a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:09 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

Matthieu [in The Age of Reason] wants to justify his actions and base them on good reasons, or at least on some overwhelming desire; but by interrogating his motives, by trying to establish whether they are compelling, he distances himself from them.


This exposes the extent to which how [for some of us] the more you attempt to think through a situation looking for reason and motive and meaning, the more you actually come to things like dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

The part about "overwhelming desire" seems more in sync with the libido, with instinct, with those deep down inside drives the human brain is notorious for. Just go where they take you, right? Why? Because as soon as you stop to think it all through rationally, to "analyze" it all "philosophically", the more likely you are to end up in the hole that "I" am in all busted up like Humpty Dumpty.

The process of examining his motives shows they have no binding power over his future: the search for obligations leads him to freedom because it uncovers the fact that alternative courses of action are also viable. However costly it seems, the price of being conscious of an identity is a corresponding liberation from that identity, with an ever-present responsibility for continuing or denying that identity. We experience this responsibility through anguish.


All I can say here is that this is more or less what happened to me the more I became immersed in existentialism, deconstruction and semiotics. I began to see how my own objectivist frame of mind was largely just a world of words brought together either by God or political ideology.

And, now, as a moral nihilist, that anguish pops up whenever I am confronted with conflicting goods embedded in this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

"I" am no longer able to think myself up out of it.

This is not just a point about the fact that our identities change, since anguish does not come about when a past identity is forgotten and a new one adopted. Rather, anguish is a sign that human beings are ‘separated from themselves’, from the identities that constitute who they are now. We can review the present and not just the past, and we have a continual responsibility to recreate our identities through our choices.


You either come to embody this frame of mind or you don't. For me, it's not so much bearing the responsibility of recreating my identity "authentically", but of recognizing how many variables here are either beyond my comprehension or beyond my control. And that no set of behaviors is necessarily either more or less authentic. The "nausea" is derived from the manner in which I construe "I" as the fractured and fragmented embodiment of dasein.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:15 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

There are many ways of trying to avoid the responsibility for ourselves that comes with anguish. In Sartre’s scheme they all come under the heading of ‘bad faith’ (self-deception). One instructive type of bad faith is ‘sincerity’. This is a technical term in Sartre’s vocabulary: it is the attempt ‘to be who we are’; to make our life match our identity; to conform our actions with our supposed inner reality.


In other words [perhaps], another way of pointing to those who, in my view, are able to think themselves into believing in the existence of a "real me" in sync with the "right thing to do". That way, others can then be judged as more or less "sincere" about living "the good life" to the extent that they live it as you do.

What I call the "bad faith" of the objectivists.

On the other hand [of course], one can then conclude that unless others share this point of view, they are themselves seen by me to be acting in bad faith.

Good faith? Bad faith? Talk about "existential contraptions"!

But, lets face it, psychological defense mechanisms exist above all else to minimize anguish in our lives. Only, as I see it, it still comes down to the actual sets of behaviors that are chosen. What does it mean, when confronting conflicting goods, to claim that one is acting in bad faith? From my frame of mind, it means insisting there is only one obligatory -- rational and moral -- set of behaviors. But then others can insist that I am then claiming that to the extent others don't share this point of view themselves, they are acting in bad faith.

Which is not what I am saying at all. If I were, I'd be excluding myself from my own point of view.

But as soon as we spot whatever ‘essential’ aspect of our being it is that we want to display, we realise that we are neither identified with this ‘essence’ nor bound by it. To explain or excuse our behaviour with reference to ‘who we are’ is already to put some distance between our present actions and the past ‘identity’ which supposedly caused them, by our reflection upon this identity. We stake a claim to a ‘self’ and immediately betray our distance from it.


This is the part where many come not only to objectify others but to objectify themselves in turn:

“Total, constant sincerity as a constant effort to adhere to oneself is by nature a constant effort to dissociate oneself from oneself. One frees oneself from oneself by the very act by which one makes oneself an object for oneself.” Sartre


Still, I always come back again and again to taking intellectual contraptions/general descriptions such as this out into the world of actual human interactions. What, for all practical purposes, do words such as these mean when describing actual behaviors in conflict?

