This is the provisional cover for a projected book devoted to the Blind Brain Theory (BBT) proposed by R.Scott Bakker, an author of science fiction and science fantasy. The full title is “Through the Brain Darkly: The Blind Brain Theory of R. Scott Bakker (Preface by Ray Bassier; Edited by Dan Mellamphy)“.
The book is supposed to contain commentaries on, and criticisms of, Bakker’s “theory” (a materialist account of the mind as reducible to the brain, a radical eliminativism) with replies by Bakker. Bakker’s aim seems to be to create a new type of “hard” science fantasy based on the cognitive sciences rather than on physics. This project of creating a new type science fantasy in a unified work is reliant on Bakker’s reading of a certain number of books and articles concerning cognitive science, which has led him to attempt to create his own fictional pop-philosophical scientific theory.
The aim of of this fictional pop-philosophical theory is to establish the non-autonomy of the mind in relation to the brain, and to proceed to its ontological elimination. The method is to appeal to cognitive science, relying heavily on a rhetoric of the unity and the certainty of contemporary science. This project of legitimating Bakker’s supposed philosophical theory is based on the selective extrapolation of findings cherry-picked from publications from the field of the cognitive sciences.
The proposed book is meant to permit the creation of a unified image projected backwards to become the unified source of the fictional and philosophical extrapolations. The project of such a book, in order to gain philosophical recognition, was to be accompanied by a preface by Ray Brassier, an established philosopher in the domain of “hard” neurophilosophy, who could thus legitimate the theory’s philosophical status.
The path proceeds from a diverse selection of (cherry-picked) results from the cognitive sciences to the extrapolation of a unified worldview, which is then projected as the rationale underlying Bakker’s hard science fantasy epic. The unified worldview would be able to be expressed in a pop-philosophical theory expounded in a unifying book. This book was to be packaged with a legitimating preface, written by Ray Brassier, a recognised philosopher.
The convergent composition of these elements, theory+sf epic+book+preface, would be advanced as an argument for the inescapable scientifically, philosophically, and fictionally established worldview propounded by Bakker: neuro-philosophical eliminativism.
Unfortunately, there is no “Blind Brain Theory”. What Bakker expresses is a Stimmung based on a ragbag of impressions and disjointed readings, that cannot even be coherently formulated as a theory. In his bloated ramblings Bakker himself sticks to dithyrambically listing the consequences of a “theory” that he can never quite get round to stating. But by mobilising various actors Bakker has attempted to provide a pseudo-legitimation for his soft science fantasy series, that he hopes can be given all the appearances of having a hard scientific and philosophical foundation.