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Mysterious unions

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  • shadowed_statue
    I wonder if it would be true to say that there is no connection between mysticism and existentialism, but that nevertheless an existentialist may also be a
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 27, 2009
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      I wonder if it would be true to say that there is no connection between mysticism and existentialism, but that nevertheless an existentialist may also be a mystic. In my own case, the burden of psychiatric diagnosis led me to explore a path that has ended in apparent absurdity, a new place from which to start. As an existentialist I have the responsibility of accepting the social implications of diagnosis and the privilege of mystical awareness. Unless one has subjective experience of mystical states, there can be no basis for coonsidering whether there might be relationship to existential quest. Does this question lead us into the realms of phenomenology?

      Louise
      ... existential medium
    • tom
      Louise, Whither or not mysticism has a connection with existensialism to me is not very important as long as you can find value in both. Certainly there have
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 27, 2009
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        Louise,

        Whither or not mysticism has a connection with existensialism to me is not very important as long as you can find value in both. Certainly there have been many famous scientists and inventors who had what might be described as a mystical view of the universe and life. As scientists get deeper into the mysteries of theoretical physics there certainly seem to be evidance of more and more intricacies that are hard to fit into a totally reductionistic world view.I also believe the nore discoveries that are made of both the cosmos and biological life, the odds against it all being random are increased greatly.


        Peace,
        Tom
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: shadowed_statue
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 5:24 PM
        Subject: [existlist] Mysterious unions


        I wonder if it would be true to say that there is no connection between mysticism and existentialism, but that nevertheless an existentialist may also be a mystic. In my own case, the burden of psychiatric diagnosis led me to explore a path that has ended in apparent absurdity, a new place from which to start. As an existentialist I have the responsibility of accepting the social implications of diagnosis and the privilege of mystical awareness. Unless one has subjective experience of mystical states, there can be no basis for coonsidering whether there might be relationship to existential quest. Does this question lead us into the realms of phenomenology?

        Louise
        ... existential medium





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mary
        ... Yes, Louise. This brings us back to our posts concerning co-opters and -ists. In my opinion you understand the philosophical import and struggle to clarify
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shadowed_statue" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
          >
          > I wonder if it would be true to say that there is no connection between mysticism and existentialism, but that nevertheless an existentialist may also be a mystic. In my own case, the burden of psychiatric diagnosis led me to explore a path that has ended in apparent absurdity, a new place from which to start. As an existentialist I have the responsibility of accepting the social implications of diagnosis and the privilege of mystical awareness. Unless one has subjective experience of mystical states, there can be no basis for coonsidering whether there might be relationship to existential quest.


          Yes, Louise. This brings us back to our posts concerning co-opters and -ists. In my opinion you understand the philosophical import and struggle to clarify that for yourself. I suspect we have a mutual respect in this regard.

          > Does this question lead us into the realms of phenomenology?

          A qualified no. I feel these are realms best left to science. Consciousness is an intricate relationship between our minds, bodies, and our environment. On this list phenomenology usually lets loose another genie.

          Mary
        • shadowed_statue
          ... Mary, Sorry, but on this occasion I have no idea what you are talking about. Could be my medication :-). Louise
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <mary.josie59@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shadowed_statue" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
            > >
            > > I wonder if it would be true to say that there is no connection between mysticism and existentialism, but that nevertheless an existentialist may also be a mystic. In my own case, the burden of psychiatric diagnosis led me to explore a path that has ended in apparent absurdity, a new place from which to start. As an existentialist I have the responsibility of accepting the social implications of diagnosis and the privilege of mystical awareness. Unless one has subjective experience of mystical states, there can be no basis for coonsidering whether there might be relationship to existential quest.
            >
            >
            > Yes, Louise. This brings us back to our posts concerning co-opters and -ists. In my opinion you understand the philosophical import and struggle to clarify that for yourself. I suspect we have a mutual respect in this regard.
            >
            > > Does this question lead us into the realms of phenomenology?
            >
            > A qualified no. I feel these are realms best left to science. Consciousness is an intricate relationship between our minds, bodies, and our environment. On this list phenomenology usually lets loose another genie.
            >
            > Mary
            >
            Mary, Sorry, but on this occasion I have no idea what you are talking about. Could be my medication :-). Louise
          • Jim
            Mary, I agree with you that if we are enquiring about the origins of the universe, or the origins of life, we should listen to what the scientists have to say.
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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              Mary,

