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Re: [existlist] Re: more nothing

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  • christopher arthur
    It seems natural that people would be frustrated somewhat when they try to understand difficult philosophy, but I suppose that we can t really contact Hegel or
    Message 1 of 43 , May 26, 2013
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      It seems natural that people would be frustrated somewhat when they try
      to understand difficult philosophy, but I suppose that we can't really
      contact Hegel or Sartre to say, "what did you mean when you said...?" I
      wouldn't expect anyone but mathematicians to understand my topology
      homework from grad school, which I have still kept for some reason, but
      then again no one is asking to understand it either. I guess that in a
      group like this we could digress to clarify what people don't
      understand, as opposed to running it like a college seminar with a
      syllabus and a required reading list.

      I guess that I got lost trying to assimilate the concepts of being and
      nothing. Instead of fussing about the details, maybe it suffices to
      ponder what the ultimate point is that Sartre was trying to make.
      Wasn't he really just trying to propose a theory of the cause of human
      suffering, as opposed to crafting mechanically precise notions of
      emptiness and being to the extent of drafting a calculus?


      On 5/26/2013 3:21 PM, Mary wrote:
      >
      > Jim,
      >
      > I think commentaries are helpful in order to get a general grasp of
      > the philosopher's concepts, and comparing commentaries is useful for
      > especially difficult concepts. If something about an author really
      > interests and resonates, I will pursue the challenge. Another thing to
      > consider is differences in translations can create confusion with
      > terminology. Knowing the mother tongue is an advantage I suppose, but
      > if there are universal concepts they should shine through. With an
      > extremely difficult philosopher like Hegel, I'm find such huge
      > differences between interpretations that I'm forced to struggle with
      > the texts myself. I find Hegel easier to read than Sartre because (and
      > alas) I'm actually a metaphysical thinker, which probably now
      > disqualifies me as an existentialist. Oh well.
      >
      > Mary
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Eduard,
      > >
      > > You write:
      > >
      > > "If Sartre or Hegel or whomever is going to make a living off
      > writing books that are sold to the general public, then what they say
      > should be sufficiently clear to make sense to the general reader.
      > Otherwise they have failed in their role."
      > >
      > > I disagree with you here. Philosophers like Sartre and Hegel "made
      > their living" primarily by breaking new ground in a subject with a
      > long history. A subject many young people choose to study at University.
      > >
      > > To understand difficult philosophers it is often necessary to start
      > with easier philosophers or commentaries on the difficult
      > philosophers. University students in the UK would start off with
      > "easier" philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and work
      > up to the more difficult philosophers like Kant, Hegel and Sartre in
      > their third and final year of study.
      > >
      > > The "general reader" who is interested in philosophy is well advised
      > to follow a similar gradual approach. I mix my reading of philosophers
      > like Hegel and Sartre with introductory commentaries which often
      > unpack the ideas in a more gradual way.
      > >
      > > If the top philosophers were required to make all their books
      > accessible to the non-philosophy-reading general public, then
      > philosophy would never progress.
      > >
      > > I get the impression you are not actually that interested in reading
      > philosophy books. I recall you in the past being disparaging of "dead
      > philosophers". Just reading the odd paragraph of a philosopher is not
      > the ideal way to gain access to difficult philosophical ideas.
      > >
      > > Going back a few posts you said the following passage Mary posted
      > did not make sense to you.
      > >
      > > "For him [Sartre], freedom is the dislocation of consciousness from
      > its object, the fundamental "nihilation" or negation by means of which
      > consciousness can grasp its object without losing itself in it: to be
      > conscious of something is to be conscious of not being it, a "not"
      > that arises in the very structure of consciousness as being
      > for-itself. Because "nothingness" (or nihilation) is just what
      > consciousness is, there can be no objects in consciousness, but only
      > objects for consciousness."
      > >
      > > You write about this section:
      > >
      > > "If "nihilation" is the means by which consciousness can grasp its
      > object, then how can consciousness itself be "nihilation"?? In Brief
      > he is saying .... freedom is the dislocation of nihilation from its
      > object, the fundamental "nihilation" or negation by means of which
      > nihilation can grasp its object without losing itself in it:
      > >
      > > Surely there must be a way of saying this in plain English. Why
      > should the "explanation" be even more complicated than the text that
      > it seeks to explain?? English is not devoid of suitable words."
      > >
      > > I think the passage you highlight is difficult, although read in the
      > context of the whole quotation it does make sense to me.
      > >
      > > I think the writer (not Sartre, by the way, but a commentator), is
      > making two distinct points, both involving the word "nihilation".
      > >
      > > First, he/she is saying that when we "step back" from our
      > identification with our roles or tasks, to see ourselves as separate
      > from our roles or tasks, there is a nihilation of this identity. My
      > consciousness is no longer "at one" with the object of my
      > consciousness. I perceive the object as "other" from myself.
      > >
      > > Second, he/she makes a distinct point about consciousness itself. It
      > is a nothing, a mere seeing. It is like an immaterial eye that sees
      > the object directly, but is not another thing like the object it is
      > conscious of. Further this nothingness which is consciousness does not
      > even store images of the objects, rather it sees the objects directly.
      > Because consciousness is not a thing, it is outside the realm of cause
      > and effect, so each of us is free to change direction at any time. Our
      > next actions are not determined by our previous history.
      > >
      > > Jim
      > >
      >
      >



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    • eduardathome
      Although it isn’t a philosophy but only a tool, there are a ton of influences which lead to Nooism. The primary influence, however, was the brain surgery I
      Message 43 of 43 , Jun 2, 2013
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        Although it isn’t a philosophy but only a tool, there are a ton of influences which lead to Nooism. The primary influence, however, was the brain surgery I underwent when I was in my early 40s.

        In any case, I don’t think that one can truly engage a philosopher X’s ideas without some understanding of the influences. I don’t see it otherwise. Why Sartre came up with Being and Nothingness is as important as the philosophy itself.

        eduard

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jim
        Sent: Sunday, June 02, 2013 2:12 PM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [existlist] Re: Sartre's influences

        Mary - I believe the major philosophical influence on "Being and Nothingness" was Heidegger's "Being and Time". Sartre, I believe, studied this work closely before writing his own magnum opus.


        Sartre takes over some of Heidegger's ideas wholesale like "existence precedes essence". The early Sartre was more existentialist, the later Sartre was more Marxist.

        Eduard - I worry that a concern over the question "What were the influences on philosopher X?" is often a substitute for directly engaging with philosopher X's ideas and claims.

        Should I be more concerned to understand and grapple with your Philosophy of Nooism? Or should I be more concerned to uncover the influences on you which resulted in your personal philosophy?

        Jim




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