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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:23 pm
by Pedro I Rengel
Yes, we all know that's how leftists like to think of themselves.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:45 pm
by promethean75
indeed, and some of them are even liars. oh shit wait. i just had a eureka moment. what's the difference between an opportunistic leftist liar who seeks office only to fatten his own pockets and doesn't give a shit about the workin man, and a capitalist who seeks to maintain conservatism to fatten his own pockets and doesn't give a shit about the workin man? (while also being entirely dependent on him. interesting, that. almost like biting the hand that feeds you, but that would be like comparing a capitalist to a dog... which is a very generous analogy)

yeah so did you see that? it's like 'hey capitalist, what are you bitchin about? these fucksticks are doing the same thing you are, right?' ohhhh i see. suddenly it's 'unethical' to get rich... especially if you're lying while trying to do it. in that case, an honest leftist who admitted he didn't give a shit about the workin man would garner the respect of the capitalist.

and this would work, actually, because we can't indict the capitalist on lying here. he'd have to know what he thinks is ethical is actually not (for several epistemological reasons... and even more pragmatic reasons) in order to be 'lying'. so far, the capitalist is only an imbecile, not a bad guy.

now we've reached a beautiful dilemma. the capitalist isn't a liar (because he's too dumb) but he does not empower the workin man... while the fake-ass leftist is a liar, but empowers the working man.

fuck. now what do we do?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:51 pm
by iambiguous
Faust wrote:The "I" is the part that speaks. Some parts of us are unknown to the "I".

Enter: Metaphysics.

Metaphysics: the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality

And, if this be the case, then everything --- everything that encompasses the body, everything that encompasses the mind, and everything the encompasses the world around it/"I", can only be entirely explained when we have an understanding -- ontological? teleological? -- of existence itself.

This thread however takes that gap for granted. Just as it makes the presumption that we all have some measure of free-will to actually opt for particular points of view.

Dasein then revolves around "I" in our day to day interactions and the extent to which what we believe to be true about them is able to be demonstrated as in fact true. Call it true objectively. Call it true universally. Call it true empirically. Call it true phenomenologically. Call it true historically, anthropologically, ethnically, culturally, sociologically, politically, economically, psychologically.

It is either a thing or a relationship in sync with what science calls the "laws of nature" out in the either/or world able or not able to be verified or falsified by way of the "scientific method".

Of course science is considerably less concerned with "I" in the is/ought world. With human behaviors said to be virtuous or moral. Here instead any number of philosophers down through the ages have grappled with what in the discipline is called "ethics".

And that's the part I zoom in on in regard to my own understanding of dasein in this thread. That's the part where I focus the beam at the existential juncture of identity, value judgments and political power.

Out in any particular world, in any particular context, understood from any particular point of view. And here I speculate not so much on what philosophers can tell us, but on what [perhaps] they cannot.

But it is only when we take these "intellectual contraptions" down off the scholastic scaffolding and situate the words out in a particular context, out a particular world, can the human condition be explored more substantively.

Or, rather, so it seems to me.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:53 pm
by Pedro I Rengel
Liars to who?

You have yet to realize the realization of lying to one's self.

Go, meditate on this. "Nihilism" won't do.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:11 pm
by iambiguous
What’s So Simple About Personal Identity?
Joshua Farris asks what you find when you find yourself.

[Lynne Rudder Baker, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts] identifies persons with what she calls ‘the first-person perspective’. This is the perspective I have of myself, or the perspective you have of yourself. Thus, persons are here not identical to a body or a brain; neither are persons identifiable with a set of memory or character states; instead, persons are identified with a particular perspective.

In other words, as I interpret it, "I" is not reducible down to the body or to the brain, or to a particular set of memories, or to a personality, or to a character. Instead it is embodied in the manner in which they all somehow come together from day to day to produce a "perspective". I think this, I feel that, I choose this, I do that.

Basically, the manner in which most of us think about "I" in the world around us for all practical purposes. Given some measure of autonomy.

And we can think of it this way until someday, someone actually is able to demonstrate why the whole package is reducible down to a specific factor above.

And, in the interim, it still comes down to that which we are in fact able to demonstrate to others is [existentially] the most rational way in which to think, feel, say or do...anything.

In a recent work, Baker puts it like this: “A person is a being with a first-person perspective essentially, who persists as long as her first-person perspective is exemplified” (Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective, 2013, p.149), even though defining personal identity in this way is rather circular, and not very informative for the reader, as Baker acknowledges (p.150). As Baker says in her conclusion, “the first-personal view is a Simple View because it provides no informative criteria of personal identity”

There's no getting around circularity here because however you explain human identity, you come back to certain assumptions you make which are not able to be either verified or falsified definitively. And this must be the case or there would already be an explanation out there that accomplishes precisely that.

Though, sure, if you think there is one, link it to us.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:29 pm
by iambiguous
Elastic Selves in the Age of Enhancement
Susana Badiola wonders how technology will help us understand our selves.

Scientists and futurists are spreading before a dazzled public all kinds of astonishing prospects of humans in the near future being deliberately transformed through the use of technology. Through advanced medicine and by integrating technology into our lives and our very bodies, we may soon be stronger, healthier, longer-lived, happier, with more acute senses, and capabilities undreamed of by our ancestors. Such technological enhancements of ourselves will be our own conscious choices. What will that mean for our sense of self?

The technological self?

Assuming of course that, using the technology currently available to them, neuroscientists are not able to rule out entirely at least some capacity on our part to freely choose among the options made available.

Given some measure of autonomy here, "I" is about to enter that brave new world in which the human biological self itself is reconfigured into a kind of memetic self predicated on those qualities that any particular historical or cultural community value the most.

Of course this part...

