Comments

  • Brains
    I should note, that I'm not holding people to yes and no. I'm more interested in the why part. The yes/no is just meant to make people commit to something, even if its nascent and only being considered rather than truly believed.
  • Brains
    I mean, I'm just giving a hypothetical there to clarify the question and say one can make variations however they like for purposes of answering the question. It's a purposefully unclear question so that people of differing views can answer it.

    So, yes or no?
  • Brains
    Well, that'd be proposing a kind of mechanism that I listed, yes. Though I chose the unclear "virtual reality machine" to sum up a large collection of distinctions, too. So, for instance, we may say that only dreams are us experiencing the virtual part of the virtual-reality -- there's a contact between mind and world (a kind of realism of both, while describing the realism of the mind) as much more subdued version of the Cartesian theatre that is more plausible to current thinking.
  • Brains
    A bit of a stretch wouldn't you say? Even what is happening in one's own body is largely below the thresholds of consciousness.jgill

    Yes, definitely a stretch. Part of my fascination with such things is simply trying to understand what brings a rational person to sincerely believe these things, because I'm used to these claims being from the not-rational side.
  • Brains

    Bold! :D

    I suppose the next part is -- ok, can we identify which parts of the virtual reality are confabulations and which aren't?

    For instance I could separate out my perceptions of objects, or even just separate out my senses, and name some parts of my mentals-goings-ons as virtual, and other parts of it as real. I suspect that emergence would lead one to believe this to be the case, where because of our scientific knowledge of the brain we can infer that everyone is somewhat in an experiential dome of their own making, and it's only habituation that leads us to believe otherwise, ala Hume.

    But I suspect if we are illusionists, then we could reduce the virtual reality to something like dysfunctions, or improper functioning. So only our errors are the illusions, while for the most part we're pretty much in contact with a world, rather than living in an experiential-film island.



    So, yes or no?
  • The ineffable
    But those important ideas of family solidarity are incidental to God as a concept. It could be sort of thing that works like this that holds people together. The idea here is, is it an idea that is defensible when brought before inquiry. This is an important question, as, for one thing, religions have a great deal of influence on how we deal with our general affairs, and foolish beliefs can engender prejudice and impaired judgment in social issues. For another, clear thinking about religion can actually bring about startling insights.

    I am in a minority position in holding that there actually IS a Truth with a capital T, so to speak, notwithstanding how this sits with modern thinking.
    Constance

    Yeah :) -- though, to be honest, there are others here who believe in such things, too. And, I have to note, I've been absolutely loving this conversation. But I think we've probably reached the last stop, and we're a far cry from the opening (not that I mind such things, but I try my best to not go too far down my various rabbit holes that are easy to distract me into)

    My criticisms are meant as encouragements for a more developed line of thinking and warnings to ward off disappointment -- hopefully they weren't too discouraging, because you got something to say, and while I sit on the anthropological side of religion (rather than the practitioner's side), I do actually enjoy the project of "religion within the bounds of reason alone" -- so hopefully we'll get to touch on these ideas throughout the threads.

    But for now, I think it best to leave things here, and think the thoughts that come.
  • The ineffable
    But God in the "household" meaning of the term is instantly assailable.Constance

    Are you sure?

    The household meaning is the important meaning -- not the philosophers meaning. It's the household meaning that holds the house together, that connects the family to the community, that provides consolation and guidance and a means for talking about and to one another so that the family can live its life in economic productivity and safety.

    Or, at least, that'd be one way to put it. And reason feels cold in relation to such luxuries.
  • The ineffable
    I don't think it's the same for all subjects; if learning a subject is a matter of learning a bunch of facts or formulas, then there is a definite process of teaching which will definitely yield results if the student is willing and has the necessary intellectual capacity. Of course, being creative in any subject is another matter and is more akin to the arts and cannot be reliably taught.Janus

    I agree with this.

    Also, probably shows some of the shortcomings of my proposal of using teaching as a stand-in for the ineffable. It was just an honest answer to the original bike question, i.e., why I would not count riding a bike as ineffable. My answer being, because it's teachable, so it just seems like not a very interesting case for philosophers.

    Well, that's what it says on the label: The Philosophy Forum.Banno

    Hawt damn, I managed to stay on topic for once! :D
  • The ineffable
    Having been an art student myself and having been involved in the arts for many years, I find myself disagreeing with this.Janus

    Cool.

    I see the tough cases as ones of motivation. You can lead a horse to water, but if they don't want to drink they won't.

    That's true of teaching any subject, though. Students will be students, in the end.

    And yes, I'm not interested in trivial cases, either, where it comes down to a definition. Interesting cases only.

    Personally, I find it incredible that some (not you, Moliere) want to deny that there is any aspect of private experience which cannot be made public, and seem to have some weird, politically correct fetish for making everything public,and insisting on their dogmatic, and even worse insuufferably boring, version of correctness in all matters philosophical, which to me is objectionable and raises the horrible spectre of Groupthink and universal ennui.Janus

    I think it's more a matter of trying to figure it out philosophically than anything. The demands of reason, and such. Maybe there's something private, but it might be outside the bounds of philosophy at that point. Also, given that philosophy seeks agreement -- at least I think it does, else why talk at all when you could just live? -- those are the sorts of appeals one makes in looking for agreement, or at least understanding.

    Also, while it may be weird, I think it worth noting if something is private by way of a groups decision vs. something being private in some sort of universal sense. At least, from the philosopher's vantage. I can understand that sacred things may be kept out of the hands of philosophers (by choice, because it's inappropriate, or because all the philosophers disagree with one another anyways ;) ) -- it's not that everything is public, but philosophy is public just because of the rubric of reason. (though, of course, philosophers play with that, but generally speaking... naw)
  • The ineffable
    The mystical cannot be true or false because this is a feature of propositions, not states of mind or existential encounters. It is what is said about these that can be true or false. So what if God actually appeared before me and intimated HER eternal grandeur and power?Constance

    Then that'd be between you and God, yeah? And whomever else saw her.

    Maybe what you say of her is true. And, if I believe you, in the same vein, I'd have to believe others who say otherwise if I'm going to remain consistent (i.e., reasonable, like the practice of philosophy would have me do). And then it's pretty easy to see how people experience these things differently, upon listening to them. In some way I'd have to accommodate the apparent inconsistency. God is feminine, God is masculine, God has no gender -- since the purpose is guidance and consolation, it depends on the speaker's conviction of God rather than some fact of the matter. In fact, for someone who wants a person like themselves to be in charge of existence, it's better to think of God in that way.

    But it's not consistent. And so it seems we've left the standards of reason behind in seeking to speak truth about the mystical, when the mystical is neither true nor false.



