[lit-ideas] scathology

  • From: palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:26:34 +0200

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 12:24 PM, dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <
dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Actually, the nothing does not JUST noth. The nothing noths itself.
> Or, to echo Heidegger, "Das Nichts selbst nichtet".
> A little  context.
> Heidegger writes:
> "The turning away, however, is as such  an expelling of be-ing as a whole
> that lets it slip out of one's grasp. The  whole rejecting expulsion of
> be-ing as a whole that is slipping away, which is  the way dread closes in
> on
> existence, is the essence of no-thing: nihilation  [die Nichtung]. Neither
> is
> it an annihilation of being nor does it come from  negation. Nor can
> nihilation be accounted for by annihilation or  negation."
> It is then that Heidegger concludes,  metaphysically:
> "No-thing nihilates of its own."
> In the vernacular  that irritated Carnap:
> "Das Nichts selbst nichtet."
> The questions raised by McEvoy are super-important. What kind of statements
>  are metaphysical statements? (The elucidation of this belongs to
> 'philosophical  eschatology').
> If you defend a dogma (of the analytic-synthetic distinction) there are at
> least a few variants to McEvoy's alternatives below. Yes, they can be
> analytic  and a priori, but they can also be synthetic a priori. (Grice's
> favourite  example: "Nothing can be green and red [not read] all over.").
> We know
> Sir  Freddie, who quotes Heidegger's "Nothing" claims denied the
> possibility
> of this  type of statement. Later on, philosophers like Donnellan (who
> wrote
> his Cornell  PhD dissertation under Max Black on the foundations of
> necessary truths in the  work of C. I. Lewis) and Kripke will add further
> subcategories: necessary a  posteriori, for example, or a statement of
> identity that
> is merely contingent,  and so on.
> Grice also mentions that the keywords in philosophical eschatology are
> METAPHOR and ANALOGY. So perhaps Heidegger was speaking either
> metaphorically,
> or engaging in an analogical sort of reasoning, which would rely on a
> 'proportion' of metaphysical concepts. Finally, Grice would say that, as in
> topology, often in metaphysics, being 'interesting' may pay better than
> being
> boringly true.
> (I'm sure Heideggerian get a lot of excitement out of Heidegger's
> metaphysical claims that cannot just be encapsulated in 'having grasped a
> truth':
> it seems to be more like an illumination of some special sort). And yes,
> 'observation' may play a minimal role here, unless we involve intuition.
> After
> all, there is phenomenological background to Heidegger's thought, and his
> intuitions or introspections about 'Nothing' may STILL count as
> 'observational'  (in the 'sense' of, say, Russell's acquaintance with his
> own sense
> data).
> In any case, I'm fascinated that Heidegger, from the passages where "Das
> Nichts selbst nichtet" occurs, was SO into 'science': he just thought that
> Science ignored nothing, which coming from a religious thinker as he was
> may
> implicate he could have studied the problem in the history not just of
> philosophy but of science. In one of my posts on this thread, I notice
> that the
>  vacuum, and how nature abhors it, may be a scientific counterpart of
> Heidegger's  'question'.
> What I'm also fascinated with, as J. L. Scherb is, is how Carnap preferred
> to see Heidegger's question (and statement) as a pseudo-statement,
> violating the  grammar of German. I suppose Carnap was being jocular in
> that
> Heidegger is not  committing a _solecism_, so there must be something more
> to
> Carnap's view.  McEvoy is of the idea that Carnap's views on language and
> the
> language of  science were pretty narrow; but he made an influential point,
> and
> years, nay  decades, later, D. P. Henry and J. L. Scherb were still taking
> Carnap's  'linguistic' approach seriously, as perhaps Heidegger himself
> should.
> In a message dated 2/24/2015 10:55:59 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
> "Popper [...] claim[s] [that metaphysical  statements are unfalsifiable].
