• Mww
    1.7k
    Still....metaphysics of the normative human condition on the one hand, psychology of the deranged human condition on the other. Not sure how much they should overlap.
    — Mww

    It doesn't seem to me to be a matter of metaphysics, but of phenomenology.
    Janus

    Do you treat phenomenology as a philosophy? If so, you don’t hold with the notion that metaphysics is the ground of all philosophies?
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Do you treat phenomenology as a philosophy? If so, you don’t hold with the notion that metaphysics is the ground of all philosophies?Mww

    I do think of philosophy as being a matter of achieving clarity, rather than knowledge. What are we clarifying then? I'd say we clarify what we are doing. That is phenomenology. After that we attempt to explain why we are doing what we are doing. That is psychology. Or if we count metaphysics as a discipline which consists in something more than phenomenology (as, for example, Heidegger and Merleau Ponty do not) then we might speculate about how we come to be conscious entities in a physical world.

    We can exercise our imaginations on that question utilizing as fuel the associations and accretions of our common language; but the danger will always be, as Kant indicated, unwarranted reification if we allow ourselves pretensions to knowledge. Accepting that I count metaphysics as rightly confining itself to science; i.e. physics and cosmology; or else it's flights of the poetic imagination, which may have their own beauty, but give us nothing we could rightly call knowledge. If it is insight it is insight into what language enables us to imagine.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    the danger will always be, as Kant indicated, unwarranted reification if we allow ourselves pretensions to knowledge.Janus

    That’s a pretty fair elucidation of why I never got into phenomenology, in that post-Kantians developed a novel thesis around the notion of phenomena different from a critical reason point of view. In other words, in some sense, phenomena became reified because they were given more importance and broader scope than originally thought. Phenomena as “the undetermined object of an empirical intuition” went on to become determined. But, that’s progress.....or something.
    ————-

    if we count metaphysics as a disciple (...) then we might speculate about how we come to be conscious entities in a physical world.Janus

    Why wouldn’t natural evolution be sufficient explanation for becoming conscious entities? Metaphysics would be better served, I think, reconciling the existence of conscious entities, which are given because their non-existence is logically impossible, with what it is that facilitates being one.
    ————-

    I do think of philosophy as being a matter of achieving clarity, rather than knowledge.Janus

    True enough. Experience gives a posteriori knowledge, pure thought gives a priori knowledge. The metaphysics of epistemological philosophy merely facilitates understanding the ways and means of the difference.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    In other words, in some sense, phenomena became reified because they were given more importance and broader scope than originally thought. Phenomena as “the undetermined object of an empirical intuition” went on to become determined. But, that’s progress.....or something.Mww

    Could you explain some more what you mean here? I don't understand phenomena as being reified. I see them as the objects of sensory (mostly visual and tactile) experience (perception). To reify them would be to commit the sin of naive realism.

    If they are said to be "undetermined objects of empirical intuition" would this not be to say that they are "things in themselves", since it would only be what we might think of as their "absolute nature" which remains indeterminable?

    Why wouldn’t natural evolution be sufficient explanation for becoming conscious entities? Metaphysics would be better served, I think, reconciling the existence of conscious entities, which are given because their non-existence is logically impossible, with what it is that facilitates being one.Mww

    I accept natural evolution as the process by which conscious entities arose. Others don't and they evoke some wholly other spiritual process of evolution. It seems contradictory to say both that conscious entities arose and that their non-existence is impossible, unless perhaps you are invoking some spiritual process, whereby they are always "present" but only manifest historically (or prehistorically) as some point in the evolution of the physical cosmos.

    True enough. Experience gives a posteriori knowledge, pure thought gives a priori knowledge. The metaphysics of epistemological philosophy merely facilitates understanding the ways and means of the difference.Mww

    Again, could you elaborate, as I'm not seeing what you are driving at here?
  • Mww
    1.7k
    Phenomena as “the undetermined object of an empirical intuition” went on to become determined.
    — Mww

    Could you explain some more what you mean here?
    Janus

    You said philosophy gives clarity rather than knowledge, phenomenology is a philosophy, so gives clarity to phenomena. Kantian phenomena are stated but unclear, re: undetermined objects of empirical intuition. Post-Kantians wishing to clarify the conception of phenomena tried to make them something knowable, hence reifying them as phenomena proper. The Kantian system leaves phenomena as object of intuition knowable, not as phenomena, but as cognitions, by synthesizing them with conceptions. In Kant, phenomena are representations in the unconscious part of the system, while conceptions, hence the cognitions arising from the synthesis, are members of the conscious part.

