• Manuel
    3k
    What position would you hold in relation to this view intending a more precise, philosophical definition of materialism?javra

    I don't think my view gives us a more precise meaning of materialism, I think it merely dissolves what is called the "mind-body" problem and in doing so, we can stop discussing terminology and instead focus on ideas.

    We used to have, I think, a good notion of "materialism", back in Descartes's time, in which it was held to be something like "mechanistic materialism": everything in the world, nay, the universe, works like a giant clock - if we can build it, we can understand it kind of thing, based on direct contact between bodies.

    The exception was that certain aspects of mind, did not fit into this scheme, namely creative language use (ordinary language actually) and thoughts, hence Descartes postulated "res cogitans".

    Newton believed this, but then, he showed the universe is not a machine, to his dismay:

    "It is inconceivable, that inanimate brute matter should, without the mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon and affect other matter without mutual contact... is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it."

    With that, our notion of "physical" or material is gone: we don't know what bodies are. So if we are to use the term "materialism", "physical" and point to the same phenomenon Newton had in mind, then it encapsulates everything, there being no other metaphysical distinction.

    "That", *I point to something* "is physical". Ok. But then this thing inside my head is so too, or at least, I can't see a reason why it couldn't be. The problem with putting it otherwise and saying "that is mental or idea" is that I don't think objects are made of ideas, I think there is an external world out there.

    we persons are nothing more than our constituency of this and that material causes which, as material causes, efficiently cause thingsjavra

    Yeah, I mean, I do it sometimes too, I try not to, but using the term "nothing more", or "merely" or "just" is very misleading and can be taken to imply one is playing something down. I do do this at times, but one should be careful.

    But's that's the gist of it.

    EDIT:

    Yes but, according to Peirce's idealism, he says that "matter is effete mind", rendering the distinction between mind and matter kind of moot.
  • javra
    1.9k
    we persons are nothing more than our constituency of this and that material causes which, as material causes, efficiently cause things — javra


    Yeah, I mean, I do it sometimes too, I try not to, but using the term "nothing more", or "merely" or "just" is very misleading and can be taken to imply one is playing something down. I do do this at times, but one should be careful.
    Manuel

    Well, from my pov, we persons are more than our constituency of this and that material cause. Again, this going back to the theme of the OP. But yes, one could reword the statement to read “we persons are identical to these and those material causes which constitute us” and thereby remove the implication previously provided via the words “nothing more than".

    I question that this can make sense in any immediate sense of experience. A seen rock is thereby conceptually identical to a bunch of unseen subatomic particles, themselves constituted from an amorphous quantum vacuum, this in the vantage of materialism. But, experientially, we don’t inhabit that world which this material-cause concept of identity entails; we inhabit this world wherein we both agree that the seen rock is only identical with itself as rock, its constituents holding their own unique identities. No?

    EDIT:

    Yes but, according to Peirce's idealism, he says that "matter is effete mind", rendering the distinction between mind and matter kind of moot.
    Manuel

    In terms of physicality's reality, yes. In terms of ontology, certainly not. If matter is effete mind then all is mind in various layers of complexity: our own individual minds being themselves constituted of what would then be aspects of a universal effete mind which, as per Peirce, itself manifests via the interactions of individual minds as global habits ... here having paraphrased a bit and possibly made the issue simpler than it ought to be. Point is, here, all is mind. In so being, this thesis then holds possible implications which materialism / physicalism (everything we take to be mental is in fact fine tuned physicality) outright rejects as metaphsycially possible. Confer, for example, with Peirce's notion of agapism.
  • Manuel
    3k
    “we persons are identical to these and those material causes which constitute us” and thereby remove the implication previously provided via the words “nothing more than".javra

    This is one of the issues of using "physical" as is used in contemporary philosophy, in more or less arbitrarily stipulates that the physical is whatever science currently studies. So, based on this, the argument would be that we as persons are identical with our chemical and biological properties, including cells, synapses, endorphins and so on.

    I think this idea is silly. I mean, sure objects are going to be more than the sum of parts, that's why we recognize them as such. What reasons do we have for rejecting that the things science currently cannot study, and maybe never will be able to study, aren't physical too?

    Thoughts, sublime things, do come out of brains - based on the evidence we have. Yet they lose nothing of the sublimity for coming out of brains. In fact, brains are constructions of things we experience in the world and label as such, containing those properties we attribute to them. But there is likely much more that we cannot attribute to them, because we know so little.

    A seen rock is thereby conceptually identical to a bunch of unseen subatomic particles, themselves constituted from an amorphous quantum vacuum, this in the vantage of materialism. But, experientially, we don’t inhabit that world which this material-cause concept of identity entails; we inhabit this world wherein we both agree that the seen rock is only identical with itself as rock, its constituents holding their own unique identities. No?javra

    I'm unclear on what you mean. We attribute identities to rocks, but when we speak of rocks usually, we tend to speak of "rocks" and related common-sense uses, not of the properties that make it up. Like if we see a sheet of limestone, we don't speak of "calcium carbonate", unless we are geologists speaking about limestones from a technical perspective.

    Point is, here, all is mind. In so being, this thesis then holds possible implications which materialism / physicalism (everything we take to be mental is in fact fine tuned physicality) outright rejects as metaphsycially possible.javra

    I mean, what difference is there between effete or "ineffectual" mind and matter as discussed by current physics? If all is mind as opposed to physical stuff, what's the difference? The reason I use "matter" and not "mind", is because I think there is a world out there, independent of us, not dependent on mind.
  • javra
    1.9k
    I'm unclear on what you mean. We attribute identities to rocks, but when we speak of rocks usually, we tend to speak of "rocks" and related common-sense uses, not of the properties that make it up. Like if we see a sheet of limestone, we don't speak of "calcium carbonate", unless we are geologists speaking about limestones from a technical perspective.Manuel

    What I meant was that every physical entity we know of we deem to be constituted of other physical entities. I can’t think of any example to the contrary (other than the quantum vacuum, but this is an exotic issue). Changing the examples in a more common parlance way, a rock is constituted of rock fragments which we could obtain by hitting it with a hammer. In turn, if we’d grind these down, we’d get very small fragments, like grains of sand. We pulverize these, we get powder. Thereon out, we use microscopes and theory to figure out what the physical constituent stuff of the powder is. But we always infer before inspection that it’s made up of something that’s smaller yet still physical. So when we look at a rock, we know that it is made up of other physical things, and this without breaking the rock open so as to validate our inferences.

    Yet, at each stage, there is a unique identity of what is observed and of its inferred constituents. Each identity being other than its makeup's identity.

    I mean, what difference is there between effete or "ineffectual" mind and matter as discussed by current physics? If all is mind as opposed to physical stuff, what's the difference? The reason I use "matter" and not "mind", is because I think there is a world out there, independent of us, not dependent on mind.Manuel

    In addressing the first question: none whatsoever (but see the parenthetical caveat below).

    In addressing the second question: If all is mind then, for one example, it's conceivable and logically coherent that good and bad could existentially be objective attributes of reality (rather than whatever anyone says they are) - bringing to mind possibilities such the Neo-platonic notions of "the Good/the One". If all is physical stuff, then the reverse holds true: good and bad are relative to just about whatever individuals and collectives care to think about - but they have not existentially objective standing. Point being, there are quite significant differences between the two worldviews, but they have nothing to do with what the empirical science of physics says about the world (This when one excludes certain un-testable hypotheses which current physicists often enough make, such as, for example, that the universe will end in a heat death (also called the Big Freeze) ... these hypotheses being utterly different from the data gathered from physics as empirical science; and they hold alternative, competing, physicist-produced, non-testable hypotheses to boot: e.g. the Big Bounce, the Big Crunch, and the Big Rip).

