Looking at Steve Fuller’s Book (2020) “A Player’s Guide to the Post-Truth Condition” (Part 26 of 26)

0238 Original sin?

0239 Francis Bacon (1561-1626 AD) lives at the start of the current Age of Ideas. He is a lawyer.  He accepts that lying is part of everyday life, especially in the courtroom.  He discovers that inquisitional modes of investigation force people to report in public what privately they do not hold.  In short, the inquisitorial mode of testing and observing and measuring produces what I call “phenomena”.  Courtroom phenomena do not reveal what a subject “privately” thinks.  Courtroom phenomena reveal what the subject is openly willing to disclose under inquisition.

What I privately think associates to the noumenon.

What I am willing to say associates to phenomena.

0240 What does this imply?

Just as a triumphalist scientist wants to replace the noumenon with a mathematical or mechanical model, the scientismist one wants to replace what I privately think with what the Positivist’s judgment ought to be, that is, an empirio-normative narrative.

0241 Okay, then does that mean, once I am properly credentialed, that I have bought into a lie?

Yes and no.

Yes, phenomena cannot objectify their noumenon.  If I do not testify to what I think, then I must be lying.  So, the very idea of phenomena entails, not necessarily a falsehood, but a deception.

No, phenomena can objectify a model substituting for the noumenon.  If I have successfully substituted an empirio-normative narrative for what I think, then I am always engaging in deception, even to myself.  Either that, or I am always telling the “truth” (that is, the narrative) that can be objectified as what I say.

Did I write that correctly?

0242 The Christian doctrine of Original Sin derives from a mythic account of Adam and Eve.  Adam and Eve are fashioned by God in a paradise near the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.  They disobey God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Okay, let me tweak the tree’s label to “the fruit of the tree of formalized knowledge1b“.  Mythically, this tree occupies the center of the Edenic garden.

The problem is not disobedience, per se, but a capitulation to a post-truth condition imposed by… what else?… a speaking snake.  Serpents must speak, because they cannot talk with their hands.

0243 Needless to say, the serpent has a variety of narratives to offer.  The fruit will allow Eve to own its beauty (the capitalist model of value2b) as well as make her wise (the socialist model of value2b).  Eve sees an opportunity1c.  She makes an actionable judgment2c.  And, the relativist one3c notches up two successes2c, since Adam is along for the ride.

So, the Fall in the Garden of Eden has a lot to do with disobedience (to God, but obedience to the serpent) and lying (to oneself by adopting the narrative of the serpent as one’s own).

0244 Saint Augustine associates the Fall to a permanent weakness called “concupiscence”, which transliterates to “con (with) cupi (Cupid) scence (the state of being)”.  The state of being with Cupid is a little more entertaining than the state of being scammed by a speaking snake.  But, the post-truth condition for each is pretty much the same.

0245 Why?

The foundational potential of the post-truth condition is the will1a.

By definition, the foundational potential of the prior condition is the truth1a.

0246 What does this imply?

Well, if Adam and Eve associate to the start of our current Lebenswelt, as proposed in The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace (as well as An Archaeology of the Fall, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues), then the prior truth condition must associate to the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Consequently, Adam and Eve may be historical, in so far as they are fairy tale figures associated with the start of the Ubaid archaeological period of southern Mesopotamia.  The Ubaid marks the start of history (that is, our current Lebenswelt).

0247 Of course, Saint Augustine does not know this.  So, he proposes that all humanity shares in the original sin of Adam and Eve through direct descent.  All humans are subject to original sin2c because Adam and Eve are the first parents.

This turns out to be a scientific proposal.  All humans are related to an original pair of humans.  This hypothesis is debunked by modern genetics.  There is no genetic bottleneck, as would be expected for a single-pair founding our species.

0248 So, Fuller points to a post-Augustine interpretation of our current Lebenswelt as a breeding ground for the post-truth condition.  We are expected, by our inquisitors, to say only what we are publicly willing to disclose, as if that is what we are thinking.  Whenever we live up to that expectation, we deceive ourselves.  At the same time, we notch up successes2c for the relativist one3c.

On top of that, our hard-won academic credentials encourage us to utter statements based on the latest empirio-normative narratives2c, as if they2c are what we are thinking2a.

0249 Razie Mah heartily agrees.  See his blog post for January 2, 2024.

0250 Perhaps, among other things, original sin involves defying the God of Creation by publicly mouthing the normative narratives of lesser deities, relativist ones3c, who put both the human intellect3a and will1a into perspective.

The sacrament of baptism plays a role in washing away that original sin, in so far as it introduces the infant to people who offer the story of the One True God, despite the fact that the story is unbelievable, according to all relativist one-heads.

0251 That said, Fuller’s genealogy of the post-truth condition points back to the very start of our current Lebenswelt.

Here is one vista that Fuller, as a guide to the post-truth condition, allows.

0252 Each person must decide which path to follow in the fourth Enlightenment Battle.

There are two paths.

