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Re: Staying focused on Sartre and Existentialism

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  • Brian Hodgman
    You make some very good points there Joe, both about this board as well as the apparent binary aspect of ontology. It has been quite a while since I ve waded
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 2, 2004
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      You make some very good points there Joe, both about this board as
      well as the apparent binary aspect of ontology. It has been quite a
      while since I've waded through Being & Time, but I remember feeling
      very confused about what Heidegger meant by Dasein's "pre-
      ontological understanding of Being"... Do you think that it is
      relevant here?

      It seems to me that all - shall we say "thought," or consciousness-
      of - requires negation. That is, in order to recognize (or
      perceive, cognize, intuit, conceptualize... whatever the vernacular)
      any object of any kind AS an object, some kind of differentiation
      must occur. The chair IS NOT the table. But it would also seem as
      if we must, at the same time, understand what the chair is, in order
      to determine that the table "is not" it. But what/how does this
      differentiation occur?

      Sartre and Husserl seemed to appeal to the cogito's - shall we say,
      ability - to first distinguish itself from other things. The chair
      IS NOT me. But self-consciousness seems to arise only with
      the "help" of "being-for-others." That is, I can recognize myself
      as a self only after "the Look." But this too must be
      incomplete... Afterall, to experience "the Look" must require an
      act of differentiation as well... i.e. "the Look" is not "my" look,
      but "the Look" of the Other. Therefore I must also be able to
      differentiate between the Other and a chair for instance, in that
      the chair can't Look but the Other can. Ok... I'm rambling, but
      does anyone see what I'm saying here?

      Basically, if all "thought" or "consciousness" or whatever requires
      an ability to differentiate, doesn't this imply what amounts to an a
      priori understanding of being - an understanding of is, which also
      implies an understanding of is-not (or vice versa)? But we can't
      appeal to the self yet, nor does it seem like we could appeal to an
      infinite regress (the chair is not the table, is not the wall, is
      not, is not, etc., etc.) not only in determining what the chair IS,
      but that the chair IS (it would be like Saussure's problem of the
      sign - but instead of meaning we are dealing with ontology). I
      don't know if this has made any sense, but I would appreciate any
      and all comments...


      - Brian



      --- In Sartre@yahoogroups.com, "decker150" <decker150@y...> wrote:
      > My feeling is that too many conversations occur on this post that
      > would otherwise be dismissed by serious students of philosophy and
      > Existentialism. It has become an opportunity for rambling on about
      > almost any subject without reference or respect for the normative
      > philosophical language. At least, we should be drawing more
      directly
      > off Sartre's thought and language.
      >
      > Sartre dealt with the existential aspect of 'nothing': We need not
      > merely regurgitate his words in agreement, but might bring the
      > relevant issues up again in order to stay focused. I really get
      tired
      > of post-in-general becoming a medium for thoughts and views having
      no
      > direct bearing up the moderator's selected subject. Can I get an
      amen?
      >
      > Re: Sartre's 'nothing'.
      >
      > I was wondering if anyone has dealt with the priority of 'being' to
      > 'nothing'? I had come to the conclusion that there is a precedence
      > and this is even expressed in the language sequence structure of
      > 'is-not'. I have not explore the language order of 'not-is' or the
      > idea of the 'not' have priority over 'being'. It seems difficult
      to
      > reflect on 'not-in-general' or non-being without localizing it to
      > 'something' prior to it. Da-sein signifies 'being-there' so when
      we
      > apply the not to Da-sein, it leads us to 'not-being-there'.
      However,
      > Da-sein is a generalization, not a localization, therefore I
      imagine
      > that 'nothingness' is mainly a general principle and 'not-being-
      there'
      > also attempts to discuss non-being as a generalization. However,
      any
      > localization (a concrete example) seems to place a priority upon
      > being. In other words, 'being' is to 'nothing' as 'is' is
      to 'not'.
      > This constructs a binary opposite or pairing, in which the
      difference
      > (contrast)is what we explore. Sartre explored this and if we are
      > remotely within the vein of Sartrean thought, we will explore it
      too.
      > (sooner or later / whenever the discussants become focused and not
      > merely drifting off relevant topics).
      >
      > Referring to real localizations; whenever we declare 'not-being-
      there'
      > or non-being, the positive (any factual reality that is-there)
      seems
      > to prevail over the negative. Within my own human experience (
      > perceptual localization ), if I say 'not-being-there' or 'not-
      there',
      > I will wonder 'what' is not there.(?) I am showing deference
      towards
      > presence over absence of the paired binary opposites. It seems to
      me
      > that presence must be-there-first (earlier) before absence has any
      > justification or effectively indicate it by a 'not'. Within a
      > localization, I can say not blue, not human, not solid, not
      machine,
      > not thinking, not this or not that, but in every case, 'not' is
      foiled
      > off 'something' - present, there, positive that we relate to our
      > central topic 'Being'. Sartre knew very well that the appropriate
      > element of his writing had to be 'nothing' and not framed like
      > Heidegger's work in which he paired Being & Time. In a binary
      > opposite, 'Nothingness' is the appropriate opposite.
      >
      > Joe
    • decker150
      Brian said: . . . about what Heidegger meant by Dasein s pre-ontological understanding of Being ... Do you think that it is ... Joe: Yes. According to
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 3, 2004
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        Brian said: " . . . about what Heidegger meant by Dasein's "pre-ontological understanding of Being"... Do you think that it is
        > relevant here?

