Another One Rides the Bus

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Twirlip
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 12:49 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172989 wrote:
From a technical Platonist point of view, Forms are not essences; rather, they have essence. In the doctrine of the One and the Indefinite Dyad, in Plotinus' version at least, the dyad is Nous and Ousias. The latter is Being, Substance and Essence, depending on the context. In effect, it's "being-as," or the simultaneity of "is" and "what it is." So it's there from the first "moment" of emergence from the indivisible One, while the Forms follow from the further differentiation of the "what it is."

Fascinating! And exactly the kind of thing I need to think about. So much to learn ...
Ousia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
Much later, Martin Heidegger said that the original meaning of the word ousia was lost in its translation to the Latin, and, subsequently, in its translation to modern languages. For him, ousia means Being, not substance, that is, not some thing or some being that "stood"(-stance) "under"(sub-). Moreover, he also uses the bi-nomial parousia-apousia, denoting presence-absence, and hypostasis denoting existence.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 07:06 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172989 wrote:
Can't say I agree with much of what you said, but that's what a dialectic is for. I'll start from the fact that I do definitely agree that "we cannot explain all by way of materialism." As I indicated previously, the existence of a physical universe can't be explained by its internal laws or properties, so there must be some meta-physical laws or properties that do explain it.

As to meaning, I'm of the school that holds that the meaning is "there" in the order of the cosmos, so it's for us to discover, not to create. And we can discover it because (and only because) we are that order, along with everything else (analogous to a hologram, maybe).






This strikes me as getting pretty technical for a thread that's really just a personal introduction, but what the heck. From a technical Platonist point of view, Forms are not essences; rather, they have essence. In the doctrine of the One and the Indefinite Dyad, in Plotinus' version at least, the dyad is Nous and Ousias. The latter is Being, Substance and Essence, depending on the context. In effect, it's "being-as," or the simultaneity of "is" and "what it is." So it's there from the first "moment" of emergence from the indivisible One, while the Forms follow from the further differentiation of the "what it is."

Naturally, as a Platonist I disagree firmly with your suggestion that "In the moral world we have no thing to compare with our thought, so what is the meaning of the thought in question is the question... We cannot ask what is justice because there is no such thing." So I won't argue the point, because Plato et al. already have.

It looks like we have room for disagreement..

Plato and Socrates had a lot more questions than answers, and Plato's theory of forms, which you seem to accept and I cannot is part of the reason he did not get more answers.. So get stuck on a dead end road with four flats and see if I come and give you a jump...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 07:18 pm
@Fido,
Fido;172911 wrote:
Yes... I see all concepts/forms/ideas/notions; what have you as essences... And they are not exact by any means... They stand in a certain relation to the thing, yet the thought is never the thing, but we have it as analogy, and we see our worlds -the physical and the moral- by way of analogy...

That is one thing I have had clarified by Rudiger Safranski's book on Heidegger... The difference between thought and thing is heterogeny, and the points of agreement are homogeny, and we resolve these differences through analogy...

In the moral world we have no thing to compare with our thought, so what is the meaning of the thought in question is the question... We cannot ask what is justice because there is no such thing, but we can ask: What is the meaning of Justice; and if we do so we find a confusion of subjective life experiences, so the homogeny of thought with thing eludes us... Of moral reality all we have is analogy... We do not see the essence of justice, which does not exist, but we instead see our essence, how we conceive of ourselves spiritually reflected in these forms of meaning, like justice, or goodness, or virtue, or their counterparts...


All this is what I have been writing about lately. All of our essences are temporal, I would argue, except for the root-essence or rather the inborn capacity to create essences. You say that essences stand in a certain relation to the thing. You might mean this is two ways. Do you mean the sensation and emotion organized into a thing? Or do you feel the world is made of things in-itself, devoid our of essences? I argue that thing-hood is just essence imposed on sensation, emotion, or sub-essences. You know that kids sometimes draw the mustache above the nose. Because they don't even look. They are drawing on the left-side of the brain. Perhaps the brain hemispheres are deeply involved here. Heterogony and homogeny would seem to exist on a spectrum. In what way does the sensation or emotion clash with our project/remembered essence? Yes, analogy is crucial. Perhaps analogy is thinking with the entire brain, the "soul."

