The history of science is a narrative of how humans view the world around them and the reexamination of our assumptions about our place in the world. Theoretical psychologist Mark Bickhard has focused considerable energy trying to understand how minds emerge from, and yet remain integrated with, the world of facts.
This is a problem because the standard understanding holds that we cannot derive norms from facts, yet minds and persons are inherently normative. There is a historic split between the world of minds and the world of facts, and this split is a basic metaphysical division in Western thought. Bickhard, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge, explains that “a new metaphysics is needed if we are to develop true models of the normativities of mind. It is only when science studies minds and persons that we run into this fundamental problem of normativity — of true and false, rational and irrational, and so on — in the factual world.”
In his book project, The Whole Person, Bickhard tests this divide between the world of minds and the world of facts. He focuses on the evolutionary and developmental emergence of normative phenomena out of prior forms of process. Bickhard, who holds dual faculty appointments in the departments of philosophy and psychology, challenges traditional emphasis on the concept of substance itself, in addition to challenging the split between substance and mind.