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AMCrenshaw
01-21-2009, 01:28 AM
(1) Nothing exists.
(2) If anything did exist it could never be known.
(3) If anything did exist and was known, it could never be communicated.



BWAH?

Priene
01-21-2009, 03:08 PM
BWAH?


Your point being...?

Higgins
01-21-2009, 08:18 PM
(1) Nothing exists.
(2) If anything did exist it could never be known.
(3) If anything did exist and was known, it could never be communicated.



BWAH?




Why worry about 2 or 3 if 1 is true?

AMCrenshaw
01-21-2009, 08:24 PM
remain calm, amc

....
The opposite? of the presocratic statement above might look something like this:

1) Something exists
2) It can be known
3) It can be communicated

and just might have something to do with a later obsession with.... ?

Higgins
01-21-2009, 09:16 PM
remain calm, amc

....
The opposite? of the presocratic statement above might look something like this:

1) Something exists
2) It can be known
3) It can be communicated

and just might have something to do with a later obsession with.... ?

The pre-socratics were working from 3 back to 1. A very good plan and one that fitted perfectly with their society, their new use of genre and their positioning of themselves as poet/seers/travelers with something to say about the world as a whole.

a presocratic (How about somebody other than Parameides?) starts with the role of explicator. ie. the fact of communication is the whole game. In the presocratics there is no pretense of accessible primordiality because there is no a priory structure of truth other than the work of assembling the communication. For example, Anaximander:



Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
According to necessity;
For they give to each other justice and recompense
For their injustice
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaximander


Anaximander named the archę and element of existing things the apeiron, being the first to introduce this name for the archę. He says that it is neither water nor any other of the so-called elements, but a different substance that is limitless or indeterminate, from which there come into being all the heavens and the worlds within them. Things perish into those things out of which they have their being, according to necessity; for they make just recompense to one another for their injustice, according to the ordinance [or assessment] of time—so he puts it in somewhat poetical terms (Phys. 24. 13)Somewhat poetically! Yes and why? Because that poetic authority is the locus of communication that the pre-socratics prioritize.

http://www.abu.nb.ca/Courses/GrPhil/Anaximander.htm

AMCrenshaw
01-21-2009, 10:07 PM
but a different substance that is limitless or indeterminate, from which there come into being all the heavens and the worlds within them

Pretty well what I was trying to fish out. I had this inkling after reading Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell that "belief in something" or "belief in belief" as he calls it possibly has foundation in pre-socratic philosophy. Gorgias of Leontini, whom I've originally quoted, was nicknamed 'the nihilist'. What interests me about that is how well the idea of a primordial existence (without primordial ...accessibility) matched up with the distinction between many, one or appearance and reality, hearsay and logos. But also how well that simple resisting of 'nihilism' stretches to our current day. On a surface level, for example: how many believers in "a higher power" or in gods or God claim emptiness or "nothing" exists without this highly intellectual primordial ooze?


AMC

Higgins
01-21-2009, 10:23 PM
Pretty well what I was trying to fish out. I had this inkling after reading Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell that "belief in something" or "belief in belief" as he calls it possibly has foundation in pre-socratic philosophy. Gorgias of Leontini, whom I've originally quoted, was nicknamed 'the nihilist'. What interests me about that is how well the idea of a primordial existence (without primordial ...accessibility) matched up with the distinction between many, one or appearance and reality, hearsay and logos. But also how well that simple resisting of 'nihilism' stretches to our current day. On a surface level, for example: how many believers in "a higher power" or in gods or God claim emptiness or "nothing" exists without this highly intellectual primordial ooze?


AMC

I guess as somebody who read Husserl at an impressionable age, I think a search for consensus about the primordial ooze suggests that communication (ie language) is the bedrock of things and that the nature of the ooze or even its existence is a rather remote problem. Plato on the other hand, by dramatizing communication, makes communication problematic and so restores a spurious priority to the ooze, which for him is not an ooze, but crystal clear ideas that human language has obfuscated. It would be hard to find a less convincing scheme than Plato's which is probably why Plato has defined "Philosophy" in the West (as a curiously unconvincing examination of the world) for the last 2300 years.

AMCrenshaw
01-21-2009, 10:41 PM
Hard to disagree, of course. But considering that the current communication about that 'ooze' is mostly lore in some form or another, why should its priority remain so in tact as it has?

Higgins
01-22-2009, 01:04 AM
Hard to disagree, of course. But considering that the current communication about that 'ooze' is mostly lore in some form or another, why should its priority remain so in tact as it has?

Heraclitus (another presocratic) has the Logos as the primoridial thing, but this seems to support a world of contigency and transformation rather than a world that goes from ooze to ooze via ideas that aren't well communicated. Of course Heraclitus himself worked hard to be uncommunicative. But he says (as reported in http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heraclitus/):

There is, however, a guiding force in the world:

Thunderbolt steers all things. (B64) The fiery shaft of lightning is a symbol of the direction of the world. Anaximander may have already used the image of the shipmaster of the universe (Kahn 1960: 238). Heraclitus identifies it with the thunderbolt, itself an attribute of Zeus the storm god. The changes wrought by and symbolized by fire govern the world. The ruling power of the universe can be identified with Zeus, but not in a straightforward way: “One being, the only wise one, would and would not be called by the name of Zeus” (B32). And here the word used for ‘Zeus’ can be rendered “Life.” Like the Milesians, Heraclitus identifies the ruling power of the world with deity, but (like them also) his conception is not a conventional one.

AMCrenshaw
01-23-2009, 03:12 AM
Heraclitus identifies the ruling power of the world with deity, but (like them also) his conception is not a conventional one.

