What is Husserlian Phenomenology?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Kyklos, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    Well, let's make that four counter-arguments contra "After Virtue."

    I finally finished reading and taking notes on "After Virtue" which took six weeks, and now working on an outline. Yes, it came to that; having to actually write an outline, so it must be serious.

    In the excellent video interview below Chris Hedges discusses a critique of the "Age of Manufactured Ignorance" with Canadian scholar Professor Henry A. Giroux. Wiki: "Dr. Henry Armand Giroux is an American and Canadian scholar and cultural critic. One of the founding theorists of critical pedagogy in the United States, he is best known for his pioneering work in public pedagogy, cultural studies, youth studies, higher education, media studies, and critical theory."

    The Age of Manufactured Ignorance
     
  2. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    Postmodern Socrates on Virtue


    “The fact is that far from knowing whether it can be taught, I have no idea what virtue is…Not only that, you may say also that, to the best of my belief, I have never met anyone who did know.”—Socrates in Plato’s dialogue, Meno, (pdf.), para. 71 and 71c.

    “My advice to you, if you will listen to it, is to be careful.” —Anytus to Socrates, Meno, para. 94e.


    Introduction:

    Of all of the major areas of study in philosophy--epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics (some would include the history of philosophy)—ethics is by far the most difficult and complex to analyze as ethical discourse incorporates historical beliefs, metaphysical assumptions, and normative ethical rules (what one ought to do). Notice that the word discourse has already biased this introduction by focusing on the examination of moral language such as the terms “good,” “better,” “obligation,” “wrong,” “right” and “virtue.” Integration by individuals of different worldviews, cultural moral concepts, and the rational justifications of moral actions make the use of normative ethical terms the obvious area for the philosophy of language to investigate with its applied methodology of logical analysis. There is an apparent parallelism, which we will investigate, between ethics and epistemology that is productive for clarifying ethical concepts until the meaning of some key terms become obscure and even irresolvable as various logical analyses inevitably separate into different seemingly contradictory camps of thought.

    The motive and purpose of this essay is to once again critique the ubiquitous trope (meaning “twist”) of “postmodernism.” Rhetorically, a trope is parasitical of some original meaning of a word, or theme, which is then used in a different sense that further degrades into a cliché like, for example, the “absent-minded professor,” as a fictional story character. Postmodernism is a collection of pre-selected philosophical disputes from the history of Western philosophy that are reinterpreted as somehow “new,” and representative of a contemporary existential threat to Western civilization organized by conspiratorial homunculi allied with deviant minions such as leftists, socialists, Marxists, dirty hippies, and romance novelist Jane Austen who understands “the virtues is a certain kind of marriage and indeed a certain kind of naval officer (that is, a certain kind of English naval officer)(AV., p. 186)” to promote a false ideology that denies the existence of all virtue, truth, and knowledge (Postmodernism and Faith, video).

    During the last few years a number of persons have recommended that I read Dr. Alasdair Macintyre’s work on ethics entitled, “After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory,”(1981)(pdf.)(Abbreviated as AV). I chose to critique this particular book since Dr. Macintyre can actually formulate arguments of his critique of postmodernism unlike those embarrassing self-described postmodern critics hanging around the Internet. Macintyre published in his early career many academic articles on Marxism (Macintyre bibliography) so he is sui generis, in a category of his own, separate from the media’s fast-talking former Marxists who couldn’t tell the difference between Karl Marx, and Carl B. Marks. He authored After Virtue at about the same time Neoliberalism swept over the Untied States in the form of Reagan’s cultural revolution of 1981: a Great March forward into despotism. Macintyre used the term “postmodernist,” only once in “After-Virtue,(AV., p. XII) along with other terms such as “Enlightenment project,” (Ibid., p. 36), “post-Enlightenment culture,” (Ibid., p. 113), “modern culture,” “modern age,” and “modernity.” In another book, “Whose Justice? Which Rationality?” (1988)(pdf.) Macintyre continues his extended argument with “post-Enlightenment culture,” (WJWR, p. 6) “postmodern relativists,” (Ibid., p. 353), and “postmodernist radicals, (Ibid., p. 387). All of these terms have the same meaning and are used interchangeably by postmodern critics.

    In the prologue of the third edition of After Virtue (2007) titled, “After Virtue after a Quarter of a Century,” Macintyre writes of his personal beliefs [My bracket]: "When I wrote After Virtue, I was already an Aristotelian, but not yet a Thomist, something made plain in my account of Aquinas at the end of chapter 13 [Medieval Aspects and Occasions]. I became a Thomist after writing After Virtue in part because I became convinced that Aquinas was in some respects a better Aristotelian than Aristotle, that not only was he an excellent interpreter of Aristotle's texts, but that he had been able to extend and deepen both Aristotle’s metaphysical and his moral enquiries (p. X)." Macintyre’s stated philosophical worldview can be accurately described as Aristotelian-Thomist Realism: “MacIntyre defends Thomistic realism as rational enquiry directed to the discovery of truth (IEP: Macintyre).” I did not choose Macintyre’s book for this critical essay because of any Catholic belief he may, or may not have. There are a number of Catholic based ethical philosophies that are admirable such as the Trappist Monk Thomas Merton advocated, but was murdered after he gave an anti-war speech in 1968 against the Vietnam War at the International Asiatic Conference in Thailand. Also, Pope John Paul II studied Phenomenologist, Max Scheler, and advocates a very interesting version of phenomenological Thomism resulting in the Pope’s dissertation titled "Reevaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler.” Dorothy Day represents another case in which this religious tradition is recognized as consistent with labor activism that values human beings, and inspired her to help create the Catholic Worker Movement. The Church awarded the title “Servant of God“ to Day and was positively mentioned by the popular Pope Francis in 2015. My focus of concern here is not Catholicism, but rather the philosophical incoherence of the postmodern trope I have just described.

    Dr. Macintyre is difficult to critique for three reasons. First, he has authored a massive number of books and articles during his lifetime. Since I have only one lifetime, and unable to read all of his writings, I will have to be satisfied with a parity check for possible incoherence of his relevant views on virtue. After Virtue conceptually contains in substance some of his most important philosophical writings, and themes. For example, his journal article, “Epistemological Crises, Dramatic Narrative, and the Philosophy of Science,” (1977) is recapitulated in “After Virtue: Chapter Seven: 'Fact', Explanation and Expertise.”

    Secondly, Macintyre is a masterful rhetorician and his writing is among the best a person can read in the English language. His training in Aristotelian philosophy shows through his artfully crafted written words and arguments: each sentence is packed with meaning in a complex chain of other arguments that make it a challenge to construct clear and concise corresponding counter-arguments. This highly intelligent philosopher is also a skillful escape artist who is difficult to pin down on some points as he anticipates potential criticism while moving strategically in and around the complicated passages of Aristotle’s taxonomy of virtue. After-Virtue is complex.

    Lastly, Macintyre’s After Virtue is difficult to critique because there are certain argument threads that I agree with, but which are entangled with other postmodern critiques that I found logically problematic. Some of the topics that I thought were very good and learned are the following: his very short summary of Kierkegaard is very good (AV., p. 39); his critique of modern social sciences and modern inductive methodologies (Ibid., p. 88 ); Homer’s heroic poetry of the Iliad and Socrates expelling Homeric ethics (Ibid., p. 121, 131); the Virtues of Athens chapter gave criticism of ideological individualism and emphasized the need for friendship and community instead of promoting Pleonexia, or excessive greed, and acquisitiveness (Ibid., p. 137, 208, 214, 227); the importance of Narrative for social life (Ibid., p. 137, 227); dominance of the modern bureaucratic manager model with a critique of work in modern society (Ibid., p. 228 ); examined Phronesis, or the ability to exercise good intellectual judgment as a virtue (Ibid., p. 154); criticism of imperialism, or original acquisition (Ibid., p.251). I generally accept Macintyre’s expertise in After-Virtue regarding the doctrines Aristotelian and Thomist.

    There are some problematic issues with Macintyre’s weaving a critique of postmodernism into his study of virtue, but I want to be open about the criteria used in formulating my criticisms of the many complex arguments Macintyre presents so that my reasoning can be followed. I am keeping in mind three philosophers as my philosophical touchstones: Logician Ludwig Wittgenstein (mostly his later thought), Transcendental Kantian criticism, and Existentialist Soren Kierkegaard. Wittgenstein studied both Kant and Kierkegaard very closely, which deeply influenced his study of philosophy.

    Within this essay are four major counter-arguments directed toward Macintyre’s definition and criticisms of postmodernism:

    1. If consistently applied, Macintyre’s view of postmodernism defines the premodern philosopher, Socrates, as postmodern.

    2. Macintyre as an Aristotelian-Thomist Realist contradictorily embraces Antirealist epistemology.

    3. Macintyre leaves the door open for Relativistic Historicism while advocating a particular tradition of ethical thought.

    4. Macintyre’s viewpoint is subject to Ethical Skepticism compounded by 2 and 3.​


    ...next...First Counter-argument: "Postmodern" Socrates."
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2021
  3. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    Post # 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue.


    First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates


    “In my opinion you are well advised not to leave Athens and live abroad. If you behaved like this as a foreigner in another country, you would most likely be arrested as a wizard.”—Meno to Socrates, 80b.


    I.F. Stone directs our attention to the word “wizard,” or “γόης” (goes) that Meno used to describe Socrates as “one who howls out enchantments, a sorcerer,” and metaphorically a “juggler”, or “cheat,” and “imposter” (I.F. Stone, “The Trial of Socrates,”(1988), Little, Brown & Co., Boston, p. 59). Western philosophical literature on ethics is at least as old as the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient epic poem authored about 3000 BC. The ideal arena for our purposes of discussion is Plato’s famous dialogue, the Meno, since it contains fundamental problems of ethics that can bring together the thoughts of philosophers such as Macintyre, G.E. Moore, Kierkegaard, and Wittgenstein for examination.

    My guiding touchstones for reading After Virtue are interestingly related. For Macintyre, English philosopher G.E. Moore is exhibit “A” of the folly of postmodernism, while Kierkegaard’s corpse is presented as exhibit “B” of the ravages of modernist disease. Macintyre does not mention Wittgenstein in After Virtue, but Wittgenstein and G.E. Moore were both contemporary professors at Trinity College, Cambridge along with Bertrand Russell. G.E. Moore, who was at one time president of the Aristotelian Society at Cambridge, is recognized as one of the early founders of analytic language philosophy. The School of Logical Positivism known as the “Vienna Circle” (1924) was founded in the name of Wittgenstein for his philosophical work, “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” (1921) before he was discovered by the positivists to be a radical mystic. Although Wittgenstein did not have a high regard for Moore as a philosopher, he was influenced by Moore’s view on ethics, which will be noted.

    The Meno dialogue contains ethical problems by which we can compare and contrast varying views on virtue in order to categorize their ethical (what ought to be) and metaethical (what is) standpoints; then, identify who is who by classifying them as a congnitivist, noncongnitivist, naturalist, nonnaturalist, objectivist, nonobjectivist, antirealist and/or realist. We will kindly consider objections to our Procrustean classifications, which might be raised by passionate disciples that do not like being pigeonholed. This approach provides a common referential framework to explore these ever-elusive ethical dilemmas, and will strengthen all four objections against Macintyre’s criticisms of modernism.

    A Very Short Background on the Socratic Dialogue, Meno: “On Virtue”

    Macintyre dates the Meno dialogue during Plato’s late period of authorship (WJWR, p. 63). The Meno is a fictional dialogue written by Plato in 385 B.C. about real historical persons and events during 402 B.C. which is about three years before the trial of Socrates. This dialogue was later subtitled by ancient scholars as “On Virtue” as a sequel to the Protagoras dialogue wherein Socrates claims that virtue is knowledge; therefore, it must be something teachable (I.F. Stone, p. 52-68). During this period Athens was just emerging from a terrible dictatorship and civil war. Beginning back in 490 B.C. to 480 B.C. Athens and Sparta had successfully combined forces to oppose and repel the Persian invasion of Greece. However, later in 430 BC, Sparta declared war against it former ally, Athens, for breaking a peace treaty and began a long series of battles called the Peloponnesian Wars. Also, this was the time that a reoccurring Typhus plague begins in Athens that killed about 100,000 Athenians as Sparta laid siege against the crowded fortified city. Finally, the Peloponnesian wars between Athens and Sparta ended with the defeat of Athens at Aigospotamoi.

    Years later in 404 B.C. the “Rule of the Thirty Tyrants” begins supported by Athenian oligarchs treasonously allying themselves with Sparta. Just prior to the events in the dialogue Meno, Spartan rulers were thinking about murdering all the Athenian men and enslaving everyone else, but then on reflection thought it more profitable to establish an oligarchy backed by the wealthy Athenian aristocracy of which Socrates had some distance family relations. During the régime’s short eight months reign, the Thirty were able to torture and execute without trial at least 1500 Athenians thought to be democratic subversives, and hired 300 "lash-bearers" to whip the Athenians to instill collective fear of the regime. Plato recounts in the Apology dialogue how the Thirty ordered him and four men to capture and execute an Athenian citizen named Leon of Salamis. Plato provides an interesting explanation for the Thirty’s execution orders and why so many Greeks were executed [my bold text]: “…they issued such instructions, their object being to implicate as many people as possible in their crimes (32c-d).” This is a history all Americans should remember even today as right-wing fascists encourage election fraud and violent insurrection. Socrates was also ordered by the Tyrants to commit the same crime of execution as Aristotle, but just laughed: both philosophers refused to cooperate putting their lives in great danger.

    And then the tables turned. Belligerent former democratic forces of Athens in May 403 B.C. defeated the Thirty Tyrants and their military henchmen. The events in the Meno occurred in “late January, or early February 402 B.C. (IEP: Meno).” The atmosphere was politically very tense while Athenian pro-democratic leaders were negotiating with the oligarchs an amnesty for crimes committed during the former tyrannical régime-- except for the Thirty themselves and about 3,000 officials who were not to be spared punishment. Two of the Thirty were a cousin and uncle related to Socrates. And then one last outrage committed by the oligarchs was to massacre the people in the town of Eleusis, and then used the city as a base from which followed yet another insurrectionist attack against Athens in 401 B.C. that brought about the Tyrant’s final defeat by Athens.

    This is the history that Plato knows from lived experience and set Socrates speaking to Meno, and the unhappy Anytus about virtue. The formerly leading moderate demos politician, Anytus, had to pay a bribe to the Thirty’s court that cost him all of his wealth as the owner of a tannery (I.F, Stone, p. 174-180). While writing the Meno, Plato knew that in 399 B.C. Socrates would be executed partly due to Anytus’ guilty vote at his trial. There are many stories of Anytus’ demise; they are all contradictory, and none of them have happy endings. Plato also knew that the mercenary soldier, Meno, was to join the soon defeated Persian army of Cyrus who was attempting to overthrow his own brother, King Artaxerxes II. Cyrus’ defeated enemy commanders were beheaded--except for Meno who was so hated for his greed for wealth and power that he instead suffered prolonged torture before finally being executed (IEP:Meno). I.F. Stone comments that during early antiquity there was not a clear distinction between trade and war (I.F.Stone, p. 26).

    During this setting of simmering civil war and gratuitous executions, Socrates appears in Athens asking, “What is virtue?” I.F. Stone reminds us virtue, or “ἀρετή,” (Arête) is derived from the name of the Greek god of war Ares, whose Roman name is Mars. Virtue was believed to be goodness and excellence, which meant to the Greeks “machismo, manliness, valor, and prowess.” “Virtue” is from the Latin term “vitus” or “life”. If virtue were knowledge, it would include the mercenary’s training in military weaponry and actual war experience (Ibid., p. 52). Socrates noted that Cleophantes, the son of the highly respected Athenian Themistocoles, “was well trained in horsemanship that he could stand upright on a horseback and throw a javelin from that position, and many other wonderful accomplishments the young man had, for his father had him taught and made expert in every skill that a good instructor could impart (Meno, 93d).


    The Poverty of Philosophy…of Ethics

    “The fact is that far form knowing whether it can be taught, I have no idea what virtue itself is. That is my own case. I share the poverty of my fellow countrymen in this respect….”—Socrates in the Meno (71a).​


    Plato’s dialogues can be read on multiple levels: the philosophical problems discussed; logical structure; dialogue storyline narrative; the characters and their interactions with other participants. One can read for Plato’s sarcastic humor, “But look, Meno, here’s a piece of luck. Anytus has just sat down beside us (90a),” or when Socrates complains of his bad memory (Meno, 70c, 76b) just before introducing his Theory of Recollection. And interestingly, another level of interpretation is Plato’s beliefs as compared to Socrates’ views on the theme of each dialogue. This is especially difficult since there are no surviving writings by Socrates except for student lecture notes; in addition, it is especially difficult when the dialogue such as the Meno ends in no firm conclusion about what virtue is. Socrates held to the theory knowledge as remembrance, but Plato later seems to give it up. All students should remember to take good notes!

    Ancient scholars have named the early Platonic dialogues as the Aporetic dialogues which include the following works: Apology, Critias, Euthydemus, Euthyphro, Gorgias, Laches, Lysis, Protagoras, and Meno. There is debate on some of the dialogue classifications as early. Macintyre for example places the Meno in the late period of authorship, while some others place it in the early late period. The Greek term “ἀπορίᾳ” when translated with reference to place means “difficulty of passing.” “πορίᾳ” without an alpha “ἀ” means a “pathway,” but combined with the letter “ἀ” a negative prefix (alpha privative) changes the meaning to “no pathway, or “no way out.” However, when applied to persons, aporia means “poverty,” and this is Socrates’ metaphor for the Athenians’ inability to define virtue (Meno, 71b). In the Meno, Plato makes use of a method of argument known as the “Elenchus,” or ἔλεγξις meaning, “refuting,’ or “reproving,” and is the Socratic method of deriving a contradiction by having the speaker go through cross-examination and argumentation to eventually agree with a conclusion that is directly opposite to their originally held beliefs. Socrates does this multiple times in discourse with Meno on virtue (73e, 78b, 80a).

    …Next, continuing first counter-argument: “Woke Socrates.”
     
  4. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    Woke Socrates


    “The unexamined life is not worth living.”-Socrates, Apology (38a)


    This section will summarize the Meno (pdf. with Stephanus pagination!) dialogue’s logical structure for later argument analysis.

