Ortega's Doctrine of the Point of View

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kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 09:30 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;112027 wrote:
There is an objective complete reality, and Ortega would definitely agree, but what he is saying is that there is no way that anyone can observe this.



Observe what? That there is an "objective complete reality", or "the objective complete reality"? And, what would it be like to do either one? Just what is it that we cannot do which, if we did it, would be doing either of those things? Suppose there is a dog out there. Now, according to you, what I do now (which I call 'observing a dog') is not observing a dog. Isn't that right? Then what would I have to do to observe a dog? What would it be like to observe a dog, if what I call "observing a dog" is not observing a dog?

Most confusing.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 10:00 am
@longknowledge,
If we are not observing an objective reality, what are we observing? Are we all in vats, matrix-style, or something? Is all this intersubjectivity really just coincidence? Or, do you guys just have a peotic license and don't mean to appear as though you're speaking liteally?

This denial of our access to objectivity is astounding to me. This supersticious belief that what we see is not what we see, and is only a construct of our subjective perspective, I do not comprehend. Having another perspective does mean we aren't seeing the same thing. We would still be seeing the same dog, even if all you could see was his ass, and all I could see was its face. The dog's ass is the dog's ass, no matter what angle we're viewing it from.

It's like people have lost faith in their ability to perceive the world around them. There is no good reason to doubt that we have access to the objective, especially considering you depend on this perception every moment of every day to even function. Why now, in armchairs, people are denying reality, I cannot grasp. Where has reason gone? What happened to picking the most rational choice, the one that makes the most sense?! And what happened to having a reason to doubt?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 10:56 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;112118 wrote:
The dog's ass is the dog's ass, no matter what angle we're viewing it from.

Can we please add a "Quote of the Day" section to this forum so I can put that on it?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 11:17 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112110 wrote:
Observe what? That there is an "objective complete reality", or "the objective complete reality"? And, what would it be like to do either one? Just what is it that we cannot do which, if we did it, would be doing either of those things? Suppose there is a dog out there. Now, according to you, what I do now (which I call 'observing a dog') is not observing a dog. Isn't that right? Then what would I have to do to observe a dog? What would it be like to observe a dog, if what I call "observing a dog" is not observing a dog?


It's only confusing because I don't feel like putting the effort into being totally clear, because it is not going to be read properly anyway, so what's the point?

There is an objective reality that you observe, but there is no observation of that objective reality outside of subjective experience. Every perspective offers a different point to observe reality, but not every perspective offers the same account.

You are making this too complicated by not reading what is actually being said by Ortega.

Ortega wrote:

Two men may look, from different view-points, at the same landscape. Yet they do not see the same thing. Their different situations make the landscape assume two distinct types of organic structure in their eyes...

Perspective is one of the component parts of reality
. Far from being a disturbance of its fabric, it is its organising element. A reality which remained the same from whatever point of view it was observed would be a ridiculous conception....

All knowledge is knowledge from a definite point of view...

Spinoza's species aeternitatis, or ubiquitous and absolute point of view, has no existence on its own account: it is a fictitious and abstract point of view. We have no doubt of its utility as an instrument for the fulfilment of certain requirements of knowledge, but it is essential to remember that reality cannot be perceived from such a standpoint. The abstract point of view deals only in abstractions.


The last part is key, because this is Ortega's response to the idea that there is an absolute objective reality point of view outside of the the existence of an observer.

It is not that there is no objective reality, there is no point of view for pure objective reality.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 11:54 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;112136 wrote:
It's only confusing because I don't feel like putting the effort into being totally clear, because it is not going to be read properly anyway, so what's the point?

There is an objective reality that you observe, but there is no observation of that objective reality outside of subjective experience. Every perspective offers a different point to observe reality, but not every perspective offers the same account.

