Tag Archives: philosophy

I love Kant, the later Wittgenstein, Derrida, post structualism, postmodernism and the philosophy of language.

Wittgenstein’s First Proposition

1. The world is all that is the case.

The definition of case used is

a situation that exists, especially as it affects a particular person or group

The definition of situation used is

a combination of all the things that are happening and all the conditions that exist at a particular time in a particular place

There is an assumption of space and time here as a necessary truth, that is, it is propositionally true. Logic assumes reasoning and pure reasoning. I do not believe there is such a thing as pure reasoning. Reasoning must necessarily be impure since it is limited to the time, place, and to the person (a particular point-of-view).

The reality just is, with or without being observed or reasoned. In pure being there is no thing, space, and time in the sense that none of these have sentience of the other in any kind of complete and coherent system.

The world is a place of suspended judgment. It is only the sentient who do not suspend their judgment. That, in some way, is a curse.

On Music

1.
We are surrounded by culture, that is, we are surrounded by people. In various ways we express ourselves, and we recognise these expressions. We express ourselves because we recognise others will recognise our expression. Communication is a vicious or un-vicious circle, depending on who you ask. And music is but one of the many ways of expressing ourselves as human beings.

2.
I wasn’t born in the eighth-century. I wasn’t even born in the 19th century. My time is the late-twentieth-century. I heard disco. I heard new wave. I heard pop. I listened to post-punk. I clubbed. I read Smash Hits and Face. I even read iD and watched a bit of Top of the Pops. I didn’t have complete control of my musical environment. I took in what was there. This was what was there.

Musical “taste” is different for everyone. No two people have the exact same music experience. Like everything else, we must necessarily see things differently. My favourite song can only come from what I have heard. We can try to have as wide a music experience as possible but we can never have the entire music experience. It isn’t even worth trying, unless you do so as a professional. I cannot imagine the knowledge of someone like Ryuichi Sakamoto or Mozart. My knowledge of music is limited to pleasure.

3.
As I said, my Top 10 songs can only come from what I have heard, what I know. And sometimes it is not worth expanding your knowledge.

Think of your musical knowledge as objects filling a room. At some point not much more can fit into it. We loathe to throw these things out. They “do the job”. They bring joy and sometimes sadness. Anger even. They belong to the history of me, the owner of this room.

Sometimes someone asks you to listen to this or that. But I already have the love songs to remind me of long past romances and present loves (plural because love is not for one but many: wife, child, parents). The newly introduced song, without sounding cold, means nothing to me. It reminds me of no one (except for the introducer) and no time except (for the present). But that song must mean everything to that introducer. And that song is all that matters. That is his or her song.

My room is filled. That person’s room may not be. He or she may be only starting to fill theirs. And yet others like you may also have filled rooms like yours. Finding people with similar rooms is a near impossible and almost futile task.

4.
Sometimes I would like to take out a particular song and play it. But why I chose that song to play is never clear. But once it starts it would bring back memories of the past, of people, places, and time. The associations are specific to me. It is immediately clear in the sense that I enjoy those memories, but would require much explanation to all others who do not have privileged access. That is the meaning of being me, and the meaning of others.

5.
Temptation by New Order.

Forty years have passed. But the days I would listen to this song are vivid to me, at least the general atmosphere, light, feelings. Joy. Discovery. Freedom. It is by no means a great song, but it reminds of all those things mentioned and more. It reminds of my friend to whom I had played it and it please me that he liked it too. That feeling is all that matters and mattered. And as I listen to it now as I write this, those same feelings return.

I will stress again this point – it doesn’t matter who has heard or likes the song, only what it means to you. The link to the past is so important that everything else matters not. Perhaps if you take that link away the song will no longer have that power over me.

In some ways it would be a mental assault. Reality would be changed in a way which would hurt greater than perhaps physical pain. This point I cannot confirm but only imagine to be so. Even imagining this now is painful and it has not even happened. Such is the intensity of music, and of experience in general.

