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Re: Facticity

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  • Brandon Roshto
    Just a quick question: Have any of you guys ever heard of any good philosophers from Canada?
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 5 5:17 AM
      Just a quick question: Have any of you guys ever heard of
      any good philosophers from Canada?
    • ds
      Yeah, I think there are lots of problems with the whole absolute freedom concept also...the decision making process is largely determined by experience,
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 5 5:34 PM
        Yeah, I think there are lots of problems with the whole "absolute freedom"
        concept also...the decision making process is largely determined by
        experience, social conditioning, instinct, etc. When confronted with a
        choice, you will automatically incorporate certain past experiences and such
        into your decision without thought. The other things would go into the
        decision making process without you ever considering these things, so
        essentially, most decisions are not you consciously making the decision, but
        rather your brain reacting.

        Personally, I think the whole concept of "free will" is a bit shaky and I
        can't understand why Sarte would put so much weight on it.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Charles Vermont
        To: Existentialism List
        Sent: Monday, October 04, 1999 1:09 PM
        Subject: [existlist] Facticity


        I don't know about de Beauvoir's definition of facticity (by the way, I
        understand she was a woman and the steadiest of Sartre's many lovers), but
        here is the definition from my copy of Sartre's 'Being and Nothingness'

        "Facticity is the For-itself's necessary connection with the In-itself,
        hence with the world and its own past. It is what allows us to say that the
        For-itself is or exists. The facticity of freedom is the fact that freedom
        is not able to be not free."

        For anyone not familiar with the terms, this may need some explaining. I'm
        not sure I am the one for the job, but I'll give it a go and hope it elicits
        a better analysis from someone else.

        The 'In-itself' is that part of a human which is concrete and real, like
        flesh, bone and blood. Or, as one lyricist once described it, 'The chemical
        reaction which is set to last for a hundred years' (he hopes). So it is that
        part of a human which is like a rock, or a pool of water, or an atom of
        oxygen. The 'For-itself' describes that part of a human which is able to
        make choices, whether out of instinct or free will. So by describing
        facticity this way, Sartre is, in a sense, creating a dualism between the
        part of us which is an inanimate object, and the part which has the freedom
        bit.

        The reason this is important, to my mind, is because it helps him solve a
        major problem in his view of the world. It is patently absurd for me to
        choose to stand 3,789 feet tall in my socks and no shoes, or to weigh in
        undressed at 285,000 pounds, or run a marathon in 5.2 seconds. Therefore I
        am not free to choose these things, which undermines Sartre's argument that
        we are all 'condemned to freedom'. However, by separating the In-itself and
        the For-itself he avoids this problem and can claim that the For-itself is
        completely free even though the In-itself is not.

        I happen to disagree strongly with him on this.

        Nice to see some action on this list.

        Charles Vermont
        London, England
      • TiffaniTN@xxx.xxx
        For those of you toiling with the concept of free will versus various forms of determinism, I highly recommend reading Dostoevsky s Notes From The
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 6 6:11 PM
          For those of you toiling with the concept of free will versus various forms
          of determinism, I highly recommend reading Dostoevsky's 'Notes From The
          Underground.'

          Anyone who has read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts.

          Basically, my thoughts on the free will/determinism debate are this. Anyone
          who tries to suggest that we have absolute freedom is ludicrous ... even
          Sartre didn't say this... Sartre said we have complete freedom but not
          absolute (though for a different reason than I am about to express). There
          are so many factors that limit the possibility of absolute freedom. I don't
          think that anyone who is up to date on Physiological studies would suggest
          that our biological make-up has no effect on our choices (disposition), nor
          would anyone who is familiar with Psychology try to suggest that our past
          experiences have no influence on our daily choices. These, our genetics and
          our past experiences, greatly influence us without doubt.

          The fact that we have the ability to introspect and analyze our
          predispositions to behave in a certain way in a given context is where the
          freedom begins. In Dostoevsky's 'Notes From The Underground' this idea is
          expounded upon. The fact that one can recognize his inclinations and yet
          still rebel against them seems to solve the genetics/environment debate. I
          rebel, therefore I am free.

