• Thought vs Matter/Energy

    It initially puts a lot of store on the issue of causality vs perceived randomness & spontaneity, as indicated by many findings from Quantum Mechanics.
    — christian2017

    The author suggests only 3 possibilities:-...
    1. A hidden variable/cause
    2. True Spontaneity – something happens without a cause
    3. True Randomness - different outcomes for no reason – ie. without a cause.
    — christian2017

    These three are language's - philosophy's - attempt to corral the real, in this case QM, and QM doesn't yet corral. Bell experiments to date rule out #1 - that being what the later tests were testing. #s 2 and 3 are objectionable for "without a cause." The word "cause" itself requiring exhaustive definition before sense can be made of it. In a sense we're on a drunkard's search wrt QM. That leaves us nowhere, but the nowhere is, for now, a fact.

    In any case and not just this one, I accept that science and philosophy are connected by "silken ties.., And only by one's going slightly taut... Is of the slightest bondage made aware." (pace, Robert. Frost). But that otherwise are different. Feynman on this, "If you think you understand QM, then you don't."

    Your author is trying. That puts him into the category of entertainment - and selling books - but not science or philosophy.
    tim wood

    I don't know how those quotes got attached to my name. Perhaps you can restate what you were saying unpacked more.

    I do agree alot of physics books are more entertainment than accurate information.

    Based on what you wrote above as far as what i understand that you wrote, i agree. My initial confusion started with the quotes you posted that were attached to what i said.

    The only book i mentioned recently (and i don't know if it was this forum topic) is "A brief history of time" by stephen hawkings. I am very familiar with Newtonian physics.
  • Thought vs Matter/Energy

    It initially puts a lot of store on the issue of causality vs perceived randomness & spontaneity, as indicated by many findings from Quantum Mechanics.christian2017

    The author suggests only 3 possibilities:-...
    1. A hidden variable/cause
    2. True Spontaneity – something happens without a cause
    3. True Randomness - different outcomes for no reason – ie. without a cause.

    These three are language's - philosophy's - attempt to corral the real, in this case QM, and QM doesn't yet corral. Bell experiments to date rule out #1 - that being what the later tests were testing. #s 2 and 3 are objectionable for "without a cause." The word "cause" itself requiring exhaustive definition before sense can be made of it. In a sense we're on a drunkard's search wrt QM. That leaves us nowhere, but the nowhere is, for now, a fact.

    In any case and not just this one, I accept that science and philosophy are connected by "silken ties.., And only by one's going slightly taut... Is of the slightest bondage made aware." (pace, Robert. Frost). But that otherwise are different. Feynman on this, "If you think you understand QM, then you don't."

    Your author is trying. That puts him into the category of entertainment - and selling books - but not science or philosophy.
  • Do colors exist?

    My one line hypothesis is that we filter information a priori from an external energy source. Much like Schopenhauer's theory of Metaphysical Will in nature... .3017amen

    that is too supernatural for me. I'm finding a path towards qualia that is something that I can model and see a plausible utility/mechanics; that is, we are genetically coded to attribute arbitrary, yet largely consistent, value/experience/emotions to various data value phenomenon as a way to create an experience that enables a personal empathy/emotives to data values to make them real (to us as emotive/social creatures) and to share a common experience. So, for the color red, we might be genetically coded to have energetic, aggressive feelings with the data value of red, which may have come (like that for Bulls) about by evolution selecting for such defensive responses to the sight of red blood. Blue feels like a cool/cold color like ice, and peaceful like the sky. etc. To the extent data values in our perceived sensory/motor have been (genetically, by personality, or by nurture) been associated with certain emotive states then they become part of our qualia experience for it, making it feel much more real to us. I find it particularly interesting that synesthetes not only love the cross sensory invocation of emotives and colors on, say numbers, that it actually helps them greatly to process the value data (e.g., out of a vast field of random numbers, they might see all '7s as red and instantly can spot one # 7 out of 1000s of other #s). So, attaching an arbitrary qualia can even have practical utility, beyond my other point of enabling/enhancing the formation of wisdom.
  • The Subjectivity of Moral Values

    Those were some clever insults there - nicely done.

    But seriously, I’m a kumbaya kind of person. When I see a someone assert something that looks obviously wrong, my first impulse is to find common ground and/or to try to re-phrase what that person is trying to say in my own words so as to better explain to that person how they are mistaken. I prefer not to start out by being critical, since that puts the other person into a defensive position and it makes it harder to communicate.

