• hypericin
    771
    You have evidence of something more?Isaac

    Yes. A blind person would understand all those words and yet know nothing of the sensation of red.

    Banno has already disabused you of this misunderstanding. You could and would know exactly what I'm talking about by learning how to use the words correctly.Isaac

    He certainly has not. A computer can learn how to use the words correctly yet know nothing of what it's talking about.

    Take pain as a less loaded example. Suppose someone was born with no sensation of pain. They can certainly learn to use "pain", "ouch!", Etc correctly, yet have no knowledge of what pain is like.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    I simply must understand why oh why we are born to suffer and die. And this goes metaphysical in an instant.Constance

    I am not sure 'why' questions are of much use when applied to life but, as you suggest, there are plenty of baroque 'answers' available to such questions. My favorites are mundane: nihilism and naturalism. We're back to the ineffable it seems. For my money there is nothing 'true' we can say about life when questions of meaning arise. There's a few thousand years of speculation and superstition no one can agree upon and it's all of no use in finding a plumber on a Saturday night when the sewerage is backed up.
  • Isaac
    9.1k
    A blind person would understand all those words and yet know nothing of the sensation of red.hypericin

    So you keep saying, but you're offering nothing by way of argument. I don't agree that there exists a 'sensation of red'. I've studied perception (in relation to the formation of beliefs) and I've found nothing which answers that description. So if you want to make a case that such a thing exists, make that case. Just saying it exists is unconvincing.

    A computer can learn how to use the words correctly yet know nothing of what it's talking about.hypericin

    This is just assertion. A computer processes the information about how to use words differently to a human. If it processed them similarly it might well 'know' what it's talking about. Again, there doesn't seem to be anything which answers the description of some body of knowledge that is a 'sensation of red'.

    Suppose someone was born with no sensation of pain. They can certainly learn to use "pain", "ouch!", Etc correctly, yet have no knowledge of what pain is like.hypericin

    Again, there doesn't appear to be any such body of knowledge. Pain sensations appear to be constructed, similarly to other emotions.
  • Joshs
    4k
    What you're calling your 'experience of red' is a socially mediated construction. Therefore it is bound up with the language your culture uses and so can be reiterated in that language.Isaac

    Aren’t you forgetting the perspectival role of the body here? Our use of langauge is not divorced from our embodiment but presupposes it. Thus there needs to be room for unintelligibility in language, which shows up as situations where, for instance a blind person is marginalized from a sighted language community due to a gap in intelligibility.
  • Joshs
    4k


    I don't agree that there exists a 'sensation of red'.Isaac

    And neither does there exist a socially constructed notion of red that is completely shared within a language
    community. It would at best be only partially shared, continually contested and redetermined , slightly differently for each participant, in each instantiation, relative to purposes, context and capacities.
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    I can understand your account only because I experience the same color sensations. If I did not, if I were blind, or an alien, I wouldn't know what you were talking about, no matter how immersed I was in your culture.hypericin

    This goes some way towards what I was attempting to point out as ineffable -- we cannot speak for others. I thought you were claiming that you were blind at first -- but if you're not blind, then one couldn't say things like "the blind are like this" and such. A blind person could, of course -- because they have that experience. But it doesn't make sense for me to speculate on the experience of the blind if I'm not blind. It makes much more sense to ask them.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    And neither does there exist a socially constructed notion of red that is completely shared within a language
    community. It would at best be only partially shared, continually contested and redetermined , slightly differently for each participant, in each instantiation, relative to purposes, context and capacities.
    Joshs

    I am sympathetic to this. What are your thoughts regarding the variations within a shared understanding? While it seems accurate to say that people have different understandings of red, do you consider those differences are sufficient to warrant being seen as incompatible.
  • Joshs
    4k


    I am sympathetic to this. What are your thoughts regarding the variations within a shared understanding? While it seems accurate to say that people have different understandings of red, do you consider those differences are sufficient to warrant being seen as incompatible.Tom Storm

    It really depends on the task. If I ask you to hand me the red towel, your responding correctly will give me no reason to wonder if you’re picturing the red color exactly the way I am. If I tell a painter to paint my kitchen red, it may not be a good idea to rely on their determination of what red looks like. It would be wiser for me to select a sample of the color I want first. Otherwise I may very well find their idea of red incompatible with mine.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    You misunderstood,hypericin
    No, I didn't. I was making use of irony. Here, let me do it again:
    No one can say anything about the experience of redhypericin
    And yet...
    What is the difference between experiencing a red apple and the identical but green apple?hypericin

    Banno has already disabused you of this misunderstanding.Isaac
    Apparently that is too great a task.
    A computer can learn how to use the words correctly yet know nothing of what it's talking about.hypericin
    A quick shift of the goal post in order to avoid falsification.
    But this is now kicking a puppy.