One turns the person in to a certified mask that utters empirio-normative narratives.

One turns a person into a sign-tracker on a path that leads to a sign-vehicle that does not stand for what the empirio-normative judgment is telling me to think.  This is the path of metalepsis.  If Fuller is on target, the sign-tracker will discover an interventional sign-vehicle containing both a novel doctrine of original sin (for our current Lebenswelt) and a new appreciation of the human as an image of God (for the Lebenswelt that we evolved in).

In order to appreciate original justice, one must first respect original sin.

0253 Razie Mah offers three works that reconfigure the current empirio-schematic narrative of human evolution in a way that may assist sign-trackers.  These works are titled, The Human Niche, An Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define the Word “Religion”.  These works address the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, the first singularity and our current Lebenswelt.

Indeed, these works begin where Fuller’s excellent guidebook concludes.

0254 My thanks to Steve Fuller for his daring, and brief, exposition of the contemporary post-truth condition.


Original Sin and the Post-Truth Condition

0001 On January 2, 2024, Razie Mah posts a blog challenging a Catholic podcast to take up a quest.  Re-articulate the doctrine of original sin for the forthcoming age of triadic relations.

0002 The challenge rests on four points.

0003 Here is the first point.

In the 300s AD, Saint Augustine formulates the doctrine of original sin.  In the process, he inadvertently proposes a scientific hypothesis.  All humans descend from Adam and Eve as the original pair.

Of course, Augustine has no reason to question the Genesis text in this regard.  The Bible is sacred text, a witness to God’s action in our current Lebenswelt.  The science of genetics stands 1600 years in the future.

In the 1900s, geneticists definitively debunk the idea that all humans descend from an original pair, unless that founding pair lives over 500,000 years ago.

0004 This is not the only surprise.

In the 1800s and 1900s, archaeology discovers the historical depth of the ancient Near East.  Now, the stories of Adam and Eve are listed among other origin stories of this age and location.  All these stories (with the exception of the first chapter of Genesis) depict a recent creation of humanity, which does not make sense, since humans have been around for at least 200,000 years.

Why do all the written origin stories of the ancient Near East testify to a recent creation of humans?

0005 Indeed, if Augustine were around today, he would frame the doctrine of original sin within the paradigms of the current scientific age.  Adam and Eve are not the first Homo sapiens, even though the second chapter of Genesis depicts their unique manufacture. The stories of Adam and Eve are ancient Near East mythologies.  The artisanal fashioning of Adam and Eve, as well as the talking serpent, are correspondingly mythic.  Also, the stories recorded in Genesis 2.4 through 10 concern the same start of humanity that is suggested by all other written origin stories of the ancient Near East.

0006 The problem?

What is this business about a recent start to humanity?

Why can’t the origin stories of ancient civilizations envision times significantly earlier than their civilizational foundings?

The social and biological sciences have done their utmost to portray human evolution in a way that excludes the witness of the earliest civilizations.

Does human evolution come with a twist?

Of course, it does.

0007 Why does Augustine claim that Adam and Eve are the first humans?  The book of Genesis says so.  But, once one realizes that all the origin stories of the ancient Near East point to an event horizon beyond which civilization cannot see,and that this event horizon is recent (rather than in deep evolutionary time), then the stories of Adam and Eve turn into fairy tales that address the coming-to-be of our current Lebenswelt.

0008 Before our current Lebenswelt, there are no civilizations.  There is no unconstrained social complexity.  There are no experts, or sophists, or relativist ones, or post-graduate ones.

Before our current Lebenswelt, humans live in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, which is unquestionably different than our own civilized condition.  Social complexity is always constrained.  Social hierarchies seldom contain more levels than grand-parents, parents and children.  Maybe there are specialists, like a midwife or a shaman, but there are no institutions for education in “nursing” or “medicine”.

0009 What does this imply?

Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

All the origin stories of the ancient Near East (except for Genesis One) testify to the beginning of our current Lebenswelt as the start of all humanity.  The Lebenswelt that we evolved in cannot be remembered.

The history of the ancient Near East runs deep.  Archaeologists point to the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia, as the time and the place where the earliest unconstrained social complexity manifests.  Civilization is further potentiated during the Uruk archaeological period, when urbanism starts and social stratification becomes obvious.  Plus, uncanny inventions are made, such as the wheel and the use of the donkey for long-distance caravans.  Civilization is obvious at the start of the Sumerian Dynastic archaeological period.

0010 So, what do the stories of Adam and Eve depict?

In the 300s, Augustine gives a premodern answer and formulates the first doctrine of original sin.  Adam and Eve are the parents of all humans.  The taint of original sin passes from one generation to the next.

In the 2000s, Augustine’s followers will give a postmodern answer and formulate the second doctrine of original sin.  The stories of Adam and Eve are fairy tales about the start of our current Lebenswelt.  Our current Lebenswelt begins with the first singularity.

