Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Ethics and Metaphysics

Expand Messages
  • Jim Stuart
    Comment on Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Part Two, Chapter One Dear Kierkegaardians, I address you as existing subjects, for fear of being taken to be
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 18, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Comment on Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Part Two, Chapter One

      Dear Kierkegaardians,

      I address you as existing subjects, for fear of being taken to be speaking objectively.

      The thought which struck me most forcefully whilst reading this chapter is that SK is not really that concerned with metaphysical issues, rather his central concern is ethical issues. Whilst SK does outline a metaphysical framework for his account of the self and his/her psychological states and the reality to which he/she relates, I see this metaphysical thinking as subservient to what SK wants to communicate about how the individual should live.

      SK's idea of how an individual should live contrasts sharply with the way he sees his contemporaries living their lives. He identifies two groups for special condemnation: Hegelians and the intelligentsia of contemporary Denmark. These two groups overlap as Hegelianism was the dominant philosophical outlook of the Danish intelligentsia of SK's time. His two main criticisms of these groups are, first, that the individuals are shallow, and, secondly, that they are complacent. (By 'shallow' I mean the opposite of a deep and passionate concern for the most serious things in life.) Hegel's 'objective' philosophy encourages these attitudes, as does the fact that Christianity was so dominant in Denmark that people were born into it, and to be a Christian was what was expected, and the Danes did not have to hold their religious beliefs in a hostile environment. In fact, to claim not to be a Christian was to evoke hostility.

      SK's contemporaries have lost their sense of sin: they don't see sin for the serious thing that it is. (By 'sin' I mean a disposition to perform bad actions.) For SK the move towards greater subjectivity is a move in the direction of recognising the seriousness of one's sinful nature. SK holds up a pagan, Socrates, as his example of an individual who became subjective through taking his own sinful nature seriously. SK compares himself to Socrates on this matter. SK writes:

      "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself. ... The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself, so it is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it was this discovery that caused him to give up the study of astronomy, which the age now demands. ...

      Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in himself a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer so easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the world-historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a very long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The more profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do; the more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the more ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-historical." ( CUP, Lowrie 1953 Tr., page 144)

      Denmark's Christians are poor apologies for human beings when compared with the pagan Socrates.

      SK's central criticism against his contemporaries is that they manage to ignore the seriousness of their own sinful natures by indulging in shallow and escapist objective thinking (in the form of speculative philosophy). The temptation to shallow and escapist objective thinking is always with us, and metaphysical speculation is generally of this sort.

      While I, myself, do think it is important to pursue empirical and metaphysical truth, I agree with SK that the question 'How should I live?' is more urgent than the question 'What should I think?'.

      Yours,

      Jim



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Médéric Laitier
      Dear James, In our fairly recent conversation you have expressed your dissatisfaction with my characterisation of the ethical despair. It appeared to you
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 8, 2008
      • 0 Attachment

        Dear James,

         

        In our fairly recent conversation you have expressed your dissatisfaction with my characterisation of the ethical despair. It appeared to you exceedingly metaphysical in its approach to be consistent with the perspective adopted by K. You seem to be herewith suggesting that rather than offering a view on one of K.'s developments I was introducing a point of my own through a back door.

        I want to thank you for allowing me, with this remark, to question my own understanding and thus ascertain somewhat better what belongs to me.

        It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort with the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in 7245. You there quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of it, I suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be best found in the following part:

        "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still becoming. After having conceived of his absolute τελος [telos] (to be himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a whole new story."

        Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the purely ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the existing as the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it lacks of ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be adequately capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.

        You further suggest that, for K., sin is the mirror in which the ethical despair is to be seen and characterise them (both the ethical despair and sin) as follows:

        "My understanding is that K/p is arguing that the ethicist's despair is the result of sin. In old fashioned terms: the ethical individual has a natural tendency to turn away from the good, and to think and act selfishly, to think and act in double-mindedness. The existing ethical individual shares the fatal flaw of all human beings: his virtues of courage, resoluteness, honest, steadfastness, sobriety, do not win out over the vices naturally associated with being a human being. As Saint Paul says: `I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.' (Rom 7:25, RSV)"

        While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed – with your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s ethical despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my account of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in that it did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own despair through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor had I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most transparently only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension, remains fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very originality.

        You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was anywhere to be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and real theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this chapter is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with the very appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied here for him as a subjective thinker.

        I shall obviously not reproduce here the whole § 2; but allow me to cite a few passages as an illustration:

         

        "Den Negativitet der er i Tilværelsen, eller rettere det existerende Subjekts Negativitet (hvilken hans Tænkning maa væsentligen gjengive i en adæqvat Form), er grundet i Subjektets Synthese, at det er en existerende uendelig Aand. Uendeligheden og det Evige er det eneste Visse, men idet det er i Subjektet, er det i Tilværelsen, og det første Udtryk derfor er dets Svig og denne uhyre Modsigelse, at det Evige vorder, at det bliver til."

         

         Afsluttende Uvidenskabelig Efterskrift til de philosophiske Smuler 1

        Mimisk-pathetisk-dialektisk Sammenskrift, Existentielt Indlæg af Johannes Climacus

        Udgiven af S. Kierkegaard

         

         

        "Den der er Existerende er bestandigt i Vorden; den virkeligen existerende subjektive Tænker eftergjør bestandig tænkende denne sin Existents og sætter al sin Tænken i Vorden."

         

        Ibidem 2

         

        "Det, at den existerende subjektive Tænker bestandigt er stræbende, betyder dog ikke i endelig Forstand, at han har et Maal, hvortil han stræber, hvor han var færdig, naar han var kommen derhen; nei, han stræber uendeligt, er bestandigt i Vorden, hvilket er betrygget derved, at han bestandigt er ligesaa negativ som positiv, og har ligesaa megen væsentlig Comik som væsentlig Pathos; og hvilket har sin Grund i, at han jo er existerende, og tænkende gjengiver dette. Vordelsen er selve Tænkerens Existents, hvilken man vel tankeløst kan abstrahere fra og blive objektiv. Hvor langt eller hvor kort han er henne, gjør væsentligen Intet til Sagen (det er jo ogsaa kun en endelig - relativ Sammenligning), saa længe han er existerende, er han i Vorden.

         

        Existentsen selv, det at existere, er Stræben, og er ligesaa pathetisk som comisk; pathetisk, fordi Stræben er uendelig, d.v.s. rettet mod det Uendelige, er Uendeliggjørelse, hvilket er den høieste Pathos; comisk, fordi Stræben er en Selvmodsigelse. Pathetisk seet, har et Secund uendeligt Værd, comisk seet er 10.000 Aar en Narrestreg ligesom den Dag igaar, og dog bestaaer Tiden, hvori den Existerende er, af saadanne Dele. Naar det blot enkelt og ligefrem udsiges, at 10.000 Aar er en Narrestreg, saa gaaer mangen Daare med og finder, at det er Viisdom, men glemmer det Andet, at et Secund har uendeligt Værd. Naar det hedder, at et Secund har uendeligt Værd, saa studser En og Anden, og kan bedre forstaae, at 10.000 Aar har uendeligt Værd, og dog er det ene ligesaa vanskeligt at forstaae som det andet, naar man blot giver sig Tid til at forstaae, hvad det er der skal forstaaes; eller paa en anden Maade bliver saa uendeligt greben ved Tanken om, at der ikke er Tid at give bort, ikke eet Secund, at Secundet faaer uendeligt Værd."

        Ibidem 3

         

        I think you will not deny the categorical/metaphysical dimension of the discussion in this paragraph. You will probably concede as well that here existence is characterised as the condition for human-beings of being becoming further qualified, may it be noted, as the utmost contradiction that it is thus the eternal which is becoming. Before you should give way to the temptation of denying that what is in this paragraph said has nothing to do with the ethical, it may be worthwhile to note – hence the out-pointing – that as a (human) condition, this existence of perpetual becoming is universal. Possibly one may even be tempted here to go one bit further and have it posed as the universal… And now the question could be whether the ethical has or not anything to do with the notion of the universal. Has it or has it not?

         

        Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this universal condition of being becoming:

         

        Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation, completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet the universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the condition of being a human-being is despair; as a consequence the metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a metaphysical development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders the determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or misunderstanding the universal condition.

        In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the condition is also that of the ethical 4 despair? Well the essence of the ethical is to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the edifice. That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence, every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this despair to be an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its all-bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it is required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair and, consequently, that he realises, that he gains full consciousness of that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To speak in a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be ethical, despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…

         

        If I remember well, another question of yours was whether repentance was a feature of the ethical at the moment of the choice – in other words the passing, the transition from the aesthetical stage to the ethical one – or rather belonged to the confinium between the ethical and the religious. More generally, you have invited me to develop my view on what K. means by repentance with a possible side-benefit of marking more clearly the difference in conception between Pr. William I. Brown of the salad dresser and myself.

        If you allowed, I should wish to cut here with this question in suspension. I have noticed the great Aarvark has resumed his affaired art of snuffing fungi spores and perhaps I may show my dissoluteness in serving two goals in the next piece of answer?

         

        Yours sincerely,

        Mederic

        ____________

        Notes & miscellanea

         

        1. A more precise location: 2.1.2. Capitel 2. Mulige og virkelige Theses af Lessing/2.1.2.2. § 2. Den existerende subjektive Tænker er i sit Existents-Forhold til Sandheden ligesaa negativ som positiv, har ligesaa megen Comik som han væsentligen har Pathos, og er bestandigt i Vorden, d.v.s. Stræbende./ §§ 4

        2. Idem: ibidem/§§ 9

        3. Idem: ibidem/§§ 14 & 15

        4. Here it is intended to refer to the notion explicitly highlighted in the passage of the Post-script where Climacus discusses the crisis when the religious appears, where the immanence is broken and where the ethical is the temptation which holds back.

         

        The sign: §§ X is used to denote the count of the Xth paragraph in the development by opposition to § which refers to a division introduced in the text by the original author through a paragraph heading.

         

        A complement to this paper has been published in the file section and is readily accessible here.



        --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Stuart" <jimstuart@...> wrote:
        >
        > Comment on Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Part Two, Chapter One
        >
        > Dear Kierkegaardians,
        >
        > I address you as existing subjects, for fear of being taken to be speaking objectively.
        >
        > The thought which struck me most forcefully whilst reading this chapter is that SK is not really that concerned with metaphysical issues, rather his central concern is ethical issues. Whilst SK does outline a metaphysical framework for his account of the self and his/her psychological states and the reality to which he/she relates, I see this metaphysical thinking as subservient to what SK wants to communicate about how the individual should live.
        >
        > SK's idea of how an individual should live contrasts sharply with the way he sees his contemporaries living their lives. He identifies two groups for special condemnation: Hegelians and the intelligentsia of contemporary Denmark. These two groups overlap as Hegelianism was the dominant philosophical outlook of the Danish intelligentsia of SK's time. His two main criticisms of these groups are, first, that the individuals are shallow, and, secondly, that they are complacent. (By 'shallow' I mean the opposite of a deep and passionate concern for the most serious things in life.) Hegel's 'objective' philosophy encourages these attitudes, as does the fact that Christianity was so dominant in Denmark that people were born into it, and to be a Christian was what was expected, and the Danes did not have to hold their religious beliefs in a hostile environment. In fact, to claim not to be a Christian was to evoke hostility.
        >
        > SK's contemporaries have lost their sense of sin: they don't see sin for the serious thing that it is. (By 'sin' I mean a disposition to perform bad actions.) For SK the move towards greater subjectivity is a move in the direction of recognising the seriousness of one's sinful nature. SK holds up a pagan, Socrates, as his example of an individual who became subjective through taking his own sinful nature seriously. SK compares himself to Socrates on this matter. SK writes:
        >
        > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself. ... The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself, so it is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it was this discovery that caused him to give up the study of astronomy, which the age now demands. ...
        >
        > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in himself a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer so easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the world-historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a very long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The more profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do; the more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the more ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-historical." ( CUP, Lowrie 1953 Tr., page 144)
        >
        > Denmark's Christians are poor apologies for human beings when compared with the pagan Socrates.
        >
        > SK's central criticism against his contemporaries is that they manage to ignore the seriousness of their own sinful natures by indulging in shallow and escapist objective thinking (in the form of speculative philosophy). The temptation to shallow and escapist objective thinking is always with us, and metaphysical speculation is generally of this sort.
        >
        > While I, myself, do think it is important to pursue empirical and metaphysical truth, I agree with SK that the question 'How should I live?' is more urgent than the question 'What should I think?'.
        >
        > Yours,
        >
        > Jim
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • jimstuart46
        Mederic, Thank you for your excellent post. I shall reflect on what you have written, and re-read Section 2 of the Chapter on Lessing s Possible and Actual
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 9, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Mederic,

          Thank you for your excellent post.

          I shall reflect on what you have written, and re-read Section 2 of the
          Chapter on Lessing's Possible and Actual Theses, and then I shall post
          a reply to you.

          Jim
        • Don
          Jim, I have been trying to follow this discussion but find it difficult to follow. If I may I would like to ask you to clarify what you mean by saying that
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 9, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Jim,
            I have been trying to follow this discussion but find it difficult to follow. If I may I would like to ask you to clarify what you mean by saying that Will and now Mederic apprach the ethical in a metaphysical manner? I hope I said that correctly. Expand on what you are saying. How is this different from your understanding and also from K. I certainly see a difference but I'm not sure it is what you see.
            Don