              I agree with you that if we are enquiring about the origins of the universe, or the origins of life, we should listen to what the scientists have to say.

              However, I think you are passing over to the scientists too much, as you seem to leave little left that would count as genuine philosophy.

              I think, following Heidegger, that there are aspects of the human situation which science cannot reach. In particular I do not think science can give me a full understanding of myself as a conscious being with my own unique subjectivity.

              Jim



              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <mary.josie59@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shadowed_statue" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I wonder if it would be true to say that there is no connection between mysticism and existentialism, but that nevertheless an existentialist may also be a mystic. In my own case, the burden of psychiatric diagnosis led me to explore a path that has ended in apparent absurdity, a new place from which to start. As an existentialist I have the responsibility of accepting the social implications of diagnosis and the privilege of mystical awareness. Unless one has subjective experience of mystical states, there can be no basis for coonsidering whether there might be relationship to existential quest.
              >
              >
              > Yes, Louise. This brings us back to our posts concerning co-opters and -ists. In my opinion you understand the philosophical import and struggle to clarify that for yourself. I suspect we have a mutual respect in this regard.
              >
              > > Does this question lead us into the realms of phenomenology?
              >
              > A qualified no. I feel these are realms best left to science. Consciousness is an intricate relationship between our minds, bodies, and our environment. On this list phenomenology usually lets loose another genie.
              >
              > Mary
              >
            • Mary
              ... Full understanding? No, but a better one. From: History of Philosophy in America, 1720-2000 by Bruce Kuklick (Oxford University Press, 2003) Philosophy
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

                > I think, following Heidegger, that there are aspects of the human situation which science cannot reach. In particular I do not think science can give me a full understanding of myself as a conscious being with my own unique subjectivity.


                Full understanding? No, but a better one.

                From:" History of Philosophy in America, 1720-2000" by Bruce Kuklick (Oxford University Press, 2003) Philosophy is the "more or less systematic writing about the point of our existence, and our ability to understand the world of which we are a part." When I read this book a few months ago, I was startled at the extent of Calvinism's hold on philosophy in the first centuries of our nation's history. Aside from our founding fathers' political theory, which ran parallel with Deism, there was no secular philosophy. And apart from the European philosophers, little was achieved until Dewey and eventually Quine. I've yet to delve into Rorty but remained fascinated by his dialectic with Dennett.

                I'm no logician, but since rejecting the nonempirical, I struggle with logic but firmly grasp Quine's insistence that science and philosophy are in the same boat. Quine popularized Neurath's simile and wrote, " "Neurath has likened science to a boat which, if we are to rebuild it, we must rebuild plank by plank while staying afloat in it. The philosopher and the scientist are in the same boat. Our boat stays afloat because at each alteration we keep the bulk of it intact as a going concern."

                From "Quine and Davidson on Language, Thought, and Reality" by Hans-Johann Glock (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

                "...Quines' naturalism is directed not just against the idea of philosophy as a super-science that provides the foundations of science, but also against any attempt to treat philosophy as a sui generis discipline with aims distinct from those of science."

                Mary
              • Jim
                Mary, I also like Quine. His paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism is one of the best pieces of Philosophy of the Twentieth Century, in my view. I am sympathetic to
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                  Mary,

                  I also like Quine. His paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is one of the best pieces of Philosophy of the Twentieth Century, in my view.

                  I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.

                  However I am not sympathetic to his scientism. "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real". But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real nonetheless.