0011 Here is the second point.

If Augustine’s hypothesis that Adam and Eve are the first humans fails, then is there another relevant scenario suggested before the modern age of ideas?

Thomas Aquinas offers one, when he reflects on the state of (the literal) Adam before the Fall.  Before the incident involving the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve live in a world of original justice.  Then, after the Fall, they live in a state of original sin.

Does the state of original justice correspond to the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

What was life like during the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

Did hominins live up to a recent slogan offered by the expert-driven, science-oriented and empirio-normative-dominated World Economic Forum, “You will own nothing and be happy?”

Our Paleolithic ancestors own nothing (compared to anyone in any civilization) and they are happy (in ways that we currently cannot imagine).

0012 For example, our hominin ancestors adapt to the transcendentals that are extolled by religious intellectuals and ridiculed by secular sophists.  It is as if the transcendentals are sign-vehicles that elicit adaptive sign-objects in the hominin mind, so our brains and bodies express a phenotype that serves as a sign-interpretant for those adaptive sign-objects.

Yes, our ancestors cannot label the transcendentals with spoken words.  Instead, they experience the transcendentals as adaptations.  Truth, beauty, nobility, temperance, strength, wisdom, and prudence do not have spoken labels.  They have moments of perfection in the hominin body and mind.

0013 Aquinas knows nothing about the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  So, he depicts Adam as something of a Greek philosopher, rather than someone who modern anthropologists might recognize: a hominin who owns nothing, works in teams, belongs to community, suffers ailments and danger, yet is unimaginably happy.  After all, our ancestors are who we evolved to be.

We are not so lucky.  

0014 The Lebenswelt that we evolved in holds secrets that contemporary evolutionary anthropologists cannot articulate using the disciplinary languages of the social sciences. (See Razie Mah’s blog for January through March, 2024, as well as Comments on Michael Tomasello’s Arc of Inquiry (1999-2019), available at smashwords and other e-book venues).  Tomasello’s technical term, “joint attention”, is an explicit abstraction that describes hominins, working in teams, being productive and having fun.  It is a mystery how they do it.  Yet, that is what hominins evolve to do.

0015 Another big secret about the Lebenswelt that we evolved in is that, unlike modern anthropologists, our hominin ancestors cannot conduct explicit abstractions.  Our hominin ancestors cannot explicitly label things or events with spoken words.  Why?  They talk with their hands.  Speech is added to hand talk at the start of our own species, Homo sapiens.  Then, Homo sapiens practices a dual-mode way of talking, hand-speech talk, for over 200,000 years before the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia appears, nominally 7,800 years ago, as the world’s first culture to practice speech-alone talk.

0016 Hand talk and hand-speech talk facilitate implicit abstraction.

Even when hand-talk becomes fully linguistic, explicit abstraction not possible.  Manual-brachial gesture-words are holistic.  The referent exists before the word.  The gestural-word pictures or points to its referent.

Speech-alone talk permits implicit abstraction.  It also facilitates explicit abstraction.

Spoken words label parts, distinct from the whole.  For example, the rotational motion that goes into making clay pots is explicitly abstracted with the invention of the pottery wheel.  Then, the pottery wheel is explicitly re-oriented to become the wheel of a cart.  

Spoken words exist before the referent.  Spoken words cannot picture or point to anything.  That is why the referents for spoken words exist as meanings, presences and messages in the realm of possibility.  How often do we create artifacts that validate the meaning, presence and message underlying spoken words?  How long do such validations last?

0017 The differences in the semiotics of hand talk and speech-alone talk are discussed in the opening chapters of the fictional drama, An Archaeology of the Fall.

0018 Point three follows points one and two, in so far as the mythic, as well as the historical, Adam and Eve stand at the event horizon beyond which the origin stories of the ancient Near East cannot see.  The stand at the very start of our current Lebenswelt.  They signify the first singularity.

See The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

0019 The fourth and final point is this fool’s errand.  Razie Mah’s blogs for July through October 2024 offer a stumbling yet ambitious start to the quest posted on January 2, 2024.  

The sequence of presentation in the three-part e-book, Original Sin and The Post-Truth Condition, is not quite the same as the sequence of appearance in the blogs.  The blogs are sequenced for space and convenience.

The numbering of the points follows the list presented here.

0020 Fuller’s account of the post-truth condition is examined first.  This examination is foundational.

The results are applied to a book by American entrepreneur and politician, Vivek Ramaswamy, as well as a monograph on American propaganda by Michelle Stiles.

An essay by Josef Pieper on the abuse of language, reconceptualizes the application and serves starting point for a second formulation of the doctrine of original sin.  In the blog, the examination of Pieper appears between the examinations for Ramaswamy and Stiles.

By the end of Pieper’s work, a connection between the post-truth condition and original sin, deepens.

