• Possibility
    2.4k
    But why this absolute rationality taking center stage? Rationalism and telos is always a bankrupt idea because reason has no value, that is, a rational perfection refers to form, structure of thought only and carries no weight beyond this. Just an empty vessel, reason. It is only when something in the world is in play that purpose and meaning are brought in. This is why I insist on a qualitative "leap" into a deeper understanding of the world that philosophy can uncover. My tentative claim is that language and its logic is only pragmatically meaningful: its mission, if you will, is to realize value, and this puts the burden of meaning on aesthetics. The Good, Wittgenstein said, is what he calls divinity. He is not talking about contingent goodness, but something profound he thinks is above language. Of course, he was right and wrong about this.Constance

    I don’t believe it is necessarily taking centre stage - there are always the three ideas in play, among which we assume an embodied position. If we focus on quality (a paradox) as origin, then the distinction is between energy (as the idea of an absolute source) and logic (as the idea of absolute rationality). If we focus on logic (absolute rationality) as origin, then the relation is between energy (essence) and quality (ethics). And if we focus on energy (flow) as origin, then the dynamic is between quality (ideas) and logic (structure).

    Meaning, value, actuality, etc is then attributed as we are embodied in the system.

    So a description of the world as rationalism and telos necessarily assumes a subjective, affected perspective or relativity - and any attempt to point this out will be rejected. This affected subjectivity - the embodied position - is what’s missing from the system description.

    Wittgenstein explored the dynamic between thinking and logic within a language system, and recognised that just as there is more to the structure or logic of reality than language, there is also more to the quality of ideas (aesthetics) than thinking (within language). What’s missing from his system description is also energy - much like the Tao Te Ching - rendering it only pragmatically meaningful. It’s not just language and its logic, but an embodied, practical awareness of their limitations, that realise meaningfulness in interaction with the world.

    Kierkegaard, on the other hand, assumes a perfectly rational singularity (God), so your jump to ethics in his relation to Hegel makes sense. Everything evolves according to Hegel, so reason in his abstraction cannot realise this eternal rationality (pure reason) that Kierkegaard assumes. Nor can it, in Kierkegaard’s subjective philosophy, ever determine the ethical rationality (practical reason) that Hegel assumes.
    — Possibility

    You would have to tell me why you think K thinks like this. He doesn't hold those things.
    Constance

    Not that Kierkegaard thinks like this, but that his system description is rendered complete only in relation to an embodied existence of eternal rationality, a position he necessarily assumes by omitting it from his description.

    I'm talking about the foundational place of language to the world. I have been arguing that beneath anything we say there is the impossible unutterable noumena which is not outside of experience at all. Phenomena are actually noumenal entities. But what makes something noumenal? It is not that it is beyond language, but rather, only beyond language in its, to speak Hegelese, Zeitgeist, which actually reflects Kierkegaard's concept of sin. Sin (but put aside the Christian thinking here) is essentially being possessed by culture, but the manner of conceiving of sin is important: It is an existential break from something primordial. Heidegger will later dismiss K's religiousness, but move forward with this "break" saying K is right, we in our normal assimilated ways of living according to "the they" which is the thoughts that circulate so freely and dominate throughout society in the form of given institutions and ideas, are out of touch with something deeply important. He thinks there is some nonalienated original condition.Constance

    The aim of philosophy is to ultimately embody the logical methodology or ideal relation between inner and outer system. If we are to accurately describe this using language and logic, then we need to include in our description, as Wittgenstein and the TTC have done, a purely practical method for embodying an inner/outer relation to the ‘impossible unutterable noumena’ assumed by the description. Without this practice, any understanding of the methodology is incomplete.

    From Kierkegaard’s perspective, the assumption is that God already occupies this non-alienated, original condition, and that we merely dance around it. Any embodied relation we may have to this ‘impossible, unutterable noumena’ is subjective, affected and illogical. He relies on Hegel’s description, with its assumption of the open-ended progress of time/energy (a device Heidegger also relies on in his own way), to demonstrate the anxiety of our condition. Without this temporal relation, Kierkegaard’s description lacks directional attention and effort, rendering our condition eternally absurd.

    Thus, pain is, prior to being taken up in science, in evolutionary theory, in talk about energy, or "moving away from logic toward action," I am saying, given to us as a conditioned term, blunted by language's tendency bring all things down to a familiar level (they they, or das man, as Heideggger puts it). Language makes us forget, reduces the world to familar terms. We don't think this is so because we are IN this zeitgeist, and it takes philosophy to see it.Constance

    Do you believe we can talk about pain as an unconditioned term? Pain is a quality, as I described, but alternatively it’s a logical relation between attention and effort, or a motivation to alter relational structure. There’s no one way to interpret pain, but perhaps there is a correct methodology to align our condition with an ideal origin, and in doing so unconditionally understand pain.

    One has to be careful with Kierkegaard, making him sound like a rationalist. It is not that he thinks God is logically assumed, but that God is conceived as an actuality that is intimated in childhood, and realized (bringing in sin by this) later as an incompleteness that is evidenced by the calling, the existential anxiety which is realized int eh fateful moment when a person reaches self awareness and affirms this incompleteness in her existence. It is an existential dialectic, not a logical one.Constance

    Again, not that he consciously thinks this, but that his system description automatically assumes a logical embodied position. And logical not within language, but in the sense of a complete (absolute) relation. But I do heed your warning, nonetheless.
  • Constance
    532
    Very much in agreement here. I like to think of it as there being no metaphysical division between human cognition and that of lesser beings ... only a gradation of magnitude. Principles of thought such as that of identity and of noncontradiction may not be cognized by lesser animals (nor children) but all life makes use of them to the extent that life experiences and then both acts and reacts relative to that experienced. Its hard to properly justify this, though it seems self-evident to me. And this degree of cognition, of course, becomes exponentially greater in adult humans in large part due to our capacity to manipulate symbols to a vastly greater extent, with human language as the prime example, so as to further abstract from more basic concepts. At any rate, enjoyed reading your views.

    As an aside, having skimmed through some of this thread, as with Alkis Piskas, I very much equate "the Word" not with human language but with Heraclitus's, and later the Stoic's, notion of logos. Heraclitus's can be confusing, but the Stoics more directly equated the logos to the Anima Mundi, the operative or animating principle of the world. Here, to keep to the previous examples, Sparky is as much of the logos as is his human caregiver ... as is anything that is part of the cosmos. I know, its a more mystical-ish reading of Genesis 1, but "In the beginning was the logos (the Anima Mundi and all it entails)" makes sense to me, whereas "in the beginning was the one linguistic term produced by some omni-this-and-that person" ... not so much. While I get we're not strung up on mythologies:
    javra

    Regarding Sparky, just a couple more thoughts. You seem to have a lot of respect for what (or "who") he is. I doo, too. But is he is a rational creature? What reason is, is seen only in his behavior, that is, whether he demonstrates reason in actions. Of course, this is the way of it with us as well: I know another's rational interior because of the rational behavior in speech and actions. But then, I look at the "within" of myself to observe first hand my own rationality and it does appear that the symbolic system at work is driven by the simple givenness of logic: I never can observe what logic is because I have to use logic to observe. Logic is always remote in its justificatory validity. So, I do wonder what this dog's interior is like. I think interms of affirmations and negation, yes's and no's, but while his interior cannot "say" these things internally, there is basic aversion and attraction. Nor can he say the conditional form, but he can make associations of causality. How about universal quantifiers? Does rural Sparky know all squirrels hop around in trees? I am sure he does. IN fact I think it can be shown that not just dogs, but all animals possess this capacity for formal, non verbal logic, and this can be witnessed. In the interior of Sparky's mind, however, I

    The one philosophical thesis that comes to mind here is pragmatism: In the interior of experience, there is no rational faculty, no reason as such, no logical rules. We call them rules, but this is just a way of categorizing something holistic in its original presence. The entire experience is that out of which reason as a concept is abstracted, but the original whole is some unthinkable aesthetic/reason/sensible/intuitive actuality. And animals have this.

