ape or naturalized axiology and phenomenology and epistemology

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  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    As metaphysical realists, we affirm reality's givenness, kataphatically, aspiring to descriptive

    accuracy via affirmations. As metaphysical fallibilists, we acknowledge these constructions,apophatically, negating the ever-cascading, yet ever-collapsing, root metaphors, which interpret

    those descriptions, which model but do not explain reality's rules or regularities.

    As fallibilists, we recognize that our epistemic states, variously interpreting a given reality as

    determinable or indeterminable, converge on reality's ontic states, which may be variously

    determined or indetermined, but we do so in an inescapably anthropometric way.

    This presents a challenge as we hope to avoid anthropomorphic proections of our epistemic

    states onto reality's ontic states.! would argue that, whether in science, philosophy, metaphysics

    or theology, in every great school or tradition, there have been saving remnants offering

     prophetic criticisms, urging an ongoing dialectic of kataphasis and apophasis, whether, forexample, "# $opper via falsification or alternating conecture and criticism% odel via

    incompleteness theorems% (# )cotus via the formal distinction% *# $eirce via a modal ontology

    that prescinds from necessity to probability% +# emergentisms, which modestly avoid

    supervenience% # awking, who has lately gathered the godelian implications for physics% #

    apophatic cohorts of every great religious tradition and so on.

    !f human epistemology remains ineluctably anthropometric and human axiology remains

     properly anthropocentric /although more suitably attenuated, nowadays, by a hierachy of

    intrinsic values, which extends moral considerability throughout reality's pan-, physio-, bio-,

     phyto-, zoo- and anthropo-semiotic spheres#, then our participatory imaginations,

    understandably, will remain challenged by the constant intrusion of an anthropomorphic


    This challenge, then, presents in our tendencies to rush to closure, to prove too much, to say

    way more than we can possibly know, to tell untellable stories. $aradoxically, the taming or

    domestication of this regnant anthropomorphism will re0uire the unleashing and uncaging of its

    anthroposemiotic imaginaries that they may wander free and wonder much in the pansemiotic


    !n taking account of godel-like constraints on physical theories, awking suggested that, when

    confronted with a choice between consistency and completeness, the good money is on


    $lausibility and implausibility are way too weakly probabilistic, trafficking in a dyadic cycling

    of only abductive hypothesizing and deductive clarifying unable to avail themselves of any

    robustly inductive testing, which is necessary to complete the epistemically virtuous cycling of

    triadic inferences. 1ore succinctly, any final adudication of competing logical conceptions and

    interpretations regarding primal and2or ultimate realities, even of their initial, boundary and

    limit conditions, can not, in principle, be delivered in terms metaphysical necessity, i.e. in terms

    of explanatory ade0uacy regarding reality's rules, axioms and regularities. !nstead, science,

     probabilistically, models such rules but does not explain them.

  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    This is not only true for any cosmogony that extends, interpretively, for our cosmological

    descriptions. !t applies across our emergentist heuristic. !t's the case for any 0uantum

    interpretation that extends from the descriptions of 0uantum mechanics. )o, too, regarding the

     biopoietic origins of life, those descriptions remain open to a2biogenic interpretations. 3urneuroscientific descriptions extend, interpretively, to a plurality of philosophies of mind.

    4escriptions of symbolic human consciouness extend, interpretively, to any number of

    anthroposemiotic accounts.

    5hether 0uantum, cosmic, biopoietic, zoopoietic /sentient# or anthropopoietic /sapient# origins,

    our emergentist heuristic, eschewing invocations of supervenience, which remain 0uestion

     begging for strong, trivial for weak, emergences, provides only conceptual placeholders,

    epistemic bookmarks, where explanatory ade0uacy eludes us. These bookmarks remain on the

     blank pages of our probabilistic, scientific, descriptive modeling narratives. They won't be filled

    in by plausibilistic, metaphysical, interpretive explanatory metanarratives. This is to recognize

    that epistemic states of in2determinable realities might be ontologically suggestive of various

     putative ontic states of in2determined realities, but they should not, a priori, be considered


    !n a peircean normativity, aesthetics precedes ethics which precedes logic. The highest and best

    use of our metanarrative adventures is thus an affective attunement to oneself, to others, to the

    cosmos, to ultimate realities via the cult-ivation of an evaluative dis-position and not, rather, the

    articulation of descriptive or interpretive pro-positions, which cannot aspire to robustly

     probabilistic argumentation.

    )uitably chastized by the epistemic inade0uacies of plausibilities and implausibilities,evidentially, we'd do very well not to overinvest, poetically, in one "# 0uantum interpretation or

    another /6ohm vs 7openhagen vs ...#% cosmogony or the next /cyclical, oscillating,

    singularity, un2bounded, in2finite, ...#% (# biopoietic or another /abiogenesis or vitalism or ...#% *#

     philosophy of mind or another /physicalist or csc as primitive or ...#% +# anthropopoietic or

    another /anthropic principle or irreducible complexity or ...#.

    This is to suggest, also, that our anxiety to overcome every form of insidious -ism cannot finally

    determine our choice of 0uantum interpretation, our cosmogony, our biopoietics, our philosophy

    of mind or our anthropic principles. 5hich aspects of reality are eventually found

    in2determinable, in2determined, probabilistic or necessary, brute or 0uestion begging, will

    always make for richer psalmody, greater affective attunement, more consoling evaluativedispositions. The phenomenological taxonomy of our epistemic states, though, does not gift us

    an infallible metaphysical map of reality's ontic states, not for proximate realities, not for primal

    realities and especially not for ultimate realities.

    In my view, the logic of the epic of evolution mythos accounts for emergent

    teloi, which include the teleomatic, ententional regularities (pansemiotic),

    the teleonomic purposive realities (biosemiotic sentience) and teleodynamic

    purposeful realities (sapience). The emergentist mythos, then, would

    account for free (enough) will and anthroposemiotic value-realizations.

  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    Patterns that we encounter in our cosmic elds, where they interpenetrate,

    reveal both, high and low, fre!uencies and amplitudes, of interactivity such

    that ") low fre!uency, low amplitude a-pathetic indi#erence and $) high

    fr!uency, high amplitude pathetic interference yield, instead, to %) lowfre!uency, high amplitude interventions and, more the predominant pattern,

    &) high fre!uency, low amplitude in'uence. This pattern predominates in

    nature, such as throughout evolution, in human relationships, such as in


    The interventions, above, are sym-pathetic, the influences, em-pathetic. 8eality, generally

    eschews a-pathetic indifference or co-dependent, pathetic interference. !nfluence and

    intervention present on a continuum of the axis of co-creativity. !ndifference and interference

     present on the axis of codependency. 5hat9s coaxed forward is human authenticity /:onergan9s


    8egarding regularities and invocation of $eirce;

    )uccessful references, metaphysically, remain --- not only necessary, but --- sufficient for

    human value-realizations even as we aspire to and strive for ever more successful descriptions,

    whether in science, philosophy or theology.

    5e thus describe, in moments of poetic kataphasis, that which has been, provisionally,


  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    =or example, whether 0uantum origins, cosmic origins, biogenic origins, sentient origins

    /consciouness# or sapient origins /symbolic language#, our descriptive modeling attempts and

     phenomenological taxonomies must not be mistaken for explanations. >uantum mechanics

    invites a plurality of interpretations. 7osmological data invite a plurality of cosmogonies.A2biogenesis posits a plurality of interpretations of how the robustly biosemiotic emerged from

    the merely physiosemiotic. ?euroscience invites a number of philosophies of mind. !f the

    origins of sentience remain problematic, the so-called hard problem, how much more

     problematic are the origins of sapience and anthroposemiotic symbolic language@

    Thus the epistemic humility of )cotus' formal distinction and $eirce's modal phenomenology

    instructs us in science and, if there, how much more in metaphysics and, if there, how much

    more in metanarratives@

    5hatever $ascal really intended, we best draw a distinction between speculative and practical reason.

    ! would interpret both $ascal's 5ager and 5m. ames' 'forced option' as forms of  practical reason.

    ames also described this 'option' as 'vital.' 5e might say, then, that this option hasmomentous existential significance.

    ames also described it as a 'live' option. =or me, this is where speculative reason comesin. $ascal's 5ager, in my view, could not reasonably argue against one's use of speculative reason per se. =or an option to be 'live,' then, it must at least be e0uiprobablevis a vis competing interpretations.

    There are indeed competing metaphysical interpretations that refer to ultimate reality.5hatever other epistemic virtues they might enoy, they don't enoy falsifiability, aren'tempirical or robustly probable but merely plausible. !n that sense, interpretations of ultimate reality can compete, leaving us with several 'live' options.

    At this point, we 'leave' our spculative reason behind, but only because we havedutifully exhausted its resources. 5hich forced, vital and live option do we choose@

    5e turn to practical reason and an existential disunction, to live A) != this or that. )o,our practical decision, our wager, moreso has 'performative' but less so informativesignificance.

