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Second thoughts on thought and thinking

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  • jimstuart46
    Don, I think my first reply to you was rushed, and I did not fully consider the issues involved. In particular, upon further reflection, I see you as primarily
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 6, 2009
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      Don,

      I think my first reply to you was rushed, and I did not fully consider the issues involved.

      In particular, upon further reflection, I see you as primarily making a logical point. I, in my haste, missed this.

      So, here is your point:

      "K seems to me to be saying that movement cannot occur in thought."

      And here is the quotation to back up your point:

      "The transition from possibility to actuality is, as Aristotle rightly teaches, kinisis, a movement. This cannot be said in the language of abstraction at all or understood therein, be¬cause abstraction can give movement neither time nor space, which presuppose it or which it presupposes. There is a halt, a leap. When someone says that this is because I am thinking of something definite and not abstracting, since in that case I would discern that there is no break, then my repeated answer would be: Quite right; abstractly thought, there is no break, but no transition either, because viewed abstractly everything is. However, when existence gives movement time and I re¬produce this, then the leap appears in just the way a leap can appear: it must come or it has been." (CUP, Hong, p 342-43).

      Before I respond, let me paste two further quotations, supplied by Kenneth, then a quote from one of Kenneth's recent posts.

      "The qualitative dialectic enjoins that one is not to fool in abstracto with that which is the highest, and hence want to dabble at it, but must comprehend in concreto one's essential task and essentially express it." (CUP, Princeton, 1941, pp. 498-9)

      "… the distinction between what does or does not have historical significance obeys a quantitative dialectic" (Ibid., p. 119-20)

      "The quantitative dialectic is the creative venue of the mortal.
      The qualitative dialectic is the essential venue of existence." (Post 8678)

      Now, in response to your logical point, Don, I respond with logical clarification.

      I am guilty of running together two absolutely different things: thoughts and acts of thinking.

      Thoughts are abstract possibilities. They exist in the realm of the ideal.

      Thoughts are things we can grasp. We grasp thoughts in acts of thinking.

      Acts of thinking are things we do in time.

      Kierkegaard wishes us to distinguish between two sorts of thinking: objective thinking which is quantitative, abstract, and involves no inner movement – or, at least, no significant inner movement; and subjective thinking which is concrete, and does involve inner movement.

      With subjective thinking, I can indeed "actualise a possibility", I can indeed make an inner movement. I can act.

      To the extent that K puts forward a theory of the relationship of (abstract) thought to the living, existing, thinker, K uses the word "dialectic" neutrally. However, the two sorts of dialectic – quantitative dialectic and qualitative dialectic – are more that just pieces of an abstract theory for K. We ought to do that which the qualitative dialectic enjoins us to do. Or, at least, we ought to do this if we wish to make movements towards increasing subjectivity and inwardness. It is neither here nor there if we do what the quantitative dialectic enjoins us to do. But we may well waste time doing what the quantitative dialectic enjoins us to do, if we thereby ignore our essential task(s).

      I hope this makes things clearer. Things are dialectically complex hereabouts.

      Jim S

      P.S. Kenneth, do you think I have got the logic right here?
    • Kenneth
      Jim, Thank you RE: Jim S Message #8693; P.S. Kenneth, do you think I have got the logic right here? Yes... in as much as a Ferrari s performance can be
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 6, 2009
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        Jim, Thank you

        RE: Jim S Message #8693; P.S. Kenneth, do you think I have got the logic right here?
        Yes... in as much as a Ferrari's performance can be measured by a Beetle chase car.
        This is an education in dialectic and thinking I find very satisfying. Things ARE dialectically complex hereabouts. I feel very fortunate to look over Don's shoulder.

        Kenneth


        --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart46" <jjimstuart@...> wrote:
        >
        > Don,
        >
        > I think my first reply to you was rushed, and I did not fully consider the issues involved.
        >
        > In particular, upon further reflection, I see you as primarily making a logical point. I, in my haste, missed this.
        >
        > So, here is your point:
        >
        > "K seems to me to be saying that movement cannot occur in thought."
        >
        > And here is the quotation to back up your point:
        >
        > "The transition from possibility to actuality is, as Aristotle rightly teaches, kinisis, a movement. This cannot be said in the language of abstraction at all or understood therein, be�cause abstraction can give movement neither time nor space, which presuppose it or which it presupposes. There is a halt, a leap. When someone says that this is because I am thinking of something definite and not abstracting, since in that case I would discern that there is no break, then my repeated answer would be: Quite right; abstractly thought, there is no break, but no transition either, because viewed abstractly everything is. However, when existence gives movement time and I re�produce this, then the leap appears in just the way a leap can appear: it must come or it has been." (CUP, Hong, p 342-43).
        >
        > Before I respond, let me paste two further quotations, supplied by Kenneth, then a quote from one of Kenneth's recent posts.
        >
        > "The qualitative dialectic enjoins that one is not to fool in abstracto with that which is the highest, and hence want to dabble at it, but must comprehend in concreto one's essential task and essentially express it." (CUP, Princeton, 1941, pp. 498-9)
        >
        > "� the distinction between what does or does not have historical significance obeys a quantitative dialectic" (Ibid., p. 119-20)
        >
        > "The quantitative dialectic is the creative venue of the mortal.
        > The qualitative dialectic is the essential venue of existence." (Post 8678)
        >
        > Now, in response to your logical point, Don, I respond with logical clarification.
        >
        > I am guilty of running together two absolutely different things: thoughts and acts of thinking.
        >
        > Thoughts are abstract possibilities. They exist in the realm of the ideal.
        >
        > Thoughts are things we can grasp. We grasp thoughts in acts of thinking.
        >
        > Acts of thinking are things we do in time.
        >
        > Kierkegaard wishes us to distinguish between two sorts of thinking: objective thinking which is quantitative, abstract, and involves no inner movement � or, at least, no significant inner movement; and subjective thinking which is concrete, and does involve inner movement.
        >
        > With subjective thinking, I can indeed "actualise a possibility", I can indeed make an inner movement. I can act.
        >
        > To the extent that K puts forward a theory of the relationship of (abstract) thought to the living, existing, thinker, K uses the word "dialectic" neutrally. However, the two sorts of dialectic � quantitative dialectic and qualitative dialectic � are more that just pieces of an abstract theory for K. We ought to do that which the qualitative dialectic enjoins us to do. Or, at least, we ought to do this if we wish to make movements towards increasing subjectivity and inwardness. It is neither here nor there if we do what the quantitative dialectic enjoins us to do. But we may well waste time doing what the quantitative dialectic enjoins us to do, if we thereby ignore our essential task(s).
        >
        > I hope this makes things clearer. Things are dialectically complex hereabouts.
        >
        > Jim S
        >
        > P.S. Kenneth, do you think I have got the logic right here?
        >
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