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Re: [existlist] Floating concepts

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  • tom
    Mary, I can certainly notice a very interesting evolution in your thoughts since you got into Bohm.I think you are in a growth phase. You wrote here I think a
    Message 1 of 31 , Apr 18, 2010
      Mary,

      I can certainly notice a very interesting evolution in your thoughts since you got into Bohm.I think you are in a growth phase.

      You wrote here

      I think a philosophical concepts should account for all experiences, but I'm willing concede not everything falls within them.

      I think to expect a concept to account for all experiences, is demanding too much. When impossible demands are made, bullshitters and dogmatists show up with the goods they claim can account for all of them. I think it is more beneficial to perceive any of our paradigms, whither individually or collectively, as the best account we can give of experiences at this time, with the input we are concious of, and the capacity to reason and imagine that we possess at that time.But it certainly seems to me that the most creative thinkers have always been able to imagine beyond the current paradigms. Einstein said his education interfereed with his learning, and I think I know what he meant.
      He also said

      "Imagination is more important than knowledge.
      Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

      a.. "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
      b.. "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
      "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

      If a philosophical concept could account for all experiences, there would not be a mystery or wonder. So ideally, we should be able to use a certain concept until another is found that does account for more experiences.

      I wanted to add these thoughts, but in general I think your recent ideas are very promising, and I am glad to see you connected new ideas that resonate in you.

      Peace,
      Tom




      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Mary
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 10:24 AM
      Subject: [existlist] Floating concepts



      > At every level in such an inquiry, one is led to question either the supervening presuppositions or consequences that inform it. Ultimately, we are led to seeing our humanity as a collection of individual brush strokes whose synergy, if you will, makes us who we are. That is the ethical-social character of us as persons.

      Wil, I agree that reality is portrayed in an emergent totality of concepts. One such level which deserves inquiry is that of experience itself or the movement between concept and no concept, between the conditioned doing (thinking and feeling) and the unconditioned moment. What about those gaps when conceptual thought ceases, and stillness, blank staring, or exhaustion occurs? An artist, or let's say someone who perceives differently than a conceptual thinker, might feel the need to create. A person observing the creation might perceive more than concepts. S/he might perceive or imagine something about the artist which eludes conceptualization, something intangible. Movement occurs between concepts, from the imagination of the creator to the imagination of the observer. This is not to say concepts are not employed by the artist or observer at some point, only to suggest there is more happening. The artist, medium, and observer are creating a reality through imagination. I think a philosophical concepts should account for all experiences, but I'm willing concede not everything falls within them.

      If better, more complete abstractions of reality or truth are to be created, exploration should venture beyond concepts. This might include the abstract of what transpires between concepts. Exploration assumes a depth heretofore unexperienced. A concept originates in experience and imagination and stands as long as something near to mathematical predictability holds it up. This is not the case in all human relationships which clearly defy this kind of certainty. Many philosophical concepts are purely imaginary, not based in experience, except the experience of imagining and are unable to predict desired outcomes. I call these stories with the power to convert and comfort.

      Ethics, as a foundation for many human endeavors, is ideally achieved through sustained dialogue and revision. Though many signs point to such a necessity, few are willing to suspend their assumptions long enough for breakthrough. Even here, more are willing to defend the nebulous tenets of existentialism than to examine the tenets themselves. Near Pavlovian responses indicate imagination is so vestigial, one can't imagine oneself in another's shoes. Refusal to suspend is like a bone to defend. (Thank you, Knott) .

      I'm beginning to see some resonance between Quine and Bohm in that epistemology has its roots in psychology. If our philosophical concepts, which often devolve into sectarianism, are not serving us, their creators, then it's time for better ones. Quine and Bohm promoted the application of scientific method to experience in hopes of discovering better concepts. I `predict' imagination will become necessary, and concepts will undergo revision, because not everything falls within their grasp. I believe in an objective reality while admitting that concepts are merely buoys.