    This e0uiprobability or e0uiplausibility principle suggests --- when we encounter acoiled obect on the floor of a dimly lit cave, unsure whether it's a snake or a rope ---that we ump over it, for that's the safer course. 5e've nothing to lose by leaping over itif it's a rope, much to gain if it's a snakeB

    !f there's an illuminating epistemic fire burning in that cave, we are obliged to use the

    light of reason to delimit, probabilistically, which options are truly live.

  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology



    5e do not know whether the concept 'nothing' successfully refers to reality, whether temporally or atemporally@

    Also, implicitly presupposed in the 0uestion 'why not rather nothing@' is the principle of sufficient reason C$)8D. 5e do not know whether it successfully refers because wecannot a priori know whether reality as a whole begs an explanation. /=allacy of 7omposition may or may not apply, who knows@#

    3ur ability to navigate reality successfully evolved in a milieu of sufficient probabilities. Those probabilities remain metaphysically vague. They have epistemicsignificance as regularities, but that, alone, doesn't tell us whether they also have

    ontological significance as 'regulators.' !f they are regulators, think laws /nomicity, it'scalled#, we still don't a priori know whether they're emergent, local and ephemeralversus primitive, universal and eternal.

    $ut more simply, in a modal ontology of possibilities, actualities and probabilities, wedo not know whether those putative probabilities, which are often called 'necessities,'successfully refer to reality either.

    5ithout "# the $)8, eternal laws, (# modal necessity or *# reality as a whole beggingan explanation, the concept ---'nothing' --- makes no reference@


    The 0uestion relies on indispensable methodological stipulations to various epistemicand metaphysical presuppositions.

    6eyond the principles of identity, excluded middle, noncontradiction and sufficientreason ...

    !n addition to a modal ontology of possibilities, actualities and probabilities ...

    1oving past nomicity, necessity and common sense notions of causation ...

    5e can still ask which root metaphor one presupposes for one's metaphysic@

    !f one sticks with a static notion like substance or CiDbeingC2iD, then, the only way ! couldever make sense of the 0uestion was to rephrase it CiDwhy is there not rather somethingelse@C2iD.

  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    ! haven't CiDa prioriC2iD and cursorily dismissed the concept's meaningfulness on literalgrounds precisely because ! suspect some Thomist will come along and nuance it insome essentialistic, substance ontology that ! don't want to have to inhabit in order to

    defend my own arguments. !'d rather hop around on the surface of common sense thanhead down some ontological rabbit hole. ! don't have an ideological dog in that hunt, sodon't feel strongly about 'nothing' one way or the other. ;up;

    6esides, ust because most of the metaphysical presuppositions listed above might beindispensable methodological stipulations, necessary, if we're going to advance our 

     probes of reality, that doesn't mean they have to be considered metaphysical necessities.=or example, ! stipulate to the $)8 as ! continue my probes, but ! have no idea if it willreally hold universally. ! also stipulate to methodological naturalism, but don't committo a philosophical naturalism.

    6y not conflating my methodological stipulations with their implicit metaphysicalstances, ! remain open to ontological surprises. ust because abandoning $)8 and2or naturalism might thwart my future probes of reality doesn't, necessarily, make themeternal metaphysical verities@ 3ur root metaphors, for their part, are even more pliable.

    1any, nowadays, don't employ static, essentialistic approaches like substance or being.!nstead, metaphors that are dynamic and relational --- like process, event or experience--- seem to last longer before collapsing.

    ! have often wondered what CiDnothingC2iD might refer to in a 0uestion like CiDwhy isthere not rather no-thing, which is to really ask, why is there not rather no process or no


    At stake are notions of causation, including not only efficient but minimalistconceptions of formal and final. 5hat gets set aside is material causation. !'m willing toleave that open, not imagining that CiDnothingC2iD cannot successfully refer ust becausemy methodological stipulations suggest that's the case. 3ur methodological stipulationsto certain metaphysical presuppositions may be ontologically suggestive but we're

     proving too much to claim they're necessarily decisive@-------------------------------------------------

    eading down the rabbit hole, then ...

    "# A lot of metaphysics turns on one's chosen CbDroot metaphor,C2bD e.g. being vs becoming, substance vs process.

    Even after opting for a root metaphor--- let's stay with being --- we must determinewhether another is speaking a# CbD univocallyC2bD, b# CbDe0uivocallyC2bD or c#CbDanalogicallyC2bD of being as one moves from a descriptive physics to a normativemetaphysics.

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    (# The former employs a modal ontology of possibility, actuality and probability, whichhas an implicit grammar. ?oncontradiction C$?7D and excluded middle C$E1D

    variously hold or fold in these categories. =or a# CbDpossibilitiesC2bD, only $E1 holds.=or b# CbDactualitiesC2bD, $E1 and $?7 hold. =or c# CbDprobabilitiesC2bD, only $?7holds.

    *# )till, the grammar of that modal ontology, alone, does not drive us, algorithmically,to ontological conclusions, whether from physical or metaphysical premises. 5e mustfirst define our root metaphor, in this case being, revealing our univocal, e0uivocal or analogical predications.

    5hat often happens, then, is that our ontological conclusions are not flowing from our modal logic or metaphysical premises, alone, but can be found already buried in our definitions, for example, of being and nonbeing.

    :et's see what happens to our modal ontology and its grammar when we tinker with our definitions.

    =rom a vague phenomenological perspective, which brackets metaphysics;

    "# mere possibilities can be conceived in terms of the clearly a#CbDinstantiatedC2bD/actual#, b# CbDnoninstantiatedC2bD /pure# or c# CbDvirtualC2bD /neither, but 'as if' actual#.

    mere probabilities /uniformities, tendencies, regularities# can be conceived in termsof a# CbDnomicityC2bD /deterministic#, b# CbDstochasticityC2bD /indeterministic# or c#CbDpropensityC2bD /neither, but virtual, cf. $opper, $eirce, )cotus#.

    +# Any given belief that a given concept may or may not successfully refer to reality is atrope contained in a philosophical fortune cookie. That cookie and its tailored messagehave already been baked to order. They will thus match those tastes that would best gowith the metaphysical selections that one has already made off the above-listed 7hinese1enu of epistemic and ontic entrees.

    To make these distinctions more concrete, let's look at an example of how we canreimagine and redefine concepts and what practical implications might flow therefrom.:et's avoid the e0uivocal and analogical predications that lead, via their implictmetaphysical presuppositions, to concepts like absolute nonbeing, both because they're

    more controversial and, to me, less interesting. Also, let's remain agnostic regarding the

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  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    5hat could this mean regarding our conventional understandings of the relationships between initial, limit, boundary and final conditions@

    5e see the 'Arrow of Time' operating for thermodynamic, cosmological andepistemological realities. 5hat would be the relationship between the >uantum Arrowof time, which seems to have arrowheads on both ends, and our other experiences of reality, which have an ontologically penetrating arrowhead on one end and anepistemologically stabilizing fletching of feathers on the other@

    !t seems that the Arrow, informationally, comes from increasing correlations, whichmodel e0uilibrations of entangled states. )tates collide, energy disperses, obectse0uilibrate. Time's arrow, then, while reversible in theory, for all practical purposes,

    remains asymmetric because there are way too many mixed states, exhibiting anadvance toward e0uilibrium, and far too few pure states, which are 'ordered' and notravaged by entropy.

    A finite, unbounded universe could exhibit an eternal flux between pattern and paradox,the random and systematic, symmetry and asymmetry, order and chaos, contingency andnecessity. 6ut not between being and nothing, unless a putative nonspatial, atemporalitywould refer to CbDnothingC2bD. 6ut that would still be only in the sense of being,energetically, CbDCiDsomething elseC2iDC2bD.

    =inally, new 0uestions beg if one posits the singularity this way. 5hy was the initialstate far from e0uilibrium@ 4oes the concept CiDintialC2iD successfully refer@


    !n my view ...

    5hy is there not rather nothing@ or 5hy is there not rather something else@ or !t's not35 things are but TAT things are which is the mystical@ or !t's neither how things

    are nor that things are but that TE)E T!?) are which is the mystical@

    5hich of these 0uestions make sense, in whose metaphysic@

    A given metaphysic, as an interpretive stance, provides a normative heuristic, whichcould variously foster or hinder human value-realizations but doesn't add newinformation to our systems. !t can demonstrate the reasonableness of our 0uestionsregarding many realities but, properly received, leaves those regarding first and lastthings begging.

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  • 8/19/2019 APE or naturalized Axiology and Phenomenology and Epistemology


    impetus /especially for others' behavior# some aspire to exert vis a vis our consensusregarding rules of evidence and burdens of proof.

