“Classical metaphysical realism cannot be true”
Cognitive science has introduced a new way of viewing the world and our self by declaring a new paradigm which I call the embodied mind. The primary focus is upon the fact that there is no mind/body duality but that there is indeed an integrated mind and body. The mind and body are as integrated as is the heart and the body.
The human thought process is dominated by the characteristic of our integrated body. The sensorimotor neural network is an integral part of our mind. The neural network that makes movement and perception possible is the same network that processes our thinking.
The unconscious categories that guide our human response to the world are constructed in the same way as are the categories that make it possible of other animals to survive in the world. We form categories both consciously and unconsciously.
Why do we feel that both our consciously created and unconsciously created categories fit the world?
Our consciously formed concepts fit the world, more or less, because we consciously examine the world with our senses and our reason and classify that world into these concepts we call categories.
Our unconsciously formed categories are a different matter. Our unconsciously formed categories fit our world because these basic-level categories “have evolved to form at least one important class of categories that optimally fit our bodily experiences of entities and certain extremely important differences in the natural environment”.
Our perceptual system has little difficulty distinguishing between dogs and cows or rats and squirrels. Investigation of this matter makes clear that we distinguish most readily those folk versions of biological genera, i.e. those “that have evolved significantly distinct shapes so as to take advantage of different features of their environment.”
If we move down to subordinate levels of the biological hierarchy we find the distinguishing ability deteriorates quickly. It is more difficult to distinguish one species of elephant from another than from distinguishing an elephant from a buffalo. It is easy to distinguish a boat from a car but more difficult distinguishing one type of car from another.
“Consider the categories chair and car which are in the middle of the category hierarchies furniture—chair—rocking chair and vehicle—car—sports car. In the mid-1970s, Brent Berlin, Eleanor Rosch, Carolyn Mervis, and their coworkers discovered that such mid-level categories are cogently “basic”—i.e. they have a kind of cognitive priority, as contrasted with “superordinate” categories like furniture and vehicle and with “subordinate” categories like rocking chair and sports car” (Berlin et al 1974 “Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification”; Mervis and Rosch 1981 Categorization of Natural Objects, “Annual Review of Psychology” 32: 89-115))
The differences between basic-level and non basic-level categories is based upon bodily characteristics. The basic-level categories are dependent upon gestalt perception, sensorimotor programs, and mental images. “Because of this, classical metaphysical realism cannot be true, since the properties of categories are mediated by the body rather than determined directly by a mind-independent reality”
In humans basic level categories are developed primarily based upon our bodily configuration and its interrelationship with the environment. For other animals almost all, if not all, categories are basic-level categories.
What is classical metaphysical realism?
Quotes from "Philosophy in the Flesh" by Lakoff and Johnson