back to the beginning: the limitations of language

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby finishedman » Sat May 07, 2011 10:48 pm

statiktech wrote:
A towel on the floor, an orgasm... I don't believe you can describe these things, in words, to someone who has never experienced them. Words are memory triggers.


Words are also conceptual references. Sometimes it is a matter of how well someone can relate to what you're saying. The description may not evoke an exact representation, but what description does? The audience can take pieces/parts of their own experiences and formulate them into some new concept, which is a representation that will be refined as more information is gathered.

But there’s nothing better than for one to have a first person experience of the event. Once you recognize an object (even without giving it a name/word) it becomes part of you, part of your past.

The basic elementary nature of wordage is a reflection of limited nature of our thoughts and their limitations. Sure, you can take what is known, modify it and come up with what you call your own thoughts; you can come up with thousands of modifications especially with more material to work with.

But there’s something else when it comes to listening and communicating. When you leave the sense of hearing alone, all that is there is the vibration of the sound -- the words repeat themselves inside of you, as in an echo chamber. You might think the words you are hearing come from outside of you, but you can never hear one word from anyone else; you hear only your own translations, always. They are all your words you are hearing. All that the other person's words can possibly be to you is a noise, a vibration picked up by the ear-drum and transferred to the nerves which run to the brain. You are translating those vibrations all the time, trying to understand, because you want to get something out of what you are hearing.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Faust » Sun May 08, 2011 2:31 pm

iam - Let's say I'm buying and you're selling. You want 100 and I'm offering 50. We disagree. That's not a language thing, it's a value thing. There's only so many ways to say "I'm offering 50" but that isn't a limitation of language - 50 is, well, 50. There's a limit as to how high i will go.

In other words, what, philosophically, are the limits of "rational discourse" out in the world of actual human interaction?


The problem really is that this is poorly conceived. It really is.

You seem to believe that opinions cannot change, or that we cannot influence each other. Even when it comes to opinion.

Much that is not eternal truth is taught to us in school. Do you believe that his has had no effect on you?
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun May 08, 2011 7:10 pm

Faust wrote: iam - Let's say I'm buying and you're selling. You want 100 and I'm offering 50. We disagree. That's not a language thing, it's a value thing. There's only so many ways to say "I'm offering 50" but that isn't a limitation of language - 50 is, well, 50. There's a limit as to how high i will go.


Language is not limited here because it encompasses what can be shown empirically even if there was no language. Namely that you are offering half the pile when what I want is the whole thing. But suppose someone says I ought to want what you are offering. That, in other words, it is my moral duty to accept 50 instead of 100. How could that be accomplished without the use of language? And how would language accomplish it without an omniscient point of view regarding what is morally just?

50 is to 100 is not the same thing as I ought to accept fifty is to I ought not to accept 50.

Faust wrote:You seem to believe that opinions cannot change, or that we cannot influence each other. Even when it comes to opinion.

Much that is not eternal truth is taught to us in school. Do you believe that his has had no effect on you?


I believe that explications about some things are more than just "opinions". The explications involve material interactions that are applicable to all individuals. For example, someone cannot hold the opinion that unsafe sex has nothing to do with unwanted pregnancies. Someone can not hold the opinion that men become pregnant. Or, rather, they can hold these opinions but not demonstrate they are in fact true. With or without language.

But when the discussion shifts to the morality of aborting an unwanted pregnancy how else would this be approached other than through the use of arguments bursting at the seams with language? And how could a point of view here be anything other than the particular opinion of a particular dasein?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Sean » Mon May 09, 2011 3:05 am

iambiguous wrote:But when the discussion shifts to the morality of aborting an unwanted pregnancy how else would this be approached other than through the use of arguments bursting at the seams with language? And how could a point of view here be anything other than the particular opinion of a particular dasein?


Primarily I want to challenge your reading of Heidegger.

Dasein does not think the moral opinions expressed are "nothing more than the particular opinion of a particular dasein."

In everyday being-with-others, Dasein always thinks that it is right about some state of affairs, and thus that some others are wrong (this 2nd since modernity at the very least).

In everydayness Dasein always already posits its moral values in the realm of "what one ought to do" and values them (expresses them with language and non-linguistic discourse).

Dasein does not think of itself for the most part as "just another Dasein." This is the paradox in Heidegger. When Dasein is most engrossed in its own subjectivity (when it says "I" the loudest) this is when Dasein is the most fallen into "das Man," or the One (as in "one does this"). Knee-jerk relativism is a rare thing. When instead we posit an absolute moral value, this value is of the form "One (anyone at any time) ought to [or ought not to] do X." This is because Dasein is always already one among others.

