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My Philosophy in Everyday Fucking Language

The Grey Man

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Unless someone can give me an everyday explanation, I'm just gonna assume this is more of the greyman effect, whereby someone says something incomprehensible but clever sounding, and all the wokebots pretend to understand it to maintain their place in the wokeness hierarchy.
Apparently, my communication on this forum has been so bad that the phenomenon of poseurs pretending to understand somebody's incomprehensible writings has been dubbed the "greyman effect." Ironically, posing is one of the things that I despise most about academic philosophy so, in a sense, I've become what I hate.

In yet another (possibly doomed) effort to stimulate philosophical discourse on this forum, I'm going to post some of the salient points of my philosophy in as plain fucking terms as I can. Agree or disagree with any of the points, but please, please, please tell us WHY, and, before you ask, I didn't do this before because I didn't know how. My ability to come up with ideas has so far outstripped my ability to express them in writing, but I hope you will find what follows to be comprehensible.

@Artsu Tharaz has seen a less refined version of this (the epistemological part at least) and pieces of it have appeared in most of my posts, so it's not exactly new.

Epistemology

Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am;" I disagree in that I think I feel and that I see. There is no "therefore." Feeling is not the reason why I see things and sight is not the reason why I feel things; instead, what is felt and what is seen are the two aspects of my knowledge, the two poles, as it were, between which everything I know hovers, closer to or further from one pole than the other.

What is felt is:
  • Temporal
  • Simple
  • Active
What is seen is:
  • Spatial
  • Complex
  • Passive
What I feel is myself insofar as I am a simple thing that persists with respect to time; what I see is myself insofar as I am a complex of relations between objects in space. In truth, I am both or, as Leibniz put it, I am the "multitude within the unity." The union of time and space, unity and number, action and passiveness, produces the world that I know, just as sex between a man and a woman produces a child, and this world is one of change in objects with respect to time.

Change has two aspects (identified by Mainländer) which correspond to the two aspects of knowledge:
  1. development, or change in what is felt in an object (e.g. an object changing colour); and
  2. motion, or change in the relations between objects.
The closer an object is to the pole of feeling, the more developmental its change; the closer to the pole of sight, the more kinetic.

Metaphysics

Schopenhauer recognized in his own body the only object in the world which hovered close to both poles, the only object that he knew as both an agent and a patient, and used this empirical double knowledge as a paradigm for speculative double knowledge of other objects. This is a common enough practice, as most of us acquire a theory of other minds at a rather young age so that we don't go about life acting as if other people didn't have feelings. What is not so common is attributing feeling to objects besides other people's bodies. If this is done without restraint, so that feeling is attributed to every object in the world, the result is a sort of panpsychism which considers feeling to be as ubiquitous as moving objects and not just the property of a few peculiar animals. It flouts commons sense, of course, but I have not yet seen a strong argument against it.

Ethics

Err, I'm out of time to write this, but here's a neato Goethe quote which expresses the main thrust of my ethical thought:

Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.

The Eternal Feminine draws us on.
 

DoIMustHaveAnUsername?

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Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am;"
In meditations, he avoided using 'therefore'. His main point was that 'I' is something he could not coherently doubt. Upon more charitable interpretation, he was affirming the primordial intuitive sense of being that cannot be reasonably doubted. He didn't really necessarily meant it had to 'think' to be.

Epistemology
Looks more like phenomenology. Shouldn't epistemology be more about how you navigate around beliefs; which principles you use to found your beliefs, how skepticism is countered, and such?

but I have not yet seen a strong argument against it
While it is impossible to experience being without phenomenality (because that would be experiencing non-experience which would be a contradiction), there are clues to having lacking phenomenality and it is possible to witness transitional states where the feeling dims down to nothingness bit by bit. This is possible to observe in the elusive states of consciousness in between dreaming and reality, or while fainting due to dehydration or something (when mindfulness is maintained). Gaps in memories suggest moments gone without phenomenality in here. All phenomenal experience seems structured by a form on intelligence (a priori intuition and such). Upon them, a large role is played by episodic memory which stitches together the past-present-future into an elusive specious present, where the immediate past still leaves a strong impression while the future emerges into present only to fade away. And all that appears in a certain way - by affecting the mind in a certain way - as a certain perception.
When the structure breaks down as while becoming sleepy or while fainting, intensity consciousness (along with feeling) starts to break or dim down too. Furthermore, it seems impossible to conceive of feeling with the constructive activity of episodic memory keeping the 'ing' (present-continuous phenomenology) going on. Even in the most minimal forms of consciousness (mystic states - pure consciousness) people still have their memory working to some extent as reported by people like Robert Forman.
This leads me to think without certain conditions and constructive activities the phenomenality cannot properly express itself at all (in a meaningful sense), even if it is inherently present in everything. So panprotopsychism may be more likely.
 

Cognisant

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Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am;" I disagree in that I think I feel and that I see.
Your grammar is broken and your point is unclear.
Descartes is saying that because he thinks he knows he exist, even if he isn't what he believes himself to be there must be something to have thought otherwise there would be nothing to have had the thought and then how could it have happened?

You seem to be missing his point entirely, it wouldn't be wrong to say "I feel therefore I am" or to be more pedantic by "I think I feel" you mean "I'm aware of my sensations therefore I am", but what does sight have to do with it? Indeed your disagreement with Descartes is completely unclear, you seem to be just taking the words he used, adding a few more and jumbling it all together and assuming because you're using the same words you must be talking about the same thing.

If you're going to refute someone define what they're saying in your own words to demonstrate/check your understanding, explain the flaw in their reasoning and give an example that demonstrates that flaw, then make your point and explain how you have avoided that pitfall.

For example,
"I think, therefore I am" assumes that because someone is capable of thought that they must exist otherwise for the lack of a person to think that thought it could not have occurred. However there's an unstated assumption that this person is conscious, that they exist in of themselves, but I can come up with a fictional character named Bob and I say Bob thinks he exist and within the fiction of my mind that is true. However Bob's thoughts are not true independent conscious thoughts, Bob has no existence outside of the fiction in which I created him, Bob has no mind of his own, Bob thinks in the same way a puppet can dance, only at the behest of the puppeteer.

So it could well be that I don't exist, that the reality I believe to be real is nothing but a fiction in some true entity's mind so to say "I think therefore I am" is false for I may not in fact exist, the fact that thought is occurring only proves that someone/something exists so it would be more accurate to say "I think therefore there is".
 

Animekitty

I am all of my perception (Sally 666)
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cogito - ergo - sum

I - therefore - I am

I don't know Latin so I can't say if this works or not.
 

Hadoblado

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Oh this gave me a good belly laugh. Sorry, I genuinely appreciate the effort... but you've got to admit it's funny right?

"Everyday language" -> "Multitude within the unity" XD

Re: Descartes
I'm gonna go ahead and assume you know what it means. I agree that the 'therefore' was premature. How this gets to feeling and seeing is unclear. Also seems like you reject thought but haven't really layed it out? Thoughts are distinct from feels and sensory/perception but you haven't addressed this. Unclear.

I don't really have time to go balls deep nitty gritty, if you want to challenge yourself perhaps try:
- don't quote anyone.
- don't use specialised vernacular without explaining it.
- ensure there aren't holes in what you're saying, like how you cut out thought but didn't explain how it differed from sight and feelings despite you replacing one with the other.

Like... I dunno. If I were you I'd be like:

"I'm a panpsychist. I believe that that there is no divide between conscious minds and non-conscious materials. Rather, everything in the universe shares some degree of consciousness. I believe this because... "
 

The Grey Man

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In meditations, he avoided using 'therefore'. His main point was that 'I' is something he could not coherently doubt. Upon more charitable interpretation, he was affirming the primordial intuitive sense of being that cannot be reasonably doubted. He didn't really necessarily meant it had to 'think' to be.
Re: Descartes
I'm gonna go ahead and assume you know what it means. I agree that the 'therefore' was premature. How this gets to feeling and seeing is unclear. Also seems like you reject thought but haven't really layed it out? Thoughts are distinct from feels and sensory/perception but you haven't addressed this. Unclear.
I think that that which we do, our doing of which we cannot reasonably doubt, is not thinking, but perceiving. We we know what we perceive and we perceive what we know. Therefore, insofar as we know ourselves to be thinking beings, it is by means of perception. Our thoughts not 'feeling' (subjective sensations) nor 'sight' (objective perception), but they hover between these two poles as things that are, on the one hand, sensations of just one percipient subject and, on the other, a complex of mutually individuated objects (e.g. voices in one's head, mental images).

