Topic: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

AXIOMS OF FORCE THEORY

1. A value cannot be derived from a fact.  (Hume, Carnap)

2. "Love of one's neighbor" is a value.  Therefore, such "love" is not derived from any fact.

3. A fact cannot be derived from a value, any more than vice versa.  What is can be derived from what is, but not from what merely should be.

4. If love is a value, it is capable of being expressed only as a value, not as a fact.   "Humanitarian practice" is a contradiction in terms. 

R Carnap said that a value cannot be derived from a fact.  David Hume gave this idea the best exposition:  (From Google:) "The fact-value distinction emerged in philosophy during the Enlightenment; in particular, David Hume argued that human beings are unable to ground normative arguments in positive arguments, that is, to derive "ought" from "is". Hume was a skeptic, and although he was a complex and dedicated philosopher, he shared a political viewpoint with previous Enlightenment philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Specifically, Hume, at least to some extent, argued that religious and national hostilities that divided European society were based on unfounded beliefs; in effect, he argued they were not found in nature, but a creation of a particular time and place, and thus unworthy of mortal conflict."   We accept this proposition--that value cannot be derived from fact--as true.  On the other hand it is also true that certain persons with special powers set forth and represent certain facts as producing value.   Humans call these "holy or sacred" facts.   Value-producing facts are not everyday facts, perhaps, and are more or less unique; also the values that these facts produce are not everyday values.  They are more than the good that a can opener has, say--that it opens cans.  The good of the special value is more than a use that a thing has.  These values are of a higher or transendental meaning; Kant called them categorical values. They are detached from all everyday utility and practical use.   Duty, higher love or love of humanity and so forth are among these values.  The subject of this book is these so-called great values, what they are in essence and how they came to be.  The values we are talking about come from small facts, so long as these are special facts; but the values can rivet together whole populations and their civilizations.  They are so-called core values.  Large worlds consisting of men, machines and everything else in culture grow up around them.  Yet like everything else they are anchored somehow in facts so small that they they existed, if inconspicuously and unnoticed, in the small worlds of ancient man.  Cultures turned into civilization and world history took its own direction. 

The facts such civilization were built upon were other than usual facts; and the values extracted from these unique facts were other than evceryday values.  We could call such culture "otherworldly."  And just as culture itself became otherworldly, the humans of these culture, who were defined by the culture, were other--specially chosen or annointed or appointed--persons.  A general contradiction appeared in human life, an opposition, that is, between value things and everyday or "natural" things.  On the one hand was what was holy and transcendental; on the other what is "merely" factual and everyday.  The whole conflict we are saying rests on the idea that, indeed, a value can be derived from a fact.  At the heart of Western civilization is a value that is illegitimately--contrary to laws of ordinary science--derived from some fact or other.   A look at the history of our civilization provides sufficient examples.  We may look at some of these now.  The earliest humans lived in a world of pure facts.  Whether these were hard facts or soft ones might be a topic for later in this essay.  We are non-commital regarding the hardness or softness of the facts.  What is true is that humans lived with these facts, such as they were, without reflecting upon them.  A fact was simply some entity or principle in the world that cold be understood without reflecting; so it was taken for granted.  Animals know "facts" in this sense.    All the word "natural" means here is that a thing is accepted without thinking.  As we turn to naturalism, then--and this viewpoint will be our own--we return to a sort of "naive" perspective.  On the other hand, for early men there were still certain "naive" values such as love and hate, not as so-called Categorical Imperatives, certainly, but just as that--simple love and simple hate.  Such basic values did not come through reflection but simply were secretions of the original human organism.  It is appropriate to say that the first love and hate were hormonal secretions.  Human culture began, as we never tire of saying, with the first use of a stick or stone as a tool.  The tool "reflected" some human purpose.  The tool in this sense mirrored some impulse that the human being had; the impulse realized itself through the mediative agent of the tool.  We are in a domain of philosophy, here, were a mere word can lead us, sometimes productively and other times erroneously, in different directions.  In looking at the practice of tool use of early man we may begin to understand, vaguely, the separation of value from fact.  A stone is a small fact from which some use can be derived.  This use to which a small stone can be put is certainly just a small use.  But is this use now a "value"?  Certainly we have created in this simple technical act an entire new order of reality.  The use of an object is not a necessary attribute of an object, as hardness is an attribute of the physical thing is an attribute of that thing.  A stick or stone is per se hard or round; but the use of the stick is not an attribute of the thing per se.  In creating use, the human being creates value.  But there is more.  We want to move on to pursue much bigger game, that is, the biggest prize of all--transcendental Good.  The good that inheres in a tool is instantly degraded in the use of that tool.  Culture has a way of disposing of value in the same way it casts off useless material of any kind.  In the good that arises from ordinary tool use, as soon as the tool is used, the usefulness that the tool has is dissolved in the practical activity that the tool accomplishes.  This everyday usefulness is not somethng humans want to keep; it is a momentary thing as ephemeral as the motion of a tool.  The transcendental Good, on the other hand--the value that Kant talked about--is something kept in a special place and free of contamination from any contact with the real world.  What The Good means is value that is beyond practical value.  If I do Good for some person, the Good that this person experiences is merely a practical good.  To practice the Good means for me personally only Good for the reason, precisely, that no practical good comes to me.  As soon as the Good is practiced for direct benefit to me, the majesty of The Good is lost; and also lost is the power of The Good to bind me to this other man.  There is much more we can say here.  An excursion into philosophy, as laborious and tiresome as this might be, seems to be our only course at this time.

