• Astrophel
    448
    He confirmed it early on, too, but he said that people misread Being and Time. For H. , both early and late, one’s thoughts project historical possibilities from ahead of oneself. History comes from the future, not the past.Joshs

    We are essentially "not yet" even in the grasp of a memory, the memory as grasped is a "not yet". Our existence is "fundamentally futural." But in "the moment" (what looks to me like Heidegger's version of nunc stans) one is still bound to finitude: "So neither must we take the fallenness of Dasein as a ‘fall’ from a purer and higher ‘primal status’. Not only do we lack any experience of this ontically, but ontologically we lack any possibilities or clues for Interpreting it. (p. 336 Stambough). There is nothing of a singular primordiality in this analytic. I read this to say that truly novel possibilities are simply bad metaphysics based on extravagant thinking about presence at hand (like Descartes of the Christian God).
  • Joshs
    5.3k


    Our existence is "fundamentally futural." But in "the moment" (what looks to me like Heidegger's version of nunc stans) one is still bound to finitude: "So neither must we take the fallenness of Dasein as a ‘fall’ from a purer and higher ‘primal status’. Not only do we lack any experience of this ontically, but ontologically we lack any possibilities or clues for Interpreting it. (p. 336 Stambough). There is nothing of a singular primordiality in this analytic. I read this to say that truly novel possibilities are simply bad metaphysics based on extravagant thinking about presence at hand (like Descartes of the Christian GodAstrophel

    By finitude, Heidegger, like Derrida, Deleuze and Nietzsche, doesn’t mean we are hemmed in by cultural norms or our past. On the contrary, finitude is the eternal return of the different and the unique. It is not our past that produces our finitude, it is the utter individuality of our future. Fallneness is not a fall from some purer, higher status because the futural finitude of temporality functions implicitly even within fallnness.
  • Astrophel
    448
    On the contrary, finitude is the eternal return of the different and the unique.Joshs

    Ah, you mean as in Kierkegaard's Repetition, as opposed to the "recollection". But in the liberated "moment," we are still bound to that which is there to be liberated, and this is cultural, bound, that is, in the sense that there is nothing else "there" in the possibilities.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    Ah, you mean as in Kierkegaard's Repetition, as opposed to the "recollection". But in the liberated "moment," we are still bound to that which is there to be liberated, and this is as cultural, bound, that is, in the sense that there is nothing else "there" in the possibilities.Astrophel

    Not for Heidegger. He defines primordial anxiety as dissociating oneself from one’s familiar world, rendering beings as a whole meaningless, irrelevant and insignificant, so as to simultaneously open up new possibilities of acting and being. The self continually comes to itself, and ex-ists, from out ahead of itself. It is not the human will that creates this transformation, but time itself.

