Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Tamminen
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Tamminen » January 1st, 2018, 10:52 am

RJG wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:52 am
Tamminen wrote:Now we come to the sentence "If I did not exist, there would be nothing", which is the clue for all these considerations. These are much more than word games, they reveal something essential in our reality.
Not so. This is flawed reasoning. You are falsely equating the logically sound "If I did not exist, then there would be no 'me' to know anything", with the logically unsound "If I did not exist, then there would be nothing".

This flawed logic is also self-contradictory. Other "I's" currently do not exist, but yet somehow, 'something' still exists (e.g. you and I).

Tamminen, you are caught up in a belief that has no logical basis. You are throwing out logic in favor of feeling.
See carefully what I said. I did not say: "If others do not exist, nothing exists", or "If I as an individual subject do not exist, nothing exists". These are empirical statements, and anyone can see that they are false. I said "If I did not exist, there would be nothing", and this does not mean that when I die there will be nothing. This is an a priori statement, seemingly in conflict with facts but its truth can be seen very clearly though not perhaps very easily. And the conclusion is what I have presented. So if you can read elementary logic, the syllogism goes like this: (1) p->q (2) not q (3) not p, where (3) is the conclusion. The controversy is about (1), and it seems that the question about its truth must be left open in this discussion, because it requires the kind of insight that cannot be pushed into anyone's mind with words. However, see the "dialectic" in my reply to Hereandnow above.

Londoner
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Londoner » January 1st, 2018, 11:23 am

Tamminen wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 5:04 am
...So these phrases express a relation, and one member of the relation is my being. If we remove that part from the relation, nothing is left. Now we come to the sentence "If I did not exist, there would be nothing", which is the clue for all these considerations. These are much more than word games, they reveal something essential in our reality.
I do not see how they can. It is true that there are some things language cannot refer to, including “A universe without subjects”, but for the same reason it cannot refer to "something essential in our reality". That too removes part from the relation, in that the object "reality" has now become subdivided into "essential reality" and some other type of "reality".
So now we have proved the sentence "If I did not exist..." formally, using a kind of dialectic, but in fact it can be seen a priori and very clearly, in a phenomenological intuition, if you think of it thoroughly and not just in an everyday manner. I have seen from your posts that you are quite familiar with phenomenological thinking, so I was a bit surprised to find that you did not see what I mean by these meditations, but you are not the only one, in spite of the fact that the key idea of these thoughts is so obvious and simple when the insight comes.
I understand phenomenology to be descriptive. I do not see that we can prove anything from a description. We can identify intuitions within experience but we cannot then say these intuitions are either true or false. To do that we would need to move outside phenomenology, such that we could compare them to some sort of external standard, perhaps what we think of as that "essential reality".

But then it has become circular! We intuit something, then argue it must be true because it conforms to our intuitions.
So can you really imagine a universe without subjects?
I would say that I find it hard to do so, because the nature of language is such that I cannot put my thought into words. That means I cannot fix it as an idea, it is elusive. But then quite a lot of my experience is like that. I cannot conclude that because I have problems thinking something it cannot be possible.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Hereandnow » January 1st, 2018, 12:20 pm

But if A's non existence has B's existence resting entirely upon it, such that 'B exists if A exists; A does not exist'; then you are logically bound to 'B does not exist."

There is behind this Hegel, Husserl, Kant and others. The idea is that,and I have to be careful here, for there have been lots of ways this has been put: an object's being there at all is a notion that begs several questions, like what is an object? If all that you can say about this is what is found in human experience, and this surely is the case, then an object cannot "be there" when a, say, complex agency of perception,cognition, valuation like a person is not there.

But this is not to say that 'nothing' is there either. It is to say there is no object (and even this goes too far), because this is a construct made, if you will, of idea. To even speak at all about things that are not within experience (technical jargon aside), is to speak of what cannot be spoken, and this should be passed over in silence.

this is why philosophers like Rorty just give up on philosophy: they were convinced that it had come to an impasse.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Tamminen » January 1st, 2018, 12:57 pm

Londoner wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 11:23 am
We intuit something, then argue it must be true because it conforms to our intuitions.
I think sometimes we have nothing but those clear ideas that Spinoza, for instance, appealed to as adequate sources of knowledge. Then the problem is how we can make someone else think in the same way. As we know, this was the case also for Wittgenstein who wrote in the preface of Tractatus that his thoughts can probably be understood only by someone who has thought same kind of thoughts.

