On Being in Heidegger and Aristotle

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longknowledge
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 06:02 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164324 wrote:
I like the notion of a negative ontology, which is just an awareness that our distinctions, the beings we disclose with/by language, are contingent. There is always another way to slice it, name, disclose it.

I like this. What you call Sustain-ology is close to what I playfully call "nontology." At least it seems so to me.

Tell me more about "nontology." Is it the same as the "negative ontology" you mention above?

Just one more thought to add to my previous post. Just as Einstein showed that there is no "abolute" frame of reference from which to view physical phenomena, there is no "absolute" being for which individual beings are manifestations.

:flowers:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 07:27 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;164423 wrote:
Tell me more about "nontology." Is it the same as the "negative ontology" you mention above?
:flowers:


It's the same, yeah. It's my theory that thoughts are unities, whether we want them to be or not. They seem to be organized holonically. For instance, a car is zoomed in on to smaller unities like the wheel or the transmission, which we can further zoom in on. Or we can zoom out the all-inclusive unity. But this is where the difficulty manifests itself. To include everything we have to include the so-called "observer" who contemplates this everything. But this "observer" is just a concept, an abstract being. A metaphor. And is there a difference between the thought and the thinker, the observed and the observer the dancer and the dance? Is this difference just a useful but logically questionable invention?

I think Aristotle's concept of essence is crucial. It reveals, in my opinion, that objects or beings are unified by the "mind" --but so is this so called "mind." And so is an abstraction like "matter" or "reality." A safer way to say it may be that experience has an intelligible structure of unities organized within unities. What I like about Heidegger is his famous question: "what is the Being of beings?" Well, I think it's their unity,their intelligible cohesion as this and not that. (I don't know if their "existence" or "qualia" can satisfactorily be expressed) Like Fichte says: A = A. The automatic undeniable notion of identity. Wittgenstein looked at this. Tautology is another word. Thought seems like the creation and/or the negation of distinctions. We tear unities/concepts/essences apart and we squeeze them together. Fusion and fission. You might conceive man as dynamic conceptualization. Not the maker or breaker of concepts/beings/essences but rather the the making and breaking of such, for his conception of "himself" is more contingent breakable toy. Which is why man would be equated with time, as in Hegel and Kojeve. .

On a theoretical level, I think this (dis-)solves many of the classic philosophical problems. But life in the world demands our participation in logically inferior but practically necessary dualities. For that, there is pragmatism and its horse laugh. This horse laugh keeps us human? Schoenberg sometimes the Stooges at others.

It seems that Plato touches on this in Parmenides, at least according to a book I've been looking into.

---------- Post added 05-14-2010 at 08:32 PM ----------

longknowledge;164423 wrote:
Just as Einstein showed that there is no "abolute" frame of reference from which to view physical phenomena, there is no "absolute" being for which individual beings are manifestations.
:flowers:

I agree. I think all we end up doing is abstracting from experience, which is to say negating the accidental to create these rarefied essences like "being. " I speculate that number was invented this way.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Sat 15 May, 2010 12:00 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164438 wrote:
It's the same, yeah.

I must admit I don't see the sameness.

Quote:
It's my theory that thoughts are unities, whether we want them to be or not. They seem to be organized holonically. For instance, a car is zoomed in on to smaller unities like the wheel or the transmission, which we can further zoom in on. Or we can zoom out the all-inclusive unity. you are suggesting.

There are all kinds of thoughts. But they aren't all of the type that you are suggesting. You can look at a wheel as a unity as you suggest, that is "apart" from its relationship to the rest of the car, but you can also look at it as "a part" of the car, if you'll pardon the pun.

Quote:
But this is where the difficulty manifests itself. To include everything we have to include the so-called "observer" who contemplates this everything.

Part of the difficulty lies in trying to include everything. For instance, if I look at the outside of the car, I cannot see its transmission. When you take into account the observer, the observer can only look at the car from her perspective or series of perspectives. From this perspective or series of perspectives she may conclude that she is looking at a "car," and she may think "That is a car." Similarly, if she looks at a wheel, she may think "That is a wheel." If she has had experience in looking at cars and their wheels, she may even think "That is a wheel that is a part of a car."

Ortega uses the example of a leaf, which can be regarded as a thing apart, but to be understood in its entirety, must be related to the plant on which it grew. Similarly, the plant must be understood in relation to the soil in which it grows. The soil must be understood in terms of how its structure is determined by how it was deposited or created, and this in turn by its relationship to the geophysical forces causing the deposition, etc. The ecological message is that it's all interrelated, or to put it another way, we're all in this together.

