Random Reflections

Modes of Expression:

Hard/ complete: Georg Cantor- Continuum hypothesis: Embodies rationalist/ modernist/ analytic movement

Soft/ incomplete: Godel- Incompleteness Theorem: Embodies relativist/ postmodern/ creative movement

Synthetic: Hegel/ James- Dialectics/ Pragmatism: Synthesizes these two perspectives for subjective ends according to their utility to solve and achieve dilemma/ inquiry

All modern studies and disciplines, being defined by prescribed rules and expectations, are limited in their ability and scope, and will be inhibited in adequately addressing novel problems.

In addition, Hegel, and Neils Bohr, saw necessity in taking counterfactuals or contradicting ideas, and holding them together in the mind, suspending their rigidity, dissolving boundaries, and creatively synthesizing their properties into a single, third, idea that is able to satisfy the initial counter-facts.

Relativist attitudes: revolution, creation, destabilization, individuality, synthesis, deconstruction.

Will to power- those who master language are the masters. Masters of language- more specifically, masters of delineation, or description- are the creator of causes.

Those who possess language, and the ability to manipulate language- proliferate perspectives and justify actions for everyone else.

To not have language, to not have education, is to be dispossessed, to be dominated. He who develops language, specifically his own language- be it borrowing from others or creating neologisms- can manipulate and dominate. Nietzsche understood this: the jews were masters of language- specializing in the oral and written tradition of the torah- owned and mastered language and eventually used this strength to manipulate the language of their ‘masters’ or the ‘gentiles’ by inverting their values of their language to subversively overpower and dominate them—see the New Testament, or Christ’s message.

The use of existing language can be used to justify by assimilating it into a final vocabulary by removing it from its original context. Decontextualizing is the ability of the pragmatic and creative types: they use existing language (tools), to manipulate and justify a unique (individual) end/ intention (action). Derrida attempts to capture the gestures of decontextualization. He seeks to pervert the internal semantic structure of words and language in order to recontextualize words, or leave them totally suspended in semantic ambiguity.

The reason manipulation can occur is that terms/ facts/ meanings are formed within a ‘present’ context. When the word is borrowed at a later time, it is referring to a previous/ past context, yet its use is always in the present. No two perspectives are alike, for all are subjective and indexed to individual/ unique direct experiences and the prevailing ideology of the context/ culture mutually shared by your social peers.

Language is social. Perspectives, thoughts, are formed to due direct experience, i.e. senses, impressions, experimentation, and ideologies, i.e. the semantic code and historically rooted structure contained in the language maintained by peers.

Perspective takes direct subjective experience and indexes it to the inherently ideological lanugae of yoru social peers. In this way subjective experience (individual consciousness) is censored by language. Likewise, language is compromised by ‘misusing’ semantics (metaphors, metonymies) and ‘decontextualizing’ it from its prevailing paradigmatic ideology.  Rorty alludes to this practice when he refers to the accumulating and building of “final vocabularies”.

The ability to use language is the ability to control the mind. Religion once controlled all language, and priests were the arbiters of its meaning—the interpretation of the bible, gods word, his divine will. This allowed the priests and prophets to govern the thoughts, and therefore actions, of their people.

The world tells us—leads us to believe—that language captures facts and truths. This is a form of ‘natural’ domination. ‘Natural’ in that man lives and persists through the “will to power” which enables them to thrive (dominate) in society by leveraging the minds of other men. This “will to believe” is uniquely distinct from other animals in that animals do not leverage the minds or ‘intentions’ or other animals. Instead they possess a “will to survive” which manifests through killing (predators) or compromise (prey).

Pragmatism recognizes the utility of using language—its conventions, rituals, customs, traditions, and accepted practices semantically assumed it contains – and uses it to justify intentions (ends/ actions). Continue reading “Random Reflections”

Thoughts on Rorty’s Neo-pragmatism

Rorty lays out a compelling case for his rendition of pragmatism. Ultimately his claim produces the same effect as the sentence “This sentence has no significance.” By throwing out the ideas of essential truths and knowledge as simply products of social convention, he adopts a pseudo-relativistic view of the world where truth and knowledge are contingent upon the starting points afforded to us by our language. However, he maintains that conversational inquiry has a purpose and maintains a utility, despite where its conclusions may lead. As the aforementioned sentence demonstrates, despite its futile conclusion or message, we are engaged in an activity that allows us to converge in understanding. In the event if we decide to evade the contingency of our starting points and continue the pursuit of higher essences, we do so not as a means of establishing something essential, but to satisfy some “Metaphysical Comfort”.  Continue reading “Thoughts on Rorty’s Neo-pragmatism”

Pragmatism and a priori Knowledge

Can a pragmatist accept a priori knowledge? Consider the following statements of a priori knowledge:

1) 4 beer cans and 3 beer cans equals 7 beer cans in total.
2) A can contains the properties metallic and cylindrical.

The mind has inescapable a priori knowledge that operates as an interpretative function for ordering and categorizing experience. A pragmatist can instrumentally stipulate any definition. If we take thought as a priori, i.e.capable of intuitions independent of experience,  one can stipulate necessary conventions for assimilating experience. In this way the self generates a priori thoughts that function as an interpretive structure brought to experience, but this a priori knowledge is uniquely exclusive to the self. Revisions to current a priori knowledge have no affect on past interpretations as they have already been interpreted as experience. All a priori stipulations provide a ‘perceptual gestalt’ or ‘interpretive lens’ composed of axioms that categorize experience into concepts to suit personal ends. The implications of a stipulation may even yield new insights about experience, as when two stipulated definitions render incompatible (contradictory or inconsistent) experience.

The two examples given illustrate concepts with definitions stipulated a priori that categorize experiences a posteriori. In this way the definition of a can brings classification to experience, so that experiencing the properties metallic and cylindrical classify an experience as a can.

While experience may provide material to stipulate categorical definitions, such as certain predications, it is not necessary for stipulating. Stipulations arise from the mind and are brought to experience as a priori categorical structures.



Pragmatic Science Studies: Thoughts

All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Examine the thesis: Science serves as a social utility that facilitates the economic and political power over a community.

Elucidate the utility of science from an individual and national level. Show how science and economy are reflexively compatible and serve as complimentary forms of power.

What are the pros of accepting science as truth? What are the cons? Can one accept external truths and retain freedom? Internal?

Continue reading “Pragmatic Science Studies: Thoughts”