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      >
      > Jim, Rusty, et al.,
      >
      > I am going to proffer another view altogether that I am sure will be considered controversial. The basic assumption that I see here, and over the years here, is that the more basic and immediate the idea (in the general Lockean sense), the more 'true'; and conversely, the more abstract and conceptual, the less 'true'.
      >
      > I want to reverse this order, while retaining its truth. As an example, let me begin with a basic statement, 'Man is just an ape.' I put "just" here in order to depict the usual intent of such statements to knock the subject down a few pegs by virtue of the predicate. We all do this from time to time, including myself. It serves to disabuse those for whom "Man" is a mirror image of God, or is the shining epitome of the destiny of evolution, or something like that. The basic-ness of the root set, Ape, performs a necessary function of shaving off our exaggerated self-appraisal of 'superiority'.
      >
      > The presumption of 'more basic, more true', also extends to the sciences themselves. As the great physicist Steven Weinberg emphasizes continually in his writings, the more reductive the phenomena, the more real. In other words, the closer we get to proto-particles and quantum fluxes, the more we approach the reality.
      >
      > I will begin to critique these examples with one of my own. We see a painting in a gallery; say, The Mona Lisa. If we zoom into the painting, we see the individual brush strokes and smears that actually make up the whole. From the standpoint of components, the brush strokes are the absolute semes or bits of information; they are the most basic (leaving aside the molecules, etc.). But we have lost the painting. There is no painting in the reduction; the Mona Lisa is missed. We cannot say that we know the Mona Lisa in anything like its truest sense, qua painting or work of art, unless by truest we mean *the least contextual*. The least contextual is also another way to say the least conceptual.
      >
      > But I would counter this *positivism* by contending that the truth of the strokes and smears is found at that higher level in the conceptual whole that we call the Mona Lisa. The conceptual is, then, the more true, the most completely true. The broader view, moreover, is given added weight and profundity, so to speak, by the totality of conceptual levels, from brush strokes to whole work-qua-work.
      >
      > Mutatis mutandis, man as ape. It is absolutely requisite to understand "Man" as ape, but that gesture loses its truth if we do not broaden the conceptual apparatus to include what is human in "Man", to cancel "Man" with Human, and Human with persons in their history and their circumstances, etc. Philosophy can only be itself, in fact, when we perform such a conceptual adumbration, seeing humanity in its totality, and thus raising the conceptualities to their 'higher' levels. And, I would submit, only then does the ethical dimension show its 'fit' within the whole, while not relying on any theology or suspicious metaphysics.
      >
      > At every level in such an inquiry, one is led to question either the supervening presuppositions or consequences that inform it. Ultimately, we are led to seeing our humanity as a collection of individual brush strokes whose synergy, if you will, makes us who we are. That is the ethical-social character of us as persons.
      >
      > I realize that I am being somewhat schematic here, for lack of space, but I hope that the general thrust of what I am saying is clear.
      >
      > Wil
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jim
      Mary, I m pleased to hear we are arriving at the same place, even if we have travelled from different directions. I agree the mechanistic model has been too
      Message 31 of 31 , Apr 24, 2010
        Mary, I'm pleased to hear we are arriving at the same place, even if we have travelled from different directions. I agree the mechanistic model has been too prominent in recent years, and a more holistic approach is the more promising way forward. Jim




        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
        >
        > Jim, my interest in Bohm's work is aimed precisely at this concern. He further speculates that the neurochemical processes are affected by the 'greater' yet likewise enfolded personal or social changes. Reality is a unity, and it is just this kind of anti-mechanistic approach which holds potential for the kinds of changes you, I and others desire. Mary
        >

        > >Perhaps your view can be defended by saying that our interest in the concepts at the level of human life is greater because these concepts have more power. (And because the concepts have more power, they have more reality.) A revolution, or a more minor political event, is more likely to occur when the masses think (and feel) in terms of such concepts as injustice, oppression, liberation, equality, justice, freedom, etc. than the concepts of the physical sciences like neuron, synapse, electron, proton, etc.
        > >
        > > The ethical and political concepts can come to life in situations of transition and crisis, and large-scale transformations in human life can occur. Neurons keep on firing as they always did, but what greater difference could there be than between an unjust society and a just one?
        > >
        > > Jim
        >
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