In Carnap's words, a value cannot be extracted from a fact.   How, for example, would we derive a value from a stone that is simply lying about?  More precisely--and this finally is the real issue--how can we move from that stone to such ideas as humanitarian love or, ultimately, The Good?  There is no value in the stone, we are saying, unless we consider, additionally, the use--and here we specify human use--that the stone is put to.  Animals and humans are different.  The animal has no use for the stone and therefore sees no value in the stone.  But the animal does not "use" anything, precisely, since the animal is not a technician in the way humans use objects as tools.  The human, looking at the stone in question, may or may not see a use in this object; but if he does see one, that for him is the "value" of the stone.  So we can rephrase our question:  assuming that the object-fact has a use, is this use also "value"?  Because, if use is value, and value is use, then the stone either does have or could have value.  What the animal sees in the stone is this or that form, texture, color, weight and so forth--but no use.  We conclude that where "value" appears as an attribute of the stone, that value is in the use of the stone.  Asking again:  is use the same thing as value?  If use is value, is value then use?  Are the two terms identical.  We must say this:  the stone is valueless unless this object comes in some manner into the realm of human life.  The human being is a mediating agent, we are saying, between the object and the object's value.  For the factual object (or just fact) to have value, the human being must intrude himself into that object to become one more attribute of this fact.  Then, if use is value and vice versa, value appears out of the fact.  Facts can, then, produce value but only through the agency of the human being and his purposes.  The "purpose" of the fact is the fact's value.  The evolution of this new circumstance--new in that it is unique in the evolution of species--arose with human technology.  We said earlier, and will repeat here, that the human has engaged himself in his world in a "purposeful" way.  This is something no animal does.  In ordinary language and everyday conversation we do not make a distinction between the purpose of an object or fact, and, on the other hand, the purpose that the human being "has". Indeed, a human being can "have" a purpose.  Animals do not (we are saying) have them.   We do not ask whether a purpose is an attribute of an object-fact or is something in the mind or orientation of a human being.  Humans have purposes.  But these purposes are also attributed to objects themselves.  But it is clear that for an object to have a purpose, and hence a value, that object must conform to human purposes such as there are.  At the risk of seeming to repeat myself (which I do, necessarily), I have given serious thought to the proposition that values can be derived from facts.  Here we have gone the first mile in the company of religion which, for instance, would derive goodness (value) from fact.  Religion would agree that the usefulness of Jesus (in healing etc.) derived from Jesus who was also a good man, or a man of value.   But this goodness of Jesus was only in the usefulness of Jesus. It was a goodness of utility that Jesus happened to have.  This was like the ability of a football quarterback to dance and sing, irrelevant to Jesus' main significance on earth.  So, religion and Force Theory still live in separate worlds.   We would be left with some way of thinking or believing that good in the sense of value could come into the world, to be passed around and shared by the people of the world, through the mere fact of Jesus.  Actually, however, having walked this first mile with religion, we will part ways after that short walk.  We have only assumed that Jesus may have some use.  For instance, Jesus healed a sick person; that was His use.  So this use-value--of healing--came from Jesus.  But religion wants to go much further than we are willing to go.   In fact, religion would deprecate the mere usefulness of Jesus as simply one more fact of the world--that of organic healing--and as, furthermore, small in comparison with the "moral" good that Jesus brought.   In other words, Jesus is said to have brought to the world a Good that is not a practical good at all, but a Good in some other, higher sense.   Religion sees the problem if only unconsciously.  Religion already has an answer.  The Good of Jesus derives from the "fact" that Jesus is not a fact at all, but is Himself a value.  There is no issue in deriving a value from another value.  Religion admits, perhaps, that the gap between the facticity of the real world and, on the other hand, the value of value is an absolute and unbridgable one. All these important philosophical questions are not so much answered as they are simply brushed by in the bustle of everyday life.  Human beings simply do not care about such things.  Meanwhile their culture and civilization advance towards a final apocolyptic confrontation between value and fact, which not only differ, they contradict one another logically and absolutely.  They are different orders of reality that cannot co-exist.   Now, can a fact come from a value?  We have already said that a value cannot come from a fact?  Is the opposite true.  For instance, a man (Jesus, a saint, etc.), does an act that has use.  We have already conceded that point, that a man can act in a way that is useful to another man. 

But can this same act be called good.  We are taking the position here that a good man can do a good act, and in that sense impart value.  On the other hand, this is only to say that what is good can follow from what is good.  We have not said that what is fact and nothing but fact can result from what is good.  Our position will be this (!--I'm hesitant and tentaive!):  for a fact to derive from a value or a good, that good must lower itself to the level of fact.  In other words, in order to be of use to another human being, Jesus must lower himself to act in the capacity of a (mere) doctor of medicine (say) like any other doctor.  We are saying that no fact can come of a value.  The two realms are separate.   Finally (after this very long paragraphy) we come to the inescapable conclusion that the s-called great values of mankind--brotherly love, humanitarian virtue, equality, justice and so on and so forth--are in reality values that are extracted from values.  They do not derive from facts; and are uncomfortable and paranoid in the face of facts.  The value alluded to here as an axiom of Force Theory--small hatred--is to all these high values a deadly adversary.  From this point in our argument we proceed to this question.  We have fairly well documented the origin of values-in-general out of the usefulness of factual objects.  But these small use-value are in effect themselves facts, not animal facts, of course, but human facts.  These small value facts are related to the human capacity for technological engagement with the world; and in this sense these values are facts like any other facts.  Where and how, then, is the origin of value in the "higher" sense of pure and categorical human "goodness?" 

