• Tom Storm
    5.4k
    Frankly, I don't see why there is resistance to this thinking.Constance

    Ah.. but not everyone sees the world the same or makes the same inferences. That's part of the problem when someone maintains their own worldview is reasonable (or base line common sense) and the other person is... strange or mistaken.

    There are people who come into existence just to suffer.Constance

    This sounds theatrical and reminds me of Voltaire - the joke about how god designed the nose just so we could wear glasses. For the rest I am not clear what your points about suffering mean.

    But let's just drill down into one thing since this is discussion has expanded and is messy.

    When you say this:

    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.Constance

    So this is a style of argument we get from many; from Islamic religious thinkers to David Bentley Hart (an interesting Eastern Orthodox theologian). Can you demonstrate that there is any value which transcends human perspectives and perceptions?

    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
    Constance

    Wittgenstein means little to me and for what reasons should I accept his authority on the subject? What I liked most about LW is that he went out and actually did things. Brave things. The point for me is getting on with it.
  • hypericin
    771
    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.
    Banno

    Arrogant bluster aside, you really aren't very good at this. Perhaps you have forgotten already?
    That's the sort of grammatical problem that comes from supposing that seeing red is some sort of private experience, as opposed to learning to use the word "red"Banno
    Yet computers have learned to use the word red without seeing it. I guess lacking any response, one can only yap and whine about goalposts.

    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.Banno

    "Red" can refer to many things. A word, a range of wavelengths of light, a class of pigments with absorptive properties, and a set of subjective sensations. Are you unable to discern these differences?
  • hypericin
    771
    So if you want to make a case that such a thing exists, make that case.Isaac

    I have experiences of red, therefore I have knowledge of what it can be like to experience red, therefore such knowledge exists. As a human with functional eyes and occipital lobes, you may consider me to be a domain expert.

    I have experiences of pain, therefore I have knowledge of what it can be like to experience pain, therefore such knowledge exists. As a human with functional peripheral and central nervous system, you may consider me to be a domain expert.

    If you want to tell me that I don't experience red or pain, that's some heavy lifting, but go for it. Thus far you have done none of it.
  • hypericin
    771
    A blind person could, of course -- because they have that experience.Moliere

    I don't know a blind person to ask. In fact this suggests they do indeed have visual experiences.

    But my point is, how would you determine what they experience by asking them? They may describe their experiences using sight words, but they may or may not be referring to something totally other than what we know as sight experiences. Similarly, our own inner experiences may be identical or totally dissimilar from one another's, and we would never know it. When we hear sensory words we map them to our own inner experiences, without ever knowing how others map those same words. Because we can never express inner experiences without using sensory words that map in totally unknown ways in the listener, inner experiences are ineffable.
  • Isaac
    9.1k
    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

    Sure, but this is post hoc. The social constructions from which we build our narratives are made available first (albeit by disproportionately able-bodied folk), the marginalised may well build their narratives in partial response to their more heterodox embodiment, but they still build them out of the social constructions of the culture they've grown up in, they don't somehow switch all that off to revert to private constructions.

    Of course, some of those social constructions will be those of the differently able, it's not like there are no narratives around disability.

    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 capacitiesJoshs

    Absolutely. The point is not the universality, it's the direction. We build our narratives, our experiences, out of social constructions, we do not have 'private, ineffable' experiences because the whole concept of 'experience' is itself a social construction - a negotiated, dynamic and fuzzily defined one, sure, but a constructed one nonetheless.

    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.Banno

    Yeah, as if the decades of people using the word 'red' from toddler's colouring books to traffic signals, had no impact, but rather this yet-to-be-demonstrated 'sensation of red' was driving our whole experience-building practices. It's quite odd.
  • Isaac
    9.1k
    I have experiences of redhypericin

    OK, well let's explore one. When was the last time you had an experience of red and how did you know that that's what you were having at the time?
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    Bracketing should not be looked at as a logical procedure, I argue, as if the object can only be seen if language contributes nothing to the perception. I hold that one can, in the temporal dynamic of receiving the object, acknowledge that which is not language within the contextual possibilities language gives us, and this is evidenced simply in the manifest qualities of the encounter, visual, tactile of whatever.Constance

    Cool. If it's not a logical procedure, then I believe can get along with it well enough -- though by no means am I an expert on Husserl, just an interested bystander who likes to think about these things.

    I'd agree with this:

    (1) "I hold one can acknowledge that which is not language within the contextual possibilities language gives us"

    The other clauses:

    "...in the temporal dynamic of recieving the object...", or "this is evidenced by...."

    I'm less certain on.


