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RE: [existlist] Re: Meaning, Freedom & the Instrumental Complex

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  • Eduard Alf
    james, I am not good on quoting sources, so I will just take it from the top. The senses are the only means by which we can know the outside world. Some would
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 31 11:18 AM
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      james,

      I am not good on quoting sources, so I will just
      take it from the top.

      The senses are the only means by which we can know
      the outside world. Some would say that it is all
      illusion. But that has the connotation that what
      is out there is not real. To an extent this is
      true, since we can never be sure whether the thing
      that we sense is only the senses themselves as
      made up by the brain or something that is "really"
      out there. I would suggest, however, that this is
      a philosophical trap, in that at some point one
      has to accept that some things are real. Only for
      reason that this is necessary for survival.

      I recall some time ago when I took the local kids
      for a car ride into the country. We stopped by a
      fence to a farm where there was a group of horses.
      It was spring and one of the male horses had an
      erection. One of the kids pointed to the horse
      and said with excitement, "Look, look, that horsy
      has five legs". Of course, we know better, but to
      the kid this was real. Granted some philosophers
      might say that we cant be sure whether the horsy
      had four legs and a large penis or any legs at all
      or even if the horsy was actually there. But we
      learn through experience and reality is revealed
      to us to the extent that it can. If I am raising
      horses, I have to accept some things as being real
      and to the French that reality is a means of
      getting a meal [horse meat].

      I should think that from an Existentialist point
      of view, some sense of reality has to be accepted
      in order for us to make correct choices. As to
      "freedom to choose" this is equivalent to the
      awareness or acceptance of reality. It is quite
      true that our brain process involves tags or
      "triggers" so it is quite possible to smell a
      rose when it is only a picture or an actual plant
      behind a glass door. But surely the time of
      maturing is also the time in which we become aware
      of these triggers, so that we know when a rose is
      a rose and not just a picture. So there is a
      "freedom to choose" for those who have matured.

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
      Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 5:36 AM
      To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Meaning, Freedom & the
      Instrumental Complex



      like u, i major in psy, phil is not even minor,
      just a interesting bedtime
      read. as to ur claim about sartre's views, i do
      not see any reference to
      sartre's works. as such, i take that as ur
      interpretation of sartre's works,
      rather than what sartre said himself.

      ur account about the rose reminds me of the work
      of a french novelist called
      proust, his "remembrance of things past". he
      smelled something he used to
      smell when he was a child, and immediately a
      entire episode of childhood
      memories and experiences came to him, almost as if
      he was literally back in
      time. now, if i dont understand u wrongly, u are
      wondering, is there
      anything 'real' or 'external' about those
      experiences? similarly, it is not
      unusual for some mental patients to have
      hallucination (with or without the
      influence of drugs, but it is obvious (for any
      diagnosis to be made) that
      his experiences are psychotic (ie, experiencing
      something that is not real,
      not out there, such as seeing a devil smiling at
      u, or god talking to u, or
      a voice calling u to kill yourself -, or ur wife);
      so in what sense was
      sartre's saying (but did he say it? pls provide
      quotation) that all
      perception has a so-called 'external validity'?

      let me give a shot, but bearing no responsibility
      to its correctness. the
      confusion lies in understanding sartre's
      phenomenological viewpt from a
      empirical standpt. psychology as we study it in
      american or australian
      universities is obviously a empirical science
      where what is external is
      objectively measurable (and subject to statistical
      manipulation, resulting
      in empirically correct statements). but i do think
      ur confusion hinges on
      what u mean by 'external' from what sartre would
      mean by 'external', if i am
      not wrong. i think sartre somewhere in his "being
      and nothingness" said
      something like this: that consciousness of
      consciousness of something, which
      means that transcendence is the constitutive
      structure of consciousness; ie,
      that consciousness is born supported by a being
      which is not itself. from
      here, we may see that sartre's idea of
      'transcendence' refers not to a
      objective external (in contrast to a
      consciousness, as if they are separate
      'beings'), but to the objects themselves.
      consciousness itself is the
      transcendence. consciousness itself is the
      objects. u see, consciousness is
      a nothingness, so that anything u experience is
      consciousness. if u see a
      naked woman, it is not as if a consciousness
      (subject) encounter a naked
      woman (object); rather, ur consciousness is so
      nothing, and has no being,
      except when given by the naked woman; ie, the
      naked woman is ur
      consciousness; ie, the subject is the object. now,
      a mental image, whether
      real or imagined, as far as sartre is concerned,
      is an object; nay, it is
      consciousness itself. for without that mental
      image, whether born of reality
      or imagination, consciousness will not be. ur
      account of a whole series of
      scenarios imagined is not something that will make
      sartre shudder, contrary
      to what u claimed; rather, it is indicative of ur
      failure to appreciate what
      is the phenomenological. the problems for sartre,
      at least as i understand
      him, is not the constitution of objects by
      consciousness (as it was for
      husserl), but the peculiar nature of
      consciousness, which is dependent for
      its existence on the objects of which it is
      conscious. for sartre,
      consciousness has no internal or external;
      anything that present itself to
      consciousness is constitutive of consciousness, be
      it 'real', 'external' or
      not. i may not know whether the naked lady i think
      i see is really a naked
      lady, an optical illusion, a hallucination, or
      part of a dream, but i know
      that i think that i see a naked lady. it is this
      sense of what is 'real',
      that which is given intuitively, that i think
      sartre meant. phenomena and
      things-in-themselves cannot be distinguished as
      far as consciousness is
      concerned. if, as u mentioned, the pictures
      suddenly seems strange, pictures
      from former times play like a show, then it is
      certainly worthy of a
      phenomenological study, in fact one of those
      things sartre at one time did a
      lot. as to its impact on psychology, one simply
      need to be careful and clear
      whether one is speaking from a natural (empirical)
      or phenomenological pt of
      view. does that help?

      james.
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