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Conciousness as the definition of existence

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Belindi
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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Belindi » January 12th, 2019, 11:17 am

Event Horizon wrote:
Ontology will therefore limit it-self to declaring that everything takes place as if the in-itself in a project to found itself gave itself the modification of the for-itself.
You wrote a great deal more and I picked out only this little bit because it is basic to much of the rest.

"In-itself" is causa sui (cause of itself) in a deterministic sense , like you cannot change what must happen to you because your circumstances plus laws of nature have captured the being of you since your birth, before your birth, and for all time.

"for-itself" is also causa sui, cause of itself, as the self struggles to make itself as a work in progress. The for-itself could not do this ever risky endeavour unless the in-itself , which I presume is nature, had the inbuilt facility of man to make himself what he is and will be. In other words existence precedes being: what you do is what makes you what you are.
Corollary is that man has multiple choices due to his being conscious, choices that are not available to stones, mice, and honey bees.
but I can be an exhaustive consciousness of it since I am at once consciousness of the being and self-consciousness.
Awareness of one's own self characterises , not dreams, but waking consciousness. Consciousness of self has been attributed to at least one chimpanzee who has been taught English. When my dog looked at herself in the mirror she was not interested when she discovered that what she was seeing provided neither food nor companionship so she was not conscious of self and I doubt that she ever could be conscious of self.You and I are conscious of self to the extent that we make personal decisions to( for instance) stop some bad habit that we know that we are partial to, or live better lives, and so on. Inserting consideration of self into our environments gives us a lot more choice than other beings have, even when we are in prison or confined to a sick bed because of disability.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Tamminen » January 12th, 2019, 2:24 pm

EventHorizon wrote:
January 12th, 2019, 2:46 am
Here what is the difference between the phenomenon of in-itself and the being of in-itself?
In-itself as a phenomenon presupposes the being of someone for whom it is a phenomenon. But Sartre seems to think that the being of in-itself does not presuppose anyone, ie. any for-itself, on the being of which it depends. As if it were possible that in the universe there would be nobody there, no subjective perspective, no existence in the sense of for-itself. I am not sure if Sartre thought this through. Do you think Sartre's reasoning is consistent?

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 12th, 2019, 5:23 pm

Tamminen: But Sartre seems to think that the being of in-itself does not presuppose anyone, i.e. any for-itself, on the being of which it depends.

He does say: "the in-itself has no need of the for-itself in order to be." That is to say, Being is not dependant on being-for (an other), or existence is a creative act, it's not compulsory.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by EventHorizon » January 13th, 2019, 12:35 am

Belindi wrote:
January 12th, 2019, 11:17 am
Event Horizon wrote:
Ontology will therefore limit it-self to declaring that everything takes place as if the in-itself in a project to found itself gave itself the modification of the for-itself.
You wrote a great deal more and I picked out only this little bit because it is basic to much of the rest.

"In-itself" is causa sui (cause of itself) in a deterministic sense , like you cannot change what must happen to you because your circumstances plus laws of nature have captured the being of you since your birth, before your birth, and for all time.

"for-itself" is also causa sui, cause of itself, as the self struggles to make itself as a work in progress. The for-itself could not do this ever risky endeavour unless the in-itself , which I presume is nature, had the inbuilt facility of man to make himself what he is and will be. In other words existence precedes being: what you do is what makes you what you are.
Corollary is that man has multiple choices due to his being conscious, choices that are not available to stones, mice, and honey bees.
but I can be an exhaustive consciousness of it since I am at once consciousness of the being and self-consciousness.
Awareness of one's own self characterises , not dreams, but waking consciousness. Consciousness of self has been attributed to at least one chimpanzee who has been taught English. When my dog looked at herself in the mirror she was not interested when she discovered that what she was seeing provided neither food nor companionship so she was not conscious of self and I doubt that she ever could be conscious of self.You and I are conscious of self to the extent that we make personal decisions to( for instance) stop some bad habit that we know that we are partial to, or live better lives, and so on. Inserting consideration of self into our environments gives us a lot more choice than other beings have, even when we are in prison or confined to a sick bed because of disability.
I think I may be missing what you're saying. I'm not really interested in the "condemned to be free" aspect of our lives, I'm much more interested in why the for-itself exists in the metaphysical or "historical" sense.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by EventHorizon » January 13th, 2019, 12:41 am

Tamminen wrote:
January 12th, 2019, 2:24 pm
EventHorizon wrote:
January 12th, 2019, 2:46 am
Here what is the difference between the phenomenon of in-itself and the being of in-itself?
Do you think Sartre's reasoning is consistent?
I'm not sure to be honest. What's odd to me is that it seems like he answers his own question many times but I don't understand why he doesn't consider his answer to be an answer.

for example:
Sartre, page 789 wrote: It is only by making itself for-itself that being can aspire to be the cause of itself.

