Postcards:

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commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:34 pm

Walker wrote: I cannot help you to imagine nothingness because there is nothing to imagine.

People, dogs, and black holes are not nothingness.
O
Nothing could be more unlike my point of view ; )

commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:20 pm

Walker wrote:
commonsense wrote:
commonsense wrote:
I think a word game and a bona fide concept are not mutually exclusive. As one can see, you and I, without acrimony, are taking turns in a word game. And yet there exists a concept of a black hole, a uniquely difficult concept to imagine, but a concept nonetheless.
Please pardon my ignorance above re word game.
I cannot help you to imagine nothingness because there is nothing to imagine.

People, dogs, and black holes are not nothingness.


The self can conceptualize possibilities. However, nothingness is not merely an immaterial concept. Nothingness is also a concrete reality for Sartre. Nothingness is a state of nonbeing. Nothingness is a concept of the absence of something.

d63
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Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:41 pm

“The distance I have traveled can be seen in the changed status of interpretation. Whereas I had once agreed with my predecessors on the need to control interpretation lest it overwhelm and obscure texts, facts, authors, and intentions, I now believe that interpretation is the source of texts, facts, authors, and intentions. Or to put it another way, the entities that were once seen as competing for the right to constrain interpretation (text, reader, author) are now all seen to be the ‘products’ of interpretation.” –once again: Stanley Fish…

I would first note how Fish seems to be a product of the interpretative community of postmodern and post- structuralist thought. Having worked in the 60’s and 70’s, he is clearly a product of that particular Zeitgeist which, ironically, props up his notion of the interpretive community. And given that, it seems to me that we can expand his point concerning literary criticism by bringing in the postmodern definition of “text” as being anything that can be interpreted: art, a current issue, society, whatever….

And we can do so in the same manner that Rorty did Thomas Kuhn and his “paradigm shifts”. But we do so at the same risk that Rorty came up against by taking Fish’s point in directions that might elicit his protests. But then Fish should have seen it coming given the model he offered that gave the reader (with their given interpretive community (equal status with the text. And he was right to do so. Take abstract or conceptual art. Clearly, the meaning that comes from it is derived from the discourse that goes on around it. But then, as he argues in deference to the formalist position: the text is always there, stable as ever, waiting to prove us wrong.

Finally, I (in a rare moment of foresight (brought in Rorty’s use (or misuse (of Kuhn for a reason. I now realize, having immersed myself in Fish’s book as I have, that the paradigm shifts that Kuhn describes are usually the product of a lot of individual or personal paradigm shifts. As I have quoted Fish before:

“What interests me about many of the essays collected here is that I could not write them today. I could not write them today because both the form of their arguments and the form of their arguments and the form of the problems those arguments address are a function of assumptions I no longer hold.”

It just seems to me that the book is basically a narrative of Fish’s personal paradigm shift. This is why he puts in brief explanations, before each article, of the part those articles played in it.

commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:44 pm

Walker wrote: People, dogs, and black holes are not nothingness.


Never mind black holes. If something exists, the absence of something exists. Nothingness suggests an emptiness or the negation of something.

I've read that Aristotle may have subscribed to a similar notion of nothingness (however, I am not well-informed about the ancients).

d63
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Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:54 pm

Nothing could make an intellectual more useless (i.e. a dick or asshole (than taking themselves too seriously.....

commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:14 pm

d63 wrote:Stanley Fish: "...I now believe that interpretation is the source of texts, facts, authors, and intentions. Or to put it another way, the entities that were once seen as competing for the right to constrain interpretation (text, reader, author) are now all seen to be the ‘products’ of interpretation.”
Products, indeed, annihilating all possibility of a single meaning. And there must be a single meaning in all cases where the author had a single intent.

commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:38 pm

d63 wrote:Nothing could make an intellectual more useless (i.e. a dick or asshole (than taking themselves too seriously.....
When I am feeling blue I start breathing again

Walker
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Re: Postcards:

Post by Walker » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:19 am

commonsense wrote:
Walker wrote: People, dogs, and black holes are not nothingness.


Never mind black holes. If something exists, the absence of something exists. Nothingness suggests an emptiness or the negation of something.

