• Joshs
    933
    the self cannot be isolated in some pristine self-enclosed splendour,StreetlightX

    So tell me how you would describe the self, this entity which cannot be isolated but which you still have a name for.

    But before you do, I’m curious about one thing. You read copiously in philosophy. Are you familiar with Zahavi’s notion of minimal pre-reflective self-awareness? It seems to have become a focal point of
    research for an increasing group of writers. Among those who have been won over by the idea that consciousness implies self-consciousness are Ratcliffe, Slaby, Gallagher, Thompson and Fuchs.
    Do you bribe this idea is an example of
    quote="StreetlightX;485196"]A reworked Cartesian solipsism wearing phenomenological dress.[/quote]?
  • Joshs
    933
    But the most important function of language is to understand others’ behavior. as well as our own. The events that are of greatest impact on our lives occur every day when we must battle with guilt, anger, depression, anxiety and other social feelings that mark our puzzlement and confusion concerning the actions of others. These aren’t just breakdowns of behavior , they are breakdowns of communicative understanding.
  • TheMadFool
    8.4k
    One critique of private language, perhaps its a variation of Wittgenstein's own original, is that there's no possible means to ensure consistency, an essential for a language I presume, in a private language as there's no way to confirm consistency. If, for example, I, in a burst of inspiration, decide to develop my own private language and I assign the word "xat" to water what would happen if I forgot what word water was supposed to be referred with? I would have to depend on my memory, I would have to remember the word "xat" but memory, as we all know, is imperfect, we'd basically be relying on something we know, has been proven, to be unreliable. For each word invented, the same problem will rear its ugly head and we'd probably never understand ourselves forget about others understanding us.

    Am I right?
  • Joshs
    933


    Language does not exist in serene isolation from which we dip our toes in and out of willy nilly. It is always-already public otherwise it is not a language at all. To put it in overblown Heidggerese: all language with language-with.StreetlightX


    But Heidegger’s long exegesis on idle talk and das man seems to make your notion of public language into idle talk. His notion of “primordially genuine relations of being toward the world, toward Mitda-sein, toward being-in itself” sounds a lot more like Gendlin ‘s implicit bodily intricacy ( which is why Gendlin embraced Heidegger) than public language.


    “ The groundlessness of idle talk is no obstacle to its being public, but encourages it.Joshs

    Things are so because one says so. Idle talk is constituted in this gossiping and passing the word along, a process by which its ini­tial lack of grounds to stand on increases to complete groundlessness.”Joshs

    Discourse, which belongs to the essential constitution of being of Dasein, and also constitutes its disclosedness, has the possibility of becoming idle talk, and as such of not really keeping being-in-the-world open in an articulated understanding, but of closing it off and covering over inner­ worldly beingsJoshs

    “ Ontologically, this means that when Da-sein maintains itself in idle talk, it is-as being-in-the-world-cut off from the primary and primordially genuine relations of being toward the world, toward Mitda-sein, toward being-in itselfJoshs

    Perhaps you might be more sympathetic to Gallagher’s critique of Heidegger than to Heidegger’s view of language.

    “In Heidegger, and in thinkers who follow his line of thought, we find the idea that a relatively complete account of our embodied, expert, enactive, pragmatic engagements with the world can be given prior to or without reference to intersubjectivity.”
  • fdrake
    4.5k
    In my reading of Heidegger the content of word meanings is only determined collectively in the mode of idle talk , which Heidegger says is not genuine understanding but a closing off of understanding. This is the inauthentic mode of discourse, which flattens and makes generic what originates as an individually distinct process of disclosure.Joshs

    So you're saying that an authentic self chooses the meaning of the words they use?
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    But the most important function of language is to understand others’ behaviour. as well as our own.Joshs

    But this is simply not true. Language is, first and foremost (although not only) a technology of social coordination; it's value is not (primarily) cognitive; it is above all facilitative and action-oriented: you warn, exclaim, command, promise, cajole, demand, insult, soothe, direct, cheat and so on. You understand what is said only to the extent that you understand what language does: it's role in action. The idea of language as a kind of expressive medium of 'inner states' is a narrow, ivory-tower view of language usually promulgated by people who, having never consulted a single work of linguistics in their life, model language on old dead white men transmitting thoughts via books to them.