To me this seems like clear cut positing that the in-itself's cause-of-itself-ness is dependent on the simultaneous rising of the for-itself. He then recognizes the problem of time but then I lose what he's trying to say afterwards, it seems like he diverges.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Belindi » January 13th, 2019, 9:37 am

Event Horizon wrote:
------I'm much more interested in why the for-itself exists in the metaphysical or "historical" sense.

There is no purpose for why the for-itself exists , because existence itself has no purpose ; so to speak existence itself is causa sui.

In the historical sense the for-itself has been allotted purpose by people who believe in God.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 13th, 2019, 6:19 pm

Sarte: It is only by making itself for-itself that being can aspire to be the cause of itself.
EventHorizon: To me this seems like clear cut positing that the in-itself's cause-of-itself-ness is depent on the simultaneous rising of the for-itself.
It's clear enough once you see through Sartre's opaque language (not easy) -- (1) Purpose is not inherent in Being itself, (2) It is the for-itself (i.e., Being individuated) that conceives causes and purpose, (3) Therefore Being becomes individuated so that it may know and actualize itself. That is, Being is dependant on its for-itself to invent itself.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by EventHorizon » January 13th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 9:37 am
because existence itself has no purpose ; so to speak existence itself is causa sui.
I actually think we run into a language based problem here. I think if Being is causa sui, then the purpose of Being is to be what is. This has nothing in common with the omniscient creator esque purpose of course.

But this can be extended to describing Being in the absence of the for-itself. We can say absolutely nothing about Being in the absence of the for-itself, except that it is. It's basically like saying, "the state of affairs is that is not any state of affairs". It's infinitely recursive and I think purely grammatical.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by EventHorizon » January 13th, 2019, 8:05 pm

Felix wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 6:19 pm
Sarte: It is only by making itself for-itself that being can aspire to be the cause of itself.
EventHorizon: To me this seems like clear cut positing that the in-itself's cause-of-itself-ness is depent on the simultaneous rising of the for-itself.
It's clear enough once you see through Sartre's opaque language (not easy) -- (1) Purpose is not inherent in Being itself, (2) It is the for-itself (i.e., Being individuated) that conceives causes and purpose, (3) Therefore Being becomes individuated so that it may know and actualize itself. That is, Being is dependant on its for-itself to invent itself.
As far as I can tell we are agreeing on the interpretation but im not sure. Are we?

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Tamminen » January 14th, 2019, 5:54 am

EventHorizon wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 8:04 pm
We can say absolutely nothing about Being in the absence of the for-itself, except that it is.
But what does it mean to say it is? Has it any concrete meaning at all? Isn't it an abstraction anyway, like the phenomenon of in-itself?

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Belindi » January 14th, 2019, 8:17 am

EventHorizon wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 8:04 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 9:37 am
because existence itself has no purpose ; so to speak existence itself is causa sui.
I actually think we run into a language based problem here. I think if Being is causa sui, then the purpose of Being is to be what is. This has nothing in common with the omniscient creator esque purpose of course.

But this can be extended to describing Being in the absence of the for-itself. We can say absolutely nothing about Being in the absence of the for-itself, except that it is. It's basically like saying, "the state of affairs is that is not any state of affairs". It's infinitely recursive and I think purely grammatical.
The language problem is usage of the word 'purpose'. Please think of the verb form of 'purpose' and you will see that existence itself does not purpose anything. Indeed only animals with cerebral cortices can purpose.

Or you could consider that being as cause of itself, indeed the only being that is causa sui, then being is not purposed by anything or anyone else.

God is supposed to be the creator of all. If this were that case then it would be God who purposed, it would not be his creation that purposed.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by EventHorizon » January 14th, 2019, 1:32 pm

Tamminen wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 5:54 am
EventHorizon wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 8:04 pm
We can say absolutely nothing about Being in the absence of the for-itself, except that it is.
But what does it mean to say it is? Has it any concrete meaning at all? Isn't it an abstraction anyway, like the phenomenon of in-itself?
I think it means nothing at all but it needs a better proof than just what I intuitively think. To me this is like saying non-being (contradiction) is the case, and then we bundle up this contradiction by calling it still Being in order to remove the contradiction. It's purely a face of language and does not reflect the actuality. I think I need a better reasoning to object to this than what I have currently. What do you think?