The Good,  Hegel says, does not appear at once but evolves by degrees.  We want to describe the stages that goodness, which is tied to usefulness, goes through before it, goodness, becomes The Good.   The useful is good; and the good of the useful is a particular good tied to that same use.   I began my interest at Colgate University in 1958 under Professor Dr. Ted Calhoon who mentored and tutored me individually in Plato; for that interest in me I thank him now.   What has happened to him since then I do not know; he went to work  for IBM and I cannot find him through Google.  My interest  in Hegel came much later.  That followed a dissatisfaction with both Greek and British philosophy, which seemed closed and leading always to the same dead end.  The Greeks were still primitive; the British limited themselves to empiricism.  German philosophy opened things up.  There was no need, it seems, to assume that the Platonic Good existed always and for all time; it could have had beginnings.  The secret to these beginnings and evolution could be understood through "dialectic," I thought, and the German conceptions in general which seemed much more radical and open-ended.  I knew the effort to know The Good would be long and tortuous; and the narrow little path taken by British was the wrong path.   The truth of German philosophy is in its possibilities.  Here we follow the Hegelian line opened by Engels, Max Stirner, Bruno Bauer and others.  Force Theory as first stated by Eugen Duhring is brought together with Hegelian dialectic and the ideologies of anarchism and racialism.  I have stated that triad earlier but here I will give it more precise expression.  There is something "good" that happens, we are saying, between white men when they come together.  Their reason for being together is primarily some enterprise;  spontaneously, they structure their relations around this enterprise.  The hierarchy that emerges in their relationships has to do directly with the enterprise at hand.  A man is judged "good" and his rank order is higher on account of his contribution to the enterprise.  We are assuming that the enterprise is "good"; that makes the hierarchical relations in accordance with this enterprise themselves "good."  I contrast the cooperative activities of black people with those of whites.  Even aside from native intelligence and so-called IQ, they are different.  If black men come together, it is not always for a mutual enterprise but simply in order to rank themselves hierarchically.  That is often the sole purpose of their being together.  If some enterprise is before them, as something that has to be done, the first act of a black man is to establish his own rank order in relation to another man.  Often this happens through violence.   This mutual bullying  is a purpose incidental to the task at hand and, furthermore, is one leads in distracting directions.  A man high in the higherarchy wants more wives, and here is one more distraction.  The original enterprise is forgotten.  And furthermore now there is no hope for anything to happen that is constructive.  The useful, rather, is the good; and this good that inheres in the utility of a simple tool or artifact extends to purposeful human relationships. 

This blog began with a consideration of the first act of technology, which was the event wherein a man picked up a stick and found that it was useful; the good of the stick was in its use.  We are left to ponder the question:   is an act of using one's hand in itself, apart from any consideration of the usefulness of the hand, "good"?  There is a certain complacency that human beings have regarding their own bodies that they do not have, relatively, towards the sticks and other tools that they acquire from around themselves.  I must invoke now a somewhat arbitrary and judgemental opinion about human beings, as about animals, that they do not think overly much about their own hands and bodies but take these things for granted.  Thus there is a clear distinction in the human mind between what is acquired from around the person and what constitutes the person himself, that is, his body.   I say clear distinction.  Actually, the body is simply forgotten; while attention is paid, rather, to the world of objects that lie here and there around the person and offer oportunities for technological use.  The mind of the human being is not designed, primarily, for instrospection.  This is the last function, rather, of the mind--that a person thinks about himself.  Philosophical Anthropology is just such introspection; that is why this field is relegated to the remotest corner of human consciousnes.  That is why--along with the racial ideology such a field could harbor--Philosophical Anthropology is bound to be unpopular.  We can therefore now lay down an apriori axiom of Force Theory that "use" is a quality of a tool but not of the hand; and that "good" is likewise a side of usefulness, but not a quality of the hand.    At the risk of sounding sarcastic, implying that human beings are largely just stupid, one does not ordinarily stare at his hands in awe.   Such excentric behavior (my own) is left to certain isolated and introverted individuals whom their follow humans want to keep isolated. 

If "use" is a condition limited to objects, but is not a condition of the body, then we can understand, too, how The Good has evolved.  What is used in the expectation of usefulness is not always useful.  What is intended to be of use, and is used with this in mind, turns out to be not useful.  An object used as a tool fails in its task.  This happens all too often.  But there is more.  A human being brought into society, who is nurtured in order that he may be "productive," may not in fact be productive.  He may even be a criminal.    We propose here that The Good is an inversion of the not-good.  Through The Good the not-good is preserved.   And why humans preserve the not-good as The Good is a pivotal consideration in Force Theory as a general conception of society.  We are left after all is said and done with a huge baggage, so to speak, of paradoxical human phenomena that is rolled into the conception of society.  This is something that though we may dercry it exists as fact.   Society, as it evolves, retains and protects within it all the badness that comes about under its general structure.  I use the word "guilt" in the hope that this word means something.  It was said by someone that capitalism is superior to socialism on account of its, capitalism's, failures not its successes.  This is true.  Failures are allowed by capitalism to fail.  The Good in these terms is sort of an ethical socialism; The Good may in fact be the core of this economic philosophy.  The bad cannot be called good, of course, and that fact remains always true.   The question remaining is still:  how can what is bad still be called The Good?  We cannot fully understand this idea, presently, except to see it--that the bad, while not good, is still The Good--in Christianity and in the philosophies of so-called Justice that have come down to us in the Western philosophical tradition.

A person takes his own hand for granted as something requiring no thought.  Use of the hand is like breathing; it is unconscious.  In this the hand poses for the human a different problem than does the tool or artifact.  Philosophical Anthropology deals with this issue and other issues of the human body.  Attention should be called here to the fact that earlier Philosophical Anthropologists--Gehlen, Plessner and Scheler to mention the most familiar of these--focus on different features of the body and also on different problems.  For instance, Plessner in Stufen dwells almost exclusively on the issue of life as it appears out of non-living matter; and looks only briefly at the rise (as an ex-centric being) of man out of life.  Gehlen's theme is more specifically that of human life, the idea, that is, that man is a mangelwesen, a "creature of deficiency."  I considered Gehlen earlier.  Again, Max Scheler's problem is almost entirely that of mind as weltoffen.  When we try to place Force Theory, which was the primarily economic theory of Eugen Duehring, within Philosophical Anthropology, we have a wide latitude of choices.  We almost cannot go wrong.  Indeed, the great philosophies of the world have been in basic areas philosophical-anthropological in conception, as deriving cosmology from features of the human being himself.   The known evokes of course the idea of a knowing mind, which is at the center of every great philosophy.  This is true even of religions.    In fact, Force Theory as it is presented here cannot but help itself in being philosophically anthropological.  So, resting assured that we are somewhere on track in our theory of "man" we may go on to talk about the point--critical for us now--where human life as an expression of life in general becomes, on the other hand, a unique expression of man.  That point is where the first technological thinking appears along with the first technological object, which was first (probably) just a stick.  The paradox of human thinking is that this "thought" was in the stick rather than in the mind.  In saying this we place ourselves in the general framework of Plessner's idea of ex-centricity and Scheler's notion of "weltoffenheit."   It is precisely the stick, or some simple tool, that set the human mind on its great adventure in thinking about a "world."  This stick is what actually engages, first and formost, the human being in the world around him and makes him, mentally, an integral part of the world.  The real problem that we have here, in Philosophical Anthropology and Force Theory, is not so much bringing the human together with his world as it is disconnecting him from it.  This can be said in several ways.  The human being, through the engagement that he has with the technics whereby he lives, has become so much a part of his world that his real difficulty is in distinguishing himself from the world.  In saying this I see I may have shifted position somewhat.  I need to square these considerations with the concept of alienation.  The phenomenon of alienation is precisely a separation from the world only after having been intimately connected with it.   

