Philosophical Balance

The Analytic/Continental distinction in philosophy is an endless treasure trove of meaning for those interested in a study of truer considerations of how reality would be fundamentally situated. For myself, my impression of mathematics has increased as of late and I feel it has a closer relationship to hermeneutics than before; Husserl had studied math extensively after all and also my feeling about this is also more so after having read Quine’s very illustrative essay “Ontological Relativity”(Columbia University Press, 1969). But Ontology as taken from Heidegger’s perspective at least would certainly not be mathematics, this is because the outlook on which some area may be based must be completely freed for that area to evolve of its own accord ex. Geology and Abstract Expressionist painting are independent of each other and do not need a common basis for each area of inquiry to do the tasks that it does. Each field has a separate “being” and does not need any  more unifying principle than that, so numerically these need not be associated with each other. Yet metaphysical naturalism asserts that the universe would be basically knowable through mathematical modelling. So a fissure of rock and a group of paintings might not be similar as  numerical phenomena but yet they are both there, together in some way. Philosophy should seek to understand why something might be rendered, through an empirical outlook and yet be an aspect of being, as Being-in-the-World as this is understood through the sense given, at least in Sein und Seit.

To dig deeper into this apparent rift between the two subject areas requires that we consider how the relationship evolved and how it stands today. Wittgenstein says “That of which we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.” and yet, a dialogue persists between the Analytic and phenomenological outlooks. Hans-Georg Gadamer places great emphasis back onto language in “Truth and Method”(1960), so though we are brought back into traditional hermeneutics through this text the responsibility to limit our inquiry through language only, is also expressed here. The dialogue continues, and this is because though we can never escape language(or possibly mathematics) as a fundamental expression of reality, the ideas that are more evocative of what that most basically says are, housed there. And yet empirical ideas, repudiate metaphysics; but a conceptual “idea” is just not some, thing per se. So pure empiricism sort of becomes like a driverless car, it has direction but no controls and your journey through reality loses the most basic attribute of a narrative, something that’s adjusted through a writing structure, or controls over where and what language does. Phenomenological thinking basically resists automated thought, it is evocative of thought as a plan, act, doing or contructedness; the creator of language is more emphatically expressed as a phenomenological word. Concepts are the basis of these words, and unlike Locke, phenomenology would say that language would be based in a concept at its inception, not just empirically informative things. Kant says “Concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind”, and this indicates why a metaphysical structure also, permits that language itself be made into speech. But to put the relationship back to rights as Gadamer would put that, language is that through which the descriptive metaphysical process takes place. So for example you might say “The sky is blue, I am merry” but the brightness of the sky would not be knowable if there were not some increment or gradient through which, a bright or blue sky might be considered as such. Language makes the description possible, metaphysical structure does the describing. Hence the adjective “blue” is not just a basically empirical idea but there are other colors that are encountered necessarily along with that, not just rod and cone receptors in the eyes but, a spectrum that is kept somewhere other than just the eyes(perhaps in thought, the center of perception). This does not say that anybody who would be questioned about a set of colors from anywhere would also, thereby have a full conception of a color theory. But the ability to make small distinctions would certainly suggest that to some extent, ex. how many colors would Eskimo peoples have for cloudy skies or varieties of snow? Yet they would never really have seen Autumn or Summer and would not know how color presents itself in, a Van Gogh or Monet painting? So the empirical idea of what, specifically would be bound up with experience would not necessarily be necessary for a great variety of what might be empirically described to be possible. Watching the weather forecaster does not require that you have yourself experienced the greater reaches of weather, you have a more concept laden idea of that, as storms, cold fronts, winds, rains, hail, snow, wind chill are all made comparative to each other. Weather is a conceptualized idea at its base too, and its report is merely a matter of language that embodies ideas of that phenomenon as something that could be cognitively real.

Analytic ideas provide much in the way of providing a basic picture of reality but, not much more. That reality might be conceived as some sort of picture idea, does not itself say though how, and by what variety of increment that picture would be constituted. The continued dialogue between Phenomenological views and Analytic discourse will help to fill out more and, make richer an otherwise perhaps overly laconic description of reality. Reality has a color and that color must be balanced, evocative, perspicuous and threshed out with a fuller vivacity.


‘Being’ or Becoming?

What more correctly describes the nature of the world, something that defies change more along the way Parmenides/Zeno has ‘Tortoise & Achilles’ show us that change is actually illusory or something that embraces change and all its multifariousness as a principle in itself like Nietzsche’s ‘Will to Power’? How do we interpret that if it’s viewed as possibly ultimately unavoidable, are there naturally inhering shapes to change? Ontologically are there principles that are themselves higher than the process of change itself notwithstanding the way that something may be logically situated; does an ontology of change yet always bring itself back to a ‘hermeneutic mirror’ which must always seek a continuity of some sort in that? What would the nature of such continuity be like, does our perspective of change itself change or is there some guide whereby that might be continuously understood if not actually controlled or predicted the way that we would the weather or some other phenomenon of the natural world subject to inductive reasoning? What is the basic continuity of change if it is not something understood as a natural process but more, a ongoing shift in ideology that can only be argumentatively understood but not manipulated numerically?