    5hat does another want to demand of me based on their interpretation of reality, basedon what epistemic warrants or normative ustifications@

    That's a political reality. Thank the founders for nonestablishment and free exercise and pity those who don't enoy sameB


    1y uxtaposition of those various takes on the mystical, posed as an interrogatory, onlymeans !'m agnostic regarding same, over against either a god of the gaps mysterianismor a scientistic, logical positivism.

    3nce again, !'m metaphysically agnostic regarding that, over against either 8ussell or those who invoke the principle.

    A problem arises in any invocation of a strong anthropic principle. /The weak version istrivial.# The problem results, in part, from a need to clarify the conceptual confusion

     between coincidence and chance. 7oincidence is something that pertains to the presentor past. 7hance has meaning only when information is lacking. )o, we distinguish thetwo in temporal terms. !f we are considering an event a priori, chance is in play. !f weconsider it a posteriori, we have coincidence /something which, however, over thecourse of a lifetime --- even of a multiverse --- might otherwise be considered likely#.)o, the concept of probability has no validity vis a vis a coincidence and statisticalscience thus pertains to chance and not coincidence. $robability deals with theepistemically-unavailable, is an empirical notion subect to empirical methods and isassigned to arguments with premises and conclusions /and not rather to events, states or types of same#. ! suppose that if we knew enough about the universe's initial conditionswe could imaginatively /conceivably# walk ourselves back to TFG and invoke chance,

     but we don't thus have such an informed grasp of what should or should not be expectedof this reality.


    Knowledge typically advances by formulating interpretive heuristics using abductivehypothesizing and deductive clarifying. This precedes any inductive testing.5e must evaluate these interpretations using a host of criteria for epistemic virtue.

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    =or starters, we can look at the concepts they employ, concepts that will have beennegotiated in various communities of earnest in0uiry. Those concepts which have thus

     been negotiated and out of which a great deal of pragmatic value has been cashed out,

    are CiDtheoreticC2iD. Those that remain still in negotiation are CiDheuristicC2iD. Those thatare nonnegotiable, like first principles, to which we must at least methodologicallystipulate, are CiDsemioticC2iD. Those not negotiated are CiDdogmaticC2iD.

    3ur interpretations are normative, not descriptive, are explanatory attempts notempirical measurements. !f they are heavily laden with theoretic concepts, they likelyenoy a greater degree of explanatory ade0uacy ... with heuristic concepts, less ...with dogmatic concepts, even less.

    )o, while 0uantum mechanics, neuroscience and cosmology are descriptive, 0uantuminterpretations, philosophy of mind and cosmogony are interpretive. At the frontiers of 

    those disciplines, good heuristic devices can pave the way to the next best scientifictests.

    6eyond these penultimate realities, interpretations abound regarding reality's first andlast things, ultimate realities. )uch interpretations are much more heavily laden withheuristic concepts /e.g. metaphysics# and dogmatic concepts /e.g. religions#. !t's not to

     be expected that such interpretive stances would enoy the same degree of explanatoryade0uacy as scientific theories or meta-theories --- not due to a lack of epistemic virtue,

     but --- due to the nature of the realities under consideration.

    3verlapping magisteria.

    1ysterianism is a philosophic stance, mostly used in philosophy of mind. !t'sdescriptive not peorative. 5hile reecting scientism, ! also reect any CiDa prioriC2iDepistemic surrenders or rushes to closure that declare some type of, in principle,ontological occulting. ! think it was 7hesterton who suggested that we don't knowenough about reality to say that it's unknowable.

    As with other traditions, 6uddhism's not monolithic but has different schools.

    6elow is a position statement ! constructed with a 6uddhist practitioner from anextensive dialogue. )he said that ! properly interpreted her outlook. )o, =5!5;

    1any have been threatened by some buddhist-like conceptions of self and with other no-self teachings. 5hat they seem to most fear is self-annihilation or self-dissolution or loss of self or loss of the individual or loss of personal identity or loss of self-significance.

    Aurobindo and certain 6uddhists do not deny what they refer to as the

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    individuals. As empirical selves, for example, we are still called forth in solidarity withand compassion for one another. 5e still recognize moral obligations and practicalresponsibilities toward one another. 5e can still even affirm a continuity of identity of 

    each individual, both temporally and eternally.

    The no self conception is thus moreso an adectival description and not an ontologicaldenial of the self. 5hat we experience as individual empirical selves might beconsidered

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    $ractical upshots of the umean criti0ue would certainly include epistemic humility.6ut we are proving too much and rushing to closure if, theoretically, we CiDa prioriC2iD

    conclude for or against telos, nomicity or sufficient reason, on one hand, or  purposelessness, stochasticity or brute existence, on the other. Theoretically, we thushave competing tautologies that differentiate axiomatically. They can't be adudicated interms of logical validity, so we all fall back to weaker evidential arguments, whichcannot be adudicated in a robustly probabilistic way, only advanced by plausibilisticappeals.

    3ne can agree that $ascal's 5ager operates in a system where the axioms refer to telicultimate realities but would be meaningless in a nontelic system. owever, doesn't$ascal's 5ager refer, meta-systemically, to one's choice between one axiomatic systemand another@ 7ouldn't $ascal be acknowledging an ontological undecidability, hence a

    deontological vagueness, which merely asks one to stipulate to telos for argument's sake before deciding on essentially pragmatic grounds@ This is to say that the umeancriti0ue could apply moreso to one's theory of knowledge but needn't presuppose one'stheory of truth, that it's epistemically impactful but not ontologically decisive.


    5e can stipulate to a theory of truth, speculatively, for argument's sake, or normatively,for all moral and practical purposes.

    5hen we suggest one cannot reason from an is to an ought, we recognize that our descriptive, evaluative and normative probes of reality are CiDmethodologicallyautonomousC2iD, each asking distinctly different 0uestions. 5e are not, however,suggesting that they are not otherwise CiDaxiologically integral,C2iD each necessary butnone, alone, sufficient, for every human value-realization.

    5e are not saying that one cannot couple descriptive /pre#suppositions, evaluativedispositions and normative propositions in one's premises and then reason one's way to

     prescriptive conclusions. =olks might reasonably disagree, however, regarding the

    ultimate grounds of our descriptions /truth or Truth#, evaluations /beauty or 6eauty# andnorms /goodness or oodness#.

    Those ultimate grounds operate axiomatically, so, we encounter godelian-likeconstraints, unable to prove those axioms within the very systems they axiomatize. 5eare confronted with a choice between consistency and completeness. The good money'sordinarily opting for incompleteness.

    This doesn't mean that we cannot formulate a system that is both complete andconsistent, however. !t only means we cannot prove that we have.

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    ume's criti0ue, then, has an epistemic force similar to godelian constraints. e cannotCiDa prioriC2iD maintain that one cannot reason from an is to an ought, only that one

    cannot know whether one has necessarily done so.

    $ascal's 5ager invokes such ontological, hence deontological, uncertainty. !t invitesone, existentially, to live as if our existential orientations to truth, beauty and goodnessare grounded in putative transcendent imperatives of Truth, 6eauty and oodness. 3nemay live with the epistemic uncertainty and ontological vagueness implicit in bothume's criti0ue and godelian incompleteness but still opt, existentially and practically,and not unreasonably, to live as if our shared evaluative dispositions and normative

     propositions are indeed grounded more deeply than our evolutionary inheritance. 3r not.

    As for $ascal's specific gains and losses vis a vis what's at stake, that invites criti0ue.6ut the structure of the 5ager survives, in my view, based on generic e0uiprobability

     principles, which guide practical reason.


    !n a thermodynamic environment, far from e0uilibrium, dissipative structures arise,morphodynamically, with novel boundary conditions formed. =rom the interaction of morphodynamic structures, novel dissipative structures and boundary conditions arise,which can interact --- not ust thermodynamically and morphodynamically, but ---teleodynamically.

    The teleodynamic refers to downward causations. Teleodynamic realities interactsemiotically with novel boundary conditions provided by signs and, for humans, alone,symbols.

    This is the narrative called emergence. !t's a descriptive heuristic, not robustlyexplanatory.

    $eople distinguish between weak and strong emergence, but the former distinctionremains trivial, the latter, 0uestion begging.

    3ne takeaway is that semiotic science employs a minimalist telos, but doesn't suggestwhether or not its downward causations would violate physical causal closure.

    The emergence of consciousness, in my view, could well have been entirely physical,so, too, with life.

    5ithout knowing the initial thermodynamic conditions, it's not possible to place odds.Emergence isn't inconsistent with telos or Telos.


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    The notion of divine simplicity was introduced as a strategy to preserve utter transcendence.

    3f course, affirmative predicates of od are analogical, not univocally predicated between od and creatures. Any literal predications must be expressed as negations.

    At best, though, the classical theist approach remains a 0uestion begging tautologygrounded in an essentialistic substance ontology employing CiDbeingC2iD as its rootmetaphor.

    )ince the environs that we inhabit presents moreso as a dynamical, processive andrelational reality, it would make more sense to employ affirmative analogues from someother ontology using some other root metaphor. >uestions would still beg but the

    approach would be more coherent, internally, and congruent, externally.