    Meno begins asking if virtue can be taught (70a). Socrates in turn asks Meno to define virtue, but Meno instead gives a list of different kinds of virtues such as the good management of city affairs; to help his friends and harm their foes; a woman’s obedience and household management; and other virtues for children, old men, slaves, and freemen (71e). Notice Meno’s list of virtues is about conduct. Socrates objects to Meno’s attempt to simply list virtues, but instead he wants the essence, or universal property of virtue, and not individual virtues (72b). Socrates introduced the analogies of Bees (72b), shape (73e), and color (74d) in asking Meno to not describe what bees, shapes, and colors are in particular, but what is a bee in general, or what shape, or color are in themselves. Socrates is focused on finding a definition of virtue in ethical discourse.

    Search for Essences

    Within Husserlian phenomenology the method for defining an essence is called Eidetic Reduction where by a concept, or some experience, or a phenomenon is varied by observation, and imagination to derive its universal property, or essence in formulating a clear meaning. “Eidetic” is from Greek, εἶδος, (eidos), meaning “that which is seen, form, shape, or figure.” Socrates refers specifically to shape. Phenomenological reduction is the method where by the phenomenologist strips away, or omits all the accidental attributes of a phenomenon, and leaves only the necessary attributes known as its “essence.” Words are essences, and from them we formulate definitions. Phenomenology is the most extreme version of empiricism, but even with this radical empiricism notice that the “negative act” of “omission” of accidental attributes is an indispensable step for determining essence. (Philosophy of Symbolic Forms: Phenomenology of Knowledge, E. Cassirer, 1957, Vol. III, p.193)(pdf.).

    Socrates questions Meno for another definition that is singular and universal such as his friend Gorgias’ views on virtue (73d). One quality, according to Gorgias, is the ability to govern men. Socrates objects again arguing this definition should not apply to slaves, or a child so both agree to add “justice as a virtue.” Socrates gives further objections reminding Meno they are looking for the whole of virtue, and not parts of virtue (73e). Meno’s next attempt defines virtue as desiring fine things and being able to acquire them (77b). Socrates seizes on the term “desire.” Meno believes men do desire evil things (77c) even if it is evil, but then recants after Socrates convinces him that no person desires evil since it brings injury and unhappiness to themselves (78b); maybe not Socrates strongest argument. Socrates does not consider it to be virtuous if someone acquires good things unjustly; rather, justice, temperance, or piety, or some other attribute of virtue must be connected to acquisition if we are to consider it virtuous (78e). But again Socrates reminds Meno they want the whole of virtue, and agreed they cannot define it in terms of its parts! So they must go back to the beginning of their inquiry (79c).

    Geometry and Virtue

    At this point the discussion turns to Meno’s dilemma of how could someone recognize something unknown that is being sought after (80d). As a phenomenological experiment Socrates asks a slave a series of simple geometry questions to demonstrate innate, or a prior knowledge (82a-86a). Notice Socrates’ theory of innate knowledge is based on the subjective experience of calculative thinking in making an inference to a conclusion that is phenomenologically similar to the subjective experience of remembering. Later on we will see how the phenomenological method of description is important to G.E. Moore’s analysis of ethical discourse and is completely missed by his critics—including Wittgenstein. Socrates’ experiment is also making a comparison between answering geometric questions and seeking answers about virtue. Unlike the confused Meno and Anytus, the slave is much more successful answering Socrates’ geometry questions.

    Socrates will return to Meno’s dilemma later in the dialogue, but now he wants to explore the hypothesis of what attribute of the soul must exist if it can be taught (87b). Virtue is good and so it is also advantageous (87e) unlike the attributes of health, strength, good looks, or wealth that could do us harm if not used wisely. When guided by wisdom—not ignorance—the advantages of courage, temperance, wit, and memory will bring happiness (88c). Consequently, virtue must be some kind of knowing and not by some innate nature (89a). Socrates proposes a second hypothesis: if something were teachable, there would be teachers and students (89d). However, Socrates says he has not found any teachers of virtue (89d).

    A Bad Case of Homunculus Anytus-itis

    The financially bankrupted Anytus joins the discussion with Socrates and is asked if he found any teachers of virtue like, for example, the sophist (89e) to which Anytus strongly rejects declaring he would have nothing to do with such folks since any Athenian gentleman is a better man than any of them (91c). Anytus believed that a group of foreigners and other undesirables were under-minding the Athenian polis by questioning its tradition of virtue ethics, and Greek divinities (atheism). Socrates responds that one can be a good man and not a good teacher of virtue; take for example, the sons of some of the best men of Athens. If virtue could be taught, they would have passed it to their children. This comment angers Anytus thinking that Socrates is referring to him and his friends: "I think, Socrates, that you readily speak ill of men. I would advise you, if you are willing to listen to me, to be discreet. As is probably the case in other cities, it is easier to do men harm than good, and certainly in this one. But I think you already know that (94e)." Socrates continues his argument: if there are no teachers, there can be no students (96b).

    Socratic Aporia

    Socrates now answers Meno’s dilemma of trying to identify something, such as virtue, that seems to have no agreed definition. Socrates claims knowledge for the purpose of acting rightly is not the only source of virtue; true opinion could also lead to virtue just as a person who never traveled the road to Larissa could guide others just as well an experienced guide with knowledge. Meno counters that true opinion is not certain for making judgments. Socrates responds that true opinion must be “tied down” by reason to determine if an opinion is true. In this particular dialogue knowledge is a justified true belief that separates it from true opinion, and that an inexperienced traveler “…will be just as good a guide, believing in the truth but not knowing it (97b).” Both knowledge and true opinion are acquired by experience, but not given by nature (98d). This is Socrates’ answer to Meno’s paradox: investigation, and reason can identify the unknown. Socrates is asked again if virtue is a matter of teaching, but argues against his own hypothesis (Virtue is knowledge) by proposing if virtue was a matter of teaching, it would also have to be knowledge, and then there would be teachers of virtue. However, there are no teachers of virtue. Therefore, it is not the case virtue is a matter of teaching and that it is knowledge so they can no longer believe virtue is a kind of knowledge (99b). And yet, there are wise leaders of the city not because of their knowledge, but from divine inspiration like that granted to the Greek poets and oracles. But, we still do not know what virtue really is in itself–in essence (100b).

    ...next, The Logic of Meno
     
  5. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    The Logic of Meno


    A four legged cow is a cow”—Bertand Russell


    I want to use the same logical symbolism introduced in the essay, “Bertrand Russell's Critique of Fregean Logico-Mathematical Objects,” to examine the difficulties of defining the concept of virtue exemplified in the Meno dialogue. The logician I.M. Copi worked out in his textbook, “Symbolic Logic: Fourth edition” (1973), p. 150, the symbolic conventions for representing attributes of a thing, and the attributes of attributes.

    Let the attributes of a thing be symbolized as F

    An attribute of individual things =F
    Some
    Attributes = (∃F)
    All
    attributes = (F)

    The essay on mathematical objects logically demonstrates how attributes of attributes must be separated (Ramified Type Theory) from attributes (x is truthful) and attributes of attributes (truthfulness is a virtue); otherwise, the symbolism becomes contradictory (Russell’s Paradox). “Ramified” is from Latin that means “branches,” or in this case branches of multi-purpose meanings of the word “virtue” as defined by Meno. I learned from Macintyre himself that “there is no single, central, core conception of the virtues (AV., p. 186, 187)”; also, there is a “problem of multiple sets of virtues: "set of virtues: friendship, courage, self-restraint, wisdom, justice (AV., p. 134).” For example, there are the four cardinal virtues of justice, prudence, temperance, and courage (AV., p. 167). There are also theological virtues such as faith, hope, and charity (AV., p. 168 ). This is known as “the problem of the unity of virtues…(AV., p. 179).” When asked what virtue is Meno gives an entire list of core virtues (72b). Socrates did not want properties of virtue (shapes of virtue), but rather a definition of virtue itself (What is shape itself?).

    If we mix attributes with “attributes of attributes,” we commit The fallacy of Μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος, or “switching to a different genus” there is a danger of deriving a contradiction since “Where the meta-base is not explicitly made as an analogy, it leads to a sudden leap in a line of argument or argument in which one incorrectly no longer treats the original object of the argument but a completely different one.”

    And so we must add another rule: attribute of attributes is symbolized in boldface italic capital letters ‘A’,’B’. ‘C’,….’Z’

    Now our logical symbolism enables us to state the following atomic propositions, and many more in principle, without contradiction.

    Ux : x is Unpunctual
    Tx
    : x is Truthful
    VF: F is a Virtue
    FF : F is a Fault
    GF: F is Good
    FU :Unpunctuality is a Fault
    UF: F is Useful
    DF: F is Desirable
    VT :Truthfulness is a Virtue
    VC: Courage is a Virtue

    We must keep in mind the distinction between goods things and good conduct, and whether they share the same most universal properties that can be found in any particular instance of virtue; but we must define virtue first in order to do any systematic categorization.

    Moore would say that virtue is a “simple” notion that cannot be defined; we can define complex notions since they can be described by listing its properties; a horse for example, until the parts can no longer be defined. By “undefined” he means, “there is nothing whatsoever which we could so substitute for good; and that is what I mean, when I say that good is indefinable (“Principia Ethica” (1903)(pdf.) para. 8 ).”

    Examples of propositions in symbolic form:

    (F)(UF DF)
    (All useful attributes are desirable.)


    (∃F)(DF⊃ ~UF)
    (Some desirable attributes are not useful.)

    …or more complex compound propositions:

    (x){[Mx * (F)(VF Fx)] ⊃ Vx} * (∃x)[(Mx *Vx) * (∃F)(VF *~Fx)]
    (A man who possesses all virtues is a virtuous man, but there are virtuous men who do not possess all virtue.)​

    Definitions:
    Vx: x is virtuous
    Mx: x is a man
    (F): For all attributes
    VF: F is a virtue
    (∃F): For at least one attribute
    (∃x): For at least one x
    (x): For all x
    ⊃ : If, then conditional statement
    * : and
    ~ : negation

    Socrates argues that if virtue was a matter of teaching, it would also have to be knowledge, and then there would be teachers of virtue. However, there are no teachers of virtue. Therefore, it is not the case virtue is a matter of teaching and that it is knowledge so they can no longer believe virtue is a kind of knowledge (99b).

    Socrates’ argument in symbolic form:

    1.) (x){[(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx] ⊃ (∃y)(Hy)}
    For any x, if all virtue is teachable, then virtue is knowledge; then there is at least one teacher of virtue.

    2.) (y)~(Hy)
    There are no teachers of virtue.
    ___________________________________________
    3.) ~ [(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx]
    Therefore, virtue is not teachable, nor is it knowledge.


    Formal Proof is the following:


    1) (x){[(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx] ⊃ (∃y)(Hy)}

    2) (y)~(Hy) /:: (x) ~[(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx]
    ________________________________________________
    3) [(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx] ⊃ (∃y)(Hy) ..........1, Universal Instantiation

    4) ~(∃y)(Hy) ......................................2, Equivalence

    5) ~ [(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx] .........................3, 4, Modus Tollens

    6) (x) ~[(Vx * Tx) ⊃ Kx]......................5, Universal Generalization


    Variable Definitions and Rules:
    V = virtue
    T = virtue is teachable
    K = knowledge
    H = teachers of virtue
    /:: = therefore
    ≡ = Equivalent truth value

    Quantification operators:
    (x)Φx ≡ Everything is
    ~(x)Φx ≡ Nothing is
    (∃x)Φx ≡ Something is
    ~(∃x)Φx ≡ Something is not

    Equivalence of quantification operators with negation symbol:
    (x)Φx ≡ ~(∃x)~Φx
    (∃x)Φx ≡ ~(x)~Φx
    (x)~Φx ≡ ~(∃x)Φx
    (∃x)~Φ ≡ ~(x)Φx

    I am always looking for tautologies such as “A one legged cow is a cow.” Let’s symbolize “A

    Good Swiss watch,” as (G * W), or expressed in predicate logic as:

    GW ≡ (∃x)(Gx * Wx)
    (Some good Swiss watch)


    1) (∃x)(Gx * Wx)

    2) Gy * Wy .....1, Existential Instantiation: “y” is unknown, or ambiguous name.

    3) Gy ..............2, Simplification

    /:: (∃x)(Gx) ......3, Existential Generalization

    In other words,

    (G * W) ⊃ G
    ( If G and W; then, G)

    …. which is a tautology that can be repeated tirelessly with other attributes D, E, F, G, ect….(“A one legged cow is a cow; a two legged…ect.).” This is why Socrates asked Meno for the whole of virtue, and not the parts. Is the following passage using the term “good” tautologically?

    ...we define both 'watch' and 'farmer' in terms of the purpose or function which a watch or a farmer are characteristically expected to serve. It follows that the concept of a watch cannot be defined independently of the concept of a good watch nor the concept of a farmer independently of that of a good farmer; and that the criterion of something's being a watch and the criterion of something's being a good watch-and so also for 'farmer' and for all other functional concepts-are not independent of each other (AV., p. 58 )."

    The value of logic is not just that proofs can be derived and demonstrated, but merely attempting to translate an argument from ordinary language into symbolic form discloses problems of meaning that result in many arguments failing this first step of analysis. So far our examination of virtue has identified at least three problems:
    1. We must distinguish between attributes and the more abstract attributes of attributes otherwise a contradiction will result.
    2. There are multiple sets of core virtues and relationships between virtue and attributes such as goodness (VG), justice(VJ), faith (VA), and friendship(VR); nor is it clear if the relations are ones of causal entailment, tautological stipulation, contingent accident, or logically necessary.
    3. We still do not know what virtue (V) is in itself.

    ...Next:
    Reducto-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity that Socrates is “postmodern.”
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  6. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reducto-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”



    Reducto-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity that Socrates is “postmodern.”


    “Deprived of that context and of that justification, as a result of disruptive and transform native social and moral changes in the late middle ages and the early modern world, moral rules and precepts had to be understood in a new way and assigned some new status, authority, and justification (AV., p. IX)(bold my emphasis)."—Alasdair Macintyre

    A key thesis of After-Virtue claims that postmodernism is a “new” phenomenon,“…a new dark ages which are already upon us (AV., p. 263)”; a “new morality (Ibid., p. 22, 205)”; relatively new the notion was in the culture of the Enlightenment (Ibid., p. 26, 38 )";… “Enlightenment project of discovering new rational secular foundations for morality…(Ibid., p. 117)”; "...that rejection the concepts both of value and of fact acquired a new character (Ibid., p. 77). Presenting modern philosophical dilemmas in ethics and epistemology as a “new” modern malaise obscures the fact that postmodernism is really the unresolved philosophical questions of the ancient world. Macintyre argues that modernism has attacked the premodern Aristotelian philosophy in a conspiracy to promote the aporetic belief that controversies in politics and morals are relativistic and unsettleable (Ibid., p. 6, 8, 26, 118, 227, 252). Interestingly, Macintyre does say “something like” Aristotelian philosophy could overcome modern ethical relativism (Ibid., p. 118 ). We might be surprised what that “something” could be. Seemingly forgetful of his earlier criticism of analytic empiricism’s new focus on ethical language, Macintyre acknowledges Plato addressing the incoherence of “evaluative language” of ancient Athens (Ibid., p. 131), but does not mention the Meno dialogue in After-Virtue, and only in passing in “Whose Justice? Which Rationality?” And yet he wrote this same kind of logical analysis as a moral disorder, ”…we simultaneously and inconsistently treat moral argument as an exercise of our rational powers and as mere expressive assertion-are symptoms of moral disorder…( Ibid., p. 11).” The first half of After Virtue presents the loss of telos as something new (Ibid., p. 62, 148 ), but then later argues the lose of telos in Stoicism anticipated modernity (Ibid., p. 169). Socrates’ method is described in passing as “…those who unreflectively rely on ordinary usage, on what they have been taught, will all too easily find themselves trapped in inconsistency in just the way that Socrates' partners in dialogue so often are (Ibid., p. 134),” but does not further address the aporetic character of the Socratic dialogues, and in fact shuns all aporia.

    The meaning of postmodernism is sort of a null bit-bucket that one can toss the philosophies of ethical relativism (Ibid., p. xii), ethical skepticism, epistemological relativism, Bloomsbury aesthetes, and nihilism (Ibid., p. 15, 72). Socrates’ skepticism is enough to label him “postmodern” by the philosophical criteria of After Virtue that renders “postmodernism” an ambiguous useless term when considering Socrates was a premodern philosopher.

    The direct proof of invalidity by Reductio ad absurdum works by deriving a contradiction from the examined argument’s own premises thereby showing the conclusion to be impossible—and is therefore invalid (inconsistent). Direct proof is the method that will be applied to the argument that Socrates is a postmodern philosopher according to the criteria found in After Virtue.

    *The indirect proof of validity works by assuming the negation of the conclusion of a proposed valid argument to derive a contradiction to show the negation of the argument’s valid conclusion is absurd—and is therefore valid (consistent). This method will not be used in the argument below.

    Definitions:
    E= Ethical Skepticism
    M= Modern philosophy
    ~M= Postmodern philosophy
    S= Socrates
    P=Premodern Philosopher
    ⊃ : If, then conditional statement
    * : and
    ~ : negation

    1.) Ethical skepticism (E) is a postmodernist (~M) philosophy.
    2.) Socrates (S) is an Ethical skeptic (E)_
    3.) Therefore, Socrates is a postmodernist (~M) philosopher. (1,2, Hypothetical Syllogism)

    The Platonic Socrates is a premodern (P) philosopher (470-399 B.C). The Platonic Socrates represents in the Meno ethical skepticism regarding the questions of virtue. Ethical skepticism, relativism, and nihilism have been represented all through history and are not unique to premodern, modern, or the so-called postmodern eras. The Platonic Socrates discussed the very same “pre-modern concept of the virtues (Ibid., p. 205)” that Macintyre is preoccupied.

    4.) Socrates is not a postmodern philosopher (~M).
    5.) Socrates is a premodern philosopher (P).
    6.) Pre-modern philosophy is not postmodernism (~M).