    But I can see those conversations going into wildly different directions. I want to focus on sentence 1, because it seems more pertinent to ineffability. With sentence 1, it seems to me that in order for us to even have a hope of differentiating the effable from the ineffable we'd have to grant that we have the ability to distinguish language from not-language, somehow.

    Sentence 2 would have us go down the rabbit hole of phenomenology that I'd want to bracket, for the moment, in order to be able to differentiate phenomenology from not-phenomenology. Phenomenology, I'd say, is one way of talking about why it is we can differentiate language from not-language. But surely it's not the only way? (even if it happens to be, say, the one true way)

    In which case, while it'd be interesting, we might want to hold off on why it is we are able to differentiate language from not-language, and focus on that we are able to.

    Because that might be an interesting focus for the debate on ineffability -- if we hold that we can differentiate between language and not-language, and we hold that we can "access" not-language without the use of language, AND we hold that we cannot access such and such with language THEN, and only then, could we say what is ineffable while not falling into the trap of saying what can't be said (and its attendant performative contradiction).
    (I think, at least.... a first guess at some conditions for being able to state ineffability)


    to me it is as clear as a bell: the taste of this pear is not a language event, notwithstanding attendant structures the understanding deploys in the event of the experience. The trick seems to be to overcome the default reduction of the pear to the familiar. This is habit (this goes back to Kierkegaard who actually thought this habitual perceptual event was what original/hereditary SIN was about. Weird to think like this, but his Concept of Anxiety originally holds a great many of the century later themes for continental philosophy).Constance

    I agree that the taste of a pear is not a language event. And notice how often we indoctrinated in western philosophy reach for non-visual senses to get at the non-linguistic nature of experience? So there's something intentionally fuzzy about this notion, like it's defined as what cannot be said.

    One experience I have to complicate this, though, is how I listen to classical music before, and after, reading about classical music. The more I'd read about classical music, the more my actual experience would change, even though it was an identical recording (like, literally, the same YouTube link :D Classical music is much easier to study than it used to be...)

    I attribute this to the analytical and conceptual things I learned from reading. That is, the more I knew about the basic experience, the more the basic experience changed -- but in a way that was enhanced rather than dulled. Aesthetically, then, my thought is the exact opposite of reducing value to the raw experience. The raw experience, for the case of aesthetics at least (and not just individual enjoyment), is just an un-tutored mind. It's fun to think back on, but really, the more we come to know things about the art, and especially the more we listen to how others encounter the work of art, the more we get out of it.

    So language, in my estimation, must go some way to constructing experience. Even at the level of acquiring it in my individual skull. But, from the phenomenological side of things, it seems impossible to be able to state to what extent it does or doesn't, hence my feelings of skepticism of such things. (not a hard skepticism, just an uncertainty).

    I think philosophy has thought its way out of "direct apprehension" of the world, and in doing so, undercuts the actuality before us. Philosophers have "talked their way out of" the actuality of the world.But this leads to the core of this argument: how do language and the world "meet"? This is no place for a thesis, so I'll say I agree with Heidegger and others who say language is part and parcel of the objects we experience, and it is only by a perverse abstraction to think of them as apart. But there is nothing in this that says language and any of its descriptive analytic accounting, is the sole source of the understanding's grasp of the world. I don't agree with Rorty, in other words, when he rejects non propositional knowledge;I think rather, non propositional knowledge occurs IN propositional knowledge.Constance

    I think there's something to this way of talking. But... ;)

    If we take the assertion that language-world is fused, Heidegger's phenomenology of Ancient Greek to modern German should have worked -- and he wouldn't have posited something entirely different from what Plato said (or, maybe, he knew what Plato really said if we're true devotees :D ). His procedure would have seen the original meaning right there, rather than creating a very interesting treatise that is interesting specifically because it is a creative work and a fusion of ideas.

    (It doesn't help Heidegger's case that he got lost in his own hermeneutic circle and couldn't even finish the 6 books that were planned, and then was seduced by fascism)

    Where I think you and I, from the rest of what you write, will get along well is with Levinas -- I agree with you and him that ethics is the starting point for philosophy.

    And if ethics is the starting point of philosophy, then there's no point in discussing proposition from non-propositional knowledge, or whether an ontology of naturalism is better from an ontology of phenomenology without, at first, understanding the ethical dimensions of these things.