    The classical approach addresses infinite regress and sufficient reason but introducescausal disunctions. ow could a 6eing related to beings, only analogically, causeanything@

    The answer relies on an atemporal conception of cause, which may or may not refer.

    Even if one can situate divine simplicity, coherently, within an ontology, and !'llstipulate it can be done, in my view, it doesn't make od more intelligible because thattype of metaphysic isn't an ade0uate heuristic for reality as most experience it.

    ! only use the 8azor to decide between systems that have already achieved explanatoryade0uacy. Arguably, aside from interpreting it in terms of not unnecessarily multiplyingontologies, metaphysically, epistemically, it can refer to going with that inference thatone has abductively formulated with the greatest facility /facile or simple as in

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    scientific theories, further, will discourse primarily with a terminology that employsconcepts that have been negotiated in a community of in0uiry that --- not onlyempirically measures and inductively tests, but --- pragmatically cashes out the

    modeling power of those concepts.

    This enhanced modeling power thus further differentiates theoretic from metaphysicalinterpretations in terms of conceptual warrant, interdisciplinary consilience,hypothetical fecundity, pragmatic utility, existential actionability, evidentialmeasurability, phenomenal predictability, popperian falsifiability and other normativecriteria of good scientific research programs.

     ?ot all scientific theories can demonstrate all of these criteria, but they can bedistinguished from metaphysical heuristics using most of these criteria. The theory of evolution is clearly a scientific interpretation while both intelligent design and

     philosophical naturalism are metaphysical interpretations, so to speak, meta-theoretic.

    The whole notion of irreducible or specified complexity lacks probabilistic significancefrom the get-go.


    The theory of evolution involves several core hypotheses in relationship to a host of auxilliary hypotheses in an expansive web of coherence. !ts predictions are legion andimpactful across the entire spectrum of pure and applied sciences, including modernmedicine and agriculture. !t doesn't rise and fall on anomalies or with every unexplained


    The theory's not inconsistent with either creation accounts, classical theisms and panentheisms or with philosophical naturalism and materialist monism.

    This isn't terribly controversial in most circles. 5hen it does get litigated by the few, udicially, the courts manage to sort through the distinctions !'ve set forth and make theright call.

    The problem results, in part, from a need to clarify the conceptual confusion betweencoincidence and chance.

    7oincidence is something that pertains to the present or past. 7hance has meaning onlywhen information is lacking.

    )o, we distinguish the two in temporal terms. !f we are considering an event a priori,chance is in play. !f we consider it a posteriori, we have coincidence /something which,however, over the course of a lifetime --- even of a multiverse --- might otherwise beconsidered likely#.

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    )o, the concept of probability has no validity vis a vis a coincidence and statisticalscience thus pertains to chance and not coincidence. $robability deals with theepistemically-unavailable, is an empirical notion subect to empirical methods and is

    assigned to arguments with premises and conclusions /and not rather to events, states or types of same#.

    ! suppose that if we knew enough about the emergence of life or of consciousness, muchless the universe's initial conditions, then we could imaginatively /conceivably# walk ourselves back to life's beginnings, the dawn of consciousness or even TFG and therebyinvoke chance, but we don't thus have such an informed grasp of what should or shouldnot be expected of these realities.-------------------------------------------------

    That's why we distinguish between descriptive sciences, which employ a

    CiDmethodologicalC2iD naturalism, and interpretive metaphysics, not all which employ aCiDphilosophicalC2iD naturalism.

    As long as no one confuses what belongs in science books and what belongs in philosophy books, there's no rub for me.

    $hilosophically, the emergentist paradigm, in my view, serves as the paragon of interpretive heuristics vis a vis complexity. !t precisely has room for formal and finalcausations, especially from the perspective of semiotic science. !t takes note of CiDdownwardC2iD causation in nature, but doesn't CiDa prioriC2iD suggest whether it wouldnecessarily violate physical causal closure or not.

    ! embrace an emergentist stance, myself, but remain metaphysically agnostic regardingthe origins of the universe, life and consciousness. ! find that the affirmation of teleodynamics makes reality much more intelligible as a heuristic device even though,obviously, it doesn't gift us with a great deal of explanatory ade0uacy.

    Allowing a design inference into descriptive or theoretic sciences is not the proper antidote to CiDscientismC2iD. !nstead, scientism and !4 theory both need to be chased back across the 0uadrangle to the philosophy department.


    4ynamical whole-part constraints.

    7heck out the thinking of Alicia uarrero.

    Essentially, new constraints emerge, in far from e0uilibrium environments, as we

    traverse thermodynamic, homeodynamic, morphodynamic and teleodynamic layers of 

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    complexity. These dynamical constraints, boundary conditions, exert various downwardcausations.

    These are analogous to Aristotelian versions, what can be considered only a minimalisttelos.

    The emergentist paradigm can be variously interpreted, whether from an eliminativist,epiphenomenalist, nonreductive physicalist or even dualist stance. The emergentistheuristic essentially refers to CiDsomething more /or else# coming from nothing butC2iD,

     but doesn't necessarily re0uire one set of primitives vs another. =or example, some addconsciousness along side space, time, mass and energy as a primitive.

    1y sneaking suspicion is that consciousness is emergent not primitive, that anonreductive physicalism fits reality best. 6ut, ! remain agnostic and none of this

    matters to me, for all CiDpracticalC2iD purposes.

    ------------------------------------------------->uestions beg.

    Explanatory ade0uacy eludes.

    )ome laws may be eternal, necessary. 3thers emergent, ephemeral.

    )ome regularities may result from nomicity, others from stochasticity. 5e bracket them,metaphysically, as propensities. This is to recognize that regularities may have onticsignificance in addition to epistemic.

    5e can't CiDa prioriC2iD say, and no one has CiDa posterioriC2iD demonstrated, whether or not reality's initial, boundary or limit conditions derive from clear necessities or mereregularities, or even vague probabilities.

    Any, who wave these 0uestions away as nonsensical or who claim they re0uire one typeof answer or anther, are proving too much.


    !t's claims are modest because that's all that's epistemically warranted. As a heuristicdevice, it provides conceptual placeholders and frames up our 0uestions, but doesn't

     pretend to explanatory ade0uacy.

    3f course, beyond the formal causes, the tacit dimensions and boundary constraints, aminimalist telos, a more robust telos emerges with human consciousness.

    6y acknowledging the intelligibility of these causations, we better ustify invoking themanalogically for heavier metaphysical lifting in this or that philosophy.

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    )o, scientifically, we bracket the nature of regularities, using probabilities for allCiDpracticalC2iD purposes. 1etaphysically, many different /reasonable# interpretationscompete, in varying degrees of plausibility.

    Any who suggest that epistemology, in many instances, successfully models ontology,in varying degrees /as it seems you are suggesting@#, are certainly not beingunreasonable.-------------------------------------------------

    Actually, it seems you have begun to grasp what ! mean, when you suggest CiD!f weknow the numbers we can work out the probabilityC2iD.

    5e don't know the numbers, so can't calculate the odds, that any given dissipativestructure might arise far from thermodynamic e0uilibrium.

    )cientific theories remain rather domain specific and cannot /yet# be facilely cobbledtogether into a Theory of Everything. They suffer explanatory gaps. )cientific theoriesdon't rise and fall based solely on explanatory gaps. !nstead, they gain theoreticresilience from making innumerable unfalsified predictions and gifting us withcountless practical applications, unlike, for example, the 4esign !nference.

    -------------------------------------------------5hile scientific theories do go beyond mere descriptions to introduce a modicum of explanatory ade0uacy, hence introduce interpretive heuristics, metaphysicalinterpretations employ root metaphors. The theory of evolution brackets metaphysics,which makes it consistent with substance, process, relational, dualist, monist, idealist,neutral, materialist and all manner of other interpretive metaphysics. 4escriptive andtheoretic sciences employ a methodological not a metaphysical naturalism.

    The theory of evolution employs no root metaphor and neither presupposes nor 

    excludes, implicitly or explicitly, any specific ontology.

    There's no ustification, then, for characterizing the theory of evolution as predominantly metaphysical, weakly scientific. There's even less ustification for characterizing !4 theory as remotely scientific rather than robustly metaphysical.

    This issue makes for a great foil regarding methodological demarcation criteria,generally, but, specifically, isn't terribly interesting to me.-------------------------------------------------

    The abuse of something, in this case a scientific theory, is no argument against its proper 


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    Enlightenment fundamentalisms, for example, as have presented in the forms of radicalempiricism, logical positivism, theological ignosticism and scientism, are no more

    defensible, philosophically, than religious fundamentalisms, as have presented viafideism, metaphysical rationalism, arational gnosticism and dogmatism.

    The culture wars are being waged between ideologues who employ bad epistemologies,immersed in category errors, who confuse methodological stipulations withmetaphysical commitments and conflate descriptive models and interpretive metaphors.