    Language is indeed used to sometimes 'understand', but this function of language is a tiny subset of its uses that are capricious beyond the wildest imaginations of armchair philosophing about it. I won't comment on either Heideggerian idle talk - which is too far off topic - nor the technicalities of pre-reflective self-awareness (which I am farmiliar with) other than to note that Derrida made an entire philosophical career attacking such notions, and I think he was exactly right to do so. "Pre-reflective self-awareness" is literally the ur-candidate of the metaphysics of presence which Derrida spent his whole life dismantling.
  • Number2018
    469
    Language is, first and foremost (although not only) a technology of social coordination; it's value is not (primarily) cognitive; it is above all facilitative and action-oriented: you warn, exclaim, command, promise, cajole, demand, insult, soothe, direct, and so on. You understand what is said only to the extent that you understand what language does: it's role in action. The idea of language as a kind of expressive medium of 'inner states' is a narrow, ivory-tower view of languageStreetlightX
    Nonetheless, language can also function as "a kind of expressive medium of 'inner states'" in so-called inner speech, an inner monologue, etc. This function is not just cognitive, here language is in charge of the constitution and affirmation of self. And I agree that 'Language is, first and foremost (although not only) a technology of social coordination; its value is not (primarily) cognitive; it is above all facilitative and action-oriented.' Don’t we have the two incompatible functions of language?
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    Therefore, don't we have the two incompatible functions of language?Number2018

    No, because even such an expressive use of language is still a technique, it responds and is constituted by imperatives of communication - grammar key among them - that are social through and through. To quote Reza Negarestani (form Intelligence and Spirit):

    "The capacity to know, believe, or mean something rests upon certain practical know-how (i.e., pragmatism), the practical mastery of inferential roles. ... the noises or behaviours of interlocutors can only count as saying or claiming something if said interlocutors know what to do—in accordance with rules and following some standards or norms—such that they can draw inferences from each other’s claims, using such inferences as the premises of their own claims and reasoning. Here, syntactic expressions as items of language assume semantic value or meaning when they are incorporated into the interaction of practitioners of discursive practices that give inferential roles to such utterances. These are practices that adopt or attribute normative statuses, commitments, and entitlements that stand in consequential relations to one another" - which is fancy way of saying that to know what is to know how: the first is a subset of the other. They are not two different functions of language.

    Or as Daniel Dor puts it, the whole point of language is to bridge what he called the 'experiential gap' between people: "

    "Our experiential communicative intents very rarely, if ever, emerge in our minds as digitally demarcated intents to either say or ask something, to order, or promise, or predict, or deny, and so on. They are multi-layered, variable, vague, dynamic, analogue. We wish to express something, and what we wish to express is as complex as the experience within which the communicative intent emerged. Coupled with the foundational fact of the experiential gap, this analogue complexity constitutes a major obstacle to communication: we very often find it difficult to understand what the person speaking to us is trying to do (“is this a promise or a threat”), and our experiential histories often lead us to the wrong conclusion.

    Speech-acts, then, are socially negotiated, stereotypical communicative behaviors, highlighted and isolated from the experiential continuum of communication, which, when practiced according to a set of mutually identified conventions, allow for the successful mediation of the speaker’s intention across the experiential gap. When conventionalizing a speech-act, what the members of the community agree on is this: “from now on, when we behave this way—when, in these particular contexts, we use this intonation, this word order, this gesture—we mean to ask a question (or make a promise, or tell a story).” (The Instruction of the Imagination).
  • TheMadFool
    8.4k
    A cursory read of the Wikipedia entry on Wittgenstein's private language informs me that Wittgenstein or his band of followers, as the case may be, is/are under the impression that private languages would be/should be incoherent. I suppose "incoherent" here is more about comprehension of messages in a private language than about inconsistency in the logical sense although it maybe a bit of both in varying proportions.

    What is the most private, most personal experience that we have? I'm referring to an experience that's impossible to point to and say, "Here, this is it. This is what I'm talking about." The first thing that crosses my mind is consciousness. It's not something that we can point to directly and all that we know of consciousness is gleaned from indirect evidence. I suppose what I want to say is that when it comes to consciousness all that's linguistically possible, demanding the utmost rigor, is a private language. Consciousness fits the bill of an object that can't be, let's just say, put in the public domain a necessary step in the creation of languages according to Wittgenstein.

    Is the difficulty we face in defining consciousness in a way that's precise and universally acceptable evidence that Wittgenstein's correct on that score? Consciousness and us have an uncanny resemblance to Wittgenstein's beetle-in-the-box analogy.

    Next we enter the domain of emotions. Granted there are words for the emotions we experience but, at the same time, they possess an ineffable quality. The subjective nature of emotions, just like the subjective nature of consciousness, belies the existence of words to refer to them. How on earth did something so private find itself into a community of language users? The easiest answer is behavior - there are certain plainly visible physical manifestations of emotion and also consciousness and they're, for the most part, consistent enough to enable drawing the appropriate conditions that prevail inside our very private minds which, I suppose, permits the coining of the appropriate words and phrases for them.

    In line with Wittgenstein's intuitions, emotions and consciousness still are linguistically troublesome - it's hard to put them in words. :chin:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k
    Just curious, but do things like talking to yourself or using memory aides not count as communication?Pinprick

    Nevertheless, I would say that there is a fundamental difference of intention between communicating with oneself and communicating with others, implying a difference in meaning.