...we may soon be stronger, healthier, longer-lived, happier, with more acute senses, and capabilities undreamed of by our ancestors... one thing. But it might well become another thing altogether if science is able to reconfigure the mind's "I" so as to instill characteristics and behaviors more in sync with one political narrative rather than another.

What sort of behaviors should be encouraged if all it takes is tweaking the brain at or around birth?

Then this part:

Old questions such as ‘What are we?’ or ‘What makes us be who we are?’ still resonate through contemporary philosophy. The conviction of being oneself obstinately remains despite all theoretical attempts to dilute it. Phenomenologists take the experiencing self as a given, as a starting point. Others feel intellectual discomfort with substantive notions of self, and explain my feeling of being me either as an illusion or as a social construction. The conclusion that ‘the self within’ is an illusion caused by some grammatical, psychological or epistemological mistake is not exclusive to philosophers; neuroscientists and artificial intelligence theorists explain it away as being the result of complex systems, carbon based or otherwise.

What might science be able to pin down here more definitively? Whole new ways to grasp the phenomenological "I"? Will a "self within" be discovered? Will there be ways to determine what the optimal self might be? And ways to bring that about in the really and truly brave new world of childhood indoctrination? The "mass me"?

Or, instead, will it be discovered that the mass me is just the wholly determined me spread out among all of Earth's inhabitants?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:46 pm
by iambiguous
Elastic Selves in the Age of Enhancement
Susana Badiola wonders how technology will help us understand our selves.

An I on the Self

We should start by clarifying our problematic notion. Even as we all seem to know what we mean by ‘self’, it is not easy to characterize.

Why? Because grappling with "I" in one context can be quite different from another context.


* There's the "I" that goes about the business of living from day to day in the either/or world. Hundreds of things that we do [alone or with others] that are entirely in sync with that which is as close as we have been able to come to "objective reality". In fact, the main obstacles to pinning this self down revolve around sheer speculation --- sim worlds, solipsism, dream worlds, matrix perspectives.

* There's the "I" that goes about the business of living from day to day in the is/ought world. Still hundreds of things that we can agree are "true objectively" for all of us. But these things trigger relationships that trigger behaviors that are judged far, far more subjectively. The "I" that I root in dasein.

*There's the "I" all the way out at the end of the metaphysical limb --- going back to the understanding of existence itself. Or in resolving the debate about "free will".

* There's the "I" that, for some, is in a relationship with one or another God. I and Thou.

But that, it turns out, just gets us started...

Galen Strawson once listed twenty-one different concepts of ‘self’ (Journal of Consciousness Studies 6, 1999), and Peter van Inwagen analyzed nine possible referents of the pronoun ‘I’ (The Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics, 2002).

The biological "I", The neourological and chemical "I", the historical "I", the cultural "I", the sociological "I", the psychological and emotional "I". And on and on.

Other authors, such as Anthony Kenny, deny that the first person pronoun refers to anything at all, and say that this grammatical error is the source of many a philosophical muddle (The Metaphysics of Mind, 1989).

On the other hand, don't get them started, right?

The ambiguity of the word ‘I’ seems apparent in claims such as ‘I have not been myself lately’ – which could be paraphrased as ‘There is something wrong with me’, or more confusingly, ‘I am aware that my self has not been itself lately’ – meaning, ‘I (supposedly the person talking) am aware that whoever I have been lately (self) is not the one who really I am (myself)’! This conceptual separation between myself and the self is characteristic of the ‘philosophical muddle’ pointed out by Kenny. Other instances show this problematic gap too. Consider, for example, ‘I was mad at myself’ or ‘I do not know who I am any more’, which both seem to suggest there is an essential self that a perhaps less essential ‘I’ can observe or get mad at.

And what does this ultimately revolve around? The fact that we relate to our "self" differently in different sets of circumstances. Somehow the "I" in my head is intertwined with all that exist out in any particular world. But there are so many different [and at times entirely unique] possible permutations "out there" given interactions awash in contingency, chance and change, that trying to pin down an understanding of all the variables that combine to create an "I" at any particular time, in any particular place can only be at best a more or less sophisticated guess. While, for many of us, it is more like a WAG.

And yet how could one speak of an "essential self" or the "real me" without the capacity to reduce all of these factors down to the one true reality?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:08 pm
by Ecmandu

I've told you a "million times" already that objective proofs are like open mathematical questions… sometimes they take hundreds of years to solve: either the conjecture is true or false.

People have NO PROBLEM, given these "multiple selves" of abstracting a continuity of consciousness. Obviously, given this, there is something wrong with stating that we all should agree that we don't have a continuity of consciousness.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 4:34 am
by iambiguous
Elastic Selves in the Age of Enhancement
Susana Badiola wonders how technology will help us understand our selves.

As Ludwig Wittgenstein has made us aware, language can be misleading, presenting a common structure for very different uses. For example, ‘I have a computer’, ‘I have a dog’, ‘I have a dream’, and ‘I have a headache’ share a common structure, but my ‘ownership’ of my headache does not have the same sense as in the case of my computer.

Language can get particularly misleading when "I" is intent on pondering all the stuff that goes on in the mind that generates the "I" in the first place. Dogs and computers are things that are out in the world. You either have one or you don't. And, if you do, you are easily able to demonstrate this to others. The communication back and forth is rather clear and objective.

In a similar manner, the claim that ‘I have not been myself lately’ suggests there is a real way to be myself, and a false way, even when the only possible self seems to be the one of which we are aware.

Here again however a distinction can be made between being or not being yourself with regard to things which are able to be demonstrated. If one day you find out from the doctor that you have an inoperable brain tumor, or have contracted AIDS, "I" can well come to embody a very different perspective on life. Or if your beloved spouse or child was murdered, "I" too can then come to reflect on life emotionally and psychologically such that you are never quite the same again.

