A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Archive for July, 2006

Overcoming the fear of death

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 31, 2006

I have been thinking of writing on this topic for some time, and got to it today inspired by the post No Need to Panic? over at Ideally Speaking

There was period in my life when I was a kid, when I thought about the issue of dying every day. At the time it seemed to me that in light of that question the daily things are unimportant, and I wondered why nobody else is preoccupied with thinking about the issue of death. The realization of the certainty of the death, the realization that inevitably there will come the day when I will die, was coming to me every night I went to bed. I was wishing I never realized this immanence, but once I did, I felt that it is nonsense merely pretending that it wasn’t there, or occupying my thoughts with other activities  – I will die! even if I don’t think of the issue.
There was several things that affected my thinking of death since, but I’m not sure I’m OK with the idea of death now, or I just can’t present to my self its inevitability as graphically as when I was kid. I like to think that the former is the case, but there will come the day when I will know for sure.
Anyway, what I hope is that somone with same fears might find this following thoughts comforting and helpful…

1. In high school I read somewhere (I think Bhagavat Gita) that there can be two cases connected to the issue if the self is basic/fundamental thing (connected to the feel that we directly exist as self – that there is nothing else more basic in which ‘self’ is grounded)…
Either that fundamentality/being-basic of the self is an illusion , in which case it will disappear with death, but in which case also we don’t have anything to worry about, because, after all it is just illusion. Or… the self (or part of it) is properly basic, in which case we don’t have to care, as it would still exist after death.

2. Later I also found that valuing other things over my life, removes even this need for rational approach to the question. Taking for example moral duties as more important puts the issue of death in different perspective. It might be religious duties, but also any other moral duties – being moral being over a being concerned with its existence.
I remember while watching the movie The Last Samurai that I was thinking  that they succeeded to depict this power of will to value duty and honor over own existence in the life of the Samurai culture, so you might want to check it out as example of this (if you haven’t seen it already).

3. Love is always fine ally against fear of any kind. The sense that one is part of the society, that the love among the people (and God for those which are religious) is bigger and transcends one’s own existence, reduces the moment of death to death for others. So, to say… the tear in the eye of those who knew you, is more you then the cold body left after death. On Flickr, I found this picture coupled with a quote that, I think, capture this feel better then my explanation.

He who has gone, so we but cherish his    memory,abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

4.OK, i have to mention religion. Life after death certainly dispels the fear of death, as if we believe that we will not die, there is nothing to be afraid of. But the religion is not very comforting in that respect, while removing the fear of death, if you have sinned and are believer (as I am), it only replaces it with the fear of likely possibility of eternal fire.  In personal communication some people  have accused me that I’m religious just a way to cope with the issue of death. I answered that personally, I would be much more at comfort if my existence just ceases (given the previous reasons), then to be confronted with possibility of eternal punishment.

Posted in Personal, Philosophy | 10 Comments »

Funny stories at The Onion

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 30, 2006

Those might be old for some of you, but I haven’t read them until yesterday:
Guy In Philosophy Class Needs To Shut The Fuck Up
Tibetan Teen Getting Into Western Philosophy
Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu
Heroic Computer Dies To Save World From Master’s Thesis
Rogue Scientist Has Own Scientific Method

Posted in Silly/Funny | 3 Comments »

Qualia and Natural Science

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 27, 2006

Over at Brain Hammer, Pete Mandik asks the question How do you know that you know what you are talking about when you talk about qualia?

I commented there, but I want here to expand on the connection between natural science and the concept of quale.

I find it hard to think of a qualia as some private things… In most cases I notice things in a publicly accessible space, i.e. in the world.
For example in the case of the neon color illusion presented on Brain Hammer, I’m noticing a translucent cyan-colored forms “floating” over the background containing black circles there (points to the monitor).
If someone asks me “what are you talking about?” in normal circumstances, I would use pointing, but my attention wouldn’t be to something  phenomenologically in me, but something which exists outside of me, and is publicly accessible, hence accessible to other’s attention too. In that act of pointing I would expect that other (having access to the same thing) possibly has same sort of “what that neon color spreading illusion is like” including “what that translucent cyan form is like”, including “what that specific cyan color is like”, etc… Again, because I see the thing in its specific appearance outside in the world.
After all it has to appear somehow, it can’t just appear and not be anyhow.