    In addressing the third sentence: Sure, from this vantage, both worldviews work equally well. It's why I make the distinction between mind and matter as well, even though I can best describe myself as a non-physicalist monist.
  • Constance
    1k
    Well, one should keep in mind, which Kantians don't usually bring up for some reason, is that he was a Newtonian. He took space and time to be the a-priori conditions of sensibility, as opposed to say, cognitive openness or a background of intelligibility, because he thought space and time were absolute as Newton showed. He then incorporated this into our subjective framework and denied the validity of these to things in themselves.

    Today we know that Newton is only correct within a range of phenomena, but not others. We now speak of spacetime, due to Einstein.

    I don't read into it much scripture. Again, you can label the world whatever, it's a monist postulate, not more. The idea that experience is physical was mind-boggling to me. But as he says clearly, his physicalism is not physicSalism. These are very different.
    Manuel

    You comments on Kant are unclear. Cognitive openness? Background of intelligibility? Both of these could be affirmed in the CPR. But you have something specific in mind.

    Einstein's space/time presupposes the structures of conscious events that make theoretical physics possible. THIS is why physics cannot serve as a source for thinking about philosophical ontology.

    The point about religion misses the mark. The mark was about the non arbitrariness of science and the arbitrarily of "feeling" something to be the case.

    What something "really" is, is honorific. You can say I want the "real truth" or the "real deal", that doesn't mean there are two kinds of truth, the truth and the real truth nor the deal and the real deal.

    You can ask, what constitutes this thing at a certain level. So in the case of neurons, you stay within biology. If you want to go to a "deeper" level (which can be somewhat misleading), you go to physics, not biology. But if we are not talking about neurons, and instead are speaking about people, we can speak in many different ways, not bound down to the sciences at all.
    Manuel

    No, that's not quite right. I put the term 'reality' in double inverted commas for a reason: Materialism's material IS what takes the place as the "real" substrata that underlies all things, and in doing so, it leads our thinking into thoughts about what is really "real" to a reductionist position delimited by the contextual possibilities of the term "materialism". You should see this. This is not some harmless, neutral idea that embraces all possible relevant disclosures. It carries serious baggage, as I said earlier. What baggage? The assumption that science is the cutting edge of discovery at the most basic level of analysis. That baggage. It is called, pejoratively, scientism.

    If you say so. That's why I said I'm the odd one out. I could call myself a real materialist in Strawson's sense, or a "rationalistic idealist" in Chomsky's sense and not be committed at all to the ontology of current science. I don't believe in this notion of commitment, my thoughts could change depending on arguments and evidence.Manuel

    Rationalistic idealist?? You lost me. especially as to how one could waver between two things that are mutually exclusive. But then, I would have to have this explained to me.

    Who says I have not read Heidegger? Why are you assuming this? Because I referenced Strawson, you assume I have not read him or Husserl? That's quite amusing. I used to be a Heideggerian, and I think he has interesting things to say, no doubt. Hegel I can't stand. I prefer Schopenhauer. I should read more Kierkegaard, but I have my own interests too.

    I don't find Derrida is useful at all, in fact to me it's the opposite. But I am not going to pre-judge people who do find him useful because "they are what the read". You can tone it down a bit you know.
    Manuel

    The reason I assumed you didn't read Heidegger is simple: Heidegger undoes any construal of materialism. It simply seems impossible that after reading Being and Time, one could go on with any faith in anything that does not acknowledge the hermeneutical nature of epistemology. The OP is all about the failure to account for just this. Being and Time addresses this in spades.

    You think my "you are what you read" was over the top? Apologies.

    Derrida just takes Heidegger, as Rorty put it, to the full conclusion of his thoughts. After all, if language is essentially interpretative in laying out the conditions for revealing the world, then all eyes are on language, and Derrida rightly makes the case that this leads to a radical indeterminacy, for words are simply not stand alone in their references.
    Look, I have read these guys (and I am by no means an expert, btw) and I can't see how one can move from a Heideggerian to what Strawson defends. Strawson seems naive, frankly, and I attribute this to his love affair with materialism. Not prejudging so much as, I don't see how you be serious.
  • Manuel
    3k
    a rock is constituted of rock fragments which we could obtain by hitting it with a hammer. In turn, if we’d grind these down, we’d get very small fragments, like grains of sand. We pulverize these, we get powder. Thereon out, we use microscopes and theory to figure out what the physical constituent stuff of the powder is. But we always infer before inspection that it’s made up of something that’s smaller yet still physical.javra

    Sure - that is the way we tend to proceed in scientific investigation. What is taken for granted here, is the presupposition, that we can only attribute identities to these ever-decreasing objects through experience. What I say, is that experience is physical too - not in the sense of it being a scientific discipline, just in the fact that, somehow, matter so constituted yields experience.

    It may sound like a contradiction, but as I see it. What we best know out of everything is experience. In turn, this experience when applied to empirical investigations, discovers that it comes from something we categorize as an organ, the brain. But the gap is massive, between stating that experience comes from organized matter and saying that neuronal activity explains it all. It doesn't, because experience is surely not at all identical to neural patterns and also, because we know so little.

    If all is mind then, for one example, it's conceivable and logically coherent that good and bad could existentially be objective attributes of reality (rather than whatever anyone says they are) - bringing to mind possibilities such the Neo-platonic notions of "the Good/the One". If all is physical stuff, then the reverse holds true: good and bad are relative to just about whatever individuals and collectives care to think about - but they have not existentially objective standing.javra

    Ah. I see. It's an interesting perspective though the question soon arises, is mind alone without anything else (meaning beside the minimum conceivable experience) sufficient to make evaluative claims about morality? I mean, if non-mental (physical) stuff is primary, does it make morality less important even if its a subjective thing? I don't think so.

    But to your point: we see plenty of examples in animals that don't seem to have such moral notions when they act. It kind of begins to arise somewhat vaguely in higher mammals, some evidence hints at a kind of moral instinct, in certain apes. Maybe dolphins too, but it's hard to evaluate the evidence.

    It's harder to say that ants or meerkats, by acting in a group, have these notions in mind.

    but they have nothing to do with what the empirical science of physics says about the worldjavra

    Agreed. Despite claims to the contrary by many scientists, I don't think science itself, neither physics, presupposes a metaphysics. One can argue based on current physics any number of views, as is done today. I'd even add, as much respect as science deserves, which it does, I think it says little about of depth, of what we'd like to know.

    describe myself as a non-physicalist monist.javra

    Then we might agree on 95% or more of the relevant issues. I don't have a problem with such a label. All My main concern is to point out that monism is true (and also that there need be no clash between the physical and experience), and that it's astonishing to see that experience is made of the same thing as the rest of the universe, really crazy if one thinks about it in depth.
  • Manuel
    3k
    Einstein's space/time presupposes the structures of conscious events that make theoretical physics possible. THIS is why physics cannot serve as a source for thinking about philosophical ontology.

    The point about religion misses the mark. The mark was about the non arbitrariness of science and the arbitrarily of "feeling" something to be the case.
    Constance

    Then you have to say the same thing about Kant. If not for Newton's discovery on physics, he wouldn't have come to the conclusion that space and time specifically were sensibilities which shape our perception of the world. So what goes for Einstein, goes for Kant. What exists - which is what metaphysics is about, in part at least - is spacetime, not space and time.

    I don't say, nor do I believe that science is a good basis for ontology, it leaves out too much. In fact, my first response to your OP was precisely trying to show how silly it is to equate a person with neuronal activity, that surely isn't scientistic.