    ! wholeheartedly resonate with your common sense and intuition regarding human

    consciousness and intentionality. As the symbolic species, humans interpret reality in a0ualitatively different way, semiotically, from other animals.

    !nterestingly, even in birds, we see hard-wired forms of abduction, what we experienceas CiDinference to the best explanationC2iD. umans employ abduction, however, bothinstinctually and inferentially, in both hard- and soft-wiring, both algorithmically andnonalgorithmically.

    At issue, for us as a species, is how much of our interpretation of reality takes placealgorithmically, 0uasi-algorithmically or nonalgorithmically. There's likely a normalrange of percentages for each. At issue for each of us, as individual persons, is how tooptimize this mix, harnessing both our conscious and unconscious, inferential andinstinctual, faculties. There are age-old practices, disciplines and asceticisms in all of our reat Traditions, which are ordered to such an optimal awareness, mindfulness andwakefulness.

    The only takeaway from $=T for me was the recognition of ust how great a role our unconscious can play in problem-solving, knowing it's also being formed and reformed

     by robustly intentional stances and pervasively conscious processes but in varyingdegrees from one person to the next. !t's one thing to recognize this degree of humanalgorithmic and 0uasi-algorithmic interpretation /and most people likely grossly

    underestimate it#, however, 0uite another to deny a meaningful role for trulynonalgorithmic, robustly conscious intentionality. As you observe, that's ludicrous.

    -------------------------------------------------=or starters, most of the biologists ! know, including the author of the most widely usedtext in cell biology, do not even employ the descriptor neo-darwinian, considering it ananachronism, but speak of modern synthesCiDesC2iD in biology, acknowledging thediversity of mutually critical approaches. 5hich brings up my second point --- that your understanding of what scientific theories entail is idiosyncratic, apparently confusedwith metaphysical interpretations.

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    $recisely because scientific theories are vague interpretive heuristics, they don'tambition the degree of explanatory power you seem to re0uire of them. They, instead,enhance our modeling power of reality, CiDrelyingC2iD on certain rules without

    CiDexplainingC2iD them. )o, again, your overemphases on explanatory gaps to discreditthe modern biological syntheses don't strike at the theories' modeling power resiliency.=urthermore, your confirmation bias is betrayed by your inventory of problematics,which wholesale ignores the web of coherence provided by the CbDuncountableC2bDexamples of practical applications of our modern biological syntheses.

    =inally, scientific theories, as interpretive heuristic devices, especially those that are broadly interdisciplinary, aren't tossed aside due to explanatory gaps or experimentalanomalies. !solated, auxilliary hypotheses that get disconfirmed get replaced. Theyaren't fatal to the syntheses, as you continue to insist.

    1ost of all, though, theories don't get tossed aside until there are better ones to taketheir place. 5hat CiDscientificC2iD theory do you have in mind@

    !t may turn out that our methodological naturalism may ultimately fail us precisely because reality's implicately ordered by initial, boundary or limit conditions that, in principle /ontologically#, elude our physical measurement systems, or due to technicalmethodological constraints /epistemologically#, or entropic erasures. 5hat would makeno sense at all would be to CiDa prioriC2iD concede such epistemic defeat, to shut downin0uiry. )o, ust because we persist in a line of in0uiry, methodologically, that stipulatesto naturalist presuppositions, doesn't mean anyone's thereby CiDa prioriC2iD committed tonaturalist metaphysics. )cience brackets metaphysical stances.------------------------------------------------

    5e've located an impasse. 5hat we have in common, phylogenetically, are many biosemiotic features, including certain sign interpretations. 5hat we witness, then,might be more broadly conceived as CiDinterpretationC2iD, even abductive processes or logical structures. 5hile this mimics human abductive inference, animals can't interpretsymbols, only icons and indices.


    4idn't we ust agree on the distiction between the abuse and use of something, whether science, generally, or a theory, particularly@


    ! already located our impasses "# at the level of methodological categories, how one

    conceives scientific theories versus metaphysical interpretations and how theories

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    function. !t would be pointless to argue evidentially for and against a stance, where ! notonly obect to its premises but don't even agree with its definitions.

    8egarding the latter, you rather idiosyncratically set the evidential and explanatory barsinordinately higher than science's conventional standards and relatively modestepistemic aims.

    8esultingly, you attack your own caricature of evolutionary principles, the applicationsof which are so abundantly accessible that any dispassionate in0uirer can readily tallythem without my assistance, the principles of which don't lend themselves to ontologicaldistinctions, micro vs macro.


    1y own interpretive stance has been influenced by both Eastern H 5estern traditions.1y attitude likely overlaps greatly with yours.

    1y only interest in this thread concerns demarcation criteria vis a vis science andmetaphysics.


    This math is CiDdeeplyC2iD flawed. )election is not random. >uite the contrary, it involvesdeterministic processes. Even nonliving morphodynamics involve deterministic

     processes. Thus, there's an CbDorthogradeC2bD /against entropy# CiDratchetC2iD dynamic,dramatically increasing various probabilities.

    That particular study by Axe wasn't published in a mainstream peer reviewed ournal,likely because it wouldn't have survived. 6esides, contrary to this example, ancestralreconstructions have indeed been used to change enzyme2binding specificity.

    As far as life's origins, establishing odds against any specific life-form isn't informativeor interesting. 5e need to know the odds, rather, against any life-form. The odds that aspecific protein won't likely win the lottery pale in comparison to the odds thatCiDsomeC2iD protein might.

    !nfinity inschminity.-------------------------------------------------

     ?ot sure exactly how materialists might self-describe re; your other descriptions, butsince there are several materialist versions of philosophy of mind, it seems there

    wouldn't be a single philosophy of intention either.

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    Engaging in interpretation, beyond description, is a necessary condition in setting fortha theory or metaphysic, but not a sufficient condition to make an interpretationmetaphysical. ! already set forth the criteria that distinguish scientific theories frommetaphysical interpretations. Those criteria have convinced courts of competent

     urisdiction ever since CiD)copesC2iD. And those boundaries are well established inacademia and commercial enterprises. ! may be setting the probative bar too low but !don't aspire to convince everyone else.

     ?o, ! refer to the criterion that scientific theories are inade0uate if they suffer explanatory gaps. They recognize explanatory gapsB This is especially the case for 

    overarching theories, which have various auxilliary hypotheses coming and going incompetition across a broad interdisciplinary spectrum. 6esides, these overemphases ongaps are also fallacious arguments from ignorance.

    Lou're trafficking in either-or and all or nothing conceptions for realities that present indegrees.

    And you're dealing with an idiosyncratic conception of theories. Theories are variouslyformal due to the nature of the realities they interpret. Theories can present syntacticalinterpretations, like axiomatic propositions. They can also employ semanticalinterpretations, like classes of models. They also include pragmatic interpretationsregarding how CiDthey can be CbDusedC2bDC2iD.

    !ndeed, the 0uintessential example for how theoretic interpretation works can be seen precisely in the topic under consideration --- CbDpopulation geneticsC2bD;http;22plato.stanford.edu2entries2structure-scientific-theories2

    As for common descent, it has been so widely corroborated across so many diverse

    CiDlines of evidenceC2iD over a century and a half that it enoys the normative impetus of a CiDfactC2iD --- not something ! find terribly interesting in a philosophy forum. )ome of those lines of evidence are summarized here;http;22www.talkorigins.org2fa0s2comdesc2

    The pseudo-scientific number games being played by some all commit the same errors,"# confusing coincidence and chance and arbitrarily setting bayesian priors in the

     place of unknown initial and boundary conditions;


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    Evolutionary theory, possibly, even if implausibly, CiDcould be wrongC2iD, but it would bethe most CiDuseful fictionC2iD ever enoyedB-------------------------------------------------

    That sounds right. That's one conclusion that follows in any move from amethodological to a philosophical naturalism. The former keeps gods out of the gaps,while the latter installs nontheisms and2or nihilisms at the perimeters.


    )cientific research into the origins of the universe, life and consciousness employ physicalist, biopoietic and evolutionary paradigms --- neither because science CiDa prioriC2iD commits to nor CiDa posterioriC2iD has demonstrated the explanatory ade0uacy

    of physicalism, abiogenesis and materialism, but --- because those are the onlymethodological paradigms practicable.

    As science moves from the theoretic to the meta-theoretic, it CiDdoesC2iD approach, oftencrosses, the threshold of metaphysical interpretation. Theoretic cosmology does becomeinterpretive cosmogony. >uantum theory does become 0uantum interpretation. Theoriesin neuroscience H cognitive science do become philosophies of mind.

    Those who would annihilate metaphysics should take heed that, in the same instance,they'll be doing away with our highly speculative sciences, too. )cientific theory andmetaphysics belong to the same interpretive continuum. 3verlapping magisteria slice in

     both epistemic directions.