But what is the true or the false way for one to embody a self with respect to conflicting goods? Interactions that garner particular reactions [good or bad] from others depending on the moral and political values that you embrace.

Philosophers such as Peter Hacker attempt to dissolve this muddle by clarifying conceptual confusions when discussing consciousness. For example, ‘I do not know what to think’ expresses not introspective deficiency, but the fact that I cannot make up my mind. And when I add ‘I think’, I’m not identifying a mental operation, but only specifying epistemic weight.

Yes, any particular "I" may not know what to think, but, depending on the context, there either is or is not a rational way in which to think about someone or something. You can't make up your mind but there are ways in which to show you what a rational mind is obligated to believe or know.

There are epistemological boundaries separating that which we can know for certain and that which we cannot.

And it is always the latter that is of most interest to me. Things that "I" can draw more or less informed and educated conclusions regarding...and things that appear to more in the nature of personal opinions.

And, in regard to our day to day interactions, what could possibly be a more crucial task for philosophers to take on?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:08 am
by iambiguous
A New Look At Personal Identity
Michael Allen Fox argues that old approaches to the problem don’t work.

Who am I? That’s a difficult question to tackle, and each of us must do so for him- or herself, if it is to be tackled at all. But importantly related to this question is another: Am I the same person now as I used to be? For part of the issue of personal identity is how growth, change and life experiences transform one’s self. Perhaps they alter me totally, I may think. The identity problem is compounded by asking further: Might I be a very different person in the future?

Think about it: Suppose we lived in a world where there was no contingency, chance and change. None at all. Nothing to tackle then in regard to your identity, right?

But we live in a word that is exactly the opposite don't we? Of course the question "who am I?" is a difficult question to answer. In fact, it's far more likely an impossible question to answer. After all, does anyone here actually imagine they have a handle on all of the thousands upon thousands of variables that, over the years, come at you from all directions? The mind-boggling social and psychological permutations that go into creating and then sustaining your own particular "I" . Try to even imagine all the factors that you had no control or understanding of at all. If only as a child.

Yet many of us still approach our identity in the same manner as we might approach, say, a cinder block. It's there, weighted down by it's "thingness".

So, the most important question of all [by far in my view] is how, given the fluid complexity necessarily embedded in "I" evolving over the years, what parts [and changes] can we come closest to nailing down objectively?

You know where I go here.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:58 pm
by iambiguous
A New Look At Personal Identity
Michael Allen Fox argues that old approaches to the problem don’t work.

Historically, there has been a vigorous debate between those who argue that personal identity is established by physical continuity and those who opt instead for psychological continuity. According to the first of these views, I am the same person today that I was as a child or teenager because I have the same body, or at any rate a body that has merely changed incrementally over time. The second camp contends that it is personality traits and dispositions that carry my identity forward through time.

You may as well attempt to pin down if "I" is more the function of genes or memes. We know of course that without the biological self there would be no psychological continuity. But where does one stop and the other begin?

Think about it like this...

You get out of bed this morning. And, you tell yourself, you're the same person you were when you got out of bed the day before.

Or maybe not. Maybe there is something happening in your body -- a cancer cell, the onset of a disease -- that, sooner or later, will dramatically reconfigure how you think about yourself in the world around you.

Or maybe yesterday you made a new friend. You are meeting her today. You will embark on a relationship that has the potential to introduce any number of new factors into your life. Factors that, as well, can dramatically reconfigure how you think about yourself in the world around you.

That's simply how it works. There is "I" in your set of circumstances here and now. And then biological and environmental changes -- in increments or in a tidal wave -- result in a reconstructed "I" from day to day.

Some of these factors you will be able to grasp and/or control better than others.

With incremental change we encounter the ancient puzzle known as ‘The Ship of Theseus’. Theseus was a legendary king, revered as one of the founders of Athenian society. Plutarch reports that the ship in which Theseus and those under his command sailed the Aegean sea had its planks replaced one by one. Over time the entire ship was replaced, raising the question whether it remained the same ship or not, and if so, in what sense. The label ‘replacement paradox’ has been affixed to this sort of case.

Or, as Lena points out to Ray in Dream Lover

"They say you replace every molecule in your body every seven years. I changed my name eight years ago. No more Thelma Sneeder. Aren't you going to give me credit for it? Doesn't it seem brave that I became this completely different person."

And we know how Ray's "I" was reconfigured after marrying Lena.

But: In what sense do we become a "different person" when all the molecules are replaced? Or, circumstantially, when we have an experience so traumatic, the way we look at the world around us seems to turn upside down?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:12 pm
by iambiguous
A New Look At Personal Identity
Michael Allen Fox argues that old approaches to the problem don’t work.

It has been known for quite a while that incremental replacement occurs within the human body, but recent discoveries indicate more precisely the scope of this reconstruction. A technique based on carbon-14 dating devised by Swedish neurologist Jonas Frisén has led to the first accurate estimates of the amount of time it takes for various human body parts to regenerate. For example, our gut lining is replaced every five days; the skin’s outer layer every two weeks; red blood cells every 120 days; bones every ten years; and muscles between the ribs every 15.1 years. If the regeneration paradox is considered a serious worry, the bad news is that human bodily regeneration goes on relentlessly and at variable rates for different parts.

So, these are facts that can be ascertained regarding the various parts of us that regenerate over the years. But it's not like the fact of this has much of an impact on how we see ourselves. The fact that our bones and blood and organs etc., are reconstructed autonomically over time has little or no impact on how we react to, among other things, the behaviors of others given our moral and political prejudices.

No, instead, that part is reflected in the physiology of the brain. And here...

The good news is that the cerebral cortex and visual cortex of the brain have been confirmed to be as old as we are, that is, not to regenerate. This indicates that perhaps the most important parts of us from the perspective of self-identity do not change over time – except owing to injury, disease or the effects of ageing.