I guess the issue of qualia necessarily appears, because we use abstract concepts to cover the concrete experience. This being like specific something of the things we see, is necessary for recognizing the things, and building concepts. It is unimaginable how we would have concepts of different colors like red and green, if the colors we cover with concept red didn’t appear differently  then the colors we cover with the concept green. But once  the abstraction is built, and the the phenomenal world is conceptualized, it is easy to forget that concepts are built on the basis of that “appearing like specific something” of the things.
Further through mixing of the subject/predicate relation with that of equality, the problem is made bigger, as these (now abstract, and removed from being) concepts are further theoretically put in the relation of identity (instead of subject/predicate relation) with other concepts.
So, not just that is said that the things are e.g. a configuration of its parts, but that the things are merely a configuration of its parts.
In doing so, the “last pieces” of the starting qualitative appearance of the things in our being-in-the-world (how things appear to us in our lives) are removed. And of course the theory which does such reduction, when it completes the circle and through such theoretical analysis of the nature returns to the issue of perception stumbles with that fact that things are being like something which can’t be described with the theoretical concepts it ended-up in its reductionistic analysis.

Merleau Ponty has put it much more nicely in Phenomenology of Perception (1962):

The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to rigorous scrutiny and arrive at a precise assessment of its meaning and scope, we must begin by reawakening the basic experience of the world of which science is the second-order expression. – (preface, ix)

And on topic more closer to the issue of qualia in this context:

The traditional notion of sensation was not a concept born of reflection, but a late product of thought directed towards objects, the last element in the representation of the world, the furthest removed from its original source, and therefore the most unclear. Inevitably science, in its general effort towards objectification, evolved a picture of human organism as physical system undergoing stimuli which were themselves identified with their physico-chemical properties, and tried to reconstitute the actual perception on the basis… (p.13)

Note that this doesn’t render natural science “wrong”, just as providing the subject/predicate propositions in which of course subject can be more then what predicate says about it. Though of course the same issue appears even in the conceptualization itself,e.g. where the color’s appearing as specific color is not fully reducible to the fact that it is covered by the abstract concept (e.g. red, green and so on).
To end with yet another quote of Merleau Ponty (which includes little overstretched analogy for my taste, but I take it to be more metaphorical):

To return to the things themselves is to return to that world which precedes knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the country-side in which we have learnt beforehand what a forest, a prairie or a river is. (preface, viii)

Posted in Colors, Metaphysics, Phenomenology, Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

The inaccessibility of morality to philosophical theories

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 25, 2006

The idea of morality is idea of wise human and wise humanity – idea of a person in peace with oneself and with others, which has overcome his own silliness, and the silliness of the society. Which has overcome his own hate, fear, urges and the hate, fear and urges of the society.
By taking such view of objectivity of what is moral one can throw away any relativism as opinion of those who are not wise enough to accept wisdom, without bothering much with rational claims and logical proofs which limit themselves on level of simple concepts which can’t “grasp” the level on which concept of morality makes sense – the holistic level of the life in society with all its delicacies which is far away from a simple formalism based on simple concepts.
For sure morality has to do with such “simpler” concepts like needs, pain, pleasure, believes, thoughts, and so on… but moral behavior isn’t just simple sum of those, it isn’t some aggregate in which those are glued one to each other by rationality. Morality is connected to the being whole of the person, being aware of all those things and in which those appear merely as more or less important parts. Morality is taking the human in its whole as he dwells in the society. As such morality can be handled only by ethics, or by such philosophy which has came to give picture of the human and humanity in its totality.
As a holistic comprehension within oneself morality is more intuited and felt, then constructed and logically believed, and is accessible for the most learned ones as much to those who are not learned at all.

This doesn’t mean that behavior is not to be discussed and criticized, but such talk has value only among people who want to do what is right, who have already got to the level where they got to be moral person, and which now trust each other in wanting to do the good thing, not because doing so is rational thing to do, but because it is connected to that holistic and wise comprehension of what is to be human in a society.

