Niall McLaren’s Dual Aspect Theory
This video lecture series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjABUhyu6dw does a good job showing how a psychiatrist, Niall McLaren, argues toward a dual aspect theory. I recomend his books: http://www.niallmclaren.com/bibliography
I like that he clearly sees the limitations of the other approaches, but he does not yet see the problems with the assumption of ‘information’ and the ‘semantic realm’. He is modeling experience logically in space rather than naturalistically through time.
His view overlooks the same issue all the way down the line:
2. Logic gates, in his view, “coopt the mechanical function to acquit the semantic function of defining relationships”.
We are exploiting the public physics of the logic gate’s form to generate a more subtle level of public physics which we read as signs. In other words, we exploit the public facing forms and functions of the gate to exploit our own public facing forms and functions (optical patterns to tease the eye, acoustic patterns to call to the ear), allowing a sharing and communication of experience in spite of forms and functions, which are completely hidden from the conscious spectacle. In fact no ‘information’ is exchanged, except metaphorically. What is exchanged is concretely real and physical, although physics and realism of course, should only be thought of as a range of scaled or scoped experience based on time-like frequencies on space-like obstructions.
3. His view focuses on the logic of the mind rather than the richness of qualia.
4. His view conflates grammatical structure for meaning.
While it is important to model thought backwards through communication like he does for purposes of AI development, it is a mistake to apply the model the ontology that way. The horse is not an assembly of carts, so to speak. The cart without the horse is useless. The words and sentences are empty carts without the personal experience of semiosis, which is not included in physics or information theory. Experience is the key.
5. His views on personality and mental disorder are the weakest parts of the presentation in my opinion. They are normative and nakedly behaviorist, mistaking again public behaviors for private realities. What he sees as simply a collection of habits, I see as a vast interiority of identity and influence rooted in the sub-personal, super-personal and super-signifying bands of sensory-motive experience.
6. I disagree too that neurons “pass information mindlessly”.
The three pronged plug that he says we are looking for is sensory-motive participation (or ‘sense’). The three prongs are (I) private experience, (II) public bodies, and (III) the potential for significance-entropy to be generated through the multiple levels of spacetime-body::timespace-experience interaction.
I was sure to mention that I do appreciate his work. I think that he is doing a great job, and I probably disagree with his model less than I do most scientific models.
* to be precise, impersonal public presentations are representations from a fundamental or absolute perspective, while personal private presentations are representations from a derived or secondary perspective. This is very confusing, but something like a chair which is objectively real is fundamentally a representation within the experience of whoever is encountering it. The chair seems like a presentation to us because that is the function of the representation – to warn us of the presence of something completely outside of ourselves.