          Sure, any one of us can make the argument "but how can we really know that
          even this perceived freedom is not merely an illusion...." It seems that we
          could debate that issue endlessly ... but I challenge you, what sense does
          the question even make to ask? Can we ever know? We function as though we
          have freedom. We feel like we have freedom. We can be educated enough to
          know what is best for us and still choose to rebel, as in Dostoevsky's 'Notes
          from the Underground.' We have set up this society with the belief that
          there is freedom. Let's face it, if we reduce everyone to deterministic
          animals, how can we make anyone responsible for any of their actions?

          I reiterate my strong belief that the fact that we can metacognate on our
          influences and rebel against them seems to offer substance to the theory that
          there is a sort of freedom, that we are not merely walking products of our
          bodily composition and environmental conditioning.

          Tiffani
        • Matt Kirby
          Have not read, but on my list, thanks for the recommendation. I must agree with you. Absolute freedom is an illusion, we have created the idea to make us feel
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 6 7:34 PM
            Have not read, but on my list, thanks for the recommendation.
            I must agree with you. Absolute freedom is an illusion, we have created the
            idea to make us feel better about "us." We are a vast superior species, so
            how can we be limited by things we can not see. The fact is we are limited
            and in order to make "us" feel better we create illusionary ideas with
            illusionary words such as freedom, why heck maybe love is an illusion, just
            some neurons firing, transmitting a neurotransmitter that makes "us" feel
            what we call love. We hate to be limited, so we do everything we can to
            curve that, "the political correct unlimited" I think that is why we climb
            Mt. Everest, go to the moon, and swim the English Channel, because we rule
            this planet, so there is nothing that we can not do or be. That idea is a
            fallacy of thought, the haunting truth is we are limited to our environment
            and our own genetics. Sad but true, but hey who ever said false hope is bad,
            its better than no hope.
            Kirby
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: <TiffaniTN@...>
            To: <existlist@onelist.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 1999 8:11 PM
            Subject: Re: [existlist] Facticity


            > From: TiffaniTN@...
            >
            > For those of you toiling with the concept of free will versus various
            forms
            > of determinism, I highly recommend reading Dostoevsky's 'Notes From The
            > Underground.'
            >
            > Anyone who has read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts.
            >
            > Basically, my thoughts on the free will/determinism debate are this.
            Anyone
            > who tries to suggest that we have absolute freedom is ludicrous ... even
            > Sartre didn't say this... Sartre said we have complete freedom but not
            > absolute (though for a different reason than I am about to express).
            There
            > are so many factors that limit the possibility of absolute freedom. I
            don't
            > think that anyone who is up to date on Physiological studies would suggest
            > that our biological make-up has no effect on our choices (disposition),
            nor
            > would anyone who is familiar with Psychology try to suggest that our past
            > experiences have no influence on our daily choices. These, our genetics
            and
            > our past experiences, greatly influence us without doubt.
            >
            > The fact that we have the ability to introspect and analyze our
            > predispositions to behave in a certain way in a given context is where the
            > freedom begins. In Dostoevsky's 'Notes From The Underground' this idea is
            > expounded upon. The fact that one can recognize his inclinations and yet
            > still rebel against them seems to solve the genetics/environment debate.
            I
            > rebel, therefore I am free.
            >
            > Sure, any one of us can make the argument "but how can we really know that
            > even this perceived freedom is not merely an illusion...." It seems that
            we
            > could debate that issue endlessly ... but I challenge you, what sense does
            > the question even make to ask? Can we ever know? We function as though
            we
            > have freedom. We feel like we have freedom. We can be educated enough to
            > know what is best for us and still choose to rebel, as in Dostoevsky's
            'Notes
            > from the Underground.' We have set up this society with the belief that
            > there is freedom. Let's face it, if we reduce everyone to deterministic
            > animals, how can we make anyone responsible for any of their actions?
            >
            > I reiterate my strong belief that the fact that we can metacognate on our
            > influences and rebel against them seems to offer substance to the theory
            that
            > there is a sort of freedom, that we are not merely walking products of our
            > bodily composition and environmental conditioning.
            >
            > Tiffani
            >
            > > From The Exist List...
            > http://userzweb.lightspeed.net/~tameri
          • Zithromax
            If you had absolute, total amnesia (as in the book/movie Bourne Identity ) it is possible that you would not know that you are a canadian bluenoser nor retain
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 23, 2003
              If you had absolute, total amnesia (as in the book/movie "Bourne Identity") it is possible that you would not know that you are a canadian bluenoser nor retain any cultural predispositions towards gender roles. In such a situation who you are is independent of facticity. Facticity can influence us, obviously. For example if we have plenty of cash we could act differently than if we are impoverished, e.g. we may not have the free will to buy a lamborghini. However, I think that when Heidegger or Sartre talk about Facticity they are really saying that free will and accepting responsibility for our actions frees us from a prison of facticities. When you realize that who you are is based on the decisions you make independently of things like gender, age, and birth then you realize your free will, and a deeper understanding of who you are. I think this is why some people enjoy primitive camping, rock climbing, and survivalish stuff. Such activities can represent a choice to radically change facticity, if only for a weekend, and in taking on nature we can better understand ourselves.