There is a third thing which is not sensation, perception, or both sensation and perception, but which reconciles the simple unity of the subject with the complexity of objects, but this is, again, not thought, but causality.

Everyone knows about Schopenhauer's pessimism and his emphasis on the Will, but there is one gargantuan contribution of his to philosophy has received far less recognition by posterity: his identification of the causal law, whereby we intuitively understand ourselves to relate to our objective surroundings as an effect to its cause. We have knowledge not of the subject nor of objects, but of the causal relations between them.

@Cognisant this thread is not an attempt to rigourously refute Descartes, I only mean to use a well-known saying of his as a starting point. My intent is positively to state what I believe, not to negate what someone else has said.

However, since your criticism of Descartes can also be directed at me in a slightly modified form, I will address it.

"I think, therefore I am" assumes that because someone is capable of thought that they must exist otherwise for the lack of a person to think that thought it could not have occurred. However there's an unstated assumption that this person is conscious, that they exist in of themselves, but I can come up with a fictional character named Bob and I say Bob thinks he exist and within the fiction of my mind that is true. However Bob's thoughts are not true independent conscious thoughts, Bob has no existence outside of the fiction in which I created him, Bob has no mind of his own, Bob thinks in the same way a puppet can dance, only at the behest of the puppeteer.

So it could well be that I don't exist, that the reality I believe to be real is nothing but a fiction in some true entity's mind so to say "I think therefore I am" is false for I may not in fact exist, the fact that thought is occurring only proves that someone/something exists so it would be more accurate to say "I think therefore there is".
A similar thing may be said of my philosophy, that the fact that perception is occurring only proves that someone or something exists which may or may not be me, but if "I" is taken to refer merely to the aforementioned unity of the percipient subject, I think that we are on solid ground to affirm it or, at least, that if you can't agree that we are percipient beings, our experiences are so alien to each other that there is no point in continuing this conversation :ahh:

Looks more like phenomenology. Shouldn't epistemology be more about how you navigate around beliefs; which principles you use to found your beliefs, how skepticism is countered, and such?
I think that the antidote to skepticism and the foundation of belief par excellence is empirical evidence, and empirical evidence is phenomenal in character, so questions for epistemology can be forwarded to the address of phenomenology or, more precisely, the elucidation of the a priori by analysis of the a posteriori after the manner of Kant.

For example, Schopenhauer's identification of the causal law is phenomenally grounded and counters Humean skepticism regarding causality. We can still doubt that the sun will rise tomorrow, so inductive reasoning is still necessary if we are to assure ourselves of causal relations between objects, but the mutual dependence between the subject and the object can hardly be doubted.

While it is impossible to experience being without phenomenality (because that would be experiencing non-experience which would be a contradiction), there are clues to having lacking phenomenality and it is possible to witness transitional states where the feeling dims down to nothingness bit by bit...

...So panprotopsychism may be more likely.
In my older posts I speculate that human suffering is, objectively speaking, merely the manifestation of Le Châtelier's principle in the human brain and that there is a corresponding subjective experience of suffering for every instance of disrupted equilibrium in the natural world. I see no reason to suppose that any object which lacks those mechanisms of the human brain responsible for memories and complex representations would have such representations, but I see just as little reason to think that something as simple as want couldn't be embodied even by the tendencies of relatively rudimentary constructs. So I guess I am advocating a sort of panprotopsychism. An intellect is certainly required to remember experiencing suffering, but I'm not convinced that it's a requirement in order to experience it at all.

Thank you for your serious response, by the way. It means a lot.
 

DoIMustHaveAnUsername?

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I think that that which we do, our doing of which we cannot reasonably doubt, is not thinking, but perceiving. We we know what we perceive and we perceive what we know. Therefore, insofar as we know ourselves to be thinking beings, it is by means of perception. Our thoughts not 'feeling' (subjective sensations) nor 'sight' (objective perception), but they hover between these two poles as things that are, on the one hand, sensations of just one percipient subject and, on the other, a complex of mutually individuated objects (e.g. voices in one's head, mental images).
I don't know much about Descartes beyond meditations, but there is a charitable interpretation of Descartes according to which all Descartes meant to affirm was the undeniable presence of a self however short or long, enduring, or not whatever it is.

Thoughts are also perceptions. Though the thinker (producer of thoughts) may not be the perceiver.

I think that the antidote to skepticism and the foundation of belief par excellence is empirical evidence, and empirical evidence is phenomenal in character, so questions for epistemology can be forwarded to the address of phenomenology or, more precisely, the elucidation of the a priori by analysis of the a posteriori after the manner of Kant.
There still remains the question of what exactly an 'evidence' is supposed to be. If X is an evidence of hypothesis H, what does it mean? Does it mean X is possible iff (if and only if) hypothesis H is True. That's hardly ever the case. That's too tight a criteria. Most skeptical hypothesis also explains why the evidence X appears as such even when some common sense hypothesis H (of which X is evidence) is False. Or would we mean that X is simply compatible with hypothesis H. But then again we can discover lot of skeptical or not-skeptical non-Hs that are logically compatible with X. May we consider X to be an evidence when it is implied by Hypothesis H? Looks good, but yet we have the same problem: since we have done away with the 'if and only if' and reduced it to a mere if, different hypothesis may imply X. So how do we choose among alternate hypotheses? There are also issues with scientific underdetermination. There is also the concern of what is a good induction (not all induction may be good).

An intellect is certainly required to remember experiencing suffering, but I'm not convinced that it's a requirement in order to experience it at all.
What is experience without duration?
What is an experiencing (experience + some duration, in other words, experience with a bit diachronic unity) without any semblance of episodic memory?

It seems a bit inconceivable. At best we may call it 'quasi-phenomenal', something that has the phenomenal character in a loose sense, but is not really experience even minimally as certain other conditions are yet to be met.

Though it may be the case some simple memory-ness may be inherent in phenomenality and they may be present in (or as) much simpler forms of objects.

but the mutual dependence between the subject and the object can hardly be doubted.
But what is this subject?

The one to which this appearance appears? Is that subject somewhere behind watching the 'appearances'. But what does it mean to watch appearances?

Does 'watching' means that the subject is recording the information in appearances - but then this subject isn't you, then the appearances are not occurring in the subject. And there isn't any difference in this subject and an external being who reads the content of the appearance using telepathy or science or something.

Does the witnessing subject upon coming in contact with the appearing objects have another phenomenal experience OF the phenomenal experience? Not only does this sound redundant but it also begs for an infinite regress. If any experience needs to be experienced through another experience of that experience ...it would never end.

So overall, it doesn't make sense to speak of subject hovering above or behind appearances.

The subject IS appearances. The very nature of appearances is reflexive. Every awareness is awareness of awareness (whether discursively understood in thought or not).

But the objects in the appearances are also appearances. So where is this subject-object structure in appearance?

Indeed, if you have mystical experiences you can alter this subject-object structure:

1) You can become the transcendent subject that witnesses the objects without identifying with any of them. (Transcendent in the sense that it feels to be beyond all the objects in appearance, and unaffected by any object in it - the self that remains after negating everything)

2) You can experience the union of subject and object. All object becomes you. Things don't merely appear to you, but you become them. (having the sense of being both the subject and object at the same time).

3) You can experience pure objectivity - only the objects remains. The world expressing itself in the form of appearances but not 'to' anyone; without any subject or sense of being such.

4) You can experience pure subjectivity - no object at all - everything disappeared - only the 'void' remains.

Haven't gone to the level of 4 yet myself, but I am trying.

So if there has to be any real subject that interacts with any objects, it must the transcendental conditions that produce the appearances.