Quote:
But this "observer" is just a concept, an abstract being. A metaphor.

Husserl's phenomenological approach was to distinguish between I observing a car, for instance, which he called "primary consciousness," and I observing my act of observation, which he called "pure consciousness." His error was in performing the so-called "phenomenological reduction" in which he attached more importance to the latter than the former. But Ortega, having studied Husserl before 1914, says that the so called "pure consciousness" is just another act of consciousness, in this case another observation. In this way, he sought to eliminate the last vestiges of idealism from the phenomenological method, which otherwise he adopted as his own.

Quote:
And is there a difference between the thought and the thinker, the observed and the observer the dancer and the dance? Is this difference just a useful but logically questionable invention?

To stick to the example of the observer, in an act of observation, at least according to theory, the phenomenon of sight is dependent on the radiation of energy by a source, and the transmission of the energy to the surface of an object and the absorption of that energy by the atoms on the surface of the objects and then the reradiation of some of that energy, in different frequencies depending on the type of object. This reradiated energy then travels to the lens where it is absorbed and reradiated in inverted fashion through the eyeball to the retina. Here again, the energy is absorbed in differing ways by the cones and the rods in the retina that send separate neural impulses along the "optic" nerves to certain parts of the brain where the ends of the nerves secrete neurotransmitter chemicals that cause impulses to be triggered in brain cells resulting, by means of a process that is not as yet understood, in our experience of "seeing the object." Now the experience can be altered depending upon the source of the radiation, the angle at which the energy is directed at the object, the type of surface, the angle between the absorbed energy and the reradiated energy, the condition of the lens, eyeball, and retina, the condition of the nerves and the condition of the brain cells. So in the process of observation, even from a physical "point of view " (again, if you'll pardon the pun), there is much more involved than an "observer" and a "thing" observed. Now what the observer can do is, in spite of all the possible distortions that can occur along the way, recognize a pattern that "looks like" a pattern that she has learned to call "car." The pattern could be so simple that it can be represented by two or three brush strokes, as in a certain commercial on television. But any given act of observation involves only the aspect or series of aspects of the object that is given to us at that time. The object is a participant in the act of observation, but so is the light source, the condition of the eyeball, etc. And the observer participates in the act of observation by focusing her attention on the object, that "willing" her bodyto move, again through a process that is not as yet understood, so that her head is in the direction of the object, and changing the focus of her eyeballs in such a way that the "image" she experiences is clear. Thus visual perception occurreth.

Quote:
I think Aristotle's concept of essence is crucial. It reveals, in my opinion, that objects or beings are unified by the "mind" --but so is this so called "mind." And so is an abstraction like "matter" or "reality." A safer way to say it may be that experience has an intelligible structure of unities organized within unities.

It's not that "objects that are unified by the mind" but rather that patterns of the phenomena that are experienced by the person are associated with other patterns previously experienced, remembered in the present. As patterns recur, these associations become stronger and may be given a name, i.e., "car." Much of our learning, expecially at an early age, involves learning the names of patterns, usually through pictures.

I'll have to stop here, but I think I've given you enough to chew on.

:flowers:
 
Dasein
 
Reply Sat 15 May, 2010 08:41 am
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;164423 wrote:
Just one more thought to add to my previous post. Just as Einstein showed that there is no "abolute" frame of reference from which to view physical phenomena, there is no "absolute" being for which individual beings are manifestations.


Longknowledge;

I'll begin with an observation and then 'dovetail' into your quote.

I was reading a response to one of my posts the other day. Qualia stated that my posts were 'brilliant' and that got me to thinking. In 'Being & Time', Heidegger refers to the 'lumen naturale' in man and I noticed that when we write 'brilliantly' and when others notice the brilliance in the writing it's because we recognize (whether we know it or not) that someone has 'shined a light' on who we are and we are 'basking' in the illumination.

