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Re: [existlist] Re: The Pessimism Thing

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  • eupraxis@aol.com
    Thanks HB3G for your thoughtful response. And please disregard any typos. I would add a word of caution. The Kantian duality of phenomenon and noumenon serves
    Message 1 of 17 , Jun 24, 2007
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      Thanks HB3G for your thoughtful response.

      And please disregard any typos.

      I would add a word of caution. The Kantian duality of phenomenon and
      noumenon serves two roles in Kant: on the one hand it describes an
      epistemological difference; on the other an implied, but unstable,
      axiology that universalizes the rational Self.

      The first is right from Locke's empirical philosophy. Kant makes of
      Locke's empiricism (which remember was itself a radical repudiation of
      Descartes' innatism) an architectonic of logic and appearances, a
      squared set of categories (from Aristotle's philosophy of language) for
      the purpose of organizing our experiential blank slate. Objects of the
      intuition are extruded into useful coherences by virtue of an innate
      logic of relation, but they are still just "qualities" in the Lockean
      sense.

      The second ontological/axiological consequence follows from the first:
      ultimate value cannot be deduced from phenomena. They are already too
      late (that is, the phenomena are already the product of a cause that is
      not able to be directly known); and they are always too early (by what
      obvious law do I understand that which (presumably) has not yet
      happened?). The "Law" has thus to be something that is preexisting its
      circumstance. For Kant, this leads to the notion of the maxim, the
      categorical imperative. One isn't born good or bad. One follows the
      maxim or doesn't.

      Kant, in this and other contexts, was clearly progressive in his
      thinking, a true child (and author) of enlightenment notions. Neither
      class nor race (except for Africans, whom K deemed incapable of reason
      -- oh well!) nor any non-adjudicated ascription of a person whatsoever
      can predefine the ethical (defined as rational) subject. One can only
      judge another's own judgments.

      So then, Duty is an auto-interrogative as well as practical affair. But
      the "auto" is not meant to describe a self-to-oneself soliloquy; it is
      a subsumption of self to law. It is a misreading of Kant to conclude
      that his ethics is based on anything self-serving. The truth is quite
      to the contrary. Kant's ethics is, in fact, self-abnegating.

      And it is 'this' Kant (more or less) that influenced Schopenhauer, if
      my reading is right.

      Wil


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Herman B. Triplegood <hb3g@...>
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 3:44 pm
      Subject: [existlist] Re: The Pessimism Thing























      Wil:



      I will certainly take into consideration your caution against

      connecting conscience and authenticity too closely. They might very

      well be, as you suggest, contraries. The remark that the conscience

      is essentially the showing of its other, I think, is quite

      insightful. One runs into this dilemma, both with Kant, and later on,

      with Schopenhauer, with this idea of a distinction between the

      empirical character and the noumenal character. Schopenhauer as much

      as says that (noumenal) character is inborn, and the empirical

      character knows it through conscience. Hence, some people are evil by

      nature.



      I have difficulties with this for various reasons, most of which are

      gut level and might not be philosophically cogent. I don't want to be

      born guilty. People also have difficulties with the pessimistic

      conclusion of Schopenhauer, just as I have had, and continue to have,

      but I am warming up to his ethics of renunciation and i see how an

      ethics of compassion, which could be, by the way, a palliative to the

      egoism/solipsism problem, could develop out of it. There isn't much

      sense in having an ethics that is not based upon the facutal

      existence of not only me but others. Kant's idea of duty toward

      oneself is, to me, illogical, and even perverse.



      The only way I can really make sense of this noumenal character mess,

      right now, is to see it as already given, but really only in the

      sense of a potentiality for a telos that is, nevertheless, concretely

      erected, only purely empirically. Part of the problem, here, in

      Schopenhauer, is deeply metaphysical, and it has to do with the

      almost inevitable confusion that arises in the development of his

      notions of objectified will and non-objectified will, an issue that

      myself, and two otheres, have been wrangling about for a couple of

      weeks over on the philosophy forum list.



      I expect to get a lot more insight on these issues, later on, when I

      pick up Sartre. I know he deals with the self/other conundrum in

      Being and Nothingness, and there is also his essay on the

      Transcendence of the Ego to consider as well. I read the T of E many

      years ago along with the essay on imagination. I wasn't brave enough

      to tackle Etre et Neant back then.



      Hb3g



      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:

      >

      > H,

      >

      > There are a number of questions here. First of all, "egoism" is a

      > rather blunt or vague term in philosophy. When I hear the term, I

      think

      > of Stirner (The Ego and Its Own -- a crazy, but often brilliant

      book)

      > as well the various 'schools' whose comportment to reality is

      > essentially solipsist.