There seems (not phenomenally) to be transcendental conditions that interact with objects (sensory signals and contents) to produce a phenomenal representation of them with immediate past and present being stitched together and united diachronically along with some synchronic unity (represented through one knowingness) along with all the intuitions (time, space and more) and conceptual flavors. One may call these transcendental noumenal conditions as the subject. (The transcendental conditions may be simply the brain and its neurons. Or maybe not).

Yet we can only infer about them. It may be even beyond 'reasonable' doubt. But is it beyond doubt altogether?

From a skeptical POV can we not hypothesize that appearances just appear uncaused? That is, without any transcendental conditions interacting with any objects separate from it? Can we not without contradiction consider all that is, merely as appearances which by nature appear structured and united sometimes, and sometimes differently?
 

The Grey Man

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There still remains the question of what exactly an 'evidence' is supposed to be. If X is an evidence of hypothesis H, what does it mean? Does it mean X is possible iff (if and only if) hypothesis H is True. That's hardly ever the case. That's too tight a criteria. Most skeptical hypothesis also explains why the evidence X appears as such even when some common sense hypothesis H (of which X is evidence) is False. Or would we mean that X is simply compatible with hypothesis H. But then again we can discover lot of skeptical or not-skeptical non-Hs that are logically compatible with X. May we consider X to be an evidence when it is implied by Hypothesis H? Looks good, but yet we have the same problem: since we have done away with the 'if and only if' and reduced it to a mere if, different hypothesis may imply X. So how do we choose among alternate hypotheses? There are also issues with scientific underdetermination. There is also the concern of what is a good induction (not all induction may be good).
You’re right, phenomena are not a sufficient ground for all rational belief. Something else is needed to ground beliefs that are not known to be true if and only if a certain phenomenal condition is met. I believe that we have such a something in motivations which impel us to draw conclusions that do not follow from their premises. However, such conclusions are not, strictly speaking, knowledge, even if they are partially grounded in experience, which is why I initially excluded inductive judgments from consideration in my epistemology.

I suppose a reasonable objection to my epistemology may be, “What good is it, if it doesn’t affirm the truth of inductive judgments from empirical premises upon which all the technical achievements of mankind are based?”, to which my reply would be that I think such inductive judgments have been our only demonstratively successful way of grounding speculative theories about the world in observable facts, so I recognize the dignity of empirical science even though I don’t think that we know its hypotheses to be true.

But what is this subject?

The one to which this appearance appears? Is that subject somewhere behind watching the 'appearances'. But what does it mean to watch appearances?

Does 'watching' means that the subject is recording the information in appearances - but then this subject isn't you, then the appearances are not occurring in the subject. And there isn't any difference in this subject and an external being who reads the content of the appearance using telepathy or science or something.

Does the witnessing subject upon coming in contact with the appearing objects have another phenomenal experience OF the phenomenal experience? Not only does this sound redundant but it also begs for an infinite regress. If any experience needs to be experienced through another experience of that experience ...it would never end.

So overall, it doesn't make sense to speak of subject hovering above or behind appearances.

The subject IS appearances. The very nature of appearances is reflexive. Every awareness is awareness of awareness (whether discursively understood in thought or not).
I agree that the subject is appearances, as a whole, whereas the objects are the appearances as parts, so that the duality between subject and object doubles as that between simplicity and complexity, unity and number.

But the objects in the appearances are also appearances. So where is this subject-object structure in appearance?

Indeed, if you have mystical experiences you can alter this subject-object structure:

1) You can become the transcendent subject that witnesses the objects without identifying with any of them. (Transcendent in the sense that it feels to be beyond all the objects in appearance, and unaffected by any object in it - the self that remains after negating everything)

2) You can experience the union of subject and object. All object becomes you. Things don't merely appear to you, but you become them. (having the sense of being both the subject and object at the same time).

3) You can experience pure objectivity - only the objects remains. The world expressing itself in the form of appearances but not 'to' anyone; without any subject or sense of being such.

4) You can experience pure subjectivity - no object at all - everything disappeared - only the 'void' remains.

Haven't gone to the level of 4 yet myself, but I am trying.
Since I've never had such exotic experiences, I suppose I'll have to take your word for it—or not. As Schopenhauer said, philosophers can convince others by appealing to objective conditions, but mystics cannot.

So if there has to be any real subject that interacts with any objects, it must the transcendental conditions that produce the appearances.

There seems (not phenomenally) to be transcendental conditions that interact with objects (sensory signals and contents) to produce a phenomenal representation of them with immediate past and present being stitched together and united diachronically along with some synchronic unity (represented through one knowingness) along with all the intuitions (time, space and more) and conceptual flavors. One may call these transcendental noumenal conditions as the subject. (The transcendental conditions may be simply the brain and its neurons. Or maybe not).

Yet we can only infer about them. It may be even beyond 'reasonable' doubt. But is it beyond doubt altogether?
I think it is. Intuitions of time and space are transcendental conditiones sine quibus non of the phenomenal representation of events in time and space. Moreover, I think that the transcendental conditions are not the brain and its neurons, but the brain is their objectification, the outward, partial appearance of what is inwardly and holistically experienced by the subject. Explaining consciousness merely as an activity of objects, as materialists do, begs the question since all objects are objects for some subject, whether this be a layman or a neuroscientist.

From a skeptical POV can we not hypothesize that appearances just appear uncaused? That is, without any transcendental conditions interacting with any objects separate from it? Can we not without contradiction consider all that is, merely as appearances which by nature appear structured and united sometimes, and sometimes differently?
Certainly, but this is a philosophical dead end. The theory that the subject does something analogous to what its objectification in the human brain is doing stands a much better chance of reconciliation with the findings of empirical science than the theory that appearances just sort of happen, now this way and now another, though I do often wonder what analogous subjective differences correspond to differences between brains and other objects.
 

DoIMustHaveAnUsername?

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You’re right, phenomena are not a sufficient ground for all rational belief. Something else is needed to ground beliefs that are not known to be true if and only if a certain phenomenal condition is met. I believe that we have such a something in motivations which impel us to draw conclusions that do not follow from their premises. However, such conclusions are not, strictly speaking, knowledge, even if they are partially grounded in experience, which is why I initially excluded inductive judgments from consideration in my epistemology.

I suppose a reasonable objection to my epistemology may be, “What good is it, if it doesn’t affirm the truth of inductive judgments from empirical premises upon which all the technical achievements of mankind are based?”, to which my reply would be that I think such inductive judgments have been our only demonstratively successful way of grounding speculative theories about the world in observable facts, so I recognize the dignity of empirical science even though I don’t think that we know its hypotheses to be true.
Regarding epistemology, I still find the idea behind Cartesian Doubt appealing.

I am not very updated on cutting edge epistemology, but personally, for now, I have settled with something which I may call "epistemology based on doubt".

Basically, I rank beliefs and ideas based on how difficult it is doubt coherently. The more difficult it is doubt X the higher it is ranked (or 'scored').

Then I use higher ranked beliefs to deductively infer other beliefs.

Deductively inferred beliefs can share roughly the same rank as its premises because I consider deductive principles themselves as one of the most highly ranked beliefs - something that seems epistemically as certain as can be.

Phenomenality\appearance ("cogito"), or even more generally beingness of "being" in some fashion or another, is another belief that I may hold at the highest regard. To doubt is to affirm the doubting - so it's hard to coherently ponder the possibility for there being no appearance or even more radically there being no being at all).

This principle can be supplemented by the Wittgensteinian insight - the more radical (extreme) one's doubt becomes, the less sense the very doubting start to make.

Then I can accept a lower ranked belief if it is;

{1) fairly hard to doubt
or (non-exclusive or)
2) it is something that needs to be constantly assumed for pragmatic sake,
or
(3) if it is a Moorean common sense
AND
if it is clearly conceivable and intelligible - not just a 'bad' unquestioned common sense.)}

AND

(4) if it doesn't contradict a higher ranked belief or something inferred from them.)

I can accept induction at this level (relatively lower ranked than deduction, but much higher ranked compared to many other beliefs) for the sake of pragmatic utility and such.

I don't think induction can be justified in terms of something simpler without circularity. It is something to be taken as a fundamental axiom IMO.

I don't think we need much justification for it; in a sense as one the greatest skeptics, Sextus Empiricus himself may say, nature necessitates us to do induction; thus we may just do that.