Posted in Metaphilosophy, Philosophy | 5 Comments »

Being-in-a-virtual-world

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 24, 2006

Update: Instead of (or after) reading this post, you might want to visit Emerging Communication site which features several on-line books (chapters downloadable in pdf format) on this topic.

I was thinking if the analysis of being-in-a-virtual-world  might give some insights for our being-in-world. The idea is that for being-in-a-virtual-world we have both our experience, and the definition of the virtual world itself, as it is an artifact. Of course being an artifact the analogies would go just far, but even so, noticing where the differences lie might be interesting, and give food to thought. Anyway… this is not to be critical analysis, I will just throw some thoughts.
 
As for the things which might be analyzed:

The issue of body
Players in multi-player games have their own characters which they control. The characters usually can interact with the virtual-things in the virtual-world, and with other characters. In that way the player has body in the virtual world. Most importantly he has position in the virtual world, from which spatial relations to other things can be abstracted.

The issue of transcendental inter-subjectivity
While playing we notice the things in the virtual-world. Also we notice other players in the virtual-world. What we assume is that the other players in that world also notice those things we notice in the virtual world. Usually (in all such games afaik) that is what really happens, if some thing is shown to our character, and if the other character is in the same room, those same things are shown to the person who controls that other character too. In such way, it is possible for two players to talk about the in-game things. If both are in same room, and there is an axe in the room, one of the player can ask the other, if he can take the axe.

The issue of existence of the virtual-things
On first thought, we might be inclined to say that those virtual-things about which the players talk don’t exist. But not just that two people (think that) can see the virtual axe, not just that they (think that) can speak about the same axe, but also the one that gets it can use it to do something with it in the virtual-world. And the causality of that fact is not limited in game only. In a games like “Second Life” for example, you can sell the things in-virtual-world you own, and get linden-dollars. And then in real life you can change those linden dollars for real money, and tell to that other person “I sold the axe and got 10$”, here they are.
What makes this possible? Let’s see what is true about virtual-things…

  1. They can be owned
  2. They have function (or artistic value, but this case should be matter for other discussion, as how is a picture in a virtual-world more virtual then the real picture? after all all the picture does is that it looks somehow to someone, and what was mentioned in previous point – be owned)
  3. They keep their identity through the world. (identity here doesn’t mean that they don’t change through time, in contrary as in the real world, things might change, and by that their function to change and so on – that would be included in the things identity – or we can say it would be in its essence to accommodate particular change)

The issue of representation
In the virtual world we can be speak of an representation of the “virtual-ax”. Why is that? Because what appears on the monitor of the player has no connection with what the virtual-ax really is. The function of the virtual-ax is defined separately, and has no connection to the representation that appears on the monitor.
Even if the virtual-ax functions similar to the one in the real world (e.g. it can cut trees), there is no need for it to appear as something similar to real-world ax. It can be a two dimensional square with “ax” written in it, or it can be just big X, or might be like ax. It doesn’t matter.

The primary purpose of the representation in those games is for the players to be able to notice the virtual-thing in the virtual-reality. If the virtual-thing can’t be noticed, probably the players can’t interact with that virtual-thing. The interaction usually consist of getting in proximity of the thing (using virtual-body), and then pressing some key,or controlling some kind of cursor with the mouse, and clicking on the representation of the thing.
A thing can have position, but not a visual representation. For example a gravity vortex  can be imagined, which doesn’t have representation, but which affects some properties of the things around it (e.g. attracts them), and will be given to us just through the representations of those other things.

I believe more detailed analysis might be done, probably even looking in more details of the implementations of such virtual worlds, and what is necessary for the virtual-world to be seen as a world.
Of course there are several points which need to be kept in mind in order not to get too bold and think that those concepts as analyzed in the virtual-world might be as such taken and applied in case of the real-world:

  1. Virtual world is an artifact
    • the categories of the things are “well defined”. It is fully determined how
      a type of thing “reacts” in different contexts – it can be and is fully described in particular language.
      In real world it is not clear if any of the categories can be well defined, as per classical account of concepts (i.e. through necessary and sufficient conditions)
    • what can be done with the virtual-things is defined by the programmers.
    • interaction with the virtual-things is done in the way specified by programmers (click on it on screen for example)
    • in general all the things or all activities in it can be modeled through set-theoretical model (not including the players), because it is created as such.
  2. It is merely “a” world, vs. “the” world in which any such virtual world must be included
    • Even in such sophisticated virtual reality as in The Matrix movie, the matrix is just a virtual world. That there might be just one Matrix, is a contingent fact. The matrix is grounded in the machinery existing in the world.

