The Real is Rational

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kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:58 pm
@Fido,
Fido;152867 wrote:
Impossible is a degree of difficulty... The word has no absolute meaning... Like most words... Neither does knowing have an absolute meaning... Are you guys dense or what... People act as if they do know when they do not... I admit I know not, so I do not, and you want me to drink hemlock... I swear.


Now, if only I knew what an absolute meaning was. I know that Quito is the capital of Ecuador. Why would you think I don't? Maybe you mean that I am not certain that Quito is the capital of Ecuador, for I might be mistaken. I agree with that.
 
Extrain
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 04:32 pm
@Fido,
Fido;152939 wrote:
I did not say I did not know anything meaning everything, but of moral forms no one can say they know, including myself...


I disagree. Though you may *think* you don't know Hitler's gratuitously torturing and exterminating 6 million Jews is morally wrong, I am willing to concede that I sure know that this heinous act is morally wrong, and I bet you know it, too--simply in virtue of the fact that this atrocious act is more likely gratuitously evil than morally beneficient or good: for this very reason, as Kennethamy says, knowledge is not the same thing as certainty.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 10:50 am
@Reconstructo,
Quote:

6.363 The procedure of induction consists in accepting as true the simplest law that can be reconciled with our experiences.
6.3631 This procedure, however, has no logical justification but only a psychological one. It is clear that there are no grounds for believing that the simplest eventuality will in fact be realized.
6.36311 It is an hypothesis that the sun will rise tomorrow: and this means that we do not know whether it will rise.
6.37 There is no compulsion making one thing happen because another has happened. The only necessity that exists is logical necessity.
6.371 The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena.
6.372 Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages. And in fact both are right and both wrong: though the view of the ancients is clearer in so far as they have a clear and acknowledged terminus, while the modern system tries to make it look as if everything were explained.

By logical necessity, I think he can only mean transcendental logic. I completely agree that science does not explain, not ultimately. It describes relations, tendencies. It doesn't tell us why. Of course Kant had a good point, that causality is a tricky thing to apply to the whole. We also find some Hume here.

Tiny enough creatures on a large enough sphere would think they lived on an infinite plane. And creatures whose concept systems are systems of distinctions can easily....
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 10:55 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;153217 wrote:
By logical necessity, I think he can only mean transcendental logic. Tiny enough creatures on a large enough sphere would think they lived on an infinite plane.


Mean what by transcendent logic? And how can people mean anything by logical necessity? What does not mean? We are tiny creatures and we do not think we live on an infinite plane. At least I don't,
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 11:01 am
@Reconstructo,
Quote:

6.4321 The facts all contribute only to setting the problem, not to its solution.
6.44 It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.
6.45 To view the world sub specie aeterni is to view it as a whole-a limited whole. Feeling the world as a limited whole-it is this that is mystical.
A limited whole. Sounds like monism. Or nonism. Also the mystical is presented as a feeling.
Let me say again: I admit I am twisting W to my purposes. He's an influence, not an idol.

---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 12:13 PM ----------

Quote:

6.53 The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: to say nothing except what can be said, i.e. propositions of natural science-i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy-and then, whenever someone else wanted to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had failed to give a meaning to certain signs in his propositions. Although it would not be satisfying to the other person-he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy-this method would be the only strictly correct one.
6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright.
These are some complicated lines. His "correct method of philosophy" is utterly ironic, as it violates the principle it intends to establish. It negates itself. Just as Nietzsche's dynamic theory of truth calls itself into question. When Witt says we should tell so-and-so that he should give a meaning for his signs, he might as well be talking to himself, as this very statement of his is metaphysical. Or shall we argue that discussions of meaning are the "propositions of natural science"? In my opinion, W's irony and complexity here is missed by many. Surely he was aware, great logician that he was, that his statement swallows its own tail.

Indeed, he quickly moves on to using a strange and beautiful ladder metaphor, which is quite metaphorical/metaphysical/mystical in its way. This is another Hegel relation. You can't throw away the ladder until you have climbed it. Just as Hegel stresses that man develops historically. Reality is a process. Self-knowledge is a process. The ladder is placenta. The ladder is training wheels. The ladder is baby teeth. The ladder is all those dichotomies and self-alienations that were necessary on the way. The ladder is dialectical progress, an ascension. And W, just like Hegel, suggests a resolution to this dialectic, an end point, a finish line.