    Language does not prohibit this; it is the content of language that prohibits this, that is, what is familiar and usual. Language is entirely open and even the Wittgensteinian Tractatusian prohibitions are not categorical. They rest on intuitions about logic, and these are, in Heidegger's terms, taking up the world AS: When logic speaks of logic's own delimitations, this is an imposition that occurs within the finitude of logic's application.Constance

    I think it's the familiar and usual which enables one to speak at all -- though we are free to re-tool language as we see fit (insofar that we are, in fact, free at least). There's not a strict prohibition on creative uses of language. That's the only way that it could be worthwhile -- because as the world changes, so does language, and vice-versa.

    Really, the familiar or the exotic are a matter of perspective. If you're born in a Morman household, now, evolution isn't exotic. When I was growing up, however, it was. It was a strange thing that should be shunned because it conflicted with faith. Exoticism or everydayness is just a pattern of difference and habit.

    And, for the most part, people are creatures of habit.

    I'd hazard that in learning how to live habits are what are passed on. Rituals. That sort of thing.

    Things which people hold dear.

    But if a philosopher wants to call them true, then there's some work cut out for them in trying to resolve the various inconsistencies -- the Euthyphro, the naturalistic question, the mind-body problem, God's existence (and, thereby, all existential claims). . . it's kind of a huge project. And you wouldn't be the first philosopher to try. And, as it turns out, the philosophers -- even with the best of intentions -- sincerely disagree with one another in their attempts to apply reason to the problem.

    And, for the most part, no one actually cares about "Religion within the bounds of reason alone" -- they want something beyond reason. Reason is seen as somehow not supplying a person with what they need. They need something beyond reason, something beyond language, something greater than themself.

    So one wonders what the point is if you'll just be left there with your cathedral in the sky that makes sense to you, but that's about it.

    For me, I still like to think about the anthropology of religion, and why it is so compelling. The idea that it will just fall away is simply naive, though. I'm pretty sure the traditions and practices will be preferentially selected among the religious over a philosophical product.

    I do disagree here: Philosophy does have its grounding, which is firmly there before inquiry.Constance

    Heh, that might be a agree-to-disagree. We can mark our departure, at least. If philosophy has a grounding, I do not see it. Maybe it's firm. But I think it just goes back to an individual's convictions and desires (themself a social product of the process of life).

    Hmmm, true. But just because it is not a popular issue doesn't help here. All that we know and accept as true was once not popular.Constance

    Yeh, but here I'm saying -- bury the hatchet. This distinction will be forgotten because it's just a blip in the history of philosophy.

    You know, it really does take the reading. Consider that empirical science was there at the beginning of our acculturation and we were, in those early years, exposed to nothing but, through high school and beyond.Constance

    This probably goes some way to our disagreement, too, and goes some way to elucidate what I mean by everyday/exotic experience.

    I was raised in a very religious household. I figured out science later. The arguments from experience and all that were my bread and butter, and I've seen how people in communities react to and use such arguments "in the wild", outside of the philosophers concerns. My skepticism in such things is based in experience -- hence my doubts about phenomenology leading one to God, but rather, from my story, it leads one to nature.
  • The ineffable
    Oh, hell yeah. :D
  • The ineffable
    Something that's weighty about teaching, and it's much the same with any position of authority. You just have power over other people's lives, if you're in a position of authority, whether you like it or not.

    While learning to play a piano we develop an ethics of practice (hence my lamenting my lack of character)

    While learning to read the Bible, there are many more ethical teachings which are about developing character to be a certain way.

    And it's interesting to note, here, I think -- each discipline has a certain boundary of what's appropriate to say. A kind of ineffability, but only by way of collective practice. So it'd be inappropriate to develop much more than an ethics of practice when teaching the piano, it'd be inappropriate to develop an ethics of selfishness in teaching someone how to operate in a union, it'd be inappropriate to not address concerns about living life in a church (well, depending on the faith group -- it varies greatly, but is still developing people's ability to live their life)


    But, also, I want to note how it's only because I care about others being free that I think a person should be developed to flourish on in their own way. It's an ethical commitment.
  • The ineffable
    I don't believe that what can only be shown, not said, is effable, because I understand the word to denote that which can be clearly explained.Janus

    Sure, I'm on board. Interesting cases only.

    Think of a culinary recipe, for example. If it is exhaustively set out and followed rigorously, results are guaranteed. To my way of thinking that would be an example of effability. No such definite instructions can be given for how to paint a picture, compose a musical piece or write a poem, because the requirement there is analogous to creating your own unique culinary dish.

    I think we can't be taught a unique thing, but that character is developed in such a way that a person is set up to be creative.

    To teach how to paint a picture we begin with the elements and principles of art, and those are similar enough rules that both masters and students use. And one's aesthetic sensibilities are developed by attending to the history of the art, both in terms of technique and in terms of movements.

    So, yes -- it's an interesting case, but I think creativity can be taught. An uncreative person can be shown how to be creative. Or, at least, more creative than they were. So, we probably couldn't come up with a regimen which will be guaranteed to develop a Picasso, but we can teach people to be creative in the art for all that.

    Don't look at me. I tried to discourage the reams of babble that emerged early on, to no avail.jgill

    :D -- I just embrace it. It's somewhat beautiful that we can babble on.
  • The ineffable
    Not transferred, as nothing moves from brain to brain; the ability is developed, perhaps?Banno

    Yup, that works for me too. The ability is developed.
  • The ineffable
    Notice the metaphor. It easily becomes reified.

    What is transferred? In teaching someone to play, they become able to move their fingers in a certain way. In teaching someone to add, they become able to participate in a group of language games such as sharing, bookkeeping, calculating change. It's the action that counts, after all.
    Banno

    Upon learning how to play a person should be able to play, and able to judge, and set on a path where the student doesn't need the teacher but can progress in their own way.

    So, yes, it's the action that counts. And it's public. "Behaviors" just has a connotation from psychology I'm not so sure about. Abilities might go better for me. I agree that one teaches others to be able. But part of that isn't just an ability, but just because of the way we are, part of it is how to live. A teacher rubs off on their students. So not only is ability transferred, but so is some ethical component.
  • The ineffable
    Sure we can make distinctions. I just thought we were discussing the possibility of ineffability according to its common definition, rather than your “special” definition.Luke

    Well, I think that explains our collective confusion. :D
  • The ineffable
    It would be wrong to treat teaching as moving something from one mind to another. It is better thought of as bringing about certain behaviours in one's students. Hence it is a public exercise.

    Improving is a public enterprise. It can be seen, or it amounts to nothing.
    Banno

    I'm not sure what I'd want to construe teaching as, but it's what comes to mind when thinking about if something counts as ineffable -- if it can be taught, then it's not ineffable.

    Institutionally, I'd say that the transfer isn't between minds as much as generations. Knowledge is transferred on to enough people that they can continue doing things together -- itself defined by the knowledge. In this sense, for what @Constance mentioned earlier, churches and such could count as store-houses of knowledge in the same way that universities are since they are institutions which transfer that knowledge down from one generation to the next. But then I'd say it's not ineffable -- strange, perhaps, to a naturalistic worldview, but not ineffable.

