back to the beginning: the limitations of language

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Mar 12, 2022 7:00 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

To the Postmodernist, classical accounts of truth–like that of Plato’s–which use language via propositional logic, or other bodies of knowledge which rely on the experiential, reason, or narrative cannot tell us anything about the world, due to their use of language. The strong Postmodernist must therefore reject science, history, and philosophy, as they attempt to rationalize the world using language.

This is synonymous with the Postmodern rejection of “totalizing” narratives, also abbreviated as meta-narratives.


The strong Postmodernist? Right, like they don't live in and interact with others in the real world just like all the rest of us. There are clearly experiences and reasons and narratives that do in fact entirely overlap with that which very few of us would suggest is not objective reality.

Plato and his ilk on the other hand tried to make this "philosophical distinction" between reality in the cave and a super-reality in a world of words that -- through God? -- transcended the at times grubby, grimy, problematic reality of the "human-all-too-human Condition" down here.

It's not that through language we attempt to rationalize the world around us so much as the extent to which one is able to demonstrate how his or her own words are or are not in sync with the world as it really is. Something that scientists generally do better than most others. And why, by and large, science generally steers clear of the is/ought world or the realm of God and religion and spirituality.

As for meta-narratives, Science is stymied here more in regard to the "big questions" -- why something and not nothing? why this something and not something else? The age old debates about the very, very big and the very, very small...about determinism, about time. About the nature of such things as dark matter and dark energy

If language cannot tell us anything about reality, then how can we understand the world?

The answer is that social construction is the prime shaper of reality. This means that, in a Postmodern paradigm, it is impossible to separate reality from the experience of a subject rooted in social-cultural circumstances. Instead, reality is something which is interpreted and must be represented, so it cannot possibly be understood objectively. The world is therefore quite literally constructed out of how it is represented by a culture through language. Language and culture are seen to shape our notion of reality to such a degree that it is impossible to understand reality outside of them.


This of course gets closer to my own set of assumptions. Historical, cultural and personal realities that shift and change over time and across the globe. Endless squabbles over the way things are and the way they ought to be instead.

Then, from my own perspective, back always to how close we can come to demonstrating through language what we think and feel is "the best of all possible worlds". Or, for the moral and political objectivists, the only truly rational world that there is. Their own.

But that has always been the case. With the postmodernists the arguments have just shifted to the role of language itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 18, 2022 4:58 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

This is why history is deemed an impossible pursuit in a Postmodern context. The argument is that the cultures and, therefore, the languages of the past and present are so different that they become alien to each other. The modern historian is detached from the framework with which people of the past understood the world–i.e.: their meanings and language. Because of this, it becomes impossible for a modern historian to truly understand the past.


On the other hand, to the extent that actual facts can be ascertained and then demonstrated to in fact be the fact of the matter -- historically or otherwise -- postmodernists become like all the rest of us. One can argue over the meaning and the rationale and the morality of slavery in America, but who is going to argue that the actual existence of slavery itself is just a matter of the language you use. Just a matter of one's "personal opinion".

Ideas such as truth, value, and justice are also seen as meanings which are constructed through language and projected onto reality. In a Postmodern context, this means that these ideas must be seen as derived from human beings–not the world nor nature.


Yes, given the manner in which I have come existentially to understand human identity in the is/ought world -- "I" as the embodiment of dasein -- I would then consider myself to be a postmodernist as well.

But what can this be conveyed to mean other than in and through a discussion of a situation involving human interaction in which some things are attempted to be encompassed as true objectively for all of us while other things seem clearly to be just matters of personal opinion.

Let's discuss Putin's invasion of Ukraine. As either a postmodernist or as someone who rejects postmodernism.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Thu Mar 24, 2022 4:04 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

What this all alludes to is the fact that subjectivity becomes important if language, ideas, and knowledge are not rooted in reality, but instead construct it.


Of course the beauty of language, ideas and knowledge encompassed in a "world of words" is this: that all that's being constructed is the "world of words" itself. And here the "subjects" do battle only with what the words are said to mean given one or another definition.

Postmodernists merely have their own rendition of it.

What still ultimately matters is your capacity to take this "world of words" reality constructed out of language, ideas and knowledge down out of the intellectual clouds and, in the battles between conflicting moral and political value judgments, demonstrate why your own conclusions are more applicable.

For example, with respect to the war in Ukraine.

Subjects and the culture which frames their thinking create particular discourses, which in turn contextualizes how people understand reality. Reality, when paired with the belief that people are always determined by their culture, becomes rather atomistic, since there are series of interpretations of what reality is, but no singular, true “objective” reality.


In our postmodern world, however, with the internet and a zillion news outlets and social media, there exists many, many, many more "discourses" available. As opposed to back in the day when none of that was around. Going all the way back to our premodern ancestors when, in regard to having a "discourse", everyone had a place and everyone was expected to be in their place. What makes the postmodern world different is that the sheer complexity of human interactions now unfold in what for many is a No God world. It's less a philosophy of life that guides us and more a way of viewing things given a particular "lifestyle".

And given this "brave new world" reality what on earth are we to make of intellectual contraptions like this:

Taking this position entails that cultures and subjects are insular from the world or that their representations are not shaped by things in the world which they are referring to. This seems rather unintuitive because when people use language they do seem to be referencing things in the world around them.


Given, say, a particular context?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:00 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

This account of language also does not take into account that some concepts are much more stable than others, and that such concepts limit the possibility of mixed meanings and interpretation. For example, if you take the concept of “tree” to signify tall wooded objects, that meaning is relatively stable across the languages of different cultures and time periods. You could take the French word for tree “arbre” and the old English world for tree “Treo” and they would signify the same concept–a tall wooded object. Though, it should be acknowledged that interpretive differences can arise if the trees have different symbolic or metaphorical meanings across the different cultures.


Exactly my point! In the either/or world language communicates what everyone can agree that words mean. Words are invented to indicate things that are the same for all of us. Here the problem [for postmodernists and nihilists and all the rest of us] revolves around translation. If you don't speak French and you hear the word "arbre" the speaker has to point to an actual tree [or a picture of one] to communicate intelligibly.