1st pole: Primordial being-with-others is best able to slip into conformity when we cover it up by dogmatically claiming moral truths about what is right and wrong.

2nd pole: Primordial being-with-others is best able to slip into solipsism when we cover it up by claiming that we have absolute freedom of thought and are not influenced by any of "the talk" (linguistic and non-linguistic) that gets passed around in everyday discourse.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Faust » Mon May 09, 2011 4:50 am

Language is not limited here because it encompasses what can be shown empirically even if there was no language. Namely that you are offering half the pile when what I want is the whole thing. But suppose someone says I ought to want what you are offering. That, in other words, it is my moral duty to accept 50 instead of 100. How could that be accomplished without the use of language? And how would language accomplish it without an omniscient point of view regarding what is morally just?

50 is to 100 is not the same thing as I ought to accept fifty is to I ought not to accept 50.


But here is exactly where you are wrong, and where you contradict yourself. What we have here is a disagreement - exactly the case you keep talking about. All that is empirically known is that we want two different things. And it's impossible without language. We cannot express our positions without language. And it can be expressed without reference to duty. But I am claiming that you ought to accept my offer.

The "language" of the social contract is a language of morality, and it can accommodate this scenario.

But when the discussion shifts to the morality of aborting an unwanted pregnancy how else would this be approached other than through the use of arguments bursting at the seams with language? And how could a point of view here be anything other than the particular opinion of a particular dasein?


It's an opinion if it's not argued for. It's a philosophical position if it is argued for. And it can be argued within the context of the social contract, which is all that morality ever is.

What you continually do is to set up the straw man that the only morality is an absolutist one, and that this means that the "language of all philosophy" therefore is inadequate to the task of moral argument.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 11, 2011 12:39 am

Sean wrote:
Primarily I want to challenge your reading of Heidegger.

Dasein does not think the moral opinions expressed are "nothing more than the particular opinion of a particular dasein."


From Heidegger I was drawn to the idea of each individual being "thrown" adventitiously into a particular world. This is crucial existentially because for 10 to 12 years we are all indoctrinated as children to view ourselves and the world around us from the vantage point of others. And this vantage point is always situated historically, culturally and experentially. And it always evolves over time. It is thus ever fortuitous, variable and dynamic.

Am I reading Heidegger's take on Dasein as it should be read? I don't know. I don't care. I incorporate my understanding of his understanding of Dasein in the manner in which I view human interaction "out in the world".

Sean wrote:In everyday being-with-others, Dasein always thinks that it is right about some state of affairs, and thus that some others are wrong (this 2nd since modernity at the very least).


But what is more crucial [to me] is that being with Islamic jihadists in a Palestinian refugee camp and being with power brokers in an Israeli government function will have a profound impact on how you view both yourself and the world around you. Just as being with others in 3rd century China was no doubt very different from being with others in 21st century America. Just as being with others in an Amish farm community is different from being with others at the New York Stock Exchange.

Right and wrong from what perspective?...from who's perspective?

Sean wrote:Dasein does not think of itself for the most part as "just another Dasein." This is the paradox in Heidegger. When Dasein is most engrossed in its own subjectivity (when it says "I" the loudest) this is when Dasein is the most fallen into "das Man," or the One (as in "one does this").


In terms of any one particular "sense of identity", where does "we" end and "I" begin? where does nature end and nurture begin? where does the past end and the future begin?

What I aim to disclose is the sheer complexity of these ever changing relationships. And, in turn, I aim to focus minds on what can easily become an inexplicable and inexpressible disjunction between "a man", "a woman" and "humankind". What can be known about this wholly [or as wholly as we are ever likely to grasp] and what can only be a point of view?

Sean wrote:Knee-jerk relativism is a rare thing. When instead we posit an absolute moral value, this value is of the form "One (anyone at any time) ought to [or ought not to] do X." This is because Dasein is always already one among others.


I'm not sure what you mean here. I am a "moral relativist" because I believe moral values are 1] always situated out in a world that is ever changing and 2] can only be viewed from the perspective of each man or woman embedded in a particuar world at a particular time.

How that relates to your "poles" is unclear to me.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Sean » Wed May 11, 2011 1:48 am

iambiguous wrote:I believe moral values are 1] always situated out in a world that is ever changing and 2] can only be viewed from the perspective of each man or woman embedded in a particuar world at a particular time.