Posted in Philosophy, Technology and Software | Leave a Comment »

A Cartoon

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 20, 2006

My friend John Valley, inspired by this paper by Patricia Churchland got this very funny (well, at least so it seems to me) idea today:

Set of representational capacities

Talking about cartoons, over at On Philosophy they have nice collection of funny philosopher cartoons.

Posted in Philosophy, Silly/Funny | Leave a Comment »

With or Without Me

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 20, 2006

In Subjectivity and Selfhood, Dan Zahavi in the chapter 5 – Consciousness and Self, talks about the issue if there is an intimate link between self and self-awareness, and what is the nature of this link. In doing so, he focuses on the issue of different notions of self, which I think is interesting, so I will put it in this post.
He contrasts two different notions of self, namely:

1.The Self as a Pure Identity-Pole (Kantian Perspective)
The need of something to provide unity of consciousness through different experiences. All of the experiences through time are given as experiences of same self.
This self is theoretical self, and it is deduced in its necessity…

As Kant wrote in Kritik der reinen Vernunf: “It is… evident that I cannot know as an object that which I must pressupose to know any object” (A 402). (104)

2.The Self as a Narrative Construction (Hermeneutical Perspective)

According to this view… the self is assumed to be a construction… When confronted with the question “Who am I?” we will tell a certain story and emphasize aspects that we deem to be of special significance…, it is construction of identity starting in early childhood and continuing for the rest of our life… Who one is depends on the values, ideals, and goals one has… is conditioned by the community of which one is part. (105)

Zahavi then puts in front the third notion:
3.The Self as Experiential Dimension (Phenomenological Perspective)
This is the alternative that Zahavi considers, and which can be seen as a replacement of the first notion of self (Kantian perspective), and as a “necessary founding supplement for the second notion of self” (Hermeneutical perspective). About this, as Zahavi calls it, notion of minimal self  or core self, which is “conceived neither as an ineffable transcendental precondition, nor as a mere social construct that evolves through time”, he says:

To be conscious of oneself… is not to capture a pure self that exists in separation from the stream of consciousness, but rather entails just being conscious of an experience in its first-personal mode of givenness; it is a question of having first-personal access to one’s own experiential life. (106)

This notion, Zahavi argues, is what is by Merleau-Ponty, by Sartre and Henry called “ipseity“.

…More about this book in some of the next posts.

Posted in Books, Consciousness, Phenomenology, Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

Two things about colors worth considering (the second thing)

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 16, 2006

Specific colors transcending time and space

If I see green thing now,and if I see it again later, I can recognize the color as the same. Recognizing as same must come before learning the word for the thing and later recognition of sameness based on abstractions.
Namely, it is true that today I can see a green thing, and remember that it is green, and then tomorrow when I see other green thing, to say “this things is same color as the other thing I saw yesterday”, without even remembering what is the color I saw yesterday. But the learning of words can’t come before recognizing the color I see today as same with the color I saw yesterday. I must become aware of the repeating identity to which the word refer, to become sure that it is the thing to which the words is supposed to refer.
I’m mixing communication and words in the argument here… but the words are not necessary for that. I might have not seen cyan and magenta in my life. And today I might see cyan… there it is – a new color for me, color that I haven’t seen. Tomorrow, I can see cyan again, and recognize it as the same color; not just that it would be abstractly same, but it would hold identity in its givenness  so to say. I might see magenta (other color I haven’t seen), and it will not be same as cyan to me, even abstractly (or based on language), it would be just “not one of the colors I know”.

So, those specific colors (maybe I should put “phenomenal” as distinction, but I would argue saying “colors” is enough) transcend time. Of course the power to recognize different colors is fallible, and person can be trained to recognize bigger or smaller differences. What I want to point to is that without this first kind possibility of identity (or maybe similarity is better word)  there is no way for either abstract account of colors, nor fallibility (what does fallible mean if not failing to do what is seen as  possible?).

