Does existence really precede essence?

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Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 03:51 pm
@Fido,
Fido;136959 wrote:
Recon... Miss this point... Essence is like the laws we apply to reality... We impose them and expect reality to conform to them... We generate essence... Essence is a certain meaning we find in reality, but if we did not exist, there would be no essence...


Yes, but as existent beings, the idea of our non-existence is one more essence. We only think in essences. And thoughts of our non-being must always be abstractions. As thought of a reality apart from us is merely an abstraction of ours within "reality" which is also an essence. The "self/reality" dichotomy is a confusion.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 05:19 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;136962 wrote:
Yes, but as existent beings, the idea of our non-existence is one more essence. We only think in essences. And thoughts of our non-being must always be abstractions. As thought of a reality apart from us is merely an abstraction of ours within "reality" which is also an essence. The "self/reality" dichotomy is a confusion.


And you miss my point again, that essence is meaning and without people there is no meaning...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 05:38 pm
@Fido,
Fido;137018 wrote:
And you miss my point again, that essence is meaning and without people there is no meaning...



No, I agree with you there. 100%. Absolutely. Sorry if I seemed not to. I was just stressing that human self-conception is as contingent as human-conception in general. The individual human is an abstraction, but so is humanity as a whole.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:37 pm
@hue-man,
Now I would say, essence is the incorporation of elements of the past into the moment of the present.
Being is the sequential incorporation of elements of the past into each new moment of experience. Ultimately "existence" (in the sense of material objects) is only temoral not permanent. or some such notion.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 09:16 am
@prothero,
prothero;137042 wrote:
Now I would say, essence is the incorporation of elements of the past into the moment of the present.
Being is the sequential incorporation of elements of the past into each new moment of experience. Ultimately "existence" (in the sense of material objects) is only temoral not permanent. or some such notion.


I think we can be described as networks of concepts, no center, acting upon the spatial present....but we are so conceptual that we can almost never experience the present as present, as simply spatial. Always already in memory or desire. What we have been, what we shall be. A bridge the future. We are pens scribbling the future on the spatial present, according to a creative re-synthesis of the conceptualized spatial past.

Therefore, essence precedes thought, or more simply: essence is thought, and thought essence.
 
itsalljustbs
 
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2010 07:46 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;84514 wrote:
The defining tenant of existentialism is the belief that existence, the being of a person, precedes the essence or nature of a person. In other words, there is no human nature. This sounds like the blank slate interpretation of human nature.

Is this proposition really true; can it be verified; or is this just another attempt to escape the firm clutches of determinism?


I could probably argue this from both positions since the parameters of the statement are so wide:

As I interpret it existence does precede essence in that the physical body must exist before it can posses any essence.

This would be argued by those who believe in a religious perspective that a spirit existed before the human shell it inhabits.

I think the physical body does possess some genetic background from the parents but that background would only become the essence if it was acted upon.

An example would be inheriting good athletic genes does not mean a person will be an athlete and may play cello instead. Would they have been a great athlete ? maybe, but choices, opportunities and personal desires determine the essence of the person.

I think it is only when our genetic abilities are acted on do we develop essence and how we act upon them would all be determined by opportunities we were presented with.

Is intelligence a factor of existence or essence or both ?


I am new to the forum and only became interested in existentialism when a therapist I was seeing said I had a very existential style of thinking.

Hoping to figure out what that means ?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2010 09:33 pm
@itsalljustbs,
itsalljustbs;137735 wrote:

As I interpret it existence does precede essence in that the physical body must exist before it can posses any essence.

I see what you mean. The tricky part is this. What is existence prior to essence? This is essentially thoughtless existence. The other tricky part is that "physical body" is an abstraction, an essence.

It seems to me that we must devoid of thought in order to be devoid of essence, and only newborns, if even them, are capable of this?

But the existentialist were aiming at something else. That men can redefine themselves indefinitely. They are all branches from the Hegel tree.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 04:54 am
@hue-man,
There is no essence...It is a damned moral form...There is no justice, no mercy, no virtue, no liberty... As we conceive of all things spiritual so we conceive of matter spiritually, but these infinites we surround ourselves with do not exist without us... There is only one essence, and it is our lives...

The title to this thread should be- essence or nonsence...
 
itsalljustbs
 
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 09:57 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;137775 wrote:
I see what you mean. The tricky part is this. What is existence prior to essence? This is essentially thoughtless existence. The other tricky part is that "physical body" is an abstraction, an essence.

It seems to me that we must devoid of thought in order to be devoid of essence, and only newborns, if even them, are capable of this?

But the existentialist were aiming at something else. That men can redefine themselves indefinitely. They are all branches from the Hegel tree.


I believe people can redefine their values and ideals and choose different paths at any stage in life but you only start with a blank page once in life short of a head injury or some other form of amnesia.

You can recognize the folly and absurdity of life and attempt to reinvent yourself by examining your perceptions and spend a lot of time in introspection but even that process will be a result of your already established perceptions and ideals.

If we had a button to our brain that would wipe out all memory and allow us to start over again how many would push it ?
 