Up to a point, it's the same thing in the is/ought world. If you are among English speaking people and say "my daughter had an abortion this morning", are postmodernists not going to understand what your daughter chose to do? Only if they never heard of an abortion. If postmodernism revolves around the rejection of the "grand narratives and ideologies of modernism" that's only really applicable to discussions relating to the morality of abortion, not abortion as a medical procedure.

And, from my frame of mind, moral relativism here has nothing to do with premodern, modern and postmodern human interactions. It's a manifestation of dasein.

Accordingly, another important concept of Postmodern thought comes from the Discourse theory of the Poststructuralists. Discourse theory states that the signs and symbols which language uses to represent the world fundamentally alters the psyche of people using language. This shapes their very ability to perceive the world around them. Postmodern discussions of politics tend to revolve around this idea of language.


Yes, of politics. But not when the discussions revolve around, say, Putin invading Ukraine. Here the facts are the facts are the facts for all of us. At least to the extent that the facts can be demonstrated. But when discussions of politics here revolve around right and wrong, good and bad behaviors...

What is "in fact" true then?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 05, 2022 4:10 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Power...becomes closely linked with language in Postmodern thought as a consequence of language’s ability to shape psyche. Thinkers like Foucault focus especially on power because they view language as a subtle, insidious form of power. It is seen as something which dominates people not through coercion or force of arms, but by shaping how they are even allowed to understand the world.


Power because whenever moral and political values come into conflict whoever has the power to enforce his or her own understanding of the really important words will often prevail. Just think of all the back and forth now going on regarding the language used by the powers that be to shape and mold public thinking about the war in Ukraine. In Russia it is reported that Putin's public approval rating is approaching George Bush's after 9/11. Whereas here in America he is the Devil himself. Their words or our words.

In the view of Foucault and many Postmodern thinkers, power is not necessarily held by the rich elite or politician, but instead those that shape the discourses and ideas which everyone–from the rich elite, to the politician, to the layman–use to understand the world.


Yes, it always depends on the context. After all, all of us are indoctrinated as children to describe the world around us as others describe it themselves. Starting with a particular family in a particular community in a particular nation at a particular time in history. Power -- might makes right, right makes might -- can become of fundamental importance in shaping and molding our understanding of the world around us. Think of the media industrial complex. It revolves around the corporations that own them in sync with the corporations that advertise in them. Think about that the next you read their own accounts of, well, almost everything. And postmodernists have barely put a dent in that dynamic.

Thus, even though...

Because of this, strong Postmodernists have a certain skepticism of bodies of knowledge like history, science, and religion or what they call “metanarratives,” since they are viewed as means of dominating our conceptions of the world.


...has the media industrial complex really been exposed by them? And then back to what specific "metanarrative" pertaining to what specific set of circumstances. What can in fact be differentiated as true for all of us as opposed to just sheer propaganda. And then back again to, well, I have my word for it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 05, 2022 4:10 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Power...becomes closely linked with language in Postmodern thought as a consequence of language’s ability to shape psyche. Thinkers like Foucault focus especially on power because they view language as a subtle, insidious form of power. It is seen as something which dominates people not through coercion or force of arms, but by shaping how they are even allowed to understand the world.


Power because whenever moral and political values come into conflict whoever has the power to enforce his or her own understanding of the really important words will often prevail. Just think of all the back and forth now going on regarding the language used by the powers that be to shape and mold public thinking about the war in Ukraine. In Russia it is reported that Putin's public approval rating is approaching George Bush's after 9/11. Whereas here in America he is the Devil himself. Their words or our words.

In the view of Foucault and many Postmodern thinkers, power is not necessarily held by the rich elite or politician, but instead those that shape the discourses and ideas which everyone–from the rich elite, to the politician, to the layman–use to understand the world.


Yes, it always depends on the context. After all, all of us are indoctrinated as children to describe the world around us as others describe it themselves. Starting with a particular family in a particular community in a particular nation at a particular time in history. Power -- might makes right, right makes might -- can become of fundamental importance in shaping and molding our understanding of the world around us. Think of the media industrial complex. It revolves around the corporations that own them in sync with the corporations that advertise in them. Think about that the next you read their own accounts of, well, almost everything. And postmodernists have barely put a dent in that dynamic.

Thus, even though...

Because of this, strong Postmodernists have a certain skepticism of bodies of knowledge like history, science, and religion or what they call “metanarratives,” since they are viewed as means of dominating our conceptions of the world.


...has the media industrial complex really been exposed by them? And then back to what specific "metanarrative" pertaining to what specific set of circumstances. What can in fact be differentiated as true for all of us as opposed to just sheer propaganda. And then back again to, well, I have my word for it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 12, 2022 4:40 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Foucault in his discussion of power talks about how language is selective. Here he takes inspiration from French poet Raymond Roussel who expresses the idea that language does not designate a word for every concept for which designation is possible. This implies that there is a poverty to language since it cannot express all that can be expressed. This is a recurring objection in philosophy preceding the Postmodernists; Ludwig Wittgenstein famously makes a similar critique of language amongst others.


All that can be expressed? Yet isn't language superb when it comes to describing actual physical objects and the relationships between them out in the world all around us? And with the increasing sophistication of science more and more "things" and their interactions can be described in extraordinary detail and sophistication. Last night the Science Channel took us on a voyage to Jupiter and Saturn and Uranus and Neptune. Through the mindboggling technological devices attached to the Voyager spacecrafts. Where's the "poverty of language" there? Nope, we don't reach that point until astrophysicists begin to explore things like dark matter and dark energy and "before the Big Bang". Where is the mathematical language needed to encompass existence itself?

Where the Postmodern critique differs (though much of it is inspired by Wittgenstein) is the implication brought about when this idea is tied to power. Foucault posits that because language only selects certain parts of reality, it only provides a partial glimpse of reality. Those selections, to Foucault in particular, are tools of domination and power: reality is shaped in accordance with what those who have power want to be believed. Language is therefore restrictive in how it shapes reality and the fact that it only allows certain discourses, in accordance with those in power.


Then all of this gets connected [for some] to the language those like Marx and Engles chose to describe the capitalist political economy creating the class struggle that eventually leads to socialism and then Communism. Only [so far] that has not actually become the language of choice for most these days. Why? Because the language used to encompass the "human condition" in Manifestos meets the far more complex and convoluted language derived from the far more problematic reality of the "real world" itself.

