2009/7/29 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>: > What do you make of Hume's observation, "When I enter most intimately into > what > I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of > heat > or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I can never catch > myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but > the > perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep, > so > long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist." ?
Well, we all know what he means, I think - and what wouldn't I give for half my countryman's eloquence. Fair enough, if you want to restrict the sense of "I" to reflective self-consciousness, then it indeed manifests variously and intermittently. But actually, this is the clue that points to the underlying ontology out of which self-consciousness emerges. The self-conscious "I" manifests so to speak as waves that rise out of the ocean: waves come in many shapes, but they all need the ocean to manifest, and sometimes they're there, other times they're not. But whether manifested as waves or no, the ocean remains. This gives us the clue that the self-conscious "I" is a particular manifestation of a permanent ontological category: moreover, as a monist, I take pains to show that this category is the only one we need lay claim to. In this, I diverge from Kant's analysis that we know via appearance, but can know nothing of the entity in itself. Rather my view is that we simply *are* Kant's ding an sich, in terms of the logic I've set out. This analysis points to the double collapse of two apparent dichotomies: that (wrongly) implied between being and knowing, to be resolved in the tension between global and partial states-of-being; and that (wrongly) implied in the shift from unknowing to knowing (i.e. 'matter' shading into 'mind') to be resolved through a reconceived understanding of the self-reflecting organisation and dynamics of a complexly differentiated monistic existent. As I said in my post to Bruno, my way of pondering this is by a sort of inhabitation of the system I'm seeking to understand. In this case, I intuit myself to arise in the differentiated manifestation of a *singular*, present, self-encountering global entity: what I termed getting-a-grip-on-Oneself. 'Self' in the sense I'm using it is crucial in two ways. First, if one is positing a single comprehensive entity - intrinsic to the notion of 'universe' - it can make no sense to posit it in relation to anything else: nothing else exists. Any internal relations among differentiables in this context are consequently *exclusively* reflexive, self-relating, or self-encountering. Second, following directly from the preceding sense, any such entity intrinsically possesses self-intimacy: it is reflexive in the sense of reflecting, referencing, or possessing access to, itself. Knowledgeable, if you like. At first glance, this latter might appear to be a super-added requirement to 'bare existence', but IMO this is fatally mistaken and indeed the most deeply obscured aspect of the root existential misconception. In point of fact, I believe virtually all the confusions we self-inflict with respect to what might be said to 'exist' stem from not recognising existence-for-self as primary: all other senses of exist can be seen under analysis to parasitise on this sense; conversely, lose sight of it and 'existence' is banished instantly to the phantom status of an abstracted Cheshire Cat's grin. The power of this insight is that we can immediately grasp that knowing, or epistemology, is simply a modality of being, or ontology. Furthermore this collapse, or reduction, also explicitly collapses the mind-matter, sense-action dichotomies of relation into a single indivisible category. If you're left nonetheless with the feeling that something 'dual' remains, you're right: the irreducible duality of whole and part, whose paradoxical nature I have previously indicated. But this is just to situate appropriately the mystery ineradicable from any mortal conception. This multi-stage reduction allows us to achieve Chalmers' holy grail of causal closure by encapsulating it in a unified monism, thus neatly sidestepping his so-called 'hard' problem and all the monstrosities and zombies it foreshadows. BTW, he is queasily aware of this, and confesses sneaking sympathy with the panpsychists, though the idea of outing himself as one triggers incurable philosophical nausea. Fortunately, he has no need to barf just yet, which is just as well because panpsychism too is implicitly dualist. Were the epithet not already colonised, I suppose we could simply call this position 'existentialist', once we had cleared up the misconceptions about existence. I suppose in a sense it's neutral monism, properly understood. But it's all too easy to lose one's hold on the intrinsically present and reflexive aspects in the 'neutrality' of that formulation. A note on method: I don't hold with Colin McGinn that a coherent grasp of mentality is unreachable by human powers, except, of course, in the limit. However, I find that the problems in adequately expressing a (moderately) non-standard view involves so many burdens of extraneous sense attaching to nearly all the terms available to hand as to make the task itself very taxing. There is I suppose the option of inventing a totally new vocabulary, but I would despair of holding anyone's attention in the attempt (and probably not even my own). David > > David Nyman wrote: > ... >> >> In my various ramblings, I've tried to cut the whole Gordian knot of >> what can coherently be said to exist, and within this the whole debate >> on materialism, panpsychism, mind-body hard problems, causal closure >> of the physical, etc. by a simple expediency which then struck me as >> obviously true (how about that?). To re-state: >> >> 1) Is there some logically prior requirement for anything to be said >> to exist? Reflect: 'something existing' necessitates presence not >> absence. >> 2) What is the relation between presence and "I"' as I discover >> myself? Reflect: "I" discover myself to be present. > > What do you make of Hume's observation, "When I enter most intimately into > what > I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of > heat > or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I can never catch > myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but > the > perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep, > so > long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist." ? > > Brent > > > > > --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---