        Joe: Yes. According to the hermenuetic ambition, we are trying to understand 'through' the act of interpreting every relevant
        dimension; the preontological does not escape. We are trying to establish a clear view. Da-sein does not come to relevance
        merely because we set out to interpret it's validity. And I imagine that we have lost our understand of the primal / prereflective state,
        (except when we're drinking) probably rooted in our instintual processes and genetic evolution. Philosophy is a secondary process,
        just as language itself is, although I have this notion that within all the orderliness of order, meaning gathers at a prelinguistical,
        prereflective, preontological state. Could it be that we have "forgotten being" because 'of' language? Perhaps I'm off on this notion, but
        animals are still at a preontological stage, which gives them a basic understanding of their presence in the world without adaptations
        to 'logical order'. That is not to say animals have a clearer awareness, but perhaps a more fundamental orientation to Da-sein as it is
        localized within their own sense of being. But what do we mean when we say Dasein's pre-ontological understand of being? Are we
        not dealing with raw states of awarness that confronts the immedfiacy of the present, that we are so totally absorbed in the purity of
        the present, that we may not even comprehend the impact of the past or the future. I don't know? Do birds look forward to tomorrow?
        Do they conjure imagines of yesterday? What went on in a cave man's mind?

        Brian said: " It seems to me that all - shall we say "thought," or consciousness-of requires negation. That is, in order to recognize (or
        > perceive, cognize, intuit, conceptualize... whatever the vernacular) any object of any kind AS an object, some kind of differentiation
        > must occur. The chair IS NOT the table. But it would also seem as if we must, at the same time, understand what the chair is, in
        order to determine that the table "is not" it. But what/how does this differentiation occur?

        Joe: I imagine that we begin with an objective differentiation. Cleanly, we see visible differences to start with. The existentialist
        typically returns to 'the thing-in-itself", which has become clear to me as simple-objective-reality. We exist in a world that presents
        itself to us, in-itself as a partial disclosure. This presentation is a factual matter, not one dreamed up: Although that continues to be
        raised as an issue; you know, mayby I'm a butterfly dreaming I am a man, or that all human reality exist within a tiny raindrop perched
        at the tip of a needle.

        Do you think 'differentiation' is an external / visible / concrete encounter. However, the problematic in my mind is less about chairs
        and tables and more about how we differentiate between thought, emotion and volitional selection.

        Brian, I enjoyed you comments - thanks. Is this not how philosophy conducts itself?

        Joe
        >
      • Leon McQuaid
        I would say that ontology is necessarily binary. As Russell notes, one either has or has not been acquainted with an object, but how can there be falsity?
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 4, 2004
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          I would say that ontology is necessarily binary. As Russell notes, one
          either has or has not been acquainted with an object, but how can there be
          falsity? Russell separates the two, and I think he is right to do so. But
          I would say that thought does not need negation. In fact I would say that
          thought cannot even admit of negation. Truth and it's necessary
          counterpart, falsity, are aspects of knowledge which is wholly linguistic.
          But in saying this do I give truth a metaphysical aspect that is more than
          ontic, or what? I don't know.