My language is more like descriptive than precise. So I find no problem in writing of 'universes without subjects', 'essential properties of reality' etc. I only hope the message will be understood so that someone starts to think of things from the same horizon as I do, for a moment at least. To see things in a different way. To express thoughts in philosophy is always a problem, and someone has said that philosophical discussion is impossible because we speak of different things. Our horizons of thinking are so different.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Tamminen » January 1st, 2018, 1:42 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 12:20 pm
To even speak at all about things that are not within experience (technical jargon aside), is to speak of what cannot be spoken, and this should be passed over in silence.
Wittgenstein wrote that in dying the world does not change but ceases. It sort of vanishes as a whole. And this is exactly what I meant by the sentence "If I did not exist, there would be nothing". The world will very concretely pass into nothingness. And this contradicts the empirical fact that when others die and when I, as an individual, die, the world does not end or vanish. This is why we need a deeper idea of the subject. I also find a deeper idea in the nothingness that follows my nonexistence than mere silence and refusing to speak about the unspeakable. But I understand that everybody does not see it in the way I do, because they have not had the concrete insight behind my thinking.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Hereandnow » January 2nd, 2018, 1:21 pm

Tamminem:
Wittgenstein wrote that in dying the world does not change but ceases. It sort of vanishes as a whole. And this is exactly what I meant by the sentence "If I did not exist, there would be nothing". The world will very concretely pass into nothingness. And this contradicts the empirical fact that when others die and when I, as an individual, die, the world does not end or vanish. This is why we need a deeper idea of the subject. I also find a deeper idea in the nothingness that follows my nonexistence than mere silence and refusing to speak about the unspeakable. But I understand that everybody does not see it in the way I do, because they have not had the concrete insight behind my thinking.
My thoughts on this and all things are eclectic, and so if I bring out an idea that belongs to Husserl, say, it doesn't mean I buy into all he said.

Having said this, Wittgenstein's Tractatus (et al) helped me see what Rorty was talking about when he said the world is made not discovered. But it was heidegger who really put his finger on it, and I use his terms to take a position on matters like this. There is presence before me, and my human dasein, my being here, has within it an interpretative body that is inherently instrumental in nature that works to take up the world AS this or that. Taking someting up AS a chair, or a Labrador Retriever, is not to receive what is present as if by its presence I assimilate from the outside inward. Even to speak such a thing is, by the Tractatus' standard, nonsense, since 'inward' belongs to a system of logic and language, and to speak of something outside of language is contradictory; actually, it is one of those performative contradictions. Language is here, in human dasein, not in presence-at-hand.

So to the point, though I cannot speak of presence-at-hand in any way beyond the instrumentality of language, presence is not human dasein, but it "is" presence (the point I spoke of); thus, there is established a something "other" that is not me in my encounter with this petunia. I cannot say it,I can only "say" human dasein, which is, in essence, language, culture, caring (moods), and so forth; that is, I can only take up anything AS ready-to-hand human dasein. Heidegger seems to be a pragmatist,but I have heard it argued he is not really. Oh well.

Now Husserl is a Cartesian, and the measure of the real is in terms proximity to the "egoic center". I am a fan, because of the apriority of immediacy, the undeniable "presence" of consciousness and its "reduced" objects, objects found in a given naturalistic experience once presuppositions are discarded, the so called phenomenological reduction. But Husserl seems careless, a bit like Kant is when he talked about noumena and transcendental logic: He doesn't recognize that even in this immediacy there is ready-to-hand interpretation. Here, there is something of great interest: There certainly is something absolute in the immediacy of apprehending the world, but it is not what can be acknowledged in language; and this is something that is part of the presence of presence. Ineffable.

A question i am thinking about lately concerns the utility of language and "the world". Kant treated the understanding as what comes about after concepts are duly applied to particulars and subsumed under generalities. But Heidegger brings the fullness of Being into play. Presence is a separate Being, not human dasein, and here I am set to wonder: heidegger draws the line between presence at hand and ready to hand, thereby distancing intuition from interpretation. He doesn't have a place for a transcendental ego, nor presence-in-understanding. He argues agaisnt Kant and Descartes as they try to talk about the unspeakable, as if, vis a vis Kant, the intuition of space could actually be spoken, taken up for what it really is, apart from ready to hand. I need to read more on this, but my issue with Heidegger is his failure to underscore value. Caring is not given its due, for value/caring is foundational; the only thing truly foundational is value in conciousness. All else falls away. The question then goes to metaethics.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Londoner » January 2nd, 2018, 2:19 pm

Hereandnow

Have you read 'Phenomenology of Perception' by Merleau-Ponty?