Now we can again infer other beliefs BASED on these principles and continue in the construction of the Quine's "web of beliefs".

If someday by some reasoning, something inferred from a higher ranked belief X is found to contradict a lower ranked belief Y which initially may have seemed to be higher ranked than not-Y, then we much re-rank. We must elevate the rank of not-Y above Y. Thus the hierarchy of beliefs in my system of epistemology is open for revision and refinement.

Since it is oriented more towards pragmaticism and less towards absolutism (having absolute incorrigible knowledge - though I suppose knowledge of phenomenality comes close) it need not fear skeptical hypothesis or the critics of the methodology of Cartesian doubt who argues how we cannot find any foundation because we always may have prejudices or biases, or how there may not be any way out when you question everything even your own sanity and ability to reason.

For the sake of flexibility, I keep, for every belief, a room for change based on the discovery of some inferred belief and contradictions or something - even for the most fundamental beliefs that are almost certain (or totally certain) to be true, because yeah why not.

Since I've never had such exotic experiences, I suppose I'll have to take your word for it—or not. As Schopenhauer said, philosophers can convince others by appealing to objective conditions, but mystics cannot.
But the philosophical mystic (or even an astute philosophical non-mystic) can explain what those experiences point towards in terms of common intersubjective phenomenal experiences.

However, regarding some of these, there are also empirical evidences, proposals for empirical investigation, and precise methodologies to cultivate these kinds of experiences for any normal human being.

Experience 1:

That which makes consciousness of something as consciousness is the aspect of 'witnessing' (witnessing here doesn't only mean visual witnessing, but it refers to general mode-neutral awareness of any object - including mental sensations).

Identification is a mental activity based on thought-feeling complex. Sometimes a thought may appear - but without 'identification' - it may then seem like a 'hallucinationatory voice', or as an 'intrusive thought'.

The question is what makes 'my thought' (thoughts with mine-ness sense of being produced by 'me' - the thinker as opposed to ONLY being the perciever of the thoughts) distinct from 'intrusive mental voices or images' or perhaps the talks of a dream character (which are essentially thoughts presented to the mind but not identified as mine - the dream avatar to which the identifying activity may be direced at the moment).

And who is behind this 'identification' at any moment? Is there a substantial self that identifies?

Is there any evidence in appearance itself that it is the witness (mode neutral witnessing aspect) that propitiates the thoughts that appear to be 'possessed by some subject' as opposed to there only being appearances of thoughts that simply appears to be possessed by some kind of mental concept of subject/self-image. And what constitute this posessor? where to find it? I won't go into too much details here. By we can do phenomenal and philosophical analysis on the structure of witness and its relationship to the contents.

There are also psychological states where identification considerably weakens (depersonalization) and there are empirical evidence for them. Plus empirical experiments to show how identification can be manipulated with fake body parts and such.

In short, we can point to the fact that the witnessing-ness may not necessarily possess anything as a personal being beyond mere perspectival possession. Phenomenology gives no evidence for such. As such the witness can be considered abstractedly without considering it as a subject with will, intention, thoughts or such, but more as a place 'basho' where will, thoughts, intention arises - the witnessing itself being somewhat unmoved, still, and transcendent in character (because there can be no witnessing of unwitnessing, witnessingness appears timeless - i.e - changeless through time. This is only a phenomenological truth though - who knows about the metaphysics. Though mystics often seem to make metaphysical statements out of it - I have found no reason to do so).

From the vantage point of seeing oneself as this mere 'witnessing', everything is possessed by the witness only in the perspectival sense (in the sense that it is appearing it the witnessing). As such from the point of view of being this witness,
the 'bird' out there is as external as one's own 'thoughts'.

The mystic experience is simply a more direct experiential realization of this.

Experience 2:

As you yourself said that the subject is the whole - the unity of apperception - whereas the objects are the part. Yet the parts aren't distinct from the whole. The multiplicity exists only in unity. They aren't completely distinct.

As Santaraksita pointed out ages ago, non-sentient objects are non-sentient i.e they cannot make to appear. For objects to appear it needs to be given a phenomenal aspect. The only way that can be done is by making consciousness to represent the objects in a phenomenal form in consciousness itself.

To be conscious of an object the consciousness has to, in a sense, become that object to itself.

To appear is to be infused with appearance-ness (consciousness) -i.e to become one with consciousness.

When the intuition doesn't identify the self with particular contents within an experience (like thoughts, feelings, body) but the very appearance-ness (or witnessing-ness), and then it may realize how this apsect of witnessing or phenomenality is infused and immanent in everything. As an ancient Indian sage once said, it is like salt mixed with water.

This is the fact of non-distinctness of the subject and object in the experience itself.

The mystic experience is the experiential realization of the union of subject and objects something which can be philosophically understood as well. In other words, it is to see that there is no 'distance' between subject and object in appearance.

Experience 1 is the realization of the transcendence of witnessing. Experience 2 is the realization of immanence.

In some way, mystic experiences can have a transformative character that mere intellectualization lack, but sometimes I suspect that the knowledge gained from basic reasoning and some intellectualization has a sort of strength that may be missing on many mystical experiences.

Experience 3:

In experience 1, there is still an identification of being the 'witness'. But the whole 'identification'-ness itself is a mental object - something that appears in the witnessing but not central to the witnessing. The whole idea of being a subject of object - the whole intentional structure is also itself appearing as an object. And as I explained earlier it doesn't make sense of a subject over and above the experiencing itself.


Experience 1 may also involve some questionable idea of the witness being a separate transcendent being from the experienced objects or at least a sense of that. When The sense of identification completely disappears, even the subtle identification with being along with the sense of there being a witnessing over and above there only remains the objects - i.e - mere appearances without a sense of being a subject 'I' to whom they appear. This is different from experience 2, in the sense of lacking the identification with the objects. Experience 2 can feel like being an immanent witness not-separate from anything but there is still identification with the subject that experiences the union with objects. In a sense this may be considered as an even higher form of union, where there is not even the sense of being an "I" who have "united", but just the sense of there being this world expressing itself, a world belonging to no one, experiences occuring to no observer behind, and all the processes being impersonal. It can be an escape from the suffering of being a personal-self who wills. Because not anymore there is anyone to identify with the will. The will has become impersonal. It is not yours, but the world's.

Experience 3 naturally follows from some of the elements introduced in 1. If identification is indeed accepted to be simply a mental activity - a content of experience that is not essential to the experience or the witnessing, and if there are cases of alterations of sense of (personal) identification, it becomes a lot more plausible for there to be a case of absolute depersonalization (which won't be pathological because in that state there is no identification or association with any negative emotions either if there are any at all. Whereas usual depersonalization, as Miri Albahari argues in Analytical Buddhism accompanies identification with negative emotions like terror even when this identification may tighten itself to only a very few objects - like the negative feelings and not extend towards other objects like body, thoughts and such).

Experience 4: This one is the most tricky. I can't talk about it because I haven't had it yet. However, experiences like these or close to this are highly reported. If psychological disorders and states are to be taken as objective features based on reported experiences + brain states or whatever, one can take this as such too.
This is the experience of not having any experience yet still being 'awake', as far as I understand it. It is supposedly ineffable (but so is the taste of salt so I don't know)- the experience of pure phenomenality (phenomenality as such - without any 'particular' discernable quality to it - no feeling, thought, sensations). As far as I understand, there probably is still a lot going on, and there is a 'quality' to it, but it has to be understood very loosely - and it has to be understood to be unlike anything we can normally imagine. There may also be different variants of this kind of experience. Though it may technically not have the sense of being 'subject' or 'witness'.


However, something close to philosophical exploration on the idea of consciousness by itself being a sort of absolute-nothingness may be found in Japan Kyoto School. The mystical experience may be considered thus as simply being the experiential realization of the philosophical realization of the essence of consciousness as the pure phenomenal voidness - the 'absolute nothingness' that allows all things to manifest.

Metzinger calls it MPE (Minimal Phenomenal Experience) and even proposes a possible empirical experiment to test some of his hypotheses.