    But nothing about the sensation itself.hypericin
    @Isaac, here we have the illusion, encouraged by phenomenology, that there is a clear distinction to be had between red and the-sensation-of-red or the-experience-of-red. And we find folk making claims that relate to Stove's Gem, such as that we really never see red, but only see experience-of-red or sensation-of-red. perhaps holds some similar view.
    The parts of the brain which process colour are way back on the chain of processing they're not even consulted by the time we're constructing the difference between a red apple and green apple.Isaac
    Thanks for that.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    "Ineffable" is defined as something too great or extreme to be described in words, such as ineffable joy.RussellA

    So "ineffable" becomes a mere superlative. Fine.

    I was unable to follow your comments concerning Cantor and metaphor.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    This is still given to the understanding in only the way thought can do this, but it is the residuum of experiential presence that sustains through to the end of the interpretative reduction.Constance

    What is one supposed to do with sentences such as this?

    The practical upshot of this is, well, extraordinary: Our ethical entanglements have a gravitas beyond what can be said.Constance

    The sorry state is, that this is pretty much Wittgenstein's point in turning his chair. Somehow you seem to have misunderstood what he was doing.
  • Richard B
    157
    Okay! I can't help but argue though.Constance

    Ok, why are you arguing when you should be bracketing. Why are you trying to convince someone, when you should be detecting the pure presence of phenomena.
  • Constance
    1k
    I am not sure 'why' questions are of much use when applied to life but, as you suggest, there are plenty of baroque 'answers' available such questions. My favorites are mundane: nihilism and naturalism. We're back to the ineffable it seems. For my money there is nothing 'true' we can say about life when questions of meaning arise. There's a few thousand years of speculation and superstition no one can agree upon and it's all of no use in finding a plumber on a Saturday night when the sewerage is backed up.Tom Storm

    Depends on the meaning. Do you mean dictionary meanings? We live in an interpretative world, and such meanings are indeterminate. Take a "spin" (it can be dizzying) in a deconstructive analysis, and you will find the concepts never find their grounding in something a-conceptual and Real. Phenomenology, I argue, puts all eyes on the manifest world in its original presence. Alas, when it comes to "being appeared to redly" and the like, there is little there to claim independence from the contexts of contingency that usually rush in to make a knowledge claim, as in red compared to blue, and red as a signal of danger or stopping at a traffic light, and so on. It seems that red as a color qua color losses all meaning when contexts are withdrawn. But here is the rub to the "why" of ethical questions: There IS something independent of the contexts of contingency. for this, the proof is in, if you will, in the pudding. I don't have to explain to you why a broken wrist is bad, nor do you need a context for prima facie discernment.
  • Joshs
    4k


    Isaac, here we have the illusion, encouraged by phenomenology, that there is a clear distinction to be had between red and the-sensation-of-red or the-experience-of-red.Banno

    It is not encouraged by the founder of modern phenomenology. Husserl, or his disciple, Merleau-Ponty. Husserl contributed in-depth analyses
    concerning how redness is the product of a complex constructive activity of perception, rather than some irreducible primitive sensation.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    Depends on the meaning. Do you mean dictionary meanings?Constance

    No, I was talking about your question of meaning. Asking 'why' of life seems moot to me.

    Take a "spin" (it can be dizzying) in a deconstructive analysis, and you will find the concepts never find their grounding in something a-conceptual and ReaConstance

    I have read some Derrida and Richard Rorty and understand this well enough. But it doesn't matter. Everything when looked at too closely distorts and may even vanish. But we don't live in the examination, we live in the experience.