    That said, I can see where my approach could be perceived as being disingenuous. So let me start from the beginning.

    You appear to be making some basic errors in logic, What you are calling P & Q contain hidden variables and operators. BUT I keep an open mind - it is possible that I am mistaken.

    However, if you want to convince me that your logic is sound, we will need to unpack your logic. In order to do this I will be asking you a series of questions - some of which may seem really stupid - but I have to ask them in order to make sure that there is no mis-understanding.

    In asking these questions I will be dealing strictly with the underlying logic. Many other folks out here have pointed out that there are some serious semantic issues with your terms, but I will not deal with those. I will be treating your terms as abstract logical variables - so there should be no need to give any real life examples.

    If you are willing to do this, then my first question is this:

    Going back to your #s 1->3:

    1. If moral values are my values, then if I value something necessarily it is morally valuable (if P, then Q)
    2. If I value something it is not necessarily morally valuable (not Q)
    3. Therefore moral values are not my values (therefore not P)

    We need to start off with the term “moral values”. For purposes of analyzing your logic, this must be defined as a set of individual moral values; let’s call this set Moral_Values.

    Moral_Values = {mv1, mv2, . . .}

    This implies that there is at least one additional set of values that are not moral; let’s call this Not_Moral_Values (for want of a better term). There is then a third set called Values which is the union of Moral_Values and Not_Moral_Values. If, for your purposes, you need to further sub-divide Not_Moral_Values into, say, Un_Values & Miscellaneous_Values, that’s OK, as long as we agree that every moral value is a member of at least one sub-set and that the set Values is the union of the subsets.

    I’m using italics here so the variables stand out, but if you prefer to use a different nomenclature and/or different names for these sets and variables that’s fine.

    Are we in agreement so far? If not, please clarify. BTW - if you want to continue insulting me? That’s fine too.
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 31, 32

    What is familiar and well known as such is not really known for the very reason that it is familiar and well known.

    In the case of cognition, the most common form of self-deception and deception of others is when one presupposes something as well known and then makes one’s peace with it. In that kind of back-and-forth chatter about various pros and cons, such knowing, without knowing how it happens to it, never really gets anywhere. Subject and object, God, nature, understanding, sensibility, etc., are, as is well known, all unquestioningly laid as foundation stones which constitute fixed points from which to start and to which to return.

    The movement proceeds here and there between those points, which themselves remain unmoved, and it thereby operates only upon the surface. Thus, for a person to grasp and to examine matters consists only in seeing whether he finds everything said by everybody else to match up with his own idea about the matter, or with whether it seems that way to him and whether or not it is something with which he is familiar.

    As it used to be carried out, the analysis of a representation was indeed nothing but the sublation of the form of its familiarity. To break up a representation into its original elements is to return to its moments, which at least do not have the form of a representation which one has simply stumbled across, but which instead constitute the immediate possession of the self.

    To be sure, this analysis would only arrive at thoughts which are themselves familiar and fixed, or it would arrive at motionless determinations. However, what is separated, the non-actual itself, is itself an essential moment, for the concrete is self-moving only because it divides itself and turns itself into the non-actual.

    The activity of separating is the force and labor of the understanding, the most astonishing and the greatest of all the powers, or rather, which is the absolute power.

    The circle, which, enclosed within itself, is at rest and which, as substance, sustains its moments, is the immediate and is, for that reason, an unsurprising relationship. However, the accidental, separated from its surroundings, attains an isolated freedom and its own proper existence only in its being bound to other actualities and only as existing in their context; as such, it is the tremendous power of the negative; it is the energy of thinking, of the pure I.

    Death, if that is what we wish to call that non-actuality, is the most fearful thing of all, and to keep and hold fast to what is dead requires only the greatest force. Powerless beauty detests the understanding because the understanding expects of her what she cannot do.

    However, the life of spirit is not a life that is fearing death and austerely saving itself from ruin; rather, it bears death calmly, and in death, it sustains itself. Spirit only wins its truth by finding its feet in its absolute disruption. Spirit is not this power which, as the positive, avoids looking at the negative, as is the case when we say of something that it is nothing, or that it is false, and then, being done with it, go off on our own way on to something else. No, spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face and lingering with it. This lingering is the magical power that converts it into being.

