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Re: Relevance of NDEs to Existentialism

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  • louise
    ... of ... complex. ... seem to you ... that comes ... an essence, ... an act is ... playing the same ... I don t ... You re right. I did not make clear the
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      >
      > Louise,

      > You wrote: "I am not a utilitarian, yet I acknowledge the reality
      of
      > consequence. The questions at issue seem to me philosophically
      complex."
      >
      > Response: And this has something to do with what? How does that
      seem to you
      > to be a question currently at issue? A consequence is something
      that comes
      > after, as a result of. The "reality of a consequence" wouldn't be
      an essence,
      > then, would it? If you use a nomological rendering of essence (say,
      an act is
      > preceded by its potential penalties, etc.), then you are still
      playing the same
      > Platonic card: only a god could guarantee in time such a moral law.
      I don't
      > think that is what you mean, though.

      You're right. I did not make clear the context. It was a general
      point, about the consequences of posting any statement at a public
      forum like this. Whatever one writes, is multiply interpreted.
      Perhaps I was just encouraging myself, to take care in saying as
      exactly as possible what I mean. As opposed to the dubious practice
      of considering a general welfare, a form of liberalism to which I
      might be susceptible, and which I distrust extremely. I am, though,
      as you recall, a Nooist, and, as Eduard has recently stated, if you
      want a god you may have one to believe in. Existential
      responsibility, though, might urge caution, about whether or no you
      really know what you are doing, in finding, or choosing, such a god.
      Philosophical discipline is desirable, in order to avoid narrowly
      cultic affiliations which prove destructive. I have confidence in
      Nooism, because of my empiricism, and my respect for learning and
      wisdom.

      Louise


      Otherwise, if a consequence is said to 'have
      > a reality' in the essential sense of the term, that would be like
      saying
      > "down" exists so that falling can happen. Any of these ways of
      thinking are
      > anathematic to existentialism. [end]
    • louise
      ... contending ... under ... wording, existence of an ... statement in ... forum, the ... its ... course. [end] Let s see, first of all you say we were
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
        >
        > Louise,

        > You wrote: Surely the Platonic Realism against which Sartre was
        contending
        > does not exhaust the relevant meanings of the term, 'essence'?
        >
        > Response: It most certainly does exhaust the meaning of the term
        under
        > discussion, as we were discussing precisely Sartre. [end]
        >
        > You wrote: I agree with you about the inapposite
        wording, 'existence of an
        > essence', yet in my opinion Joe's questioning of Mary's original
        statement in
        > #43828 is perfectly legitimate.
        >
        > Response: I was defending Mary's claim that, "in an existentialism
        forum, the
        > burden is on you to show 1) that essence precedes existence, and 2)
        its
        > relevance." The second part (the relevance part) is moot, of
        course. [end]

        Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre,
        then you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
        general. Am I missing something here, or is this not at least
        implying that Sartre is the only permitted authority regarding the
        interpretation of essence/existence? In regard to his own works,
        fair enough, but the original post referred to an existence/essence
        unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to me
        like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really
        like to understand its provenance. Perhaps that should be a question
        to Mary, except that she already replied to Joe as if he should do
        the work of understanding what she meant.

        Louise
      • eupraxis@aol.com
        Let s see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre, then you quote Mary s response to Joe which invokes existentialism in general. Am I
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
          "Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre, then
          you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in general. Am I
          missing something here, or is this not at least implying that Sartre is the
          only permitted authority regarding the interpretation of essence/existence? 'In
          regard to his own works, fair enough, but the original post referred to an
          existence/essence unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to
          me like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really like to
          understand its provenance."
          ----
          Response: No, I think you're missing something here. Can you name another
          existentialist author who uses that dyad who is either not referring to Sartre,
          or who is using the dyad in some other novel way? And in any case, whenever
          such a dyad ("existence/essence") is used without any special proviso, wouldn't
          one understand those terms in their usual sense, especially in a philosophical
          list? Finally, can you show me another meaning to these terms that would be
          readily understandable?