It is much more easier to point to the specific colors transcending space. One just need to look at a patch with certain shade of color (without shadow/3d rotation complications), to be confronted with a specific color appearing across the space. In fact there is no reason why it should be one patch, there can be two, three or more patches one beside another, all being in same specific color. And as we see them, the color is the same color all across – it transcends space.

Posted in Colors, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Transcendence | Leave a Comment »

Two things about colors worth considering (the first thing)

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 13, 2006

The identity of intentional matter can be discussed in different contexts. For example the issue of transcendence of intentional matter might be seen as other way to refer to the identity of intentional matter across different intentional acts (see here for example). Here I will put attention to two intra-subjective cases of transcendence connected to the concept of color.

Concept of color transcending specific colors

We may learn what color is from experience. People point to things and say “This is green color.”, and “This is red color.”. Of course there are lot of things about the things they point to, and on which you might focus. It might be the color, but also it might be the shape, it might be the distance from some other object, it might be the left-right position if both objects are in front of us, and so on. Obviously the part of learning is to find in the experience what the words mean.
If I’m to teach my child, I will talk about most salient features of things, those things, properties that attract the child focus. Of course I can even do it other way, I can check what the child is looking at, and say the word for it.
What seems to make it easy is that what is salient is going top-bottom, from the gestalts to the separate properties and so on. If a rabbit runs in front of us, if the child looks at it, I know its focus is on the rabbit, and not on the color of its fur. So, this makes it easy… I can say “rabbit”, and be pretty sure that from the whole situation the child will notice my saying “rabbit” when I see one.

Now, colors are little more problematic then rabbits, I thought for example that it would be easy to teach my child to colors if I show her shining lights in different colors on the Christmas tree, and tell her the words. But not so… while she was learning names for other things easily, it was not so for those different colors. After some time when she saw a colored thing she would say one of the colors “green”, “blue”, “red”… just random any… Obviously she was noticing that there is something about the colors, but seems she experienced them as colored things, that being colored was the salient feature which they all shared. I think she couldn’t focus on the specificity of the colors, and that’s why those “green”, “blue”, “red”… they were all used for what we would call “color”.

But how can child notice color if not as specific color?

This is not something specific for children though. Imagine that you haven’t seen e.g. cyan color whole your life… And then you see a cyan object… And you say “Wow, strange color, it is like green, but then it is like blue also”. But if you have never seen that color, how do you know it is a color?

So, from those two examples it seems that identity of concept of color doesn’t belong to some kind of set of experienced colors. Even if we learn the use of the word “color” only connected to a specific colors, we still see some new specific color as color. It seems even that we learn that word “color” refers to that salient feature of being in color which we can extract from the gestalt, before even being able to put attention on the specificity of the color.

So there are two (seemingly contradicting) things – the identity of color is not based on specific colors, but it is always some specific color (or several of them) on base of which we can understand the concept of color.

Posted in Colors, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Transcendence | 2 Comments »

Updated the post with video links

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 10, 2006

Here.

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

Transcendence and Meaning

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 8, 2006

I will try to clear-up my position on some of the questions that came up in connection to my last post, and Peter’s post over at “On Philosophy

1.When talking about intra-subjective transcendence of intentional matter it is about the possibility that one person can intend the same intentional matter in numerically and qualitatively different intentional acts, and the inter-subjective transcendence is about the possibility that it is intended additionally by multiple subjects. This shouldn’t be understood as some kind of division of intentional matter to separate types, specifically intra-subjective transcendence shouldn’t be understood as saying that intentional matter is in the subject vs. inter-subjective transcendence which wouldn’t be. Actually it is the one and the same intentional matter for which possibilities of intra-subjective and inter-subjective transcendence appear, which allows us to think many times about the issue or thing, and then to talk with somebody else about the same thing.