> It is part of his 'demarcation criterion' between  science and metaphysics:
> it amounts to saying that metaphysical statements are  distinct from
> empirical/scientific statements and that the difference lies in  whether
> they are
> falsifiable by 'observation'. This claim leaves open that  metaphysical
> statements may be 'falsifiable' in some other sense. To take [one]
> examples: "Das
> Nichts nichtet", if interpreted to mean "Das Nichts immer  nichtet", would
> be falsified by a "Nichts" that failed to "nichtet". ... But we  have to
> ask
> whether [this] counterexample[... is] 'observable' in a scientific  sense:
> it seems highly unlikely: neither the "Nichts" nor its "nichet" is
> observable in scientific terms. ... If Heidegger defends his "Nichtet"
> thesis by
> way of analytic or definitional argument that renders the claim
> tautological,
> ... it is irrefutable; but as a tautology [like "All tables are tables"] it
> is  without substantive interest - including metaphysical interest. If
> defended as a  substantive claim, it may be falsifiable in some sense [as
> indicated above] but  still metaphysical because not falsifiable by
> observation.
> That it is  unfalsifiable by observation is a logical weakness. ... "Das
> Nichts nichtet"  [may be] taken to mean "There exists a "Nichts" that on at
> least one occasion  "nichtet"", ... a positive existential statement. ...
> It is
> doubtful H intended  his "Nichts" thesis to amount merely to a positive
> existential statement of this  sort. [H's example] show[s] the usefulness
> of
> Popper's demarcation criterion  rather than offering anything significant
> that
> undermines its usefulness as a  logical tool."
> Well, Popper (like Carnap) would have read Heidegger in  German, and so
> they would know what Heidegger was _meaning_.
> On the other  hand, Sir Freddie Ayer (who hated "The Nothing noths") relied
> on a, I grant, bad  English translation ("The Nought noughts" sounds
> better).
> What is also  perhaps unfalsifiable is Grice's remark, slightly out of the
> blue, that either  for this or for that, Heidegger was (at the time of
> Grice's lecturing), "the  greatest living philosopher".
> --- SOME CONTEXT FOR HEIDEGGER'S CLAIM,  "Das Nichts selbst nichtet".
> Heidegger writes in "What is metaphysics",  section II: "Nothing":
> "How do things stand with this no-thing  [Nichts]?"
> "Is it an accident that we speak quite automatically in this  way?"
> "Is it then only a manner of speaking—and nothing  more?"
> "But why do we trouble ourselves about this no-thing?"
> "In  fact, no-thing is indeed turned away by science and given up [on] as
> the null  and void [das Nichtige]."
> "But if we give up no-thing in such a way, do  we not indeed accept it?"
> "But can we talk about an acceptance if we  accept nothing [nichts]?"
> "Yet maybe all this back and forth has already  turned into empty verbal
> wrangling."
> "Science must then renew its  seriousness and assert its soberness in
> opposition to this, so that it has only  to do with being."
> "No-thing—what can it be for science except a horror  and a phantasm?
> If science is right, then one thing is for certain:  science wants to know
> nothing of no-thing."
> "In the end, this is the  scientifically strict comprehension of no-thing."
> "We know it in wanting  to know nothing about the nothing."
> "Science wants to know nothing of  no-thing."
> "But even so it is nonetheless certain that, when it attempts  to talk
> about its own essence it calls on no-thing for help."
> "It claims  for its own what it has rejected."
> "What sort of conflicted essence  unveils itself here?"
> "Reflection on our present life as one determined  by science finds us in
> the midst of a conflict."
> "In the dispute a  question has already presented itself."
> "The question merely needs to be  articulated."
> "How do things stand with no-thing?"
> "The  development of the question about no-thing must put us in the
> position to be  clear about whether it is
> possible or impossible to answer this  question."
> "No-thing has been admitted."
> "With overweening  indifference toward it, science commends it as what "is
> not a  given."
> "All the same, we will try to speak about no-thing."
> "What  is no-thing?"
> "Our first approach to this question already shows us  something unusual
> about it."
> "From the outset in asking this question we  posit no-thing as something
> that "is" such and such, as being."
> "But  plainly it has in fact been distinguished from just that."
> "The question  about no-thing—what and how it, no-thing, is—turns what is
> being questioned into  its opposite."
