Modern skepticism has opened a chasm between the mind and the external world. Whether the chasm can be bridged and how has been the chief challenge of philosophy since Descartes. And to meet the challenge, modern philosophy has depended on a model of perception that is a one-directional passive process (mind fitting the world). Recent findings in psychology and brain science have overturned such a model. Kahneman’s “thinking, fast and slow,” and the predictive processing or active inference theories of Friston and Clark are the two chief representatives of the new ways. We argue for the notion of Bridge of Nature: a path over the chasm between reason and cause. Traffics that are thought to be passible only over the Bridge of Reason are now traffics on the Bridge of Nature; and the traditional division between Cause and Reason needs to be reconceived. We explore the valuable contributions from the Bayesian model of active or perception-action integrated theory of perception and the existence of unconscious or sub-personal categories of hypothesis, inference, and confirmation as biological processes, and conclude that reason is mainly for maintaining “nature” rather than defeating skepticism.
Prof. Chuang Liu is a distinguished professor in the School of Philosophy at Fudan University, Shanghai; chair of the department of philosophy of science and logic, the director of the Center for the Philosophy and Science of Intelligence (Fudan PSI), and the academic director of the Institute of Philosophy, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASIP). He is also professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Florida and twice recipient of the NSF fellowship awards. He has been a Chang Jiang Scholar (2007-2010) at Tsinghua University and awarded the first prize for academic achievements by the Ministry of Education of China. Chuang Liu works in philosophy of physics, scientific methodology, and philosophy of intelligence and has published widely among the top journals in philosophy of science.