    Summary of premises in sentential logical form:
    1.) E ⊃ ~M
    2.) S ⊃ E
    3.) (S ⊃ ~M)
    4.) ~(S ⊃ ~M)
    5.) S ⊃ P
    6.) ~(P ⊃ ~M)

    7.) Socrates is a postmodern philosopher (~M) and not the case Socrates is a postmodern philosopher (~M). (3,4, Conjunction)

    REDUCTION AD ABSURDUM: If we accept premises 1 thru 4, then we derived the contradiction in proposition 7 as proof of invalidity.

    7.) (S ⊃ ~M) * ~(S ⊃ ~M) (3,4, Conjunction)



    Ockham’s Razor Shaves All Those Philosophers Who Cannot Shave Themselves.

    {(∃x)[Ox * (y)(Py ⊃ Sxy)] * ~Syy}​

    However, Socrates is not the only philosopher doing his part to undermine Western Civilization; later in history others appeared as biting gadflies against the opinions of the crowd; take for example, the French scholastic theologian, logician, Peter Abelard (1079 –142 A.D.); Scottish Catholic Franciscan priest, friar, professor theology Duns Scotus (1265/66 –1308 ), and English Franciscan friar, theologian William of Ockham (1285-1347 A.D.).

    Peter Abelard was a skillful logician born during the era of Middle Platonism (90 B.C- 300 AD.), and is known as the “Descartes of the 12th century” for his attack on Platonic realism that is the belief universal concepts (words) are actual real things which all existing entities participate. Abelard fiercely opposed this synthesis of Christianity and Platonism by applying his ontological doctrine known as “nominalism,” or “conceptualism” that argues a universal is merely a name (nomen), and not a thing, or object existing objectively in another transcendent world, and to believe so is to erroneously reify abstract concepts; an inherent tendency of language. Abelard’s critique of reification had little impact at the time, but he still was able to found the first secular university system. He also formulated the legal concept of intent as an element of a criminal act.

    Then again in the 14th century the Franciscan scholar Dun Scotus presented the ontological concept of “univocity of being” which holds being (or beingness) is the property of all real things so that to say “X is a real thing” has one stable meaning so that words describing the properties of God mean the same thing as when they apply to people or things.” Unfortunately, this doctrine conflicted with the theological belief that God created all things so now God becomes a being among created beings. According to professor of philosophy and theology, Paul Tyson, author of, “Retuning to Reality,” Cascade Books, (2014), p. 67, Scotus was attempting to create an absolute divide between an infinite God, and finite being to retain God’s absolute transcendence. Tyson traces this evolution of nominalism in the Middle Ages to its dominance in the Enlightenment.

    And yet again the nominalist philosopher Williams of Ockham revisited the problem of universals in the High Middle Ages. Ockham’s metaphysical nominalism involved him in a life and death struggle with Pope John XXII that resulted in him calling the Pope a heretic. Nominalism argues that only individual things exist in reality resulting in an ontological dichotomy of the natural sinful world, and a super-natural transcendent other world. This bi-level ontology creates a separation between the secular world and the sacred (Ibid., p. 54, 74, 141). Tyson notes that this disjointed reality breaks the participatory link between God and all particular created entities--and this happened even before Descartes, Bacon, and Galileo (Ibid., p. 141). Hegel identified this bifocal worldview as displaying a pattern of consciousness formed by two disconnected perceived realities as the “unhappy consciousness (Phenomenology of Spirit, para.197)(pdf.).”

    The critics of postmodernism are trying to distort history giving the false impression that the conflicts between nominalism, relativism, modernism, and Christian theology are somehow wholly unique and new today.

    …next:
    After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  7. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reducto-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethcial Emotivism



    After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism


    After Virtue begins with a phalanx of arguments against the malaise of modernism and in particular against the poor British philosopher, G.E. Moore; and I say poor because the utilitarian was portrayed as a hedonistic aesthete that exposed Western Civilization to the ethics of “it’s all good” Emotivism. Moore rejects idealism whether British Hegelianism, Transcendental Kantianism, or German Continental philosophy. Emotivism is the metaethical theory that asserts statements of right and wrong are expressions of approval, or disapproval. I will use the terms statements, sentences, assertions, and propositions interchangeably unless otherwise noted for detailed analysis. Oxford philosophical logician, W.E. Johnson defined twenty distinct meanings of “proposition.” Even some knowledgeable students of British analytic empiricism would find it difficult to climb this first obstacle while other readers are shepherded through the book as it progresses from the critique of Emotivism (AV, p. 14), then links to R.M. Hare (Ibid, p. 20, 26, 113), bumps into Sartre (Ibid, p. 26), then to the totalitarian social manipulation dealer, Max Weber (Ibid, p. 23-24). It’s your brain on Emotivism. Any systematic philosophy whatsoever can be corrupted and used to manipulate others, which is why we should always ask Moore’s open question, “…but is it good?

    The reader would be in much better shape knowing in advance the distinctions between normative ethical propositions (what ought to be done), and metaethical propositions (what is); the various relations of entailment between metaethical theories and normative rules of right and wrong; familiarity with the Humean “no ought from is” (NOFI) problem; the difference between cognitivist and noncognitivist schools of thought; and the methodologies employed by Moore in his famous (or infamous) work, “Principia Ethica (1930).” I want to discuss these and other such topics to show that metaethical Emotivism is not based on some arbitrarily conclusion, but arrived at by force of rational analysis.

    Scottish philosopher, David Hume, famously argued that no normative ought statement can be derived from an empirical statement; in other words, values cannot be derived from facts. Evaluative moral statements cannot be inferred from factual statements alone. A metaethical statement of the socio-psychological fact that “Humans are empathetic,” to the moral statement “One should be empathetic of others” cannot be logically based on empirical factual statements describing human behavior. Ought statements are modal assertions of possible worlds or situations, whereas factual (synthetic) statements are indicative describing some actual state of affairs.

    Entailment of Metaethical and Normative Theses

    Philosopher Dr. Kai Nielsen (University North Carolina) has studied the relationship between normative and metaethical theses and found that some metaethical statements are neutral to normative claims while some others are not neutral (Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Collier Macmillan (1972), Vol. 3, p. 120).

    Take propositions (q) and (p) for example: simple entailment means if (p) is true, then (q) is true, and if (q) is false, (p) is false.

    However, if (p) is presupposed by (q) the relation of entailment is different as in the example below:

    (q) The professor’s students are Irish
    (p) The professor has students

    If (p) is false (the professor has no students), then (q) (students are Irish) and not-q (students are not Irish) are void since there are no students.

    However, there is an example of (q) being false without (p) being false:

    (q) The professor’s students are Irish
    (p) The professor has students

    If it is false that (q) the professor’s students are Irish, it does not follow that (p) the professor has no students. In this case (q) is false, but (p) can still be true (the students could be Canadian). The statement (q) in this case is neutral in relation to (p).

    Now let’s look at the same pattern with metaethical theses statements:

    Likewise, some metaethical propositions do not presuppose a normative rule. Let (q) represent a metaethical thesis, and (p) a normative rule.

    (q) Ethical statements can be true or false (Cognitivist thesis)
    (p) Vegetarianism is good (normative statement)

    If (q) is false, then (p) is void. The normative statement (p) cannot be true if the metaethical thesis statement (q) is false. The relation in this case is not neutral.

    However, in the case of Emotivism that asserts ethical statements only imply, or display an expressive-aesthetic attitude toward ethical norms, the entailment relation does not hold in the converse:

    (q) Ethical statements are expressions of emotion (Emotivism)
    (p) Vegetarianism is good

    If (p) is false, then (q) is neutral: (q) does not presuppose any normative ethical rule. For Moore, the role of the philosopher is to determine the metaethical is, and not be a moral counselor of oughts. Metaethics is helpful in clarifying and understanding normative statements. This complex issue of entailment relationship will come up again when we examine the theses of realist and anti-realist paradigms.

    The “Good” Captain

    Macintyre completely rejects the is/ought dichotomy and presents an argument from logician A.N. Prior to defend this position (AV. p. 148 ). However, After Virtue’s summary description of the is/ought division is excellent:

    "Some later moral philosophers have gone so far as to describe the thesis that from a set of factual premises no moral conclusion validly follows as 'a truth of logic', understanding it as derivable from a more general principle which some medieval logicians formulated as the claim that in a valid argument nothing can appear in the conclusion which was not already in the premises (AV. p. 56-57)."

    In other words--the NOFI thesis known as Hume’s Law--states values cannot be derived from facts. Within deductive logical one cannot validly infer a conclusion containing moral claims from non-moral premises. In opposition to Hume’s Law, Macintyre wants to show A.N. Prior’s counter-example wherein a value statement can be derived from a factual premise containing no value statements:

    1. 'He is a sea-captain' (Is)
    2. Therefore: “He ought to do whatever a sea-captain ought to do.”

    Unfortunately, A.N. Prior’s counter-argument is deeply flawed and has instead committed the "One word, one meaning fallacy (Copleston, vol. 8, pt. II, p. 178 )(pdf. of Copleston’s complete History of Philosophy, 1 thru 8 volumes).” If the term “captain” is referenced in a Thesaurus, a number of synonyms appear such as “commander,” “officer,” and “boss” that by definition mean the sea-captain has authority and a duty (δέον, deon as in ethical deon-tology). Prior’s syllogism already has embedded in the premise a copula linking “captain, to “duty.” Dr. Prior merely deduced a moral conclusion from a disguised moral premise—an overlooked tautology. One cannot derive normative conclusions (ought) from non-normative premises (descriptions).

    Moore believes any inquiry into a definition of goodness must distinguish between good conduct, and good things for if we only are searching for what property makes for good conduct, then we may mistake it for some property not shared with other good things; otherwise, any analysis falls into confusion (Ethica, para. 1, 6). Macintyre does not seem to be impressed with Moore’s efforts writing, “Moore's arguments at times are “…obviously defective-he tries to show that 'good' is indefinable, for example, by relying on a bad dictionary definition of 'definition' –and a great deal is asserted rather than argued (AV. p. 16).” Macintyre opposes Hume and Moore’s NOFI position in order to preserve his belief in naturalism that postulates ethical judgments and values are properties which can be derived from facts about the world. One can get a better understanding of these various metaethical paradigms if we group them into generalized schools of thought of which there are many significant, but subtle variations.

    …next:
    Metaethical Paradigms​
     
  8. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reductio-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
    # Post 183: Metaethical Paradigms



    Metaethical Paradigms

    “6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is and happens as it does happen. In it there is no value—and if there were, it would be of no value.”Tractatus (pdf.)



    Naturalism is a metaethical theory asserting that ethical propositions are either objectively true or false in referencing the world independent of thought while rejecting Hume’s Law that absolutely separates fact from values. However, ethical properties are definable and can be reduced to non-ethical properties as with hedonism which reduces goodness to pleasure. According Dr. Richard B. Brandt, some forms of naturalism are very similar to emotive theory (Encycl. Vol. 2, p. 486). Since naturalism can reduce moral properties to non-moral attributes the study of ethics can be an empirical naturalistic science.

    For nonnaturalistsgood” is an indefinable, simple, and unanalyzable primitive term (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 100). Moore argues that good is a nonnatural indefinable property and can only be known directly such as a color can be experienced directly, but yet impossible to describe to a person that has never seen color. Nonnaturalism is a reaction to the aporias of naturalism. I believe that on this issue Wittgenstein concluded good is a nonnatural property by his famous quote in the Tractatus, “6.522 There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical.” Bertrand Russell wrote: “The whole subject of ethics, for example, is placed by Mr. Wittgenstein in the mystical, inexpressible region (Tractatus, p. 18 ).”

    The nonnaturalist believes that naturalists are confusing good things with the analytic tautological meaning of good which Moore named “The Naturalistic Fallacy.” This fallacy originates from reading the “is” of attribution (adjectively) as an “is” of identity (substantively). For example, if pleasure “is” good, then good is identical to pleasure. If we equate the meaning of “good” with some determinate characteristic, we make it impossible to discuss whether that characteristic is good. If these things, objects, or attributes are what “good” means, then there is no point in asking whether they are good! Philosopher Nicolai Hartmann wrote,“ ‘beauty’ is to ‘value’ as ‘red’ is to ‘colored’ (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 101).” Moore’s nonnaturalism is still debated today. Surprisingly, it is other nonnaturalists like A.N. Prior that MacIntyre appealed to for his counter-argument against Emotivism. A.N. Prior believes that the naturalistic fallacy is merely a “definist fallacy” not particular to nonnaturalism so they are not logically excluded from arguing that moral terms can be defined in non-moral terms (Ibid., p. 101). But Socrates would still ask, “Why can you only describe to me the parts of virtue, and not what virtue is as a whole?” And Moore would ask if virtue could be reduced to some non-moral property ‘x,’ the question still legitimately remains to be asked, “…but is it virtuous?”

    Moral cognitivism puts forth the thesis mortal statements are bivalent meaning they can be either true or false, and is a response to another group of philosophers who are noncognitivists holding the opposite position that moral statements are not factual propositions so bivalence (truth or falsity) does not apply. Noncognitivists vary in their theories of the speaker’s state of mind, beliefs, and attitudes. The emotivist, as we discussed, claim moral statements are expressions of approval and disapproval; or of a prescription for behavior; or of acceptance of behavioral norms of conduct so in this limited sense moral statements are meaningful yet not bivalent.

    Other metaethicists adhere to a more severe version of noncognitivist emotivism named the “Error Theory” of moral statements claiming that as linguistic entities they are neither true nor false just as the linguistic moods of wish (optative), hypothetical (subjunctive), or question (interrogative), or the command “Open the door!” (imperative) are not bound by truth-conditional semantics. Ethicist Dr. Kai Nielson writes of the error theory thesis:

    “…there are some metaethicists who claim that there are objective moral judgments and yet deny that moral judgments…can properly be called true or false. They recognize that moral judgments do not have the kind of necessary truth characteristic of mathematics, and they argue with considerable plausibility that moral statements are not true or false—there are no ethical characteristics, rightness and wrongness, goodness and badness, that are either directly or indirectly observable….’truth’ and ‘falsity’ are not correctly applicable to moral judgments (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 126).”

    After-Virtue argues, “… the possibility of such rational justification is no longer available. And this is what emotivism denies (AV., p. 19).” However, MacIntyre makes no real effort to distinguish between metaethical philosophers, and fails to see “There are many possible routes to a moral error theory, and one mustn't assume that the metaethical position is refuted if one argumentative strategy in its favor falters (SEP: Moral Antirealism).”

    Assigning the adjectives of rightness or wrongness to a noun are pseudo-predicates denoting no actual properties and fail as synthetic propositions. However, the moral error theorists are not necessarily eliminativist of moral language, but view “ought” statements as ultimately non-moral. Moral error theorists are epistemic agnostics and still engage with normative language, but remain ethical skeptics. Analytic language philosophers study…language; and as Wittgenstein wrote, “5.6 The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” The logical positivist, A.J. Ayer, is credited for this strict error theory version of emotivism, but it was actually suggested to him by philosopher Austin Duncan-Jones that Ayer had forgotten to give credit while “Stephen Satris (1987) tracks the Continental origins of emotivism back to the work of Hermann Lotze in the 19th Century (SEP).”

    Non-objectivism is, I think, the most interesting metaethical theory, and closest to Wittgenstein’s view on metaethics. Also, non-objectivism exemplifies the same complex entailment relationships between metaethics and normative ethics that was discussed earlier. Non-objectivism is defined as “…moral facts are mind-dependent; here I shall use the term “non-objectivism.” Thus, “moral non-objectivism” denotes the view that moral facts exist and are mind-dependent (Ibid., section 5).” The question, “What does ‘mind-dependent’ mean?” will be discussed examining epistemological realism and anti-realism, which have their own entailment relations.

    I believe Wittgenstein’s aphorisms are the result of his summary thoughts on the aporetic character of language itself which we can rediscover in the Tractatus: “This book will perhaps only be understood by those who have themselves already thought the thoughts which are expressed in it—or similar thoughts…(Ibid., p. 23).” Wittgenstein would likely say virtue is not an object, or thing: “4.121 That which expresses itself in language, we cannot express by language.” And in another comment, “4.1212 What can be shown cannot be said.” Plato’s aporetic dialogues suggest that "good" cannot be defined algorithmically (Socrates’ geometry lesson): virtue can only be shown. For Wittgenstein, virtue--as a linguistic entity--is not “a thing of this world.” We will discuss further Wittgenstein’s own thoughts on aporia while considering epistemological Realism and Anti-Realism in the second objection to After Virtue.

    …next:
    MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  9. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reductio-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
    # Post 183: Metaethical Paradigms
    # Post 184: MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness



    MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness


    …which boils down to ad hominem arguments against Moore and his alias “emotivism.” MacIntyre intended on taking on the voice of Keynes to describe Moore and his Bloomsbury friends when he wrote, “...these people take themselves to be identifying the presence of a nonnatural property, which they call 'good'; but there is in fact no such property and they are doing no more and no other than expressing their feelings and attitudes, disguising the expression of preference and whim by an interpretation of their own utterance and behavior which confers upon it an objectivity that it does not in fact possess (AV. p.17)." However, MacIntyre unconsciously is speaking through the voice of Anytus revealing another bad case of Anytus-itis. Bloomsbury writer Dorothy Parker is quoted saying of the group, "they lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles." So clearly Moore is corrupting the youth! MacIntyre indignantly reports on Bloomsbury’s “private preferences” as noncognitivist, aesthetes, and nonnatural that is pretty much correct (Ibid., p. 107). According to After Virtue Moore is giving permission for ethical relativism and sexual anarchy, which we only just now entered this century. “It is that the group who were to become Bloomsbury had already accepted the values of Moore's sixth chapter [of Principia Ethica]” (Ibid., p. 15, 16, 18 ).”

    After Virtue leaps to Rudolf Carnap’s theory of emotivism making no distinctions between Moore, Charles Stevenson, and Ayer’s differing versions. Carnap and Ayer’s versions of noncognitivism were “atypical” according to Dr. Kai Nielsen. Any school, or schools of philosophy can be made into a straw man for easy criticism by interpreting them as hyper-reductionist. In fact, MacIntyre’s account of noncognitivism is historically incomplete. Emotive theory was first presented by Swedish philosopher Axel Hagerstrom in 1917, then later Scandinavian Ingmar Hedenius, and Alf Ross. In the English speaking world I.A. Richards and Bertrand Russell presented emotivism that was further developed by Ayer and Stevenson (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 106). They have all been thrown by MacIntyre into the postmodern theory “Boo bucket.”

