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You say man is a class of animals. I would counter by saying that "man" is the imposer of classes. I see "man" "animal" and "class" as abstractions, as inventions. They are real because we live in them.
I can't offer any proof that we are intrinsically special. I do feel that humans are the salt of the earth. I love this Planet Earth documentary. I wonder if a lion could enjoy it? I am forced to use the same abstractions I have called contingent, but I think that human consciousness gives the Earth much of its meaning and beauty. If the world were devoid of thought, would it not be mostly eating, mating, and excretion in the relative dark?
I can tell you what I mean by it. I think there are certain ways that human experience is always structured. I can't prove this. But to give you an example, I can't truly imagine four spatial dimensions, and I don't think any human can. I don't think we can imagine a round square, or a spot that is simultaneously red and blue. Number is an ideal example. Whence the number one, the concept of unity? I don't see that as an invention. Experiments have been done on babies, who before they speak react to changes in quantity.
I too side with the 3rd group. I think the subject is an abstraction. The "self" is learned. Of course survival may demand this sort of learning, and the adoption of that which is not strictly logical. In a way, absolute idealism (which is just as much an absolute realism) is art made of logic. Of course I have been equally passionate about the pragmatism of Nietzsche, especially when presented in the sunnier style of Rorty, for instance. I don't know if Nietzsche would have liked the term pragmatism, but I feel he can be included in the group. I think of Nietzsche as a partisan of dynamic "truth." Truth is whatever makes us thrive. That sort of thing. I may be arguing the Kojeve / Hegel angle because I spent so much of my earlier forum days arguing the Nietzsche/Rorty angle.
But what about physics? What about electrons? F = ma? I can't help but see physics as implicitly transcendental. We have science which, apparently, exists only as equations who meaning cannot be intuited. What is a wave-particle? With respect...
This sort of linguistic self-consciousness seems like a central part of philosophy to me. Kojeve (blending Hegel, Heidegger, and Marx) presents the dialectical progression of philosophy as an advance of "self"-"consciousness." "He" realizes that "his world" is made of his "language." I know all those quotes are a bit thick, but that's sort of the way I experience abstractions, at least when I think about Kojeve/Hegel. For me, a sublime notion is that the "real is rational" and rational in the sense of intelligible. If we say the world is not intelligible, this is still the application of concept.
that leaves out what is difficult to speak of --qualia, emotion, value.
So my quest for the absolute or the transcendental cannot be neutral. It's an idiosyncratic painting that strives toward my idiosyncratic notion of the universal.
In fact, I think and feel as if we are on our own "down here" --unless Hawking's aliens show up.
It seems to me that we do agree on many things up to a certain level, but then we differ on a moral ground.
OK, you are right. Classes are artifacts, men make classes, even impose classes onto objects - and that' s the beauty of it, that is right too.
We - humans - are special, intrinsically or not. I mean, our species has been so hugely successful that we are entitled to think that we own this world.
And this is the problem to me.
How did we get there and where are we going? These are old trite philosophical questions, but the answers define very different philosophical orientations.
I see no divine right that conjured for this supremacy - again, God is dead...
I don't see a world ennobled by mankind. No, we are usurpers (and I don't really mean to express a negative connotation by that).
There are 2 open questions.
How far does transcendentalism goes? Kant built a pure formal subject that was possibly the only real thing in the world, then he thought to implement it with a moral law. (And we know that we both don' t stop here).
Or is the subject and epiphenomenon of a larger self? And what would that larger self be? Hegel answered reason, Nietzsche will-to-power. The chosen answers lead to incompatible perspectives - and that has a deep impact on praxis.
Hegel though that nothing on earth could be better than the Prussian state, Nietzsche called for a radical revaluation of all values.
And I have problems getting your view too when I consider the quote above together with
But I put it all down to your intellectual honesty, notably when you write such a brave sentence as
(I wish more people - possibly myself too - posting here were as humble and honest as you).
Well, the viewpoint I enjoy "arguing" for (because I'm really not a fanatical type, just a person who likes to work a theme thoroughly) is difficult to express exactly because I see all essences as contingent.
What is the viewpoint you enjoy arguing for. Any?
Sure, the Hegel-Wittgenstein theme that language is the intelligible structure of human existence, for one. That "matter" and "mind" are both abstractions.
That humans should not fall under the spell of their abstractions to the point of feeling contempt for one another. That religious myth is profound. I'm very interested in Kantian-style investigates of "transcendental logic." I want to see as cleary as possible the basic structure of human thought, which would be the structure of the structure of the world. Just as in calculus one determines the slope of a slope. But maybe in reverse. We can move back from dynamic relationships to see the static essence ---and I mean the essence of essence.
Essence and accident. Positing and negation. How are concepts made? I have strong opinions on the matter, and I have presented them. But not recently. I doubt it interests you, but I answered you anyway.
Sorry, that is not a viewpoint I can make sense of.