Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

For the discussion of philosophical books.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

Anyway, just finished with Rorty’s PMN and am preparing to move on to Zizek. And I still regret not having gotten a little deeper into the more technical aspects of it (the critical analyses of the mind/body problem –along with not getting a chance to respond to a lot of the excellent feedback I’ve gotten on this. I can only summarize it, as I understand it now, as an issue of the mind/body division having led to a hierarchal approach to understanding rooted in Plato’s division of society based on Mind, Emotion, and Body. Hopefully: next time.

That said, one thing I have arrived at a possible answer to a question that has haunted philosophy since its beginning: that of what philosophy is. And I think it works within the Rortian and pragmatic in being practical (the 2 terms being different but closely connected (while alleviating a lot of the contention that tends to come out of this issue.

I would eliminate all the idealistic hubris we tend to naturally surround it with (out of a need to justify it (and simply describe it as an act in which we read the work of other established philosophers and form our own perspectives based on those readings (in discourse with.

This, I think, might solve several problems. For one, it addresses an issue that emerged in a conversation with a friend when I told him I was reading philosophy. He responded by asserting that the cool thing about it was that anyone could have a philosophy. The problem for me with this was that there is a big difference between having a philosophy and actually engaging in philosophy which is a matter of reading and studying the works of those who have had an impact in the discipline. And to see how this bleeds into other disciplines, I have had a similar experience with people who, when I told them I have written poetry, considered themselves poets without having any idea of what was actually going on or had gone on in the field of poetry.

And while this might please the elitists among us, it also pre-empts a problem created by the elitists themselves: the smug dismissal of other approaches to philosophy that do not fit into their particular criteria based on their dogmatic assumptions about what constitutes philosophy. For example: I harp, yet again, on the intellectual arrogance of many neo-classicists and analytics and their smug dismissal of more continental approaches as can be seen in the prudishness of Raymond Tallis and Sealre’s assertion that Derrida was for those people who knew nothing about philosophy or even Hawking’s assertion that physics would make philosophy obsolete.

The danger of the latter (and to me this is the most important contribution (that is as check and balance (that the pragmatic approach has to offer (is that it assumes some kind of corporate ladder that we can climb (that which starts with the personal, works through the social, then can claim the authority of the god’s-eye perspective of the Academic (is that the elitism and reinforcement of the powers that be (corporate sponsorship (tend to put it in the position of lip service to the powers that be: little more than state philosophy. Those who lean towards the science side of that no-man’s land between science and literature too often tend to follow the money and the power that comes with it. And too often, it allows them to think they have the authority to tell the unwashed (the un-properly-schooled (masses what their reality is.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

“It only describes the underlying structures by which we might understand our reality.”

“Is this what you got form your reading of Rorty? If so, slow down. According to Rorty there is no logical structure underlying the world or structuring our attempt to understand it. That is the priory point of the book.

You can read philosophy any way you want but it is not about rushing through difficult and dense texts in order to put notches on your belt and drop names.The dilettante can read philosophy but that does not make him a philosopher.”

First of all, I’m really not interested in being a philosopher. I’m more interested in being a writer who happens to read a lot of philosophy and likes writing about his experiences with it. Perhaps if you had looked a little more into what it was I was actually doing (for instance: my description of what I was doing as a kind of postcard (you might have avoided the utterly despicable and misguided representation you presented here. But the ignorance and pretentiousness of it runs deeper:

“You can read philosophy any way you want but it is not about rushing through difficult and dense texts in order to put notches on your belt and drop names.”

If you had been as interested in what I actually said rather than snubbing down your nose and presenting yourself as some kind of wannabe guru, you might have noticed that part of my process is going back to an earlier part of the book and reading it slower and taking notes. But then you really didn’t care about what I was doing as much you were establishing your status in the pissing contest you seem to think philosophical discourse consists of. You might have, for instance, noted the common ground between my point about logic:

“It only describes the underlying structures by which we MIGHT [uppercase added] understand our reality.”

and your point:

“According to Rorty there is no logical structure underlying the world or structuring our attempt to understand it. That is the priory point of the book.”