    Truth, as the clearing and concealing of what is, happens in being composed, as a poet composes a poem. All art, as the letting happen of the advent of the truth of what is, is, as such, essentially poetry. The nature of art, on which both the art work and the artist depend, is the setting-itself-into­-work of truth. It is due to art's poetic nature that, in the midst of what is, art breaks open an open place, in whose openness everything is other than usual. By virtue of the projected sketch set into the work of the unconcealedness of what is, which casts itself toward us, everything ordinary and hitherto existing becomes an unbeing. This unbeing has lost the capacity to give and keep being as measure.” (Origin of the Work of Art)
  • Ludwig V
    926
    He stepped beyond the very line he drew explaining the way out. Russell called him a mystic. Wittgenstein then walked away, for he knew they, the positivists, had missed the point: it wasn't about the lack of meaning in the world. It was about language's inability make statements about logic wouldn't allow (in the Tractatus). This frees meaning rather than inhibits it.Astrophel
    I see two different representations of the issues at play in this. They are often confused. The context in which Witt. talked about silence in the Tractatus, was a very narrow, restrictive notion of language. He (and Russell) approached everything in the context of logic - i.e. truth and falsity, the use of language to describe, the project of theory. So, in the Tractatus, what you and I would say were other, non-descriptive uses of language were not saying anything - silent - and were therefore meaningless. So when Russell called Witt. a mystic, he was not wrong, because Witt. did use the word "ineffable", but was not using it in quite the traditional sense of the word. But this generalizes the narrow, technical disagreement between them so that other issues appear to be included in its scope and, because Witt. is so hermetic in the Tractatus, it is very hard to be sure what scope he thought his ideas actually had/have.
    Having said that, whatever exactly is going on here, he was indeed at least pointing to, or showing, something beyond the limits of what he thought language is and that does, in a way, free meaning, as you say. This leads us to meaning beyond language, language pointing beyond itself. Which is where we came in.
    How far this issue is still in play in his later work is very hard to discern, except that he certainly doesn't work through arguments with premises and conclusions. He is much more interested in presenting examples and cases and letting us work things out for ourselves. How far he was imitated is another question.
  • Number2018
    555
    By finitude, Heidegger, like Derrida, Deleuze and Nietzsche, doesn’t mean we are hemmed in by cultural norms or our past. On the contrary, finitude is the eternal return of the different and the unique. It is not our past that produces our finitude, it is the utter individuality of our future.Joshs

    What is finitude for Nietzsche? He affirms the primacy of a world of becoming over a world of being: “That everything recurs is the closest approximation of a world of becoming to a world of being.” (WP, 617). Likely, 'a word of being' corresponds to 'finitude'. Nietzsche does not deny that there are regularity, patterns, and identity, the same or the similar. Yet, they acquire stability of the same due to an endless translation and articulation of what becomes into what we perceive as the recurrence of the same. Deleuze formulates the principle of the eternal return such that only difference in itself (pure difference) returns, and never the same. It means that the same necessarily implicates time.
    The time implicated in this way is also implicated in itself. The communication of time with itself, or the interplay of the past with the future, composes the eternal return of pure difference.
  • Ludwig V
    926
    Brilliant! But has there not been anything vouchsafed for the fly, that is, embedded IN the delimited world of fly existence. Not the sky that summons like an impossible "over there," as the fly conceives the over there from the "in here" that establishes the distance to be spanned. It depends on the details of the carry over of meaning from the metaphor to the relevance at hand, which is our metaphysical quandary. A Buddhist would say the distance between fly and exit is no distance at all. We are always already the Buddha! Wittgenstein would agree, but in his own way. We should be silent about that which cannot be spoken, but only to leave the latter unconditioned by interpretative imposition, that maligns and distorts. For Witt, he says briefly, the good is the divine. Language has no place here.Astrophel
    Thanks. But your subsequent comments opened up lines of thought that I have not explored before. Thank you also for that. I settled for the opening up of language beyond truth, falsity and description, the recognition of human knowledge as not necessarily entirely a matter of propositions and human life as more than knowledge as penetrating the Tractatus silence. But this (and this thread) is something else.

    As to "But has there not been anything vouchsafed for the fly, that is, embedded IN the delimited world of fly existence. Not the sky..." I can't really grasp the viewpoint of the fly, but watching the behaviour of the insects caught in this trap does give some basis for some sort of empathy. Their behaviour is uncomprehending, furious, frustration and incredulity, expressed in repeating the same futile attempt to batter through the obstacle. (I did once walk straight into a glass wall that I had not noticed, and it was indeed completely bewildering, so I deeply sympathize with them.) Their eventual escape seems to be the result of a strategy - to back off and try again, - but each new attempt is random and eventual escape is the result of pure luck. They do give the impression of being delighted by their success and it is easy to empathize with that. Since one doesn't know why they are trying to get out through the window, it's hard to guess how they conceive what lies beyond it. As you say, it isn't the sky. Perhaps freedom is enough.

    But the point, and the delight, of the metaphor lies in the difference between their understanding and the more comprehensive human view. So one point of it lies in the limitations of a specific point of view and the better understanding that can be gained from a different one - changing the game, so to speak. Pedestrian as it is, that certainly seems to apply to the problem of this thread.

