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How do you define God and Self?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Hereandnow
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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 18th, 2018, 4:24 pm

fooloso4:
Well, Wittgenstein came to realize that he was wrong, that his concept of the logic of language was mistaken. It wasn’t that he shouldn’t talk about them but that it does not make logical sense as he thought of it at the time. At that time he thought that although there are things that cannot be said, they can be shown and pointed to via language. There was for Wittgenstein of the Tractatus “meaningful nonsense”.
And I know there has been a lot written about this. And how is it that you make sense of this in light of any discussion about being inside and outside the fly bottle having to be inside the fly bottle? How is it that meaningful nonsense can be disconnected from any claim to absolutism, given that the "meaningful" part of this term implies some kind of magical escape from the framework of meaning possibilities, magical because it constitutes a claim that the object before your attention is, in every way that can be thought, presented AS. This goes to syntactical constructions involving the copula 'is' (Heidegger's 'is').
The case can be made that the fly bottle is simply a body of assumptions that do not make sense, but in the explanation of how these are nonsense, the distinction between sense and nonsense, must make a reference to the "that there, what we call a sofa" of the analysis. This indicative dimension, this "my words and syntax" being about something that is not words and syntax, is at the center of what I call ineffability. It is most poignantly presented in cases of strong valuative experience, as in intense pain.
Present at hand is a theoretical attitude. It is to stand apart or at a distance from the thing, it is an “objective” or "disinterested" relationship. Present at hand is thus secondary. Taking something AS something is primary. There is an interesting discussion of “seeing as” in the later Wittgenstein’s Investigations.
But this simply assumes where explanation is most wanted: If present at hand is a theoretical attitude, where does the present at hand end and the theory begin? If there is any admission whatever that present at hand is there, an independent being that is not dasein, then it is more than an attitude, it is a thesis about an alternative ontology to dasein, as if dasein can DO this, that is, understand that there IS alternative being to dasein without this alternative being compromising the interpretative dasein's integrity. Even that pesky copula 'is' does not establish a nexus between dasein and this other being. The only way out of THIS fly bottle is to admit the Otherness of things that are not dasein, but admit also that this other is entirely ineffable, and that our Being Here has a transcendent dimension (indeed, if dasein is itself a ready to hand particle of language that has this Other counterpart, what is NOT ineffable?)

Is this what you see as a performative contradiction? The “aboutness” is not something that is inherent in the thing, it is not what is present but occluded by taking it as something. Taking it as something is what it is about. This is why Dasein is essential to Being. It is not only about terminological possibilities but rather of practical possibilities as well, that is to say, how we take things is not simply a matter of what we say about them but what we do, how we live. Here again we see a parallel with the later Wittgenstein.
But terminological possibilities are nothing but practical possibilities, which presents the ineffability it issue: I see a performative contradiction in the statement, "there is something that is not dasein." What is not dasein cannot be referred to, for the "there is" and the rest is a time structured term of instrumental application that is not about anything but the practical instrumentality in play. Like Rorty said, I no more know something than a dented fender knows the offending guard rail.

But there it is, a migraine that is not really a "migraine" at all. It is the "ability" we have to acknowledge what is not dasein that makes for ineffability. I can't begin to explain this. It's like talking about infinity, talk about the presence at hand of this couch is like talking about infinity, and it is the undeniability of the presence at hand of infinity that is the palpable ineffability.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Mosesquine » February 19th, 2018, 4:39 am

[/quote]

As I explained in my perception of things, I perceive all things that exist to be God.

[/quote]

Suppose that you are perceiving the largest dirty beheaded corpse in your town. Suppose, further, that you are perceiving the limb-cut-ugly pig in your bathroom.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Fooloso4 » February 19th, 2018, 12:54 pm