            --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier <hidepark21@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Dear James,
            >
            >
            >
            > In our fairly recent conversation you have expressed your
            > dissatisfaction with my characterisation of the ethical despair. It
            > appeared to you exceedingly metaphysical in its approach to be
            > consistent with the perspective adopted by K. You seem to be herewith
            > suggesting that rather than offering a view on one of K.'s
            > developments I was introducing a point of my own through a back door.
            >
            > I want to thank you for allowing me, with this remark, to question my
            > own understanding and thus ascertain somewhat better what belongs to me.
            >
            > It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort with the
            > view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in 7245. You there
            > quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of it, I suspect
            > the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be best found in the
            > following part:
            >
            > "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
            > becoming. After having conceived of his absolute τελος [telos]
            > (to be himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a whole
            > new story."
            >
            > Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the purely
            > ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the existing as the
            > becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it lacks of ethical
            > determinacy and eventually of the religious to be adequately capturing
            > the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.
            >
            > You further suggest that, for K., sin is the mirror in which the ethical
            > despair is to be seen and characterise them (both the ethical despair
            > and sin) as follows:
            >
            > "My understanding is that K/p is arguing that the ethicist's despair
            > is the result of sin. In old fashioned terms: the ethical individual has
            > a natural tendency to turn away from the good, and to think and act
            > selfishly, to think and act in double-mindedness. The existing ethical
            > individual shares the fatal flaw of all human beings: his virtues of
            > courage, resoluteness, honest, steadfastness, sobriety, do not win out
            > over the vices naturally associated with being a human being. As Saint
            > Paul says: `I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with
            > my flesh I serve the law of sin.' (Rom 7:25, RSV)"
            >
            > While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed – with
            > your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I would
            > have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s ethical despair
            > as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my account of
            > the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in that it did
            > not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own despair
            > through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor
            > had I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most transparently
            > only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the
            > religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
            > metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension, remains
            > fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very originality.
            >
            > You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was anywhere to be
            > found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more
            > precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and real theses
            > of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this chapter is
            > precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the existential
            > condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last paragraph of §1
            > instructive with regard to the deliberate consciousness of what the
            > author is about to do, along with the very appropriate expression of the
            > dialectical difficulty implied here for him as a subjective thinker.
            >
            > I shall obviously not reproduce here the whole § 2; but allow me to
            > cite a few passages as an illustration:
            >
            >
            >
            > "Den Negativitet der er i Tilværelsen, eller rettere det
            > existerende Subjekts Negativitet (hvilken hans Tænkning maa
            > væsentligen gjengive i en adæqvat Form), er grundet i Subjektets
            > Synthese, at det er en existerende uendelig Aand. Uendeligheden og det
            > Evige er det eneste Visse, men idet det er i Subjektet, er det i
            > Tilværelsen, og det første Udtryk derfor er dets Svig og denne
            > uhyre Modsigelse, at det Evige vorder, at det bliver til."
            >
            >
            >
            > Afsluttende Uvidenskabelig Efterskrift til de philosophiske Smuler 1
            >
            > Mimisk-pathetisk-dialektisk Sammenskrift, Existentielt Indlæg af
            > Johannes Climacus
            >
            > Udgiven af S. Kierkegaard
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > "Den der er Existerende er bestandigt i Vorden; den virkeligen
            > existerende subjektive Tænker eftergjør bestandig tænkende
            > denne sin Existents og sætter al sin Tænken i Vorden."
            >
            >
            >
            > Ibidem 2
            >
            >
            >
            > "Det, at den existerende subjektive Tænker bestandigt er
            > stræbende, betyder dog ikke i endelig Forstand, at han har et Maal,
            > hvortil han stræber, hvor han var færdig, naar han var kommen
            > derhen; nei, han stræber uendeligt, er bestandigt i Vorden, hvilket
            > er betrygget derved, at han bestandigt er ligesaa negativ som positiv,
            > og har ligesaa megen væsentlig Comik som væsentlig Pathos; og
            > hvilket har sin Grund i, at han jo er existerende, og tænkende
            > gjengiver dette. Vordelsen er selve Tænkerens Existents, hvilken man
            > vel tankeløst kan abstrahere fra og blive objektiv. Hvor langt eller
            > hvor kort han er henne, gjør væsentligen Intet til Sagen (det er
            > jo ogsaa kun en endelig - relativ Sammenligning), saa længe han er
            > existerende, er han i Vorden.
            >
            >
            >
            > Existentsen selv, det at existere, er Stræben, og er ligesaa
            > pathetisk som comisk; pathetisk, fordi Stræben er uendelig, d.v.s.
            > rettet mod det Uendelige, er Uendeliggjørelse, hvilket er den
            > høieste Pathos; comisk, fordi Stræben er en Selvmodsigelse.
            > Pathetisk seet, har et Secund uendeligt Værd, comisk seet er 10.000
            > Aar en Narrestreg ligesom den Dag igaar, og dog bestaaer Tiden, hvori
            > den Existerende er, af saadanne Dele. Naar det blot enkelt og ligefrem
            > udsiges, at 10.000 Aar er en Narrestreg, saa gaaer mangen Daare med og
            > finder, at det er Viisdom, men glemmer det Andet, at et Secund har
            > uendeligt Værd. Naar det hedder, at et Secund har uendeligt Værd,
            > saa studser En og Anden, og kan bedre forstaae, at 10.000 Aar har
            > uendeligt Værd, og dog er det ene ligesaa vanskeligt at forstaae som
            > det andet, naar man blot giver sig Tid til at forstaae, hvad det er der
            > skal forstaaes; eller paa en anden Maade bliver saa uendeligt greben ved
            > Tanken om, at der ikke er Tid at give bort, ikke eet Secund, at Secundet
            > faaer uendeligt Værd."
            >
            > Ibidem 3
            >
            >
            >
            > I think you will not deny the categorical/metaphysical dimension of the
            > discussion in this paragraph. You will probably concede as well that
            > here existence is characterised as the condition for human-beings of
            > being becoming further qualified, may it be noted, as the utmost
            > contradiction that it is thus the eternal which is becoming. Before you
            > should give way to the temptation of denying that what is in this
            > paragraph said has nothing to do with the ethical, it may be worthwhile
            > to note – hence the out-pointing – that as a (human) condition,
            > this existence of perpetual becoming is universal. Possibly one may even
            > be tempted here to go one bit further and have it posed as the
            > universal… And now the question could be whether the ethical has or
            > not anything to do with the notion of the universal. Has it or has it
            > not?
            >
            >
            >
            > Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this universal
            > condition of being becoming:
            >
            >
            >
            > Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the ethical,
            > intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation, completely
            > disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet the universal
            > condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly related to despair
            > (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the condition of being a
            > human-being is despair; as a consequence the metaphysics of the
            > condition appears to me to be also a metaphysical development of the
            > notion of despair insofar as it renders the determinants of the
            > misrelating equally clear – missing or misunderstanding the
            > universal condition.
            >
            > In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the condition is
            > also that of the ethical 4 despair? Well the essence of the ethical is
            > to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the edifice.
            > That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every single
            > instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence, every
            > single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
            > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single instant
            > of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a despair which
            > ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were absolutely right to
            > point this out dear James, for this despair to be an ethical despair,
            > that is to say a despair which in its all-bereaving character has yet to
            > be edifying of something, it is required that the subject is indeed a
            > subject in his despair and, consequently, that he realises, that he
            > gains full consciousness of that he is, in this despair, what is to be
            > despaired of. To speak in a very collected manner, perhaps we could say
            > that, to be ethical, despair has to be one's own despair,
            > desperately so…
            >
            >
            >
            > If I remember well, another question of yours was whether repentance was
            > a feature of the ethical at the moment of the choice – in other
            > words the passing, the transition from the aesthetical stage to the
            > ethical one – or rather belonged to the confinium between the
            > ethical and the religious. More generally, you have invited me to
            > develop my view on what K. means by repentance with a possible
            > side-benefit of marking more clearly the difference in conception
            > between Pr. William I. Brown of the salad dresser and myself.
            >
            > If you allowed, I should wish to cut here with this question in
            > suspension. I have noticed the great Aarvark has resumed his affaired
            > art of snuffing fungi spores and perhaps I may show my dissoluteness in
            > serving two goals in the next piece of answer?
            >
            >
            >
            > Yours sincerely,
            >
            > Mederic
            >
            > ____________
            >
            > Notes & miscellanea
            >
            >
            >
            > 1. A more precise location: 2.1.2. Capitel 2. Mulige og virkelige Theses
            > af Lessing/2.1.2.2. § 2. Den existerende subjektive Tænker er i
            > sit Existents-Forhold til Sandheden ligesaa negativ som positiv, har
            > ligesaa megen Comik som han væsentligen har Pathos, og er bestandigt
            > i Vorden, d.v.s. Stræbende./ §§ 4
            >
            > 2. Idem: ibidem/§§ 9
            >
            > 3. Idem: ibidem/§§ 14 & 15
            >
            > 4. Here it is intended to refer to the notion explicitly highlighted in
            > the passage of the Post-script where Climacus discusses the crisis when
            > the religious appears, where the immanence is broken and where the
            > ethical is the temptation which holds back.
            >
            >
            >
            > The sign: §§ X is used to denote the count of the Xth paragraph in
            > the development by opposition to § which refers to a division
            > introduced in the text by the original author through a paragraph
            > heading.
            >
            >
            >
            > A complement to this paper has been published in the file section and is
            > readily accessible here
            > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kierkegaardians/files/02-The%20middle%20A\
            > ge/07-A-metaphysical-description.htm> .
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Stuart" jimstuart@
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > Comment on Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Part Two, Chapter One
            > >
            > > Dear Kierkegaardians,
            > >
            > > I address you as existing subjects, for fear of being taken to be
            > speaking objectively.
            > >
            > > The thought which struck me most forcefully whilst reading this
            > chapter is that SK is not really that concerned with metaphysical
            > issues, rather his central concern is ethical issues. Whilst SK does
            > outline a metaphysical framework for his account of the self and his/her
            > psychological states and the reality to which he/she relates, I see this
            > metaphysical thinking as subservient to what SK wants to communicate
            > about how the individual should live.
            > >
            > > SK's idea of how an individual should live contrasts sharply with the
            > way he sees his contemporaries living their lives. He identifies two
            > groups for special condemnation: Hegelians and the intelligentsia of
            > contemporary Denmark. These two groups overlap as Hegelianism was the
            > dominant philosophical outlook of the Danish intelligentsia of SK's
            > time. His two main criticisms of these groups are, first, that the
            > individuals are shallow, and, secondly, that they are complacent. (By
            > 'shallow' I mean the opposite of a deep and passionate concern for the
            > most serious things in life.) Hegel's 'objective' philosophy encourages
            > these attitudes, as does the fact that Christianity was so dominant in
            > Denmark that people were born into it, and to be a Christian was what
            > was expected, and the Danes did not have to hold their religious beliefs
            > in a hostile environment. In fact, to claim not to be a Christian was to
            > evoke hostility.
            > >
            > > SK's contemporaries have lost their sense of sin: they don't see sin
            > for the serious thing that it is. (By 'sin' I mean a disposition to
            > perform bad actions.) For SK the move towards greater subjectivity is a
            > move in the direction of recognising the seriousness of one's sinful
            > nature. SK holds up a pagan, Socrates, as his example of an individual
            > who became subjective through taking his own sinful nature seriously. SK
            > compares himself to Socrates on this matter. SK writes:
            > >
            > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while
            > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
            > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of mankind,
            > I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself. ... The only
            > comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself, so it is related,
            > a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it was this discovery
            > that caused him to give up the study of astronomy, which the age now
            > demands. ...
            > >
            > > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in himself
            > a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer so easy,
            > so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the
            > world-historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a very
            > long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The more
            > profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do; the more
            > profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the more ethical
            > one becomes, the less time there is for the world-historical." ( CUP,
            > Lowrie 1953 Tr., page 144)
            > >
            > > Denmark's Christians are poor apologies for human beings when compared
            > with the pagan Socrates.
            > >
            > > SK's central criticism against his contemporaries is that they manage
            > to ignore the seriousness of their own sinful natures by indulging in
            > shallow and escapist objective thinking (in the form of speculative
            > philosophy). The temptation to shallow and escapist objective thinking
            > is always with us, and metaphysical speculation is generally of this
            > sort.
            > >
            > > While I, myself, do think it is important to pursue empirical and
            > metaphysical truth, I agree with SK that the question 'How should I
            > live?' is more urgent than the question 'What should I think?'.
            > >
            > > Yours,
            > >
            > > Jim
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > >
            >
          • jimstuart46
            Don, I ll try to clarify what I mean by this when I reply to Mederic s post. I think these are difficult issues, and I have been struggling to express my
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 10, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Don,

              I'll try to clarify what I mean by this when I reply to Mederic's post.

              I think these are difficult issues, and I have been struggling to
              express my thoughts clearly and precisely.

              Jim



              --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Don" <don@...> wrote:
              >
              > Jim,
              > I have been trying to follow this discussion but find it difficult to
              > follow. If I may I would like to ask you to clarify what you mean by
              > saying that Will and now Mederic apprach the ethical in a metaphysical
              > manner? I hope I said that correctly. Expand on what you are saying. How
              > is this different from your understanding and also from K. I certainly
              > see a difference but I'm not sure it is what you see.
              > Don
            • jimstuart46
              Dear Mederic, We are in partial disagreement concerning how to characterise the distinctively ethical despair of K/p s ethical individual. I have protested
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 10, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear Mederic,

                We are in partial disagreement concerning how to characterise the
                distinctively ethical despair of K/p's ethical individual. I have
                protested that your characterisation of it is over metaphysical, and
                lacking in sufficient ethical content.

                In your latest post (7437), you do add ethical content, so here I
                wish to concentrate on your characterisation of what you consider to
                be the essential metaphysical component of K/p's complete account of
                the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.

                Here is how you characterise the essential metaphysical component:

                << It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort with
                the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in 7245. You
                there quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of it, I
                suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be best
                found in the following part:

                "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
                becoming. After having conceived of his absolute [telos] (to be
                himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a whole new
                story."

                Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the purely
                ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the existing as
                the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it lacks of
                ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be adequately
                capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.>>

                You elaborate on these introductory remarks as follows:

                << While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed – with
                your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I
                would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s ethical
                despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my account
                of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in that it
                did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own despair
                through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor had
                I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most transparently
                only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the
                religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
                metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension, remains
                fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very originality.

                You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was anywhere to
                be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more
                precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and real
                theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this chapter
                is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the
                existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last
                paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate
                consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with the very
                appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied here for
                him as a subjective thinker.>>

                But even if I agree that Section 2 of the CUP chapter "Possible and
                Actual Theses by Lessing" (hereafter to be called "the section on
                becoming" which is found in Hong at pp. 80-93 and Lowrie at pp. 74-
                86) outlines the metaphysical grounding of K/p's ethical individual,
                how is this metaphysical grounding responsible for the inevitability
                of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair?

                You address this question at the end of your post with the following
                remarks:

                << Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this universal
                condition of being becoming:

                Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the
                ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation,
                completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet the
                universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly
                related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the
                condition of being a human-being is despair; as a consequence the
                metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a metaphysical
                development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders the
                determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or
                misunderstanding the universal condition.

                In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the condition is
                also that of the ethical despair? Well the essence of the ethical is
                to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the edifice.
                That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every
                single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence,
                every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
                absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were
                absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this despair to be
                an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its all-
                bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it is
                required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair and,
                consequently, that he realises, that he gains full consciousness of
                that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To speak in
                a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be ethical,
                despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…>>

                My first comment on your argument is this: You are quite correct to
                highlight what JC writes in the section on becoming as central to
                K/p's outlook, and to remark as to its originality. I would add
                further that it is the product of an individual who was both a
                philosophical genius and a deeply spiritual and earnest human being.

                Further it is a difficult section with many delicate arguments and
                ideas, where there is plenty of opportunity for the careless reader
                to go astray.

                Willy has rightly highlighted important passages from this section,
                and he and I have discussed some of Johannes Climacus' ideas in our
                recent discussion. In particular, the nature of the "continuous
                striving" and the contrast between the positive thinkers and the
                negative thinkers.

                A careless reader may think that the positive thinker is more inward
                than the negative thinker, but this is the opposite of JC's thought.

                A careless reader may think the fact that the continuous striving is
                a self-contradiction would be a reason for JC to argue that the
                striving must be brought to an end. But no, this is not what JC
                argues.

                A careless reader may think that JC argues that the infinite is more
                essential that the finite, that the eternal is more necessary than
                the temporal, but JC's position seems to be that the finite is just
                as essential as the infinite, and that the temporal is just as
                necessary as the eternal for the existing human being (the existing
                subjective thinker).

                According to JC, God created each human being as a synthesis composed
                of two pairs of opposites: the infinite and the finite; and the
                eternal and the temporal. The human being can come to exist as a
                subjective thinker if she becomes conscious of the creative tension
                of these two pairs of opposites within herself, and strives towards
                her absolute telos in such a way that allows these opposites to
                interact creatively with each other. This striving is also called by
                JC "becoming".

                Now to return to your characterisation of the despair of the ethical
                individual, with this metaphysical background in place.

                I think your view as presented in your latest post is nearly correct,
                and is mainly just lack one decisive element. I offer here three
                considerations which, I think, supplement, and slightly correct what
                you have written.

                First, who exactly is the "existing subjective thinker" that JC is
                describing in the section of CUP? Although you may not say so
                explicitly, I think you are thinking that it is just the ethical
                individual. By contrast, I suggest that JC intends to include both
                the ethical individual and the religious individual in this category.
                Every human being who has chosen himself in freedom, and made the
                leap out of the aesthetic sphere is correctly described as an
                existing subjective thinker, in my view.

                If I am correct, here, then the "self-contradiction" inherent in the
                continuous striving of the existing subjective thinker applies just
                as much to the Religiousness B individual as it does to the purely
                ethical individual.

                And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the heart
                of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes" cannot,
                of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's
                distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you explicitly
                say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you
                write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)

                Another consideration against your interpretation of the section on
                becoming is that the one reference to despair is to the distinctively
                aesthetic despair of the aesthete. Let me quote this reference in its
                context:

                "To be continually in the process of becoming in this way is the
                illusiveness of the infinite in existence. It could bring a sensate
                person to despair, for one continually feels an urge to have
                something finished, but this urge is of evil and must be renounced.
                The perpetual process of becoming is the uncertainty of earthly life,
                in which everything is uncertain. Every human being knows this and
                says so once in a while, especially on a solemn occasion and not
                without sweat and tears, says it directly and moves himself and
                others – and shows in action what he has already shown in the form of
                his utterance, that he does not understand what he himself is
                saying!" (CUP, Hong, p. 86)



                The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the aesthete,
                not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of despair.

                So I agree with you that in this section of CUP, JC does describe the
                essential metaphysical grounding of the existing subjective thinker,
                but, as against what you seem to imply (again please correct me if
                you think I am being unjust), he describes this as a positive (i.e.
                happy) feature of the individual's life, and not something which, of
                itself, when consciously reflected upon reveals to the ethical
                individual a source of his own despair.

                Actually, I think you probably can claim that what I am saying is
                what you implied anyway, and that an extra component is needed for
                the complete metaphysical framework for the ethicist's despair. This
                extra component seems to be this thought from near the end of your
                post:

                << That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every
                single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence,
                every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
                absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                despair which ruins the category: the ethical.>>

                Yes, this metaphysical framework is all necessary for a full
                characterisation of the ethicist's despair, but it is not sufficient.
                A very different metaphysical feature of the existing human being is
                the primary source of his despair, in my opinion. Consider this
                passage from further on in CUP, which your inclusion of my original
                post on "Ethics and Metaphysics" brought to my attention:

                "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while
                all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself. ...
                The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself, so it
                is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it was
                this discovery that caused him to give up the study of astronomy,
                which the age now demands. ...

                Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in himself
                a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer so
                easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the world-
                historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a very
                long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The more
                profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do; the
                more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the more
                ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-
                historical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 144, Hong, p. 161)

                Ethical insight reveals to Socrates that he had within himself "a
                disposition to all sorts of evil". This, I suggest, is the
                metaphysical grounding, within each of us which is the ultimate
                source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                (Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily follows
                from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in the
                section on becoming.)

                Having said this, let me retract this formulation, and say instead
                that the ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively
                ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition
                and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical
                background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He
                cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is
                the source of his own despair.

                So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                individual's distinctively ethical despair? It does not differ too
                greatly from your account, and, I would like to finish by saying that
                I have learnt a great deal by reflecting on what you have written.

                Yours,

                Jim
              • Médéric Laitier
                Dear James, Thank you very, very much! I think very highly of the subtle point you have made here, especially in your last few paragraphs. And I think you are
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 10, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                   

                  Dear James,

                  Thank you very, very much! I think very highly of the subtle point you have made here, especially in your last few paragraphs. And I think you are essentially* correct in the but last one. There would possibly be, to be complete, but one thing to add, it is the dialectical ambiguity of the concept of dread in the state of innocence. Somehow, this ambiguity was not so clear to me until the moment I read your but last paragraph and then suddenly everything just fell where it should, where it belonged. All my redoubled thanks to you for this one side-benefit in particular!

                  Now two or three remarks on the tiny little details on the way which has led you (and consequently us) to this conclusion.

                  You have mentioned and insisted upon a possibility - a careless reader. Was I supposed to identify myself with him in any of his possible errors?

                  While I don't think I have ever hinted that the positive had a greater inwardness than the negative I wonder if I was ever so obscure as to let hear that:

                  a- the striving was pointless and to be terminated at some point

                  b- the infinite was more decisive in the human condition than the finite

                  I have never intended to do that, to let hear that but if I was obscure let me correct: the striving is the infinite task and is a synonym to existing in the awareness of one's existence; as for the infinite, it receives its most advanced dialectical determination in the §2 within the finite in this that it is gained, the infinite is gained, as the constant, the permanent the every instant's uncertainty of the human life in relation to its finitness: the next instant may be the last one - Cf the passage on Socrates and his rendez-vous with the idea.