    You should see this. This is not some harmless, neutral idea that embraces all possible relevant disclosures. It carries serious baggage, as I said earlier. What baggage? The assumption that science is the cutting edge of discovery at the most basic level of analysis. That baggage. It is called, pejoratively, scientism.Constance

    I agree that scientism is very bad. If you read Strawson's essay carefully, you should have seen this, he says he does not equate materialism with physicSalism. He stresses that experience is physical, not physicSal. It's a claim about the extra-ordinariness of the physical - it includes not neurons and particles but thoughts, novels, history. It's insane, but I think true - IF one accepts monism. It's not at all a call to scientism.

    Rationalistic idealist?? You lost me. especially as to how one could waver between two things that are mutually exclusive. But then, I would have to have this explained to me.Constance

    I explained the history of "materialism" in this thread - when "materialism" as used in today's mainstream terms actually made sense, as articulated by Descartes.

    Under that framework, without knowing what bodies are and not wanting to deny that something exists absent us, if we use the term "physical", "body" - then it covers everything there is. This is not a claim to science.

    Chomsky believes that people think, and that thinking - somehow, takes place in a brain. Not crazy.

    As for rationalistic idealism, it is related to Cudworth, a philosopher who pre-dates Kant, and who said, in essentially the same terms, what Kant would later expand on in his first Critique, but he is unread by virtually everybody. This view says that what exists depends on the structure of our minds, it's an innatist hypothesis, the richest one of the 17th century.

    It's rationalistic because it postulates a world out there, not a perception-dependent reality, like Berkeley who tries to use God to render himself consistent. But if experience comes from brains, and not our eyes, then there is no contradiction between "physical" and "idealism" in this rationalist sense.

    The reason I assumed you didn't read Heidegger is simple: Heidegger undoes any construal of materialism. It simply seems impossible that after reading Being and Time, one could go on with any faith in anything that does not acknowledge the hermeneutical nature of epistemology.Constance

    He can be read in many ways. I surely agree that standard materialism would be an extremely tortured view to read into him. I think his observations about our being in relation to present-at-hand and essentially unconscious activity to be very interesting. But he seems at times to hint at a kind of behaviorism, or at least, does not render clear the role of the mind, in my reading anyway.

    Sure, epistemology depends on constant interpretation. I don't see how this touches on Strawson's point. But I do see, more and more, that defending his view is tough: the automatic association of materialism with science is very hard for people to get over. But the history of materialism involving Newton, Descartes, Leibniz and Locke is very important, in my opinion, because it renders any account of materialism-as-scienticism obsolete, in my opinion.

    Strawson seems naive, frankly, and I attribute this to his love affair with materialism. Not prejudging so much as, I don't see how you be serious.Constance

    Yeah, I could be joking.

    This charge of being naive doesn't get old. It seems that a pre-requisite for being deep depends on being as obscure as humanly possible, for some reason. If you find Derrida useful, good. I find Russell useful, you might label Russell naive, as is frequently stated.

    Because Descartes, Locke, Hume, Schopenhauer, James and others aren't deep, apparently.
  • javra
    1.9k
    Ah. I see. It's an interesting perspective though the question soon arises, is mind alone without anything else (meaning beside the minimum conceivable experience) sufficient to make evaluative claims about morality? I mean, if non-mental (physical) stuff is primary, does it make morality less important even if its a subjective thing? I don't think so.

    But to your point: we see plenty of examples in animals that don't seem to have such moral notions when they act. It kind of begins to arise somewhat vaguely in higher mammals, some evidence hints at a kind of moral instinct, in certain apes. Maybe dolphins too, but it's hard to evaluate the evidence.

    It's harder to say that ants or meerkats, by acting in a group, have these notions in mind.
    Manuel

    It’s funny to me how the far more instinct-driven lesser animals are outcompeting us humans in terms of ethics regarding environmental sustenance, leaving aside the fact that no lesser animal has ever come close to producing any of the myriad atrocities we humans have (cf. Hitler and Stalin, as just two examples). But this fact can serve one view of this issue just as much as the other.

    Be that as it may, it may not be of philosophical interest to you, but the issue isn’t one of culture-based morality so much as that of what our terms of “good” and “bad” existentially reference for one and all - if anything at all. This issue exceeds morality. For it can apply to which flavor of ice-cream one deems good and addresses the motivational reasons for why one deems the notion of a physical world to be good - this just as much as it applies to the reasons why saving another life might be deemed good. It addresses the very notion of value, as @Constance has mentioned.

    At any rate, the empirically known physical world and its study via physics - which so far seems to be your primary interest - indeed has nothing to say on this matter. Whereas materialism can well be argued to imply an existential value-nihilism via its stance of fundamental purposelessness in the world. (As I previously said, materialism / physicalism cannot allow for the reality of intentions - hence, the reality of purpose - in the world without undermining its own stance.)

    In short, non-physicalism might not be a sufficient condition for the existential reality of the good as a universal applicable to all particulars that so intend, but it is a necessary condition.

    Apropos, as (mutually) altruistic as they are, meerkats are mammals with complex cognitions that require a lot of learning to be functional, and biologically shouldn’t be grouped in the same category with ants any more than primates should.
  • Manuel
    3k
    lesser animals are outcompeting us humans in terms of ethics regarding environmental sustenance, leaving aside the fact that no lesser animal has ever come close to producing any of the myriad atrocities we humans havejavra

    Sure. I don't deny that human beings are capable of the most horrid actions imaginable. Animals will tend to behave as they have done so for thousands (or more) of years, it works for them. The non-trivial question is that if in acting this way, are they being ethical in any sense of the word and concept, as used by us. I don't know.

    ... addresses the motivational reasons for why one deems the notion of physical world to be good - this just as much as it applies to the reasons why saving another life might be deemed good.javra

    I don't think the physical world is inherently good or bad. I see no issue with being altruistic and saving lives nor do I see a necessary connection between metaphysics and the good.

    If something is good or moral, it is no more forcefully so because the universe is mental, or even because God (whoever believes in him) says so.

    physical world and its study via physics - which so far seems to be your primary interest - indeed has nothing to say on this matter.javra

    Absolutely, physics says nothing about this - and much else, no doubt about it. But my main concern is not physics, it's attempting to separate our notion of "the physical" from scientistic "physicalism".

    The mentioning of physics is to point out that nothing in it says anything about experience not being possible or saying that experience is an illusion. It's the one thing we know with most confidence out of everything there is.

    Whereas materialism can well be argued to imply an existential value-nihilism via its stance of fundamental purposelessness in the world. (As I previously said, materialism / physicalism cannot allow for the reality of intentionsjavra

    Yes, it can, that's correct. It need not, but it can.

    I don't think intentions or purpose are touched by physicalism for good or ill. We have intentions and give purposes, I don't see any contradiction.

    meerkats are mammals with complex cognitions that require a lot of learning to be functional, and biologically shouldn’t be grouped in the same category with ants any more than primates should.javra

    That's true. These are the first animals that came to mind when writing, but they are quite different. Thanks for pointing that out.
  • javra
    1.9k
    I don't think intentions or purpose are touched by physicalism for good or ill. We have intentions and give purposes, I don't see any contradiction.Manuel

    Can you point out any physicalist philosopher that accepts even so much as the possibility of teleological processes in the world? I so far can't. Rather, from to my knowledge, physicalism denies the very reality of teleological processes in the world - such as any that might occur in biology. Hence, it very much does address the issue.

    The contradiction I see is in considering the teleological processes we term intentions to either be a) illusory aspects of the world (this being inline to considering our own mental faculties acknowledged in "folk-psychology" to be illusory aspects of the world via epiphenomenalism or else eliminative materialism) or b) real aspects of the world, in which case the world at least in part consists of teleological processes.

    The two options are in direct contradiction and result in different ontological perspectives - this having virtually nothing to do with the reality of the physical world as we know it.