                  Jim
                • shadowed_statue
                  ... Jim, what a horrific idea! Please either explain a little more, or pass the sick bucket. ... No, it doesn t, at least not in any way clear to me at
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Mary,
                    >
                    > I also like Quine. His paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is one of the best pieces of Philosophy of the Twentieth Century, in my view.
                    >
                    > I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.

                    Jim, what a horrific idea! Please either explain a little more, or pass the sick bucket.

                    >
                    > However I am not sympathetic to his scientism. "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real".

                    No, it doesn't, at least not in any way clear to me at present. This kind of paraphrase as a substitute for exposition only leaves the matter unresolved. Sorry to be so formal, it is just that this seems to be a question in the realms of differential imagination, which is fairly typical of the subtle delights of existlist. Oh for a connoisseur, who might tease out the philosophical complexities from an uncompromised position. Having the scent does not mean tracing the prey, or so I repeatedly find.

                    > But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real nonetheless.

                    What is real? Subjectivity? What does that mean? In Climacus' words, "subjectivity is truth, subjectivity is reality", yes, but it is an existential reality, to which only the living being in his very subjectivity has access. It is not a reality to which one may point. Louise


                    >
                    > Jim
                    >
                  • tom
                    Jim, The idea that if you can t measure it, it is not real is an example of extremely shallow reductionism. Many things that 50 or 100 years ago could not be
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                      Jim,

                      The idea that if you can't measure it, it is not real is an example of extremely shallow reductionism. Many things that 50 or 100 years ago could not be measured scientifically can be measured scientifically now. A good example of that is brain waves. Einstein said something to the effect that what is known as compared to what is is infintesimal. As telescopes and microscopes get more powerful, more and more things can be measured scientifically. Nature is what it and does what it does, and these things exist and do what they do whither we can scientifically measure them or not.

                      Tom
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Jim
                      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 4:03 PM
                      Subject: [existlist] Re: Science IS philosophy.


                      Mary,

                      I also like Quine. His paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is one of the best pieces of Philosophy of the Twentieth Century, in my view.

                      I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.

                      However I am not sympathetic to his scientism. "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real". But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real nonetheless.

                      Jim





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Jim
                      Louise, Let me try to answer your various questions and criticisms. Jim (49224): I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each
                      Message 10 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                        Louise,

                        Let me try to answer your various questions and criticisms.

                        Jim (49224): I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.

                        Louise (49225): Jim, what a horrific idea! Please either explain a little more, or pass the sick bucket.

                        Jim (now): Quine's view that philosophy and science are not separate domains, but overlapping theories of reality is based on his "holism"; his view that there is no clear dividing line between the empirical and the non-empirical. Science is partly definition and partly observation. Philosophy is partly clarification of meanings, partly factual claims.

                        I was not aiming to be as extreme as Mary who said "Science IS philosophy". My claim is the more modest one that science and philosophy "overlap at the edges" or merge into each other. Think of the colour spectrum. Red and green are different colours but on a spectrum you can watch as they gradually change into the other.

                        For Quine there is no sharp boundary between science and philosophy. I think he is right.

                        Jim (49224): "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real".

                        Louise (49225): No, it doesn't, at least not in any way clear to me at present. This kind of paraphrase as a substitute for exposition only leaves the matter unresolved.

                        Jim (now): I was really writing to Mary who has read Quine's paper "On what there is", or, at least, she knows the outline argument.

                        I am only expressing Quine's view, not necessarily agreeing with it. For Quine the only things that exist are things which feature in a true (scientific) theory. So atoms, electrons, quarks, cells, masses, wavelengths, etc. all exist, but happiness, sadness, wonder, love, etc. don't exist (assuming there aren't any true scientific theories involving these terms).

                        Quine is not an easy philosopher to understand, but I hope I have given you a feel for his philosophical outlook.

                        Jim (49224): But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real
                        nonetheless.