I've read that Aristotle may have subscribed to a similar notion of nothingness (however, I am not well-informed about the ancients).
I see. You interpret the word “nothingness” to mean "an emptiness or the negation of something."

I am using the word to mean the absence of everything, which is not a concept, since nothingness in that sense cannot be imagined.

I haven’t considered the meaning you’re using, because, what is there to consider? Here today, gone tomorrow.

d63
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Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:15 pm

“I challenged the self-sufficiency of the text by pointing out that its apparently spatial form belied the temporal dimension in which its meanings were actualized, and I argued that it was the developing shape of that actualization, rather than the static shape of the printed page, that should be the object of critical description” –as always: from Fish’s intro to Is There a Text in this Class

Here I would like to focus on the extent to which temporality has influenced contemporary thought (both postmodern and post-structuralist (and the way it has abandon static forms for the dynamic: that which is destabilized and de-centered. It comes down to a time honored (for me at least (riff I like to pull out from time to time:

At what point are you in this sentence right now?

One of Fish’s main arguments against the formalist approach is that it tends to seek meaning at the end of things: the end of each word, of each clause, of each paragraph, and on and on. But Fish sees meaning in the process. He takes the democratic approach of letting every process find its meaning (in process (while having it restrained by the reality of the text as well as the symbolic order the individual is working in. And I think my sentence shows how meaning works, not through the meaning of each individual word, but the way the meaning of each individual word bleeds into the word before and after it.

commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:51 pm

Walker wrote:
commonsense wrote:
Never mind black holes. If something exists, the absence of something exists. Nothingness suggests an emptiness or the negation of something.
I see. You interpret the word “nothingness” to mean "an emptiness or the negation of something."

I am using the word to mean the absence of everything, which is not a concept, since nothingness in that sense cannot be imagined.

I haven’t considered the meaning you’re using, because, what is there to consider? Here today, gone tomorrow.
Actually, I have been using the same meaning all along: the absence of everything. My contention is that if the absence of one thing can be imagined, then so can the absence of two, and if two then three and so on until the absence of everything that can be imagined, can be imagined.

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Harbal
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Re: Postcards:

Post by Harbal » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:58 pm

commonsense wrote: My contention is that if the absence of one thing can be imagined, then so can the absence of two, and if two then three and so on until the absence of everything that can be imagined, can be imagined.
But what if there's nothing there to start with? If there isn't even one thing there how can you imagine it's absence, or, to put it another way, how do you know what to imagine the absence of?

Walker
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Re: Postcards:

Post by Walker » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:57 am

d63 wrote:“I challenged the self-sufficiency of the text by pointing out that its apparently spatial form belied the temporal dimension in which its meanings were actualized, and I argued that it was the developing shape of that actualization, rather than the static shape of the printed page, that should be the object of critical description” –as always: from Fish’s intro to Is There a Text in this Class

Here I would like to focus on the extent to which temporality has influenced contemporary thought (both postmodern and post-structuralist (and the way it has abandon static forms for the dynamic: that which is destabilized and de-centered. It comes down to a time honored (for me at least (riff I like to pull out from time to time:

At what point are you in this sentence right now?

One of Fish’s main arguments against the formalist approach is that it tends to seek meaning at the end of things: the end of each word, of each clause, of each paragraph, and on and on. But Fish sees meaning in the process. He takes the democratic approach of letting every process find its meaning (in process (while having it restrained by the reality of the text as well as the symbolic order the individual is working in. And I think my sentence shows how meaning works, not through the meaning of each individual word, but the way the meaning of each individual word bleeds into the word before and after it.
The process leads up to a moment of discovery. What is discovered is any principle of truth that applies to the present situation, and to all situations. The discovery of such an absolute marks the end of that particular process.

For example, one goes through a process of piecing together cause and effect to try and understand why something is, or how something is. The process of piecing together leads to a point of understanding. If understood so that the point applies to all situations, then an absolute truth has been discovered that supplants but does not refute cause and effect. Absolute truth exists independent of understanding, and it is discovered and understood by a state of consciousness.

