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[existlist]Re: Canine depths

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  • devogney
    ... Herman, In regard to mathematics I ve heard that many mathematical theories existed for hundreds of years before it was found that they just happened to be
    Message 1 of 6 , May 26, 2009
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...> wrote:

      Herman,

      In regard to mathematics I've heard that many mathematical theories existed for hundreds of years before it was found that they just happened to be very relevant to certain physical processes in the universe. To me that is another example of coincidences that I doubt very much are random. You refer to that in regard to Descartes observing how guys like Galileo could apply mathematical thinking to heavenly bodies, and the theories would fit. I guess what I was referring to was the distinction between thinking and instinct as modes, and the good and bad sides of eating from the tree of knowledge. Even though from our point of view, homo sapiens have been around a long time, looked at from the point of view of evolution, we may still be like an appliance that has a recently installed option, that still has many bugs in it. Or as my dad told me guys using horse and buggies would holler at auto drivers broke down on side of the road,"Why don't u get a horse?"

      In regard to animal thinking, I've heard that chimpanzees and gorillas can recognize themselves in a mirror or pool of water; but monkeys can not.

      Tom
      >
      > All true Tom.
      >
      > But you are talking mainly about what thinking does and how we think things through, and there is nothing wrong with any of those observations you made. They are all cogent. If we take thinking in the broader sense, then yes, there certainly is room for imagination in thinking, the working through, in one's mind, of the alternatives, the what if scenarios. I would even go so far as to say that thinking is founded upon imagination, that without the ability to form an intuitive image or schema of a concept, thinking would be downright impossible. That follows Kant, and Plato and Aristotle, and Plotinus too, and even, to some extent, Rene Descartes.
      >
      > Still, in spite of all of that, I am trying to point out something about the ontological status of thinking, and I believe this was what Descartes was really driving at. Never mind the particulars and all of the how to of thinking for now. Not that all of that is not important. Of course it is.
      >
      > Consider this.
      >
      > Does a thought really exist or not? Does it have being? Is it being? In an important sense, yes it is being. It is different from other modes of being. But, as being, it has to share something in common with all other kinds of being.
      >
      > What about a triangle? Or some other mathematical relationship? What about numbers? Do those exist? Do they have being? Again, in an important sense, they do have being. Their being is different from the being of other things, like rocks and things, or plants, or humans. But, again, there has to be something in common there too.
      >
      > The whole upshot is this. There is a tendency for us to divide our conscious experience into subject and object, and to attribute the reality, the being, to the object, and, conversely, to look upon the subject as lacking authentic being.
      >
      > What inspired Descartes was the uncanny ways in which physicists, like Galileo, could take up purely mathematical entities and relationships and apply them to the study of bodies in motion. Clearly, the mathematics, although it is not constituted of things in the same sense that the body in motion is a thing, can be applied to those bodies in motion precisely because the mathematics shares something in common with what it is used to represent. Not only being, but also formal patterns of temporal determination in being. Although the mathematics is subjective through its execution by us, it is also objective in its signification toward the object. Because, the pattern-form of time determination is fundamentally the same for mathematics and for bodies in motion.
      >
      > The same thing, but in a somewhat different sense, goes for thinking as well. We say that thinking is true when its pattern-form meets at least the following two criteria. First, the pattern-form of thinking, in its subjective execution, matches or corresponds to an exactly analogous pattern-form signified as actually being in the object. Secondly, and more importantly, this pattern-form match is also a coherent unity, a synthesis of parts within a whole idea or concept, in other words, it is a gestalt.
      >
      > A third criterion, brought up by Descartes, which is also, I think, of fundamental importance, is this one. This pattern-form match is not merely on the surface or the mere appearance of the object. Rather, it is a correlation of surface structure and deep structure co-present within the object itself. It is a penetration into the object that reveals the depth, therefore, the concreteness and the reality of the object.
      >
      > The upshot of all of this, if you ask me, is this. Thinking itself shares that same depth and concreteness. The subject is also objective, i.e., a real phenomenon that has being.
      >