    . I think of Hume saying reason has no content, and would just as soon annihilate human existence as not. It is an empty vessel, and the meanings are unrestrained by this. God could appear in all her glory, and language's restrictions wouldn't bat an eye.Constance

    :D

    You are certainly not alone in this. But Husserl is clearly NOT defending scientific foundationalism. Just the opposite. Science is a contingent enterprise, for it takes no interest in examining its own presuppositions. Prior to talk about timespace, there is Heidegger's (or even Kant's) temporal ontology, and Husserl's Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time. It is an analysis of the structure of experience at the presuppositional level of inquiry.What Husserl thinks is so grand is not empirical science, and repeatedly emphasizes this. It is the intuitive givenness of the world that is taken up by and underlying science.Constance

    Hrmm, for me it's the foundationalism that's an issue (same issue I have with Descartes, for that matter). Also, I have a feeling we have very different notions of what science is :D -- but that's going to take us very far astray. Maybe put a bookmark on this line of thought for another thread?

    That is a good point. This is why I argue for a value ontology. Redness as such really has no independent epistemic intimation of what it is. But the pure phenomenon of ethics and aesthetics does, and Wittgenstein agrees, sort of. "The good is what I call divinity," he wrote (Value and Culture). Pain itself constitutes an injunction not to do that, whatever it is. What of pleasure, love, happiness? This kind of thing bears the injunction to do such things encourage these. To me, this is simple, obvious. It is not that the world speaks, but one has to see that an ethical question takes one beyond facts, and so, what is the difference between what is factual and what is ethical/aesthetic? The answer lies in a value reduction whereby facts are suspended or bracketed. The essence of the ethics is this value-residuum. I say Kant did the same thing with reason.Constance

    Thanks :)

    This whole conversation I've been attempting to not do Levinas, because I'm in the middle of a re-read of Totality and Infinity -- so the thread has been a wonderful opportunity for me to exercise in translating ideas and working through mistakes, but I don't want to lead anyone down the wrong path with Levinas. I'm still mid-interp.

    But all that only to say: I believe philosophy begins in ethics -- and with Levinas' thrust that ethics precede ontology-- so when you say:

    Why is value and ethics grounded in metaphysics? That is a hard question.Constance

    I'm thinking it's the reverse -- metaphysics is grounded in ethics.

    This kind of inquiry is metaethical as it tries to isolate the value dimension of ethical affairs. This "good" of "bad" of happiness and suffering. Consider how Kant had to build an argument that ultimately posted transcendence as the metaphysical ground for pure reason. This is because, and I defer to early Wittgenstein again, there is a complete indeterminacy at the terminal end of inquiry. Value issues from this indeterminacy, which I call metaphysics.

    This line of thinking is stubbornly resilient critique, because it puts the onus of justification on the world and its presence or the Being of beings. if you prefer. It is an appeal to actuality. I do not expect, nor have I gotten, nods of approval.

    I hope my prodding isn't seen as disapproval. Because your posts have been a treat to think through some thoughts. So, at least from me, I have nothing but approval, though I am naturally inclined towards skeptical thinking, and skeptically inclined towards naturalism. Usually I doubt people who claim to have special knowledge. But, then, there's the curious fact of our individuality, our interiority, and so on that doesn't seem to be physical.

    I just wonder if we really lose out on naturalism, for all that, when we think of naturalism as a philosophy rather than as "What physics books say is the whole truth and nothing but the truth"-style naturalism. Or, even further, I doubt metaphysics ever produces knowledge, ala old Kant's line of thinking. So, if phenomenology be an object of knowledge, then it's not metaphysical and thereby amenable to the methods of science. And if it's an object of knowledge, it would be effable, shareable, study-able.

    But if it's an ethical basis, then it wouldn't. In which case, what is Husserl doing when he asks us to reject naturalism? What is the ethical dimension to Husserl's thought? Isn't that the important part?
  • Mww
    3.6k
    On inconsistency:

    It may be the case I should have been more attentive to the clarity of my writing, or, it may be the case you should have been more attentive to the subtleties in your reading. Call it a toss-up?
    ————-


    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.Metaphysician Undercover

    Hmmmm….I wasn’t advocating the possibility of things.

    things which could never be brought into the mind, not even though the use of mathematics? That might be the true ineffable.
    — Metaphysician Undercover

    Yep. What I’ve been advocating.
    Mww

    I was advocating the truly ineffable, which manifests as a certain impossibility of the mind.
    —————-

    quote="Metaphysician Undercover;758401"]….you then say that you see no point to "believing in" it.[/quote]

    quote="Mww;758343"]What would be the point in believing in the ineffable then?
    — Metaphysician Undercover

    I can’t think of one.[/quote]

    To believe in THE ineffable is to believe in things that are ineffable. If truly ineffable is only the condition of the mind for the reception of certain things, what point is there in believing in the very things the mind could never receive?
    ————

    Let’s say it is possible there are things…
    Let’s say there are possible things that can never be known by the human mind….
    Let’s respect this as a simple possibility….

