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Re: Existentialism, Tracing back to 245

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  • Herman B. Triplegood
    K did not appeal to me all that much. Either/Or was a real chore to get through, and, I was really disappointed in where K ended up going in Concept of Irony.
    Message 1 of 20 , May 23 11:05 PM
      K did not appeal to me all that much. Either/Or was a real chore to get through, and, I was really disappointed in where K ended up going in Concept of Irony. All of those guys you mentioned are there on my A-list, along with most of the Greeks, and, of course, the sly old fox from Konigsberg, even though, frankly, I think Schopie was a kook, and pretty much just a curmudgeon, with a bad case of sour grapes, and not all that brilliant either.

      Hb3g

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
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      > Hb3G,
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      > I, too, enjoy reading texts that are the warp of some woof. Only "Analytic" texts, Ayn Rand and the GOP platform and like things remain ever outside my toleration point. I admire Hobbes and Locke, Hegel and Schopenhauer. Maybe someday, I'll even see something in Kierkegaard.
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      > Wil
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Herman B. Triplegood <hb3g@...>
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Sat, 23 May 2009 11:05 am
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Existentialism, Tracing back to 245
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      > C & Wil:
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      > I think that when Sarte said we are condemned to be free he was just saying that we are not free to not be free. The word "condemned" is a bit of hyperbole there. But, essentially, I think he is right.
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      > As for overstating, well, I said a while vack that my approach to philosophy is an ecumenical approach. I put two statements out there, about the so-called conflict we see between philosophical systems.
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      > They can't all be right. And, they can't all be wrong.
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      > I take the second statement to heart. If, in my mind, as I read and reflect, I find myself saying, "That can't be right!" I also ask myself, "Am I missing what the philosopher really means here?"
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      > There are those of us who look at the forest, and we see chaos. There are others of us who look at the forest, and we see order. It all depends20upon how deeply you look into it. Chaos is only on the surface. Order runs deep. That is why, I think, Heraclitus said, "Nature loves to hide."
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      > When it comes to philosophy, some of us look at it and we only see the conflict between all the systems. But others see the underlying unity.
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      > I take it as axiomatic that what underlies all philosophy, which I take to be metaphysics, is one thing. I take philosophy to be a unified whole thing, even in the midst of all of that conflict, and, of course, the refutation of philosopher X by philosopher Y.
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      > Now, maybe that makes me a kind of throwback. Maybe even an anachronism of a sort. But, I've been up front, ever since I came on here back in 2004, that I am a classicist of reason and a transcendentalist, and a believer in the unity of reason, a believer in the identiy of reason and cosmos, a believer in the underlying unity of human reality and natural reality, of physical reality, and metaphysical reality.
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      > So, it stands to reason that I am perplexed by the radical dualism between the in-itself and the for-itself that I find in Sartre. Just as I am perplexed by the radical dualism between material reality and intellectual reality that I find, very strongly, for instance, in Plato and Plotinus.
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      > It could be that the synthesis of the disparate poles of that dualism, wherever it truly lies, can never be effected purely theoretically, but only speculatively, and dialectically, in the sense that it is the termnius of20an infinite project, a goal which is truly remote.
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      > But, Hegel seems to think the situation is more complicated than that, that it is a "Kantian" mistake to think in terms of such an infinite project, that we have to admit that the absolute, eternal, infinite, must actually be immanent, not purely transcendent.
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      > What are we to make, then, of the duality?
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      > Probably, that it is a necessary effect of the immanence of transcendence. And what could such immanent transcendence realy be? It seems to me that the name "freedom" is probably the truly correct name for it. Not god. Not spirit. Not being. Even if such freedom is not yet the perfection that it seeks, but always a struggling and a striving towards the possible, it is, nevertheless, in a profound sense, a perfection already achieved.
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      > Why? Because freedom is evident. Becasue there is life. Because transcendence actually happens.
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      > But, of course, somebody could object, how do you really know all of that?
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      > Well...
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      > That is the riddle.
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      > Hb3g
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      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, ccorey@ wrote:
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      > > Did Sartre not say that we are â€Å"absolutely fee?” Yes, he said there are no ultimate constraints on consciousness, on our ability to undertake or try to behave in eccentric or courageous or perverse ways. But, like you said, he also called us â€Å"condemned” by it. Are we not responsible for ALL our actions, and ALL of our failure to take action and20for ALL directions we choose to take in life? Surely. â€Å"We get the war we deserve,” he said. And when we do not take responsibility or make excuses he claimed us to be in â€Å"bad faith” or â€Å"existential guilt.” This is Sartre’s clear take on freedom and responsibility.