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Tamminen » January 14th, 2019, 5:44 pm

EventHorizon wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 1:32 pm
I think it means nothing at all but it needs a better proof than just what I intuitively think. To me this is like saying non-being (contradiction) is the case, and then we bundle up this contradiction by calling it still Being in order to remove the contradiction. It's purely a face of language and does not reflect the actuality. I think I need a better reasoning to object to this than what I have currently. What do you think?
This is something that is very difficult to prove so that everybody accepts the validity of the proof. I have tried some reasoning on this forum, for instance these texts:
My thoughts go along the same paths as Wittgenstein's. The world is everything that is the case. The world consists of facts. But the facts of the world can be different from the facts of our world. What kind of facts there can be defines the logical space of the world. It defines the totality of possible worlds. But the being of the subject is the ontological precondition for the being of the world. The world is “my world”. The world and the subject are what Wittgenstein calls the “two godheads”, and this is also what I call the subject-world relationship. Now I agree with Wittgenstein also on what he says of logic and the world: logic precedes the facts of the world, the “how”, but not the being of the world, the “what”. All this means that a world without the subject is not a possible world, it does not fit into the logical space of possible worlds.
About the subject-world relationship:

Take Wittgenstein. He thought that the “metaphysical subject” is an ontological precondition for the being of the world. Of course he did not mean any individual subject, but a subject in general, a subject that gets its properties from the world, being itself without properties.

Also logic presupposes the being of the world. He says:
5.552 The “experience” which we need to understand logic is not that such and such is the case, but that something is; but that is no experience.
Logic precedes every experience—that something is so. It is before the How, not before the What.
5.5521 And if this were not the case, how could we apply logic? We could say: if there were a logic, even if there were no world, how then could there be a logic, since there is a world?
In this scenario, which I share, the positing of a possible world without subjects is indeed logically impossible, because the logical space to posit it is always within the subject-world structure.
When we speak about the logical possibility of a being, we must define the logical space in the logical universe where the possibility of that being can or cannot be posited. If the possibility of that being lies outside of the limits of the logical universe, it can be said that positing the possibility of that being is logically impossible or absurd, or that it makes no sense to speak of its possibility. Which one of these expressions we should use, we can discuss, but I think they all lead to the same: impossibility. Now the logical universe can or cannot extend beyond our logical universe: the logical universe where we can use logic. My position, and also Mr. Wittgenstein's, is that the logical universe coincides with our logical universe, which means that the subject-world relationship defines the limits for what is logically possible.

A world cannot be an object for the subjects of another world. There is only one world. We must speak about alternate worlds or possible worlds. Now it is not logically possible that there is a world without subjects in our logical universe, which is the only logical universe within which we can use logic. The possibility of a world without subjects lies outside of the logical universe, because it lies outside of the subject-world relationship. Therefore all possible worlds have a subjective viewpoint and necessarily contain subjects.

I can logically posit the possibility of a world in which I do not exist as an individual subject, but I cannot logically posit a world without subjects. And because no subject can posit that kind of a world, we cannot speak about its possibility. Its possibility is beyond all logic. Therefore its being is not logically possible if we use logic in the usual way.
About abstractions:

A unicorn is an abstraction that fits perfectly into our logical universe, and makes sense as part of a possible world.

A Christian's Heaven is a beautiful abstraction and extension of our world, and makes a perfect example of a possible world, with all its inhabitants, although only some of us believe it is real.

A world without inhabitants is an abstraction of our world that does not belong to the group of possible worlds, because its possibility of being lies outside of the limits of our logical universe, outside of the subject-world relationship. It is a "forbidden" world.
Nevertheless, it may be that in the end we have nothing but our clear intuition to see the impossibility of the Universe without a subjective perspective, without the being of the for-itself. I think I have this clear intuition.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 14th, 2019, 6:03 pm

EventHorizon: As far as I can tell we are agreeing on the interpretation but im not sure. Are we?
It sounded to me like you were saying that the existence of Being depends on the existence of its for-itself (the language gets cumbersome). I am saying that the for-itself is Being's vehicle for creative expression but not the cause of its existence since it is causa sui. Sarte said: "the in-itself has no need of the for-itself in order to be."

He also said that via its for-itself, Being can "aspire to be the cause of itself," but apparently this aspiration is futile because "the temporalization of consciousness is not an ascending progress toward the dignity of the causa sui; it is a surface run off whose origin is, on the contrary, the impossibility of being a self-cause" and "I am (the for-itself) is only an apprehension of being."

But sometimes Sartre's ideas seem to be a jumble of conflicting thoughts, as if he is not sure what he means to say.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 14th, 2019, 6:07 pm

What exactly is Sarte's definition of "Being"? That is key to understanding his perspective.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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