I realize we may need to move this to another thread.Smile
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 11:00 pm
@Reconstructo,
Quote:

Reconstructo;173167 wrote:
All this is what I have been writing about lately. All of our essences are temporal, I would argue, except for the root-essence or rather the inborn capacity to create essences. You say that essences stand in a certain relation to the thing. You might mean this is two ways. Do you mean the sensation and emotion organized into a thing? Or do you feel the world is made of things in-itself, devoid our of essences? I argue that thing-hood is just essence imposed on sensation, emotion, or sub-essences. You know that kids sometimes draw the mustache above the nose. Because they don't even look. They are drawing on the left-side of the brain. Perhaps the brain hemispheres are deeply involved here. Heterogony and homogeny would seem to exist on a spectrum. In what way does the sensation or emotion clash with our project/remembered essence? Yes, analogy is crucial. Perhaps analogy is thinking with the entire brain, the "soul."


The concept, the ideal, stands in a certain relation to the thing, not in reality, but in the mind, another infinite...
As we collect information about any physical reality we expand upon our concept of it... And this knowledge we say is its essence, but what is that??? Is it the sense of the thing, its being, its meaning, or all of our judgement of it, which is finite knowledge??? You see that what is presumed of reality, that it was created by another, higher form of being, ends up in metaphysical statements that still plague us, like all men created equal... This presumption, that just like a workman building a structure with a perfect plan only imperfectly has been a disease of thought since the time of Plato...

What Plato was taking for fact was an accident of the mind, that when we see variations on a theme we resolve all difference into a single perfect form, but forms are only forms, mental gagets serving only a practical purpose... We take all cats and extract the essence of all cats, and say this is a cat, what a cat is; but that is the confusion of subject with object on a vast scale... The thought of what the thing is barely touches upon what the thing is, so we are left in the end with a certain fiction passing for fact, an allagory instead of a reality... And this is true of numbers which are a sort of perfect conception of reality, and even more true of conceptions of moral reality which can hardly be considered as conceptions at all... What Plato sought was a definition of good, of Justice, of virtue that could be taught; but he could not diiscover the ideal and not for want of trying... It was because he did not understand that infinites cannot be defined, and only finite knowledge, knowledge of finite reality- can be taught...We can talk about the good because we all have a vague sense of what it is, but vague senses of things undefined cannot be taught... It is not that such moral truths should not be pursued by philosophy; but rather, philosophers should understand that the methods and forms of physics do not apply to moral reality...

Math and logic work well as forms illuminating physical reality... To understand the essence of moral reality one must be more circumspect, and be willing to open the mind to emotions and their power over the actions of people... I think Nietzsche who I generally dispise was aware of the fact that people are rational only to a point, that their actions are rational, and that their motivations are anything but rational... The way he talks of criminals being more in touch with the immediacy of life, and here I hope not to represent him, says much about people and about nietzsche; for we cover our motivations with a veneer of justification that anyone can see through, but out of decency do not raise the issue upon which we all are at fault...

So you cannot teach morals, which are the big point in Plato; that Knowledge is Virtue, when the Sophists were more to he point, or as Aristippus showed, that the good is the pleasurable...

One cannot be taught the good because the essence of good cannot be found... Yet people are good without being taught... Is this an accident??? Is it possible that people are good by mistake, by a shot in the dark???

Good is a form, an ideal, but primarily a form of relationship... Good is an infinite moral form... Good is a meaning without a being... People learn good in their relationships before they are able to learn as a conscious activity... They learn the good unconscious of what they are learning as a precursur to all learning of a conscious nature, because what people learn consciously they learn out of a sense of the good that they bring to their subjects...and what is good and what is moral is not only prerational, but anti rational... The good, when people do good is often at their own expense; and there is no reason for it, so no reason can be extracted from it... So there, in the wasted metaphysical pursuit of good is the spent life of Plato... If he understood ideals in their proper relation to the objects considered as subjects in life, he would have seen that the ideals are formed out of the things as essences, senses of the thing rather than the other way around... Plato was a product of his prejudices which tainted all his judgements...