0021 But, that is not all.

An examination of a book on language and cognitive psychology shows that, in 2022, secular academics are yet to confront the hypothesis of the first singularity.  This examination stands as a warning that this hypothesis challenges both theology and science.  Theologians need to devise a post-Augustine formulation of the doctrine of original sin.  Scientists need to consider that (1) the human niche is the potential of triadic relations, as proposed in Razie Mah’s e-book The Human Niche, (2) our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, as dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall, and (3) the semiotics of speech-alone talk is radically different than hand and hand-speech talk, as discussed in How To Define The Word “Religion”.

0022 The post-truth condition is a product of the semiotics of speech-alone talk.

The post-truth condition manifests original sin.

The end writes the beginning.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2024) “Theistic Evolution” (Part 1 of 21)

0644 The full title of the book before me is Theistic Evolution: A Contemporary Aristotelian-Thomistic Perspective(Cambridge University Press: Cambridge: UK). The book arrives on my doorstep in October 2023.  The copyright is dated 2024.

How time flies.

0645 This examination builds on previous blogs and commentaries.

Here is a picture.

0646 A quick glance backwards is appropriate.

Tabaczek’s story begins in the waning days of the Age of Ideas, when the Positivist’s judgment once thrived.

0647 The Positivist judgment holds two sources of illumination.  Models are scientific.  Noumena are the things themselves.  Physics applies to models.  Metaphysics applies to noumena.  So, I ask, “Which one does the positivist intellect elevate over the other?”

The answer is obvious.

So, the first part of the story is that the positivist intellect dies, and lives on as a ghost (points 0001-0029).

0648 Tabaczek buries the positivist intellect and places the two sources of illumination against one another.  It is as if they reflect one another.

But, the two sources also have their advocates.

In Emergence, Tabaczek argues that models of emergence require metaphysical styles of analysis.

In Divine Action and Emergence, he sets out to correct metaphysical emanations reflecting scientific models of emergence.  It is as if these emanations are reflections of science in the mirror of theology.  Intellectuals inspired by science want to see ‘what is’ of the Positivist’s judgment in the mirror of theology.  But, note the difference between the picture of the Positivist’s judgment and the two hylomorphes in Tabaczek’s mirror (points 0039-0061).

0649 Why do I mention this?

In the introduction of the book before me, Tabaczek discusses his motivations.  He, as a agent of theology, wants to exploit an opportunity.  That opportunity is already present in the correction that he makes to what an agent of science sees in the mirror of theology (pictured below).

0650 What an opportunity!

Tabaczek offers the hope of a multidimensional, open-minded, and comprehensive (say nothing of comprehensible) account of evolutionary theory.

How so?

The positivist intellect is dead.  The positivist intellect ruled the Positivist’s judgment with the maxim, “Metaphysics is not allowed.”

0651 Now that the positivist intellect is dead, the two illuminations within the former Positivist’s judgment may transubstantiate into the realm of actuality and become two hylomorphes, standing like candles that reflect one another in Tabaczek’s mirror.

Tabaczek, as an agent of theology, witnesses how a scientist views himself in the mirror of theology.  The scientist sees the model as more real than the noumenon (the thing itself, which cannot be objectified as its phenomena).  Indeed, the scientist projects ‘what is’ of the Positivist’s judgment into the mirror of theology.

0652 Tabaczek wants to project his philosophical construction of the noumenon (in concert with its dispositions and powers, as well as its matter and form) into the mirror of science.

But, I wonder whether any agent of science is willing to stop listening to the ghost of the positivist intellect long enough to discern what theologians project into the mirror of science.

0653 Yes, Tabaczek’s inquiry is all about optics.

0654 So, who are the players involved in the intellectual drama of Tabaczek’s mirror.

Tabaczek identifies three.

To me, there must be four.

0655 The first is the agent of science.  The scienceagent is the one that makes the models.  Two types of scienceagent stand out in the study of biological evolution: the natural historian and the geneticist.

0656 The second is the agent of theology.  Tabaczek limits theologyagents to experts in Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.).

In a way, this self-imposed limit is a handicap, since Aristotle and Aquinas philosophize long before Darwin publishes On The Origin of Species (1859).

In another way, this self-imposed limit is a blessing, since it provides me with an occasion for examining his argument from the framework of Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914).  According to the semiotician and Thomist John Deely (1942-2017), Peirce is the first postmodern philosopher.  Peirce is also a co-discoverer of the triadic nature of signs, along with the Baroque scholastic (that is Thomist) John Poinsot (1589-1644), otherwise known as John of Saint Thomas.

Peirce’s semiotics begins where Baroque scholasticism leaves off.

0657 The third is the image that the scientist projects into the mirror of theology.  I label this image: theologymirror, in contrast to scienceagent.  The theologyagent can see the image in theologymirror, but is not the source of that image.  I have already shown the initial image that the agent of science sees in the mirror of theology.  I have also noted that Tabaczek aims to correct that projection.

