> Dear Professor Sheets-Johnstone,
> It would be best if we keep our discussion to the contents of our letters 
> rather than assume that we each have read all of the other’s work.
> In my case I was banned from this forum for two weeks for too many mailings. 
> Right now I am at a conference and I have not counted if I am over the limit 
> for this week.
> I will comment in text below on your letter.
> Best,
> Lou Kauffman
>> On Apr 30, 2016, at 1:37 PM, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone <m...@uoregon.edu> 
>> wrote:
>> To FIS colleagues,
>> First, an open-to-all response to Lou Kaufmann:
>> Thank you for your lengthy tutorial—some time back--but I wonder and am
>> genuinely puzzled given the “phenomenology-life sciences theme” why none
>> of the articles that I referenced were read and a response generated at least
>> in part on the basis of that reading in conjunction with your own work.
>> Is there some reason why they were not taken up, especially perhaps the 
>> article
>> identified as being a critique of Godels’s incompleteness theorem from a
>> phenomenological perspective? I would think that you and perhaps FIS persons
>> generally would feel particularly inquisitive about that article. I would 
>> think
>> too that people in FIS would be particularly inquisitive about the reference 
>> to
>> Biological Cybernetics. Viewpoints that differ from one’s own are by some 
>> thought
>> a waste of time, but for my part, I think they rightly broaden a discussion, 
>> which
>> is not to say that entrenched or deeply held views are not solidly based, 
>> much less
>> wrong, but that they have the possibility of being amplified through a 
>> consideration
>> of the same topic from a different perspective.
> I for one, would appreciate your concise summary of your critique of Goedel.
>> For example: Language did not arise deus ex machina, and it certainly did 
>> not arise
>> in the form of graphs or writing, but in the form of sounding.  
> Yes! And Goedelian work depends crucially on formalized written language. 
> Even mathematicians who formalize much less realize that Goedel does not 
> apply to their work as they create new language. (I for one am in this camp.)
>> Awareness of oneself
>> as a sound-maker is basic to what we identify as a ‘verbal language’. 
>> Moreover this
>> awareness and the verbal language itself are both foundationally a matter of 
>> both
>> movment and hearing. A recognition of this fact of life would seem to me to 
>> be of
>> interest, even primordial interest, to anyone concerned with 
>> essential nature and substantive origins.
> Thus self-reference is essential in the stability of our voice.
>> With respect to ‘substantive origins’, does it not behoove us to inquire as 
>> to the genesis
>> of a particular capacity rather than take for granted that ‘this is the way 
>> things are and
>> have always been’?.
> Indeed! And it is essential to anyone would engages in design or invention.
>> For example, and as pointed out elsewhere, the traditional conception
>> of language being composed of arbitrary elements—-hence “symbols”--cannot be 
>> assumed with
>> either epistemological or scientific impunity. Until the origin of verbal 
>> language is accounted
>> for by reconstructing a particular lifeworld, there is no way of 
>> understanding how arbitrary
>> sounds could come to be made  . . . let alone serve as carriers of assigned 
>> meaning.
>> What is essential is first that arbitrary sounds be distinguished from 
>> non-arbitrary sounds,
>> and second, that a paradigm of signification exist. Further, no creature can 
>> speak a language
>> for which its body is unprepared. In other words, a certain sensory-kinetic 
>> body is essential
>> to the advent of verbal language. In short, in the beginning, thinking moved 
>> along analogical
>> lines rather than symbolic ones, hence along the lines of iconicity rather 
>> than along arbitrary
>> lines.
> Yes! And this is utterly the case for anyone who hopes to do creative 
> mathematics. It is not a body of symbols fixed in stone.
> For many of us, geometry and topology is a key to getting back to the senses. 
> And then again, we have other issues. For example the behaviour of polarizing 
> material moves toward 
> quantum experience and the logic of that experience is not Boolean but 
> quantum. We live in domains of extended bodily experience.
> I should also say that if we look at our actual experiences in using and 
> learning to use “symbols” such as learning again and again about writing and 
> the underlying creativity of that, we find that this ‘form drawing’ is as 
> rich a domain for phenomenology as is auditory speech and indeed linked with 
> deeply. One of the reasons I speak of Laws of Form is because in continually 
> learning that, one is thrown again and again into examining the act of 
> drawing and thereby creating a symbol system where each symbol (perhaps a 
> circle drawn with a stick in a tide-flattend stretch of sand) is felt as a 
> creation of a world in the process of making a distinction.