    And yet MacIntyre is patient with Callicles of Plato’s dialogue Gorgias for “a systematic statement of his standpoint whatever the deductive consequences and whatever the degree of the breach with ordinary moral usage (AV, p. 140).” Although Moore was not a logical positivist, analytic and ordinary language philosophy developed from his work. According to the history of philosophy historian, Frederick Copleston S.J., “… Moore is concerned with phenomenological rather than a linguistic analysis (Copleston, Vol. 8, part II, p. 409, 415).” In fact, Moore did not have a single methodology, “Moore was not a systematic philosopher… Moore's ‘common sense’ is not a system. Even in ethics, where he comes closest to presenting a ‘theory’ he explicitly disavows any aspiration to provide a systematic account of the good. Hence, as the preceding discussions show, Moore's legacy is primarily a collection of arguments, puzzles and challenges (SEP: MacIntyre).” MacIntyre is so understanding of "Aristotle takes himself not to be inventing an account of the virtues, but to be articulating an account that is implicit in the thought, utterance and action of an educated Athenian (AV. p. 147),” but isn’t this what Moore and his colleagues were doing in trying to develop a “…primary, if incomplete, definition is crucial to the whole enterprise of identifying a core concept of the virtues (Ibid., p. 187)?" Then, within a few pages MacIntyre’s own arguments against analytic philosophy applies the same approach as Moore to define virtue while speaking of “practices” of virtue (Ibid., p. 209)." Dr. Nielsen wrote, “Morality necessarily involves a cluster of practices (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 131)”—bring us back to Wittgenstein whose favorite quote from the poet Goethe is, “In the beginning was the act.”

    “Emotivism is the doctrine that all evaluative judgments and more specifically all moral judgments are nothing but expressions of preference, expressions of attitude or feeling, insofar as they are moral or evaluative in character.”—“After Virtue,” p. 11.​

    The emotivists were able to show the various modes of ethical discourse as expression of feelings, imperatives, persuasion, judging, and prescriptions while showing the aporetic question-begging character of understanding rule-governed conduct (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 130). Unfortunately, After Virtue commits the fallacy of one word, one meaning when appealing to Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism by equivocating on the words “feeling,” “pain,” and “sensation” with the implicit tri-partite assumption that thought and emotion are inherently oppositional (AV. p. 62). Hegel made the same criticism of Schleiermacher’s definition of religion as the feeling for the infinite by confusing--maybe deliberately--the difference between “feeling,” and “sensation,” not recognizing that feeling and thought are both present in emotion.

    “One of the principal objections adduced by Hegel against Schleiermacher's doctrine of immediate self-consciousness and one that has frequently since been made is that feeling is the lowest grade in the intellectual process, and is not even distinctly human, being also possessed by the brutes as the sense-form of their consciousness. This objection, is itself psychologically false, fails to apprehend Schleiermacher's view, and confounds his representation of sensation with that of feeling. Sensation, it is true, needs to be supplemented by perception and thought: for it is the non-existence, or rather the prophecy of these. It is not so with feeling (Schleiermacher: Personal and Speculative, Robert Munro, Pub. Paisley, Alexander Gardner, 1903, p.200) (pdf.).”

    After-Virtue attacks the emotive theories of Moore, C.L. Stevenson, A. J. Ayers, R.M. Hare, and F.P. Ramsey by blaming them for the aporetic nature of virtue (AV. p. 17, 206). Even if each of these emotivists is in error, Dr. William P. Alston, University of Chicago notes that “emotive theory has many forms, no one difficulty is likely to be serious for all possible types (Encycl. Vol. 2, p. 496).” In other words, MacIntyre commits the fallacy of composition: a particular emotivist thesis may be in partial error, but the whole can still be correct.
     
  10. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reductio-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
    # Post 183: Metaethical Paradigms
    # Post 184: MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness
    # Post 185: Anytus Cancel-Culture


    Anytus Cancel-Culture

    After Virtue is explicitly arguing that emotivist noncognitivism is undermining all normative ethics by reducing moral statements to caprice; consequently, Moore’s Bloomsbury aestheticism is immoral: “…Moore's disciples advanced their private preferences under the cover of identifying the presence or absence of a non-rational property of goodness, a property which was in fact a fiction…(AV. p. 33, 107)." First, Moore is in fact a cognitivist, nonnaturalist, but his case against naturalism drew other philosophers to noncognitivism (Wiki: emotivism), and (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 100). Secondly, the criticism of Moore’s ethical character confuses metaethics with normative ethics: “…any form of noncognitivism would in effect undermine the objectivity of moral judgments…to take the remark in this way is to confuse metaethical claims with normative ethical ones (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 130).

    So let’s look at the positive characteristics not of Moore, but of Ludwig Wittgenstein who ranks with the terrible nonnaturalistic, noncognitivist, non-objectivist ethicists. Wittgenstein was closest to John Maynard Keynes, but was not an enthusiastic member of the Bloomsbury literary circle. Instead, he attended few of the Society’s meetings; he was not a native speaker of English, and had an ascetic personality detesting small talk at social gatherings (Ray Monk, “Wittgenstein: Duty of Genius,” (1990) Free Press, p. 256). Wittgenstein came from an immensely wealthy family; his father was an Austria-Hungarian steel magnate who in 1913 left his fortune to his son Ludwig who shocked his banker and family by giving his fortune away to artists, and poets. When the Nazis invaded Austria-Hungary they seized the Wittgenstein family estate fortune that only had seven tons of gold remaining. Wittgenstein read Leo Tolstoy’s “The Gospel in Brief” which had a profound influence on his life and became a devoted Christian mystic (B. McGuinness, “Wittgenstein: A Life,”(1988 ), Univ. Cal. Press, p. 220). In 1913 Wittgenstein joined with Keynes to secretly funnel donated money through King’s College to increase the yearly stipend for the once famous logician W.E. Johnson living in near poverty (Ibid., 99).

    During World War I in 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungry. Wittgenstein volunteered for the most dangerous job as an assisting enemy artillery position spotter. His job was to shine a spotlight on enemy artillery positions causing retaliating counter-artillery fire. The Austrian military lost some 100,000 men in battle (Ibid., p. 263). Wittgenstein was awarded at least three war metals: the Silver Medal of Valour, a Bronze Metal, and the Band of the Military Service Medal with Swords (Ibid., p 242, 258, 263). After the Italians defeated the Austrian army at Vittorio Veneto, Italy, ranked Austrian officers fled abandoning their own retreating troops who were refusing to fight; but Wittgenstein stayed behind and was captured by Italian forces in November 1918 in Northern Italy at Trentino. He subsequently spent nine months in Italian prisoner of war camps: a total of 300,000 prisoners were captured with 30,000 dying in captivity (Ibid., p. 267-8 ).

    The point is Wittgenstein was not a nihilist, nor even an ethical skeptic; his famous work, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922) was not just about logic, but a book on ethics. His telos was to preserve in modern society what is most important in life--that which cannot be said, but only shown. For Wittgenstein, epistemology is ethics! This view is not original, but can at least be traced to philosopher Wilhelm Windelband (1848-1915) of the Baden School of neo-Kantianism which emphasized the study of culture, ethics, and aesthetics describes the axiological similarity of logic and ethical reasoning:

    "For just as ethics is concerned with moral values, so is logic concerned with a value, namely truth… The true is that which ought to be thought. Thus all logical thought is guided by a value, a norm. The ultimate axioms of logic cannot be proved; but we must accept them if we value truth. And we must accept truth as an objective norm or value unless we are prepared to reject all logical thinking. (Copleston, Vol. 7, pdf. p. 749/ original pagination p. 364)."

    Philosophically it has always been “After Virtue” in the sense that normative ethics and metaethics have always encountered ethical skepticism, nihilism, and relativism of which Socrates was accused of and executed by the state. Meno’s dogmatic realist friend, Anytus, who voted for Socrates’ death is still with us today, but in the contemporary form of crusaders against “postmodern relativism.

    The Weberian Hip-bone…

    After Virtue sets it sights next on anti-positivist sociologist Max Weber as responsible for justifying the new bureaucratic state, "I am referring precisely to his [Weber] account of how managerial authority is justified in bureaucracies (AV., p. 26, 86, 114)." This is the most puzzling criticism of MacIntyre that connects Weber to the emotivist bone, that’s connected to the relativist bone, that’s connected to the prescriptivist persuasive bone, connected to the individualist manipulative bureaucratic state bone, that connects to the Frankfurt School leg-bone (Ibid., p. 31). MacIntyre directs his criticism of Weber’s attempt to “define authority naturalistically,” combined with stochastic studies of how a group will obey commands. Weber defined three forms of authority in society: traditional, rational, and charismatic. As a sociologist, and historian he studied legal history, and Roman agrarian law; one can see why Weber would be interested in the topic of authority, but some critics blaming Weber for the rise of the authoritarian state is beyond absurd.

    Weber’s list of written work is short because of his early death in 1920 from the Spanish flu. The anti-positivist sociologist attempted to study society, “…through interpretive (rather than purely empiricist) methods, based on understanding the purpose and meanings that individuals attach to their own actions...His analysis of modernity and rationalisation would significantly influence the critical theory associated with the Frankfurt School “(Wiki: Weber)." Weber wrote that modern society is “characterised by rationalisation and intellectualisation and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world’ (Ibid., fn, 69). “

    …Is Connected to the Frankfurt Leg-bone

    MacIntyre’s own criticism of disenchanted modernism (anomie) could of been taken right from Weber’s research; in fact, their criticism can be traced back to the Frankfurt School of Social Research. Long before After Virtue was written, the Frankfurt Schools produced a mass of literature that critique modern naturalist-positivist scientific reductionalism. Let’s take for example the Frankfurt school philosopher Herbert Marcuse’s assessment of modern scientific ideology in “One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964)(pdf.) focusing attention on the Orwellian decay of language resulting in a universal “withering,” or constriction of non-reified experience, and fiercely critiques ahistorical positivist analytic linguistic philosophy in particular! Another book, “Eclipse of Reason,”(1947) authored by the director of the Frankfurt school, Max Horkheimer, is an anti-Enlightenment critique of instrumental reason. In another critique of modernism “The Dialectic of Enlightenment,”(1944-47) authored by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno examine instrumental-pragmatic scientific operationalism concerned only with the efficient control of means and critical of Wittgenstein’s early logical positivism as they interpreted the Tractatus. “The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy,” (1954) by Edmond Husserl is criticism of modern epistemological mechanistic scientization of life, and worked out the concept of the pre-theoretical “Lifeworld” structures of culture, society, and personality. And most importantly, Soren Kierkegaard’s 1846 “Concluding Unscientific Postscript,” by Soren Kierkegaard, trans. by David F. Swenson and Walter Lowrie, 1941, Princeton Univer. Press (pdf.)(Hereafter, ‘Postscript’). Kierkegaard wrote, "In the end all corruption will come about as a consequence of the natural sciences...(Kierkegaard, Journal: VII A 186, 187-200 year 1853).” Some acknowledgment should be given to critical theory for its contribution to the critique of Enlightenment—because the Weberian hip-bone is connected to the Frankfurt leg-bone.

    The most annoying distortion of the postmodern critics is this: some postmodern critics accuse the Frankfurt school of lacking the very insights that they were famous for formulating. It’s like accusing Plato of misunderstanding the Platonic Socrates. The postmodernist critics attack the Frankfurt school with the very same arguments that the Frankfurt school is known to have formulated—they chew up the school’s critiques of modern industrial ideology, and spit them out partially digested to their readers. Postmodernist critics completely ignore the earlier “traditions” by failing to understand that modern scholars originated many of the epistemic criticisms that focus on society’s scientific and moral malaise that the traditionalist only complain about—without using the word “existentialism”—such as the objectivating attitude of instrumental reason, scientism, alienation, nihilism, anomie, relativism, disenchanted experience, authoritarianism, and acquisitive hyper-individualism (AV., p.33, 88, 137). Kant, Hegel, Marx, Marcuse, Horkheimer, Adorno, Weber, and Wittgenstein all addressed these issues, and did it much better.

    ...Next:
    Second Counter-Argument: MacIntyre as an Aristotelian-Thomist Realist contradictorily embraces Anti-realist Epistemology.​
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
  11. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reductio-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
    # Post 183: Metaethical Paradigms
    # Post 184: MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness
    # Post 185: Anytus Cancel-Culture
    # Post 186: Second Counter-Argument: MacIntyre as an Aristotelian-Thomist Realist embraces Anti-realist Epistemology



    Second Counter-Argument: MacIntyre as an Aristotelian-Thomist Realist contradictorily embraces Anti-realist Epistemology.


    “What I learned from Kuhn, or rather from Kuhn and Lakatos read together, was the need first to identify and then to break free from that framework and to inquire whether the various problems on which I had made so little progress….”--Alasdair MacIntyre (pdf.)

    “Kuhn, however, is Kant on wheels.”--Peter Lipton (pdf.)



    Deconstructing the Devil, Kant, and Thomas Kuhn


    The devil here is referring to postmodernism. What could “Kant on wheels” possibly mean? We must first consider certain aspects of Kant’s philosophy of knowledge in order to understand MacIntyre’s embrace of anti-realist epistemology in the form of Thomas Kuhn’s famous study of the nature of scientific revolutions, and the role paradigms have in scientific research. Consistent with other postmodernist critics today, After-Virtue is virulently anti-Kantian in regard to both ethics and epistemology. MacIntyre’s epistemology is inadequate for addressing these difficult questions of ethics and scientific epistemology forcing him to resort to an unconscious yet skillful slight-of-hand by introducing Kantian idealism in the disguise of Thomas Kuhn. This ideological swap is done repeatedly with other philosophical concepts by replacing historical teleology, ethical intuition, and is/ought dichotomy with his anti-postmodern left hand and giving back with his conservative right hand intentionally impaired concepts such as “tradition,” “telos,” and “narrative” stripped of their dynamic mind-dependent functions and meanings.

    This second specific counter-argument points to an inadequacy of his version of Aristotelian realism; to compensate, he is forced to present a lobotomized version of Kantian critical idealism wearing the mask of Kuhnian paradigmatic epistemology. Yet, Kuhn is not mentioned in any of his four books After-Virtue (1981); Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (1988 ); Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry (1990); Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues (1999) of which the last three books are elaborations of the themes in After Virtue. He instead expresses Kuhnian hypotheses through the pseudonym of “Hamlet” in his essay, “Epistemological Crisis” (pdf.). An ”Emma” works within a paradigm model, and a Hamlet challenges the model with a new paradigm.

    I have written in detail on Thomas Kuhn’s famous theory of scientific paradigms (Ideological Paradigms) and Kantian critical theory. Kuhnian epistemology is an anti-realist epistemology (The Genealogy of Kuhnian Antirealism video lecture by Paul Hoyningen). What is the difference between realist and anti-realist epistemology? Why does MacIntyre need postmodern Kuhnian epistemology to critique postmodernism, and to understand the meaning of virtue?

    Paradigms of Epistemological Realism and Anti-realism

    Epistemological realism and anti-realism can be reduced to six key components. Dr. Lee Braver, professor of philosophy at Hiram College, Ohio, has written an excellent book with the beautiful title of “A Thing Of This World: A history of Continental Anti-Realism,” (2007), Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois. Braver created two powerful realist (positivist) and anti-realist (Kantian) matrices to organized, compare, and help memorize key principles of these models of knowledge (Braver, p. 15-30 passim). I will briefly summarize each principle, but will focus on three that are most relevant to this polemical study. Braver named these constituent theses of the definition of realism as the following:

    Realism1=Independence: What is real is independent from any idea, statement, or examination by the self. The world, objects, and situations are separate from the mind and do not depend on thought. This metaphysical principle of realist detachment is the first, and some say, complete definition of realism.

    R2=Correspondence: However, there is also the possible epistemological congruous correlation (knowledge) of subjective ideas, beliefs, and words (mind) with objective things, objects, and states of affairs (world). This view is called the correspondence theory of truth: a true proposition in this theory is one that corresponds to the state of something in the world, or a fact. A belief is said to be true if it corresponds to an existing object. Historically, there are differences among logicians and philosophers on whether truth is an attribute of an object, or a proposition, or belief (for greater detail see: Bertrand Russell's Critique of Fregean Logico-Mathematical Objects).

    R3=Uniqueness: There is only one truth, and one complete description of all reality. This principle is known as metaphysical realism claiming, “There exists at least ideally, a full knowledge of all of the Forms which would constitute the complete knowledge of all natural kinds about which there could be no legitimate disagreement.13 This view is also attributed to “Aristotelian realism…(Braver, p.18 ).” This is “knowledge by definition” as the single unique self-sorting self-identifying world of objects presents themselves appearing the same to all potential observers (Ibid.). Braver points out that Aristotelian realism is the combination of R1, R2, and R3.

    R4=Bivalence: This is the semantic view that all meaningful sentences are determined to be either true or false with no other third possibility, and is named the law of the excluded middle. Some charge that bivalence disregards process, or becoming within a dynamic world. Frege, Russell, and the early Wittgenstein combined bivalence with logical atomism, and set theory to construct symbolic truth-tables of variables (p and q) and constant logical operators (if, then, either, or, and) to determine consistency; that is to say, validity of deductive inferences. This is a radical shift from metaphysics to the philosophy of language where truth is not epistemic, nor dependent on verification, but rather “…that human access to evidence is wholly irrelevant to what the truth is (Ibid., p .21).”
    “…the passivity of a thinking which only needs a mouth agape.”—Hegel in
    “The Difference between Fichte and Schelling’s System of Philosophy.”

    R5=Passive knower: With this epistemic model the knower receives knowledge like the sun warms a stone. The subject is a passive receiver of knowledge from the independent external world; that the observer abstain from contributing any subjective influence to the self-contained object is essential for undistorted truth corresponding to reality. A personal creative interpretation of the world is not allowed in this version of non-participating epistemic objective realism.

    R6=Realism of the Self: This sixth thesis of realism is the contribution of Kant that states all observers at all times see the world through the same conceptual lenses universally. All subjects contribute to the object in the same way through the a priori forms of sense intuition (space and time) and the a priori categories of the understanding (Kant’s table of analytic concepts) for they are the necessary conditions for the possibility of sense experience and knowledge. I cannot imagine an object, or point not in space and time, and you cannot either. Everything we know about the world must first be filtered through the lenses of our perceptual nervous system.