I think it is. Intuitions of time and space are transcendental conditiones sine quibus non of the phenomenal representation of events in time and space. Moreover, I think that the transcendental conditions are not the brain and its neurons, but the brain is their objectification, the outward, partial appearance of what is inwardly and holistically experienced by the subject. Explaining consciousness merely as an activity of objects, as materialists do, begs the question since all objects are objects for some subject, whether this be a layman or a neuroscientist.
By transcendental, I meant (causal) conditions that are beyond phenomenology - Conditions that actively constructs phenomenology based on causal rules and laws of nature.

While there are some pretty certain conditions (as in conditions as features within or as imposed upon phenomenality) that seems necessary for there to be phenomenology at all, it may not imply anything about the nature of the noumenal stuffs that may actually construct and produce the phenomenal world.

For example, I may say it's trivially true that phenomenality is a necessary condition for there to be phenomenality. There cannot be a phenomenality without phenomenality.
Less trivially, I may also speak of self-luminosity (self-awareness or meta-awareness) to be a necessary element of awareness. All awareness is awareness of awareness, which can be argued if needed. But they are necessary structures within phenomenality not the noumenal things-in-itself that causally produces awareness and phenomenality in the first place; if they are produced in the first place (I am not assuming that these noumenal conditions exist, or if it exists if it produces or merely alters the structure)

I would consider space and time as more of grounding conditions for phenomenology rather than productive ones.

However, I have my doubts if space is necessary for phenomenology, considering experience 4 where supposedly there is no spatiality.

Even in other experiences, it seems possible to experience things not as something distinct outside of us (spatially distant) as a subject but instead as being us.

Furthermore, the sense of spatial-ness becomes less distinct when we consider things like feelings instead of more visual appearances. What about the moments when concentration focuses solely on the aspect of some sensation or feeling withdrawn from visual elements? I have only just started on Kant, so I don't know what Kant had to say about it.

Even time is said to be 'gone' in the moment of 4th experience. Time, as conceived as succession, maybe indeed missing in a sense. However, my understanding of time is atypical - I don't consider the time to be merely succession. So I wouldn't call experience 4 as timeless. But I shall wait until I have experienced it for myself. Though I am not sure, I haven't experienced something similar in certain moments.

Kant did say, IIRC, that it may be possible to have phenomenology without space-time but that may not be something that any human experiences. In that sense, one may say that the peak of yogic experiences, maybe indeed, in some sense, inhuman. In these experiences, the human being is no more.

Moreover, I think that the transcendental conditions are not the brain and its neurons, but the brain is their objectification, the outward, partial appearance of what is inwardly and holistically experienced by the subject.
IMO, the brain as we know it is merely an indirect appearance. An appearance that partial correspond to some appearance (even if its own internal appearance) and dispositional rules defining behavior and change. Since the brain is only seen within seeing, it is only an indirect appearance. The phenomenology of others is simply represented as the structure of neurons in the phenomenology of another. The brain itself is an internal representation of the external aspect of the internal representation.
As such the real brain - the noumenal brain is completely unknown. What we have is merely an interface as presented to us, not the thing-in-itself.

Certainly, but this is a philosophical dead end.
Not necessarily if one isn't seeking absolutism. One can just say "sure bro", and move on using the epistemology as described earlier. As Galen Strawson said, we give far undue attention to skepticism. We don't have to argue them to be wrong, or their possibilities to be impossibilities. We can simply consider them to be implausible, or just commit to a bit of pragmatism. The ancient skeptics (the lineage of Pyrrho) were quite pragmatic in a sense. They not only involved themselves in questioning everything - being the 'universal doubter'. But they also proposed a method to live as a skeptic (a seeker). Skeptical hypotheses can also be very useful in ranking beliefs in my Cartesian-doubt inspired epistemology.

Certainly, but this is a philosophical dead end. The theory that the subject does something analogous to what its objectification in the human brain is doing stands a much better chance of reconciliation with the findings of empirical science than the theory that appearances just sort of happen, now this way and now another, though I do often wonder what analogous subjective differences correspond to differences between brains and other objects.
However, one can still argue from a panpsychic or idealistic stance. From that stance, if everything is considered to be experiential, then there is no non-experiential aspect to cause appearances. There are still experiential conditions conditioning other experiential conditions nevertheless. If panpsychism or some form of protopanpsychism is true, the brain may not exist as a separate productive condition for consciousness but it can be strictly identical to consciousness. The only reason for the brain to appear different from consciousness is because the brain as it appears is simply a representation of phenomenal information corresponding to some other field of appearance. It may be an imperfect representation which is why neurons don't seem united whereas the appearance corresponding to it is (binding problem). But it is still an causal interface - a wrapper - through which other causal forces (like will, intention, and such) can influence the other field of appearance. In some sense, it can be an even minimal and simpler metaphysics (no two radically different 'types' of substance - only one kind - experientialism). However, I have no reason to believe in simplicity if there is no pragmatic utility (like testing and such). So I can stick to more skeptical or epistemically pessimistic standpoints where I refuse to speculate the noumena - all I can say is that there are appearances - there may be other appearances not appearing here (avoiding solipisism) - they can interact (abductive assumptions + empirical evidence) - portions of brains can represent portions of other appearances in here (empirical evidence) and this representation is an interface to alter others appearances (empirical evidence) - and so on - with all that one can live a practical functional life and do all kind of science to map brain states with appearances, and create other representations (like represents brain states in terms of images, sounds etc. in our own appearances).....without speculating about what is going in between in the transcendental noumenal realm.
 

The Grey Man

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Deductively inferred beliefs can share roughly the same rank as its premises because I consider deductive principles themselves as one of the most highly ranked beliefs - something that seems epistemically as certain as can be.

Phenomenality\appearance ("cogito"), or even more generally beingness of "being" in some fashion or another, is another belief that I may hold at the highest regard. To doubt is to affirm the doubting - so it's hard to coherently ponder the possibility for there being no appearance or even more radically there being no being at all).

This principle can be supplemented by the Wittgensteinian insight - the more radical (extreme) one's doubt becomes, the less sense the very doubting start to make.
I agree 100%. Phenomenality is the epistemic bedrock than which there is no more solid foundation of belief. Truly, "seeing is believing," though not all believing is seeing. We have, besides incorrigible immediate knowledge in phenomenal representations, mediate knowledge (to use the language of Jakob Fries) in “representations of representations”—that is, objects that putatively mean other objects—which is corrigible and therefore also not knowledge sensu stricto.

Deductive conclusions share the same epistemic rank as their premises because it is precisely their premises that they affirm, albeit only in part. Deductive judgments grounded in phenomena are made possible by the complex character of the objective representations, which I contrasted with the simplicity of the subject in the spirit of German idealism, though Kant clearly didn’t think much of these analytic a posteriori judgments.

Kant said:
It would be absurd to found an analytic judgment on experience. Since, in forming the judgment, I must not go outside my concept, there is no need to appeal to the testimony of experience in its support/
I think that the only way to go beyond appearances and acquire knowledge of transcendental is by elucidation of the synthetic a priori—that is, the identification of those few Kantian forms of intuition and categories of the understanding to which our many representations conform, which is equivalent to the contemplation of the One through the intellect in Platonism. This is the task of metaphysics. The elucidation of the synthetic a posteriori, of course, is to be left to the scientists, and the analytic a priori to the logicians and mathematicians.

Again, thank you for the serious and spirited replies. I find that I’m having much more success expressing my views dialectically than I had apodictically. I will reply to the rest of your post when I have more time.
 

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Regarding epistemology, I still find the idea behind Cartesian Doubt appealing.

I am not very updated on cutting edge epistemology, but personally, for now, I have settled with something which I may call "epistemology based on doubt".

Basically, I rank beliefs and ideas based on how difficult it is doubt coherently. The more difficult it is doubt X the higher it is ranked (or 'scored').

(...)

I don't think induction can be justified in terms of something simpler without circularity. It is something to be taken as a fundamental axiom IMO.

I don't think we need much justification for it; in a sense as one the greatest skeptics, Sextus Empiricus himself may say, nature necessitates us to do induction; thus we may just do that.

(...)