    Dunno so much about the “sin of naive realism”, but I’d certainly go with the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. And I guess I can see why folks would want to examine phenomena a little more closely than Kant, who devoted a grand total of about two sentences....out of 800 pages....to what they are.

    Disclaimer: I am not familiar with the particulars on phenomenology, merely the general idea, so if I got it wrong, don’t be too hard on me. But I have trouble with......

    Or if we count metaphysics as a disciple which consists in something more than phenomenology (as, for example, Heidegger and Merleau Ponty do not) ...Janus

    ....which says the same thing as “Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty do not count metaphysics as anything more than phenomenology”, where metaphysics is the ground of philosophy in general, of which phenomenology is only a part.

    All of which reflects back to my “metaphysics of the human conditions” with respect to morality = regulation/amoral = disorder, to which was substituted a discipline insufficient for the purpose, re: phenomenology, for metaphysics.
    ————-

    If they are said to be "undetermined objects of empirical intuition" would this not be to say that they are "things in themselves", since it would only be what we might think of as their "absolute nature" which remains indeterminable?Janus

    No to “thing-in-themselves”, which are real physical objects in the world. Phenomena, on the other hand, are representations of sensations, sometimes interpreted as appearances, the matter of which is given to us by perception, but the arrangement of the matter, the form the representation will eventually assume and be presented to understanding, is the function of intuition. All of which is not in our conscious presence; we have no realization of the synthesis of intuition and conception, and, it happens all the time, with each and every perception. The form of the phenomena is given in intuition if the perceived object has been cognized before, in which case, understanding merely validates the arrangement, rather than creating it when the perceived object has yet to be cognized.
    —————-

    It seems contradictory to say both that conscious entities arose and that their non-existence is impossible, unless perhaps you are invoking some spiritual processJanus

    Oh HELL no....homie don’t do no spirit stuff. I meant only that conscious entities do exist, otherwise there is no explanation for ourselves, therefore conscious entities cannot not exist.
    ——————

    I'm not seeing what you are driving at here?Janus

    Just agreeing with your position that philosophy doesn't give knowledge, only clarity. Knowledge is obtained by other means.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    You said philosophy gives clarity rather than knowledge, phenomenology is a philosophy, so gives clarity to phenomena. Kantian phenomena are stated but unclear, re: undetermined objects of empirical intuition. Post-Kantians wishing to clarify the conception of phenomena tried to make them something knowable, hence reifying them as phenomena proper. The Kantian system leaves phenomena as object of intuition knowable, not as phenomena, but as cognitions, by synthesizing them with conceptions. In Kant, phenomena are representations in the unconscious part of the system, while conceptions, hence the cognitions arising from the synthesis, are members of the conscious part.Mww

    The way you speak of phenomena here makes me think of science. We can say that science gives clarity to one general kind of phenomena; science deals with sensory phenomena, attempting to know what is going on with them. The goings on are further phenomena. Is science a kind of phenomenology then?

    But science is only a part of human doings. Metaphysics is another part; except it deals with ideas not with sensory phenomena. How do we know our ideas, though? Do we not experience them just as (but, it seems obvious, not in the same way as) we experience sensory phenomena? This is why (I think) Heidegger subsumes metaphysics to phenomenology. I think the idea is also implicitly in Kant. When we do "a priori" reasoning are we not trying to see what is going on for us in our thinking of the most general ideas?

    So when you say phenomena are knowable as cognition, is cognition itself not merely another human phenomenon to be known? But known by what? Cognition? Does cognition know itself?

    So, we have these two ways of looking at sensory phenomena; as things outside us to be known in perception, and as mental or cognitive states. But are these not simply different perspectives from two different starting assumptions? Must we claim that one is true, and the other false?