    Any interpretive paradigms that rely only on abductive hypothesizing and deductiveclarifying without the benefit of inductive testing compete plausibilistically/evidentially# and logically /consistency H validity# but not in a robustly probabilisticway. That goes for materialism, too.

    As for 4awkins, yes, he attacks caricatures. At the same time, no too few worship same.)o, there's some hygienic value there. e's no 7amus or ?ietzsche, though.-------------------------------------------------

    !'m treating this normatively. )o, there CiDshouldC2iD be an uneveness as each particular interpretive approach to each particular problem in any given domain will vary in itsdegrees of being scientific and2or metaphysical. And it's a dynamical situation, too, asmethodological advances change the horizons of the un2knowable.

    ! gather, though, that the uneveness you refer to suggests that, notwithstanding thenorms ! discussed above, sociologically, attitudes don't reflect those norms@

    3bviously, that varies from one sociodemographic cohort to the next@ ! think a clear maority of scientists are philosophical naturalists, but a very substantial minority are

    only methodological naturalists. 5hile fewer people participate in organized religion, a

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    clear supermaority, worldwide, participate in spiritual practices and are open to morethan physical descriptions of reality@ ! doubt seriously many nonscientists give muchthought at all to philosophy of science@ 6est ! can tell, a great many scientists seem

     philosophically illiterate@ ! have no real grasp of such sociologic metrics, so used a lotof 0uestion marks @@@-------------------------------------------------

    !n my view, we know enough from both science and our own phenomenal experience todo anthropology without becoming overwrought about competing metaphysicalinterpretations. 1etaphysically, physicalist conceptions of consciousness or even of thesoul threaten neither human freedom nor human value-realizations. )imilarly,

     physicalist conceptions of cosmogony don't obviate theological approaches.

    This is to suggest that methodological naturalism, even when coupled with a physicalist

    metaphysic, anthropologically and2or cosmologically, remains a solid philosophical stepremoved from eliminativist and reductionist accounts.

     ?ow, as far as norming anyone's approach to ultimate realities, in a pluralistic world,free exercise and nonestablishment works well here in the J)A. !f those who take amore enchanted stance toward reality seem to be having a rough go of things in the

     public marketplace of ideas, ! suggest they focus more on getting their own rampantlyfundamentalistic houses in order and less on 4awkins, 4ennett, itchens and arris,who engage facile caricatures. !n other words, 0uit emulating those caricaturesB Theworld, per my stance, remains pervasively enchanted, ust not for all the reasons manyseem to imagine.

    Edit to add url's;Those interested might check out"# metanexus.net counterbalance.org(# ctns.org-------------------------------------------------! agree that religions, going beyond metaphysics, can augment both human freedom andhuman value-realizations, if that nuance or conception is worth anything to you.

    6ut ! would maintain that the anthropology we can derive from science, phenomenalexperience, common sense and common sensibilities, including philosophy but bracketing metaphysics, is both necessary and sufficient to establish human freedomand human value-realizations.

    This is to recognize that people can live both a good and a moral life without religion.

    !f we have an impasse, that's fine. ! ust wanted to more precisely locate it as well as toclarify both what ! was saying and not saying.


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    can be celebrated as both private and communal CiDreverieC2iD. Those regarding moraland practical realities, however, re0uire higher burdens of proof /because they aspire tocoerce others' behaviors, whether prescriptively or proscriptively#, which is why

    essentially religious moral claims do fail, evidentially, should not serve as a publicCiDrefereeC2iD /of others' behaviors# and cannot ustify coercive strategies.-------------------------------------------------

    6iosemiotics describe how living things interpret signs. 5hen synthesized with anemergentist stance, it would recognize CiDdownward causations,C2iD which can becharacterized as analogous to Aristotelian formal and final causations, but it doesn'tCiDexplainC2iD them metaphysically. =or example, they may or may not violate physicalcausal closure. 6iosemiotics combined with emergentism remains metaphysicallyagnostic and is not robustly explanatory. !t serves as a vague heuristic device and

     provides some conceptual placeholders, precisely where 0uestions continue to beg.

    -------------------------------------------------6eyond biosemiotics, which includes phyto-, zoo- and anthropo- semiotics, someCiDcomplexityC2iD thought speculates about a putatative CiDphysiosemioticsC2iD, whichimplicates a CbDpansemioticC2bD perspective.

    A pansemiotic stance would be consistent with a CiDteleonomicC2iD account/CiDpurposiveC2iD integration or adaptation not CiDpurposefulC2iD intention# of at least someof the universe's regularities.

    5hile science, as a methodological naturalism, would remain metaphysically CiDCbDaC2bDgnosticC2iD regarding the putative nomicity of regularities, that's 0uite differentfrom the metaphysical CiDCbDiC2bDgnosticismC2iD urged by the CiDscientisticC2iD cohort. !nthe first instance, science leaves the 0uestion to be framed by philosophy. !n the latter,scientism says the 0uestion's not even meaningful or is a pseudo-0uestion.

    5e'll continue to probe the origins of the 0uantum, of the universe, of life and of consciousness, scientifically. 7omplexity approaches will continue to frame these

    explanatory gaps, philosophically, and the 0uestions they raise are legitimate.

    !f !'ve interpreted you correctly, at least in part, you are protesting metaphysicalignosticism regarding these 0uestions. ! would agree, wholeheartedly, that such a stanceis philosophically indefensible.

    -------------------------------------------------!s your stance epistemological, ontological or both@ Are there specific philosophies of mind you C!Da prioriC2iD reect@ or not@ or even accept@

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    ! ask in the interest of seeing how your stance toward the mind might interface withyour metaphysical framing of life's origins@-------------------------------------------------

    !t's not sentimentalism to recognize the difference between fully determinedmechanisms and partially determined organisms. 1echanistic accounts of organisms arenecessary, because organisms are, in part, determinate, but they are insufficient

     precisely because organisms are, in part, indeterminate. Arguably, this could mirror thefabric of the cosmos. $ervasive indeterminacy, in principle, would prevent completereducibility. That's one reason we refer to methodological naturalism and notmethodological CiDphysicalismC2iD. )ome scientists don't get this distinction, which canmake for bad science.

    Those who draw inspiration from 8obert 8osen's work may also find the following

    authors stimulating; ames 7offman, oyus 7rynoid, Terrence 4eacon,esper offmeyer, Alicia uarrero, 4onald 1ikulecky and Evan Thompson.

    )ee 7rynoid's CiDThe )cientific 1isconception of :ifeC2iD


    7onsider 7offman's abstract, below, of 

    CiD3n the 1eaning of 7hance in 6iologyC2iD, 6iosemiotics, 4ecember &G"*, Nolume, !ssue (, pp (-(OO C0uoteF7offmanD7hance has somewhat different meanings in different contexts, and can be taken to beeither ontological /as in 0uantum indeterminacy# or epistemological /as in stochasticuncertainty#. ere ! argue that, whether or not it stems from physical indeterminacy,chance is a fundamental biological reality that is meaningless outside the context of knowledge. To say that something happened by chance means that it did not happen bydesign. This of course is a cornerstone of 4arwin9s theory of evolution; randomundirected variation is the creative wellspring upon which natural selection acts tosculpt the functional form /and hence apparent design# of organisms. !n hisessay 7hance H ?ecessity, ac0ues 1onod argued that an intellectually honest

    commitment to obectivity re0uires that we accord chance a central role in an otherwisemechanistic biology, and suggested that doing so may well place the origin of lifeoutside the realm of scientific tractability. 5hile that may be true, ongoing research onthe origin of life problem suggests that a biogenesis may have been possible, and

     perhaps even probable, under the conditions that existed on primordial earth. =ollowingothers, ! argue that the world should be viewed as causally open, i.e. primordiallyindeterminate or vague. Accordingly, chance ought to be the default scientificexplanation for origination, a universal Pnull hypothesis9 to be assumed until disproven.!n this framework, creation of anything new manifests freedom /allowing for chance#,and causation manifests constraint, the developmental emergence of which establishesthe space of possibilities that may by chance be realized.C20uoteD

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    1etaphysics and science remain in a dynamical dialog. The sciences rely, implicitly, onformal categories and relational structures, which a metaphysic explicitly unifies,introducing abstract concepts to refer to such unifications. Those categories andstructures include modalities, entities, essences, properties, causalities, primitives /likespace, time, mass H energy#, mereologies and such.

    The most highly speculative theoretical sciences shade into metaphysics on a continuumthat reflects the different degrees in employment of abstract concepts in any giveninterpretive discourse.

    )cience not only describes but interprets. Those interpretations are explanatory. Those

    explanations are theories. Those theories are scientific.

    Nery highly speculative theories introduce novel unifying abstract concepts. The fewer of these employed, the more scientific. The more of these employed, the moremetaphysical. )ome interpretations are indeed more scientific. Abiogenesis employsfewer abstract concepts than !4, so is more scientific. At the same time, any biopoieticinterpretation that ignores complexity theory and mereological relationships would be

     bad science.

