Continued from here (quotes taken from “The Claim of Reason”, Stanley Cavell, reprinted 1999, Oxford University Press)
“(..) while the presence of symptoms (concomitants) of X can make it almost certain that X is present, the presence of a criterion of X necessarily makes it almost certain that X is present. The sense that “certainty” must be hedged, that the knowledge of reality provided, contingently or necessarily, can only be “almost” certain, is forced under the pressure of the question: But isn’t it possible that, given all the symptoms and criteria you like, the man may not in fact, then and there, be feeling pain? To which the answer seems, irresistibly, to be: Yes.” (p.39)
The brute fact of uncertainty may well be the perennial elephant in the philosophy room. I think Cavell can be read as nibbling away simultaneously at the thinking that establishes certainties and its skeptical counterpart of the certainty of our humanity as an anomaly. His sympathy for the skeptical position clearly aligns with the feeling that philosophy that deals in certainties is profoundly false and profoundly dangerous (specifically because this certainty is like sugar – or nicotine, or worse – for us human beings who cope so well with uncertainty that no computer even comes close but who, at the same time, need hooks and handles and, sometimes, a little peace of mind). Somehow the right position is somewhere in the middle – neither duck nor rabbit – but that truth, in a word, simply scares us.
As natural as it comes to us to deal with uncertainty in everyday life, as widespread is our hatred for theoretically dealing with probability, uncertainty and indeterminacy – with the scare word ‘statistics’. It was just when Hume started the empirical tradition that Bayes as well as some French mathematicians started to explore probability in a theoretical way. No amount of mathematical sophistication should fool us into forgetting how very recent this exploration is. A couple of centuries really is nothing in digesting break-through ideas to a point where we, as a culture, can integrate them in our form of life (Weltanschauung). I’m going to read this part of Cavell as interpreting Wittgenstein as coping with the brute fact of uncertainty so alien to philosophy as a clean, dehumanized, deductive framework.
I started here with an overview of the objectives. I continued here with the second one dedicated to our prior art. It is now time to finish this with the third and final objective which, when reached, will ensure a common context (foundation) for the real work we’d like to do later on.
This is what we said before about this objective:
3. Acquire the ability to integrate the prior art with the goals
Now this was probably not the most fortunate way of putting it. Acquiring an ability is an activity. Unless we believe all of the nonsense of brain scientists, there is no way of monitoring whether such a process takes place let alone whether it takes place successfully. To put it more directly: we can all think we are acquiring all kinds of abilities whilst we are just acquiring the ability of procrastination combined with that of complacency. The flip side of this is that anybody can attest to anybody else of us ‘doing our best’ or ‘putting in a lot of work’ but whilst all of that may have ‘merit’, neither has a direct link with that ability we want acquired.
So the better formulation would have been ‘to demonstrate the acquisition of the ability to integrate the prior art with the goals’ (even if it sounds horrible, as a sentence). How to demonstrate this? Via language of course. In our case specifically by using language to demonstrate we can create original links between the 8 philosophers reviewed and the conjecture of progress being the nature of language.
Below the fold you will find the concrete steps to do this in this community. Your contribution could well demonstrate in concrete fact an example of progress by language. In fact, that is the third objective.
I left it here at stating the first two objectives with the second one being:
‘Understand the basic prior art i.e. relevant philosophy’ means that
- you are able to pinpoint the basic claim to fame of following thinkers:
- I. Kant, H-G. Gadamer
- J. Habermas, J. Rawls
- D. Davidson, P. Grice
- H. Kyburg Jr., G. Gigerenzer
- you can understand why they are in four categories, and,
- you can inter-relate the main themes of their respective works.
Assuming you have completed the first bullet, I owe you some explanation on the last two bullets. Here goes: Continue reading
This is an experiment in which I claim no expertise. The previous sentence will be my only disclaimer.
The goal is to join together people to examine the justifications for a belief I have: progress is the nature of language. I hope this is not an original thought because if it would be its examination would have to rely on the unlikely coincidence that the right people would find me and join me in a sustained way despite my strenuous use of language. I further hope that people do join and, if so, that they join in the spirit of amateurism. Why the latter? Because my belief entails – or so I believe – that any true communication presupposes that amateurs, if sufficiently motivated, can contribute to it (call that “the grounding principle“).