              Zith
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Lorna Landry
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 1:04 PM
              Subject: Re: [existlist] Facticity


              I think facticity means those circumstances of your existence over which you have no control, such as time and place of birth, sex, etc. We are, all of us, born into an absolutely free existence (for Sartre), but all of us are born into a situation of some sort, and our facticity is the way Sartre describes this element of being born into situation.

              I'm a female, Canadian bluenoser born in 1967. This I cannot change about myself, no matter what I try to do. This is the facticity of my existence.

              My absolute freedom comes into play in the sense that I am the only one who ultimately has contol over the attitude I take toward this particular, canadian, female, nova scotian, situation I find myself in.

              Lorna


              Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@...> wrote:
              eduard,

              Don't think many of us here are pure existentialists with a
              capital "E". I'll have to look into facticity, but I'm sure it means
              more than just real facts. Maybe someone here on the list can give us
              a condensed definition. I'm a realist in my everyday life, but an
              optimist for the big picture.

              Mary Jo

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduard at home wrote:
              > Mary Jo,
              >
              > It does matter which comes first from an Existentialist
              > point of view. It gets back to the old idea of the blank
              > sheet or whatever it is called. The idea is that you start
              > off from zero and then through life and experience, you
              > create yourself. Thus you exist before you have essence.
              > Of course, this does raise the question of what is
              > "essence". Some would say that there are some essences
              > which are genetic. But as I mentioned before, the
              > Existentialist covers this by allocating such things to
              > "facticity". I am not that sure what facticity means,
              > however, it does serve to get around the problem.
              >
              > I agree that the hooded-man and the femme-sage [perhaps we
              > should use the French term -- homme sage -- for the
              > hooded-man] are the same. To a large extent the femme-sage
              > has had a harder time of things because of opposition by the
              > establishment.
              >
              > Yes, only a few manage to make the stage of homme-sage. I
              > keep thinking of the movie, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"
              > where Walter Houston plays that role. When the Indians find
              > the three of them -- Walter Houston, Tim Holt, and Humphrey
              > Bogart -- they demand that Houston stay with them, because
              > of his value as a healer.
              >
              > eduard
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: "Mary Jo Malo"
              > To:
              > Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 9:40 AM
              > Subject: [existlist] Re: God??? and the hooded-man
              >
              >
              > > eduard,
              > >
              > > Yes, I think I understand what you're saying and asking.
              > My
              > > philosophy allows me to have essence and existence,
              > because I always
              > > am :) Does it matter which comes first? Here are some more
              > thoughts.
              > >
              > > As we said earlier the wise elder was an important part of
              > many
              > > societies. The Church usurped this role when it's
              > archbishops spoke
              > > at the right hand of the kings. It's wisdom came from
              > absolute power
              > > and authority and the written "word" of god. But there was
              > always an
              > > underground stream of freethinkers who knew that wisdom
              > was
              > > individual and not dispensed by the state. The archetype
              > or pattern
              > > of the wise elder, however, has not left us. The hooded
              > one or the
              > > wise crone was the natural or pagan guide, such as poets
              > and artists,
              > > who spoke directly to our experiences as Joseph Campbell
              > would say.
              > > Carl Jung said they come to us in dreams.
              > >
              > > Is there a pattern of character that we naturally fall
              > into with age?
              > > Perhaps, but I don't think we could separate that from the
              > influence
              > > of our society which often defines our roles.
              > >
              > > The difference between mere fatherhood and the hooded one
              > is that
              > > this wise elder is one amongst the many. He is a unique
              > member of his
              > > society. Not all adults were the wise ones. They were
              > special with a
              > > special function. Like we said before, age is no guarantee
              > of wisdom.
              > > There is a humility in wisdom which knows there is so much
              > more to
              > > learn. It's a humility which honors individuality and has
              > confidence
              > > in inevitability and unpredictability. The sage often has
              > a wicked
              > > sense of humor. (I loved Nicol Williamson's Merlin in
              > "Excalibur")
              > >
              > > Today, we existentialists sit at the knees of the writers
              > and other
              > > examples of free thinkers who share their wisdom through
              > the written
              > > word and the arts.
              > >
              > > As to your question of whether there is a difference
              > between the male
              > > and female sage, I'd say no. The sage is a completely
              > integrated
              > > personality who contains both attributes. The sage speaks
              > from both
              > > the natural world (magic) and the intellectual sphere, a
              > person of
              > > experience and hope in the future of humanity. The sage
              > believes in
              > > and is part of the cosmos. The sage understands how it
              > works and can
              > > advise and affect change. The sage is trusted because of
              > experience.
              > >
              > > Mary Jo



