[C] [Wittrs] Re: Re: Solipsism
- From: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@xxxxxxxxx>
- To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 14:40:01 -0800 (PST)
... the Gospel according to Ray Monk, Page 19. All passages below the line are Monk's, except where he is quoting others, indicated by quotes. I use ALLCAPS for italics where it is meant to stress something, but not where it is for purely style reasons (e.g., a book title). =================================================================== Schopenhauer's own metaphysics is a peculiar adaption of Kant's. Like Kant, he regards the everyday world, the world of the senses, as mere appearance, but unlike Kant (who insists that noumenal reality is unknownable), he identifies as the only true reality the world of the ethical will. It is a theory that provides a metaphysical counterpart to the attitude of Karl Kraus mentioned earlier -- a philosophical justification of the view t6hat what happens inh the 'outside' world is less important than the existential, 'internal' question of 'what one is.' Schopenhauer's idealism was abandoned by Wittgenstein only when he began to study logic and was persuaded to adopt Frege's conceptual realism. Even after that, however, he rtturned to Schopenauer at a critical stage in the cmposition of the Tractatus, when he believed that he had reached a point whre idealism and realism coincide [see p. 144]. Taken to its extreme, the view that the 'internal' has priority over the 'external' becomes solipsism, the denial that there is any reality OUTSIDE oneself. Much of Wittgenstein's later philosophical thinking about the self is an attempt once and for all to put to rest the ghost of this view. Among the books that he read as a schoolboy which influenced his later development, this doctrine finds its most startling expression in Sex and Character, by Otto Weininger -------[Quoting again from page 143-144 --sw]: --------- In discussing this view of the world (the view that sees it as a limited whole) Wittgenstein adopts the Latin phrase used by Spinoza: sub specie aeternitatis ('under the form of eternity'). It is the view, not only of ethics, but also of aesthetics: "The work of art is the object seen sub specie aeternitatis; and the good life is teh world seen sub specie aeternitatis. This is the connection between art and ethics. ... The usual way of looking at things sees objects as it were from teh midst of them, the view sup specie aeternitatis from outside. .. In such a way that they have the whole world as background." These remarks show the unmistakable influence of Schopenhauer. In "The World as Will and Representation," Schopenhauer discusses, in a remarkably similar way, a form of contemplation in which we relinquish 'the ordinary way of considering things,' and 'no longer consider the where, the when, the why, and the whither in things, but simply the WHAT:' "Further we do not let abstract thought, the concepts of reason, take possession of our consciousness, but, instead of all this, devote the whole power of our mind to perception, sink ourselves completely therein, and let our whole consciousness be filled by the calm contemplation of teh natural object actually present, where it be a landscape, a tree, a rock, a crag, a building, or anything else. We LOSE ourselves entirely in this object, to use a pregnant expression ... It was this that was in Spinoza's mind when he wrote: Mens aeterna est quatenus res sub specie aeternitatis ['The mind is eternal in so far as it conceives things from the standpoint of eternity']." Whether Wittgenstein was rereading Schopenhauer in 1916, or whether he was remembering the passages that had impressed him in his youth, there is no doubt that the remarks he wrote in that year have a distinctly Schopenhauerian feel. He even adopts Schopenhauer's jargon of Wille ('will') and Vorstellung ('representation' or, sometimes, 'idea'), as in: "As my idea is the world, in the same way my will is the world-will." Wittgenstein's remarks on the will and the self are, in many ways, simply a restatement of Schopenhauer's 'Transcendental Idealism,' with its dichotomy between the 'world as idea,' the world of space and time, and the 'world as will,' the NOUMENAL, timeless, world of the self. The doctrine might be seen as the philosophical equivalent of the religious state of mind derided by Nietzsche, the morbid sensitivity to suffering which takes flight from reality into 'a merely "inner" world, a "real" world, an "eternal" world.' When this state of mind is made the basis of a philosophy it becomes solipsism, the view that THE world and MY world are one and the same thing. Thus we find Wittgenstein saying: It is true: Man IS the microcosm: I am my world. What distinguishes Wittgenstein's statement of the doctrine from Schopenhauer's is that in Wittgenstein's case it is accompanied by the proviso that, when put into words, the doctrine is, strictly speaking, nonsense: "what the solipsist MEANS is quite correct; only it cannot be SAID, but makes itself manifest." He had, he thought, reached a point where Schopenhauerian solipsism and Fregean realism were combined in the same point of view: "This is the way I have traveled: Idealism singles men out from the world as unique, solipsism singles me alone out, and at last I see that I too belong with the rest of the world, and so on the one side NOTHING is left over, and on the other side, as unique, THE WORLD. in this way idealism leads to realism if it is strictly thought out. ======================================================================== yours, done with secretarial work for the year! Regards and thanks. Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq. Assistant Professor Wright State University Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org (Subscribe: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/sworg-subscribe/ ) SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860 New Discussion Groups! http://ludwig.squarespace.com/discussionfora/ ________________________________ From: Cayuse <z.z7@xxxxxxxxxxxx> To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Tue, February 15, 2011 12:11:26 PM Subject: [Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Solipsism ----- Original Message ----- From: kirby urner To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 2:49 AM Subject: [Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Solipsism > The sense in which a self "has" (owns, is related to) experience is somewhat >without analogy -- is that what's right about solipsism? Seems to me like any sense in which a self "has" anything is worse than without analogy -- it seems indefensible given that there is no metaphysical subject (the subject is not in the world but is a limit of the world). > Might a solipsist, without claiming "omniscience" (or other super powers), >experience something called personal growth or greater awareness? > > If so, then a microcosm might be that sense of expanding into a greater self >awareness? I guess this brings me back to my original question of W's use of the word 'solipsism'. If, as the linked atricle proposes, W is using the word to imply a form of realism wherein I am the only object that has a mind, then I can understand his use of the word 'microcosm'. If, however, as I have long interpreted him (perhaps misinterpreted him), W is using the word to imply that there should be agnosticism about the prospect of anything at all existing beyond this mind, then his use of the word 'microcosm' seems inconsistent with the case he's trying to establish. Is it really the former, as the article seems to imply?