My point is that to the extent we distant ourselves from objectification, the closer we come to being down in my "hole"...with "I" more or less "fractured and fragmented".

Then I go in search of the narratives of those who are convinced that they do not objectify "I" [in the is/ought world] but are not in turn fractured and fragmented as "I" am.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:21 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

It should be made clear that Sartre is very aware of the many factors that constitute an identity for each person. His aim is not to deny the reality of human identity but to question whether this is enough to account for one’s actions.


Of course, like all the rest of us, however many factors he took into account, how realistic is it to suppose that he took into account all of the factors there are that can be [or must be] taken into account? Did he take into account the factors that I take into account? How about the factors that you take into account? Or the factors that others focus in on that you and I and he did not think of at all?

In whatever manner we account for our own behaviors, there are surely variables we will have left out. Or include but do not understand as others do. Or do not understand in the optimal manner.

I always come back then to the seeming futility of making claims about the behaviors we choose as anything other than existential leaps. Let alone in making claims about the behaviors of others.

There seems to be no exit from the problematic "I" here. We go back and forth about it, but with no real capacity to come up with a frame of mind that allows us to draw any definitive conclusions.

And even the extent to which this disturbs some more than others is just another manifestation of the conflicting narratives we are able to come up with in explaining "I" to others.

It's no wonder then that most become objectivists.

It is worth considering some of the factors that make up our identity in Being and Nothingness. ‘Facticity’ is the word Sartre uses to stand for the innumerable facts about our life which we have not chosen. These make up the sense in which our life is given, discovered, inherited and dependent on circumstances outside our control. We are bodily creatures, in a specific time and place, with a personal history, living in specific conditions.


In other words, the parts that intertwine in the either/or world. And these include facts able to be established about us and facts able to be established about the world that we interact in.

But even here [in a No God world] we are either able to establish certain facts or we are not. So, just because something is true does not mean we able to convince others of it. And that then precipitates yet more problematic interactions. We act on what we think is true. But: The consequences are in fact what they are however they are in sync with what is actually true.

There are many undeniable facts about our individual psychologies. Sartre lists various characteristics, habits, states, etc., which make up the psychic unity of our egos. These include not only latent qualities which inform our behaviour, such as industriousness, jealousy, ambition; and actual states which embody a certain behaviour, such as loving or hating; but also a whole pattern of acts. Our acts manifest the unified purposes of the psyche.


Okay, but the undeniable facts about our own psychology are still embedded in a profoundly problematic and convoluted "soup" of human interactions. There are facts that psychologists can tell us. Facts that sociologists can tell us. Facts that political scientists can tell us. Facts that anthropologists can tell us. Facts that historians can tell us.

But, given behaviors that we can describe, chosen at a particular time and place, who can really tell us what "our acts manifest the unified purposes of the psyche" means?

Other than the objectivists.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:01 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

It is worth considering some of the factors that make up our identity in Being and Nothingness. ‘Facticity’ is the word Sartre uses to stand for the innumerable facts about our life which we have not chosen. These make up the sense in which our life is given, discovered, inherited and dependent on circumstances outside our control. We are bodily creatures, in a specific time and place, with a personal history, living in specific conditions. There are many undeniable facts about our individual psychologies.

Sartre lists various characteristics, habits, states, etc., which make up the psychic unity of our egos. These include not only latent qualities which inform our behaviour, such as industriousness, jealousy, ambition; and actual states which embody a certain behaviour, such as loving or hating; but also a whole pattern of acts.


This is the part that I clump into the either/or world Self. The empirical, demographic, material facts about us that, while open to dispute, we are either able to demonstrate to others as true or not.

But even here there is room for considerable ambiguity. For example, we can display emotional reactions to events that, say, others then capture on film. The film shows us bring angry or happy or sad. But what if we are only feigning this. What if, for whatever personal reason, we believe it is advantageous for others to think that we are feeling one thing rather than another. Same with the things we say, and the behaviors we choose. How are others able to know if we really mean it?