      >

      > Solipsism and egoism have been the bugbears of anti-existential

      writers

      > ever since the latter sought to defend the Faith against that

      scourge

      > of atheists and other restorers of reason from "Old Europe" who had

      > championed Marx and Nietzsche at the expense of the 'god and

      country'

      > and prospective soccer moms.

      >

      > Anyway, Sartre dispatches the claim by way of the Other looking at

      me,

      > by way of "hodological space" as a context of human projects and

      > contradictions, etc. His method (in B&T) makes an end-run around

      > standard morality so as to not require what you are calling

      > "conscience" or the "individual". (Sartre's 'Ego' has more in

      common,

      > for good or ill, with Kant's transcendental ego than with any

      socially

      > situated moral subject.)

      >

      > Conscience, as I assume you are using the term, has no necessary

      > truth-legitimacy to it, as in the case when a Catholic eats meat on

      a

      > holy day and afterwards feels regret: the 'moral' impulse is shown

      in

      > this case to be nothing more or less than socially contextual and,

      if

      > you pardon me for saying so (or if you do not) completely absurd.

      All

      > that it does show is the Other, or, in other words, the

      discursively

      > circumscribed subject.

      >

      > It is the wrestling match with the Other (or Other-for-me) that

      brings

      > forth the matter of authenticity. Thus conscience and authenticity,

      at

      > least as I see it, are not joined at the hip in the manner

      suggested by

      > your question, and in fact may be contraries.

      >

      > Wil

      >

      >

      > -----Original Message-----

      > From: Herman B. Triplegood <hb3g@...>

      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com

      > Sent: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 12:22 pm

      > Subject: [existlist] Re: The Pessimism Thing

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      >

      > So, existentialsim, then, in your opinion, really has

      > nothing to do

      >

      > with egoism, an emphasis upon the individual. The individual, too,

      >

      > like everything else, is a hypostasis, a construct?

      >

      >

      >

      > Let me ask you this. Doesn't authenticity require me to have a

      >

      > conscience? How do I know that I am being authentic? Schopenhauer

      >

      > describes conscience as this understanding of one's true self.

      >

      > Conscience isn't just a sitting in judgment against oneself.

      >

      > Conscience is a kind of remembering of what one's slef is. hence, it

      >

      > is always belated, and retrospective.

      >

      >

      >

      > But, if there is this so-called voice of conscience within me, which

      >

      > is my coming to know something about my true self, that tells me, in

      >

      > the various particular cases, under the various circumstances, that

      I

      >

      > have been true to myself, or not, then, how is my self, understood

      in

      >

      > this authentic sense, merely my construct? an hypostatization? Is it

      >

      > not, in fact, something much deeper? something that is rock solid? a

      >

      > foundation? an absolute? something like an ingrained character that

      I

      >

      > have to come to know about myself?

      >

      >

      >

      > Do you see the paradox here? It is as if there are two of me. The

      >

      > oracle at Delphi instructed Socrates to know himself. Freud, and the

      >

      > other psychoanalytic thinkers that followed him, recognized that

      >

      > there is this inherent duality in our character, an externalized

      >

      > egoistic character, and an unconscious self which can also be very

      >

      > egoistic, but maybe not always. This was one of the major beefs

      >

      > between Freud and Jung. Freud believed that the unconscious self,

      >

      > basically the Id, was always fundamentally still egoistic. Jung

      >

      > believed that this was not always the case. We often say, when we

      see

      >

      > the underyling motive in a person's actions come to light, that such

      >

      > a person has now flown his or her true colors. Quite often, that

      >

      > person isn't even consciously aware of these inner motives. They

      >

      > point to his or her true inner character, which, for sure, isn't

      >

      > always outwardly evident; indeed, it is almost always cleverly

      >

      > disguised by that personality that we only superficially know as his

      >

      > or her character.

      >

      >

      >

      > Hb3g

      >

      >

      >

      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@ wrote:

      >

      > >

      >

      > > > How does this square with what, in existentialism appears to be

      a

      >

      > > > very important doctrine, the individual?

      >

      > > >

      >

      > > In mood, there is very little to square. Existentialism picks up

      at

      >

      > the point

      >

      > > where one laughs at what you have decscribed. Freedom and

      >

      > authenticity are

      >

      > > more valued than the "spirit of gravity", as Nietzsche termed it.

      >

      > >

      >

      > > WS

      >

      > >

      >

      > >

      >

      > >

      >

      > > **************************************

      >

      > > See what's free at http://www.aol.com

      >

      > >

      >

      > >

      >

      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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