    But I don't mean to be too forceful on this issue. Just wanted to affirm that, to me, there is a substantial underlying contradiction, as I attempted to illustrate.
  • Manuel
    3k
    Can you point out any physicalist philosopher that accepts even so much as the possibility of teleological processes in the world?javra

    Maybe Nagel? I recall him saying something about that in his Mind and Cosmos, but I read it years ago and forgot much of it.

    a) illusory aspects of the worldjavra
    epiphenomenalism or else eliminative materialismjavra

    These are views I very much abhor, not so much because of teleological considerations, but because they really play down the richness of experience and render much of traditional philosophy to be worthless, especially elimnitavism. It's not worthless.

    real aspects of the world,javra

    I think intentions are real.

    The question is the universe itself is teleological. It's a good question. Maybe it's partly teleological? As in there are certain tendencies that occur: stars form, planets form, etc. But something in nature, as trivial as being too close or too far from a sun, might render the rest of the telos impossible.

    But I don't have strong convictions either way, I may lean towards non-teleology, but if arguments and evidence are given to the contrary, I all ears.

    The two options are in direct contradiction and result in different ontological perspectives - this having virtually nothing to do with the reality of the physical world as we know it.javra

    This follows if you think of materialism as scientism, I don't think this connection is necessary.

    But I don't mean to be too forceful on this issue. Just wanted to affirm that, to me, there is a substantial underlying contradiction, as I attempted to illustrate.javra

    I am here to learn and discuss, so being forceful is not a bad thing. The very aspect of choosing a form of idealism for the reasons you give, is interesting, so at least I got to see that.
  • javra
    1.9k
    I am here to learn and discuss, so being forceful is not a bad thing. The very aspect of choosing a form of idealism for the reasons you give, is interesting, so at least I got to see that.Manuel

    I'm glad to hear. Thanks for the meaningful discussion.
  • Constance
    1k
    Chomsky believes that people think, and that thinking - somehow, takes place in a brain. Not crazy.Manuel

    No, it's not crazy at all at this level of analysis. Nobody, from Kant through Derrida says so. But as a way to describe the foundation for knowledge relationships, it is so bad that it is instantly refutable. For when one thinks the word 'brain' and all that is a brain rushes to mind, all one can "get" is the phenomena, the stuff that the positing of a brain is supposed to take care of, explain. But the brain itself is just this kind of thing: a phenomenon! In order to posit something that can explain phenomena, one would have to step OUT of phenomena, but this stepping out would require some impossible distance, separation, pov that is not phenomenological at all. Simply. after now more than two hundred years of transcendental philosophy, NOT possible. And everyone knows this; obviously Strawson. As you said, he takes his inspiration from Moore's hand demonstration (like Diogenes who walks across the floor, thereby refuted Zeno); but this is just the analaytic school throwing up its hands and affirming, yes, it is impossible to escape the phenomenological nature of any assumption. So, after years of struggling with Kant (and the varieties of Kantians) they quit, and started with "best explanation" talk, and this has led them to a crisis of vacuity (as Strawson admits several times here) for if you just take philosophy down to verifiable/falsifiable standards, science then moves to the forefront meaningful thinking.
    Strawson seems to address this in his contra-Ryle:

    The way a colour-experience is experientially, for the subject of experience that has it, is part of its
    essential nature—its ultimate reality—as a physical phenomenon. When we claim (with
    Russell) that to have an experience is eo ipso to be acquainted with certain of the intrinsic
    features of reality, we do not have to suppose that this acquaintance involves standing back
    from the experience reflectively and examining it by means of a further, distinct experience. It
    doesn’t. This picture is too cognitivist (or perhaps too German-Idealist).


    And this is the extent of his argument. Simply and absurdly dismissive. His examples all from physics space/time, atoms and subatomic particles, energy/particle interconvertability, and he considers "that physics’s best account of the structure of reality is genuinely reality-representing in substantive ways, and that the term ‘materialist’ is in good order. I sail close to the wind in my use of the word ‘matter’, facing the charge of vacuousness and the charge (it is seen as a charge) that it may be hard to
    distinguish my position from idealism"; so what he gives us is an idealism, with the many inclusions for the monist view he defends, of a unity that must be inclusive of both the assumption of non experiential "being" and experiential being. So what does the non experiential being amount to? No more than what science and common sense tell us: a kicking of a chair; a raising up of arms. He has never in the course of the paper exceeded Moore's Diogenes-like example (of course, as he promised). He has, at most, made clear that the assumption scientists make that there must be an outside to our inside, is a good one. Let's call this a defense of materialism.

    It's rationalistic because it postulates a world out there, not a perception-dependent reality, like Berkeley who tries to use God to render himself consistent. But if experience comes from brains, and not our eyes, then there is no contradiction between "physical" and "idealism" in this rationalist sense.Manuel

    But again, there certainly is a difference. There is a reason why Heidegger wanted to be liberated from the history of bad metaphysics, and dropped terms like 'physical' and idealism'. I am the one challenging the physicalist model. Heidegger doesn't bother with this because in his world this belongs to an entirely improper orientation. I am simply doing a reductio on the assumption of materialism, underscoring that there is no epistemic way out, not of the interior of a brain, for the argument goes much, much further than this: Eve the idea of a brain itself is annihilated. This is where Rorty is coming from. He is not saying materialism is wrong. Rather, there is beyond what can be said, nothing to say (from Wittgenstein, whom he ranked as high as Heidegger).

    Strawson's Real Materialism fairs no better, because BOTH inside and outside are nonsense terms. In his terms, he would allow his thinking to be called ‘experiential-and-non-experiential ?-ist’ But here, he is just buying into a scientific category.

    He can be read in many ways. I surely agree that standard materialism would be an extremely tortured view to read into him. I think his observations about our being in relation to present-at-hand and essentially unconscious activity to be very interestingManuel

    Heidegger is wrong in his notion of present at hand. If this is interesting to you, then it can be explored, but for now, let's say his accusation that Husserl is trying to "walk on water" with his intuitionism lacks insight.

    This charge of being naive doesn't get old. It seems that a pre-requisite for being deep depends on being as obscure as humanly possible, for some reason. If you find Derrida useful, good. I find Russell useful, you might label Russell naive, as is frequently stated.Manuel

    I don't mean this to be insulting. I call it naive for the above reasons.
  • Manuel
    3k
    But the brain itself is just this kind of thing: a phenomenon! In order to posit something that can explain phenomena, one would have to step OUT of phenomena, but this stepping out would require some impossible distance, separation, pov that is not phenomenological at all. Simply. after now more than two hundred years of transcendental philosophy, NOT possibleConstance

    Sure, and I've said so too, in this very thread:

    discovers that it comes from something we categorize as an organ, the brainManuel

    The added italics are new, not in the original post.

    As you said, he takes his inspiration from Moore's hand demonstration (like Diogenes who walks across the floor, thereby refuted Zeno); but this is just the analaytic school throwing up its hands and affirming, yes, it is impossible to escape the phenomenological nature of any assumption.Constance

    That's true, and I disagree with him on that point. I'm not clear if we have any access of "thing in themselves", if we do have some kind of relationship with it, I think Schopenhauer's concept of will comes closest to it, but it may be wrong. By saying I agree with Strawson's "real materialism", doesn't mean I endorse everything he says or thinks. Not that you're saying this, but, making this point clear.

    that physics’s best account of the structure of reality is genuinely reality-representing in substantive ways, and that the term ‘materialist’ is in good order. I sail close to the wind in my use of the word ‘matter’, facing the charge of vacuousness and the charge (it is seen as a charge) that it may be hard to distinguish my position from idealism";Constance

    Yeah, I think physics tells us information of the external world and not trivial information either. But one thing is to say that physics tells us some things about the world, another is to say that physics tells us something about "things in themselves", it doesn't follow. Some people could argue that it must follow, I am less confident about that. It seems to me that that leaves us stuck in a view in which all there is, are appearances all the way down. I don't agree with that.