Of course our experience is subjective in that it is our experience and no one else's. I can't have yours, and you can't have mine. And, it is subjective in the sense that it is mental. But, what has that to do it? It does not follow that because the experience is subjective that the object of our experience is also subjective. We are not observing our own experiences which are (as I just said) subjective. We are observing what our experiences are experiences of. And what we experience are not themselves experience. They are what cause us to have those experiences. But, to repeat, the cause of our experience is not, itself, an experience. Just because our experiences are our means for observing their cause, why should it follow that it is the experiences we are observing? Why should it not be that what we are observing is what causes our experiences?

Every perspective offers a different point to observe reality, but not every perspective offers the same account.

*And yes. I agree with all of that. But what is supposed to follow from that? It could not be that we do not observe reality, for you say that we do observe reality each from a different point. So, why is it not reality that we observe. Surely, from the premise that something looks different from different perspectives, it does not follow that it does not exist, nor that there is no correct perspective. If you think it does follow, could you explain why you think so?

*By the way, is there any reason why two persons cannot see something from the same perspective?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 11:55 am
@longknowledge,
Theaetetus wrote:

There is an objective reality that you observe, but there is no observation of that objective reality outside of subjective experience. Every perspective offers a different point to observe reality, but not every perspective offers the same account.


But just because there is no observation of objective reality outside of subjective experience, it does not follow that we aren't experiencing the objective. What do you think the subject is experiencing if not the objective world? Do you people think the subject is experiencing a subjective world? If so, then why acknowledge there is an objective world at all?
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 12:06 pm
@Zetherin,
hi zetherin

i think there is a potential big difference between 'objective reality' and 'naive realism'.

Quote:
If we are not observing an objective reality, what are we observing?
well according to naive realism we are directly seeing reality. Not objective reality. We may then go on to construct objective reality as an idea of fundamental truth about the world, from the 'facts' that we see reality and we can move around in it (and keep seeing reality) and also compare notes with other people who claim to see the same.

So there is definitely the possibility of a belief in an objective landscape built upon 'direct take it as it is seen' naive perception (ie of reality).

so....
Quote:


It's like people have lost faith in their ability to perceive the world around them. There is no good reason to doubt that we have access to the objective, especially considering you depend on this perception every moment of every day to even function
exactly..... the key phrase being you depend on this perception every moment of every day to even function.You are correct to scream that phrase out because it is just about the most important thing in life.

Now we could stop there (and for very very good reason), and most of humanity did! But some didn't. Some people note that they have dreams. Originally, in order not to upset the naive realism and the naive objective world that is the foundation of basic function in life, dreams were considered to occur with the eyes open. How else could we see a dream landscape? If there is another way of seeing a dream landscape without the eyes then we have hit a really dodgy truth. If dream landscapes can occur without the eyes open..... then how do we know for sure that all we see with the eyes open is not infected by dream illusion?

So, say a religious leader exclaims that they saw an angel and heard a message for mankind...... the thinking common sense person might now say, well how do i know whether he saw a real angel in this world before me, or did he see something else that wasn't a real angel and he got confused? Already there is a beginning of mistrust in the very perception that you depend upon to function every day.

Now there is a simple solution. Very simple. I dream with my eyes open, and angels can exist and be seen, but i have to trust anecdotal evidence based upon my assessment of the person telling it.

Others however were not satisfied by this. They noticed all kinds of optical illusions and accounts of people seeing things in feverish states and began to wonder whether our senses actually do see the real world directly. They noticed that when the candle flickered out they could still feel the blade in their hand. They began to hanker for some kind of truth not based upon anecdotal evidence. Thus they moved from trusting the senses and anecdotal evidence and moved to idealism. ie get 'us' out of the perception. What can then be constructed from those 'facts' is a new form of objectivity. It is very different to the objectivity of naive realism.