    Interesting. I wonder how much of a modification of language that , as you say, is to used as a memory aid , is required in order to design it for communication.Joshs

    I think that aural language (for communicating with others), and written language (for communicating with oneself) each developed distinctly, and then merged. The merging was conducive to an explosion in knowledge because writing allowed for a much more accurate temporal transmission of knowledge through a multitude of generations, compared to the verses of tribal chants, and things like that.

    If you are asking which came first, there is much evidence in a wide range of species, that most if not all animals practise some form of communication through sound. I think I read somewhere that it's been hypothesized that some dinosaurs had a very advanced form of communication, allowing communication over long distances. On the other hand, we do not see much evidence of markings being used for memory aids in species other than human. However, the nature of such markings, as private, would make identification of them, very difficult. Perhaps some creatures would mark the way to their nests, or mark the way to food sources, and for obvious reasons these markings would be intended to be private. As much as the marking would be a memory aid for the individual making it, it would need to serve to confuse or deceive others at the same time. And, incidentally, this is why it is futile to argue for the reality of private language, evidence for it is self-refuting. The private language, if there is such a thing, must exist without evidence of its existence.

    The point I wanted to make though, is that since the two types of language are developed from completely different intentions, perhaps modelled as almost parallel, the question of one being adapted to the other is not an appropriate question. What we see in human history is a merging of the two, coinciding with a great increase in intellectual capacity. Most likely there was a lot of adaptation on both sides, and reciprocation. So bringing what is private into the public realm, conforming it, and also adapting what is already public, to the principles of the private, breaks the boundary between the two, allowing for the existence of "knowledge" in the epistemological sense.

    Now here's some speculation concerning "signs" and "symbols". These are the essential aspects of the written, private side of language. Aural communication in its raw form does not consist of signs and symbols, there is simply fluctuations, differences in sound waves. Differences have meaning. This is proven by all sorts of animal communication, birds especially, who communicate by song. But written markings seem to always be in the form of a recognizable sign or symbol.

    Proceeding from this, as a premise, we see that all those philosophies of language, which model the symbol as the essence of communication are misguided. Essentially, communicative language consists of meaningful acts displaying differences, not symbols which represent something. The symbol is intrinsic to the private language. Furthermore, what this means, is that rules, or principles for interpreting symbols are also proper to the private language. So when we find rules existing within the public realm of communication, they have really been derived from the private, and adapted through the reciprocation process described above, to have a more universal application.

    I believe that the crucial point in the evolution of meaning is the emergence of the spoken word, as a unit, or entity of meaning, to be interpreted according to rules. But it is most likely that the entity of meaning, to be interpreted according to principles, was recognized long before this in the private language, through the use of markings as symbols. So the spoken word emerged from the private language, despite the fact that aural communication already existed.

    No, because even such an expressive use of language is still a technique, it responds and is constituted by imperatives of communication - grammar key among them - that are social through and through. To quote Reza Negarestani (form Intelligence and Spirit):StreetlightX

    This is where a recognition of the difference in intention is significant. The technique for the private language is completely different from the technique for public communication because of the difference in intention. The difference in intention necessitates a difference in the medium employed. The difference in the medium necessitates a difference in technique. As analogy, the different arts which utilize different media necessarily use different techniques depending on the medium.

    Speech-acts, then, are socially negotiated, stereotypical communicative behaviors, highlighted and isolated from the experiential continuum of communication, which, when practiced according to a set of mutually identified conventions, allow for the successful mediation of the speaker’s intention across the experiential gap. When conventionalizing a speech-act, what the members of the community agree on is this: “from now on, when we behave this way—when, in these particular contexts, we use this intonation, this word order, this gesture—we mean to ask a question (or make a promise, or tell a story).” (The Instruction of the Imagination).StreetlightX

    I think the op is questioning where the need for conventions is derived from? There is no need for conventions in common day to day language use, we could get along fine with just the "multi-layered, variable, vague, dynamic, analogue". However, there is for some reason an intent toward a higher level of understanding, and it is this intent which drives the need for conventions.
  • Pinprick
    532
    Nevertheless, I would say that there is a fundamental difference of intention between communicating with oneself and communicating with others, implying a difference in meaning.Metaphysician Undercover

    What is the difference? The purpose of both is to pass on information, correct?
  • Joshs
    933
    Speech-acts, then, are socially negotiated, stereotypical communicative behaviors, highlighted and isolated from the experiential continuum of communication, which, when practiced according to a set of mutually identified conventions, allow for the successful mediation of the speaker’s intention across the experiential gap. When conventionalizing a speech-act, what the members of the community agree on is this: “from now on, when we behave this way—when, in these particular contexts, we use this intonation, this word order, this gesture—we mean to ask a question (or make a promise, or tell a story).” (The Instruction of the Imagination).
    — StreetlightX

    I think the op is questioning where the need for conventions is derived from? There is no need for conventions in common day to day language use, we could get along fine with just the "multi-layered, variable, vague, dynamic, analogue". However, there is for some reason an intent toward a higher level of understanding, and it is this intent which drives the need for conventions.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Actually, what I would question here are the assumptions embedded in the claims concerning the effect social negotiation produces on the participants. I want to specifically focus on terms like mutually identified conventions , normative agreement , stereotypy.
    How effectively do they lock-in shared meanings? If we use as a criterion a relaxed definition of shared use, then we can just ignore the variations from
    person to person in their construal of their sense of the conventions involved , and more specifically, in their behavior, as long as the aims of the communicative
    context are vague and general enough to make these differences unimportant, to make it seem for all intents and purposes as though there is one unified game being performed, a system that is prior to its participants.