> "The question robs itself of its own  object."
> "Accordingly, every answer to this question is impossible from  the
> outset."
> "For it necessarily starts out in the form: no-thing "is"  this or that."
> "Question and answer alike are themselves just as  nonsensical with respect
> to no-thing."
> "But such a dismissal doesn't have  to come from science."
> "The commonly referred to ground rule of all  thinking (the principle of
> avoiding contradiction), everyday "logic" puts down  this question."
> "For thinking, which in essence is always thinking about  something, would
> be working against its own nature in thinking about  no-thing."
> "Because we keep on failing to make no-thing as such into an  object, we
> have already come to the end of our question about no-thing, on the
> assumption that "logic" is the highest authority on this question, that the
> intellect is the means and thinking the way to grasp no-thing in an
> original way
> and to decide about its disclosure."
> "But can the rule of "logic" be  challenged?"
> "Isn't the intellect really lord and master in this question  about
> no-thing?"
> "After all, only with its help can we determine no-thing  at all and
> formulate it as a problem, even if only as one that eliminates  itself."
> "For no-thing is the negation of the generality of being, simply  not
> being.
> "Yet with that we subsume no-thing under the higher  determination of the
> not-like and therewith, so it seems, the  negated."
> "But under the ruling and never challenged doctrine of "logic,"  negation
> is a specific mental act."
> "How then can we with the question of  no-thing, and indeed with the
> question about its questionability, hope to bid  adieu to the intellect?"
> "Are we that certain about what we presuppose  here?"
> "Does the not ["das Nicht"], negativity [die Verneintheit], and  hence
> negation have about it a higher
> determination under which no-thing, as  a particular species of the
> negated, falls?"
> "Is there no-thing only  because there is the not, i.e., negation?"
> "Or is it the other way  around?"
> "Is there negation and the not only because there is  no-thing?"
> "This has not been decided; indeed not once has the question  been
> expressly raised."
> "We maintain that no-thing is more original than  the not and negation."
> "If our thesis is correct, the possibility of  negation as a mental act,
> and therewith the intellect itself, depends in some  way upon no-thing."
> "What hope is there then to decide about  this?"
> "Does the seeming absurdity of the question and answer regarding  no-thing
> rest solely on the blind single-mindedness of our far-ranging  intellect?"
> "However, if we do not allow ourselves to be led astray by  the formal
> impossibility of the question about no-thing and still confront the
> question,
> we must then at the very least satisfy what is still as the basic
> requirement of the possible development of any question."
> "If no-thing is  to be questioned in the way questioning works, then it
> must itself be given in  advance."
> "We must be able to encounter it."
> "How do we go after  no-thing?"
> "How do we find no-thing?"
> "In order to find something,  must we not already know that it is there at
> all?"
> "Indeed!"
> "First and foremost, a person is able to look for  something only if he has
> already anticipated the actual presence of what is  being sought."
> "But what is sought here is no-thing. In the end, is there  seeking without
> some anticipation, a seeking to which a proper finding  belongs?"
> "Be that as it may, we know no-thing even if only as that which  we
> casually talk about day in and day out."
> "Without further ado, we can  work out a definition of this pale no-thing,
> which in all the colourlessness of  self-evidence so inconspicuously hangs
> around our talk."
> "No-thing is the  complete negation of the generality of being."
> "In the end, isn't this  characteristic of nothing a sign of the only
> direction from which it can  encounter us?"
> "Generality of being must be given beforehand in order to  be made invalid
> as such by negation, in which no-thing itself then must manifest  itself."
> "But even if we ignore the questionability of the relation  between
> negation and no-thing, how should we as finite essences, make the whole
> of being
> in its generality accessible in itself and to ourselves in  particular.
> "If need be, we can think of the whole of be-ing as an idea,  and then
> negate what has been thus thought up and "think" of it as negated. In
> this way
> we do reach the formal concept of a "thought up" no-thing, but never
> no-thing itself."
> "But no-thing is nothing, and no difference can prevail  between the
> thought up no-thing and real no-thing, unless no-thing represents
> something other
> than the complete absence of difference.