          >From: "Brian Hodgman" <bhodgman@...>
          >Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
          >To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [Sartre] Re: Staying focused on Sartre and Existentialism
          >Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2004 07:01:06 -0000
          >
          >
          >
          >You make some very good points there Joe, both about this board as
          >well as the apparent binary aspect of ontology. It has been quite a
          >while since I've waded through Being & Time, but I remember feeling
          >very confused about what Heidegger meant by Dasein's "pre-
          >ontological understanding of Being"... Do you think that it is
          >relevant here?
          >
          >It seems to me that all - shall we say "thought," or consciousness-
          >of - requires negation. That is, in order to recognize (or
          >perceive, cognize, intuit, conceptualize... whatever the vernacular)
          >any object of any kind AS an object, some kind of differentiation
          >must occur. The chair IS NOT the table. But it would also seem as
          >if we must, at the same time, understand what the chair is, in order
          >to determine that the table "is not" it. But what/how does this
          >differentiation occur?
          >
          >Sartre and Husserl seemed to appeal to the cogito's - shall we say,
          >ability - to first distinguish itself from other things. The chair
          >IS NOT me. But self-consciousness seems to arise only with
          >the "help" of "being-for-others." That is, I can recognize myself
          >as a self only after "the Look." But this too must be
          >incomplete... Afterall, to experience "the Look" must require an
          >act of differentiation as well... i.e. "the Look" is not "my" look,
          >but "the Look" of the Other. Therefore I must also be able to
          >differentiate between the Other and a chair for instance, in that
          >the chair can't Look but the Other can. Ok... I'm rambling, but
          >does anyone see what I'm saying here?
          >
          >Basically, if all "thought" or "consciousness" or whatever requires
          >an ability to differentiate, doesn't this imply what amounts to an a
          >priori understanding of being - an understanding of is, which also
          >implies an understanding of is-not (or vice versa)? But we can't
          >appeal to the self yet, nor does it seem like we could appeal to an
          >infinite regress (the chair is not the table, is not the wall, is
          >not, is not, etc., etc.) not only in determining what the chair IS,
          >but that the chair IS (it would be like Saussure's problem of the
          >sign - but instead of meaning we are dealing with ontology). I
          >don't know if this has made any sense, but I would appreciate any
          >and all comments...
          >
          >
          >- Brian
          >
          >
          >
          >--- In Sartre@yahoogroups.com, "decker150" <decker150@y...> wrote:
          > > My feeling is that too many conversations occur on this post that
          > > would otherwise be dismissed by serious students of philosophy and
          > > Existentialism. It has become an opportunity for rambling on about
          > > almost any subject without reference or respect for the normative
          > > philosophical language. At least, we should be drawing more
          >directly
          > > off Sartre's thought and language.
          > >
          > > Sartre dealt with the existential aspect of 'nothing': We need not
          > > merely regurgitate his words in agreement, but might bring the
          > > relevant issues up again in order to stay focused. I really get
          >tired
          > > of post-in-general becoming a medium for thoughts and views having
          >no
          > > direct bearing up the moderator's selected subject. Can I get an
          >amen?
          > >
          > > Re: Sartre's 'nothing'.
          > >
          > > I was wondering if anyone has dealt with the priority of 'being' to
          > > 'nothing'? I had come to the conclusion that there is a precedence
          > > and this is even expressed in the language sequence structure of
          > > 'is-not'. I have not explore the language order of 'not-is' or the
          > > idea of the 'not' have priority over 'being'. It seems difficult
          >to
          > > reflect on 'not-in-general' or non-being without localizing it to
          > > 'something' prior to it. Da-sein signifies 'being-there' so when
          >we
          > > apply the not to Da-sein, it leads us to 'not-being-there'.
          >However,
          > > Da-sein is a generalization, not a localization, therefore I
          >imagine
          > > that 'nothingness' is mainly a general principle and 'not-being-
          >there'
          > > also attempts to discuss non-being as a generalization. However,
          >any
          > > localization (a concrete example) seems to place a priority upon
          > > being. In other words, 'being' is to 'nothing' as 'is' is
          >to 'not'.
          > > This constructs a binary opposite or pairing, in which the
          >difference
          > > (contrast)is what we explore. Sartre explored this and if we are
          > > remotely within the vein of Sartrean thought, we will explore it
          >too.
          > > (sooner or later / whenever the discussants become focused and not
          > > merely drifting off relevant topics).
          > >
          > > Referring to real localizations; whenever we declare 'not-being-
          >there'
          > > or non-being, the positive (any factual reality that is-there)
          >seems
          > > to prevail over the negative. Within my own human experience (
          > > perceptual localization ), if I say 'not-being-there' or 'not-
          >there',
          > > I will wonder 'what' is not there.(?) I am showing deference
          >towards
          > > presence over absence of the paired binary opposites. It seems to
          >me
          > > that presence must be-there-first (earlier) before absence has any
          > > justification or effectively indicate it by a 'not'. Within a
          > > localization, I can say not blue, not human, not solid, not
          >machine,
          > > not thinking, not this or not that, but in every case, 'not' is
          >foiled
          > > off 'something' - present, there, positive that we relate to our
          > > central topic 'Being'. Sartre knew very well that the appropriate
          > > element of his writing had to be 'nothing' and not framed like
          > > Heidegger's work in which he paired Being & Time. In a binary
          > > opposite, 'Nothingness' is the appropriate opposite.
          > >
          > > Joe
          >

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