Goodbye Mind, Hello Mindless (16/20)
© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.
We have seen that there is a tendency for advocates of the narrow scientistic perspective with regards to science to want to obliterate the mind by knowingly or unwittingly obliterating the need for a science of epistemology – the study of the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it by means of concept formation, applied reason, logic, inference, etc.
Where it is asserted that the mind does not exist – that volitional consciousness is taken to be an illusion of functioning brain matter – reason as a solution-seeking faculty of man’s consciousness under volitional control is also taken to be an illusion. (Ironically, this conclusion is taken to be valid by the application of reason, not empirical observation.)
When seen from the perspective of scientistic prejudice driven by the error of presumed validity of mechanical materialism and positivism, one is led by logic to the conclusion that the mind as the faculty of volitional consciousness and reason must be abandoned.
With the abandonment of volitional consciousness, or what we commonly refer to as mind, the possibility of, and need for, a valid epistemology is destroyed.
For those who willfully or unwittingly deny or abandon the need for epistemology, the mind is dead or inoperative. Void of a validated and applied method of thought and action, all that can be left to guide thought and action is animalistic perceiving and reacting. An epistemology appropriate for the species of man with its differentiated faculty of volitional consciousness is downgraded to the animal level.
If a valid method of thinking is rejected for not being worthy of scientific consideration then as epistemology goes out the window, so too does reason and logic. This opens the door for legitimizing the acceptance of self-contradictory premises as being simultaneously true. Without adherence to logic, A is not-A is just as valid as A is A. The Aristotelian basis for logic situated on the foundation of the Law of Identity is abandoned.
Those who abandon reason and logic necessarily invite epistemological chaos, and while they can evade the consequences of thinking about abandoning their methodological tie to reality, they cannot escape the consequences.
When the fallacy of scientistic prejudice leads to the illusion of determinism and necessity, the “practical” thing to “do” to maintain the illusion of coherence would be to abandon adherence to any discipline the truth and validity of which requires agency. “Logic” would lead one to the inevitable conclusion that there could be no scientific value to such pursuits as they are premised on the error of free will, an error that refused to recognize the evidence of positivistic neuroscience that conclusively “demonstrates” by means of experimental results and “logic” the proposition that all choices are beyond our choosing, that all human action is materialistically causal and therefore non-consciously necessitated.
What need would anyone who has accepted the illusion of determinism and is acting on the deterministic premise have for any branch of knowledge that requires human agency and moral judgment, including economics, jurisprudence, psychology, law, politics, education, history, civil defense, nature conservation, educational training, democratic voting, weighing of evidence, etc.?
If thought is futile in the sense that “thinking” is non-veridical, if principles of thought and action are passé, if deliberation is non-deliberative, if reason is unreasonable, if actions of the human mind are an illusion or more akin to an uncontrollable urge or instinct than willful application of a cognitive tool, then all we are left with is base urges and unknowable and uncontrollable electro-chemically induced movings and emotions.
Advocating this as truth established by science is a dangerous place to be, especially when the total construct of the illusion of free will and human agency is false. What the mass slaughter of humans in the 20thcentury demonstrates is what happens when reason is overturned in the name of an ideology of science, and the twin beasts of irrationalism and emotionalism are left to rule in its place.
NEXT: Part 17. Mindless Survival is an Invitation to Chaos
Barry Linetsky has learned a considerable amount from the writings of Mises and Hayek. Barry makes his living specializing in value-driven strategic management, and is the author of the acclaimed business biography The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (Theme Park Press, 2017) and Free Will: Sam Harris Has It (Wrong), both available from amazon. He frequently blogs at www.BarryLinetsky.com and has been published in the Ivey Business Journal and Rotman Magazine. Twitter @BizPhilosopher.