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            • Mary Jo Malo
              Zith, Thanks. When you realize . . . is what s important. People have to be educated about choices and free will. In our society the essential meaning of
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 24, 2003
                Zith,

                Thanks. "When you realize . . ." is what's important. People have to
                be educated about choices and free will. In our society the essential
                meaning of what has become a mere slogan, is very important. If
                children are properly educated about free will and responsibility,
                they have a greater chance of avoiding or breaking free from negative
                facticities. I've observed that the human species is very childlike
                in that it is easily prey to suggestion and emotional vulnerability.
                We are imprinted behaviorily as children; indoctrinated by
                advertising; brainwashed by the media's hysteria; entranced by
                television and movies' fairy tales; and thus the difficulties of free
                will. Often it's a trauma or dramatic change of circumstances that
                can liberate us from facticity. We are predisposed to react, both
                biologically and mentally, and that keeps us a prisoner rather than
                an adventurer. Yes, a heavy dose of education at an early age is
                critical, as well as mature parents who provide environments
                conducive to such freedom.

                Mary Jo

                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Zithromax" <zithromax@s...> wrote:
                > If you had absolute, total amnesia (as in the book/movie "Bourne
                Identity") it is possible that you would not know that you are a
                canadian bluenoser nor retain any cultural predispositions towards
                gender roles. In such a situation who you are is independent of
                facticity. Facticity can influence us, obviously. For example if we
                have plenty of cash we could act differently than if we are
                impoverished, e.g. we may not have the free will to buy a
                lamborghini. However, I think that when Heidegger or Sartre talk
                about Facticity they are really saying that free will and accepting
                responsibility for our actions frees us from a prison of
                facticities. When you realize that who you are is based on the
                decisions you make independently of things like gender, age, and
                birth then you realize your free will, and a deeper understanding of
                who you are. I think this is why some people enjoy primitive
                camping, rock climbing, and survivalish stuff. Such activities can
                represent a choice to radically change facticity, if only for a
                weekend, and in taking on nature we can better understand ourselves.
                >
                > Zith
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: Lorna Landry
                > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 1:04 PM
                > Subject: Re: [existlist] Facticity
                >
                >
                > I think facticity means those circumstances of your existence
                over which you have no control, such as time and place of birth, sex,
                etc. We are, all of us, born into an absolutely free existence (for
                Sartre), but all of us are born into a situation of some sort, and
                our facticity is the way Sartre describes this element of being born
                into situation.
                >
                > I'm a female, Canadian bluenoser born in 1967. This I cannot
                change about myself, no matter what I try to do. This is the
                facticity of my existence.
                >
                > My absolute freedom comes into play in the sense that I am the
                only one who ultimately has contol over the attitude I take toward
                this particular, canadian, female, nova scotian, situation I find
                myself in.
                >
                > Lorna
                >
                >
                > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
                > eduard,
                >
                > Don't think many of us here are pure existentialists with a
                > capital "E". I'll have to look into facticity, but I'm sure it
                means
                > more than just real facts. Maybe someone here on the list can
                give us
                > a condensed definition. I'm a realist in my everyday life, but an
                > optimist for the big picture.
                >
                > Mary Jo
                >
                > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduard at home wrote:
                > > Mary Jo,
                > >
                > > It does matter which comes first from an Existentialist
                > > point of view. It gets back to the old idea of the blank
                > > sheet or whatever it is called. The idea is that you start
                > > off from zero and then through life and experience, you
                > > create yourself. Thus you exist before you have essence.