Heidegger says in "Being & Time":

"When we talk in an ontically figurative way of the lumen naturale in man, we have in mind nothing other than the existential-ontological structure of this entity, that it is in such a way as to be its "there". To say that it is 'illuminated' means that as Be-ing-in-the-world it is cleared in itself, not through any other entity, but in such a way that it is itself the clearing. Only for an entity which is existentially cleared in this way does that which is present-at-hand become accessible in the light or hidden in the dark. By its very nature, Dasein brings its "there" along with it. 'If it lacks its "there", it is not factically the entity which is essentially Dasein; indeed, it is not this entity at all. Dasein is its disclosedness."
"We are to set forth the constitution of this Be-ing. But in so far as the essence of this entity is existence, the existential proposition, 'Dasein is its disclosedness', means at the same time that the Be-ing which is an issue for this entity in its very Be-ing is to be its 'there'. In addition to characterizing the primary constitution of the Be-ing of disclosedness, we will require, in conformity with the course of the analysis, an interpretation of the kind of Be-ing in which this entity is its "there" in an everyday manner."

"When we talk in an ontically figurative way of the lumen naturale in man, we have in mind nothing other than the existential-ontological structure of this entity, that it is in such a way as to be its "there".

"That it is in such a way as to be its "there". That coupled with what Einstein said leads me to a different observation than Einstein's. I say that there is "absolute be-ing". There is your "absolute be-ing" and then there is my "absolute be-ing".

To say that it is 'illuminated' means that as Be-ing-in-the-world it is cleared in itself, not through any other entity, but in such a way that it is itself the clearing.

"as Be-ing-in-the-world it is cleared in itself, not through any other entity, but in such a way that it is itself the clearing." I think you will agree with me when I say that I love to philosophize, however, the only problem I have with philosophy is that we have a tendency to use it as an 'authoritarian club'. We use it to 'shoehorn' others into our expectations of them, never noticing that it is our unfulfilled expectations that is causing our emotional upset.

Only for an entity which is existentially cleared in this way does that which is present-at-hand become accessible in the light or hidden in the dark. By its very nature, Dasein brings its "there" along with it." "Dasein is its disclosedness."

"We are to set forth the constitution of this Be-ing. But in so far as the essence of this entity is existence, the existential proposition, 'Dasein is its disclosedness', means at the same time that the Be-ing which is an issue for this entity in its very Be-ing is to be its 'there'.

Heidegger is saying that it is possible to 'un-cover' (disclose) who you are and Einstein is saying that you are the only authority for your "absolute be-ing'.

Heidegger is also saying that no one can 'show you the way' because their 'disclosedness' is not your disclosedness.

[CENTER]You can be who you are in a world of machines,
but you can't be a machine and know who you are.[/CENTER]

Dasein (be-ing there)
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 15 May, 2010 12:19 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;164486 wrote:
I must admit I don't see the sameness.
There are all kinds of thoughts. But they aren't all of the type that you are suggesting. You can look at a wheel as a unity as you suggest, that is "apart" from its relationship to the rest of the car, but you can also look at it as "a part" of the car, if you'll pardon the pun.
:flowers:

You don't see why I call negative ontology "nontology"? Or you don't see a thread that connects our views?

Sure, of course, but that's why I mention the holonic organization of these unities. If we move from the car as unity to the wheel as unity, we are only moving from one unity to another. The essence of my point is that we are always dealing in unities. That the intelligible structure of experience is discrete as well as dynamic. Even our notion of nothingness is a being, if only a unified negation of determinate content. An empty set.

---------- Post added 05-15-2010 at 01:26 PM ----------

longknowledge;164486 wrote:

Part of the difficulty lies in trying to include everything. For instance, if I look at the outside of the car, I cannot see its transmission. When you take into account the observer, the observer can only look at the car from her perspective or series of perspectives. From this perspective or series of perspectives she may conclude that she is looking at a "car," and she may think "That is a car." Similarly, if she looks at a wheel, she may think "That is a wheel." If she has had experience in looking at cars and their wheels, she may even think "That is a wheel that is a part of a car."

I agree with this. I don't see the difficultly though. It doesn't matter if one sees the transmission, in my opinion. The transmission is a system of parts that we think of as a unity --- or, as you say, a part of the car. And this car is a member of the general notion of cars. And cars or vehicles, or human inventions. The imposition and the editing of our sets/holons is flexible. That last line is not so different from what I myself have been saying. I'm not saying that objects can't be both wholes and parts. Just about all of our beings are both. I suppose I'm trying to say something strange here..but if I'm right, we can't even intelligibly speak concerning nonbeings, as they don't exist. Excepting that the concept "nonbeings" is itself a being. Do you see what I mean? I'm saying we always talk and think in unities, no matter how we arrange them. These arrangements are flexible, dynamic, and this is the possibility of philosophy.

