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58875Re: Knowledge & Experience & Postmodern & Dialectic & Freedom & Responsibility

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  • Mary
    Dec 30, 2012

      Speculative reason or philosophy is not the same as common or ordinary thinking.

      All that neuroscience can do is observe and measure where thinking occurs in the brain; it can't account for the content of thought. Nor does it take into account the entire body and its environments as part of a feedback loop. I don't deny that neuronal processes are involved in thought and emotion but that they are only part of a larger system including and extending from the body, even to other minds. Neither science nor philosophy can prove definitively what consciousness is, nor can one's individual experience with it be extrapolated into a universal.

      Philosophical or speculative reason is scientific because it observes and examines how thought develops among people and it tries to establish abstract and concrete categories or at least improve on existing principles which may possibly determine why people think as they do. Any approach which cannot sort cause from effect is inherently flawed.


      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      > 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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