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      > > As for transcendence, he meant the term to mean â€Å"outside of,” correct? I think it also served him in a number of ways. He first meant it as transcending â€Å"facts.” As in, desires or plans that reach beyond the facts. He also meant it as transcendance from present to future, in a clearly temporal fashion, yes? And finely, he said we come to be described by our personality and plans. â€Å"I am what I am,” said Sam I am. And this is Sartre on transcendence. Am I interpreting the body of his philosophy correctly? It’s pretty cut and dry, "I" think.
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      > > ----- Original Message -----
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      > > From: eupraxis@
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      > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
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      > > Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 3:51:59 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
      >
      > > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Existentialism, Tracing back to 245
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      > > Sartre and Heidegger are spinning in their graves! Heidegger was rarely the spokesman for freedom, and his later position
      > was more about detachment than activity. And Sartre's notion was something we are condemned to live, if we live truly. The notion of "transcendental" was used by him in a strictly technical, and materialistic, sense. He surely did not share with Plotinus a transcendental notion of ontology/cosmology.
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      > > Whatever resemblances there might be, they certainly aren't "pure". We should bear in mind that academic philosophers, like Sartre and Heidegger, go out of their way to use traditional nomenclature, even in neologisms, as a way to both cite a concept and distance oneself from it at the same time.
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      > > In any case, the assertion that, "The "philosophy" that Sartre, and Heidegger, were so recently doing, was the very same "philosophy" that Plotinus, et al, were doing way back when," is quite the overstatement.
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      > > Wil
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      > > -----Original Message-----
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      > > From: Herman B. Triplegood < hb3g@ >
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      > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
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      > > Sent: Fri, 22 May 2009 2:23 pm
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      > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Existentialism, Tracing back to 245
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      > > You make a real good point about the act in transcendence of the self.
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      > > And freedom is the action of that act in transcendence of the self.
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      > > That is pure Sartre.
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      > > But, interestingly enough...
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      > > The notion of act in transcendence of the self is pure Plotinus too!
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      > > The "philosophy" that Sartre, and Heidegger,
      > were so recently doing, was the very same "philosophy" that Plotinus, et al, were doing way back when.
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      > > It has remained, one thing, for one hell of a long time.
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      > > That, right there, is amazing!
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      > > Hb3g
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      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , ccorey@ wrote:
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      > > > I was speaking chronologically and mainly in contrast to the primacy of existence. As in the philosophy of Al-Farabi and other Islamic philosophers of early ages, "essence precedes existence", according to these men which stands in complete opposition to the modern existential belief and what I thought I came across in Plotinus but it seems more likely now that I found an indiscretion between terms. But even if there is a clear connection the hidden nature of things Plotinus sought was no different than the nature we ourselves now seek. What would really be strange is the absence of relations between philosophies. It’s not difficult to discover these relations and searching in this way is probably a useless effort.
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      > > > In addition, I fully agree that aspects of existentialism involve transcendence and probably existentialism in general could be called a transcendental philosophy. Not just through acts out of freedom however. This is surely an aspect but more importantly as individuals we act in transcendence of the self
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      > > . Along the way we somewhere lost our sense of what it means to truly exist; wh
      > at it means to be a human being, each one of us for ourselves. At this point, as an entity, do we not transcend our current existence, our intuition, and state of mind when we scour our being for authenticity and begin to live ontologically, as Heidegger suggests? On another level, do we not also transcend objectivity out of subjective actions or through our passion for the infinite and our persistent strivings for the truth? And we do this why? I believe, because seeking objectivity is to be in error. More plainly, we surpass; transcend rather, our lostness and enter into meaning and pure thought, which Kierkegaard called the highest state of human life, if I remember correctly.
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      > > > You also speak of form and matter. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari have spoken a great deal on form, matter, content, the form of content, expression, the form of expression, function, and quality thus creating a highly interesting system of semiotics. It’s far from existentialism but then again, some claim it as being eclipsed by the postmodern or the poststructuralist movement. In Deleuze, the impersonal play of forces attempts to replace all subjectivity. I have studied, in great detail, Poststructuralist thought and find it very interesting in its complexities but it does not have the same appeal as existentialism and more specific to me, existential psychotherapy.