---------- Post added 05-15-2010 at 01:36 PM ----------

longknowledge;164486 wrote:

Husserl's phenomenological approach was to distinguish between I observing a car, for instance, which he called "primary consciousness," and I observing my act of observation, which he called "pure consciousness." His error was in performing the so-called "phenomenological reduction" in which he attached more importance to the latter than the former. But Ortega, having studied Husserl before 1914, says that the so called "pure consciousness" is just another act of consciousness, in this case another observation. In this way, he sought to eliminate the last vestiges of idealism from the phenomenological method, which otherwise he adopted as his own.

If you are saying what I think you are saying, then I agree. There is no subject, except for the fiction or being we have cooked up to unify certain other beings. In my view, absolute idealism was the death of and transcendence of idealism. If it's absolute, there is no more noumena, no more outside to the subject, but that means we have no subject, no duality. And "mind" becomes the wrong word. As Wittgenstein says, and I find no shortage of Kant & Hegel in this:
Quote:

5.61 Logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits. So we cannot say in logic, 'The world has this in it, and this, but not that.' For that would appear to presuppose that we were excluding certain possibilities, and this cannot be the case, since it would require that logic should go beyond the limits of the world; for only in that way could it view those limits from the other side as well. We cannot think what we cannot think; so what we cannot think we cannot say either.
5.62 This remark provides the key to the problem, how much truth there is in solipsism. For what the solipsist means is quite correct; only it cannot be said, but makes itself manifest. The world is my world: this is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world.
5.621 The world and life are one.
5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)
5.631 There is no such thing as the subject that thinks or entertains ideas. If I wrote a book called The World as l found it, I should have to include a report on my body, and should have to say which parts were subordinate to my will, and which were not, etc., this being a method of isolating the subject, or rather of showing that in an important sense there is no subject; for it alone could not be mentioned in that book.-
5.632 The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world.
5.633 Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found? You will say that this is exactly like the case of the eye and the visual field. But really you do not see the eye. And nothing in the visual field allows you to infer that it is seen by an eye.
5.6331 For the form of the visual field is surely not like this
5.634 This is connected with the fact that no part of our experience is at the same time a priori. Whatever we see could be other than it is. Whatever we can describe at all could be other than it is. There is no a priori order of things.
5.64 Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.
5.641 Thus there really is a sense in which philosophy can talk about the self in a non-psychological way. What brings the self into philosophy is the fact that 'the world is my world'. The philosophical self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul, with which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit of the world-not a part of it.

The intelligible structure of the self/world/life/mind/experience (all these words are being disclosed/imposed by us) is , in my opinion, composed of unities. And that would tie in to the logical necessity mentioned here. That's just how it seems to me upon investigation.

---------- Post added 05-15-2010 at 01:47 PM ----------

longknowledge;164486 wrote:

It's not that "objects that are unified by the mind" but rather that patterns of the phenomena that are experienced by the person are associated with other patterns previously experienced, remembered in the present. As patterns recur, these associations become stronger and may be given a name, i.e., "car." Much of our learning, expecially at an early age, involves learning the names of patterns, usually through pictures.
:flowers:


I'll grant that my phrase quoted above is not ideal, but then no phrase is, in my opinion. I say "objects" and "mind" but these are not fundamental beings. I don't think there are fundamental beings. You mention that patterns are associated. I agree with this. It's another road to Rome. Patterns (forms) are intelligible beings. The fact that kids can learn so much from pictures suggests that the unity of objects does not exist without us. We can look at a simplified two dimensional drawing and recognize the structure there as corresponding to the car in the driveway. If we are introduced, as kids, to several different chairs, how long before we understand chairness? Not you but others tend to imagine a world devoid of human "consciousness" w/o realizing that thinking of it as a singular whole is perhaps the essence of what our presence adds. Of course there is only our presence. So far as we can say, "man" and his "world" are never separate, excepting within the imagination (another being/fiction/metaphor used to group still other beings/fictions/metaphors), which is capable of negating properties from a concept.

---------- Post added 05-15-2010 at 01:47 PM ----------

longknowledge;164486 wrote:

I'll have to stop here, but I think I've given you enough to chew on.
:flowers:


Thanks for kicking the ball around with me.

---------- Post added 05-15-2010 at 01:55 PM ----------

One more thing. Critique of Pure Reason - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I think Kant's categories of quantity are redundant. I don't think he reduced his categories to lowest terms. Unity and totality are the same thing. Plurality is just an iteration of totalities. And as soon as we call something a plurality, we have ironically unified it under this same concept. In the same way, to call something unintelligible is to classify it, to make it intelligible if only in the most open way.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:48 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;164651 wrote:
You don't see why I call negative ontology "nontology"? Or you don't see a thread that connects our views?