    There is a lot more in your post to respond to, but I fear becoming too complicated, so I've just attempted to deal with the above part first. It all seems to dovetail in together in any case. :smile:
  • Mww
    1.7k
    I fear becoming too complicatedJanus

    Absolutely. All the good stuff is complicated. Which is most likely why it’s often rejected by those not willing to work that hard towards a possibly unsatisfying end. Or maybe they pick one complicated thing over its predecessor, just because it’s complicated more recently. Dunno.....don’t care.
    —————

    So when you say phenomena are knowable as cognition, is cognition itself not merely another human phenomenon to be known?Janus

    Not by me, favoring the notion of every named thing has its own place, pursuant to a specific epistemological methodology. As such, if cognitions are allowed to be phenomena, how phenomena were originally defined is destroyed, and thereby as well, originally purposed. Not to say it can’t be done, but if it is, as befitting a different methodology, then phenomena would have to be re-defined and re-purposed. Which is fine, as long as it works.
    —————

    The way you speak of phenomena here makes me think of science.Janus

    Again, this is fine, for the numero uno predicate of investigation by means of the scientific method is observation of real physical objects, and phenomena are nothing but “appearances” thereof in the speculative epistemological method. Science lets phenomena be known pending experience of them as real objects, whereas speculative metaphysics lets them remain “undetermined”, because they have not yet met the criteria for being known. That is, they have not run the full gamut of cognitive procedure.
    “....Small steps, Sparky. Small steps...”
    (David Morse to Jodie Foster, “Contact”, 1997)

    What needs to be born in mind, not by you personally perhaps, but in general, is that speculative metaphysics describes a system of thought itself, as opposed to describing a system of objective investigation. Thus, because the investigatory system must remain constant in order for it to be reliable, so too must the system of thought. From which it follows, that all the steps in both are always the same, regardless of how it seems. The problem of course, is that the constance of the scientific method is obvious, but the constance of the speculative system, is not. Why? Because of the vast difference between what we know from experience, and what we learn because of experience, yet being absolutely dependent on one and the same system for either. The conditioning factor being none other than time.
    ————

    How do we know our ideas, though?Janus

    Another reason to keep things where they belong. What does it mean to ask about that which is immediately present to our attention? We know an idea is present merely from the thinking of it, but that doesn’t imply knowledge of that which the idea represents. A square circle is an idea as much as human morality, the former is a self-contradictory hence an impossible conception, the latter is not. The former cannot have an object understanding thinks belongs to it in order to facilitate the cognition of it, the latter has a veritable plethora of them.

    We don’t know our ideas; we think them. We think them because they are present and they are present because they are thought. The objects of ideas are known, or not.
    ————-

    So, we have these two ways of looking at sensory phenomena; as things outside us to be known in perception, and as mental or cognitive states......

    Yes. Although, “sensory phenomena” is redundant. No phenomena is not sensory. That which permits cognitive states that is not sensory, are the pure intuitions of space and time, which are the necessary conditions for the cognitive states called phenomena, and conceptions, which are necessary conditions for cognitive states by themselves, sans phenomena. Still, phenomena are mental or cognitive states, yes. Not in our conscious attention, as are conceptions, but states nonetheless.

    ......But are these not simply different perspectives from two different starting assumptions?.....

    Not sure what you mean by assumption. We cannot assume ourselves affected by a sensation given from perception of an object. Therefore, phenomena in the speculative sense cannot be merely assumed; it must be an actual occurrence. Phenomena are representations, so it is the case that we are not aware of what such phenomena represents, even upon being aware of the affect on our sensuous faculty.

    .......Must we claim that one is true, and the other false?
    Janus

    Hmmmm.....dunno. Before something can be deemed true or false, with respect to phenomena, it must be determined what it is, what it represents. Even then, it is not the truth of phenomena, but the judgement about it, that serves as true or false, insofar as the thing perceived is judged as certainly conforming to, or not conforming to, either experience or possible experience. Hence the definition, “truth is that in which a cognition conforms to its object”.