Thus even with respect to "the facts" about us, in a No God world there are any number of contexts in which "I" can go far below the surface.

I only suggest that this may well be applicable to how we have come to understand our own "I" as well. We think that we are being truthful [to ourselves] about the things we think, feel, say and do. But there are so many variables here [going back to our indoctrination as youths over time historically and across space culturally] that we can only understand and control up to a point.

The supposed solidity of our ego is really just countless layers of existential factors coming at us over the years from any number of convoluted directions.

This part:

Our individual facticity is dependent on a particular language, a concrete community, a political structure, and on being part of the human species. In other words we are natural and cultural beings who do not determine the conditions and facts of our lives.


I mean, come on, seriously, how many of us have really ever stopped to think this through? To consider the implications of it when faced with choosing behaviors out in the is/ought world. Especially in the modern world where [potentially] we have access to countless moral and political narratives. If only through the internet alone.

Or, perhaps, objectivism is derived precisely from that. Faced with so many conflicting frames of mind "out there" in the world, "I" feels the need to pick one and stick with it.

If we need this complex environment to give us an identity, we also need relationships with other people to comprehend our identity. It is through the mediation of others that we can apprehend ourselves. For example, we appreciate ourselves in a new way when we are known or desired or loved: “I recognise I am as the other sees me”; “I see myself because somebody sees me,” as Sartre writes.


But: Which particular people, in which particular contexts? And the recognition that in it coming down to these people in these contexts, there were so many other possibilities of things having been different had it been other people in other contexts.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot: all this assuming we have some measure of autonomy of course.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:47 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

Sartre concerns himself deeply with questions of sociology, culture, language, psychology, and human relations. All of this creates the facticity of our being, the givenness of our unique identity. We should remember that Sartre never denies that human beings have an essence: “Essence is everything about the human being which we can indicate by the words: that is.” For each human being, “certain original structures are invariable.”


This is basically my own point when I distinguish between I in the either/or world, and "I" in the is/ought world. Though even in regard to conflicting goods there are any number of actual objective facts that can be determined as true for all of us.

And this, in my view, has got be the "for all practical purposes" demarcation. The things about yourself able to be established and your reaction to things able to be established precipitating particular moral and political value judgments.

But, sure, there is no way for me to then demonstrate that these too are not able to be pinned down as true for all rational men and women. Here all I can do is to invite others to argue that they can be. That this is the case because they have already done so. And that they are able to demonstrate to me why I am in turn obligated to share their assessment.

So rather than being anti-essentialist, Sartre’s philosophy could be termed a ‘qualified essentialism’, his sole qualification being that essence is never enough.


What the objectivists then do is to insist that, on the contrary, their very own moral and political [and even esthetic] value judgments reflect what is essentially true given the font they have come to embrace as the transcending source one turns to in order to settle any conflicts.

Sartre emphasizes that the totality of essences which constitutes our identity cannot adequately define a human being, because our consciousness of this totality is itself an essential aspect of our being. We have a relationship with the totality, an attitude to it, a responsibility for it. This is the reason human identity is ambiguous, insecure, and insufficient to account for our actions.


In other words, one is never able to accumulate at one time and in one place all of the indisputable facts about that which constitutes their identity. There are only those variables that, at any given time and in any given place, one is actually conscious of.

And, in my view, the relationship, the responsibility, and the attitude we take regarding human interactions in any particular context is always going to be profoundly problematic. Even in regard to the facts at hand.

Making the part where "I" interacts with others in the is/ought world all that much more "ambiguous, insecure, and insufficient".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:40 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

...as we have already seen, there is no suggestion that our identity is cut off from a world of causes and influences. However we respond to the facticity of our dispositions, for example, this remains present to us as a factual necessity, even if we reconstruct it through our decisions about how to act.


In other words [as I interpret it] there are objective facts that I is embedded in. Historical facts, cultural facts, facts derived from our actual situation out in a particular world. We may not understand or express those facts as they are but they are there to be demonstrated as in fact things that are true about us.

Where things get problematic here however is when the facts are what they are but mere mortals are not able to demonstrate them.

