• charles ferraro
    66


    Unfortunately, despite your comments and protestations, I still find it impossible to experience that which would be required to provide a definitive answer to my original question.


    Some comments follow regarding what you wrote (in no specific order).

    By the way, emotion is usually about a personal relationship with another person, not about a concept.

    To the contrary, I might be saying that seeing the nothing after my death as threatening is irrational, since I see the nothing before my birth as non-threatening. The assumption being, of course, that we are dealing with the same nothing. But, unfortunately, neither of us can verify this assumption.

    If the "answer (were) right in front of me." I wouldn't be searching for it.

    Problems will always vanish if I stick my head in the sand, won't they!!!
  • Joshs
    565
    "I still find it impossible to experience that which would be required to provide a definitive answer to my original question."

    Of course you can't find a definitive answer. What your premise comes down to is this:
    There are directly observed experiences, which are open to empirical verification(your notion of definitive answer), and there are imagined or hypothesized experiences, which are not open to empirical verification(although much of today's physics rests on models which are not directly experienced, but empirically testable).
    The concept of the nothing before or after my existence is a hypothesized event and therefore is not empirically testable, and not open to definitive answer.

    "Emotion is usually about a personal relationship with another person, not about a concept."

    Or about the fear that a live grenade will explode near me . If I dont have the concept of an object (objects dont exist in nature, they are our constructions of nature), i wont have the fear that the object will explode near me. Our emotions are appraisals of situations dependent on how we conceptualize those situations. That there is such a thing as a grenade, that grenades explode and that there is such a thing as a live grenade are all conceptualizations.

    "To the contrary, I might be saying that seeing the nothing after my death as threatening is irrational, since I see the nothing before my birth as non-threatening. The assumption being, of course, that we are dealing with the same nothing. But, unfortunately, neither of us can verify this assumption."

    So you're saying that whether my thinking about this issue is rational or irrational depends on how I'm conceptualizing the nothing before and the nothing after my death? If my understanding of before-birth nothing is very different from my notion of after-death nothing, then based on that originating premise, I could be making a rational hypothesis? If that's what you're saying I agree with that. We make hypotheses all the time without reference to direct experience, and form attitudes and affective judgements based on those hypotheses. We generally realize that our conclusions are not definitive or
    empirically verifiable, but that does not make our hypotheses irrational, just imprecise and undefined.

    If on the other hand you can't fathom how any indefinite, imprecise, impressionistic hypothetical conceptualization of pre-birth and after-death nothingness could possibly be rational, I disagree.

    By that reasoning, mathematics is irrational since it rest on proofs that can't ground themselves in a final proof.
  • charles ferraro
    66


    I do not see how your first paragraph conflicts with my position; it's simply a restatement of it (I never claimed I could find a definitive answer to my question by actually performing an empirical test).

    I will grant your position as expressed in the second paragraph.

    However, I find the statement (objects don't exist in nature, they are our constructions of nature) to be quite an epistemological assumption to simply throw out there without making any attempt to justify it a la Locke? Berkeley? Hume? Kant? Fichte? Schopenhauer? Schelling? Hegel?, etc.?

    No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that my hypothesis is that the ultimate criterion for judging the rationality, or irrationality, of the attitudes human beings have toward Nothing (pre- or post) would be determined by the actual nature of Nothing itself which, unfortunately, cannot be experienced (i.e., Nothing is beyond the limits of possible experience).

    But, on second thought, didn't Heidegger claim that when Dasein encounters Nothing it experiences Dread?
  • Joshs
    565
    With "objects don't exist in nature, they are our constructions of nature" I had in mind Kant , Husserl, current theory in perceptual and cognitive science.

    "The ultimate criterion for judging the rationality, or irrationality, of the attitudes human beings have toward Nothing (pre- or post) would be determined by the actual nature of Nothing itself."

    How are you understanding rationality? As a hierarchy? If determining the actual nature of something qualifies as the highest level of rationality, are there lower levels of rationality?

    If I say that Sauron is someone to be feared but Gandalf is not(unless you are evil), is that a rational statement even though its facts are fictional facts rather than directly observed ?

    By the way, are you familiar with the entanglement of the fact-value distinction in analytic philosophy(Putnam, Rorty, Goodman, Quine)? It argues that directly observed facts are never independent of an account interpreting the meaning of the fact.
  • charles ferraro
    66


    I find Kant's thought extremely original and fascinating. However, I do agree with Schopenhauer's critical analysis of Kant's epistemology and the modifications (deletions and additions) he made thereto. But, I suspect that Schopenhauer did not go far enough with these modifications.

    I'm a bit confused about your mentioning Husserl in this regard. Didn't he hold to a position that consciousness was intentional; that consciousness was always consciousness of an object that it did not constitute. And wasn't this position considered by many continental thinkers to be a refreshing "antidote" to German transcendental idealism?
    Or, perhaps, are you referring, instead, to Husserl's later, more idealistic, position which was strongly criticized by Sartre in his essay "The Transcendence of the Ego"?

    Yes, I think there are degrees of rationality. If I'm not mistaken, I think Descartes held to this position.

    For example: The Cogito Sum as an indubitably certain performative intuition, or thought act, in the first person, present tense mode versus the Cogito ergo Sum as an inferential proposition which can be subject to indirect doubt. The former may be said to be true in a more fundamental way than the latter because the truths of the former are existentially consistent and existentially self-verifying while being performed, while the truths of the latter proposition may not be true when not being directly attended to.

    Does your statement imply that there is direct opposition between fictional facts and direct observation?

    No, I'm not. But could you direct me to some specific works about this topic?
  • Joshs
    565
    Husserl says what we perceive primordially are the things themselves, but this means that we perceive perspectival variations and modifications , that is, aspects of a scene cosntantly changing via our interaction with it. Constituted objects have to be constructed , abstracted, from this activity in a further step.

    Here's a taste of fact-value entanglement:

    "To be objective, one would have to have some set of mind-independent objects to be
    designated by language or known by science. But can we find any such objects? Let us look at an extended example from the philosopher Nelson Goodman.

    A point in space seems to be perfectly objective. But how are we to define the points of our everyday world? Points can be taken either as primitive elements, as intersecting lines, as certain triples of intersecting planes, or as certain classes of nesting volumes. These definitions are equally adequate, and yet they are incompatible: what a point is will vary with each form of description. For example, only in the first "version," to use Goodman's term, will a point be a primitive element. The objectivist, however, demands, "What are points really?" Goodman's response to this demand is worth quoting at length: If the composition of points out of lines or of lines out of points is conventional rather than factual, points and lines themselves are no less so. ... If we say that our sample space is a combination of points, or of lines, or of regions, or a combination of combinations of points, or lines, or regions, or
    a combination of all these together, or is a single lump, then since none is identical with any of the rest, we are giving one among countless alternative conflicting descriptions of what the space is.
    And so we may regard the disagreements as not about the facts but as due to differences in the conventions-adopted in organizing or describing the space. What, then, is the neutral fact or thing described in these different terms? Neither the space (a) as an undivided whole nor (b) as a combination of everything involved in the several accounts; for (a) and (b) are but two among the various ways of organizing it. But what is it that is so organized? When we strip off as layers of convention all differences among ways of describing it, what is left? The onion is peeled down to its empty core."
  • charles ferraro
    66


    Thanks. Very interesting.
  • Nobody
    46
    Nothing is everything.
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