    It’s complicated......you can drop out any time, without offending. This stuff is oh so unprovable, purely some arbitrary way of looking at stuff. A great big, gigantic to-each-his-own kinda thing.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Absolutely. All the good stuff is complicated. Which is most likely why it’s often rejected by those not willing to work that hard towards a possibly unsatisfying end.Mww

    What I meant though was that I don't want to complicate this exchange by dealing with too many issues at once.

    Not to say it can’t be done, but if it is, as befitting a different methodology, then phenomena would have to be re-defined and re-purposed. Which is fine, as long as it works.Mww

    Yes, if we employ different definitions of phenomena then we will be talking at cross-purposes.

    Again, this is fine, for the numero uno predicate of investigation by means of the scientific method is observation of real physical objects, and phenomena are nothing but “appearances” thereof in the speculative epistemological method.Mww

    Yes, but in common parlance "real physical objects" are also referred to as "natural phenomena". It is true that various kinds of idealists (in their different ways) take phenomena to be "appearances". But, as Kant said, if there are appearances there must be something that appears.

    I acknowledge Kant's views remain controversial, even among Kant scholars; but it seems clear that to me, from what I have read, that he thought there are real physical objects and entities, things that are something in themselves; but that we only know them as they appear to us. For me this counts (or should count) as knowing real physical objects and entities, even though their "final", "absolute" or exhaustive nature is not certainly known to us.

    Another reason to keep things where they belong. What does it mean to ask about that which is immediately present to our attention? We know an idea is present merely from the thinking of it, but that doesn’t imply knowledge of that which the idea represents.Mww

    We also know that sensory objects are present merely by the seeing, hearing, touching, tasting or smelling of them in all but relatively rare cases (i.e. where they may be hallucinated). We know what we are thinking only by remembering what we just thought, or by saying the though to ourselves, so the difference doesn't seem as great to me as it perhaps does to some Kantians.

    So, what I'm doing is not attempting to challenge your understanding, but rather to gain a lucid picture of just what it is that you think, and just how that thinking may differ from what I have in mind, for example in its basic assumptions and so on.

    So you say "we don't know our ideas; we think them", and I can accept that with the caveat that it is an expression of just one way of looking at things. I could equally say that "we don't know physical objects; we see (or hear, etc.) them". But in both cases knowing objects or thoughts (or at least some aspects thereof) consists in, respectively, seeing or thinking them.

    Knowing that are seeing objects or thinking thoughts is on explicit self-awareness in the moment of seeing or thinking. In the case of seeing it is just seeing with the accompanying thought "I am seeing".

    In the case of thinking it is a bit more complicated, because we cannot simultaneously think a thought and the thought "I am thinking a thought" (or at least I cannot) unless I mentally verbalize the thought I am thinking so I can "hear" it as though it is being said (like I would if listening to another express a thought).

    This noticing what we are doing when we see objects or think thoughts is a significant part of phenomenology.

    It’s complicated......you can drop out any time, without offending. This stuff is oh so unprovable, purely some arbitrary way of looking at stuff. A great big, gigantic to-each-his-own kinda thing.Mww

    No need to worry, I will drop out if I lose interest. I don't worry about being offended or offending on these forums (or very much in "real" life either :wink: ); this is just free discussion as far as I'm concerned, and if it ceases to be interesting, what would be the point in continuing?

    Anyway I do agree with what you say here, so as I said earlier I am not trying to compare your way of understanding this with mine with a view to deciding which is better, per se, just trying to get a firmer grasp on your perspective, so I can understand as precisely as possible where it might differ from my perspective. :smile: :halo:
  • Congau
    224
    humans value wellbeingBert Newton
    Although correct, it is somewhat superfluous to make such a statement, at least if it is meant to be an observation about how humans behave.
    Human beings value well-being, animal beings value well-being, any beings imaginable value well-being.
    It’s an a priori statement. Anything that is, wants to/strives to be well.

    It’s not possible to do anything that you don’t consider, at least at the moment of action, to be good for yourself.
    Suicidal people kill themselves because they think that’s the best thing to do.
    Heroes sacrifice themselves (only seemingly giving up their well-being) because they consider it better for themselves, think it will make them happier to see other people happy, or just long for the happiness of martyrdom.