The human hand presents an oportune moment to discuss this alienation.  One cannot be alienated from one's own hand because one is not connected to that hand through mind.  Alienation is not a state of being, finally, as a way of thinking.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-11-18 15:21:38)

Re: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

We have already said that the use a thing is put to--and therefore the use-value of the thing--is not an original or inherent quality or attribute of that thing.  It's inherent attributes are those, among others, of color and form and so forth.  The use that the object--which could be a mere stone or stick--is put to is an attribute added to that thing by human agency.  If the use of a thing is so added, then the quality of usefulness, too, is added.  Use and usefulness are lacking in the thing until the human being seizes upon it.  Then the object has use, usefulness and "purpose."  The purpose of the object is also an intention or state of mind of the human user.  Both the object and the human have purpose; but this purpose in the thing is also the purpose in the human's mind.  There are not two purposes, then, but only one.  Purpose obviously emanates from the human being and is imparted, secondarily, to the object.  So it would be a mistake to say the object "has" purpose, if we mean by that a quality or attribute among others like color etc.  Purpose is a "living" quality that must come from some living being.  We proceed to the idea of value.  We are saying, with R. Carnap, that a value cannot be derived from a fact.  We have given our approval to this statement, qualifying it only by saying that, yes, if a purpose--and purpose is a condition of use--is added to that thing through human agency, then the object "has" value.  Value can be extracted from the thing simply insofar as the thing is put to use.  Carnap is not wrong, he is essentially right; he simply should have qualified himself in order to avoid obvious confusion.  Our problem at present will be different than Carnap's, who never raised the anthropological issue.  Our present problem is one of anthropology and mind.  How, in other words, does a use-value at one level of human behavior become a moral value or (Kantian) notion of unqualified "duty"?  (In truth, Kant's notion of "duty" has always repelled me; here at last I will give arguments for my dislike.)    In our earlier statement, the value of a thing is in its use.  Logically, as soon as that use is finished, the value of that thing ends; and our regard for that thing is no longer in terms of value.  In short, we no longer value it.  This is part of the ebb and flow or the "hormonal secretions" of life.  Ethics themselves on this level are simply hormonal secretions; when the secretions fade, so do the ethics.  This view is naturalistic and racialistic, in the ways we have defined these words.  But we are still faced with the fact of human ethics.  It is a fact that a man, somewhere right now, is being outraged over something he's read in the newspapers.  This moral outrage is a fact among other facts that we must presently confront, even though the value he expresses is not a value derived from any fact.  The fact of a crime, say, against a child is horrible does not belie that inherent ethical valuelessness of the crime.  The outrage comes from the newspaper reader, not from the crime itself.  The value that there is in the situation is what we appropriately call subjective.  ("Subjective" is a word I have not used before.)   We move on to our main point.  In the subjective or purposeful world of human beings, the object we are talking about--the stone or stick--may conflict with this intention or purpose.  For instance, the man has in mind a pointed stone when what he finds "naturally" is a round one.  There is a "conflict."  I must be careful on this issue.  Whether I use the word "conflict" (verb:  sich gegensetzt) or "contradicts" (widerspricht) is of major consequences.  Here we may say that the form of the object merely conflicts with that of the tool-makers design.  This seems like a minor point.  It is minor when we think of the earliest tool-maker, the proverbial naked man on the African plains.  The point is major when we repeat the point, as is the case, in every act that has gone into making an entire civilization.  Indeed, conflicts through repetition become vast contradictions that, finally, elude all resolution.

