- Jul 2022
The thesis of this paper is that you can have your cake and eat it: it is possible todevelop an understanding of the mind that is both non-dual and analytic—in the sense ofbased on clearly defined, formal distinctions. To achieve that, we need to replace thevagueness of process metaphysics by the concreteness of what has been called actionontology (Heylighen, 2011; Turchin, 1993). That will allow us to “extend” the mind not justacross notebooks and social systems, but across the whole of nature and society
Heylighen's program is to transition from vague process metaphysics to measurable "action ontology"
us, they lead to the emergence of ever more sophisticated, meaningful and adaptive forms.This evolutionary worldview is very different from the lifeless, static picture of the clockworkuniverse, where inert pieces of matter follow predetermined trajectories. In such an evolving,interconnected world, mind no longer appears like an alien entity that cannot be explained byscientific principles, but rather as a natural emanation of the way networks of processes self-organize into goal-directed, adaptive systems.This is of course not a novel idea. It has been formulated by philosophers such asWhitehead, Bergson and Teilhard de Chardin under the label of process metaphysics(Rescher, 1996; Teilhard de Chardin, 1959; Whitehead, 1978). But analytically trainedphilosophers are understandably not very keen on these rather mystical and obscure theories,preferring the clear distinctions of logic and mathematics to these poetic and grandiloquentwritings. Therefore, analytic philosophy has tended to stay firmly rooted in the reductionistapproach of Newtonian science. The problem is that this leads it straight back into an implicitdualism, and its apparently unsolvable mind-body problem.
Process metaphysics advocates the perspective that the Cartesian view of nature is incorrect. Rather than starting out with inert matter and deducing its interactions thereof, nature consists of processes
URLbafybeicho2xrqouoq4cvqev3l2p44rapi6vtmngfdt42emek5lyygbp3sy.ipfs.dweb.link/Non-dualism - Mind outside Brain a radically non-dualist foundation for distributed cognition.pdf