                > > Of course, this does raise the question of what is
                > > "essence". Some would say that there are some essences
                > > which are genetic. But as I mentioned before, the
                > > Existentialist covers this by allocating such things to
                > > "facticity". I am not that sure what facticity means,
                > > however, it does serve to get around the problem.
                > >
                > > I agree that the hooded-man and the femme-sage [perhaps we
                > > should use the French term -- homme sage -- for the
                > > hooded-man] are the same. To a large extent the femme-sage
                > > has had a harder time of things because of opposition by the
                > > establishment.
                > >
                > > Yes, only a few manage to make the stage of homme-sage. I
                > > keep thinking of the movie, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"
                > > where Walter Houston plays that role. When the Indians find
                > > the three of them -- Walter Houston, Tim Holt, and Humphrey
                > > Bogart -- they demand that Houston stay with them, because
                > > of his value as a healer.
                > >
                > > eduard
                > >
                > > ----- Original Message -----
                > > From: "Mary Jo Malo"
                > > To:
                > > Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 9:40 AM
                > > Subject: [existlist] Re: God??? and the hooded-man
                > >
                > >
                > > > eduard,
                > > >
                > > > Yes, I think I understand what you're saying and asking.
                > > My
                > > > philosophy allows me to have essence and existence,
                > > because I always
                > > > am :) Does it matter which comes first? Here are some more
                > > thoughts.
                > > >
                > > > As we said earlier the wise elder was an important part of
                > > many
                > > > societies. The Church usurped this role when it's
                > > archbishops spoke
                > > > at the right hand of the kings. It's wisdom came from
                > > absolute power
                > > > and authority and the written "word" of god. But there was
                > > always an
                > > > underground stream of freethinkers who knew that wisdom
                > > was
                > > > individual and not dispensed by the state. The archetype
                > > or pattern
                > > > of the wise elder, however, has not left us. The hooded
                > > one or the
                > > > wise crone was the natural or pagan guide, such as poets
                > > and artists,
                > > > who spoke directly to our experiences as Joseph Campbell
                > > would say.
                > > > Carl Jung said they come to us in dreams.
                > > >
                > > > Is there a pattern of character that we naturally fall
                > > into with age?
                > > > Perhaps, but I don't think we could separate that from the
                > > influence
                > > > of our society which often defines our roles.
                > > >
                > > > The difference between mere fatherhood and the hooded one
                > > is that
                > > > this wise elder is one amongst the many. He is a unique
                > > member of his
                > > > society. Not all adults were the wise ones. They were
                > > special with a
                > > > special function. Like we said before, age is no guarantee
                > > of wisdom.
                > > > There is a humility in wisdom which knows there is so much
                > > more to
                > > > learn. It's a humility which honors individuality and has
                > > confidence
                > > > in inevitability and unpredictability. The sage often has
                > > a wicked
                > > > sense of humor. (I loved Nicol Williamson's Merlin in
                > > "Excalibur")
                > > >
                > > > Today, we existentialists sit at the knees of the writers
                > > and other
                > > > examples of free thinkers who share their wisdom through
                > > the written
                > > > word and the arts.
                > > >
                > > > As to your question of whether there is a difference
                > > between the male
                > > > and female sage, I'd say no. The sage is a completely
                > > integrated
                > > > personality who contains both attributes. The sage speaks
                > > from both
                > > > the natural world (magic) and the intellectual sphere, a
                > > person of
                > > > experience and hope in the future of humanity. The sage
                > > believes in
                > > > and is part of the cosmos. The sage understands how it
                > > works and can
                > > > advise and affect change. The sage is trusted because of
                > > experience.
                > > >
                > > > Mary Jo
                >
                >
                >
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