a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:32 pm

Francis Fukuyama & the Perils of Identity
Peter Benson critiques a liberal but nationalistic brand of identity politics.

The American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama is still best known for his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man. It was written in response to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union. Those events, he contended, constituted the triumph of liberalism, democracy, and capitalism over the alternative social model provided by communist totalitarianism. “For a very large part of the world,” he wrote, “there is now no ideology with pretensions to universality that is in a position to challenge liberal democracy”.


Political identity:

"I am a Communist".
"I am a capitalist".
"I am a liberal".
"I am a conservative".

And, in fact, historically, far, far fewer of us are likely to call ourselves Communists today than capitalists. But who would actually argue that in regard to "liberalism and democracy", ideological commitments are not still thriving? There are millions and millions who insist that only the manner in which they embody both reflects what they call themselves but that which everyone else who wishes to be thought of as a rational human being must choose to call themselves as well.

And, to the extent that their moral and political values might be deemed "totalitarian" and/or "authoritarian", well, you'd have to ask them.

Now, I use a different word. I use the word "objectivism". And, in regard to any particular individual's "political identity", I ask them how convinced they are that right and wrong and true and false and good and evil can be understood by a core, fundamental self able to grasp and to choose behaviors wholly aligned with an objective morality. Either apllicable universally or otherwise.

Next up: Donald Trump.

From today’s perspective, this triumph seems a good deal less definitive. Various forms of totalitarianism remain alive and well: in China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. And the rise of populist politicians in the West has placed strains on the continuance of recognizable liberal democracy. Fukuyama’s latest book, Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition (2018), was written as a reaction to the unexpected election of Donald Trump. Like many people, Fukuyama feels troubled by the fact that a liberal democratic society could elect as its leader a man so notably opposed to liberal values and often openly contemptuous of democratic processes. How could this happen? What does it tell us about our world?


First of all, historically, when the rise of totalitarianism is not rooted in either theocracy or political ideology, it tends to revolve around one or another systemic crisis. Or a series of them. Today, the concern with Trump is the extent to which he intertwines crony capitalists, reactionary evangelicals and racists at a time when the coronavirus, economic travail, and social unrest have created conditions that are basically unprecedented. No one is really sure what will happen next.

On the other hand, none of this was unfolding in 2016. So, how to explain his election victory then. Here my conjectures revolve around that large swath of Americans who see Trump as at least the possibility of providing them with a conservative value voter foundation when men were men, when boys were boys and girls were girls, when the Christian faith flourished, and when everyone around them looked like they did. The need to have a world around them they could more easily anchor "I" to. The world as it should be, must be, can be again.
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
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 37580
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby Artimas » Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:11 am

iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.

Throughout history, and in all cultures, people have responded to Kant’s fundamental question ‘What is the human being?’ in very diverse ways; even denying that humans have any relation with the material world, as extreme gnostics do. Or Hare Krishna devotees exclaim, ‘You are not your body’. Indeed, there has been a long tradition in Western philosophy that identifies the subject/self with consciousness.


Okay, but where does this actually take us other than back to the point I keep raising: that, in regard to "all things human", what counts is not what you "exclaim" to be true but the extent in which your exclamations are able to be substantiated experientially with respect to a particular context that most in the discussion will be familiar with.

Otherwise, the exchange ends up revolving only around what you believe to be the case about being human. And, down through the ages there have been countless intellectual renditions -- social, political, economic -- of that.

Anthropologists have long emphasized and illustrated the diversity of cultural conceptions of the human subject; but even within the Western intellectual tradition there exists an absolute welter of studies that have attempted to define or conceptualize the human subject in different ways.


And how much more readily that is accomplished when the concepts themselves come to reflect, by and large, how one defines the words in the concepts. That is why, when push comes to shove, anthropologists have been able to depict cultures over time historically and across space culturally that construe "what is the human being" in so many complex and conflicting ways. What does that tell us about the limitations of language itself in capturing these things objectively?

Western responses to Kant’s fundamental question have been extremely diverse and contrasting, and I want to briefly discuss three approaches: the essentialist, the dualist, and the Kantian triadic ontology of the subject.


The "Kantian triadic ontology"?

That ought to be interesting.


The human being is a/the string of nature that is conscious of itself. Same hands, different puppets and the hands DO get tired.

Losing or consciously controlling identity is choosing nature over mankind, it’s a matter of value attribution, like all is. Which symbiotic relationship one wishes to pursue in terms of awareness, spirit, nourishing, etc.

To escape the trap of “I” one must die, but to be on such a path while living one must be closer to source, to be closer to source one must be individual and know self without background noise. The path of least distraction, least environmental shaping without consciously choosing. If one can become clouded by environment, sensory saturation, being byproduct, then one can also be still and clear in environment, a sensory deprivation and shaped to peak ability, one can be the shaper and not the unconscious/subconscious byproduct. This is the fork in the road that is existence, does one wish to be god or does one wish to remain small as a human? The being human, conscious, is the being god.