Sure you do, but no one outside of Philosophy believes this! You probably don't even believe this most of the time, until you put on your thinking cap.

You're just doing bad phenomenology. You're using logic and rationality to come to those two conclusions, but that is not what people usually do.

That's the whole point of situating morality "out there in the real world" like you keep saying. We CAN be moral relativists, but I think if you observe people in their everyday lives, hardly anybody actually is a moral relativist most of the time.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby anon » Wed May 11, 2011 1:54 pm

Sean wrote:...I think if you observe people in their everyday lives, hardly anybody actually is a moral relativist most of the time.

Every Christian who believes that war can be the right thing to do is a moral relativist. I'd say hardly anybody believes in moral absolutes.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 11, 2011 6:15 pm

iambiguous wrote:

Language is not limited here because it encompasses what can be shown empirically even if there was no language. Namely that you are offering half the pile when what I want is the whole thing. But suppose someone says I ought to want what you are offering. That, in other words, it is my moral duty to accept 50 instead of 100. How could that be accomplished without the use of language? And how would language accomplish it without an omniscient point of view regarding what is morally just?


Faust wrote:But here is exactly where you are wrong, and where you contradict yourself. What we have here is a disagreement - exactly the case you keep talking about. All that is empirically known is that we want two different things. And it's impossible without language. We cannot express our positions without language. And it can be expressed without reference to duty. But I am claiming that you ought to accept my offer.


What I am intertested in understanding are the existential variables embedded in the life we have lived that predispose us to want one thing rather than another. And to ask: Is there a way, using the tools of philosophy, to establish what we should want instead? And such explorations are conducted using language---a biological tool we use to communicate a more or less precise understanding of the relationship between "in my head" and "out in the world".

Now, there are some folks who insist that, using the tools of philosophy, we can grasp these relationships using words like "duty" "obligation" "categorical imperative" "transcending" "metaphysical" "realism" "idealism" "kingdom of ends" "deduction", "a priori knowledge" etc. etc. etc..

These are the folks I wish to engage. Perhaps they can persuade me to see these relationships in a way I have not been able to grasp before. Perhaps they can even deconstruct nihilism for me. There are new folks coming into ILP all the time, right?

Faust wrote:The "language" of the social contract is a language of morality, and it can accommodate this scenario.


What I stress however is the obvious: That "social contracts" [and the language used to concoct them] are ever situated out in a particular world. Is there a way to concoct one that transcends this?

iambiguous wrote:

But when the discussion shifts to the morality of aborting an unwanted pregnancy how else would this be approached other than through the use of arguments bursting at the seams with language? And how could a point of view here be anything other than the particular opinion of a particular dasein?

Faust wrote:It's an opinion if it's not argued for. It's a philosophical position if it is argued for. And it can be argued within the context of the social contract, which is all that morality ever is.


The argument eventually becomes the opinion. It then becomes a matter of establishing how philosophically sophisticated the argument is. Does the argument contain knowledge we can establish as transcending mere points of view? Is it applicable to all individuals in all situations for all time to come? The key words here amidst moral conflicts and social contracts are "context" and "perspective".

Faust wrote:What you continually do is to set up the straw man that the only morality is an absolutist one, and that this means that the "language of all philosophy" therefore is inadequate to the task of moral argument.


Well, if you wish to call it a "straw man" argument I prefer the one that revolves around those who embrace one or another rendition of moral objectivism and those who embrace one or another rendition of "situational ethics".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Faust » Wed May 11, 2011 7:25 pm

What I am intertested in understanding are the existential variables embedded in the life we have lived that predispose us to want one thing rather than another. And to ask: Is there a way, using the tools of philosophy, to establish what we should want instead? And such explorations are conducted using language---a biological tool we use to communicate a more or less precise understanding of the relationship between "in my head" and "out in the world".

Now, there are some folks who insist that, using the tools of philosophy, we can grasp these relationships using words like "duty" "obligation" "categorical imperative" "transcending" "metaphysical" "realism" "idealism" "kingdom of ends" "deduction", "a priori knowledge" etc. etc. etc..

These are the folks I wish to engage. Perhaps they can persuade me to see these relationships in a way I have not been able to grasp before. Perhaps they can even deconstruct nihilism for me. There are new folks coming into ILP all the time, right?