    But the most important communicative
    contexts also happen to be the ones we encounter every day, involving conflicts of intention that cause us to experience stress, anger, depression and guilt.
    As I write this, protesters are storming the U.S. Capital. This political conflict cannot be understood outside of a psychological and psychotherapeutic understanding of the terms of ‘shared’ conventions.

    Is a a mutually identified convention a centered structure? Or does it subsist as the same differently from one person to the next?
  • Janus
    9.7k
    Unity doesn’t have to depend on holding onto the idea of a single categorical fixity. Isn’t the unity that science looks for a unity within change ? That is , a way of understanding a continuously evolving flow of events such that this multiplicity appears orderable as referentially consistent?Joshs

    Science would be impossible without conceiving of particular individual entities and specific categories; in other words without thinking sameness and identity, and difference. Sameness and identity don't conceptually depend on fixity or lack of change as I understand them, but on certain kinds and degrees of continuity.
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    How effectively do they lock-in shared meanings?Joshs

    This isn't a question that can be answered in the abstract. How effectively for what purpose? In the capacity of what role in action? Language works - not always sucessfully - to constrain uncertainty. It works to the extent that it is 'good enough' - not unlike evolution where what survives is 'good enough'. Communication is communication of the 'good enough', not for perfect matchings of 'internal states' or what have you. The latter is a metaphysical picture of language peddled by philosophers who have never studied human behaviour outside of imagining it in their books.
  • Joshs
    933
    We have to ask what is the pragmatic use of the categories we construct. Prior to Darwin, species were kept separate in neat,
    fixed categories. Those tidy boxes had to be unraveled
    in favor of a much messier order of evolutionary change. But the larger effect of abandoning the categories in favor of continuous process was to reveal a more profound order of relation where there had been only arbitrary separation. Wittgenstein accomplished that with language, showing that they not just arbitrarily created entities, solipsistic categories unto themselves, but are formed through , and never depart from, relational contexts of pragmatic use. The Op’s quibble with Wittgenstein concerns his depiction of such contexts
    as centered group structures.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    But the larger effect of abandoning the categories in favor of continuous process was to reveal a more profound order of relation where there had been only arbitrary separation.Joshs

    I don't see that the categories; the families, genera and species and so on have been abandoned, but rather their interconnections have been better understood, and the boundaries between them more clearly defined, even as they have become understood to be less rigid.

    Wittgenstein accomplished that with language, showing that they not just arbitrarily created entities, but are formed through, and never depart from, relational contexts of pragmatic use. The Op’s quibble with Wittgenstein concerns his depiction of such contexts
    as centered group structures.
    Joshs

    I'm not that clear on what you're saying here. It's unarguable that languages evolve pragmatically in group contexts, although not without more or less arbitrary individual innovations. Creative innovations have to be adopted by groups in order to survive and become conventional usages, though.
  • Joshs
    933

    The OP is a response to the rising popularity of ways of thinking about how the individual relates to the environment, both bodily , physical and social. They reject the idea of language as a mere tool for representing already existing meanings in the head. They reject the idea that we know and empathize with other persons by consulting our own interior cognitive mechanics. I agree with them as far as they go. I agree that experiencing , perception , cognition and language is not a matter of consulting internal schemes and templates, but is instead a being-with, already exposed
    to the world. Language is already present as
    perception , and perception is interactive behavior with an outside that perceives by changing itself. This disclosive construing is already languaging, expression and sociality . It participates in social conventions but is not dissolved into them.

    Hero’s an example of the type of position I’m critiquing.

    “When I think of Paul, I do not think of a flow of private sensations indirectly related to mine through the medium of interposed signs, but of someone who has a living experience of the same world as mine, as well as the same history, and with whom I am in communication through that world and that history.”

    In the experience of dialogue, there is constituted between the other person and myself a common ground; my thought and his are inter-woven into a single fabric, my words and those of my interlocutor are called forth by the state of the discussion, and they are inserted into a shared operation of which neither of us is the creator. We have here a dual being, where the other is for me no longer a mere bit of behavior in my transcendental field, nor I in his; we are collaborators for each other in consummate reciprocity. Our perspectives merge into each other, and we co-exist through a common world. In the present dialogue, I am freed from myself, for the other person’s thoughts are certainly his; they are not of my making, though I do grasp them the moment they come into being, or even anticipate them.