Hereandnow:
And how is it that you make sense of this in light of any discussion about being inside and outside the fly bottle having to be inside the fly bottle?
I didn’t point it out before, but the fly bottle analogy is from the Investigations. One of the main issue of the Investigations is how we get caught up in traps of our own making, much of it having to do with what he calls the “bewitchment” of language. Once one sees the trap the problem is no longer a problem. As with the fly bottle, the way out is the way in. If you can see how you got trapped you can see how to get out of the trap.
How is it that meaningful nonsense can be disconnected from any claim to absolutism …
It is disconnected with any claim whatsoever. It is the experience of the “good man”, the way his world is experienced
… given that the "meaningful" part of this term implies some kind of magical escape from the framework of meaning possibilities …
It is not an escape from meaning possibilities but rather it is that the ethical stands outside the logical framework of the world and language - outside the facts of the world and outside what we say about the world. It has meaning because it is valued.
… magical because it constitutes a claim that the object before your attention is, in every way that can be thought, presented AS
It is not that it is presented AS but TAKEN AS. There is nothing magical about this. It is the way our mind works.
But this simply assumes where explanation is most wanted: If present at hand is a theoretical attitude, where does the present at hand end and the theory begin?
It is within the theoretical attitude that something is taken to be present at hand, something theorized about.
If there is any admission whatever that present at hand is there, an independent being that is not dasein …
You are treating the present at hand as if it were an object. Of course the object that is present at hand is “there”. What is at issue is the way in which it is there. If it is there as something present at hand, then it is there in a particular way due to the way we regard it. What do we know of the “independent being” of an object? Heidegger was attempting to move beyond the subject/object duality. The way in which what is present to us is present (which is not the same as present to hand) is in part dependent on us. How it reveals itself to us is not unmediated.
… then it is more than an attitude ...
Present at hand means dasein’s attitude toward the object. The object is not an attitude.
… it is a thesis about an alternative ontology to dasein, as if dasein can DO this …
'DO' what? Any alternative ontology is still an ontology (literally account or study or theory of being) given by dasein.
… understand that there IS alternative being to dasein without this alternative being compromising the interpretative dasein's integrity.
There is no talk of being without dasein. The question of being is dasein’s alone.
The only way out of THIS fly bottle is to admit the Otherness of things that are not dasein …
There is no fly bottle to be gotten out of. Dasein is in the world. The world is not dasein. Being is not dasein.
… but admit also that this other is entirely ineffable …
The whole of Being never comes to light, what does come to light comes in time, and with everything that is revealed something else is concealed. There is always something that cannot be said, something hidden from us. What Heidegger is trying to get at is not simply what is ineffable but rather dasein’s unique way of being, of saying what becomes sayable, of opening up, of revealing what had not been seen as it comes to be for dasein.
… and that our Being Here has a transcendent dimension (indeed, if dasein is itself a ready to hand particle of language that has this Other counterpart, what is NOT ineffable?)
Transcendent in what sense? Dasein is not a “ready to hand particle of language”. What is NOT ineffable is what comes to language. In the language of the later Heidegger, what comes to presence (not what is present to hand) in the presence of man.
I see a performative contradiction in the statement, "there is something that is not dasein." What is not dasein cannot be referred to, for the "there is" and the rest is a time structured term of instrumental application that is not about anything but the practical instrumentality in play.
Of course what is not dasein can be referred to, only it is referred to by dasein, in dasein’s limited ways. Instrumentality is only one of dasein’s modes of being.
It's like talking about infinity, talk about the presence at hand of this couch is like talking about infinity, and it is the undeniability of the presence at hand of infinity that is the palpable ineffability.
A key to understanding ‘present at hand’ is ‘hand’, that is, something is taken or held, and in this sense shaped or formed by the hand, by the way in which it is grasped. If infinity is present at hand it is so only in the sense that it is taken up theoretically.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 20th, 2018, 7:56 pm

fooloso4:
I didn’t point it out before, but the fly bottle analogy is from the Investigations. One of the main issue of the Investigations is how we get caught up in traps of our own making, much of it having to do with what he calls the “bewitchment” of language. Once one sees the trap the problem is no longer a problem. As with the fly bottle, the way out is the way in. If you can see how you got trapped you can see how to get out of the trap.
And what trap would that be? That is, how would you characterize it? Can you say it? If you say it, you are in the trap, are you not? This would necessarily possess an element of ineffability. If we did not live at all, but all that was, was logic and argument and dialectics, then there would be nothing to talk about.
It is disconnected with any claim whatsoever. It is the experience of the “good man”, the way his world is experienced
Not clear on the good man reference. My understanding is that Wittgenstein encouraged cultural institution and rituals to maintain a "good" life, but my thoughts here go to ineffability: meaningful nonsense about what? What is nonsense?: the attempt to encompass what is not language with language. Not unlike Kant's critique of metaphysics. Here, I am asking what it means, and what is required for even acknowledging at all, something that is not language? This is the center of my thoughts here: the answer to this would be, of course, a proposition, or, in propositional form. But it is the Other that must be "there" outside of reference entirely (reference? what is this word 'reference' if not bound to our logical affairs, never to be taken out of these?) (I am talking nonsense in all of this, for 'there' belongs exclusively to logic and language as a whole of interrelated parts) in order to conceive of the nonsensical reference. My whole appeal to ineffability is the inescapablity of having to reference what is beyond language in order to make any case about the limits of language. The limit: establishes a here and there. Again, how do you conceive of a there and refer to that which cannot be referred to at the same time? That is ineffability.
It is not an escape from meaning possibilities but rather it is that the ethical stands outside the logical framework of the world and language - outside the facts of the world and outside what we say about the world. It has meaning because it is valued.
Pardon me, did you say "stands out of logical framework"? Please explain how this is possible to make this statement? Value is paramount, for when we talk about ineffability, it is all about presence, the given of the world.
t is not that it is presented AS but TAKEN AS. There is nothing magical about this. It is the way our mind works.
The difference would be,if it were presented as, the "as" would be a given; rather we, take up the world as through the instrumentality of language. Language is instrumentality, just as a hammer or a glue pot. But does this not beg the question?: how is it that something can be taken as unless it is given as, for instrumentality is bound what is already ontically possible, and presence comes packaged, is you will, as ready to hand. It must be acknowledged that there is something in taking as that is unspeakable, otherwise it would be a vicious circle of self referentiality of language.
You are treating the present at hand as if it were an object. Of course the object that is present at hand is “there”. What is at issue is the way in which it is there. If it is there as something present at hand, then it is there in a particular way due to the way we regard it. What do we know of the “independent being” of an object? Heidegger was attempting to move beyond the subject/object duality. The way in which what is present to us is present (which is not the same as present to hand) is in part dependent on us. How it reveals itself to us is not unmediated.
Not unmediated? It is here, in your reference to the way in which what is present to us is present: this is nonsense: to speak of not unmediated is to refer to that which is mediated. What would that be?
In part? What is this but two words, 'in' and 'part' concatonated in what we call time and presented as ready to hand projections into existence in my dasein?
And this: "The way in which what is present to us is present (which is not the same as present to hand) is in part dependent on us" is a matter of confusion for me with Heidegger. I can't say why without going on about it, but it does deal with his critiques of Kant and Descarte and dasein's spatiality. My thoughts are here: presence at hand cannot be removed from ready to hand. If language is a tool, what is not a tool? That points to ineffability.