Allow me to post another quote from my text:

“However, what it cannot do is tell us much about the truth value of statements we make about the complex environments the mind/brain complex deals with in the general scheme of things. If it does, it is only to the extent of a kind operationalism that says a healthy respect for the analytic/logical approach will necessarily equip us with the tools to move from statements about simple systems, such as 1+1=2, to the more complex of how to best organize society –such as Rand attempted to do with objectivism. At this point, no assertion about how the mind/brain complex works can tell us anything about the truth value of assertions about how reality works. That must be left up to the only criteria left to us: discourse and what comes out in the wash.”

So what exactly is it that you are telling me that I didn’t already know? That I failed to get because of my inferior method? You basically cherry-picked for a gotcha moment, brother.

And while being a dilettante, dropping names and putting notches in my belt, may not make me a philosopher (which I really don't want to be anyway, neither does resorting to clichés (socially programmed responses to socially programmed clues (such as “name-dropping”, “putting notches in one’s belt”, or “dilettante” :the equivalent of big word dropping: a little like saying “raison de etre” when one could just as easily say “reason to be”. Nor does cherry-picking for gotcha moments.

But the most satisfying aspect of this for me is the irony of you, given your obvious embrace of a hierarchical approach to understanding, being the primary target of philosophers like Rorty and Deleuze (and please excuse the name-dropping (and acting like you are some kind of expert that is going to set me straight.

That said, Fooloso4, the main problem for me is that you seem too interested in heckling me than actually adding anything productive to my process. And I thought this board was working to avoid that kind of thing. So I’m going to politely ask you to not post on anything I am doing because, for one, it can only go bad and usually ends up with me getting kicked off, and, for another, I really don’t care about anything you have to say. Outside of a social phenomenon (that of the TlB (Troll-like Behavior (that I can study, you clearly have nothing to contribute to my process in any respectable sense of discourse.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

I was hoping to get to a postcard on my readings of and about Zizek, but a couple of issues have emerged concerning my method that I want to address. And while I try to make sure that a particular postcard is relevant to the board before I post it (I don’t, for instance, want to be posting some random thought on a Deleuze board that has nothing to do with Deleuze (I consider this a little universal in that it applies to the 3 main FaceBook boards I am currently working with (Rorty (Pragmatism, Deleuze (w/ and w/out Guattarri, and Zizek: the three philosophers that I’m certain will be at the backbone of my process in the little productive time I have left.

And before I get to the first point here, I should also point out this individual has proven them self a little more reasonable than the previous post I responded to and I will try to do this with a little less venom than my previous response to them. Anyway:

“My advice to stop rushing from text to text was sincere. To use your postcard analogy, it is like going from country to country spending an hour or so, dashing off a postcard and rushing on to the next country. “

While I empathize with this point, I think it misrepresents what I have been doing. Granted, my approach has been a little rhizomatic in that I don’t commit to years of study on one philosopher so as to become an expert on them. Once again, I really have no designs on being thought of as a philosopher in that capacity. I am far more comfortable with being a writer who happens to be reading a lot of philosophy and likes writing about the experience. And up till recently, I have been organizing my reading into about 6 to 800 pages on a particular subject or writer which I limit by starting my day by reading the book section by section then going to the “library”, getting a mini of beer and a shot of Jager/Rumple Minz, and going back to a previous point and reading more slowly and taking notes (along with reading the footnotes if so inspired (and coming back home to write around 500 words (usually based on those notes…. Hence, what you see me do every day on here. It’s the only routine (my Einstein’s wardrobe (that makes sense to me given the limited amount of productive years I have left and the enormous reading wish-list I have built.

And while I may bounce around; I also always bounce back. I have books I have gone through several times and hope to go back to several times more. And I do so with the expectation that I will never likely become an expert on any one of them. The thing is: this poses no problem for me since what it ultimately comes down to for me is what my mind can do in the point A to point B it has. The books I read, at best, are supplementary to that process.

And excuse the perhaps vulgar indulgence in semantic play (I just came up with this perhaps placeholder today (but I like to think of it as a relationship hermeneutics based on the assumption that all relationships are a process of turning content into form via form. We do as much with people we come to know and love. And we do it with philosophical text in that we start with what immediately presents itself to us and keep returning to it until what is hidden from us (the content (becomes more clear to us (becomes form (and transforms the thing itself and transforms our understanding in the process. But what it never is (or involves (is knowing the thing fully.