Our original problem--how to derive value from fact--has been conditionally solved.   We have now said that value can be derived from fact so long as the value we are talking about is use-value.  That is, a factual object "has" value if it is useful to some human being.  The present essay is written from an advantageous standpoint of Philosophical Anthropology.  The first tool-users, who may have been Australopithecenes, were technicians but they were not moral philosophers.  They had no idea that they "should" be using objects as tools; yet they considered their meagre stone artifacts as valuable and even precious; certainly indispensible for life.  The problem of the origin and nature of what Kant called the "moral order within" never came up until several million years of evolution, when Middle Age philosophy began to be dissolved by naturalism.   David Hume, it was, who perhaps first stated the issue.  He said, simply, normative (value) judgements cannot be made on the basis of empirical knowledge.  Emanuel Kant was the first to understand Hume in this way.  Kant applied himself to the problem of restoring value to the world.  In a way it is not too much to suggest that Kant thereby rescued the whole of Western civilization, which is based squarely on value--its sense of patriotism, humanitarianism, equalitarianism and so forth--but not on fact.  We are focused here, in this essay, on Kant's solution to the problem of value.  But we need to consider the wider context of Hume and Kant.  We suggest that Medieval man did not understand the world as, in the first place, fact but only as value.  This stone or tree was for him itself a mystical value, a kind of miracle from God who was Himself a value.  The laws of the universe were precisely moral laws.  There would be, then, no problem in deriving a value from the world, inasmuch as the world was itself a value.  Value can still be derived from value.  But there is more.   Medievalism gave way partially to naturalism and the refined vision of certain philosophers, among them Hume.   Hume said that the world is fact.  One condition of this world is that it is not value.  Simple examples suffice to show our point.  A stone falls because of gravity, not because it has a "duty" to fall.  There is no moral obligation--patriotism, humanitarianism and so forth--that causes an object to behave as it does.  Natural law was finally the concept that contradicted moral law.  We may suggest that, still, naturalistic philosophers conceded that there was something called moral law; and moral philosophers could show respect for natural law.  That is still the case.  The great issue that opened up in the new age was not the validity of natural laws or moral laws, either one, but was rather the question of the connection between the two realms.  In fact scientists and moral philosophers have always co-existed somehow.  They live together in suspicion but essential harmony.  We may speculate, on the side, as to what holds them together--aparently this is government and the state--which opportunistically sponsers both groups.  Their harmony may be forced rather than spontaneous.   On the other hand, we suggest that as naturalism and moralism live together they try, out of mutual respect, to bridge the distance between them.  It is not to much to say that the great part of Western philosophy consists of an attempt to overcome this hiatus.  Still, we may say from our vantage point, that the gap is unbridgable.  Naturalism and moral philosophy are in different realms that are separated from one another not merely as fact but as categorical logical principles.  There is no way, in other words, that we can say that a stone "should" fall, not without, anyway, considering the stone itself a value.  Nor can we say a natural fact has inherent value.  The only value that an object can have is, as we stated above, a use-value.  The real problem for Force Theory, then, as a science rooted in Philosophical Anthropology--and considering the "facts" of ancient man--is to drop the issue of the gap between a fact per se and a moral value (this gap can never be resolved) and turn instead to another hiatus.  That hiatus is the one between a use value on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a moral value.  The early human being did not find value in his tools because of some "moral obligation" to find value; his only interest in the tools, and the only value he placed in them, was because of their use.  On the other hand, at some point in history human beings conceived of their own "duty," apart from any idea of utility.  The real trick of philosophy is to make this connection.  So far, other than here, it has not attempted this.

To use or to be used, that is the question.  At the risk of appearing as simplistic or merely glib, we can reduce the issue to the use human beings put one another to.  In the tradition of Philosophical Anthropology we look first at early man, and particularly at man in his capacity of tool-maker and tool-user.  That humans make tools and use them seems to be a fact of primary importance as we trace the origins of the human sense of duty.  Even as men use tools, they use one another.  It is in this fact--the use humans put one another to--that we search for the origin of cateogorical morality or what Kant called "duty."  Kant said our duty is not to use other humans.   Kant, in response to Hume--who said that value cannot be derived from fact--resorted to a ploy.  That is, he evaded the difficulty of deriving a value from a simple and obvious fact by attributing value, rather, to an obscure and complex fact--mind.  This was a simple evasion of an issue that was basic to philosophy.  It is still an issue.  For purposes here we may dwell on the idea that humans both use one another and are used by one another.  Kant addresses the issue wherein one human being can use another, saying simply that this is morally--in violation of basic values--wrong.   Kant condemns any act by a human wherein he puts that human to a use involuntarily.  Kant also says that it is the duty--derived from the values inherent in mind, or categorical imperatives--of a person not to "use" another human being.    Every school child has heard that it is "wrong" for humans to "use" one another; the very word "use" in this context signifies wrongness [pejorative?].  We go over this idea carefully, restating it in every way so as not to miss any nuance of meaning.  But there is more. Even as human beings use one another, they are also used by one another.  The very idea of "duty" as advanced by Kant seems to suggest a corollary idea to the effect that, in allowing oneself to be used by other persons the individual has somehow sanctified oneself.  Self-sacrifice is universally regarded as a virtue; and in this sense it is a high value.  Such sacrifice is "valued."  The word for such selfless people in our society is "heroic."  That human beings could contradict themselves, and commonly do, is obvious:  so there is no problem in understanding how an entirely self-contradictory set of codes and laws could come about.  This is only human nature.  It would seem that the great philosopher Kant involves himself in a contradiction, inasmuch as one "is used" in a certain sense as soon as one does not "use" another person. Kant was not an everyday person; on the other hand his philosophy is merely clever and evasive.  Above all his writings are political (!)    A person, says Kant, is used, or allows himself to be used, in simply doing his duty.  Duty would seem to involve, or have as duty's corollary, self-sacrifice.  So Kant would say, although it is wrong to use another person, it is not wrong to be used.  To be used, on the contrary, would be one's duty.  Or so it would seem.  There is no way of saying the word "duty" without raising the idea, simultaneously, of self-sacrifice.  And self-sacrifice obviously is allowing oneself to be used.  Thus we may conclude that what Kant opposed as "immoral" was not the idea that one human would use another one, precisely, but that this use would be against the will of the man being used. The person who is sacrificed for is in effect using the person making the sacrifice.   But now we have dropped a considerable distance:  having been in the etherial realm of transcendental morality, we fall to the much lower level of practical and legal business ethics.  Kant clearly involved himself in a logical contradiction which can be resolved only by thinking on a very different level of man and society.  Kant of course never addresses his own contradiction; rather he plays hide and seek in a realm between psychology and moral philosophy.  Values are in the human mind, he says, and somehow value will make itself consistent regardless of the dictates of mere logic.  Here in Force Theory we take up the logic of Kantian philosophy, even as, as I said earlier, this Kantian morality stands today as the very cornerstone or key stone (of a romanesque arch) of Western civilization:  take it away and the whole edifice crumbles.  This is our most earnest consideration.  The issue here is not as complicated as it sounds.  We are starting to move in the direction of some sense of agreement or reciprocity or quid pro quo.  At issue, too, is the notion of contract as an enforcable and enforced agreement.  We talked about these things earlier in this blog.