Except that we know full well how injuries and diseases and the effects of ageing can have a truly profound impact on how we see both ourselves and the world around us. All of those chemical and neurological interactions that we have little or no control over at all.

It might be argued that while novel and interesting, the above biological information does not really present any kind of challenge that hasn’t been faced before in the course of the personal identity debate, so the physical continuity view can remain intact. Making sense of continuity through change is still the issue we have to deal with, and humans are only a special instance (special to us) of objects that undergo alteration yet are said to remain the same.

Of course sooner or later genes give way to memes here. To our ever evolving and changing "sense of reality" given new experiences and access to new information and ideas. And here the social, political and economic permutations that any one particular individual might come to embody are truly vast and varied. Is it any wonder then that the objectivists are driven to invent Gods and philosophical contraptions and political dogmas and assessments of nature able to wade though all of this profoundly problematic variability and pin down the one true set of rational and virtuous behaviors.

Their own.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:39 pm
by iambiguous
I was just reading this Philosophy Now article:

"Analytic Philosophy, Continental Literature?"
Marc Champagne argues that the supposedly ’professional’ style of the analytic tradition does not ensure professionalism, nor indeed, clear-mindedness.

In it, I came upon this passage:

As a case study precisely of analytic philosophers defining philosophical value into existence, consider Mario Bunge’s Philosophical Dictionary (2003). Yet rather than defining analytic philosophy into excellence, Bunge defines continental philosophy into mediocrity. Here for instance is his entry for a staple continental notion, Martin Heidegger’s Dasein:

“DASEIN: Being-there. The trademark of existentialism. In some texts, Dasein = Real existence. In others, Dasein = Human existence. In still others Dasein = Consciousness. The hermeneutic difficulty is compounded by the recurrent phrase “das Sein des Daseins,” i.e., the being of being-there. Related terms not yet used by existentialists: Hiersein (Being-here), Dortsein (Being-over-there), Irgendwosein (Being-somewhere), and Nirgendwosein (Being-nowhere)… Jetztsein (Being-now), Dannsein (Being-then), Irgendwannsein (Being-sometime), and Niemalssein (Being-never)… Note how natural these combinations sound in German, and how clumsy their English counterparts sound. Which proves that German (when suitably macerated) is the ideal language for existentialism. A number of deep metaphysical questions involving these concepts can be framed. For example, ‘Was ist der Sinn des Dawannseienden?’ (What is the sense of Being-there-whenness?) ‘Was ist das Sein des Nirgendniemalsseins?’ (What is the being of Being-never-nowhereness?)… A systematic exploration of this vast family of expressions might lead to a considerable extension of existentialism.”

And, sure, the manner in which I construe the meaning of the small-d "dasein" in my signature thread is probably construed by many "serious philosophers" as mediocre at best. While even a heavyweight thinker like Heidegger can be mocked in one or another "intellectual contraption" of this sort.

But: "being" here is just that. An "intellectual contraption" word that in no way, shape or form relates to the lives that we actually live.


This passage is funny, but also telling. It is significant that the mockery was regarded as permissible or appropriate, and that the target is deemed sufficiently discredited, and so the attack not likely to attract any significant opprobrium.

Again, I am less concerned with whether as an intellectual contraption, this is funny or not. If you harbor a sufficient enough disdain for "continental philosophy", it's probably hilarious.

But what do the analytic philosophers have to tell us about any particular "I", being "here" and not "there"? Being "now" but not "then"? As this relates to the historical, cultural and experiential interactions of flesh and blood human beings?

Instead, all this defender of the continental tradition can do is to take the "debate" back up into the clouds:

And it is not merely that Dasein was not regarded worthy of a serious entry in a dictionary of philosophy (a dictionary not qualified as ‘analytic’, but announced as ‘philosophy’ tout court); rather, the notion was displayed as a comical counterpoint, to exemplify by way of contrast what a ‘good’, that is, an analytic, notion might look like. It is however unfortunate that Bunge did not make the effort to comprehend what is at stake in Dasein. He is perspicacious enough to observe that the term is applied equally to ‘Real existence’, ‘Human existence’, and ‘Consciousness’; then he hastily glosses these multiple meanings as a weakness. But that, as it happens, is Heidegger’s point: Real existence is Human existence, and Consciousness cannot be divorced from it. Much current cognitive science, with its emphasis on embodiment and situated cognition, is slowly confirming this view.

And it is certainly my contention that only to the extent that any school of philosophy is able to intertwine words and worlds, is there any possibility to explore in turn the extent to which in using the tools of philosophy we can grope to understand what may well be beyond the reach of "clear-mindedness".

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:53 pm
by iambiguous
A New Look At Personal Identity
Michael Allen Fox argues that old approaches to the problem don’t work.

We all know that our DNA structure is unique to each of us. Philosophers who favour the physical criterion of personal identity could therefore fasten onto DNA as the source of individual continuity. They might trumpet that a scientific, physicalistic solution to the identity problem is finally at hand. Curiously, they have not thus far seized the opportunity to do so. DNA certainly seems like a tempting physical carrier for personal identity, because it’s as identifying of oneself as anything can be.

But what we don't know is whether there is a scientific and/or philosophical and/or theological dividing line between that which DNA explains wholly and that which is still embedded in the mystery embodied in the evolution of matter into life forms evolving into brains evolving into minds like ours. Is it all DNA here?

That has to remain the profoundest of mystery of all. And yet we are left with no choice but to pursue questions like this largely ignorant of what that final solution is. Or by simply taking an intellectual leap of our own and basing our conclusions on our own set of assumptions.