    I think the question really comes down to the difference between symbolic representation and this original prelinguistic basis for rationality. This is where philosophy has always taken its cue. This latter is what we share. But this is the foundation for an elevation to higher understanding.

    Heraclitus' world? I agree with this. In fact, I am sure that in the argument of Being contra Becoming,....well, there is no Being in this sense. If there is an absolute, it is an eternal becoming. But as to the divine logos, I was listening to a lecture on Hegel and it was stated that Hegel did not believe in a rationality, or logos, as it is currently conceived in this particular frame of historical progress, to be acknowledged as the be all and end all of the logos. We are just a stage of developing an emerging divinity, and this ultimate end is not to be conceived by us, here and now.
    But Hegel is not a popular philosopher, nor is Zeno or Marcus Aurelius. Logos is best, in my view, handled by hermeneutics: what we acknowledge as disclosing the world to our understanding is an interpretative order of things. Now, whether this is evolving into some grand finality, is another question. But it is not reason that is front and center; it is value. Metavalue and metaethics. That is, the Good. Wittgenstein thought the Good was divinity.
  • Constance
    532
    Dogs seem to have a more qualitative sense of the world. Our verbal expressions are like promises and threats: they have qualitative value, potential and significance for Sparky. They’re not understood (I think this fits better than known) according to objects in spacetime, but according to qualitative relations of embodied experience. When you say ‘let’s go outside’, they understand quality in the ideas you’re expressing: the arrangement of shapes and sounds in “let’s go” have an immediately inviting, inclusive quality to it; while “outside” has a more distant and variable quality related to possible smells, textures and tastes.Possibility

    Threats are very basic, but promises, now that stretches witnessed behavior to a point beyond. What is a promise, essentially? One has to dismiss knowledge of the conditional form, the counter factual: promises are logically complex, for one has to be able to conceive of a broken promise, and here, there is the anticipated event that does not materialize, and there is disappointment. Clearly, anticipation is part of the promising construction, and there is no doubt dogs anticipate, just as mice and lizards do. But broken promises, or fulfilled ones, are not simply about anticipations, about my anticipating another's behavior.
    But on the other hand, complexity is implcilty in everything ever said. One cannot understand an affirmation without its opposite, its "binary" associations, and so on.

    As to the qualitative relations, of this there is no doubt. In fact, I think this kind of thing really binds a dog's "sense" of the world with ours. Sparky "cares" about his affairs, and this caring is part of the whole experience, intertwined inextricably with reasoned judgment. This is why he has a moral position in the world, for caring is about something of value, and this goes to the Good and Bad of the experience itself. Being scratched in the nose by a cat hurts! Like us, our reason is affectively and valuatively bound.
  • Possibility
    2.4k
    Threats are very basic, but promises, now that stretches witnessed behavior to a point beyond. What is a promise, essentially? One has to dismiss knowledge of the conditional form, the counter factual: promises are logically complex, for one has to be able to conceive of a broken promise, and here, there is the anticipated event that does not materialize, and there is disappointment. Clearly, anticipation is part of the promising construction, and there is no doubt dogs anticipate, just as mice and lizards do. But broken promises, or fulfilled ones, are not simply about anticipations, about my anticipating another's behavior.Constance

    Agreed. By promise I’m referring to Sparky caring about an anticipated event, and trusting in its relation to the sounds we make. You break this trust enough times, and the sounds start to lose their significance for Sparky. I knew a kelpie once who would respond only to her caregiver’s voice. She could also follow hand signals that even contradicted his voice commands (he’d taught her to ‘stay’ beside a pretty girl on the beach while he called her repeatedly - a neat trick).
  • javra
    1.3k
    :grin:



    I agree with your thoughts on Sparky (and kin).

    As to logos and reason, to add some further comments, we moderners have lost the likely animist notion of reason that used to be pervasive with the ancient notion of logos. We nowadays abstract reason as something that (all too often, only elite) sentient beings do in their intents for figure out what is. Whereas, to my best understanding, logos used to address reason as that which in any way determines, or else sets the boundaries or limits of, that which is; e.g., all four of Aristotle’s causes were of themselves reasons for, and, hence, would have been elements of the cosmic reasoning for what is (to the Stoics if none other). What we think of as causation, then, used to be an integral aspect of the logos, i.e. of the cosmic reasoning.

    Once so conceptualized, its an easy inference to the conclusion that speaking – the determining of what is, can be, etc., via symbols wherein the being(s) in question produces, or causes, the determining symbols – is itself one aspect of the logos which animates reality. But then so too could be construed a dog’s bark, for instance; the dog’s production of a sound which can symbolize, and serve to determine in others, the dog’s emotive state of mind and associated intentions. At any rate, from this vantage of cosmic reasoning, it can be important to remember that lego, from which logos is derived, can mean “I put in order” and “I choose” in addition to “I say”. Logos then, can be interpreted as the cosmic ordering which chooses what is … and which expresses itself (hence “speaks”) via this ordering.

    We moderners are inclined to view reality as mechanistic in manners fully devoid of agency, even to the extent when pressed that our own sense of agency is but illusion. Ancient logos pertains to a worldview wherein agency pervades the cosmos.

    However, all that having been said,

    But it is not reason that is front and center; it is value. Metavalue and metaethics. That is, the Good.Constance

    Couldn’t agree with this more – be it from a modern or ancient pov regarding reason, or anything in between. But then, some further thoughts:

    If there cannot be any reasoning that is not dependent upon metavalue, upon the Good, then can one find any alternative conclusion to that of the Good as metavalue in some way determining all reasoning? (for clarity, I take it we both understand the Good to not be a personhood)
  • Constance
    532
    With or without "Bible talk", what Kierkegaard is calling for is theological in so far that it tries to locate an individual life in the ultimate conditions of its existence. Up to the point of recognizing the limits of language in carrying out actions, the view is in step with what ↪Banno described as "meaning is doing"

    But Kierkegaard still has things to discuss and wants to develop a psychology that understands what it cannot understand. I am not sure how that difference between Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard relates to the philosophy you are calling for.
    Valentinus

    Meaning is doing? No issue with this at all. But what is doing? A question like this takes language as an interpretative stand in for what ever is really going on. I am advocating a departure from language use, what we receive from our culture at the outset of putting opinions together, as a norm, as what tells us what to believe and how to believe it. One has to step away from normalcy itself, and this is essentially the major Kierkegaardian premise, in order to receive the world in a profound and primordial way. His knight of faith may someone who acts and speaks like an entirely normal person, but the entire edifice of her personality is underwritten by God in the here and now.
    God is not Being as opposed to becoming (doing). God is simply what is not possessed by language because language cannot possess actuality.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    But when you go to observe clouds and rocks, don't you think you might be influenced by your worldview? If you saw an indication of intelligence in rocks, wouldn't you speed to explain that away?frank

    :up:

    While I don't see much intelligence in rocks and clouds, I think you are right to acknowledge the role that interpretive habit has on my not finding it. There's also the obvious relationship with self-image. 'I'm not one of those flaky types.' Or 'I'm not one of those closed-minded science-worshippers.'
  • Possibility
    2.4k
    The one philosophical thesis that comes to mind here is pragmatism: In the interior of experience, there is no rational faculty, no reason as such, no logical rules. We call them rules, but this is just a way of categorizing something holistic in its original presence. The entire experience is that out of which reason as a concept is abstracted, but the original whole is some unthinkable aesthetic/reason/sensible/intuitive actuality. And animals have this.Constance

    I think when we talk about logical rules, we refer only to what we can structure within language, recognising that there’s more to logic than that - that is, there is a relational structure to ethics, and to values, which is reasonable beyond the logic within language. That is, it has to do with the qualitative structure of affect and the limits of energy and perceived potential in an embodied experience.