And speaking of which, a respected peer, with whom I am gratefully engaged in a relationship hermeneutic, brought up another legitimate concern/complaint which inspired me to add yet another technique to my bag of tricks. I tend to cross pollinate between the different boards I am engaging with: post dialogues from other boards on to other boards with no reference to who is saying what. But more importantly, as my peer pointed out, this can lead to confusion in that it fails to offer the context in which the dialogue is working in. Therefore, the least I can do is offer a link (a footnote (that will allow the reader to go deeper into it if they want to: to offer a 3rd dimension to the 1 to 2 dimensional experience of the postcard. Not only does it address my peer’s point (thanks again, Greg! (I think it can only accelerate the momentum and magic of discourse: that which gets us beyond ourselves: what we’re actually here for in the first place.

Context: http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... =1&t=12199
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

“Is this true or false and why?
Not all moderate positions are pragmatic,but all pragmatic positions appeal to moderates.”


First of all, thanks for the brain-strain, a-hole! You could have saved me a lot of discomfort by asking a question I had no interest in trying to answer.

But since you have (once again: you bastard!!!:

It seems to me that we first have to consider a possible distinction between the pragmatic and the practical. The cornerstone of the pragmatic is the pragmatic truth test which acts as a kind of synthesis between the inductive and deductive truth tests in that whether we back a statement with data or the inherent logic of it, they both must pass their respective truth tests by working within their given criteria. However, the pragmatic truth test brings the 2 together and then some, perhaps to the point of its own self destruction, by simply handing the validity of a statement to the criteria of what works. By doing so, we expose the criteria to that of a popularity contest: that which happens to work for those who have the power to decide what works for them: either through a collective of like-thinking others or resources.

For instance, the pragmatic truth test would certainly seem to back Capitalism for the rich since it must work for them as well having the validation of the less rich who they have managed to convince would be worse off without Capitalism. And to them, it would seem that the practical route would be to stay with Capitalism. And, in a sense, the moderate succumbs to this (because it seems practical (therefore pragmatic (to them (by bending to Capitalism and trying to reform it by piecemeal measures.

But given the very real threat of Globalism (and the emerging aristocracy/oligarchy that threatens our democracies (and man-made climate change which threatens our extinction, is it really practical or pragmatic to take a moderate position in the face of an extreme right-wing who can too easily confuse what serves their self interest for what actually works?

For instance: would more moderate positions have worked against NAZI Germany or Islamic extremists?

And having stumbled my way through this (and thanks again a-hole (I would answer your question (and I hope I am actually answering it –or shedding some light on it (by saying that: no, the moderate does not hold a monopoly on the practical or the pragmatic.

My problem (and it is “my problem” having stumbled through it like I have (and I say this in the spirit of what Jaspers called communication in the spirit of loving debate (is that the question is trying dedicate the pragmatic to a specific political or social position. And like most things modern and postmodern, the point of the pragmatic is to move away from fixed understandings of how things work and grand narratives and simply take things moment by moment: to deal with them as they come and hope we find the right solution: that which works (to quit looking for final solutions.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

“Why do I find Susan Haack's critique of Rorty and his views so...weak? It seems that every accusation (~'Rorty wishes to see philosophy and reason end'~) that she makes, Rorty welcomes in a way? Personally I find little to no force in her work in this area. Any thoughts? Agree or disagree? Curious to what people think about her around these parts...”

“Never read her.”

First of all, gentlemen, as always: thanks for giving me my postcard for today.

That said, Steven, I haven’t read her either. And there may be a reason for that. From the accusation that Adrian articulates:

“'Rorty wishes to see philosophy and reason end.”

:I get the feeling of a common drone who happened to read a few books and thought they had the resources necessary to be intellectual about something they were too lazy to really look into: kind of an Ann Coulter for the half-assed intellectual. But all it actually amounts to is someone who is so wrapped up in the doxa of the status quo as to offer little more than reactionary responses based on superficial interpretations of something that is popularly known to threaten the status quo. And they are generally the result of people who are more concerned about the power they have (the status (than any authentic attempt at intellectual inquiry. For instance, I think we can safely assume that Haack’s notion of “reason” or “philosophy” is based on anything that supports her interests via the status quo. And the unfortunate fact is that it does appeal to people who have a constitutional need to feel solid ground beneath their feet: that which is usually directed to common doxa and the status quo.