0658 The fourth is the image that the theologian casts into the mirror of science.  I label this image: sciencemirror, in contrast to theologyagent.  The scienceagent can see the image in sciencemirror, but is not the source of that image.  I have already indicated that the scienceagent (more or less) does not care what is in sciencemirror, because the ghost of the positivist intellect whispers in the ear of scienceagent, “All that metaphysical stuff is completely unnecessary.”


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 22 of 22)

0331 My sudden turn to semiotics does not occur in Tabaczek’s text.

Such is the examiner’s prerogative.

At this point, I stand at the threshold of section 1.3.4, almost precisely in the middle of the book.

My commentary on this book is significant.

Shall I review?

I represent the Positivist’s judgment as a content-level category-based form and discuss how it might be situated (points 0155 to 0184).

I suggest how reductionists can game emergent phenomena.  Plus, I follow Tabaczek back to the four causes (points 0185 to 0239).

I present a specific example of an emergent phenomenon, building on the prior example of a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.  Then, I return to Deacon’s general formula for emergence (points 240 to 0276).

Finally, I examine Tabaczek’s “philosophical history of panentheism” up to the section on Hegel (points 0277 to 0330).

0332 These are notable achievements.

But, my commentary is not more significant than Tabaczek’s text.

At this point, it is if I look through Tabaczek’s text and see something moving, something that catches my eye.  It is not for me to say whether it is an illusion or a registration.  It is enough for me to articulate what I see.

0333 At this point, I draw the veil on Razie Mah’s blog for April and May of 2024 and enter the enclosure of Comments on Tabaczek’s Arc of Inquiry (2019-2024), available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  Comments will cover the rest of Part Two of Divine Action and Emergence.  June 2024 will look at the start of Tabaczek’s next book, Theistic Evolution and Comments will complete the examination.

My thanks to Mariusz Tabaczek for his intellectual quest.

0334 But, that is not to say that I abandon Tabaczek’s text.

No, my slide into sign-relations is part of the examiner’s response.

This occurs in Comments.

There is good reason to wonder whether the response is proportionate.

I let the reader decide.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 1 of 22)

0001 Philosophers enamored of Aristotle and Aquinas tend to make distinctions.  So, what happens when such philosophers wrestle with modern science as it confronts the realness of apparently irreducibly complex systems, such as um… hydrogen-fuel cells and the Krebs cycle, which serves as the “fuel cell” for eukaryotic cells?

On the surface, Tabaczek fashions, yet does not articulate, a distinction between… hmmm…

0002 Consider a sentence, found on page 273 of Emergence, midway in the final chapter, seven, saying (more or less), “I hope that my re-interpretation of downward causation and emergent systems, in terms of old and new Aristotelianism, will help analytical metaphysicians sound more credible to scientists and philosophers of science, who employ, analyze and justify methodological reductionism.”


Philosophers of science and analytialc metaphysicians?

0003 Philosophers of science attempt to understand the causalities inherent in the ways that each empirio-schematic discipline applies mathematical and mechanical models to observations and measurements of particular phenomena.  In terms of Aristotle’s four causes, their options are few.  Science is beholden to material and efficient causalities, shorn of formal and final causation.  So, they end up going in tautological circles.  What makes a model relevant?  Well, a model accounts for observations and measurements of phenomena.  What are phenomena?  Phenomena are observable and measurable facets of their noumenon.  What is a noumenon?

Ugh, you know, the thing itself.

If I know anything about the Positivist’s judgment, then I know this.  Science studies phenomena, not their noumenon.

Everybody knows that.

Except, of course, for those pathetic (analytical) metaphysicians.

0004 …what?

A noumenon and its phenomena?

0005 Tautologies are marvelous intellectual constructions.

In a tautology, an explanation explains a fact because the fact can be accounted for by the explanation.  For modern science, mathematical and mechanical models explain observations and measurements because observations and measurements can be accounted for by mathematical and mechanical models.

Scientific tautologies are very powerful.  Important scientists ask for governments to support their empirio-schematic research in order to develop and exploit such tautologies… er… technologies.  Philosophers of science tend to go with the flow, so they end up employing, analyzing and justifying the manners in which mathematical and mechanical models account for observations and measurements, along with other not-metaphysical pursuits.  One must tread lightly.  First, there is a lot of money on the line.  Second, the positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

0006 …hmmm…

Does Tabaczek offer a way out of the rut of not-metaphysics, without noticing that the rut is what distinguishes scientific inquiry from experience of a thing itself?  Aristotle will tell me that the rut is not the same as the world outside the rut.  The scientific world is (supposedly) full of mind-independent beings.  Ours is a world of mind-dependent beings.  

0007 …aha!

Now, I arrive at the yet-to-be-articulated distinction between what science investigates and what we experience.

For the modern philosopher of science, models are key.  Disciplinary language brings mathematical and mechanical models into relation with observations and measurements of phenomena.

For the estranged modern metaphysician, the thing itself is key.  The thing itself, the noumenon, gives rise to diverse phenomena, facets that are observable and measurable.