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      > > 0A> ----- Original Message -----
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      > > > From: "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@>
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      > > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
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      > > > Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:34:41 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
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      > > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Existentialism, Tracing back to 245
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      > > > C:
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      > > > Well, here's the thing about those things in common. All of the philosophers are looking at the same situation. The human situation. Right? So, it just stands to reason that we are going to see a lot of similarities.
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      > > > What I am saying is that the experience of having fallen short of the ideal, or of not measuring up to the ideal, is a fundamental human experience. It is no wonder, then, that philosophers of all ages have identified that experience and appreciated its importance.
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      > > > About those authentic existences.
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      > > > They are the Platonic forms, and, for both Plato and Plotinus, form, essence, is more real than just matter, or just things. From their point of view, way back when, essence really does precede existence.
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      > > > But we are using borrowed terms here. What essence and existence meant to the Greeks was much richer than what those terms mean to us now
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      > > > Hb3g
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      > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , ccorey@ wrote:
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      > > > > My research has lead me to PlotinusÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢ fifth Ennead, ninth Tractate, wher
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      > > e he speaks of the potential for an authentic existence and an awakening of intelligence unfounded in man during his period.
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      > > > > His first speaks of this in the first aphorism. He says that human beings have the tendency to live in the realm of sense rather than intellect. He speaks of man as one of the heavier birds, which have incorporated much from the earth but are so weighted down that they cannot fly high for all the wings nature has given them. However, others do indeed lift themselves a little above the earth in aspiration for authenticity and intelligence but they do not have enough power to see the highest and so in despair they fall back to the ground, upon those actions and options of the lower from which they still seek to escape. Is this not similar to HeideggerÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢s conception of the life most of us lead, as an ordinary self, not genuine, not authentic, but inauthentic, what he calls the das Man self? And this despair that Plotinus speaks of when not able to take hold of ourselves, could this be taken as the sickness unto death Kierkegaard speaks of
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      > > > > Plotinus asks ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"what principle is the giver of wisdom to the soul?ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ He answers, ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"the principle of intellect.ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ But intellect can be taken in quite a few ways. One most importantly, the intellect of the soul, as I20have already mentioned which can be more or less translated into the intelligence of being. Does this not make sense? A metaphysics, or better yet, an ontology that, in his strivings, finds his authenticity of existence. Plotinus goes on to say that this intellect of the soul is only reachable via ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"a look inward beyond general intellect.ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ Is this not the suggestion Kierkegaard presents us with? That passion is the highest state of subjectivity and subjectivity or inwardness the highest truth attainable?
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      > > > > In addition, Plotinus says we are supposed to exist in actuality, looking to nothing else, self-complete. Anything thing contrary to this internal self-actualization must be put aside. We must make ourselves ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"Authentic Beings,ÃÆ'¢Ã2‚¬ï¿½ says Plotinus. If my understanding is correct, Authenticity is primary in what Plotinus calls, the ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"Intellectual-Principle.ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ Once one has made himself an ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"Authentic BeingÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ his model cannot be simply copied, man becomes a living archetype, primal, and the essence of the ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"Intellectual-Principle.ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ If this is an allusion to the intellect of being or intellect ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"asÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ being, many or better yet,
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      > > most, existential philosophers and psychotherapists will be found to share this view with PlotinusÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢.
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      > > > > He in fact goes on to verify my suggested allusion, ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"the intellectual principal is itself authentic existence, not a knower knowing them in some sphere foreign to it. The Authentic Beings, thus, exist neither before nor after it: it is the
      > primal legislator to being, or rather, it is itself the law of Being. Thus it is true that intellectual and Being are identical; in the immaterial the knowledge of the thing is the thing. And this is the meaning of the dictum, ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"I sought myself,ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ namely as one of the Beings.ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½
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      > > > > ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"If the Intellectual-Principle were envisaged as preceeding Being, it would at once become a principle whose expression, its intellectual Act, achieves and engenders the beings: but, since we are compelled to think of existence as preceding Intellective essence, we can but think that the beings are...ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ Let me stop here. There is enough said to see somewhat of an anticipation of SartreÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢s famous words that ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å"existence is freedom, and existence precedes essence.ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ï¿½ That we are thrown into this world, naked, and alone before20God and the whole world. Plotinus does not go this far but if he sees humans as having their being p
      > rior to their gradually collected intellect, isnÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢t existentialism on the same philosophical page as this bright one student of Ammonius?
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      > > > > Is this not true anticipation of the existential anti-doctrine or an existential contribution prior to the one Kierkegaard presents us with in his postscript? Worthy of entertainment? I think so.