    I think I'm hesitant with things like "behaviors" more than "public" -- I agree that it's public. But what counts as public may not always be behaviors.
  • The ineffable
    So, although I know nothing about Stanislavski, I suspect that his teaching would consist more in showing than in saying. The student then either "gets it" or doesn't. You cannot teach how to become a good painter or poet, although you can teach certain basic techniques.

    This also brings me to think of aesthetics; you can't teach people to see beauty, or harmonious composition, and you can't explain what beauty or harmonious composition is; people either see it, come to see it, or they don't.
    Janus

    Cool.

    At least I see where our disagreement lies. I believe these things are teachable, but yes it involves showing rather than saying.

    I guess what it comes down to, then, is that which is shown ineffable?

    Or, more subtly, in what cases is that which is shown ineffable, and why?
  • The ineffable
    The most important aspects of the practice of any art cannot be taught. So, they are not teachable, but they are learnable in the sense that you can, with practice, improve.

    Same goes for meditation; you can be instructed as to how to sit, how to breath, how to hold your shoulders, your head, your tongue and so on, but that's it, the rest, the important part, is entirely up to you
    Janus

    I think I see teaching and learning as always involving practice. And, I'm hesitant to believe that the most important aspects of any practice cannot be taught, because of Stanislavski.

    Stanislavski is the first person that comes to mind when I think of the teaching of art -- and sure Stanislavski acknowledges that the actor must continue to improve and grow and practice, he acknowledges that his method is open-ended (and written in the form of a dialogue for that very reason), and yet he wrote it to teach actors how to act, and it's still used to this day, among other works, due to the open-ended nature of teaching acting, or teaching art more generally.

    Is meditation a craft in this way? Probably not. So there'd be room for another distinction of effability -- a the thousand plateaus upon us :D

    But I think philosophy is closer to a craft like art is a craft. So in asking after the ineffable, I pretty much have in mind things like the limits of language, the limits of reason, the limits of knowledge -- that sort of thing. And the mystical provides interesting cases for different preferences of inference.
  • The ineffable
    "Ineffable" doesn't mean "not teachable". As per the definition I gave earlier, it means "ncapable of being expressed or described in words"; i.e. "not sayable".Luke

    Didn't I already acknowledge this, in saying "sure, I'm using the word in a special way"? Surely we're still able to make distinctions?

    But if it's really just down to what dictionary dot com says, then sure.

    I am not arguing that something is ineffable because we don't know it. Instead, I'm saying that it's ineffable when we do know it but can't express that knowledge in words; when we can't say it.Luke

    I'm following.
  • The ineffable
    I don't follow why you believe that knowledge of how to ride a bike is not also at least partially ineffable (knowledge) in principle, especially given your hesitation to concede that an exhaustive list of instructions would give one knowledge.Luke

    I'd say it's because it's teachable. It'd be more interesting to say something is ineffable because it's not even teachable, or not even learn-able, rather than because we don't know something.
  • The ineffable
    One has to be made free from language, even though language leads and controls the conversation in acknowledging just this. Fascinating to behold the world unhinged from the categories of ordinary thought. Mystical.Constance

    Why do we have to be made free from language? Would it even be desirable?

    Mystical, yes. But true?

    Truth is bound to language. And if the mystical is not true, because it is outside of language, in what way can we claim that it is reasonable?

    I think that it's difficult to maintain some of these distinctions while seeking the mystical. If one has experienced the mystical then they can philosophize about it. But if one is seeking the mystical, to be unbound by language, then I think that's likely when we've hit the boundary of philosophy. (also, something funny here -- when mystics disagree)

    The queerness of this being, since here we are talking about it, can we then predicate anything worthwhile of the beyond-language within language? There may be the mystical, the un-speakable -- but is all such talk about the unspeakable itself worthless, or not?

    I think the mystics make a case that's interesting. However, what's really interesting is how common the paths to mysticism are. Usually they require people to dis-identify with their body, to abstain from certain desires, to undergo rituals, chants, group practices, and so on. So part of me believes, if there be a mystical that cannot be talked of at all, that there are some commonalities between mystical claims -- and so I'm hesitant to say it cannot be known. So there seems, given the thought that there is an unknown that cannot be said (and hence ineffable), there has to be a distinction between what is common to mystical claims and what is truly ineffable.

    Should it be known? Maybe not. But I'm not sure that it cannot be known.

    But this movement, call it (Kierkegaard called it that) from first order ordinariness to acknowledging one's throwness is universal, belongs to the structure of conscious awareness itself. Granted, from this, one can go different ways. I find myself doing serious reading in the so called French theological turn, with Jean luc Marion, Michel Henry, Emanuel Levinas and others examining Husserl's reduction and epoche and its radical disclosure once we realize that that great Kantian division in being is all wrong: the appearance IS being.

    Husserl, then Heidegger then all the post Heideggerian thinking (that I certainly do not keep up with; you know, I have another life) leads some extraordinary revelations that are not contained within discussions of ordinary language, but are found outside of these, in the world; and then back to discussion.

    But with analytic thinking, extraordinary revelations are simply off the table, which is why it has been in crisis for a long time now. It has run the course of everyday language possibilities. I object to materialism because this term carries considerable baggage in its exit from scientific contexts to metaphysics. Heideggerian/post Heideggerian thought pulls emphatically away from this.
    Constance

    @Joshs already pointed out how, in the list of begats, both analytic and continental philosophy goes back to Frege. While that's not enough to say they are similar, what makes me say they are similar is how both traditions have people who identify with their tradition as the better way to do philosophy, and both traditions are also reactions to "failed" philosophy programs -- and in their various reactions to their shared history a lot of the philosophers began to converge, in spite of their independent traditions, on questions of the mind and existence and such.

    I think the differences are institutional, and what's more what is institutionalized are aesthetics of reason. Aesthetics are a necessary component to human judgment, and certainly needed to teach human judgment -- but are they true? Are they the sorts of things which lead us to say, this is the one way to do philosophy? I think not.

    And, further, having no personal institutional ambitions -- though I certainly benefit from the institutions -- I like to note how we're free to pick and choose how we want to. If the difference is more due to history and aesthetics, and the pursuit is roughly the same -- the ceaseless battle against human stupidity -- then the difference isn't worth pitting philosophers against one another in a kind of project to be the architectonic who knew all along what was going on.

    Rather, given I don't even have institutional ambitions, philosophy is more personal, social, and connective. It is something done for pleasure, rather than a competition.

    In that light, I'd say that neither materialism nor phenomenology are terms worth fighting over, because only people educated in this stuff would really get something out of the distinction, and it'll most likely be forgotten as interests change anyways. Marxism provides a whole other context for thinking about materialism other-than the modern scientific project. And by no accident do I quote Epicurus, given Marx's dissertation was on Epicurus, and there's a certain harmony between the two philosophies -- though they have different end-goals.