    “respect this” is singular, which implies a singular mind’s knowledge. If you meant “respect this” as pertaining to possible things, you should have said “respect them”. It is contradictory for it to be simply possible that the mind cannot do an impossible thing, while it is a simple possibility there are things.
    ————

    quote="Mww;758343"]Is it possible, that there are such things…
    — Metaphysician Undercover

    (…) we cannot declare such things are impossible in themselves….[/quote]

    To state the existent of a thing as not impossible, is not to advocate that it is. There’s no logic in positing a possible existence when it is absolutely impossible to form a judgement with respect to it. How could we ever say a thing is possible if it has absolutely no chance of ever being an object met with our intelligence? What could be said about a thing for which we couldn’t even begin to speculate? To say such is not impossible carries more truth value than to merely say such thing may be possible.

    we will never know whether we can actually understand things where it appears like they might possibly be unintelligible to usMetaphysician Undercover

    We DO know we can never understand the unintelligible exclusively from the reality of that which IS intelligible. Pretty simple really. If intelligibility is this, anything not this is unintelligible. Besides…doesn’t “unintelligible” factually denote a non-understanding? Absurd to posit the unintelligible, then turn right around and say maybe we just don’t understand it. There may be a veritable plethora of reasons for not understanding, but the irreducible, primary reason must necessarily be because it was unintelligible to begin with.

    THAT is what the ineffable is all about. Hasn’t a gawddamn thing to do with things, but only with the limitations on the system that comprehends things.
  • unenlightened
    7.1k
    A Valediction

    If we must part,
    Then let it be like this.
    Not heart on heart,
    Nor with the useless anguish of a kiss;
    But touch mine hand and say:
    "Until to-morrow or some other day,
    If we must part".

    Words are so weak
    When love hath been so strong;
    Let silence speak:
    "Life is a little while, and love is long;
    A time to sow and reap,
    And after harvest a long time to sleep,
    But words are weak."
    — Ernest Dowden

    Eff that, Mothersuckers!
  • hypericin
    771
    When was the last time you had an experience of red and how did you know that that's what you were having at the time?Isaac

    Maybe I last experienced it when I was looking at a bottle of hot sauce. How did I know? When I was a small child I learned to associate this sensation with "color", and this variety of color sensation with "red".
  • Isaac
    9.1k
    How did I know? When I was a small child I learned to associate this sensation with "color", and this variety of color sensation with "red".hypericin

    Which sensation?
  • frank
    11.4k
    OK, well let's explore one. When was the last time you had an experience of red and how did you know that that's what you were having at the time?Isaac

    If you're claiming we don't have experiences of red and pain, you're making a strong claim and you'll need a strong argument for it.

    But you wouldn't be so silly as to claim that, would you? :razz:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.6k
    I was advocating the truly ineffable, which manifests as a certain impossibility of the mind.Mww

    OK, so here's the difference which led me to think you were being inconsistent. I suggested the possibility of something which is completely inapprehensible to the mind. So I thought you were advocating this as a possibility. Now I see that you advocate it as an actuality, a reality that there are things which are completely inapprehensible to the human mind, due to the deficiencies of the human mind.

    Your position then, if it is as I state above, is the position which I dismiss as self-defeating, counterproductive, and unphilosophical, as intellectually repugnant, because it accepts the reality of something fundamentally unintelligible (like infinite regress for example), and this assumption discourages the philosophical mind which seeks to know.

    To believe in THE ineffable is to believe in things that are ineffable. If truly ineffable is only the condition of the mind for the reception of certain things, what point is there in believing in the very things the mind could never receive?Mww

    OK, this is interesting. We premise that the human mind (I'm trying to be careful to qualify "mind" with "human" because you have deemed this to be a problem with the human mind while allowing for the possibility of other minds to which it wouldn't be a problem) is deficient therefore there are some very real things which the human mind cannot grasp.

    It appears to me, that it is the premise, that the human mind is deficient, which forces the conclusion that there are real things which are inapprehensible. It cannot be the other way around, because these things can be in no way apprehended, so the existence of them in the mind cannot force the conclusion that the mind is deficient. Therefore, it is a logical conclusion produced from the premise of human deficiency, that there are things which are inapprehensible, and because it is necessitated by logic, we must believe in the things which the mind cannot receive. This is to say, that as soon as you accept this premise, that the human mind has this deficiency, it is logically necessary that you believe in the things which cannot be received by the human mind. So it is not a matter of "what point is there" in believing in these things, as you state, it is a matter of it being logically necessary that we believe in such things. When we accept that premise of human deficiency it is necessary that we believe in things which cannot be grasped by the mind.

    So this is where my notion that this perspective is unphilosophical, and intellectually repugnant comes from. If the philosophical mindset is the desire to know, and understand all things, then what is the point to accepting a premise (human deficiency) which forces the necessary conclusion that there are things which cannot be known? This premise is directly incompatible with the goal of philosophy which is to seek out and understand all aspects of reality.