Since it is oriented more towards pragmaticism and less towards absolutism (having absolute incorrigible knowledge - though I suppose knowledge of phenomenality comes close) it need not fear skeptical hypothesis or the critics of the methodology of Cartesian doubt who argues how we cannot find any foundation because we always may have prejudices or biases, or how there may not be any way out when you question everything even your own sanity and ability to reason.
We can, like Descartes, shut ourselves up in our room and suppose that there is nothing outside its walls, and it can be disheartening to think that there is no sufficient reason, intellectually, to reject this rather meager vision of the world in favour of any grander ontological construction, but we need not on this account exalt those intuitive beliefs that get us out of bed in the morning—and, indeed, are the only beliefs of animals insofar as they have beliefs at all (for they, like we, are necessitated to do induction by nature)—to the status of knowledge in order to assure ourselves of the inadequacy of skepticism.

Critics of methodological Cartesian doubt can take solace in the fact that the method does not rob us of any knowledge that we already possess, nor does it pretend to. It merely illuminates how limited is the knowledge that we possess, and how reliant are we upon beliefs that are grounded not in what we know, but instead in our moral character. I am alluding, of course, to that duality which was identified by the rationalists and further elucidated by Kant, and which became the central consideration of Schopenhauer's entire philosophy: our dual character as complex, dynamic, causal, conditioned, determined, 'seen,' known objects and as a simple, developmental, purposive, willing, 'feeling,' valuing subject. The first is the province of epistemology, the second that of ethics, and both are aspects of metaphysics or 'first philosophy.'

More to follow...
 

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inadequacy of skepticism
But if you read what the original ancient skeptics (Pyrrhonians) themselves had to say ....they justified their actions exactly in terms of how nature simply necessitates them to act in certain ways. They followed common sense, convention, appearances, and the forces of nature. What their skepticism meant was to not accept metaphysical doctrines of absolute truths behind appearances. So how can what you say make skepticism inadequate when the original skeptics did take that into account.


Hume also seemed critical of the skeptics (Pyrrhonian or what he though to be Pyrrhonians) using the same arguments as you are using for the inadequacy of skepticism. Ironically, again, his own behaviors, manners, ideas aligned far more closely to what the Pyrrhonians like Sextus actually said. (And not to say, Hume himself is now considered as a skeptic by common standards). As such there doesn't seem to be anything Pyrrhonian skeptic that one is supposed to defeat. It is against 'absolutism' toward having knowledge - Moore and Wittgenstein seemed to be themselves going for a more pragmatic idea of knowledge (laid out more clearly and explicitly by Wittgenstein in his 'On Certainty') - as such that is again very well compatible with the original skepticism of the Pyrrhonians.


The skeptics that fall under attack usually seems to be just a hypothetical position that no one really seems to subscribe; or a strawman.


Critics of methodological Cartesian doubt can take solace in the fact that the method does not rob us of any knowledge that we already possess, nor does it pretend to.
Methodological doubt was devised to find the foundations of knowledge - the first principle. It was never meant to rob us, but rather stabilize and ground our knwoledge.
However critics of Methodological doubt are actually more skeptical to the extent that they doubt methodological doubt can even achieve that goal. What can one even do when one doubts his own reasoning ability with Cartesian Demon? One just pushes oneself into a dead end. The critics can also be anti-foundationalists about knowledge.

Descartes himself managed to came out with a lot of 'beliefs' regarding everything with his methodological doubt, but not everyone finds his arguments and reason convincing; probably the majority.

I am alluding, of course, to that duality which was identified by the rationalists and further elucidated by Kant, and which became the central consideration of Schopenhauer's entire philosophy: our dual character as complex, dynamic, causal, conditioned, determined, 'seen,' known objects and as a simple, developmental, purposive, willing, 'feeling,' valuing subject.
Sounds similar to Sellar's scientific image vs manifest image. (Not saying they're the same - but sounds like there could be parallels).
 

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The skeptics that fall under attack usually seems to be just a hypothetical position that no one really seems to subscribe; or a strawman.
It was my intention not to attack any philosopher who calls himself a skeptic, but to point out that no knowledge is required to overcome skepticism regarding this or that as part of my overall response to your question about whether epistemology should be about countering skepticism. All that is required is that we act as if we know it to be the case on the basis of induction, instinct, or some combination of the two, as animals do. My point was that skepticism is not countered with knowledge and reason alone (though it is a factor in the case of induction), but with one's moral character.

Methodological doubt was devised to find the foundations of knowledge - the first principle. It was never meant to rob us, but rather stabilize and ground our knwoledge.
Yes, which is why the critics are wrong. And anti-foundationalism...well, that just seems to be one of those things that is so absurd that only an academic could believe it. If there is no ground of knowledge, where does one start? What is the point in even being a philosopher?

Sounds similar to Sellar's scientific image vs manifest image. (Not saying they're the same - but sounds like there could be parallels).
It's probably the same thing with a new spin on it. I don't think that this concept will ever disappear from the philosophical conversation, just reappear under new names with greater or lesser clarity and completeness.
 

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Yes, which is why the critics are wrong. And anti-foundationalism...well, that just seems to be one of those things that is so absurd that only an academic could believe it. If there is no ground of knowledge, where does one start? What is the point in even being a philosopher?
"One implication of the unending nature of the interpretation of appearances through infinite sequences of signs is that Peirce cannot be any type of epistemological foundationalist or believer in absolute or apodeictic knowledge. He must be, and is, an anti-foundationalist and a fallibilist. From his earliest to his latest writings Peirce opposed and attacked all forms of epistemological foundationalism and in particular all forms of Cartesianism and a priorism. Philosophy must begin wherever it happens to be at the moment, he thought, and not at some supposed ideal foundation, especially not in some world of “private references.” The only important thing in thinking scientifically to apply the scientific method itself. This method he held to be essentially public and reproducible in its activities, as well as self-correcting in the following sense: No matter where different researchers may begin, as long as they follow the scientific method, their results will eventually converge toward the same outcome. (The pragmatic, or pragmaticistic, conception of meaning implies that two theories with exactly the same empirical content must have, despite superficial appearances, the same meaning.) This ideal point of convergence is what Peirce means by “the truth,” and “reality” is simply what is meant by “the truth.” That these Peircean notions of reality and truth are inherently idealist rather than naively realist in character should require no special pleading.

Connected with Peirce's anti-foundationalism is his insistence on the fallibility of particular achievements in science. Although the scientific method will eventually converge to something as a limit, nevertheless at any temporal point in the process of scientific inquiry we are only at a provisional stage of it and cannot ascertain how far off we may be from the limit to which we are somehow converging. This insistence on the fallibilism of human inquiry is connected with several other important themes of Peirce's philosophy. His evolutionism has already been discussed: fallibilism is obviously connected with the fact that science is not shooting at a fixed target but rather one that is always moving. What Peirce calls his “tychism,” which is his anti-deterministic insistence that there is objective chance in the world, is also intimately connected to his fallibilism. (Tychism will be discussed below.) Despite Peirce's insistence on fallibilism, he is far from being an epistemological pessimist or sceptic: indeed, he is quite the opposite. He tends to hold that every genuine question (that is, every question whose possible answers have empirical content) can be answered in principle, or at least should not be assumed to be unanswerable. For this reason, one his most important dicta, which he called his first principle of reason, is “Do not block the way of inquiry!”
 

