absolute and inverse

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Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 12:37 am
I've been thinking of dualities, poles.

The absolute would be Truth, the Forms, the transcendental, the timeless, the essential, etc.

The inverse would be the opposite of this: pragmatism, "truth," the temporal, the accidental.

I like to zoom out and see philosophers as points on a line perhaps, if only as one of many possible organizations of them.

The Plato-Nietzsche contrast is a classic. For the record, I feel quite attracted to both the "absolute" philosophers and the "inverse" philosophers. I can't take sides, even I'm currently examining the absolute side at the moment. I feel that I started my forum days on the other side, after all.

What do you think of this spectrum or classification system? What contrasting pairs would you suggest? Where do you put yourself, if anywhere? And whatever else comes to mind...:flowers:
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 05:57 am
@Reconstructo,
A basic first question is why one would want to think in opposites or use these to classify anything or everything. Might it not be the case that opposites are suggested in some very common horizons (off/on, left/right, and so on) but may not be appropriate (or at the very least not completely definitive) in thinking about other events in other horizons?

OR: contradictory classifications may be very useful and indeed necessary and indeed fruitful, but should they be taken completely seriously to the extent that phenomena are always forced into them? This is (perhaps) what Kant was trying to say when he wrote about the antimonies of pure reason---they are not very helpful, but just the opposite because they are wrongly applied.

Even when one says that there is no absolute truth, one speaks absolutely. Does a oppositional classification (absolute/relative) make sense in this case? (One thinks of a line of questioning about Nietzsche here, or about the role of Forms in Plato's philosophy).

And why should one side of any duality be absolute values? Doesn't this presuppose, in a way, that absolutes are actual or even meaningful? We want to have some truths to be absolute and non-accidental and eternal, but this seems to tell us more about a psychological need in us than about what occurs in the world, or perhaps about the influence of universals upon our ways of thinking.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 06:04 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164150 wrote:
I've been thinking of dualities, poles.

The absolute would be Truth, the Forms, the transcendental, the timeless, the essential, etc.

The inverse would be the opposite of this: pragmatism, "truth," the temporal, the accidental.

I like to zoom out and see philosophers as points on a line perhaps, if only as one of many possible organizations of them.

The Plato-Nietzsche contrast is a classic. For the record, I feel quite attracted to both the "absolute" philosophers and the "inverse" philosophers. I can't take sides, even I'm currently examining the absolute side at the moment. I feel that I started my forum days on the other side, after all.

What do you think of this spectrum or classification system? What contrasting pairs would you suggest? Where do you put yourself, if anywhere? And whatever else comes to mind...:flowers:



Sour pickles and ice-cream? Cold fish (sushi) and warm wine (saki)?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 04:34 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;164195 wrote:
A basic first question is why one would want to think in opposites or use these to classify anything or everything. Might it not be the case that opposites are suggested in some very common horizons (off/on, left/right, and so on) but may not be appropriate (or at the very least not completely definitive) in thinking about other events in other horizons?

Good point, but I would argue that humans almost can't help organizing things by means of dualities. I admit it's an oversimplification, but what isn't?Smile

---------- Post added 05-14-2010 at 05:36 PM ----------

jgweed;164195 wrote:

OR: contradictory classifications may be very useful and indeed necessary and indeed fruitful, but should they be taken completely seriously to the extent that phenomena are always forced into them?

Good point. I offer my little dichotomy not as an ultimate truth but only as one playful perspective. Personally, I side with neither the absolute nor the inverse. And this is partially because I can zoom out and see either mode as limited.

---------- Post added 05-14-2010 at 05:39 PM ----------

jgweed;164195 wrote:

Even when one says that there is no absolute truth, one speaks absolutely.


I completely agree. That's why it takes an ironist or a comedian to float such a view. I think Nietzsche at his best did it well, and also Rorty. There are some who don't see that contradiction. If they did, they would probably have to move a little more toward the absolute. (We should not conceive of this as a digital on/off situation but as a spectrum, in my opinion. Many of us are in the middle. Perhaps most of us are. )

---------- Post added 05-14-2010 at 05:45 PM ----------

jgweed;164195 wrote:

And why should one side of any duality be absolute values? Doesn't this presuppose, in a way, that absolutes are actual or even meaningful? We want to have some truths to be absolute and non-accidental and eternal, but this seems to tell us more about a psychological need in us than about what occurs in the world, or perhaps about the influence of universals upon our ways of thinking.


The O.P. actually focuses on truth more than value. Of course the two are related, but I wanted to narrow it down to static versus dynamic truth. Rorty says that Hiedegger wanted to conceive Western Philosophy as a chalice or grail with one handle labeled Plato and the other Nietzsche. This would be a full rotation from eternity to time. What do you think? Is this valid for Heidegger? Rorty argues that Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida and other all jockey for the position of First Post-metaphysical Philosopher. In my mind, it's still metaphysics, whether or not the word is out of favor. What do you make of all this?