As I noted on another thread:

"...even in regard to the 'fact of the matter', one may ultimately need God. At least when someone makes a claim that comes down to either believing it or not believing it. In other words, a claim that cannot be substantiated beyond that.

I recall for example the courtroom scene from the film Reversal of Fortune. Sunny von Bülow is hovering like a ghost above the proceedings below. Speculating on what the outcome of the trial might be. Now, there was "the fact of the matter": Claus is either guilty or not guilty of putting her into an irreversible coma. The jury acquitted him. But was their own decision in fact the right one?"


In a No God world there is simply no way to get around this even in the either/or world.

....Sartre never imagines that anguish is present in all our activities. He acknowledges that in most everyday situations we are acting without anguish: we are usually caught up in things without much reflection, taking for granted a certain identity and certain goals. Even in the midst of the most spontaneous or habitual act, however, “there remains the possibility of putting this act into question.”


This is something that I often point out. Some here see me as this anguished soul barely able to function from day to day. But in the course of living my life from day to day, I, like you, experience no anguish at all regarding the preponderance of the behaviors that I choose. Alone or with others. It is only when my behaviors come into conflict with others in the is/ought world that "I" am likely to experience anguish.

Or in a time of general crisis when our lives are being pummeling in a particularly grim manner.

It's just that my own anguish is embedded more in the manner in which I construe human interactions from the perspective of the moral nihilist. My anguish revolves more around a fractured and fragmented "I" down in a "hole" that is embedded in conflicting goods derived from dasein: "the agony of choice in the face of uncertainty".

Whereas the anguish of the objectivist is more likely to revolve around a context in which they are convinced the "real me" is in sync with "the right thing to do" but in a particular context things are not going their way. Those who are not "one of us" are prevailing. But at least the objectivist can take comfort in the fact they are on the side of the angels.

"I" have access to none of that anymore.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:59 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

Sartre does not think that everything human beings do is within their control. He would accept that many ‘actions’ that human beings ‘do’ are involuntary (we hiccup, sleepwalk, blush), many are instinctive (we eat when we are hungry, we smash things in anger, we run from danger), many unfold almost unconsciously (we drive with astounding skill while on a kind of autopilot, we sing a song without paying it much attention), and that many actions have unforeseen consequences. He notes, for example, that “the careless smoker who has through negligence caused the explosion of a powder magazine has not acted.” Sartre simply says that sometimes we are conscious that an action is ours, and conscious that there are alternative courses of action. The fact that we can take a view on certain actions, that we can deliberate and decide between alternative possibilities, shows that in these cases we are free to determine the course of our action. Only a deliberated act like this can be an acte humain, a ‘human act’.


This is basically where things get considerably more complicated for me. From my frame of mind, even to the extent that we strive to be "authentic" in the thngs that we choose [in the is/ought world], "I" is still necessarily entangled in all of the many, many genetic and memetic variables that go into the creation of any particular "self". Deliberate all you wish but there are still going to be any number of factors embedded in the myriad experiences that you have had from the cradle to the "here and now" that you are either not wholly aware of or that were beyond your control.

Starting with the historical and cultural context into which you were thrown, then acknowledging your childhood indoctrination and then accumulating all the particular and unique interactions that you had that nudged or shoved or toppled you into particular predispositions regarding any number of aspects that culminated into who you think you are today.

How here is "I" not largely an existential construct?

Yes, we come to forks in the road where after deliberating we must choose one course of action rather than another. But, in my view, only those oriented towards objectivism are able to convince themselves that [in the is/ought world] one way is necessarily more authentic than another.

Instead, as I see it, the deliberations themselves are just another manifestation of "I" as an existential contraption. And that's before we get to the part about political economy and conflicting goods.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:53 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

Sartre’s argument is not undermined by someone insisting that this experience of detachment and freedom is just an illusion: “You think you are free, but really everything is determined – even your belief in freedom is psychologically determined.” Sartre’s method is phenomenological. He starts with human experience and tries to clarify what is found in that experience. In this case, we do not experience a psychological belief that we are detached and free; some stubborn conviction which forms the basis of our philosophy. Rather, we experience the detachment itself. It is not a conclusion or an implication. Anguish is the experience of having to choose without adequate grounds for choosing – of having to be free. This is the starting point of Sartre’s phenomenology, the original data on which his philosophy is built. It does not reveal a prejudice in favour of freedom. On the contrary, to insist that all human actions are determined would be to impose a prejudice on the data of experience and contradict it. This prejudice would be a form of bad faith.