Consequently, the distinction that Tabaczek does not name looks like this.

Figure 01


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 22 of 22)

0149 In chapter five, Tabaczek starts to develop the noumenal side of his mirror, beginning with dispositions and powers.  Tabaczek wants to use these terms interchangeably. Perhaps, it is better to regard them as two contiguous real elements, where the contiguity is [properties].

Disposition [property] power is a hylomorphe that is slightly different than Aristotle’s hylomorphe, matter [substance] form.   Even though they differ, they both belong to Peirce’s category of secondness.

To me, Peirce’s secondness opens the door to expressions of causality that reflect Aristotle’s hylomorphe in so far as they have the same relational structure.

Currently, no modern philosopher views Aristotle’s hylomorphe as a prime example of Peirce’s category of secondness.

How so?

As soon as a modern philosopher recognizes the point, then he or she becomes a postmodern philosopher.

Labels can be slippery.

0150 In chapter six of Emergence, Tabaczek introduces forms and teleology (that is, formal and final causes).  The operation of these causes within the category-based nested form has already been presented.

0151 In chapter seven, Tabaczek labors to apply his dispositional metaphysics to Deacon’s formulation of dynamical depth.  Perhaps, the results are not as coherent as the application found in this examination, but his efforts are sufficient to earn him his doctorate in philosophy.

Amen to that!

0152 Overall, Emergence is a testimonial to the resilience of a graduate student who completes his doctorate in philosophy of science without knowing that the model and the noumenon are two (apparently competing) illuminations within the Positivist’s judgment.

0153 Why doesn’t he know?

Well, no one knows, because philosophers of science are not paying attention the traditions of Charles Peirce or of Jacques Maritain.  As noted in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy, Maritain uses the scholastic tool of three different styles of abstraction to paint a picture of science displaying the structure of judgment.  Peirce’s semiotics and categories clarify Maritain’s painting by resolving two integrated yet distinct judgments: the Positivist’s judgment and the empirio-schematic judgment.

Plus, another reason why no one knows is because philosophers of science still think that the positivist intellect is alive.  All laboratory scientists obey the dictate of the positivist intellect.  Metaphysics is not allowed.  So, if well-funded scientists are correct, then philosophers of science must project what is for the Positivist’s judgment from science into their own image in Tabaczek’s mirror.  They do not realize that Tabaczek inadvertently de-defines the positivist intellect by not getting the Positivist’s memo and regarding a noumenon as the thing itself and its phenomena as manifestations of dispositions [properties] power.

0154 Say what?

Tabaczek’s “dispositional metaphysics” disposes with the positivist intellect by vaporizing the relation of the Positivist’s judgment and condensing what ought to be (the empirio-schematic judgment) and what is (the noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena) as two distinct illuminations.  Both enter secondness.  Two hylomorphes stand juxtaposed.  In Tabaczek’s mirror, each hylomorphe sees its own image in the other.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2016) “A Natural History of Human Morality” (Part 1 of 22)

0389 The book before me published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.    The question?  What makes humans unique?  The approach is scientific.  Humans think differently than great apes, their closest biological kin. One way to understand that difference is to observe and measure the cognitive capacities of human newborns and infants, as well as the cognitive abilities of adult great apes.

This book belongs to a decades-long arc of inquiry by the author.  During much of this time, Michael Tomasello serves as co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. I cover two decades in my examinations.  Here is the fourth book in the list.

0390 What has this semiotician found so far?

First, from the very start of his journey, the content-level of Tomasello’s vision corresponds to the situation-level of Razie Mah’s hypothesis.  The ultimate human niche consists of the potential of triadic relations.

Razie Mah’s hypothesis applies the two-level interscope for Darwin’s paradigm to human evolution.

0391 First, the general Darwinian paradigm looks like this.

0392 In The Human Niche (available at smashwords and other e-book venues), Razie Mah proposes that the ultimate human niche1b is the potential of triadic relations.

Tomasello’s hypothesis that joint attention2b and shared intentionality2b are behavioral and cognitive adaptations to the niche of sociogenesis1b reconfigures the situation-level of Darwin’s paradigm, resulting in what I call the “Tomasello-Mah synthesis”.

0393 Yes, fortune turns her wheel.  Tomasello does not know Mah’s hypothesis.  Tomasello’s arc of inquiry is underway in 1999.  Mah’s hypothesis first appears online in 2018.  So, Tomasello configures his insight, corresponding to the situation-level of the Darwinian paradigm, as the content-level of his vision.

Tomasello’s vision offers a way to bring a phenotype (of human ontogeny2c’) into relation with a foundational adaptation (of joint attention2a’).  But, according to Mah, phenotype and adaptation are two independent fields of evolutionary inquiry.  One does not situate or contextualize the other.  Rather, the two intersect.

Consequently, Tomasello’s vision resolves the internal contradictions of the intersection of genetics and natural history,by assigning the phenotype to the category of thirdness and the adaptation to the category of firstness, while maintaining the actuality of both.