My answer is to be both in the right ways.

Even nothing, is something.
If one is to live balanced with expectations, then one must learn to appreciate the negative as well, to respect darkness in its own home.

All smoke fades, as do all delicate mirrors shatter.

"My ancestors are smiling on me, Imperials. Can you say the same?"

"Science Fiction today ~ Science Fact tomorrow"

Change is inevitable, it can only be delayed or sped up. Choose wisely.

Truth is pain, and pain is gain.


Image Image
User avatar
Artimas
Emancipator of ignorance and also Chameleon upon the stars
 
Posts: 3825
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:47 pm
Location: Earth, Milky Way

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 08, 2020 5:21 pm

Artimas wrote:The human being is a/the string of nature that is conscious of itself. Same hands, different puppets and the hands DO get tired.

Losing or consciously controlling identity is choosing nature over mankind, it’s a matter of value attribution, like all is. Which symbiotic relationship one wishes to pursue in terms of awareness, spirit, nourishing, etc.

To escape the trap of “I” one must die, but to be on such a path while living one must be closer to source, to be closer to source one must be individual and know self without background noise. The path of least distraction, least environmental shaping without consciously choosing. If one can become clouded by environment, sensory saturation, being byproduct, then one can also be still and clear in environment, a sensory deprivation and shaped to peak ability, one can be the shaper and not the unconscious/subconscious byproduct. This is the fork in the road that is existence, does one wish to be god or does one wish to remain small as a human? The being human, conscious, is the being god.

My answer is to be both in the right ways.


This is what I call "a general description intellectual contraption". The sort of thing that, in my view, folks like meno and magnus anderson and many others here seem content with in discussing [philosophically or otherwise] things like identity, morality and political power. And, sure, I use them myself.

But, as I noted above:

Okay, but where does this actually take us other than back to the point I keep raising: that, in regard to "all things human", what counts is not what you "exclaim" to be true but the extent in which your exclamations are able to be substantiated experientially with respect to a particular context that most in the discussion will be familiar with.

Otherwise, the exchange ends up revolving only around what you believe to be the case about being human.


So, what we need now is an actual context. A set of circumstances in which we can explore each other's take on both the philosophical and the experiential parameters of "I".

Let's settle on one.
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
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 37580
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:48 pm

Death of the Author and the web identity crisis
Zachary Colbert spins a story of power and deceit brought to you via your computer.

In Death of the Author (1977), the French philosopher Roland Barthes introduces the idea that for a piece of work to be fully appreciated it must be understood in itself, completely separate from when, where and especially by whom it was created . “Writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin” he says. The reader should not have any knowledge of the author’s identity, including their history, class, race, religion and political preferences, as these lead to preconceptions about the writing, and the reader may be encouraged to believe there is only one ‘correct’ translation of the text.


Fully appreciated. But from whose point of view? Whether you knew Roland Barthes intimately or knew nothing at all about him, you will understand or appreciate a book by him only in the sense that you will take out of the book that which you can put into it: yourself. Or, perhaps, even more telling, given only the manner in which you think you understand yourself.

And, even here, the same distinction that I always make: the author writing something able to be proven as in fact true for all of us, and the author writing something that encompasses only his or her personal opinion in closing the gap between the way the world is, and the behaviors we choose and the way the author thinks the world ought to be instead and the way he or she thinks people ought to behave instead.

If Barthes were to write a book about mathematics or chemistry or meteorology what is there to be understood and appreciated in information and knowledge that, by its very nature, is immune to deconstruction or semiotics or any other post-structuralist intellectual contraptions.

The same with identity. There are parts of the self that are considerably less open to translation or interpretation than other parts.

To know the author is to know the source of the text and therefore expect a single definitive interpretation : “To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing”. The Western mind-set requires clarification of one ultimate and ‘correct’ meaning, for the sake of believability. But without preconceptions on the writing’s birth, the audience is left to their own devices and imagination to create meaning entirely. For Barthes, the meaning of a work depends on how it is received rather than how it is intended. The view of a text’s unity “lies not in its origin but in its destination”. This would imply that the reader is in complete control.


Clearly, if a book is written about race or gender or sexual preference, knowing the race, gender and sexual preference of the author is hardly irrelevant. But there are still facts that can be confirmed as true or confronted as falsehoods. There are simply too many components of human interactions in the either/or world in which ultimately there is only one "correct" meaning.

My own particular self is embedded in any number of biological and demographic descriptions and others can believe them because I am able to demonstrate that in fact these things that I depict about myself are true. Just as you can. Received or intended facts are facts.
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
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 37580
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Previous

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users