The phrase "want one thing rather than another" can mean many things. It can mean "Do I want coffee or tea?" or "Do I want to kidnap children or watch Say Yes to the Dress?" I will assume you are talking about wants that are commonly addressed by morality or social philosophy. And since you have a rather "meta" view of morality, I'll talk about social theory as inclusive of morality, but no necessarily restricted to it. As soon as you say "should", it's fair game for philosophy. And what you want to know is whether philosophy is up to the task. Yet you continually say on one hand that you are taking to task rationalists (more or less, by your list) and also any philosophy (when you say "the tools of philosophy". And this is the main point of contention between us. You talk as if rationalists are the only philosophers. And you ignore philosophy that is not rationalist. Only you know why.

What I stress however is the obvious: That "social contracts" [and the language used to concoct them] are ever situated out in a particular world. Is there a way to concoct one that transcends this?


Did you mean "never" for "ever"? You ask for a method that is "out in the world", don't you? Why would you want to "transcend" this?

The argument eventually becomes the opinion. It then becomes a matter of establishing how philosophically sophisticated the argument is. Does the argument contain knowledge we can establish as transcending mere points of view? Is it applicable to all individuals in all situations for all time to come? The key words here amidst moral conflicts and social contracts are "context" and "perspective".


Why is it desirable to have a view that is universal and eternal? Slavery was considered okay for centuries. Should that continue just because it was once so? Morality should serve the group, and not the the other way 'round.

I honestly don't know what you want. You seem to want a morality that is eternal, universal and also pertinent to actual living people. You can't have that.

Well, if you wish to call it a "straw man" argument I prefer the one that revolves around those who embrace one or another rendition of moral objectivism and those who embrace one or another rendition of "situational ethics".


Fortunately, we have more choices than that.

What I don't understand is why you aren't trying to find a solution to your problem. You're just caught in a negative feedback loop. How is this worthwhile? I don't think you're going to get any Kantians to bite. And still i wonder, besides the religious, who "out in the world" are you actually arguing against? Which actual, real people do you oppose? I have brought up Rawls, who has a Kantian flavor, and Gauthier, who follows Rawls to refute him. Rand is not really a philosopher, she's just a political novelist.

As for deconstructing nihilism, that's like leveling a salt flat.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 11, 2011 7:26 pm

Sean wrote:
iambiguous wrote:I believe moral values are 1] always situated out in a world that is ever changing and 2] can only be viewed from the perspective of each man or woman embedded in a particuar world at a particular time.


Sure you do, but no one outside of Philosophy believes this! You probably don't even believe this most of the time, until you put on your thinking cap.

You're just doing bad phenomenology. You're using logic and rationality to come to those two conclusions, but that is not what people usually do.

That's the whole point of situating morality "out there in the real world" like you keep saying. We CAN be moral relativists, but I think if you observe people in their everyday lives, hardly anybody actually is a moral relativist most of the time.


Lots and lots of people---both in and out of the philosophical community---believe that, one way or another, we can establish virtuous behavior based on a moral font that transcends a mere circumstantial point of view. Perhaps they choose philosophical realism or political idealism. Perhaps they embrace God or ideology or metaphysical Reason. But one way or another they are intent on using words like duty and obligation in their moral agendas.

These are the arguments I am looking for.

To wit:

Am I perhaps wrong that the words are not there? Is there a language that might persuade me to abandon nihilism as, in the past, I abandoned God, Objectivism and Marxism?

And it is one thing to note that "out in the world" hardly anyone actually lives their lives as a "moral relativist". That's true, of course. We all take our existential leaps, we all draw our lines.

But my problem is that philosophically I recognize this!!

And once you do you are faced with the understanding that it is reasonable still to reject these leaps and these lines. They too are just manifestations of dasein and there is no way in which to sort through the mind-numbing complexity of intertwining existential permutations in order to establish "the right thing to do". "I" projecting into the future is always predicated on the profoundly prefabricated and problematic "I" evolving out of the past. Thus the present can never really be fully grasped by any "I".

"I" can't even come close. Can "you"?
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Only_Humean » Wed May 11, 2011 10:24 pm

iambiguous wrote:Am I perhaps wrong that the words are not there? Is there a language that might persuade me to abandon nihilism as, in the past, I abandoned God, Objectivism and Marxism?


Why do you want to? Why not come to terms with it and see where it takes you? If it's false, you'll find out; if it's the truth, you'll have to suck it up and make the best of it anyway. But sitting back and prodding it, looking for reasons not to try it out, you'll never get anywhere.