    It seems that red as a color qua color losses all meaning when contexts are withdrawnConstance

    But this matters little. We conduct our lives in the contexts. :wink:
  • Banno
    19.2k
    It is not encouraged by the founder of modern phenomenology.Joshs

    I'll have to take your word for it. But as @Isaac pointed out, there's more to red than "a complex constructive activity of perception". It's a social construct, and not private.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    It's a social construct, and not private.Banno

    You might even say it's an intersubjective agreement (I know you dislike that word :joke: ).
  • Banno
    19.2k
    intersubjective agreementTom Storm

    Rude.

    So when did you agree to red?
  • Joshs
    4k
    'll have to take your word for it. But as Isaac pointed out, there's more to red than "a complex constructive activity of perception". It's a social construct, and not private.Banno

    It is neither strictly private not strictly public. Language is embodied, which means perspectival. That is why language must allow for failures of shared intelligibility.
  • Number2018
    523
    redness is the product of a complex constructive activity of perception, rather than some irreducible primitive sensation.Joshs

    Language is embodied,Joshs

    What is the relationship between "the product of a complex constructive activity of perception" (redness), and the embodiment of language here? When I say 'red', my utterance
    is virtually accompanied by a complex perpetual activity. Yet, at a more profound level, both saying and seeing are ultimately affected by my socio-cultural situation.
  • Constance
    1k
    The sorry state is, that this is pretty much Wittgenstein's point in turning his chair. Somehow you seem to have misunderstood what he was doing.Banno
    Consider, from Culture and Value:

    What is Good is Divine too. That, strangely enough, sums up my ethics.
    Only something supernatural can express the Supernatural. MS 107 192 c: 10.11.1929

    You cannot lead people to the good; you can only lead them to some place or other; the good lies outside the space of facts. MS 107 196: 15.11.192


    And then

    It is clear that ethics cannot be put
    into words.
    Ethics is transcendental.
    (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the
    same.)



    He does not defend the same thinking as, say, John Mackie who wrote an excellent book on why there are no objective ethics (obviously I disagree; but it is very clearly written). Witt goes much further: We cannot talk about ethics because (and this is the Tractatus, early on) ethics and aesthetics are not states of affairs, not merely formal, tautological placements in the logical network, and this is where sensible talk occurs. But he does talk "about" such things, he simply intends to talk around them.

    My point here, regarding the ineffable, comes from here, among other places (French Husserlians like Emanuel Levinas, et al). I think Witt is right, ethics is utterly mystical, that is, a foundational indeterminacy like everything else, but with ethics, it is not that it is simply off the grid of logical possibility like some ontologically adrift qualia. It presents an injunction. If ethics is transcendental, and I have no doubt it is (though always keeping in mind that everything is like this once one's inquiry leaves familiar categories) then value (entirely off the grid: "If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case") is an absolute. And this means all of our ethical affairs are grounded in an absolute.

    Frankly, I don't see why there is resistance to this thinking. It is crystal clear: all ethical issues have some value at risk, in play. Without this, there simply is no ethics. This is what Witt was talking about when he said ethics is transcendental. What is Good is divine, too. What good is he talking about? Why, the good we witness every day.
  • Constance
    1k
    But we don't live in the examination, we live in the experience.Tom Storm

    But then, philosophy is not telling you how to live. It doesn't care, I would argue. It is analysis at the most basic level and nothing more.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.6k
    Yep. What I’ve been advocating. There’s even an example of what something like that would be. Those cannot be named as existents, simply from the thesis that our manner of naming things could not possibly be applied to them. It is tacit acknowledgement that we have no warrant to claim our intelligence is the only possible kind of intelligence there is, from which follows that we cannot declare such things are impossible in themselves but only that they are absolutely impossible for our kind of intelligence. And it isn’t because we don’t know how, but that we are not even equipped for it.

    What would be the point in believing in the ineffable then?
    — Metaphysician Undercover

    I can’t think of one. If a thing is already impossible, what’s the point in calling the same thing something else?
    Mww

    Wait, you seem to be showing inconsistency here Mww. Let's say that it is possible that there are things which could never be brought into the mind, cannot be known by human intelligence. And lets respect this as simply a possibility. Now here's the tricky part. You say that you've been advocating this possibility, yet you then say that you see no point to "believing in" it.