    In connection with that, the futility of the insect battering itself against the glass reminds me of the futility of our battering ourselves against the circle that language points beyond itself and yet there can be nothing beyond itself. I'm not convinced by any of the candidates for breaking this down. They are all suggestive in some way, but all seem to involve yet more words. Perhaps we need a change of viewpoint.

    I don't say that Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and the Buddhists are all just plain wrong. Perhaps they are right, or partly right. Perhaps.

    But, just for fun, here is another possibility. We approach this question by distinguishing language and world, epistemology and ontology, and then trying to work out how to get beyond the first to reach the second. But language also has its place in ontology (language exists). So if language is part of the world, perhaps we needs to understand it, and knowledge, by starting with the world and working out the place(s) and ways that they exist in it, taking their origin from it.
  • Astrophel
    448
    But, just for fun, here is another possibility. We approach this question by distinguishing language and world, epistemology and ontology, and then trying to work out how to get beyond the first to reach the second. But language also has its place in ontology (language exists). So if language is part of the world, perhaps we needs to understand it, and knowledge, by starting with the world and working out the place(s) and ways that they exist in it, taking their origin from it.Ludwig V

    Of course, I take a stronger view: it is not that language has its place in ontology, but that the two are analytically inseparable. You cannot speak in any meaningful way about an ontology without an epistemology; or, it is impossible to affirm an ontology without affirming an epistemology simply because it is, after all, an affirmation, and this is an epistemic idea. Any attempt to talk about 'material substance," say, as foundational ontology apart from epistemology has no basis in observation and is just bad metaphysics. Observation here is meant in the most general sense: something must conform to the principles of phenomenology, which is to say, it must "appear". Appearing is the basis for being. That objects are "out there" and apart from me appears just in this way, and this is not challenged, our "difference" is not challenged, but the way this difference is expressed in language remains contextually bound.

    Perhaps you can see, as I do, how liberating this is. It is essentially Cartesian, but Descartes didn't really understand that the cogito's affirmation issues from the beings it realizes in its gaze. This is what is not to be doubted, the very intimacy is encounter qua encounter, once the perception is cleared of busy assumptions that are always already there when I sit before a computer or look up and notice the time. Husserl provides the direction for this kind of philosophical thinking with his epoche.

    Why it is so important, in my view, that phenomenology should rule our thinking in philosophy lies with religion and metaphysics. I should let Michel Henry speak on this:

    Phenomenology is not the “science of phenomena” but of their essence, that is, of what allows a phenomenon to be a phenomenon. It is not the science of phenomena but of their pure phenomenality as such, in short, of their pure appearing. Other words can also express this theme that distinguishes phenomenology from all other sciences: demonstration [monstration], disclosure, pure manifestation, pure revelation, or even the truth, if taken in its absolutely original sense. It is interesting to note that these keywords of phenomenology are also for many the keywords of religion and theology.

    When one makes the move toward a philosophy of our existence, then one moves into religion, and philosophy's job is define what this is minus the things that are extraneous to its essence, that is, one has do to religion what Kant did to reason, which is discover what is there in experience makes religion what it is, grounded in the world rather than in the extraordinary imaginations religious people.
  • Ludwig V
    926
    our "difference" is not challenged, but the way this difference is expressed in language remains contextually bound.Astrophel
    Yes, that's the possibility I was getting at. In addition, I was hinting at the possibility that the "truth" or maybe just something deeper (whatever that means) might lie in the totality or intersection of the different ideas that have been presented (assuming that each of them works in its own context). That's not really a particularly exotic idea.
    So how might we proceed? Let's start by identifying where we agree.

    it is impossible to affirm an ontology without affirming an epistemology simply because it is, after all, an affirmation, and this is an epistemic idea.Astrophel
    Yes. I want to add that language is an essential part of knowledge, at least in philosophical discourse, so we need to bear that in mind. Also, what an affirmation is may turn out to be complicated. Not all affirmations are the same. For example, affirmation of God's existence is not simply an empirical scientific hypothesis - or so I believe.