2.The issue of transcendence isn’t same with the issue of meaning (although connected). As argued in last post and other posts (see here for example), meaning is always meaning of something, be it written or spoken word or sentence, or different signs like nod with the head and so on, and implicitly assumes communication. Because of that, “meaning” can’t be used to refer to intentional matter, although what appears as intentional matter might be meaning of some word.
So, I might observe certain person, where the person is intentional matter of my act of observing, but while the person is intentional matter of my intentional acts, the person is not any kind of meaning, though while that person might have a name, which name would mean that person.
So, when talking about meaning we are talking about meaning of sign, and it is always connected to communication between multiple people. Even when I invent new word for something for which there is no word in the language community, it is hard to say that the word has some meaning, until I announce what I will mean by the word (by pointing or by explaining using other words). Also, when we have two persons, and one of them uses the word to mean one thing, and the other some other thing, still both people will assume that they are using the word with the meaning accepted in the language community. Hence, I think it is confusing to use “meaning” to refer to the intentional-matter, or to the inter-subjective or intra-subjective transcendence of intentional matter.
The further example which show that “meaning” isn’t used to refer to intentional acts or to the intentional matter per se, is for example, that we don’t use people who are thinking of something – “What meaning you are thinking of?”; we ask “What do you think of?”, also if somebody claims that he has just remembered something, we don’t ask “What meaning you have remembered?” , instead we ask “What did you remember?”.

3.As for relation of intentional matter and meaning, it seems to me that the later is dependent on the possibility for the former to be inter-transcendental. That’s a point I wanted to make with the story Given in the Woods. When two persons see some strange animal, for which they don’t have words, the first one can ask “What is that?”, only because he assumes that the intentional matter of his observation (namely that animal), is also intentional matter of that other persons observation, so that the intentional matter is inter-subjectively transcendent. If not, he would not ask “What is that?”
And the other way around, I argue that it is not true that inter-subjective transcendence is dependent on concept of meaning or communication (that there can’t be inter-subjective transcendence if there is no language). For example a person can hand me an apple, without her saying anything to me.  I can then take the apple she gives me. And it is the same apple, hence the apple appears as intentional matter in both of us, without there be a need for any language, in which inter-subjective transcendence would be grounded.

Posted in Meaning&Reference, Philosophy, Transcendence | Leave a Comment »

Intra-Subjective vs. Inter-Subjective Transcendence

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 7, 2006

Few notes on the terms used

The “intentional matter” is transcendent (objective) in that that it transcends (keeps its identity) across different varying  properties of the intentional acts, e.g. numerically different acts (i.e. you can think about same thing more then once), qualitatively different acts (you can wish, need, hate, love, or think about the same thing); Also transcends the subjects in that that multiple subjects can think (or have other intentional act) about same intentional matter, which in turn opens possibility for communication about the same intentional matter (if two people can’t think of/about same intentional matter it is hard to see how they will communicate about it). This later transcendence I will call inter-subjective transcendence of intentional matter (transcends the thinking-of of multiple subjects), and the other one intra-subjective transcendence of intentional matter (transcends the different intentional acts of single person). If I also mention objectivity, or objectivity of intentional matter, I would mean same thing as transcendence of intentional matter. Also I might leave out the words “of intentional matter”, and use only transcendence or objectivity to mean transcendence of intentional matter. Both transcendence and objectivity point to the same thing – the disconnectedness  between the  identity of whatever is intentional matter, and the other varying properties of intentional acts, including the identity of the subjects intending.

Relation between intra-subjective and inter-subjective transcendence

First let me put forward the note that it seems obvious to me  that there is no way that inter-subjective transcendence can appear, if we don’t have intra-subjective transcendence, i.e. if I can’t think of same intentional matter multiple times, there is no way that me and somebody else can talk about that certain intentional matter. For even if the person in his answer to my question about X does talk about the same X, if I can’t understand it as being about same X (as it would be a separate intentional act then the one in which I asked about X), there would be no possibility of communication.
Or take a case of learning words in one simple language game – ostensive teaching/training (as in Wittgenstein Philosophical Investigations), where…

teacher’s pointing to the objects, directing the child’s attention to them, and at the same time uttering a word; for instance, the word “slab” as he points to that shape.

And then the teacher can request the child itself to point to the objects when he pronounces some of the words, or alternatively:

…the learner names the objects; that is,he utters the word when the teacher points to the stone

But for this second part to be possible (ignoring the inter-subjective dimension for now), the intra-subjective transcendence has to be there, it must be possible for the child to think of the same intentional matter, be it the stone (reference) or the act of pointing to specific stone (use), when it again hears the teacher utter the same word (of course even the word itself needs to be recognized as the same word).