    …next:
    Realism and Anti-realism Paradigm Entailment
     
  12. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reductio-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
    # Post 183: Metaethical Paradigms
    # Post 184: MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness
    # Post 185: Anytus Cancel-Culture
    # Post 186: Second Counter-Argument: MacIntyre as an Aristotelian-Thomist Realist embraces Anti-realist Epistemology
    # Post 187: Realism and Anti-realism Paradigm Entailment



    Realism and Anti-realism Paradigm Entailment

    This transition point to anti-realism is a good place to bring up once again Dr. Kai Nielsen’s study of entailment relations discussed regarding metaethical and normative theses where we found that some relations are neutral and others non-neutral. Braver tells us that realist and anti-realist ideas can be “mixed and matched” without having to reject the other theses so it is not a matter of anti-realism being diametrically opposed point by point with realism: the relationships between the two paradigms are mostly neutral to use Nielsen’s definition (Ibid., p .38 ).” This means that the passive knower (R5) could be replaced with an active knower (A5) without necessary falsifying the other theses of realism. Braver’s matrices show just how revolutionary Kant’s critical theory is when compared with metaphysical realism that was the dominant epistemological paradigm of his time (Ibid., p. 35). Kantian anti-realism requires by necessity the active contributing constructing creative self to achieve knowledge.

    “Socrates says that when we posit flute-playing we must also posit a flute-player….”-Kierkegaard

    Anti-Realism1=Mind-Dependent: Noumena (things-in-themselves) are independent of mind (R1), but phenomena (appearances) are mind-dependent (A1) representations of the active knower (A5) (Ibid., p. 39). Plato also has a two-worlds view of appearances and the eternal ideal forms that objectively exist behind them. For Kant the noumenal is the unperceivable non-sensible limit of Reason, analogous to Wittgenstein’s standpoint that language is the limit of our world. An epistemology of limitation is not self-contradictory and is plausible.

    A2=Rejection of Correspondence Theory of Truth: Kant’s correspondence theory of truth corresponds not to the inaccessible unknowable noumenal, but to the knowable accessible phenomenal (Ibid., p. 44). The sensible manifold of experience (intuition) is only given if organized according to the a priori concepts of space, time, quantity, quality, relation, and modality; otherwise, our perceptual lens would be blind. Correspondence now means congruence to the subjective a priori structural forms of sensibility which all perception must first be mediated before we experience the world of things, objects, and states of affairs.

    A3=Ontological Pluralism: Kant embraces R3 by way of the necessary table of categories that are the lenses by which all phenomena is interpreted in the same way for all observers. Instead of a perspective-less objectivity, Kant presents the necessary concepts for the possibility of experience as the next best standard of objectivity (Ibid., p. 56). Braver shows how Kant achieves a unique single reality (R3) by rejecting the passive knower (R5), and mind-independent world (R1) by substituting the active knower (A5) who provides the universal a priori principles of perception (R6). Hegel describes the necessary historical forms of life in Western thought (sense-certainty, observing reason, ethics, Enlightenment, understanding, religion) that go through an advancing teleological cycle of historical conflicts and resolutions, but he is not a relative idealist: rather, Hegel is an absolute idealist believing in only one reality because there is only one universal Reason, or Mind. On the other hand, Kant’s table of categories, and the transcendental cognito are logical presuppositions that are completely ahistorical.

    A4=Rejection of Bivalence: Kant accepts bivalence in the phenomenal realm, but not the noumenal realm that include belief in a god, immortality, and human autonomy (Freedom). This ontological division of reality offers one world that can be known wherever the categories of perception are applied to phenomena, and the other unknowable region of things-in-themselves. Adorno coined the term “Kantian block” to describe this Kantian barrier that limits reason to phenomenal experience otherwise thought succumbs to the tradition of dogmatic metaphysics. Hegel’s standpoint rejects bivalence as blind to historical change and the process of becoming in history. For Kant and Wittgenstein bivalence only apply to the experiential phenomenal world of appearances, and not noumenal reality.

    A5=Active Knower: Kant needs the active knower (A5) as the correspondent to phenomena (R2)—not unknowable noumenon (R1) to establish a fixed unique single reality (R3) universal to all observers (R6) (Ibid., p.44, 57).


    Neo-Kantian Relative Categories on “Wheels”

    Some readers would object to Kant’s thesis that phenomena is processed the same for all observers since persons clearly have different interpretations of the same phenomenon otherwise there would be no disagreement about what is real. We must remember again Kant’s transcendental idealism is referring to the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience and not what is unnecessary for experience. The Neo-Kantian distinction between absolute a priori category, and a relative epistemological category is important since paradigms function in the same manner as the lenses of absolute a priori categories. This distinction of absolute and relative apriority can be found in the works on culture of the last great philosopher of the Marburg School of Neo-Kantianism, Ernest Cassirer (1874-1945). A relative a priori concept, for example, could be the Ptolemaist geocentric conception of the sun’s orbit around earth; however, the opposing Copernican heliocentric universe is an opposing model of earth’s orbit, but neither of these two astronomical orbital paradigms are necessary to experience the darkness of night, or the light of day—in fact, the movement of the sun across the sky appears the same to the ordinary observer embracing either paradigm.

    The orthodox Kantian School understands the table of categories as “absolute,” or necessary for all experience—even for the angels! The Neo-Kantian thesis is that necessary a priori concepts are functionally indistinguishable from "relative" a priori concept. Relative categories are unnecessary for experience, and yet still contribute to constructing the object by the way perception is pre-organized and pre-structured. Relative categories are not just a formal static internal set of logical concepts, but are changing socio-historical-cultural lenses that organize and reorganize experience by creating a meaningful lifeworld that varies from peoples, geographies, and histories—these paradigms are “on wheels,” or variable. It is these unnecessary dynamic cultural paradigms of perception that partly account for the vast multiplicity of worldviews. I noticed that Kant, Braver, nor Kuhn explicitly mention this distinction of absolute and relative apriority.

    MacIntyre wrote: "Kant presented as the universal and necessary principles of the human mind turned out in fact to be principles specific to particular times, places and stages of human activity and enquiry…"Kant took to be the principles and presuppositions of natural science as such turned out after all to be the principles and presuppositions specific to Newtonian physics... Thus the claim to universality foundered. (AV., p. 266)."

    This comment suggests that the Neo-Kantian relative/absolute distinction is not fully understood. MacIntyre rejects Kant’s transcendentalism, but embraces Kuhnian paradigms that function as relative categories and this exposes his realist epistemology to the pluralism of relativistic anti-realist Kuhnian paradigms.

    …next:
    Third Counter-Argument: MacIntyre leaves the door open for Relativistic Historicism while advocating a particular tradition of ethical thought.​
     
  13. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Post 177: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue
    # Post 178: First Counter-argument: “Postmodern” Socrates
    # Post 179: Woke Socrates
    # Post 180: The Logic of Meno
    # Post 181: Reductio-ad-absurdum direct proof of invalidity: that Socrates is “postmodern.”
    # Post 182: After-Virtue’s Critique of Metaethical Emotivism
    # Post 183: Metaethical Paradigms
    # Post 184: MacIntyre’s Critique of Moorean Aporetic Normative Consciousness
    # Post 185: Anytus Cancel-Culture
    # Post 186: Second Counter-Argument: MacIntyre as an Aristotelian-Thomist Realist embraces Anti-realist Epistemology
    # Post 187: Realism and Anti-realism Paradigm Entailment
    # Post 188: Relativistic Historicism



    Third Counter-Argument:
    MacIntyre leaves the door open for Relativistic Historicism while advocating a particular tradition of ethical thought
    .


    “Hence this kind of historicism, unlike Hegel's, involves a form of fallibilism; it is a kind of historicism which excludes all claims to absolute knowledge.”-(AV., p. 270).

    “I’d Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me, Than to Have a Frontal Lobotomy.”-Rhyme


    The bottle is Kantian anti-realism, and Hegelian anti-realist historical teleology; these are the two necessary ingredients that After Virtue must have to achieve its goals of defining virtue, and establishing an absolute foundation for MacIntyre’s normative ethics and realist epistemology. However, what if virtue is not an object as assumed by a naturalistic object-oriented ontology while history shows no necessity, but rather is the realm of pure accidental contingency? Unfortunately, the useful concepts of Kantian anti-realism, and Hegelian historical-ontological teleology have been rejected by MacIntyre as not universal (WJWR, p. 11). These occult concepts of the active subject, ought/is, and historical teleology are rebuffed only to be smuggled through the back door again bearing new aliases. In After-Virtue (Chapter 7, Fact, Explanation and Expertise) Kuhnian anti-realism masks Kantian idealism, and Hegelian historicism is introduced under the pseudonyms of “tradition,” “context,” “telos,” and “narrative.” In his book, “Whose Justice? Which Rationality?” the term “tradition” is used 225 times—it means history. In After Virtue the term “telos,” is used 32 times: “context,” 63 times; and, “narrative,” 59 times: all concepts which embody a weak non-universalizable historicism. His version of historicism in After Virtue (“…my historicism,” AV, p. 269) seems to have not developed endogenously (internally), but exogenously as if it fell out of the sky.

    Let’s look at an example of this retranslation of concepts. MacIntyre rejects the ought/is distinction, but he is still able to retain an imperative it in the form of “telos,” meaning “goal,” or “end.” The end “goal” is now the imperative ought; the same Moorean ought/is distinction MacIntyre rejected earlier (AV. p. 57). The concept of teleology also creates a paradigmatic narrative for the moral agent that gives meaning and purpose to beliefs, actions, and worldviews. But what telos should we seek? To answer this question MacIntyre must find ethical necessity in the history of ethical traditions to validate Aristotelian realism; which is why he needed Kuhn’s anti-realist paradigmatic model of scientific progress.

    On the other hand, when it comes to Kuhn’s relative paradigms and the history of scientific progress; MacIntyre, with the help of philosopher of science Imre Laktos, lobotomizes the Kuhnian concept of scientific progress to only mean an “internalist” approach to paradigm shifts. MacIntyre reduces Kuhn’s anti-realist paradigm of science to exactly the kind of science he criticized postmodern empiricist instrumentalism of becoming: just pragmatic manipulation of means and ends. MacIntyre denies there are “transcendental properties as truth or apodictic certainty." And according to critic Dr. R. Stern, MacIntyre believes,

    “…the realist is wrong in thinking that any theory can have validity sub specie aeternitatis, from the standpoint of timeless truth, the progressive (or regressive) character of any conceptual change can only be judged by reference to the historical problematic of which it is part; for the issue as to whether or not it represents an advance on this predecessors requires that we have an understanding of the historical tradition in which it has a place (After MacIntyre: critical perspectives on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre, edited by John Horton and Susan Mendus in “MacIntyre and historicism” by Robert Stern (1994), p.153)(pdf.)(Abbreviated as ‘Stern’).”

    Inconsistently, at the very beginning of After Virtue, the image presented was of realist science with an essence, or sub specie aeternitatis of which we only have fragments of a whole, and only needing re-construction. MacIntyre tells a parable describing the destruction of all scientific knowledge in some catastrophe where laboratories, books, scientific instruments are destroyed and physicists murdered by an anti-science cult (kind of prophetic), then there is a change of heart and people what to recover scientific knowledge:

    "…enlightened people seek to revive science, although they have largely forgotten what it was. But all that they possess are fragments: a knowledge of experiments detached from any knowledge of the theoretical context which gave them significance; parts of theories unrelated either to the other bits and pieces of theory which they possess or to experiment; instruments whose use has been forgotten; half-chapters from books, single pages from articles, not always fully legible because torn and charred. Nonetheless all these fragments are reembodied in a set of practices which go under the revived names of physics, chemistry and biology (AV., p. 1).”

    In the book, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry (1990), MacIntyre breaks down ethics into three versions of morality: Encyclopedical (Enlightenment Instrumental Rationalism), Genealogy (Nietzschean Nihilism), and Traditional (Thomism). His viewpoint is that natural science and the science of morality are commensurable: "The modern contrast between the sphere of morality on the one hand and the sphere of the human sciences on the other is quite alien to Aristotelianism because, as we have already seen, the modern fact-value distinction is also alien to it (AV.,p. 82)." Again, he wrote, “The philosophy of physical science is dependent on the history of physical science. But the case is no different with morality ...(AV., p. 266)." Is the study of normative ethics commensurate to methodological empirical science? Socrates’ experimental test asking Meno’s slave questions of geometry suggests ethical knowledge is not commensurable with science, but with a priori intuition which MacIntyre absolutely rejects (AV., p. 69).” How is the necessity of ethical imperatives to be founded on historical contingency? And again,”...one theory rationally superior to another is no different from our situation in regard to scientific theories or to moralities-and-moral philosophies.(AV, p. 270).” However, there is a reversal that takes place since the publication of After-Virtue: not only is science relative to paradigm, but morality is also relative to history. Critic Dr. R. Stern writes, “...like [Larry] Laudan MacIntyre abandons any talk of such transcendental properties as universal validity or timeless truth for ethical systems, arguing that there is no Archimedean point in practical reason that could give ethical thought the necessary absolute foundation (Stern, p. 152).” This narrative sounds like postmodernism to me! It is not that MacIntyre happily chooses this modernist relativist position, but his own reasoning forces him into pluralist conclusions—and this shift really should not be turned into an Anytus political ad hominem attack against him; rather, it is aporia. And this is my view of MacIntyre’s critique of postmodernist relativism.


    The Historicist Nemesis

    "What is true is precisely what is made"—G. Vico


    A main argument of postmodern criticism is historicist interpretation of past events undermines traditional beliefs in morality opening the door to epistemological and moral relativism which then leads to a cultural crisis of knowledge, meaning, and normative values. The various schools of historicism are concerned with primarily four issues: 1.) The concept of historical change, 2.) Historicism as a scientific methodology, 3.) Historicism understood as a worldview 4.) Historicism as a moral crisis. My summaries of historicism will take note of each school’s relevant position on these issues. This analysis is based on the scholarly work of Phenomenologist Dr. Maurice Mandelbaum, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, is in fact an important original scholar in the United States on this very issue of historicism.

    The first scholar to know regarding historicism is botanist Carl Prantl (1849-1893) who described the work of historian Giambattista Vico (1663-1744) as “historicism” as he attempted to combine the humanities into a single science to explain the life and death cycles of societies and cultures in his book, “New Science (1725).” Also economist, Carl Menger (1840-1921) was the founder of the Austrian School of Economics who complained that economic theory was becoming too dependent on the study of economic history thereby introducing a negative view of historicism as it was thought to be out of its realm of expertise without a clear understanding of its use in the science of economics (Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 22). Marx’s first volume of Capital was not published in German until 1867, and in English until 1887 in this timeline.

    Mandelbaum believes that after World War I the question of historical change became more concerning as a method of evaluating cultural values. Protestant theologian Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) was concerned of historicism’s usefulness for understanding the relationship between culture and historical change. Troeltsch defined historicism not methodologically, but as an erroneous presupposition “…to view all knowledge and experience in the context of historical change (Ibid., p. 22).” He thought that natural science and historical science were distinct fields of study and that historicism would cause widespread epistemological and ethical skepticism. Troeltsch died before he could explain his religious views: he thought the crisis was “inevitable,” but there was nothing to fear.

    Sociologist Karl Mannheim (1893-1947) defined historicism as a “temporalistic view of the world (Ibid., p. 23).” Mannheim did not believe that historicism is a crisis, but instead theorized that the Enlightenment has held over some theological beliefs from the Middle Ages that presuppose an “atemporal character of judgments and reason,” (Platonic Realism concerned with static being), and this worldview (Weltanschauung) is being replaced by a new concept of “temporalistic relativism.” He proposed that modern skepticism does not necessarily have to result from this new view of dynamic temporal change and accepted ethical pluralism positively since all values are grounded in human existence, which could be reconciled with other cultural norms through the study of critical sociology.

    German historian Friedrich Meinecke (1862-1954) did not view historicism as some crisis, and accepted the new dynamic view of history; but unlike Troeltsch and Mannheim, regarded as more important the concept of human individuality and how persons faired in society during historical development. Meinecke was an early Nazi supporter, and held life long anti-Semitic views.

    Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) was an idealistic philosopher critical of both epistemological positivism, and materialist ontology. He defined historicism as the self-development of the human spirit and “the whole of reality as encompassed within history: Life and reality were nothing but the ever changing manifestations of the spirit (Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 23).” Croce argued that materialistic naturalistic science is inadequate as a methodological paradigm to interpret the unique histories created by self-conscious human beings. Modern thought has failed to take seriously Hegel’s philosophy of history. Croce’s anti-naturalism and anti-positivism brings a “religious sense of mystery” to his concept of historicism. Hegel’s secular understanding of history is in part taken from the New Testament Christian notion of the eschatology of end times. Orthodox Marxism is not a non-Christian heresy.

    …next:
    Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism​
     
  14. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 187
    # Post 188: Third Counter-Argument on Relativistic Historicism
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism



    Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism

    There is some interesting background information about Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) who is difficult to summarize since nearly everything about him is fake; his credentials as an economist are completely fabricated including his sham Nobel Prize in Economics owned and awarded by a Swedish bank and has nothing to do with Alfred Nobel. The famous economist and lifelong professor of the at London School of Economics, Lionel Ribbons, was insanely anti-Keynesian and attempted to mentor von Hayek into the antithesis of Keynesian economic presented in his famous work “The General Theory Of Employment Interest And Money (1938 ).” The problem was no one could understand Hayek’s lectures, nor his writing of “The Pure Theory of Capital “ that even the Neo-liberal monetary economist Milton Friedman complained, “I am an enormous admirer of Hayek, but not for his economics. I think Prices and Production was a very flawed book. I think his capital theory book is unreadable (Wapshott, p. 183).”