    But it is not reason that is front and center; it is value. Metavalue and metaethics. That is, the Good.Constance

    Couldn’t agree with this more – be it from a modern or ancient pov regarding reason, or anything in between. But then, some further thoughts:

    If there cannot be any reasoning that is not dependent upon metavalue, upon the Good, then can one find any alternative conclusion to that of the Good as metavalue in some way determining all reasoning? (for clarity, I take it we both understand the Good to not be a personhood)
    javra

    Metavalue and metaethics - the Good - refers to the possibility of an ideal relational structure (ie. logic) to this interweaving of energy and quality (in relation to an embodied rationality). If logic is not front and centre, then it’s the system you embody in order to describe what is.
  • javra
    1.3k
    Metavalue and metaethics - the Good - refers to the possibility of an ideal relational structure (ie. logic) to this interweaving of energy and quality (in relation to an embodied rationality).Possibility

    How so?

    If logic is not front and centre, then it’s the system you embody in order to describe what is.Possibility

    This I duly agree with.
  • Constance
    532
    In terms of the Kierkegaard use of the term "Eternity" Constance has made reference to, the Moment that is possible to participate in that sense is not the same as the result of stilling the mind or getting the "monkey mind to stop chattering." If time is imagined as a river, that would be letting the current carry one along to find out what not pulling the oars is like.Valentinus

    I would argue that it is exactly the same. Time is not like a river, or, the metaphor is too narrow. Read the Concept of Anxiety on Time: It is the present that subsumes the past and the future. When the knight of faith (Fear and Trembling) proceeds with daily affairs, there is recollection and their is anticipation, but these pass within the boundless eternal present. Now ask, what is it that one does in meditation? I mean essentially, putting aside the endless, and tedious, books that heap upon this simple event so much text and history, what is the matter about?: it is about a termination of the past acting as a totalitarian master over the present. This is the everydayness of living, bound to thoughts that move seamlessly to action, never raising the question that would undo it all. This is exactly what Kierkegaard's argument is in his account of sin, for this undoing opens what is closed, which is the eternal present, which is freedom, eternity, is God, the soul.
    It is an existential dialectic (borrowed explicitly from Hegel to counter Hegel. See how here and elsewhere he (Unscientific Postscript, e.g.) puts Hegel under attack, but K's thinking is dialectical: his soul, body, spirit mirrors Hegel's rational schematic. Frankly, I have only been reading Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit recently, and, just as when you read Kierkegaard, you see where Sartre, Heidegger GOT their foundational ideas, so when you read Hegel you see where Kierkegaard got his. K's difference is the application of dialectics to the very personal and intimate relation to God.
  • Valentinus
    1.6k
    One has to step away from normalcy itself, and this is essentially the major Kierkegaardian premise, in order to receive the world in a profound and primordial way.Constance

    He is stepping away from the "normal" seen as a society that is content that the Christian values it purports have been integrated seamlessly with the world as Hegel presents it. On the other hand, it is the individual alone who receives the world in a profound and primordial way. So, for instance:

    Viewed intellectually, the content of freedom is truth, truth makes man free. For this reason, truth is the work of freedom, and in such a way that freedom constantly brings forth truth. Obviously, I am not thinking of the cleverness of the most recent philosophy, which maintains that the necessity of thought is also its freedom, and which therefore, when it speaks about the freedom of thought, speaks only of the immanent movement of eternal thought. Such cleverness can only serve to confuse and to make the communication between men more difficult. On the other hand, what I am speaking about is very plain and simple, namely, that the truth is for the particular individual only as he himself produces it in action. If the truth is for the individual in any other way, or if he prevents the truth from being for him in that way, we have the phenomenon of the demonic. Truth has always had many loud proclaimers, but the question is whether a person will in the deepest sense acknowledge the truth, will allow it to permeate his whole being, will accept all its consequences, and not have an emergency hiding place for himself and a Judas kiss for the consequence.
    In modern times, there has been enough talk about truth; now it is high time to vindicate certitude and inwardness, not in the abstract sense in which Fichte uses the word, but in an entirely concrete sense.
    — Kierkegaard, Concept of Anxiety, IV A404, translated by Reidar Thomte

    As a matter of the concrete, this view is being presented as a condition every person is operating within. The condition necessary for the condition is described as inclosing reserve in the previous chapter. Inclosing reserve can lead to freedom or un-freedom (as characterized by the demonic). The challenge this gives to our "normal" lives bears on how we understand the work of parenting and education. So, for instance:

    If an observer will only pay attention to himself, he will have enough with five men, five women, and ten children for the discovery of all possible states of the human soul. What I have to say could have significance, especially for everyone who deals with children or has any relation to them. It is of infinite importance that the child be elevated by the conception of lofty inclosing reserve and saved from the misunderstood types. In an outward respect, it is easy to determine when the moment arrives that one dares to let the child walk alone, in a spiritual respect, the task is very difficult, and one cannot exempt oneself by employing a nursemaid or by buying a walker. The are is that of constantly being present, and yet not being present, so the child may be allowed to develop himself, and at the same time one still has a clear view of the development. The art is to leave the child to himself in the very highest degree and on the greatest possible scale, and to express this apparent relinquishing in such a way that, unnoticed, one is aware of everything. If only one is willing, time for this can very well be found, even though one is a royal officeholder. If one is willing, one can do all things. And the father or the educator who has done everything else for the child entrusted to him, but has failed to prevent him from becoming closed up in his reserve, has at all times incurred a great liability. — Ibid, IV 393

    With the above said, I return to agreeing that Kierkegaard understood what Banno referred to as "action as meaning" but I don't have a handle on how you are presenting this view of the human condition to bear as a matter of philosophy in the register of Heidegger and others.
  • Constance
    532
    Are they all that different though? Science informs philosophy and philosophy informs science. I’m not talking about Einstein’s time (and neither is Rovelli, although he starts there), but about what is presupposed. And it’s this presupposition that is explored in the second part of Rovelli’s book.Possibility

    I am saying no to this: Science does not inform philosophy unless you are taking a course in the philosophy of science (which is specialized) and philosophy is not speculative science. This is a popular idea because science is very good at advancing technology. But ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson how it is that a brain can reach beyond itself to apprehend Jupiter or a light wave, and he will simply dismiss the question, or get the answer wrong, grounding it in question begging assumptions. Now analytic philosophy (which wants very much not to be wishy washy and get no respect) with its prioritizing of clarity over meaning does move along with science's emerging theories, but this simply delivers the impression that all is well at the base, while at the base there are glaring absurdities.
    Continental philosophy brings light to the foundation of understanding, but, as wheels go, it deals in meaning, and meaning does not make a clear mark of its thought, because at the foundation, things lose their confidence and certainty.
    Read the first several pages of Husserl's Ideas I to see where philosophy has its authentic grounding: it is aporia.
    I think you’re presuming that I’m deferring to scientific methodology, but this is far from the case. I’m certainly not proposing that we ‘dismiss what is not known’. And I don’t think you can so confidently assume you know what a physicist might say (just how many interpretations of quantum theory are there?) or how all scientists think. I recognise that the terms are often different - but I’m not looking for analysis (and neither is Rovelli in his book), rather coherence. So I don’t seek to understand the primordial or profound as a reduction to ‘something’, but more as the simplest totality of existence.

