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Part 2: Reasoning Metaphysics

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  • Lewis Vella
    Part 2: Reasoning Metaphysics: Bobo s Philosophical Aim of Improving Standards: Voices in My Head, Maybe? Now that respondent Forest Hoag has provided the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2002
      Part 2: Reasoning Metaphysics:

      Bobo's Philosophical Aim of Improving Standards:
      'Voices in My Head, Maybe?

      Now that respondent Forest Hoag has provided the
      Sartre list with what I would say is a suitable
      starting point -- that is, in pegging those 'powers
      that be' to include, amongst others, "the corporate
      media, neo-liberal free trade oriented, trans-national
      corporations and their lawyers, lobbyists, and
      respondent political figures, and on down the line to
      academics that characteristically align themselves to
      authority" -- I shall hereby proceed with this thread.
      First of all, though, since Bobo claims that virtually
      everyone he knows falls into these categories, I would
      like to let him know that he now knows one who doesn't
      -- ME! And unlike him and some of you other academics
      who seem to prefer to discuss the most topical issues
      here privately, I prefer to discuss them openly, for
      all and sundry to comment on. After all, isn't that
      what a real democracy stands for? Or are we just
      paying lip service here? Neither do I appreciate the
      now-popular practice amongst these 'thinkers' of
      swaying back and forth different lists in what seems
      to me strategic ploys to deflect the crux of the
      matters relevant to 'Improving Standards'.
      Furthermore, I really don't see any rhetorical
      difference between the 2 lists (Sartre and
      WisdomForum) but would attribute one arising from
      another due to more or less the same logistical
      concerns I described in my "Ratings" letter last week
      on the Sartre list.

      At any 'rate', I am determined to carry on, for these
      are matters that are close to my heart (thank you,
      Gina), and unlike SWMirsky, this IS my work and I will
      not remain silent (re: a previous closing statement of
      his: "I really do have to get back to my work so I
      will go silent here") Incidentally, SWM, I am engaging
      in this discussion to investigate any prevailing need
      for greater socialism and, if so, advancing its cause
      (which may or may not include some of the social
      changes which Bobo himself advocated somewhere in our
      previous dialogues). For the way I see it, at least,
      the actual and real issue here is survival of
      humanity, and contrary to what Bobo may think, it is
      he and you, I say, who are evading the 'actual and the
      real' by clandestinely stringing topics on top of
      topics, using the limitations of semiotics,
      linguistics and metaphysics to deconstruct the
      prevailing crises, and brush a legitimate platform
      aside, by saying things like oh these conflicts will
      always be, and then carrying on in your usual
      complacent manner with whatever discussion, e.g.
      Bobo's thoughts on justifying torture in an
      egalitarian society. Well, let me tell you, torturing
      a hypothetical terrorist to save thousands of
      hypothetical Manhatanites may seem right and all, but
      it doesn't solve the inherent and current problem of
      terrorism we are facing right here and now, neither
      does it shed any light on the philosophical dialectic
      of historical materialism.

      In fact, in witnessing for myself how keen you guys
      are in stroking each other's corrupt back, I will go
      so far as to accuse you both of the same perversion
      which Kierkegarrd accused Hegal, and which is perhaps
      best summarized by Merleau-Ponty in 'Sense and
      Non-sense' (p.64, 1964 Northwestern U. P.):

      "K, the first to use 'existence' in the modern sense
      of the word, deliberately set himself up in opposition
      to Hegel. The Hegel he had in mind was the late Hegel,
      who treated history as the visible development of a
      logical system, who sought in the relationships
      between ideas the final explanation of events, and,
      who, subordinated the individual experience of life to
      the life appropriate to ideas, as to a destiny. This
      Hegal of 1827 offers us nothing but a 'palace of
      ideas,' to use K's phrase, where all historical
      antithesis are overcome, but only by thought. K is
      right in objecting that mere thought is not enough to
      enable the contradictions facing him, that he is faced
      with dilemmas neither term of which he can accept.
      This last Hegel has understood everything except his
      own existence, and the synthesis he offers is no true
      synthesis precisely because it pretends ignorance of
      being the product of a certain individual and certain
      time. K's objection, which is in profound agreement
      with that of Marx, consists in reminding the
      philosopher of his own inherence in history: where are
      you speaking from when you judge the world's
      development and declare that it attains perfection in
      the Prussian state, and how can you pretend to be
      outside all situations? Here the reminder of the
      thinker's own existence and subjectivity merges with
      the recall to history.

      But if the Hegel of 1827 may be criticized for his
      idealism, the same cannot be said of the Hegel of
      1807. The 'Phenomenology of the Spirit' is a history
      not only of ideas but of all the areas which reveal
      the mind at work: customs, economic structures, and
      legal institutions as well as works of philosophy. It
      is concerned with recapturing a total sense of
      history, describing the inner workings of the body
      social, not with explaining the adventures of mankind
      by debates among philosophers. . . ."

      Likewise, I think, this also should be our concern
      here.

      To be continued.

      Lewis











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