    -- this all simply to complicate this narrative about continental and analytic philosophy. I think it might be doing you a disservice, here.

    But ask Husserl about this. When you confront the world phenomenologically, you are NOT seeing a natural world at all. You are witnessing phenomena. Have you read his Cartesian Meditations?Constance

    Husserl is one I've read selections from -- I have a reader I've read but I haven't done the deep work. So, yes I've read parts, but no I haven't read it all. He's someone I need to, but he's still far enough away from present interests that I've sorta just kept him there :D

    How does he know what I am or am not seeing, from his vantage? How would we be able to differentiate a person who sees the world, when attending to experience as experience, not as a projection on a screen which emanates outward from a self, but as a world which encompasses and composes the self? Turn Husserl on his head, and what do you get? If the subject has a primacy, how could one differentiate a true from a false claim about what is seen?

    I would never disagree that goodness is what we care about. I would ask that the question go one step further: what is it t care about something? What is the anatomy of a care, for it has parts: I care about my cat being free of fleas. Now, analyze this phenomenologically you find an agency of caring, me, and that which is the object of my caring, my cat, but what do I care about specifically? I am looking for the essential feature: just as Kant looked for the essential feature of a rational judgment, and pulled away from particulars to generalize, so I am looking for the essential ethical feature, the kind of thing that, were it absent, the ethicality would vanish as well. What I care about is my cat's suffering (as well as mine having to deal with fleas around the house). What makes this a care all is the value, the measure of pain and pleasure and joy and suffering and everything in between, that is in the balance, at risk, whatever.

    It is a transcendental argument, just like Kant's, for it serves as an index to transcendence. Where Kant's CPR was an index to pure reason, Here I postulate the idea of pure value, adding quickly that I by no means think there is anything such as a pure anything. This kind of thinking only serves to underscore a feature of an unknowable primordial unity.
    Constance

    Cool.

    (EDIT: Just to be clear -- cool for sharing, and I'm glad you did. Just bookmarking the thought for now)
  • The Shoutbox
    It seems I find intimate stories more engaging than the kind of sweeping saga bullshit of Dune, say.Tom Storm

    Heh. I love Dune. I dislike Duncan as a character, in the grand scheme of Dune. But I like how much it focuses on economy and culture and the interplay between them.

    I'm also a huge fan of Aldous Huxley.
  • "German philosophy lacks of escape valve"
    Cool. Heh, I felt the need to respond because I'm a fan of German philosophy. But I'll admit these aren't on the ever-long homework assignments yet ;)

    Cheers all the same!
  • The ineffable
    There is no possibility of inventing a language to describe sensations. We can have words for sensations because we can point to things that invoke the sensation. But we cannot point to the sensations themselves, as they are internal. Therefore we can never assign words to features that would describe them. And so they will forever remain both immediate and indescribable.hypericin

    This is where I disagree, I think.

    We can't know that sensations will forever remain both immediate and indescribable.

    I think Merleau-Ponty goes some way to undermine this thought, with his https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_of_Perception

    Maybe I can't imagine a language which makes every little thing I experience describable, but that's more about what I'm able to do than what really is the case. There's some people who can make that language, I think -- at least potentially? To todo the biggest reach of philosophy.

    It just doesn't seem like something which will never be known to me. To rely on phenomenology a bit. I can't tell you yet, but I'm not so confident that we'll never be able to tell each other these things.
  • The ineffable
    @Janus, @Constance and @Joshs apparently see a place for discussion of phenomena, via a somewhat esoteric method, that somehow permits the effing of the ineffable. Perhaps @Moliere is tempted to sympathy with that idea, but the problem here is that such a method becomes a beetle in a box.Banno

    More than tempted :). I full on like phenomenology. Sometimes it speaks to me, and sometimes it doesn't. Even so I think it a good philosophical method, even with the esoteric connotations. (or, with respect to understanding religion, the esoteric connotations are better -- how else could one understand religion, rather than write it off ala Russell?)

    I think I've said it before, and it relates to my belief that the mystics are not lying -- what are people doing when they talk about God?

    And, if we are direct realists, and believe that people aren't lying when they talk about their mystical experiences, how do we parse reports from people of totally different experiences from us?

    I pointed out to @Constance how I approach philosophy anarchically. I want to say the same here. I believe the so-called rebels of analytic philosophy are closer to the concerns of continental philosophy than they want to believe, mostly for institutional reasons. I mentioned earlier how these aesthetic concerns are necessary for teaching and propagating an institution, but can you imagine being a professor of philosophy -- with tenure -- and being asked to not know one, but TWO traditions at once?! Maybe the department, as a whole, can cover that -- we'll hire our token continental philosopher to pass on the knowledge, just in case...

    :D

    Obviously I'm on the outside of all that, it's just what it looks like from the perspective of a person who identifies as a worker, in his soul, and simultaneously was really just educated by continentals, while having the scientific-analytic bent in his mind.

    Since I have anarchic feelings towards philosophy, though, I'd say there's nothing bad in trying different ways. Wittgenstein was right, yet so are other people. Especially the people we meet in day-to-day life who don't have that education, but do have the experience -- there are different ways to express things, but usually they speak the truth in the situation, even if persons with a philosophical bent will nit-pick the words used.

    This to go some way to tempt you to read the deep, dark, unfathomable phenomenologists :D. Husserl, at least, is very direct. I need to read him more than I have, and I am put off by his style, but he still makes very clear points and distinctions. He's earnest. And he takes on the subject unlike philosophers who write that off -- which I think is important. Even if Descartes is a hangover, he's a hangover with a lot of influence. Dropping it is good for institutions who want to progress philosophy in a certain way, but engaging with Descartes is good for us who just like this stuff and probably read too much ;) -- at least as a way to connect.
  • "German philosophy lacks of escape valve"
    I am aware that a lof of members enjoy and debate about German philosophy. I want to know your thoughts on Mishima's views.javi2541997

    I haven't read Mishima, so at this point I'd say it's not wrong -- but I'd want to know more, because I don't know really in what way it's right.

    I'd say that Mishima probably has a point, but it could be defused if what we cared about is German philosophy. But if we cared about Mishima, then that'd be different.
  • The ineffable
    It is simply not the case that there is a binary choice between science and phenomenologyBanno

    Yup.
  • The ineffable
    I agree that the key to understanding the nature of knowledge is in understanding the process of learning. There is much misunderstanding here, and the reading group of Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" which we held a few years back, seems to have permanently stalled out when we approached the critical part of this book, where he analyzed this process of learning.

    Your passage here is rife with error. First, it is a misrepresentation to say that there is a "transfer of knowledge" between people. We have two possible representations of "knowledge", one as a communal entity, and the other as the property of individuals. The former, knowledge as a communal entity, rules out the possibility of a 'knowledge transfer', knowledge is a communal property which we share in. Therefore there would be no 'transfer'. However, "knowledge" as 'know-how' is inconsistent with "knowledge" as a shared entity, because know-how is unique and proper to the individual.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't think that's true, because we can know-how, collectively. That's basically the whole process of production -- to analyse a process, divide up the labor and specialize to form a social organism. We know how to do many things together. Individuals must play their part, but they must play their part in an ensemble, and we do so very frequently.