And then the language I choose to muddy the waters all the more.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:25 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Freedom then becomes a prime goal for Postmodern philosophy. Understanding how to achieve it is a contentious point for Postmodern thought.


On the other hand, to the extent you emphasize that words like freedom become entangled in language itself...language out in particular worlds historically and culturally understood by individuals experientially/existentially in particular [often conflicting] ways...what does it then mean to speak of any "goal" at all, let alone a prime goal.

Here as well I insist that these world-of-words "language contraptions" be taken down out of the clouds such that in discussing how to "achieve" freedom [or justice] we make the whole point revolve around a context we are all likely to be familiar with. A controversial situation "ripped from the headlines" in which what some insist we ought to freely pursue others insist we ought to freely eschew.

Derrida’s understanding may be the most popular, which is that representation and language are inescapable–therefore making the achievement of freedom impossible. Most Postmodern thought stems from this initial position of Derrida’s, so the question then becomes: “If one cannot be free from the domination of language, how does one best find freedom?” The end is that each individual must find a relative truth for themselves; that is the best one can do to prevent themselves from being dominated through language and oppressive discourses.


Here, however, my own frame of mind is most controversial given the assumption "I" make that in attempting to "achieve" freedom and to find a "relative truth" myself all I succeeded in doing was fracturing and fragmenting my "self" given the arguments I make on these threads:

https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=176529
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=194382
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=185296

Then the reactions of many here to that. Hostile to say the least. Why? Because I suggest that to the extent they are not fractured and fragmented themselves in regard to their value judgments they are likely to be objectivists. And in terms of my own existential rendition of "authenticity", that's a sham. That's a frame of mind they cling to in order to sustain the comfort and the consolation it brings them. What they believe is nowhere near as important here, in my view, as that they believe it. Left or right, liberal or conservative.

At least in regard to the most hotly debated issues.

Only I have no way in which to determine if I might myself be failing to grasp that my own conclusions here are just another example of someone [me] allowing himself to be dominated through his own language such that his own discourse is no less oppressive.

And wrong.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 25, 2022 5:43 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

There is a problem with this Postmodern emphasis on Freedom, that makes it impossible to function within a Postmodern framework. To make this point more poignant, I will use a Postmodern argument to refute it.


Postmodern Freedom? How is that not a contradiction in terms? Isn't the whole point of postmodernism to deconstruct words like freedom by reconstructing them into existential contraptions that mean different things to different people out in different worlds understood from different points of view?

Not sure what this means?

Okay, note a context and we'll discuss it.

Here though the closest we come to that is this:

Let us start with Derrida’s idea of dichotomies. Derrida argues language in the West is flawed because it is limited to various dichotomies: Good vs Evil, Presence vs Absence, Male vs Female, Speech vs Writing. Discourse tends to privilege one part of the dichotomy over the other: Good rather than Evil, Presence rather than Absence, Male rather than Female, and Speech over Writing. The argument is that the choice of what to privilege has no basis in objectivity or goodness, and that in reality neither choice within these dichotomies is inherently better than the other.


Of course that's basically my argument too. Only when I seek to explore this or that gender narrative and Evil, this rather than that God and Good, I want to examine it in regard to actual human interactions resulting in conflicts that revolve around things like abortion or gun laws or the role of government.

Freedom then.

In a Postmodern framework, this has to be the case because if language does not refer to anything than truth does not exist. This introduces the problem that all discourses must become equal, meaning that you must believe that all ideas are equally privileged or equally worthless–a truly daunting proposition. The majority of Postmodernists choose to believe in the former: that all meanings, even within dichotomies should be treated as equal.


On the contrary, in regard to the overwhelming preponderance of language that we use in going about the business of living from day to day our words refer precisely to things that are not privileged to any individuals such that what any particular one of them believes is equal to what anyone else believes.

Really, how many here actually believe that?

So, what am I not understanding about the postmodernism debate here?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue May 03, 2022 4:37 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Conclusion:

Then the question becomes how can the Postmodernist value Freedom over Oppression? How do they discern that Freedom is indeed privileged to oppression? Why are Postmodern thinkers also quick to value the individual over the collective? Even while disparaging the ideas of the Enlightenment and the West, Postmodern thought seems rather happy to take some of it as baseline assumption.


As always: Freedom and Oppression given what set of circumstances? And how is Freedom different from freedom? How is Oppression different from oppression?

Soon, we may well have a headline churning issue to focus on:

From the NYT:

'Leaked Supreme Court Draft Would Overturn Roe v. Wade

'A majority of the court privately voted to strike down the landmark abortion rights decision, according to the document, obtained by Politico.'


Okay, how would those who construe themselves to be postmodernists make a distinction here between Freedom and Oppression and freedom and oppression in regard to the language that they use in reacting to Roe v. Wade being struck down?

Does such a distinction even exist "for all practical purposes"?

The individual fetus or fetuses as a whole? Individual women with an unwanted pregnancy or all of these women as a whole?

What's more vital...the Freedom/freedom of the fetus to live or the Freedom/freedom of the women to choose?

If the Postmodernist seeks to answer these questions, they will fall guilty to using value judgments rooted in language or needing to accept metanarrative.


And there it is. Narratives -- the objective communication of sexual and biological facts -- are there to be shared if you are a doctor who performs abortions. But if you are an ethicist weighing in on the morality of abortion? Where is the objective narrative then?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 11, 2022 4:31 pm

The limitations of language
Catherine Hyman at The Patriot

By definition, languages are limiting. We cannot speak about things if the words don’t exist to allow us to do so. Sometimes, this makes us unaware of concepts others are able to discuss, other times, this limitation renders us incapable of speaking about things of which we are aware.


By definition. Good point?

In other words, might there be limitations imposed on language in regard to things that cannot be defined...objectively. In particular when words are combined not to describe things themselves but our reaction to the complex relationship between things. Even when you can look up all the words in a dictionary and get their definitions, when you combine all of those definitions you can still have many conflicting reactions.

And, existentially, the more factors and variables you combine [the past and the present and the projected future] into the description the more things that we attempt to denote become things that we merely connote instead. Given our individual reaction to all of these things combined [as we understand them] the more likely it is that disagreements will arise.