And as far as I’m concerned, there are some rather impressive variations of Haack (people I hope to read more of (such as Dennett, Searle, and Pinker (or Hawking who arrogantly asserted that science would be the end of philosophy (who stay safely within the perimeters of Capitalist (status quo (values: people who share Haack’s distaste for such continental thinkers as Derrida, Deleuze, etc., etc., and even Rorty who threaten a hierarchical approach to understanding. Hence her harping on and and indiscriminate use of the words "reason" and "philosophy".

And the reason we may not have heard of her, Steven, is that she may mainly work as a free-rider on the authority of such thinkers as Dennett, Searle, and Pinker and, in a knee-jerk manner (much as her masters did: dismissed Rorty through hyperbole and bottom-up slippery slope assumptions. Whereas we, as the intellectually curious, have a mandate to work beyond ourselves, she simply found what worked for her and exploited it. She basically surrendered herself to the analytic propensity towards conformity driven by the increasing influence of corporate funding in universities. She sees philosophy as little more than lip-service to science which can (unlike philosophy (produce an i-phone.

(And I would note here the fact that Rorty eventually had to abandon the philosophy department (because of pressure from his fellow philosophers (and find refuge in the humanity department: that which made his thought seem like an artwork or work of fiction as compared to an assertion about the way things are.

(But philosophy, like art, is about pursuing the non-functional while pursuing a deeper understanding of reality. It works in that no-man’s land between science and literature. This is what makes it important. And it is what makes it far more than the state philosophy that Haack seems to be embracing.
Wyman
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by Wyman »

I've held my tongue out of respect for this guy for some time. But since he doesn't respond to this forum, but seems to narcissistically post ramblings across many boards, I have to say this. I have read Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature three of four times and there is nothing in these posts that indicate to me that he has read the book.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

“….and I would hope if he were alive today, would applaud today's co-mingling of the Humanities and the 'hard' and 'soft' Sciences today, and would agree with me on that it can only be a synergy of intellectual activity.”

For me, Anthony, you’re kind of hitting the nail on the head with the term synergy, and in a way that refers not just to Rorty, but Deleuze as well –and perhaps the continental method as a whole. On top of that, it gives us a little more shine and clarity on how misguided Haack’s criticism (as well as those who share her sentiment: and it is a sentiment (is in its manipulative tunnel vision and obvious propensity towards confirmation bias.

What Haack focuses on is Rorty’s method of putting into question all previous claims (that is throughout the history of philosophy (to having found “The Truth”. And Rorty does so by pointing out the role that the notion of mind and language as mirror that can perfectly reflect reality if it is tweaked just right. And what he is mainly opposed to is the hierarchal approach of thinking one can find some all purpose epistemological system that will underwrite all true assertions while filtering out all false ones….

(And we can see as much in Deleuze’s rebellion against Representation: the notion that the mind can somehow perfectly represent reality when all it is really doing is interacting with it….

(And where Haack goes wrong is gerrymandering Rorty’s method with his agenda and, thereby, completely misrepresenting the agenda part. As Adrian points out:

“… It seems that every accusation (~'Rorty wishes to see philosophy and reason end'~) that she makes….”

What we should first note here is the use of the term “reason” as a kind of buzzword: doxa: an appeal to a socially programmed response to a socially programmed cue. I mean: My God!!! How can any philosopher be opposed to “Reason”?

The problem is Haack, in her dogmatic glee, completely overlooked Rorty’s agenda (as well as that of Deleuze who has suffered similar attacks: Sokal, for instance (which was pretty much what Anthony rightly points out: synergy.

To put Rorty in Deleuzian terms (and their common agenda: the point (the one Haack completely missed (is to tear down the blockages (the pockets of fascism (to the flows of energy that occur between the intellectually and creatively curious: that which assures our evolution as an intellectual species.

As far as I’m concerned, it is all fuel for the fire: in both a positive and a negative sense: such as that of Haack on me right now. Even the analytic method, as much as I bitch about it as an ideology, clearly has value. And if I never get to some of its hardcore practitioners such as Ayers or Putman, it will only be because of a lack of time. I only take issue with it when it smugly dismisses other more continental approaches. And when I’m hating on them, it’s pretty much like Bill Maher would say about the republicans:

“I only kid the analytics.”
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

Wyman wrote:I've held my tongue out of respect for this guy for some time. But since he doesn't respond to this forum, but seems to narcissistically post ramblings across many boards, I have to say this. I have read Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature three of four times and there is nothing in these posts that indicate to me that he has read the book.
You sure about that, Bill?

