[lit-ideas] Re: The nothing noths

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 06:35:20 +0100

D. P. Henry notes that a mediaeval philosopher said something like, "By
necessity, nothing must be nothing", which Henry claims is like the
predecessor  of Heidegger's claim.

O.K.: Does "Das Nicht nichtet" simply mean "nothing is nothing" ?

Well, if Henry is right that there is some deductive system in which "The
Nothing noths" becomes a logical truth, we may find this conclusion as being
 yielded by premises and axioms in the system which are the logical
correlates of  'rules of grammar'.

O.K.: On the above reading, the mysterious Henry is surely right. There is
such a logical system, and it's called tautology.

Well, I do think Heidegger was illustrating 'annihilation' and nihilism,
and came up with "The Nothing noths" as a good adage to abbreviate that way
of looking at things.

O.K.: Here I would like to see some further clarification. (Or perhaps
simply clarification) What is "nihilism" and how is it illustrated by the
above truism ?



On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:09 AM, Redacted sender Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx for
DMARC <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> O. K. writes:
>
> "[S]urely it is possible to argue that certain  statements that purport to
> be metaphysical are actually nonsense without making  the sweeping claim
> that they all are. Neither is it necessary to posit the  criterion of
> empirical
> verifiability for statements to be meaningful as the  positivists did. (It
> might be argued that statement has to be meaningful in at  least some sense
> in order for us to be able to tell whether it expresses an  empirically
> verifiable proposition.) Here are some of the possibilities: A  statement
> in
> metaphysics [a metaphysical statement, proposition] may have at  least
> three
> values: 1. It may be nonsense -- i.e. an undefined combination of  words.
> (Of
> course this might be the value of a statement in any subject, not  just
> philosophy.)"
>
> Well, this seems to be Carnap's and Ayer's view re:
>
> Heidegger
>
> i. The Nothing noths.
>
> or
>
> ii. The nothing noths.
>
> D. P. Henry notes that a mediaeval philosopher said something like, "By
> necessity, nothing must be nothing", which Henry claims is like the
> predecessor  of Heidegger's claim.
>
> Henry does not find the verb 'noth' nonsensical at all. And his use of the
> "[[ ... ]]" is meant to provide a corresponding verb for any noun ('noth'
> for  'nothing'). We are familiar with that from Quine, "Pegasus pegasises".
>
> "2. It may be a disguised rule of grammar (PP p. 312) -- rather than the
> statement of fact ("real definition") its author the metaphysician intends
> it
> to  be."
>
> Well, if Henry is right that there is some deductive system in which "The
> Nothing noths" becomes a logical truth, we may find this conclusion as
> being
>  yielded by premises and axioms in the system which are the logical
> correlates of  'rules of grammar'. So "The nothing noths" fits here too.
>
> "3a. It may be a suggestive picture -- i.e. one that suggests images to us,
>  but that takes us no further. The proposition 'It's 5 o'clock on the sun'
> illustrated by "a grandfather clock which points to 5" (PIĀ§ 350), and maybe
> the  "questions without answers", are examples of these. Many such pictures
> give a  false account of the way we use some "sign" or other of our
> language -- i.e.  they are a mistaken understanding of the sign's
> "grammar" (The
> distinction  between a sign and its use in the language), e.g. the word
> 'mind'
> as the name of  an invisible object."
>
> Well, this applies perfectly to
>
> "The Nothing noths".
>
> Henry spends some time discussing Lewis Carroll's
>
> "Nobody runs faster than me".
> "That's not true," said the King, "or he had come here earlier".
>
> "3b. Or it may be a way of looking at things -- i.e. speculation that is
> not subject to falsification by anomaly. (Note that some scientific
> theories
> are  also ways of looking at things -- that is, ways of summarizing
> [organizing] a  selected set of data [Every scientific theory is facts plus
> imagination] -- that  are not falsifiable, e.g. the heliocentric and
> geocentric
> models of the solar  system.) Of course it may also simply be an idle
> picture --
> although note well  that metaphysicians know that their pictures cannot be
> compared with  "perceptible reality" -- i.e. that their metaphysical
> propositions are not  empirical propositions -- and therefore it does not
> trouble
> them that their  speculative propositions cannot be verified or tested by
> experience. For,  metaphysics says, "Our experience is only experience of
> appearances, not of  reality itself"; cf. Plato's cave image (Republic
> 515c).
> Which statement may be  an example of senses (2) or (3a) of the word
> 'metaphysics'."
>
> Well, I do think Heidegger was illustrating 'annihilation' and nihilism,
> and came up with "The Nothing noths" as a good adage to abbreviate that way
> of looking at things.
>
> "Some religious pictures may resemble these "idle pictures", because they
> also are not hypotheses; however, pictures in religion are used very
> differently  from the way metaphysicians use pictures, e.g. they are not
> speculative. 3c. Or  it may be a picture that it is "logically impossible"
> for us to
> be taught how to  apply: "How is this picture, e.g. Michelangelo's God
> creating Adam (LC, p. 63),  to be compared with what it is said to be a
> picture
> of?" But there is no answer  -- i.e. the word 'compare' is not defined in
> this
> particular case; indeed, the  artist did not intend for a comparison to be
> made."
>
> Well, there are some paradoxes associated with "Nothing" that Henry
> considers:
>
> iii. Nothing taught me to fly.
>
> iv. No-thing taught me to fly.
>
> was a well-known sophisma. Henry notes that the best answer to the sophism
> is: "Well, then: show us how you fly".
>
> The references to 'signs' is apt in that 'nihil' was much discussed by
> mediaeval philosophers as a 'sign' of some second imposition, and not a
> real
> name. And so on.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Speranza
>
>
>
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