Review of 'John R Searle-Thinking About the Real World' by Franken et al eds. (2010)

Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017) (2017)
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This book is the result of Searle's stay in the Munster University Philosophy Dept in 2009 and all the papers except his introductory one and his final response are from persons associated with Munster. However all the papers were written or revised later and so are one of the most up to date looks at his views available as of mid 2013. S has in my view made more fundamental contributions to higher order descriptive psychology (philosophy) than anyone since Wittgenstein and has been writing world class material for over 50 years. He is also (like W before him) regarded as the best standup philosopher alive and has taught and lectured worldwide. He is also one of the clearest and most careful writers in the field so one would think that every philosopher writing an article on his work would have an up to date and accurate understanding of his ideas. Unfortunately this book shows that this is far from true. All the 11 articles make major mistakes regarding his views and regarding what he (and I) would regard as an accurate description of behavior. Searle's obliviousness (which he shares with most philosophers) to the modern two systems framework and to the full implications of W’s “radical” epistemology as stated most dramatically in his last work ‘On Certainty’, is most unfortunate (as I have noted in many reviews). It was Wittgenstein who did the first and best job of describing the two systems (though nobody else has noticed) and OC represents a major event in intellectual history. Not only is Searle unaware of the fact that his framework is a straightforward continuation of W, but everyone else is too, which accounts for the lack of any significant reference to W in this book. As usual one also notes no apparent acquaintance with Evolutionary Psychology, which can enlighten all discussions of behavior by providing the real ultimate evolutionary and biological explanations rather than the superficial proximate cultural ones. However, his comment on p212 is right on the money—the ultimate explanation (or as W insists the description) can only be a naturalized one which describes how mind, will, self, intention work and cannot meaningfully eliminate them as ‘real’ phenomena. Recall Searle’s famous review of Dennett’s ‘Conscious Explained’ entitled “Consciousness explained away”. And this makes it all the more bizarre that Searle should repeatedly state that we don’t know for sure if we have free will and that we have to ‘postulate’ a self (p218-219). As he notes “The neuro-biological processes and the mental phenomena are the same event, described at different levels” and “How can conscious intentions cause bodily movement?…How can the hammer move the nail in virtue of being solid? …If you analyze what solidity is causally…if you analyze what intention-in-action is causally, you see analogously there is no philosophical problem left over.” Also I would state “The heart of my argument is that our linguistic practices, as commonly understood, presuppose a reality that exists independently of our representations.” (p223) as “Our life shows a world that does not depend on our existence and cannot be intelligibly challenged.” This book is valuable principally as a recent synopsis of the work of one the greatest philosophers of recent times. But there is also value in analyzing his responses to the many basic confusions manifested in the articles by others. Since this review I have written many articles extending the framework of the logical structure of rationality and commenting in depth on Searle and Wittgenstein which are all readily available on the net. Those wishing a comprehensive up to date account of Wittgenstein, Searle and their analysis of behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my article The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language as Revealed in Wittgenstein and Searle (2016). Those interested in all my writings in their most recent versions may download from this site my e-book ‘Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks (2016)- Articles and Reviews 2006-2016’ by Michael Starks First Ed. 662p (2016). All of my papers and books have now been published in revised versions both in ebooks and in printed books. Talking Monkeys: Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 (2017) Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017)

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