---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 12:21 PM ----------

Quote:

If this work has any value, it consists in two things: the first is that thoughts are expressed in it, and on this score the better the thoughts are expressed-the more the nail has been hit on the head-the greater will be its value.-Here I am conscious of having fallen a long way short of what is possible. Simply because my powers are too slight for the accomplishment of the task.-May others come and do it better.
On the other hand the truth of the thoughts that are here communicated seems to me unassailable and definitive. I therefore believe myself to have found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems. And if I am not mistaken in this belief, then the second thing in which the of this work consists is that it shows how little is achieved when these problems are solved.
These are bold statements. W claims to have found the final solution. It's hard to think of him simply as anti-metaphysical, or as someone who is merely practical. He was a man with the truth in his hand. (Such is his claim) True, this truth was twisted in on itself.....
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 02:20 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;153220 wrote:
A limited whole. Sounds like monism. Or nonism. Also the mystical is presented as a feeling.
Let me say again: I admit I am twisting W to my purposes. He's an influence, not an idol.

---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 12:13 PM ----------

These are some complicated lines. His "correct method of philosophy" is utterly ironic, as it violates the principle it intends to establish. It negates itself. Just as Nietzsche's dynamic theory of truth calls itself into question. When Witt says we should tell so-and-so that he should give a meaning for his signs, he might as well be talking to himself, as this very statement of his is metaphysical. Or shall we argue that discussions of meaning are the "propositions of natural science"? In my opinion, W's irony and complexity here is missed by many. Surely he was aware, great logician that he was, that his statement swallows its own tail.

Indeed, he quickly moves on to using a strange and beautiful ladder metaphor, which is quite metaphorical/metaphysical/mystical in its way. This is another Hegel relation. You can't throw away the ladder until you have climbed it. Just as Hegel stresses that man develops historically. Reality is a process. Self-knowledge is a process. The ladder is placenta. The ladder is training wheels. The ladder is baby teeth. The ladder is all those dichotomies and self-alienations that were necessary on the way. The ladder is dialectical progress, an ascension. And W, just like Hegel, suggests a resolution to this dialectic, an end point, a finish line.

---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 12:21 PM ----------

These are bold statements. W claims to have found the final solution. It's hard to think of him simply as anti-metaphysical, or as someone who is merely practical. He was a man with the truth in his hand. (Such is his claim) True, this truth was twisted in on itself.....


Poor Ludwig. No wonder he switched philosophies, and repudiated TLP. He saw the future, and he was ashamed.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 02:56 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;142396 wrote:
The world as we know it is structured by human concept. Even if there is a structure beneath or above our human concept, this itself is still just a human concept. Human concept is all the structure we have and are ever going to have, it seems to me.
We cook up gods and theories and philosophies, and this is the intelligable structure of the world. And we cannot speak or think outside of structure, also known as ratio, also known as rationality.
I just got David Foster Wallace's book on infinity. It's good stuff. And it's a good example. We can cook up a concept like infinity only by negating our concept of the finite. We can't think infinity and we can't think the unthinkable. But we can put a minus sign in front of anything.


This is my view as well, however, I have one minor objection - maybe already dealt with, but I haven't read all 17 pages of the thread, so humor me.

How would you account for what is typically called the sub-conscious and irrationality? I would consider this structured as well, though to a lesser degree.

The only problem with 'the real is rational' may be that it implies that there is something irrational which is not real - if there is, we cannot know of it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:03 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153662 wrote:
This is my view as well, .


It is your view that what concepts structure are themselves concepts? Why would you, or anyone, hold such a view?
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:27 pm
@kennethamy,
It is my view that - in the world we know of - there are only concepts, using that term very loosely; a better term would be experiences. When those concepts refer to anything at all, they refer to other concepts. If you say that they refer only to things outside of experience, outside of the world we know, then in fact they refer to nothing as far as we know.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:33 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153678 wrote:
It is my view that - in the world we know of - there are only concepts, using that term very loosely; a better term would be experiences. When those concepts refer to anything at all, they refer to other concepts. If you say that they refer only to things outside of experience, outside of the world we know, then in fact they refer to nothing as far as we know.


I suppose that is your view, if you say it is. But I asked why? (What is a loose use of "concept"?) . But how is Mt. Everest a concept. Isn't it a rather large mountain?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:43 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153662 wrote:
This is my view as well, however, I have one minor objection - maybe already dealt with, but I haven't read all 17 pages of the thread, so humor me.

How would you account for what is typically called the sub-conscious and irrationality? I would consider this structured as well, though to a lesser degree.