    “I’m sure that was wrong, and yet I have done it. It was just an inner need to do it.”von Hayek
    (Keynes Hayek:The Clash that Defined Modern Economics by Nicholas, 2011 by Wapshott, p. 215)

    And then one day in 1949, the self professed Catholic, von Hayek, walked out of his house abandoning his wife, Hella, and their two children Christine (17 year old), and Laurence (12) to marry his cousin Helena; then keeping true to his economic and political theories promptly signed up for Social Security benefits after Charles Koch sent him in a letter with a SSI brochure (Charles Koch to Friedrich Hayek: Use Social Security! by Yasha Levine and Mark Ames). Ribbon was so disgusted with von Hayek that he resigned from the Neo-liberal think tank formed in 1947 known as the “Mont Pelerin Society” in which von Hayek decided to impose their Neoliberal revolution covertly wherever they could. Philosopher G.E. Moore was a much better moral person than von Hayek. Nevertheless, von Hayek’s junk economics is taught uncritically in nearly all United States University economic departments that now require two economics departments Professor Michael Hudson has noted: one department teaches Austrian economic hokum that does not describe economic reality, and the other department is called the “business school” of economics to actually teach graduates how to manage a business that is in some cases structured never to earn a profit to avoid tax laws. Hayek’s Austrian Neoliberalism has resulted in a 40-year crime wave emanating all across America from the Wall Street Corporate Socialists. Von Hayek’s economic version of Theranos-babble has led to a violent revival of fascist movements all over the globe, and at this very moment infiltrating every level of American institutions.


    While in Great Britain, before he fled his family and poor academic reputation at the London School of Economics, von Hayek worked with philosopher Karl Popper (1920-1994) to fabricate a boutique custom-made version of historicism that could go along with the era of Cold War sociological propaganda that is still alive and well today in American and British academia in addition to internet social media. Hayek and Popper focused on historicism as a worldview, and not on the radical differences between the physical sciences and social science methodologies. They instead attacked four theses of historicism: 1.) They attacked the concept of the laws of development of social wholes (societies) 2.) They denied these laws of social development could be known 3.) Rejected the belief predictions based on these laws could be made about cultures and societies 4.) They addedholism” to their definition of historicism to include Hegel, Comet, and Marx’s views. Although these three philosophers had different viewpoints, they shared some common beliefs: 1.) The social whole is greater than the parts and not reducible to individuals 2.) These laws of the whole could be known 3.) Predictions could be made on the knowable laws of the whole. Popper and Hayek wrongly interpret Marx’s concept of historical materialism as “fate,” or “destiny.” Neither Marx, nor Engels ever used the term “dialectical materialism” in their writings. (See, “Open Society and its Enemies,” by Karl Popper, 1945)(pdf.).

    Dr. Mandelbaum argues that historicist theses 3 (prediction), and 4 (holism) are not necessary to the concept of historicism: “…there seems to be no necessity for identifying historicism with holistic thought and with a belief in the possibility of prediction, as Popper and Hayek, tend to do…Popper, in his characterization…tends to separate his own use of…’historicism’ from other, more frequent uses (Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 24).” Mandelbaum formulates his own definition of historicism as a methodological principle of explanation and evaluation, and not as a worldview (Weltanschauung): “…the belief that an adequate understanding of the nature of anything and an adequate assessment of its values are to be gained by considering it in terms of the place it occupied and the role it played with in a process of development (Ibid., p. 24).” Mandelbaum’s methodological historicism is analogous to Descartes’ methodological doubt that attempts to establish an epistemology based on absolute certainty; Descartes never doubted the world existed, or that knowledge existed—his methodological doubt is not a world view, nor a Life philosophy. Likewise, Mandelbaum’s historicism is methodological, and not a Weltanschauung, but rather a tool for analysis.


    No Straw men, Please

    One easy way to build a straw man argument is to simply interpret nearly any point of view as reductionist as possible--such as emotivism, logical positivism, materialism, and historicism—and make that the object of attack. All of these historicist theses have an element of truth, but they can easily be falsified by presenting a reductionist version of these insights. Mannheim argues that everything humans do is related, and influenced by our material existence, but it does not follow that material existence determines all that humans do. This is how we learn through deliberately lazy universities the old-saw of the materialist interpretation of Marxism because a reductionist stance is easier to falsify while no other explanations, or evaluations are needed. A second method for building a straw man is to take a viewpoint out of context so as to render it incomprehensible, or inconsistent; Moore’s emotivism is one example, and Kierkegaard’s definition of truth will be another example later in my fourth After Virtue counter-argument.


    Deconstructing Kantian Idealism, and Hegelian Historicism

    “Hegel sees the history of philosophy as an enormous Socratic dialogue, with views emerging and engaging in mutual elenchus….”—L. Braver, p. 64.

    Hegel was in a sense the earliest Neo-Kantian: he disagreed with Kant on some issues because he thought Kant did not go far enough with his critical analysis of knowledge. I want to return to using Braver’s cleaver and very useful scheme for comparing Kant to Hegel’s critique of reason with a limited summary of the issues they have in contention. First, Hegel did not like the epistemic distance between
    phenomenal knowledge and noumenal reality; that is, between appearances and the thing-in-itself of which we can say nothing determinate about since it is out of range of possible human experience. Kantian transcendentalism is an ahistorical philosophy of epistemic limitation that Hegel could not accept seeing it instead as Kant’s arbitrary limitation of knowledge. A second point of contention is why Kant selected the table of categories as the “necessary conditions for the possibility of experience,” and not some other group of categories? Thirdly, Hegel thought bivalence hindered holistic understanding by disintegrating an otherwise necessary integrated pattern of the mind, or consciousness in human history: “…truth is not a minted coin (Spirit, para. 39).”

    Both Kant and Hegel were committed to what Braver termed the Empirical Directive (ED) which he explains as “the strategy of studying transcendental subjectivity—that aspect of ourselves that is responsible for thinking and knowing—vicariously, through its activities in experience (Ibid., p. 60).” By closely observing Geist (meaning both mind or spirit) as it appears in time, Hegel believed the gap could be closed between thought and reality. The ahistorical Kant only sees one unified unchanging transcendental self of the logically a prioriI think…” acting on experience, but Hegel instead discovers a multiplicity of historical selves as “experience-organizers” not fully aware of the meaning of these plurality of worldviews causing a radical shift in the understanding of static selfhood and historical change. "This historical proliferation of conceptual schemes seems to dissolve reality into relativism. Hegel allows multiple schemes without giving up knowledge altogether (Ibid., p. 62)."

    In other words, Hegel does his own continuation of Kant’s unfinished transcendental deduction (i.e., to justify the table of 12 categories are the a priori conditions necessary for experience), but instead discovers the historical forms of Life (Jean Hyppolite’s term) and describes their empirical manifestations in his work, “The Phenomenology of Spirit,”(pdf.). In this famous book, Hegel writes phenomenological descriptions of these historical forms of life, and demonstrates by reductio ad absurdum arguments how they ultimately end in seemingly irresolvable contradictions, and incoherence. While describing the phenomena of mind in this long “journey of despair” as experienced through multiple cultural-historical eras, Hegel finds patterns of universal necessity within the historical experiences of life, and then begins to speak of them as an absolute idealist of a single reality, and not realities. The phenomenological “we” referred to in the Phenomenology of Spirit are those readers that see this historical pattern: “The Spirit shows itself as so impoverished that, like a wanderer in the desert craving for a mere mouthful of water, it seems to crave for its refreshment only the bare feeling of the divine in general. By the little which now satisfies Spirit, we can measure the extent of its loss (Ibid., para. 8 ).”

    Continuing below…
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021
  15. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 187
    # Post 188: Third Counter-Argument on Relativistic Historicism
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism

    “The introduction of movement into logic, is a sheer confusion of logical science…and to make movement explain logic, when as a matter of fact logic cannot explain movement.”-Kierkegaard (Postscript, p. 99-100).”

    If MacIntyre borrows the same historicist solutions as Hegel, he will inherent the same historicist problems. MacIntyre is searching in a very Hegelian manner for the same kind of necessity (rationality) in history, or historical traditions to justify one normative ethical tradition over another writing “I have sketched in Chapters 14 and 15 the rational case that can be made for a tradition in which the Aristotelian moral and political texts are canonical (AV, p. 257).” MacIntyre’s answer to these questions can be found in an examination of historical traditions, "...a great part of modern morality is intelligible only as a set of fragmented survivals from that tradition (AV, p. 257)." Another paragraph states, “...it is the central thesis of After Virtue that the Aristotelian moral tradition is the best example we possess of a tradition whose adherents are rationally entitled to a high measure of confidence in its epistemological and moral resources (AV., p. 277).” In another book he writes, “We, whoever we are, can only begin enquiry from the vantage point afforded by our relationship to some specific social and intellectual past through which we have affiliated ourselves to some particular tradition of enquiry, extending the history of that enquiry into the present…(WJWR p. 401).” How can MacIntyre historically derive the imperative “oughts” of ethics from the indicative ‘is’ of contingent histories if they to lack any rationality with the rejection of any progress in the history of philosophy, “And I was to find that, by rejecting the conception of progress in philosophy that I had hitherto taken for granted, I had already taken a first step towards viewing the issues in which I was entangled in a new light (The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Vol. 1, Alasdair MacIntyre, University of Notre Dame (p.viii)(pdf.).” MacIntyre rejects the Enlightenment as a failure (AV, p. 276).

    However, MacIntyre is walking into Hegelian historicism backwards; but yet, his historist methodology is still a sound strategy in the search for virtue. MacIntyre deserves no ad hominem for his traditionalist historicism, but he is completely in opposition to the anti-historist postmodern critics of today. Also, I would describe the political stance of After Virtue generally as what Karl Mannheim would call, “Historical Conservativism.” (“Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge,” Karl Mannheim, (1929/1936) Harcourt, Brace & Co. 1954, p. 120)(pdf.).

    …next:
    Fourth Counter-Argument:
    Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism​
     
  16. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 187
    # Post 188: Third Counter-Argument on Relativistic Historicism
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism
    # Post 191: Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism



    Fourth Counter-Argument:
    Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism


    "Accidental truths of history can never become the proof of necessary truths of reason."
    Theologian G. E. Lessing, in "About the Proof of Spirit and Strength,"(1777)

    “…the subtle little Socratic secret: that the point is precisely the relationship of the subject.”
    —Kierkegaard (Postscript, p. 37)


    Lessing’s Ditch

    The clearest quote from MacIntyre I could find in After Virtue admitting that there is no absolute standard of judging another ethical tradition is the following (my emphasis in bold):

    “…when rival moralities make competing and incompatible claims, there is always an issue at the level of moral philosophy concerning the ability of either to make good a claim to rational superiority over the other.
    How are these claims to be judged? As in the case of natural science there are no general timeless standards…And it is only by reference to this history that questions of rational superiority can be settled. The history of morality-and-moral-philosophy written from this point of view is as integral to the enterprise of contemporary moral philosophy as the history of science is to the enterprise of contemporary philosophy of science
    (AV., p. 268-9)."

    I say the “clearest quote” since MacIntyre often speaks in the third person representing his critics such as “So rationality itself, whether theoretical or practical, is a concept with a history: indeed, since there are also a diversity of traditions of enquiry, with histories, there are, so it will turn out, rationalities rather than rationality, just as it will also turn out that there are justices rather than justice (WJWR, p. 9-10).” However, he then promises what he never delivers: that a better account of diversity of ethical traditions must first be provided than the failed Enlightenment (which is also historicist if we include Hegel in the modern era) and these diversities can be “amenable to solution.”

    One the other hand Macintyre suggests, sometimes indirectly, that the study of ethics is like science: "And it is only by reference to this history that questions of rational superiority can be settled. The history of morality-and-moral-philosophy written from this point of view is as integral to the enterprise of contemporary moral philosophy as the history of science is to the enterprise of contemporary philosophy of science (AV, p. 269)." And again in another passage: "...one theory rationally superior to another is no different from our situation in regard to scientific theories or to moralities-and-moral philosophies (Ibid., p. 270)."

    Ethicist, John Hospers, draws an important distinction between sociological relativism, and ethical relativism: the first is not an ethical doctrine, but factually describes what are the different ethical beliefs in various societies, or communities. On the other hand, an ethical relativist has specific moral beliefs while recognizing, for example, polygamy may be morally accepted in one society, and considered morally wrong in another. The rightness or wrongness of polygamy is relative to society so that both contradictory customs are morally right for the members of those societies. However, Hospers points out many ethical relativists may not really be true relativists since they may mean only the application of a moral principle may vary to societies, but not the principle itself: “One might as well talk about gravitational relativism because a stone falls and a balloon rises; yet both events are equally instances of one law of universal gravitation (John Hospers, Human Conduct: Problems of Ethics, 1972, 2nd ed., pp. 36-37)(pdf.).” MacIntyre is not intentionally an ethical relativist, yet, he accused other historicists in their search for standards appealing instead to nonhistorical, “…transcendental or an analytic justification, types of justification which I have rejected. (AV., p. 270)." If MacIntyre rejects transcendental justifications, he only has contingent relativistic historicism to offer, or at the very least ethical pluralism since any ethical system lack any absolute foundational criterion.

    MacIntyre completely rejects the ought/is dichotomy, but later wrote that ethics is a matter of science and reminds us that Aristotle’s ”Nicomachean Ethics” suggests that “…there is a fundamental contrast between man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essential nature. Ethics is the science which is to enable men to understand how they make the transition from the former state to the latter (Ibid., p. 52).” Isn’t the phrase “he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essential nature,” used just to avoid saying, “ought”? And if not, then why should anyone ought to be concerned with any science of ethics? Even Socrates offers the analogy between ethical reasoning and geometry by testing Meno’s slave to for apriority; however, the student slave demonstrated a priori knowledge much more successfully than the proposed experts on virtue, Meno and Anytus. Plato presents the Theory of Remembrance to account for systematic a priori knowledge. Unfortunately, MacIntyre rejects the many theories of emotivist intuitionalism (Ibid., p. 14, 15): “Twentieth-century moral philosophers have sometimes appealed to their and our intuitions; but one of the things that we ought to have learned from the history of moral philosophy is that the introduction of the word 'intuition' by a moral philosopher is always a signal that something has gone badly wrong with an argument (Ibid., p. 69).”

    Intuition” literally means “contemplation.” Ironically, the most common meaning of intuition is non-contemplative direct access to propositional knowledge that emerges without conscious reasoning, but there are other meanings such as Kant’s definition as the experience of the senses such as vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Human empathy can be understood as moral intuition, or a sixth sense, described in Adam Smith’s first modern book on ethics “The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759).” Early modern systematic ethical theories were based on the human capacity to experience empathy. Macintyre incoherently assumes both science and ethics have some common undiscovered essence; but also tells us the questions of science and ethics appear to be unsettleable. At one point MacIntyre writes, “My negative and positive evaluations of particular arguments do indeed presuppose a systematic, although here unseated, account of rationality (Ibid., 260).”

    “I shall be as willing as the next man to fall down in worship before the System, if only I can manage to set eyes on it.”
    -Kierkegaard (Postscript, p. 97).”

    If “…the world being what it contingently is…(AV., p.196)” and tradition can be manipulated, how can ethical necessity be derived from accidental historical traditions? Kuhn is an excellent historian of philosophy of science, but he and MacIntyre have no philosophy of history to explain how it can provide an absolute foundation for which normative imperatives can be based upon; this gap between contingency and necessity is called by Kierkegaard “Lessing’s Ditch” which he argued can only be crossed over by a leap of faith. The theologian G.E. Lessing (1729–1781) argues, "Events and truths belong to altogether different categories, and there is no logical connection between one and another... the truth of a historical narrative, however certain, cannot give us the knowledge of God...(Encycl, Vol. 4: Lessing, p. 445).” MacIntyre’s investigation relies on historicism as a methodology to establish the "rational superiority” (AV., p. 269) of one tradition over another, but rejects Kantian transcendental criticism: “Hence the historicist is covertly appealing to nonhistorical standards, standards which would presumably have to be provided with either a transcendental or an analytic justification, types of justification which I have rejected. (Ibid., p. 270)." However, for Kierkegaard historicism is an insufficient foundation for the ethical-religious: “Everything that becomes historical is accidental or contingent; it is precisely one factor in all becoming…Here again we have the root of the incommensurability that subsists between an historical truth and an eternal decision (Postscript p. 90).”

    “(1.21) Each item can be the case or not the case while everything else remains the same.”-- Tractatus
    (∀x)(∀y)[{Ix ⊃ (Ix v ~Ix)} ⊃ Ryy] * (x :/: y)​

    Wittgenstein also rejects necessity except for logical necessity: “(6.37) A necessity for one thing to happen because another has happened does not exist. There is only logical necessity (Tractatus).” And again Wittgenstein states: “(6.3) Outside of logic everything is accidental.” If the sun did not rise tomorrow, no law of logic would be violated, only our past experience. In the Tractatus bivalence is strictly a matter of logical propositional truth-functions; so that the negation symbol “~p” (not p) is a truth function of p; if p is true, then ~p is false. Wittgenstein in not an absolute nihilist denying all values, but rather value does not exist in the world as a thing; propositions of definite and indefinite description are only meaningful in denoting something (see, Russell’s Theory of Descriptions). Propositions of logic are only empty tautologies (A is not non-A) acting as pseudo-propositions that posit no real thing, or object. Factual descriptive propositions denote something in the world and have sense (Sinn); however, logical propositions themselves are forms of language (A ⊃ B), and denote nothing, having no referent, so that they are “sense-less” (Sinnolos): “Tautology, and contradiction are without sense (Tractatus, 4.461).” Imperative moral “oughts” are only meaningful in relationship to the transcendental subject (Encycl., Vol. 8: Wittgenstein, p. 333). Dr. J. Alberto Coffa’s term “Linguistic Kantianism” would aptly describe the Tractatus. Wittgenstein’s effort to find the limits of language and logic is not unlike Kant’s project of finding the boundary line of the limits of pure reason, i.e., the Kantian block. Whenever we view the world holistically, this is the mystical. Wittgenstein learned logic from Kierkegaard thanks to his older sister, Margarete, who gave him with the writings of her favorite philosopher (Wittgenstein’s Vienna, by Allan Janik & Stephen Toulmin, 1973, A Touchstone Book, p.172.).”