                  Then you ask me who, in my opinion, is this subjective thinker? Why does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? Or perhaps even the one behind this vaporous figure, does he not?

                  You thought I limited him to the ethical individual, did you? How is that possible? I cannot understand how I may have given you this impression; my understanding was that an individual who had understood the absolute of the ethical requirement as the essence of the ethical requirement but who laid claim to remaining in the purely ethical sphere by denying admittance to an element of transcendance in his nature was stuck with despair, stuck with the dysrelation to his own nature - or condition. The subjective thinker has the absolute of the requirement well in place but eventually he has also a clear consciousness of the becoming condition and renders this in the form of his thinking (his style) as in the content of his life (the expression of his personality). No, by all means, I never intended to make of this category a synonym of the despaired ethicist's!

                  'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the heart of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes" cannot,  of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's  distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you explicitly  say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you  write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)'

                  Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word grounding in this context. You appear to have understood me understanding it as the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as the metaphysics - i.e. as the principle, the possibility. We don't exist in the metaphysical. We exist in the concrete; the metaphysical, if it has any value, has a value in proposing the bare bones of every possibility; I think Ben called them ideals. The utmost contradiction as the metaphysical grounding of the (ethical) despair is consequently not to be understood as its necessity for all human being (a necessity no matter what) but rather as its very possibility (depending on how one actually relates to it i.e. how one relates to oneself). This was how I understood (and how I understand) the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an idiosyncratic use of the notion, by any chance?

                  'The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the aesthete,  not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of despair.'

                  Yes, well, sure you can read and clearly if K. had explicitly described the metaphysical in relation to properly ethical despair in this passage, you can be sure that I would have posted it quite ostensibly. Now if you will remember, you had denied citizenship to the very idea of a metaphysical compound (albeit the becoming) in the state of the despair as defined by K. so I was already quite happy to find one explicit relation in this passage.

                  Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate for the existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either. And it is not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the abstract ideal here. It is already quite surprising he even mentioned the possibility of the sensuous despair so early.

                  "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while  all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon  themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of  mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself.

                  I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the qualification of his wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is saying is that he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men quite as a wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient Athens. Depraved and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the ethical!

                  Yet you have a point, you have a point in the next paragraphs and if I have begun this piece with it it is not to deny it in the end. The following argument is particularly decisive:

                  'Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily follows  from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in the  section on becoming.'

                  Absolutely!

                  '[T]he ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition  and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical  background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical individual's despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is the source of his own despair.

                  Absolutely to the second power!

                  So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical  individual's distinctively ethical despair?'

                  Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left to say! Now if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are you saying here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of your ultimate happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a scorching reef for this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical relevance? Is it, within the realm of ethics, something quite dialectical?

                  Well, are we not catching up with willyb here?

                  Yours sincerely,

                  Mederic

                  * and decisively


                  --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46" <jjimstuart@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Dear Mederic,
                  >
                  > We are in partial disagreement concerning how to characterise the
                  > distinctively ethical despair of K/p's ethical individual. I have
                  > protested that your characterisation of it is over metaphysical, and
                  > lacking in sufficient ethical content.
                  >
                  > In your latest post (7437), you do add ethical content, so here I
                  > wish to concentrate on your characterisation of what you consider to
                  > be the essential metaphysical component of K/p's complete account of
                  > the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                  >
                  > Here is how you characterise the essential metaphysical component:
                  >
                  > << It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort with
                  > the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in 7245. You
                  > there quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of it, I
                  > suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be best
                  > found in the following part:
                  >
                  > "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
                  > becoming. After having conceived of his absolute [telos] (to be
                  > himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a whole new
                  > story."
                  >
                  > Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the purely
                  > ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the existing as
                  > the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it lacks of
                  > ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be adequately
                  > capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.>>
                  >
                  > You elaborate on these introductory remarks as follows:
                  >
                  > << While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed – with
                  > your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I
                  > would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s ethical
                  > despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my account
                  > of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in that it
                  > did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own despair
                  > through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor had
                  > I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most transparently
                  > only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the
                  > religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
                  > metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension, remains
                  > fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very originality.
                  >
                  > You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was anywhere to
                  > be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more
                  > precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and real
                  > theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this chapter
                  > is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the
                  > existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last
                  > paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate
                  > consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with the very
                  > appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied here for
                  > him as a subjective thinker.>>
                  >
                  > But even if I agree that Section 2 of the CUP chapter "Possible and
                  > Actual Theses by Lessing" (hereafter to be called "the section on
                  > becoming" which is found in Hong at pp. 80-93 and Lowrie at pp. 74-
                  > 86) outlines the metaphysical grounding of K/p's ethical individual,
                  > how is this metaphysical grounding responsible for the inevitability
                  > of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair?
                  >
                  > You address this question at the end of your post with the following
                  > remarks:
                  >
                  > << Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this universal
                  > condition of being becoming:
                  >
                  > Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the
                  > ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation,
                  > completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet the
                  > universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly
                  > related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the
                  > condition of being a human-being is despair; as a consequence the
                  > metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a metaphysical
                  > development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders the
                  > determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or
                  > misunderstanding the universal condition.
                  >
                  > In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the condition is
                  > also that of the ethical despair? Well the essence of the ethical is
                  > to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the edifice.
                  > That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every
                  > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence,
                  > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
                  > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                  > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                  > despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were
                  > absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this despair to be
                  > an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its all-
                  > bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it is
                  > required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair and,
                  > consequently, that he realises, that he gains full consciousness of
                  > that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To speak in
                  > a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be ethical,
                  > despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…>>
                  >
                  > My first comment on your argument is this: You are quite correct to
                  > highlight what JC writes in the section on becoming as central to
                  > K/p's outlook, and to remark as to its originality. I would add
                  > further that it is the product of an individual who was both a
                  > philosophical genius and a deeply spiritual and earnest human being.
                  >
                  > Further it is a difficult section with many delicate arguments and
                  > ideas, where there is plenty of opportunity for the careless reader
                  > to go astray.
                  >
                  > Willy has rightly highlighted important passages from this section,
                  > and he and I have discussed some of Johannes Climacus' ideas in our
                  > recent discussion. In particular, the nature of the "continuous
                  > striving" and the contrast between the positive thinkers and the
                  > negative thinkers.
                  >
                  > A careless reader may think that the positive thinker is more inward
                  > than the negative thinker, but this is the opposite of JC's thought.
                  >
                  > A careless reader may think the fact that the continuous striving is
                  > a self-contradiction would be a reason for JC to argue that the
                  > striving must be brought to an end. But no, this is not what JC
                  > argues.
                  >
                  > A careless reader may think that JC argues that the infinite is more
                  > essential that the finite, that the eternal is more necessary than
                  > the temporal, but JC's position seems to be that the finite is just
                  > as essential as the infinite, and that the temporal is just as
                  > necessary as the eternal for the existing human being (the existing
                  > subjective thinker).
                  >
                  > According to JC, God created each human being as a synthesis composed
                  > of two pairs of opposites: the infinite and the finite; and the
                  > eternal and the temporal. The human being can come to exist as a
                  > subjective thinker if she becomes conscious of the creative tension
                  > of these two pairs of opposites within herself, and strives towards
                  > her absolute telos in such a way that allows these opposites to
                  > interact creatively with each other. This striving is also called by
                  > JC "becoming".
                  >
                  > Now to return to your characterisation of the despair of the ethical
                  > individual, with this metaphysical background in place.
                  >
                  > I think your view as presented in your latest post is nearly correct,
                  > and is mainly just lack one decisive element. I offer here three
                  > considerations which, I think, supplement, and slightly correct what
                  > you have written.
                  >
                  > First, who exactly is the "existing subjective thinker" that JC is
                  > describing in the section of CUP? Although you may not say so
                  > explicitly, I think you are thinking that it is just the ethical
                  > individual. By contrast, I suggest that JC intends to include both
                  > the ethical individual and the religious individual in this category.
                  > Every human being who has chosen himself in freedom, and made the
                  > leap out of the aesthetic sphere is correctly described as an
                  > existing subjective thinker, in my view.
                  >
                  > If I am correct, here, then the "self-contradiction" inherent in the
                  > continuous striving of the existing subjective thinker applies just
                  > as much to the Religiousness B individual as it does to the purely
                  > ethical individual.
                  >
                  > And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the heart
                  > of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes" cannot,
                  > of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's
                  > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you explicitly
                  > say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you
                  > write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)
                  >
                  > Another consideration against your interpretation of the section on
                  > becoming is that the one reference to despair is to the distinctively
                  > aesthetic despair of the aesthete. Let me quote this reference in its
                  > context:
                  >
                  > "To be continually in the process of becoming in this way is the
                  > illusiveness of the infinite in existence. It could bring a sensate
                  > person to despair, for one continually feels an urge to have
                  > something finished, but this urge is of evil and must be renounced.
                  > The perpetual process of becoming is the uncertainty of earthly life,
                  > in which everything is uncertain. Every human being knows this and
                  > says so once in a while, especially on a solemn occasion and not
                  > without sweat and tears, says it directly and moves himself and
                  > others – and shows in action what he has already shown in the form of
                  > his utterance, that he does not understand what he himself is
                  > saying!" (CUP, Hong, p. 86)
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                  > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the aesthete,
                  > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of despair.
                  >
                  > So I agree with you that in this section of CUP, JC does describe the
                  > essential metaphysical grounding of the existing subjective thinker,
                  > but, as against what you seem to imply (again please correct me if
                  > you think I am being unjust), he describes this as a positive (i.e.
                  > happy) feature of the individual's life, and not something which, of
                  > itself, when consciously reflected upon reveals to the ethical
                  > individual a source of his own despair.
                  >
                  > Actually, I think you probably can claim that what I am saying is
                  > what you implied anyway, and that an extra component is needed for
                  > the complete metaphysical framework for the ethicist's despair. This
                  > extra component seems to be this thought from near the end of your
                  > post:
                  >
                  > << That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every
                  > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence,
                  > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
                  > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                  > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                  > despair which ruins the category: the ethical.>>
                  >
                  > Yes, this metaphysical framework is all necessary for a full
                  > characterisation of the ethicist's despair, but it is not sufficient.
                  > A very different metaphysical feature of the existing human being is
                  > the primary source of his despair, in my opinion. Consider this
                  > passage from further on in CUP, which your inclusion of my original
                  > post on "Ethics and Metaphysics" brought to my attention:
                  >
                  > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while
                  > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                  > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                  > mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself. ...
                  > The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself, so it
                  > is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it was
                  > this discovery that caused him to give up the study of astronomy,
                  > which the age now demands. ...
                  >
                  > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in himself
                  > a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer so
                  > easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the world-
                  > historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a very
                  > long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The more
                  > profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do; the
                  > more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the more
                  > ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-
                  > historical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 144, Hong, p. 161)
                  >
                  > Ethical insight reveals to Socrates that he had within himself "a
                  > disposition to all sorts of evil". This, I suggest, is the
                  > metaphysical grounding, within each of us which is the ultimate
                  > source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                  > (Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily follows
                  > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in the
                  > section on becoming.)
                  >
                  > Having said this, let me retract this formulation, and say instead
                  > that the ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively
                  > ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition
                  > and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical
                  > background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                  > despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He
                  > cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is
                  > the source of his own despair.
                  >
                  > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                  > individual's distinctively ethical despair? It does not differ too
                  > greatly from your account, and, I would like to finish by saying that
                  > I have learnt a great deal by reflecting on what you have written.
                  >
                  > Yours,
                  >
                  > Jim
                  >
                • Médéric Laitier
                  A correction, please replace: Why does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? by: Why, does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? ... you ... of ...
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
                  • 0 Attachment
                    A correction, please replace:

                    Why does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?

                    by:

                    Why, does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?