It's kind of conventional; it's pantheism. One common misconception (maybe due to his borrowing of Ionian symbolism) is that Heraclitus' logos was personal, or had any sort of personal quality to it. Not so. Though he asserts human law should be some sort of embodiment of this perfect logos, our attempts will be relative, finitely conceived, and, thus, imperfect.

***

If I think about Zeus enough...I easily call myself an atheist. I wonder what's changed. Daniel C. Dennett suggests much has changed-- that our God now is less of a man (with lightning bolts or what have you) than a formless form, a law of harmony, a "higher being," etc. since obviously we can't sensibly accept certain ideas about God. Yet a few attributes remain, one being 'existence,' another 'good.' Heraclitus' thunder-god and Plato's oozes have a dualistic reality in common-- that of appearances and that of objective reality, or direction.

The universe, even if muddied by human imprecision, is not "aimless". It is not a void. It is not "nothing," thank GOD!


AMC

Higgins
01-23-2009, 10:50 PM
It's kind of conventional; it's pantheism. One common misconception (maybe due to his borrowing of Ionian symbolism) is that Heraclitus' logos was personal, or had any sort of personal quality to it. Not so. Though he asserts human law should be some sort of embodiment of this perfect logos, our attempts will be relative, finitely conceived, and, thus, imperfect.

***

If I think about Zeus enough...I easily call myself an atheist. I wonder what's changed. Daniel C. Dennett suggests much has changed-- that our God now is less of a man (with lightning bolts or what have you) than a formless form, a law of harmony, a "higher being," etc. since obviously we can't sensibly accept certain ideas about God. Yet a few attributes remain, one being 'existence,' another 'good.' Heraclitus' thunder-god and Plato's oozes have a dualistic reality in common-- that of appearances and that of objective reality, or direction.

The universe, even if muddied by human imprecision, is not "aimless". It is not a void. It is not "nothing," thank GOD!


AMC

What if there is no human imprecision? What if the mixture of void and non-void we see is actually there? It seems a little suspicious to me that the notion of a meaningful universe always seems to entail the topoi of oozes and
muds somewhere.

AMCrenshaw
01-23-2009, 11:12 PM
What if the mixture of void and non-void we see is actually there?

I would say it is actually there. And perhaps like Heraclitus, by his own logic, I think it must be there or the fire itself would extinguish itself. It might just be a necessary tension.


It seems a little suspicious to me that the notion of a meaningful universe always seems to entail the topoi of oozes and muds somewhere.

That's my exact suspicion. Call it ooze or energy God or mud or firmament or red clay or chaos and it's always the same fuzzy, somehow incomprehensible, original nothingness that while nothing still has some sort of aim (it must, since here we are). But if you consider what you said earlier (the what if...), the ooze or energy or nothingness, if given direction, is essentially Heraclitus' universe, a mixture of void and non-void. Material given locomotion, etc by a ruling principle.

AMC

Higgins
01-23-2009, 11:20 PM
I would say it is actually there. And perhaps like Heraclitus, by his own logic, I think it must be there or the fire itself would extinguish itself. It might just be a necessary tension.



That's my exact suspicion. Call it ooze or energy God or mud or firmament or red clay or chaos and it's always the same fuzzy, somehow incomprehensible, original nothingness that while nothing still has some sort of aim (it must, since here we are). But if you consider what you said earlier (the what if...), the ooze or energy or nothingness, if given direction, is essentially Heraclitus' universe, a mixture of void and non-void. Material given locomotion, etc by a ruling principle.

AMC

Except that if you are seeing clearly in the mode of Anaximander (and in the transformative mode of Heraclitus) then what governs the succession of voids and non-voids is "the assessment of time"...ie simple causality.

AMCrenshaw
01-23-2009, 11:28 PM
Except that if you are seeing clearly in the mode of Anaximander (and in the transformative mode of Heraclitus) then what governs the succession of voids and non-voids is "the assessment of time"...ie simple causality.

I'm not so sure. What you call a succession of voids and non-voids wouldn't exist in Heraclitus' philosophy; they would have to exist both at once or not at all:


B49a. potamois tois autois …

Into the same rivers we step and do not step, we are and are not. (Heraclitus Homericus)

He admits readily to a substance. That Being does not emerge from void (to do so is absurd). But non-existence must remain a phenomenon (as a priori) and what is non-existent changes, as does it all.

AMC

StephanieFox
01-26-2009, 04:30 AM
Dog is God.


(Sorry. I couldn't resist.)

zornhau
01-27-2009, 05:37 PM
(1) Nothing exists.
(2) If anything did exist it could never be known.
(3) If anything did exist and was known, it could never be communicated.

BWAH?



From the "Zornhauic Dialogues".

SFX: THWACK!
Nihilist: Owch! WTF! Stop hitting me with that stick! You're interrupting my exposition of nihilism.
Zornhau: What stick?
SFX: THWACK!
Or, as Howard had Conan say:

...if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

Higgins
01-27-2009, 06:54 PM
I'm not so sure. What you call a succession of voids and non-voids wouldn't exist in Heraclitus' philosophy; they would have to exist both at once or not at all:



He admits readily to a substance. That Being does not emerge from void (to do so is absurd). But non-existence must remain a phenomenon (as a priori) and what is non-existent changes, as does it all.

AMC

Again, I think there are many good, logical and coherent reasons for favoring the methods of Husserl and the earliest Pre-socratics and putting language before any other notions of primordiality. To jump straight to propositions about "being" is to substitute a spurious grounding for all propositions. I know it seems like a good plan and Plato seems to embrace it...but remember that what Plato in fact dramatizes is not ideal being but the genre-embedded nature of certain types of language use and communication.

Lhun
03-01-2009, 07:39 PM
http://xkcd.com/167/

zornhau
03-03-2009, 07:14 PM
http://xkcd.com/167/
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/nihilism.png