    To state the existent of a thing as not impossible, is not to advocate that it is. There’s no logic in positing a possible existence when it is absolutely impossible to form a judgement with respect to it. How could we ever say a thing is possible if it has absolutely no chance of ever being an object met with our intelligence? What could be said about a thing for which we couldn’t even begin to speculate? To say such is not impossible carries more truth value than to merely say such thing may be possible.Mww

    As we have been discussing, "possible" must refer to the idea that there are things which cannot be apprehended, in the sense of logically possible, this is a logical possibility. In this context, "possible" does not refer to the thing itself, as if it were a possible thing, because that would imply that the thing necessarily has existence, and calling it a possible thing would be contradictory. So we cannot assume that these inapprehensible things exist, and speak of them as possible things, we can only assume a logical possibility that they may exist.

    From here, we can take your premise, that the human mind is deficient, and conclude that they necessarily exist, and give up on the enterprise of increasing human knowledge whenever it appears like something is unknowable, concluding that it is unknowable, or we can maintain the premise that the human mind can potentially know all things, and continue with the effort to know all things.

    We DO know we can never understand the unintelligible exclusively from the reality of that which IS intelligible. Pretty simple really. If intelligibility is this, anything not this is unintelligible. Besides…doesn’t “unintelligible” factually denote a non-understanding? Absurd to posit the unintelligible, then turn right around and say maybe we just don’t understand it. There may be a veritable plethora of reasons for not understanding, but the irreducible, primary reason must necessarily be because it was unintelligible to begin with.

    THAT is what the ineffable is all about. Hasn’t a gawddamn thing to do with things, but only with the limitations on the system that comprehends things.
    Mww

    You are completely neglecting my use of "appears" in relation to unintelligible. I was talking about things which appear to be unintelligible. If, whenever something appears like it is unintelligible, we designate it as actually being unintelligible, then we will never make the effort required to understand it, and prove that the unintelligibility which appeared, was just an appearance. Therefore, I clearly did not "posit the unintelligible" in that context, as your misrepresentation indicates, I posited a situation in which something appears to be unintelligible. And this is completely consistent with what I've been discussing, the possibility of something which is inapprehensible.

    The appearance that something is unintelligible presents us with the possibility that there is something inapprehensible to the mind. From there we can adopt what I would call the philosophical premise, that the human mind has the capacity to know all things, and proceed toward understanding, and proving that this is just an appearance, or, we can adopt the premise that the human mind is deficient, and this appearance of something unintelligible is proof that there really is things inapprehensible to the human mind.

    I believe that the key to unravelling this little problem is to understand what is meant by "the system that comprehends things". This, the human mind is a continually evolving system. So if we propose to put a limit on "the mind", by qualifying it with "human mind", how do we allow for evolution of the human mind? At what point in the evolutionary process is the mind definitively a "human" mind? And if the definition of "human mind" is produced so as the thing called "human mind" is allowed to evolve in the future to a point where it might apprehend things which are currently inapprehensible, and still be called the "human mind", then the problem is simply semantic. You might argue that this mind no longer qualifies as a "human mind", seeking to separate the "human mind" which is deficient, from these future minds which do not have the same deficiency. Then the philosophical mindset, which is the desire to know becomes an effort to evolve the mind so as to understand things which appear as if they are unintelligible.
  • Constance
    1k
    This sounds theatrical and reminds me of Voltaire - the joke about how god designed the nose just so we could wear glasses. For the rest I am not clear what your points about suffering mean.

    But let's just drill down into one thing since this is discussion has expanded and is messy.
    Tom Storm

    No, no. Ethics IS the matter on the table for talk about ineffability. In fact, it is the major theme. The point about the person who has the distinction of having suffered more than anyone else is to bring out latent curiosity that stands before philosophical inquiry, nothing more. The theatrical aspect you detect comes from a prevalent cynicism regarding ethics, and this is a very big problem for an enterprise that is supposed be trying to understand human existence. Suffering is not just a proper theme for philosophy, it is the most important one. Ethics is first philosophy, and the actuality (call it) of ethics in the world is value, and value, I repeatedly argue, is (and I stand with Wittgenstein on this) ineffable. It is not a dramatic presentation of poor Robert or Jane who suffered most; it is just a poignancy of the extremity to make the case most visible. In truth, I could have given any example at all, to make the point, but weaker examples, like the time I skinned a knee or failed a quiz, do not make the case as well.

    Keep in mind that philosophy is full of such oddities, as with the hedonic glutton counter example to utilitarianism, or the barn facsimiles and severed head remedies to Gettier problems.