    “(7) Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”-Tractatus

    Lessing and Kierkegaard argue there is no rationally coherent bridge between historical finite knowledge and knowledge of the ethical-religious. This ought/is gap can only be crossed by an existential “leap” of commitment and faith. Macintyre writes in regard to the superior rationality of some ethical traditions, “It follows that the writing of this kind of philosophical history can never be brought to completion (AV., p. 270).” This is precisely Kierkegaard’s argument against endless systematic philosophical speculation: “…the System is almost finished, or at least under construction, and will be finished by next Sunday…(Postscript, p. 97).”
    …next:
    Kierkegaard is the Real Postmodern Socrates
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  17. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 187
    # Post 188: Third Counter-Argument on Relativistic Historicism
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism
    # Post 191: Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism
    # Post 192: Kierkegaard is the Real Postmodern Socrates



    Kierkegaard is the Real Postmodern Socrates


    “…while Socrates politely and indirectly took away an error from the learner and gave him the truth, speculative philosophy takes the truth away politely and indirectly, and presents the learner with an error.” (Postscript, p.197)

    “If a man occupied himself, all his life through, solely with logic, he would nevertheless not become logic; he must therefore himself exist in different categories.”(Postscript, p. 86)​


    Kierkegaard originally intended to write “Concluding Unscientific Postscript” as a critique of the doubting rationalist Rene Descartes, but decided instead that Hegel was a more appropriate example of the kind of abstract endless philosophical speculation that undermines the ethical-religious mode of human existence: “When the subject does not put an end to his reflection, he is mad infinite in reflection, i.e. he does not arrive at a decision…In so running wild in his reflection the individual becomes essentially objective, and loses more and more the decisiveness that inheres in subjectivity, its return back into itself…When the case becomes an objective one, the problem of an eternal happiness cannot arise, because such a happiness inheres precisely in subjectivity and its decisiveness (Ibid., p. 105).”

    Kierkegaard’s polemic is the negative photo image of the Hegelian logical speculative system: it is concluding instead of never ending un-concluding speculative refection; un-scientific in being subjective and aporetic; and a postscript is only a fragment of some whole, “A fragment of a system is nonsense (Ibid., p. 98 ).” Instead of writing about the stages of universal world history and the teleological historical forms of life, Kierkegaard writes under a multiplicity of pseudonyms that symbolize the uncertainty of the individual subjective becoming self in an internal a-teleological dialectic of the overlapping aesthetic-ethical-religious stages of human existential being. Kierkegaard defends faith as the antithesis of Hegelian absolute knowledge. (see, “Søren Kierkegaard | Faith as a Passion” video lecture by Dr. Gregory B. Sadler). The Platonic Socrates is also anti-systematic if we do not include the Oracle of Delphi maxim, “Know thyself.”

    Truth is Subjectivity

    Kierkegaard’s conception of bivalence separates the question of truth for human being into an objective problem and a subjective problem; the first problem regards the question of historical accuracy, the second subjective problem concerns the individual person’s relation to the ethical-religious. Kierkegaard argues that subjective truth ultimately cannot be based on solving the objective problem. Kierkegaard is not advocating empty careerist “decisionism” to choose for the sake of choosing; instead, the ethical-religious relation to truth must be intentionally grasped passionately, personally, and subjectively. “Infinite passion” is lost if the ethical-religious is reduced to objective historical events—to a collection of facts and proofs that “trick” one into becoming religious. The loss of passionate concern is due to an “objective tendency,” and best described in Kierkegaard’s re-telling the parable of the foolish virgins whereof the infinite passion of expectation (the oil) had been lost to the attitude of detached objective contemplation:

    “The foolish virgins had lost the infinite passion of expectation. And so their lamps were extinguished. Then came the cry: The bridegroom cometh. Thereupon they run to the market place to buy new oil for themselves, hoping to begin all over again, letting bygones be bygones. And so it was, to be sure, everything was forgotten. The door was shut against them, and they were left outside; but the sober truth; for they had made themselves strangers, in the spiritual sense of the word, through having lost the infinite passion (Postscript, p. 20).”

    Kierkegaard’s definition of truth is not an alien concept in some religions; infinite passion in the realm of the subjective is required to determine truth for “truth is subjectivity.” Truth in the religious sphere of human being concerns the inward mode of the individual relating to the spiritual-religious way of being. In this sense, truth is the inward relationship of the subject. Kierkegaard takes his examples of truth as subjectivity from the New Testament conflict of intentionality between Christ and the Old Testament legalistic Pharisees who expanded the Ten Commandments into multiple volumes of oppressive rules and regulations (Matthew: 23); and in another biblical reference, the intentionality of the poor widow’s half-cent mite offered as a sacrifice which does not obey the objective rules of simple arithmetic, and surpasses the wealthy donor’s proud exhibition of a capricious gratuity (Mark:12).

    The counter-viewpoint might be raised that truth is better found in the mediation of the objective and subjective (Kant). However, Kierkegaard’s response is that such mediation is fixed and static while the existing individual is in a dynamic changing state of becoming; thus, the symbolic meaning of his multiple selves as literary pseudonyms. Kierkegaard is unable to even objectively establish the reality of his own self-identity in an internal dialectic of disintegration, much less the meaning of universal world history, or of God.
    “…the object is what is true.”
    Hegel on perception: or the thing and deception (Spirit, para. 117)

    Kierkegaard’s definition of truth is exactly opposite to that understanding of truth found in the scientific detached objective realm. The speculative philosopher says, “…subjectivity is untruth, but says it exactly conversely, by saying that objectivity is the truth (Postscript, p. 185).” Consequently, the speculative philosopher of “letter-theology” is concerned with “what” is said, whereas subjective truth is centered on “how” the truth is said. The truth-function of spiritual-religious utterances is in the subjective realm; truth is determined by its subjective character and not by external objective criteria, “…what is in itself true may in the mouth of such and such a person become untrue…it refers to the relationship sustained by the existing individual, in his own existence, to the content of his utterance…Only in subjectivity is there decisiveness, to seek objectivity is to be in error (Ibid., p. 181).” Objective contemplation requires disinterested detachment of the abstract inquirer that “becomes almost a ghost”; subjective contemplation requires passionate participation of the becoming individual in existential uncertainty (see, “Soren Kierkegaard on Truth and Subjectivity,” video lecture by Professor Mark Thorsby).

    I should note that Wittgenstein believed, and was likely influenced by Kierkegaard, that the ethical-religious dimension of life is in crisis from the ideological dominance of reductionist mechanistic-positivistic science: a form of objective thinking that the scientists (Moritz Schlick, Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap) of the Vienna Circle of Logical Positivism named their new scientific movement in honor of Wittgenstein’s early explication of logical atomism in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921). The logical positivists based their school of science on a misreading of the mystic author who confirms the Kantian block separating the sayable (phenomenal) from the unsayable (noumenal). The irony of this important historical step, or misstep in modern scientific philosophy is absent from After-Virtue’s critical review of traditions.

    Anyone who has experienced the problems encountered in asking the strangely difficult question, “What is virtue?” will find the Postscript surprisingly intelligible. The search for historical proof is a search for objective certainty that can only be an inadequate “approximation” to base one’s spiritual being when such a life is uncertain and, “… must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty, so as to remain out upon the deep, over seventy thousand fathoms of water…(Postscript, p. 182).” In the dialectical becoming of the existing individual, objective certainty within the ethical-religious life is not achievable.

    …next:
    The Straw Man Critique of Kierkegaardian Subjectivity
     
  18. Lindis

    Lindis Banned

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    Who is this Husserl?
     
  19. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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  20. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 188
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism
    # Post 191: Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism
    # Post 192: Kierkegaard is the Real Postmodern Socrates
    # Post 195: The Straw Man Critique of Kierkegaardian Subjectivity



    The Straw Man Critique of Kierkegaardian Subjectivity*

    MacIntyre rejects Kierkegaard’s multiple definitions of subjectivity in the following passage authored in 1964:

    "If I hold that truth is subjectivity, what status am I to give to the denial of the proposition that truth is subjectivity? If I produce arguments to refute this denial I appear committed to the view that there are criteria by appeal to which the truth about truth can be vindicated. If I refuse to produce arguments, on the grounds that there can be neither argument nor criteria in such a case, then I appear committed to the view embrace with sufficient subjective passion is as warranted as any other in respect of truth, including the view that truth is not subjective. This inescapable dilemma is never faced by Kierkegaard and consequently he remains trapped in it. (Alasdair MacIntyre, "Existentialism", A Critical History of Western Philosophy, ed. D.J. O'Connor, New York: The Free Press, 1964, p. 512)(pdf.).”

    Notice that MacIntyre used the word “trapped,” to describe Kierkegaard’s viewpoint; not unlike “aporetic” that describes Socrates’ early dialogues—“no way out.” MacIntyre’s criticism of Moore’s emotivism, and Kierkegaard’s thesis that “truth is subjectivity” is taken out of context and attacks “subjectivity” as though this term only refers to scientific logical bivalence; an easy straw man to attack since a strict interpretation of logico-empiricist bivalence as subjectivity is prima fascia absurd. Creating ambiguity is gleefully intentional by Kierkegaard to provoke his critics and fulfill his own described role as the modern Socratic gadfly biting the speculative Hegelians—to make life more difficult, unlike modernity that seeks to make everything easier. Kierkegaard authored the Postscript, but under the pseudonym of non-Christian Johannes Climacus until after Postscript is completed and a new pseudonym appears as “anti-Climacus“ who professes to be a devoted Christian. Each pseudonym represents some aspect of human self-consciousness. Even the Cartesian cognito of “I think; therefore I am” is an ambiguous dynamically evolving spiritual “I.” This evolution, an inward struggle, mirrors Kierkegaard’s own “deliberative” process of becoming a Christian; the Postscript is written to answer the subjective question, “How am ‘I’ to become a Christian?” and not the objective question, “What is Christianity” (Walter Lowrie, Postscript, p. xvii). The subjective question short-circuits the objective questions of the ethical-religious: “Lessing was no speculative philosopher; hence he assumed the opposite, namely, that an infinitesimal difference makes the chasm infinitely wide, because it is the presence of the leap itself that makes the chasm infinitely wide (Ibid., p. 104).”

    * While reviewing Kierkegaard for this essay, I noticed that one encyclopedia article about Kierkegaard was completely polemical and ended with a happy section subtitled, “Criticisms of Kierkegaard.” I was very disappointed for I wanted to know more about Socratic irony! I looked up the article’s author and it was by…The Professor, Alasdair MacIntyre (Article: Kierkegaard, 1967: Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 336).

    The chasm is infinitely wide since logical bivalence in the ethical-religious sphere of human existence is inadequate in itself to make an existential decision; consequently, The Professor has committed the fallacy of Μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος by switching to a different genus where objective logical bivalence is indeterminate. Postscript is written for the person weighing the existential decision of what it means to become ethical-religious and examined the objective questions of speculative philosophies that only lead to existential indecision. Postscript is meant to minister to those suffering ethical-religious aporetic indecision. The concept of objective empirico-logical bivalence applied to aporia is as useless as a polygraph test, or the pseudo objective science of phrenology.

    MacIntyre’s article summarized that, “The essence of the Kierkegaardian concept of choice is that it is criterionless (MacIntyre on Kierkegaard, 1967: Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 337).” But this aporia is reached only after the search for criteria finds no absolute objective scientific principle or fact to determine the meaning of virtue, nor any justification for religious commitment. Kierkegaard is telling us about an inward spiritual attitude when speaking of subjectivity: “The Socratic inwardness in existing is an analogue to faith…(Postscript, p.184).” Further in MacIntyre’s article: “In one passage Kierkegaard asserts that if one chooses with sufficient passion, the passion will correct whatever was wrong with the choice. Here his inconsistency is explicit (MacIntyre on Kierkegaard, Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 338 ).” The passage was not cited, but I could understand how; for example, the widow’s half-cent mite could be of greater value when her subjective intent is different than an offering of greater objective value given out of enforced duty, habit, caprice, or hubris. The Professor writes, “According to his doctrine of choice, there can be no criterion of ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ but according to the values of his submerged romanticism…(Ibid., p. 338 ).” Actually, not submerged romanticism, but essentially Christian values: “Now if Christianity is essentially something objective, it is necessary for the observer to be objective. But if Christianity is essentially subjectivity, it is a mistake for the observer to be objective (Postscript. p. 51).” And MacIntyre writes of Kierkegaardian paradox: "When inconsistency results, he is all too apt to christen this inconsistency ‘paradox’ and treat its appearance as the crowning glory of his argument (Encycl. Vol. 4, p. 338 ).”

    There are at least five possible distinctions of the term “paradox” (παράδοξος;contrary to opinion”). German Theologian, Paul Tillich, distinguished what paradox does not mean in relation to the 1.) Reflective-rational 2.) Dialectical-rational 3.) Irrational 4.) Absurd 5.) Nonsensical. Tillich’s own definition is its original root meaning: “We must state in affirmative terms that the concept should be understood in the literal sense of the word. That is paradoxical which contradicts the doxa, the opinion which is based on the whole of ordinary human experience, including the empirical and the rational (Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, p. 92, or pdf. pagination, 203)(Volumes 1-3).”

    Science treats human beings objectively as detached things, or objects: “But such a scientific method becomes especially dangerous and pernicious when it would encroach also upon the sphere of the spirit. Let it deal with plants and animals and stars in that way; but to deal with the human spirit in that way is blasphemy, which only weakens ethical and religious passion (Kierkegaard, Journal VII A 186, 187-200, year 1853, in Postscript, p. xv).” Humans experience inward subjective intentionality that even The Professor acknowledges in his own work After-Virtue that carries the metaphor of the “good” chess player throughout the study: "There are thus two kinds of good possibly to be gained by playing chess. On the one hand there are those goods externally and contingently attached to chess-playing...On the other hand there are the goods internal to the practice of chess which cannot be had in any way but by playing chess...they can only be identified and recognized by the experience of participating in the practice in question (AV., p.188-9)." And more specifically about intentionality: "Imagine an immensely skilled chess player who cares only about winning and cares for that very much. His skills are such that he ranks with the grandmasters. Thus he is a great chess player. But since what he cares about is only winning-and perhaps the goods contingently attached to winning, goods such as fame, prestige, and money-the good that he cares about is in no way specific to chess or to games of the same type as chess, as any good that is, in the sense in which I use the expression, internal to the practice of chess must be (AV., p. 374)." “Intentionality is one meaning of Kierkegaard’s use of the term, “subjectivity.”

    Socratic Irony

    Kierkegaard equivocates with other shades of meaning of the term “subjectivity” in his own writings. Irony can be defined as “double meaning.” Kierkegaard thought Socrates’ attitude and subjective mode of being best represented the meaning of truth four hundred years before Christianity. For Kierkegaard, the first existentialist is Socrates and even titled his master thesis, “On the Concept of Irony, with Constant Reference to Socrates (1841) believing that the best term to described Socratic aporia is “irony”:

    “[Socratic] irony [is] the infinite absolute negativity. It is negativity, because it only negates; it is infinite, because it does not negate this or that phenomenon; it is absolute, because that by virtue of which it negates is a higher something that still is not. The irony established nothing, because that which is to be established lies behind it...”The Concept of Irony (pdf. text).

    Irony is negative because it clarifies by saying what something is not; not by direct objective communication, but by subjective appropriation that can only be expressed indirectly: "An actual emphasis on existence, such a form will have to be an indirect form, namely, the absence of a system. But this again must not degenerate into an asseverating formula, for the indirect character of the expression will constantly demand renewal and rejuvenation in the form (Postscript, p. 111)." According to Kierkegaard the ironic Socrates of Ancient Greece was the best existential model suited for human spiritual-religious existence in a modern industrial society (This is a fascinating area to study, and I only scratch the surface; see video lecture, Soren Kierkegaard: "Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity," by Dr. Jon Stewart). One commentator noted that Socrates is pedagogical, while Hegel is non-pedagogical. One of MacIntyre’s chapters in After-Virtue is titled “Nietzsche or Aristotle?" (AV., p. 109) which may be a false dilemma. Instead of the universally lovable Fredrick Nietzsche, what if the existential choice is between a "Socratic Kierkegaard or Aristotle?"

    ...and finally the last comments next:
    Wittgenstein’s Unscientific Conclusion on Virtue​
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
  21. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 188
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism
    # Post 191: Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism
    # Post 192: Kierkegaard is the Real Postmodern Socrates
    # Post 195: The Straw Man Critique of Kierkegaardian Subjectivity
    # Post 196: Wittgenstein’s Unscientific Conclusion on Virtue


    Wittgenstein’s Unscientific Conclusion on Virtue
    “…both the ethical as well as the aesthetic cannot be articulated, but an awareness of them ‘points to’ something: a hidden law, or obscure paradigm. In his lectures on aesthetics, however, there is a slight twist: here, at least, Wittgenstein is able to draw the conclusion that an articulation of the hidden law itself is also unnecessary when it comes to appreciating the things that correspond to it: ‘That they point, is all there is to it’ “--(Verdonschot, Clinton Peter. ‘‘ ‘That They Point Is All There Is to It’: Wittgenstein’s Romanticist Aesthetics.’ Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics LVIII/XIV, no. 1 (2021): pp. 72–88 )(pdf.).”