That psychological need and those universals you mention are exactly what I'm interested in. Self-consciousness. What are we up to when we are trying to figure out what we are up to?
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 05:55 pm
@Reconstructo,
When speaking in terms of absolute dualities, I am not sure opposites is the best way to go. What about presence and absence.

Is there a difference between:

right and wrong
and
right and not right,

good and bad
and
good and not good,

light and dark
and
light and not light?

If darkness is nothing more than the absence of light then is it really anything more than a word?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 06:59 pm
@trismegisto,
trismegisto;164421 wrote:
When speaking in terms of absolute dualities, I am not sure opposites is the best way to go. What about presence and absence.

Is there a difference between:

right and wrong
and
right and not right,

good and bad
and
good and not good,

light and dark
and
light and not light?

If darkness is nothing more than the absence of light then is it really anything more than a word?


I like the word "not." It often functions as an inverter. I suppose "darkness" has its own qualia/sensations. But I see your point. Presence and absence is a good one. We can think of the absent, and give it a sort of presence. For instance, we can contemplate what could or should be in the midst of what is. This seems significant.
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 07:39 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164435 wrote:
I like the word "not." It often functions as an inverter. I suppose "darkness" has its own qualia/sensations. But I see your point. Presence and absence is a good one. We can think of the absent, and give it a sort of presence. For instance, we can contemplate what could or should be in the midst of what is. This seems significant.


So, would presence alone qualify for existence?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 07:46 pm
@trismegisto,
trismegisto;164440 wrote:
So, would presence alone qualify for existence?

I suppose one could make that argument. There is this notion in Kojeve that nonbeing is just concept -- memory and the project. This nonbeing would be the presence of an "absence." So absence would just be a different kind of presence. Of course one could argue the other way as well. I feel that words are fuzzy things to work with.
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 08:00 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164443 wrote:
I suppose one could make that argument. There is this notion in Kojeve that nonbeing is just concept -- memory and the project. This nonbeing would be the presence of an "absence." So absence would just be a different kind of presence. Of course one could argue the other way as well. I feel that words are fuzzy things to work with.


If an absence has certain and enough qualia that we find it useful to give name to it, then the named absense possesses certain and enough qualia to to become a presence, or at least existent?

If so, then where is it that this presence exist? If it's innate qualia is in absence, then does it exist in the material universe? If not, can we assume the presence of a intelligible universe?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 08:09 pm
@trismegisto,
trismegisto;164450 wrote:
If an absence has certain and enough qualia that we find it useful to give name to it, then the named absense possesses certain and enough qualia to to become a presence, or at least existent?


Well, from Kojeve's viewpoint, absense is really just concept, a different sort of presence than qualia. But "qualia" does exist as a concept. I don't think we can refer to qualia without introducing the element of nonbeing/concept/absence to it. I suppose it's a matter of taste as far as terminology goes.

---------- Post added 05-14-2010 at 09:16 PM ----------

trismegisto;164450 wrote:

If so, then where is it that this presence exist? If it's innate qualia is in absence, then does it exist in the material universe? If not, can we assume the presence of a intelligible universe?


I think the universe is intelligible. After all, the concept of a non-intelligible universe is actually just that, a concept. I think this is what Hegel means by "the real is rational." We can imagine what the world is like devoid of our human presence (and the absence or nonspatial being it imposes), but this imagination is itself exactly the absensing or conceptualizing it's trying to imagine the absence of!)

It seems to me that no human has experienced a universe devoid of intelligence, as the universe is only a universe because of or within intelligence. I think that denying this has been practical in some cases..for instance, in the war against the tyranny crude forms of religion. And maybe the idea of a cruel and godless universe had a certain charm, offered man heroic possibilities. I'm not making God claims here, though. I suppose that my flexible general view is that "God" exists within man. Or man exists within God. Generally I interpret the incarnation myth this way. And I tend to view ideas as metaphors, including this sentence.
:Glasses:
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 09:27 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164452 wrote:
Well, from Kojeve's viewpoint, absense is really just concept, a different sort of presence than qualia. But "qualia" does exist as a concept. I don't think we can refer to qualia without introducing the element of nonbeing/concept/absence to it. I suppose it's a matter of taste as far as terminology goes.

---------- Post added 05-14-2010 at 09:16 PM ----------



I think the universe is intelligible. After all, the concept of a non-intelligible universe is actually just that, a concept. I think this is what Hegel means by "the real is rational." We can imagine what the world is like devoid of our human presence (and the absence or nonspatial being it imposes), but this imagination is itself exactly the absensing or conceptualizing it's trying to imagine the absence of!)

It seems to me that no human has experienced a universe devoid of intelligence, as the universe is only a universe because of or within intelligence. I think that denying this has been practical in some cases..for instance, in the war against the tyranny crude forms of religion. And maybe the idea of a cruel and godless universe had a certain charm, offered man heroic possibilities. I'm not making God claims here, though. I suppose that my flexible general view is that "God" exists within man. Or man exists within God. Generally I interpret the incarnation myth this way. And I tend to view ideas as metaphors, including this sentence.
:Glasses:


Sounds about right to me.
 
 

 
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