    Further, the process of learning, at least in the industrial world, is transferred -- that's what socialization is all about. And, for creatures like us, given how long it takes for our offspring to become productive, and how much education it takes to make us productive in our societies, we intentionally transfer knowledge to the young all the time. It is taught. There is a teacher, and a student, and the students are given rules to follow -- including the social organization of the school itself, teaching children to behave in an industrial society.

    The individual, as far as I can tell, is something which people are also taught. They're taught to believe they are unique, that they have something special about them, and then we form identities to confirm that and differentiate ourselves.

    --- basically I think knowledge-production is wholly social, and learning is institutional. There's a sense to our individuality, but we are not epistemic Robinson Crusoe's of either a scientific or phenomenological bent. We need one another to learn things.
  • The ineffable
    I mean something much more basic: there is nothing that is free of logic, simply because to have an idea at all, fact or fiction, is to have this within the framework of logic. For example, "Oh, my offense is rank" is, among other things, an affirmation, a logical category.Constance

    What about the not-ideas?

    Facts and fictions are composed of words, I'd say -- language, rather than logic. Rather than focus the copula and the categories I'd say that language is more powerful than these logics, that language is what makes logic comprehensible in the first place rather than the other way around.

    But, it'd be a transcendental argument. It'd sound good to me.

    This takes philosophy beyond its proper category. I say, philosophy's proper category IS the onto-theo-philosophical examination of our "thrownness" into a world, and the center of this inquiry is ethics/value, in an metaethical and metavalue exposition.Constance

    I look at philosophy anarchically. Each philosopher defines for themself what is important, and ranks things in accord with their philosophy. Philosophy is one of the most unlimited disciplines. Only institutions, I'd say, have notions of what is proper to philosophy. And that is important, because philosophy is actually difficult, and it's difficult to teach, and to learn we need standards put before us. But eventually, we are simply free.

    So, from that vantage, I see onto-theo-philosophical examination of our "thrownness" into a world as very interesting. Each philosopher defines their own project, really, and that's the whole point. It's why it's mind-expanding.

    But I don't see it as being any more proper than any other way of doing philosophy.

    Why value? Because all propositional pursuits of philosophy reduce to this, I argue. Truth is indeterminate, and to the extent talk about value is "language" talk, it, too is indeterminate. But value talk possesses the, what I will call, direct (a risky term) "indexical" pursuit of value, so called.

    Tough to talk about, but then, religion has never understood itself, so mired in bad metaphysics.
    Constance

    I agree that religion has never understood itself, and I find that pursuit to understanding religion very interesting. It's pretty clearly connected to how human beings function in the world, given how it's literally part of every culture ever and secular thoughts are relatively new, in the scheme of all written history.

    I'm not sure I'd say value-talk is less determinate than truth-talk, though. I'd say that value-talk ends in convictions, rather than in values. And convictions, given that people have different ones, lead to conflict, but for all that, we still cling to them.


    But put Kant's dividing line aside. The transcendental issue is embedded in phenomena. Put bluntly, one does not "divide" eternity. The reason we have to talk this way is because we face it in everything we can conceive. The question really goes to why we have warrant to give any priority to this, and this is a value issue.Constance

    Where you say "we have warrant to give any priority to this", what does "this" mean? Like, what would take the place of the word in the sentence?

    Analytics (like Davidson) assume truth is not value (he says this), but Dewey is closer to being right: everything that transpires before us IS value; the separation of cognitive functions occurs in analysis only. The philosophical problem has never been about rightly determined propositions, but rightly determined propositions in the disclosure higher affectivity.

    Only Buddhists, Hindus and various mystics talk like this.

    I think I addressed this above in speaking about philosophy anarchically.

    I think the is very important nail's head hit very hard by this. But God is not God, nor are daseins, daseins in the context of this thinking. Not is the sun the sun, and so on. Such things fall away. I see concepts not as labels tagged on to objects, but as powerful dynamic world makers, Heidegger's temporal dynamic is an extraordinary exposition. I think of it like this: what is left after past-present-future is divested of its existence making process? the argument is, this cannot be done, hence the complaint against Husserl, who thought "pure" phenomena could "appear" in the epoche. For pure phenomena to make sense at all, one would have to "turn off" the world itself.

    I disagree, of course. One can turn off the world and be in the world at once. Not unlike what Kierkegaard has in mind with his Knight of Faith. At heart, K was an irrationalist, which is why he fought so against Hegel. One did not have to read Kant or Hegel or even Kierkegaard to make this extraordinary movement toward affirmation, a yielding to God, in theological terms. Where I disagree is in the irrationality, where terrible mistakes allow for distortion, dogma, and moronic authoritative thinking to undermine the whole enterprise. Philosophy's "job" is to steer through such things.
    Constance

    Cool. I agree that adhering to rationality is a distinctive feature that makes philosophy, philosophy -- but like all creative endeavors, the masters can break and bend the rules. (ala Keirkegaard)

    Though by masters I mean those who are good at the craft of philosophy, which I think that it is. Just as one gets good at painting, so one gets good at philosophy and, eventually, can master it as a discipline. And the masters make their mark on a discipline by creatively iterating previous rules, or inventing them wholesale.

    I think Being and time is interesting, but I mostly read him as a requirement than because he speaks to me.

    The answer to this lies in the epoche, I claim. It is a method, first, not a thesis, first. The most radical form of this is found in meditation, when seriously undertaken, which really amounts to expunging the contents of the world.Constance

    As a method, though, the results differ. Yes? So I'd say the answer may be there, but we'll find different ones -- one of which may be materialism, the other which may be phenomenology. I'd say these are convictions.

    When you talk about living our actual lives, you suggest phenomenology has practical wisdom. I don't see how philosophy has this dimension apart from the way it can be applied, and what comes to mind is Heidegger, who was briefly a Nazi, and this does seem to follow from his ideas of history, freedom and self realization.Constance

    I'd say Levinas is a good example of phenomenology with practical wisdom. I'm sure you're really surprised. ;)

    And Heidegger is a good example of how phenomenology isn't always good, in the ethical sense, even while it seems to invoke these ideas. At least if you get along with the argument that his phenomenology is linked to his political life. I think that it does, but I don't think ignoring it is right. If anything, if his philosophy has even a clue to what causes a person to turn to fascism, it's all the more valuable to study.

    But I think philosophy, generally, can contribute to practical wisdom since it all bottoms out in judgment, for me. And the more we are exposed to the better judges we will be.