0394 Here is a picture of Tomasello’s vision.

0395 Of course, this examination appears precisely 25 years after Tomasello’s vision is cast in 1999 AD.

His vision is maintained throughout his arc of inquiry.

Consequently, his conclusions carry an awkward emptiness.  The emptiness compares to the basement of a house.  The basement is dark, cool, foundational and ignored, until of course, one must seek refuge in a storm.

0396 The previous examinations of Tomasello’s works demonstrate that the house, the abode of his vision, is furnished with morality.

Tomasello can ignore the basement, haunted by immaterial beings called, “triadic relations”.  Yet, in that place, where a family might store potatoes, onions, smoked meat, along with luggage and Christmas ornaments, dwells something that Tomasello may safely ignore.  I call that ghost, “religion”.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2016) “A Natural History of Human Morality” (Part 22 of 22)

0588 The Tomasello-Mah synthesis shows the ghost in the basement of the house of Tomasello’s vision.

Indeed, as this version of Darwin’s paradigm begins to haunt the entire edifice of human evolution, then Tabaczek’s housebecomes more than a house with a basement.  If sociogenesis1b is the potential1b of triadic relations2a, then Tomasello’s arc of inquiry may be re-articulated using triadic relations.

0589 For example, Razie Mah’s Primer on Sensible and Social Construction may be used to re-label the eras of individual, joint and collective intentionality.  Individual construction associates to the category-based nested formSensible construction associates to the two-level interscope, containing content and situation levels.  Social construction associates to the three-level interscope, containing content, situation and perspective levels.

Here is a list of what that might look like.

0590 To continue, the re-labeled eras may be regarded in terms of the evolution of talk.

The evolution of talk is not the same as the evolution of language.  Language evolves in the milieu of hand talk.

0592 Next, I would like to focus attention on the era of collective intentionality.

Here is a list depicting the timeframe.

0593 Before the era of collective intentionality, hand talk is confined team activities.  Hand talk produces sensible constructions.  Each team develops its own way of hand talking.  

After the domestication of fire, team-tradition hand talk starts to be used generally, eventually producing fully linguistic hand talk.

The situation is very dynamic.  Since cooking with fire increases the number of teams, fully linguistic hand-talk is re-appropriated for specialized use in more and more teams.  Fully linguistic hand-talk influences all social circles.  In some of these circles, grammatically correct, yet apparently nonsensible statements, generate social constructions that open new cognitive spaces.  These novel cognitive spaces become sites for more sensible construction.

0594 The voice comes into play during community meetings (150), seasonal mega-band round-ups (500) and special occasion tribal pow-wows (1500).  The voice is used for synchronization.  Song brings a large gathering of hominins into synchronization.  Once this cultural habit starts, then singing joins other traits in sexual selection.  The voice comes under voluntary control.

0595 Most likely, the early speciations of late Homo erectus produced species that could sing and hand-talk.  But, they could not speak.

Speech is added to hand-talk with Homo sapiens.  Anatomically modern humans practice a dual-mode of talking, hand-speech talk, for the next two hundred-thousand years.

0596 Hand-speech talk would still be practiced by anatomically modern humans today, were it not for the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia.  The hypothesis of the first singularity proposes that the Ubaid is the first culture on Earth to practice speech-alone talk.

Here is a picture of the era of social construction.

0598 Today, all civilizations practice speech-alone talk.

This brings me to the limit of Tomasello’s vision.  I open the door, and step out into the realization that our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  I step into the vision of Razie Mah.

0599 The arc of Tomasello’s inquiry, spanning from 1999 to 2016, opens onto three masterworks by Razie Mah.  These electronic books are available at smashwords and other e-work venues.  This examination relies primarily on The Human Niche, along with books contained in the series, A Course on The Human Niche.  A related series is titled, Buttressing the Human Niche.

Here is a list of Mah’s masterworks.

Still, there is more.

A Commentary on Michael Tomasello’s Arc of Inquiry (1999-2019) is available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  This commentary includes Mah’s blogs for January, February and March, 2024, along with an examination of Becoming Human (2019), the fifth book in a sequence of five books.

0600 My thanks to Michael Tomasello, who writes the books under examination while Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, for conducting a scientific inquiry, from which I have examined only several works.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 1 of 22)

0187 In the preface, the author notes that this book is a prequel to The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition (1999, Harvard University Press).  The question is the same.  What makes humans unique?  The answer is the same.  Humans think differently than great apes, their closest biological kin.

In 1999, researchers in evolutionary anthropology could say, “Only humans think of other humans as intentional agents.  Plus, my cat and my dog are intentional operators, as well, say nothing of the weather.”

Okay, I added the second sentence for dramatic effect.

Unfortunately, research conducted after 1999 introduces a problem.  It turns out that great apes recognize intentionality in others.

Uh oh.