    My recommendation of a book (and your evaluation of its synopsis) is not wholly indicative of my position. The way I see it, Rovelli’s process of deconstructing time as we understand it leads us effectively to Wittgenstein’s eternal present: living in a world without time, consisting of interrelating events (phenomena).
    Possibility

    Then I would have to read the book. If Rovelli "deconstructs" time, then he dismantles the affirmations of time by revealing its associative "differing and deferring". John Caputo argues in his "Tears of Jaque Derrida" that deconstruction undermines, across the board, knowing's affirmations, and thereby reIeases the world from fixity, from the "totalizing gaze" that says, I know this, I can grasp it, fit it into systems and categories of thought. This can be an intellectual exercise, of course. But Derrida, Wittgenstein and others were very religious. It is a following through of Husserl (see those crazy French post, post moderns, like Michel Henry or Jean luc Marion), that is, existentially religious, like Kierkegaard, whom Witt adored.
    I want to defend the idea that is along these lines, that the language that constructs all thought, scientific, philosophical or otherwise, is more than a system that makes logical moves out of confirmable premises. Language constructs reality, such that as one sits and watches the world go by, there is an interpretative construction of the moment that is there IN the observed event. Of course, this is my cat, but there is a more primordial understanding of its Being which is not "being a cat" at all. And this goes for subatomic particles, spectral analyses of star light and so on. One has to look first at the world that gives itself to such affairs. The "originary" world has to be understood at a level prior to, or beneath, the thick body of interpretative history that is the constitutive self that takes on the enterprise of thinking in the first place.
    Deconstruction can be loosely talked about, but it should never be considered an affirmation, a positing, regardless of how contradictory this is, and it is of course, contradictory in the extreme.....or is it? I mean, It is not to say one may not affirm this or that, but that such affirmations are never definitive, and all meanings issue from a diffusion of associated ideas. Language is always "under erasure" the moment it is spoken or written.
    So deconstruction puts one, Caputo says, in the ultimate skepticism as it annihilates all affirmations. This is where philosophy must go in order to be liberated from the tyrant of language. I affirm that to do so is a revelation, even, as the Buddha said, an apprehension of ultimate reality, though this really does push it, always keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Ultimate??? Reality???
    What can these mean?
    If we do not assume a priori that we know what the order of time is, if we do not, that is, presuppose that it is the linear and universal order that we are accustomed to, Anaximander’s exhortation remains valid: we understand the world by studying change, not by studying things....We understand the world in its becoming, not in its being. — Carlo Rovelli

    But of course, there is Heraclitus in this. The world as Becoming; so many are here, from Hegel to Heiedgger. Deconstruction terminates this, not because it is wrong, but because at the level of basic ideas, even "becoming" is no more than a "differing, deferential" term that is self erasing. Derrida's point is the cancelation of all presumption of knowing, of thinking that an idea somehow really has its grounding, even partially. It is not that we are getting closer to the truth with science, but that the truth is just as indeterminate as the concept Zeus or Amitabha and the Pure Land. Only here, with the termination of this presumption can philosophy find its purpose. Liberation.


    His more recent book ‘Helgoland’ leads us beyond that point to the relational structure of reality. That he does this from the perspective of quantum physics demonstrates the symmetry at work here. These, for me, are checks and balances to ensure we’re on the right track. But they also suggest that assuming reduction to a singular primordial ‘something’ may be holding us back. Physicists, for the most part, are looking for the source of energy; theologians are looking for the source of quality; while philosophers are looking for the source of logic. The answer, I think, is at the intersection of all three. Where Wittgenstein defers to silence is where we must look to a broader understanding of energy and quality, beyond their logical concepts. Too many philosophers won’t venture here.Possibility

    Yes, this about assuming a singular primordial "something" is right on the mark. But this "broader understanding of energy and quality" raises the same objection: The place philosophers won't venture to go is the annihilation of theory. Derrida's is self annihilating (under erasure) and Wittgenstein's Tractatus talks at length about nonsense, as he confesses in that very work.
    I take the matter beyond Derrida, I think, for he spent his days lecturing. He should have spent them liberating his own interiority from the constructions of language that occlude the Real, whatever that is.

    Ok, I think I’m (almost) with you now. What you’re describing here - a system structured according to meaning, with affect at the centre and ‘God is Love’ making genuine sense - for me constitutes a six-dimensional qualitative awareness. Your expression of it here is the closest to my understanding of this that I’ve read, so thank you. It is here that I find the triadic relation of energy, quality and logic - not as linguistic concepts but as ideas - also makes the most sense.Possibility

    I can't say I understand "six-dimensional qualitative awareness" or the "triadic relation of energy, quality and logic". I suppose I need to read Rovelli.
  • Valentinus
    1.6k
    Time is not like a river, or, the metaphor is too narrow.Constance

    I was saying Alkis Piskas' view was like describing time as a river, not that it adequately described Kierkegaard's version of Eternity.
  • frank
    9.2k
    There's also the obvious relationship with self-image. 'I'm not one of those flaky types.' Or 'I'm not one of those closed-minded science-worshippers.'Zugzwang

    Right, so it's a matter of identity.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Right, so it's a matter of identity.frank

    Yeah. And, side-point, it only seems 'rational' to me when we admit irrational tendencies like this. We include our bias in the model.
  • frank
    9.2k
    Yeah. And, side-point, it only seems 'rational' to me when we admit irrational tendencies like this. We include our bias in the model.Zugzwang

    You mean we're normally irrationally certain that we're unbiased. Yes.

    But is there some kind of unbiased knowing? Maybe it's always there underneath the rationality.
  • Possibility
    2.4k
    Metavalue and metaethics - the Good - refers to the possibility of an ideal relational structure (ie. logic) to this interweaving of energy and quality (in relation to an embodied rationality).
    — Possibility

    How so?
    javra

    Meta- means ‘about the thing itself’. Metaethics and metavalue together examine the nature of ethics, judgement and aesthetics from a perspective beyond ‘the Good’, which questions if ‘the Good’ is even possible, and if so, what is the relational structure of ALL that we have not embodied to ask this question: the sum of subjective and affected experience inclusive of, but not confined to, this possibility/impossibility of the Good?

    It’s often the notion of energy as a source that keeps getting shifted like a hot potato around philosophical discussions. We talk about ethics as if each of us is not limited beyond intentionality by how we source and arrange any potential to act. We talk about ‘the Good’ as if there is no energy component to it, but won’t acknowledge the incommensurability of attention and effort that necessarily limits any embodied relation to it. So we keep losing track of information, leaving uncertainty or entropy unaccounted for as we carelessly shift focus from one disembodied system description to another. And then we go looking for it, as if we didn’t just leave it behind in the variable uncertainty of the previous embodied relation.