One limitation of the English language is a lack of a genderless pronoun. We have “he” for boys and men and “she” for girls and women but no good pronoun that does not identify gender. English has the word “it,” but this is not used to refer to people because it has been used to dehumanize others.


And of course in today's gender bender world what particular gender does someone wish to be referred to as? Even pronouns become politicized and plunged into the ambiguities of "I" in the is/ought world. Only the objectivists among us "solve" the problem by insisting that all words can be brought into alignment with the one true reality. We are merely obligated to define the meaning of all words wholly in sync with the authoritarian dogmatists themselves.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Thu May 19, 2022 6:33 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

Language is the center of postmodern epistemology. Moderns and postmoderns differ not only about content when arguing particular issues in philosophy, literature, and law; they also differ in the methods by which they employ language. Epistemology drives those differences.


"Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion."

And isn't that basically the distinction I make here? In the course of living our lives from day to day, there are any number of situations in which human beings interact and no one questions what true or not true. It's what we call the either/or world. What can we know about it such that neither modernists nor postmodernists get into squabbles over whether our language is actually closer to the objective truth than the language of others.

Here things get problematic only in regard to discussions that revolve around free will or solipsism or sim worlds or the red pill/blue pill sequence in The Matrix.

Postmodern epistemology? How can that not only really be in reference to the same epistemological limitations modernists confront in regard to "I" when conflicting opposing value judgments. We're all in the same boat here given my own assumptions above and elsewhere.

Epistemology asks two questions about language: What is language’s connection to reality, and what is its connection to action?


Indeed. And now all we need is a context.

Epistemological questions about language are a subset of epistemological questions about consciousness in general: What is consciousness’s connection to reality, and what is its connection to action? Moderns and postmoderns have radically different answers to those questions.


Only here of course we are confronted with that age old conundrum that revolves around human consciousness and autonomy and human consciousness as but one more inherent manifestation of the only possible world. Only here, as well, in my view, moderns and postmoderns are still in the same boat. Neither of them are able to establish definitively how exactly matter itself became conscious of itself as conscious matter once it became living matter.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Thu May 26, 2022 5:05 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

To the modernist, the “mask” metaphor is a recognition of the fact that words are not always to be taken literally or as directly stating a fact—that people can use language elliptically, metaphorically, or to state falsehoods, that language can be textured with layers of meaning, and that it can be used to cover hypocrisies or to rationalize. Accordingly, unmasking means interpreting or investigating to get to a literal meaning or fact of the matter. The process of unmasking is cognitive, guided by objective standards, with the purpose of coming to an awareness of reality.


And, once again, this part gets particularly problematic when the discussions shift from the either/or world of things that are in fact true for all of us, to the is/ought world where, what might be believed as true by some, is not believed to be true by others. Then the way words can be used to dissemble, dissimulate, misdirect, posture, pose. Language spoken in codes.

For example, the debate over the Great Replacement Theory here in America. While some who support it are flat-out white-nationalists...unapologetic racists...others are racist but the language they use to defend it revolves instead around politics. The Big Brother liberal "establishment" -- Jews by and large -- are bringing in foreigners to keep them in power. Race, they assure us, has nothing to do with it.

For the postmodernist, by contrast, interpretation and investigation never terminate with reality. Language connects only with more language, never with a non-linguistic reality.


Now, my argument is that there is no objective reality in regard to conflicting goods. That the existence of God [or His No God equivalent] is necessary to establish an objective language. And that the whole point of of embracing "the Word of God" on this side of the grave is to attain immortality and salvation on the other side of it.

But: this is the case for both modernists and postmodernists.

Unless, of course, there is the existence of an objective language to resolve conflicting goods. And, if there is, link me to it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 01, 2022 5:37 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

In Jacques Derrida’s words, “[t]he fact of language is probably the only fact ultimately to resist all parenthization.” That is to say, we cannot get outside of language. Language is an “internal,” self-referential system, and there is no way to get “external” to it—although even to speak of “internal” and “external” is also meaningless on postmodern grounds.

Or, sure, note how you yourself "resist all parenthization" given the language you use with or around others from day to day.


Typical "general description intellectual contraption" approach to language. Either that or just plain old pedantry. Obscure didactic jargon expressed in order to sound like some expect a "serious philosopher" to sound. Or to impress others with how "deep" they are.

Come on, be absolutely honest: we use language all the time in our interactions with others in which there is almost never much of a gap between "internal" and "external" meaning. And it's hardly a meaningless distinction. Describing to others our daily experiences is not likely to to elicit puzzled reactions. "You took your children to the zoo, and later celebrated your son's birthday at McDonalds? Well, I don't see it that way at all."

Just how "intellectually dense" can it get?

There is no non-linguistic standard to which to relate language, so there can be no standard by which to distinguish between the literal and the metaphorical, the true and the false. Deconstruction is therefore in principle an unending process. Unmasking does not even terminate in “subjective” beliefs and interests, for “subjective” contrasts to “objective,” and that too is a distinction that postmodernism denies. A “subject’s beliefs and interests” are themselves socio-linguistic constructions, so unmasking one piece of language to reveal an underlying subjective interest is only to reveal more language. And that language in turn can be unmasked to reveal more language, and so on. Language is masks all the way down.


Okay, by all means, let him note a particular set of circumstances that he experienced today, and illustrate this text.

Or why don't you attempt it.

Nope, from my frame of mind, the only time deconstruction becomes particularly applicable is when the discussion shifts from the either/or to the is/ought world.

Not that you took your kids to the zoo, but whether locking animals in cages or enclosures in a zoo is reasonable or unreasonable, moral or immoral.

Not that you celebrated a birthday at McDonalds, but whether fast food restaurants contribute to health problems and obesity in children.

And language is clearly not just a "socio-linguistic construct"...a mask all the way down in our exchanges with others.

Who here actually believes that?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 12, 2022 2:28 am

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

For the modernist, the functionality of language is complementary to its being cognitive. An individual observes reality perceptually, forms conceptual beliefs about reality on the basis of those perceptions, and then acts in reality on the basis of those perceptual and conceptual cognitive states.


Technically, of course, that basically sums it up. And, in general, it is applicable to all of us. We all come into this world with the innate capacity to think, to reason, to remember...to "acquire knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses".

