Scott Bakker has been trying to gain philosophical credibility for his “Blind Brain Theory”, and various blogs have been discussing his ideas in dialogue with him. A very interesting post by Matthew Segall can be found here. I am choosing to reblog the comment by Chen as he has taken pains to spell out simply the argument that everyone (including me) has been making against such positions as Bakker’s but that Bakker himself does not seem to grasp. A key point is that Bakker makes sweeping claims about something he calls “meta-cognition” but that most often amounts to plain old introspection. It is for this reason that he does not see the relevance of the many rebuttals pointing out that he himself with his BBT is indulging in meta-cognition, that there is no real difference in kind between cognition and meta-cognition (meta-cognition is still cognition, and it is inscribed in networks, articulated, discussed and tested in the same way as object-level cognition), and that the sciences are through and through pervaded by meta-cognition, which is not just a source of error but is absolutely necessary for successful cognition.
The whole discussion can be followed on Matt’s blog and also on Chen’s. I am taking the unusual step of reblogging comments from another blog as I have noticed a tendency in the blogosphere to rewrite history and to just pass over in silence contributions that do not suit one’s agenda despite the fact that they are absolutely relevant and that their arguments are often “borrowed” and integrated without acknowledgement. This has happened to me quite a lot. I do not want that to happen to Matt’s and Chen’s interesting discussions.
“If I verbally state “I’m speaking French [in English]” and mean to claim that I am literally speaking French, it is a performative contradiction. If someone responds by pointing out that I’m speaking English, responding that they’ve begged the question because they have assumed that language exists and that I’m speaking English is ludicrous. You have spoken English.