    On materialism: it is not as if this concept has no meaning, even though it has no properties, as all vacuous metaphysics goes. It carries, however, an unmistakable connotative meaning, which is due to its being lifted from contexts found in natural science, and thus, when this term is used, it implicitly endorses scientific settings for philosophical thinking. What I mean is, when we think of material substance, we think the underlying substratum of all physical objects, and so we are directed toward objects, their physical analyses, their localities in space and time, their causal relations with other objects, etc. Phenomenology takes a term like material substance and registers its significance in "predicatively defined regions" of the naturalistic attitude. It is a term, like all other terms, and its meaning is context dependent, and so it is NOT a foundational term for ontology. Husserl thought philosophy had its true calling in the foundational intuitions of the world. Heidegger did not share this. I am in between.Constance

    I'm going to quote Epicurus' Letter to Herodotus:

    Next, one must see, by making reference to our sense-perceptions and feelings (for these will provide the most secure conviction), that the soul is a body made up of fine parts distributed throughout the entire aggregate, and most closely resembling breath with a certain admixture of heat, in one way resembling breath and in another resembling heat. There is also the third part which is much finer than even these components because of this is more closely in harmony with the rest of the aggregate too. All of this is revealed by the abilities of the soul, its feelings, its ease of motion, its thought processes, and the things whose removal leads to our death

    One argument I've come across that I find interesting is that the ancient Greeks are a great resource for phenomenology. That's why Aristotle, for instance, was so convincing and held close for so long. He paid attention to his experiences and wrote them in the most direct way that he could. But, at a minimum, they are interesting specifically because they do not think like us. They provide a contrast point to what we might mean by terms like "materialism" or "the soul".

    I like Epicurus' account because he doesn't deny mental phenomena, or even the existence of Gods, but rather grounds it in an account of nature. Not nature as in our modern, scientific project, but just nature like the study of nature -- a kind of naturalism, and one which is closer to a phenomenology of "the things themselves" without knowing what we know.

    Not that it's in depth, anymore. Just fragments of a different way of looking at the material world -- the categories are constructed of these "fine particles", as is the soul -- and the soul is this union of body and mind which interpenetrates, rather than something immortal.

    It's in this sense that I mean a naturalism which is philosophical, rather than scientific.

    I think this goes some way to addressing this:

    Well, phenomenology has come along. Materialism is not a philosophical concept, as I see it, because philosophical questions go deeper than science can conceive. One must make subjectivity the center of inquiry. Ask, what is it one is confronting in the world, in actuality? It is the what appears before us. To take materialism as a philosophical idea is pure empty metaphysics based on an extension of what science thinks about regarding what is NOT material at all.Constance

    I don't think that there's really a question of deeper than science or shallower than philosophy. What is "depth", other than the desire for meaning in life?

    When I ask, what is it I am confronting in the world, in actuality, I see a natural world. And meaning in it is had by living happy lives with others for the time you get. There's not a grand answer to it all -- we simply are born without purpose, and die without reason. Everything we care about is just that -- what we care about. In actuality, I think there are no deep mysteries.

    But, then, there are the mystics who claim elsewise. And I don't think they are lying either. So it is curious.

    I should say, I am don't defend Husserl, Heidegger or anyone else in full. Husserl and empathetic relations is interesting, but it is not a metaethical account (though I would have to read more on it). My take on the discoveries of ethics via the epoche issues from reading of Michel Henri and others, but I was first struck by G E Moore's non natural property of ethical matters. He was talking about the Good and the Bad. I won't go into this unless you want to, but it is a big issue, basic to my thinking: Suffering stands as its own presupposition, that is, the badness of suffering is not bad because there is a discursive exposition of it being so. AS SUCH, suffering is a stand alone feature of our world. It is an absolute. Nothing more axiomatic than this. Arguable, granted; but in the end, not really to be gainsaid.Constance

    Cool. Then the question is moot, after all.

    Moore's concept of ethics is super interesting to me. I'd say he's right, and that there are no non-natural properties, and therefore, there are no true moral statements. Goodness is what we care about, and it is our human responsibilty to act on it, or to not -- we get to choose. If we care about it, we can pursue it. But if we stop caring about it, then we can choose not to. Hence, the natural world, especially as we gain more power over it, is our responsibility exactly as it is. But it's still natural for all that. And it's a collective responsibility, not an individual one.
  • The ineffable
    It's unclear to me what you are granting "in the relative sense" here. If someone hasn't learned something yet, then they don't have the knowledge (or know how) yet. Are you granting that their lack of knowledge is ineffable? They can't say what they don't know?? That's a bit trivial...Luke

    I was saying they can't say what they don't know. And, yes, I agree that this is trivial. But I was trying to mark what seemed to me to be a mundane case of ineffability from what might be an interesting case of the ineffable, like what mystics claim.

    What is effable (or what is effed) is that which is said or written down in a public language - in the world - among a community of language speakers. What could be more materialist than that? I have no qualms with that.Luke

    I agree. I'm on the same page here.

    My criticism has been wholly in response to Banno's claim that an exhaustive list of instructions will not give one knowledge of how to ride a bike.Luke

    Ahhh, OK. This is clicking something in place for me.

    I believe an exhaustive list of instructions will not give one knowledge of how to ride a bike, because I'd say that we do have to actually do something in order to learn. I have read my piano books, but practicing them everyday is how I learn (in a more perfect me, at least)

    But I also want to say that this doesn't make it ineffable -- where you say an exhaustive list will give someone knowledge, I'm hesitant because I'm thinking about how practice seems to be needed too.

    "incapable of being expressed or described in words."

    Step 1: put your left foot on the left pedal
    Step 2: swing your right foot over the triangular seat. if it feels awkward, adjust the parts to fit yourself.
    Step 3: get in "the stance": one foot on a pedal in the furthest downward position, and the other on the ground, both hands firmly grasping the handle bars. you're about to take off!
    Step 4: push forward with your foot on the ground and try to get your balance by gliding. you can keep your foot close to the ground while figuring out how to balance yourself. take your time, you'll get it eventually
    Step 5: once you are comfortable balancing with your foot off the ground, put your pusher foot onto the other pedal.
    Step 6: push the pedals around in a circle to speed up, stand still to glide, and go in reverse to engage the brake to slow down.


    Working my way through an example-- anyone who didn't know how to ride a bike, supposing this was a good list of instructions, would upon reading it now know how to ride a bike. Hence, it is effable, by your account. Right?

    And, yeah, I wanted to work through an example with the dictionary.com definition -- I don't see anything ineffable by that definition in the above list of instructions. I think, given the dictionary. com definition, I've been the one using a strange notion of "ineffable" -- or at least one which has some philosopher's ideas in mind, rather than just the dictionary definition.

    So I agree to your point here:

    "Statements, all unto themselves" is a strawman that you have attributed to those opposing your view.Luke

    That's why I have tried to restrict the preceding discussion to knowledge. It's mainly because Banno's original claim was about knowledge, viz. that a list of instructions cannot give one know-how. But it's also because knowledge has a close relation to beliefs, statements and therefore to effability; to what can be stated. For some reason, you and Banno tend to shy away from talking about knowledge when it comes to effability.Luke

    I'll attempt to be direct here.

