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Whose fault is it anyway

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  • eduardathome
    Interesting subject. It often comes up in discussion. Who is responsible for understanding the content of a public book?? The author for clarity or the
    Message 1 of 43 , May 26, 2013
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      Interesting subject. It often comes up in discussion. Who is responsible
      for understanding the content of a public book?? The author for clarity or
      the reader who should first reach some accredited level of knowledge.

      I would agree with your view if Being and Nothingness were published in a
      peer journal whose audience is primarily philosophers. However, that is not
      the case here. Sartre published his book to the general public. There is no
      warning label on the cover .... "You should not buy this book unless you are
      a certified philosopher, otherwise you will not understand the content".

      I am purposely using the adjective "certified", because it demands
      assessment and judgment.

      ==========
      Sir, I don't understand the first paragraph in chapter 1.
      Hmmm. Did you first read Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Hume??
      Well, no ... I heard people talking about your book and thought it would be
      an interesting read, so I just took it off the shelf.

      Sir, I still don't understand the first paragraph in chapter 1 and I read
      Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Hume.
      Did you read Camus??
      No ... you did not mention Camus.
      That's your problem right there, read Camus and you will understand my book.
      =====================

      You can see how this goes. The author need not take any responsibility,
      since it is always the fault of the reader who will forever be one less than
      the required level. It is a sort of Catch 22. It's your fault as the
      reader, since the author can define "understanding" as having a knowledge
      level which is only reached when you have understanding.

      I seriously doubt if the top philosophers were required to make their books
      accessible to the non-philosophy-reading general public, then philosophy
      would never progress. Philosophers would do their thing regardless. In any
      case, I am not talking about "all" their books, only those which they
      publish to the general public. It is astounding to suggest that if they
      were required to be clear in a book they publish to the general public, so
      the average John Doe might understand, that they would just quit, fold their
      tent and go home.

      As to "dead philosophers", it wasn't dead philosophers specifically since
      most are dead anyway. What I objected to was the pitting of one dead
      philosopher against another. The whole point of this forum is to discuss
      things between members. It's pointless to say for example that Sartre would
      have said whatever to Hegel. What I'm interested in is the idea itself and
      what the members of this forum think.

      We seem to be getting into that again. It's becoming a matter of trading
      quotes. And if you should [heaven forbid] question something in a quote ...
      well ... "you are on your own".

      In regard to nihilation and my question ... "If "nihilation" is the means by
      which consciousness can grasp its object, then how can consciousness itself
      be "nihilation??

      Your response was ... "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".

      You omitted the second sentence ... "Because "nothingness" (or nihilation)
      is just what consciousness is, there can be no objects in consciousness, but
      only objects for consciousness.

      If "freedom" is the dislocation of nihilation from it's object and
      nihilation is the means by which consciousness can grasp its object, and
      consciousness IS nihilation, how can consciousness use itself as the means
      to grasp anything?? Makes no sense to me.

      I think that is what this all comes down to. People can freely post
      whatever quote here, but members are not allowed to question the quote if it
      doesn't seem to make any sense. One doesn't question Sartre.

      eduard





      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim
      Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 5:47 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: more nothing

      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 3:20 PM
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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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        Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

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