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Freedom, existentialism and war (was: What does it really mean?)

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  • Marc Girod
    ... CB I think you have to add here human freedom. Well no. Just freedom. And taking this position makes the discussion about any other freedom than human
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 4, 2001
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      >>>>> "CB" == Christopher Bobo <cbobo@...> writes:

      CB> I think you have to add here "human" freedom.

      Well no. Just freedom. And taking this position makes the discussion
      about any other freedom than human irrelevant.

      CB> It is not Nature that is being turned around but the place of
      CB> humanity in nature.

      It _is_ nature which is turned around! Left as an historical concept
      abusively taken for universal:

      l'idée de Nature, compromis entre l'objet rigoureux des sciences
      exactes et le monde chrétien créé par Dieu.

      [ the concept of Nature, compromise between the rigorous object of
      exact sciences and the Christian world as created by God ]

      CB> I really don't see how this is analogous to the Copernican
      CB> Revolution or to Einstein's Theory of Relativity.  What
      CB> existentialism is proposing is not a complete paradigm shift,

      But it _is_ a paradigm shift.

      Now back to the Afghan war, and to attempts to opposing the "universal"
      US views being ridiculous because not backed up by truth aka weapons
      ("The Pope? How many divisions?"), there was yesterday in /Le Monde/
      an enlightening article by Jean Baudrillard:

      http://www.lemonde.fr/article/0,5987,3232--239354-,00.html

      In it, the author noted how disproportionate the means and the
      achievements of the Gulf war were, as a hurricane ending up in a
      butterfly wing flap.

      War offers only a situation of déjà-vu, with its misinformation and its
      pathetic argumentations. War as absence of politics pursued with other
      means.

      I wonder who of Merleau-Ponty and Sartre would more likely change his
      mind retrospectively, about the attitude they took or should have
      taken towards the Korean war. In any case, I see nothing shameful in
      either position.

      --
      Marc Girod P.O. Box 370 Voice: +358-71 80 25581
      Nokia NBI 00045 NOKIA Group Mobile: +358-50 38 78415
      Karaportti 2 Finland Fax: +358-71 80 66204
    • Christopher Bobo
      ... about any other freedom than human irrelevant.
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 4, 2001
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        Marc stated:
        >>Well no. Just freedom. And taking this position makes the discussion
        about any other freedom than human irrelevant.<<
         
        In Being and Nothinginess, Sartre said that "The very use of the term 'freedom is dangerous if it is to imply that the word refers to a concept as words ordinarily do.  Indefinable  and unnamable, is freedom also indescribable?....It is also to the cogito that we appeal in order to determine freedom and as the freedeom which is ours....I am indeed an existent who learns his freedom through his acts, but I am also an existent whose individual and unique existence temporalizes itself as freedom.  As such I am necessarily a consciousness (of) freedom since nothing exists in consciousness except as a non-thetic consciousness of existing.  Thus my freedom is perpetually in question in my being; it is not a quality added on or a property of my nature."
         
        Here, when Marc says "Just freedom", I fear that he has made the very mistake Sartre warned us away from.  He is treating freedom as just a concept like that of other ordinary words.  For Sartre, freedom is a unique experience of human consciousness.  It is not a property like red or hot that can inhere in rocks, ants and humans.  In applying existential freedom to the natural world, we are making a category mistake.
         
        Sartre also said "In the first chapter we established the fact that if negation comes into the world through human-reality, the latter must be a being  who can realize a nihilating rupture with the world and with himself; and we established that the permament possibility of this rupture is the same as freedom."  Clearly, then for Sartre, freedom comes into the world through human reality. 
         
         
        Marc also stated:
        >>It _is_ nature which is turned around! Left as an historical concept
        abusively taken for universal:

          l'idée de Nature, compromis entre l'objet rigoureux des sciences
          exactes et le monde chrétien créé par Dieu.

        [ the concept of Nature, compromise between the rigorous object of
        exact sciences and the Christian world as created by God ]

        CB> I really don't see how this is analogous to the Copernican
        CB> Revolution or to Einstein's Theory of Relativity.  What
        CB> existentialism is proposing is not a complete paradigm shift,

        But it _is_ a paradigm shift.<<

        But it is not for the natural sciences.  Physics, biology, astronomy and the other sciences that study the natural world never did--to my knowledge--shift to existential physics, existential biology or existential astronomy.  That's because the world of nature continues on as deterministically as it ever did.  When astrophysics calcualted that comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 would impact the planet Jupiter, there was no proviso that the comet fragments could make a nihilating rupture with their past and decide not to collide with Jupiter. 
         
         
        Marc provacatively notes:
        >>Now back to the Afghan war, and to attempts to opposing the "universal"
        US views being ridiculous because not backed up by truth aka weapons
        ("The Pope? How many divisions?"), there was yesterday in /Le Monde/
        an enlightening article by Jean Baudrillard:

        http://www.lemonde.fr/article/0,5987,3232--239354-,00.html

        In it, the author noted how disproportionate the means and the
        achievements of the Gulf war were, as a hurricane ending up in a
        butterfly wing flap.

        War offers only a situation of déjà-vu, with its misinformation and its
        pathetic argumentations. War as absence of politics pursued with other
        means.<<
         
        I would not take military advice from the French.  These are the same strategists who gave us Waterloo, the Battle of the Sambre, the Great Retreat, Western Front, the Maginot Line, and Dunkirk.  The U.S. intends to win this war and is heartened in its efforts to have such steadfast and capable allies as the British.