          I don't think you would have an easy task with any of that. [end]

          Wil


          In a message dated 3/2/08 5:06:40 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


          > Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre,
          > then you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
          > general. Am I missing something here, or is this not at least
          > implying that Sartre is the only permitted authority regarding the
          > interpretation of essence/existence? In regard to his own works,
          > fair enough, but the original post referred to an existence/essence
          > unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to me
          > like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really
          > like to understand its provenance. Perhaps that should be a question
          > to Mary, except that she already replied to Joe as if he should do
          > the work of understanding what she meant.
          >
          > Louise
          >




          **************
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          (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
          2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • louise
          ... Sartre, then ... general. Am I ... Sartre is the ... essence/existence? In ... referred to an ... far, sounds to ... really like to ... another ...
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
            >
            > "Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely
            Sartre, then
            > you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
            general. Am I
            > missing something here, or is this not at least implying that
            Sartre is the
            > only permitted authority regarding the interpretation of
            essence/existence? 'In
            > regard to his own works, fair enough, but the original post
            referred to an
            > existence/essence unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so
            far, sounds to
            > me like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should
            really like to
            > understand its provenance."
            > ----
            > Response: No, I think you're missing something here. Can you name
            another
            > existentialist author who uses that dyad who is either not
            referring to Sartre,
            > or who is using the dyad in some other novel way? And in any case,
            whenever
            > such a dyad ("existence/essence") is used without any special
            proviso, wouldn't
            > one understand those terms in their usual sense, especially in a
            philosophical
            > list? Finally, can you show me another meaning to these terms that
            would be
            > readily understandable?
            >
            > I don't think you would have an easy task with any of that. [end]
            >
            > Wil

            Wil,

            I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
            questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
            that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
            investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
            territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
            existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
            which admits of description by means of the dyad.

            Louise
          • eupraxis@aol.com
            Louise Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential literature that I know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
              Louise

              Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential literature that I
              know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
              metaphysical analyses one would otherwise expect from a theist; to wit, some proof that
              God exists. Yet we have sin, fallibility, self-loathing, etc. -- and I am not
              without my sense of depth -- I have heard the bay of the wolf during the
              night, have undergone attacks of dread and regret, have lost myself (my Self) in
              the infinity of nothingness, and the rest of it.

              Some have applied a kind of reverse Anselmian argument to assuage all of
              this; they proffer God by means of the overwhelming vacuity of the eternal. If it
              is that absurd, God must exist. Hence 'Plato' lives on, or has always.

              But I go another route. The only God (Absolute) for me is (at best) Hegel's,
              and it is entirely mundane and apparent. One derives no comfort from Hegel,
              only context. I am probably alone here when I say that Hegel is the first
              existentialist. But I digress.

              Lacan tells us that what we most desire is an illusion. He means that
              reflexively: We want an illusion; and what we think we want is itself illusory.
              Essences and eternal verities are what we most desire; thus they are necessarily
              imaginary. It is like Nietzsche's insight that logic is inherently optimistic.
              From an existentialist point of view, that is a profound idea. Logic may limit
              thought to rationality, but 'belief' in logic means that one lives in a dream,
              nevertheless.

              That is the sense of transcendence that I decry and that Sartre deconstructs.
              To say that existence precedes essence is to say just this.

              Wil



              In a message dated 3/2/08 6:45:45 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


              > Wil,
              >
              > I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
              > questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
              > that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
              > investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
              > territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
              > existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
              > which admits of description by means of the dyad.
              >
              > Louise
              >




              **************
              Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

              (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
              2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • louise
              Wil, Thanks, Louise ... literature that I ... wit, some proof that ... and I am not ... during the ... (my Self) in ... all of ... eternal. If it ... always.
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                Wil,