                    --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier <hidepark21@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Dear James,
                    >
                    > Thank you very, very much! I think very highly of the subtle point you
                    > have made here, especially in your last few paragraphs. And I think you
                    > are essentially* correct in the but last one. There would possibly be,
                    > to be complete, but one thing to add, it is the dialectical ambiguity of
                    > the concept of dread in the state of innocence. Somehow, this ambiguity
                    > was not so clear to me until the moment I read your but last paragraph
                    > and then suddenly everything just fell where it should, where it
                    > belonged. All my redoubled thanks to you for this one side-benefit in
                    > particular!
                    >
                    > Now two or three remarks on the tiny little details on the way which has
                    > led you (and consequently us) to this conclusion.
                    >
                    > You have mentioned and insisted upon a possibility - a careless reader.
                    > Was I supposed to identify myself with him in any of his possible
                    > errors?
                    >
                    > While I don't think I have ever hinted that the positive had a greater
                    > inwardness than the negative I wonder if I was ever so obscure as to let
                    > hear that:
                    >
                    > a- the striving was pointless and to be terminated at some point
                    >
                    > b- the infinite was more decisive in the human condition than the finite
                    >
                    > I have never intended to do that, to let hear that but if I was obscure
                    > let me correct: the striving is the infinite task and is a synonym to
                    > existing in the awareness of one's existence; as for the infinite, it
                    > receives its most advanced dialectical determination in the §2 within
                    > the finite in this that it is gained, the infinite is gained, as the
                    > constant, the permanent the every instant's uncertainty of the human
                    > life in relation to its finitness: the next instant may be the last one
                    > - Cf the passage on Socrates and his rendez-vous with the idea.
                    >
                    > Then you ask me who, in my opinion, is this subjective thinker? Why does
                    > he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? Or perhaps even the one
                    > behind this vaporous figure, does he not?
                    >
                    > You thought I limited him to the ethical individual, did you? How is
                    > that possible? I cannot understand how I may have given you this
                    > impression; my understanding was that an individual who had understood
                    > the absolute of the ethical requirement as the essence of the ethical
                    > requirement but who laid claim to remaining in the purely ethical sphere
                    > by denying admittance to an element of transcendance in his nature was
                    > stuck with despair, stuck with the dysrelation to his own nature - or
                    > condition. The subjective thinker has the absolute of the requirement
                    > well in place but eventually he has also a clear consciousness of the
                    > becoming condition and renders this in the form of his thinking (his
                    > style) as in the content of his life (the expression of his
                    > personality). No, by all means, I never intended to make of this
                    > category a synonym of the despaired ethicist's!
                    >
                    > 'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the heart of
                    > the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes" cannot, of
                    > itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's
                    > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you explicitly say
                    > this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you write. –
                    > I may be being unfair to you here.)'
                    >
                    > Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word grounding
                    > in this context. You appear to have understood me understanding it as
                    > the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as the metaphysics - i.e.
                    > as the principle, the possibility. We don't exist in the metaphysical.
                    > We exist in the concrete; the metaphysical, if it has any value, has a
                    > value in proposing the bare bones of every possibility; I think Ben
                    > called them ideals. The utmost contradiction as the metaphysical
                    > grounding of the (ethical) despair is consequently not to be understood
                    > as its necessity for all human being (a necessity no matter what) but
                    > rather as its very possibility (depending on how one actually relates to
                    > it i.e. how one relates to oneself). This was how I understood (and how
                    > I understand) the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an idiosyncratic use
                    > of the notion, by any chance?
                    >
                    > 'The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                    > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the aesthete,
                    > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of despair.'
                    >
                    > Yes, well, sure you can read and clearly if K. had explicitly described
                    > the metaphysical in relation to properly ethical despair in this
                    > passage, you can be sure that I would have posted it quite ostensibly.
                    > Now if you will remember, you had denied citizenship to the very idea of
                    > a metaphysical compound (albeit the becoming) in the state of the
                    > despair as defined by K. so I was already quite happy to find one
                    > explicit relation in this passage.
                    >
                    > Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate for the
                    > existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either. And it is
                    > not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the abstract ideal here.
                    > It is already quite surprising he even mentioned the possibility of the
                    > sensuous despair so early.
                    >
                    > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while all
                    > the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                    > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of mankind,
                    > I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself.
                    >
                    > I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the qualification of his
                    > wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is saying is that
                    > he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men quite as a
                    > wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient Athens. Depraved
                    > and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the ethical!
                    >
                    > Yet you have a point, you have a point in the next paragraphs and if I
                    > have begun this piece with it it is not to deny it in the end. The
                    > following argument is particularly decisive:
                    >
                    > 'Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily follows
                    > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in the
                    > section on becoming.'
                    >
                    > Absolutely!
                    >
                    > '[T]he ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical
                    > despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition and commit
                    > a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical background in place,
                    > the ultimate source of the ethical individual's despair is something
                    > ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He cannot blame his
                    > nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is the source of his own
                    > despair.
                    >
                    > Absolutely to the second power!
                    >
                    > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                    > individual's distinctively ethical despair?'
                    >
                    > Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left to say! Now
                    > if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are you saying
                    > here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of your ultimate
                    > happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a scorching reef for
                    > this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical relevance? Is it,
                    > within the realm of ethics, something quite dialectical?
                    >
                    >
                    > Well, are we not catching up with willyb here?
                    >
                    > Yours sincerely,
                    >
                    > Mederic
                    >
                    >
                    > * and decisively
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46" jjimstuart@
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Dear Mederic,
                    > >
                    > > We are in partial disagreement concerning how to characterise the
                    > > distinctively ethical despair of K/p's ethical individual. I have
                    > > protested that your characterisation of it is over metaphysical, and
                    > > lacking in sufficient ethical content.
                    > >
                    > > In your latest post (7437), you do add ethical content, so here I
                    > > wish to concentrate on your characterisation of what you consider to
                    > > be the essential metaphysical component of K/p's complete account of
                    > > the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                    > >
                    > > Here is how you characterise the essential metaphysical component:
                    > >
                    > > << It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort with
                    > > the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in 7245. You
                    > > there quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of it, I
                    > > suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be best
                    > > found in the following part:
                    > >
                    > > "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
                    > > becoming. After having conceived of his absolute [telos] (to be
                    > > himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a whole new
                    > > story."
                    > >
                    > > Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the purely
                    > > ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the existing as
                    > > the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it lacks of
                    > > ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be adequately
                    > > capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.>>
                    > >
                    > > You elaborate on these introductory remarks as follows:
                    > >
                    > > << While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed –
                    > with
                    > > your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I
                    > > would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s ethical
                    > > despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my account
                    > > of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in that it
                    > > did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own despair
                    > > through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor
                    > had
                    > > I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most transparently
                    > > only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the
                    > > religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
                    > > metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension, remains
                    > > fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very originality.
                    > >
                    > > You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was anywhere to
                    > > be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more
                    > > precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and real
                    > > theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this
                    > chapter
                    > > is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the
                    > > existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last
                    > > paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate
                    > > consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with the very
                    > > appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied here for
                    > > him as a subjective thinker.>>
                    > >
                    > > But even if I agree that Section 2 of the CUP chapter "Possible and
                    > > Actual Theses by Lessing" (hereafter to be called "the section on
                    > > becoming" which is found in Hong at pp. 80-93 and Lowrie at pp. 74-
                    > > 86) outlines the metaphysical grounding of K/p's ethical individual,
                    > > how is this metaphysical grounding responsible for the inevitability
                    > > of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair?
                    > >
                    > > You address this question at the end of your post with the following
                    > > remarks:
                    > >
                    > > << Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this universal
                    > > condition of being becoming:
                    > >
                    > > Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the
                    > > ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation,
                    > > completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet the
                    > > universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly
                    > > related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the
                    > > condition of being a human-being is despair; as a consequence the
                    > > metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a metaphysical
                    > > development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders the
                    > > determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or
                    > > misunderstanding the universal condition.
                    > >
                    > > In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the condition is
                    > > also that of the ethical despair? Well the essence of the ethical is
                    > > to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the edifice.
                    > > That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every
                    > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence,
                    > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
                    > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                    > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                    > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were
                    > > absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this despair to be
                    > > an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its all-
                    > > bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it is
                    > > required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair and,
                    > > consequently, that he realises, that he gains full consciousness of
                    > > that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To speak in
                    > > a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be ethical,
                    > > despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…>>
                    > >
                    > > My first comment on your argument is this: You are quite correct to
                    > > highlight what JC writes in the section on becoming as central to
                    > > K/p's outlook, and to remark as to its originality. I would add
                    > > further that it is the product of an individual who was both a
                    > > philosophical genius and a deeply spiritual and earnest human being.
                    > >
                    > > Further it is a difficult section with many delicate arguments and
                    > > ideas, where there is plenty of opportunity for the careless reader
                    > > to go astray.
                    > >
                    > > Willy has rightly highlighted important passages from this section,
                    > > and he and I have discussed some of Johannes Climacus' ideas in our
                    > > recent discussion. In particular, the nature of the "continuous
                    > > striving" and the contrast between the positive thinkers and the
                    > > negative thinkers.
                    > >
                    > > A careless reader may think that the positive thinker is more inward
                    > > than the negative thinker, but this is the opposite of JC's thought.
                    > >
                    > > A careless reader may think the fact that the continuous striving is
                    > > a self-contradiction would be a reason for JC to argue that the
                    > > striving must be brought to an end. But no, this is not what JC
                    > > argues.
                    > >
                    > > A careless reader may think that JC argues that the infinite is more
                    > > essential that the finite, that the eternal is more necessary than
                    > > the temporal, but JC's position seems to be that the finite is just
                    > > as essential as the infinite, and that the temporal is just as
                    > > necessary as the eternal for the existing human being (the existing
                    > > subjective thinker).
                    > >
                    > > According to JC, God created each human being as a synthesis composed
                    > > of two pairs of opposites: the infinite and the finite; and the
                    > > eternal and the temporal. The human being can come to exist as a
                    > > subjective thinker if she becomes conscious of the creative tension
                    > > of these two pairs of opposites within herself, and strives towards
                    > > her absolute telos in such a way that allows these opposites to
                    > > interact creatively with each other. This striving is also called by
                    > > JC "becoming".
                    > >
                    > > Now to return to your characterisation of the despair of the ethical
                    > > individual, with this metaphysical background in place.
                    > >
                    > > I think your view as presented in your latest post is nearly correct,
                    > > and is mainly just lack one decisive element. I offer here three
                    > > considerations which, I think, supplement, and slightly correct what
                    > > you have written.
                    > >
                    > > First, who exactly is the "existing subjective thinker" that JC is
                    > > describing in the section of CUP? Although you may not say so
                    > > explicitly, I think you are thinking that it is just the ethical
                    > > individual. By contrast, I suggest that JC intends to include both
                    > > the ethical individual and the religious individual in this category.
                    > > Every human being who has chosen himself in freedom, and made the
                    > > leap out of the aesthetic sphere is correctly described as an
                    > > existing subjective thinker, in my view.
                    > >
                    > > If I am correct, here, then the "self-contradiction" inherent in the
                    > > continuous striving of the existing subjective thinker applies just
                    > > as much to the Religiousness B individual as it does to the purely
                    > > ethical individual.
                    > >
                    > > And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the heart
                    > > of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes" cannot,
                    > > of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's
                    > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you explicitly
                    > > say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you
                    > > write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)
                    > >
                    > > Another consideration against your interpretation of the section on
                    > > becoming is that the one reference to despair is to the distinctively
                    > > aesthetic despair of the aesthete. Let me quote this reference in its
                    > > context:
                    > >
                    > > "To be continually in the process of becoming in this way is the
                    > > illusiveness of the infinite in existence. It could bring a sensate
                    > > person to despair, for one continually feels an urge to have
                    > > something finished, but this urge is of evil and must be renounced.
                    > > The perpetual process of becoming is the uncertainty of earthly life,
                    > > in which everything is uncertain. Every human being knows this and
                    > > says so once in a while, especially on a solemn occasion and not
                    > > without sweat and tears, says it directly and moves himself and
                    > > others – and shows in action what he has already shown in the form
                    > of
                    > > his utterance, that he does not understand what he himself is
                    > > saying!" (CUP, Hong, p. 86)
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                    > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the aesthete,
                    > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of despair.
                    > >
                    > > So I agree with you that in this section of CUP, JC does describe the
                    > > essential metaphysical grounding of the existing subjective thinker,
                    > > but, as against what you seem to imply (again please correct me if
                    > > you think I am being unjust), he describes this as a positive (i.e.
                    > > happy) feature of the individual's life, and not something which, of
                    > > itself, when consciously reflected upon reveals to the ethical
                    > > individual a source of his own despair.
                    > >
                    > > Actually, I think you probably can claim that what I am saying is
                    > > what you implied anyway, and that an extra component is needed for
                    > > the complete metaphysical framework for the ethicist's despair. This
                    > > extra component seems to be this thought from near the end of your
                    > > post:
                    > >
                    > > << That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein every
                    > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as consequence,
                    > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical with its
                    > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                    > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                    > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical.>>
                    > >
                    > > Yes, this metaphysical framework is all necessary for a full
                    > > characterisation of the ethicist's despair, but it is not sufficient.
                    > > A very different metaphysical feature of the existing human being is
                    > > the primary source of his despair, in my opinion. Consider this
                    > > passage from further on in CUP, which your inclusion of my original
                    > > post on "Ethics and Metaphysics" brought to my attention:
                    > >
                    > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while
                    > > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                    > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                    > > mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself. ...
                    > > The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself, so it
                    > > is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it was
                    > > this discovery that caused him to give up the study of astronomy,
                    > > which the age now demands. ...
                    > >
                    > > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in himself
                    > > a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer so
                    > > easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the world-
                    > > historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a very
                    > > long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The more
                    > > profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do; the
                    > > more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the more
                    > > ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-
                    > > historical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 144, Hong, p. 161)
                    > >
                    > > Ethical insight reveals to Socrates that he had within himself "a
                    > > disposition to all sorts of evil". This, I suggest, is the
                    > > metaphysical grounding, within each of us which is the ultimate
                    > > source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                    > > (Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily follows
                    > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in the
                    > > section on becoming.)
                    > >
                    > > Having said this, let me retract this formulation, and say instead
                    > > that the ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively
                    > > ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition
                    > > and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical
                    > > background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                    > > despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He
                    > > cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is
                    > > the source of his own despair.
                    > >
                    > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                    > > individual's distinctively ethical despair? It does not differ too
                    > > greatly from your account, and, I would like to finish by saying that
                    > > I have learnt a great deal by reflecting on what you have written.
                    > >
                    > > Yours,
                    > >
                    > > Jim
                    > >
                    >
                  • fuseki18
                    Lol! try Why? Doesn t he bear a resemblance to JC? if it is a real question you are asking or Why, doesn t he bear a resemblance to JC? If it is a
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Lol!

                      try "Why? Doesn't he bear a resemblance to JC?" if it is a real
                      question you are asking

                      or "Why, doesn't he bear a resemblance to JC? If it is a rhetorical
                      question.

                      In either case the "himself" is redundant (and gives you an Irish
                      accent comically) and the "does he not" is archaic, or colloquial
                      dialect. Unless you are meaning to sound like Shakespeare for effect
                      of course...

                      Your English is much better elsewhere Mederic. For a linguist at your
                      level these mistakes are surprisingly out of character.


