A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Few Explanatory Notes on Grounding the Transcendence

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on December 27, 2006

In the previous post – Grounding the Inter-subjective Transcendence, I was explaining the reasons why I think that several different accounts (both idealist and materialist) fail to give ground for intra and inter-subjective transcendence (possibility of same person or multiple persons to think and talk about same thing once or multiple times), and why the only option I see plausible is that it is grounded in the being-in-the-world, or if we take into account the other people – being-along-in-the-world.

Probably to some people this kind of “grounding” might seem weird and might say that this fails to be explanation of the possibility of transcendence of intentional content, because it doesn’t reduce the phenomenon at hand (i.e. intra and inter-subjective transcendence of intentional content) to something more simple, but it grounds it in something that is more complex – namely being-in-the-world.

And this is partly true, and it surely seems weird for a mind that thinks that any proper explanation is reductionist in nature. In such view it is usually taken that what is self-subsistent are objectively existing particles of some kind, with different (also objective) properties that they have. And the explanation of phenomenon, in this view, should be done by showing how it can be (or necessarily will be) based on specific way of interactions of those particles (analyzed on that basic level, or alternatively through some level of abstraction).

On other side this grounding of transcendence of intentional content in the being-in-the-world, is holistic “reductionism”, it takes the phenomenon to be a specific abstraction from the whole, and shows its possibility as such.

In this view, being-in-the-world as term is used to refer to the starting whole, which is neither the objective world (physicalist model), nor the subject (cartesian model), but irreducible being-in-the-world, it is again subject, but a subject IN the world, and not a static subject in a static world, but changing subject in the changing world. World full of things which undergo changes, and other agents which are acting (maybe it is better called becoming-in-the-world for this reason?). Whatever abstraction can be done, is done within this starting whole, and thus being-in-the-world can’t be defined, but only one can just try to point to it – namely… stop for the moment, and there it is, it is the being-in-the-world, or it is that pre-philosophical awareness which philosophy often tends to eliminate, changing it with a more reductionistic model, but which is necessarily the starting point of any thought. The words and notions are learned in this kind of being-in-the-world, and if one just thinks of how we learn things, it is really simple, someone shows a thing to us while our being-along-in-the-world, and because we are in the same world, and because the thing we see is the same thing (no Cartesian duplication, no phenomenal experience set apart from the world)- it is in publicly accessible space, and the ground for transcendence is there, the thing is the same thing for me and for the other. Now, it might seem problematic to take this “naive” view as a ground, but I want to point that the notions are learned in this kind of view, the things we think of are based on this “naive” being-in-the-world. Dismissing this as ground seems to me impossible, analogous to cutting the branch on which we sit. And part of it can be seen in the problems which different moves away from the being-in-the-world (by cutting it to half to subject and phenomenal experience, or by taking the abstraction from it, e.g. atoms and physical forces as self-subsistent and constituting the whole) can cause with possibility to address transcendence of intentional content, but also with impossibility to address what is left out of those abstractions as intentionality in general, what is called consciousness, qualia, and so on.

Often this being-in-the-world  is reduced by cutting it in half, and putting the subject as some separate self-subsistent essence, and then the other half is often called phenomenal-world. Some imagine this phenomenal world as some kind of representation of the real world, and they call it phenomenal experience, removing the world from it, and moving it to the side of the subject.

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