    Any attempt to talk about 'material substance," say, as foundational ontology apart from epistemology has no basis in observation and is just bad metaphysics. Observation here is meant in the most general sense: something must conform to the principles of phenomenology, which is to say, it must "appear". Appearing is the basis for being.Astrophel
    Yes, Berkeley had to amend his slogan to "esse" is "percipi aut percipere", thus allowing that inference from an appearance to an unseen reality was not always illegitimate. That enables him to allow not only that he, as perceiver, but also other people (minds) and God exist. (He classified these additional entities as "notions" rather than "ideas", so that his principle was, he thought, preserved.) This seems to me to undermine his argument somewhat. But you only assert that appearance is the basis of being. So I think you could accept adding "capable of being perceived" to the slogan. (My Latin lets me down here.) I can accept that, though I might be more generous than you in what I consider what might appear to us or what might count as the appearing of something to us.

    what is there in experience makes religion what it is, grounded in the world rather than in the extraordinary imaginations religious people.Astrophel
    I agree that the conventional dismissal of the existence of God is not the end of the discussion and that an understanding (explanation) of the phenomenon (if you'll allow that word to apply in this context) is desirable and should be available. But whether that is possible without taking sides in the argument is not at all clear to me.

    Other words can also express this theme that distinguishes phenomenology from all other sciences: demonstration [monstration], disclosure, pure manifestation, pure revelation, or even the truth, if taken in its absolutely original sense. It is interesting to note that these keywords of phenomenology are also for many the keywords of religion and theology.Astrophel
    I'm puzzled about the "epoche" which I would have thought was meant to distinguish phenomenology not only from all other sciences, but also from religion and theology. Also, I would have thought that "demonstration [monstration], disclosure, pure manifestation, pure revelation, or even the truth," were also keywords for science. I must have misunderstood something. Perhaps I haven't understood "monstration" which I think quite specifically means the display of the host to the congregation. I don't see how that can be clearly distinguished from the display of an experiment to its audience.
  • Astrophel
    448
    Yes, that's the possibility I was getting at. In addition, I was hinting at the possibility that the "truth" or maybe just something deeper (whatever that means) might lie in the totality or intersection of the different ideas that have been presented (assuming that each of them works in its own context). That's not really a particularly exotic idea.
    So how might we proceed? Let's start by identifying where we agree.
    Ludwig V

    Consider: Wittgenstein was wrong about the limitations of language (in the Tractatus), for there really is no limit to what language, as structured meaning, can say, or, whatever limitations there are, are trivial. Content is the issue, not logic. There is, I have read, a language that is shared among Tibetan Buddhists that is impenetrable from outside of this culture because there is no shared experiences with those on the inside. Hume once said of reason that it really had no value In it, and that left to its own nature, it would just as soon annihilate humanity as save it. Reason is an empty vessel, and if there were anything better than reason, reason would discover it. And finally, structural limitations are, of course, language limitations, and these are indeterminate. How does a term like 'logic' really pin things down without itself having been pinned?

    I like to note that if God were to show up tomorrow at my doorstep, reason wouldn't flinch. So when Derrida says that language use generates a "trace" that is based on difference and deference within language, and there really is no way language reaches objects because the possibilities of positing a being rest with this trace within language as a whole (a contextual whole), I see this not as a prohibitive on what can be said, but rather a critical declaration of freedom. The world is not simply a logical structure of dictionary meanings interrelated to other dictionary meanings, but is an overwhelming content that has nothing to do with trace, or better, that "escapes" the grasp of the trace.