    – This power is the same as what in the preceding was called the subject, which, by giving existence to determinateness in its own element, sublates abstract immediacy, or, is only existing immediacy, and, as a result, is itself the true substance, is being, or, is the immediacy which does not have mediation external to itself but is itself this mediation.
    — Hegel/Pinkard
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    I find in #s 29 and 30 what I have found throughout so far, a sense of running away from Kant's noumenon as fast as possible. Kant found metaphysics in a muddle and resolved it through his synthesis of perception, the thing perceived, and the understanding, which organizes the perception. The cost being that the thing perceived is otherwise inaccessible. (Although entirely knowable as a matter of practical knowledge.)

    Kant's "knowledge," then, is based in perception. Hegel places it in reason; he seems to take perception uncritically and for granted. That is, there is what we know and how we know it - which for Hegel seems to happen after perception, while for Kant it's all in one batter, baked together.

    For Hegel, perception is given, then reason works on it, through aufheben/sublation - this latter a term of art that is deliberately and explicitly left general and non-specific. The process reaches an end - then we know, but at that point, spirit moves on.
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 29, 30

    Science of this culturally educative movement is the detail and the necessity of its shaping, as what has been diminished into a moment and a possession of spirit. The aim is spirit’s insight into what knowing is.

    Impatience demands the impossible, which is to say, to achieve the end without the means. On the one hand, the length of the path has to be endured, for each moment is necessary – but on the other hand, one must linger at every stage on the way, for each stage is itself an entire individual shape, and it is viewed absolutely only insofar as its determinateness is viewed as a whole, or, as concrete, or, insofar as the whole is viewed in terms of the distinctiveness of this determination. – Both because the substance of the individual, the world spirit, has possessed the patience to pass through these forms over a long stretch of time and to take upon itself the prodigious labor of world history, and because it could not have reached consciousness about itself in any lesser way, the individual spirit itself cannot comprehend its own substance with anything less.

    At the same time, it has less trouble in doing so because in the meantime it has accomplished this in itself – the content is already actuality erased to possibility, immediacy which has been mastered. That content, which is already what has been thought, is the possession of individuality. It is no longer existence which is to be converted into being-in-itself. Rather, it is just the in-itself which is to be converted into the form of being-for-itself. The way this is done is now to be more precisely determined.

    In this movement, although the individual is spared the sublation of existence, what still remains is the representation of and the familiarity with the forms.

    The existence taken back into the substance is through that first negation at first only immediately transferred into the element of self. The element thus still has the same character of uncomprehended immediacy, or, of unmoved indifference as existence itself, or, it has only passed over into representational thought. -As a result, it is at the same time familiar to us, or, it is the sort of thing that spirit has finished with, in which spirit has no more activity, and, as a result, in which spirit has no further interest. However much the activity, which is finished with existence, is itself the immediate, or, however much it is the existing mediation and thereby the movement only of the particular spirit which is not comprehending itself, still in contrast knowing is directed against the representational thought which has come about through this immediacy, is directed against this familiarity, and it is thus the doing of the universal self and the interest of thinking
    — Hegel/Pinkard
  • Is assisted suicide immoral?

    So that when Joe says, "I want to eat an ice cream, and it's necessary for me to go to the store to buy an ice cream to be able to eat it, BUT I ought not go to the store," we can say that he's getting a fact wrong, and we can somehow justify that he's getting a fact wrong.Terrapin Station

    What fact? He identifies a want; he recognizes that in order to indulge this want he most go to the store, but that for some reason, he ought not go. Where is he getting anything wrong?

    Let's do it by the numbers:
    1) "I want to eat ice cream." By assumption this is a fact, nor is he mistaken about it.

    2) "It's necessary for me to go to the store to buy ice cream to be able to eat it." Again true by assumption.

    3) "But I ought not to go to the store." For some reason, in which case presumed true. Of course in #3 he may be mistaken - wrong - but then so might he have been in #s 1 and 2. But #s 1 and 2 are given. The "wrong" must then be with #3. What is it?
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 26, 27

    26. Pure self-knowing in absolute otherness, this ether (sic) as such, is the very ground and soil of science, or, knowing in its universality. The beginning of philosophy presupposes or demands that consciousness is situated in this element. However, this element itself has its culmination and its transparency only through the movement of its coming-to-be. It is pure spirituality, or, the universal in the mode of simple immediacy.

    Because it is the immediacy of spirit, because it is the substance of spirit, it is transfigured essentiality, reflection that is itself simple, or, is immediacy; it is being that is a reflective turn into itself. For its part, science requires that self-consciousness shall have elevated itself into this ether in order to be able to live with science and to live in science, and, for that matter, to be able to live at all.