What was discovered was atoms and elements and explanations for thunder storms and chemistry and laws of motion and machinery and material science and lasers and computers ...... spacetime and quantum probability waves. What now of

Quote:
There is no good reason to doubt that we have access to the objective, especially considering you depend on this perception every moment of every day to even function.
The objective of idealism is very different to the objective of naive realism. In the objective of idealism and science (facts from machines consistently set up for reliable repeatability) suddenly we do not see the world directly. At present the model is of light, and spacetime, and lens, and visual cortex and ......

Quote:
If we are not observing an objective reality, what are we observing? Are we all in vats, matrix-style, or something?
yes. According to the objective built upon idealism that is, because now we do not see the objective of naive realism. Seeing itself has come under the focus of idealism, and the machines have been set up and the experiments are running full tilt.

So what the hell happened to common sense?! Surely we cannot function without it? What possible solutions to this dilemma are open to us?

Well for a start ......If we use the term objective in a free floating way and do not distinguish between the objective created from naive realism as compared to that of science and idealism ...... then we can retain our original common sense view. We can use that ambiguity (in conjunction with a refusal to address the fundamental differences between them) to say ....
Quote:

There is no good reason to doubt that we have access to the objective, especially considering you depend on this perception every moment of every day to even function. Why now, in armchairs, people are denying reality, I cannot grasp.
Now we can see that this is not some philosophical game of irrelevance. It is the very dismissal of people who put forward this awkward truth, and further label them as 'armchair poets who have lost their reason' that emotionally preserves the 'reasonable' position that the world is what i see, and science is correct, and i don't need the bloody contradiction thanks very much cos quite frankly it is the talk of madness! .... and for some it really is the talk of madness. Thats why i respect people who have faith in their beliefs of the world, because faith in the nature of this world is central to our mental stability. But i ask in all honesty, who is the poet here? The person who adresses the difference between objectivity born of naive realism and objectivity born of idealism .... or the person who exclaims

Quote:
This supersticious belief that what we see is not what we see, and is only a construct of our subjective perspective, I do not comprehend. Having another perspective does mean we aren't seeing the same thing. We would still be seeing the same dog, even if all you could see was his ass, and all I could see was its face. The dog's ass is the dog's ass, no matter what angle we're viewing it from.
And is a poet such an insult?

It is precisely this anxiety that was created with the objective reconcieved by idealism, that makes us suspicious of ourselves, that reduces us to lives in boxes (jobs, tv, real estate,...), to dazzling us with environmental representation and feeding upon the confusion. It is precisely that feeling that the likes of ortega and sartre and the postmodernists were trying to counteract. To bring the edifice of idealism as a 'grand narrative' for understanding the world, down to size ...... lest it drives us all mad. To recognise ambiguity and uncertainty as part of us and reality.

Philosophy is both madness and sanity.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 12:22 pm
@longknowledge,
Pagan, think you can provide me a sparknotes?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 12:34 pm
@pagan,
pagan;112146 wrote:

Philosophy is both madness and sanity.
This is another good quote!

Imagine a chess board where the pieces can perceive their world like humans do. Each one sees certain faces and backsides. Each is vaguely aware of his role. Some are threatened with annihilation. A certain knight goes in, knowing he's being sacrificed for the good of the whole. He's only sad he has only one life to give. A queen takes for granted that success depends on her and that the others were born to serve her, even while her enemies plot her destruction. Each of them is watching an unfolding movie in which they play the leading role.

When any of them look at things objectively, they're thinking about the whole chess board from your viewpoint. Objectivity is like a map overlayed on experience. It gives dimension and meaning to the subjective scene.

My life is more than one chessboard.. it's many chess games going on simultaneously. I'm a knight in one scene, and a pawn in another, a castle here and a bishop there.

Why isn't my sense of self fragmented? Why don't I have split personality disorder? Why do I have a sense of self in the first place? I think this sense of self... the actor on the scene... is part and parcel of objective rational thought. I am the common ground and each of my chess piece personas is a facet of me.