    And indeed, the objection which my interlocutor raises to what I say draws from me thoughts which I had no
    idea I possessed, so that at the same time that I lend him thoughts, he reciprocates by making me think too too. It is only retrospectively, when I have withdrawn from the dialogue and am recalling it that I am able to reintegrate it into my life and make of it an episode in my private history”. (Phenomenology of Perception, p.413)

    I believe that my being affected by Paul, and he by me, emotively, linguistically and perceptually , does nothing
    form a single system but is two systems revealing two
    perspectives. There is my point of view and my understanding of his point of view from my vantage.
    Then there is his point of view from his vantage and his understanding of my point of view from his vantage.
    You can see how this would be applied to the sharing of linguistic conventions.
  • Number2018
    469
    Therefore, don't we have the two incompatible functions of language?
    — Number2018

    No, because even such an expressive use of language is still a technique, it responds and is constituted by imperatives of communication - grammar key among them - that are social through and through.
    StreetlightX
    First of all, in principle, I agree with you that 'They are not two different functions of language,' and I share your view that 'Language is, first and foremost (although not only) a technology of social coordination.' Yet, I think that you are too fast and there is still a problem of bridging the gap. When you say:
    The idea of language as a kind of expressive medium of 'inner states' is a narrow, ivory-tower view of language usually promulgated by people who, having never consulted a single work of linguistics in their life, model language on old dead white men transmitting thoughts via books to them.StreetlightX
    you can depreciate the philosophical tradition based on self-reflection (from Descartes and Fichte to Husserl and Sartre) and throw the baby out with the bathwater. Likely, the first function of language is not just to provide an expressive medium of 'inner states.' "It is precisely the thinking activity of the cartesian self-reflection – the experiences of the thinking ego -that gives rise to doubt of the world reality and of my own. Thinking can seize upon and got hold of everything real – event, object, its own thoughts. The world itself got transformed into the flow of consciousness, and further become the object of reflection" (Hannah Arendt, ‘Human condition’). Activities of the mind, mediated by language, cannot be reduced to simple utilitarian performative functions. When we are writing these posts, we are not merely 'facilitative and action-oriented: you warn, exclaim, command, promise, cajole, demand, insult, soothe, direct, cheat and so on'. We are doing much more.
    Speech-acts, then, are socially negotiated, stereotypical communicative behaviors, highlighted and isolated from the experiential continuum of communication, which, when practiced according to a set of mutually identified conventions, allow for the successful mediation of the speaker’s intention across the experiential gap.StreetlightX
    This account of the performativity of language is excellent, but it is still insufficient. Though Arendt’s conceptual framework can become irrelevant for us, she provided an expanded vision of 'the cartesian performativity’. Our ‘speech acts’, expressed by language, momentarily synthesize and effectuate a complex of primarily unfelt and unrecognizable social determinants. Often, they are disguised by ordinary social conventions and norms. Also, reciprocally, we intervene and may impact the constitutive factors of our agency. Austin's theory of performativity represents just a superficial layer of what we do with words.
  • Joshs
    933
    Our ‘speech acts’, expressed by language, momentarily synthesize and effectuate a complex of primarily unfelt and unrecognizable social determinants.Number2018

    How does a social determinant have its effect on my behavior and thinking? Does it operate as a form
    of conditioning, behind my back so to speak , in spite of my explicitly construed intent?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k
    What is the difference? The purpose of both is to pass on information, correct?Pinprick

    No, memory is to retain information, that's completely different from passing on information. The former involves the attitude I have toward the relationship between the information I have, and myself. The latter involves the attitude I have toward the relationship between the information I have, and others. You ought to see that there is a big difference here. There is always good reason to retain information, but in a competitive world there is often good reason not to share it.


    This isn't a question that can be answered in the abstract. How effectively for what purpose? In the capacity of what role in action? Language works - not always sucessfully - to constrain uncertainty. It works to the extent that it is 'good enough' - not unlike evolution where what survives is 'good enough'. Communication is communication of the 'good enough', not for perfect matchings of 'internal states' or what have you. The latter is a metaphysical picture of language peddled by philosophers who have never studied human behaviour outside of imagining it in their books.StreetlightX

    Without a standard as to what is 'good enough' this is really meaningless. We can get along fine without conventions. Sure we might get frustrated and kill each other now and then, but conventions don't guarantee that we won't any way.