    Conversely, the individual has the right to demand that science provide him at least with the ladder to reach this standpoint. The individual’s right is based on his absolute self-sufficiency, which he knows he possesses in every shape of his knowing, for in every shape, whether recognized by science or not, and no matter what the content might be, the individual is at the same time the absolute form, or, he has immediate self-certainty; and, if one were to prefer this expression, he thereby has an unconditioned being. However much the standpoint of consciousness, which is to say, the standpoint of knowing objective things to be opposed to itself and knowing itself to be opposed to them, counts as the other to science – the other, in which consciousness is at one with itself, counts instead as the loss of spirit – still, in comparison, the element of science possesses for consciousness an other-worldly remoteness in which consciousness is no longer in possession of itself.

    Each of these two parts seems to the other to be an inversion of the truth. For the natural consciousness to entrust itself immediately to science would be to make an attempt, induced by it knows not what, to walk upside down all of a sudden. The compulsion to accept this unaccustomed attitude and to transport oneself in that way would be, so it would seem, a violence imposed on it with neither any advance preparation nor with any necessity. – Science may be in its own elf what it will, but in its relationship to immediate self-consciousness, it presents itself as an inversion of the latter, or, because immediate self-consciousness is the principle of actuality, by immediate self-consciousness existing for itself outside of science, science takes the form of non-actuality.

    Accordingly, science has to unite that element with itself or instead to show both that such an element belongs to itself and how it belongs to it. Lacking actuality, science is the in-itself, the purpose, which at the start is still something inner, at first not as spirit but only as spiritual substance. It has to express itself and become for itself, and this means nothing else than that it has to posit self-consciousness as being at one with itself.

    27. This coming-to-be of science itself, or, of knowing, is what is presented in this phenomenology of spirit as the first part of the system of science. Knowing, as it is at first, or, as immediate spirit, is devoid of spirit, is sensuous consciousness. In order to become genuine knowing, or, in order to beget the element of science which is its pure concept, immediate spirit must laboriously travel down a long path.

    – As it is established in its content and in the shapes that appear in it, this coming-to-be appears a bit differently from the way a set of instructions on how to take unscientific consciousness up to and into science would appear; it also appears somewhat differently from the way laying the foundations for science would appear. – In any case, it is something very different from the inspiration which begins immediately, like a shot from a pistol, with absolute knowledge, and which has already finished with all the other standpoints simply by declaring that it will take no notice of them."
    — Hegel/Pinkard
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 21, 22

    "21. However, this abhorrence of mediation stems in fact from a lack of acquaintance with the nature of mediation and with the nature of absolute cognition itself. This is so because mediation is nothing but selfmoving self-equality, or, it is a reflective turn into itself, the moment of the I existing-for-itself, pure negativity, or, simple coming-to-be.

    The I, or, coming-to-be, this mediating, is, on account of its simplicity, immediacy in the very process of coming-to-be and is the immediate itself. – Hence, reason is misunderstood if reflection is excluded from the truth and is not taken to be a positive moment of the absolute. Reflection is what makes truth into the result, but it is likewise what sublates the opposition between the result and its coming-to-be.

    This is so because this coming-to-be is just as simple and hence not different from the form of the true, which itself proves itself to be simple in its result. Coming-to-be is instead this very return into simplicity. – However much the embryo is indeed in itself a person, it is still not a person for itself; the embryo is a person for itself only as a culturally formed and educated rationality which has made itself into what it is in itself. This is for the first time its actuality. However, this result is itself simple immediacy, for it is self-conscious freedom which is at rest within itself, a freedom which has not set the opposition off to one side and left it only lying there but has been reconciled with it.


    22. What has just been said can also be expressed by saying that reason is purposive doing. Both the exaltation of a nature supposedly above and beyond thinking, an exaltation which misconstrues thinking, and especially the banishment of external purposiveness have brought the form of purpose completely into disrepute.

    Yet, in the sense in which Aristotle also determines nature as purposive doing, purpose is the immediate, the motionless, which is self-moving, or, is subject.

    Its abstract power to move is being- or-itself, or, pure negativity. For that reason, the result is the same as the beginning because the beginning is purpose – that is, the actual is the same as its concept only because the immediate, as purpose, has the self, or, pure actuality, within itself.

