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The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

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Tosen
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The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Tosen » October 5th, 2019, 3:10 pm

We philosophers, or more precisely, we human beings have dismissed or taken for granted that which has been in front of us all of our lives, and which we are using at this precise moment; ideas. I don't think there is a philosophy that ventures to explore and analyze ideas themselves. I would say phenomenology was the closest in doing this, but it needed more.

Have you people ever stopped in your daily lives and literally "look" at the content of your thoughts? Like for example, listening to a highly descriptive story from a friend and diving into your own mind imagining it? I mean we do this all the time, but a deep analysis would be to literally "look" at the mental world that you have created in your mind. For example: How do the people look like? The objects? The setting? If you imagined things with color then what colors this you "see"? Or how did the imagery change or transform as your friend was giving you more details of the story? What was the final product of what you imagined, and the course of that imagination-process? This is much deeper than one would think.

Personally, sometimes I would speculate on what the contents of my friends mind "look" like. As in, what does he "sees" that enables him to understand things the way he does. Why do philosophers take this for granted, I have never seen a philosopher ask another: "What can you see in your mind that I cannot see, can you tell me how it looks like? Up until now, I have implicitly defined thinking as only composed of imagery, or images you see in your mind (Like imagining a situation, remembering something, etc). But how, in the case of rational thinking, how does logic function in the mind? Many of you have taken for granted how some people just cannot grasp basic principles of logic or argumentation. So, what is inside their minds that makes then incapable of understanding or seeing the subtle mechanisms of logic or rational thinking in general?

In fact, let me elevate in one step, what is inside our minds that let's us understand things that other minds cannot? Even though we look at the same reality? It's like, for example, deciphering the horrendously difficult work of Jacques Derrida or the work of Martin Heidegger, or of the Greek methaphysician Parmenides?

In this sense, all our minds are separated with one another, in the way we literally interpret reality. There are things we see that others cannot, and things that other see that we don't see. Hence one of the possible reasons why on these forums some philosophers don't even understand others at all(Or human beings in general). So the fundamental question is, what is understanding something and how can someone reach it? How do we get to those "Aha!" moments were we suddenly understand something we couldn't before?

Thinking about thinking can be confusing. Because an error would be to speculate on how our mind thinks things with an improper approach. My proposal is to look at the content of our minds directly, the same way we perceive and look at the external world. In this case, it would be our internal world. See the obvious difference between a physical object and a mental object or an idea. So, we would look first onto the process of thinking or of ideas themselves and then through that observation, try and extract some fundamental principles to work with. The former would be an empirical "looking-in" into one's own mind and the latter would be the speculation or the rationalization of the observed phenomena. Notice that it's the same as how scientists observe and theorize about the external world. They look at realty, observe and later rationalize. In this case, it would be our own world of ideas. So in philosophical terms, it would be a combination of phenomenology (Observing first person conscious experiences: thoughts, feelings, and so on) and epistemology (To analyze the process of understanding or sense-making).

There are many and many more implications to this in my mind, but i'll leave this as an introduction to the topic.

MAYA EL
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by MAYA EL » October 7th, 2019, 4:43 am

Yes I do this quite often. People would be surprised how much they will come to understand just by doing this

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Hereandnow
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Hereandnow » October 7th, 2019, 7:56 am

Tosen
In this sense, all our minds are separated with one another, in the way we literally interpret reality. There are things we see that others cannot, and things that other see that we don't see. Hence one of the possible reasons why on these forums some philosophers don't even understand others at all(Or human beings in general). So the fundamental question is, what is understanding something and how can someone reach it? How do we get to those "Aha!" moments were we suddenly understand something we couldn't before?