    To understand something? Clearly there is a fence post there, but analysis cannot reveal how this epistemic connection is possible. So where does one begin to understand this? Start with the clarity of the encounter, the clear and forceful event, for THIS is what rules "primordially," and not Derrida's analysis. I grab the post "physically" and gaze at its "presence" and the certainty will not be challenged. Language is in play, but the encounter is not possessed by this. What is a world without all the thinking? One could say (Kierkegaard, for one) that the ancient mind was more attuned or aligned "authentically" not because their thinking was so free of error, but because there was so little of it. Imagine a mind that could look up at the sun and believe it to be a God, unfettered by a massive cultural embeddedness and a high school and college education.

    Yes. I want to add that language is an essential part of knowledge, at least in philosophical discourse, so we need to bear that in mind. Also, what an affirmation is may turn out to be complicated. Not all affirmations are the same. For example, affirmation of God's existence is not simply an empirical scientific hypothesis - or so I believe.Ludwig V

    But being in love or suffering a burn is not complicated. These are entangled in complexity, just as working for General Motors is entangled, but does GM "exist"? I think the hard part of philosophy is determining if it is at all possible to say that there is something that is not language, not a construct, with neither a long historical lineage, nor a brief personal one.

    Just because one can say it, doesn't mean it's real, and just because one cannot say it doesn't mean it is not real, and this doesn't divide the world into sayable and unsayable things, for ANYTHING can be said if it appears before one: Oh look, there it is! Remember when God appeared and you could fathom eternity? Why yes. Extraordinary! Language was NEVER about speaking the world. It was about shared experiences and the pragmatic requirements of doing this. Language is pragmatic.

    God is no more unfathomable than my cat or this pencil. The question about God is not how unfathomable the concept is, but rather, what there IS in the world that tells us the term is not a fabrication, like General Motors or unicorns.

    Yes, Berkeley had to amend his slogan to "esse" is "percipi aut percipere", thus allowing that inference from an appearance to an unseen reality was not always illegitimate. That enables him to allow not only that other people (minds) exist, but also that God exists. (He classified these additional entities as "notions" rather than "ideas", so that his principle was, he thought, preserved.) This seems to me to undermine his argument somewhat. But you only assert that appearance is the basis of being. SO I think you could accept adding "capable of being perceived" to the slogan. (My Latin lets me down here.) I can accept that, though I might be more generous than you in what I consider what might appear to us or what might count as the appearing of something to us.Ludwig V

    Of course, there are things to be discovered, but if these are going to have philosophical significance, they have to elucidate at the most basic level. Quantum mechanics may demonstrate a startling acausal connectivity between events in the world, and who knows, this may lead to a revolution in epistemology, for I am convinced that this openness to the world which allows me to encounter other things is not reducible to any kind of idealism, but then, you can see why this has prima facie objections, for science presupposes the original setting of being and beings in the world. Epistemology is a relation between me and the world, and the agency I call myself is not empirically "observable" so what a quantum physicist observes is not going to be the original relation.

    I agree that the conventional dismissal of the existence of God is not the end of the discussion and that an understanding (explanation) of the phenomenon (if you'll allow that word to apply in this context) is desirable and should be available. But whether that is possible without taking sides in the argument is not at all clear to meLudwig V

    I argue that Religion hangs on value in the world and the world's foundational indeterminacy. The joys and sufferings of the world are not contingent in their nature. Their entanglements are contingent, but not the ethical/aesthetic "good" and "bad" that is discovered IN these entanglements. All ethical issues are value-in-play issues, so the question as to what value is, is essential to understanding ethics. Value is the essence of ethics, meaning you take value out of a situaltion, and the ethics of the situation vanishes altogether. God is a construct, but the world's horrors are not, and nor is the indeterminacy of understanding of what these are.