    So this is a style of argument we get from many; from Islamic religious thinkers to David Bentley Hart (an interesting Eastern Orthodox theologian). Can you demonstrate that there is any value which transcends human perspectives and perceptions?Tom Storm

    Not any value. Value as such. It is not an argument from dogmatic authority, but from what I would call phenomenological ontology, and by this I simply mean, take an occasion of ethical ambiguity and give analysis. there are facts before you, like your friend who owes to money but will not pay, but you owe him from a prior business, and does the one cancel the other? This kind of thing. Facts are facts. Ask in this conundrum, what is it that makes it ethical, and not just a logical puzzle, as, say, an engineer might face in a design problem. Value is IN the problem itself and not incidental to it (as with engineering); it is the very essence of the problem. Your friend is a fried, and you value this, and you also value being paid, and so on. But what is this valuing about in this philosophical analysis?

    Philosophy is an inquiry into everything and anything at the most basic level. Kant looked at the formal dimensions of thought, not just occasions where thought was in play. So what is this foundational analysis of value about? The good and the bad, to give it categorial recognition (keeping in mind always that such analyses are abstractions. There is no such thing as pure reason or value as such. These are ways we talk about reality). Good and bad can be contingently understood, as with a good couch or a bad knife that doesn't cut cleanly. This is not the ethical good and bad. Follow analytically any contingent use of these terms and eventually you will run into the non contingent good and bad: the discomfort of a bad couch, the frustration of a knife that won't cut. Now the analysis has gotten to the final question, what is this discomfort all about? That goes to the feeling, and here, this cannot be derided or deflated: we have come to the analytic basis of the, if you can stand it, meaning of life.

    But this absurd term, 'the bad' sounds ridiculous, like some kind of platonic ultimate reality. It is best to leave historical platitudes out of it and just attend to the matter at hand. No one is talking about the "form of the bad". This is just bad metaphysics. We are talking about a dimension in our existence thatdefies presuppositional analysis. Value as value is its own presupposition. And I have to leave it at that unless you want a further go at it.

    Wittgenstein means little to me and for what reasons should I accept his authority on the subject? What I liked most about LW is that he went out and actually did things. Brave things. The point for me is getting on with it.Tom Storm

    Yeah, I really respect this person. But wanting to go to war to face death is puzzling. He wasn't doing it for country (in fact, I think he wanted England to win) but for the encounter with a world that was a powerful presence to him. He was passionately engaged with the world, which is unusual for a philosopher. Well, he wasn't a philosopher, had read nearly nothing.

    Not his authority. Philosophy is analytical, not authoritative. He helped elucidate the world. I certainly do not understand all he said, nor am I interested in all of this. I find his thoughts right, where I am interested.
  • Mww
    3.6k
    C’mon, man.

    When we accept that premise of human deficiency it is necessary that we believe in things which cannot be grasped by the mind.Metaphysician Undercover

    …..and when we accept the natural limitations of a given system, we don’t need to lament what it can’t do.

    This, the human mind is a continually evolving system.Metaphysician Undercover

    ….but can never evolve out of the kind of system it is. (Remember….dialectical consistency)

    we can take your premise, that the human mind is deficientMetaphysician Undercover

    ….which was never my premise.

    If, whenever something appears like it is unintelligibleMetaphysician Undercover

    ….an unintelligible can never be an appearance. If something appears to us, it is a phenomenon, hence possibly intelligible. So, yes, I can neglect your use of appearance, because I don’t consider intelligibility and appearance related to each other.

    the human mind has the capacity to know all thingsMetaphysician Undercover

    ….an unjustified assertion, insofar as it is impossible to know all the things there are. The very best to be said is the mind has the capacity to know all things presented to it.

    I posited a situation in which something appears to be unintelligible.Metaphysician Undercover

    ….and I’m arguing the conditions for what unintelligible necessarily is.

    If the philosophical mindset is the desire to know, and understand all things, then what is the point to accepting a premise (human deficiency) which forces the necessary conclusion that there are things which cannot be known?Metaphysician Undercover

    ….it is absurd to suppose understanding of all things. The occasions in which some things are misunderstood verifies limits. Nothing ever being misunderstood is the only sufficient ground for the possibility of understanding all things.

    how do we allow for evolution of the human mind?Metaphysician Undercover

    The human mind adapts; the human body evolves. The mind adapts in conjunction with experience.
    (Remember….I detest the use of “mind” anyway, always preferring “reason”).