That's the biological scaffolding. But what unfolds inside that can vary considerably for each of us. Knowledge of the world around us given what in particular we are taught as children to make of our perceptions, our experiences, our interactions with others. The historical and cultural parameters. Thus the "concept of reality" that we acquire will often come into conflict with the "concepts" of others.

Fortunately, some then note, we have philosophers able to sift through all that "existential" stuff and provide us with the sound arguments we need in order to embody truly rational and virtuous behaviors.

On the other hand, of course, the rest is history.

For the postmodernist, language cannot be cognitive because it does not connect to reality, whether to an external nature or an underlying self. Language is not about being aware of the world, or about distinguishing the true from the false, or even about argument in the traditional sense of validity, soundness, and probability. Accordingly, postmodernism recasts the nature of rhetoric: Rhetoric is persuasion in the absence of cognition.


Okay, I may well be completely misunderstanding what is being conveyed here about the "philosophical" relationship between postmodernism and language and cognition and reality, but there is not a postmodernist out there who does not live in the same either/or world as all the rest of us. And there language definitely connects to reality over and over and over and over again.

And in any number of biological, demographic, circumstantial and experiential contexts there is definitely an existential Self able to be communicated objectively to all other rational human beings. Reality abounds here. Language here is everything about being aware of the world as it, in fact, is...and of easily distinguishing between true and false.

So, sure, enlighten me as to what I am misconstruing here about a postmodern reality.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:02 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

Unmasking and rhetoric

To the modernist, the “mask” metaphor is a recognition of the fact that words are not always to be taken literally or as directly stating a fact—that people can use language elliptically, metaphorically, or to state falsehoods, that language can be textured with layers of meaning, and that it can be used to cover hypocrisies or to rationalize. Accordingly, unmasking means interpreting or investigating to get to a literal meaning or fact of the matter. The process of unmasking is cognitive, guided by objective standards, with the purpose of coming to an awareness of reality.


On the other hand, this is really only relevant in regard to situations in which the masks can be exposed. By, in other words, actually being able to disclose, by using objective standards, the objective truth.

But what if the mask that one wears is only the manifestation of an identity that is basically just the embodiment of dasein. You think that what you believe about the behaviors you choose does reflect the objective truth about yourself. While instead it is actually much closer to the manner in which I suggest that values are acquired: existentially given the life you live out in a particular world understood in a particular way.

For the postmodernist, by contrast, interpretation and investigation never terminate with reality. Language connects only with more language, never with a non-linguistic reality.


That's my point, by and large. If the exchanges revolve almost entirely around worlds of words, then it devolves [in my view] into dueling definitions and deductions. The words never refer back to actual things and people doings things and interacting with each other such that conflicts occur. Conflicts over which words are more appropriate, more reasonable, more indicative of moral or ethical behavior.

I merely note what I construe to be an important distinction between the either/or and the is/ought world. In the former when the words do make contact with the world there is often a way to determine which words really are more appropriate and reasonable. In the latter [sans God] there does not appear to be a way to determine which words are more indicative of moral or ethical behavior.

Still, for the postmodernists, language use in the either/or world is "for all practical purposes" no different than for the modernists.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:08 pm

From PN:


Iwannaplato wrote:

Iamb seems to present it in either/or terms. With identity you can't know who you really are. Other people might claim the opposite positiong and say they know their real or authentic selves. Both positions are problematic. I think there may also be a conflation between certain and objectivity in his position.


On the contrary, my point [as always] is to make a distinction between the self in the either/or world and the self in the is/ought world.

In terms of your biology, your demographics, the actual empirical/material facts that encompass your life in the world around you, masks might be worn, but there is still an objective truth that can be gone back to. John might present himself to Jane as a bachelor when in fact he has a wife and two kids. Joe might portray himself to others as a Navy Seal when he was never in the military at all.

And when the discussion shifts to the is/ought world, masks can be worn here as well. John make claim to share Jane's pro-choice values...but only because he thinks he needs to in order to get her into bed.

But however we embrace moral and political values, in my view, there does not appear to be an objective truth to fall back on in order to determine what all rational and virtuous men and women ought to think and feel.

Jane may tell John that she has never had an abortion [though she did] because she believes telling him the truth will cause him to abandon the relationship. But however either one of them thinks about abortion as a moral issue, where is the language able to establish whether abortion is in fact either moral or immoral.

Both the postmodernists and those who reject it have access to a language able to be fully connected to the circumstantial facts involved in any particular abortion. But, in my view, sans God, where is the language able to determine the morality of it? Here the modernists and the postmodernists are both in the same subjective, rooted existentially in dasein boat.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 04, 2022 7:03 pm

From PN:

Biology is clearly everywhere here. But then so are all the historical, cultural and experiential memes as well. And, in my view, this doesn't really change much whether you think of yourself as a postmodernist or not.


Iwannaplato wrote: Well, that depends on what you mean here. The facts may not change, but the postmodernists have a strong tendency to see identity/personality as all nurture.


What we need here of course is a context. One in which the modernist and the postmodernist discuss what through the use of language can be encompassed and communicated objectively and what cannot.

For example, the Supreme Court here in America just overturned Roe v. Wade. A modernist and a postmodernist discussing that. The objective facts involved that every rational man and woman can agree on, and the conflicting, subjective value judgments regarding the morality of abortion itself.

Language and law. Language and ethics.

There is such a thing as human nature; it consists of faculties, aptitudes, or dispositions that are in some sense present in human beings at birth rather than learned or instilled through social forces. Postmodernists insist that all, or nearly all, aspects of human psychology are completely socially determined.
from the online Brittanica.


Again, we'll need an actual set of circumstances in order to note what either can or cannot be communicated objectively. However one intertwines nature and nurture.

For me, it's less nature vs. nurture and more objective truth vs. subjective opinion.

Any postmodernists here willing to choose a context?

Is a deontological narrative/agenda here even possible?


Iwannaplato wrote: I am not sure what that sentence means. Deontological agendas seem pretty possible though agenda is an odd word choice. Or, it seems like it. Are you saying that deontological ethics are less possible than consequentialist ones? in what sense? If not why mention just deontological agendas?


