of deductive logic to include a justification for the laws of inductive logic by adopting probabilistic and coherence criteria, what is called conditional probability or degrees of confidence. A coherence theory of truth, knowledge or justification supposes that the truth of any (true) proposition consists in its coherence with some specified set of propositions.
Summary and Conclusions:
All things relevant, being hopefully considered above, we prefer to stick to the core concepts of common sense, the importance of individualizing the conclusions on the BPS needs and conveniences of the unit, human being singularity before doing extrapolations about the average unit. Just like considerations on space and time causation, we need to include other relevant non-classical aspects of meaning, reference and truth as discussed. Their relevance should not have to be earned by the reduction of the non-classical sources of information to an allegedly more basic, secure and convenient realm of concepts, e.g., based exclusively on factual experience as represented by symbolic and/or sentential logic language. After all, as Newman pointed out: “…. people made up their minds on non-religious issues and argue that by the same standards religious beliefs were justified.” As a result, he qualified evidentialism by insisting that “an implicit and cumulative argument could lead to justified certainty.” Perceptual ‘facts’ always have an embodiment whether they are veridical, illusory or the result of hallucinations. Part of this problem is that mathematics is incorrectly regarded as a science even though observations or measurements of objects/events existing in space time do not mediate in their symbolic or sentential representations of their structure and functions, useful as they indeed are when making projections into probable future scenarios. In other words, the specific deduction from basic principles that characterize the mathematical methods of investigation is very different from the inductive methods of investigation in the natural sciences aimed at acquiring just general knowledge and consequently tend to be less certain and more susceptible to revision than the corresponding mathematical theories derived therefrom. For these reasons, the materialistic physicalist faith or belief poses serious problems of reliability and certainty, not very different from the equivalent problems in theological beliefs. As Kant’s realism pointed out in his “Critique of Pure Reason”, existential realism brings in many more variables into relevant consideration than the classical sciences. As Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset pointed out “Every opinion is a theoretical argument” because all epistemological theories of judgment should bring together ALL relevant fundamental issues: e.g., semantics, logic, psychology, ontology, and action theory. Any theory of human rationality must consider the capacity for judgment of the individualized human mind after carefully examining the propositional content of an expressed judgment, especially its relative content of sense-phenomenal and transcendental idealism experiences. Not an easy examination for a psychiatric practitioner!
Clearly there is more to the analysis and knowledge of existential reality than the restricted standards of evidence and justification which are most accurately and explicitly represented by metaphysical logic tools and most successfully implemented in the natural sciences. This applies to all branches of knowledge and all tools of enquiry. We have tried an epistemontological approach where the classic metaphysical tool of ontological deduction from basic principles derived from all forms of inductive epistemological enquiries about all sources of relevant information becomes a veritable transformation of absolute presuppositions controlling heuristic principles. This hybridization stimulates the identification of foundational knowledge of reliable premises or first truths on which to base our conceptualizations about existential reality. It also allows for the inclusion of evolutionary processes modifying the perceptual and conceptual informational profiles accruing as a function of unavoidable spatiotemporal changes. This may even stimulate further study into the claim that there exist abstract mathematical ‘objects’ whose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, and practices and even the possibility of the logical interaction between theology, law, science and social history.
2) Blog site: https://angelldls.wordpress.com/
Dr. Angell O. de la Sierra, Esq. Summer, 2012 Deltona, Florida