Absolute Truth example: Everything as it is now, could never have been otherwise.

d63
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Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:43 pm

Before I move on to my next immersion, I want to tie up one last loose end as concerns Fish. I’ve pretty much established that his main claim to fame is his break from the text centered formalist approach (as well as its tendency to anchor meaning in what happens “at the end of the text” (into a more process based approach that gives the reader equal status. And at one point in the intro I have been focusing on, he offers an example (shows rather than tells), based on Milton’s Paradise Lost, that demonstrates the advantage (as concerns extracting meaning (his approach has over the formalists. And hopefully, in between tapping at the keyboard, drinking beer and sipping Jager, glancing back at the text itself, and summarizing, I’ll manage to pull this off. But first the quote:

Satan now, first inflam’d with rage came down,
The Tempter ere th’ Accuser of man-kind,
To wreck on innocent frail man his loss
Of that first Battle, and his flight to Hell.

Now let’s look at this particular line:

To wreck on innocent frail man his loss

The tendency of most readers would be to assume that the referent of “his” would be “innocent frail man”. And it would naturally follow from this that the loss in question, the one Satan had wrecked upon man, was the garden. But if you actually look at the logic of it, the loss in question is actually Satan’s “Of that first Battle, and his flight to Hell.”

Now if we were to accept the at-the-end approach of the formalists, we would reduce this to a failure on the reader’s part. But if I’m reading Fish right, we also have to look at how Milton utilized the line break in order to trick the reader into the misconception in the first place. And there is a good chance he also understood that the reader would eventually correct themselves. And he did so because he saw meaning in that process so that the reader, as Fish put it, would become "aware of his tendency, inherited from those same parents, to reach for interpretations that are, in the basic theological sense, self serving". As Fish concluded:

“This passage then would take its place in a general strategy by means of which the reader comes to know that his experience of the poem is a part of its subject; and the conclusion would be that this pattern, essential to the poem’s operation, would go undetected by a formalist analysis.”

commonsense
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Re: Postcards:

Post by commonsense » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:43 am

Harbal wrote:
commonsense wrote: My contention is that if the absence of one thing can be imagined, then so can the absence of two, and if two then three and so on until the absence of everything that can be imagined, can be imagined.
But what if there's nothing there to start with? If there isn't even one thing there how can you imagine it's absence, or, to put it another way, how do you know what to imagine the absence of?
I hadn't considered what if there isn't anything to be imagined. Then I thought if it isn't there to be imagined it is already absent. This could be a circular argument, or it could be a solution to not even knowing what to imagine the absence of. This could mean that nothingness would be the absence of everything that can be imagined and everything that cannot be imagined.

d63
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Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:28 pm

I have recently, due to personal experience, recognized a flaw in one of my favored models: two responses (the psychotic and the sociopathic (to the nihilistic perspective in relation to the symbolic order. But first a quick explanation.

The nihilistic perspective basically involves recognizing that any argument we might make breaks down to assumptions, and these assumptions reach a point where they can no longer be validated by other assumptions or arguments. You either accept those assumptions or don't based on your given sensibility. In other words, these assumptions float on thin air and there is no solid foundation for any argument we make or any real criteria by which to judge action. And the symbolic order (as a human construct propped up by power and power alone (is as beholden to this dynamic as our individual belief systems.

This lack of a real criteria can lead to two responses: the psychotic and the sociopathic. The psychotic response is about retreat in that, having no real criteria by which to judge action, the individual creates their own semiotic bubble with its own terminology and rules of discourse and action. The ideal model for this is the mad man walking down the street engaged in a personal discourse that most normal people cannot understand. But it can also be applied to drug addicts and alcoholics and in more productive ways such as the avant garde in the arts.

The sociopathic response is more aggressive in that, having no real criteria by which to judge action, the individual turns to the one criteria that seems to have a kind of force and praxis about it: that of power. It ultimately breaks down to an erroneous tautology:

I have power because I am right; therefore, I am right because I have power.

This, of course, is the domain of the sociopathic serial killer, but can manifest in more socially acceptable ways such as cut-throat Wall Street types or players as anyone knows who has had their heart broken by one.

That said, as recent experience has showed me, my model wasn't completely accurate in that I have presented the two responses as two unrelated responses acting from two poles from two sides of the symbolic order. But as the movie Trainspotting more accurately suggests, the two can actually interact in complex ways. The predatorial aspect of the sociopathic can be seen in the psychotic response while the psychotic individualization of their semiotic order can be seen in the sociopathic. As it turns out, my model was perhaps a little too orderly.

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