What then is the origin of the idea of categorical (absolute) morality, or (Kantian) "duty"?
If I drop a stone, it will fall.    Not only could it fall, it will fall.  This is physical law.   If we say that the stone will fall, that is because we expect it to fall.  David Hume has exhaustively discussed the issues raised here.  But there is more.  The words "should fall" could mean either of two very different ideas:  that we expect it to fall, or that the stone has a "moral duty" to fall.  We could say that we expect that it will not fall, but it still has a moral duty to fall.  In saying this about a stone, merely,. we would not make much sense.  Such a statement would mean something if one were speaking of a person.  It is doubtful that this stone has a moral obligation to do anything.   But we could still say, before we drop it, that it "should" fall.   As I just said, that means we expect it to fall.  Usually the word "should" is not used in this context, for the reason that, in talking specifically about a dropped stone, we are certain that it will fall; and that to say merely that it "should" fall means, as the word "should" is normally used in this specific context, that we expect it to fall.  Yet it is not necessary to say we expect a mere stone to fall, because everyone listening to us knows that it will fall.  The reason the stone falls is something called gravity, a principle of nature humans are aware of not merely in theory but from simple observation.  I want to establish a proper and consistent context for the word "should."  We might use the expression "should fall" in the context of a dropped stone; but we do not need to use it in that connection. We can use some other word to say the same thing.  We could say merely that we expect the stone to fall.  There is a certain degree of confusion in ordinary conversation about words such as "expect to" and "should."  My bosses at this university expect me to treat all students--male and female, black and white--fairly.  I do.  It is my "duty" to treat students fairly.  Day to day there is no physical or biological or psychological principle that forces me to do so.  I have no instinct in that regard.  Still--and I understand this!--I have a moral duty to do so.  This moral duty is something different than the force acting upon a stone compelling it to fall.  Again, we move from Hume to Kant.  Hume would say this moral duty is not binding in any way whatsoever.  That is, I could treat students fairly or unfairly, either way; I am under no constraint whatsoever.  At this time it seems useful to interject a slightly different thought, but one that is becoming more apparent.  That is, there is and always has been a certain amount of confusion in the way the word "should" is used in ordinary conversation.  By not separating value and fact, we are saying, we allow a fog of uncertainty to take over which is the breeding ground, also, for manipulation of one person by another.  We leave in doubt in many cases the all-important issue as to whether, in saying that I "should" do something or other, my fellow human beings are offering me a choice.  They may be saying that I "should" be treating my students fairly, meaning, in other words, that I have a choice in the matter.  These people grant me personal discretion.  But they could also say that they "expect" me to do "the right thing."  Finally, they could say that, in the same sense that our aforesaid stone falls when dropped, I will do this thing.  They may--and do--hold out the threat here that something will happen to me, by their hand, if I do not do thus and so.  We can contribute this much certainty to the issue of moral duty as opposed to physical law, that this issue is a troublesome and vague issue.  We still are attempting to pass on to some sort of philosophical closure, of tracing Kant's high-and-mighty idea of the Categorical Imperative, no less auspicious than the Christian idea of God; we may say the CI is Western civilization's ersatz God.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-11-19 14:57:04)

Re: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

Earlier we stressed tool use as the key to understanding so-called human nature.  Here we not so much change our point of view as our emphasis of one fact, change, over the earlier emphasis on tool use.  At this time we'll slightly shift our perspective, to, that is, this idea:  that the human being adapts--changes--his world to suit himself, rather than himself changing to suit the world.  This of course is already an idea well known to Philosophical Anthropology.  In this blog our strategy, however, is simply emphasis--repetition.  The idea must be made to sink in that humans alter the world around them, so that they do not have to change.  He changes his relationship to nature, first by extending himself through tools to that nature, then by bringing nature closer to himself.   It has been suggested that for the reason that because the human knows how to adapt his world to his needs that  his evolution is a dead end.  We don't think so, but we now entertain that idea briefly.  Examples are not hard to come by.  First the human picks up a stick, and uses it; this use alters his relation to some object from one of "hands on" to "mediation" by the stick.  The human has changed his relation to that objective by placing some other object between himself and that objective.  His existence, in Hegel's words, is "mediating and mediated."  A second phase follows.  The human alters the stick to sharpen it or in some other way and thereby improves its effectiveness.  Human culture thereby accelerates and even exhausts its own possibilities.  We are saying that the hunter, in particular, depletes his own food supply by killing too many animals.  The idea that culture will destroy itself does not have to wait for atomic weaponry; this destruction has already happened many times in the past.  The desolation happened through hunting and through primitive agriculture and herding.   At this point, the human intervenes again to change some feature of his world, in this case, beginning in the Neolithic period, he changes--domesticates--the animal and plant species upon which he depends.  I spoke earlier of "the stick."  Now the stick has been dropped as a main element of culture, unless this same stick becomes a hoe, say, or some other farming implement.  Nature in effect has been changed inasmuch as it, nature, has been adapted to human purposes.  But these human and humanoid purposes stay the same.  Even as the first task of humans was getting food, so that task has not changed.  What has changed is the world around the human which is now more amenable to him.  Throughout this long process one fact has remained a constant:  that is the human being himself.  He changes his relationship to nature, first by extending himself through tools to that nature, then by bringing nature closer to himself.  But his effort is expended precisely because he wants to remain as he always was, a bipedal primate sort of creature.  Humans have remained the same essentially throughout the history of culture.  Again, however, to avoid future confusion in our argument we must say exactly what we mean.  I have said that the man collectively does not want to change himself.  Likewise, he does not want to change himself individually or let himself be changed.  We have left one other possibility. That is, the individual man does entertain the idea that he might change other human beings to suit himself.  If these people are first not amenable to his purposes, then perhaps they can be made amenable.  The general term for this is "domestication," but we are not talking about domesticating animals, simply, but human beings themselves.  By amenable we do not mean more intelligent, necessarily, unless we mean the specialized intelligence that makes for a "good slave."  A certain brightness accompanied by a general lack of self-interest and common sense would make for a good servant.  This kind of possibility has not escaped the minds of most humans, in fact, with the word of caution that they themselves might be made slaves.  It is in this domain--where one man entertains the idea, like Robinson Crusoe and Friday, of making the other a servant or slave--that the idea of (what we are calling) duty appears.  Basically, duty is self-sacrifice.  It is an idea animals are incapable of precisely because they live in an unchanging world with no idea that they might change their world or themselves within that world.  The human being, who began using tools to change his relation with his world, turned to altering that world itself--and the other human beings within that world.  Since duty is not as such enforced by law--under compulsion of law, there is no idea of duty--that idea is partly wishful thinking.  One can only be asked to do one's duty.  Yet this idea--which may be your idea about me, but not my idea about myself--is the basis of Kantian ethics.  A good deal has been unsaid, however, about the evolution of this sentiment; we want to pursue the issue further.

