Comment on consciousnees/8-term systems
14.10.09 at 2:11 pm ·
“. . . it is a question therefore of the rigor of his overall argument . . .”
Not just of the argument: also of the evidence base.
Bennett and his followers (some, at least) sometimes say (with a slight sense of embarrassment) that Bennett had extra-sensory perception: discerning the true role of Judas at the Last Supper; mentally time-travelling to observe the inner emotional life of Neanderthal man.
His prouncements aren’t taken as interesting speculation, but as magical perceptions. Which is a very bad thing; since they ARE interesting speculations, but they are not magical perceptions (Because there aren’t any magical perceptions (or, as Hume said: it’s never rational for me, as someone without magical perception, to believe that there is magical perception, since it’s always more subjectively probable that some kind of trick is being pulled than that there is magical perception)).
But if Bennett didn’t have magical perceptions, he can’t go making such confident pronouncements about the “Higher Structure of the Universe”, the relationship to the life realm, etc. Not all the fault might be his, though: perhaps he did see these things as interesting suggestions, which might one day have some use; or might be useless; but the only way to proceed with integrity was to push the exploration as far as one could in one’s lifetime (thus, perhaps, he starts the DU by saying that the task is impossible, but nevertheless obligatory). But followers who elevate these interesting suggestions to the state of immutable truths are doing the enterprise a disservice.
The epistemology of Bennett is constructed around a kind of Kantian fraud: conceal the metaphysics behind his new ‘categories’.
On the other hand, he did produce some useful insights, if these can be sorted out from the grosser speculations.