    On and on it goes. Give it up and go have a turkey leg or something.
  • Joshs
    4k
    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.
    Number2018

    We are affected by our sociopath-cultural situation as filtered and interpreted through our situated bodily organization of perception. The word red has as many senses as there are shared purposes and uses, but those purposes are always only partially shared, due to the fact that we are all situated differently within the ‘same’ culture. The meanings of words are negotiated , not introjected from culture to individual.
  • hypericin
    771
    Which sensation?Isaac

    Redness, the visual sensation I experience when an object or light source designated "red" enters my visual field .
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    Not any value. Value as such. It is not an argument from dogmatic authority, but from what I would call phenomenological ontology, and by this I simply mean, take an occasion of ethical ambiguity and give analysis. there are facts before you, like your friend who owes to money but will not pay, but you owe him from a prior business, and does the one cancel the other?Constance

    You still haven't made the case that value is transcendent. Values talk is simply a conversation people share about the world. Like the idea of truth, value is an abstraction and is not a property that looks the same where ever it is found. Values can only be understood through specific examples - it is a process applied to beliefs, objects, people, behaviours, etc. The process of setting or accepting values is mundane and subjective and messy - it is deliberative and people disagree.

    Philosophy is an inquiry into everything and anything at the most basic level. Kant looked at the formal dimensions of thought, not just occasions where thought was in play. So what is this foundational analysis of value about? The good and the bad, to give it categorial recognition (keeping in mind always that such analyses are abstractions. There is no such thing as pure reason or value as such. These are ways we talk about reality). Good and bad can be contingently understood, as with a good couch or a bad knife that doesn't cut cleanly. This is not the ethical good and bad. Follow analytically any contingent use of these terms and eventually you will run into the non contingent good and bad: the discomfort of a bad couch, the frustration of a knife that won't cut. Now the analysis has gotten to the final question, what is this discomfort all about? That goes to the feeling, and here, this cannot be derided or deflated: we have come to the analytic basis of the, if you can stand it, meaning of life.

    But this absurd term, 'the bad' sounds ridiculous, like some kind of platonic ultimate reality. It is best to leave historical platitudes out of it and just attend to the matter at hand. No one is talking about the "form of the bad". This is just bad metaphysics. We are talking about a dimension in our existence that defies presuppositional analysis. Value as value is its own presupposition. And I have to leave it at that unless you want a further go at
    Constance

    All this is wordy and says little to me, I'm afraid. Not sure what your point is. Good and bad have multiple meanings, many subjective, most people know this. As animals who depend on and risk so much to survive, it's hardly surprising that humans have created a multiplicity of notions for good and bad. Valuing things (making judgements and making choices) is how we stay alive, it's hard wired.
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    Oh, I'm still trying to, sir.
  • javra
    1.9k
    intersubjective agreement — Tom Storm


    Rude.

    So when did you agree to red?
    Banno

    The first time one makes use of the word as it’s expressed to oneself by others, one agrees, or willfully consents, to its use.

    One can also disagree to use the word “red” at any time; instead making use of “crimson”, “scarlet”, “vermilion”, “amaranth”, and so forth.

    ... or even coin a new term for a unique shade or red, and this irrespective of whether others would then agree to make use of it so as to make the term an aspect of the shared language.

    Back to the issue of blindness and color awareness:

    Given that many sighted-people have no clue as to what these terms concretely specify even if able to use them in grammatically correct sentences, how does one find that a blind person could know the difference between, for example, Alizarin Crimson and Crimson Lake when devoid of any visual experience … and, for that matter, be able to know the differences in these colors that different paint manufacturers produce?

    This could easily start to approximate the Chinese Room problem, wherein one could make fluid use of words to specify that, “this manufacture’s carmine has a yellower tint than that manufacture’s” without any awareness of what one is expressing in relation to colors.

    ps. All this being in no way contradictory to blind people being able to use color-words to express abstract sentiments (e.g., I'm feeling blue) or abstract states of affair (e.g., it's not a black and white issue) - but not concrete experiences of colors. They can know that in certain cultural contexts white represents good and black bad - and can further know that in other contexts no such representation is to be validly made (such as in addressing people's skin color) - without having any awareness of, for example, the concrete differences between Ivory and Floral White, or else Onyx and Ebony. Whereas sighted people can learn of these differences by being presented with direct experiences of these shades.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    The first time one makes use of the word as it’s expressed to oneself by others, one agrees, or willfully consents, to its use.

    One can also disagree to use the word “red” at any time; instead making use of “crimson”, “scarlet”, “vermilion”, “amaranth”, and so forth.

    ... or even coin a new term for a unique shade or red, and this irrespective of whether others would then agree to make use of it so as to make the term an aspect of the shared language.
    javra

    I don't remember agreeing (but I did follow orders) - I remember being told what the names of colors were and getting them wrong. I still do, as I am color blind. I have to say parsing the notion of color as a pathway to understand the merits of the term ineffable is bloody dull.