>> See the extensive writings of linguistic anthropologist Mary LeCron Foster 
>> and
>> Sheets-Johnstone’s The Roots of Thinking, Chapter 6, "On the Origin of 
>> Language." Foster's
>> finely documented analyses show that the meaning of the original sound 
>> elements of language
>> was the analogue of their articulatory gestures. Similarly, in my own 
>> analysis, I start not with
>> symbols or symbolic thought but at the beginning, namely, with a 
>> sensory-kinetic analysis of the
>> arbitrary and the non-arbitrary.
>> Husserl wrote that "each free act [i.e., an act involving reason] has its 
>> comet’s tail of Nature.”
>> In effect, living meanings are, from a phenomenological perspective, 
>> historically complex phenomena.
>> They have a natural history that, in its fullest sense, is bound not both 
>> ontogenetically
>> and phylogenetically. Like living forms, living meanings hold—-and have 
>> held—-possibilities
>> of further development, which is to say that they have evolved over time and 
>> that investigations
>> of their origin and historical development tell us something fundamental 
>> about life in general and
>> human life, including individual human lives, in particular. WITH RESPECT TO 
>> COMPLEX PHENOMENA, consider the following examples:
>> Information is commonly language-dependent whereas meaning is not.
>> We come into the world moving; we are precisely not stillborn.
>> We humans all learn our bodies and learn to move ourselves.
>> Movement forms the I that moves before the I that moves forms movement.
>> Infants are not pre-linguistic; language is post-kinetic.
>> Nonlinguistic corporeal concepts ground fundamental verbal concepts.
>> To all FIS colleagues re Alex Hankey's presentation:
>> I thought at first that we might be talking past each other because it was 
>> my understanding
>> that this 4-part discussion was about phenomenology and the life sciences. 
>> What this means to
>> me is that we conjoin real-life, real-time first-person experience, thus 
>> methodologically
>> anchored phenomenological analyses, with real-life-real-time third-person 
>> experience, thus
>> methodologically anchored empirical analyses. With this last conversation 
>> between Rafael and
>> Alex, the terrain seems to be shifting precisely toward this ground. With 
>> respect to that
>> conversation, I would like first to note my accord with their critique of 
>> Heidegger's
>> metaphysical view that animals are "poor-in-world." In an article published 
>> at the end of
>> last year, I give a detailed critical analysis of that metaphysical view in 
>> conjunction
>> with a detailed critical analysis of Heidegger's own metaphysical 
>> shortcoming, namely, his
>> being, among other things, "poor-in-body." See "The Enigma of 
>> Being-toward-Death," Journal of
>> Speculative Philosophy,2015 24/4: 547-576.
>> I recommend Aristotle (again) to FIS colleagues:
>> "Every realm of nature is marvellous. . . .[W]e should venture on the study 
>> of every kind
>> of animal without distaste; for each and all will reveal to us something 
>> natural and
>> something beautiful."
>> "If any person thinks the examination of the rest of the animal kingdom an 
>> unworthy task,
>> he must hold in like disesteem the study of man."
>> Aristotle wrote four astoundingly perceptive books on animals. The above 
>> quotes are from
>> his book Parts of Animals. Of Aristotle, Darwin in fact wrote, "Linnaeus and 
>> Cuvier have been
>> my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school-boys 
>> to old Aristotle."
>> With respect to consciousness,may I refer you to a thoroughly documented 
>> article titled
>> "Consciousness: A Natural History" that first appeared in the Journal of 
>> Consciousness Studies
>> (1998) and that both critically and constructively addresses the question of 
>> 'how consciousness arises
>> in matter'. Documentation is based on corporeal matters of fact from 
>> vertebrates to invertebrates
>> and includes consideration of bacteria. The article was later included in 
>> The Corporeal Turn: An
>> Interdisciplinary Reader and in The Primacy of Movement.
>> What I term "phenomenologically-informed" studies of "the bodies we are not" 
>> requires acute
>> observations to begin with, observations untethered to theories and beliefs 
>> about X, and then,
>> finely detailed descriptions of those observations. Just such untethered 
>> observations and
>> meticulous descriptions are the cornerstone of any life science. One is not 
>> out there trying to
>> make others as you want them to be, but attempting to know them as they are. 
>> The task is precisely
>> a challenge since it is a matter of achieving knowledge about living bodies 
>> that are different from,
>> yet evolutionarily connected to, your living body. Jane Goodall's years of 
>> dedicated study set
>> the original gold standard, so to speak, for such research, the foundations 
>> of "good life science."
>> As I earlier wrote (and documented by way of a publication), descriptive 
>> foundations undergird
>> phenomenological analyses, studies in evolutionary biology, and ecological 
>> literature.
>> Cheers,
>> Maxine
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