      > Believe it or not, much of this is right there in Descartes' writings. But it is hard to penetrate into it if all you stick to are the two famous texts, the Discourse and the Meditations. The Discourse was two things. It was a popularized introduction spoken in the vernacular. The real power punch is twofold. It is in the Geometry and in the Optics. But you have to read between the lines to really see the revolutionary thinking that Descartes was bringing forth there. The Meditations was also two things. First of all, it was a politically and theologically correct attempt to make the Jesuits happy, which, of course, did not work, because those Jesuits were smarter than Descartes realized, and secondly, it was an attempt to establish the true ontological status of thinking being on purely theoretical grounds. Descartes' so-called ontological proofs weren't really about proving the existence of god at all. Descartes' true god was mathematical thinking. Descartes' ontological proofs were really about attempting to elucidate the ontological status of thinking being, and the conclusion arrived at was, interestingly enough, right in line with what Sartre, much later on, and very perceptively, although perhaps not in the same exact words, basically said too.
      >
      > Thinking is that being, the essence of which, is existence, not just its existence, but, existence per se, but, strictly in the sense of potency, potentiality, projection, and orientation. Thinking is that being which is the existential projection of the intrinsic possibility of being for an essence.
      >
      > Sartre saw freedom in that existential projection, and, in a sense, all of the Enlightenment philosphers, including, I think, Descartes, saw it too.
      >
      > Sartre was a good Cartesian because he was one of the very first philosophers, if not the only philosopher, as far as I know, to really "get" what Descartes was all about.
      >
      > Obviously, we are talking about a broader notion of thinking here than just mere cogitation, so-called discursive reasoning, or formal logical inference. We are talking about Sartre's extended notion of the Cartesian cogito, for one thing, which has its roots, ultimately, in the Greek noetic exegesis of being. We are talking about a thinking, here, that has come into its own, a thinking that has real meaning and authentic being, a thinking that truly is the life of a mind, living mind, not a machine mind, a mind that has been liberated from the illusory necessities of corporeal being and has found its home in the truer necessities of pure intellectual contemplation in dedication to the order of reason, which is one and the same order as the order of nature, the order of spirit, and the order of being
      >
      > It is that good old fashioned Greek classicism of reason through and through, and its true implication is more than just its liberation from an illusion, it is also its freedom for its own most intimate possibilities.
      >
      > I know my reading of the philosophical narrative isn't with the program. Oh well. So much for the "Cliff notes" version of philosophy.
      >
      > Isn't it time that we took a fresh look at it all anyway? And put our freedom cards on the table? And took that freedom to heart as the real clue to the Gordian knot of all of that philosophical history from start to finish?
      >
      > Why not dare to conceive of the philosophical narrative, not as a strife of systems, but, as the one thing that it has always truly and rightly strived to be? And what else could that one thing really be if not, potentially, as an ultimate possibility, each and every one of us? You and I? We, who are the living. We, who are the one-many. Each, in his own most intimate and unique individuality, and yet, each, a walking, talking, living, breathing, thinking, and freely acting, universal... in the flesh?
      >
      > Hb3g
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Herman, U say
      > >
      > > That was Descartes' real point. That thinking isn't just make believe. Thinking is ontologically grounded, because, thinking is, after all, a modality of being itself, and, presumably, where there is being, reason is possible, and so is truth.
      > >
      > > I think that we as humans probably share more of animal instinct than animals do human thought. I have often heard the distinction made between primary and secondary process. Obviously, we as humans share primary processes with all of nature, and obviously primary process has purpose. Secondary process is make believe in the sense that in thought we can play out numerous scenarios before we actually do the primary process act. Animals, birds, fish etc often have elaborate courting rituals, and obviously they are purposive and affective; but leave it to a human to ponder whither I should do this or that. Beavers build very good dams, but they build the same dams as their ancestors did a hundred years ago; whereas humans are time binders and better ways to build dams are passed down to the next generation through books, schools, etc.
      > > The ability and proclivity to imagine different scenarios is the source of both human freedom and human anxiety. Before secondary process emerged in humans, our ancestors were already doing the things necesary for survival and reproduction. Plants automatically move in the direction to get the sunlight that empowers them. Primary process is the primary process in all living things including humans. We don't have to think how to beat our heart. And even in humans, instinctual actions are often more affective in many areas than more cognitive approaches. The term "geek" refers to rather heady types who often lack the relational abilities of "The Fonz"[if u recall the Happy Days sitcom of the 70s]. In Bruce Lee's martial art of Jeet Ken Do, there is a saying that when you stop to think, you get hit.
      > >
      > > Tom
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
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