    I’m just saying that a moment to take stock of how we’ve arranged these ideas of logic, quality and energy before we shift from one perspective to another can be useful. If there’s no logic in our description of reality (as in Kierkegaard), then we’ve embodied its assumption as a relation to God. If there’s no source of energy accounted for (as in Hegel’s description), then we embody its assumption as an unlimited capacity to act. So when we shift from Hegel to Kierkegaard, then our capacity to act appears limited by the imperfection of our embodied relation to God. Within Kierkegaard’s view of Hegel, then, we’ve suddenly lost the source of motivation to strive for a perfect relation we cannot attain - not realising that this source was simply ‘left behind’ in Hegel’s embodied assumption.
  • Possibility
    2.4k
    Science does not inform philosophy unless you are taking a course in the philosophy of science (which is specialized) and philosophy is not speculative science. This is a popular idea because science is very good at advancing technology. But ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson how it is that a brain can reach beyond itself to apprehend Jupiter or a light wave, and he will simply dismiss the question, or get the answer wrong, grounding it in question begging assumptions. Now analytic philosophy (which wants very much not to be wishy washy and get no respect) with its prioritizing of clarity over meaning does move along with science's emerging theories, but this simply delivers the impression that all is well at the base, while at the base there are glaring absurdities.
    Continental philosophy brings light to the foundation of understanding, but, as wheels go, it deals in meaning, and meaning does not make a clear mark of its thought, because at the foundation, things lose their confidence and certainty.
    Read the first several pages of Husserl's Ideas I to see where philosophy has its authentic grounding: it is aporia.
    Constance

    Sure - philosophy, if it can be grounded, is grounded in the notion of aporia - the question - which is what motivates science. Science is not the answer that Neil DeGrasse Tyson gives to a question, but the correct process or methodology in asking and answering a question. Science, if it can be grounded, is grounded in the notion of certainty - the answer - which is what motivates philosophy. And philosophy is not the question we ask but a correct process or methodology in asking and answering the question.

    But I do agree with your descriptions here of analytical and continental philosophy. Very astute.
  • Possibility
    2.4k
    Yes, this about assuming a singular primordial "something" is right on the mark. But this "broader understanding of energy and quality" raises the same objection: The place philosophers won't venture to go is the annihilation of theory. Derrida's is self annihilating (under erasure) and Wittgenstein's Tractatus talks at length about nonsense, as he confesses in that very work.
    I take the matter beyond Derrida, I think, for he spent his days lecturing. He should have spent them liberating his own interiority from the constructions of language that occlude the Real, whatever that is.
    Constance

    By a broader understanding of energy and quality, I’m referring not to theory but to practice. The Tao Te Ching, for example, talks about wu-wei: the indirect relations between perceived intentionality, potential and action. The sage, by understanding the relation between the quality of ideas and the energy of the world, appears not to act, is perceived as incapable of acting, expressing no desire or intention; and yet embodies wisdom.

    I can't say I understand "six-dimensional qualitative awareness" or the "triadic relation of energy, quality and logic". I suppose I need to read Rovelli.Constance

    You won’t find it in Rovelli. The terminology you’ve highlighted here is my own. The way I see it, this qualitative change you’re referring to in the world, in which the entire conceptual edifice can be suspended, I describe as a shift in dimensional awareness - from a five-dimensional awareness of value, potential or significance in events, actions and observations, to a six-dimensional awareness of meaning or truth in language, value and conceptual structures.

    Geometry has a logical, qualitative structure which we can recognise as both abstract and embodied. How we understand and render geometric structure relies on a perspective position outside: a line is a one-dimensional relation between two points that assumes a perspective position in two dimensions, ie. an awareness/distinction of shape; an object is a three-dimensional relation that assumes a perspective position in four dimensions, ie. an awareness/distinction of time; an event is a four-dimensional relation that assumes a perspective position in five dimensions, ie. an awareness/distinction of value/potential/significance; a language, value or conceptual structure/system is a five-dimensional relation that assumes a perspective position in six dimensions, ie. an awareness/distinction of meaning/truth.

    At each of these dimensional levels of awareness, the world is qualitatively different - so much so that there appears to be no way to describe the world consistently. You’ve said that affect takes centre stage and that ideas are distinguished according to meaning at this particular level of ‘openness’, but in order to interact meaningfully with a linear relation, for instance, we need to develop a clear methodology for shifting perspective from meaning to shape and back again, without assuming or losing information.

    What I’ve been proposing is a fundamental triadic relation of energy, logic and quality. This leaves nothing to our assumptions, or that cannot possibly be understood in some sense.

    Energy, for instance, describes the fundamental quality (difference) of the Shakti-Brahma relation (logic). The aporia here is not between ‘Shakti’ or ‘Brahma’, but in how we embody a flow of energy: thought and affect both playing key roles in our distribution of energy as attention and effort. A logical description of energy such as quantum physics can inform and be informed by this model, dissolving both the question-begging assumptions of physics and the metaphysical ‘woo’ of Hinduism in a meaningful dialectic. The resultant understanding is not theory OR practice, but wisdom.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Deconstruction can be loosely talked about, but it should never be considered an affirmation, a positing, regardless of how contradictory this is, and it is of course, contradictory in the extreme.....or is it? I mean, It is not to say one may not affirm this or that, but that such affirmations are never definitive, and all meanings issue from a diffusion of associated ideas. Language is always "under erasure" the moment it is spoken or written.
    So deconstruction puts one, Caputo says, in the ultimate skepticism as it annihilates all affirmations. This is where philosophy must go in order to be liberated from the tyrant of language. I affirm that to do so is a revelation, even, as the Buddha said, an apprehension of ultimate reality, though this really does push it, always keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Ultimate??? Reality???
    What can these mean?
    Constance

    I like deconstruction, and in general like what you say here. But does 'ultimate skepticism' keep one from successfully ordering a cup of coffee? Perhaps 'ultimate skepticism' is 'skepticism about the ultimate'? always keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Ultimate??? Reality?? What can these mean?. That part speaks to me. I connect it to Wittgenstein. There are thinkers trying to slap us out of our complacency. Not sleepwalkers but sleeptalkers. Babbling inherited strings of tokens, thinking we know what we mean, that it's right there, glowing and whole and present, if we could only spit it out. Along with that the whole sacred fiction of the isolated interior. But, as you say, keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Like W calling the TLP 'nonsense.' Even if his view kept evolving or changing, that gesture continues to resonate for me. It's as if the point is to start a fire. No particular phrase need be cast in a starring role. Are we ever liberated from the tyrant? 'History is a nightmare from which I'm trying to awake,' but often it's a game, not a nightmare. Anyway, what is 'escape' or 'freedom' like? Is that another impossible Ultimate? Another vague promise of rounded and fluorescent presence?
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Sin (but put aside the Christian thinking here) is essentially being possessed by culture, but the manner of conceiving of sin is important: It is an existential break from something primordial. Heidegger will later dismiss K's religiousness, but move forward with this "break" saying K is right, we in our normal assimilated ways of living according to "the they" which is the thoughts that circulate so freely and dominate throughout society in the form of given institutions and ideas, are out of touch with something deeply important. He thinks there is some nonalienated original condition.Constance

    I like the way you are connected these concepts. One might first say that we are thrown into sin but then decide that having-been-thrown is itself the sin. This is to say that sin is inherited...not through baby talk but as baby talk and all the talk that's grown on top of that baby talk. But, as you say, this only makes sense if culture, any culture, offends or obscures something that precedes it. This I don't find plausible, personally. I suggest we're cyborgs through and through. Wipe away the cultural layer and we're just like the other monkeys with less hair and better fingers. What's more plausible but still difficult to credit is the notion that an inherited culture can be transformed, at least within the individual, into something higher, purer, better. Isn't the 'nonalienated original condition' the old fantasy of the garden before expulsion and consciousness of our nakedness? It can be read as the desire to return to an infantile state. And in many other ways of course.