I read the rest and I don't have the time to address it now. Soon.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 21st, 2018, 12:38 pm

fooloso4
The whole of Being never comes to light, what does come to light comes in time, and with everything that is revealed something else is concealed. There is always something that cannot be said, something hidden from us. What Heidegger is trying to get at is not simply what is ineffable but rather dasein’s unique way of being, of saying what becomes sayable, of opening up, of revealing what had not been seen as it comes to be for dasein.
But I am trying to get at what is ineffable. I am saying, with Levinas, that Heidegger's presence at hand is also "presence" in order that the term has its intended meaning. If presence at hand is deemed part of the equiprimordial ontology of dasein, and there is no recognition IN this term of something Other than ready to hand, a bit like asking if sensory intuitions were left out of concepts altogether, vis a vis Kant, then this would leave the concept "empty".
Transcendent in what sense? Dasein is not a “ready to hand particle of language”. What is NOT ineffable is what comes to language. In the language of the later Heidegger, what comes to presence (not what is present to hand) in the presence of man.
'Dasein' most certainly must be such a particle, because all of language is ready to hand and 'dasein' belongs to language. I am not referring to Heidegger's Thesis of Being Here, I am referring to 'dasein' as a term among terms, and Heidegger's own analysis gives this term ready to hand instrumentality. I was wrong not to give this single inverted commas.

As to the presence of man, all the above applies. I just do not see any way out of this. Its like this, and I do labor this point: this migraine I am having can be recognized as not some kind of symbolic instrumentality, but presence itself, notwithstanding that such a recognition occurs within a matrix of ready to hand.
This point is made by Kant long ago: no concepts, then no knowledge, judgment or understanding. But the same matter could be brought to Kant: what do you mean by "sensory intuitions"? given that the the utterance itself is, if you will, always already conditioned by the synthetic powers of reason. Therefore, to "talk" about sensory intuitions as such is impossible. But there it is before: that which is not concepts at all.
Of course what is not dasein can be referred to, only it is referred to by dasein, in dasein’s limited ways. Instrumentality is only one of dasein’s modes of being.
This skirts the issue. It occurring IN dasein does not diminish at all its ineffability. As an interpretative entity, my interpretation is obviously limited. But it is limited before, as in standing before, Being in eternity.
A key to understanding ‘present at hand’ is ‘hand’, that is, something is taken or held, and in this sense shaped or formed by the hand, by the way in which it is grasped. If infinity is present at hand it is so only in the sense that it is taken up theoretically.
I understand this. And I did not give it full acknowledgement in my referencing presence at hand. But then, notwithstanding: see the above.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Fooloso4 » February 21st, 2018, 2:04 pm

Hereandnow:
And what trap would that be? That is, how would you characterize it? Can you say it? If you say it, you are in the trap, are you not?
The fly bottle refers to whatever it is that has caused philosophical confusion that once we see how we got into the problem we are able to get out of it. Many of the problems Wittgenstein dealt with had to do with the logic of language and the relationship between thought and being. Once we reject the notion of an independent logic that lies behind all that we say and all that is, we no longer get trapped in that bottle. There are, of course, others.
This would necessarily possess an element of ineffability.
It may be that ineffability is your fly bottle.
Not clear on the good man reference.
The good man is the “happy man”. From the Tractatus:
If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the limits of the world, not the facts; not the things that can be expressed in language.

In brief, the world must thereby become quite another. It must so to speak wax or wane as a whole.