The latter.

Quote:
Sure, of course, but that's why I mention the holonic organization of these unities. If we move from the car as unity to the wheel as unity, we are only moving from one unity to another. The essence of my point is that we are always dealing in unities.

But this is just where I disagree. We can deal with the wheel as a unity but we can also deal with as a part of a car. These are two different ways, among others, of looking at a wheel. An engineer can look at a wheel in terms of whether or not it will come "apart," if you'll pardon the pun, but he also must consider whether it will support the rest of the car, what kind of traction it provides on differing road surfaces or in different weather conditions, what kind of road wear it will experience, how often it has to be checked for proper tire pressure, etc. Not all of these relationships are ones of unity, or even relationships between unities.

Quote:
That the intelligible structure of experience is discrete as well as dynamic.

A rainbow doesn't have entirely discreet colors and yet is intelligible as well as dynamic.

Quote:
Even our notion of nothingness is a being, if only a unified negation of determinate content. An empty set.

I'm not sure Heidegger would agree.

Quote:
It doesn't matter if one sees the transmission, in my opinion. The transmission is a system of parts that we think of as a unity --- or, as you say, a part of the car. And this car is a member of the general notion of cars. And cars or vehicles, or human inventions. The imposition and the editing of our sets/holons is flexible.

A transmission is a "part" of a car in a different sense than a car being a "part," or a "member" as you say, of a "general notion," or "set," of "cars," or "vehicles," or "human inventions."

Quote:
I'm not saying that objects can't be both wholes and parts. Just about all of our beings are both. I suppose I'm trying to say something strange here..but if I'm right, we can't even intelligibly speak concerning nonbeings, as they don't exist. Excepting that the concept "nonbeings" is itself a being. Do you see what I mean? I'm saying we always talk and think in unities, no matter how we arrange them. These arrangements are flexible, dynamic, and this is the possibility of philosophy.

"Peanut butter." "Claustrophobic." "Kevin Bacon." There. I've thought of three things at random. What's the unity among them? (I know, there are only six degrees of separation among them.)

Quote:
If you are saying what I think you are saying, then I agree. There is no subject, except for the fiction or being we have cooked up to unify certain other beings. In my view, absolute idealism was the death of and transcendence of idealism. If it's absolute, there is no more noumena, no more outside to the subject, but that means we have no subject, no duality. And "mind" becomes the wrong word.

Ortega is not saying that there is no subject. In fact he says that there is no subject without an object. In his metaphysics, the "subject" and the "object," or as he puts it, "I" and "my circumstance" coexist within the radical reality that is "my life," and therefore he has characterized reality as a "unitary duality." It is also a plurality in the sense that there are many such "unitary dualities" or "lives."

Quote:
The intelligible structure of the self/world/life/mind/experience (all these words are being disclosed/imposed by us) is, in my opinion, composed of unities.

You could also say that it is composed of parts. So parts and unities co-exist.

More next time.

:flowers:
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:54 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;165177 wrote:
Ortega is not saying that there is no subject. In fact he says that there is no subject without an object. In his metaphysics, the "subject" and the "object," or as he puts it, "I" and "my circumstance" coexist within the radical reality that is "my life," and therefore he has characterized reality as a "unitary duality." It is also a plurality in the sense that there are many such "unitary dualities" or "lives."


Splendid! This speaks volumes to me.

I think Reconstructo is taking the viewpoint of 'organicism' which is that a whole comprises parts which are also in some sense wholes. So this is an anti-reductionist view a la Bergson and Whitehead which I am generally very interested in. However I do agree with your critique of what he wrote in this context and on this actual occassion.:bigsmile:

---------- Post added 05-17-2010 at 03:12 PM ----------

Incidentally LongKnowledge, while we are on the topic, if I had to pick a volume on Ortega, do you have a recommendation? Is there a Routledge reader, or something similar?
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:23 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;165181 wrote:
I think Reconstructo is taking the viewpoint of 'organicism' which is that a whole comprises parts which are also in some sense wholes. So this is an anti-reductionist view a la Bergson and Whitehead which I am generally very interested in. However I do agree with your critique of what he wrote in this context and on this actual occassion.:bigsmile:?
I can't help but notice the use of the term "organism" and the use of the term "acutal occassion" in this reference to Bergson and Whitehead.