This is the part that always comes down to a fundamental question that seems beyond our grasp: is any of this interaction between Sartre back then and Wang and you and I here and now really within our control as autonomous beings?

I merely suggest in turn that the answer to this question is predicated entirely on the answer to the questions, "why is there something instead of nothing?" and "why is there this something and not another?"

Sure, we can speculate endlessly about natural phenomena, human experience and feelings of anguish. But we are seemingly unable to establish that any of this was ever able to be other than what it must be given that "I" has the capacity to opt for an alternative reality.

If we are in fact not detached from the immutable laws of matter having naturally/necessarily evolved into human brains [on this planet] then what reality seems to be to any particular one of us is interchangeable with what it appears to be to anyone else: only how it was ever able to appear.

Thus to speak of a "prejudice" here seems entirely moot.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:34 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

Sartre’s vision of the relationship between identity and freedom can be summarised in the following way: Human beings have an identity but go beyond it. We identify with our thoughts and feelings and values, with our circumstances, with the totality of our experience. Yet at the same time we are conscious of this experience and therefore distant from it.


From my frame of mind however it is less the part where we go beyond our identity and more the part where "I" is understood only in the context of all those factors in our lives that are either beyond our understanding or control. The part embedded in dasein as an existential contraption. It is the distance here that counts most. And while we can attempt to gather as much information as possible to bridge the gap between the indoctrinated child and the more autonomous adult there are still going to be countless gaps not able to be filled.

We have questions, dilemmas, and moments of existential and moral anguish which make us aware of our own incompleteness and insufficiency.


In other words, in my view, each individual "I" has his or her own set of reactions to the world around them. Then the question becomes whether or not through disciplines like science and philosophy conflicting points of view can either be reconciled or resolved.

There is a fundamental lack within the present which paralyses our thoughts and actions. Nothing can completely determine for us the meaning of the world or the direction of our life. Yet we are able to go beyond all that we are and conceive of a future which will make sense of the present.


Yes, but only to the extent that we acknowledge "I" as an unimaginably complex and problematic intertwining of genes and memes set down in a particular world understood in a particular way. It's not so much paralyses as the ambiguity embedded in "the agony of choice in the face of uncertainty." Pertaining by and large to the is/ought world.

Some go further beyond this than do others. But, in my view, that really only takes them deeper into the profound mystery of existence itself. Ever and always assuming some measure of autonomy here.

It is by freely acting for an end which does not yet exist that we orientate ourselves to this goal and make it real for us. In this way we make sense of the world and give meaning to our life by our active commitments.


Okay, but to the extent that one then makes a distinction being living "authentically" and "inauthentically" is the extent to which I will then interject with my own far more nihilistic components.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:13 pm

"Identity and Freedom in Being and Nothingness"
Stephen Wang in Philosophy Now magazine.

A human being is neither the present static identity nor the intangible future goal. We are constituted rather by our freely chosen relationship between present identity and end. Personhood therefore necessarily involves both the facts that determine us and the movement beyond these facts to what we seek to become.


My point though is that, above all else, in however we react to this particular general description of "a human being" our conclusions must be brought out into the world of actual human interactions. A profoundly problematic existential contraption in which most will eventually confront others who react to the author's meaning here differently.

And then these "philosophical" interpretations become entangled further in lived lives in which "goals" and "movement" may or may not be in sync with what philosophers like Sartre call "authentic" behavior.

The existentialists themselves are no less entangled in the variables embedded in my own vantage point. "I" as a ceaselessly fabricated and refabricated embodiment of dasein confronting conflicting goods in a world where what ultimately counts in these conflicts is who has the political power to actually enforce one set of behaviors over all others.