Quote:
I realize we may need to move this to another thread.Smile


I am certain you may be correct here...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 11:47 pm
@Mad Mike,
Great post. It's like the Fido version of the TLP. Your version is briefer, but the TLP does the slow surgery for those lack the sudden insight.
Actually, Plato seems to know that the Form of the Good isn't a Form, really. He too saw it as infinite, I think.
Quote:

The Sun is described in a simile as the child or offspring (ekgonos) of the Form of the Good (508c-509a), in that, like the sun which makes physical objects visible and generates life on earth, the Good makes all other universals intelligible, and in some sense provides being to all other Forms, though the Good itself exceeds being.[1

Neither of us cares for religion that is only accidental forms, I think. But I do like the character Jesus when he says that God is Love. I think this is a way of saying that the Good is an infinite, a feeling.
The Tao also presents humans as good until they get tangled up in their forms.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 04:50 am
@Mad Mike,
Perhaps you are right, and I am wrong about Plato, and because of the many dialogues I confuse Plato with Socrates who did attempt to define the good as an absoulte, as knowledge...In fact, the good is only one of many moral forms for which no precise definition can be found... As forms of relationship, the fact than no definition for these moral forms exists forces people to relate in their relationships, to ask each other what the thing is to the other, and to define it for themselves and seek it in their daily affairs... This fact denies the ability of people to create large social forms for the production of qualities every one seems to prize and need, such as the republic.
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 01:45 pm
@Fido,
Reading over the last several posts here, I thought about this passage from Hans-Georg Gadamer's essay on "Plato's Unwritten Doctrine," which I seem to be obsessed with lately:

Quote:

If we are indeed forbidden to seek a fixed system of deduction in Plato's doctrines and if, on the contrary, Plato's doctrine of the indeterminate Two establishes precisely the impossibility of completing such a system, then Plato's doctrine of ideas turns out to be a general theory of the relationship from which it can be convincingly deduced that dialectic is unending and infinite. Underlying this theory would be the fact that the logos always requires that one idea be "there" together with another. Insight into one idea per se does not yet constitute knowledge. Only when the idea is "alluded" to in respect to another does it display itself as something.


This could help account for the impossibility of saying anything definite about the One, precisely because it is one alone. It's not rationalizable because rationality requires two (i.e., a ratio).

Also, I don't agree that the ideas or forms are only moral. The One may be the Good, but it's also the Beautiful.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 02:25 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;173470 wrote:
Reading over the last several posts here, I thought about this passage from Hans-Georg Gadamer's essay on "Plato's Unwritten Doctrine," which I seem to be obsessed with lately:



This could help account for the impossibility of saying anything definite about the One, precisely because it is one alone. It's not rationalizable because rationality requires two (i.e., a ratio).

Also, I don't agree that the ideas or forms are only moral. The One may be the Good, but it's also the Beautiful.


I completely agree. The Good is the Beautiful. Any fixed ethical system is already a reduction, an idolatry, an ossification. And I also agree about the 2. Of course Hegel got his Dia-lectic from Plato (or someone before him?) I see the existence of two different "ones." I defer to your expertise on Plato and Plotinus. I came from a Hegel-Wittgenstein angle and moved backward. But here goes. The greater more important One is the Good and the Beautiful. Or from a Christian angle God as Love/Beauty. The second less important "one" is the root of conception, and the foundation of math and logic. I call this the Form of Forms or the Proto-Form. In my view, all conceptual Forms (ignoring for now spatial-geometric forms) are contingent upon sensation and emotion, or basically the 2's you mention. As Hegel might say, they are founded on negation in relation to other concepts. But if we negate a concept as far as possible, I think we end up with being or is-ness and unity. And I think all conception is unity, as even pluralities are also unities of sub-unities. What do you think?
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 07:06 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;173484 wrote:
I completely agree. The Good is the Beautiful. Any fixed ethical system is already a reduction, an idolatry, an ossification. And I also agree about the 2. Of course Hegel got his Dia-lectic from Plato (or someone before him?) I see the existence of two different "ones." I defer to your expertise on Plato and Plotinus. I came from a Hegel-Wittgenstein angle and moved backward. But here goes. The greater more important One is the Good and the Beautiful. Or from a Christian angle God as Love/Beauty. The second less important "one" is the root of conception, and the foundation of math and logic. I call this the Form of Forms or the Proto-Form. In my view, all conceptual Forms (ignoring for now spatial-geometric forms) are contingent upon sensation and emotion, or basically the 2's you mention. As Hegel might say, they are founded on negation in relation to other concepts. But if we negate a concept as far as possible, I think we end up with being or is-ness and unity. And I think all conception is unity, as even pluralities are also unities of sub-unities. What do you think?