0188 This book is the third marker in Tomasello’s intellectual journey.  I start following his trek with Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (1999) “The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition” (appearing in Razie Mah’s January 2024 blog).  The second marker that I examine may be found in Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2008) “Origins of Human Communication” (appearing later in the same blog for the same month).

0189 In the publication before me, A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts), Tomasello explicitly abstracts three cognitive processes in order to distinguish humans from apes.  The processes are cognitive representation, inference and self-monitoring.  He then proposes that all three components were transformed in two key steps during hominin evolution.  He labels his claims, “the shared-intentionality hypothesis”.

0190 Does this follow the trajectory set by previous works?

Here is a theme that appears in the second marker, pre-emptively modified with the above propositions in mind.

0191 This modified picture allows me to offer slogans for movements zero and one.

For zero, the slogan is “I work for food.”

For one, the slogan is “We work for food.”


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (1999) “The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition” (Part 12 of 12)

0072 Chapter five is titled, “Linguistic Construction and Event Cognition”.  The perspective-level linguistic communication2c participates in ongoing events2a.

Tomasello claims that joint attention is the key adaptation from which subsequent adaptations proceed.  Surely, the three-level interscope depicted above does not contradict this claim.

After all, the evolution of joint attention should precede the evolution of linguistic communication.

0073 However, there is a disjunction, because great apes show few (if any) tendencies that may be characterized by joint attention.  Even the occasional monkey hunt by chimpanzees is best characterized by several individuals deciding to pursue the same thing at the same time.  The monkey-prey is the focus of attention, but the attention is disjointed, not really coordinated.

So, there must be a period before the evolution of joint attention, where individual intentionality reigns, even when group action takes place.

0074 So, when are these eras happening?

Tomasello wants to place the evolution of joint attention before the time of Homo heidelbergensis, who appears in the fossil record between 800 and 400kyr (thousands of years ago).

To me, this makes sense only so far as this.

Homo heidelbergensis leaves traces of cultural behavior in the archeological record.

To me, such traces indicate that these hominins are in the subsequent build-on era.

So, Tomasello’s timeline may require clarification.

0075 Okay, now that I am nitpicking, I must ask, “Is there a problem with making joint attention2a the foundation of an evolutionary theory?”

Allow me to return to Tomasello’s vision.

0076 According to Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues), adaptation2 and phenotype2 belong to two independent scientific disciplines: natural history and genetics.  Since both belong to situation-level nested forms that rely on different potentials, one cannot situate or contextualize the other.  However, this is precisely what occurs in Tomasello’s vision.

Of course, Tomasello’s vision remains a breakthrough in the framework of modern science.  At least, the phenotype does not correspond to the adaptation.  Instead, the phenotype2c puts culture2b into perspective.  Then, culture2b virtually situates the adaptation of joint attention2a.

Yes, to repeat, the phenotype2c does not directly situate the adaptation2a.  Tomasello’s vision leads upwards from joint attention2a to human culture2b and then to human cognitive development2c. Cognitive development2c puts culture2b into perspective, just as culture2b virtually situates joint attention2a.

Tomasello’s vision is truly remarkable.

0077 And, it is difficult to achieve.

This book is the start of a twenty year journey.

0078 As noted in points 0055 through 0058, the last few chapters cover the cultural (situation) and ontogenetic (perspective) levels of Tomasello’s vision.  As far as I can see, these chapters labor to show how human ontogeny2c (the scientific study of human development) virtually contextualizes human culture2b (a somewhat vaguely defined term that refers to all situations where joint attention2a pertains).  In the process, Tomasello must also explain how human culture2b, especially spoken language and symbolic representation, virtually emerges from and situates joint attention2a.

How ambitious is that?

0079 Here a picture of the virtual nested form in the realm of actuality (the vertical column in secondness in Tomasello’s vision, portrayed as a nested form).

The normal context of the behavior of newborns and infants2c virtually brings the actuality of spoken language and symbolic representation2b into the potential of a foundational adaptation2a.

0080 Yes, this is very ambitious, and the final three chapters of this book strain to meet the challenge.  They should be read with this in mind.  The last three chapters are well composed.  Tomasello is an excellent writer.  He is very organized.  But, his exposition is like lifting a two-hundred pound octopus out of the water.  As soon as one arm is lifted, a different one slides back into the murk.

0081 Plus, there is the lingering issue of natural history.

Here is a picture with Tomasello’s guesses.

Tomasello makes two associations that make no sense at all, when considering joint attention2b as an adaptation to sociogenesis1b in the normal context of natural selection3b.  Sociogenesis1b is the human niche1b.  The human niche1b is the potential1b of triadic relations2a.  Consequently, the adaptation of joint attention2a should be marked in the archaeological record with the appearance of the Homo genus, around 1.8Myr (millions of years ago).

0082 With that in mind, I close this examination of the first step in Tomasello’s journey, scientifically exploring who we are.  The next step is a book that expands and clarifies this first step.  It is published nine years later.