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BRAIN IN MIND by Herbert F.J. Müller


Ontology Becomes Pragmatic Design in the Unstructured

by Herbert F.J. Müller

Pub Date: Dec. 27th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1450200950
Publisher: iUniverse

Psychiatrist Müller seeks to handle the mind-body riddle vexing the Western epistemological tradition of ontology.

If reality is prestructured and independent of mind, says Müller, why have so many schools of thought that have taken their cues from that particular ontological perspective—from theism to deconstructionist—run into a dead end? Alternatively, Müller says, the creation of mental structures in the brain are subjectively experienced, i.e., accept the reality of the mind and use a subject-inclusive reality design. Müller cuts the lay reader no slack in the dark matter of ontological language—“That is, the ontic unknowable but nevertheless postulated and posited shared mind-independently ‘real reality’ is abandoned”—but does proceed from point to point, with extremely handy notes ushering readers forward and back in the text to appropriate references. And he drums his points home with vigor: that we structure experience (“the world is a stage that we build as we need and can”); that the subjective is the priority for coherence and that we create a reality design that is a knowable, testable working instrument. This reality design is a pragmatic working-reality scheme with elements that are more deliberate (such as music and religion) or more automatic (gravity and thunder), where things that are considered absolutes are particularly reliable tools. Müller does a particularly nice job taking apart the dominant ontological approach as a “mind-independently prestructured reality-in-itself,” pointing to its foibles but never being dismissive since the approach has served as important movement forward. Some elements of his outline will nag at the neophyte, including the fuzziness of object-perception (Müller says it is a guideline that will not be sharp), or in the nature of objectivity (let alone “ineffable unstructured”)—“the theory of evolution results from objective study”—if experienced through the subject priority. Especially gratifying is his approach as a bridge feature: “We structure mental instruments in the unstructured, and then posit and use them” as tools, be they God or a bicycle, and “evidence becomes the viability of posited structures.”

A rigorous and canny way of construing reality; food for thought as vast as a Viennese dessert cart.