• Constance
    532
    I don't think Kierkegaard meant to distance himself from the problem of "inherited" sin and its relationship to the sins of a person might commit during a life. He strove to verify the language of revelation with his view of the human condition. His approach is similar to how Pascal argued that the Incarnation was scandalous to reason while also being the most accurate description of the problem of being human.Valentinus

    But the Concept of Anxiety is Hegelian,and ny this I mean while criticising Hegel, he uses the dialectical method to reveal existential structure of the self in actuality vis a vis rationality, famously commenting that Hegel had forgotten that we exist; and I see its closest connection to Sickness Unto Death, which has this tortured analysis of our finitude and eternity that cannot be simply put off for some Hegelian future rationality where dialectical crises have finally produced the grand scheme of things. It is this dialectical struggle that the analysis of the self yields, and that of time and eternity in which we find the basic structure of who we are bound with this.
    I never read much Pascal, but the connection is clear, it seems, for K understood Christian falleness and sin outside of, to borrow a term, rational totalities, with which actuality is on a collision course. I can see your Pascal reference at work here, but not exclusively Christ, rather, the human self. Us.
    As to sins committed in life that are not "structural sins", but individual sins, I haven't read where he puts this to theory. All we do is "sinful" in as much as it is alienation from God. But one can be a baker or a candle stick maker and if that person is what he calls a knight of faith, then the affairs of worldly matters are in the eternal present and s/he lives in God's grace.
    That would be my rough take on this.
  • god must be atheist
    3.5k
    Ah, but the beginning of an utterance?Constance

    You should ask the OP. I am just saying what frame of reference to look at it from. I did not say it, I won't defend it, please ask the OP. I am washing my hands.
  • punos
    6
    The real question is, what is the relation between language and things in the world? How did language make understanding possible at the level of existential wonder, that is, inquiry that asks questions that target what is not pragmatic at all, like questions about one's existence, Being, like "why are we born to suffer and die?"Constance

    Like i've stated before, the relationship of language to the world is simply an agreed upon set of symbols that two or more entities can use to affect each other's minds to construct concepts of sufficient similarity (need not be perfect) in order to achieve a certain level of cooperation that confers some advantage in the world for both or at least one of them. Communication should be executed in such a way as to bring focus by expanding a certain idea while at the same time contracting other ideas not pertinent to the question or task at hand.

    The point of language is not to understand the world but to understand each other. The brain did not evolve to understand truth.. it evolved to figure out what works in order to increase the chance of survivability and reproduction... a purely pragmatic endeavor. What would be different if you were to figure out the answers to your "non-pragmatic" questions such as about one's existence, Being, etc.?
    The question as to "why are we born to suffer and die?" is a purely subjective interpretation of the situation, and signals to me your desire for a pragmatic solution. It's as if you think that the universe or God set everything up just to make you suffer and then kill you. If you want a chance at the right answer then you have to change your questions. Only the right questions yield the right answers.

    If you want to understand language then look into and study how language evolves in nature. Look at how cells, ants, plants, etc. communicate. Try to understand how DNA and mRNA work. If you observe nature, and you know how to observe well, and know how to ask the right questions, then she will disrobe before you and expose her sexy secrets. When one becomes familiar with those more basic patterns then one will be better equipped to tackle the more complex forms of language and communication. Look to nature itself to inform your philosophy and not so much old philosophers. You must look at the systems below the one you are looking at to gain insight to "understand" it. Move out and under the human world experience and try to see things from a lower and simpler perspective. The level at which you are trying to analyze the issue is to complex if you don't know the basic forms it's made of. It's like trying to understand biology without knowing about chemistry, or understanding chemistry without understanding first physics.

    It has to be understood that we are not merely "things that evolved and act"Constance

    It seems quite obvious to me that nothing is static and everything moves and evolves or changes in this universe. It makes no sense to me to define a thing as simply a thing with no ability to interact with other things in the universe. If it exists for any sufficient amount of time then it implies that it serves some function that keeps it existing. What else would the universe be if it did not evolve and "act"?

    A physicist leaves off when basic questions appear; s/he does respond to, say, questions about temporality as a structure of experience that is presupposed by Einstein's theories, not presented in them.Constance

    The questions dealing with physics or how the physical world actually works should not be answered through philosophical thought alone, and questions that can not be answered directly from physics are more properly addressed by philosophy. But philosophy has to constrain itself to the patterns that physics has already discovered so as to keep the whole enterprise coherent.