Thinking about thinking can be confusing. Because an error would be to speculate on how our mind thinks things with an improper approach. My proposal is to look at the content of our minds directly, the same way we perceive and look at the external world. In this case, it would be our internal world. See the obvious difference between a physical object and a mental object or an idea. So, we would look first onto the process of thinking or of ideas themselves and then through that observation, try and extract some fundamental principles to work with. The former would be an empirical "looking-in" into one's own mind and the latter would be the speculation or the rationalization of the observed phenomena. Notice that it's the same as how scientists observe and theorize about the external world. They look at realty, observe and later rationalize. In this case, it would be our own world of ideas. So in philosophical terms, it would be a combination of phenomenology (Observing first person conscious experiences: thoughts, feelings, and so on) and epistemology (To analyze the process of understanding or sense-making).
An interesting collection of ideas. You sound like you've read Heidegger and others and found them wanting. Odd that the questions you ask are precisely what Husserl and Heidegger put forth and address. Looking "at the mind directly, others seeing what we don't see, and the thinking dasein that contemplates itself: all of these are great themes of existentialism and I think the best way to address these is to investigate Heidegger and the rest. Have you read Kierkegaard? It doesn't matter. My question to you is who have you read and how does s/he come up short? How is it that Heidegger's Being and Time fails to look exactly where you want to look?

Here is an issue in hermeneutics: encountering the world in always an interpretative event, even when it comes to acknowledging this lamp on my desk. If language is inherently interpretative, then how is it that we can ever apprehend actuality at all? What is it that we DO apprehend? To observe a thought, the thinking of a thought is an interpretation as well, is a taking the thought as some interpretative assignment (as in "as" a lamp). So, from whence comes the Real if interpretation rules thoughts about thoughts?

Right up your alley, I think.

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h_k_s
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by h_k_s » October 7th, 2019, 5:41 pm

Tosen wrote:
October 5th, 2019, 3:10 pm
We philosophers, or more precisely, we human beings have dismissed or taken for granted that which has been in front of us all of our lives, and which we are using at this precise moment; ideas. I don't think there is a philosophy that ventures to explore and analyze ideas themselves. I would say phenomenology was the closest in doing this, but it needed more.

Have you people ever stopped in your daily lives and literally "look" at the content of your thoughts? Like for example, listening to a highly descriptive story from a friend and diving into your own mind imagining it? I mean we do this all the time, but a deep analysis would be to literally "look" at the mental world that you have created in your mind. For example: How do the people look like? The objects? The setting? If you imagined things with color then what colors this you "see"? Or how did the imagery change or transform as your friend was giving you more details of the story? What was the final product of what you imagined, and the course of that imagination-process? This is much deeper than one would think.

Personally, sometimes I would speculate on what the contents of my friends mind "look" like. As in, what does he "sees" that enables him to understand things the way he does. Why do philosophers take this for granted, I have never seen a philosopher ask another: "What can you see in your mind that I cannot see, can you tell me how it looks like? Up until now, I have implicitly defined thinking as only composed of imagery, or images you see in your mind (Like imagining a situation, remembering something, etc). But how, in the case of rational thinking, how does logic function in the mind? Many of you have taken for granted how some people just cannot grasp basic principles of logic or argumentation. So, what is inside their minds that makes then incapable of understanding or seeing the subtle mechanisms of logic or rational thinking in general?

In fact, let me elevate in one step, what is inside our minds that let's us understand things that other minds cannot? Even though we look at the same reality? It's like, for example, deciphering the horrendously difficult work of Jacques Derrida or the work of Martin Heidegger, or of the Greek methaphysician Parmenides?

In this sense, all our minds are separated with one another, in the way we literally interpret reality. There are things we see that others cannot, and things that other see that we don't see. Hence one of the possible reasons why on these forums some philosophers don't even understand others at all(Or human beings in general). So the fundamental question is, what is understanding something and how can someone reach it? How do we get to those "Aha!" moments were we suddenly understand something we couldn't before?

Thinking about thinking can be confusing. Because an error would be to speculate on how our mind thinks things with an improper approach. My proposal is to look at the content of our minds directly, the same way we perceive and look at the external world. In this case, it would be our internal world. See the obvious difference between a physical object and a mental object or an idea. So, we would look first onto the process of thinking or of ideas themselves and then through that observation, try and extract some fundamental principles to work with. The former would be an empirical "looking-in" into one's own mind and the latter would be the speculation or the rationalization of the observed phenomena. Notice that it's the same as how scientists observe and theorize about the external world. They look at realty, observe and later rationalize. In this case, it would be our own world of ideas. So in philosophical terms, it would be a combination of phenomenology (Observing first person conscious experiences: thoughts, feelings, and so on) and epistemology (To analyze the process of understanding or sense-making).