                        Louise (49225): What is real? Subjectivity? What does that mean? In Climacus' words, "subjectivity is truth, subjectivity is reality", yes, but it is an existential reality, to which only the living being in his very subjectivity has access. It is not a reality to which one may point.

                        Jim (now): Yes. This is my point.

                        Jim
                      • shadowed_statue
                        Jim, I just sent quite a detailed reply to your post, and lost it to the system. My mind is numb with incapacity. If only I knew how to swear with all the
                        Message 11 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                          Jim,

                          I just sent quite a detailed reply to your post, and lost it to the system. My mind is numb with incapacity. If only I knew how to swear with all the natural finesse of a Captain Haddock.

                          Louise

                          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Louise,
                          >
                          > Let me try to answer your various questions and criticisms.
                          >
                          > Jim (49224): I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.
                          >
                          > Louise (49225): Jim, what a horrific idea! Please either explain a little more, or pass the sick bucket.
                          >
                          > Jim (now): Quine's view that philosophy and science are not separate domains, but overlapping theories of reality is based on his "holism"; his view that there is no clear dividing line between the empirical and the non-empirical. Science is partly definition and partly observation. Philosophy is partly clarification of meanings, partly factual claims.
                          >
                          > I was not aiming to be as extreme as Mary who said "Science IS philosophy". My claim is the more modest one that science and philosophy "overlap at the edges" or merge into each other. Think of the colour spectrum. Red and green are different colours but on a spectrum you can watch as they gradually change into the other.
                          >
                          > For Quine there is no sharp boundary between science and philosophy. I think he is right.
                          >
                          > Jim (49224): "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real".
                          >
                          > Louise (49225): No, it doesn't, at least not in any way clear to me at present. This kind of paraphrase as a substitute for exposition only leaves the matter unresolved.
                          >
                          > Jim (now): I was really writing to Mary who has read Quine's paper "On what there is", or, at least, she knows the outline argument.
                          >
                          > I am only expressing Quine's view, not necessarily agreeing with it. For Quine the only things that exist are things which feature in a true (scientific) theory. So atoms, electrons, quarks, cells, masses, wavelengths, etc. all exist, but happiness, sadness, wonder, love, etc. don't exist (assuming there aren't any true scientific theories involving these terms).
                          >
                          > Quine is not an easy philosopher to understand, but I hope I have given you a feel for his philosophical outlook.
                          >
                          > Jim (49224): But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real
                          > nonetheless.
                          >
                          > Louise (49225): What is real? Subjectivity? What does that mean? In Climacus' words, "subjectivity is truth, subjectivity is reality", yes, but it is an existential reality, to which only the living being in his very subjectivity has access. It is not a reality to which one may point.
                          >
                          > Jim (now): Yes. This is my point.
                          >
                          > Jim
                          >
                        • bhvwd
                          ... We know we will never measure it,finally. It is not like religion,Jim, it is like nature. It is deep and impeniterable. You do not get it because you have
                          Message 12 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Mary,
                            >
                            > I also like Quine. His paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is one of the best pieces of Philosophy of the Twentieth Century, in my view.
                            >
                            > I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.
                            >
                            > However I am not sympathetic to his scientism. "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real". But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real nonetheless.
                            >
                            > Jim
                            >As usual you have it wrong. Science, especially in measurement, constantly reworks measurement. I have seen the scanning electron microscope and watched its use. Smaller and smaller, more precise science finds methods to such ends.
                            We know we will never measure it,finally. It is not like religion,Jim, it is like nature. It is deep and impeniterable. You do not get it because you have a most faulty background. I do not talk about theology you should learn some science . Your world view has a serious crevasse in it. Bill
                          • tom
                            Bill, Certainly what was subjective can become objective as science gets more capacity to measure brain waves and other biological things. That is
                            Message 13 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                              Bill,

                              Certainly what was subjective can become objective as science gets more capacity to measure brain waves and other biological things. That is progress.However, to say that what cant be measured is unreal is certainly shallow reductionism. I see both the idea that the subjective can never be measured as well as the idea that only measured things are real as two extremes and both incorrect.
                              Tom
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: bhvwd
                              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 6:50 PM
                              Subject: [existlist] Re: Science IS philosophy.