    Having experience tells us something about the mental aspects of the physical, I don't see this as naive, it's simply follows from the logic of it. I hesitate to say "common sense", because I guess you'd say that's scientific reductionistic emptiness.

    It's very hard to spell out what common sense is, but I think it's something people have.

    Strawson's Real Materialism fairs no better, because BOTH inside and outside are nonsense terms. In his terms, he would allow his thinking to be called ‘experiential-and-non-experiential ?-ist’ But here, he is just buying into a scientific category.Constance

    The distinction is very difficult, but not non-sense. Being able to tell what's a novel, a hallucination and so on, is pretty important.

    I mean, if you continue to equate materialism with scientism, then that's fine - it's what most people take the term to mean. I don't think that term must follow. All I'm saying is that there is one fundamental stuff in the world, and that everything else is a variation of it. This doesn't reduce representations to neurons, nor does it deny that a novel can be more profound than quantum theory, nor that history is just meaningless events. I think it's pretty astonishing.

    I am the one challenging the physicalist model. Heidegger doesn't bother with this because in his world this belongs to an entirely improper orientation. I am simply doing a reductio on the assumption of materialism, underscoring that there is no epistemic way out, not of the interior of a brain, for the argument goes much, much further than this: Eve[n] the idea of a brain itself is annihilated.Constance

    This we can work with, so long as we keep to materialism-as-scientism. Here we can actually make some progress, such as agreeing that a person is not a collection of neurons. Or that language is an important factor when thinking about metaphysics. Or that there are important facets of life which science tells us virtually nothing.
  • Constance
    1k
    Some people could argue that it must follow, I am less confident about that. It seems to me that that leaves us stuck in a view in which all there is, are appearances all the way down. I don't agree with that.Manuel

    The idea of appearances all the way down is completely absurd. The essential task that philosophy brings one to is not the drawing of a line between appearance and reality, but to ground what it is in the world that intimates the Real, and first the Real has to be affirmed as something that is not nonsense. So what is it that is there, in our existence, that intimates the Real? This is a prohibited question in analytic thinking.

    The rejected philosophical alternative lies with Husserl and his phenomenological reduction, which was taken up by post Heideggerians in the so called French theological turn. This is why I reject Strawson's materialism: his thesis includes a typical rigidly determined sense of the impossible that separates what we know (and he cites science for this) from what is not known, which is vast, by his estimate, and this is why he defends such a flexible or inclusive concept of materialism, to accommodate the radical distance between the known and what is not known. He does not take seriously the Husserlian claim that a true scientific approach to philosophy requires a thematic redirection toward the intuitive grounding for all scientific thinking; nor did Heidegger, Sartre, or anyone I have read, until Levinas and Michel Henry, Jean luc Marion, et al.

    But as you say, this is an imposing philosophical task, reading Husserl. But as I see it, it is essential. The epoche is a method, not a thesis, whereby one removes from the perceptual act all but the essential givenness of the intuitive encounter. All schools are in abeyance in the attempt to approach the "pure phenomenological" that is IN the world prior to the "naturalistic attitude". Husserl holds this to be a method of discovery, not simply a thesis, and he claims this method is THE way philosophy should go. I think he was right. Not something I can convince another person to see. One has to "do" this, and it requires a turn away from science altogether. It is a new set of philosophical themes.

    Having experience tells us something about the mental aspects of the physical, I don't see this as naive, it's simply follows from the logic of it. I hesitate to say "common sense", because I guess you'd say that's scientific reductionistic emptiness.

    It's very hard to spell out what common sense is, but I think it's something people have.
    Manuel

    What is it that underlies common sense? I think you're right to say it is something people have, as if there is this unexamined intuition that is always already there, from which issues forth tacitly, assumptions about the Real of everydayness. Strawson calls it a sense. Why I call his position naive is his belief that this is as far as one can go. I think this sense can be isolated and analyzed. Heidegger does this, but he rejected Husserl's dramatic epoche. I thought it strange that you could read Heidegger and move toward Strawson because Heidegger examines the very thing Strawson indicates to be that which justifies his materialism, namely, that "feeling"; for Heidegger, that feeling or sense is the dynamic of the temporal structure of our existence (which he got from Kierkegaard, among others). Heidegger's dasein leaves Strawson's feeling rather in the dust.

    I mean, if you continue to equate materialism with scientism, then that's fine - it's what most people take the term to mean. I don't think that term must follow. All I'm saying is that there is one fundamental stuff in the world, and that everything else is a variation of it. This doesn't reduce representations to neurons, nor does it deny that a novel can be more profound than quantum theory, nor that history is just meaningless events. I think it's pretty astonishing.Manuel

    Well, all of his ideas about where thinking leaves off prior to the abyss of not-knowing are from science. I think the very concept of material substance is from science, I mean, the term itself is a scientific one, and any give or take regarding its meaning is stuck with this. I know, he invites us to choose another, and he knows he teeters on idealism.

    But as to fundamental stuff, one could go with Heidegger and Derrida and admit that the question that we encounter issues forth IN language: the question is the piety of thought says Heidegger, and when we reach the end of thought, it is thought's end, and not some impossible intuition.

    Partly right, I say. Husserl had it right before him. This is, of course, very tough to defend.
  • Manuel
    3k
    The essential task that philosophy brings one to is not the drawing of a line between appearance and reality, but to ground what it is in the world that intimates the Real, and first the Real has to be affirmed as something that is not nonsense. So what is it that is there, in our existence, that intimates the Real? This is a prohibited question in analytic thinking.Constance

    Here we disagree from the very beginning. I don't think there is one fundamental task for philosophy, there are several, and the most important of them to you, can be considered the "fundamental task" of philosophy, for you.

    I don't see this particular question as being prohibited by analytic philosophy, it perhaps has not been pursued as you frame the issue. Bryan Magee, for instance, a philosophy popularizer, maybe the best one, surely thought about this question and concluded that Schopenhauer's "will" is the maybe the closest answer we can get. He could be called analytic.

    But others will have different accounts.

    to accommodate the radical distance between the known and what is not known. He does not take seriously the Husserlian claim that a true scientific approach to philosophy requires a thematic redirection toward the intuitive grounding for all scientific thinking; nor did Heidegger, Sartre, or anyone I have read, until Levinas and Michel Henry, Jean luc Marion, et al.Constance

    As far as I know, Husserl was motivated to create one science, phenomenology, which could serve to unite them all. It is true that he was Heidegger's teacher, but Husserl also taught Carnap.

    Strawson's claim, and Chomsky - is simple, I think, either we are part of nature (the universe, reality, being, whatever) or we are not. If we are part of the universe, not gods, then we will have limits as other animals do. I think it is a safe statement to say that there is a great deal we don't know - not "just' in science, but everywhere else.

    In fact, I think elementary phenomenology shows this. Do we understand how we can lift a finger? I can't discover the reason in my action.

    Husserl holds this to be a method of discovery, not simply a thesis, and he claims this method is THE way philosophy should go. I think he was right. Not something I can convince another person to see. One has to "do" this, and it requires a turn away from science altogether. It is a new set of philosophical themes.Constance

    Well, if you can't give reasons, that's a problem. What matters is that you like this approach.

    I thought it strange that you could read Heidegger and move toward Strawson because Heidegger examines the very thing Strawson indicates to be that which justifies his materialism, namely, that "feeling"; for Heidegger, that feeling or sense is the dynamic of the temporal structure of our existence (which he got from Kierkegaard, among others). Heidegger's dasein leaves Strawson's feeling rather in the dust.Constance

    It was simple really. Although I think Heidegger gives a very profound account of being, in a very particular way that often highlights things we take for granted, I could see no way forward from his program, it was mostly being stuck in Being and Time. I don't think his "turn" work ever matched his early stuff.