The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man' (6.43)
He goes into more detail in the notebooks.

HAN:
… the attempt to encompass what is not language with language.
No, just the opposite. It is, as he says, an attempt to set the limits of thought/language. What lies beyond those limits is not something he attempts to encompass in language, but rather, establish as something seen and experienced outside of language. Something that if we attempt to put it into words must be misrepresented because it is not about the logical relations of what is in the world.
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. (Tractatus 5.6)
HAN:
Here, I am asking what it means, and what is required for even acknowledging at all, something that is not language? This is the center of my thoughts here: the answer to this would be, of course, a proposition, or, in propositional form.
Wittgenstein (of the Tractatus) made a distinction between ‘sense’ and ‘meaning’. Sense refers to the logic of language and statements about what is within the limits of my world.

It is the way the happy man experiences the world that is meaningful. The attempt to put that into words must fail because that experience has nothing to do with the logical relations of facts or language.

HAN:
My whole appeal to ineffability is the inescapablity of having to reference what is beyond language in order to make any case about the limits of language.
One can make a case about the limits of language simply by pointing to the inadequacy of language to say what it is to experience something. If you say that the taste of vanilla ice cream is ineffable I might agree. What is it issue is the move from the limits of language to the existence of god.
Again, how do you conceive of a there and refer to that which cannot be referred to at the same time? That is ineffability.


I can reference vanilla ice cream. I can reference the feeling of the sun warming my skin. The problem is the move from what cannot be said to the claim of the existence of something that cannot be referred.
Pardon me, did you say "stands out of logical framework"?
I am trying to explain the Tractatus. Once the misunderstanding is cleared away, you will find that you are closer to the early Wittgenstein than you think.
Please explain how this is possible to make this statement? Value is paramount, for when we talk about ineffability, it is all about presence, the given of the world.
He believed that value is not a logical relation. He believed the ‘I’ is not in the world.

He says:
It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists. (6.44)
HAN:
The difference would be,if it were presented as, the "as" would be a given
If all experience is mediated then there is nothing that is given AS, only what is taken AS.
It must be acknowledged that there is something in taking as that is unspeakable, otherwise it would be a vicious circle of self referentiality of language.
There must be something that is taken AS, but there are various ways in which it can be taken, although at any particular time those possibilities are historically and culturally restrictive. Heidegger emphasizes the importance of the way it is taken, that is to say, the way that it is spoken. Dasein is not the passive recipient of “the given”. To the extent that something is given AS it is given BY dasein To dasein. Alethea (truth) is a dynamic relationship between dasein and what becomes present to dasein. It's becoming present too is dynamic.
Not unmediated? It is here, in your reference to the way in which what is present to us is present: this is nonsense: to speak of not unmediated is to refer to that which is mediated. What would that be?
All that is present to us is present via the mediation of human physiology, psychology, history, and culture. If these were different what is present to us would be different, although the entity itself may be the same. This is what the different ages of man is about.
In part? What is this but two words, 'in' and 'part' concatonated in what we call time and presented as ready to hand projections into existence in my dasein?
In part because dasein is an active part-ner in the coming to be of what comes to be.
My thoughts are here: presence at hand cannot be removed from ready to hand.
I am not sure what you are getting at. We relate to an object that is present at hand differently than we relate to what is ready at hand. We cannot "remove" what is ready to hand but we can deliberately regard entities in other ways
If language is a tool, what is not a tool? That points to ineffability.
While language is used as a tool, I do not think this means that language is a tool. What is the relationship between thought and language? Is thought a tool?
If presence at hand is deemed part of the equiprimordial ontology of dasein ...
But it is not, it is a theoretical stance toward something. It is secondary, not primary.
… and there is no recognition IN this term of something Other than ready to hand …
The term is defined by Heidegger as what stands out or apart from what is ready to hand, what is other than dasein’s ready to hand relationship with entities.
'Dasein' most certainly must be such a particle, because all of language is ready to hand and 'dasein' belongs to language.
So, dasein, the maker and user of tools, is a tool of language, and language is a tool of dasein? Not all of language is ready to hand. Heidegger attempts to say what language has not yet made available to say. He attempts to move beyond ready to hand language by first regarding language as something present at hand, that is, by not simply using language, but by showing all that comes with our unreflective use of language, and second, by attempting to say what has gone unsaid, which because it has not yet been said does not fit our conventions of what is said. To the extent that this is successful and this language becomes the language of philosophy it becomes something ready to hand.
As to the presence of man, all the above applies. I just do not see any way out of this. Its like this, and I do labor this point: this migraine I am having can be recognized as not some kind of symbolic instrumentality, but presence itself, notwithstanding that such a recognition occurs within a matrix of ready to hand.
I would not say that your migraine is “presence itself”, but simply that you have a migraine. This does not mean that it must then be something ready to hand, as if that were the only alternative.
This point is made by Kant long ago: no concepts, then no knowledge, judgment or understanding. But the same matter could be brought to Kant: what do you mean by "sensory intuitions"? given that the the utterance itself is, if you will, always already conditioned by the synthetic powers of reason. Therefore, to "talk" about sensory intuitions as such is impossible. But there it is before: that which is not concepts at all.
The utterance “sensory intuition” is not a sensory intuition. Sensory intuition is conditioned and “made sense of” through the categories of the understanding. This does not make “talk” about sensory intuitions impossible, it simply means that such intuitions are mediated via the architecture of the mind.
As an interpretative entity, my interpretation is obviously limited. But it is limited before, as in standing before, Being in eternity.
“Being in eternity” is itself an interpretation. For all we know it is nothing more than a conceptual construct, something we create and then claim has been there, present, all along to behold. And this brings us full circle to where I came into this discussion. The acknowledgement that there is something does not legitimize the claim that there is god, or Being in eternity. The shift from the presence of something to “presence itself” to god and eternity is questionable and problematic.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 22nd, 2018, 10:56 pm

