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58868Re: [existlist] Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic & Freedom & Responsibility

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  • eduardathome
    Dec 30, 2012
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      Mary,

      "Thought is empirical and should be examined through philosophy, not
      neuroscience."

      It is not about what is thought, but rather the thoughting ... the act of
      thinking. And that is in the realm of neuroscience. I am assuming your use
      of "neuroscience" relates to my position that our thinking is of the brain
      ... the workings of our neurons.

      But lets look more closely at your statement....

      Yes thought is empirical. It is what we interpret from observation. But
      "observation" is also neuroscience [to use your word]. We "observe" by
      means of our brains. But then so too is rational thought. We rationalize
      stuff by means of our brains ... neural processing.

      And philosophy itself is neuroscience. It is what someone thought by use of
      their brains. Everything we think, philosophize about occurs in our brains.

      As I said before, there is a huge resistance to accepting that we think by
      using our brains. We do make some concession to such thinking acts as
      remembering our telephone number, but things like spirituality and mysticism
      and such has to occur elsewhere. Whereas they are just more neural
      activity.

      By the way, how can one examine thought through philosophy??

      eduardathome


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Mary
      Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 1:32 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic &
      Freedom & Responsibility

      eduard, Bill, and all,

      I'll try to begin by answering your question about structure, limitation,
      and the miraculous. Because we are interlocked beings 'wrapped around' our
      respective voids, the structural alienation of individual perception seems
      an insurmountable obstacle. What is miraculous is that through our
      individual development from consciousness to individual sense perception to
      self-consciousness and the ability to communicate, we are able to overcome
      our individuality, albeit to a very small degree.

      What we perceive and think is shared only through verbal and physical
      communication. Our experiences are individual. Observation of others having
      what seem to be identical individual experiences simultaneously is not the
      same as universal experience. As you say, each one is interpreting
      individually. The only things we can claim as universal are the activities
      themselves--perception and experience--not particular individual ones. Our
      particular experiences are instances of the universal and reflect the
      another indirectly and imperfectly.

      This is why I hesitate to describe particular and individual experiences,
      whether perception, thought or feeling, as truth. Truth requires proof:
      reality and knowledge do not. Though I speak here with a degree of
      certainty, my "truth" as you call it, is merely informal theory or
      hypothesis and additionally is based on or adapted from others' ideas. This
      is the nature of thought: it is shared via common language or symbols, not
      essentially.

      I suppose you'll say I'm hair splitting or muddying the terms: knowledge,
      truth, reality. I've often carelessly used them interchangeably, but they
      deserve some philosophical rigor. I welcome your questions and challenges,
      because they help demonstrate our limitations (finitude) and the need for
      multiple perspectives in order to more precisely show how thought moves
      within itself and between others. Thought is superior to experience because
      it is shared through language if one is concerned with the solidarity which
      accompanies history and politics. Experience is superior is you are strictly
      solitary.

      Reality is what we experience. Knowledge is what we learn. Both develop and
      change. Truth is absolute and wholly unattainable; it appear as, across and
      between its parts. What reality and knowledge have in common is our thought,
      but reason is truth itself, not its particular transitory determinations.

      I think the difficulty with the term 'absolute truth' lies in 'absolute.'
      For me it means total, whole, universal, infinite, but I can't experience
      it. Truth is momentarily glimpsed through its particular phenomena but
      elusively recedes, resisting our grasp. how could we ever comprehend the
      absolute?

      You're right that a positivist can't be considered postmodern, since
      postmodern theory includes scepticism about science itself as an absolute
      model for truth. Its relativism refutes formal objective truth. So like
      Bill, I'm also a little confused about its description. It does seem wrapped
      up in leftist sentiment and terminology, respecting the individual's quest
      for meaning to a fault, but that aligns with existentialism, along with a
      political correctness which generally strays from experience, etc. For me
      postmodern is a reaction to perceived strictures of what is modern and
      denies formal structure to anything.

      Dialectical reason means to me the kind of thought which is able to move
      between oppositions, contradictions and is also characterized by determining
      between differences, and the principle of negation, that knowledge is
      developed through negation and sublation.

      I agree with Sartre's take on freedom and responsibility, an ethical atheism
      recently promoted by Zizek. If the void means freedom, responsibility is
      freedom in action. Freedom is and isn't the lack of constraint, and
      responsibility implies there are things for which we are not responsible. As
      with Nietzsche, this is a treacherous slough.

      Thought is empirical and should be examined through philosophy, not
      neuroscience.

      Mary
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