    The purpose which has been worked out, or, existing actuality, is movement and unfolded coming-to-be. However, this very unrest is the self, and for that reason, it is the same as the former immediacy and simplicity of the beginning because it is the result which has returned into itself. – What has returned into itself is just the self, and the self is self- elating sameness and simplicity."
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    re #s 17, 18 above. It's long been an axiom of mine that there is an upper limit on the meaning that can be loaded into sentences and paragraphs on certain topics. And a corollary, if the selected text is not too long, it should not be too difficult to figure out what it means. The main use of this axiom for me has been to help me know when I'm on the wrong track or looking in the wrong direction. And sometimes I have to back off and suspend judgment until something adds clarity so that I can again move forward. The above paragraphs are full of terms that in their context I cannot attach any firm meaning to.

    the true not just as substance but just as much as subject.tim wood

    And here are three: substance, subject, true, and add a fourth, universal.

    or, it comprises not only the immediacy of knowing but also the immediacy of being, or, immediacy for knowing.tim wood

    It is not clear to me yet that there can be any such thing as an immediacy of knowing. So for me, this is at the moment a word salad, with terms whose meanings cannot be what they seem to be - at least not without some violence.

    I see that Fooloso4 has posted already. He quotes Spinoza, "By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception."

    Our hazard here - maybe just my hazard - lies in accepting something like this from Spinoza as explanation. My problem is that I have no idea what it means to have a single unitary conception "formed independently of any other conception."

    I take my business here to understand, not to add meaning, nor allow myself to suppose I understand if I don't. Were Hegel here, I'd say, "Wha-at," and ask him to go through it again.

    I think Fooloso4 just above has got some of it, but not all. But at the moment it seems to me Hegel is allowing himself to float a bit, no feet on the ground. And it's his business to get back to ground, not-so-much ours to build a ramp under him. Maybe in the next paragraphs....
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 17, 18

    "17. In my view, which must be justified by the exposition of the system itself, everything hangs on
    grasping and expressing the true not just as substance but just as much as subject.

    At the same time, it is to be noted that substantiality comprises within itself the universal, or, it comprises not only the immediacy of knowing but also the immediacy of being, or, immediacy for knowing. – However much taking God to be the one substance shocked the age in which this was expressed, still that was in part because of an instinctive awareness that in such a view self-consciousness only perishes and is not preserved. However, in part, the opposite view, which itself clings to thinking as thinking, or, which holds fast to universality, is exactly the same simplicity, or, it is itself undifferentiated, unmoved substantiality.

    But, thirdly, if thinking only unifies the being of substance with itself and grasps immediacy, or intuition grasped as thinking, then there is the issue about whether this intellectual intuition does not then itself relapse into inert simplicity and thereby present actuality itself in a fully non-actual mode.

    "18. Furthermore, the living substance is the being that is in truth subject, or, what amounts to the same thing, it is in truth actual only insofar as it is the movement of self-positing, or, that it is the mediation of itself and its becoming-other-to-itself.

    As subject, it is pure, simple negativity, and, as a result, it is the estrangement of what is simple, or, it is the doubling which posits oppositions and which is again the negation of this indifferent diversity and its opposition. That is, it is only this self-restoring sameness, the reflective turn into itself in its otherness.

    – The true is not an original unity as such, or, not an immediate unity as such. It is the coming-to-be of itself, the circle that presupposes its end as its goal and has its end for its beginning, and which is actual only through this accomplishment and its end."

  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #16

    #s 17 and 18 seem to go along with this, but combined are too long for one entry. No law against looking ahead at them.


    "16. In so doing, this formalism asserts that this monotony and abstract universality is the absolute, and it assures us that any dissatisfaction with such universality is only an incapacity to master the absolute standpoint and keep a firm grip on it.

    However much there was once a time when the empty possibility of imagining things differently was sufficient to refute a view, and however much the general thought, the same mere possibility, had also at that time the entirely positive value of actual cognition, nonetheless nowadays we see the universal Idea in this form of non-actuality get all value attributed to it, and we see that what counts as the speculative way of considering things turns out to be the dissolution of the distinct and the determinate, or, instead turns out to be simply the casting of what is distinct and determinate into the abyss of the void, an act lacking all development or having no justification in its own self at all.

    In that mode, to examine any existence in the way in which it is in the absolute consists in nothing more than saying it is in fact being spoken of as, say, a “something,” whereas in the absolute, in the A = A, there is no such “something,” for in the absolute, everything is one.