Let me not get ahead of ourselves though: before we can get to the goal we have to cover our preliminaries. In this case, we have to establish a common context (a mental meeting place if you will) where we of course may see things differently but not because we see different things. This is the starting point as individuals can only come together after having established a common context i.e. after having formed a community. I know all this begs the initial question. That shouldn’t be an issue, I spoke of my belief as a belief and we have time to come back to whether it is justified or not (so I ask you to apply another corollary of my belief – one coined by Grice – “the principle of co-operation“).
The following three objectives are set for individuals aspiring to be part of this community:
Time for my story. It might very well be the last (I say, as if anybody cares). As if I care whether manybodies care. Faux is the pas of making an out-of-bracket comment on a between brackets comment. And that quite sums up my story. That and a rather improper use of the words ‘and’ and ‘that’ and that mainly at the start of sentences. And excessive self-commenting, I guess. That too.
As if I know the only one watching me am I; compelling me to do, comment on doing and reflect on the commenting – all at once. Not – also not a word to lead a sentence with, I might add (and just did: add that is) – particularly an attraction people will pay for. Not even an attraction people won’t pay for. Not even one to ignore. Just something not to notice. What if, then again, what if such and such?
[Continues from here.]
Reading The Tunnel is like excruciatingly slow masturbation; maybe the kind of masturbation you would apply when you’re miserable to the point of thinking ‘well, let’s at least try to masturbate one last time’. First it takes a long – with a long ‘o’ kind of as a long sigh – time to get it stiff. Then, from time to time, it feels like you might actually come so you jerk harder but you don’t come. You start to wonder whether you haven’t started something you can’t finish before something else finishes you.
And then you’re here:
“Ah, Martha, my ex-in-lax, I have my own hole now, your cunt is not the only cave. Even in death, the ceremony said, if need be. Even in death, the Führer’s followers proclaimed, if it came to that. And they knew death would be where he’d take them: that land that needs no promise. He gave them triumph, exultation, purpose, a sort of secular salvation.” (ibid., p. 462)
And doesn’t that sum it up? We educate people to want things beyond mere survival, beyond fucking out of reflex – Continue reading
“The press exaggerates the state of the world after having created it.”
Karl Kraus (free translation of), In dieser grossen Zeit (Auswahl 1914-1925), Langen-Müller, 1977, p. 18. (original below)
A hundred years on and here we are again: living in depressingly decisive times. We have to do this. They have to do that. Public opinion goes that way and then it slings back to hit us right in the back of our heads. Everybody disagrees except on what is crucial: that the objects of their disagreements are crucial. Europe will split because it can’t unite and if it splits the very idea of uniting is exposed as the hogwash that some people need it to be in order for them to be as prophetic as they have others proffer they are.
Each decisive time has its surface where the generals of public opinion will make our decisions. Each surface conceals the nature of the terrain that in the end will determine the outcome. God has been sacrificed in one of the former battles – there being nothing concrete to stand on, nor in heaven nor in hell; the goal of those dividing us is to terminate once for all the concept of unity. For man should not be able to migrate but the flow of money should be as fluid as the diarrhea it really is. Continue reading
He flat out forgot what he wanted to write about. The only thought that came to him was that ‘flat out forgot’ had quite a nice ring to it but that ‘that ‘flat out forgot’ had a quite nice ring to it’ didn’t (have a nice ring to it). That thought was disappointing he thought. “Keep it simple!”, so he was told; and he wondered whether that was what they said to his son’s friend, who killed himself the other day. It must have gone splash. That would have been simple enough, comic book simple. Not that it wasn’t well meant advise or anything. He was sure it was even good advise. Like ‘show, don’t tell’ which he got from some literary agent website advertising master classes for aspiring writers. He was an aspiring writer but he didn’t want to be taught, let alone recognize a master.
Maybe they both overcomplicated things. Maybe only one of them recognized it was due to aspirations that they couldn’t possibly fulfill. He felt like a one armed pole vaulter but he knew this was just complex self-deception covering up simple self-deception. Diversion was needed. Like when you are in a moving vehicle and you wonder what the person living over yonder in that house beyond the grazing cows is feeling like. She could have talent without aspiration. It was easy for him to fall in love with her because she Continue reading