I think this is how Ortega's view becomes difficult to approach. It seems to threaten the substantiality of me. It's not at all clear how I could be a mental construction, when I'm supposed to be the one doing the mental constructing. It's convoluted, but I think a first step in dwelling with what I see in what was posted by longknowledge is a complete and utter acceptance of objectivity. To let go of trying to defend it, and believe in it. To grasp that I cannnot be diminished by any philosophy.

I am. To see Ortega's ideas as an attack on something suggests that there's something that needs defending. There isn't.
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 01:14 pm
@Arjuna,
hi arjuna

Quote:
I think this is how Ortega's view becomes difficult to approach. It seems to threaten the substantiality of me. It's not at all clear how I could be a mental construction, when I'm supposed to be the one doing the mental constructing. It's convoluted, but I think a first step in dwelling with what I see in what was posted by longknowledge is a complete and utter acceptance of objectivity. To let go of trying to defend it, and believe in it. To grasp that I cannnot be diminished by any philosophy.
yeh i agree with this in that i think i see where you are coming from. (though which objectivity?) I don't recognise ortega as being complete and beyond deconstruction. Sometimes when i think i get a clear response from him re the denial of objectivity 'out of hand' i think he is dismissing something very useful and after all central to common sense. But actually ortega does mix a good bit of ambiguity in with his philosophical scheme. eg circumstance as character and ideas and other bits of 'the self' so you wonder what bit is the self acting on circumstance or is it circumstance on the self.

But i don't think that matters much. For a start i don't believe any narrative can be complete and beyond deconstruction. Thats why i am a multi narrative dude. Also i do recognise that sometimes by making an outrageous extremist claim, other people are sometimes inspired to ask questions or at least get involved in the outrage! lol What i generally appreciate with Ortega is his trying to get 'us' back into the world, to elevating life as a radical reality.

Quote:

I am. To see Ortega's ideas as an attack on something suggests that there's something that needs defending. There isn't.
well we differ there Smile As a pagan i feel there is so much that needs defending philosophically and culturally. Rick Roderick in his youtube lectures talked about the crisis we are experiencing philosophically and he used the term 'enchanted' to describe the world prior to the enlightenment. I strongly feel we need to attack our disenchanted monstrously large beaurocratic societies. What else but overwhelming objectivity born of idealism could seduce us to defend such large scale democracy? That and our complete dependence upon it through its immensity of scale and the fragmentation of the means of production. Idealism is not wrong per se ..... but any grand narrative writ this large is unhealthy. 'My life' in the capitalist democracy media beaurocracy is far from 'real' or enchanted. Its becoming something you buy, sell, advertise and plug into the machine. Naive realism, the real objective landscape that is in front of us, has been turned into a means for enhancing recreational media tricks. It provides the 'thrill' of virtual reality. How sad is that when media presentations have moved so far away from the performance of a story teller around the fire ...... to tv programmes of tribes of the amazon doing just that because it is interesting to watch? then come the adverts. quick switch the kettle on before 'the news'.

For me the news is so big we can't see it, and its becoming old news too. Perhaps we can buy the video soon and sit down to watch it?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 02:33 pm
@longknowledge,
I recall a quote by one of the contributors here, in another thread, about the Iraq war, which said that 'People, if given the choice, would rather entertain themselves with conspiracy theories than acknowledge the truth'. (I didn't attribute it because I don't know about the etiquette of quoting one thread in another - it is simply to illustrate the point below...)

Note reference to 'The truth'. The idea that there is 'one true perspective' on this vastly complex situation, which has affected hundreds of millions of people, involving geopolitics, energy security, conflcting accounts of what was at stake, and so on, does strike me as a simplistic view, and potentially, an absolutist view.