                Thanks,

                Louise

                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                >
                > Louise
                >
                > Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential
                literature that I
                > know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
                > metaphysical analyses one would otherwise expect from a theist; to
                wit, some proof that
                > God exists. Yet we have sin, fallibility, self-loathing, etc. --
                and I am not
                > without my sense of depth -- I have heard the bay of the wolf
                during the
                > night, have undergone attacks of dread and regret, have lost myself
                (my Self) in
                > the infinity of nothingness, and the rest of it.
                >
                > Some have applied a kind of reverse Anselmian argument to assuage
                all of
                > this; they proffer God by means of the overwhelming vacuity of the
                eternal. If it
                > is that absurd, God must exist. Hence 'Plato' lives on, or has
                always.
                >
                > But I go another route. The only God (Absolute) for me is (at best)
                Hegel's,
                > and it is entirely mundane and apparent. One derives no comfort
                from Hegel,
                > only context. I am probably alone here when I say that Hegel is the
                first
                > existentialist. But I digress.
                >
                > Lacan tells us that what we most desire is an illusion. He means
                that
                > reflexively: We want an illusion; and what we think we want is
                itself illusory.
                > Essences and eternal verities are what we most desire; thus they
                are necessarily
                > imaginary. It is like Nietzsche's insight that logic is inherently
                optimistic.
                > From an existentialist point of view, that is a profound idea.
                Logic may limit
                > thought to rationality, but 'belief' in logic means that one lives
                in a dream,
                > nevertheless.
                >
                > That is the sense of transcendence that I decry and that Sartre
                deconstructs.
                > To say that existence precedes essence is to say just this.
                >
                > Wil
                >
                >
                >
                > In a message dated 3/2/08 6:45:45 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:
                >
                >
                > > Wil,
                > >
                > > I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
                > > questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
                > > that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
                > > investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
                > > territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
                > > existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
                > > which admits of description by means of the dyad.
                > >
                > > Louise
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > **************
                > Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
                >
                > (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-
                campos-duffy/
                > 2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • jimstuart51
                Wil, I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and passion. I am
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                  Wil,

                  I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you
                  both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and
                  passion.

                  I am not in complete agreement with what you write about Sartre.

                  My understanding is that Sartre's famous expression "existence
                  precedes essence" was to apply to human beings, and only human beings.
                  He introduced this expression in order to contrast human beings with
                  all other entities in the world.

                  Because human beings have absolute freedom, they cannot have an
                  essence as to have an essence is to lack absolute freedom. I (and
                  other human beings who grasp their freedom) choose how to act, and in
                  this choice I create myself anew at each moment of choice. By
                  contrast, animals, plants, trees, chairs, tables, buildings, etc.,
                  lack choice and in these cases we can justifiably speak of such
                  entities having essences.

                  So, on my reading of Sartre, he does not deny essences in toto, he
                  just denies that free individuals like you or me have essences.

                  In this regard Nietzsche is different to Sartre. Nietzsche did, I
                  think, deny essences across the board, even to scientific entities
                  like gold, lead, water, etc. For Nietzsche, human beings were not
                  essentially different to animals, plants, trees, etc., in that all
                  lacked essences.

                  I don't think an existentialist has to deny essences to scientific
                  entities. I view existentialism as a philosophy concerned with the
                  human being and her choices in an inhospitable, purposeless world. I
                  don't think such a view necessarily excludes a belief in logic, nor a
                  belief that scientific entities have essences.

                  Jim
                • eupraxis@aol.com
                  Jim, Thanks. No, I think it is clear, and not just from B&N, that Sartre denies any kind of transcendent reality, except for the Imaginary itself. This is
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                    Jim,

                    Thanks.

                    No, I think it is clear, and not just from B&N, that Sartre denies any kind
                    of transcendent reality, except for the Imaginary itself. This is fundamental
                    to his phenomenology and his artistic work, in my opinion. However, the
                    consequences of "existence preceding essence", which was meant as a slight on the
                    lingering scholasticism of the Academy, is just as you describe it.

                    By the way, there have been all kinds of stories about Sartre's supposed
                    conversion to religion during his decline. They are nonsense, and I know that by
                    the best anecdotal evidence available to me: to wit, I know someone, a great
                    friend and mentor, who was in that loop. To the end, Sartre was a committed
                    atheist.