And once you do you are faced with the understanding that it is reasonable still to reject these leaps and these lines. They too are just manifestations of dasein and there is no way in which to sort through the mind-numbing complexity of intertwining existential permutations in order to establish "the right thing to do".


The Sceptics were here two thousand years ago. Epoché and ataraxia may be the way to go?
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Thu May 12, 2011 6:23 pm

Faust wrote: The phrase "want one thing rather than another" can mean many things. It can mean "Do I want coffee or tea?" or "Do I want to kidnap children or watch Say Yes to the Dress?" I will assume you are talking about wants that are commonly addressed by morality or social philosophy. And since you have a rather "meta" view of morality, I'll talk about social theory as inclusive of morality, but no necessarily restricted to it. As soon as you say "should", it's fair game for philosophy. And what you want to know is whether philosophy is up to the task. Yet you continually say on one hand that you are taking to task rationalists (more or less, by your list) and also any philosophy (when you say "the tools of philosophy". And this is the main point of contention between us. You talk as if rationalists are the only philosophers. And you ignore philosophy that is not rationalist. Only you know why.


Yes, there is a distinction to be made between, "what do I want?" and "what should I want?"

Regarding the former, you either want something or you don't. Or you want it for this reason but don't want it for that reason.

This is rooted in dasein and dasein [here] is rooted in enormously complex mental, emotional and psychological states situated out in a particular world---a world that evolves existentially from the cradle to the grave.

In some respects---being of the same species---we tend to want what others want; but in other respects our wants are profoundly peculiar to our own sense of reality.

Is understanding this fully within the reach of philosophy...or science? Probably not.

But to speculate about what we should want is to speculate about whether we can in turn determine this philosophically or scientifically. Can we? Probably not.

Yet again: My posts are directed toward philosophers [or scientists like Sam Harris] who embrace this: The assumption that facts and values are interchangably within the grasp of objective human knowledge. Like me, you may not be so inclined to believe this but others are.

You keep insisting my approach here is "meta"---as in "metaphysical"? But it is quite the opposite. It is rooted existentially in nihilism---the belief that, in the absense of God [an omniscient and omnipotent point of view], mere mortals can only view these things from a point of view and [eventually] from the "perspective" of oblivion. All things are permitted in this world. All things can be rationalized. All things tap into one or another rendition of a psychological defense mechanism.

Faust wrote: You ask for a method that is "out in the world", don't you? Why would you want to "transcend" this?


I yearn for such a method, true. That is a manifestation of my own peculiar psychology. I long to transcend nihilism. But, concommitantly, I don't believe I can. Nihilism is, to me, the most reasonable manner in which to understand my situation as part of the "human condition". But I contend there are any number of components here that are beyond the reach of language---to either explain, reconcile or reduce down to "the whole truth". Hell, I may well be the most fractured and fragmented "I" on the planet.

Faust wrote: Why is it desirable to have a view that is universal and eternal? Slavery was considered okay for centuries. Should that continue just because it was once so? Morality should serve the group, and not the the other way 'round.


It is desirable for many because they can link these things to God, immortality and Salvation. And for those who embrace the secular rendition of this they can link their lives to Reason, necessity, dogma, duty. It stitches their "sense of self" into a "whole truth". And, sure, they can become slaves to this. But the feeling of certainty, of being grounded in a point of view that makes your life necessary is a powerful inducement for many to leap.

I just wish I could too.

But all of this is embedded as much in "my circumstances" [my actual options...choices] as it is in any philosophical speculation. Still, there are those who make these leaps all the time. So, sure, I invite their arguments. What have I got to lose? We can't all be ubermen, right? Even Nietzsche---impaled as he was psychosomatically---basically flailed at the world only with words.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Faust » Thu May 12, 2011 6:46 pm

I just wish I could too.


This has become clearer as we go along. And i think this is why sometimes you write paradoxically, or, as WW3A (I think ) said, you want to eat your cake and have it, too.

But rejecting absolutism does not imply nihilism. There are other alternatives. The Existentialists never got over their heartbreak. Hopefully, you can.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lucis Trust » Thu May 12, 2011 7:13 pm

Forward to the ending.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 13, 2011 12:44 am

Faust wrote:
I just wish I could too.


This has become clearer as we go along. And i think this is why sometimes you write paradoxically, or, as WW3A (I think ) said, you want to eat your cake and have it, too.

But rejecting absolutism does not imply nihilism. There are other alternatives. The Existentialists never got over their heartbreak. Hopefully, you can.