    Language makes us forget, reduces the world to familar terms. We don't think this is so because we are IN this zeitgeist, and it takes philosophy to see it.Constance

    Point taken, but isn't it language that also freaks us out, slaps us awake? And isn't philosophy a social enterprise, offering a subculture's Zeitgeist? I agree that part of its thrill is seeing one's little world from the outside, gazing on it as a relatively amoral and detached alien.
  • Constance
    532
    Not that Kierkegaard thinks like this, but that his system description is rendered complete only in relation to an embodied existence of eternal rationality, a position he necessarily assumes by omitting it from his description.Possibility
    You need to abide by what Kierkegaard says. His descritption is contra Hegel and he is not a rationalist, but insists this rationalality we witness in our affairs, far from being some adumbration of the God's full realization, is altogether other than God. K does not hold that all is foundationally rational and partially grasped by reason in our own zeitgeist. This zietgeist is quantitatively "sinfull" (not int he typical Lutheran sense at all; he flat out rejects this)

    The aim of philosophy is to ultimately embody the logical methodology or ideal relation between inner and outer system. If we are to accurately describe this using language and logic, then we need to include in our description, as Wittgenstein and the TTC have done, a purely practical method for embodying an inner/outer relation to the ‘impossible unutterable noumena’ assumed by the description. Without this practice, any understanding of the methodology is incomplete.Possibility

    But there is analysis prior to this "inner/outer" opposition. Remember for Witt there is no "outer" talk is this talk is intended to be outside of logic. Like many phenomenologists, he has this prohibition against making sense out of a world that is not a fact, a "state of affairs". Such things are not in the great book of facts (LEcture on Ethics). Inner and outer are confined to language, whether it be language games or logical constraint. One cannot "talk" outside of a language game. The case I want to make here is that Witt and Kant and Heidegger and others are wrong to think like this, in this prohibitive manner, drawing a line between what can be said and what cannot. "If there is anything better than reason, reason will discover it" I read once, by someone. If one is allowed, and not implicitly barred by cultural norms and their judgments, to look closely at the world's threshold with the Other the meaning of which is not possessed by a restrictive system, like empirical science (which presently cares little presuppositional levels of inquiry), and I am talking What begins with Kierkegaard's Hegel attack in his Anxiety: when he talks about the spirit posited as a synthesis of body and soul he refers to an existential movement which is qualitatively distinct from a Hegelian quantitative movement of reason to reduce the affair to its terms.
    You find K very much continued in the post, post modern works that follow through on Husserl's epoche. See Michel Henry on the four principles of phenomenology)
    As to the incompleteness, see the epoche, the phenomenological reduction of Husserl. The very idea of such a thing is currently being played out in essays on the concepts of givenness, being, presence, and so on. There is a paradox in this: One the one hand, as Heidegger tells us, there is no philosophical work to do until we are already embedded in a world, like the American world or the Greek world in which language and culture constructs a self fit to self reflect, and break free of the das man. So to be aware at all, one has to first be enslaved (so to speak). BUT: this breaking free is the core issue, not the embeddedness. There is something IN the world that is primordial and profound. Heidegger thought this, but detested metaphysics. He did not see what I want him to see, that I am pushing here: Metaphysics is the radical other of the world, beyond its totalities (of course, Levinas at the bottom of this. See his Totality and Infinity, if you dare).

    From Kierkegaard’s perspective, the assumption is that God already occupies this non-alienated, original condition, and that we merely dance around it. Any embodied relation we may have to this ‘impossible, unutterable noumena’ is subjective, affected and illogical. He relies on Hegel’s description, with its assumption of the open-ended progress of time/energy (a device Heidegger also relies on in his own way), to demonstrate the anxiety of our condition. Without this temporal relation, Kierkegaard’s description lacks directional attention and effort, rendering our condition eternally absurd.Possibility

    Dances around, or, "sinfully" at a distance from. Affected, you mean in God's grace" illogical: remember that K will have his knight of faith the grocer down the street. Making the Leap, the movement is a qualitative step out of Hegel's quantitative zeitgeist, is the simple act, really, one K could not achieve, he confesses, of positing spirit, which is born out of existential wonder, then affirmed to be an alienation from God, realizing one's freedom in this, which gives rise to this foundational anxiety in which one can only yield to God to bring about a complete synthesis, which is definitive and eternal. Illogical in that it is NOT a discursive process. We are dealing things that are their own presuppositions (another borrowing from Hegel: something truly foundational has no explanatory priors or reductions). Subjective: Yes, of course. The big crit contra Hegel is this point. This relation to God is individual and the soul is individual and eternal as is its alienation; not some en masse dialectical movement of culture in history.

    Open ended progress of time and energy? You use the term energy, but it makes what they say sound like something they didn't say. Heidegger doesn't talk like this. Of course, YOU can talk like this, obviously, and if you want to say that Heidegger really says this, you have to tell me explicitly: You know, Heidegger says this, but consider this using another term. Energy is a science term, and Heidegger would never go there. Regarding Time, his is a phenomenological ontology that deals with the structure of experience (another word he never uses).

    Do you believe we can talk about pain as an unconditioned term? Pain is a quality, as I described, but alternatively it’s a logical relation between attention and effort, or a motivation to alter relational structure. There’s no one way to interpret pain, but perhaps there is a correct methodology to align our condition with an ideal origin, and in doing so unconditionally understand pain.Possibility

    Calling pain a quality is like calling it a property. The issue comes in the "calling" at all. Not that we shouldn't call things something, but it takes a "qualitative leap" of a Kierkegaardian nature (putting God on hold) to see that in the calling we reduce it to what it is not. Language does this, reduces the world to something manageable, but what it is (contra Heidegger) is simply metaphysics. We live and breathe in metaphysics. My cat is metaphysics.

    There is only one way to understand pain, and that is phenomenologically, through the reduction (Husserl): apply a lighted match to your finger and observe. SImply this. All explanatory theses are off the table and one is to allow the event to "speak". It is a method of apprehending the world that many believe (like K) has extraordinary religious, mysterious (Witt on the "Good"; see his "what is Good is divine, too. That sums up my ethics"; see the Tractatus on this) dimensions.
    The area of discussion here is metaethics. We can talk about this if you like.

    Again, not that he consciously thinks this, but that his system description automatically assumes a logical embodied position. And logical not within language, but in the sense of a complete (absolute) relation. But I do heed your warning, nonetheless.Possibility

    Okay, I actually lean this way sometimes. But look at Derrida's Margins: affirmations are NOT affirmations. To speak at all is never a singular event, but is a plurality, a diffusion of what is not explicitly spoken, as the number one "defers" to the number two, three, and so on. These literally constitute the affirmative proposition.
    Big issue: What remains is the impossible, the Other, the nonliguistic actuality of this lamp on my desk. I may not be able to speak it, but I am IN its presence and th e speaking it does not cancel its otherness.
    How is it that I can stand outside of language from a stand point OF language, to make this kind of affirmation? So wonderfully weird. I will spend my days looking at the way Husserl's reduction addresses this.
    So here is my case against bringing physics into the deepest level of inquiry: at the deepest level, there is no more discursive redundancies to be brought in, for we are here at the threshold where we are being asked to encounter existence, face to face, if you will. It can be an astounding business if one is intuitively wired for it.
  • Constance
    532
    As to logos and reason, to add some further comments, we moderners have lost the likely animist notion of reason that used to be pervasive with the ancient notion of logos. We nowadays abstract reason as something that (all too often, only elite) sentient beings do in their intents for figure out what is. Whereas, to my best understanding, logos used to address reason as that which in any way determines, or else sets the boundaries or limits of, that which is; e.g., all four of Aristotle’s causes were of themselves reasons for, and, hence, would have been elements of the cosmic reasoning for what is (to the Stoics if none other). What we think of as causation, then, used to be an integral aspect of the logos, i.e. of the cosmic reasoning.