    Thirteen pages in and I am no closer to understanding what ineffable means other than the literal definition and associated, shall we say, poetic uses. Is it not the case that some people believe there are quasi mystical matters that are beyond words while others think that everything can be understood or, at least, turned into words? It's hardly a surprising bifurcation.
  • hypericin
    771
    @Isaac @Joshs

    Babies begin to see red after a few weeks... long before any of this social construction guff might have had time to take hold. And certainly long before they learn to correctly use the word, despite @Banno's ludicrous insistince.

    What say you?
  • Banno
    19.2k
    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.Joshs
    If you prefer. The philosophical issue at hand here is that there are folk who understand "red" as the public name of a private sensation. There are many, many problems with this, some of which we have drawn attention to here. The problem of supposing that there is even a little bit of the notion of red that is a private sensation is nicely pummelled by @Isaac's asking which private sensation...

    ...why, the red ones, of course...

    It's a quite vicious circularity.

    The salient point with regard to the topic, what cannot be said, remains the fact that we do talk about red. Hence red is not ineffable. The retort is something like, that we can talk about the colour red but not the sensation of red. This sits oddly in the mouths of those who also claim that the colour red is the name of a sensation. And it is wrong, since we do talk about the sensation of red.
  • unenlightened
    7.1k
    Oh, I'm still trying to, sir.Moliere

    Poetry seeks to overcome the weakness of words - easily given, but sometimes as easily broken - by invocation. One calls into being something that was not, by a creative verbal act. The weakness of this thread is that it does not even try to escape the dance of words - there's a red house over yonder, where even the blind can be seen to. Let there be Red!

    And it was so, because the invocation was puissant. Thus poetry builds language as fast as doublespeak destroys it, and so builds the world anew, as @Banno would have it. What does it mean that in a century we have gone from a nature red in tooth and claw, to a nature that is the greenest of greens? (This is an observation intended to evoke a transformation, not a question to answer.)

    [What is ineffable? {response} But look we are talking about it, so that isn't it.] That is a gigantic turd of analysis, or a pathetic joke of logic.

    What is creativity? Only original answers will be considered.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    You seem to have a sort of love-hate relationship with Wittgenstein, which is a very healthy attitude to adopt. But you seem to have not read much beyond the Tractatus. Indeed, the most explicit rendering of his attitude towards ethics is probably in Anscombe's Modern Moral Philosophy, which I strongly commend.

    The three theses argued for there are that we set aside trying to do ethics until we have a decent science of psychology; that the notion of obligation is no linger of much use, and that much of moral philosophy is of little importance. Challenging theses, but bear with her argument and you might find much of value. There's a neat summation in tHer SEP biography.

    ...all of our ethical affairs are grounded in an absolute.Constance
    This I take to be the view Anscombe critiques in her second thesis, so I'll drop in here the relevant paragraph from the SEP article:

    The second thesis of MMP is that moral philosophers ought to abandon the concepts of moral obligation, moral duty, moral “ought”, and the like. (The generic ‘ought’ is fine.) These concepts, Anscombe argues, have a point only in a law-based ethics: if a moral legislator (e.g. God) commands you to do something, then you have a moral obligation or moral duty to do it. But in forms of ethics not based upon such a legislator, talk about moral obligation or moral duty is akin to those arguing about what is criminal in a society lacking criminal law or courts, or, alternatively, to castaways talking about whether their clothing accords with the new company policy – the necessary social framework for making such talk meaningful is absent. Unlike J. L. Mackie, who thought that moral thought and talk was false, Anscombe argued that it was nonsense, which is probably worse. She held that ethicists would do better to classify actions instead as, say, truthful or untruthful, just or unjust, … rather than as morally right or morally wrong.Anscombe (SEP)

    I suspect that you will find you have much in common with Anscombe, a devout theist.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    ...you really aren't very good at this.hypericin
    In that we can agree, but my posts seem to be doing much better than yours. For a start, my insults are funnier.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Babies begin to see red after a few weeks...hypericin

    Which proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the perception of red is ineffable.

    ...you really aren't very good at this.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    The weakness of this thread is that it does not even try to escape the dance of wordsunenlightened

    That's not a weakness - the dance is the very reason for the thread. One comes to see the dance as without a purpose beyond amusement. A parlour game. The dance is a cure for those who would sanctify words.

    But some folk have the Red Shoes.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    But some folk have the Red Shoes.Banno

    Nice. Classic film buff?
  • Banno
    19.2k
    I don't remember agreeing...Tom Storm

    This is much the same argument as is commonly used against those who suppose that we follow a social contract in our dealings with others.
    Classic film buff?Tom Storm

    Kate Bush fan...
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