    An amoeba survives 'good enough' without evolving. We really need to address the true motive behind the instigation of conventions, and that is not to be 'good enough'. More likely it is the striving to be better. When striving to be better is apprehended as the motive, then we see that there really is no such thing as 'good enough', until we reach the ideal; not unlike evolution, where survival is simply not good enough.
  • Number2018
    469
    Our ‘speech acts’, expressed by language, momentarily synthesize and effectuate a complex of primarily unfelt and unrecognizable social determinants.
    — Number2018

    How does a social determinant have its effect on my behavior and thinking? Does it operate as a form
    of conditioning, behind my back so to speak , in spite of my explicitly construed intent?
    Joshs
    The best way to answer is to turn to Derrida’s critique of Austin’s speech acts theory.
    “Without a general iterability (a general citationality) there would not even be a "successful" performative. The intention animating the utterance will never be through and through present to itself and to its content. This essential absence of intending the actuality of utterance, this structural unconsciousness, if you like, prohibits any saturation of the context. In order for a context to be exhaustively determinable, in the sense required by Austin, conscious intention would at the very least have to be totally present… and immediately transparent to itself and to others, since it is a determining center [foyer] of context.” (Derrida, Signature. Event. Contest)”
    Derrida’s main point here that there is no speech act without intention, but there is the gap between one’s conscious intention and the unfelt determinants of the enormously complexed
    indiscernible context. Derrida uses the concept of ‘contest’ instead of the set of analytical conditions that Austin underlined as necessary for a successful speech act. The unavoidable presence of various unconscious factors makes any context of iterative performative utterance analytically undeterminable, so that “any saturation of the context is prohibited.” Consequently, it would mean the failure of Austin’s attempt to take account of ‘total context’ (the total speech situation), able to produce an illocutive force. Also, it would prove the effectiveness of Derrida’s differance. Can one of Austin’s most celebrated examples refute these assertions?
    "One of our examples was, for instance, the utterance 'I do' (take this woman to be my lawful wedded wife), as uttered in the course of a marriage ceremony. Here we should say that in saying these words we are doing something - namely, marrying, rather than reporting something, namely that we are marrying… Speaking generally, it is always necessary that the circumstances in which the words are uttered should be in some way, or ways, appropriate, and it is very commonly necessary that either the speaker himself or other persons should also perform certain other actions, whether 'physical' or 'mental' actions or even acts of uttering further words." (Austin, How To Do Things With Words). When one says 'I do,' one joins an infinite variation
    of different ceremonies without which the wedding would have no meaning. Therefore, in principle unlimited, there is a series of ways other bodies can be joined in matrimony in different places by different authorities for various reasons to achieve different effects. It looks like Derrida is right that general iterability is the central factor of a successful speech act, and its context is in principle undefined. Nevertheless, Derrida could not sufficiently make explicit his notion of a general citationality.
    How does a social determinant have its effect on my behavior and thinking? Does it operate as a form
    of conditioning, behind my back so to speak , in spite of my explicitly construed intent?
    Joshs

    I feel that I did not answer it, may be I will do it better after discussion of Derrida vs. Austin
  • Joshs
    933
    I’m glad that you used Derrida as an example. I agree that he effectively questions Austin’s assumptions concerning intention of meaning. I think the tricky thing here is how to determine the meaning of ‘context’ for Derrida, that is , the way that it intervenes on an intention such that “ Iterability alters...leaves us no room but to mean (to say) something that is (already, always, also) other than what we mean (to say) (Limited, Inc,p.61)”.

    there is the gap between one’s conscious intention and the unfelt determinants of the enormously complexed indiscernible context.Number2018

    The unavoidable presence of various unconscious factors makes any context of iterative performative utterance analytically undeterminableNumber2018

    So the way that I want to interpret the way Derrida uses terms like context and unconscious is that they are sequential changes in intention, rather than a ‘co-existing’ unconscious context. The unconsciousness, then, would not be within but beyond, the unavoidable exposure of intention to the alterity of new context with each iteration of the ‘same’ intention. Put differently, context would not be a spatially present surround but a temporally spacing ( and transforming) interation.

    And I guess this then connects up with my original question about how a social determinant, as a contextual influence, shapes and changes my intent?
    Because if we say , with Wittgenstein, that the contextual game performs a unitary meaning for the participants in it , the what of the other piece
    of Derrida’ s formulation of iterability, which is that each newly shaped intention borrows from what it displaces?
    If each participant in a language game is experiencing a ‘shared’ language context but is borrowing from their own individual history as they share in the ‘same’ context, it seems to me that the norms, rules, practices, grammars and conventions that belong to language use must be understood as abstractions from a multiplicity of differing individual experiences of it.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    The OP is a response to the rising popularity of ways of thinking about how the individual relates to the environment, both bodily , physical and social. They reject the idea of language as a mere tool for representing already existing meanings in the head. They reject the idea that we know and empathize with other persons by consulting our own interior cognitive mechanicsJoshs