I would say that the "subconscious" is a concept, an abstract object. It's a hypothesis I find quite convincing. (Jung is great). Yes, we can indeed say that the unconscious is structured, but this statement itself is a concept within our system. It seems to me that all of our concepts, including the ones at play in this discussion, are best thought of as pieces within a system of concepts. The concept of the brain, for instance. The concept of mind. The concept of matter. To say the real is rational is akin to saying that the real is conceptual. Lacan can talk of the Real that resists symbolization, but this is itself a symbolization. The word irrational, if applied in the sense of non-conceptual, is comparable to the phrase "round square." If we talk of unconceptualized sensation, we have already conceptualized it. We can infer it, I think, but only within a system of concepts. We can also infer what I like to call the "form of forms" or the "shape of shape." T.S. Eliot would call it form without concept. We can infer some "Transcendental" faculty that "forces" us to think in unities, to experience the real as rational, but we can't directly conceive of form without content. I feel that Heidegger (and others) pushed it to the limit when the considered the Being of beings, and moreso when they wrote "Being" under erasure.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:48 pm
@kennethamy,
If Mt. Everest is not a concept (in the loose sense: i.e. some kind of experience*), how do you know about it? If you are suggesting that Mt. Everest is some thing existing outside of experience, that's a fine proposition, but then it necessarily follows that you wouldn't know that it exists. In short, anything you are aware of is a concept - you assume that concepts refer to 'real' things outside of experience that you do not know about. I do not make that assumption - I assert the reality only of that which I know empirically, and all of those things are concepts in my own mind.

* For you, that probably means a conglomeration of images and descriptions of Mt. Everest; for some, that means memories of actually being there; for a few, that means the actual present experience of being there
 
doswizard
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:49 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;142396 wrote:
I struggled with this line at first. How is the real rational, when we are always still figuring out what reality is?

It now makes perfect sense to me, so I'm sharing my view on it, and encouraging a friendly discussion on the matter. Here's my view on it.

The world as we know it is structured by human concept. Even if there is a structure beneath or above our human concept, this itself is still just a human concept. Human concept is all the structure we have and are ever going to have, it seems to me.
We cook up gods and theories and philosophies, and this is the intelligable structure of the world. And we cannot speak or think outside of structure, also known as ratio, also known as rationality.
I just got David Foster Wallace's book on infinity. It's good stuff. And it's a good example. We can cook up a concept like infinity only by negating our concept of the finite. We can't think infinity and we can't think the unthinkable. But we can put a minus sign in front of anything.



That's Immanuel Kant. Kant was trying to save Empiricism
from it's own self devouring Logic. He used Absolute Mind
to discern between what is Real and what is Rational. The split
between Real and Rational remained, but Kant Encompassed it into
something called the Absolute Mind, or the mind of Man within the
Absolute awareness of God, if you will.

 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:52 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153694 wrote:
If you are suggesting that Mt. Everest is some thing existing outside of experience, that's a fine proposition, but then it necessarily follows that you wouldn't know that it exists.

I'm not sure if this is addressed toward me, but in case it is, allow me to reply.
That's exactly the sort of duality I'm trying to avoid. So perhaps you are responding to someone else. For me, reality is experienced conceptually. And time itself is a byproduct of conceptualization. Also causality.

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 04:54 PM ----------

doswizard;153695 wrote:
That's Immanuel Kant. Kant was trying to save Empiricism
from it's own self devouring Logic. He used Absolute Mind
to discern between what is Real and what is Rational. The split
between Real and Rational remained, but Kant Encompassed it into
something called the Absolute Mind, or the mind of Man within the
Absolute awareness of God, if you will.


Yes, it's strongly influenced by Kant, but also by Hegel, Kojeve, Wittgenstein, & some spices here and there from yours truly. What you write about Kant here reminds me of Hegel as well as Kant. Of course the two are closely related. I think they are two of the grandest philosophers. Welcome to the conversation!Smile
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 04:05 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;153697 wrote:
I'm not sure if this is addressed toward me, but in case it is, allow me to reply.
That's exactly the sort of duality I'm trying to avoid. So perhaps you are responding to someone else. For me, reality is experienced conceptually. And time itself is a byproduct of conceptualization. Also causality/


I also want to avoid the duality. There are only phenomena, or concepts as you say, nothing more - as far as is known. And, indeed, the proposition that there exists something ex the phenomenal world is also a concept within the phenomenal world. It was this I was trying to communicate to kennethamy, as he was arguing that Mt. Everest is not a concept, but 'a rather large mountain.'

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 06:17 PM ----------

Reconstructo;153691 wrote:
The word irrational, if applied in the sense of non-conceptual, is comparable to the phrase "round square." If we talk of unconceptualized sensation, we have already conceptualized it.


If we talk about visceral sensation, we are indeed dealing with a concept. But when we actually are experiencing some visceral sensation, how are we dealing with a concept? The concept 'concept' (pun intended) to my mind involves representation. Visceral sensation is itself and represents nothing - while all concepts represent either visceral sensations or other concepts. Both are phenomena, which together and exclusively constitute the world.

If you believe that the world is constituted only by concepts, and you believe that sensations in fact exist, which I assume you do, then you must hold that sensations are concepts. How do you explain this?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 04:27 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153705 wrote:
I also want to avoid the duality. There are only phenomena, or concepts as you say, nothing more - as far as is known. And, indeed, the proposition that there exists something ex the phenomenal world is also a concept within the phenomenal world. It was this I was trying to communicate to kennethamy, as he was arguing that Mt. Everest is not a concept, but 'a rather large mountain.'