Whitehead of course referred to reality as an organism not as a machine and oppossed reductionism as a method of truly understanding reality or nature. Things do not exist in isolation but as part of a larger organism whose parts perceive the whole and contribute to the whole.
Reductionism yeilds information as does science but neither captures the entire truth or experience of the matter and both miss the web of relationships in organism.

In addition the ultimate nature of reality is held to be experience not matter and the smalllest unit of reality are "actual occassions" (moments or droplets of experience, events which collapse the potential into the acutal).

The mystical vision is of course one of unity in the realm of highest level of being. With differentiation and objectification being a feature of the sensual realm.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 05:59 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;165181 wrote:
Incidentally LongKnowledge, while we are on the topic, if I had to pick a volume on Ortega, do you have a recommendation?

"Human Existence as Radical Reality: Ortega y Gasset's Philosophy of Subjectivity," by Pedro Blas Gonzalez (Paragon House, 2005).

Quote:
Is there a Routledge reader, or something similar?

Unfortunately no Routledge reader or similar. If you haven't read it, I recommend: "Some Lessons in Metaphysics," by Jose Ortega y Gasset (Norton, 1969). This shows you Ortega in a classroom setting leading his students along step by step.

:flowers:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 11:14 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;165177 wrote:


Not all of these relationships are ones of unity, or even relationships between unities.
:flowers:

I feel that you are missing my point. I'm saying that we think in unities--that our individual concepts are essences, or sets of properties.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 11:20 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165559 wrote:
I feel that you are missing my point. I'm saying that we think in unities--that our individual concepts are essences, or sets of properties.


Oh, is that what you are saying. Well, no wonder he is missing your point.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 11:20 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;165177 wrote:

A transmission is a "part" of a car in a different sense than a car being a "part," or a "member" as you say, of a "general notion," or "set," of "cars," or "vehicles," or "human inventions."

Yes and no. I will grant that logos is a box of melted crayons, but what I'm pointing at is the similarity here, and not the differences. I'm trying to get at the structure of thinking, the essence of essence, if you will. What do all abstractions have in common, I ask?

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 12:31 AM ----------

longknowledge;165177 wrote:
An engineer can look at a wheel in terms of whether or not it will come "apart," if you'll pardon the pun, but he also must consider whether it will support the rest of the car, what kind of traction it provides on differing road surfaces or in different weather conditions, what kind of road wear it will experience, how often it has to be checked for proper tire pressure, etc.

Well, the human mind is impressive. I feel you are describing all the different sorts of systems the wheel-concept is associated with. You mention an engineer. What is physics without its abstractions? What is force? What is friction? These abstractions are a way to unify experience, to see how apparently unrelated experiences are indeed related. An apple falls from the tree. The Earth rotates around the sun. "Gravity" we say. And of course we call the big picture a Universe. "Let's call it a Multi-verse," someone might say, but why is it so unnatural for us to say universes or multiverses?

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 12:40 AM ----------

longknowledge;165177 wrote:

A rainbow doesn't have entirely discreet colors and yet is intelligible as well as dynamic.

From my point of view a rainbow is discrete because for us it is a "rainbow." This singular word is reveals that we think of these non-discrete colors as a unity. In the same way, when describing this non-discrete spectrum, we are forced to use discrete concepts. From my point of view, the eye and the ear can indeed experience continuity, but language cannot express continuity except in terms of the discrete. Precisely because we speak and think in essences, sets, unities --within an admittedly complex and tangled system of such unities. Of course poets specialize in pushing against this boundary, as much as possible.

I should emphasize that I don't think that experience itself is composed of unities, but that language and thought are. One of the reasons I love math is because it is forced to deal with this as well as it can. Calculus was a strange and difficult invention.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 12:46 AM ----------

longknowledge;165177 wrote:

"Peanut butter." "Claustrophobic." "Kevin Bacon." There. I've thought of three things at random. What's the unity among them? (I know, there are o
:flowers:


What is the unity among "these three things"? Ah, but the answer to this is hidden in your question. The unity among them is that they are all unities. After all, you thought of three things, right? And what is this word "things"? What peanut butter, claustrophobic, and mr. bacon have in common is that they are all, in your own words, things. What makes a thing a thing and not things if not its singularity? Some may find it trivial, but I find our use of the singular and plural significant. Doesn't our language use reveal something about the way we process (chop up) experience? Of course we also sew these experience-bits together. We can make all the molecules we like from these atoms, to speak metaphorically. And we can use the same atoms in different molecules.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 12:59 AM ----------

longknowledge;165177 wrote:

Ortega is not saying that there is no subject. In fact he says that there is no subject without an object. In his metaphysics, the "subject" and the "object," or as he puts it, "I" and "my circumstance" coexist within the radical reality that is "my life," and therefore he has characterized reality as a "unitary duality." It is also a plurality in the sense that there are many such "unitary dualities" or "lives."