fooloso4:
The fly bottle refers to whatever it is that has caused philosophical confusion that once we see how we got into the problem we are able to get out of it. Many of the problems Wittgenstein dealt with had to do with the logic of language and the relationship between thought and being. Once we reject the notion of an independent logic that lies behind all that we say and all that is, we no longer get trapped in that bottle. There are, of course, others.
I want to look into the texts to give this and other matters you raise a well grounded answer. I'll need to take some time, read and consider. I'll get back to you.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Tamminen » February 23rd, 2018, 11:19 am

About “given as” and “taken as”: If we say that objects of the world are taken as something, we presuppose some kind of freedom of action, which brings to mind Sartre, for example. If we say that they are given as something, we presuppose some kind of logos or god or a deep reality that is totally independent of our decisions. I am inclined to assume the latter standpoint, but so that the logos or absolute is not something transcendent but immanent in us. Reality happens to us, not because some transcendent being or principle has determined everything, but because the logos is in us, as something that determines what must happen. Or better still: we are the logos, evolving as an intersubjective community that reveals its own being and the being of the world in a hermeneutic spiral.

By the way, although Wittgenstein's metaphysical 'I' is independent of what the world is like, the being of the 'I' depends on the being of the world and the being of the world depends on the being of the 'I'. Perhaps W. did not say this, but it is a direct consequence of what he said. And this is a good starting point of developing some interesting metaphysics.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 23rd, 2018, 12:05 pm

Tamminen
About “given as” and “taken as”: If we say that objects of the world are taken as something, we presuppose some kind of freedom of action, which brings to mind Sartre, for example. If we say that they are given as something, we presuppose some kind of logos or god or a deep reality that is totally independent of our decisions. I am inclined to assume the latter standpoint, but so that the logos or absolute is not something transcendent but immanent in us. Reality happens to us, not because some transcendent being or principle has determined everything, but because the logos is in us, as something that determines what must happen. Or better still: we are the logos, evolving as an intersubjective community that reveals its own being and the being of the world in a hermeneutic spiral.
I do like that term "in us". Not to propose something specific, but if the logos is in us, where are we, the "us" in question, that is? All roads lead to transcendence. I am defending the idea that within this hermenuetical spiral as you call it there is what transcends the spiral manifest within it.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Tamminen » February 23rd, 2018, 1:17 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 12:05 pm
I do like that term "in us". Not to propose something specific, but if the logos is in us, where are we, the "us" in question, that is? All roads lead to transcendence. I am defending the idea that within this hermenuetical spiral as you call it there is what transcends the spiral manifest within it.
Yes, what transcends the spiral is what keeps the spiral going and also what has started the movement of the spiral if there has been a beginning. And indeed, it is within the spiral, not outside, not transcendent but transcendental, as I understand that term. But the next question is: are we in the world or does the world belong to our ontological "structure", or are both only complementary ways of saying the same thing?

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 24th, 2018, 1:19 am

Tamminen
are we in the world or does the world belong to our ontological "structure", or are both only complementary ways of saying the same thing?
You might find my tentative reply below to fooloso4 interesting.
fooloso4:
It may be that ineffability is your fly bottle.
While I study up on Heidegger, here is an argument I think is extraordinary and to the point. I have put it forward before, but no one really understood it. It presents a case for ineffability. I take it very seriously, but then, perhaps you can set me straight:

I once read MacIntyre Ethics and Mackie's Ethics,Inventing Right and Wrong, then Wittgensein's Lecture on Ethics, and I came across the Greek term 'arete' and saw how it was used to explain what the ethical 'good' was, how it could be used to reveal the nature of ethical goodness, and from this, the notion of ethical contingency (ethical relativism) issued as well as the way contingency explained the meaning in all terms.