    I don't think I have a handle on knowledge such that I could, from my knowledge of knowledge, make demonstrative cases. If anything, I'd be tempted to say that defining knowledge is ineffable, but I'd rather say that this is an exercise of judgment, and that such definitions don't really define knowledge as much as try to pin down how it is we judge sometimes.

    Which, as you note --

    As you appear to recognise, you are making a case for the opposition, for ineffability, instead of making a case that all knowledge is effable.Luke

    So what I think I'm doing is attempting to resolve "hard cases" -- and suggest that the hard cases of ineffability, to use an old philosophical distinction, are apparently ineffable, but actually effable.

    Heh, it's not easy to do, though.

    You appear to imply that some knowledge can only be shown and can't be said. The part of the instruction which needs to be shown is unspoken; uneffed. I believe this was Wittgenstein's distinction between showing and saying in the Tractatus. If it is necessary to show it to someone, because it can't be said, then it is ineffable.Luke

    Right! I think what I want to say, though, is that after being shown, what was ineffable is no longer ineffable. And, if that be the case, it suggests that we could continue this process of turning what is, right now, ineffable to us -- into something which is no longer ineffable. The process of knowledge-production is like this. At one point we don't know, and no one knows, and then we produce knowledge, and some people know. So I think what I want to say is that after we know what had been ineffable is no longer. Before learning how to ride a bike it was apparently ineffable, but after learning it I find it was actually effable.

    If that be the case, how can we tell which of the entities are ineffable, even after we come to know them, and which aren't? What standard of judgment could we suggest? Wouldn't we just have to know everything in order to be able to say, definitively, this is what can be said while gesturing to what can't?

    I guess I'm seeing "the ineffable" as something of an organic category, in that case, and also why I'm invoking the exercise of judgment. There's no rule we can state which tells us, for any case someone might present, this is ineffable. We have to make a judgment call based upon much more limited capacities, though (or, at least, recognize that judgment can't make that call).

    Which suggests a case for the ineffable, right? But then there's the case of coming-to-know, and knowledge-production, and that we can learn.

    So I think I want to use "the ineffable" in a specialized way to mean that which cannot even be learned by creatures like us. Immortality is the case I like to use because it's clear-cut -- in order for creatures like us to learn if they are immortal, we have to die. If we die, we're no longer a creature. Therefore, a creature like us will never learn if we are immortal. It's ineffable.

    I want to say this specialized case is different from the case of learning how to ride a bike. How to ride a bike, in the dictionary . com definition way, is ineffable. But immortality, in this specialized sense, is ineffable in principle (again, for creatures like us).

    Until this point, I realise that I have not addressed the issue of actually riding the bike. The exhaustive list of instructions purportedly contains all the knowledge of how to ride the bike but does not provide one with the knowledge of how to ride. That extra piece of knowledge can only come from the actual riding of the bike. But wait. Does that mean that the list of instructions does not contain all the knowledge of how to ride? Is there some knowledge missing from the instructions that one gains from riding the bike? That can't be right because Banno said that riding the bike neither adds nor is knowledge. I wish one of you could tell me what knowledge is missing from the list of instructions or why one cannot learn how to ride from the list of instructions alone. Perhaps the part that you are unable to tell me is ineffable?Luke

    It might be. I hope I've gone some way to addressing these questions in the above.
  • The ineffable
    Here attempting to lay out more against the case that know-how is ineffable (at least in some absolute sense, though I've granted the relative sense when someone hasn't learned something yet, but could)

    Is a recipe know-how? Or is it just an aid to knowing-how?

    Still going along my materialist thought line . . . knowledge is in the body. It's a conjunction of . . . well, whatever experience/language/activity/being is such that we are enabled.

    If that be the case, then statements, all unto themselves, are never knowledge. Rather, they are enablers, aids, or parts of knowledge. In the toy model of knowledge they roughly correspond to "beliefs", but given that we don't need to believe the statements to know-how that's not quite right (because knowledge is in the body, rather than a set of true statements/propositions believed and justified -- but also because we need to be able to consider statements before believing them, but we are still able in spite of the state of consideration.)

    After all, when learning your first recipe you pretty much follow it to the letter. But, with the more recipes you learn, the less you rely upon the words in the book (unless baking, which is more like chemistry-lite ;) ). You look at the ingredients, and their rough proportions, and usually you have enough techniques down that you don't have to follow the instructions to the letter. You can even "improve" upon the recipe, to your own taste at least, knowing that this and that will have such and such an effect on the food.

    So why doesn't this count as ineffable, if we aren't even tied to the words really, but just use them to enable? I think it's because these things can be taught to others. I can refer to my knowledge, and show it to someone, and they can learn. So, at least, there's a connection of some kind between us in the transfer of knowledge. And while transferring knowledge to others, at least, I cannot do it without words.

    Even in teaching someone to ride a bike, which is primarily a know-how with scant words, I'd still use words to transfer that knowledge to someone else. I could, as an exercise, attempt to teach without any words whatsoever, but it'd be much harder than if I'd just communicate while showing.

    Now, if riding a bike were ineffable, I couldn't teach it to someone -- or, perhaps, words themselves wouldn't aid me in teaching someone. So the mystics say they cannot tell you what they see, but they can attempt to use the imperfect medium of language to translate their experience. And, given that knowledge is in the body it's also relative to the body, so for some it is ineffable. They cannot ride the bike. The ant will never understand what it's like to be a bi-pedal creature keepings its balance on a bike with eventual ease. But for most creatures like myself it's only ineffable prior to the doing. After the doing, they can speak about it because now they have the knowledge in their body.

    Is riding a bike really the same as mystical or metaphysical claims? I guess that's really the thing that seems more pertinent, unless we're trying to claim that consciousness is metaphysically distinct from the natural world. Maybe it is just as mysterious, and I'm just not seeing it, though it seems to me that these are not the same.
  • The Shoutbox


    Thank you for relating the news.

    I don't know how else to really give him his due.

    I feel he and I had a connection... and that makes me sad.
  • The ineffable
    I'd say bad things are done by ideologues, and there are plenty of those on both sides.Janus

    Back, back foul demon! I'm trying to remain on topic! :D

    I agree that's true.

    But, of course, I'd complicate it. It's philosophy, after all.
  • The ineffable
    Wow. That sounds interesting, but perhaps this is not the thread for such a provocative statement.Tom Storm

    Heh, yes. I have a habit of getting off topic. I try my best :D
  • The ineffable
    An interesting and nuanced response. I tend to find myself thinking there is no such thing as phenomenology - there are phenomenologies - which would be congruent with the fecund approach it takes to personal experience.Tom Storm

    I agree, I think there are multiple general-experience categories -- and that we can continue to invent them. Not only can we continue to invent them, we must do so because the world changes. And as the world changes, so does experience.