But then: whatever helps you sleep at night or gets your dick hard.

The truth is, mr. Wyman: I really don't give a tinkers fuck what think it is I have done.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

That said, Bill, I apologize for not responding to your earlier inquiry. I have a small window everyday while straddling more than several boards. That leaves me with no choice to go where the discourse takes me. It was not, by any means, an insult to you or indication of your import to the discourse.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

“I always liked Rorty's description of 'knowledge' as a widening on a horizontal plane rather than a vertical (hierarchical) plane. Always stuck with me as a great image. “

A jam, I think, is the ultimate expression of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition in that in order for it to work we have to bounce off the other by repeating what we know (what we are comfortable with (in the hope that the momentum (via the bounce (that can escalate between bodies in motion can push us beyond ourselves: turn that repetition into something different.

And this, Adrian, offers me an opportunity to bring out an old riff (to me: an oldy but a goody (that I’ve likely repeated a thousand times by now: something that appears to satisfy the pragmatic truth test in that it keeps working.

That said, my take on your point, concerning the horizontal, goes to the 3 main forms of input we work with in order to achieve the output that we, as the intellectually and creatively curious, share as a common goal (our reason to be: the personal/anecdotal, the social, and the academic or god’s eye view.

The personal/anecdotal, of course, is where we always start. We are born into a world that gives us experiences (whether we want them or not (that we have to articulate in order to deal with them. This is our evolutionary inheritance in that our brains have evolved into what allows us to do this out of a need to adapt to its physical being to its physical environment in order to survive.

The social can be equated with Lacan’s Symbolic Order in that it is a product of language and a means of getting information about our environment via what others tells us. And along with the input we get from our conversations with the others in our environment, we can associate this with the info we get from newspapers and artists of all mediums. In fact, what we are engaged in on the boards is centered on the social: the jam.

The academic/god’s eye view, of course, is the product of having developed the technology (and I want you to retain the term “technology” in that it is important to the point (to interrogate reality in ways that neither the personal/anecdotal or the social can.

Now it would seem perfectly natural to assume that the relationship between the 3 would be a vertical/hierarchal one in that it could be seen as some kind of corporate ladder (“corporate” being another term I want you to retain (in which one starts with their day to day experiences and works their way through the social to reach the ivory tower of the god’s eye view of the academic where one has earned the right and authority to proclaim judgment on those who have not “made the climb”.

And setting aside the stench of Capitalist values (the corporate ladder (involved in this vertical perspective, we who work from a more horizontal perspective can see a blindspot in the vertical perspective in that it fails to recognize the overlap at work: that which suggests a more horizontal "expansive" approach. For instance, while we can mainly attribute the arts to the social (along with the field of journalism (we must also note the role the academic god’s eye perspective plays in it while it must also appeal to the personal in order to work. And what good would any academics be if they didn’t trickle down (a concept I hate to use (to common everyday experience?

But more than that, taking the horizontal perspective somehow assumes that once one has reached the height of the god’s eye view, they have somehow freed themselves of their personal disposition. But this is delusional in that anyone who achieves the academic level cannot do so without carrying with them their personal disposition. Their so-called god’s eye view must always be rooted in their personal disposition. There is simply no way around that.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

“What you share with them, when you are aware of such moral obligations, is not, I argued in Contingency, ‘rationality’ or ‘human nature’ or ‘or the fatherhood of God’ or a ‘knowledge of the Moral Law’, or anything other than the ability to sympathize with the pain of others. There is no particular reason to expect that your sensitivity to that pain, and your idiosyncratic loves, are going to fit within one big account of how everything hangs together. There is, in short, not much reason to hope for the sort of single vision that I went to college hoping to get.” –“Trotsky and the Wild Orchids”, pg. 14 from Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and Social Hope

I am perfectly capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong. We all are. In fact, it has been embedded in us by the evolutionary process that has made us a group oriented species. This is because our self interest (our selfish genes as Dawkin's put it (have seen it in its interest to look out for the interest of those other objects that occupy our immediate space and act like us. And because of this, we can know the difference between right and wrong at an intuitive level.

(However, this is not to say that it is a matter of being human nature. Such a thing has yet to be clearly defined since we are always in the process of becoming: of defining ourselves.)