                      Fuseki


                      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                      <hidepark21@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > A correction, please replace:
                      >
                      > Why does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?
                      >
                      > by:
                      >
                      > Why, does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                      > <hidepark21@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Dear James,
                      > >
                      > > Thank you very, very much! I think very highly of the subtle
                      point you
                      > > have made here, especially in your last few paragraphs. And I
                      think
                      > you
                      > > are essentially* correct in the but last one. There would
                      possibly be,
                      > > to be complete, but one thing to add, it is the dialectical
                      ambiguity
                      > of
                      > > the concept of dread in the state of innocence. Somehow, this
                      > ambiguity
                      > > was not so clear to me until the moment I read your but last
                      paragraph
                      > > and then suddenly everything just fell where it should, where it
                      > > belonged. All my redoubled thanks to you for this one side-
                      benefit in
                      > > particular!
                      > >
                      > > Now two or three remarks on the tiny little details on the way
                      which
                      > has
                      > > led you (and consequently us) to this conclusion.
                      > >
                      > > You have mentioned and insisted upon a possibility - a careless
                      > reader.
                      > > Was I supposed to identify myself with him in any of his possible
                      > > errors?
                      > >
                      > > While I don't think I have ever hinted that the positive had a
                      greater
                      > > inwardness than the negative I wonder if I was ever so obscure as
                      to
                      > let
                      > > hear that:
                      > >
                      > > a- the striving was pointless and to be terminated at some point
                      > >
                      > > b- the infinite was more decisive in the human condition than the
                      > finite
                      > >
                      > > I have never intended to do that, to let hear that but if I was
                      > obscure
                      > > let me correct: the striving is the infinite task and is a
                      synonym to
                      > > existing in the awareness of one's existence; as for the
                      infinite, it
                      > > receives its most advanced dialectical determination in the §2
                      > within
                      > > the finite in this that it is gained, the infinite is gained, as
                      the
                      > > constant, the permanent the every instant's uncertainty of the
                      human
                      > > life in relation to its finitness: the next instant may be the
                      last
                      > one
                      > > - Cf the passage on Socrates and his rendez-vous with the idea.
                      > >
                      > > Then you ask me who, in my opinion, is this subjective thinker?
                      Why
                      > does
                      > > he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? Or perhaps even the one
                      > > behind this vaporous figure, does he not?
                      > >
                      > > You thought I limited him to the ethical individual, did you? How
                      is
                      > > that possible? I cannot understand how I may have given you this
                      > > impression; my understanding was that an individual who had
                      understood
                      > > the absolute of the ethical requirement as the essence of the
                      ethical
                      > > requirement but who laid claim to remaining in the purely ethical
                      > sphere
                      > > by denying admittance to an element of transcendance in his
                      nature was
                      > > stuck with despair, stuck with the dysrelation to his own nature -
                      or
                      > > condition. The subjective thinker has the absolute of the
                      requirement
                      > > well in place but eventually he has also a clear consciousness of
                      the
                      > > becoming condition and renders this in the form of his thinking
                      (his
                      > > style) as in the content of his life (the expression of his
                      > > personality). No, by all means, I never intended to make of this
                      > > category a synonym of the despaired ethicist's!
                      > >
                      > > 'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the
                      heart
                      > of
                      > > the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                      cannot, of
                      > > itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's
                      > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you
                      explicitly
                      > say
                      > > this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you write.
                      > –
                      > > I may be being unfair to you here.)'
                      > >
                      > > Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word
                      > grounding
                      > > in this context. You appear to have understood me understanding
                      it as
                      > > the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as the
                      metaphysics -
                      > i.e.
                      > > as the principle, the possibility. We don't exist in the
                      metaphysical.
                      > > We exist in the concrete; the metaphysical, if it has any value,
                      has a
                      > > value in proposing the bare bones of every possibility; I think
                      Ben
                      > > called them ideals. The utmost contradiction as the metaphysical
                      > > grounding of the (ethical) despair is consequently not to be
                      > understood
                      > > as its necessity for all human being (a necessity no matter what)
                      but
                      > > rather as its very possibility (depending on how one actually
                      relates
                      > to
                      > > it i.e. how one relates to oneself). This was how I understood
                      (and
                      > how
                      > > I understand) the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an
                      idiosyncratic
                      > use
                      > > of the notion, by any chance?
                      > >
                      > > 'The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                      > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the
                      aesthete,
                      > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of
                      despair.'
                      > >
                      > > Yes, well, sure you can read and clearly if K. had explicitly
                      > described
                      > > the metaphysical in relation to properly ethical despair in this
                      > > passage, you can be sure that I would have posted it quite
                      ostensibly.
                      > > Now if you will remember, you had denied citizenship to the very
                      idea
                      > of
                      > > a metaphysical compound (albeit the becoming) in the state of the
                      > > despair as defined by K. so I was already quite happy to find one
                      > > explicit relation in this passage.
                      > >
                      > > Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate for
                      the
                      > > existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either.
                      And it
                      > is
                      > > not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the abstract ideal
                      > here.
                      > > It is already quite surprising he even mentioned the possibility
                      of
                      > the
                      > > sensuous despair so early.
                      > >
                      > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true;
                      while
                      > all
                      > > the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                      > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                      > mankind,
                      > > I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself.
                      > >
                      > > I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the qualification
                      of his
                      > > wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is saying is
                      that
                      > > he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men
                      quite as
                      > a
                      > > wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient Athens.
                      Depraved
                      > > and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the ethical!
                      > >
                      > > Yet you have a point, you have a point in the next paragraphs and
                      if I
                      > > have begun this piece with it it is not to deny it in the end. The
                      > > following argument is particularly decisive:
                      > >
                      > > 'Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily
                      follows
                      > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in
                      the
                      > > section on becoming.'
                      > >
                      > > Absolutely!
                      > >
                      > > '[T]he ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively
                      > ethical
                      > > despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition and
                      > commit
                      > > a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical background in
                      > place,
                      > > the ultimate source of the ethical individual's despair is
                      something
                      > > ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He cannot blame his
                      > > nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is the source of
                      his
                      > own
                      > > despair.
                      > >
                      > > Absolutely to the second power!
                      > >
                      > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                      > > individual's distinctively ethical despair?'
                      > >
                      > > Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left to
                      say!
                      > Now
                      > > if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are you
                      saying
                      > > here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of your
                      ultimate
                      > > happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a scorching reef
                      for
                      > > this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical relevance? Is
                      it,
                      > > within the realm of ethics, something quite dialectical?
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Well, are we not catching up with willyb here?
                      > >
                      > > Yours sincerely,
                      > >
                      > > Mederic
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > * and decisively
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46" jjimstuart@
                      > > wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Dear Mederic,
                      > > >
                      > > > We are in partial disagreement concerning how to characterise
                      the
                      > > > distinctively ethical despair of K/p's ethical individual. I
                      have
                      > > > protested that your characterisation of it is over
                      metaphysical, and
                      > > > lacking in sufficient ethical content.
                      > > >
                      > > > In your latest post (7437), you do add ethical content, so here
                      I
                      > > > wish to concentrate on your characterisation of what you
                      consider to
                      > > > be the essential metaphysical component of K/p's complete
                      account of
                      > > > the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                      > > >
                      > > > Here is how you characterise the essential metaphysical
                      component:
                      > > >
                      > > > << It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort
                      with
                      > > > the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in
                      7245.
                      > You
                      > > > there quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of
                      it,
                      > I
                      > > > suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be
                      best
                      > > > found in the following part:
                      > > >
                      > > > "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
                      > > > becoming. After having conceived of his absolute [telos] (to be
                      > > > himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a
                      whole new
                      > > > story."
                      > > >
                      > > > Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the
                      > purely
                      > > > ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the
                      existing as
                      > > > the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it
                      lacks of
                      > > > ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be
                      adequately
                      > > > capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.>>
                      > > >
                      > > > You elaborate on these introductory remarks as follows:
                      > > >
                      > > > << While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed –
                      > > with
                      > > > your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I
                      > > > would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s
                      ethical
                      > > > despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my
                      > account
                      > > > of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in
                      that it
                      > > > did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own
                      > despair
                      > > > through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor
                      > > had
                      > > > I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most
                      transparently
                      > > > only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the
                      > > > religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
                      > > > metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension,
                      > remains
                      > > > fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very
                      originality.
                      > > >
                      > > > You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was
                      anywhere to
                      > > > be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more
                      > > > precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and
                      real
                      > > > theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this
                      > > chapter
                      > > > is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the
                      > > > existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last
                      > > > paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate
                      > > > consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with the
                      very
                      > > > appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied
                      here
                      > for
                      > > > him as a subjective thinker.>>
                      > > >
                      > > > But even if I agree that Section 2 of the CUP chapter "Possible
                      and
                      > > > Actual Theses by Lessing" (hereafter to be called "the section
                      on
                      > > > becoming" which is found in Hong at pp. 80-93 and Lowrie at pp.
                      74-
                      > > > 86) outlines the metaphysical grounding of K/p's ethical
                      individual,
                      > > > how is this metaphysical grounding responsible for the
                      inevitability
                      > > > of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair?
                      > > >
                      > > > You address this question at the end of your post with the
                      following
                      > > > remarks:
                      > > >
                      > > > << Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this
                      > universal
                      > > > condition of being becoming:
                      > > >
                      > > > Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the
                      > > > ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation,
                      > > > completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet
                      the
                      > > > universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly
                      > > > related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the
                      > > > condition of being a human-being is despair; as a consequence
                      the
                      > > > metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a
                      metaphysical
                      > > > development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders the
                      > > > determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or
                      > > > misunderstanding the universal condition.
                      > > >
                      > > > In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the
                      condition
                      > is
                      > > > also that of the ethical despair? Well the essence of the
                      ethical is
                      > > > to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the
                      edifice.
                      > > > That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein
                      every
                      > > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as
                      > consequence,
                      > > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical
                      with
                      > its
                      > > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                      > > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                      > > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were
                      > > > absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this despair
                      to
                      > be
                      > > > an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its all-
                      > > > bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it is
                      > > > required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair
                      and,
                      > > > consequently, that he realises, that he gains full
                      consciousness of
                      > > > that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To
                      speak in
                      > > > a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be
                      ethical,
                      > > > despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…>>
                      > > >
                      > > > My first comment on your argument is this: You are quite
                      correct to
                      > > > highlight what JC writes in the section on becoming as central
                      to
                      > > > K/p's outlook, and to remark as to its originality. I would add
                      > > > further that it is the product of an individual who was both a
                      > > > philosophical genius and a deeply spiritual and earnest human
                      being.
                      > > >
                      > > > Further it is a difficult section with many delicate arguments
                      and
                      > > > ideas, where there is plenty of opportunity for the careless
                      reader
                      > > > to go astray.
                      > > >
                      > > > Willy has rightly highlighted important passages from this
                      section,
                      > > > and he and I have discussed some of Johannes Climacus' ideas in
                      our
                      > > > recent discussion. In particular, the nature of the "continuous
                      > > > striving" and the contrast between the positive thinkers and the
                      > > > negative thinkers.
                      > > >
                      > > > A careless reader may think that the positive thinker is more
                      inward
                      > > > than the negative thinker, but this is the opposite of JC's
                      thought.
                      > > >
                      > > > A careless reader may think the fact that the continuous
                      striving is
                      > > > a self-contradiction would be a reason for JC to argue that the
                      > > > striving must be brought to an end. But no, this is not what JC
                      > > > argues.
                      > > >
                      > > > A careless reader may think that JC argues that the infinite is
                      more
                      > > > essential that the finite, that the eternal is more necessary
                      than
                      > > > the temporal, but JC's position seems to be that the finite is
                      just
                      > > > as essential as the infinite, and that the temporal is just as
                      > > > necessary as the eternal for the existing human being (the
                      existing
                      > > > subjective thinker).
                      > > >
                      > > > According to JC, God created each human being as a synthesis
                      > composed
                      > > > of two pairs of opposites: the infinite and the finite; and the
                      > > > eternal and the temporal. The human being can come to exist as a
                      > > > subjective thinker if she becomes conscious of the creative
                      tension
                      > > > of these two pairs of opposites within herself, and strives
                      towards
                      > > > her absolute telos in such a way that allows these opposites to
                      > > > interact creatively with each other. This striving is also
                      called by
                      > > > JC "becoming".
                      > > >
                      > > > Now to return to your characterisation of the despair of the
                      ethical
                      > > > individual, with this metaphysical background in place.
                      > > >
                      > > > I think your view as presented in your latest post is nearly
                      > correct,
                      > > > and is mainly just lack one decisive element. I offer here three
                      > > > considerations which, I think, supplement, and slightly correct
                      what
                      > > > you have written.
                      > > >
                      > > > First, who exactly is the "existing subjective thinker" that JC
                      is
                      > > > describing in the section of CUP? Although you may not say so
                      > > > explicitly, I think you are thinking that it is just the ethical
                      > > > individual. By contrast, I suggest that JC intends to include
                      both
                      > > > the ethical individual and the religious individual in this
                      > category.
                      > > > Every human being who has chosen himself in freedom, and made
                      the
                      > > > leap out of the aesthetic sphere is correctly described as an
                      > > > existing subjective thinker, in my view.
                      > > >
                      > > > If I am correct, here, then the "self-contradiction" inherent
                      in the
                      > > > continuous striving of the existing subjective thinker applies
                      just
                      > > > as much to the Religiousness B individual as it does to the
                      purely
                      > > > ethical individual.
                      > > >
                      > > > And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the
                      heart
                      > > > of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                      > cannot,
                      > > > of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical
                      individual's
                      > > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you
                      explicitly
                      > > > say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you
                      > > > write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)
                      > > >
                      > > > Another consideration against your interpretation of the
                      section on
                      > > > becoming is that the one reference to despair is to the
                      > distinctively
                      > > > aesthetic despair of the aesthete. Let me quote this reference
                      in
                      > its
                      > > > context:
                      > > >
                      > > > "To be continually in the process of becoming in this way is the
                      > > > illusiveness of the infinite in existence. It could bring a
                      sensate
                      > > > person to despair, for one continually feels an urge to have
                      > > > something finished, but this urge is of evil and must be
                      renounced.
                      > > > The perpetual process of becoming is the uncertainty of earthly
                      > life,
                      > > > in which everything is uncertain. Every human being knows this
                      and
                      > > > says so once in a while, especially on a solemn occasion and not
                      > > > without sweat and tears, says it directly and moves himself and
                      > > > others – and shows in action what he has already shown in the
                      > form
                      > > of
                      > > > his utterance, that he does not understand what he himself is
                      > > > saying!" (CUP, Hong, p. 86)
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                      > > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the
                      aesthete,
                      > > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of
                      despair.
                      > > >
                      > > > So I agree with you that in this section of CUP, JC does
                      describe
                      > the
                      > > > essential metaphysical grounding of the existing subjective
                      thinker,
                      > > > but, as against what you seem to imply (again please correct me
                      if
                      > > > you think I am being unjust), he describes this as a positive
                      (i.e.
                      > > > happy) feature of the individual's life, and not something
                      which, of
                      > > > itself, when consciously reflected upon reveals to the ethical
                      > > > individual a source of his own despair.
                      > > >
                      > > > Actually, I think you probably can claim that what I am saying
                      is
                      > > > what you implied anyway, and that an extra component is needed
                      for
                      > > > the complete metaphysical framework for the ethicist's despair.
                      This
                      > > > extra component seems to be this thought from near the end of
                      your
                      > > > post:
                      > > >
                      > > > << That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein
                      every
                      > > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as
                      > consequence,
                      > > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical
                      with
                      > its
                      > > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                      > > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                      > > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical.>>
                      > > >
                      > > > Yes, this metaphysical framework is all necessary for a full
                      > > > characterisation of the ethicist's despair, but it is not
                      > sufficient.
                      > > > A very different metaphysical feature of the existing human
                      being is
                      > > > the primary source of his despair, in my opinion. Consider this
                      > > > passage from further on in CUP, which your inclusion of my
                      original
                      > > > post on "Ethics and Metaphysics" brought to my attention:
                      > > >
                      > > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true;
                      while
                      > > > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take
                      upon
                      > > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                      > > > mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over
                      myself. ...
                      > > > The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself,
                      so it
                      > > > is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it
                      was
                      > > > this discovery that caused him to give up the study of
                      astronomy,
                      > > > which the age now demands. ...
                      > > >
                      > > > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in
                      > himself
                      > > > a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer
                      so
                      > > > easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the
                      > world-
                      > > > historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a
                      very
                      > > > long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The
                      more
                      > > > profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do;
                      the
                      > > > more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the
                      more
                      > > > ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-
                      > > > historical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 144, Hong, p. 161)
                      > > >
                      > > > Ethical insight reveals to Socrates that he had within
                      himself "a
                      > > > disposition to all sorts of evil". This, I suggest, is the
                      > > > metaphysical grounding, within each of us which is the ultimate
                      > > > source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical
                      despair.
                      > > > (Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily
                      follows
                      > > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in
                      the
                      > > > section on becoming.)
                      > > >
                      > > > Having said this, let me retract this formulation, and say
                      instead
                      > > > that the ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                      distinctively
                      > > > ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his
                      disposition
                      > > > and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical
                      > > > background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical
                      individual's
                      > > > despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit a
                      sin.
                      > He
                      > > > cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his environment.
                      He is
                      > > > the source of his own despair.
                      > > >
                      > > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                      > > > individual's distinctively ethical despair? It does not differ
                      too
                      > > > greatly from your account, and, I would like to finish by saying
                      > that
                      > > > I have learnt a great deal by reflecting on what you have
                      written.
                      > > >
                      > > > Yours,
                      > > >
                      > > > Jim
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • Médéric Laitier
                      Well, thank you for silently correcting ressemblance which definitely bears a confusing resemblance to that bloody French ressemblance... A faux semblant of
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
                      • 0 Attachment
                         

                        Well, thank you for silently correcting ressemblance which definitely bears a confusing resemblance to that bloody French ressemblance... A "faux semblant" of the worst sort...

                        For the remainder, the rest, the remains of my impossible comicality, as unintentially the irishly part may have been I'll stick to both it and the Brit-[ney Shaketh-it] Spearian, the combination of which's incidental and meant natures gives a proper sense of dramtically ridiculous to the situation here. I will thank your piuppit's ears for cuntributing to seriaously reinforcing the comical on this forum,

                        ;)

                        A conclusion?

                        Why, does he bear not indeed quite some resemblance to this J.C.... himself!


                        :o)