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      > > > > ----- Original Message -----
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      > > > > From: "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@>
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      > > > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
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      > > > > Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:54:44 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
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      > > > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Too many themes
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      > > > > Yes Tom:
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      > > > > Now think about this. It is explained most succinctly by Aristotle.
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      > > > > Two kinds of good.
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      > > > > 1. A dog, or some other animal, is missing a leg. This is not good. Why? Because having four legs (if it is a dog) is natural for that animal. We know that something and that this is "not right". So, you have a "good" that is a present state, a normal state, what is20natural, and, in a sense, that is a perfection achieved. It is how we understand such things as well being and not being well, health versus disease,20etcetera.
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      > > > > 2. But there is another kind of good, another kind of perfection, that is higher than the natural. We see it, most clearly, in ourselves. I am a normal human. I have both my hands, both my feet, and I am well, i.e., in a state of relatively good health, not a state of disease. But is all of this "good" really enough for a human? There is something more. A good not yet present, and never fully present, toward which I, as a human, may strive. To know. To understand. To be learned. To attain to insight. To pursue wisdom. To find love. Etcetera.
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      > > > > The first kind of good, the lower good, is always attainable. Every living organism, any organized whole in nature, is just such a good.
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      > > > > The second kind of good, the higher good, is an infinite project or task. It is never completely realizable. But we feel compelled to go after it.
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      > > > > And yet, both are "the good". Both are a state of perfection. What the Greeks realized is this. That the actual existence of good number 1 tells us that good number 2 isn't just a pipe dream. It matters. It is important. And, in fact, if it weren't for the remote possibility of a type 2 good, type 1 goods probably would not exist. 0A
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      > > > > But the type 2 good is always just a possibility. It is always remote and in the future. It is always what Aristotle described as a final cause. A teleology. The type 1 goods, too, are a
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      > > lso teleologies, final causes. But they are actual. Realized. Not just possible.
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      > > > > Every living organism, especially the rational ones, like us, is standing proof that the possibility of the good, in the realm of nature, is not just a "remote" possibility, but a possibility that can actually be attained and has been attained.
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      > > > > Notwithstanding the fact that the higher goods are difficult to attain, that the highest good is, so to speak, asymptotic, the existence of these lower goods is positive proof that the good, overall, is a really real thing.
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      > > > > See what I mean?
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      > > > > This is pretty much where all of that emanation style top down thinking of the Greeks (Plato and Plotinus more so than Aristotle) came from. The remote possibility, although remote, although a possibility, and not yet an actuality, is, in some deep sense, a reality. And, it is a source, for us, but not in the sense of being a source we actually came from, but a source toward which we are always ineluctably moved.
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      > > > > But it is natural, from the common sense naive and naturalistic point of view, to confu
      > se this future kind of source, rooted, as it is, in pure possibility, with a natural genesis, and to interpret our present state, with its lower level goods, as a fall from that state of perfection or grace.
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      > > > > What has happened, with the taking hold of evolutionary thinking, beginning with the Enlight
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      > > enment, is the total rejection of that naive and naturalistic confusion of the future source with a past one. It is odd, to me, that this same naive and naturalistic confusion underlies all of our so-called fundamentalistic theologies, i.e, that the belief in a spiritual creation actually borrows from our unreflective experience of genesis in the natural order.
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      > > > > What has not happened, yet, is that the true ontological implications of the evolutionary genesis of form, and of the good as the ultimate teleology of form, has not been delineated by anybody. That I know of anyway. Perhaps Bergson's Creative Evolution is a right step in that direction. But there is much work to be done. And, as it turns out, the Greeks, in spite of their completely understandable naturalistic confusion of the two kinds of source, have much insight to give us, precisely, in the area of nature. They were far more perceptive than we realize, when it comes to the depth of their insights into nature; this is especially the case, I think, with Aristotle. His so-called physics, and all of his biology, isn't science, as we understand science; it is a20metaphysics of nature, with the emphasis placed upon the importance of the genesis and dissolution of form as it is found in nature. But the evolutionary perspective is only just barely still a nascent hunch there.
      >
      > >
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      > > > >
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      > > > > Hb3g
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      > >
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      > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , "devogney" <tsmith17_midsouth1@> wrote:
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      > >
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      > > > > >
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      > > > > >20
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      > > > > >
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      > > > > > Herman,
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      > >
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      > > > > >
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      > >
      >
      > > > > > I am on the same page with you. I think it is quite possible that both the Greeks and Darwin are partly right. Because natural selection has played a huge role in the evolution of biological organisms does not necesarily preclude other forces at work; and the evolution of the cosmos can not be as easily described as determined by natural selection. I forget his name right now,{though I'd guess you Greek scholars would know, but an ancient Greek came up with a theory of the atom thousands of years before science did, which I understand is very close to agreeing with the scientific theory developed in modern times.