    With Strawson and by extension, many of the 17th century classics I felt as if I could build on what they were saying. As for the "feeling", all he intends to point out is that in giving any explanation, not "just" science, there comes a point we can say no more about it. Temporality plays a role, of course, so do many other things, our cognition, our intuitions and so on.

    Well, all of his ideas about where thinking leaves off prior to the abyss of not-knowing are from science. I think the very concept of material substance is from science, I mean, the term itself is a scientific one, and any give or take regarding its meaning is stuck with this. I know, he invites us to choose another, and he knows he teeters on idealism.Constance

    Yes, "materialism" was a scientific term that meant something. I don't think - as it is used today by most people - that it makes any sense. I don't see a difference between mainstream materialism and scienticism. Strawson includes everything in his materialism. Big difference.

    Derrida and admit that the question that we encounter issues forth IN language: the question is the piety of thought says Heidegger, and when we reach the end of thought, it is thought's end, and not some impossible intuition.Constance

    I don't get much substance from Derrida. Nor do I get much substance from Henry, Levinas and others. They don't incite me to want to learn more about them, whatever it is they're talking about is not something I want to follow in that tradition.
  • Constance
    1k
    Here we disagree from the very beginning. I don't think there is one fundamental task for philosophy, there are several, and the most important of them to you, can be considered the "fundamental task" of philosophy, for you.

    I don't see this particular question as being prohibited by analytic philosophy, it perhaps has not been pursued as you frame the issue. Bryan Magee, for instance, a philosophy popularizer, maybe the best one, surely thought about this question and concluded that Schopenhauer's "will" is the maybe the closest answer we can get. He could be called analytic.
    Manuel

    I disagree. there is only one issue, but this plays out in complicated ways, and I am of the evolving opinion that these are pragmatic in their nature. The one question is an ancient one: what is the ground for the "phenomenon" called the Good? This is a category of inquiry called metaethics, an metaethical matters are metavalue matters. So the real question is, what is metavalue? As a problem, it is complicated, because what is declared good in the ethical/aesthetic sense, is embedded in factual entanglements.

    Think of it like this: language is a pragmatic tool, socially constructed. Then consider (and this is why Derrida is so important) that the world of meaningful utterances issues from language, which is what Wittgenstein, in the analytic world, understood very well. Face it: all talk about consciousness, material substance, reality, and of course, across the board, is first, prior to any sense that can be made, talk. And talk is contextual. It does no good to go on about space time, e.g., in philosophy, if you haven't given that in which understanding itself occurs. Kant is the progenitor of this, but he was blinded by a primacy of reason. It was Husserl then Heidegger (and the Greeks, and Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, and on and on) that pushed forth the "Totality" of being a human self that hit the mark. The self is a language construct, argues Heidegger, and through language, his ontology issues. This is the bedrock of hermeneutics and its thesis of indeterminacy (which I have a lot of reading to do on).

    Derrida plays out the hermeneutical problem in spades, drawing on Saussure, first, in his Structure, Signs and Play, a very accessible essay. (unlike Differance, which is not friendly at all, by most accounts). Derrida is important for one reason, by my take on this: he shows that the true grounding of true propositions is a profound indeterminacy, and this indeterminacy is the 'true" grounding of our existence. This is Heidegger as well, but Derrida forced hermeneutics to its logical end.

    Schopenhaur's will? I, not for a moment, accepted his infamous pessimism; and the idea of a will has never set well with me, simply because as a term that is supposed to be foundational, the "will" brings in too much. It is not a candidate for foundational "metaphysics".

    Strawson's claim, and Chomsky - is simple, I think, either we are part of nature (the universe, reality, being, whatever) or we are not. If we are part of the universe, not gods, then we will have limits as other animals do. I think it is a safe statement to say that there is a great deal we don't know - not "just' in science, but everywhere else.

    In fact, I think elementary phenomenology shows this. Do we understand how we can lift a finger? I can't discover the reason in my action.
    Manuel

    "Everything else" is, epistemically, science, and when the term science is put under review, it is not its method that is in question; it is it content. There is no escaping the method, the scientific method is, I hold, simply part of the structure of experience itself. It is a "forward looking" experiment, that looks to results of hypotheses as what yields knowledge. What IS a house? One must look first at the structure of language acquisition that makes it possible to ask the question. Infants hear noises, learn to associate these in social settings, and it is the pragmatic successes that constitute the meanings of terms. What Dewey calls the "consummation" of engagement. For Dewey, to acknowledge a house as a house at all, is a problematic completeness, like making a step on the sidewalk and having a "theory" of what stepping on sidewalks is, confirmed in the successful negotiation of foot descending on concrete.

    The so called hypothetical deductive method. So experience itself is like a laboratory, of spontaneous confirmations that the world is the world, and here you would have Strawson's "feeling" bound up in tis very pragmatic idea. Reality is just this "sense" that everything, every default problem solved that saturates apperceptive events, like mindlessly walking down the street, is in, if you will, working order. Not at all far afield from Heidegger ready to hand "environments of instrumentality".

    Talk about nature brings up the most important dividing line in phenomenology, from Kierkegaard through Heidegger, and this is our "throwness" (geworfenheit). The natural setting in which we live and do science is familiar place, and in it, we move along fairly regularly within its norms, but phenomenology makes a very big deal out of what Heidegger will call ontology, Husserl calls the epoche, Kierkegaard calls the recognition of spirit (original or inherited sin): it is what happens when one is dislodged from stream of events, and stands in wonder of existence. This is a structural shift in Being towards authentic freedom, responsibility (esp Sartre who wanted WWII traitors to be held accountable), and for Heidegger, it is the point of doing philosophy. Many questions, yes, but one purpose, which is to realize one's own freedom in the radical dynamic of becoming, We are not IN time; we ARE time.

    Science and its naturalism is suspended for the deeper analysis of our existence that is part of ontology.

    Well, if you can't give reasons, that's a problem. What matters is that you like this approach.Manuel

    But of course there are reasons. they would take too long to discuss. The essential reason why phenomenology is THE preferred method of ontology, is essentially Kantian: All talk in empirical science cannot escape the Totality of human dasein. THIS IS OUR FINITUDE. I capitalize this for a good reason.
    But the proof is in the pudding, true. One is not going to "like" this at a glance. It does take a lot of reading, which is why I said earlier, you are what you read. Literally. If all I ever read were science, I would neither understand not like any of this. But Mill's argument steps in: how does one judge the superiority of one thing over another? Well, one would have to know both, intimately. Everybody already knows empirical science, for this is ubiquitous in our education, in the news, in practice, and so science rules thought. Phenomenology is NOWHERE is this education. Therefore, in order to "know both" one has to take special pains to learn phenomenology. It is not an idea. It is a completely new thematic enterprise.

    It was simple really. Although I think Heidegger gives a very profound account of being, in a very particular way that often highlights things we take for granted, I could see no way forward from his program, it was mostly being stuck in Being and Time. I don't think his "turn" work ever matched his early stuff.

    With Strawson and by extension, many of the 17th century classics I felt as if I could build on what they were saying. As for the "feeling", all he intends to point out is that in giving any explanation, not "just" science, there comes a point we can say no more about it. Temporality plays a role, of course, so do many other things, our cognition, our intuitions and so on.
    Manuel

    But Strawson and the classics, to put it bluntly, get it completely wrong vis a vis philosophical foundations. Evidence? Explain how knowledge of the world works at the most basic level (the OP). I mean, this question annihilates materialism's assumptions instantly. Most, and this is true of almost all papers in analytic philosophy, or what Strawson talks about is what he does not intend, but the term 'materialism' and really what is left is this "feeling" that he led with based on Moore's hand waving example. There is NO analysis of the hand waving example. NONE! Phenomenology is all about this one matter, one could argue.