There are many and many more implications to this in my mind, but i'll leave this as an introduction to the topic.
Speak for yourself, @Tosen .

That's always the safest.

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Felix
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Felix » October 8th, 2019, 11:34 pm

There's a saying in yoga: "nothing true can be thought." One must transcend thought to know reality.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Hereandnow » October 9th, 2019, 7:53 pm

One has to define thought" in that statement. Not that I disagree, but it needs pinning down. After all, remove thought altogether and the very notion of agency is lost as well.

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Felix
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Felix » October 9th, 2019, 9:10 pm

Thinking or cogitation... thought is contingent and limited in scope and therefore can only give one relative knowledge about existence. Relative knowledge is by definition incomplete and thus its conclusions are never completely reliable or true.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Greta » October 9th, 2019, 10:05 pm

Thought are self-generating, flowing like a river. The ideas in that assembly line that we focus on and what we are officially thinking about.

Thoughts, like other physical things, are always collapsing down possibilities, and that process opens up new ones, eg. once X has occurred, now Y is impossible but A can now occur.

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Mark1955 » October 10th, 2019, 6:54 am

Felix wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 11:34 pm
There's a saying in yoga: "nothing true can be thought." One must transcend thought to know reality.
And what is "transcending thought", relying on the subconscious perhaps.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Hereandnow
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2019, 8:50 am

Greta
Thought are self-generating, flowing like a river. The ideas in that assembly line that we focus on and what we are officially thinking about.

Thoughts, like other physical things, are always collapsing down possibilities, and that process opens up new ones, eg. once X has occurred, now Y is impossible but A can now occur.
Interesting how you summed up a critical issue in modern philosophy, which is "presence" vis a vis "flowing like a river" conscious thought. How does the presence of things step forward in the midst of a forward looking river of thought that constitutes awareness itself? All perception bears the stamp of the thinking "I". To "see" at all is to project thoughts, and thought flows...like a river.

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Pattern-chaser » October 10th, 2019, 10:18 am

Mark1955 wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 6:54 am
And what is "transcending thought", relying on the subconscious perhaps.
Yes, perhaps. And perhaps it refers to those things that can be taught and learned, but only by experience, not by thinking about it? I'm sure there are other possibilities too. 🤔

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2019, 10:40 am

Felix
Thinking or cogitation... thought is contingent and limited in scope and therefore can only give one relative knowledge about existence. Relative knowledge is by definition incomplete and thus its conclusions are never completely reliable or true.
.

Facts are contingent, but thought? Modus Ponens? But to the point, how about the thought "I am" that attends every occasion of awareness? How about the the underlying formal structure of the conditional that implicitly attend getting out of bed, as in, if the foot encounters the floor, it will sustain the body's weight? We don't SAY these, but the logical form of just being there at all is implicitly thoughtful, rational. The existential counterpart of thought, it should be quickly added, is NOT itself thought. This is controversial, though.

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Felix » October 10th, 2019, 5:33 pm

Mark1955 wrote: And what is "transcending thought", relying on the subconscious perhaps.
Well, in yogic or zen philosophy, it is attaining/relying on the superconscious, but one must first access it.
Hereandnow: But to the point, how about the thought "I am" that attends every occasion of awareness?"
But what does the thinker identify as "I" or self? His personality, historical self, or other contingent personal features? Or has he recognized the being behind his ego? Does he believe he is merely a thinking animal?
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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h_k_s
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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by h_k_s » October 10th, 2019, 7:45 pm

I think, therefore I exist.

I do not doubt that I think; I am not a Skeptic.

I do not doubt that I exist; same reason.

I am a Romantic Empiricist; I trust my perceptions of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting, as well as my thinking on these perceptions.

Skeptics have it really rough -- they don't know which end is up.

Rene Descartes banished skepticism once and forever. Pity so many skeptics keep creeping up in its wake.

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Re: The experience of thinking; looking at ideas themselves

Post by Pattern-chaser » October 11th, 2019, 7:19 am

Felix wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 5:33 pm
Mark1955 wrote: And what is "transcending thought", relying on the subconscious perhaps.
Well, in yogic or zen philosophy, it is attaining/relying on the superconscious, but one must first access it.

The "superconscious"? What's that, then? 🤔

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