One of the things I find most appealing about Plotinus is what's been called his "radical simplicity." Not his writings, obviously, which are notoriously opaque (although some of that is just bad translations). But his system is indeed simple in its basic structure, yet I think it pretty much covers what needs to be covered.

And at the apex of his system is the simplest thing of all, the One. There's only one One, and the one thing we can really be sure about is its oneness. Epithets like Good and Beautiful are in effect guesses we make based on what the One causes, but don't refer to what the One is in itself, which is unknowable and indescribable by its very nature.

What you call the "root of conception, and the foundation of math and logic" sounds like Nous in Plotinian/Neoplatonic thinking, i.e., Intellect or Spirit. Nous as such might well be the "Form of Forms," because Forms are in a sense the product of the activity of Nous, and Nous as a whole is the unity of all intellects and forms. (There's a lot in Plotinus that resembles systems theory.)

However, the actuality of the Forms in Nous is still the potentiality of the expressed forms in time, space and matter: The form of the human is potentially all humans - or perhaps better said, the form of the thinking animal, because I don't want to be geocentric; this is one reason I call myself a neo-Plotinian. And it's only in this latter realm of expression - which is Psyche in this system - that things like sensation and emotion are found.

I may be looking through the opposite end of the telescope from you in a way, based on your remark that "if we negate a concept as far as possible, I think we end up with being or is-ness and unity." From my end, the One, by being (as Plotinus says) none of the things that exist after the One, is all of them potentially. So in the outflow from the One, there's a continual narrowing of possibilities: a thinking animal, not a plant; a human being not a Klingon; Socrates not Lady Gaga. At this extreme of expression in material existence, his potential is limited to being the one person he is; in other words, his existence is the negation of all the other possibilities.

Incidentally, Gadamer (who was a student of Heidegger's) also wrote about Hegel. Some of his studies are collected in Hegel's Dialectic: Five Hermeneutical Studies, trans. by P. Christopher Smith, who worked directly with Gadamer. It's published by Yale University Press.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 08:35 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;173470 wrote:
Reading over the last several posts here, I thought about this passage from Hans-Georg Gadamer's essay on "Plato's Unwritten Doctrine," which I seem to be obsessed with lately:



This could help account for the impossibility of saying anything definite about the One, precisely because it is one alone. It's not rationalizable because rationality requires two (i.e., a ratio).

Also, I don't agree that the ideas or forms are only moral. The One may be the Good, but it's also the Beautiful.

What we know of moral forms we do not know by way of reason, but by insight... Physical forms can usually be conceived of by abstraction with number; but this rational method does not work for moral forms...At the same time we cannot say we know anything of moral forms because they are infinites...It does not mean that we have to be deliberately unreasonable, but we should recognize the unreasonable character of the moral man...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 12:06 am
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;173619 wrote:
One of the things I find most appealing about Plotinus is what's been called his "radical simplicity." Not his writings, obviously, which are notoriously opaque (although some of that is just bad translations). But his system is indeed simple in its basic structure, yet I think it pretty much covers what needs to be covered.

My current view is dear to me partially because of its radical yet beautiful simplicity.

---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 01:08 AM ----------

Mad Mike;173619 wrote:

And at the apex of his system is the simplest thing of all, the One. There's only one One, and the one thing we can really be sure about is its oneness. Epithets like Good and Beautiful are in effect guesses we make based on what the One causes, but don't refer to what the One is in itself, which is unknowable and indescribable by its very nature.

Yes, I relate to this completely. Is this unification in your opinion conceptual or emotion or both? If we think digitally, in terms of ones (nous, as you mention below), are we forced to squeeze this unknowable into a unity? Or does its beauty give one such a sense of peace, that oneness is part of the emotional experience?

---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 01:11 AM ----------

Mad Mike;173619 wrote:

What you call the "root of conception, and the foundation of math and logic" sounds like Nous in Plotinian/Neoplatonic thinking, i.e., Intellect or Spirit. Nous as such might well be the "Form of Forms," because Forms are in a sense the product of the activity of Nous, and Nous as a whole is the unity of all intellects and forms. (There's a lot in Plotinus that resembles systems theory.)

