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.


skholiast said...

really enjoying this reading of QM via Sprigge. These later posts help unpack some of your advaitin reading of the in-itself a la Berkeley too.

ombhurbhuva said...

One thing you can say about T.S. is that he's a marvel of clarity. You are in no doubt what it is that you disagree with and his punctuation guides from one clause to the next with mellifluous smoothness.

Q.M. seems a man burdened by visions. A spark from him burned a few of the OOO folk to the ground. I was particularly struck by the idea that contingency demands non-contradiction. This is what Coleridge would have called a protophenomenon:

"The naturalist, who cannot or will not see, that one fact is often worth a thousand , as including them all it itself, and that it first makes all the others facts ; who has not the head to comprehend, the soul to reverence, a central experiment or observation ( what the Greeks would perhaps have called a protophaenomon ) ; will never receive an auspicious answer from the oracle of nature."
From Essay VII on the Principles of Method.