    As to things, and one coming before the other, this has been discussed many times. Take Schopenhauer's claim that the principle of causality is contradictory given that eternity has no beginning. It only gets interesting when you realize that our finitude is embedded in infinity, but there is no line of actual separation, for it is impossible to to say where on ends and the other begins.Constance

    Only energy is infinite in duration.. and at the lowest level of existence there is no pattern or information, only a pure active soup of energetic chaos (randomness). Energy has always been, and it is the cause of information. The inherent chaotic activity of energy is constantly producing random patterns that instantly rise and fall. They fall because they are not viable patterns that are able to "survive" and replicate themselves (first instance of natural selection determined by initial local conditions). As soon as one of these potent patterns arise then we have the seed of a universe. This universe will have it's own unique physics, and logic, and it will have an internal consistency from which meaning and language may evolve. If i were to draw the line of "actual separation" as you say, i would draw it right between energy and stable pattern (above energy but below pattern).

    For the sake of brevity i made this description a bit short and simplistic but only to convey the general idea and principle, more can be said about this matter.

    Ask yourself, as I do almost daily, how is it that anything out there gets in here (the mind)? Never happen. Just impossible to conceive. The only conclusion: what is here before me, what is there, "ready to hand" stuff of the world is, in my localized mental space, utterly metaphysical.Constance

    Actual things do not enter the mind, just data or information about a perceived thing in the world. The brain tries to recreate it's environment as a neural simulation that we call the conscious mind as opposed to the unconscious mind from the data or information acquired from the sense organs. The brain creates a neural structure in itself that is representative of the object it perceived. The actual neural network pattern constructed is the actual symbol the brain uses to think with, but it is not the thing itself. The brain itself only perceives the output of the neural structure when it's output is active in the conscious mind.
  • Constance
    532
    The point of language is not to understand the world but to understand each other.punos

    Oh. Well, you did bring in science for your basic explanatory context, and I wanted to point out that the philosophical, as I argue, take on the world begins with a departure from this, not an engagement.

    The brain did not evolve to understand truth.. it evolved to figure out what works in order to increase the chance of survivability and reproduction... a purely pragmatic endeavor. What would be different if you were to figure out the answers to your "non-pragmatic" questions such as about one's existence, Being, etc.?
    The question as to "why are we born to suffer and die?" is a purely subjective interpretation of the situation, and signals to me your desire for a pragmatic solution. It's as if you think that the universe or God set everything up just to make you suffer and then kill you. If you want a chance at the right answer then you have to change your questions. Only the right questions yield the right answers.
    punos

    The rest of this falls short. Before you talk about God or anything else, really, you have to take on the whole affair in terms of the most basic questions, otherwise you will simply end up with scientific cliches and philosophical trivialities. Anthropomorphism is the first to go, for popular concepts are the furthest away from insight. The issue of suffering and dying is, in its defining presence, absent of religion, especially bad metaphysics. Suffering is an issue because, well, it is there, in our midst, IN the world, as is reason. This latter has a very long history of phenomenological analytical study: one observes reason, its structure, the way reason is an essential feature of thought and judgment, etc., just to see what it is.

    Note that in this history there is nothing of evolutionary theory. It is apriori theory, and thus deals with the essential nature of reason. Consider suffering in the same way: remove all that would immediately claim it in talk about evolution, biology, physics, anthropology, and so on. Suspend these altogether so one can observe it for its manifest parts and functions, as one one would observe, say, an automobile engine rather than anything else PRIOR to classifications and other explanatory contests. This crude analogy actually works. Here one stands in the world, now observe it basic features, as one might observe a rear axle or carburetor. The task first os observation of the phenomenon, not the scientific interpretation (though science is, in the philosophical analysis, everywhere; it is an expression of practical reason). Science's trouble (though we find no issues with science at all in what it does. As you say, it makes great flat screen tv's) has always been that when it encounters affairs at the basic level, the premises simply run out, but the world remains undefined at the basic level. Hence, philosophy.

    Finally, it must be understood the what you call subjective is only reasonable in mundane discovery. Look further into it, and you find you cannot remove the objects of empirical science from such "subjectivity". this is simply manifestly true. Try to do this and you will find contradictions instantly upon you. Science cares not for this kind of discovery, and it is just not what science is about. Ask a modern physicist about how this brain mass can epistemically receive something in the world, and you will find yourself deep question begging answers. Hence, philosophy.

    If you want to understand language then look into and study how language evolves in nature. Look at how cells, ants, plants, etc. communicate. Try to understand how DNA and mRNA work. If you observe nature, and you know how to observe well, and know how to ask the right questions, then she will disrobe before you and expose her sexy secrets. When one becomes familiar with those more basic patterns then one will be better equipped to tackle the more complex forms of language and communication. Look to nature itself to inform your philosophy and not so much old philosophers. You must look at the systems below the one you are looking at to gain insight to "understand" it. Move out and under the human world experience and try to see things from a lower and simpler perspective. The level at which you are trying to analyze the issue is to complex if you don't know the basic forms it's made of. It's like trying to understand biology without knowing about chemistry, or understanding chemistry without understanding first physics.punos

    But consider, and this really is the point, that when you look to nature, and its cells and the rest, and all the sexy secrets, there are questions unasked hidden by the process of disclosure. I observe an ant, I magnify its cellular parts, then classify according to categorical norms and the totality of scientific paradigms that might apply. This is all too clear to all who have endured high school physics. But to ask philosophical questions is a whole new matter. Here, we look at the presuppositions of science and everyday life. The sexy secrets have just begun, for the finality and determinacy of science is just an illusion. One has to ask the most basic questions to see this.

