Negative Capability

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » Negative Capability

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 05:14 pm
Negative capability is a theory of the poet John Keats describing the capacity for accepting uncertainty and the unresolved. Negative capability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To make do with as little dogma as possible. To see things from the points of view of other humans, to whatever degree the imagination makes this possible. Keats thought Shakespeare was the king of negative capability. Shakespeare was everyone and no one. He could be everyone only because he was no one. The more rigid one's views, the less one can understand the views of others. For me, negative capability ties in with Rorty's ironism.
Negative capability seems important in the question self-enlargement, self-enrichment. It has also been associated with Heidegger's Gelassenheit.

Negative capability might be described as the opposite of dogmatism. Any thoughts?
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 05:24 pm
@Reconstructo,
Would we rather be wrong than not know what we are?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 05:42 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;130841 wrote:
Would we rather be wrong than not know what we are?


Another question: what is it to be "wrong"? We are right as long as we believe we are right. It's just that the more settled and narrow personalities will have less breadth. Purity versus self-enlargement.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 06:33 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130848 wrote:
Another question: what is it to be "wrong"? We are right as long as we believe we are right. It's just that the more settled and narrow personalities will have less breadth. Purity versus self-enlargement.

self-aggrandisement, to be right and wrong is a spectators sport.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 09:02 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;130866 wrote:
self-aggrandisement, to be right and wrong is a spectators sport.


And so much of life is. Social animals we are. Also there are so many ways to be "right." Wrong, be thou my right. Right, be thou my wrong. A flexible application of the Self archetype?
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 09:16 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130883 wrote:
And so much of life is. Social animals we are. Also there are so many ways to be "right." Wrong, be thou my right. Right, be thou my wrong. A flexible application of the Self archetype?

Thee your wrong, be thou my right. Thee your right, be thou my worng.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 01:13 am
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;130888 wrote:
Thee your wrong, be thou my right. Thee your right, be thou my worng.


That's the sort of thing that the anxiety of influence will drive us to. Pick a direction. I'll go the other. Well said.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 01:22 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130848 wrote:
Another question: what is it to be "wrong"? We are right as long as we believe we are right. It's just that the more settled and narrow personalities will have less breadth. Purity versus self-enlargement.


Hmm. Right now I am believing you are wrong that someone is right as long as he believes he is right. And that gets me very confused. Are you wrong as long as I believe you are wrong? Will a purification ceremony help? Or maybe one of those water filters?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 01:39 am
@Reconstructo,
A person doesn't have negative capability if they always have negative capability.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 07:56 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130836 wrote:
Negative capability is a theory of the poet John Keats describing the capacity for accepting uncertainty and the unresolved. Negative capability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To make do with as little dogma as possible. To see things from the points of view of other humans, to whatever degree the imagination makes this possible. Keats thought Shakespeare was the king of negative capability. Shakespeare was everyone and no one. He could be everyone only because he was no one. The more rigid one's views, the less one can understand the views of others. For me, negative capability ties in with Rorty's ironism.
Negative capability seems important in the question self-enlargement, self-enrichment. It has also been associated with Heidegger's Gelassenheit.

Negative capability might be described as the opposite of dogmatism. Any thoughts?


I think negative capability is a hard thing to master in conversation. People assume if you aren't with them you're against them it seems. I play devil's advocate (devil to some, angel to others) so much that it becomes repetitive to have to remind the person I'm talking to that I hold an open mind. They take from it that I am opposed to their thoughts all too often.

That also makes it hard to share my thoughts on knowledge because to get them to see my starting point I have to be "the skeptic" and then all of the sudden I'm pushing for a viewpoint! It seems contradictory because it can be so difficult to follow someone in conversation, especially if there is much ground to cover.