    Once so conceptualized, its an easy inference to the conclusion that speaking – the determining of what is, can be, etc., via symbols wherein the being(s) in question produces, or causes, the determining symbols – is itself one aspect of the logos which animates reality. But then so too could be construed a dog’s bark, for instance; the dog’s production of a sound which can symbolize, and serve to determine in others, the dog’s emotive state of mind and associated intentions. At any rate, from this vantage of cosmic reasoning, it can be important to remember that lego, from which logos is derived, can mean “I put in order” and “I choose” in addition to “I say”. Logos then, can be interpreted as the cosmic ordering which chooses what is … and which expresses itself (hence “speaks”) via this ordering.
    javra

    You know, there is something about this kind of thinking that I find compelling, though not quite as you put it. You and I are, after all, the world, and the logos as any of its expressions is what the world is doing through us, so the ascription of the logos to the world, as what the world is and does, is not an improper anthropomorphism of sorts, as many would claim. I grant, it is hard to make this intuitive connection, because we are all so used to thinking of the world as, as you say, boundaried, we forget that there is some foundational genesis of all that is (See Eugene Fink's Sixth Meditation, e.g.; though here, it is a differently conceived). "Cosmic reasoning" may be pushing it, for I don't think the world of other things, trees, tables and desktops, is apart from language, rationally constructed, and that there is an "ordering" or "choosing" going on in the underpinnings of the world. WE are, however, what the world does and is and cannot be separated, so there certainly is a "becoming" in the world through us, these agencies of rationality and meaning; the world is becoming (but here we run into postmodern concerns I will not bring in)
    So, in my sympathy with this kind of thinking, I am talking about logos being IN the world, and not separate from it by the boundaries we impose: clearly we are boundaried thinkers, but we are the world as well. As to our dogs and and other intelligent animals, I am interested in the underpinning of language, whether it is barking or speaking words, which is experience. Dogs experience the world, and in this there is an "innocence" that we should envy, but our intelligence is something we (and hence the world) are doing that is qualitatively unique, something new that our evolving condition manifests. What Sparky cannot do is think explicitly, and cannot separate language from immediate affairs, can't wander off into a corner and wonder. Wonder takes thought to new boundaries as it brings in questions of existence and experience that have no answers, but around such questions there develops a culture inquiry.
  • Constance
    532
    Agreed. By promise I’m referring to Sparky caring about an anticipated event, and trusting in its relation to the sounds we make. You break this trust enough times, and the sounds start to lose their significance for Sparky. I knew a kelpie once who would respond only to her caregiver’s voice. She could also follow hand signals that even contradicted his voice commands (he’d taught her to ‘stay’ beside a pretty girl on the beach while he called her repeatedly - a neat trick).Possibility

    Yeah, that's a good point. Is this trust is a sign of higher intelligence? Or is it mere expectation, not unlike a turtle of a fish "expects" the sun to rise or there to be a provision of other edible things. Am I, in my thoughtless morning opening the refrigerator door and grabbing the milk, just like Sparky?
    I think there is a difference is what underlies expectation. In me, there is a complexity attendant to it all, and this is a second order reflectiveness implicit in all prereflective thinking. I seem to read Sartre writing this in the Transcendental Ego.
    Dogs cannot think symbolically, nor can they, therefore, think about thinking, experience in a way that is about experiencing.
  • javra
    1.3k
    You know, there is something about this kind of thinking that I find compelling, though not quite as you put it. You and I are, after all, the world, and the logos as any of its expressions is what the world is doing through us, so the ascription of the logos to the world, as what the world is and does, is not an improper anthropomorphism of sorts, as many would claim. I grant, it is hard to make this intuitive connection, because we are all so used to thinking of the world as, as you say, boundaried, we forget that there is some foundational genesis of all that is (See Eugene Fink's Sixth Meditation, e.g.; though here, it is a differently conceived). "Cosmic reasoning" may be pushing it, for I don't think the world of other things, trees, tables and desktops, is apart from language, rationally constructed, and that there is an "ordering" or "choosing" going on in the underpinnings of the world. WE are, however, what the world does and is and cannot be separated, so there certainly is a "becoming" in the world through us, these agencies of rationality and meaning; the world is becoming (but here we run into postmodern concerns I will not bring in)Constance

    I think I may be able to boil this down to a single question: Are what we linguistically call “the basic laws of thought”, thinking here primarily of the law of identity and of noncontradiction, existentially fixed and, hence, universally applicable? Or, are they simply the byproduct of biologically enactive cognition, such that they do not govern reality at large but merely serve as an evolved instrument relative to (some?) life via which we interpret those aspects of reality we can filter through these principles of cognition?

    If existentially fixed, then, imo, cosmic reasoning.

    Dogs experience the world, and in this there is an "innocence" that we should envy, but our intelligence is something we (and hence the world) are doing that is qualitatively unique, something new that our evolving condition manifests. What Sparky cannot do is think explicitly, and cannot separate language from immediate affairs, can't wander off into a corner and wonder. Wonder takes thought to new boundaries as it brings in questions of existence and experience that have no answers, but around such questions there develops a culture inquiry.Constance

    Yes, I agree.
  • Constance
    532
    I like the way you are connected these concepts. One might first say that we are thrown into sin but then decide that having-been-thrown is itself the sin. This is to say that sin is inherited...not through baby talk but as baby talk and all the talk that's grown on top of that baby talk. But, as you say, this only makes sense if culture, any culture, offends or obscures something that precedes it. This I don't find plausible, personally. I suggest we're cyborgs through and through. Wipe away the cultural layer and we're just like the other monkeys with less hair and better fingers. What's more plausible but still difficult to credit is the notion that an inherited culture can be transformed, at least within the individual, into something higher, purer, better. Isn't the 'nonalienated original condition' the old fantasy of the garden before expulsion and consciousness of our nakedness? It can be read as the desire to return to an infantile state. And in many other ways of course.Zugzwang

    Lots of interesting here. First, compare Luther's (there are, of course others. Kierkegaard goes through them in his Concept of Anxiety--a VERY worthy read, if difficult) popular but absurd concept that Adam really pis*** off God, and do what K does: put aside literalism altogether and take the notion as a vehicle to understanding what I consider the most elementary question that a person faces: why are we born to suffer and die? It is just as you put it: "having-been-thrown is itself the sin." Of course sin is a badly connotated word and best off the table; but then again, others have stepped forward, like Heidegger and Husserl, and tried to humanize the concept and in doing so divest it of its deeper underpinning. Our "throwness" is the moral question given to metaphysics, the final recourse once one has exhausted all possible accountability in the world. Science cannot go here at all, for the ethical is foundationally metaethical: what is the Good and the Bad ethically speaking? Put the question to its instantiations: a small child, born into some wretched condition, lives a life of innocence yet suffers constantly, ends up with the black plague and dies a horrible death. Or the like, since such constructions come to me in multitudes, all very real, for they have all happened historically and now over and over.

    Anyway, consider sin per the above as the truly profound question of being a person in the world. the affair goes to "invisible" value, the badness of pain is never witnessed. The pain certainly is, but it being bad is not. This badness (not to forget Goodness, what Wittgenstein called divinity) is utterly transcendental. My argument can be more fully spelled out if you care to read a paragraph or two.

    So K's sin is not Biblical sin in the popular sense. It has to do the way we are existentially constructed, which K takes as dialectic between body and soul. Now we are talking about souls, eh? to go into this, forget about this term, again heavily connotated. Can't really defend the whole idea without a lot of writing. Suffice to say, the "facts" of the world must include the impossible, eternity. Impossible for obvious reason, but generally speaking, to conceive it at all, one must break logical rules, like, space is necessarily defined by its boundaries; infinite space has none; therefore, infinite space in nonsense. Arguing this here is really not the point. The point is this: that ALL of the assumptions that underlie our affairs of any kind rest on unconfirmable assumptions. That is eternity. Intuitive, logical eternity is a radical impasse to the understanding. And yet, we are not computer programs that have reached a limit, like an absence of ones and zeros. We reach OUT, beyond the ideas and desires, and this beyond is an unyielding "presence".