The question of how DNA translates into personhood or personality, if at all, however, is an even greater mystery than how electrical activity in the brain can do so. But even here, hopes are dashed for identity. The human body contains between one and ten trillion cells. Red blood cells have no DNA, but all the others do. It also turns out that only ten percent of the DNA present within our bodies belongs to our own cells; the rest resides within the ten to one hundred trillion bacteria and other organisms of several hundred species which inhabit our bodies. Hence it now looks as if what counts as my body, although macroscopically quite specifiable, is, from the standpoint of genetic coding, only ten percent mine. This leaves us with the awkward conclusion (which we shall have to accept) that to be me is to cohabit my body with trillions upon trillions of other organisms, whose genetic coding radically deviates from my own DNA blueprint. My body is no longer simply my body.

Most of us of course do not have either the education or the background to understand this in any really sophisticated manner. Instead, we have to accept that those who do know about these things [and are subject to peer review] know what they are talking about. And, if the above is in fact true, what does it tell you about your own identity?

And then there is still the part I focus on. The either/or "I" presumed to have some measure of autonomy grappling to understand why he or she chooses one set of value judgments over another. And how the species as a whole goes about determining which sets of behaviors reflect the most rational and/or virtuous manner in which to behave.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:21 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

The Attack on the Self

It is difficult not to begin with David Hume, as his assault on the self includes what must be one of the most famous passages in all philosophy:

“For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat, cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I can never catch myself at any time without a perception, and can never observe anything but the perception.” (‘On Personal Identity’ A Treatise of Human Nature)

Think about it. At this particular moment in time and in this particular place across all of space, there is a "self" that you are able to talk about more or less with some degree of specificity and certainty.

But how in the world would you ever manage to catch the whole thing? In fact, I distinguish myself from others in regard to just how immese I perceive that gap to be.

Going all the way back to, well, you know where. :wink:

This is why I always start any exploration of human identity with psychology rather than philosophy. After all, could there be a more crucial "psychological defense mechanism" then the ability to think yourself into believing that one can catch the whole thing. And that, in fact, you know this is so because you already have.

He concluded that humans “are nothing but a bundle of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement.” “The identity we ascribe to the mind of man is only a fictional one”, he finally says. So that’s that. Those of you who think of your selves as real are plain wrong.

Or, the description I most come back to:

"I recognize that I put structure into my world....There is no 'real' world out there, given, intact, full of significance. Consciousness is constituted by random, virtually infinite barrages of experience; these experiences are indistinguishably 'inner' and 'outer'.....Structure is put into experience by culture and self, and may also be pulled out again....The experience of nothingness is an experience beyond the limits of is terrifying. It makes all attempts at speaking of purpose, goals, aims, meaning, importance, conformity, harmony, unity----it makes all such attempts seem doubtful and spurious."
The Experience of Nothingness---Michael Novak

Yet look at Novak today!

The Experience of Nothingness is not even mentioned!

See how identity works as an existential contraption? It's just that for some they are compelled by their own psychological propensities to become objectivists -- whether theologically, morally or politically.

Or, as with Novak, in all three domains.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:38 am
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Hume’s sentiments are very modern. In the last century, thinkers approaching the world in very different ways have arrived at similar conclusions. Existentialists, notably Sartre, have emphasized how the self is not a thing: we cannot be ourselves as an oak tree is an oak tree.

And yet in regard to certain biological/genetic aspects of human identity, we are no less shaped and molded by the laws of matter than any oak tree. Our bodies and our brains are packed with "things". Organs, blood, bacteria, chemical and neurological interactions which shape and mold our options in many profound ways. And there is only so far that even modern medicine can go in reacting to the parts that break down.

What separates us from from oak trees of course are minds. The most mysterious matter of all when it is actually able to become self-conscious of all the things it needs to know in order to conduct exchange like this one. At least in regard to our species on this planet.

In Being and Nothingness, Sartre argued that the notion of a self with definite, fixed characteristics was the result of confusing the product of free choice with a given thing. Roles, for example, are not things; we cannot be them, only aspire to be them. If we try to be, say, a waiter as an ink well is an inkwell, we are guilty of ‘bad faith’. (Note bad faith, not self-betrayal, because there is no self to betray.)

And then where I take this line of reasoning: "I" in the is/ought world. At least waiters can be thought of as "things" in that there are behaviors that they perform that all of us recognize as being things that waiters do. Here "bad faith" might revolve more around a waiter approaching your table in a restaurant and dealing out poker hands. Here he or she could be said to have betrayed the manner in which we all agree waiters should behave or are expected lo behave.

Ontologically, the self is a child of the marriage of Nothingness and Being: it is what it is not and is not what it is. I am myself in virtue of not being the objects of which I am aware; I am a subject and, as such, ‘not-an-object’.

Here things get all that more convoluted once we move into the is/ought world. In regard to value judgments, political prejudices and aesthetic tastes, what on earth does it mean to speak of "ontologically" at all? Still, we choose the behaviors that we do here without giving much thought to all of the things we are not. All of the experiences we did not have. All of the relationships we did not form. All of the information and knowledge we missed completely. Instead, we are "stuck" with reacting to our behaviors and the behaviors of others based only on that considerably more narrow thread of experiences, relationships and ideas.

But, come on, how many of us ever really stop to think that part through?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:06 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Postmodernists have argued that the self is merely a node in a network of symbols and signs. Roland Barthes, for example, demonstrated to his own satisfaction (in A Lover’s Discourse) that even when a self falls in love – seemingly its most intense self-expression – it merely instantiates a series of symbolic positions. More generally, when I speak ‘from the heart’ – about politics, love, science – I am merely a conduit allowing language to speak through myself, permitting that echo-chamber of intertextuality, the human heart, to echo out loud.