It begins, my argument, like this: Meanings in the world are contingent and not absolute. This simply means that no meaning is fixed beyond contextual dependence; they are contingent, the meanings that lay before me, the calling of this object a pen points to a certain standard of excellence in usage: the better it functions as a pen, the better it is a pen; but there is nothing that binds the object to this meaning. If I use it as a weapon, it is a weapon, and the calling it a pen becomes a mere formality of familiarity. If I plug up a dike with it, its being useful as a pen altogether vanishes. This is an important point: meanings are like this for everything. No meaning can be pinned as if it were inscribed on a stone tablet on a mountain; rather, meanings are malleable, applicable as long as use validates. As Stanley Fish asked in his, Is There a Text in the Class?, words and their meanings are context bound.

Take this knife. It has a certain excellence, which includes sharpness, but if it is to be used in a performance of Macbeth, sharpness is not only not part of the excellence of the knife, it is part of its failing, after all, a sharp knife would be dangerous in this body of contingency. Meanings, and the standards of excellence they provide, vanish, yield and are not grounded in any absolute that would, well, absolutely insist on one meaning.

Ethics, Wittgenstein wrote in his Lecture on Ethics, assumes an absolute standard. He does not go on to make some bold metaphysical claim, as I do; but he he was right about this. Ethics, I posit, is something altogether different from contingent meanings because they are about value. I put Wittgenstein aside here and argue thusly: value is not malleable, does not yield at all as to it the meaning it possesses. While conditions of contingency may change, contexts in which things of value are used, exchanged, fit into our institutions, like politics or education, may treat value as a malleable or relative concept, value as such sustains and is incorrigible.

Suffering is the best example as it is so striking, but all examples of value make the point: torture may be justified, say, by a utilitarian standard: torture this child or a thousand children will be tortured much more horribly; or the like. But here, unlike with the knife's sharpness, torture and the pain it causes does not disappear. In fact, and this is pretty much evidence of the extraordinary nature of value and ethics (and aesthetics), there is no body of contingency that could so contextualize torture as to diminish one whit its, for lack of a better term, "badness".

How can this be? I do not see that value can be undone, as the sharpness of a knife, or the comfort of a chair. It must be acknowledged that value int he world intimates, or nay, establishes clearly, what it is in the presence of the world that defies, to borrow from Levinas, the finitude of interpretative limitation. Value is absolute, though the constructions we build with value our everyday lives are not. No one is saying here that certain behavior is right or wrong, at all. It is the value itself that is unassailable, and I can think of nothing else that is like this; but then, all things I can think of, are part and parcel valuative, like this pen: a pen is a temporal object of dynamic of pragmatic meaning, and in that pragmatic meaning there is value. This, of course, needs to be developed, but see Dewey's Art as Experience and hiw notion of consummation.

If the world were not the kind of place where caring were possible (and Levinas criticizes Heidegger for not taking this ethical presence in the world seriously enough), that is, if all of the mmm's and ugh's of the world were not there in the world, but it was a value-free existence we were in, I think that the world's foundational ineffability would amount to nothing, and we would be like software that reached its digital parameters when inquiry pointed "elsewhere".

But this is not the world.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Tamminen » February 24th, 2018, 10:05 am

From Tractatus:
6.43 If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the limits of the world, not the facts; not the things that can be expressed in language.
In brief, the world must thereby become quite another. It must so to speak wax or wane as a whole.
The world of the happy is quite another than that of the unhappy.
I must confess that I have never fully understood what he means. There is a remark in Zettel where he says that it is very natural for him to think that all our inner states or experiences need not have physiological correlates. I think the above says the same thing. But I think he is wrong: there are certainly physiological differences between the happy and the unhappy, not to mention differences between someone suffering pain and someone not suffering pain. And physiology if anything belongs to the world. But perhaps he meant something else.

So ethics in this sense is connected to the world, but it does not mean that our basic experiences, pain and happiness for instance, are ontologically something secondary and explainable by material events. They are the origin of all meaning, not ineffable in the sense that they can be expressed by language, being perhaps the very origin of language. But what is the origin of these basic experiences? What is the origin of evil? Now we come to the basic ontological structure of reality: the subject-object relation. The subject, which is the primus motor of everything, and which therefore cannot be eliminated from the picture, cannot exist without the world. Therefore it has to be in relation to the world, and with this original relation there emerges pain, happiness, unhappiness and other basic experiences that constitute our meaningful being in the world.