    We have three important terms here which we need to know the meaning of and how they relate to each other, "possibility", "advocating", and "believing in". So, it appears like you have stated that you are advocating something you don't believe in. But the thing you are advocating is a possibility. Are you advocating that we respect this as a possibility, rather than being impossible, yet you don't actually believe in it because you think that this possibility is not likely? Or what?

    Here's the issue I raised. It might be the case (it is possible) that there are things which could never be known to the human intellect. But if we assume this possibility, we might be inclined not to reach our minds into the dark corners of reality, assuming that the things there simply cannot be known, and therefore this would be a waste of time. But the things there might actually be knowable, just requiring effort. Furthermore, we will never know whether we can actually understand things where it appears like they might possibly be unintelligible to us, unless we try. So why would anyone advocate for the possibility of the existence of something which the human mind cannot apprehend? Isn't it better just to assume that everything is potentially intelligible to the human mind, and keep us trying to figure it all out? What is the point to believing in the possibility that somethings can never be grasped? Maybe it's better to believe that everything can potentially be grasped.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    But then, philosophy is not telling you how to live. It doesn't care, I would argue. It is analysis at the most basic level and nothing more.Constance

    Of course not. But why do it then? And the analysis is itself replete with confusions, omissions, contradictions, contortions and, perhaps, the odd glimmer of understanding. And Christ knows who can tell what's what? :wink:
  • Constance
    1k
    Ok, why are you arguing when you should be bracketing. Why are you trying to convince someone, when you should be detecting the pure presence of phenomena.Richard B

    Language is both what reveals the world, and what tells us to bracket the world. As I see it, the difficult time that philosophy has in trying to deal with Husserl's epoche is that it is seen as contradictory in its insistence that intuitive purity is possible, on the one hand, yet in order to realize this, one has to deploy language, education, knowledge claims, the very thing that confounds purity. How can one defend any meaningful conception of pure phenomena, yet give an analysis of the way the past predelineats experience of phenomena, since this intrusion from the past surely saturates the perceptual event, making the present, and the so called nunc stans (standing now) an impossibility?

    But the way I approach this is not as a logical set of propositions. Bracketing is a method, a practice, and the errors in its conception are assailable, but the revelatory dimension of this remains sound. This is why I associate Buddhism with the phenomenological reduction.
  • Constance
    1k
    Of course not. But why do it then? And the analysis is itself replete with confusions, omissions, contradictions, contortions and, perhaps, the odd glimmer of understanding. And Christ knows who can tell what's what?Tom Storm

    I don't mean there is no purpose to it. I just mean its purpose, the analysis, is not manifestly practical. The purpose, I believe, of philosophy is to take the place of religion. Religion is mostly bad metaphysics and story telling. But beneath this, there are existential issues that are profound, and this goes to ethics, the metaethical question about the nature of the good and the bad in ethical cases.

    Religion as we know it is dying out. I say good riddance. But this leaves a void that is not contrived, as Nietzsche would have it, by deluded people who resent and want to lash out at the strong and the spirited. I put the matter simply: why are we born to suffer and die? An innocent enough question, and I would think the matter clear. As I see it, one good way to ask it is to give it a scientist's setting: why, after a Big Bang threw the basic stuff of things into existence (so to speak. Hardly matters) did this after 13 billion or so years, begin to torture itself through the agency of human beings (and dogs and cats, etc).

    I think it is a fair question, given how impossibly important such a thing is.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    Religion is mostly bad metaphysics and story telling.Constance

    A lot of philosophy seems to be the same.

    I put the matter simply: why are we born to suffer and die?Constance

    Not you alone. It's one of questions most people seem to ask themselves. It's at the heart of Buddhism. I hear this question often when working with people who are experiencing suicidal ideation.

    I think it is a fair question, given how impossibly important such a thing is.Constance

    How did you determine this was an impossibility? We really have no way of determining if this is the case. It may seem it from our vantage point (our particular kind of inferential thinking) but given the erroneous and tentative nature of much human thought... who knows, right?