    It seems quite obvious to me that nothing is static and everything moves and evolves or changes in this universe. It makes no sense to me to define a thing as simply a thing with no ability to interact with other things in the universe. If it exists for any sufficient amount of time then it implies that it serves some function that keeps it existing. What else would the universe be if it did not evolve and "act"?punos

    Observe a blade of grass in movement. The observation itself is what is at issue. This is not a simple event, but is a thing "of parts": Here, the agency of observation, there the movement, and then, what is this act of observation? It itself is a movement, but this establishes one movement conceiving another, and the question as to the nature of movement itself is apriori lost, for the analysis of movement presupposes movement, the very definition of circularity in reasoning.
    What is needed is analysis of this circularity, and this goes to the two sides, agency and object, and their relation. Consider this circularity more closely: I observe, say, my own brain in an "awake brain surgery". I speak, censors identify speech localities, and so on, and this is very useful for avoiding the surgical removal of important tissue. But this usefulness says nothing at all about this relation's identity; it only gives us utility. As to the relation, you find a brain trying to explain a brain: all you will ever get is brain answers that emerge, which are the very problematic you are trying to address. The brain you see is a brain phenomenon. Certainly, the whole matter reveals that there is a pragmatic relation, but the epistemic question yields this intractable circular reasoning.

    As to what else the universe would be if not evolving and acting, it is like asking, what would a flower be if not petal and peduncle and the rest? To a particle physicist, it would be systems of atomic and subatomic particles; to a gardener, a beautiful natural presence; and on and on. It is not that it is not one or the other, but that saying what something is must have its contextual bearings. There is no "flower petal" outside of a context in which the term occurs.

    We are the same, only the term of our analysis are very different at the basic level of inquiry. I am a perceiving being. Well, what is perception? ANd then we find we are simply in another world of thought, for all of our "outer" world events are perceived before they are what they are called in science and everydayness. This puts perception at the very front of understanding at the basic level. Turns our that this is very, very tricky: perception conceived by a being for whom all that is known is first perceived. Sound like question beggin at its finest.

    The questions dealing with physics or how the physical world actually works should not be answered through philosophical thought alone, and questions that can not be answered directly from physics are more properly addressed by philosophy. But philosophy has to constrain itself to the patterns that physics has already discovered so as to keep the whole enterprise coherent.punos

    You say this, as expected, because you haven't read any continental philosophy. Analytic thinking rules philosophy in the US and Britain, and has for a hundred years or so. Now things are changing for the most obvious reasons: Analytic schools go nowhere. I've read enough to see this. Nowhere. They were so hell bent on avoiding the stigma of irrationality that they set their sights, following Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege, and others, on logic and coherency and they ended up containing the foundation of our human inquiry to the restrictions of science's paradigms. They are an insufferable lot, full of logic and rigor, but unable to say anything about foundational issues, for these are taboo since they trail off into experience apart from where theory can control and assimilate. But the horror of this is, this is exactly what true analysis of the human existence reveals: "we" stand outside of analytical categories at the basic level. This "outside" is very analytically accessible. We can describe the threshold.

    Actual things do not enter the mind, just data or information about a perceived thing in the world. The brain tries to recreate it's environment as a neural simulation that we call the conscious mind as opposed to the unconscious mind from the data or information acquired from the sense organs. The brain creates a neural structure in itself that is representative of the object it perceived. The actual neural network pattern constructed is the actual symbol the brain uses to think with, but it is not the thing itself. The brain itself only perceives the output of the neural structure when it's output is active in the conscious mind.punos

    Of course, this is quite true. No one disputes it. It is simply preanalytical. Thatis, it's not philosophy. I mean, who could argue that the brain is NOT a system of neurons and synapses and axonal fibers and so on?? Or that evolution is not a valid theory? It would be absurd. But with these philosophy has not even begun.
  • Constance
    532
    You should ask the OP. I am just saying what frame of reference to look at it from. I did not say it, I won't defend it, please ask the OP. I am washing my hands.god must be atheist

    But I am the OP. I like atheists, and you are one I assume from your moniker. But I like them because they have at least begun to second guess orthodoxy. Not that I agree, though, that, say, God is a meaningless term that challenges ethical nihilism. I do look for thoughts on this matter of beginnings because it opens inquiry into basic assumptions. What are your thoughts on this?
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