    )o, these specific demarcation criteria /number of conceptual placeholders# dodistinguish between biopoietic and !4 accounts. There are other criteria we've alsodiscussed that further distinguish between a scientific and metaphysical interpretation.6ut, even if one stipulated for argument's sake that the design inference is sufficientlyscientific, it employs a woefully inade0uate analysis of relevant im2probabilities, whichmakes it, at best, bad science.

    -------------------------------------------------! share your criti0ue of scientism.

    ! affirm the need for an CiDexpandedC2iD evolutionary synthesis, generally, supplemented by holistic and emergentist perspectives, also, specifically, framed by a semiotic

    interpretation. /! say expanded and supplemented but never conceived itmechanistically, myself.#

    This synthesis would remain agnostic regarding both the universe's primitives /space,time, mass, energy plus @@@# and the nature of its regularities /nomicity vs stochasticity#.

    This is to suggest, perhaps, that, ontologically, ! reect no serious metaphysic, CiDin principleC2iD. Epistemologically, ! take a fallibilist stance, where ! recognize the realityof any given epistemic uncertainty, CiDprovisionallyC2iD, but don't suggest it willnecessarily remain, CiDin principleC2iD.

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    The CbDteleodynamicC2bD refers to organsmic phenomena partially determined by programs but otherwise responding to the environment with an open-ended processingof sensation, perception, emotion H motivation that's nonalgorithmic,

    noncomputational.The ententional CiDaboutnessC2iD of teleodynamic realities mightinclude robust intentionality, symbolic language, abductive CiDinferenceC2iD, triadicinference /abduction, induction H deduction# and CiDpurposeCbDfulC2bDC2iD behaviors.

    The CbDteleologicalC2bD for me refers to any putative CiDprimal telosC2iD, which wouldaccount for reality's CiDregularitiesC2iD, sorting probabilities in terms of necessity,nomicity, determinacy, stochasticity, indeterminacy and so on, clarifying therelationships between chance H necessity, the random H systematic, chaos H order,

     paradox H pattern, the asymmetric H symmetric and so on.

    Any explanation of the origin of life must go beyond the teleomatic to the teleonomic as

    organisms go beyond the mechanistic. Any explanation of the human mind must go beyond the teleonomic to the teleodynamic as the mind goes beyond mere programmatic, computational algorithms.

    6oth merely ententional and clearly intentional phenomena, as well as teleomatic,teleonomic and teleodynamic realities, are wholly consistent with a teleology conceivedas CiDprimalC2iD telos. They're also consistent with an CiDemergentC2iD telos, whichever root metaphor one employs for one's metaphysic.-------------------------------------------------

    ! ust read that =eser blog response to 7oyne that you referenced above. 6asically, hewas saying the same thing ! was trying to say /with my dense prose, neologisms andabstract categories#. =eser basically unpacks the same ideas and provides concreteexamples that are much more generally accessible /which takes a lot more words butcan often be worth itB#.

    Lou refer to CiDlogosC2iD. Les, that works well. 7heck out $eirce's CiD?eglected Argumentfor the 8eality of odC2iD, wherein he refers to od as the CbDEns ?ecessariumC2bD.

    )ame line of thought.

    addendum; $eirce's argument reminds me of the metaphysical move some make whenextrapolating the $rinciple of )ufficient 8eason beyond a methodological stipulation toan ontotheological conclusion. )uch stipulations may be ontologically CiDsuggestiveC2iD

     but they certainly are not CiDdecisiveC2iD. After all, it's not unlike the move from amethodological to a philosophical naturalism. ence, all the usual 0uestions come to

     bear; CiDfallacy of compositionC2iD apply or not@ CiDbruteC2iD fact or not@-------------------------------------------------

    Terry 4eacon identified the CiDcomputationalC2iD fallacy, which results from the failure todistinguish, semiotically, between animal and human sign interpretation, the former merely iconic and indexical, the latter also symbolic. e further identified the

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    similarly, be epistemically warranted and normatively ustified, that believers mustsomehow be cognitively impaired and are necessarily unreasonable.

    The religious-like impulse to banish CiDtelosC2iD from methodological naturalism, whichis understandable and could have been hygienic even --- had it not gone too far --- vis avis scientific in0uiry, unfortunately, robbed the epistemic frontiers of our most highlyspeculative theoretic sciences of the more robust explanatory heuristics provided by theconcepts of formal and final causations /suitably parsed as ententional, intentional,teleomatic, teleonomic, teleodynamic, primal and emergent telos#, which can help us

     better frame up our 0uestions regarding the origins of the 0uantum, the universe, lifeand consciousness, much less our evaluative dispositions and meta-philosophicalsuppositions.-------------------------------------------------

    ! suspect that a dynamical, process approach would enhance our modeling power of reality as compared to the more essentialist, substance metaphors. artshorne spoke of aCiDnonstrict identityC2iD, which resonates, seems to me, with some 6uddhist conceptionsof the CiDno selfC2iD, which don't deny our experiences of an CiDempiricalC2iD or CiDpracticalC2iD self, but conceives it as more of a dynamical reality /as well aseveryCiDthingC2iD else#.-------------------------------------------------

    !f we model the universe with a temporal rather than spatial singularity, time could befundamentally symmetric, only emergently asymmetric@ awking conceived of ustsuch a model@

    3r any given probability, for that matter. Thus we distinguish between in2determinate,in2determinable, un2determinable, over- and under- determined. 5e don't CiDa prioriC2iDknow when we are epistemically thwarted by some temporary methodologicalconstraints or permanently so due to some, in principle, ontological occulting.

    5hile awking notes there are odel-like constraints on any putative Theory of Everything CT3ED, the theoretic takeaway is not that a successful T3E couldn't be

    formulated, only that its axioms couldn't be proved in a closed formal symbol system.3ne practical upshot might be that we could CiDseeC2iD the truth of such axioms or findthem more versus less interesting. =ew of us have to travel halfway through theCiD$rincipiaC2iD with 8ussell H 5hitehead, where they eventually prove the axioms of &I&F*, in order to see the truth of those axioms.

    All that said, we mustn't confuse our maps for terrain, our models for reality, our e0uations for the fire breathed within. 5hen we encounter effects as would be proper tono known causes, we might devise successful references to unknown causes even whilesuccessful descriptions evade us.

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    This is all ust to suggest an optimistic stance for our methodological naturalism since,as K 7hesterton suggested, CiDwe don't yet know enough about reality to say that it'sunknowable.C2iD.


    8eligion, properly conceived, would take one CiDbeyondC2iD our positivist and philosophic horizons of human concern but not CiDwithoutC2iD them. This is to suggestthat it can be pulled off with one's epistemic virtue intact, ust like any other interpretivemetanarrative, whether implicit or explicit.-------------------------------------------------

    There's a plurality of models.-------------------------------------------------

    ! precisely meant to imply that probability's not necessarily incompatible --- not onlywith determinism, but --- other explanations.


    5hen distinctions are drawn between spatial and temporal singularities in speculativecosmology, ! never gathered that was done over against the notion of space-time. ! took it to mean there might be competing ways to model the nature of space-time. =or example, when modeling the universe as finite but unbounded, we'd employ one set of mathematical axioms for time /e.g. imaginary numbers, s0uare root of negative one#,while other models might describe it differently@ Thus !'ve come across suchdistinctions as the CiDspatializationC2iD of time versus the CiDtemporalization ofC2iD space,the former modeling boundary conditions per awkings' CiDhistory of timeC2iD, the latter corresponding, perhaps, to our conventional notions. 6ut ! can better see, now, the

     possibility for category errors in drawing such facile comparisons, especially byapproaching it from the perspective that, as you say, imputes neither intrinsic meaningnor obective existence to same. !'m still trying to learn the right 0uestions, much lessevaluate the myriad answers.


    >1 doesn't seem weird to me. The competing interpretations can get rather interesting,thoughB

    This isn't to deny that other interlocutors might not over-reach metaphysically.

    =or my part, !'m 0uite willing to concede the internal coherence, logical validity andsome degree of plausibility of a materialist monism, as a CiDprovisionalC2iD closure.There's nothing, in principle, that stands in the way of materialists reciprocating such

    concessions to competing stances@

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    !f, when one adopts a materialist stance, however, one is also overtaken by the urge to

    annihilate metaphysics, telos and action under uncertainty, then highly speculativetheoretic sciences, teleonomic paradigms and decision theory norms will suffer,unnecessarily so, as epistemic collateral damage. )uch CiDhegeC2iDmonistic urges were

     philosophically purged, last century, but those epistemological whack-a-moles ---logical positivism, radical empiricism and theological ignosticism --- keep popping upin different ways@


    )ee Q&* re; the putative relationship between temporality and intentionality. ow oneconceives telos, whether as primal and2or emergent, leads to different inferences re;design. )o, too, re; time.-------------------------------------------------

    Even if one stipulated, for argument's sake, that conceptions of past and future wereonly CiDemergentC2iD references to nature, couldn't they still successfully model our spatio-temporal reality@

    5e must disambiguate each conception and define whether it's being predicatedunivocally, analogically or e0uivocally between our physical and metaphysical models.To the extent that certain of our physical conceptions represent emergent descriptions of nature, while others represent fundamental descriptions, the former would be predicatedonly analogically between our physical and metaphysical models, while the latter might

     be predicated univocally.