It involves essence and existence, self-possession and self-dispossession, introspection and ecstasy, present and future, the real and the ideal, the indicative and the conditional. It involves what is true, and what could be. In Sartre’s understanding we constitute our personal identity by accepting who we are and freely moving beyond this.


No, it involves whatever you have come to believe these particular words put in this particular order mean "in your head" here and now. A world of words. Take them out of your head and employ them in interacting with others and they acquire an actual existential use value and exchange value.

Which in discussions about identity and value judgments in places like this, you are either more or less willing to bring arguments and assessments "down to earth" by noting the manner in which your philosophical conclusions impact the behaviors that you do choose given a particular context out in a particular world understood from a particular point of view.

I do this and bump into a fragmented and fractured "I" tumbling down into the hole that is moral nihilism.

And you?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby promethean75 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:28 pm

And you?


I told you, man. Anytime you find yourself tumbling down into the hole of moral nihilism, ride the scree.

ride the scree, Biggs.
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:37 pm

Nowhere Men
Nick Inman wants to know where you’re at.
In Philosophy Now magazine

Many contemporary philosophers begin by ruling out the question ‘Who are you?’ as only of interest to an anthropologist: ‘who’ defines a person by his relationship to other people – it doesn’t shed any light on human nature. The crunch question, which is the only one a physical scientist would allow, is ‘ What am I?’


Actually, the crunch question would seem to be, "why am I who the anthropologists say I am, and what the physical scientists say I am?"

That and how did existence itself come to be such that it evolved into who or what or why others speculate that I am.

Including philosophers.

Of course, we seem far, far removed from an answer that definitive. So what real choice do we have [in the interim] but to explore possibilities short of that. After all, they are no less fascinating to ponder.

Now we’re dealing with stuff. What else is there to deal with? If everything that exists is stuff – matter – then it is obvious that if I am, I must be something too. It would also help to say where I am because, as Eccles in The Goon Show put it, “Everybody’s got to be somewhere.”


Here we start getting closer to the "stuff" that fascinates me the most. The part in particular where we delve into the relationship between brain matter precipitating mind precipitating consciousness precipitating "I". Is any of that ever really within our command as autonomous matter? Or is it intertwined in one or another manifestation of God or pantheism? The part where wherever you are there is no getting around the most fundamental fonts of all.

Well, there’s only one place I can be. Whatever my self is, it must be me the animal, the biological organism, or part thereof. So I am inseparable from my body: I move around with it, I rely on it for input and output. When my body dies I will disappear.


Again, aspects of "I" that are applicable to all of us. Given the gap between "I" and all there is to know about all there is to know. But far more fascinating to me is the part where, given some measure of autonomy, "I" and "you" and "they" are not able to pin down what seems to be true for all of us.

The search for me can be narrowed down further. Although I have a foot, I would not say that I am a foot. Rather, the part of me that perceives and thinks is behind my eyes. “Logically,” says neurobiologist Dick Swaab, “you are your brain”.


And, for some, this marks the end of the discussion. In other words, is this or is this not inherently and necessarily a manifestation of biological imperatives? The part about dasein is merely subsumed by the determinists in the assumption that it is.

Here on this thread though I can only start by taking an intellectual leap to autonomy. Even though I have no capacity to demonstrate that it does in fact exist.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:24 pm

What’s So Simple About Personal Identity?
Joshua Farris asks what you find when you find yourself.

Materialists or physicalists are philosophers who believe that humans are completely physical beings, whereas dualists believe we are minds – sometimes souls – with bodies. Both materialists and dualists are very interested in the nature of personal identity. In the recent literature, there are four prominent basic views on it. The proponents of all these views want to answer the questions, ‘What is a person?’ and ‘How can we identify one?’. Other relevant questions include, ‘Who am I?’, ‘Who am I in certain contexts?’, and ‘Is there a fact of the matter to my being me?’


Most here know what I propose. There are the self parts we are able to reasonably situate objectively out in the either/or world. Facts about us. Assuming some measure of autonomy. And accepting that even demonstrable facts are embedded in our ignorance regarding "I" and a complete understanding of existence itself.