                              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Mary,
                              >
                              > I also like Quine. His paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is one of the best pieces of Philosophy of the Twentieth Century, in my view.
                              >
                              > I am sympathetic to his view that philosophy and science merge into each other and there is no clear dividing line between them.
                              >
                              > However I am not sympathetic to his scientism. "To be is to be the value of a variable" basically means "if you can't measure it, it ain't real". But I want to say: You can't measure human subjectivity, but this is real nonetheless.
                              >
                              > Jim
                              >As usual you have it wrong. Science, especially in measurement, constantly reworks measurement. I have seen the scanning electron microscope and watched its use. Smaller and smaller, more precise science finds methods to such ends.
                              We know we will never measure it,finally. It is not like religion,Jim, it is like nature. It is deep and impeniterable. You do not get it because you have a most faulty background. I do not talk about theology you should learn some science . Your world view has a serious crevasse in it. Bill





                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • shadowed_statue
                              ... Mary, I think I am with Jim in regard to his first statement. On the second, I am doubtful that full understanding of oneself is ever possible, by
                              Message 14 of 14 , Sep 28, 2009
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                                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <mary.josie59@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
                                >
                                > > I think, following Heidegger, that there are aspects of the human situation which science cannot reach. In particular I do not think science can give me a full understanding of myself as a conscious being with my own unique subjectivity.
                                >
                                >
                                > Full understanding? No, but a better one.

                                Mary, I think I am with Jim in regard to his first statement. On the second, I am doubtful that full understanding of oneself is ever possible, by whatever intellectual or even spiritual discipline. The rest of your post is thought-provoking. If Calvinism had a hold on philosophy in the earlier centuries of your nation, what about this hidden political agenda of science, in the modern era? By the way, if philosophy were providing the foundations of science, would it not be a sub-science, rather than a super-science? The former may sound uncomplimentary, but sounds admirably accurate to me. This is a legitimate metaphor of elevation, after all, not a contest for supremacy. One of the advantages of being a political dissident is that I can watch the boat race. Yes, there are two. Boats. I see the scientist as having a paddle, and the philosopher with oars.
                                Quine's naturalism sounds like a despotism, in which philosophy is denied its legitimate independence. Louise
                                >
                                > From:" History of Philosophy in America, 1720-2000" by Bruce Kuklick (Oxford University Press, 2003) Philosophy is the "more or less systematic writing about the point of our existence, and our ability to understand the world of which we are a part." When I read this book a few months ago, I was startled at the extent of Calvinism's hold on philosophy in the first centuries of our nation's history. Aside from our founding fathers' political theory, which ran parallel with Deism, there was no secular philosophy. And apart from the European philosophers, little was achieved until Dewey and eventually Quine. I've yet to delve into Rorty but remained fascinated by his dialectic with Dennett.
                                >
                                > I'm no logician, but since rejecting the nonempirical, I struggle with logic but firmly grasp Quine's insistence that science and philosophy are in the same boat. Quine popularized Neurath's simile and wrote, " "Neurath has likened science to a boat which, if we are to rebuild it, we must rebuild plank by plank while staying afloat in it. The philosopher and the scientist are in the same boat. Our boat stays afloat because at each alteration we keep the bulk of it intact as a going concern."
                                >
                                > From "Quine and Davidson on Language, Thought, and Reality" by Hans-Johann Glock (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
                                >
                                > "...Quines' naturalism is directed not just against the idea of philosophy as a super-science that provides the foundations of science, but also against any attempt to treat philosophy as a sui generis discipline with aims distinct from those of science."
                                >
                                > Mary
                                >
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