I've actually had that exact suspicion, but never had enough information on nous to adopt the term with confidence. Hegel speaks of pure negation, and this negation is like a knife that cuts unities out of the flux. Being is define by not-being. The chair is defined by the not-chair. The chair implies not-chair. Perhaps this is the two-ity mentioned earlier. In my mind, this "form of forms" cannot be satisfactorily named, because any name would be too determinate. Thanks for the info on this.

---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 01:19 AM ----------

Mad Mike;173619 wrote:

However, the actuality of the Forms in Nous is still the potentiality of the expressed forms in time, space and matter: The form of the human is potentially all humans - or perhaps better said, the form of the thinking animal, because I don't want to be geocentric; this is one reason I call myself a neo-Plotinian. And it's only in this latter realm of expression - which is Psyche in this system - that things like sensation and emotion are found.

That's a beautiful notion. I might be coming a litte from the other direction, but I can appreciate that. I speculate that nous or the form of forms cuts the non-eternal forms from the flux of sensation and emotion. Of course we are born among language users and absorb their forms. In my mind, these forms/concepts are generally not eternal...except of course that the human body remains largely unchanged, and so does much of nature. So we have some relatively stable sensual-spatial forms. Spatial forms seem to have a different nature. Does not the eye/brain cut the visual field into objects automatically? And then concept is laid against this like a measure, or an automatic labeling machine. We see the shape and movement of a dog and link this shape and movement to the concept dog.

But I'm not fanatical about any of it, and only particularly attached to the 2 roots, which would be the Good/Beauty/Love Trans-Form and the Proto-Form or Form-of-Forms. Of course the Trans-Form or the One is dependent in my mind upon sensation. Perhaps in your view this One is the source of all? That does make sense to me. I sometimes like to say that we are in the One, immersed in the Beauty that gives all sensation and forms meaning and value. I feel that experience melts into One, or as Keats might say all is obliterated in beauty.
 
mark noble
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:35 pm
@Reconstructo,
Hi Mike,

Welcome to the forum. The first thing that ever existed? This would imply that prior to its' existence there was no thing (Nothing). This cannot be - for something cannot arise from nothing. So "there wasn't a first thing" - is my answer.

Thank you for the question, and have a great day.

Mark...
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:17 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;173899 wrote:
Hi Mike,

Welcome to the forum. The first thing that ever existed? This would imply that prior to its' existence there was no thing (Nothing). This cannot be - for something cannot arise from nothing. So "there wasn't a first thing" - is my answer.

Thank you for the question, and have a great day.

Mark...

Mark; do you expect you have to know everything to know anything... If that is the case we are all lost... Isn't that the idea of metaphysics; to massage people with the false notion that they can know everything, that there is something beyond the physical that we can tie into to become enllightened... It is nonsense, if this is true... What we know will always be exactly what we know, never enough, and always enough to make us feel better about ourselves...
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:27 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;173619 wrote:
And at the apex of his system is the simplest thing of all, the One. There's only one One, and the one thing we can really be sure about is its oneness.

If there is only one One, can another One ride the bus?
 
mark noble
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:37 pm
@Fido,
Fido;173925 wrote:
Mark; do you expect you have to know everything to know anything... If that is the case we are all lost... Isn't that the idea of metaphysics; to massage people with the false notion that they can know everything, that there is something beyond the physical that we can tie into to become enllightened... It is nonsense, if this is true... What we know will always be exactly what we know, never enough, and always enough to make us feel better about ourselves...


Hi Fido,

Strange place for a discussion, but, No - I expect to have to know Nothing to know anything. And if there is one thing I do profess to knowing - It's Nothing.
That may sound peculiar to you, but if it's any consolation - It sounds peculiar to me too.
Thank you Fido, have a brilliant evening.

Mark...
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:50 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;173939 wrote:
Hi Fido,

Strange place for a discussion, but, No - I expect to have to know Nothing to know anything. And if there is one thing I do profess to knowing - It's Nothing.
That may sound peculiar to you, but if it's any consolation - It sounds peculiar to me too.
Thank you Fido, have a brilliant evening.

Mark...

well, I'll try...
 
 

 
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