      >
      > >
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      > > > > >
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      > > > > > Tom
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      > >
      >
      > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
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      > > > > > > Louise:
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      > >
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      > > > > > >
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      > >
      >
      > > > > > > One of the "disconnects" that I keep running into, reading Plato, and es
      > pecially Plotinus, is exactly this:
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > Emanation versus evolution.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > Is it all top down? Or bottom up?
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > It really does help to keep in mind that Plato is no Darwin. Neither is Plotinus. Both really are "talking up" the whole emanation bit.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
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      > >
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      > > > > > > To the hilt.
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      > >
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      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
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      > > > > > > When they say "higher" they really do mean where we came from and from whence we have=2
      >
      > > 0fallen.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > Sound familiar? It ought to. Those two Greeks are the very source of that whole dogma.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > But, they aren't all bad. And they aren't all wrong either. There are pearls in that there muck and mire.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > But, I think I will "leave it" right there. I am skating on thin ice... An existentialism list might not be the appropriate place in which to open up that whole can of worms about the emanation versus evolution thing.
      >
      > >
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      > > > > > >
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      > >
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      > > > > > > It brings up pretty much everything that existentialism is NOT about.
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      > >
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      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > Whether or not there ever was good or evil in the world, or truth or beauty, before we all came along to do OUR good or OUR evil, is,
      > to the existentialist, an absurd question to ask.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > I get that much. And I think I understand the existentialist's point. There is such a thing as being "too cosmic" about the value of the good, or the beautiful, or the true, all of which are, after all, preeminently human concerns.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > I don't know about the rest of you, and your pets, but my dog hasn't said "I think therefore I am" as yet. And I don't think she ever will.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > Only a "mad metaphysicist" could loose sleep over such a conundrum as whether there is any cosmic objectivity to our high ideals.
      >
      > >
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      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > =0
      >
      > > A> > > > I, for one, think there is. But this is not the place to promote that opinion.
      >
      > >
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      > > > > > >
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      > >
      >
      > > > > > > I am, after all, a transcendentalist, in all of those "noble" or maybe "horrible" senses of that word; yes, I am a "tranny" to my dying breath, an ontological cross-dresser, with Coleridge and Thoreau, Rumi and Plato, Plotinus and Gibran, not to mention Swendenborg, sitting right there on my nightstand, easily accessible to me, for that little bit of bed time reading that comes before the dreaming.
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      > >
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      > > > > > >
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      > >
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      > > > > > > Oh well...
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      > >
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      > > > > > >
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      > >
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      > > > > > > Romantics are damned hard to kill. We burn them and flay them. But they keep
      > coming back!
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      > > > > > > Hb3g
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      > >
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      > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
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      > >
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      > > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > > Reminding myself, simplicity is a good place to start, when feeling disoriented. What occurs first, is the basic fact that I am writing for an existential philosophy list where courtesy is requested and expected, a criterion fully in accord with my own values. I have in recent posts addressed Wil in ways that were brusque and ill-mannered. Sorry, Wil. Don't know how soon I might gather my wits to answering your latest questions, but would like to try.
      >
      > >
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      > > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > > My response to Chris Lofting has an impressionistic, psychotic truth to it, but then this isn't a psychosis list. If my mind were apt
      >
      > > to be focussed on the groin, it would be rather difficult to philosophise at all. Or relate to people. I thought that I recognised what he was talking about, but then realised I didn't. It is a repeating trick of my brain, it seems, to project other people's impressions of me into my own world, and soon I find my little mental house is full of strange, unwanted guests. Not a good situation.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > > > > > Anyway, I've been reading the "Phaedo", the "Crito", and the particular sections of "The Enneads" recommended by Herman. In general, there's just too much going on.20My focus will be to simplicity, and when sensible thoughts emerge (one hopes), I shall seek to post. In the meantime, it's good to read some actual discussion of text. And the ponderings.
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      > > > > > > >
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      > > > > > > > Louise
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      > > > > --
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      > > > > Christopher Corey
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      > > > > Freedom is Existence
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      > > > Christopher Corey
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      > > > Freedom is Existence
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      > > Christopher Corey
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      > > Freedom is Existence
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