Ah, I dig you. I don't like to quote K either. In fact, I only see his posts when they are quoted. It's like trying to explain color to the blind, or sex to a virgin. He doesn't see that mountain is a concept. I've been down that road with him, eventually gave up. I expect that discussion will tend toward Quito at some point. :sarcastic:

I think we are on the same page, and I can't deny the pleasure it gives me to find someone that gets this notion. For me, the transrational can only be sensation/feeling, except when we talk or think about it, which introduces concept.... What do you think about the inference of an origin of concepts? Like a transcendental faculty that can only be inferred? Something like inferring the eye from its field of vision? And yet this inference is clearly a part of the field of vision.

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 05:31 PM ----------

BrightNoon;153705 wrote:

If we talk about visceral sensation, we are indeed dealing with a concept. But when we actually are experiencing some visceral sensation, how are we dealing with a concept? The concept 'concept' (pun intended) to my mind involves representation. Visceral sensation is itself and represents nothing - while all concepts represent either visceral sensations or other concepts. Both are phenomena, which together and exclusively constitute the world.

If you believe that the world is constituted only by concepts, and you believe that sensations in fact exist, which I assume you do, then you must hold that sensations are concepts. How do you explain this?


Great question! I think we are the collision of concept and qualia, or the discrete and the continuous. I should put my avatar back up. Infinity sign stands for the sensation devoid of concept, and minus signs for concept devoid of sensation. Neither are experienced. Both are inferred. At the top of the triangle is a cross, symbolizing this collision..AND the conscious of "self" (contingent concept) as this collision. I wrote about this ealier in the thread. Great point! And yes I have wrestled with it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:06 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153694 wrote:
If Mt. Everest is not a concept (in the loose sense: i.e. some kind of experience*), how do you know about it? If you are suggesting that Mt. Everest is some thing existing outside of experience, that's a fine proposition, but then it necessarily follows that you wouldn't know that it exists. In short, anything you are aware of is a concept - you assume that concepts refer to 'real' things outside of experience that you do not know about. I do not make that assumption - I assert the reality only of that which I know empirically, and all of those things are concepts in my own mind.

* For you, that probably means a conglomeration of images and descriptions of Mt. Everest; for some, that means memories of actually being there; for a few, that means the actual present experience of being there


I know about it because I have evidence for it. Lots. The mountain exists independently of experience, but why should that mean that experience is evidence for it? It doesn't. That the mountain can exist, and the experience of the mountain not exist, does not mean that the experience of the mountain cannot inform me that the mountain exists. I don't have to have been at Mt. Everest in order to know that Mt. Everest exists, anymore than I have to have been in Japan in order to know that it exists. My knowledge can be indirect as well as direct. Otherwise, how would I know that I was born?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:11 pm
@Reconstructo,
Brightnoon, are you into math at all? Familiar with the limit concept? It all seems to stretch back to Zeno. I love math because math is forced to deal with pure (or relatively pure) precise concept. Calculus strikes me as the collision of discrete thought with continuous motion (or curves). The numbers pi and e are both not only irrational but transcendental. We can't even write them in a closed form. And yet these constants lurk in the structure of our measured sensation...

Dig this strangeness. What is value for x will give this expression its maximum value: x^1/x. It happens to be e. And it's more beautiful when written with a surd. The x root of x.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:16 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;153735 wrote:
Brightnoon, are you into math at all? Familiar with the limit concept? It all seems to stretch back to Zeno. I love math because math is forced to deal with pure (or relatively pure) precise concept. Calculus strikes me as the collision of discrete thought with continuous motion (or curves). The numbers pi and e are both not only irrational but transcendental. We can't even write them in a closed form. And yet these constants lurk in the structure of our measured sensation...

Dig this strangeness. What is value for x will give this expression its maximum value: x^1/x. It happens to be e. And it's more beautiful when written with a surd. The x root of x.


Now, what could be more relevant to this thread than that question? It makes it all clear.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:22 pm
@Reconstructo,
I feel that many will resist seeing reality as conceptual, and only conceptual (including of course that conceptualized Other/"sensation"/"feeling")). The "infinite" and the "transrational " are undeniably poetic concepts.. And then of course there is always the lure of the afterlife, or the hope of personality being more than accident (space time trash). Still, for me, it's nice enough to perceive the structure of things, and the beauty of this structure. What dies is not the best part of "self," but only a cell. True, no stems means no flowers...and the species may be extinct one day. They always warned us that sh*t happens. (I'd prefer this species to move into space, not keep all the eggs in one basket. )
 
 

 
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