From my point of view there is a subject as long as we think in terms of a subject. The subject is not fundamental, even if undeniably useful. Unity-in-difference is a big Hegelian theme too, incidentally. His "unitary duality " is pretty close to my own view. Being as negative one, not as a static one. This is just a metaphor, not number mysticism. (I don't think numbers exist outside of man. Or man outside of number, as newborns can recognize quantity it seems...)

How's this ? A self-eating self-sh*tting system of concepts that becomes conscious of itself as such --but just as important conscious of all individual concepts as contingent, replaceable. Here lies the "negativity" that makes the intelligible structure of the "world" dynamic.

I absolutely agree about all those pluralities. Indeed, indeed. I'm just saying that we process those pluralities in bits, as far as thinking goes. Feeling is something else. Music is something else. Painting and dance are something else. We experience sensation as a continuity. It's this collision of sensual/emotional continuity and linguistic quantification that interests me. Quality and quantity.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 01:03 AM ----------

longknowledge;165177 wrote:

I'm not sure Heidegger would agree.

Well, Heidegger is not someone I take as an authority. He asked some great questions, of course. Did he want them answered? I say again that our notion of nothingness is a being. And what is "being" if not an utterly indeterminate singular abstraction?

Insofar as Heidegger points out the "miracle" or "strangeness" that anything is, I applaud him.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 01:11 AM ----------

longknowledge;165177 wrote:

You could also say that it is composed of parts. So parts and unities co-exist.

More next time.

:flowers:

Yes, I agree with you 100% percent here. Parts which are unities and unities of parts. And I'll say again I'm not trying to play the physicist here but only the foolosopher. I'm concerned with the structure of experience. I'll leave the quirks of quarks to others.

Thanks for the conversation, longknowledge. :detective:
 
Dasein
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 08:26 am
@Reconstructo,
[QUOTE=Reconstructo;165559]I feel that you are missing my point. I'm saying that we think in unities--that our individual concepts are essences, or sets of properties.[/QUOTE]

Reconstructo;

"I'm saying that we think in unities--that our individual concepts are essences, or sets of properties."

I know exactly what you are saying and you are "dead on".

We are the 'unity' you speak of and the concepts, or sets of properties, we use are representations of our essence.

However, people 'miss the point' because when the listener attempts to 'understand' what you are saying they discover there is no you to relate to. (They don't know that this is what is going on). So each of you throw out a few concepts and test the water for a connection, you compare concepts, you pick another concept, and eventually you end up using concepts like rocks and throwing them at each other (give it time, you'll get there-LOL).

The process of human communication actually happens something like this:

In an instant you perceive who you are. In that instant you are 'present'.

Instead of staying in the 'instant', staying present, and communicating in the present, you 're-member' the experience and 're-present' (represent) the experience with a combination of characteristics (concepts).

When you use concepts to 're-present' who you are, you are no longer taking 'you' into consideration as you really are. When you remove you from consideration the concepts are 'empty' representations not valid because 'you' are not present.

Concepts are empty representations, they are not you.

The reason why people 'miss the point' is because 'you' are missing in the communication.

[CENTER][CENTER] [/CENTER]
[CENTER]You can be who you are in a world of machines,[/CENTER]
[CENTER]but you can't be a machine and know who you are.[/CENTER][/CENTER]


Dasein (be-ing there)
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 02:53 pm
@longknowledge,
I just want to add that much of what is great about being alive is not conceptual. Not discrete. Are there things which can only be shown and not said? I think so. What chain of words can say what a smile says? Or what a bullet says? Is Heidegger looking at this aspect of "Being"?

If a man says "what is the Being of beings?" --what does he want to here? Any word is a being and not Being, right? Let's cross them all out. I'm all for that. Let's recognize the contingency of the beings we disclose. As far as the time issue goes, Heidegger is largely repeating Hegel who indicated that human existence was essentially and not accidentally historical --because being is reveal by dialectical discourse as well the dialectic of master and slave. Also Hegel strongly attacked abstractions in the name of the Concrete real. But this is a little known concept. Kojeve's book is great. Am I the only one who likes it?