      • Marc Girod
        Hi Christopher, [ Technical detail: in your postings, the chaining is systematically lost, i.e. the relationship to the previous posting you are replying to.
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 4, 2001
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          Hi Christopher,

          [ Technical detail: in your postings, the chaining is systematically
          lost, i.e. the relationship to the previous posting you are replying
          to. Cannot you do something to this? ]

          >>>>> "CB" == Christopher Bobo <cbobo@...> writes:

          CB> Here, when Marc says "Just freedom", I fear that he has made the
          CB> very mistake Sartre warned us away from.

          Quite on the contrary, I would claim: if freedom is my very
          experience, freedom of others (but those with whom we can make deals
          -- i.e. animals, small children. Note that this is not the same thing
          as denying them freedom) is irrelevant.

          But also, looking at the world through freedom is a paradigm shift:
          there is nothing left.

          Also, could you please give me some indication about where to look
          more precisely in BN for the excerpt you referred to? Thanks.

          CB> But it is not for the natural sciences.

          Oh! This is what you meant.
          But relativity was not a shift for Newtonian mechanics. A shift is a
          shift _out_ of assumptions. "Natural sciences" make an assumption of
          universality which is historically dated, class based etc.

          And btw, quantum physics _do_ shift out of some of the fundamental
          assumptions of classical physics.

          --
          Marc Girod P.O. Box 370 Voice: +358-71 80 25581
          Nokia NBI 00045 NOKIA Group Mobile: +358-50 38 78415
          Karaportti 2 Finland Fax: +358-71 80 66204
        • Christopher Bobo
          Hi Marc: You inquired about the loss of the chaining in my messages. I don t think I do much differently from what you are doing. I copy that portion of the
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 5, 2001
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            Hi Marc:
            You inquired about the loss of the chaining in my messages.  I don't think I do much differently from what you are doing.  I copy that portion of the previous message that I intend to respond to, paste it to my reply, identify it as a statement from the sender, and type my response underneath.  I think you have done exactly the same in your current e-mail, which I will leave in (pretty much) in it's entirety for your reference; otherwise, I would delete it before sending this reply.  My understanding from prior posts from the Moderator is that the length of posts should be reduced by deleting the prior message(s) from your response.  What's more, I've found that the fewer bytes one sends, the more quickly one's e-mail makes its way through cyberspace.
             
             
            Marc wrote:
            >>Quite on the contrary, I would claim: if freedom is my very
            experience, freedom of others (but those with whom we can make deals
            -- i.e. animals, small children. Note that this is not the same thing
            as denying them freedom) is irrelevant.<<

            Freedom of others is not entirely "irrelevant" as the freedom of others impinges on your own freedom. Your projects conflict with, encounter or coincide with the projects of others.  What's more, we in the West have the peculiar notion that when enough people agree on something, they get to limit everyone's freedom by the enactment of laws and the deployment of coercive police  agencies. As for making deals with animals, I do not think that I have ever done so.  Have you made deals with animals and what kind of "deals" would these be?
             
            Mark said:
            >>But also, looking at the world through freedom is a paradigm shift:
            there is nothing left.<<

            Yes, but it is only the human world (the world of being-for-itself) that we look at existentially, everything else (the world of being-in-itself) is left undisturbed. Being-in-itself remains as deterministic and de trop as it ever was.
             
            The passages I quoted from B&N came from Part Four - Having, Doing, and Being, and Chapter One, Being and Doing: Freedom, about twelve paragraphs into the chapter. The paragraph begins "In our attempt to reach to the hear of freedom we may be helped by a few observations which we have made on the subject in the course of this work and which we must summarzie here."
             
            Marc observed:
            >>Oh! This is what you meant.
            But relativity was not a shift for Newtonian mechanics. A shift is a
            shift _out_ of assumptions. "Natural sciences" make an assumption of
            universality which is historically dated, class based etc.

            And btw, quantum physics _do_ shift out of some of the fundamental
            assumptions of classical physics.<<
             
            I'm not sure what your getting at here.  However, I think this topic is a departure from the discussion of existentialism which is appropriate to this list.  I'd be happy to discuss the philosophy of science with you off-list, as it is one of my areas of interest.

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Marc Girod
            Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 11:05 PM
            To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Sartre] Freedom, existentialism and war (was: What does it really mean?)
             
            Hi Christopher,

            [ Technical detail: in your postings, the chaining is systematically
              lost, i.e. the relationship to the previous posting you are replying
              to. Cannot you do something to this? ]

            >>>>> "CB" == Christopher Bobo <cbobo@...> writes:

            CB> Here, when Marc says "Just freedom", I fear that he has made the
            CB> very mistake Sartre warned us away from.

            Quite on the contrary, I would claim: if freedom is my very
            experience, freedom of others (but those with whom we can make deals
            -- i.e. animals, small children. Note that this is not the same thing
            as denying them freedom) is irrelevant.

            But also, looking at the world through freedom is a paradigm shift:
            there is nothing left.

            Also, could you please give me some indication about where to look
            more precisely in BN for the excerpt you referred to? Thanks.

            CB> But it is not for the natural sciences.

            Oh! This is what you meant.
            But relativity was not a shift for Newtonian mechanics. A shift is a
            shift _out_ of assumptions. "Natural sciences" make an assumption of
            universality which is historically dated, class based etc.

            And btw, quantum physics _do_ shift out of some of the fundamental
            assumptions of classical physics.
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