    To oppose this one bit of knowledge, namely, that in the absolute everything is the same, to the knowing which makes distinctions and which has been either fulfilled or is seeking and demanding to be fulfilled – that is, to pass off its absolute as the night in which, as one says, all cows are black – is an utterly vacuous naiveté in cognition.

    – The formalism which has been indicted and scorned by the philosophy of recent times and which has been generated again in it will not disappear from science even though its inadequacy is well known and felt. It will not disappear until the knowing of absolute actuality has become completely clear about its own nature. – Taking into consideration that working out any general idea is made easier by first having it right before us, it is worth indicating here at least very roughly what those ideas are. At the same time, we should also take this opportunity to rid ourselves of a few forms which are only impediments to philosophical cognition.
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 12, 13

    "12. Yet this newness is no more completely actual than is the newborn child, and it is essential to bear this in mind. Its immediacy, or its concept, is the first to come on the scene. However, just as little of a building is finished when its foundation has been laid, so too reaching the concept of the whole is equally as little as the whole itself. When we wish to see an oak with its powerful trunk, its spreading branches, and its mass of foliage, we are not satisfied if instead we are shown an acorn. In the same way, science,
    the crowning glory of a spiritual world, is not completed in its initial stages.

    The beginning of a new spirit is the outcome of a widespread revolution in the diversity of forms of cultural formation; it is both the prize at the end of a winding path just as it is the prize won through much struggle and effort. It is the whole which has returned into itself from out of its succession and extension and has come to be the simple concept of itself. The actuality of this simple whole consists in those embodiments which, having become moments of the whole, again develop themselves anew and give themselves a figuration, but this time in their new element, in the new meaning which itself has come to be.

    13. On the one hand, while the initial appearance of the new world is just the whole enshrouded in its simplicity, or its universal ground, still, on the other hand, the wealth of its bygone existence is in recollection still current for consciousness. In that newly appearing shape, consciousness misses both the dispersal and the particularization of content, but it misses even more the development of the form as a result of which the differences are securely determined and are put into the order of their fixed relationships. Without this development, science has no general intelligibility,and it seems to be the esoteric possession of only a few individuals – an esoteric possession, because at first science is only available in its concept, or in what is internal to it, and it is the possession of a few individuals, since its appearance in this not-yet fully unfurled form makes its existence into something wholly singular.

    Only what is completely determinate is at the same time exoteric, comprehensible, and capable of being learned and possessed by everybody. The intelligible form of science is the path offered to everyone and equally available for all. To achieve rational knowledge through our own intellect is the rightful demand of a consciousness which is approaching the status of science. This is so because the understanding is thinking, the pure I as such, and because what is intelligible is what is already familiar and common both to science and to the unscientific consciousness alike, and it is that through which unscientific consciousness is immediately enabled to enter into science."


    Developing and describing through metaphor his system of thinking as science. The acorn to the tree to its crown. The infant to the mature person. Hegel, however, is taking it beyond the teleology of the individual. The new matures to the final simplicity of itself - which might be the end - but Hegel identifies this as just the occasion for a new new. Perhaps in the sense of a spiral rather than a circle. except such images imply a static architecture of process - an idea that Hegel is at pains to deconstruct.

    A line from Dylan Thomas (a century-and-a-half later): "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower...". The poet grasps the central image - "The force" - although incompletely and in personal terms. For Thomas this "force... is my destroyer." Thomas ends with,
    "And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
    How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm."

    Hegel, however, transcends even this image of life as force and beginning and death as end. For Hegel, realization into full actuality as the simplicity of itself understood as itself, is at once and the same time a "gray" death and the ground of a new beginning. In this context, another qoute from Hegel make more sense:

    "When philosophy paints its gray on gray, then has a form of life grown old, and with gray on gray it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known; the Owl of Minerva first takes flight with twilight closing in" (Philosophy of Right).

    The tree again, seed, seedling, sapling, mature tree, finally fallen tree. But the source for a whole new beginning, that future grounded in the rotting tree, but itself not determined by its ground

    And the past is archive of the new, being its ground and providing reference points, and without which the "child" both feels and is insecure, lacking the structure and bounds of the old, and not yet establishing its own.

    In this inchoate condition, "science" is owned and understood only by the few. But in its logic and the working out of that logic it becomes an offering of participation to all, because as Being itself, it is necessarily accessible to all beings.

    And Hegel is going to work out just what that logic is.

    Correction/refinement welcome!
  • Reading Group, Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Walter Kaufman.

    Pinkard #s 10, 11

    Again, two paragraphs that seem to work together.