                        With all the properly improper salutations of an Uneven (i.e. Odd) Clown: Meddy




                        --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, fuseki18 <no_reply@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Lol!
                        >
                        > try "Why? Doesn't he bear a resemblance to JC?" if it is a real
                        > question you are asking
                        >
                        > or "Why, doesn't he bear a resemblance to JC? If it is a rhetorical
                        > question.
                        >
                        > In either case the "himself" is redundant (and gives you an Irish
                        > accent comically) and the "does he not" is archaic, or colloquial
                        > dialect. Unless you are meaning to sound like Shakespeare for effect
                        > of course...
                        >
                        > Your English is much better elsewhere Mederic. For a linguist at your
                        > level these mistakes are surprisingly out of character.
                        >
                        >
                        > Fuseki
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                        > hidepark21@ wrote:
                        > >
                        > > A correction, please replace:
                        > >
                        > > Why does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?
                        > >
                        > > by:
                        > >
                        > > Why, does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                        > > <hidepark21@> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Dear James,
                        > > >
                        > > > Thank you very, very much! I think very highly of the subtle
                        > point you
                        > > > have made here, especially in your last few paragraphs. And I
                        > think
                        > > you
                        > > > are essentially* correct in the but last one. There would
                        > possibly be,
                        > > > to be complete, but one thing to add, it is the dialectical
                        > ambiguity
                        > > of
                        > > > the concept of dread in the state of innocence. Somehow, this
                        > > ambiguity
                        > > > was not so clear to me until the moment I read your but last
                        > paragraph
                        > > > and then suddenly everything just fell where it should, where it
                        > > > belonged. All my redoubled thanks to you for this one side-
                        > benefit in
                        > > > particular!
                        > > >
                        > > > Now two or three remarks on the tiny little details on the way
                        > which
                        > > has
                        > > > led you (and consequently us) to this conclusion.
                        > > >
                        > > > You have mentioned and insisted upon a possibility - a careless
                        > > reader.
                        > > > Was I supposed to identify myself with him in any of his possible
                        > > > errors?
                        > > >
                        > > > While I don't think I have ever hinted that the positive had a
                        > greater
                        > > > inwardness than the negative I wonder if I was ever so obscure as
                        > to
                        > > let
                        > > > hear that:
                        > > >
                        > > > a- the striving was pointless and to be terminated at some point
                        > > >
                        > > > b- the infinite was more decisive in the human condition than the
                        > > finite
                        > > >
                        > > > I have never intended to do that, to let hear that but if I was
                        > > obscure
                        > > > let me correct: the striving is the infinite task and is a
                        > synonym to
                        > > > existing in the awareness of one's existence; as for the
                        > infinite, it
                        > > > receives its most advanced dialectical determination in the §2
                        > > within
                        > > > the finite in this that it is gained, the infinite is gained, as
                        > the
                        > > > constant, the permanent the every instant's uncertainty of the
                        > human
                        > > > life in relation to its finitness: the next instant may be the
                        > last
                        > > one
                        > > > - Cf the passage on Socrates and his rendez-vous with the idea.
                        > > >
                        > > > Then you ask me who, in my opinion, is this subjective thinker?
                        > Why
                        > > does
                        > > > he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? Or perhaps even the one
                        > > > behind this vaporous figure, does he not?
                        > > >
                        > > > You thought I limited him to the ethical individual, did you? How
                        > is
                        > > > that possible? I cannot understand how I may have given you this
                        > > > impression; my understanding was that an individual who had
                        > understood
                        > > > the absolute of the ethical requirement as the essence of the
                        > ethical
                        > > > requirement but who laid claim to remaining in the purely ethical
                        > > sphere
                        > > > by denying admittance to an element of transcendance in his
                        > nature was
                        > > > stuck with despair, stuck with the dysrelation to his own nature -
                        > or
                        > > > condition. The subjective thinker has the absolute of the
                        > requirement
                        > > > well in place but eventually he has also a clear consciousness of
                        > the
                        > > > becoming condition and renders this in the form of his thinking
                        > (his
                        > > > style) as in the content of his life (the expression of his
                        > > > personality). No, by all means, I never intended to make of this
                        > > > category a synonym of the despaired ethicist's!
                        > > >
                        > > > 'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the
                        > heart
                        > > of
                        > > > the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                        > cannot, of
                        > > > itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical individual's
                        > > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you
                        > explicitly
                        > > say
                        > > > this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you write.
                        > > –
                        > > > I may be being unfair to you here.)'
                        > > >
                        > > > Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word
                        > > grounding
                        > > > in this context. You appear to have understood me understanding
                        > it as
                        > > > the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as the
                        > metaphysics -
                        > > i.e.
                        > > > as the principle, the possibility. We don't exist in the
                        > metaphysical.
                        > > > We exist in the concrete; the metaphysical, if it has any value,
                        > has a
                        > > > value in proposing the bare bones of every possibility; I think
                        > Ben
                        > > > called them ideals. The utmost contradiction as the metaphysical
                        > > > grounding of the (ethical) despair is consequently not to be
                        > > understood
                        > > > as its necessity for all human being (a necessity no matter what)
                        > but
                        > > > rather as its very possibility (depending on how one actually
                        > relates
                        > > to
                        > > > it i.e. how one relates to oneself). This was how I understood
                        > (and
                        > > how
                        > > > I understand) the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an
                        > idiosyncratic
                        > > use
                        > > > of the notion, by any chance?
                        > > >
                        > > > 'The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                        > > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the
                        > aesthete,
                        > > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of
                        > despair.'
                        > > >
                        > > > Yes, well, sure you can read and clearly if K. had explicitly
                        > > described
                        > > > the metaphysical in relation to properly ethical despair in this
                        > > > passage, you can be sure that I would have posted it quite
                        > ostensibly.
                        > > > Now if you will remember, you had denied citizenship to the very
                        > idea
                        > > of
                        > > > a metaphysical compound (albeit the becoming) in the state of the
                        > > > despair as defined by K. so I was already quite happy to find one
                        > > > explicit relation in this passage.
                        > > >
                        > > > Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate for
                        > the
                        > > > existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either.
                        > And it
                        > > is
                        > > > not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the abstract ideal
                        > > here.
                        > > > It is already quite surprising he even mentioned the possibility
                        > of
                        > > the
                        > > > sensuous despair so early.
                        > > >
                        > > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true;
                        > while
                        > > all
                        > > > the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                        > > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                        > > mankind,
                        > > > I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself.
                        > > >
                        > > > I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the qualification
                        > of his
                        > > > wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is saying is
                        > that
                        > > > he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men
                        > quite as
                        > > a
                        > > > wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient Athens.
                        > Depraved
                        > > > and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the ethical!
                        > > >
                        > > > Yet you have a point, you have a point in the next paragraphs and
                        > if I
                        > > > have begun this piece with it it is not to deny it in the end. The
                        > > > following argument is particularly decisive:
                        > > >
                        > > > 'Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily
                        > follows
                        > > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in
                        > the
                        > > > section on becoming.'
                        > > >
                        > > > Absolutely!
                        > > >
                        > > > '[T]he ultimate source of the ethical individual's distinctively
                        > > ethical
                        > > > despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition and
                        > > commit
                        > > > a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical background in
                        > > place,
                        > > > the ultimate source of the ethical individual's despair is
                        > something
                        > > > ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He cannot blame his
                        > > > nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is the source of
                        > his
                        > > own
                        > > > despair.
                        > > >
                        > > > Absolutely to the second power!
                        > > >
                        > > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                        > > > individual's distinctively ethical despair?'
                        > > >
                        > > > Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left to
                        > say!
                        > > Now
                        > > > if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are you
                        > saying
                        > > > here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of your
                        > ultimate
                        > > > happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a scorching reef
                        > for
                        > > > this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical relevance? Is
                        > it,
                        > > > within the realm of ethics, something quite dialectical?
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Well, are we not catching up with willyb here?
                        > > >
                        > > > Yours sincerely,
                        > > >
                        > > > Mederic
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > * and decisively
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46" jjimstuart@
                        > > > wrote:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Dear Mederic,
                        > > > >
                        > > > > We are in partial disagreement concerning how to characterise
                        > the
                        > > > > distinctively ethical despair of K/p's ethical individual. I
                        > have
                        > > > > protested that your characterisation of it is over
                        > metaphysical, and
                        > > > > lacking in sufficient ethical content.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > In your latest post (7437), you do add ethical content, so here
                        > I
                        > > > > wish to concentrate on your characterisation of what you
                        > consider to
                        > > > > be the essential metaphysical component of K/p's complete
                        > account of
                        > > > > the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Here is how you characterise the essential metaphysical
                        > component:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > << It is my opinion that the exact location of your discomfort
                        > with
                        > > > > the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in
                        > 7245.
                        > > You
                        > > > > there quote an offending passage of mine and, having thought of
                        > it,
                        > > I
                        > > > > suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be
                        > best
                        > > > > found in the following part:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
                        > > > > becoming. After having conceived of his absolute [telos] (to be
                        > > > > himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a
                        > whole new
                        > > > > story."
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of the
                        > > purely
                        > > > > ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the
                        > existing as
                        > > > > the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it
                        > lacks of
                        > > > > ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be
                        > adequately
                        > > > > capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.>>
                        > > > >
                        > > > > You elaborate on these introductory remarks as follows:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > << While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed –
                        > > > with
                        > > > > your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I fear I
                        > > > > would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s
                        > ethical
                        > > > > despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although my
                        > > account
                        > > > > of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in
                        > that it
                        > > > > did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his own
                        > > despair
                        > > > > through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair – nor
                        > > > had
                        > > > > I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most
                        > transparently
                        > > > > only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus the
                        > > > > religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
                        > > > > metaphysical component of despair, its categorical dimension,
                        > > remains
                        > > > > fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very
                        > originality.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was
                        > anywhere to
                        > > > > be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and more
                        > > > > precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and
                        > real
                        > > > > theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of this
                        > > > chapter
                        > > > > is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the
                        > > > > existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-last
                        > > > > paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate
                        > > > > consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with the
                        > very
                        > > > > appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied
                        > here
                        > > for
                        > > > > him as a subjective thinker.>>
                        > > > >
                        > > > > But even if I agree that Section 2 of the CUP chapter "Possible
                        > and
                        > > > > Actual Theses by Lessing" (hereafter to be called "the section
                        > on
                        > > > > becoming" which is found in Hong at pp. 80-93 and Lowrie at pp.
                        > 74-
                        > > > > 86) outlines the metaphysical grounding of K/p's ethical
                        > individual,
                        > > > > how is this metaphysical grounding responsible for the
                        > inevitability
                        > > > > of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair?
                        > > > >
                        > > > > You address this question at the end of your post with the
                        > following
                        > > > > remarks:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > << Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this
                        > > universal
                        > > > > condition of being becoming:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that the
                        > > > > ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation,
                        > > > > completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair. Yet
                        > the
                        > > > > universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed explicitly
                        > > > > related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the
                        > > > > condition of being a human-being is despair; as a consequence
                        > the
                        > > > > metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a
                        > metaphysical
                        > > > > development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders the
                        > > > > determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or
                        > > > > misunderstanding the universal condition.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the
                        > condition
                        > > is
                        > > > > also that of the ethical despair? Well the essence of the
                        > ethical is
                        > > > > to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the
                        > edifice.
                        > > > > That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein
                        > every
                        > > > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as
                        > > consequence,
                        > > > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical
                        > with
                        > > its
                        > > > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                        > > > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                        > > > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you were
                        > > > > absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this despair
                        > to
                        > > be
                        > > > > an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its all-
                        > > > > bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it is
                        > > > > required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair
                        > and,
                        > > > > consequently, that he realises, that he gains full
                        > consciousness of
                        > > > > that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To
                        > speak in
                        > > > > a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be
                        > ethical,
                        > > > > despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…>>
                        > > > >
                        > > > > My first comment on your argument is this: You are quite
                        > correct to
                        > > > > highlight what JC writes in the section on becoming as central
                        > to
                        > > > > K/p's outlook, and to remark as to its originality. I would add
                        > > > > further that it is the product of an individual who was both a
                        > > > > philosophical genius and a deeply spiritual and earnest human
                        > being.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Further it is a difficult section with many delicate arguments
                        > and
                        > > > > ideas, where there is plenty of opportunity for the careless
                        > reader
                        > > > > to go astray.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Willy has rightly highlighted important passages from this
                        > section,
                        > > > > and he and I have discussed some of Johannes Climacus' ideas in
                        > our
                        > > > > recent discussion. In particular, the nature of the "continuous
                        > > > > striving" and the contrast between the positive thinkers and the
                        > > > > negative thinkers.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > A careless reader may think that the positive thinker is more
                        > inward
                        > > > > than the negative thinker, but this is the opposite of JC's
                        > thought.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > A careless reader may think the fact that the continuous
                        > striving is
                        > > > > a self-contradiction would be a reason for JC to argue that the
                        > > > > striving must be brought to an end. But no, this is not what JC
                        > > > > argues.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > A careless reader may think that JC argues that the infinite is
                        > more
                        > > > > essential that the finite, that the eternal is more necessary
                        > than
                        > > > > the temporal, but JC's position seems to be that the finite is
                        > just
                        > > > > as essential as the infinite, and that the temporal is just as
                        > > > > necessary as the eternal for the existing human being (the
                        > existing
                        > > > > subjective thinker).
                        > > > >
                        > > > > According to JC, God created each human being as a synthesis
                        > > composed
                        > > > > of two pairs of opposites: the infinite and the finite; and the
                        > > > > eternal and the temporal. The human being can come to exist as a
                        > > > > subjective thinker if she becomes conscious of the creative
                        > tension
                        > > > > of these two pairs of opposites within herself, and strives
                        > towards
                        > > > > her absolute telos in such a way that allows these opposites to
                        > > > > interact creatively with each other. This striving is also
                        > called by
                        > > > > JC "becoming".
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Now to return to your characterisation of the despair of the
                        > ethical
                        > > > > individual, with this metaphysical background in place.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > I think your view as presented in your latest post is nearly
                        > > correct,
                        > > > > and is mainly just lack one decisive element. I offer here three
                        > > > > considerations which, I think, supplement, and slightly correct
                        > what
                        > > > > you have written.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > First, who exactly is the "existing subjective thinker" that JC
                        > is
                        > > > > describing in the section of CUP? Although you may not say so
                        > > > > explicitly, I think you are thinking that it is just the ethical
                        > > > > individual. By contrast, I suggest that JC intends to include
                        > both
                        > > > > the ethical individual and the religious individual in this
                        > > category.
                        > > > > Every human being who has chosen himself in freedom, and made
                        > the
                        > > > > leap out of the aesthetic sphere is correctly described as an
                        > > > > existing subjective thinker, in my view.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > If I am correct, here, then the "self-contradiction" inherent
                        > in the
                        > > > > continuous striving of the existing subjective thinker applies
                        > just
                        > > > > as much to the Religiousness B individual as it does to the
                        > purely
                        > > > > ethical individual.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the
                        > heart
                        > > > > of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                        > > cannot,
                        > > > > of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical
                        > individual's
                        > > > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you
                        > explicitly
                        > > > > say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you
                        > > > > write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Another consideration against your interpretation of the
                        > section on
                        > > > > becoming is that the one reference to despair is to the
                        > > distinctively
                        > > > > aesthetic despair of the aesthete. Let me quote this reference
                        > in
                        > > its
                        > > > > context:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > "To be continually in the process of becoming in this way is the
                        > > > > illusiveness of the infinite in existence. It could bring a
                        > sensate
                        > > > > person to despair, for one continually feels an urge to have
                        > > > > something finished, but this urge is of evil and must be
                        > renounced.
                        > > > > The perpetual process of becoming is the uncertainty of earthly
                        > > life,
                        > > > > in which everything is uncertain. Every human being knows this
                        > and
                        > > > > says so once in a while, especially on a solemn occasion and not
                        > > > > without sweat and tears, says it directly and moves himself and
                        > > > > others – and shows in action what he has already shown in the
                        > > form
                        > > > of
                        > > > > his utterance, that he does not understand what he himself is
                        > > > > saying!" (CUP, Hong, p. 86)
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have the
                        > > > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the
                        > aesthete,
                        > > > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of
                        > despair.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > So I agree with you that in this section of CUP, JC does
                        > describe
                        > > the
                        > > > > essential metaphysical grounding of the existing subjective
                        > thinker,
                        > > > > but, as against what you seem to imply (again please correct me
                        > if
                        > > > > you think I am being unjust), he describes this as a positive
                        > (i.e.
                        > > > > happy) feature of the individual's life, and not something
                        > which, of
                        > > > > itself, when consciously reflected upon reveals to the ethical
                        > > > > individual a source of his own despair.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Actually, I think you probably can claim that what I am saying
                        > is
                        > > > > what you implied anyway, and that an extra component is needed
                        > for
                        > > > > the complete metaphysical framework for the ethicist's despair.
                        > This
                        > > > > extra component seems to be this thought from near the end of
                        > your
                        > > > > post:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > << That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein
                        > every
                        > > > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as
                        > > consequence,
                        > > > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical
                        > with
                        > > its
                        > > > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a single
                        > > > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics of a
                        > > > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical.>>
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Yes, this metaphysical framework is all necessary for a full
                        > > > > characterisation of the ethicist's despair, but it is not
                        > > sufficient.
                        > > > > A very different metaphysical feature of the existing human
                        > being is
                        > > > > the primary source of his despair, in my opinion. Consider this
                        > > > > passage from further on in CUP, which your inclusion of my
                        > original
                        > > > > post on "Ethics and Metaphysics" brought to my attention:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true;
                        > while
                        > > > > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take
                        > upon
                        > > > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                        > > > > mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over
                        > myself. ...
                        > > > > The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in himself,
                        > so it
                        > > > > is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps even it
                        > was
                        > > > > this discovery that caused him to give up the study of
                        > astronomy,
                        > > > > which the age now demands. ...
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered in
                        > > himself
                        > > > > a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no longer
                        > so
                        > > > > easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to the
                        > > world-
                        > > > > historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes a
                        > very
                        > > > > long one, for it begins with first making this discovery. The
                        > more
                        > > > > profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to do;
                        > the
                        > > > > more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes; the
                        > more
                        > > > > ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-
                        > > > > historical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 144, Hong, p. 161)
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Ethical insight reveals to Socrates that he had within
                        > himself "a
                        > > > > disposition to all sorts of evil". This, I suggest, is the
                        > > > > metaphysical grounding, within each of us which is the ultimate
                        > > > > source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical
                        > despair.
                        > > > > (Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily
                        > follows
                        > > > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described in
                        > the
                        > > > > section on becoming.)
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Having said this, let me retract this formulation, and say
                        > instead
                        > > > > that the ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                        > distinctively
                        > > > > ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his
                        > disposition
                        > > > > and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical
                        > > > > background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical
                        > individual's
                        > > > > despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit a
                        > sin.
                        > > He
                        > > > > cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his environment.
                        > He is
                        > > > > the source of his own despair.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                        > > > > individual's distinctively ethical despair? It does not differ
                        > too
                        > > > > greatly from your account, and, I would like to finish by saying
                        > > that
                        > > > > I have learnt a great deal by reflecting on what you have
                        > written.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Yours,
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Jim
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • fuseki18
                        Thank you Mederic I just had a wonderful glimpse of what it must be like to listen to Brits on holiday, lost in Pigalle. Your conclusion is perfectly
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 11, 2008
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Thank you Mederic

                          I just had a wonderful glimpse of what it must be like
                          to listen to Brits on holiday, lost in Pigalle.

                          Your conclusion is perfectly confusing, I doubt you could have
                          confused it much more ...unless you swapped a few s & c's and a & e's
                          around in the 'ence/ance' endings ...that would add more interest I
                          think.