The basic views of personal identity I discuss here are: the body view; the brain view; the memory/character continuity view; and the simple view. Additionally, there is a new simple view called the not-so-simple simple view. Defenders of both simple views largely agree in their estimate of the first three views, yet there are some important distinctions between the two simple views, which deserve attention.


Of course so far this just another general description intellectual contraption about human identity. And who among us can make clear-cut distinctions between "the body, the brain, the memory/character continuity" and all of the hundreds upon hundreds of additional variables intertwined in the genetic and the memetic "I". "I" out in a particular world historically and culturally. To even suggest a "simple view" seems preposteroius to me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:47 pm

What’s So Simple About Personal Identity?
Joshua Farris asks what you find when you find yourself.

The Body View

First let’s consider the body view. It is normally ascribed to Aristotle, but it has some contemporary defenders too. The bodily view of personal identity is the view that persons are identical to their bodies. Generally, defenders of the body view do not identify persons with one aspect of the body or one physical part of the body, such as the brain. Instead, the person is identical to the body as a whole: I am my body.


Okay, take this body out into the world and, with it, interact with others. When they ask why you choose the things that you think, feel, say and do you tell them, "I am my body, that's why."

Here that makes sense [to me] only to the extent the body as a whole is in sync with the laws of matter in a determined universe. Then identity itself is merely an inherent manifestation of that.

...we seem to treat our bodies as distinct objects of reflection, meaning that we seem to intuitively believe that our bodies are in some sense distinct from the core of the self in which we identify. When I encounter my feet as objects of reflection, for example, I am intuitively making a distinction between my self and those parts of my body. This intuition is also arguably active when we use parts of our body for different functions, for example, when I pick up a stick with my hand.


The part where given some degree of human autonomy ascribed to the self-conscious "I", a distinction is made between the autonomic body functions entirely embedded in the biological evolution of life on earth and that mysterious "ghost in the machine" that somehow more or less self-consciously maneuvers this body in and out of particular contexts only more or less able to be understood or controlled. The part where the genetic self stops and the memetic self begins; and then gets embedded in any number of historical and cultural narratives that each individual "I" ceaselessly constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs existentially from the cradle to the grave. The part "I" assign to my own understanding of dasein.

Another problem for the body view is the persistence of identity. It is difficult to see how on the body view the same self can persist through time. The body is a complex organism that changes over time; it has the potential to add or lose major parts, and additionally cells are growing and dying continually. However, it intuitively seems that the person is something more fixed, stable, unified, and enduring: that I am the same person through time. So suggesting that the body is identical to the self seems to undermine basic assumptions a person has of their self.


Again, here are the two "reductionist" explanations:

1] the body is at one with nature and all of this unfolds only as it ever could have. "I" is merely the illusion of opting for alternative twists and turns.
2] Religion. "I" is manifestation of God's will.

Where this becomes all the more problematic is when we consider the way in which "I" can be profoundly upended by biological conditions -- Alzheimer's, dementia, schizophrenia, other major mental disorders -- that seem to confirm the extent to which the body prevails.

Or the use of powerful drugs that can shape and mold the manner in which we experience "I" as a a sort of...chemistry lab?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby promethean75 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:51 pm

you know you really make us feel inadequate when you do this, biggs. i'm just sayin. it's like we're not good enough for you so you go find some quotes online somewhere and bring them back here to argue with.
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:55 pm

promethean75 wrote:you know you really make us feel inadequate when you do this, biggs. i'm just sayin. it's like we're not good enough for you so you go find some quotes online somewhere and bring them back here to argue with.


Thanks.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby promethean75 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:10 pm

thanks


care to bring that intellectual contraption down out of the clouds and explain to me in a particular existential context how i should interpret that in a world awash with conflicting goods, chance, and contingency?
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:47 pm

promethean75 wrote:
thanks


care to bring that intellectual contraption down out of the clouds and explain to me in a particular existential context how i should interpret that in a world awash with conflicting goods, chance, and contingency?


Sorry, I was only being ironic.

He said in jest. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
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