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Re: Nihilism (was: nominalism)

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  • Tudor Munteanu
    Mr. Pagnan, ... Forgive me for being blunt: impatient in reading, stubborn in writing. ... I know enough about it to hope that somehow we would have an insight
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 1, 2003
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      Mr. Pagnan,

      > Mr. Munteanu,
      >
      > Tudor Munteanu wrote:
      >
      > >why you are so impatient.
      > >
      > >
      > If I were, I would not be here.

      Forgive me for being blunt: impatient in reading, stubborn in writing.

      >
      > >that knowledge, properly speaking, is total awareness of transcendent reality, and specifically it is complete knowledge *of* causes - meaning sufficient causes, nothing you wrote below entertains the thought that what we
      > >
      > Do you have such knowledge? Enough to say that you know of it?

      I know enough about it to hope that somehow we would have an insight into this divine knowledge, or at least that our actions would be inspired by it through understanding. Even what we know of (i.e. about) it owes much to what more enlightened thinkers have left us.

      >
      > >Do you use transcendentals the same way for the shadows as you do for the realities the shadows *somehow* correspond to?
      > >
      > No.

      >
      > >activity can be understood only in view of a transcendent order, that is experienced in different ways according to its different manifestations. Voegelin insisted that a philosopher cannot ignore any of these, while keeping the right perspective for proper "differentiation", a word you use in an improper manner (see his essay "The Consciousness of the Ground").

      > >
      > >

      > You are drifting from the original topic of nominalism significantly.


      The point is you cannot ignore philosophy (and a proper treatment of concepts, genera, categories and transcendentals is a fairly "technical" issue within philosophy). Knowledge for a scientist is not knowledge for a philosopher, etc.

      The discussion is still relevant to the topic, but in a surprising way (to you.) You cannot use concepts the same way in science and philosophy (so far so good, but there's more). You cannot use certain universals called transcendentals as genera, in scientific definitions - and, I might add - the status of beings and their unity (to pick just some) is in doubt in science rather than philosophy, so it is scientists who are bound to be nominalists, rather than philosophers.

      > And, what you say here is not true for Voegelin. That by which we
      > understand is "nous", which is best translated as "luminosity", not as
      > "a view of the transcendent order" as you say.

      The most that we know of
      > the consciousness that has this luminosity is that it is bodily located
      > and that it takes part in the metastatic play between consciousness and
      > the story that the It-Reality wants to tell.

      You lost me here. What does this luminosity reveal? I would say consciousness is of the soul, and then... who tells some "story"?

      >
      > And, this is the error you are making. You are assuming that knowledge,
      > truth for Voegelin, comes to be "in view of a transcendent order that is
      > experienced...."; these are your words. This is Hegelian.

      You are twisting my words. "In view of..." is an expression that means directed towards. Voegelin, for example, calls "reason" the directional factor of knowledge.

      > To assume that an understanding of a transcendent preceeds knowing is to mistaken
      > classification for knowing. And, the application of the classification
      > system is thus deemed to be how a "philospher" like Hegel believes that
      > he "understands" the truths lying around to be classified. Or, it may be
      > Kantian, for it is in the application of the "a priori" that a Kant
      > believes that he understands.

      This is an obtuse misinterpretation. The proper understanding of human activity is only when reason aligns itself with the transcendent order of the ground of being, which is reflected in cultural history. Where you just took what I said, I don't know.

      >
      > Regardless, there are three transcendents in Voegelin and none of them
      > are Hegelian or Kantian. There is the old everyday run of the mill
      > transcendency of concepts which extends back to Heraclitus and
      > Anexamander, meaning only that concepts are transcendent because they
      > apply to many. This is the meaning I used to start this thread.

      I cannot quite understand what you wrote here. Maybe it's a sort of parody?!

      [...]

      > transcendence. None of these definitions of transcendence qualify as a
      > "view of a transcendent order", as you say.

      Plato's "divided line" is an image of the transcendent order of reality. Placing theology before philosophy then mathematics, then physics and the arts is according to this schema. Politics is right there with the arts, for example. History encompasses all of the above, as you know.

      >
      > Descartes doubted concepts: he doubted transcendence as per meaning 1.

      You lost me again. I'm sorry.


      > This is the doubt at the foundation of the thinking of those
      > philosophers called "modern".
      >

      Descartes' doubt is philosophical, and it leads to a very basic awareness of reality, which I consider to be quite significant. Doubt as the tension of reflection, participation in the unity of thinking and being.




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    • Jim Rovira
      Mr. Pagnan: I ve very sorry about the reply, then. Let me tell you what I saw: 1. An e-mail with an entire post quoted and no response. 2. An e-mail
      Message 2 of 12 , Mar 1, 2003
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        Mr. Pagnan:

        I've very sorry about the reply, then. Let me tell you what I saw:

        1. An e-mail with an entire post quoted and no response.
        2. An e-mail immediately afterwards that said, sorry about that last
        e-mail, it wasn't complete, please disregard.

        I suspect they were from two different people and I just didn't notice.
        But that's the source of my mistake.

        Martin Pagnan wrote:

        > No. Scientists are very certain about the contexts of their
        > disciplines.

        I think I'm being unclear, but you still don't understand me. I could
        respond that yes, they are "very certain about the contexts of their
        disciplines" but as a result are not self critical of them.

        Let me give you one example. I was having one discussion with a
        neuroscience person about EKG's. She was speaking as if they
        represented brain activity pretty well directly. I said, "No, an EKG is
        a graph and brain activity is a bunch of electrical impulses. The EKG
        is a language you use to talk about brain activity, or a series of signs
        representing brain activity, and as such needs to be interpreted. It is
        not the brain activity itself."

        She couldn't begin to understand where I was coming from. She thought I
        was nuts.

        Scientists tend to be similarly unthinkingly dismissive when you begin
        to question language itself. They're perfectly fine with using one
        language -- say, mathematics -- to critique a different language (say,
        English), but when you start questioning all language, or the language
        itself, the ones I've spoken to get a bit hostile.

        The point is that you're taking away the very tools upon which their
        discipline is based; they don't want to critique or question these
        tools, simply use them.

        It is in that way that they are unselfcritical.

        > You are not going to win any medals for philosophers by telling
        > scientists that they are not "critical of the context of their
        > discipline". If you want to fight that war, then go off an do it, but
        > don't include me. Also, I dispute your right to use the word
        > "philosophy" to express what you would be doing.
        >

        An insult is not a response, Mr. Pagnan, and the false consciousness
        you're bringing to this discussion -- one that fails to recognize it
        began with a scientist speaking dismissively of philosophy: "it's
        irrelevant" -- amazes me.

        Jim


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