I think the truth is in debate because I think the ultimate truth is admitting subjectivity. If an idea can be debated the wisdom comes from avoiding dogma concerning the belief. If all ideas can be debated wisdom comes from avoiding all dogmas.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 09:05 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo wrote:
Negative capability is a theory of the poet John Keats describing the capacity for accepting uncertainty and the unresolved. Negative capability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To make do with as little dogma as possible. To see things from the points of view of other humans, to whatever degree the imagination makes this possible. Keats thought Shakespeare was the king of negative capability. Shakespeare was everyone and no one. He could be everyone only because he was no one. The more rigid one's views, the less one can understand the views of others. For me, negative capability ties in with Rorty's ironism.
Negative capability seems important in the question self-enlargement, self-enrichment. It has also been associated with Heidegger's Gelassenheit.

Negative capability might be described as the opposite of dogmatism. Any thoughts?


It fascinates me just how many isms and "theories" are out there that try to make such common thought sound so sophisticated. I mean, I think I'll call my acceptance of uncertainty just that - acceptance of uncertainty. I don't need this 'Negative Capability' nonsense. Is this a novel view, by the way? Don't most reasonable people accept that we are fallible, and things are uncertain to most degrees?

But on the Keats: "Keats, as a Romantic, believed that the truths found in the imagination access holy authority. This "being in uncertaint[y]" is a place between the mundane, ready reality and the multiple potentials of a more fully understood existence."

He was being uncertain for all the wrong reasons, it seems! Look at all that mysterious language, "multiple potentials of a more fully understood existence". He probably didn't even know what that meant.

Scottydamion wrote:

They take from it that I am opposed to their thoughts all too often.



Maybe you are opposed to their thoughts, but take the position of Devil's Advocate so that you are not held accountable for what you say? I mean, that's an easy way out - saying you aren't on either side of the fence, still posing the serious questions, and then never having to be wrong! The moment someone confronts you, you can just say, "No, calm down, it wasn't actually my position, I'm just playing a Devil's Advocate!".

Not saying this is you. I just see it done often. It's one thing to have an open mind, it's another to deny that you ever have beliefs. I think people are often just too afraid to be wrong (I mean for those of us who actually believe we can be wrong - I have heard that some people believe they're right on account that they think they're right).
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 09:20 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131002 wrote:
I
Not saying this is you. I just see it done often. It's one thing to have an open mind, it's another to deny that you ever have beliefs. .



Yes, that's the confusion between having an open mind, and having an empty head. There is a a big difference.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 12:07 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131002 wrote:
Maybe you are opposed to their thoughts, but take the position of Devil's Advocate so that you are not held accountable for what you say? I mean, that's an easy way out - saying you aren't on either side of the fence, still posing the serious questions, and then never having to be wrong! The moment someone confronts you, you can just say, "No, calm down, it wasn't actually my position, I'm just playing a Devil's Advocate!".

Not saying this is you. I just see it done often. It's one thing to have an open mind, it's another to deny that you ever have beliefs. I think people are often just too afraid to be wrong (I mean for those of us who actually believe we can be wrong - I have heard that some people believe they're right on account that they think they're right).


No I understand, but maybe devil's advocate is a bad term to use, the socratic method perhaps? I like to ask questions to point out the reasons I do not follow or do not follow dogmatically someone else's beliefs. I do hold strong opinions on certain issues but I am perfectly willing to admit I could be wrong, especially if I am not well researched on a topic.

To give an example (simplifying for the sake of length):
I think capitalism is the best standalone trade system the world has come up with so far.
However, in a more perfect world scenario I would prefer socialism.
I am torn between whether or not free market or government regulation are better for the economy.

So if I try to spill out all of that in one go someone might end up thinking I'm a socialist, I'm against capitalism, or for capitalism and against free trade or for free trade. When I play the devil's advocate I do it because I see merit in the argument, not to pour gas on a fire, hence "devil to some, angel to others".
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 01:47 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;131007 wrote:
Yes, that's the confusion between having an open mind, and having an empty head. There is a a big difference.

