Tuesday, 17 August 2010

same again

A preliminary review staying with the aforementioned lecture leads me to believe that one is as likely or more likely to gain an understanding of what he means by factiality from the short version as the long. That more space often means more obfuscating cuttlefish ink is the rule with your continentals as well as the Frenchness of being French which is that love of paradox and the desire to shock and amaze on every page.

Well then, he said clearing the bench of the tools of the previous job, facts are contingent and this invariable quality of facts or their 'factiality' is that this contingency is necessary. I would presume by this that he means positive facts rather that contrafactuals etc. It is a fact that Ceasar crossed the Rubicon and it is also a fact that he was not wearing a top hat whilst doing so. It will be better for us if we stick to the first sort. Precisely in what way is the crossing once it has happened contingent because it seems to me that it is a necessary part of the subsequent history of Rome. What he is getting at I think is a metaphysical intuition of contingency that would be serviceable for the third way of Aquinas. He differs of course from the Scholastics in that the does not look for the foundation of contingency in the necessary or one super fact being the ground of plain facts. His view is that facts are by nature contingent and that this is a necessary aspect of them.

Sprigge would stop nodding at this point and his beard would point like a setters nose:
- Sir,I must live.
- I do not see the the necessity.(Rousseau Emile)
He would follow up by saying :
- I am prepared to accept for the sake of arguement the notion of universal contingency but the perception of necessity is surely part of the human world and it demands a point of view. Well that's what David Hume would say anyway.

In the latter part of his paper he swings back into the consideration of factiality and the Christian God. By sleight of hand he moves from necessity as a quality of the contingency of facts to the notion of a necessary being so that is a pointless excursion that does not break the grip of the subjective absolute. Along with this he makes the interesting metaphysical point that non-contradiction is a condition of contingency.

Finally he offers the modest summing up of an admission that the problem of the closed circle has not been solved:

Would it be possible to derive, to draw from the principle of factiality, the ability of the naturalsciences to know, by way of mathematical discourse, reality in itself, by which I mean our world, the factual world as it is actually produced by Hyperchaos, and which exists independently of our subjectivity? To answer this very difficult problem is a condition of a real resolution of the problem of ancestrality, and this constitutes the theoretical finality of my present work.

Timothy Sprigge gives a fair imitation of a Gallic shrug.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

ancestral home

Is it a mistake to look for evidence to settle this problem and to lay it along with the ghost in the machine and all the other spooks that gibber about the corridors of philosophy. Quentin Meillassoux thinks so:

Because although phenomenologists can say that consciousness is originally correlated and open to a world, what can they say about a pre-human and pre-animal reality- about ancestrality, this domain of non-correlation, because lacking any subject? How are the sciences able to speak so precisely about this domain, if this domain is no more than a retrospective illusion?
(3729-time_without_becoming.pdf available on Speculative Heresies blog/resources)

Mind you he does not propose this as an answer to the correlationist conundrum, he's just sayin'.

What would Timothy Sprigge say to this? He has no less than 19 entries in the index for 'fiction, pragmatic'. There is 'device, pragmatic' with ten entries and 'truth, pragmatic' with 9 entries. T.S. has got it covered. On page 23 introducing us to the idea he remarks:
Two somewhat different sorts of notional judgement may be distinguished. The first kind acts as a substitute for a real judgement, by appropriately relating us to the way things are if this real judgement is true, and by its potentiality for developing into this real judgement when we are enough in earnest. We may say of such a notional judgement that it is, to borrow a phrase from Husserl, intuitively fulfillable.

Well then Master Quentin you may be a starry Normalien but are you in earnest?

On one hand, it seems impossible to refute the argument of the correlational circle- to forget that when we think something, it is we who think something- but on the other hand, it seems impossible to have a correlationist understanding of the natural sciences.

You see the difficulty is; we have cognitions, we slice and dice according to our needs and unless we have a philosophy which can support adequation to the real then we fall back to the perception of our perceptions. Science will become a pragmatic fiction. Q.M. proposes the Principle of Factiality. I will get back to you on that.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Unknown Object

In a metaphysical system where to be is to be known the unknown object has no cash value. Present it to Timothy Sprigge and you will receive a blank look for why should he pay the bearer for nothing at all. Where epistemology has parted company with ontology the unquestionably mental aspect of perception can cause the world to drop away as an otiose inference or be merely a postulate that draws on the offshore bank of the transcendental.

In his wonderfully entitled book The Vindication of Absolute Idealism pub. Edidburgh U.P 1983, Timothy Sprigge writes:
From our point of view and doubtless in effect from Bradley's, we interpret his contention most suitably as follows. We can form no conception of an intuitively and coherently fulfillable sort of an unexperienced reality; this being so, the proposition that there is such a reality is incapable of being a literal truth, for there simply no real judgement in the offing to be true.

What of the Advaitins with their vritti or mental modification? The mental modification is presented to the saksin or witness. Now this sounds mighty like representationalism or scientific realism and I have seen it interpreted as such by a teacher of Advaita who has a background in science; as though Locke were speaking in Sanskrit. He sees it as a matter of psychology.The tree in the yard is evidently not in my head so what is in my head? There is neuronal traffic and that appears to him to be a sound candidate that can represent the interests of the real tree. A nice picture but it simply isn't what Advaita is saying. It draws down the mind/body conundrum of how this cortical activity can be identical with consciousness. This does not arise in Advaita as there is no mind/body division.

The exceptionally succinct Vedanta Paribhasa of Dharmaraja Adhvarindra (ca.17th.C) frames the problem in a way which echoes the preamble to the Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Shankara (ca 8th.C.) Asks Dharmaraja: On what is the perceptuality of the object based? Unity is the answer, the substratum of the vritti and that of the object is one and the same pure consciousness. The object is a form of limitation or limiting adjunct, upadhi of pure consciousness. To simplify, what the object is in a gross way, the vritti is in a subtle way.

So where does the unknown object/ajnatasatta come into the picture and where does it fit in to the ontological picture which I have limned. In a curious way the answer has a resemblance to the view of Berkeley that God was minding the shop. All cognition is according to the Advaitins an unveiling of the ignorance which had covered the object of that cognition. The nescience that covered that object did not annihilate the being of that object. We by our cognition do not grant being to anything. The unity of being which underwrites perception continues whether the object is perceived or not. When we perceive that object simultaneously with its perception is the knowledge that it was previously unknown. Obviously this is non-empirical knowledge. One might say that the order of apprehension was (a) the object as previously unknown and, (b) the object now apprehended by a valid means of knowledge. So all the while that it was out of sight and out of mind the object was sheltering under the umbrella of being. For Berkeley this pure being, pure consciousness is identified with God and thereby the 'books in the cupboard' do not wink out when no one is thinking of them.

The object is joined into an ontological structure in the case of Advaita but in the purely epistemological schema of Immaterialism the object lacks a connection. God seems to be an ad hoc fix to placate common sense.