Come on, to the extent that postmodernists allow their own assessments to revolve largely around intellectual contraptions predicated on a particular accumulation of jargon, their own approach to the self bears almost no resemblance to the manner in which, from day to day, most of us recognize -- in fact live -- our own lives.

After all, what cares the biological, demographic and experiential I/"I" for "node[s] in a network of symbols and signs." Love exists because, given the evolution of life on earth, our own species has come to embody the potential to feel love in all manner of complex and convoluted ways. Ways that clearly manifest themselves uniquely in different historical, cultural and interpersonal contexts.

Or are we to actually believe that the intellectual glop -- gibberish? -- that some of our more illustrious "postmodernists" spew out in almost unintelligible articles and books have any truly substantive relevance at all to those of us who, here and now, think of ourselves as being in love?

Sure, maybe. But only if and when they bring their words out into the world.

Barthes’ views are close to the position of those who emphasise that the self is a relatively recent notion. Some Marx-leaning thinkers link the illusion that we are substantive selves with the social organisation that has emerged with capitalism which fosters our sense of being a distinct entity with clear-cut boundaries. The sense of being a substantive ‘subject’ or independent point of departure is merely ‘a bourgeois illusion’; it is an ontological medal we award ourselves when we reach a certain degree of affluence and social independence.

Realistically, however, how can the distinction here not revolve around I in the either/or world and "I" in the is/ought world? "I" may be a subject in any number of contexts, but the contexts themselves are bursting at the seams with the components of what we all agree is an objective reality. Again, unless we go all the way out on the reality limb and introduce things like solipsism, sim worlds, dream worlds etc.

Yes, "memetically", "I" [in many important respects] is clearly a social and a political construct sustained in any particular community out in any particular world for any particular length of time. But to suggest that "the sense of being a substantive ‘subject’ or independent point of departure" is "merely a bourgeois illusion"?!

Who really believes that unless they reside in a pedantic la la land.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:10 pm
by iambiguous
Okay, the other Dasein:

From wiki:

Dasein for Heidegger can be a way of being involved with and caring for the immediate world in which one lives, while always remaining aware of the contingent element of that involvement, of the priority of the world to the self, and of the evolving nature of the self itself.

Sure, this makes sense to me. "Being there". But being there in a particular, immediate world. A world that historically, culturally and experientially others share with you. But never in exactly the same way. And certainly ever further removed from the particular, immediate world of those who are "being there" across the vast span of human existence down through the centuries and across the globe. Or in regard to intelligent life forms on other planets.

We all share in common the "being there" part. And, in the either/or world, given that all beings exist and interact within the confines of "the laws of nature", there are any number of things and relationships that are applicable to all of us. The part where the world does take priority.

But that's not where I go given my own understanding of dasein. I go to the places in which "I" does in fact evolve over the years into different assessments of human interactions given particular social, political and economic contexts.

The opposite of this authentic self is everyday and inauthentic Dasein, the forfeiture of one's individual meaning, destiny and lifespan, in favour of an (escapist) immersion in the public everyday world—the anonymous, identical world of the They and the Them.

This part of course gets especially tricky. In a broad general sense one can argue that to the extent that one subsumes his or her own individual self in one or another set of community standards [re religion or race or ethnicity or ideology etc.] one is being "inauthentic". But from my frame of mind this presupposes that if one does not do so, he or she can then come to embody a more "authentic" self.

But here [for me] "I", while [existentially] becoming more problematic, is not any more or any less authentic in regard to that which he or she professes to embrace with respect to their own "individual" moral and political values.

Here the components of my own rendition of dasein come into play. The part where if how I view "I" here is reasonable there does not appeasr to be a way in which to avoid feeling "fractured and fragmented".

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:54 pm
by promethean75
The opposite of this authentic self is everyday and inauthentic Dasein, the forfeiture of one's individual meaning, destiny and lifespan, in favour of an (escapist) immersion in the public everyday world—the anonymous, identical world of the They and the Them.

see this kind of stuff is misleading although we do get a feel for what he's trying to say. where he goes wrong is to propose that there are always individuals who are sacrificing anything about themselves when they become immersed in the 'theyness' of public life. as if everyone had that special depth of person that would be compromised by doing so. i deny that they do... and even go so far as to say some people are so unbelievably shallow that they would not exist without being part of the 'they'. such people lack any possible depth because they have neither the intelligence nor the experience to be able to grasp the superficiality of their being. that being the case, they are literally unable to experience that existential crisis at the lose of their individuality.

sartre also shared this concept of inauthenticity... once using a waitress as an example. her composure, movements, gestures and speech, were all too scripted to be authentic. she was 'acting' in every sense of the word. though he called this an example of 'bad faith' and worked out an argument to say she was avoiding her freedom by playing the role of the waitress. two things here; first, there's no freewill, so she's not avoiding anything. second, if anything peculiar at all is happening here, it's not necessrily that she's playing the role of the generic waitress (that's her job), but that she doesn't recognize or feel something fake about her character when doing so. this waitress can be used as an example of what's happening on a much larger scale with 'public discourse' in general... how we mimic the behaviors we subliminally incorporate into our selfhood through the bombardment of all manner of indoctrinating forces. commercials, especially, that show us how we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to need and want, how we are supposed to talk, etc. so much so that to say these people are individuals who are missing something unique about themselves that is lost through the public discourse, would be an overstatement. there is nothing about themselves that is unique so that one could say 'i'd like to recover myself from this public theyness.' recover what? that's what you are; a copy of a copy of a copy.

and it's so bad that even the idea of 'finding oneself' is scripted and contrived. if you want to find yourself, you're supposed to do what people do when they want to find theselves... and you follow a formula.

what we are submerged in today is like a single autopoietic organism that consists of selfless individual cogs programmed to play some role or another that happened to find them. like it's so bad, you can't even be fake without being fake. that shit is scripted, too.

anyway what your boy martin was feeling when he said that was just that everybody around him was dumber than he was. he then mystified (like everything else he touched) something unique he thought he had, and then proclaimed himself the exemplary of the true existential individual against the 'herd'. but there was nothing different about martin, save perhaps his extraordinary philosophical vocabulary. this fellow hadn't even begun to grasp the true uniqueness of the individual. that's something only stirner could hold without burning himself.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:21 pm
by Meno_
Late entrance:

Dasein cannot be demonstrated for example, it is the core where by all examples go toward further demonstration.

