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Re: [Sartre] Re: power, ethics and responsibility

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  • Missy Wells
    Hi, I have not read that novel, but it sounds like Ivan Ilyich is the kinda guy that I get a real kick out of. Best Leon McQuaid
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 25, 2003
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      Hi,
      I have not read that novel, but it sounds like Ivan Ilyich is the kinda guy that I get a real kick out of.
      Best
      Leon McQuaid <leonpmcquaid@...> wrote:"the context
      >within which words have meaning may have changed", [and he is right
      >on! Meaning does change with context--especially if that context
      >includes me!!]"

      Have you ever read the book "the Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Tolstoy?

      "The syllogism he had learned form Kiesewetter's logic- 'Caius is a man, men
      are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal'-had alwasy seemed to him correct as
      applied to Caius, but by no means to himself. That man Caius represented
      man in the abstract, and so the reasoning was perfectly sound; bue he was no
      Caius, not an abstract man..."







      >From: "rocketscientist56" <rocketscientist56@...>
      >Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
      >To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [Sartre] Re: power, ethics and responsibility
      >Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2003 15:13:21 -0000
      >
      >[Tommy says,] "These lists are good examples. There's always the
      >possibility of raising an issue long forgotten & even thought
      >disposed of. Even if the moderator says, "Stop!" Someone else can
      >write, "We settled that long ago." But, as you point out, the context
      >within which words have meaning may have changed", [and he is right
      >on! Meaning does change with context--especially if that context
      >includes me!!]
      >
      >Cheers!!
      >
      >
      >--- In Sartre@yahoogroups.com, Tommy Beavitt <tommy@s...> wrote:
      > > At 11:22 pm -0500 22/3/03, praxistence@a... wrote:
      > > >I can't understand how, if one can lie, the basic unit of ethical
      >goodness is
      > > >comm. betw. self & other. I don't even understand how comm. can be
      >a "unit."
      > >
      > > I see what you are getting at. But I am not by any means saying
      >that
      > > communication is limited to the truthful use of language. In fact,
      >I
      > > am with Bradley who says:
      > >
      > > "Every possible idea therefore may be said to be used
      >existentially,
      > > for every possible idea qualifies and is true of a real world. And
      > > the number of real worlds, in a word, is indefinite. Every idea
      > > therefore in a sense is true, and is true of reality. The question
      > > with every idea is how far and in what sense is it true. The
      >question
      > > is always whether, qualifying reality in one sense, the idea
      > > qualifies reality in another sense also. For, true in one world, an
      > > idea may be false in another world..."
      > >
      > > Communication is communication of ideas. This may use what we call
      > > language, with its criterion of internal logical consistency and
      > > "truth". Or it may not.
      > >
      > > It seems apparent to me that non-human beings communicate in every
      > > sense of the word. But it is arguable whether they use what we
      >humans
      > > call language to do this. On the other hand, I heard a story about
      > > the famous chimpanzee behaviouralist, Jane Goodall, who was
      >visiting
      > > a chimpanzee refuge in Washington state. According to my friend who
      > > witnessed this, Jane was immediately greeted by an old chimpanzee
      > > whom she hadn't seen for 8 years. They immediately started
      > > communicating using sign language, having what can only be
      >described
      > > as a conversation. After a short time the guide, who was showing
      > > people around, cleared her throat and said, "now we will proceed to
      > > zone 2." Jane and the chimp ignored her and continued their
      > > conversation. "Now we will move to zone 2", repeated the guide in a
      > > slightly louder voice. Still Jane and the chimp continued their
      > > conversation. "H HMM! WE WILL NOW PROCEED TO ZONE 2" repeated the
      > > guide in a tone of voice that admitted no contradiction.
      >Immediately,
      > > the chimp hopped along the inside of the perimeter to zone 2
      > > whereupon he and Jane Goodall continued their interrupted
      > > conversation.
      > >
      > > So I am much less interested than you (and Sartre) in the idea of
      > > lying. Communication uses the concepts of truth and lies among
      >other
      > > things - but is not ontologically dependent on linguistic truth.
      > >
      > > >I guess I'm going to assume that you allude to language when you
      >write of
      > > >communication. Sartre said that people can lie BECAUSE language is
      >the bearer
      > > >of truth. It's how the other appropriates the reality of the self,
      >even if
      > > >the self is lying. It's still reality for the other, even if the
      >self seeks
      > > >to conceal reality (or truth) from the other.
      > > >
      > > >If one lies & discovers that the other has misappropriated one's
      >reality,
      > > >then one can fess up & admit to lying or lie some more & basically
      >just
      > > >further confuse the orig. misappropriation (a.k.a. mystification).
      >But I
      > > >don't see where the notion of unit is applicable, because there's a
      > > >continuity of language & comm. that can't be chopped up into units.
      > > >Conversations end, but comm. continues when, e.g., we go home &
      >say, "I can't
      > > >believe he said that!"
      > >
      > > The notion of the unit of ethical goodness is just a means to
      > > formulate an ethical theory. I am by no means convinced that
      >ethics,
      > > ie. a rule-based guide to behaviour, is possible. But I still think
      > > it is worth trying. If you are going to have to start with a unit
      >of
      > > ethical goodness then I think that it makes more sense to base this
      > > on the idea of communication rather than the idea of individual
      > > survival.
      > >
      > > >Even years later. The concept of a spiral is appropriate. We may
      >forget, but
      > > >there's always the possibility of remembering. Subsequent & future
      >comm.
      > > >seems to me predicated on the past & present comm, but even
      >notions of past,
      > > >present, & future seem lame.
      > >
      > > I agree that memory is interesting to a theory of communication.
      >But
      > > we can still communicate even if memory is not OF anything that can
      > > be called the truth (that which happened). We may quite feasibly
      > > construct rather than remember the past. But this is still relevant
      > > to communication.
      > >
      > > >These lists are good examples. There's always the possibility of
      >raising an
      > > >issue long forgotten & even thought disposed of. Even if the
      >moderator says,
      > > >"Stop!" Someone else can write, "We settled that long ago."
      > >
      > > But, as you point out, the context within which words have meaning
      > > may have changed.
      > >
      > > Tommy
      > > --
      > > -
      > > http://www.scoraig.com
      > >
      > > Aite nan Easgann, Achmore, Dundonnell, Ross-shire, IV23 2RE
      > >
      > > UK Orange mobile +44 (0)7966 294458; UK Vodafone +44(0)7787 158073
      > > If calling from a UK or international landline please ask me to
      >call you back
      >


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