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Hereandnow » January 2nd, 2018, 3:44 pm

No, but i have it right here, in pdf.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Greta » January 2nd, 2018, 5:56 pm

Hereandnow wrote:Now Husserl is a Cartesian, and the measure of the real is in terms proximity to the "egoic center". I am a fan, because of the apriority of immediacy, the undeniable "presence" of consciousness and its "reduced" objects, objects found in a given naturalistic experience once presuppositions are discarded, the so called phenomenological reduction. But Husserl seems careless, a bit like Kant is when he talked about noumena and transcendental logic: He doesn't recognize that even in this immediacy there is ready-to-hand interpretation. Here, there is something of great interest: There certainly is something absolute in the immediacy of apprehending the world, but it is not what can be acknowledged in language; and this is something that is part of the presence of presence. Ineffable.
I like this line of thought; you attempt to dig into the very crux of things. Being.

Is being ineffable or are we just giving up too easily? It seems that any attempt to describe the heart of beingness ends up sounding like babble and lunacy. Still, an aggregation of people's attempts to describe what it feels like to be would make an interesting analysis.

The Buddhist notion of "no self" strikes me as possibly superficial. If we define our sense of self purely through social relations - Heidigger's Dasein? - then certainly that "self" will become irrelevant with introspection.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Tamminen » January 2nd, 2018, 6:34 pm

I have never understood why there should be features in our existence that language is incapable of expressing. Language is very rich and contains infinite possibilities of expanding into new territories. Wittgenstein spoke of the unspeakable in Tractatus and we understand what he meant, more or less. He did not want to use metaphysical language games in his later writings. Why? Heidegger wrote somewhat poetically in Being and Time and even more poetically in What is Metaphysics, and studied questions like “Why is there something rather than nothing”, giving a very poetic definition of nothingness. But all in all, I think there are existential paradoxes, like death and foreign minds, that are worth giving a phenomenological “sight”, because they are concrete questions with concrete answers if we look at them close enough. Our understanding evolves through hermeneutic spirals, and what now seems impossible to speak about, may be clear to everybody some day. Language can be an instrument of understanding and seeing, not only of describing facts. Scientific language is not the only way of using language.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Namelesss » January 2nd, 2018, 6:57 pm

Greta wrote:
January 2nd, 2018, 5:56 pm
The Buddhist notion of "no self" strikes me as possibly superficial. If we define our sense of self purely through social relations - Heidigger's Dasein? - then certainly that "self" will become irrelevant with introspection.
Yes, the not this/not that deletion of all passing 'superficiality/temporal, imaginary, and we arrive at 'no self'.
Under the resounding clamor is emptiness, silence, no 'self', just Self!

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Greta
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Greta » January 2nd, 2018, 7:38 pm

Nameless, what is "Self"?

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Jklint » January 2nd, 2018, 8:20 pm

...a combination or complex of different propensities integrated into one unit. This makes one less resistant to neurotic and psychotic memes wherein the "I" becomes only ONE thing.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Namelesss » January 2nd, 2018, 8:25 pm

Greta wrote:
January 2nd, 2018, 7:38 pm
Nameless, what is "Self"?
Our all inclusive Omni- existence!

Existence = the complete Universe = Nature = Reality = Consciousness = Truth = Love = 'Self!' = God = Brahman = Tao = ... etc....
ALL INCLUSIVE!!
'One'!

The small 's' 'self' is the bound, limited, conditional, imaginary, thought/ego, with which 'we' identify'
When all 'identity', all boundaries vanish, as in the transcendental state of unconditional Love/Enlightenment, We become Universal Self!
Every moment is Self Knowledge! *__-

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Greta
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post by Greta » January 2nd, 2018, 9:09 pm

According to Jill Bolte-Taylor's experience during a severe stroke, there is both the self as per JKlint's description and the self as per Nameless's; one mostly driven by the left brain and the other mostly driven by the right side.

It seems ironic that the self is more or less all we really have, yet we spend much of our lives trying to escape it via distractions, flow states, sleep, relationships, meditation, and many will even philosophise it away altogether.

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