    Since this IS the case, and it is so evident that it cannot even be empirically refuted, the SHOULD follows from the fact that it cannot be otherwise.
    A carpenter IS someone who builds, therefore if someone wants to be a carpenter, he SHOULD build.
    A being IS something which is, therefore if something wants to be, it SHOULD do what supports its being.
    Everything that IS, participates in being, therefore everything SHOULD support being. (Supporting being means supporting well-being)
  • Mww
    1.7k
    trying to get a firmer grasp on your perspective, so I can understand as precisely as possible where it might differ from my perspective.Janus

    My modus operandi as well. Although, I admit to getting a little.....er, wordy sometimes. Most of the time. Almost always.

    you say "we don't know our ideas; we think them" (....) I could equally say that "we don't know physical objects; we see (or hear, etc.) them".Janus

    Ok, but if you do that, doesn’t knowledge become undefined? And there are inconsistencies, insofar as there can be no ideas whatsoever that are not thought, but there can be perceptions that are not known.
    ——————

    This noticing what we are doing when we see objects or think thoughts is a significant part of phenomenology.Janus

    Do you equate noticing and experiencing? How closely are they related, if at all?
    ——————

    it seems clear that to me, from what I have read, that he thought there are real physical objects and entities, things that are something in themselves; but that we only know them as they appear to us. For me this counts (or should count) as knowing real physical objects and entities, even though their "final", "absolute" or exhaustive nature is not certainly known to us.Janus

    Yes to real physical objects; as you say...there must be something that appears. Appears herein meaning makes an appearance, or becomes present, as opposed to knowing them immediately by resemblance. The Kantian epistemological system is strictly representational, which makes explicit nothing in the system is the equivalent of that which is outside it, but can only, and must necessarily, relate to it. It follows that we don’t know the appearance, or, which is the same thing, the phenomenon representing the real object, but rather, we only know the precision of the relationship, which is itself predicated on the precision of our judgements about it.

    Besides, if we can know the object by its appearance, its mere presence, why can we not know the object as it really is, in its exhaustive nature? To say an appearance is not a complete appearance such that exhaustive knowledge of it is impossible, implies the blame for being wrong about perceptions is possibly as much the fault of the object as it is our system for knowing it, which implies every appearance could be a sensory illusion. Now the argument is that no object ever gives us its complete appearance anyway, which only serves to justify a representational cognitive system in which the appearance of an object simply means its affect on our sensibility, rather than irreducible causality for our knowledge, which leaves us to figure out what it is possible to know it as, relieving the object itself of any fault.

    Aristotle characterized your “counts (or should count) as knowing real physical objects and entities” as knowing that an object is present (epistêmê), as opposed to knowing what an object is, that is present (technê). In the former you’d be correct, in the latter, not so much. Knowing that we are affected doesn’t tell us what we are affected by.

    By the way.....would you say phenomenology is a representational system?
  • Bird-Up
    21
    I think you are right that there is only one ought, in the sense that there can only be one mathematical middle-ground between two competing desires.

    For example, let's say that there are three people who each desire to eat an entire pie. There exists only one pie. It is not a matter of opinion how to best serve the needs of all three people; there is a definite point at which the desires of all parties can be maximized: the pie should be cut into thirds to achieve this. Any other denominator would fail to maximize the desire of one or more parties.

    However, it is important to point out that the single-best compromise (for society) is still a compromise from the individual's original desire. But it would also be an oversight to say that the method for best-serving an individual's needs would be a matter of opinion. Here too, there is a single-best route that suits the individual the most. And the process for calculating the needs of the self also involves taking the needs of others into consideration; but for a different reason.

    An individual's desires are tempered by the demands of empathy. For example, it would be difficult to enjoy eating the entire pie while you are looking at two other hungry people. Seeing their need would make it also become your need. To some extent, you would be happier sharing the pie; if only for the self-serving desire to ease your empathetic stress. This leads you to a similar destination as when you are calculating the way to best meet the needs of society. Yet, it is not actually identical to the method which best meets the needs of the self. The two answers are different from one another.