    1ore concretely, this is not at all to suggest that conceptions like intentionality,temporality and various causes would, necessarily, not successfully refer,metaphysically, if they were taken to be physically emergent. 8ather, it would mean thatthose metaphysical references refer only analogically.

    3ne practical upshot would seem to be that, methodologically, we might make asuccessful reference to such a putative reality but remain a step or more removed from asuccessful description of that reality. !n any event, our claims would be weaker /hence,more defensible@#.

    This, of course, applies to any 4esign !nference and what might be the precise nature of a design, purpose, final cause or designer, for example, if the telic conception representsan emergent rather than fundamental reference to nature, or vice versa.-------------------------------------------------

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    ! most resonate with those who represented semiotic stances. The most salientdistinction between animal and human biosemiotics presents when humans interpretsymbols, beyond the interpretation of icons and indexes, of which animals are capable.

    5ithin an emergentist paradigm, brains certainly exhibit teleomatic features, explained per CiDmechanisticC2iD physical laws, and teleonomic features, explained in terms of CiDorganismicC2iD programs /algorithmic, computational, determinable#. uman brainsalso exhibit teleodynamic features, which are noncomputational, exhibiting downwardcausations that wouldn't, necessarily, violate physical causal closure but which derivefrom boundary constraints, analogous to Aristotelian formal causes.

    Teleomatic properties are CiDaboutC2iD end states /e.g. maximizing entropy#. Teleonomic properties are about end goals /purposive# and would include CiDinstinctualC2iDabduction. Teleodynamic properties are end-directed /purposeful# and higher order,

    which is to recognize that they include CiDinferentialC2iD abduction /as well as, triadically,induction and deduction#. The ac0uisition of language, which may have co-evolved withthe brain and which is largely social, is integral to higher order cognition.

    The :ibet experiments, in my view, refer to teleomatic and teleonomic brain activities.)o, too, umping out of the way of that :ondon bus. =olks may grossly underestimatehow much human brain activity exhibits teleonomicity. Throwing oneself in front of that :ondon bus, however, re0uires teleodynamic brain activity.

    4irectly, though, the evolutionary role of consciousness has CbDnotC2bD been explainedyet. Those heuristic conceptions --- teleomatic, teleonomic and teleodynamic --- are,indeed, placeholders for rather intractable explanatory gaps. At least until we reconcilethe 0uantum and gravity, maybe beyond that even, we don't know how those gaps mightclose, reducing to new physical accounts, or intractably perdure, nonreductively.

    ----------------------------------------That might roughly describe CiDoneC2iD interpretation of the data for CiDsomeC2iD brainactivities, but the case hasn't been made that it's an exhaustive description of CiDallC2iD

     brain activities.

    1isspelling@ Lou meant, rather, scientiCbDsC2bDtic@

    )cientiCbDfC2bDic refers to a methodology, not an ideology.

    1any draw a distinction between physicalism and naturalism. )cientists generallyemploy a methodological CiDnaturalism.C2iD

    An emergentist stance, which would be agnostic to philosophy of mind, so, notinconsistent with a physicalist interpretation, recognizes the unpredictable novelty that

     presents as dissipative structures interact. ?ot all levels of complexity can be described by mechanistic accounts due to emergent whole-part constraints. )till, as ontological

    density increases and complexities transist from the mechanistic to the organismic, their 

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    activities can be described via programs that are clearly algorithmic, computational,determinable, even though purposive. uman realities re0uire both these mechanisticand organismic accounts, which are necessary but not sufficient to account for our 

    experience of purposeful, noncomputational brain activities.

    All of these properties exhibit final causation, ust of different types. 3ne might0uestion, then, whether we have introduced distinctions that make a difference. Thesame is true for the distinction between CiDententionalC2iD and CiDintentionalC2iD, aneologism introduced by Terry 4eacon as discussed on the CiDabiogenesisC2iD thread.

    Ententionality refers to a broad range of phenomena that exhibit CiDaboutnessC2iD andincludes end states, goals, functions, adaptations, purposes, life, teleology, intentionality

    and such.

    4eacon also coined the term teleodynamic, which per his usage seemed to includeteleonomic properties, but ! have parsed it to draw a distinction between it and Ernst1ayr's ethological conception of teleonomic.

    The differences between these concepts are nomological, specifically located in how wemodel the rules that operate at each discrete level of complexity.

    5e model thermodynamic processes, homeodynamics, for the most part, utilizing the&nd :aw. =or morphodynamics, we use physics, broadly conceived to model physico-chemical, teleomatic end-states.

    5e model teleonomic properties with reference to programs, whether developed by phylogenetic /via selection# or ontogenetic /via experience or social interaction#activities or even a 0uasi-autonomous, electro-mechanical apparatus via human

     programming. To oversimplify, behavioristically, we're essentially talking ) ----HQ&% 8 or stimulus ----HQ&% response, although the algorithms can get increasingly complex.

    5e refer to teleonomic properties as purposCbDiveC2bD, but teleodynamic properties as purposeCbDfulC2bD.

    ere emerge human realities, which, while partly determined and uni0uely bounded,exhibit robustly autopoietic, intentional behaviors. =reedom, for its part, is not an all or nothing, either-or, reality, but presents in degrees. The human will is undeniably plentyCiDfree-enoughC2iD to enoy manifold and multiform value-realizations, broadlycategorized in terms of truth, beauty, goodness, unity and freedom.

    ! don't ordinarily bother refuting facile philosophical tautologies and reductionisticaccounts by employing formal arguments or even im2plausibilist appeals, but approachthem the same way ! do CiDsolipsismC2iD.That which lacks existential actionability,

     pragmatic utility or robust normativity, both prudential and moral, gets tossed into the

     philosophic wastebin via good old fashioned CiDreductio ad absurdumC2iD. !'d rather 

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    watch football than construct a sylly syllogism to prove !'m not a brain in a vat or alien- programmed robot with an umwelt.-------------------------------------------------

    ! first encountered such distinctions in biology, then realized, later, they were philosophically freighted.

    The fast and frugal heuristics of common sense gift us a great deal of modeling power,evolving in relationship, as ! like to say, to CiDthis, that and the other thingC2iD or CiDproximateC2iD realities. 5hen it comes to various CiDfirst and last thingsC2iD or CiDultimateC2iD realities, which include horizons for the emergence of 0uantum, cosmic,living and conscious realities, while formalizing our models and arguments gifts usenormous heuristic utility, in my view, the logical structures of common sense remainindispensable. ! refer, here, to instinctual abduction, inferential abduction /including

    what some call retroduction as well as transduction or analogical reasoning#, fuzzy-typelogic, which is more like set theory, less like algebra, and cumulative case-like, informalreasoning. The epistemic virtue that's re0uired when considering primal, ultimate or horizon realities, is much less realized by syllogistic approaches, much more realized byavoiding any CbDrush to closureC2bD when otherwise giving free reign to abductiveinference.

    =ormal, syllogistic logic remains an enormously powerful tool, but, starting with a false premise, one can proceed free of fallacy, very efficiently, to an erroneous conclusion,which is why the greatest logicians can end up further from the truth in a nanosecondthan the local village idiot could ever aspire to travel in a lifetime. This is precisely why! harp on definitions so much. 1any times, one's conclusions might not be explicitlyobvious in one's premises but are otherwise implicitly embedded in one's verydefinitions. 4isambiguation searches out our predications as we engage one model vis avis another to discern whether they're employed univocally, e0uivocally or analogically,much less successfully.

    5ell, the teleonomic operates in social organisms both phylogenetically, via selectedadaptations, and ontogenetically, via experience H social interaction, which involvenonsymbolic biosemiosis.

    ! think the epistemic virtue of an emergentist stance precisely resides in its avoidance of either an epistemic or ontic rush to closure via its bracketing of metaphysics. This is tosay that ! employ an emergentist I semiotic I methodological naturalist paradigm rather minimalistically. =or example, the cards ! will not, necessarily, play, at one level of complexity or the next, include concepts like supervenience, or distinctions like weak or strong emergence, the latter begging 0uestions, the former rather trivial.

    !'ve a friend who refers to emergence as CiD something more from nothing but C2iD. ! liketo say CiDsomething more from something elseC2iD. The 0uestions that beg remain

    CiDnothing but CbDwhatC2bD@C2iD and CiDCbDwhatC2bD else@C2iD ... etcB

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