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SEP said:
First, for Peirce the world of appearances, which he calls “the phaneron,” is a world consisting entirely of signs. Signs are qualities, relations, features, items, events, states, regularities, habits, laws, and so on that have meanings, significances, or interpretations. Second, a sign is one term in a threesome of terms that are indissolubly connected with each other by a crucial triadic relation that Peirce calls “the sign relation.” The sign itself (also called the representamen) is the term in the sign relation that is ordinarily said to represent or mean something. The other two terms in this relation are called the object and the interpretant. The object is what would ordinarily would be said to be the “thing” meant or signified or represented by the sign, what the sign is a sign of. The interpretant of a sign is said by Peirce to be that to which the sign represents the object. What exactly Peirce means by the interpretant is difficult to pin down. It is something like a mind, a mental act, a mental state, or a feature or quality of mind; at all events the interpretant is something ineliminably mental. Third, the interpretant of a sign, by virtue of the very definition Peirce gives of the sign-relation, must itself be a sign, and a sign moreover of the very same object that is (or: was) represented by the (original) sign. In effect, then, the interpretant is a second signifier of the object, only one that now has an overtly mental status. But, merely in being a sign of the original object, this second sign must itself have (Peirce uses the word “determine”) an interpretant, which then in turn is a new, third sign of the object, and again is one with an overtly mental status. And so on. Thus, if there is any sign at all of any object, then there is an infinite sequence of signs of that same object. So, everything in the phaneron, because it is a sign, begins an infinite sequence of mental interpretants of an object.
Peirce's triadic "sign relation" looks exactly like the relation of intentionality, as the phenomenologists call it, which in turn resembles Schopenhauer's theory of the subject and object as the two poles of the representation (Vorstellung) that is the natural world. These two poles are connected by relations of causality, which double as the Kantian unity of apperception (Hume's "medium betwixt unity and number") whereby a plurality of objects is understood by a single subject. Neither pole of the relation is independent, as is thought by the idealists on the one side and the materialists on the other—the subject perceives the objects, the objects appear to the subject, and not the one without the other ("No object," the irascible German declares, driving his fist into the proverbial table, "without a subject!," and the reverse is also true).

In like manner, Peirce posits that the natural world or "phaneron" is a totality of signs or "representamen" mediating between the plurality of objects or signified or represented things and the unity of that to which they are represented. The one thing I don't understand about this theory so far, from my Kant-Schopenhauerian perspective is why the interpretant of every sign must be itself a sign. I'm more inclined to think of representation as an 'affirmation of two negations,' a relation between an Upanishadic "unknown knower" and an equally obscure plurality towards which the activity of representing/perceiving/knowing is nevertheless directed. This next part is even more baffling to me:

SEP said:
One implication of the unending nature of the interpretation of appearances through infinite sequences of signs is that Peirce cannot be any type of epistemological foundationalist or believer in absolute or apodeictic knowledge.
Even if every sign began an infinite series of things that double as interpretant and sign, starting with its own interpretant, why does this imply anti-foundationalism? Why can't the ground of knowledge be any node in this sequence, wherever one "happens to be at the moment?"
 

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SEP said:
First, for Peirce the world of appearances, which he calls “the phaneron,” is a world consisting entirely of signs. Signs are qualities, relations, features, items, events, states, regularities, habits, laws, and so on that have meanings, significances, or interpretations. Second, a sign is one term in a threesome of terms that are indissolubly connected with each other by a crucial triadic relation that Peirce calls “the sign relation.” The sign itself (also called the representamen) is the term in the sign relation that is ordinarily said to represent or mean something. The other two terms in this relation are called the object and the interpretant. The object is what would ordinarily would be said to be the “thing” meant or signified or represented by the sign, what the sign is a sign of. The interpretant of a sign is said by Peirce to be that to which the sign represents the object. What exactly Peirce means by the interpretant is difficult to pin down. It is something like a mind, a mental act, a mental state, or a feature or quality of mind; at all events the interpretant is something ineliminably mental. Third, the interpretant of a sign, by virtue of the very definition Peirce gives of the sign-relation, must itself be a sign, and a sign moreover of the very same object that is (or: was) represented by the (original) sign. In effect, then, the interpretant is a second signifier of the object, only one that now has an overtly mental status. But, merely in being a sign of the original object, this second sign must itself have (Peirce uses the word “determine”) an interpretant, which then in turn is a new, third sign of the object, and again is one with an overtly mental status. And so on. Thus, if there is any sign at all of any object, then there is an infinite sequence of signs of that same object. So, everything in the phaneron, because it is a sign, begins an infinite sequence of mental interpretants of an object.
Peirce's triadic "sign relation" looks exactly like the relation of intentionality, as the phenomenologists call it, which in turn resembles Schopenhauer's theory of the subject and object as the two poles of the representation (Vorstellung) that is the natural world. These two poles are connected by relations of causality, which double as the Kantian unity of apperception (Hume's "medium betwixt unity and number") whereby a plurality of objects is understood by a single subject. Neither pole of the relation is independent, as is thought by the idealists on the one side and the materialists on the other—the subject perceives the objects, the objects appear to the subject, and not the one without the other ("No object," the irascible German declares, driving his fist into the proverbial table, "without a subject!," and the reverse is also true).

In like manner, Peirce posits that the natural world or "phaneron" is a totality of signs or "representamen" mediating between the plurality of objects or signified or represented things and the unity of that to which they are represented. The one thing I don't understand about this theory so far, from my Kant-Schopenhauerian perspective is why the interpretant of every sign must be itself a sign. I'm more inclined to think of representation as an 'affirmation of two negations,' a relation between an Upanishadic "unknown knower" and an equally obscure plurality towards which the activity of representing/perceiving/knowing is nevertheless directed. This next part is even more baffling to me:

SEP said:
One implication of the unending nature of the interpretation of appearances through infinite sequences of signs is that Peirce cannot be any type of epistemological foundationalist or believer in absolute or apodeictic knowledge.
Even if every sign began an infinite series of things that double as interpretant and sign, starting with its own interpretant, why does this imply anti-foundationalism? Why can't the ground of knowledge be any node in this sequence, wherever one "happens to be at the moment?"
I don't really have any idea about what Pierce or Sellars was exactly up to. I haven't really read their stuff. I don't really have the mental resource these days to go through all that Piercian neologisms. They are on the reading list, but I have many other grounds to cover before reaching them.

I just introduced what they may have to say about 'anti-foundationalism' - precisely, where do they 'start' from?

The general theme (at least general tendency across a sample size of two ) seems to be starting simply from where they are at - whatever seems the best - then use 'scientific method' as it is 'self-correcting'.

I may not necessarily agree with them, however.

I may agree to some extent with Hume's critique that there is really no way out once you summon a cartesian demon and start to doubt even our own reasoning and sanity to the point of also doubting deduction and law of non-contradiction. At that level of doubt, I don't think there's a way out - I still think it's impossible to coherently and truly doubt one's one phenomenal existence - but at this level you have to come to doubt 'coherency' itself may be then even starting to doubt the meaning of doubt and what not. So I do suspect Cartesian Methodological doubt to its extreme leads to a dead end, but I still think its a valuable tool to find the limits of doubt itself - and find those elements which are hardest to doubt.

Without this, we may have our priorities and epistemology twisted - leading to things like using 'empirical 3rd person science' to deny 'phenomenality' as more than quasi-phenomenal stuff which predisposes stuff to react in a certain way without there being 'anything like to be it' (no-feelz), forgetting that 'empirical' is founded on phenomenology, and 3rd person is founded on '1st person', they are using the derived to deny the foundations - this should refute the derived too and lead to radical skepticism - and epistemological dead end.

Upanishadic "unknown knower"
AFAIK, the general idea among Indian philosophers is that this 'knower' is knowable.

Some of the later Indian Philosophers may have dealt with problems of the knowability of knower with reference to western philosophers:




I am not too well-versed on Indian philosophers (barring a few ancient Buddhist philosophers) though.
 

The Grey Man

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Some of the later Indian Philosophers may have dealt with problems of the knowability of knower with reference to western philosophers:
:) This Bhattacharyya seems like my kind of philosopher. This is definitely worth a look.
 

DoIMustHaveAnUsername?

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Some of the later Indian Philosophers may have dealt with problems of the knowability of knower with reference to western philosophers:
:) This Bhattacharyya seems like my kind of philosopher. This is definitely worth a look.
Unfortunately couldn't find any of his books online (amazon says out of print).

You may also find AC Mukherjee (https://jaygarfield.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/ac-mukerji.pdf) interesting (though I haven't read him). I found some of his books from archive.

The kyoto school philosophers - "the philosophers of nothingness" (from Japan) also seems interesting - they are also devoted as response to Kant.

Recently, I found this Bernado guy who is getting some mainstream popularity. Initially I thought (from his computer science phd degree) that he is one of those new-agey guys or amateur philosopher - but it seems he knows his stuff - and he is doing another phd on philosophy (about to present his dissertation: https://philpapers.org/archive/KASAIA-3.pdf)....

in a video he praised Schopenhauer's objective idealism and even said in the future he plan to write a paper defending Schopenhauer.