This is what the pragmatic approach defers to and why all attempts to find some one size fits all system based on the scientific method or objectivity or some transcendent being makes no sense to it. We simply do not need them. And even if such an all purpose system were found, there is no reason to believe that every individual would feel beholden to it. In other words, adopting such a system would not guarantee against a re-occurrence of a fascist emergence such as NAZI Germany. In fact, it could well lead to one. Can’t we infer that from the notion of wiping all manifestations of relativism off the face of the earth?

Of course, the argument against this would be something like:

“D., can’t you see that by delegating moral choice to intuition, you give full license to Neo-Nazi’s, homophobes, religious fanatics, and pro-Capitalists?”

To which I would respond (hopefully on behalf of the pragmatic sensibility:

First of all, it’s not like the neo-classicists and all their system building have stopped any of this from occurring. It's clearly not working. And Zizek (given the attack he would likely level against a guy like Rorty, for all his claims that “the truth is out there”, has yet to create the perfect communist society he is aiming for. This is because while such a perfect communist society, in theory, may well work, we have yet to see a plan that will get us there, that will work –at least in the context of the political (entwined with the economic (structure we have. And the main appeal of pragmatism is that it works with what we have. So it may Work better for us to strive for the changes we can hope for such as an expansion of the public economy and getting government to recognize its only workable function: that as check and balance to economic power. In other words: what the progressives that Zizek puts a lot of work into cutting down are actually striving for. And this, from my pragmatic sensibility, works a lot better than just throwing up our hands and acting like Capitalism is some kind of natural force in our lives: with its appeals to the competitive aspect of human nature: the anti-Zizek approach of conservatives.

Pragmatism strives for balance.
d63
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Rorty Study: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Post by d63 »

What I want to do here is wind through some quotes from Rorty’s Philosophy and Social Hope (Pgs. 72 thru 75 from the chapter “Ethics without Principles”) and apply them to previous points I have made concerning philosophy as a facilitation of our evolution as a species –an issue I think will apply to some of the discourses I have been engaging in on the Face Book board “Philosophy”: https://www.facebook.com/groups/philosophy1/

(And I think it applies to the philosophy (or pragmatic aspect (of Gilles Deleuze as well…..

“I have been suggesting that we think of pragmatism as an attempt to alter our self image so as to make it consistent with the Darwinian claim that we differ from other animals simply in the complexity of our behavior.”

“The point of Dewey’s analogy between language and morality is that there was no decisive moment at which language stopped being a series of reactions to the stimuli provided by the behavior of other humans and started to be an instrument for expressing beliefs.”

Now this goes to a realization that came up in a discourse over John Robert Murry’s post on the board cited above:

“"all knowledge is bad"
Does anyone agree with this bizarre and banal claim, and if so why?””

Now given that knowledge of how to survive is how we survive, I couldn’t help but feel this was an oblique reference to the notion of original sin: the idea that as we gravitate from the knowledge Adam and Eve needed to act in their environment to whatever the Tree of Knowledge had to offer, that we had somehow abandoned our right state. In other words, what John was (or seemed to be (referring to was higher cognitive knowledge. What is interesting to me here is the parallel involved between the Christian distinction and the more secular distinction of neo-classicism. For the Christians, there is a clear demarcation between the state of innocence and the state of guilt: the moment Adam and Eve took of the apple. Likewise (but in an inverted way, the neo-classicist act as if there is similar one between everyday practical knowledge (the legacy of our evolution (and higher cognitive knowledge. But, as Rorty points out:

“The story of how we got from Neanderthal grunts and nudges to German philosophical treatises is no more discontinuous than the story of how we got from the amoebae to the anthropoids. The two stories are part of one larger story.”

This is why, from the pragmatic perspective, it seems silly and a complete waste of time to harp and quibble over such terms as “reason” or “the scientific method” when these things are not something that mankind just created when they became evolved enough. If they were: what was the exact date when this happened? They are, rather, inherited through our evolutionary heritage through a process that leaves our higher cognitive knowledge intimately intertwined with our supposedly lower practical knowledge.

At the same time, the whole neo-classicist platonic thing makes perfect sense in that as the physical brain evolved into what we experience as mind, it would naturally be tempted into a kind of coup over the natural body: kind of like Adam and Eve.
Post Reply