                          salutations to you too

                          Fuseki


                          --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                          <hidepark21@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Well, thank you for silently correcting ressemblance which
                          definitely
                          > bears a confusing resemblance to that bloody French ressemblance...
                          A
                          > "faux semblant" of the worst sort...
                          >
                          > For the remainder, the rest, the remains of my impossible
                          comicality, as
                          > unintentially the irishly part may have been I'll stick to both it
                          and
                          > the Brit-[ney Shaketh-it] Spearian, the combination of which's
                          > incidental and meant natures gives a proper sense of dramtically
                          > ridiculous to the situation here. I will thank your piuppit's ears
                          for
                          > cuntributing to seriaously reinforcing the comical on this forum,
                          >
                          > [;)]
                          >
                          >
                          > A conclusion?
                          >
                          > Why, does he bear not indeed quite some resemblance to this J.C....
                          > himself!
                          >
                          >
                          > [:o)]
                          >
                          > With all the properly improper salutations of an Uneven (i.e. Odd)
                          > Clown: Meddy
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, fuseki18 <no_reply@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Lol!
                          > >
                          > > try "Why? Doesn't he bear a resemblance to JC?" if it is a real
                          > > question you are asking
                          > >
                          > > or "Why, doesn't he bear a resemblance to JC? If it is a
                          rhetorical
                          > > question.
                          > >
                          > > In either case the "himself" is redundant (and gives you an Irish
                          > > accent comically) and the "does he not" is archaic, or colloquial
                          > > dialect. Unless you are meaning to sound like Shakespeare for
                          effect
                          > > of course...
                          > >
                          > > Your English is much better elsewhere Mederic. For a linguist at
                          your
                          > > level these mistakes are surprisingly out of character.
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Fuseki
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                          > > hidepark21@ wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > A correction, please replace:
                          > > >
                          > > > Why does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?
                          > > >
                          > > > by:
                          > > >
                          > > > Why, does he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself?
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, Médéric Laitier
                          > > > <hidepark21@> wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Dear James,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Thank you very, very much! I think very highly of the subtle
                          > > point you
                          > > > > have made here, especially in your last few paragraphs. And I
                          > > think
                          > > > you
                          > > > > are essentially* correct in the but last one. There would
                          > > possibly be,
                          > > > > to be complete, but one thing to add, it is the dialectical
                          > > ambiguity
                          > > > of
                          > > > > the concept of dread in the state of innocence. Somehow, this
                          > > > ambiguity
                          > > > > was not so clear to me until the moment I read your but last
                          > > paragraph
                          > > > > and then suddenly everything just fell where it should, where
                          it
                          > > > > belonged. All my redoubled thanks to you for this one side-
                          > > benefit in
                          > > > > particular!
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Now two or three remarks on the tiny little details on the way
                          > > which
                          > > > has
                          > > > > led you (and consequently us) to this conclusion.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > You have mentioned and insisted upon a possibility - a
                          careless
                          > > > reader.
                          > > > > Was I supposed to identify myself with him in any of his
                          possible
                          > > > > errors?
                          > > > >
                          > > > > While I don't think I have ever hinted that the positive had a
                          > > greater
                          > > > > inwardness than the negative I wonder if I was ever so
                          obscure as
                          > > to
                          > > > let
                          > > > > hear that:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > a- the striving was pointless and to be terminated at some
                          point
                          > > > >
                          > > > > b- the infinite was more decisive in the human condition than
                          the
                          > > > finite
                          > > > >
                          > > > > I have never intended to do that, to let hear that but if I
                          was
                          > > > obscure
                          > > > > let me correct: the striving is the infinite task and is a
                          > > synonym to
                          > > > > existing in the awareness of one's existence; as for the
                          > > infinite, it
                          > > > > receives its most advanced dialectical determination in the §2
                          > > > within
                          > > > > the finite in this that it is gained, the infinite is gained,
                          as
                          > > the
                          > > > > constant, the permanent the every instant's uncertainty of the
                          > > human
                          > > > > life in relation to its finitness: the next instant may be the
                          > > last
                          > > > one
                          > > > > - Cf the passage on Socrates and his rendez-vous with the
                          idea.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Then you ask me who, in my opinion, is this subjective
                          thinker?
                          > > Why
                          > > > does
                          > > > > he bear not ressemblance to J. C. himself? Or perhaps even
                          the one
                          > > > > behind this vaporous figure, does he not?
                          > > > >
                          > > > > You thought I limited him to the ethical individual, did you?
                          How
                          > > is
                          > > > > that possible? I cannot understand how I may have given you
                          this
                          > > > > impression; my understanding was that an individual who had
                          > > understood
                          > > > > the absolute of the ethical requirement as the essence of the
                          > > ethical
                          > > > > requirement but who laid claim to remaining in the purely
                          ethical
                          > > > sphere
                          > > > > by denying admittance to an element of transcendance in his
                          > > nature was
                          > > > > stuck with despair, stuck with the dysrelation to his own
                          nature -
                          > > or
                          > > > > condition. The subjective thinker has the absolute of the
                          > > requirement
                          > > > > well in place but eventually he has also a clear
                          consciousness of
                          > > the
                          > > > > becoming condition and renders this in the form of his
                          thinking
                          > > (his
                          > > > > style) as in the content of his life (the expression of his
                          > > > > personality). No, by all means, I never intended to make of
                          this
                          > > > > category a synonym of the despaired ethicist's!
                          > > > >
                          > > > > 'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at
                          the
                          > > heart
                          > > > of
                          > > > > the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                          > > cannot, of
                          > > > > itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical
                          individual's
                          > > > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you
                          > > explicitly
                          > > > say
                          > > > > this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what you
                          write.
                          > > > –
                          > > > > I may be being unfair to you here.)'
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word
                          > > > grounding
                          > > > > in this context. You appear to have understood me
                          understanding
                          > > it as
                          > > > > the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as the
                          > > metaphysics -
                          > > > i.e.
                          > > > > as the principle, the possibility. We don't exist in the
                          > > metaphysical.
                          > > > > We exist in the concrete; the metaphysical, if it has any
                          value,
                          > > has a
                          > > > > value in proposing the bare bones of every possibility; I
                          think
                          > > Ben
                          > > > > called them ideals. The utmost contradiction as the
                          metaphysical
                          > > > > grounding of the (ethical) despair is consequently not to be
                          > > > understood
                          > > > > as its necessity for all human being (a necessity no matter
                          what)
                          > > but
                          > > > > rather as its very possibility (depending on how one actually
                          > > relates
                          > > > to
                          > > > > it i.e. how one relates to oneself). This was how I understood
                          > > (and
                          > > > how
                          > > > > I understand) the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an
                          > > idiosyncratic
                          > > > use
                          > > > > of the notion, by any chance?
                          > > > >
                          > > > > 'The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to have
                          the
                          > > > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the
                          > > aesthete,
                          > > > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of
                          > > despair.'
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Yes, well, sure you can read and clearly if K. had explicitly
                          > > > described
                          > > > > the metaphysical in relation to properly ethical despair in
                          this
                          > > > > passage, you can be sure that I would have posted it quite
                          > > ostensibly.
                          > > > > Now if you will remember, you had denied citizenship to the
                          very
                          > > idea
                          > > > of
                          > > > > a metaphysical compound (albeit the becoming) in the state of
                          the
                          > > > > despair as defined by K. so I was already quite happy to find
                          one
                          > > > > explicit relation in this passage.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate
                          for
                          > > the
                          > > > > existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either.
                          > > And it
                          > > > is
                          > > > > not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the abstract
                          ideal
                          > > > here.
                          > > > > It is already quite surprising he even mentioned the
                          possibility
                          > > of
                          > > > the
                          > > > > sensuous despair so early.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true;
                          > > while
                          > > > all
                          > > > > the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                          > > > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                          > > > mankind,
                          > > > > I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the
                          qualification
                          > > of his
                          > > > > wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is
                          saying is
                          > > that
                          > > > > he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men
                          > > quite as
                          > > > a
                          > > > > wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient Athens.
                          > > Depraved
                          > > > > and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the ethical!
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Yet you have a point, you have a point in the next paragraphs
                          and
                          > > if I
                          > > > > have begun this piece with it it is not to deny it in the
                          end. The
                          > > > > following argument is particularly decisive:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > 'Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily
                          > > follows
                          > > > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being described
                          in
                          > > the
                          > > > > section on becoming.'
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Absolutely!
                          > > > >
                          > > > > '[T]he ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                          distinctively
                          > > > ethical
                          > > > > despair is his own free choice to actualise his disposition
                          and
                          > > > commit
                          > > > > a sin. So, although there is indeed a metaphysical
                          background in
                          > > > place,
                          > > > > the ultimate source of the ethical individual's despair is
                          > > something
                          > > > > ethical: his own free choice to commit a sin. He cannot blame
                          his
                          > > > > nature, and he cannot blame his environment. He is the source
                          of
                          > > his
                          > > > own
                          > > > > despair.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Absolutely to the second power!
                          > > > >
                          > > > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the ethical
                          > > > > individual's distinctively ethical despair?'
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left
                          to
                          > > say!
                          > > > Now
                          > > > > if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are you
                          > > saying
                          > > > > here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of your
                          > > ultimate
                          > > > > happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a scorching
                          reef
                          > > for
                          > > > > this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical relevance?
                          Is
                          > > it,
                          > > > > within the realm of ethics, something quite dialectical?
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Well, are we not catching up with willyb here?
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Yours sincerely,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Mederic
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > * and decisively
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46"
                          jjimstuart@
                          > > > > wrote:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Dear Mederic,
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > We are in partial disagreement concerning how to
                          characterise
                          > > the
                          > > > > > distinctively ethical despair of K/p's ethical individual. I
                          > > have
                          > > > > > protested that your characterisation of it is over
                          > > metaphysical, and
                          > > > > > lacking in sufficient ethical content.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > In your latest post (7437), you do add ethical content, so
                          here
                          > > I
                          > > > > > wish to concentrate on your characterisation of what you
                          > > consider to
                          > > > > > be the essential metaphysical component of K/p's complete
                          > > account of
                          > > > > > the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Here is how you characterise the essential metaphysical
                          > > component:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > << It is my opinion that the exact location of your
                          discomfort
                          > > with
                          > > > > > the view I had previously expressed appears most clearly in
                          > > 7245.
                          > > > You
                          > > > > > there quote an offending passage of mine and, having
                          thought of
                          > > it,
                          > > > I
                          > > > > > suspect the particularly too metaphysical was possibly to be
                          > > best
                          > > > > > found in the following part:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > "Moreover, the ethicist, being an existing subject, is still
                          > > > > > becoming. After having conceived of his absolute [telos]
                          (to be
                          > > > > > himself), he must learn to become exactly that and it is a
                          > > whole new
                          > > > > > story."
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Indeed, it transpires from it that the immanent despair of
                          the
                          > > > purely
                          > > > > > ethical attempt was to be found in the condition of the
                          > > existing as
                          > > > > > the becoming. You dispute this conception by suggesting it
                          > > lacks of
                          > > > > > ethical determinacy and eventually of the religious to be
                          > > adequately
                          > > > > > capturing the notion itself of an `ethical despair'.>>
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > You elaborate on these introductory remarks as follows:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > << While I would agree – and in fact I have already agreed
                          > –
                          > > > > with
                          > > > > > your criticising my previous point as being incomplete, I
                          fear I
                          > > > > > would have to disagree with your characterisation of K.'s
                          > > ethical
                          > > > > > despair as the `old fashioned' conception of sin. Although
                          my
                          > > > account
                          > > > > > of the ethical despair was most probably quite incomplete in
                          > > that it
                          > > > > > did not qualify ethically the relationship one has to his
                          own
                          > > > despair
                          > > > > > through the ethical bondage of its being one's own despair –
                          > nor
                          > > > > had
                          > > > > > I sufficiently outlined that this revealed itself most
                          > > transparently
                          > > > > > only when the eternal was found within the subject and thus
                          the
                          > > > > > religious attained to, subjectively – I still think that the
                          > > > > > metaphysical component of despair, its categorical
                          dimension,
                          > > > remains
                          > > > > > fully kierkegaardian and is in fact a part of K.'s very
                          > > originality.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > You have asked me whether the metaphysical dimension was
                          > > anywhere to
                          > > > > > be found in K.'s production. I would refer to CUP again and
                          more
                          > > > > > precisely to a passage in the chapter about the possible and
                          > > real
                          > > > > > theses of Lessing's. As I understand it, the whole §2 of
                          this
                          > > > > chapter
                          > > > > > is precisely where the metaphysical of the becoming as the
                          > > > > > existential condition is dealt with. You may find the §§-
                          last
                          > > > > > paragraph of §1 instructive with regard to the deliberate
                          > > > > > consciousness of what the author is about to do, along with
                          the
                          > > very
                          > > > > > appropriate expression of the dialectical difficulty implied
                          > > here
                          > > > for
                          > > > > > him as a subjective thinker.>>
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > But even if I agree that Section 2 of the CUP
                          chapter "Possible
                          > > and
                          > > > > > Actual Theses by Lessing" (hereafter to be called "the
                          section
                          > > on
                          > > > > > becoming" which is found in Hong at pp. 80-93 and Lowrie at
                          pp.
                          > > 74-
                          > > > > > 86) outlines the metaphysical grounding of K/p's ethical
                          > > individual,
                          > > > > > how is this metaphysical grounding responsible for the
                          > > inevitability
                          > > > > > of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical despair?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > You address this question at the end of your post with the
                          > > following
                          > > > > > remarks:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > << Finally… The ethical despair in its relation to this
                          > > > universal
                          > > > > > condition of being becoming:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Well, agreed it is nowhere to be read in this passage that
                          the
                          > > > > > ethical, intended as the ultimate in its own actualisation,
                          > > > > > completely disconnected of all transcendence, is despair.
                          Yet
                          > > the
                          > > > > > universal condition of perpetual becoming is indeed
                          explicitly
                          > > > > > related to despair (§§10). The inappropriate relation to the
                          > > > > > condition of being a human-being is despair; as a
                          consequence
                          > > the
                          > > > > > metaphysics of the condition appears to me to be also a
                          > > metaphysical
                          > > > > > development of the notion of despair insofar as it renders
                          the
                          > > > > > determinants of the misrelating equally clear – missing or
                          > > > > > misunderstanding the universal condition.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > In what sense can it be said that the metaphysics of the
                          > > condition
                          > > > is
                          > > > > > also that of the ethical despair? Well the essence of the
                          > > ethical is
                          > > > > > to be that which edifies. The ethic is the back-bone of the
                          > > edifice.
                          > > > > > That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming wherein
                          > > every
                          > > > > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as
                          > > > consequence,
                          > > > > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical
                          > > with
                          > > > its
                          > > > > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a
                          single
                          > > > > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics
                          of a
                          > > > > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical. Yet, and you
                          were
                          > > > > > absolutely right to point this out dear James, for this
                          despair
                          > > to
                          > > > be
                          > > > > > an ethical despair, that is to say a despair which in its
                          all-
                          > > > > > bereaving character has yet to be edifying of something, it
                          is
                          > > > > > required that the subject is indeed a subject in his despair
                          > > and,
                          > > > > > consequently, that he realises, that he gains full
                          > > consciousness of
                          > > > > > that he is, in this despair, what is to be despaired of. To
                          > > speak in
                          > > > > > a very collected manner, perhaps we could say that, to be
                          > > ethical,
                          > > > > > despair has to be one's own despair, desperately so…>>
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > My first comment on your argument is this: You are quite
                          > > correct to
                          > > > > > highlight what JC writes in the section on becoming as
                          central
                          > > to
                          > > > > > K/p's outlook, and to remark as to its originality. I would
                          add
                          > > > > > further that it is the product of an individual who was
                          both a
                          > > > > > philosophical genius and a deeply spiritual and earnest
                          human
                          > > being.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Further it is a difficult section with many delicate
                          arguments
                          > > and
                          > > > > > ideas, where there is plenty of opportunity for the careless
                          > > reader
                          > > > > > to go astray.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Willy has rightly highlighted important passages from this
                          > > section,
                          > > > > > and he and I have discussed some of Johannes Climacus'
                          ideas in
                          > > our
                          > > > > > recent discussion. In particular, the nature of
                          the "continuous
                          > > > > > striving" and the contrast between the positive thinkers
                          and the
                          > > > > > negative thinkers.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > A careless reader may think that the positive thinker is
                          more
                          > > inward
                          > > > > > than the negative thinker, but this is the opposite of JC's
                          > > thought.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > A careless reader may think the fact that the continuous
                          > > striving is
                          > > > > > a self-contradiction would be a reason for JC to argue that
                          the
                          > > > > > striving must be brought to an end. But no, this is not
                          what JC
                          > > > > > argues.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > A careless reader may think that JC argues that the
                          infinite is
                          > > more
                          > > > > > essential that the finite, that the eternal is more
                          necessary
                          > > than
                          > > > > > the temporal, but JC's position seems to be that the finite
                          is
                          > > just
                          > > > > > as essential as the infinite, and that the temporal is just
                          as
                          > > > > > necessary as the eternal for the existing human being (the
                          > > existing
                          > > > > > subjective thinker).
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > According to JC, God created each human being as a synthesis
                          > > > composed
                          > > > > > of two pairs of opposites: the infinite and the finite; and
                          the
                          > > > > > eternal and the temporal. The human being can come to exist
                          as a
                          > > > > > subjective thinker if she becomes conscious of the creative
                          > > tension
                          > > > > > of these two pairs of opposites within herself, and strives
                          > > towards
                          > > > > > her absolute telos in such a way that allows these
                          opposites to
                          > > > > > interact creatively with each other. This striving is also
                          > > called by
                          > > > > > JC "becoming".
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Now to return to your characterisation of the despair of the
                          > > ethical
                          > > > > > individual, with this metaphysical background in place.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > I think your view as presented in your latest post is nearly
                          > > > correct,
                          > > > > > and is mainly just lack one decisive element. I offer here
                          three
                          > > > > > considerations which, I think, supplement, and slightly
                          correct
                          > > what
                          > > > > > you have written.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > First, who exactly is the "existing subjective thinker"
                          that JC
                          > > is
                          > > > > > describing in the section of CUP? Although you may not say
                          so
                          > > > > > explicitly, I think you are thinking that it is just the
                          ethical
                          > > > > > individual. By contrast, I suggest that JC intends to
                          include
                          > > both
                          > > > > > the ethical individual and the religious individual in this
                          > > > category.
                          > > > > > Every human being who has chosen himself in freedom, and
                          made
                          > > the
                          > > > > > leap out of the aesthetic sphere is correctly described as
                          an
                          > > > > > existing subjective thinker, in my view.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > If I am correct, here, then the "self-contradiction"
                          inherent
                          > > in the
                          > > > > > continuous striving of the existing subjective thinker
                          applies
                          > > just
                          > > > > > as much to the Religiousness B individual as it does to the
                          > > purely
                          > > > > > ethical individual.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at
                          the
                          > > heart
                          > > > > > of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal
                          becomes"
                          > > > cannot,
                          > > > > > of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical
                          > > individual's
                          > > > > > distinctively ethical despair. (Again I don't think you
                          > > explicitly
                          > > > > > say this, but it does seem to be suggested by some of what
                          you
                          > > > > > write. – I may be being unfair to you here.)
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Another consideration against your interpretation of the
                          > > section on
                          > > > > > becoming is that the one reference to despair is to the
                          > > > distinctively
                          > > > > > aesthetic despair of the aesthete. Let me quote this
                          reference
                          > > in
                          > > > its
                          > > > > > context:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > "To be continually in the process of becoming in this way
                          is the
                          > > > > > illusiveness of the infinite in existence. It could bring a
                          > > sensate
                          > > > > > person to despair, for one continually feels an urge to have
                          > > > > > something finished, but this urge is of evil and must be
                          > > renounced.
                          > > > > > The perpetual process of becoming is the uncertainty of
                          earthly
                          > > > life,
                          > > > > > in which everything is uncertain. Every human being knows
                          this
                          > > and
                          > > > > > says so once in a while, especially on a solemn occasion
                          and not
                          > > > > > without sweat and tears, says it directly and moves himself
                          and
                          > > > > > others – and shows in action what he has already shown in
                          > the
                          > > > form
                          > > > > of
                          > > > > > his utterance, that he does not understand what he himself
                          is
                          > > > > > saying!" (CUP, Hong, p. 86)
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > The reference to the "sensate person" and the desire to
                          have the
                          > > > > > striving/task finished clearly shows, to my mind, that the
                          > > aesthete,
                          > > > > > not the ethical individual, is the subject of this type of
                          > > despair.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > So I agree with you that in this section of CUP, JC does
                          > > describe
                          > > > the
                          > > > > > essential metaphysical grounding of the existing subjective
                          > > thinker,
                          > > > > > but, as against what you seem to imply (again please
                          correct me
                          > > if
                          > > > > > you think I am being unjust), he describes this as a
                          positive
                          > > (i.e.
                          > > > > > happy) feature of the individual's life, and not something
                          > > which, of
                          > > > > > itself, when consciously reflected upon reveals to the
                          ethical
                          > > > > > individual a source of his own despair.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Actually, I think you probably can claim that what I am
                          saying
                          > > is
                          > > > > > what you implied anyway, and that an extra component is
                          needed
                          > > for
                          > > > > > the complete metaphysical framework for the ethicist's
                          despair.
                          > > This
                          > > > > > extra component seems to be this thought from near the end
                          of
                          > > your
                          > > > > > post:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > << That the human condition is of a perpetual becoming
                          wherein
                          > > every
                          > > > > > single instant has yet an infinite value and wherein, as
                          > > > consequence,
                          > > > > > every single instant's loss is an infinite loss, the ethical
                          > > with
                          > > > its
                          > > > > > absolute requirement is categorically ship-wrecked in a
                          single
                          > > > > > instant of weakness. This can be said to be the metaphysics
                          of a
                          > > > > > despair which ruins the category: the ethical.>>
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Yes, this metaphysical framework is all necessary for a full
                          > > > > > characterisation of the ethicist's despair, but it is not
                          > > > sufficient.
                          > > > > > A very different metaphysical feature of the existing human
                          > > being is
                          > > > > > the primary source of his despair, in my opinion. Consider
                          this
                          > > > > > passage from further on in CUP, which your inclusion of my
                          > > original
                          > > > > > post on "Ethics and Metaphysics" brought to my attention:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > "I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too
                          true;
                          > > while
                          > > > > > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to
                          take
                          > > upon
                          > > > > > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history
                          of
                          > > > > > mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over
                          > > myself. ...
                          > > > > > The only comfort I have is Socrates. He discovered in
                          himself,
                          > > so it
                          > > > > > is related, a disposition to all sorts of evil; perhaps
                          even it
                          > > was
                          > > > > > this discovery that caused him to give up the study of
                          > > astronomy,
                          > > > > > which the age now demands. ...
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Because of his ethical insight, accordingly, he discovered
                          in
                          > > > himself
                          > > > > > a disposition to all sorts of evil. Now indeed it is no
                          longer
                          > > so
                          > > > > > easy, so much a matter of one, two, three, to pass over to
                          the
                          > > > world-
                          > > > > > historical. On the contrary, the way of the ethical becomes
                          a
                          > > very
                          > > > > > long one, for it begins with first making this discovery.
                          The
                          > > more
                          > > > > > profoundly the discovery is made, the more will one have to
                          do;
                          > > the
                          > > > > > more profoundly one makes it, the more ethical one becomes;
                          the
                          > > more
                          > > > > > ethical one becomes, the less time there is for the world-
                          > > > > > historical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 144, Hong, p. 161)
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Ethical insight reveals to Socrates that he had within
                          > > himself "a
                          > > > > > disposition to all sorts of evil". This, I suggest, is the
                          > > > > > metaphysical grounding, within each of us which is the
                          ultimate
                          > > > > > source of the ethical individual's distinctively ethical
                          > > despair.
                          > > > > > (Further I don't think this disposition to evil necessarily
                          > > follows
                          > > > > > from the metaphysical grounding of the human being
                          described in
                          > > the
                          > > > > > section on becoming.)
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Having said this, let me retract this formulation, and say
                          > > instead
                          > > > > > that the ultimate source of the ethical individual's
                          > > distinctively
                          > > > > > ethical despair is his own free choice to actualise his
                          > > disposition
                          > > > > > and commit a sin. So, although there is indeed a
                          metaphysical
                          > > > > > background in place, the ultimate source of the ethical
                          > > individual's
                          > > > > > despair is something ethical: his own free choice to commit
                          a
                          > > sin.
                          > > > He
                          > > > > > cannot blame his nature, and he cannot blame his
                          environment.
                          > > He is
                          > > > > > the source of his own despair.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > So, what do you think of my alternative account of the
                          ethical
                          > > > > > individual's distinctively ethical despair? It does not
                          differ
                          > > too
                          > > > > > greatly from your account, and, I would like to finish by
                          saying
                          > > > that
                          > > > > > I have learnt a great deal by reflecting on what you have
                          > > written.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Yours,
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Jim
                          > > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • jimstuart46
                          Dear Mederic, Thank you for your post (7463) clarifying a number of important points. I see this post of mine as one in which I tidy up some loose ends, and I
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 12, 2008
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Dear Mederic,

                            Thank you for your post (7463) clarifying a number of important
                            points.