    Most of the time, given how abstract the topic is and how often it is close to our personal lives, I think the guesses are true in context, but false in the intended sense -- it's intended to be universal, at least if I'm understanding what I read. But as we bring context to a given phenomenologist it's not hard to see differences. Levinas, for instance -- who I've intimated I'm a fan of ;) -- is very much a masculine phenomenologist, and some of it, being honest to his own time, will not fly now. I can understand it, from a distance, but it's kinda the whole thing I didn't want to do -- so I disagree :D

    But I don't know if that should count against phenomenology either. It is, after all, a philosophy rather than a scientific treatise. Science demands intersubjective agreement. Philosophy seeks it, but doesn't require it.

    Do you draw a distinction between physicalism or naturalism and materialism?Tom Storm

    I did at one point, but now I'd rather say that I can. The terms just need clarification in any given conversation, and can be used to make distinctions in a conversation, but that's about it.

    And do you hold materialism as a 'tentative hypothesis' given our reality presents itself to us as material (even with some modest epoche it's hard to get away from this)?

    I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a tentative hypothesis. That'd make it an object of knowledge. I think it's a good idea, is about it. I feel like I like both spiritualists and materialists, and that makes things awkward :D -- well, for thems who are attached to either side, at least. I genuinely just get pleasure out of thinking about this stuff.

    But I'll say materialism is "winning" in my mind at the moment. And mostly for ethical reasons, rather than the usual debates. But I know materialists have done bad things, too, so.... ever and forever thinking back and forth.
  • The ineffable
    But then, its not as if it's not a logical procedure. What is free of this?Constance

    I'd say that narrative is not logical -- or, at least, narrative brings with it its own logic, if we wish to logicize a narrative. Something along the lines of "with each sentence time progresses", or whatever -- but then there's always a storyteller out there who notices that people are logicizing stories, then changes it up to thwart the logic.

    Borges comes to mind.

    The real question phenomenology puts before us, I hazard, is, is it really possible for an encounter of "pure phenomena" to occur? It is not that one has to clear this with theory first, for it is really not a method to a propositional affirmation, though I am sure this is necessary part of the conscious act being conscious.Constance

    I can get along well enough with phenomenology-talk that I don't feel the need to clear it with another theory. One starts somewhere, after all. My doubts aren't based in a notion of what philosophy ought to be, as much as based in particular experiences of people claiming to have so-called special knowledge.

    And sometimes phenomenology is very grounded and attending to our experience, and sometimes it goes off the deep-end and claims that everything is consciousness correlated to the special ideas the phenomenologist can see.

    It's the latter that I think goes off into what Kant called noumenal speculation. Maybe to the speaker, they can see something special. That's what mystical experience is about -- seeing something others cannot, and purportedly attempting to translate what cannot be translated for people who do not have that mystical experience. And, religiously, perhaps that flies -- but I've yet to make sense of such talk in a rational manner, at least -- though I remain interested.

    I don't think this puts it right because I don't know what the "non phenomenological" is.Constance

    I think that's a warning sign, for myself at least, that I've fallen into a transcendental argument -- it's valid, but it's also easy to construct and usually based on an unstated feeling (what, Kant acting on unstated feelings?! He's a being of pure reason! ;) )

    When I feel I don't know what the negation of some philosophy is, I'm focusing on some universal idea -- a totality, one might say, that encompasses, explains, relates, feels, connects, guides, and soothes. Something like God, but in a phenomenological world -- so God can be replaced by Man, ala the Enlightenment, or something else, but it's all religion at the end of the day. Magical beliefs, big-M Meaning, the mystical -- these things are more important because they make life worth living.

    And so the transcendental argument springs forth -- how does anyone really do/experience/say/be anything at all? Phenomenology is the only possible way we live our actual lives, and clearly we do live actual lives, therefore phenomenology is the way. To bolster the first point we must first list all the possible alternative ways, and defeat them until Phenomenology is the one that stands -- then say, abductively, "See if you can come up with a better explanation"

    The problem being -- it all relies upon what sounds good to the speaker. It's just as easy to set up the exact same argument with materialism. It follows the same pattern (and is akin to the moral arguments for God's existence):

    How does anyone really do/experience/say/be anything at all? Materialism is the only possible way to explain our lives, and we clearly do live ("some of us, anyway" scolding the eliminative materialists), therefore materialism is the explanation at least until something better comes along, but all these other explanations are bad for these reasons.

    (EDIT: Oh, I forgot to point out -- the difference in emphasis between these two ways of seeing. One wants guidance in the life they live, the other just wants an explanation. a teleologically guided inquiry on a similar phenomena, but both sides speak past one another because of the desire)

    I'm not going to claim this is the best set-up of the antinomy, but as far as I can see the phenomenological/naturalism debate follows a pretty similar pattern to the antinomies Kant pointed out in his day, but with some Hegelian patterns where people find common ground. But this time with a more complicated argument, since the transcendental argument is basically a wholesale invention of Kant's -- a progress in logic (or, for some, a deviation ;) )


    In the all too busy comments I made above, all that you say here is relevant and poignant. Kant's old line of thinking is the jumping off place, because he did understand that there is something unnatural or noumenal that was intimated in phenomena. What he didn't see is that in order for this to be the case, then phenomena itself must be noumenal. The metaphysics he conceived drew a line. But this was wrong. There is no line; only being, and metaphysics has always been about the physics that stands before us. Nor did he realize, as the very fewest "philosophers" have, the the whole point of our existence is to be found in affectivity: the Good, says Wittgenstein, this is what I call divinity.Constance

    Don't tempt me with Kant interpretation. :D

    I decided to skip to the end because, oi, so many threads of thought -- and I'm the same way, so no worries. It's taking willpower not to go off on tangeants about Heidegger, the aesthetics of music, more Levinas, etc. :D But I'm trying to reign it in a bit here.

    I'd like an answer to one of the questions I asked, though, because I think it does get to the heart of the matter: What is the ethical dimension to Husserl's thought?
  • The ineffable
    And let us not forget Jacob's fight with the angel in Genesis 32:28 to 29. It was there he was renamed "Israel," which literally means to have fought with God and prevailed.Hanover

    One of my favorite verses -- when a man beats God at wrestling, God promises good stuff on one condition (or more than one, when you get technical)

    Morman's didn't focus on that verse, for some reason.
  • The ineffable
    Morman seminary, at least. That's my background. And I lucked out and got the classes that focused on the bible, rather than the fictional accounts of Joseph Smith.

    And you had to do a lot of bad stuff to survive, but I'd go further and say you really had to care about things that weren't right to not only survive, but also have a written legacy that still influences the world.

    Thing is, it ain't as different now as people like to believe. At least in my estimation.
  • The ineffable
    Neither @Banno or me are saying those are the same. If I'm reading @Banno correctly at least.

    I think we're saying they're not the same. So it seems curious to myself, at least, that you'd include riding the bike as ineffable.