Having an empty head means that all doors are closed? perhaps they are all as open but with an empty head you just dont know how to walk through them, does this mean you are as closed just because you dont know which way to go?
Please describe what the 'big difference' is to your always open mind.
Or are you like most minds a revolving door? Never empty but never so full.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:54 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;131100 wrote:
Having an empty head means that all doors are closed? perhaps they are all as open but with an empty head you just dont know how to walk through them, does this mean you are as closed just because you dont know which way to go?
Please describe what the 'big difference' is to your always open mind.
Or are you like most minds a revolving door? Never empty but never so full.


An open mind is willing to consider all but the most absurd views.But does not consider all views equally plausible or that every view should be taken witth equal seriousness, An empty head is unable to distinguish among views, and it apt to consider all of them equally plausible since he has little basis on which to evaluate them. The open mind is skeptical. The empty head is gullible.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 04:03 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;131169 wrote:
An open mind is willing to consider all but the most absurd views.But does not consider all views equally plausible or that every view should be taken witth equal seriousness, An empty head is unable to distinguish among views, and it apt to consider all of them equally plausible since he has little basis on which to evaluate them. The open mind is skeptical. The empty head is gullible.


There is a difference between saying if all logic is flawed no argument is sound and saying since all logic is flawed no argument is sound. I can contemplate the idea while still holding that it is most likely absurd to actually hold.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 04:21 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131172 wrote:
There is a difference between saying if all logic is flawed no argument is sound and saying since all logic is flawed no argument is sound. I can contemplate the idea while still holding that it is most likely absurd to actually hold.


If all logic were flawed then the distinction would be irrelevant, since all argumentation would be flawed. Indeed, if all logic is flawed, then it may be equally true that all logic is perfect. Rejecting such contradictions is based upon logic, after all. If all logic is flawed, then every utterance is gibberish.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 06:05 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131002 wrote:
It fascinates me just how many isms and "theories" are out there that try to make such common thought sound so sophisticated. I mean, I think I'll call my acceptance of uncertainty just that - acceptance of uncertainty. I don't need this 'Negative Capability' nonsense. Is this a novel view, by the way? Don't most reasonable people accept that we are fallible, and things are uncertain to most degrees?


I think you are reducing his views to your own. I'm glad you read up on it. Do you read any Shakespeare? If not, I don't see how you can pat yourself on the back for "demystifying" negative capability. This very post in which you pretend the omnipresence of "negative capability" is a fine example of scorn-gone-wild inspired by your certainty that Mr. Keats is rubbish. You show no "negative capability" on the subject of "negative capability."

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 07:08 PM ----------

Zetherin;131002 wrote:

But on the Keats: "Keats, as a Romantic, believed that the truths found in the imagination access holy authority. This "being in uncertaint[y]" is a place between the mundane, ready reality and the multiple potentials of a more fully understood existence."

He was being uncertain for all the wrong reasons, it seems! Look at all that mysterious language, "multiple potentials of a more fully understood existence". He probably didn't even know what that meant.


Have you ever read Keats? That language is mysterious for some and eloquent for others. We tend to assume,as humans, that what we don't "get" isn't "gettable." It's the fox and grapes. If I don't understand it, it's no good anyway. Too much of linguistic philosophy is nothing but the verbal violence of envy/fear/pride -- one kind of rhetoric against another it doesn't like.

We believe it when So-and-so calls a statement nonsense because we want it that way. It's one more metaphysical power play. Anti-metaphysics is a charming hypocrisy. It's a fantasy escape from what it accuses of being a fantasy-escape. I've been thought my reductive linguistic philosophy phase. It was a nice tool against the feeling that I hadn't yet read enough to understand what was going on. "I know! It's nonsense! It's not that it doesn't yet make sense to me, but that it's universally nonsensical!." The universal is what was left of God after the Enlightenment got done with him. God was never abolished but only edited. The Holy Ghost was twisted into Universal Reason. Think on it.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » Negative Capability
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 08/04/2020 at 05:33:05