So as distinct from 'a dog's ass' or 'a cow in a paddock', the real nature of what we are perceiving and dealing with in day to day life is usually far more like this. It is a complex of intersecting realities subject in which there are plainly an enormous, perhaps an uncountable, range of perspectives. Ortega uses 'the landscape' as an example but we rarely have cause to think about 'the meaning of the landscape'. Most of what we think about, weigh up, make judgements on, is much more complex than that. But if we apply the same principle we will begin to appreciate that in a given situation there are indeed a enormous variety of perspectives. I will have a perspective, as will others. I won't understand some other perspectives, and I might even think others are 'seeing things that aren't there', and so on. But I am much less inclined to think that 'the truth' is monolithic, clear-cut, single view of the matter. I will understand that there are many viewpoints, some of which will inevitably be in conflict. And at the end of the day, there is no 'ultimately objective' assessment of a situation LIKE a war, a revolution, an attitude, and so on. There is the winner's view, which makes sense from his viewpoint, the loser's view, which is perfectly logical from his. And so on.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 02:54 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;112190 wrote:
I recall a quote by one of the contributors here, in another thread, about the Iraq war, which said that 'People, if given the choice, would rather entertain themselves with conspiracy theories than acknowledge the truth'. (I didn't attribute it because I don't know about the etiquette of quoting one thread in another - it is simply to illustrate the point below...)

Note reference to 'The truth'. The idea that there is 'one true perspective' on this vastly complex situation, which has affected hundreds of millions of people, involving geopolitics, energy security, conflcting accounts of what was at stake, and so on, does strike me as a simplistic view, and potentially, an absolutist view.

So as distinct from 'a dog's ass' or 'a cow in a paddock', the real nature of what we are perceiving and dealing with in day to day life is usually far more like this. It is a complex of intersecting realities subject in which there are plainly an enormous, perhaps an uncountable, range of perspectives. Ortega uses 'the landscape' as an example but we rarely have cause to think about 'the meaning of the landscape'. Most of what we think about, weigh up, make judgements on, is much more complex than that. But if we apply the same principle we will begin to appreciate that in a given situation there are indeed a enormous variety of perspectives. I will have a perspective, as will others. I won't understand some other perspectives, and I might even think others are 'seeing things that aren't there', and so on. But I am much less inclined to think that 'the truth' is monolithic, clear-cut, single view of the matter. I will understand that there are many viewpoints, some of which will inevitably be in conflict. And at the end of the day, there is no 'ultimately objective' assessment of a situation LIKE a war, a revolution, an attitude, and so on. There is the winner's view, which makes sense from his viewpoint, the loser's view, which is perfectly logical from his. And so on.



It is one thing to say that there is no one true view because the circumstances are complex, and there are a great many facets in the situation itself: it is quite different thing to say that there is no true view because there are different viewers, each of whom has a different view of the same situation. In the first instance, we are talking about the complexity of the situation itself, and that is reasonable; but in the second instance, we are talking about the differences among the views of the observers, and it is illegitimate to ascribe those differences to what they are observing. The beliefs about the elephant were as different as the blind men who had them: but that doesn't mean that there were different kinds of elephants. Again, you are confusing the observations with what is being observed.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 03:16 pm
@kennethamy,
pagan;112167 wrote:
But i don't think that matters much. For a start i don't believe any narrative can be complete and beyond deconstruction. Thats why i am a multi narrative dude. ...

well we differ there Smile As a pagan i feel there is so much that needs defending philosophically and culturally. Rick Roderick in his youtube lectures talked about the crisis we are experiencing philosophically and he used the term 'enchanted' to describe the world prior to the enlightenment.
I am also multi narrative... and I'm familiar with the idea of the loss of enchantment. Thomas Moore (psychologist, not the judge) wrote a lot about it and his writings influenced my thinking. From my point of view, the enchantment isn't as gone as it might seem to be. We just live in a time of "owning" so much that our forebears thought of as 'other.' Our identity has expanded. We still struggle to digest what we've swallowed. And I so agree that Ortega is helping to bring "us" back into view.

kennethamy;112195 wrote:
It is one thing to say that there is no one true view because the circumstances are complex, and there are a great many facets in the situation itself: it is quite different thing to say that there is no true view because there are different viewers,
Did he say there is no true view? I thought he said every view is true. Which view do you think is untrue?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 03:30 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;112199 wrote:


Did he say there is no true view? I thought he said every view is true. Which view do you think is untrue?