As an example of THAT, an abortive attempt may be stretched , constitutive , without sacrificing the economy of meaning. Duplicity does have an intensional reason, without sacrificing it's original meaning. That is pertinent,
for otherwise , it would nit permit revision containing meaning within differing boundaries.

Wittgenstein negates Marx's interpretation, that history be not merely be analyzed , but changed.

Contemparenity as well as the post modern, possess this weakness.

It can not retain change as well as the more profound challenges which intentionality can properly defend.

That is the lasting value of Dasein, whereby the more encompassing general forms have over.those which makes less impression.

Authentic forms become by necessity , more binding.

God exists by a necessity regardless of loss of epistemological probability.

Giving Biggy the edge , at least in this respect. The thing is, in the opposing view, there is an absolute disconnect, while the other connects with an intentionally hidden transcendental necessity.

Hint: there is a hidden tradeoff between the two epochs, points of.view, even of one is a perceived (precedential), non relative.

It does not, can not defeat one or the other, only if , both are revised , literally. The winner ought not be , bit is Wittgenstein, but only within a short order objective.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:18 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

The popularisation of neuroscience has done most to disseminate the idea that the self is an illusion. (See, for example, Rita Carter’s Mapping the Mind.) If you look into the brain, you will not find any neurones corresponding to an homunculus. There are neurones variously organised into centres and pathways, there are inputs and outputs, but nowhere is there a place where the neurones or neural activity are organised into anything like a self, where the inputs are fielded as my experiences and the outputs are initiated as my actions. Neuroscientists – and those philosophers who are neuroscience groupies – conclude that the self is therefore an illusion, and, come to that, so too is the feeling we have that we are true agents.

Of course when something in science is said to be "popularized" it is often viewed derisively by those who insist instead that it is being "dumbed down" for folks like us. The science of the "self" being no different. "I" is in the brain somewhere -- next to the "soul", perhaps? -- but it will only become really big news when it is finally pinned down where. And by those with backgrounds sophisticated enough to be taken seriously.

Defending the Self

So there you have it. The self does not really exist as something truly real because: it is not available to introspection (Hume); it is not a thing (Existentialists); it is a soluble fish in a sea of general meanings or representations (postmodernists); and/or it cannot be found in the brain or its activity (neurophilosophers). There are many other lines of attack but these examples are sufficient to illustrate what is wrong with these autocides: they are looking for the wrong kind of entity or in the wrong place or both.

Here though I always come back to the distinction one can clearly make between "I" in the either/or world and "I" in whatever reality consists of in all the rest of it. Basically, you take a leap of faith to some measure of autonomy in the evolution of life on Earth and then explore your sense of identity in a particular "situation".

"I" here and now thinking this, feeling that, saying something in particular, doing something in particular. What constitutes the "right kind of enitity" in the "right place" for pinning down "I" then?

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:39 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Hume’s position is particularly vulnerable. It seems to rule out the very ‘I’ that...conducted the inquiry into the nature of the self. If Hume really believed what his arguments led him to believe, the ‘I’ to whom he attributed his belief would be a fiction referring to a fiction. Something has clearly gone wrong. Hume’s error was to look for the wrong kind of entity. Of course the self cannot be observed through introspection. It is not a kind of percept or super-percept. It is presupposed in perception, as Kant pointed out in The Critique of Pure Reason.

What do these words amount to? Well, they are, in an important respect, the culmination of matter evolving on planet Earth into life; and that life then evolving into matter conscious of itself as "I".

But the words are still far removed from pinning this "self" down. Either ontologically or teleologically. Given the gap between all the variables involved in human perception/conception and the relationship between the "human condition" and a fundamental understanding of existence itself.

What exactly can we point to when we speak of this "I"? The closest we seem to come is in the eyes. The mouth speaks the words that I think and feel but when I look in the mirror it is in my eyes that "I" seems most real. Same with others. It is when looking into their eyes that we seem to come closest to engaging their "self".

But the eyes are only connected to a brain in a way that we are still far from grasping. At least insofar as how all those chemical and neurological interactions embodied in all of the biological imperatives create a "self" which, for most of us, are interacting with many, many others in much the same boat.

Therefore to speak of Hume's "error" is only to subsume whatever conclusions we have come to "here and now" in whatever particular way in which we have ourselves come to understand all of this.

Kant believed that what Hume was looking for in the wrong place was something to tie experiences together. According to Kant, perceptions were held together – in what he called ‘the unity of apperception’ – by ‘the transcendental unity of self-consciousness’. This transcendental self is, however, rather donnish: Kant characterised it as an “‘I think’ that accompanies all my perceptions.” It is problematic in other ways. Precisely because it is not part of the flow of perceptions, is not an element in the empirical self, the transcendental self, which is outside of space and time, seems rather empty. It is merely a logical subject, an ontological size zero. It is certainly difficult to see how it engages with flesh-and-blood individuals. The ‘I think’ that supposedly accompanies all my perceptions, tying them together into a self in a world, does not make clear contact with the ‘I’ who lives in the world, with the introspectable items that Hume encountered when he looked in vain for his self.