    I better stop here. Stepping over the line, a bit.

    As to cyborgs through and through, this biological reduction and being cyborgs I don't understand. As to the infantile nostalgia, yes, of course. But this begs the question, what was THAT?-- in infancy, the question about what it is we are alienated from sustains, for in infancy, we are prior to the pleasure priniciple's sublimation (to borrow from Freud), prior to inherited culture. This IS Adam, and sin's analysis begins here: the infant is thrown into a world free and innocent, only to be tossed around by the world's dreaded contingencies.

    Finally, sure, about the monkeys. the "purer, higher, better" fist requires an affirmation that some like this even exists. What is love, joy, happiness, bliss, ecstasy, and so on?
  • Constance
    532
    Point taken, but isn't it language that also freaks us out, slaps us awake? And isn't philosophy a social enterprise, offering a subculture's Zeitgeist? I agree that part of its thrill is seeing one's little world from the outside, gazing on it as a relatively amoral and detached alien.Zugzwang

    Of course, you are right about language being both suppressive and enlightening, liberative. To discuss something like this, I think it would require a reading of Heidegger's Being and Time. And Hegel. Hegel holds that language possesses the terms of its own dialectical evolvement, since every affirmation contains the seeds of its own destruction, that is, to affirm X, as an affirmation, is bound up with its own denial because this is not, after all, absolute knowledge: contingencies hover all around, one can question (the piety of thought, the question!). In this questioning, things are torn apart, then resolved. Such is the movement of logic and life. Hegel thought this is all happening in the dialectic between the infinite and infinitude. I actually think he was right, though it is a strange thing to get into.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    As to cyborgs through and through, this biological reduction and being cyborgs I don't understand.Constance

    To say we are cyborgs in this case is to emphasize how technological we are. Language is something the ur-technology, that plugs us into something like a species-essence. Our personalities are built as/from this kind of technology. I also include the old man's cane. And where would I be without my prescription glasses? What bare, poor, forks we'd be without the tech that completes us and makes as human. And then humanity is a kind of bridge from the monkey to the transhuman? (I'll respond more later, just wanted to get that out.)
  • Constance
    532
    I like deconstruction, and in general like what you say here. But does 'ultimate skepticism' keep one from successfully ordering a cup of coffee? Perhaps 'ultimate skepticism' is 'skepticism about the ultimate'? always keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Ultimate??? Reality?? What can these mean?. That part speaks to me. I connect it to Wittgenstein. There are thinkers trying to slap us out of our complacency. Not sleepwalkers but sleeptalkers. Babbling inherited strings of tokens, thinking we know what we mean, that it's right there, glowing and whole and present, if we could only spit it out. Along with that the whole sacred fiction of the isolated interior. But, as you say, keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Like W calling the TLP 'nonsense.' Even if his view kept evolving or changing, that gesture continues to resonate for me. It's as if the point is to start a fire. No particular phrase need be cast in a starring role. Are we ever liberated from the tyrant? 'History is a nightmare from which I'm trying to awake,' but often it's a game, not a nightmare. Anyway, what is 'escape' or 'freedom' like? Is that another impossible Ultimate? Another vague promise of rounded and fluorescent presence?Zugzwang

    Interesting thoughts, and very close to where I think things go. To me, if a person is not puzzled, if the world is not one big intellectual and existential antagonism, then just put the matter aside and go on your way.

    Wittgenstein wanted to slap us out of metaphysics, and this gave rise to a separation of the profound questions that haunt us and the places where philosophy can genuinely go. I never appreciated that, encouraging positivism and its insistence on clarity at the sacrifice of meaning. But he was right in that he brought attention to the place where bad ideas go to die, which is in critical analysis, and when he drew a line between sense and nonsense he made me look regionally, to the areas where sound thinking exists. I think that is very important because it takes one to foundations, which is why when I read Existential thinkers, and postmoderns, I find Wittgenstein everywhere, implicitly, for these guys talk about the "that which cannot be said" but from a distance, lest one fall into the trap of bad metaphysics.

    A break with complacency? Yes, and this is Kierkegaard, Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, Husserl, and so on. In fact, one can say that this one thing is the most salient feature of their thought, because breaking away like this brings one to the world of phenomenology, and this, Kierkegaard tells us, is a qualitative leap (as a disclaimer: one has to put aside the explicitly Christian content. You read K and you discover, Heidegger here, Sartre there; I mean, the famous things they said are lifted from Kierkegaard).

    As to the isolated interior: Isolated from what? There are places Witt goes that I do not. But it depends on how this isolation matter is stated.

    Calling the TLP nonsense takes one to exactly the place where post moderns like Derrida and post Derridaians elaborate. Witt's nonsense lines up with Derrida's erasure. And this erasure takes one to the very interesting French theological turn toward apophatic philosophy: Jean luc marion, Jean luc Nancy, Michel Henry and others. It is not that they write about nonsense, but that this nonsense, like Kant's noumena, issues analytically (and ultimately existentially) from the sense making that is here before us. Take noumena: Kant said rather grudgingly that we have talk about this because it had to "be" there otherwise representation would be of nothing. But where does the limitation placed on proper talk begin and end about this? He is very much in Witt's corner, with the Dialectics warning us that metaphysics is empty wheels turning, but then telling us that there is this....something out there, which we really can't talk about, being beyond time and space and the categories. But the question is begged: how can one draw a limit on noumena? How can it be all things, yet not there before me, in my computer, my shoes, my cat?

    There is only one way to go: it IS there before me, for my phenomenological gaze is thoroughly noumenal, even in the gaze itself. My perceptions of this phenomenological presentation of objects, thoughts and feelings is utterly noumenal. Which is like saying language doesn't work here, but the "here" is right before us, in the perceptual act, and this actually supersedes, cancels even, the regularities of common experience.

    That the entire world is deconstructable puts one face to face with the impossible. This Book on the desk is utterly epistemically without a foundation. Not that, a good empirical scientist might say, we are getting closer and our theories are some kind of Hegelian partial apprehension (though Derrida is very Hegelian. Am watching Slovaj Zizek on youtube. He is a staunch if qualified Hegelian and he stated this about Derrida. Never came to me till then. Now I read Phenomenology of Spirit from a whole new perspective), but that language is structurally not capable of foundational truth. But then: we live deep in meaning and caring and all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. What can this be, to live on these terms of engagement, yet to acknowledge the emptiness of understanding. I think a Buddhist might have a clue or two...but she couldn't tell you; or could she? Another issue.

    this goes to the isolation you mentioned. One thing one has to do is drop common tongue of interpretation, the endless talk about everything in our everyday lives as the basis for understanding the world. That is isolating, for the more one does this in earnest, the less the world's common interests have a hold, and then, instead of alienation being on the outside of these affairs, these affairs becomes the alienating cause. Eventually culture will come to this, after it is done with pragmatic technology infatuations.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    I never appreciated that, encouraging positivism and its insistence on clarity at the sacrifice of meaning.Constance

    To me it's more about being aware of how much clarity is possible or appropriate in a given context. The naive metaphysician does a pseudo-math with words without realizing that s/he does not and cannot sufficiently fix/govern the so-called meaning of those signs (hence 'pseudo-math'). From this perspective, one can grok deconstructive/Wittgensteinian critical gestures without losing the ability to write poetry, talk with Mom about God, etc. What does become difficult is to ask blurry questions naively, as if the signs had a clear enough sense for a relatively objective answer. The difference is basically something knowing when one is being a poet and when one is being a mathematician/scientist --which is not to say that this distinction can ever be perfect (this distinction is more of that illuminating nonsense that puts itself in question without erasing itself completely.)
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