Moral narrative/political agenda. How the two are acted out in regard to particular situations.

"In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules, rather than based on the consequences of the action." wiki

Okay, let's take this "theory" down out of the intellectual clouds and explore it in regard to the morality of abortion. How are the personal opinions rooted existentially in dasein of the postmodernists going to be different from the personal opinions rooted existentially in dasein of the modernists? For both there is what can be communicated through language objectively and what cannot.

For instance, one of the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy is that biologically only women can experience it. So, in terms of a deontological ethics, how is that to be taken into account in establishing whether the act of aborting the unborn is either right or wrong?

Yes, but with God on board, those on either end of the moral and political spectrum then have that crucial "transcending font" to fall back on.


Iwannaplato wrote: Sure, but that's either bad faith, in the Sartrean sense, or being controlled by a book and its 'expert' interpreters. That's hardly winning.


Yes, Hell is other people because other people tend to objectify us.


Iwannaplato wrote: Well, that may well be true, but that's a different part of Sartre. I was talking about the pain created in oneself.


Again, note a context in which we can explore this less abstractly.

But more to the point [mine] most people -- the moral and political and spiritual objectivists -- tend also to objectify themselves. And though some might see this as an example of bad faith, those who are able to take that more sophisticated Kierkegaardian leap of faith to God, are still no less the "winners" here.


Iwannaplato wrote: I don't know what you are trying to say here. The quotation marks around winners would seem to indicate you are agreeing with me. But the structure of the sentences before seem to indicate you are disagreeing.


Well, my use of them revolves more around the fact that winning itself here is just a subjective point of view. If you think that a belief in God provides you with an objective morality "here and now" and immortality and salvation "there and then", then, for you, it's true.

And neither the modernists nor the postmodernists have access to the language needed to establish that in fact a God, the God, your God either does or does not exist.

Right?

So, for me, "winning" or "losing" in the is/ought world of moral and political and spiritual value judgments is a frame of mind derived from the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein in the OPs here:

https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=176529
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=194382
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=185296

Thus...

After all, what they have faith in is that their God provides them with an objective morality on this side of the grave and then immortality and salvation on the other side of it. How is that not a great source of comfort and consolation?


Winning in other words.

Iwannaplato wrote: You're taking them at face value. They say they believe X, so they believe X. I am sure some Christians, for example, are consoled, but I think they are fairly rare - and often quite decent people. Not people who are railing at women who get abortions. I mean, how many of the fingerpointing Christians look like they are doing well. How many seem connected well to their own body language when discussing a range of issues, from personal to political? How many seem to have much mental flexibility, iow to reframe an argument? You can smell the introjection. Which means that undigested ideas are floating around unitegrated in their personalities. They haven't chewed their food and they do not look comfortable. I am sure moments of judgment - like it is for nearly all of us - can offer moment of respite, but I think your....well, it sort of comes off as envy of them is misplaced. The are at best 'winners' as you said above, but hardly winners.


Look, each and every individual who does believe in a God, the God my God -- or in a No God spiritual path like Buddhism -- is either more or less comforted and consoled by what they believe.

Right?

Sure, re dasein as "I" understand it, we can go deeper into the life that they lived. We can explore the particular trajectory of experiences, relationships, access to information and knowledge etc., that predisposed them to particular points of view about a zillion different things.

But what remains the same is that "here and now" they do in fact feel comforted and consoled by what they believe. And the modernists and the postmodernist are basically in the same boat when it comes to establishing what ought or ought not to comfort and console us in regard to God and religion.

So...

And who is to say that, given the profound mystery of existence itself, it does not come down to a God, the God? Then that more or less blind leap of faith to my God.


Iwannaplato wrote: Sure....


Same here: sure.

Iwannaplato wrote: Though all this has little to do with identity.


That would depend on the individual. What does being "torn up" mean to them? And, again, philosophically, what would constitute "good faith" or "bad faith" in assessing whether another is, in fact, "torn up".


Iwannaplato wrote: Maybe I said 'torn up' but I've now forgotten I did. Or maybe I responded when you said it, but I can't remember it. Either way, I don't know what you mean here.


Back to Roe v. Wade.

Some were "torn up" by the Supremes ruling. Others were not. They were ecstatic. Some believe they acted in "good faith" in linking their arguments to the Constitution. Others believe they acted in "bad faith" in that they construe the Constitution itself as an adjunct of their Christian dogmas.

Okay, Mr. Modernist and Mr. Postmodernist, discuss. Where are the limits of language most likely to be demonstrated here if not when the discussion comes to focus on the morality of abortion itself?

After all, few are as "fractured and fragmented" as "I" am in regard to these things. And the one thing I suspect I do share in common with most postmodernists is the assumption that in a No God world, human existence itself is essentially meaningless and purposeless. And that's before the part where "I" tumbles over into the abyss that is oblivion for all the rest of eternity.


Iwannaplato wrote: meaningless to whom? I don't think there is some objective meaninglessness. I think that's a nonsensical idea.


More to the point, meaning in regard to what?

I know! Let's choose a context, describe what is meaningful about it to us and try to communicate that to someone who does not find it meaningful at all. Or who does find it meaningful but not in the same way.

So, how are conflicts here to be resolved? Well, there's God of course. And for others, ideology and political dogmas. Then those who embrace Kant and the rational pursuit of categorical imperatives and moral obligations. Then those who claim it all comes back to Nature. Their own rendition of what is natural or unnatural in regard to things like race and gender and sexual orientation. And the role of government. Those who insist it all revolves around "we", those who insist it all revolves around "me". The sociopaths and their "in the absence of God, all things are permitted" mentality.

Then, of course, me and the arguments I make in the OPs above.

Then you...

Iwannaplato wrote: As living creatures we have our own meaning, even if it is just the primal seeking of food and shelter for the day. Those with more luck or skill will find other meaning and their existence, the individuals will not be meaningless to them. And yes, your views often seem quite postmodern. IOW given that postmodernists are a pretty motely crew your position, if placed amongst theirs would not stand out as an outlier, far from the main body of postmodernists. I think it would be right in there with the others, despite what you quoted much earlier from one of them. I mean, they have their disagreements and varied opinions. I haven't seen the big ones say they are nihilists os much, but per definition they are, most of them. In the sense that they don't believe there is THE GOOD and THE EVIL. They tend to focus on nurture, which you do, though now i know you acknowledge the effects of nature, still I see dasein mentioned over and over and in your use this seems primarily nurture. So, you'd fit in there. They have a problem with objectivists whether secular or religious. Most I've encountered do not present themselves as depressed in the way you do. But that's not great marketing, generally, and who makes much money as a philosopher? Ya gotta be careful. So, a number may well be, I don't know.