    "10. Even to a lesser extent must this kind of science-renouncing self-satisfaction claim that such enthusiasm and obscurantism is itself a bit higher than science. This prophetic prattle imagines that it resides at the center of things, indeed that it is profundity itself, and, viewing determinateness (the horos) with contempt, it intentionally stands aloof from both the concept and from necessity, which it holds to be a type of reflection at home in mere finitude. However, in the way that there is an empty breadth, there is also an empty depth, just as likewise there is an extension of substance which spills over into finite diversity without having the power to keep that diversity together – this is an intensity without content, which, although it makes out as if it were a sheer force without dispersion, is in fact
    no more than superficiality itself.

    The force of spirit is only as great as its expression, and its depth goes only as deep as it trusts itself to disperse itself and to lose itself in its explication of itself. – At the same time, if this substantial knowing, itself so totally devoid of the concept, pretends to have immersed the very ownness of the self in the essence and to philosophize in all holiness and truth, then what it is really doing is just concealing from itself the fact that instead of devoting itself to God, it has, by spurning all moderation and determinateness, instead simply given itself free rein within itself to the contingency of that content and then, within that content, given free rein to its own arbitrariness. – While abandoning themselves to the unbounded fermentation of the substance, the proponents of that view suppose that, by throwing a blanket over self-consciousness and by surrendering all understanding, they are God’s very own, that they are those to whom God imparts wisdom in their sleep. What they in fact receive and what they give birth to in their sleep are, for that reason also only dreams.

    11. Besides, it is not difficult to see that our own epoch is a time of birth and a transition to a new period. Spirit has broken with the previous world of its existence and its ways of thinking; it is now of a mind to let them recede into the past and to immerse itself in its own work at reshaping itself. To be sure, spirit is never to be conceived as being at rest but rather as ever advancing. However, just as with a child, who after a long silent period of nourishment draws his first breath and shatters the gradualness of only quantitative growth – it makes a qualitative leap and is born – so too, in bringing itself to cultural maturity, spirit ripens slowly and quietly into its new shape, dissolving bit by bit the structure of its previous world,
    whose tottering condition is only intimated by its individual symptoms. The kind of frivolity and boredom which chips away at the established order and the indeterminate presentiment of what is yet unknown are all harbingers of imminent change. This gradual process of dissolution, which has not altered the physiognomy of the whole, is interrupted by the break of day, which in a flash and at a single stroke brings to view the structure of the new world."


    It is some work to read these, but the rewards are there! I think these paragraphs are best savoured for their style. Readers of Kant, and here Hegel, et al, will have noted a from time-to-time genteel but crushing brutality of rhetoric and invective directed against their critics and enemies that sometimes animates their pages. .

    And imo, it's worth keeping in mind the forces in play during and before Hegel's writing. Folks then had not radio nor TV nor professional sports; instead they had a new awakening of philosophy that in its topics concerned the very fabric of their lives, from tyranny, however benign, to their own lives and purposes, to freedom - and the French Revolution to Napoleon's wars, brutal in themselves, that were rearranging everything about European life and that from devastation promised new possibility. The Enlightenment had irrupted into common life, and common life, apparently, had grasped it with a firm hold and were talking and writing about it, and weighing every nuance on finely tuned scales.
  • A Proof for the Existence of God

    Yes, but since contradictions cannot be instantiated, (by the ontological principle of contradiction) they are not possible. So, the formulations mean the same thing.Dfpolis
    What is contradictory is outside the scope of being and so not a limit on being.Dfpolis
    The laws of nature, for example, act throughout the cosmos, but have no parts outside of parts.Dfpolis
    and an Infinite Being can do any possible act.Dfpolis
    Infinite being can act in all possible ways in all pos­sible places at all possible times.Dfpolis
    Nor is the universe God because it is constrained by the laws of nature, which are more restrictive than what is logically pos­sible.Dfpolis
    Thinking something does not make it exist.Dfpolis
    So, we can only prove God's existence if knowledge of it is implicit in experience. People with good intuition can see it directly, but may not be able to articulate it for others.Dfpolis
    If a being exists, its explanation must exist.Dfpolis
    If something exists, its existence is explained either by itself or by another.Dfpolis

    1) What does contradiction inhere in? Let's set aside once and for all apparent contradiction. Now, your #7 in mind, we have to ask if contradiction is merely something thought, an artifact of reason arising out of a cognitive juxtaposing of conceivable circumstances, that in juxtaposing them informs reason that the reality of the juxtaposition cannot be? The trouble with this is it's just a mental construct, a thought thing. By your #7, then, a something that does not exist by being thought.