Which view have you in mind? In the case of the blind men in the elephant, none of the views is true. That is the point of the story.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 03:42 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112203 wrote:
Which view have you in mind? In the case of the blind men in the elephant, none of the views is true. That is the point of the story.
I only recently figured out the saying: people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Now you tell me I didn't understand the blind men and the elephant story either?

I will submit that an elephant is an elephant no matter which part of it your feeling.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 03:50 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;112204 wrote:
I only recently figured out the saying: people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Now you tell me I didn't understand the blind men and the elephant story either?

I will submit that an elephant is an elephant no matter which part of it your feeling.


I agree. But each of the blind men thought the elephant was a different kind of thing: snake, tree, etc. And none of those views was true.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 04:14 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112206 wrote:
I agree. But each of the blind men thought the elephant was a different kind of thing: snake, tree, etc. And none of those views was true.
Ok. I see what you're saying. A single, unique perspective, shaped by my predilections, may or may not be true. So I should take any view with a grain of salt. In due course, I may collect enough views to have confidence in a certain interpretation of my experience.

This is an especially good way to approach troubleshooting. Those who tend to doubt assumptions will excell at troubleshooting because the solution to the really pesky problem is usually hiding in assumptions that no one bothered to recheck. So you come along and start with no assumptions and voila: problem solved. The advent of confidence in this situation is pragmatic. It comes retrospectively: the thing works now. No need to find some rock in the realm of reason.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 04:18 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;112208 wrote:
Ok. I see what you're saying. A single, unique perspective, shaped by my predilections, may or may not be true. So I should take any view with a grain of salt. In due course, I may collect enough views to have confidence in a certain interpretation of my experience.

This is an especially good way to approach troubleshooting. Those who tend to doubt assumptions will excell at troubleshooting because the solution to the really pesky problem is usually hiding in assumptions that no one bothered to recheck. So you come along and start with no assumptions and voila: problem solved. The advent of confidence in this situation is pragmatic. It comes retrospectively: the thing works now. No need to find some rock in the realm of reason.


Except that some views are much better than others. A man who can see the entire elephant has a better of view of what the elephant is than any of the blind men. In fact, is there any reason to say that his view isn't true?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 04:48 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112209 wrote:
Except that some views are much better than others. A man who can see the entire elephant has a better of view of what the elephant is than any of the blind men. In fact, is there any reason to say that his view isn't true?
No. I don't have any reason to doubt what the sighted man sees. No doubt his view of the elephant is better. He can see.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:21 pm
@longknowledge,
The moral of the elephant simile was also that a brawl broke out because each participant thought his perspective was the correct one. The argument was never about whether there is an elephant or not. It is about the limitations of perspectives and 'clinging to opinions'. Perhaps if the blind men were more wise, they would have all talked to each other and compared their experiences; this might have enabled them to form a more comprehensive view of the matter. But as it is, they quarelled because they were clinging to their perspective.

(The Buddhist attitude to life is inclined towards pluralism and tolerance of a range of views. This is very different from the views of the monotheistic faiths which are inclined towards absolutism. Buddhists are critical of 'clinging to a viewpoint' which is generally dismissed as 'having a dogmatic view'. At the same time, Buddhists recognise there is such a thing as 'a right view' [samma ditthi]; in fact, 'right view' is the first step on the Eightfold Path; you can't commence on the Path without it. There are those who are understood as exemplars of orthodoxy - arhants, boddhisattvas - and those who are depicted as holders of 'dogmatic opinions' - quarrelsome or opinionated persons. It is interesting to reflect that the renunciate is able to assess many situations less subjectivly than wordly people, because they are much more detached from their own preferences and personal views. Hence the relationship that has always been recognised in traditional philosophy between 'wisdom' and 'justice').
 
 

 
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