Again, this is what I call a "general description intellectual contraption".

What we need then is a context. Preferably one in which the circumstances revolve around "I" in the is/ought world. A "situation" in which conflicting goods erupt. The abortion conflagration always works for me.

One in which someone here who construes him or herself to be a postmodernist chooses language to address it. And the language "I" choose.

See where that takes us...
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:15 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

In Jacques Derrida’s words, “[t]he fact of language is probably the only fact ultimately to resist all parenthization.” That is to say, we cannot get outside of language. Language is an “internal,” self-referential system, and there is no way to get “external” to it—although even to speak of “internal” and “external” is also meaningless on postmodern grounds.


Once again: go about the business of living your life from day to day. A "normal day."

Now, how many times in regard to the language you use to communicate with others is the "intellectual contraption" above going to come up?

Get back to us on that.

Language as a "self-referential system" is perfectly coherent when the self itself is perfectly coherent. Doing things wholly in sync with the meaning that we give to words to encompass our day-to-day interactions with others. In the family. At school. On the job. On the baseball diamond.

What on earth is the significance of deconstruction and semiotics then? Premodern, modern, postmodern interactions...your words and mine generating little or no ambiguity or confusion or conflict.

There is no non-linguistic standard to which to relate language, so there can be no standard by which to distinguish between the literal and the metaphorical, the true and the false. Deconstruction is therefore in principle an unending process.


Same thing. Take this obtuse assessment out into the world with you. Only not "in principle", in reality. The standards that transcend human language are mathematical and scientific laws, nature, biology, demographics, empirical facts. Words and worlds almost entirely in sync. Meaning often conveyed by and large on automatic pilot.

On the other hand, in regard to value judgments....

How are premoderns, moderns and postmoderns not equally impaled on the arguments I make above and elsewhere?

Unmasking does not even terminate in “subjective” beliefs and interests, for “subjective” contrasts to “objective,” and that too is a distinction that postmodernism denies. A “subject’s beliefs and interests” are themselves socio-linguistic constructions, so unmasking one piece of language to reveal an underlying subjective interest is only to reveal more language. And that language in turn can be unmasked to reveal more language, and so on. Language is masks all the way down.


Are you a postmodernist? Know any postmodernists? Bring them on board.

Then, given a particular context let's discuss our respective "beliefs and interests" in regards to how effective human beings either can or cannot be in communicating a sense of reality.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 16, 2022 5:28 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

For the modernist, the functionality of language is complementary to its being cognitive. An individual observes reality perceptually, forms conceptual beliefs about reality on the basis of those perceptions, and then acts in reality on the basis of those perceptual and conceptual cognitive states.


In other words, for the moral and political objectivists among us, the functionality of language in the is/ought world is interchangeable with its functionality in the either/or world. One can use language cognitively to determine the morality of abortion as readily as one can use it to describe abortion as a medical procedure. They just employ different fonts, God or No God, to nail down the objective truth.

Some of those actions in the world are social interactions, and in some of those social interactions language assumes a communicatory function. In communicating with each other, individuals narrate, argue, or otherwise attempt to pass on their cognitive beliefs about the world. Rhetoric, then, is an aspect of language’s communicatory function, referring to those methods of using language that aid in the effectiveness of cognition during linguistic communication.


Again, all revolving around the limitations of language in regard to cognition -- "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses" -- itself.

After all, are or are not social interactions down through the ages and around the globe communicated [more or less successfully] assuming very, very different sets of premises regarding what is or is not rational and virtuous? And if language [modernist or otherwise] was there to provide us with the most reasonable and moral options, how to explain the ceaseless conflicts? Well, the objectivists of course insist that the problem revolves precisely around those who are not "one of us"...those who don't cogitate about the world we live in as they do.

You, perhaps?

For the postmodernist, language cannot be cognitive because it does not connect to reality, whether to an external nature or an underlying self. Language is not about being aware of the world, or about distinguishing the true from the false, or even about argument in the traditional sense of validity, soundness, and probability. Accordingly, postmodernism recasts the nature of rhetoric: Rhetoric is persuasion in the absence of cognition.


Over and again: how ridiculous is this? Do we really live in a world where postmodernists are able to show us that in regard to our interactions in the either/or world, our words cannot revolve around the same "external nature", the same empirical facts?

What point do I keep missing here?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 02, 2022 4:06 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

Richard Rorty sees a great deal of pain and suffering in the world and much conflict between groups, so language is to him primarily a tool of conflict resolution. To that end, his language pushes “empathy,” “sensitivity,” and “toleration”—although he also suggests that those virtues may apply only within the range of our “ethnocentric” predicament: “we must, in practice, privilege our own group,” he writes, which implies that “there are lots of views which we simply cannot take seriously.”


Go ahead, see if you can reconcile these two opposing social, political and economic inclinations. Aside from suggesting that all rational men and women are obligated to embrace your own language. Your own definitions and meaning.

Also, "a great deal of pain and suffering in the world and much conflict between groups" results from those who use language precisely in order to sustain it. The ruling class using code words to pit different demographic groups against each other. Ethnocentric or otherwise. MAGA in a nutshell for many.

Most other postmodernists, however, see the conflicts between groups as more brutal and our prospects for empathy as more severely limited than does Rorty.


I don't use words like "brutal" or "severely limited" myself, but in having become "fractured and fragmented" in regard to these conflicts, I'm just as pessimistic. To me these conflicts are part and parcel of what Rorty encompasses in "ironism":

* She has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered;

*She realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts;

*Insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself. Richard Rorty


Just choose a context.

Using language as a tool of conflict resolution is therefore not on their horizon. In a conflict that cannot reach peaceful resolution, the kind of tool that one wants is a weapon. And so given the conflict models of social relations that dominate postmodern discourse, it makes perfect sense that to most postmodernists language is primarily a weapon.