    Yes, "materialism" was a scientific term that meant something. I don't think - as it is used today by most people - that it makes any sense. I don't see a difference between mainstream materialism and scienticism. Strawson includes everything in his materialism. Big difference.Manuel

    He includes a systematic disclaimer.

    Look, I write too much, I know. My fault.
  • Manuel
    3k
    all talk about consciousness, material substance, reality, and of course, across the board, is first, prior to any sense that can be made, talk. And talk is contextual. It does no good to go on about space time, e.g., in philosophy, if you haven't given that in which understanding itself occursConstance

    I think we have good reasons to believe that talk is the "vehicle" of thought, so prior to all that, is thought. The actual processes of language use is, misleading, when we utter a word, we are mixing several aspects of people: the way they produce sound, mixed in with various organs trying to express what thoughts try to convey. Actual language is something we can't introspect into. But there's evidence that an immense amount of effort goes into something even prior the articulation of speech.


    What IS a house? One must look first at the structure of language acquisition that makes it possible to ask the question. Infants hear noises, learn to associate these in social settings, and it is the pragmatic successes that constitute the meanings of terms.Constance

    What is a house is a combination of "matter and form", as Aristotle said and we have advanced now to the point where we recognize that we cannot pick out a "mind independent" entity and call it a house. It is dependent on our conceptual scheme.

    One is not going to "like" this at a glance. It does take a lot of reading, which is why I said earlier, you are what you read. Literally. If all I ever read were science, I would neither understand not like any of this.Constance

    It's a fine line between basing all arguments on science, which is poor philosophy, but no less important, is not to downplay it all. Yeah, many of us have read science books, journals, podcasts etc.

    Not that many are actual physicists or biologists. It's not an easy skill for most us to develop. So we should be careful here, it is all too easy to go one way or another.

    Phenomenology is NOWHERE is this education. Therefore, in order to "know both" one has to take special pains to learn phenomenology. It is not an idea. It is a completely new thematic enterprise.Constance

    Look, I know that there are disciples of Husserl and Heidegger who are constantly and furiously saying that "that is NOT phenomenology, it ignores the crucial aspect of X, as Husserl (or Heidegger) point out!"

    I'm not a particular fan of restricting a discipline to one or two figures. As a name of class in school, sure, there is no "phenomenology". But if you read a very good novel, as far as I can see, you can very well get excellent descriptive phenomenology, which can then be applied to real life.

    Explain how knowledge of the world works at the most basic level (the OP). I mean, this question annihilates materialism's assumptions instantly. Most, and this is true of almost all papers in analytic philosophy, or what Strawson talks about is what he does not intend, but the term 'materialism' and really what is left is this "feeling" that he led with based on Moore's hand waving example. There is NO analysis of the hand waving example. NONE! Phenomenology is all about this one matter, one could argue.Constance

    I think you are assuming that all can be explained, or that there is a deeper level that needs to be taken into account. I don't agree with Moore, I don't know why you keep bringing him up, yes, Strawson mentions it, I think Moore is wrong on what he was trying to prove, direct realism.

    Look, I write too much, I know. My fault.Constance

    I don't mind, I have this habit too. The only thing I could say is that you should perhaps try to take one example to flesh it out to the max, to get the point across. I'm not sure of what you are trying to say, other than a certain phenomenology is needed, that we need to take into account that which allows us to raise these questions, which you say is language, and that Heidegger destroys materialism.

    Maybe I'd agree that more phenomenology is better, perhaps.

    But to say the classics are wrong, is too vague as they cover many topics. In any case, it was the classics who inspired Kant (Descartes, Locke, Hume, Leibniz, etc.), and Husserl and Heidegger.
  • Constance
    1k
    I think we have good reasons to believe that talk is the "vehicle" of thought, so prior to all that, is thought. The actual processes of language use is, misleading, when we utter a word, we are mixing several aspects of people: the way they produce sound, mixed in with various organs trying to express what thoughts try to convey. Actual language is something we can't introspect into. But there's evidence that an immense amount of effort goes into something even prior the articulation of speech.Manuel

    But it is this "good reasons" attitude that stands in the way of acknowledging something important, that the move toward an analysis of language and the structure of knowledge relations is the foundation of our understanding existence. Transcendental idealism, as I said, dominated philosophy for so long for a very good reason: one cannot get around this. Good reasons is an understatement, a bit like saying there are good reasons to believe it gets dark at night. You illustrate thinking in a terrible turn toward positivism that simple divested, and continues to do so, philosophy of its gravitas.

    Language makes the world. See Rorty's Contingency, Irony and Solidarity for an excellent read on this. Rorty straddles the fence, and I don't agree with what amounts to a nihilism, epistemic and ethical (hard argument) but he gets Heidegger and Wittgenstein and sees that if one is going to talk about things at the most basic level, then the description of the making of meaning is where the issues are. think about it: You say, "there's evidence that an immense amount of effort goes into something even prior the articulation of speech." How do you know this? What brought you to this "understanding"? There is simply no getting by this: through language the world "appears". And this is not to say talk about conditions prior to language is wrong AT ALL. Of course, this is part of the "science" of anthropology, speaking generally. But this is philosophy, and the questions are about the presuppositions of this kind of thing. It is like talking about the unconscious. Psychologists have been doing this since before Freud, and they are not just being absurd. But take the matter one step further, and ask, isn't it a contradiction in terms to talk about the unconscious given that in order to bring it to mind at all, it has to be conscious? And unconscious affairs are really conscious theories about metaphysics. And again, consider the concept of the past: isn't the past just some impossible concept? Has it ever been witnessed? Material substance is like this, for we use this term all the time in many contexts and it is certainly useful, but take the matter down to basic questions, and it simply vanishes, for talk about the philosophical thesis of materialism simply has no referent. If it's a "feeling" then the matter goes to others, beginning with Heidegger (or better, Kierkegaard; see his Concept of Anxiety), who give this a thorough and daring examination.
    What is a house is a combination of "matter and form", as Aristotle said and we have advanced now to the point where we recognize that we cannot pick out a "mind independent" entity and call it a house. It is dependent on our conceptual scheme.Manuel

    And this is just pre-analytic. Of course there is a house over there, by the tree. Kant would never deny this because he had to go home after work. But then CPR is very different. Philosophy is NOT a confirmation of our everydayness. It is an annihilation of it.

    It's a fine line between basing all arguments on science, which is poor philosophy, but no less important, is not to downplay it all. Yeah, many of us have read science books, journals, podcasts etc.

    Not that many are actual physicists or biologists. It's not an easy skill for most us to develop. So we should be careful here, it is all too easy to go one way or another.
    Manuel

    It is the Willard Quine's attitude that is the failing of anglo-american philosophy. He said, "I hold that knowledge, mind and Meaning are part of the same world that they have to do with, and that they are to be studied in the same empirical spirit that animates natural science." This is the bedrock of analytic philosophy, and it has led to a crisis of vacuity by ignoring the onto-theological/phenomenological dimension of our existence. Quine had a Erdos number, meaning he was very mathematical and good enough to write a paper with Paul Erdos. Put the two together, and you have the ideal of clarity and logical efficiency--which would be fine if the world were reducible to these. the problem lies in the attraction these values have for prospective philosophers: they tend to be very positivistic and find their inspirations from the rigidity of mathematical models.

    This is why reading contemporary analytic papers amounts a very meticulous handling of almost nothing at all, for once you divest philosophy of its theological content, it really has nothing to say. this is why Rorty simply left philosophy and went to teach literature, He knew analytic philosophy had reached its end, and there was simply nothing to say, convinced that "non propositional" knowledge" was nonsense. Analytic philosopher simply do not see that the world IS theological. This is what gives it its depth of meaning. this is not to say it is "religious"; rather, it says what stands before one in the openness of inquiry is thematically theological. Hence my complaint about Strawson.