                    Wil

                    In a message dated 3/3/08 7:05:17 AM, jjimstuart1@... writes:


                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Wil,
                    >
                    > I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you
                    > both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and
                    > passion.
                    >
                    > I am not in complete agreement with what you write about Sartre.
                    >
                    > My understanding is that Sartre's famous expression "existence
                    > precedes essence" was to apply to human beings, and only human beings.
                    > He introduced this expression in order to contrast human beings with
                    > all other entities in the world.
                    >
                    > Because human beings have absolute freedom, they cannot have an
                    > essence as to have an essence is to lack absolute freedom. I (and
                    > other human beings who grasp their freedom) choose how to act, and in
                    > this choice I create myself anew at each moment of choice. By
                    > contrast, animals, plants, trees, chairs, tables, buildings, etc.,
                    > lack choice and in these cases we can justifiably speak of such
                    > entities having essences.
                    >
                    > So, on my reading of Sartre, he does not deny essences in toto, he
                    > just denies that free individuals like you or me have essences.
                    >
                    > In this regard Nietzsche is different to Sartre. Nietzsche did, I
                    > think, deny essences across the board, even to scientific entities
                    > like gold, lead, water, etc. For Nietzsche, human beings were not
                    > essentially different to animals, plants, trees, etc., in that all
                    > lacked essences.
                    >
                    > I don't think an existentialist has to deny essences to scientific
                    > entities. I view existentialism as a philosophy concerned with the
                    > human being and her choices in an inhospitable, purposeless world. I
                    > don't think such a view necessarily excludes a belief in logic, nor a
                    > belief that scientific entities have essences.
                    >
                    > Jim
                    >
                    >
                    >




                    **************
                    Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

                    (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
                    2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • mary.jo11
                    Although uncomfortable with notions of orthodoxy, I accept this one. The other is nothingness, since it also binds and liberates existential thought. Legal
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
                      Although uncomfortable with notions of orthodoxy, I accept this one.
                      The other is nothingness, since it also binds and liberates
                      existential thought. Legal definitions of when life begins and ends
                      are less relevant to the existentialist than personal situation. Mary

                      eupraxis@... wrote:

                      To the end, Sartre was a committed atheist.
                    • Exist List Moderator
                      ... Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary of Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some entries and continue
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
                        On Mar 02, 2008, at 14:13, eupraxis@... wrote:

                        > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any remarks
                        > that
                        > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank me
                        > later).


                        Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary of
                        Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some
                        entries and continue to do so with quotes directly from the thinkers
                        profiled so as to avoid any notion that the definitions are mine or
                        any other "expert's" because it is always best to let the author
                        define his or her own terms.

                        I also note that the same terms were often used in different ways, to
                        different ends, by the authors.

                        Also... I never read anywhere that someone suggested Sartre renounced
                        atheism. That was a curious mention on the list that I skimmed. Wil is
                        definitely correct on this matter, based on the contacts I have had
                        with historians and biographers. I cannot imagine Sartre as anything
                        other than an atheist... just as I can't imagine him ever humble. I
                        would cite "Adieux" as my primary source for Sartre's finals days.

                        - C. S. Wyatt
                        I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                        that I shall be.
                        http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                        http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                      • bhvwd
                        ... remarks ... me ... of ... thinkers ... or ... to ... renounced ... is ... had ... anything ... I ... all ... year they appear and youn have seen what you
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
                          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator
                          <existlist1@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > On Mar 02, 2008, at 14:13, eupraxis@... wrote:
                          >
                          > > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any
                          remarks
                          > > that
                          > > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank
                          me
                          > > later).
                          >
                          >
                          > Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary
                          of
                          > Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some
                          > entries and continue to do so with quotes directly from the
                          thinkers
                          > profiled so as to avoid any notion that the definitions are mine
                          or
                          > any other "expert's" because it is always best to let the author
                          > define his or her own terms.
                          >
                          > I also note that the same terms were often used in different ways,
                          to
                          > different ends, by the authors.
                          >
                          > Also... I never read anywhere that someone suggested Sartre
                          renounced
                          > atheism. That was a curious mention on the list that I skimmed. Wil
                          is
                          > definitely correct on this matter, based on the contacts I have
                          had
                          > with historians and biographers. I cannot imagine Sartre as
                          anything
                          > other than an atheist... just as I can't imagine him ever humble.
                          I
                          > would cite "Adieux" as my primary source for Sartre's finals days.
                          >
                          > - C. S. Wyatt
                          > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not
                          all
                          > that I shall be.
                          > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                          > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                          >I would go througe the ancient broyhers of the north. In a cold
                          year they appear and youn have seen what you as yet do not recognise.
                          Will they keep you ? This place has its merits if you can fite ice,
                          Bill
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