Philosophy is not above and beyond analysis and criticism

I do like postmodernism. It was the staple of late twentieth-century intellectualism and thought. I don’t particularly think it was saying anything new. Others have noticed what postmodernism was saying. But it said it differently, and in a more appealing less confrontational way.

When postmodernism says nothing is truly sacred, it means everything operates from the standpoint of its difference to all other things. Sometimes Man stands in contrast to animal.  Man with a big ‘M’ may even stand uppercase man. And man often stands against woman. But really there is only these series of differences. Nothing has meaning in itself.

Science, religion, and philosophy are ordinary activities, and not beyond analysis. One can think of the idea of paradigm put forward by Thomas S Kuhn as an example of science. Atheism and agnosticism as examples of religious analysis. And Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as a meta-philosophical analysis.

For philosophy to be reflexive is important. Any ideas to truth-claims are dangerous and need to be carefully analysed and understood in order not to fall into complacency. One’s own self-righteousness leads to not only metaphorical blindness but generally ends in conflict. The only shared world there is the physical one. Mental ones rely on it, not the other way around.

Process

The world never stops. It is in a continual process of change.

Hume believed necessary connections existed only in logic. For something to “be”, in a static and eternal manner, is something which occurs in language and the mind, and not in the real world. This tendency to “freeze” (or take snapshots of) things and ideas is an error in concluding that a statement of fact is an unproblematic representation of reality. Not only is a fact a step removed from reality but also a statement of fact remains the same (static) while the reality it describes quietly moves on.

Mind, self, soul

Consider these three definitions from the LDOCE:

mind – your thoughts or your ability to think, feel, and imagine things mental.

self – the type of person you are, your character, your typical behaviour etc.

soul – the part of a person that is not physical, and that contains their character, thoughts, and feelings. Many people believe that a person’s soul continues to exist after they have died.

Often the mind, self and soul are synonymous, but as the definitions show they are not used in the same way. There are no true or perfect synonyms. 

While the definition of the mind does not mention character, the definition of self does not mention thoughts. The former is about ability; the latter about quality.

In the definition of the soul both ability and quality are brought together. It also contains or emphasises two further qualities – that of non-physical and (sometimes the belief in) its continuation beyond physical death

I doubt anyone thinks that thoughts and feeling continues to exist in the mind after his or her death, or that one can be described as being a type of person with a certain character or behaviour after his or her death. It is with the soul only that we continue to think of someone’s continued existence beyond their physical one.

But what is this ‘part of the person that is not physical’ that no one has seen and everyone infers to exist? By what evidence does one have to make this inference? I can infer thought from physical reaction, and character from physical attributes. But one cannot infer the existence of a soul from death, apart from the cessation of thought, feeling and characteristics. What can only be inferred is that death is the cessation of these. Souls, then, are the thoughts and remembrances of the characteristics of those who are living, or have since passed

When a person dies …

When a person dies their body (matter) remains and their mind extinguishes. That is observed. Under no circumstances does matter extinguish. It only changes. Conservation is observed. This consistency and predictability of matter is essential to my understanding (call it reason if you will). From nowhere else does my knowledge of the reality start except from the sensation, then perception and conception of it.

When I die, I will not continue as a mind or spirit but the matter will transform into something else that may or may not have a mind.

Monism, dualism or pluralism?

Is it 1) mind only; 2) matter only; 3) both mind and matter; 4) more than just mind and matter; or 5) neither mind nor matter?

If it is the mind then all matter needs the mind. If it is matter then all things needs matter. If it is mind and matter then all things need both mind and matter. If it it is more than mind and matter then all things need mind, matter and the unknown things. If it is neither mind nor matter then all things need some unknown thing.

The world can be explained with what we have, namely the mind and matter. But the matter seems not to need the mind to exist. Death is a prime example of the matter continuing after the mind disappears. Whether the mind and/or some other unknown exists or disappears only matter exists. The only conclusion we can draw is it is monism, and it is matter only.