    I agree that there is affectivity and empathy prior to language. We can see it in social animals. Language is a tool for representing meanings and associations, which underpin its social functionality; poetry being the prime "pure" example. But language is also a medium which allows a great creative proliferation of meanings and associations, and novel elaborations of function too, all of which would otherwise be impossible, and this attribute is also exemplified by poetry. So language is representation, but it is also "poesis" (making). Why must these dual, or better multifarious and interdependent, roles of language be reduced to a narrow polemic, a black and white case of 'one or the other'?
  • Joshs
    933
    So language is representation, but it is also "poesis" (making). Why must these dual, or better multifarious and interdependent, roles of language be reduced to a narrow polemic, a black and white case of 'one or the other'?Janus

    I think the Wittgensteinian as well as phenomenological argument would be that if we believe that a role of language can be to represent extant meanings, then the basis of the creativity of language becomes a mere synthetic function, a putting together and reshuffling of pre-existing meanings, and nothing is ever really new

    If on the other hand, to engage in language is never to refer to a pre-existing thought or feeling, but to instead enact a new sense of meaning, then creativity goes from a re-combining to a genuine birthing.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    Extant meanings always carry with them the possibility of novel associations. They are never absolutely fixed. Recently I was reading a passage in Gregory Bateson's Mind and Nature which addresses this from a different angle and in a different context. It may throw further light on this question; when I have more time I'll try to locate it and reproduce it here.
  • Pinprick
    532
    No, memory is to retain information, that's completely different from passing on information.Metaphysician Undercover

    Maybe, but I’ve heard it said that we don’t write things down to remember them, we do so to forget them. If information is forgotten, then rediscovering it is basically the same thing as learning new information. Or, what if I tell someone else to remind me to do X? Is that communication?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k
    Maybe, but I’ve heard it said that we don’t write things down to remember them, we do so to forget them.Pinprick

    We could say this about memorizing as well. We memorize something to get it out of mind, so we don't need to think about it anymore, therefore forget it. But this type of forgetting is conditional, on the confidence of being able to retrieve it later.

    If information is forgotten, then rediscovering it is basically the same thing as learning new information.Pinprick

    If you take some time to think about this statement, you'll see that it's based in an equivocation of "forgotten". If taking something out of your active mind, and placing it somewhere that it can be retrieved later, is a case of forgetting it, then retrieving it is obviously not the same thing as learning something new.
  • Joshs
    933
    If you take some time to think about this statement, you'll see that it's based in an equivocation of "forgotten". If taking something out of your active mind, and placing it somewhere that it can be retrieved later, is a case of forgetting it, then retrieving it is obviously not the same thing as learning something new.Metaphysician Undercover

    But that’s an information processing view of memory associated with first generation. cognitive psychology , which modeled human cognition after the computer.

    Newer approaches have discarded the computer analogy in favor of organismic metaphors. Cognition belongs to an embodied self-organizing system. Processes like cognition and perception are not the processing of raw stimuli but forms of interaction and self-transformation. Memory, then, is never veridical because it is not the retrieval of data from a filing cabinet. Rather it is a reconstructive activity that changes rather than retrieves.
  • Number2018
    469
    the way that I want to interpret the way Derrida uses terms like context and unconscious is that they are sequential changes in intention, rather than a ‘co-existing’ unconscious context. The unconsciousness, then, would not be within but beyond, the unavoidable exposure of intention to the alterity of new context with each iteration of the ‘same’ intention. Put differently, context would not be a spatially present surround but a temporally spacing ( and transforming) interation.Joshs
    I do not know if Derrida himself developed an expanded theory based on his insights:
    "Rather than oppose citation or iteration to the noniteration of an event, one ought to construct a differential typology of forms of iteration, assuming that such a project is tenable and can result in an exhaustive program, a question I hold in abeyance here. In such a typology, the category of intention will not disappear; it will have its place, but from that place, it will no longer be able to govern the entire scene and system of utterance [l'enonciation]. The first consequence of this will be the following: given that structure of iteration, the intention animating the utterance will never be through and through the present to itself and to its content. The iteration structuring it a priori introduces into it a dehiscence and a cleft [brisure] which are essential." (Derrida, 'Signature. Event. Contest') Without realizing Derrida's program, it is still uncertain why language norms and rules expose the apparent iterative, repetitive patterns. Your interpretation of Derrida's central concepts of context and structuring iterative unconscious underlines just the context's alterity. When you claim that: "If each participant in a language game is experiencing a 'shared' language context but is borrowing from their own individual history as they share in the 'same' context, it seems to me that the norms, rules, practices, grammars and conventions that belong to language use must be understood as abstractions from a multiplicity of differing individual experiences of it," we still need to deal with a few gaps here. What do you mean by a 'shared' language context? Is that what you understand as Derrida's 'context'? If yes, there is a gap between this context and the general regularities of language. If not, you would contradict yourself. I think that Foucault and Deleuze, using different concepts, could further develop Derrida's program of the founding of the iterative unconscious structuring. That is why I disagree with your claim that "radically temporal approaches are more effective at understanding others, as individuals and as groups, than Deleuze's approach. What he would see as arbitrary, they would perceive a finer order hiding within. As a 'psychotherapeutic' approach, Deleuze would look for how individuals are defined and created by their positioning within a social arrangement. Radical temporal approaches see the social rearrangement as secondary and derived in relation to the social movement that already defines the individual.” Are you familiar with 'Anti-Oedipus'? You can call this work arbitrary, but it is effective. All in all, our disagreement is primarily about choosing a more effective conceptual framework. So far, I still do not see that 'radical temporal approaches' are more effective.
  • Joshs
    933