                            I see this post of mine as one in which I tidy up some loose ends,
                            and I do not say anything new or substantial. I think we are now in
                            substantial agreement as to the nature of the distinctively ethical
                            despair of K/p's ethical individual.

                            You have reminded me that the concept of anxiety (or dread) is
                            central to a discussion of K/p's account of how the human being falls
                            into sin. Further the discussion of the two sorts of ethics near the
                            start of CA is also a crucial issue for the Kierkegaardian reader.

                            I have only read CA once, but my view is that it is perhaps K/p's
                            most difficult book. I aim to read it again before too long.

                            Now to respond to some of your thoughts.

                            No, I certainly did not aim to imply that you, or anybody else on the
                            forum, were a "careless reader" of the section on becoming. My point
                            was just that the section was not straightforward, and had many
                            subtleties in it.

                            Second, thank you for clarifying your reading of certain aspects of
                            the section on becoming. I think it was my carelessness in reading
                            your post which accounted for my original uncertainty as to your
                            interpretation.

                            What I found most interesting and significant in what you wrote was
                            your interpretation of K/p's view of the nature of metaphysics. You
                            seemed to say that for K/p metaphysical statements ought to be view
                            as belonging to ideality. In effect, the metaphysical structure of
                            human existence, such as what Climacus writes in the section on
                            becoming, should be viewed as possibility, which the reader of CUP
                            may choose to actualise.

                            Here are two of sections from your post, the first section starts
                            with a quote from my previous post:

                            <<'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the
                            heart of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                            cannot, of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical
                            individual's distinctively ethical despair'

                            Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word
                            grounding in this context. You appear to have understood me
                            understanding it as the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as
                            the metaphysics - i.e. as the principle, the possibility. We don't
                            exist in the metaphysical. We exist in the concrete; the
                            metaphysical, if it has any value, has a value in proposing the bare
                            bones of every possibility; I think Ben called them ideals. The
                            utmost contradiction as the metaphysical grounding of the (ethical)
                            despair is consequently not to be understood as its necessity for all
                            human being (a necessity no matter what) but rather as its very
                            possibility (depending on how one actually relates to it i.e. how one
                            relates to oneself). This was how I understood (and how I understand)
                            the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an idiosyncratic use of the
                            notion, by any chance? >>

                            << Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate for
                            the existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either.
                            And it is not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the
                            abstract ideal here.>>

                            Now, I am not convinced that everything Kierkegaard and his
                            pseudonyms write of a metaphysical nature is meant to be something
                            belonging purely to ideality. You may be correct – you have certainly
                            got me thinking about this.

                            But, to take another example, when Anti-Climacus writes at the start
                            of SUD that a human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the
                            finite, the eternal and the temporal, necessity and freedom, isn't he
                            describing how actual human being are, in their real, concrete
                            existences, rather than outlining an existence possibility which an
                            individual can choose to actualise in their concrete existence?

                            As I say I am not sure. I am also not sure if you are using your
                            terms consistently on the issue, as in your previous post (7437), you
                            wrote of the "categorical/metaphysical dimension of the discussion".
                            To me the word "categorical" belong to actuality and not ideality.

                            Further K/p has described metaphysical reflection as the kind of
                            thinking that the aesthetic individual indulges in, and associates it
                            with those two blind alleys: objective thinking and speculative
                            thinking. So, I am confused myself whether we should regard what Anti-
                            Climacus writes at the start of SUD, and what Climacus writes in the
                            section on becoming as "metaphysical reflection", and if we do, is
                            this reflection about ideality or actuality?

                            I will be most interested in any further thoughts you have on this
                            issue.

                            Let me now comment on this section of your post, starting with a
                            quote from CUP:

                            <<"I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while
                            all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                            themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                            mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself."

                            I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the qualification of
                            his wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is saying is
                            that he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men
                            quite as a wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient
                            Athens. Depraved and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the
                            ethical!>>

                            I agree there is irony in this section, but he is being ironic
                            about "all the nice men [who] are without further ado, quite ready to
                            take upon themselves the responsibility for the future of the history
                            of mankind", he is not being ironic about himself and Socrates.

                            He is stating plainly that both himself and Socrates are depraved and
                            corrupt, and have dispositions to all sorts of evil. Their only merit
                            is to be sufficiently inward to recognise this truth about
                            themselves. Even after this recognition, I think Climacus is saying
                            that they remain depraved and corrupt, that they do not loose their
                            dispositions to all sorts of evil.

                            I may be wrong here, but this is how I read Climacus.

                            Finally, you end you post with some questions to me:

                            << Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left to
                            say! Now if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are
                            you saying here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of
                            your ultimate happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a
                            scorching reef for this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical
                            relevance? Is it, within the realm of ethics, something quite
                            dialectical?>>

                            I am not sure if you are here asking me to express my own views on
                            this issue, or if you are asking me to say what I think Climacus or
                            Anti-Climacus or Kierkegaard himself thinks.

                            Either way, the question "Does one (past) sin ruin the very
                            possibility of your ultimate happiness?" seems hypothetical, because
                            which of us is so virtuous, that he has only sinned once?

                            I do not wish to answer any of these questions further. When I feel I
                            fully understand what K/p is saying about repentance and the nature
                            of hereditary sin, I may come back to you!

                            Yours,

                            Jim
                          • Médéric Laitier
                            Dear James, I agree with you that we have now reached a point of agreement on the essential part of our conversation and as a consequence this thread is
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jan 12, 2008
                            • 0 Attachment
                               

                              Dear James,


                              I agree with you that we have now reached a point of agreement on the essential part of our conversation and as a consequence this thread is probably dying out. For the good order, the next few things:

                              a- Irony and wickedness

                              Yes, what you state is correct; You hadn't miss the irony either, which settles the case.

                              b- The question with which I had finished

                              Well, you will choose the ground on which you place your consideration. You can even choose to keep it for you or even to shut the doors completely (both the utter and the inner) and just let it be. The choice is most certainly yours here.

                              c- The metaphysical

                              I realise I was far from being at my best in the expression of how I understand K.'s relation to the metaphysical reflexion. I apologize for having given out an approximate expression in this field without taking the most simple care of flagging it for what it was: an approximation. I am really sorry for my lack of spirit here.

                              Let me take your points in reverse order:

                              "Further K/p has described metaphysical reflection as the kind of thinking that the aesthetic individual indulges in, and associates it with those two blind alleys: objective thinking and speculative thinking. So, I am confused myself whether we should regard what Anti-Climacus writes at the start of SUD, and what Climacus writes in the section on becoming as "metaphysical reflection", and if we do, is this reflection about ideality or actuality?"

                              There is indeed a sharp criticism of the metaphysical reflection throughout K.'s production. In many occasions, the word metaphysical is used as a synonym for Hegelian and it is certainly not always most appreciative. Now perhaps the point on which the criticism bore was rather than the metaphysical itself, the confusion by which, amidst of their metaphysical reflections, Hegel and his followers lost sight of themselves as existing subjects.

                              Thus a metaphysical reflection which allowed or even better helped a clearer understanding of the existential as a universal condition was possibly not to fall under the same kind of criticism. It would ultimately depend on how one related to this metaphysical reflection.

                              Should one contemplate it yet without any personal involvment then probably the metaphysical should be considered as the occasion of his fall.

                              On the other hand should one person suddenly realise that what is at stake here is nothing but herself, that what is described is therefore of the utmost importance for her, then I suppose the metaphysical description should not be held for something too bad, too corrupt in nature.

                              "I am also not sure if you are using your terms consistently on the issue, as in your previous post (7437), you wrote of the "categorical/metaphysical dimension of the discussion". To me the word "categorical" belong to actuality and not ideality."

                              Well, you are definitely right I was guilty of approximation and carelessness in this post. I should have been more careful in the manner with which I articulated the notions of the categorical and of the  metaphysical than simply offering a slashed juxtaposition. In order not to repeat the same mistake, please allow me to take some time to review what I have said, to think it through and come back to you only when my ideas on how to articulate the two notions are sufficiently clear to be presented.

                              "Now, I am not convinced that everything Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms write of a metaphysical nature is meant to be something belonging purely to ideality. You may be correct – you have certainly got me thinking about this."

                              I am not sure I have ever meant to say exactly this either. If you have understood me saying this at any point, please revisit this point with the added comment from my part that it may have been so that I was indeed quite unclear in this passage. Mea maxima culpa!

                              Thanking you for your own precision, please allow me to take leave honourably by wishing you an enjoyable Sunday!

                              Yours sincerely,

                              Mederic



                              --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46" <jjimstuart@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Dear Mederic,
                              >
                              > Thank you for your post (7463) clarifying a number of important
                              > points.
                              >
                              > I see this post of mine as one in which I tidy up some loose ends,
                              > and I do not say anything new or substantial. I think we are now in
                              > substantial agreement as to the nature of the distinctively ethical
                              > despair of K/p's ethical individual.
                              >
                              > You have reminded me that the concept of anxiety (or dread) is
                              > central to a discussion of K/p's account of how the human being falls
                              > into sin. Further the discussion of the two sorts of ethics near the
                              > start of CA is also a crucial issue for the Kierkegaardian reader.
                              >
                              > I have only read CA once, but my view is that it is perhaps K/p's
                              > most difficult book. I aim to read it again before too long.
                              >
                              > Now to respond to some of your thoughts.
                              >
                              > No, I certainly did not aim to imply that you, or anybody else on the
                              > forum, were a "careless reader" of the section on becoming. My point
                              > was just that the section was not straightforward, and had many
                              > subtleties in it.
                              >
                              > Second, thank you for clarifying your reading of certain aspects of
                              > the section on becoming. I think it was my carelessness in reading
                              > your post which accounted for my original uncertainty as to your
                              > interpretation.
                              >
                              > What I found most interesting and significant in what you wrote was
                              > your interpretation of K/p's view of the nature of metaphysics. You
                              > seemed to say that for K/p metaphysical statements ought to be view
                              > as belonging to ideality. In effect, the metaphysical structure of
                              > human existence, such as what Climacus writes in the section on
                              > becoming, should be viewed as possibility, which the reader of CUP
                              > may choose to actualise.
                              >
                              > Here are two of sections from your post, the first section starts
                              > with a quote from my previous post:
                              >
                              > <<'And if this is correct, then the "utmost contradiction" at the
                              > heart of the existing subjective thinker that "the eternal becomes"
                              > cannot, of itself, be the metaphysical grounding of the ethical
                              > individual's distinctively ethical despair'
                              >
                              > Oh, I get it! Well it all depends how you understand the word
                              > grounding in this context. You appear to have understood me
                              > understanding it as the trigger. What I meant was to understand it as
                              > the metaphysics - i.e. as the principle, the possibility. We don't
                              > exist in the metaphysical. We exist in the concrete; the
                              > metaphysical, if it has any value, has a value in proposing the bare
                              > bones of every possibility; I think Ben called them ideals. The
                              > utmost contradiction as the metaphysical grounding of the (ethical)
                              > despair is consequently not to be understood as its necessity for all
                              > human being (a necessity no matter what) but rather as its very
                              > possibility (depending on how one actually relates to it i.e. how one
                              > relates to oneself). This was how I understood (and how I understand)
                              > the ideal of metaphysics! - Was this an idiosyncratic use of the
                              > notion, by any chance? >>
                              >
                              > << Does he further qualify becoming as either happy or desperate for
                              > the existing subjective thinker? No, I don't think he does either.
                              > And it is not the place. Way too early! He only discusses the
                              > abstract ideal here.>>
                              >
                              > Now, I am not convinced that everything Kierkegaard and his
                              > pseudonyms write of a metaphysical nature is meant to be something
                              > belonging purely to ideality. You may be correct – you have certainly
                              > got me thinking about this.
                              >
                              > But, to take another example, when Anti-Climacus writes at the start
                              > of SUD that a human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the
                              > finite, the eternal and the temporal, necessity and freedom, isn't he
                              > describing how actual human being are, in their real, concrete
                              > existences, rather than outlining an existence possibility which an
                              > individual can choose to actualise in their concrete existence?
                              >
                              > As I say I am not sure. I am also not sure if you are using your
                              > terms consistently on the issue, as in your previous post (7437), you
                              > wrote of the "categorical/metaphysical dimension of the discussion".
                              > To me the word "categorical" belong to actuality and not ideality.
                              >
                              > Further K/p has described metaphysical reflection as the kind of
                              > thinking that the aesthetic individual indulges in, and associates it
                              > with those two blind alleys: objective thinking and speculative
                              > thinking. So, I am confused myself whether we should regard what Anti-
                              > Climacus writes at the start of SUD, and what Climacus writes in the
                              > section on becoming as "metaphysical reflection", and if we do, is
                              > this reflection about ideality or actuality?
                              >
                              > I will be most interested in any further thoughts you have on this
                              > issue.
                              >
                              > Let me now comment on this section of your post, starting with a
                              > quote from CUP:
                              >
                              > <<"I am a depraved and corrupt individual. It is only too true; while
                              > all the nice men are without further ado, quite ready to take upon
                              > themselves the responsibility for the future of the history of
                              > mankind, I must many a time sit at home and grieve over myself."
                              >
                              > I am sure you cannot miss, here, the irony of the qualification of
                              > his wicked nature either, can you? In substance, what K. is saying is
                              > that he is, or he was, in his 19th century Denmark of affaired men
                              > quite as a wicked soul as a Socrates was in the serious ancient
                              > Athens. Depraved and corrupt indeed to be so preoccupied with... the
                              > ethical!>>
                              >
                              > I agree there is irony in this section, but he is being ironic
                              > about "all the nice men [who] are without further ado, quite ready to
                              > take upon themselves the responsibility for the future of the history
                              > of mankind", he is not being ironic about himself and Socrates.
                              >
                              > He is stating plainly that both himself and Socrates are depraved and
                              > corrupt, and have dispositions to all sorts of evil. Their only merit
                              > is to be sufficiently inward to recognise this truth about
                              > themselves. Even after this recognition, I think Climacus is saying
                              > that they remain depraved and corrupt, that they do not loose their
                              > dispositions to all sorts of evil.
                              >
                              > I may be wrong here, but this is how I read Climacus.
                              >
                              > Finally, you end you post with some questions to me:
                              >
                              > << Well, let's not sin then, I suppose that is all that is left to
                              > say! Now if you have already sinned, well... Are you lost? What are
                              > you saying here? Does one (past) sin ruin the very possibility of
                              > your ultimate happiness? Is one sin like a giant sand bank or a
                              > scorching reef for this proud vessel: you? Has repentance any ethical
                              > relevance? Is it, within the realm of ethics, something quite
                              > dialectical?>>
                              >
                              > I am not sure if you are here asking me to express my own views on
                              > this issue, or if you are asking me to say what I think Climacus or
                              > Anti-Climacus or Kierkegaard himself thinks.
                              >
                              > Either way, the question "Does one (past) sin ruin the very
                              > possibility of your ultimate happiness?" seems hypothetical, because
                              > which of us is so virtuous, that he has only sinned once?
                              >
                              > I do not wish to answer any of these questions further. When I feel I
                              > fully understand what K/p is saying about repentance and the nature
                              > of hereditary sin, I may come back to you!
                              >
                              > Yours,
                              >
                              > Jim
                              >
                            • jimstuart46
                              Dear Mederic, Thank you for your further remarks of clarification. I agree with what you write about metaphysical reflection – if it is serious,
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jan 12, 2008
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Dear Mederic,

                                Thank you for your further remarks of clarification.

                                I agree with what you write about metaphysical reflection – if it is
                                serious, single-minded and intense thought about oneself, then I am
                                sure K/p would approve of it.

                                Please take your time before coming back to me with your re-considered
                                thoughts on the difference, if any, between the categorical and the
                                metaphysical.

                                Once again I have a large book to read, so I shall not be able to
                                devote very much time to kierkegaardian thought over the next few weeks.

                                Yours,

                                Jim
                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.