    For example, if one person desires to eat a pie, and there are two hungry people completely hidden from the first person's point of view; their sense of empathy would not be triggered by the sight of two hungry individuals. This one person could enjoy the meal guilt-free, with no demands placed on their empathy. But this individual's experience would be different from the still-present conclusion that splitting the pie into thirds maximizes the desires of all three people as a whole.

    So I would say that there is a single-best way to serve the needs of society. And there is another single-best way to serve the needs of the individual. But they are not the same thing, despite their similarities.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Ok, but if you do that, doesn’t knowledge become undefined? And there are inconsistencies, insofar as there can be no ideas whatsoever that are not thought, but there can be perceptions that are not known.Mww

    Is this right? I would have thought we can be unconscious of thoughts just as we can of perceptions.

    This noticing what we are doing when we see objects or think thoughts is a significant part of phenomenology. — Janus


    Do you equate noticing and experiencing? How closely are they related, if at all?
    Mww

    So, what I meant here relates to the above. We can think without noticing that we are thinking, or have thought, just as we can perceive without noticing that we are perceiving or have perceived. And we only know that by noticing that we sometimes notice and other times don't. This "meta-noticing" is what constitutes phenomenology; it allows us to describe the nature of our general doings.

    So, much of our experience, both perceiving and conceiving, is not noticed according to me.

    I'm a bit short on time at the moment, so I'll try to address the rest of your post when I am able to.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    I would have thought we can be unconscious of thoughts just as we can of perceptions.Janus

    If we think of perceptions as affects by objects giving us sensations, I don’t see how we can be not conscious of them. And by the same token, if there are thoughts of which we are unconscious, how would be be able to call them thoughts? Some things do happen of which we are not aware, but we can’t think of them as thoughts, so we think of them as....wait for iiittttt.....phenomena!!!

    I admit to being somewhat less than clear, in that we may not be conscious of the act of perception itself, but we must be conscious of the affect the sensations which follows from them, have on us.
    —————

    This "meta-noticing" is what constitutes phenomenology; it allows us to describe the nature of our general doings.Janus

    Understood, thanks. Dunno what advantage this gives us, over and above the established epistemological metaphysics already in play. I guess I’d have to agree, that because I can already describe my general doings, I must be doing phenomenology, even if I don’t call it that. Which is fine....”a rose is a rose is a rose, by any other name is still a rose”, right?
  • Janus
    9.2k
    If we think of perceptions as affects by objects giving us sensations, I don’t see how we can be not conscious of them.Mww

    I think one of stumbling blocks with discussion of these kinds of matters may be the indeterminate nature of the terms of discussion. So, the example here would be the term "consciousness". In the sense that we are (usually) awake when we are affected by objects of the senses, and that 'consciousness' can mean simply 'awake', I would agree with you here.

    But I was equating the term with self-reflective consciousness, with not merely experiencing in an awake state but with actually noticing that we are experiencing in an awake state.

    And by the same token, if there are thoughts of which we are unconscious, how would be be able to call them thoughts? Some things do happen of which we are not aware, but we can’t think of them as thoughts, so we think of them as....wait for iiittttt.....phenomena!!!

    Right, but if thoughts are brain phenomena, neural processes, which some "overaching" executive function of the brain may be either aware of or not?

    I admit to being somewhat less than clear, in that we may not be conscious of the act of perception itself, but we must be conscious of the affect the sensations which follows from them, have on us.

    Again, it seems to me that, although we might say we must be conscious (awake) to be affected, we can be either conscious of the affects or not.

    Understood, thanks. Dunno what advantage this gives us, over and above the established epistemological metaphysics already in play. I guess I’d have to agree, that because I can already describe my general doings, I must be doing phenomenology, even if I don’t call it that. Which is fine....”a rose is a rose is a rose, by any other name is still a rose”, right?

    So, all I'm saying is that we always proceed by noticing what we are doing and what we can do, by what we are thinking and what we can (coherently) think. The essential idea of a priori understanding seems to be that it is that which is self-evident to us (and not merely in an analytic or tautologous sense). But how do we know this without noticing what we can coherently think or imagine?
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