    I'm puzzled about the "epoche" which I would have thought was meant to distinguish phenomenology not only from all other sciences, but also from religion and theology. Also, I would have thought that "demonstration [monstration], disclosure, pure manifestation, pure revelation, or even the truth," were also keywords for science. I must have misunderstood something. Perhaps I haven't understood "monstration" which quite specifically means the display of the host to the congregation; but I don't see how that can be clearly distinguished from the display of an experiment to its audience.Ludwig V

    The phenomenological reduction (epoche) is a method of discovery of is "really there" as opposed to what is merely assumed to be there prior to inquiry. It is mostly a descriptive "science" if the original givenness of the world, and this is where philosophy belongs. A physicist will tell us Jupiter is mostly gaseous, a phenomenologist will say this simply assumes what Jupiter IS prior to calling it gaseous or anything else. Science's Jupiter is first a phenomenological construct, and science sits like a superstructure on top of this essential phenomenological structure.

    The four principles of phenomenology:
    1. so much appearing, so much being.
    2. every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition”
    3. “zu den Sachen selbst!”(to the things themselves)
    4. so much reduction, so much givenness.

    The reason I think phenomenology is right is a bit complicated, but essentially, I have come to understand the bare simplicity of the idea that all one can every witness is phenomena. This is analytically true, for to be is to be witnessed. As I see it, there is only one way to second guess this, and this is through indeterminacy. It is, after all, caste in language, and language itself is indeterminate.

    As to religion, I argue that this term has to first be liberated from its metaphysics and institutions. One does this by making the phenomenological move: what is there after we eject all of the superfluous thinking? Science does this with its regions of inquiry, the same rigor here. The ontology of religion is value-in-being. Like ethics, remove value, that is, the value dimension of experience, from the world, and religion vanishes as well. Religion is a metaethical and metaaesthetic phenomenon.
  • Ludwig V
    926

    Thank you for this. I need to think about how to reply.
  • Ludwig V
    926
    Imagine a mind that could look up at the sun and believe it to be a God, unfettered by a massive cultural embeddedness and a high school and college education.Astrophel
    I grant you that the ancient people who thought that the sun was a god were unfettered by our culture and upbringing. It would seem that we have developed a culture that can free us from their cultural limitations. Consequently we can, to some extent, imagine ourselves in their place. But that does not mean that we are not ourselves limited in other ways. But they were surely fettered by their culture and upbringing. Unless culture and upbringing are not simply fetters but are the conditions of the possibility of thinking at all.

    I think the hard part of philosophy is determining if it is at all possible to say that there is something that is not language, not a construct, with neither a long historical lineage, nor a brief personal one.Astrophel
    If it is not possible to say that already, it never will be.
    Philosophers can say "let's free ourselves from all assumptions" and think that the thing is done in the saying of it. As if you could draw a picture without drawing a first line or, better, play/sing a tune without defining the notes. The preliminaries do not restrict us, but enable these things to be done.

    What is a world without all the thinking?Astrophel
    Whatever it is, it is not the world that we know. Once you have developed the skill of making pictures or making music, you cannot go back and unmake it. One of the distinctive features of the sub-atomic world is that we have to acknowledge that the act of observation disrupts the objects we observe. We cannot go back and unmake our existence and intervention in the world.

    Science's Jupiter is first a phenomenological construct, and science sits like a superstructure on top of this essential phenomenological structure.Astrophel
    One does this by making the phenomenological move: what is there after we eject all of the superfluous thinking? Science does this with its regions of inquiry, the same rigor here.Astrophel
    Here's what really bothers me about this. We talk of "phenomena" as if they existed independently of reality. But an appearance is always an appearance of something. When the sun appears from behind a cloud or the moon or rises, as we say, above the horizon, there are not two things, the sun and its appearance, but one thing, the sun appearing. When we are confused by the bent stick in water, there are not two things, the stick and its appearance, but one thing, the stick appearing to be bent. So the entire project of phenomenology rests on a specific ontology, which is taken for granted; this way of thinking about things is part of the preparation for the project, so cannot be lightly abandoned. But other ways of thinking are available.

    I'm not saying that phenomenology is wrong, just that it is not the only game in town. We remain free to choose which game to play and when. Language, knowing and thinking are not complete and consistent wholes and so they afford us opportunities as well as imposing restrictions.
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