I do not want to go deeper into metaphysics now, but I have some texts on the subject elsewhere on this forum, which some of you probably have read already.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Hereandnow » February 24th, 2018, 11:13 am

Tamminen
So ethics in this sense is connected to the world, but it does not mean that our basic experiences, pain and happiness for instance, are ontologically something secondary and explainable by material events. They are the origin of all meaning, not ineffable in the sense that they can be expressed by language, being perhaps the very origin of language. But what is the origin of these basic experiences? What is the origin of evil? Now we come to the basic ontological structure of reality: the subject-object relation. The subject, which is the primus motor of everything, and which therefore cannot be eliminated from the picture, cannot exist without the world. Therefore it has to be in relation to the world, and with this original relation there emerges pain, happiness, unhappiness and other basic experiences that constitute our meaningful being in the world.
Heidegger wants to say that this primary and secondary talk and the kind reductions that come from it are just bad philosophy. Everything is really just all of a piece. I think this is right, but I am also aware that this unity called dasein has boundaries that cannot be understood in the usual sense. If my dasein is a closed pragmatic system, then why doesn't the world present itself in this way? Why is it that when language and logic run out in an examination of the presence before me, there is an intimation that possibilities continue to infinity? The "where, when and what" of this cup begs a question that recedes into eternity in Being, time and space. Unities do not do this, but the world does this.

But who cares? It is in the caring that the world becomes a religious place. Caring is about value,and value is impossible. Impossible because it is a kind of miracle in that its being here as part of the finite unity transcends the contingency of meanings. It is absolute. I base this pretty much on the argument above. Value is first philosophy, perhaps it is the only thing that philosophically matters. It is here, in "part" ready to hand; yet ready to hand contingencies do not determine its its "goodness" and "badness". "Mattering" you could say, is the only thing that matters. Seems a tautology.

One of the matters I am studying to respond to fooloso4 is equiprimordiality: if value is equiprimordial, that is, primordial with others at the foundation of a description of what we are, does this imply that value must be taken up as ready to hand to be experienced at all? I think there must be something Kantian going, that because value is "miraculous" in the sense above, so agency must be like this. SOmething like this. It stretches to an affirmation of the transcendental ego.

fooloso4 would think it madness, I believe; or just bad philosophy. Obviously, I disagree.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Fooloso4 » February 24th, 2018, 1:26 pm

Tamminen:
If we say that objects of the world are taken as something, we presuppose some kind of freedom of action …
How we take something may be culturally and historically determined, and/or biologically determined, rather than the result of freedom of action.
If we say that they are given as something, we presuppose some kind of logos or god or a deep reality that is totally independent of our decisions.
One might think of the given as simply the way things are, and that there is nothing behind or other than the thing as it is.
By the way, although Wittgenstein's metaphysical 'I' is independent of what the world is like, the being of the 'I' depends on the being of the world and the being of the world depends on the being of the 'I'. Perhaps W. did not say this, but it is a direct consequence of what he said.
The ‘I’ is not independent of “what the world is like” but is, rather, the ‘I’ is independent of the world. It is about “what the world is like”.

The ‘I’ is not something in the world, and so in that way not dependent on the world.

The ‘I’ comes into play with regard to meaning and purpose. It is independent of the world in that the facts of the world remains the same, but the way I see it, the way I experience it, that is, what it means to me, its significance changes depending on my will/ethics. This is why he calls ethics a transcendental condition. The existence of the world does not depend on my existence, but the world/life is my world/my life. The meaning of the world is not in the facts of the world. The meaning of the world in shown via the will. In the Notebooks he calls the meaning of life “God”.

But:
There are two godheads: the world and my independent I.
The meaning of life, according to the early Wittgenstein, is not intersubjective, it is private. It is the way I see, experience, and regard the world in accord with the actions of my will.
Ethics does not treat of the world. Ethics must be a condition of the world, like logic.
Ethics and Aesthetics are one.
Logic is the transcendental condition of the world in terms of the structure of the world and relationship of facts. Ethics is the transcendental condition of the world in terms of meaning, beauty, and value. It is not that the exercise of my will makes the world a better place for you or anyone else, but that my world becomes a better place for me without any change to the facts of the world. This is a stoic position.

Tamminen:
But the next question is: are we in the world or does the world belong to our ontological "structure", or are both only complementary ways of saying the same thing?
First, with regard to Wittgenstein we are in the world in the sense that we are living and the world is life:
The World and Life are one. Physiological life is of course not "Life". And neither is psychological life. Life is the world.
But:
I am my world.
and :
The subject does not belong to the world, but it is a limit of the world.
and:
I am placed in it [this world] like my eye in its visual field.
and:
… my will penetrates the world
… my will is good or evil.

Therefore that good and evil are somehow connected with the meaning of the world.
It is not a question of ontological structure, but of the structure of logic and the alogical structure of ethics. There is no ontology of ethics because ontology is something said (logos) about being (onto) or beings, and the structure of ethics is not a logical structure. There is no ethical structure within which everything has its logical place, no picture or representation of what cannot be said but shows itself in experience.