    Are you familiar with 'Anti-Oedipus'? You can call this work arbitrary, but it is effective. All in all, our disagreement is primarily about choosing a more effective conceptual framework. So far, I still do not see why 'radical temporal approaches' are more effective.Number2018

    Let’s get specific. I’m going to take Kenneth Gergen’s
    approach to psychotherapy as reasonable proxy for Foucault-Deleuze.
    For Gergen, we only exist as the kind of ordinary, everyday persons we are, within certain, socially constructed, linguistically sustained "living traditions" - within which, what people seemingly talk 'about' (referentially) is in fact, constituted or constructed 'in' their responses to each other in the talk between them. In Gergen's version, such a tradition [end p.43] seemingly exists as "a repository of linguistic artifacts," sustained as such "in virtue of negotiated agreements widely shared within the culture" (MSp.9). For him, these socially negotiated agreements influence, not only what we take our realities to be, but also the character of our subjectivities, our psychological make-up.

    As Gergen sees it, instead of failures of understanding being crucial (and provoking adaptive reconstructions), "what we count as knowledge are temporary locations in dialogic space - samples of discourse that are accorded status as 'knowledgeable tellings on given occasions’.”

    Radically temporalapproaches , by contrast , sees each person as only being able to relate to, assimilate , construe that in the social sphere which can be construed on some basis of similarity with respect to one’s history of understanding. So we find in Kelly, Gendlin, and Heidegger a description of the ongoing history of an individual’s experiencing in terms of an overall pragmatic self- continuity: Here’s Heidegger:

    “In its familiar being-in-relevance, understanding holds itself before that disclosure as that within which its reference moves. Understanding can itself be referred in and by these relations. We shall call the relational character of these referential relations signifying. In its familiarity with these relations, Da-sein "signifies" to itself. It primordially gives itself to understand its being
    and potentiality-of-being with regard to its being-in-the-world. The for-the-sake-of -which signifies an in-order-to, the in-order-to signifies a what-for, the what-for signifies a what-in of letting something be relevant, and the latter a what-with of relevance. These relations are interlocked among themselves as a primordial totality. They are what they are as this signifying in which Da-sein gives itself to understand its being-in-the -world beforehand. We shall call this relational totality of signification significance. It is what constitutes the structure of the world, of that in which Da-sein as such always already is.“

    Can you imagine Deleuze assenting to this way of describing moment to moment experience in terms of an ongoing self-integrity through self-transformation?

    Now let’s look at George Kelly’s view of sociality.

    In order to understand the crucial distinction between using the social sphere as validational
    evidence and having one’s behavior normatively shaped in joint action, we have to keep in mind
    that the meaning of validation is closely tied to the replicative anticipatory aim of my construct
    system. However directly I attempt to connect with a world of fellow persons, each with their own subjective systems, all I can ever experience of that otherness is what I anticipatively, replicatively construe as consonant with my own system. As participant in an intersubjective
    community my construals frame and orient my reciprocal interactions with others in such a way that my own subjective thread of continuity runs through and organizes it. That is to say, hidden within the naive exteriority of my social encounters is a peculiar sort of coherence or implicate self-consistency.

    In Kelly’s approach, even when someone lives in a culture which is tightly conformist, one neither passively absorbs, nor jointly negotiates the normative practices of that culture, but validates one’s own construction of the world using the resources of that culture.
    “Perhaps we can see that it is not so much that the culture has forced conformity upon him as it is
    that his validational material is cast in terms of the similarities and contrasts offered within and
    between segments of his culture. “ (Kelly 1955, p. 93).
    “It may be difficult to follow this notion of culture as a validational system of events. And it may be even more difficult to reconcile with the idea of cultural control what we have said about man not being the victim of his biography. The cultural control we see is one which is within the client’s own construct system and it is imposed upon him only in the sense that it limits the kinds
    of evidence at his disposal. How he handles this evidence is his own affair, and clients manage it in a tremendous variety of ways.”

    One can see how the ‘tremendous variety of ways’ that participants are capable of interpreting the ‘same’ cultural milieu makes any attempt to apply a group -centered account of social understanding pointless.

    Kelly(1955) says: “You can say [a person] is what he is because of his cultural context. This is to say that the environment assigns him his role, makes him good or bad by contrast, appropriates him to itself, and, indeed, his whole existence makes sense only in terms of his relationship to the times and the culture. This is not personal construct theory.”
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