    But perhaps we are off the OP. Nice topic for a separate OP.
  • Constance
    1k
    Not you alone. It's one of questions most people seem to ask themselves. It's at the heart of Buddhism. I hear this question often when working with people who are experiencing suicidal ideation.Tom Storm

    There are people who come into existence just to suffer. Indeed, if we had a hedonic accounting of all who suffered, and could compare who had what and how much, it would be possible to identify the one person who suffered more than any other human being. I would like to take this person and hold him or her up for a proper examination. Suffering is not given its due, since, as you say, a lot of philosophy is just bad metaphysics and story telling; what I mean by this is that when we bring a matter into discussion, we familiarize it in the contextualizing influence of habits of thought. We hear about terrible things so routinely that we are very good at making them benign-in-conversation, whereby suffering is no longer suffering. It becomes something else, a place on the grid of familiar affairs, and all of this makes perfect sense: after all, if we really looked suffering squarely, all schools in abeyance, just the pure phenomenon of terrible pain, it would be an existential crisis of the first order. Ignoring this is a necessary condition for our sanity, granted. But the world opens in a new horizon of discovery.

    I am guessing I lost you on that point. This is it is lost on almost everyone, and this is why phenomenology is so important: the suspension of knowledge claims uncovers an original experience.

    That must sound weird. We don't live in a world that encourages this kind of thinking.

    How did you determine this was an impossibility? We really have no way of determining if this is the case. It may seem it from our vantage point (our particular kind of inferential thinking) but given the erroneous and tentative nature of much human thought... who knows, right?Tom Storm

    I refer you to Wittgenstein:

    Consider, from Culture and Value:

    What is Good is Divine too. That, strangely enough, sums up my ethics.
    Only something supernatural can express the Supernatural. MS 107 192 c: 10.11.1929

    You cannot lead people to the good; you can only lead them to some place or other; the good lies outside the space of facts. MS 107 196: 15.11.192

    And then

    It is clear that ethics cannot be put
    into words.
    Ethics is transcendental.
    (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the
    same.)


    He is talking about value-in-ethics, the good and the bad of ethical matters. Here is what I wrote to Banno on Wittgenstein and his Tractatus:

    He does not defend the same thinking as, say, John Mackie who wrote an excellent book on why there are no objective ethics (obviously I disagree; but it is very clearly written). Witt goes much further: We cannot talk about ethics because (and this is the Tractatus, early on) ethics and aesthetics are not states of affairs, not merely formal, tautological placements in the logical network, and this is where sensible talk occurs. But he does talk "about" such things, he simply intends to talk around them.

    My point here, regarding the ineffable, comes from here, among other places (French Husserlians like Emanuel Levinas, et al). I think Witt is right, ethics is utterly mystical, that is, a foundational indeterminacy like everything else, but with ethics, it is not that it is simply off the grid of logical possibility like some ontologically adrift qualia. It presents an injunction. If ethics is transcendental, and I have no doubt it is (though always keeping in mind that everything is like this once one's inquiry leaves familiar categories) then value (entirely off the grid: "If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case") is an absolute. And this means all of our ethical affairs are grounded in an absolute.

    Frankly, I don't see why there is resistance to this thinking. It is crystal clear: all ethical issues have some value at risk, in play. Without this, there simply is no ethics. This is what Witt was talking about when he said ethics is transcendental. What is Good is divine, too. What good is he talking about? Why, the good we witness every day.
  • Luke
    2.2k
    ...he was contradicting himself.
    — Luke

    So set out the contradiction. I'll address it.
    Banno

    Write another considered post so that you can dismiss it again in three words? I already set out the contradiction in my previous posts and you did not respond.

    ...suppose we had a list of the instructions for riding a bike, to whatever detail we desire. Would we then know how to ride a bike? Well, no. So what is missing? Just, and only, the riding of the bike.Banno

    Here is the contradiction:

    The most exhaustive list of instructions on how to ride a bike will not give one knowledge of how to ride a bike.
    The experience of riding a bike is/adds to one's knowledge of how to ride a bike.
    [Therefore] The experience of riding a bike is/contains knowledge that cannot be stated or included in the list of instructions on how to ride a bike.
    Something which is known but which cannot be stated is ineffable.
    However, (according to you) nothing is ineffable.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Isn't it better just to assume that everything is potentially intelligible to the human mind, and keep us trying to figure it all out?Metaphysician Undercover

    :up:
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