Leaving the early Wittgenstein behind, I would say that we need to attend to both the notion of ‘ontology’ and the notion of an underlying structure of the world and man. There are ontologies, that is, different ways of cutting up, categorizing, and describing what is. We are not simply in a world that has an independent structure but rather in a world that we structure both in terms of the ways in which we conceive of it and the ways in which we make and shape it. There is, in my opinion, no “logos” in us, no independent realm of truth which guides us and to which we can appeal. Nothing is simply given, but rather everything is appropriated; made understandable or meaningful or valuable by and for us in accord with the state of art of our knowledge and what it is we take to be of importance. In this sense I agree that it is intersubjective.

Tamminen:
… we are the logos, evolving as an intersubjective community that reveals its own being and the being of the world in a hermeneutic spiral.
I think Heidegger would agree. I would ask: what are we spiralling toward or away from? What Heidegger said and did should be considered. He said that the Nazis represented the coming into being of the future and as such should be welcomed and heeded rather than opposed. Was this an example of the evolution of the logos, or an aberration? Do we need to stand outside the spiral in order to judge which it is?

Parmenides said:
… for thinking and being are the same thing.
Here we come to the crux of both ontology and epistemology, or, to put it differently, it is here that we see that ontology must be epistemology. Someone might argue that ontology is about what is and epistemology about what we know, but what we say about what is cannot be separated from what we know about what is (‘know’ in the sense of what we take to true based on other things we take to be true).

I think Parmenides is correct in that we cannot separate being from thinking, but we should not conclude that there is any necessary connection between what we think or say and what is.

HAN:
I came across the Greek term 'arete' and saw how it was used to explain what the ethical 'good' was, how it could be used to reveal the nature of ethical goodness
The ‘arete’ or excellence of a man is tied to a notion of human nature. Arete is the realization or actualization of man’s nature, to be what it is capable of being. Arete is often translated as virtue, but this should be heard in the sense of power, as in, when we say that it is by virtue of what something is that something is done or results, for example, it is by virtue of its flexibility that the tree does not snap in the wind.

I think it is possible to reject the notion of a fixed human nature and still retain the notion of arete or human excellence, only what we regard as human arete cannot be measured objectively against a fixed standard. We cannot say that he is a good man because he has realized/actualized the potential of human nature.
Ethics, I posit, is something altogether different from contingent meanings because they are about value.
I think that value like meaning is contingent. The sharp knife is valued because it does what we want it to do. The dull knife may also be valued because it does what we want it to do. The meaning of something is not limited to its utility. Its meaning may lie its significance, its importance, its value. On the other hand, its value may be tied to but is not limited to its utility.
While conditions of contingency may change, contexts in which things of value are used, exchanged, fit into our institutions, like politics or education, may treat value as a malleable or relative concept, value as such sustains and is incorrigible.
Value “as such” does not exist apart from valuation. The sharp knife loses its value if it becomes a stage prop and regains it when it is used to make lunch.It may, however, be valued for other reasons, for its significance, its importance, its meaning. It may be a family heirloom or previously owned by someone famous or was a gift from someone special. In this sense it may be more than just a knife, more valued than a higher quality knife.
Value is absolute …
I am with Nietzsche and the revaluation of all values. We are, he says, esteemers. What has value is what we esteem. We all seek what is good, but there is no form “the good” by which we can measure what truly is and is not good. This is something we must work out by our own lights in the darkness.
... a value-free existence …
A value-free existence would be one in which nothing is valued. Value is not something inherent in anything or everything that exists. There is value because we hold things to be of value, and there are various reasons why we may value them.I do not think that value is something that imposes itself on us.

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Re: How do you define God and Self?

Post by Tamminen » February 24th, 2018, 4:15 pm

fooloso4:
The ‘I’ is not independent of “what the world is like” but is, rather, the ‘I’ is independent of the world. It is about “what the world is like”.

The ‘I’ is not something in the world, and so in that way not dependent on the world.

The ‘I’ comes into play with regard to meaning and purpose. It is independent of the world in that the facts of the world remains the same, but the way I see it, the way I experience it, that is, what it means to me, its significance changes depending on my will/ethics. This is why he calls ethics a transcendental condition. The existence of the world does not depend on my existence, but the world/life is my world/my life. The meaning of the world is not in the facts of the world. The meaning of the world in shown via the will. In the Notebooks he calls the meaning of life “God”.
I would say that the 'I', being “metaphysical”, point-like, without internal properties, must be the permanent reference point of the world, whatever the world is like. So it is independent of facts but dependent on the being of the world, whatever the world is like. And what is also important: there cannot be a world without this 'I', so that the subject-object relation is fundamental whatever the objects are. And we can develop this further, despite the antimetaphysical attitude of Wittgenstein.

And as I wrote in the latest post, I tend to disagree with W. on the transcendental nature of ethics and its independence of facts. Ethics comes into the picture as we meet the world, and we meet the world with our bodies, which makes the facts of the world change all the time. But I am an ontological idealist and think that what we are as experiencing subjects is the clue and essence of everything there is, the dominant part of the subject-object relation. But this leads us into the depths of metaphysics again.

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