Although I linked KC, after reading the whole thing I am not sure it is completely in agreement with what the Vedantists thought as self and its knowability - however, it's still interesting nonetheless. (the paper mentions the Vedantists idea but glosses over it - may be it is presented in more details in KC's original book)

This may be closer to the more othodox vedantist idea of how the self can be known as: http://www.academia.edu/205196/_I_Am_of_the_Nature_of_Seeing_._Phenomenological_Reflections_on_the_Indian_Notion_of_Witness-Consciousness
 

The Grey Man

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In short, we can point to the fact that the witnessing-ness may not necessarily possess anything as a personal being beyond mere perspectival possession. Phenomenology gives no evidence for such. As such the witness can be considered abstractedly without considering it as a subject with will, intention, thoughts or such, but more as a place 'basho' where will, thoughts, intention arises - the witnessing itself being somewhat unmoved, still, and transcendent in character (because there can be no witnessing of unwitnessing, witnessingness appears timeless - i.e - changeless through time. This is only a phenomenological truth though - who knows about the metaphysics. Though mystics often seem to make metaphysical statements out of it - I have found no reason to do so).

From the vantage point of seeing oneself as this mere 'witnessing', everything is possessed by the witness only in the perspectival sense (in the sense that it is appearing it the witnessing). As such from the point of view of being this witness,

the 'bird' out there is as external as one's own 'thoughts'.

The mystic experience is simply a more direct experiential realization of this.
It seems to me that this undecidability of whether objects are possessed by the subject or “merely” perceived by the latter renders the distinction between the two possibilities superfluous, phenomenologically speaking. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to call the cardinal outside my window “just a bird” even as I call the voices inside my head “my own thoughts,” besides certain linguistic conventions which impel me to declare possession of my own body and everything in it.

To appear is to be infused with appearance-ness (consciousness) -i.e to become one with consciousness.

When the intuition doesn't identify the self with particular contents within an experience (like thoughts, feelings, body) but the very appearance-ness (or witnessing-ness), and then it may realize how this apsect of witnessing or phenomenality is infused and immanent in everything. As an ancient Indian sage once said, it is like salt mixed with water.

This is the fact of non-distinctness of the subject and object in the experience itself.
I agree. This is why Schopenhauer’s notion of the Causal Law is so important, more important than even his doctrine of the Will as the inner nature of phenomenality (which is corrupted by contradictions and ambiguities, as his critics would point out). For the first time in Western intellectual history, we had a mechanism for describing the epistemological complementarity of the subject and the object, which also served as a counter to Humean skepticism regarding causality. Obviously, the East had figured this out a long time ago, but it’s not insignificant that we’re starting to integrate both traditions.

Experience 3 naturally follows from some of the elements introduced in 1. If identification is indeed accepted to be simply a mental activity - a content of experience that is not essential to the experience or the witnessing, and if there are cases of alterations of sense of (personal) identification, it becomes a lot more plausible for there to be a case of absolute depersonalization (which won't be pathological because in that state there is no identification or association with any negative emotions either if there are any at all. Whereas usual depersonalization, as Miri Albahari argues in Analytical Buddhism accompanies identification with negative emotions like terror even when this identification may tighten itself to only a very few objects - like the negative feelings and not extend towards other objects like body, thoughts and such).
This is all very plausible. Honestly, your first three experiences seem to me to be equivalent to everyday experience. The undecidability between possession and perception, the complementarity of the object and the subject, and the absence of any “self” except as a combinatory principle seem like ever-present facts of experience that we nevertheless often neglect to mention when we try to express our intuitions in words.

Experience 4: This one is the most tricky. I can't talk about it because I haven't had it yet. However, experiences like these or close to this are highly reported. If psychological disorders and states are to be taken as objective features based on reported experiences + brain states or whatever, one can take this as such too.

This is the experience of not having any experience yet still being 'awake', as far as I understand it. It is supposedly ineffable (but so is the taste of salt so I don't know)- the experience of pure phenomenality (phenomenality as such - without any 'particular' discernable quality to it - no feeling, thought, sensations). As far as I understand, there probably is still a lot going on, and there is a 'quality' to it, but it has to be understood very loosely - and it has to be understood to be unlike anything we can normally imagine. There may also be different variants of this kind of experience. Though it may technically not have the sense of being 'subject' or 'witness'.
I haven’t had such an experience either, but I’d have to be bereft of any curiosity to not wonder what it’s like.

However, something close to philosophical exploration on the idea of consciousness by itself being a sort of absolute-nothingness may be found in Japan Kyoto School. The mystical experience may be considered thus as simply being the experiential realization of the philosophical realization of the essence of consciousness as the pure phenomenal voidness - the 'absolute nothingness' that allows all things to manifest.
:ahh:

More to follow…
 

DoIMustHaveAnUsername?

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It seems to me that this undecidability of whether objects are possessed by the subject or “merely” perceived by the latter renders the distinction between the two possibilities superfluous, phenomenologically speaking. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to call the cardinal outside my window “just a bird” even as I call the voices inside my head “my own thoughts,” besides certain linguistic conventions which impel me to declare possession of my own body and everything in it.
There seems to be a substantial difference in the psychological nature of ordinary intuitions. Both perspectival possession (having things in perspective), and personal possession (feeling of personally having the thing) are forms of possession. Linguistic conventions - "saying my thoughts are this and that" are fine even for perspectival possession (Buddha didn't stop using "I" and "mine" in language). However, even though people see a bird, people don't identify themselves as the bird, nor do they think they can control the bird, or causes the bird to arise in perspective. But when people perceive a thought, if it's not a hallucinatory voice or an intrusive thought, people usually identify as the thinker of the thought - as the 'stuff' (not just the 'perspective') that not simply perceive it, but also causes the thought, a persisting entity that can cause and control that thought. So to see it from the perspective of a witness is to see things as somewhat impersonally ....things arises and subsides based on some underlying laws or Heraclitian logos, without any bounded owner of them anywhere other than just the perspective-ness or the witnessing-ness.
Not everyone may share the original intuition as strongly though. So if your intuitions are different or always had been different, for you 'personal ownership\posession' may not make too much sense or may seem like only a 'convention'. Because, it is, arguably, a sort of falsehood - which is 'solidified' moreso based on emotion or feelings. So it's hard to exactly write about it precisely, in a way that makes sense.

Obviously, the East had figured this out a long time ago, but it’s not insignificant that we’re starting to integrate both traditions.
Not sure where it is going anymore though. If things are even going forward or backward. These days people have started to believe phenomenality doesn't exist, and that somehow. Moore and Russell ("Analytic Nerds") destroyed Idealism. Funnily somewhere along the line, Moore himself admitted failure to truly 'destroy' it with his BS. And Russell in his later years ended up with some form of panpsychism which is again pretty close to idealism. But the analytic tradition nevertheless continued making 'idealism' a cuss-word.

This is all very plausible. Honestly, your first three experiences seem to me to be equivalent to everyday experience. The undecidability between possession and perception, the complementarity of the object and the subject, and the absence of any “self” except as a combinatory principle seem like ever-present facts of experience that we nevertheless often neglect to mention when we try to express our intuitions in words.
Yes, exactly. That's what makes them all the more relevant. They are ever-present truths. Maybe even transcendental conditions for all phenomenal experience, as Kant may say. Mystical experiences are not necessarily always seeing some new fancy shit, but saying the same mundane experiences in different eyes, so as to clearly and intuitively see what may have been obscured before but never absent. A similar effect may be reached through philosophical reasoning, IMO. Mystical experiences are just often more radical and 'consciousness-altering' - and potentially more transformative. (However, I suspect while it may give a deeper intuitive understanding, sometimes it may not present a sharp or valid conceptual understanding but idk)
 

ZenRaiden

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Language works more like filter for the brain. I mean I write this sentence, but what happens in my mind is different from what I write. You have to intake what I say and then you filter the meaning, but in reality when you distil it to its elementary particles its meaningless.

However noone needs to understand you in order to confirm utility of your words.

Just saying:D
 
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