> But real  no-thing itself, isn't it once again that concealed and absurd
> concept of an  actual no-thing [eines seienden Nichts]?"
> "For one last time now the  objections of our intellect would call a halt
> to our search, the legitimacy of  which can be demonstrated only through a
> fundamental experience of  nothing."
> "As surely as we never get a sure grasp of the generality of  be-ing in
> itself, just as surely do we all the same find ourselves somehow  placed
> in the
> midst of the generality of bare being."
> "In the end, there  continues to be an essential difference between getting
> a grasp of the whole of  being in itself and finding oneself in the midst
> of being as a  whole."
> "The former is impossible in principle."
> "The latter  happens all the time in our existence."
> "Of course, it looks just as though in our everyday comings and goings we
> were holding fast to only just this or that [kind of] being, as though we
> were  lost in this or that realm of being. But no matter how fragmented the
> daily  round may seem, it always maintains being in the unity of a "whole"
> although  only in the shadows."
> "Even then and precisely just then, when we are not especially busy with
> things, this "as a whole" overcomes us; for example, in genuine boredom.
> This
> is  a long way off far off when this or that book or
> play, job or leisure  activity, is boring. It breaks out when "it's boring"
> Profound boredom, like a  silent fog insinuating itself in the depths of
> existence, pulls things, others  and oneself into it altogether with
> remarkable indifference. Such boredom  reveals being as a whole. Another
> possibility
> of such revelation lies concealed  in our joy in the present existence, not
> merely the person, of someone we  love."
> Being attuned in such a way that we "are" one way or another, we find
> ourselves in the midst of
> being as a whole being attuned by it.
> "Not only does the situatedness of mood disclose being as a whole in its
> own way, but this disclosing, far from being a mere incident, is at the
> same
> time the fundamental event of our being there" (which is the title of a
> novel --  now a film with Peter Sellars).
> ----- THE CENTRAL PASSAGE regarding the 'nichtet' is as per below. If
> 'selbst' is understood as objective, it may mean that the nothing noths
> itself.
> Of course, 'itself' is a trick. "The fish itself did it" (Wanda, suppose)
> does  not involve this objective use of 'itself': 'itself' is merely
> emphatic. So  there is an ambiguity here. Grice said,
> "Avoid ambiguity".
> But since he also said that Heidegger was the greatest living  philosopher,
> once can pardon one ambiguity ("or two" as Geary colloquially adds)  to the
> greatest living philosopher (as Heidegger was when Grice said that -- in
> Grice's view -- He never liked Sartre, much).
> Heidegger writes:
> "The turning away, however, is as such an  expelling of be-ing as a whole
> that lets it slip out of one's grasp. The whole  rejecting expulsion of
> be-ing as a whole that is slipping away, which is the way  dread closes in
> on
> existence, is the essence of no-thing: nihilation [die  Nichtung]. Neither
> is
> it an annihilation of be-ing nor does it come from  negation. Nor can
> nihilation be accounted for by annihilation or  negation."
> "No-thing nihilates of its own."
> In the vernacular that  irritated Carnap:
> "Das Nichts selbst nichtet."
> In the fifth  edition (1949), Heidegger slightly changed his mind slightly,
> or rather refined  his prose.
> "als Nichten west, währt, gewährt das Nichts."
> i.e.  "in the way nihilating makes be, sustains, gives (up) no-thing]."
> I have to grant that there is sermon quality (Protestant sermon) in the
> quality of Heidegger's dicta. He was after all lecturing to philosophy
> students,  and it would be good to know what kind of 'dialogue' Heidegger
> extracted
> from  his students.
> Teaching is not of course essential to being a philosopher, and it is  when
> we do NOT Heidegger as teaching (or preaching) that his statements (like
> "Das Nichts selbst nichtet") should be considered, eschatologically,
> almost.
> This may be an individual act: and each reader will derive from it whatever
>  implicature whom Grice called "the greatest living philosopher" is aiming
> at.
> Cheers,
> Speranza
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