    Time for you to define existence and being, or to save you some trouble, to correct mine. Allow me to make a division into two classes: mental reality and extra-mental reality. Seven, for example, is a mental reality and not an extra-mental reality, as are all numbers, truth, justice, love, and the American way. I hold God to be a mental reality. A brick, on the other hand, possesses the quality of extra-mental reality. To know this extra-mental reality requires the application of practical knowledge - and it would be beyond tedious in this thread, although perhaps exciting in other contexts - to lay out how we can know anything about extra-mental reality if all we've got is mental reality. Practical knowledge, for present purpose, shall be the sword that cuts that particular Gordian knot.

    So we have a real world and a world of thought, and we can mostly, and in theory always, tell the two apart. Contradiction, then, being of thought, is not reified by being thought. But that only tells us about our own thought and our own limitations on our own thoughts. Our suppositions about contradictions, then, remain exactly - merely - and only that. As such, this thinking must be silent on the capabilities of God.

    That is the account of contradiction as a creature of reason, as such irrelevant to God. Or, contradiction is more than just a creature of reason - and God is, or is not, subject to constraint by that contradiction. That is, in the extra-mental world we inhabit, there are, plain and simple, things that cannot be and events that cannot happen. In which cases, God can either be and do them, thus doing contradictory things, or, God cannot, and thus God is neither fundamental nor primordial, but derives from a more basic set of rules that are not God.


    I would leave this at one item, for practical reasons, and resume with others in other posts. But perhaps a possibility of resolution lies in your response to this question.

    Your #s 9 and 10. I read these as a variation on Leibiz's "Nothing is without reason." And following your distinctions about "explanation," I take both reason and explanation to be in themselves reasoned verbal references to the facts that themselves account for the thing being explained. That is, references to extra-mental realities. It's easy to think in terms of cause, here, but "cause" is a very tricky word.

    It seems to me that the extra-mental reality referenced by the explanation must be coterminous with the thing explained in both space and time. I do not mean this in any complicated way, only that for an explanation to be the explanation, there can be no other intermediate explanation. Rather the explanation must be im-mediate. E.g., my lighting the fuse is not the explanation of why the dynamite explodes.

    This says that if one thing exists (extra-mentally), then other things must exist (extra-mentally) as explanation. But this "argument" is a mental construct - not necessarily conclusive with respect to extra-mental reality. The notorious and fatal infinite regress is thus a product of the argument and not necessarily a feature of extra-mental reality.

    Thus reason seems limited by itself and its own limitations. And to make this very brief, but not so brief that you will miss the point, God would seem to stand entirely outside of what reason can know or itself reason in terms of extra-mental realities. What reason knows cannot be God. God, then, can only stand as a mutable mental reality/construct that in terms of extra-mental reality can only stand as the unreasoned answer to questions not yet answered, or that may be unanswerable. But that implies that God, as answer, cannot be knowable except in speculation or in terms of efficacy as an answer, in neither case as an extra-mental reality; as real, as being a being, but only as an idea - the power and efficacy of ideas being a whole other topic.
  • Morality

    Too bad we don't have post #s here, but can you give me at least a small text string that I can identify the post by? That way I can quickly search for it.
  • Pearlists shouldn't call themselves atheists

    A-theism plays against theism for (its) meaning. The privative a- establishes that. Two possibilities: 1) atheism is an independent word/idea in its own right without reference to theism. What might it mean? #s 2 (implying as you say #1), and 3 above seem about right; that is, not a rejection of any particular, but rather an entire genus of belief. We might call this a positive sense of atheism. Oddly though, we define it in negative terms. Positively, I suppose it the expression of confidence in the eventual answerability of all answerable questions in natural terms aka science, in terms of natural processes, however obscure or difficult to establish (the point being to distinguish between kinds of answers, e.g,, scientific and theological). .

    Or 2) it's against theism, which means that theism must first be defined and that a-theism will be no better defined than the concept it opposes, being defined in terms of that concept.

    Atheism in this positive sense seems respectable and thought-out. And for this sense, theism is a tar-baby that atheists had best not grasp, because their own understanding of atheism passes right by theism. A-theism, on the other hand, seems problematic at best, and a mire that non-critical thinkers are caught in and waste other people's time with, to their discredit, if they but knew it.

    Sense? Disagreement?

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