First of all, you really know nothing about me. Anymore than I really know anything about you. The gap between my words and your words will always be measured in part by the gap between my world and your world. An important [sometimes crucial] element in understanding the implications of dasein, right?

Someone once suggested few things are more exasperating than acquiring a philosophy of life you can't talk yourself out of. I'm just curious if there are arguments out there able to do just that. After all, there were arguments out there that effectively convinced me to abandon all the other points of view I once held to be near and dear.

Nihilism just means all things are permitted. Why? Because all things can be rationalized by mere mortals in the absense of God. But that must always mean different things to different people because people can believe it in any number of vast and varied circumstantial contexts.

For some folks this is exhilarating...liberating. For others it is terrifying...harrowing. And all perspectives inbetween. But there is no right reaction. Merely the different reactions embedded in the existential trajectories of dasein.

But words like these are profoundly limited in capturing either my point of view about it or yours. And that in and of itself is an important point to make given all the folks who really do believe that philosophy is the path to Wisdom!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 13, 2011 12:51 am

Lucis Trust wrote:Forward to the ending.


Ah, yes, becoming nothing at all for eternity. Unless, of course, you can dupe yourself and subsume oblivion in the language you use.

And, after all, if you believe it then, for you, it's true.

So, sure, give it your best shot: convince me too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby finishedman » Fri May 13, 2011 1:09 am

iambiguous wrote: But there is no right reaction.


The man that knows no right action at all will be a great asset to the society, and the society is interested only in the continuity of the purpose of its ‘wisdom.’

So all those values, which we have accepted as values that one should cultivate, are invented by the human mind to keep itself going.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Sean » Fri May 13, 2011 2:41 am

Convince you not to be a nihilist. Right.

First we need to figure out exactly what sort of a nihilist you are.

We know at this point you are a nihilist when it comes to moral absolutes. Rights and wrongs are nihil.

What about material objects. There are three main questions here.

The computer in front of you: is it there?
The computer when your back is turned to it: is it there?
The computer when your friend looks at it: do you both see one and the same computer?

We just need to see how bad the nihilism has gotten. Any trouble breathing? It's a good sign if you still believe you have lungs...
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lucis Trust » Fri May 13, 2011 3:37 am

So language is supportive of your metaphysical claims (physicalism) but not at all mine (mentalism/physicalism). I see... fascinating.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lucis Trust » Fri May 13, 2011 3:40 am

It's always back to the beginning, isn't it, but when are you going to actually use language and logic to solve anything? If the answer is never, then why bother?
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lucis Trust » Fri May 13, 2011 4:18 am

You're like a boxer who trains in the gym for years but never fights.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lucis Trust » Fri May 13, 2011 4:21 am

Like a would be artist who never paints for fear of making a mistake.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat May 14, 2011 12:44 am

finishedman wrote:
iambiguous wrote: But there is no right reaction.


The man that knows no right action at all will be a great asset to the society, and the society is interested only in the continuity of the purpose of its ‘wisdom.’

So all those values, which we have accepted as values that one should cultivate, are invented by the human mind to keep itself going.


It's one thing to "know no right answer" and another to suspect there is no right answer to be known. And "society" is always both more and less than the sum of its individual parts.

Michael Novak [before he became a true reactionary] once put it this way:

From The Experience of Nothingness:

I recognize that I put structure into my world....There is no 'real' world out there, given, intact, full of significance. Consciousnes is constituted by random, virtually infinite barrages of experience; these experiences are indistinguishably 'inner' and 'outer'.....Structure is put into experience by culture and self, and may also be pulled out again....The experience of nothingness is an experience beyond the limits of reason...it is terrifying. It makes
all attempts at speaking of purpose, goals, aims, meaning, importance, conformity, harmnony, unity----it makes all such attempts seem doubtful and spurious.


Values are ever prefabricated and then refabricated from the cradle to the graver.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat May 14, 2011 12:53 am

Lucis Trust wrote:So language is supportive of your metaphysical claims (physicalism) but not at all mine (mentalism/physicalism). I see... fascinating.


Let's bring these abstractions down to earth.

The assassination of Osama bin Laden. What in your view are the limitations of language [of philosophy] in discussing it? What can words tell us about the worlds Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden lived in? What can words tell us about the morality of this particular killing?

And the only way you can claim my language supports a metaphysical point of view is to suggest that I embrace existentialism metaphysically. And I don't. Unless, of course, you believe this is just another metaphysical assertion on my part.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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