CJDOUGLAS
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:09 pm
@itsalljustbs,
I wouldn't push the button, it would take away my sense of pride and achievement at overcoming my previous and bad frame of mind. Besides that, whos to say you don't wipe it out and then make the same mistakes. There is no sense in undoing what is or has already been, simply ammend the errors and move on.
 
awareness
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 05:27 pm
@hue-man,
here is the structure.

God then Consciousness/Awareness then Higher Mind then Ego then Body.

The Ego is absorbed into the Higher Mind at the death of the Body and transferred to the next Body to traverse his or her next life.

Real essence and Real existence is the same thing. Neither precedes the other.
 
itsalljustbs
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 07:01 pm
@awareness,
awareness;138433 wrote:
here is the structure.

God then Consciousness/Awareness then Higher Mind then Ego then Body.

The Ego is absorbed into the Higher Mind at the death of the Body and transferred to the next Body to traverse his or her next life.

Real essence and Real existence is the same thing. Neither precedes the other.


If you had never heard of God and a higher mind from someone you would see the absurdity in that statement!

God and a higher mind are creations of your actual mind and is a way of denying this world and this life is all we get.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 09:06 pm
@itsalljustbs,
To add some backgrounding....
Quote:

In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 05:34 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;138500 wrote:
To add some backgrounding....

It is all a thing of the mind... When we conceive of anything it is the essence by which we conceive of it, and not be the qualities it has in common... Dogs are very like cats, but cats are essentially different... How do we know this???With out our ability, primarily our minds, we could no classify and identify anything...Essence is our power...
 
north
 
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 08:51 pm
@Fido,
from posts #171 to # 174 it seems that thinking has become a little bizzare to say the least
 
Lost1 phil
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 07:58 am
@hue-man,
Determinism requires that someone/something outside of self, in the very least, started what is known as my life. I agree that without the genetic factors I would not have "become" I also agree that everything and everyone we have knowledge of has influence in our choices -- but that's where it stops -- at our choices.

The above very much explains why I think of myself as an Existentialist don't you think?

Lost1
 
StochasticBeauty
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 08:06 am
@Lost1 phil,
I think that would describe Satre-an 'existential/eternal freedom'. Determinism seems credible only in as much as science is able to measure the material world. Lorentz chaos assumes that complex systems are unpredictable in a way that makes them non-deterministic - The way we see the world even in the social sciences is similar. There's a school of thought coming from Plato that asserts that the physical world is more "real" than those of a social nature - I tend to reject that notion.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 10:48 pm
@itsalljustbs,
itsalljustbs;138470 wrote:
If you had never heard of God and a higher mind from someone you would see the absurdity in that statement!

God and a higher mind are creations of your actual mind and is a way of denying this world and this life is all we get.


If any one person had never heard of God, it wouldn't make God any less real to those who believe in what they refer to as God. It could be argued that anything wouldn't exist without a mind conceiving it, but does that mean that nothing is real?

It reminds me of St. Anselm's ontological argument for God, as he describes God as simply that-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought. There must be some being which is one that nothing-greater-can-be-thought, and if that being (not just a being, but being in its totality) is conceivable, then it must exist. If God is existence, that would make existence his essence, so if you concede that existence exists, then you would have to agree with St. Anselm's idea of that which is God. It is only when people try to turn God's essence into some certain kind of existence that irrationalities occur.

I believe this is also the theory behind Descartes famous "I think therefore I am" line. To think, one must exist, and to exist, one must exist to some mind; therefore, nothing can exist without a mind of some sort.

I don't believe these statements make our current lives any less real, in fact, I believe they make them much more real.
 
north
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 11:43 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;145010 wrote:
If any one person had never heard of God, it wouldn't make God any less real to those who believe in what they refer to as God. It could be argued that anything wouldn't exist without a mind conceiving it, but does that mean that nothing is real?

It reminds me of St. Anselm's ontological argument for God, as he describes God as simply that-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought. There must be some being which is one that nothing-greater-can-be-thought, and if that being (not just a being, but being in its totality) is conceivable, then it must exist. If God is existence, that would make existence his essence, so if you concede that existence exists, then you would have to agree with St. Anselm's idea of that which is God. It is only when people try to turn God's essence into some certain kind of existence that irrationalities occur.


Quote:
I believe this is also the theory behind Descartes famous "I think therefore I am" line. To think, one must exist, and to exist, one must exist to some mind; therefore, nothing can exist without a mind of some sort.


I see

in order for one to think one must need a brain

and the brain is built upon .....nutrients , such as minerals , vitamins , carbs etc , hence then , the mind
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 11:54 pm
@north,
north;145055 wrote:
I see

in order for one to think one must need a brain

and the brain is built upon .....nutrients , such as minerals , vitamins , carbs etc , hence then , the mind


Knowledge is dependent upon a mind to know it. The knowledge you have concerning the biological workings of nature is dependent upon that knowledge first being known by a mind. Existence without consciousness is inconceivable because existence entails awareness.

One could say that minerals would exist without the mind's understanding of nutrients, but what would minerals be without our understanding of them and what sort existence would that be? Certainly nothing we would ever be able to grasp, and certainly not what I mean when I use the words mineral and exist.
 
 

 
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