Self-evident means that a thing makes itself evident to a human mind without any functioning, not even the smallest, of that mind. The word self-evident in our Declaration of Independence proclaims this an authoritarian document.  I will shortly explain.  Self -evident means auto-motively evident, a truth, in other words, whose truthfulness is self-propelled.  Acceptance of the truth is built into the truth itself rather than requiring an acceptance.  On the one hand we could say of a truth:  of course you will agree with it.  On the other hand, it would be equally possible to say, no, this is not a truth that you have to agree with:  it asserts itself independently of you as the truth that it is.   Assuming there is a person there who could exercise critical judgement and discretion, he still would understand this truth without having to think. Self-evidency takes all mind and thinking out of the issue of truth.  Self-evident truths exists by themselves as facits or expressions of The Good.  Thus the other and more subtle suggestion is that, whatever discretion and critical judgement he offered, the truth would still force itself upon him--even against his will.  This is what auto-evident would mean.  Since space and time (not to mention printing costs) are now not a factor in this writing, I will expound upon the last sentence repeating it if necessary. The German word is selbstverstaendlich .  The thing or principle talked about is understood by virtue of the abillity of the thing to compel or force understooding, or its "understandability."  I raise this issue which now seems trivial in order to later make a point about human beings who live entirely in a world of Selbstverstaendlickeit.  We must assume the existence of a mind that understands; we do not normally attribute understanding to a mere thing.  Basicaly what is being said here is that to understand such and such a thing or principle is effortless.  No special exertion is required by a person to understand such and such a thing. Thus even the person who is limited or stupid can understand something that "makes itself understood."   "These truths are self-evident, that all men...." is a phrase from our Constitution.  [check: might be Declaration]  What is said in this sacred document is that anyone who does not understand this is stupid.  This is what it means to be selbstverstaendlich, that "anyone whomsoever" can understand the thing because the thing is so simple. Now it is not a government or priesthood ordering a certain understanding, it is the so-called truth itself that commands this acceptance or "understanding."  That is what "self-evident" means.   More than that, as a proclamation from God or as derived from some sacred principle of The Good, the truth so stated would force itself upon the person without requiring from him any real scrutiny or decision.  Self-evident truths are "irresistable," which is what every government and priesthood wants to be.  They would lay their assertiveness and bullying off, not to their own interests, but to the truth itself as "self-evident."   We might propose that authoritarianism begins not in any force of arms but with certain statements about self-evident truth.  We may say that the thing so stated "reveals" itself in its entirety; so that the effort or energy necessary to be understood is already in that thing.  We may say that the thing "impresses itself" upon the person, despite any effort on his part to accept or reject that impression. Self-understanding is like auto-motive, self-propelled.  We may speak of ideas that are in this way self-propelled; that is what the word self-evident--or auto-evident-- would mean.   Citizenship is almost defined by such acquiescence.  Self-evidency of a thing or principle demands a passive subject and is the basis of religion and political dogma.  Indeed, most political discussion is mindless in this way, with only "self-evident" truths being proposed.  These truths do not so much pass themselves off as objective truths but simply bypass the whole issue of objectivity.  The truths are taken, in other words--they have to be taken--on the basis of trust.  Where the compelling reason comes from is a matter of speculation; but we can assume the presence of an active and engaged priestly human authority.  The word charisma comes to mind.  The issues confronting society may or may not be great.  America is a case in point.  Discussion of issues is encouraged.  Thus the public is enjoined to debate questions of health care and so forth.  But all issues that can be talked about, in America, rapidly become a question of race which is an issue that cannot be talked about.