    Look, I know that there are disciples of Husserl and Heidegger who are constantly and furiously saying that "that is NOT phenomenology, it ignores the crucial aspect of X, as Husserl (or Heidegger) point out!"

    I'm not a particular fan of restricting a discipline to one or two figures. As a name of class in school, sure, there is no "phenomenology". But if you read a very good novel, as far as I can see, you can very well get excellent descriptive phenomenology, which can then be applied to real life.
    Manuel

    No, it is not a philosophy for living; not a didactic novel. It is a rigorous system of thought. In the recent writings, consider Michel Henry introductory remarks:

    Phenomenology rests on four principles which it explicitly claims as its foundations. The first—“so much appearance, so much being”—is borrowed from the Marburg School. Over against this ambiguous proposition, owing to the double signification of the term “appearance,” we prefer this strict wording: “so much appearing, so much being.”1 The second is the principle of principles. Formulated by Husserl himself in §24 of Ideen I, it sets forth intuition or, more precisely, “that every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition”2 and thus for any particularly rational statement. In the third principle, the claim is so vehement that it clothes itself in the allure of an exhortation, even a cry: “zu den Sachen selbst!” The fourth principle was defined considerably later by Jean-Luc Marion in his work Reduction and Givenness, but its importance hits upon the entirety of phenomenological development as a hidden presupposition that is always already at work. It is formulated thus: “so much reduction, so much givenness.”3

    My point about the long science oriented schooling we have all had was to emphasize that the kind of thinking that issues from the above is, as I have said, thematically alien. Kant is just this, though keep in mind that I find his rationalism is way off the mark. Heidegger took the Kantian "Copernican Revolution" to the lengths of our Totality. Heidegger Through Phenomenology to Thought, by William Richardson, is very helpful to understand him.

    I think you are assuming that all can be explained, or that there is a deeper level that needs to be taken into account. I don't agree with Moore, I don't know why you keep bringing him up, yes, Strawson mentions it, I think Moore is wrong on what he was trying to prove, direct realism.Manuel

    He does more than mention him. It circulates throughout, this unanalytic demonstration of what is plain to see. His "feeling" is grounded in this.

    I don't mind, I have this habit too. The only thing I could say is that you should perhaps try to take one example to flesh it out to the max, to get the point across. I'm not sure of what you are trying to say, other than a certain phenomenology is needed, that we need to take into account that which allows us to raise these questions, which you say is language, and that Heidegger destroys materialism.

    Maybe I'd agree that more phenomenology is better, perhaps.

    But to say the classics are wrong, is too vague as they cover many topics. In any case, it was the classics who inspired Kant (Descartes, Locke, Hume, Leibniz, etc.), and Husserl and Heidegger.
    Manuel

    I'm trying to say: If philosophy is the a study of our existence at the most basic level of analysis, then its purview lies beyond, or underlying andsubsuming that of science. It job is to discover the presuppositions that are implicit in our affairs of thinking and living, so that the world that stands before us gets a foundational analysis that discovers, and this part is most controversial, what is its own presupposition. This precludes the various contextualities carved out by the familiar categories of worldly thinking, though (and this is ALL borrowed thinking). The only way to accommodate this purpose is phenomenology. But, as I said, this is so unfamiliar to our education, it gets little air time, if any at all. Most don't know it even exists in anglo-american philosophy settings.

    Philosophy's mission? To replace popular religion with a rational phenomenological discourse on human spirituality. The essential thematic direction is metaethics and metavalue analysis. Rorty was right about this: philosophy has already reached its end, its analytic Camusian end of rolling rocks around and going nowhere, and now finds it self as mere entertainment, solving Gettier problems and the like. The analytic tradition is dead, after one hundred years the "naturalistic" attitude in the spirit of Quine.
  • Manuel
    3k
    . Transcendental idealism, as I said, dominated philosophy for so long for a very good reason: one cannot get around this.Constance

    I agree with transcendental idealism.

    You illustrate thinking in a terrible turn toward positivism that simple divested, and continues to do so, philosophy of its gravitas.Constance

    How? By mentioning Carnap? I don't like this work.

    Language makes the world. See Rorty's Contingency, Irony and Solidarity for an excellent read on this. Rorty straddles the fence, and I don't agree with what amounts to a nihilism, epistemic and ethical (hard argument) but he gets Heidegger and Wittgenstein and sees that if one is going to talk about things at the most basic level, then the description of the making of meaning is where the issues are. think about it: You say, "there's evidence that an immense amount of effort goes into something even prior the articulation of speech." How do you know this? What brought you to this "understanding"? There is simply no getting by this: through language the world "appears". And this is not to say talk about conditions prior to language is wrong AT ALL.Constance

    If language makes the world, then animals have no perceptions. And all of geology is essentially garbage. Call a fossil what you like, something was here prior to us.

    The linguistic evidence put for by Chomsky in UG. Call it "scientistic" if you like, it's still hard evidence. You may want to insert the rebuttal of Chomsky's work by mentioning the Piraha language...

    But take the matter one step further, and ask, isn't it a contradiction in terms to talk about the unconscious given that in order to bring it to mind at all, it has to be conscious?Constance

    No. We don't introspect the photons hitting our eyes, yet without photons, hitting our eyes we could not see. Same with sound waves.

    If it's a "feeling" then the matter goes to others, beginning with Heidegger (or better, Kierkegaard; see his Concept of Anxiety), who give this a thorough and daring examination.Constance

    The matter you have in mind, the scientistic one, is not the matter I am talking about. The matter I talk about covers everything.

    Heidegger does nothing to touch this subject to me. As I said, I got stuck in Heidegger without a way forward. But if you can proceed with him, good.

    He said, "I hold that knowledge, mind and Meaning are part of the same world that they have to do with, and that they are to be studied in the same empirical spirit that animates natural science." This is the bedrock of analytic philosophy, and it has led to a crisis of vacuity by ignoring the onto-theological/phenomenological dimension of our existence.Constance

    Sure, these things should be studied scientifically, in so far as they can be. Often, they can't be so studied, or leave plenty to leave desired. I do not like Quine's philosophy by the way, I don't see much content in it, he may have an interesting essay or two, but he is scientistic and not too clear on what science is even supposed to cover.

    Michel Henry introductory remarksConstance

    Look, when I finished my studies in Spain, one my teachers was best friends with Henry, they might have even worked together. He was mentioned and discussed with some frequency. I never was attracted to his characterization of phenomenology, so I am not impressed with his points.

    Kant is just this, though keep in mind that I find his rationalism is way off the mark. Heidegger took the Kantian "Copernican Revolution" to the lengths of our Totality. Heidegger Through Phenomenology to Thought, by William Richardson, is very helpful to understand him.Constance

    Thanks, will check that book out.

    It job is to discover the presuppositions that are implicit in our affairs of thinking and living, so that the world that stands before us gets a foundational analysis that discovers, and this part is most controversial, what is its own presuppositionConstance

    That's one task, which you are interested in. I don't see why this MUST be philosophy's goal. It is a distortion of the history of philosophy to look at in this manner.
  • Constance
    1k
    That's one task, which you are interested in. I don't see why this MUST be philosophy's goal. It is a distortion of the history of philosophy to look at in this manner.Manuel

    It is not an historical claim and cares nothing for historical consistency. Philosophy isn't the history of philosophy any more than empirical science is the history of science. It is something that issues from the structure of existence itself.
    At any rate, Good Luck in all your study endeavors. You sound like someone with an open mind and I am sure you will find great things!
  • Manuel
    3k


    Thanks and likewise!
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