So to give account of inter-subjective transcendence, we need first to have account of intra-subjective transcendence.

But the reverse doesn’t seem necessary. There is no need to have inter-subjective transcendence, in order to have intra-subjective transcendence. Pythagoras could’ve wondered about the relations of the sides of the right triangles one day, and comprehend the necessity of the relation which we know today as a Pythagorean theorem the next day. And while there being intra-subjective transcendence of intentional matter (namely the relation between the sides of right triangle) he could have failed to communicate it to anyone. In same way I could notice and observe a thing, which I don’t have a word about, nor someone hinted me about existence of such a thing. Of course, in our thought the inter-subjective transcendence is also necessary, but this is not a question if it is or not necessary, but if it is necessary for the intra-subjective transcendence.

Sometimes this asymmetric relation between inter-subjective and intra-subjective transcendence/objectivity is unnecessarily complicated by talking about meanings; and by talking about meanings implicitly the inter-subjective dimension is added, as meaning is something which is meant by something else. Only a sign – word spoken, written, a nod or shaking the head, pointing with the finger, laughing and so on… can mean something; but what those mean is not because of that meaning per se – it doesn’t fall into some realm of meanings. That which is meant (which is signified) is the other thing (other then the sign), which happens to be in relation of meaning. So for example, “tree” can mean tree, but tree is not because of that a meaning per se. It is intentional matter.

Anyhow, it seems to me that this asymmetric relation hints that inter-subjective transcendence is grounded in the intra-subjective transcendence.

Posted in Philosophy, Transcendence | 6 Comments »

My objectivity

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 4, 2006

On the start of this post, let me try to remove one possibility of misunderstanding of what I mean by term “my objectivity”. Objectivity (or transcendence of intentional matter) here is used to refer to the possibility for same intentional matter, to be intended by multiple subjects in multiple intentional acts,with possibly different intentional quality. So, here I speak about the possibility me (yes – me, right here), to be intentional matter of multiple intentional acts of different people (subjects), whatever the intentional quality is (love, hate, listening to, observing, and so on). Of course, there is nothing special about me, but as I’m myself, “me” will refer to me; however I take this to be general analysis that can be done and understood by anyone.

Specifically “my objectivity” isn’t meant to refer to any my property of being objective in my stances towards some issues (that I’m unaffected by emotions, prejudices and so on), i.e. the way it it is used in the sentences “I can’t be objective about her flaws, I love her.”, or “He doesn’t have any reason not to be objective about this”, and so on…

It is possible for me to communicate to other people about me. For example one might observe me, think that I don’t look well, ask me “How do you feel?”, and I can check how I feel and answer “I am not feeling very well today. I have a headache.”. In most cases this is not confusing at all, but what makes it interesting, is that this says:

I am to my self, what I am to others.

It might sound weird, but think about it… if I for me, was not the same thing that you are referring to when in talking to me you use “you“, then there couldn’t be possibility to communicate.

This isn’t specific just for communication though. There is also possibility for another person to look at me, or merely be aware of me. Two persons need to be aware of each other and this awareness of other in most cases is established before there is any communication.

Again to avoid misunderstanding, let me say two things:
First, I want to accentuate the word “possibility” in previous sentences. As it doesn’t mean that the communication has to be, or is necessary ‘happy’ (to use J.L.Austin word), but that it is possible to be. The possibility here is acknowledged through negating the necessity of the miscommunication, i.e. that never in principle there can be communication between me and other people about me.
And second this issue is separate for the issues of knowledge/accessibility to myself – if it is in principle possible for you to know if there is me (for example this could be written by unconscious computer, or you might just be dreaming this), or how and if our access to how I feel today, or if my hair is messed up (first person for me, and third person to you) differ.

My objectivity is of course unconnected to my existence, as  objectivity/transcendence is unconnected to existence in general. When I die, my close ones might think or refer to me, even I ceased to exist. And when do, they will think or refer to this same me.

Posted in Meaning&Reference, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Transcendence | Leave a Comment »

 
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