Again, the "serious philosopher" agglomerating language technically into a didactic, academic "assessment" that is no less circumscribed -- at times circumvented -- by all that is simply not known about the evolution of life on Earth.

Are his points true? Well, to other philosophers who either share or do not share the definitions and meanings that he gives to words of this sort placed in this particular order, they either are or they are not.

But when it comes down to taking an analysis of this sorts and using it to explain why in the course of living your life from day to day you think, feel, say and do this rather than that...?

And only then coming to the part that is of interest to me: "I" in the is/ought world. How this self is on an entirely different order from the "I" in the either/or world.

Given human autonomy of course.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:06 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

What about the existentialist attack on the self? That is fatal only for the views of those who believe the self needs, in order to qualify as real, to be a thing: a static entity or inert object whose nature is given and whose continuation and continuity is guaranteed without effort on its part.

And yet there is no getting around the fact that in many crucial respects the self is a thing. A biological thing embedded in the evolution of life on Earth. Indeed, here, the mindboggling aspect being that it may well be only a thing. A thing no less determined by the laws of matter than the things we call rocks and mountains and moons. The "effort" we make may or may not be of our own autonomous volition.

Thus, the following assessment is all just an assumption he makes about what ultimately propells the self to fashion itself one way rather than another. Rather than being compelled to by nature.

A self doesn’t have to be like an inkwell or a pebble in order to count as real. Indeed, one should be very unlike an inkwell. The self is self-fashioning – that is why selves are accountable. An inkwell is not accountable for the injuries it has caused to the heads it has fallen upon; nor does it have concern for its future. The self, however, is not merely Nothingness (or a ‘Being-there’ or Dasein) flickering over Being like Loge’s flame. It is inextricably caught up with the material body, as the still under-appreciated Maurice Merleau-Ponty emphasised in his masterpiece The Phenomenology of Perception. The essence of selfhood is not being a thing but appropriating things as one’s self – of which more presently.

Therefore, only in pinning down a "self" in an intellectual contraption like this can he avoid actually demonstrating that this is true going all the way back to the explanation for existence itself. In other words, philosophy at its least convincing.

But then, really, who am I to complain when I am myself no less reduced to reaching the point where I am in turn unable to go beyond the words I choose themselves.

And, thus, as well, "I" may be essentially or wholly caught up with/in/through the material body. But even to the extent that we have the autonomous capacity for options here in regard to the things we think, feel, say and do, how is the distinction made between appropriating things objectively or appropriating things subjectively when we are attempting to encompass "I" in a particular set of circumstances choosing the behaviors that we do.

What is "for sure" for all of us and what is "in my own opinion" instead.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:25 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

The postmodern attack [on the self] fails to understand the difference between general meanings and their particular exemplification in our lives, as when we use meaningful symbols to convey something we want others to respond to. When I say ‘Hello’, though the word and the circumstances in which it is used are often highly conventionalised, this does not mean (even in this utterly commonplace example) that language is using me, and that in this and every other intelligible action, I am a soluble fish in a sea of discourse. Next time you are walking towards someone and wondering whether, when, and how to greet them, you will appreciate how much of your individual self (attitudes, feelings, history, education, immediate past experience etc) is engaged.

Which explains why so much written by those who embrace such intellectual disciplines and deconstruction and semiotics sounds like just so much pedantic gibberish. At least to most of us. They are so focused in on exploring how language can be probed through endless layers of complexity, they tend to forget that, given most of our interactions, words and worlds have a long standing relationship that predates the invention of philosophy itself. Let alone "language studies".

There are countless conversations and interactions regarding the questions, "who are you?" and "who am I?" that can be sustained for hours, for days without anyone being the least bit confused about what is in fact being communicated. The meaning can be very, very general or very, very specific regarding any number of things and relationships, without someone suspecting hidden meaning or irony or political implications.

Though clearly there may well be contexts in which a simple introduction is loaded with all manner of hidden meaning, irony and/or political implications. We may see the encounter in an entirely unclouded manner, while the person coming into our lives through the introduction may have all manner of ulterior motives. Some of which even he himself may not be fully aware of.

But as a post-modernist, to speak of the self or of human identity as an "illusion" is, in too many concrete ways, simply preposterous. Instead, we are ever tasked with probing our exchanges with some in order to detect any possible subterfuge. Or to analyze the extent to which certain behaviors are rooted merely in social prejudices rooted in things like political and economic power.

Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:00 pm
by iambiguous
Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Neuroscience cannot find the self (even less the free agent) for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t examine the person but the isolated nervous system and it is an unproven and highly implausible assumption that the person really is the isolated nervous system.

Tell me this is not downright "spooky"? There you are poking around inside the brain or probing it in real time, functioning through fMRI images. And who knows what new technology the neuroscientists either have or will have at their disposal.

But it's not like they have ever reached the point where, while performing their experiments, probing their images, they actually make contact with the "I". The part of the brain able to be separated out from the purely biological functions of all the parts.

Imagine that conversation!

Secondly, it approaches the nervous system from the impersonal standpoint of physical chemistry so that the brain boils down to sets of semi-permeable membranes along which electrochemical impulses propagate. While the brain is a necessary condition of the self (the beheaded are pretty selfless), we should not expect to find the self in a stand-alone bit of brain but in a brain that is part of a body environed by the natural world and a massively complex, historically evolved, culture. Uprooting the brain from all this is a sure-fire way of mislaying the self.

See? As soon as you start in on the actual interaction between brain scientists and any one particular brain, you're back to the chemical and the neurological interactions that can be documented and encompassed as in fact true objectively.

At best we can note the biological parameters involved and then point out how this particular brain in this particular head in this particular person is intertwined with all of the other things that we are reasonably certain about regarding the historical, cultural, and interpersonal "I".

Without coming into contact with that "stand alone bit of the brain", we are back to square one.