Is the language I use here a weapon?

Obviously: Yes, no, maybe.

After all, why wouldn't "I" be just as fractured and fragmented about this as well?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 13, 2022 3:21 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

This [the post above] explains the harsh nature of much postmodern rhetoric. The regular deployments of ad hominem, the setting up of straw men, and the regular attempts to silence opposing voices are all logical consequences of the postmodern epistemology of language.


Right, like the premodernist and the modernist objectivists among us don't employ ad hominems, straw men and censorship as "logical consequences" of their own "epistemology of language". In fact, in insisting that what they and only they know about practically everything under the sun, they seem [to me] far more likely to employ them.

Here for example.

Stanley Fish...calls all opponents of racial preferences bigots and lumps them in with the Ku Klux Klan. Andrea Dworkin calls all heterosexual males rapists and repeatedly labels “Amerika” a fascist state. With such rhetoric, truth or falsity is not the issue: what matters primarily is the language’s effectiveness.


Okay, but I say at least double it in regard to the authoritarian dogmatists who use Bibles or manifestos to anchor their own language in. And "postmodernists" of my ilk, in being fractured and fragmented regarding the language available to them, react quite the opposite. They are often anything but adamant and coarse in labeling those who don't share their own political prejudices.

If we now add to the postmodern epistemology of language the far Left politics of the leading postmodernists and their firsthand awareness of the crises of socialist thought and practice, then the verbal weaponry has to become explosive.


Sure, but what about the modernist epistemology of the MAGA crowd and their firsthand awareness of more traditional Republican thought and practice? What, they don't have their own renditions Of Fish and Dworkin when it comes to creating political effigies?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:37 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

When theory clashes with fact

In the past two centuries, many strategies have been pursued by socialists the world over. Socialists have tried waiting for the masses to achieve socialism from the bottom up, and they have tried imposing socialism from the top down. They have tried to achieve it by evolution and by revolution. They have tried versions of socialism that emphasize industrialization, and they have tried those that are agrarian. They have waited for capitalism to collapse by itself, and when that did not happen they have tried to destroy capitalism by peaceful means. And when that did not work some tried to destroy it by terrorism.


And what does this emphasize if not the gap -- the chasm -- between words carefully calibrated and then ordered theoretically in a manifesto and attempts to take these definitions and deductions out into the numbingly complex reality of actual human interactions?

Isn't that why any number of objectivists [political or otherwise] here prefer to keep their own ideological/deontological arguments up in the clouds?

And, indeed, where nihilism often comes into play here is not over ends but over means. Everyone who is "one of us" agrees that this or that "ism" is the One True Path. But not everyone agrees to embrace "by any means necessary".

But capitalism continues to do well and socialism has been a disaster. In modern times there have been over two centuries of socialist theory and practice, and the preponderance of logic and evidence has gone against socialism.


Of course, what is this assessment itself if not another "general description intellectual contraption"? Your "logic and evidence" embracing capitalism or their "logic and evidence" embracing socialism.

Or my own "logic and evidence" suggesting that it is entirely reasonable to be "fractured and fragmented" in confronting both.

Only, I tend to eschew logic here and note how each side is more than capable of providing both reasonable arguments and ample historical evidence to make their case.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 05, 2022 3:46 pm

How Postmodernists Use Language as a Weapon
Stephen Hicks
From the Church and State website

Kierkegaardian postmodernism

In Chapter Four, I sketched one postmodern response to the problems of theory and evidence for socialism. For an intelligent, informed socialist confronted with the data of history, a crisis of belief has to occur. Socialism is to many a powerful vision of the beautiful society, one that envisages an ideal social world that will transcend all the ills of our current one. Any such deeply held vision comes to form part of the very identity of the believer, and any threat to the vision has to be experienced as a threat to the believer.


Socialism/Communism are trickier objectivist fonts. Why? Because unlike any number of idealists, materialists actually attempt to be more empirical in their analysis and assessment. "Scientific socialism" they call it.

What Marx and Engels did was to explore the actual historical evolution of human economic interactions. And then to connect the dots between that and the social and political "superstructure". Nomadic, slash and burn, hunter and gatherer, agriculturists, mercantilist, captialist, socialist. In that exact historical order by and large.

As opposed to, say, Ayn Rand who rooted capitalism in philosophy itself. To be a free-market capitalist was to literally embrace the most rational and virtuous understanding of yourself in the world around you. A "metaphysical" grasp of the One True Path. No thesis, antithesis, synthesis for her and her ilk.

But either way, the "psychology of objectivism" generally pertains. Thus, "any such deeply held vision comes to form part of the very identity of the believer, and any threat to the vision has to be experienced as a threat to the believer."

Sound familiar?

To wit:

From the historical experience of other visions that have run into crises of theory and evidence, we know that there can be a powerful temptation to block out theoretical and evidentiary problems and simply to will oneself into continuing to believe.


You "will" yourself to see what you believe. Everything contrary to the One True Path is explained away. And everything that others argue that is contrary to your own authoritarian dogma merely demonstrates their own foolish ignorance.

On the other hand, what to do with someone like me? I'm not arguing against them so much as encouraging them to explore how [existentially] they came to acquire their dogmatic convictions in the first place. And how these convictions may well revolve more around the psychological satisfaction -- the comfort and consolation -- that comes with of having found an objectivist font to anchor I in.

Then choose your "methodology":

Religion, for example, has provided many such instances. “Ten thousand difficulties,” wrote Cardinal Newman, “do not make one doubt.” Fyodor Dostoevsky made the point more starkly, in a letter to a woman benefactor: “If anyone had written to me that the truth was outside of Christ, I would rather remain with Christ than with the truth.” We also know from historical experience that sophisticated epistemological strategies can be developed precisely for the purpose of attacking the reason and logic that have caused problems for the vision. Such were part of the explicit motivations of Kant’s first Critique, Schleiermacher’s On Religion, and Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.


God and religion by and large, but, "deontologically", philosophers have come up with their own "theoretical" contraptions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Ichthus77 » Wed Oct 05, 2022 4:23 pm

Your theoretical contraption is there is no god & everything is meaningless. It anchors you well enough until you find out you’re wrong.
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