Is Heidegger's originality overestimated? Has Western philosophy really treated being like something obvious? What does his Nazi involvement mean?
 
Dasein
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 04:10 pm
@Reconstructo,
reconstructo;

If I had one wish I would remove philosopher's names from the discussion of 'be-ing'. There is way too much 'territory' being fought over as it is.

'Be-ing' is the impetus for all conceptualization and interpretation. I read Heidegger because, for me, he is the only one who doesn't 'cover' everything up with concepts. Kant tangled me up in confusion and Decartes distracted me with his arguments for "the subject/object world."

Heidegger is the only one to speak to me, 'be-ing', which allowed me to un-cover me, 'be-ing'. He doesn't speak to or try to explain the concept of a thing called being.

Heidegger speaks to who you are and you do have to 'listen' to him with a different set of ears. You can't listen to him as if he is 'selling' you concepts (even though, at times, it 'appears' as if he is). Heidegger is difficult because you are 'sacrificing' who you think you are (your and the world's conceptions) to un-cover who you really are. When you 'un-cover' who you are you throw down your 'shield'. When you throw down the shield you put 'you' at risk and your first inclination is to run when your existence is threatened. That's why it took 15 years and over 70 readings of "Being & Time" & "The History of the Concept of Time" for me to uncover in myself what Heidegger is talking about.

You really are risking it all to be who you are. It won't make you rich, popular, or powerful and nobody will understand what you are saying. It's not for those who want a quick answer.

[CENTER]You can be who you are in a world of machines,
but you can't be a machine and know who you are.[/CENTER]

Dasein (be-ing there)
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 04:19 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165844 wrote:
What chain of words can say what a smile says?


This reminds me of the legendary origin of Zen Buddhism.

Quote:
Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha's followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for him to speak.

But on this occasion, the Buddha, remaining silent, just held up a flower before them.

Confused, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbolized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha's teaching.

All, except for Mahakasyapa, who simply smiled.

"What can be said I have said to all of you," said the Buddha, "but what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakashyapa."


And this is how Mahakashyapa became a dharma-heir.

And to come full circle, we're back at what Wittgenstein said about 'that of which we cannot speak'....
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 08:02 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;165877 wrote:
This reminds me of the legendary origin of Zen Buddhism.


And to come full circle, we're back at what Wittgenstein said about 'that of which we cannot speak'....



Now that was great, my friend. How far it goes back! "Teems of times of happy returns! The same anew."
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 06:22 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165925 wrote:
Now that was great, my friend. How far it goes back! "Teems of times of happy returns! The same anew."


Yes, Wittgenstein, Zen, Heidegger, Camus, Spinoza, Rorty...the great chain of wisdom! So much connection, so little of interest.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 06:22 pm
@longknowledge,
Is it like this? That there IS something that cannot be said, but the reason this something cannot be said because it is simply not conceptual. I personally can't conceive of thinking/conceptualization apart of language, but that should tell you how I am using the word "thinking" in this sentence.

It's my theory that human thought is largely metaphorical. But a word like "being" is a move away from any determinate associated image. The word "being" is the skeleton of other more determinate words, words that refer to particular beings. Words like "cat, sausage, cloud" are words with flesh, but perhaps all such "fleshy" words have the same core or skeleton --"being." I really think that the empty set of mathematics is somehow related here.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 06:47 pm
@longknowledge,
Well, again, another Buddhist concept is useful here, which is that the teaching itself (i.e. Buddha's teaching) is a raft which carries you 'across the river' but has no further use.

This is not to say that the raft is not useful. After all, there is an enormous canonical collection of texts and commentaries, and an ever-proliferating collection of popular and scholarly books on same. They communicate and inform, they are not just empty words. But their whole purpose is to move you beyond the realm of discourse. (If you think about it, this is another view of the 'two truths' idea that was touched on the other day. The teaching itself is in the domain of conventional truth. The destination is in the domain of ultimate truth.)

One of the problems that I see with the European philosophical tradition, especially Hegel, is that it lacked this awareness of the use and limits of language. I suppose this is what Wittgenstein really picked up on with his idea of 'words as ladders'.

I might only be using a few words here, but don't underestimate the scope of this idea, or its implications. It is actually a very difficult idea to grasp correctly and it is very easy to grasp it incorrectly.
 
 

 
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