For Nietzsche the Dionysus is the prevailing mood of the historical process, sort of a heady self-devouring melee of sickness, strength and a beatitude of the ‘real’; here he makes a lengthy rhapsody over that

And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by a “nothingness” as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a space that might be “empty” here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and flow of its forms…This world is will to power–and nothing besides WP pg.550

Pure, ceaseless change is sufficient for his view though the attitude of the power of the world itself as a principle to compel an unending creative process to cohere is the overriding idea to be found there; but does the meaning of that get extended further than pure creativity, which is to say what goes beyond merely something made in the image of a continually evolving and devolving strength? Is there anything that could be conceived outward of a continuity of power, is there more perspective possible than just that? What would that be made up of, if any?

So change is a reality but to contend that change is the ultimate reality or that “everything is relative” itself has difficulties, there’s a problem logically with the attitude that ‘change does not have an, end’ which is what Hans-Georg Gadamer calls into play as he brings the subject back to Heidegger

That the thesis of skepticism or relativism refutes itself to the extent that it claims to be true is an irrefutable argument. But what does it achieve? The reflective argument that proves successful here rebounds against the arguer, for it renders the truth value of the reflection suspect. It is not the reality of skepticism or of truth-dissolving relativism but the truth claim of all formal arguments that is affected.  BT pg. 229/Truth and Method pg.340

He goes somewhat further to describe the way an ontological assertion and one based in a more linguistically semantic understanding differ

“we cannot argue that a historicism that maintains the historical conditionedness of all knowledge “for all eternity” is basically self-contradictory. This kind of contradiction is a special problem. Here we must also ask whether the two propositions–“all knowledge is historically conditioned” and  “this piece of knowledge is true unconditionally”–are on the same level so that they could contradict each other. For the thesis is not that this proposition will always be considered true, any more than that it has always been so considered. Rather, historicism that takes itself seriously will allow for the fact that one day its thesis will no longer be considered true–i.e., that people will think “unhistorically.” And yet not because asserting that all knowledge is conditioned is meaningless and “logically” contradictory.”  Truth and Method pg. 530

So there is a way that something may be ontologically founded and yet semantically untenable, which is simply that change is real, not a representative figment of language. Change is not a mirage, and to describe it as something that cannot be historically attributed to and greater than any given piece of language that describes that is fundamentally where that persists. Change is not language, change is not the knowledge of that; our knowledge of the meaning of that can exceed what we may actually say about it at any given point or even as a whole.  So a perspective beyond pure change does in fact occur, which is that we may somewhere begin to view ‘being’ as something that is no longer part of the historical process; historically, perspective exceeds the way that may actually be referred to.

What are the limits of thinking structurally, should we have any?

Are ideas that we encounter within us and around us bordered in some way by a natural character and are there attitudes that are pernicious toward that? Particularly, are there paranormal sorts of thinking that should be eradicated or at least strongly reduced because they are harmful to parts of our thinking and behavior that are naturally, innately part of our ‘being’ or the way that we are projected onto the world as a “worldhood”?

If we tend to always historize/make a story, related activity out of everything that we do are there other sorts of thinking that may not at all be helpful toward that? Are these actually promoted by psychological science, social preferences and economic usages while they are actually strongly a detriment to the very nature of our thinking and our involvement in the world?

Literary, legal, philosophical and basic attitudes through the mores do not exhibit the sort of thinking that is found in what’s described here; primarily that should be considered paranormal and not a part of accepted usage of our mentally or physically constituted selves.  The world is not somewhere paranormal, it should not be guided by anything of that sort. Religious views do not make up any part of that attitude toward the world or its vicissitudes; logic, and the attitudes of acceptable inferential thought are not made up by that. Language is not a matter of a paranormal occurring societal feature, though that’s something that is strongly a part of some social usages and folklore.

Is it necessary today to choose between these two modes of thinking, and does it require that for one at least to be kept intact that the other should be completely or nearly entirely eradicated i.e. does the world of the paranormal have to be destructively put away in order that our other attributes of doing things might be preserved? Where is the paranormal found, where is it promoted?

It’s clear that there can be little or no rapprochement, or juncture between these two ways of encountering the world and the latter must definitely be put back into the abyss from which it came; if not, thinking and the related usages of our most rudimentary ways of making up, situating the world will be fundamentally contravened.

Heidegger on scientific method

What common sense wishes to eliminate in avoiding the ‘circle’, on the supposition that it is measuring up to the loftiest rigour of scientific investigation, is nothing less than the basic structure of care. Because it is primordially constituted by care, any Dasein is already ahead of itself. As being, it has in every case already projected itself upon definite possibilities of its existence; and in such existentiell projections it has, in a pre-ontological manner, also projected something like existence and Being. (Being and Time, pg363)