    Pointing with Numbers and Virtues

    When Meno was asked by Socrates to define virtue, he could only give particular instances of virtue (of a leader, a wife, or children) and not say what virtue is in-itself, or the whole of virtue. Socrates appears to be committing a category error first formally stated by ordinary language philosopher, Gilbert Ryle in 1949. This error is defined as “semantic or ontological error in which things belonging to a particular category are presented as if they belong to a different category, or alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property.” Ryle gives an example of this conceptual error in the case of a professor giving guest tours of a university pointing out the particular parts of the campus such as the administrative staff offices, student body sports field, crowded classrooms, and busy library to which the guest responds, “But where is the university?” These organized structures forming the campus are the university; not some separate entity, or substance, or property independent from its physical existence. Language distorts by inherently positing objects, or reifies concepts as if they are things, or objects.
    “People say again and again that philosophy doesn’t really progress, that we are still occupied with the same philosophical problems as were the Greeks…It is because our language has remained the same and keeps seducing us into asking the same questions.” --Wittgenstein in “Culture and Value,”(1980) by Peter Winch

    Wittgenstein defined an “absolute norm” as not the sum of its parts; this “obscure paradigm” is a “hidden law” that cannot be articulated, or derived from empirical facts: the search for an absolute norm is aporetic. On the other hand, a relative norm is an empirically describable fact that “…refers to a correct set of affairs relative to a predetermined purpose. In its absolute sense, by contrast, ‘good’ refers to a norm that obtains regardless of any predetermination of purpose and, consequently, cannot be derived from any state of affairs. But whereas judgments of relative value are, ultimately, both unproblematic as well as trivial, judgments (Verdonschot).” Dr. Verdonschot argues that Wittgenstein reasons absolute good (good in-itself) cannot be reduced to describable states of affairs, which is not to reject the criterionless criterion of absolute good, just that it cannot be articulated as a science, or based on some absolute ground. For the later Wittgenstein there is not one model of reason, but innumerable language-games constructed from the forms of life: the concepts of both “games,” and “virtue” have no single essence.
    Goethe says ‘They all point to a hidden law.’ But you wouldn’t ask: What is the law? That they point is all there is to it.”--Wittgenstein

    Noncognitivists such as Wittgenstein and some emotivists view moral statements as imperatives, or intention, resolutions, or a guide for decision making, but always “…directly or indirectly, action-guiding (Encycl. Vol. 3, p. 129).” In Ernest Cassirer’s first volume of his book on the philosophy of symbolic form concerning language, the evolutionary development of the concept of number is traced to the acts of reaching, pointing, grasping, and counting objects, then leading to the abstract concept of number as having no attributes; and finally, to number as de-materialized pure form. Early computer research developed the technology of the desktop mouse based on the intuitive act of grasping with the human hand. In other words, in the beginning is the act: “Sensory-physical grasping becomes sensory interpretation.” Experimental psychologist, Wilhelm Wundt, wrote regarding this grasping behavior:

    “Genetically considered, this is nothing other than the grasping movement attenuated to an indicative gesture. We still find it among children in every possible intermediary phase from the original to the later form. The child still clutches for objects that he cannot reach because they are too far away. In such cases, the clutching movement changes to a pointing movement. Only after repeated efforts to grasp the objects, does the pointing movement as such establish itself (Wilhelm Wundt, 'Die Sprache, Völkerpsychologie', zd ed., /, 139 ff. quoted in "The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms: Vol. 1, Language," Ernest Cassirer, p. 181)(pdf.).”
    “Philosophers use a language that is already deformed as though by shoes that are too tight.”-Wittgenstein

    Cassirer tells us this “clutching at a distance” has great significance and is the basis of the concept of number. Like a number, the abstract term virtue is pointing at something. On the one hand, a number can represent any item, having no attribute itself; however, numbers do have an essence. On the other hand, absolute virtue has no essence, only relative empirical attributes that one can point toward. With numbers I can recognized the essence of “2” in an infinite series, or as “4 –2= 2,” or two as the square root of four; “2√22 ” even though a number has no real attributes. Absolute essenceless virtue is not an object and cannot be used to calculate magnitudes like numerical essences, but can only be shown. Initial use of ethical terms like virtue is merely deictic (A deictic word, such as I or there. Greek: deiktikos, from deiktos, “able to show directly,” from deiknunai, “to show”]), but over time the inherent distortion of reified language attempts to transform these deictic terms into apodictic propositions ("Apodictic" Ancient Greek: ἀποδεικτικός, "capable of demonstration") referring to things.

    Dr. Greg Salyer insightfully commented on the viewpoint of anti-speculative philosopher Kierkegaard, “Systematizing thought kills Life.” The poets tell us the Tree of Knowledge is not the Tree of Life. Along this imprecise line between thought and life, language impulsively reifies concepts--such as logical constants, or absolute virtue--that are not objectively existing things, but pseudo-objects in the dynamic flow of the living stream of meaning reality. The dead letter of language and logic seem to lead us into either contradiction, or tautologous aporetic circles while the present contingencies of finite human life demand authentic existential decision and spiritual faith. Hegel may have been referring to these two realms of subjective contemplation, and participatory action when he wrote:
    "What is a contradiction in the realm of the dead is not one in the realm of life."
    --Hegel



    END
     
  22. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    I finally put an editable backup copy for me of "Postmodern Socrates on Virtue" on my website at "Strange Phenomenon" in five parts titled as Appendix G, Part I of V: Postmodern Socrates on Virtue. There is no change in content, only in some formatting and punctuation.
     
  23. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    Realism/Antirealism Scheme in “A Thing of This World” (2007) by Dr. Lee Braver


    Realism_Antirealism Graph.jpg

    I finally recovered from writing what is for me a long essay, “Postmodern Socrates on Virtue,” originally thinking it would be about eight thousand words, but turned out to be twenty four thousand words, or only about 40 pages. I really didn’t want to write it, but there were certain issues that continuously annoyed me to no end so I talked myself into writing it, and now I’m glad it’s done.

    My section in the essay dealing with Kuhn and Kant (“Kant on Wheels”) needed some research and that is when I found Dr. Lee Braver’s book “A Thing of This World,” (ATTW); a beautiful title for the study of Continental Antirealism examining the philosophical thought of Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. Each philosopher is listed in the graph’s vertical columns while the six theses of realist epistemology are listed in the horizontal rows: the intersection of rows and columns have a very brief summary (sometimes only a term) of a philosopher’s position in relation to a realist “R”, or antirealist “A” thesis.

    The graph itself is not in the book as a picture; rather, I compiled it from re-reading Dr. Braver and then drew the grid as a mnemonic device to keep track of each philosopher’s viewpoint on a specific thesis of realism “R.” Braver invented this very useful and clever scheme for understanding realism/antirealism and also provides in depth analysis for each thinker.

    Initially, I only read the chapters on Kant and Hegel to use in my essay as secondary support, and completed reading ATTW only after finishing my essay. In the past, I read very little of Foucault, and nothing of Derrida. My graph sticks closely to the text, except for Derrida where I freestyle a bit because, for me, Derrida is describing the (necessary?) conditions for the possibility of paradigms—that’s one reason his writing is so weird—he is deconstructing paradigms in their various forms as language, discourse, signs, and text. Iterability and Différance are just two principles he identifies that enable paradigms to function as they do.

    Derrida has really bad press from my reading the background literature; and I was going to skip the chapter, then decided to read the chapter’s introduction and was hooked. I’m hesitant to read Derrida: I need to learn another language philosopher like social media needs another wing-nut. However, I was wrong about Derrida…after realizing he is writing about the very topic dearest to me—paradigms! I first learned about paradigms from Thomas S. Kuhn’s work “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,”(1962) during the late 1970's (see my essay, Ideological Paradigms” @ Strange Phenomenon). I am not going to read Derrida just yet to avoid his influence; although, I may have picked up some of his views already through studying other thinkers. I want to know just how far Kuhnian paradigms can take me.

    A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism” is a massive 583 pages! (…And I was whining about writing forty pages!). Braver’s realism/antirealism scheme holds up well when applied to the six continental thinkers selected by contrasting each with the other which reinforcing one’s own understanding of them all while providing an orderly overview of these various versions of antirealism—that’s Différance. Braver’s writing is very clear which is typical of most analytic philosophers (Derrida’s chapter is the most difficult in my opinion)--so clear that this text is a good introduction for the enthusiastic reader. As an advanced reader, I learned new concepts and see old ones in a new light. My personal method of study is to always read around a new philosopher first: cultural-epochal background, biographies, journals, encyclopedias, secondary sources, and then lastly the primary sources—I don’t want to waste my time going down empty rabbit holes! Friends and fellow students can also help find new philosophers with book recommendations.

    ATTW’s documentation is mind-boggling. Don’t skip the footnotes and miss other additional insights by the author. The selected bibliography of secondary and primary sources is worth the price of the book alone! So buy the book, and advance years in your understanding of these philosophers.

    There are only two YouTube videos at this time featuring Dr. Braver and they are illuminating!

    How Language Shapes Our World with Dr. Lee Braver (Chasing Leviathan)

    Lee Braver: Beauty, Language, Heidegger, and AI — The Road to Reason Podcast #1


    Groundless Grounds

    Dr. Braver has written another book titled “Groundless Grounds: A study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger” (2012)(GG) that I also postponed reading until my essay was completed just to see if my understanding of Wittgenstein was consistent with him. There were times I thought my interpretation of Wittgenstein might be far out on a thin limb with Tractarian object logic, but instead I am in synch with Braver running a parallel path leading to the same general conclusions on Wittgenstein.

    Because there is such a division between analytic and continental philosophy, I was blind to the similarity of Wittgenstein and Heidegger’s turn in their later philosophies. Wittgenstein’s later thought turned from his belief that logic had a transcendental essence--that language was a hidden calculus--to his new viewpoint of how language is used contextually in everyday life. On the other hand, Heidegger was not just turning away from a Husserlian phenomenological search for eidetic essences in describing the Dasein analytic, but changed his views about the self in a slow move away from Kantian transcendental philosophy to a more passive epochal self, or a fully historical self (see graph for early and later Heidegger). This is just a case were carefully comparing/contrasting one philosopher with another helps with understanding both.


    GG is written very clearly, suitable for new readers of Heidegger and Wittgenstein, also with a valuable bibliography for both thinkers. Again, the footnotes have references to primary and secondary sources and are useful for finding sources for famous and obscure quotations from these two famous philosophers. Braver’s book is by far the best book I have read on Wittgenstein’s philosophy.

    Three Puzzling Philosophical Questions to Consider

    There are three philosophical viewpoints that I go back and forth struggling with to resolve: 1.) Is historical teleology realist, or antirealist? 2.) Is Kant’s concept of the noumena coherent and necessary for knowledge? 3.) Is Platonic Objective Realism necessarily incommensurate with nominalism?

    I only want to offer some ideas, and possibilities about teleology, noumena, and nominalism.

    to be continued...
     
  24. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    Sorry for this ridiculously small graph. I didn't realized that one must login into Political Forum to see the graph in full size.

    At my website just click on the graph and you will see full sized graph.You won't need to login there. https://sphenomenon.blogspot.com/2022/02/appendix-g-part-vi-realismantirealism.html


    If you are logged into PR, click on the "166970" above and the graph is even larger.[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2022
  25. Kyklos

    Kyklos Well-Known Member Donor

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    # Posts 177 through 188
    # Post 189-190: Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper on Historicism
    # Post 191: Anti-Realism and Relativistic Historicism compound MacIntyre’s Ethical Skepticism
    # Post 192: Kierkegaard is the Real Postmodern Socrates
    # Post 195: The Straw Man Critique of Kierkegaardian Subjectivity
    # Post 196: Wittgenstein’s Unscientific Conclusion on Virtue
    # Post 198: Braver's Schema of Realism/Antirealism
    # Post 200: Can belief in teleology be consistent with realist, or antirealist epistemology?



    Can belief in teleology be consistent with realist, or antirealist epistemology?


    Making Conceptual Distinctions

    I have discussed the topic of teleology in an earlier essay, The Telos of Absolute Idealism,” and in another subheading on historicism, The Historicist Nemesis.” And by pure coincidence and good fortune I found Professor Braver’s insightful book, “A Thing of This World,” that provides clear definitions of “realist” and “antirealist” epistemologies. There are other powerful conceptual tools that can be applied to this question of teleology and whether telos could be consistent with empirical realism, or Kantian antirealist epistemology. An antirealist would in general tend to view teleology as a concept dependent on the active projecting subject: this would be true of the early Kantian Hegel (see chart, Hegel-A5), but later rejects the Kantian transcendental self (Hegel-A2), and the noumenal self altogether (Hegel-A6).

    On the other hand, a realist would typically deny historical telos exists independently of the passive observer, and is not actually an attribute of historical change, but merely a subjective contingent interpretation of natural events. There are arguments of support for both views of historical telos. Every few years my viewpoint shifts from one position to another.

    There is certainly a subjective side of telos projected by the active self as a “ethical telos,” such as Kant’s ethical maxim, “So act as to treat humanity whether in the own person or in that of any other, always as an end, and never as a means.” We might project an ethical ideal alter ego, or a divine double with a utilitarian goal (just an example) of acting to create the greatest intrinsic good such as knowledge, beauty, and virtues for the greatest number possible. Such self-created purposed goals are imposed upon the world and are therefore; extrinsic, whereas the telos of natural entities such as an acorn seed, for example, that develops into an oak tree in referred to as intrinsic teleology.

    Aristotle made even finer distinctions with his scheme of “four causes” that recognize “final cause,” or the purpose of a thing and the agent as “efficient cause,” or “moving cause of a change (Wiki: Four causes).” A farmer who plants a grove of fruit trees in order to sell his crop is the efficient cause (κινοῦν, kinoûn); selling his produce to the market is the final cause (τέλος, télos); material cause (ὕλη, hū́lē) is the planted seed; the formal cause is the type of crop planted (εἶδος, eîdos).

    Society as Objective Reality

    “I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.”—Groucho Marx

    Also, one can argue there is an objective side to historical teleology good enough for any skeptical empirical realist to study. In an earlier essay, The Social Construction of Reality,” I pointed to the famous book authored by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann titled, “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge,” Anchor Books, ed. 1967 (here after “SCR”) for a sociological study of the subjective reality of society: however, the authors also examine the objective reality of socio-cultural structures (as opposed to physical Nature). They begin by making the anthropological distinction between nonhuman animals and human beings. Their thesis states that human relationship to the world is not closed and fixed, but instead we experience the environment as “world-openness” due to how humans are socialized during childhood (the concept “world-openness” is developed by Arnold Gehlen, “Man, His Nature, and Position in the World,” 1940, and Helmuth Plessner “The Stages of the Organic and Human,” 1928, found in SCR, p. 195). Socialization is key to the development of humans as they are in an extended fetal stage of development for at least a year after birth (see, the “first fetal year” thesis by Portmann, Adolf, 1956, in Zoology and the New Image of Man: Biological Fragments to a Doctrine of Man, Hamburg: Rowohlt, SCR, p. 48 ). After a horse is born its brain is completely developed and immediately begins to walk, while an infant human still needs months to learn how to walk as the brain is still developing for years onward.

    This means humans are socio-culturally variable having no fixed human nature except for “anthropological constants” which refers to the “plasticity” of human instincts: in short, she produces herself, and with others, create universal cultural norms and structural “socio-cultural formations,” for “…it is impossible for man in isolation to produce a human environment…(SCR, p. 51).” The totality of societies and cultures are the cumulative result of human actions over generations in a process of “anthropological externalization,” made objectively concrete through creative productive labor (Hegel and Marx). Although human beings produce themselves and their environment, these variable social structures precede the individual. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that “existence precedes essence,” (Wiki) meaning the world exists prior to individuals, and only post hoc do humans reflectively project meaning and provide interpretations (essence) of existence.

    Trouble in the World-Closedness of Habitude

    “…all reification is a form of forgetting.”—Theodor W. Adorno

    Human beings have a highly variable relationship to the world thanks to their intrinsic hyper plasticity that allows for world-openness adaptability and enables the creation of stable social orders represented by existing objective institutions as human constructed productions. However, over time these previously constructed institutions create a second order objective reality, or an artificial nature and even artificial needs that “pre-empt” creative human world-openness even though these social formations have “…no other ontological status…(SCR, p. 52)” other than a product of human effort such as currency, imperialistic conflicts, and state sanctioned corporate entities. These multigenerational institutional social formations become “crystallized” through time as ossified structural “typifications” that take on an independent life of their own while containing sedimented habituated routine patterns of predicable reproducible behavior. Societies also accumulate a massive anonymous “stock of knowledge”-- a concept developed by phenomenologist Alfred Schutz to describe the various aspects of social reality. Berger and Luckmann closely studied his work on the Lifeworld (SCR, p. 53). Professor Schutz most likely developed the concept of “habitue” from Henri Bergson’s study in “Matter and Memory,”(pdf.)(1896) concerning selective perception and how thought applies conceptual classifications.

    When multigenerational descendants later engage these social institutions through out their lives, they become less able to distinguish between these socially constructed fixed entities, and physical nature itself. Social institutions appear as natural objects or conditions by undergoing “objectivation,” or “reification” (Hegelian/Marxian Versachlichung) defined as the “…undialectical distortion of social reality…viewing it instead in thing-like categories appropriate only to the world of nature (SCR, p. 60-1).” By the processes of repetitive habituation, socialization, and reification the individual lacks historical memory to interpret the social order as distinguishable from nature’s order that appears to have the same independent persistent meaning as external reality.

    Anonymous Knowledge, Sedimented Typifications, and Impersonal Conceptual Schemes

    “The subject isn’t in the discursive field like a fish in water, but like salt in water.”
    -- Braver on Foucault’s view of the knowing subject (ATTW, p. 370).”

    We accumulate knowledge about the everyday world by experience, shared recollections, hearsay, and person-to-person relationships starting with our parents, or guardians which then increasingly becomes more random, impersonal, and anonymous moving from trusted relatives to friends, teachers, professors, authors, vocational schools, employers, secular clubs, religious groups, political groups, public media, and government agencies. If a curious student is fortunate enough to study in higher educational institutions, she may discover that much of what is learned from the cultural stock of knowledge is practically useful, even life saving, but are also anonymous reified typifications, which may be obsolete sedimented projections and traditional schema that are incoherent, but appear coherent such as sociological propaganda (Jacques Ellul)(pdf.) designed to unify common public opinion around some issue to enhance social conformity.

    Both knowledge and opinion can be presented as Impersonal Conceptual Schemes (ICS) that systematically order a body of knowledge into some theoretical paradigm re-presenting a simulacrum of reality without involvement of the active knowing subject (A5). One of Dr. Braver’s most valuable insights in “A Thing of This World,” (2007) is his formulation of the “Heideggerian Paradigm” as (ICS) meaning the later Heidegger rejected the Kantian thesis of an active subject A5, and instead embraced a “non-subjectivist version of the subject A5 ”(ATTW, p. 285) so that the now reformed “detached” knower is anonymous…”Rather than the subject opening and structuring a field of experience, being maintains us in unconcealment, so we must examine this structure in order to study Being and man, a new form of fundamental ontology…(Ibid., p. 285).” Braver goes on to describe how Foucault and Derrida deal with their versions of the later Heideggerian paradigm shift to the passive subject of (ICS). Braver wrote of the modified new passive knower R5 in Foucault’s thinking that completely integrates the subject with linguistic conceptual systems, “The subject isn’t in the discursive field like a fish in water, but like salt in water (Ibid., p. 370).” For my argument concerning the subjective/objective character of social institutions as hybrid objects including the cultural stock of knowledge, (ICS) is the perfect example of an anonymous impersonal externalized social creation appearing to us as objectively real, independent of the subject, but having an internal telos because we put it there.

    Continue below..."Pray and curse."
     

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