Like many artists who were inspired by his work, Paul Cézanne was contaminated with the malady of the modern condition – indeterminacy, which can be seen in his art. He agonized over his paintings, and revised many of his canvasses over a number of years, while others remained incomplete with blank spots. Even with scrupulous observation, Cézanne realized that he could never be certain about the details of what he was seeing and so he was unable to complete a decisive, definitive representation.Continue reading Nothing Old Fashioned
The other day I got into a debate on twitter about the morality of sharing ebooks. Someone was posting free copies of Roger Zelazny’s books on kindle, and I replied that I was entitled to ebooks of the printed books I own. This writer challenged that assertion and asked for an argument. I refused to engage in his Empire-inflected moralizing, that the writer owned the medium his story is printed on, and used the Ship of Theseus example to deconstruct the notion of ownership.
“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves from other people that in the end we disguise ourselves from ourselves.” La Rochefoucauld
(for part I go here)
Knee-deep into ontological shit
I feel there’s plenty to mine from the first part of the introduction. On p. 16, Heidegger says that Dasein has a number of positions:
- Ontic: the special position is ontic, in which existence determines this being in its being.
- Ontological: Dasein is itself ontological, based on its existence. Dasein is the ontic-ontological condition of all ontology.
- Dasein is ontologically primary being that precedes all Being that is the object of inquiry (or questioning).
Yeah, so? This piece is actually quite thought-provoking. That is, if you can handle the number of beings and ontologies and onticalities and existences… Continue reading Being & Time: Introduction (part II)
After 7 years, I was burned out by philosophy, yet I continued to haunt the philosophy section in search for anything radical and profound. Amidst the expected titles commonly found at any bookstore, sat A Short History of Decay. I pulled it off the shelf in the faint hopes of killing time until the cigar shop opened in 20 minutes. After a couple of hours disappeared savoring the salacious prose, I begrudgingly closed the book and hurried to the checkout counter, cackling in glee in the wonderful fortune of uncovering a new thinker that spoke blasphemous music to my eyes.
I am a contingent being; that which is not logically necessary, i.e., something doesn’t have to be that way. This contingency is the fundamental ontological feature of existence.
The objectification of women is generally a problem of the Other in philosophy. Many philosophers, idealists and realists both, attempt to generate the Other from the self or began their analysis by assuming the existence of the alter ego. The former tries to erect an epistemological bridge from consciousness to consciousness, and the latter tries to assert that one consciousness is already “in touch” with another within the social reality of human existence.
But either way leads to an impasse because they are limited by the assumption that knowledge is the sole means to the discovery of the other. Rather, there is a third alternative: instead of knowledge, being is the ground of our relationships to others. Ontology, not epistemology is the appropriate level of discourse regarding the Other. Continue reading We are all objectified by the Other
Typically, a person does not believe that her belief is a belief. If she does come to believe that a belief is a belief, she will recognize it for what it is, a mere belief, and no longer wholeheartedly believe in it. “To believe is to know that one believes, and to know that one believes is no longer to believe… every belief is a belief that falls short, one never wholly believes what one believes.” (Being and Nothingness, p. 69) A person is able to suspend disbelief in a belief because she fails to spell out to herself the fact that a belief is merely a belief. Spelling out the policy of not spelling out undermines the policy. Coming to believe that a belief is merely a belief undermines the belief. If a person comes to believe that a belief is a belief, then she ceases to be convinced by it and loses faith in it, because by its very nature, belief implies doubt. Continue reading Belief
Do you think there must be a human nature? If such a thing exists, at least a relatively fixed one, then true scientific understanding is possible. Because people, with a very limited amount or set of experiences, are capable of learning their own language, as well as use it creatively, then there must be some sort of “bio-physical structure” within the mind that enables individuals to deduce a unified language from the multiplicity of individual experiences. Continue reading Human Nature: True, False, or merely a construct?
I first encountered philosophical boredom in Nietzsche and Sartre during my early years, and didn’t really grasp the significance or magnitude until I read American Psycho. While vacationing in Italy, I read the majority of the Fritzean corpus and came across two important aphorisms regarding boredom: (paraphrased from memory) if the highest creatures are susceptible to boredom, then the infinitely perfect being is also susceptible to infinite boredom. Therefore when god “rested” on the 7th day he was bored with his creation so he sank to the grass and became a snake…. Continue reading Boredom is not boring in itself.