At this point we lapse into metaphysical/epistomological issues that might well have come earlier.  These issues are not complex, as Heidegger would say, but they are deep.  How, that is, can an idea--which we've called a "truth"--be self-evident?  An idea might be evident by itself; but it also must be evident to some person. There is a deep, dark question here.  Can a fact be true in any sense without a human being present to see it as true.  We are not long left in the vague netherworld of mystical abstraction, however, but are transported immediately to the realm of hard political realities. The truths that are presented especially by democracy--we call this authoritarian populism--are regarded as "self-evident":  so it is in our own most sacred document, The Declaration of Independence.  This is the first major document of our Nation; and the word self-evident is the first word of that document.  It is the self-evidency of truth, in other words, that appears even before a human being has stepped forward to call himself leader.  The cornerstone of our Nation is this one word.  It speaks of a reality that is beyond any human agency.  The word truth was not enough, at that time, it seems:  the truth that there is must be a self-evident truth.  Philosophical Anthropology is first anthropology and then only secondarily metaphysics; PA proceeds from a few physical or biological facts to mental facts, and from there (and here is where perhaps the word phenomenology appears) to certain thoughts about the cosmos in general.  This is how we proceed here.  We are saying that as the human emerged from animals, he was self-evident to himself.   There was however no such truth around him--he had not yet learned to think abstractly--so he was the only truth that there was.  I hestitate to use the word "truth," which suggest something outside the person rather than within him. There would be no truth, precisely, for someone who takes himself entirely for granted.  The problems around one become problems only for one who is a problem, somehow, to himself.   Primitive man, so-called, is what we are talking about.  The word "primitive" was used loosely by Rousseau and his friends; we are not so much using the word loosely as causually.  The suggestion here is that everything for the primitive man is self-evident.  There is nothing at all, we are saying, whose significance is concealed.  A stone is a stone, it has no deep essence which eludes human grasp.  But this self-evidency extends to human problems, too, or issues of justice and injustice.  Matters are cut and dried.  Humans at a primitive level of culture do not have the luxury of any sort of doubtful pondering (German:  gruebel).  Survival depends upon straightforward and direct action, which must be successful at first--there are no second chances.  This is the way primitive people live.  This way is not better than the way modern humans live; it is only the requirement of their situation.  We want to come as close as possible to the mind of our (hypothetical) so-called primitive man.  He looks beyond himself, not at himself.  Thus what he does is selbstverstaendlich (self-evident).  Were he at all reflective, or where to look at himself from a certain distance outside himself, he would need mind; and that mind would be "open" to the humans around him.  We are suggesting that the human being can be introspective only momentarily; that, as soon as he opens himself to his mind, that mind is also open to the human beings around him.  Language makes this opening possible.  So that, normally--except in the case of isolated individuals here and there (we can use the word "introverted personalities")--what starts as individual self-knowledge ends in group knowledge.  Religion appears.  The self-evidency of the person is translated into a kind of group mentality which in turn produces the idea of a self-evident fact or truth.  The word that is oppositional to self-evident would appear to be "mysterious."  My own existence, to me, is mysterious.  It is a mystery how and why I am here; I have no clever solutions to this question of all questions.  The fact that I cannot think about my own existence--because I don't have the mental capacity for that--does not mean that my existence is self-evident.  On the contrary.  To primitive man, by contrast, then, there is no mystery.  For him, too, there is no sense of inadequacy of any kind.  His existence is self-evident, therefore there is no call for intellegence; and if there is no call, there is no sense of lacking intelligence.  Such people are not insulted by the word "stupid."  Theirs is a complacency that for an educated would be a longed-for luxury.  Likewise the problems that confront one, where the world and one's place in it are self-evident, are themselves self-evident--even though not solvable.  The lack of a solution for a given problem is no indication of a lacking in one's own self.  Finally, through language--and the expression of one's identity to other persons--one also becomes a "problem" to oneself.  A world appears that is shared among several or many persons.  What is evident at this point is no longer oneself.  But self-evidency is a concept of a complacent person projected into a group world.  There is a complacency--self-evidency--of the entire group.  Finally, if that group ever begins to reflect upon itself, and therefore begins to criticize or doubt itself, there is still the further possibility that so-call truth becomes "self-evident."  That is where we stand with the Declaration, the most sacred document--that which proclaims the independence of America--that that truth is "self-evident."  Truth stands, not as a passive or simply ascertainable fact but as an authrority--that of self-assertive facticity--over all humans whomsoever.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-11-20 15:23:23)

Re: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

The Declaration of Independence--America's most sacred document--begins with the statement:  "We hold these truths as self-evident, that all men are created equal..."  We could possibly, at the outset of this blog, just go ahead and concede that "all men are equal."  This compromise would not damage our cause nor advance it.  We simply are not interested here regarding whether humans are in fact equal or unequal, which is an issue of science and can be left to the scientists.  What concerns us is the word self-evident.  This word is much more interesting than whether or not humans are in some factual sense equal.  The Declaration says, most signficantly, that it is self-evident that such and such is true, what ever that truth may or may not be.  We could say but are not permitted to say, for instance, that this truth is not evident to us; still, the truth is self-evident to itself.  In denying the facticity of human equality we would contradict also the majesty--the self-truth--of the statement that men are equal.  This would not be a mistake simply, but a crime or sin.  In the self-evidency of human equality is the authority and magiesty of the idea of human equality.  How should this concern us?   We are concerned, rather, that American civilization was through one word--a word that proclaimed the self-truth of itself--set on a course that has held, consistently, these hundreds of years.  It is not too much to say that our culture was prefigured, predetermined and predestined in a short sentence.  It is our purpose here to look at that sentence, but only part of it.  The idea that all men are created equal has a certain place in the history of ideas of our Western culture;  and to overlook Rousseau and Locke would be a disservice to philosophy.  That much we can conclude.  Human beings can in fact be considered "equal" in certain terms and with certain assumptions.  Why argue the point?  Where I am focusing attention here, on the other hand, is on the provisiion--stated so clearly--that the idea that all men are created equal is self-evident.  So it is on the point of self-evidency (Selbstverstaendlickeit that needs analysis.  What is being said is that there is a quality of this idea that belongs to, inherently, this idea.  A ball is round; and roundness is a quality of the ball.  So, it is said, that just as redness or roundness is a quality of one object, the truth of a certain statement inheres in that statement, not dependent in any way on the human being who understands it to be true or not true.  Self-evidency in a statement belies the very idea of populist democracy.  This is the first contradiction in American civilization and one that was present the moment the first whitemen set foot on this continent.  The self-evidency of the truth of democracy is also the flat denial--categorical contradiction--of democracy.  That is, nothing is conceded to a knowing person regarding rights to know a thing.  The thing has already been proclaimed self-evident; it has proclaimed itself self-evident.  Not an authoritative statement (which needs an authority) is the problem, the issue rather is a statement that is by virtue of an inherent quality of auto-authority an authoritarian statement.  We are led to the paradox of an authoritarian democracy.  But consistently--the idea of forced equality--is what exists for Americans in practice.  The government is there, it is said, just to enforce the idea of a self-evident truth.  This idea--which ultimately is not so much self-evident as self-contradictory--festers today.  A civilization based on a self-contradiction cannot sustain itself.  It does not suffice one that one can control human beings; he must also know what they are thinking.  The thoughts of Americans and Westerners in general in this sprawling culture and society are drifting in one direction; the civilization is materially wealthy but going in another direction.  What are people like.  We see in them a certain inherent self-evidency, but that is their quality, not their culture's.  Of course, as always, there is some large or small priesthood with a stake in the question.  If truth is self-evident, their own role in culture is evident.  The idea that the truth is self-evident diverts attention away from their self-interest.  I call the statement of the Declaration of Independence the first and formative act of our civilization; as also it is the last and dissolving act.  Having a successful discussion (essentially, winning an argument) depends upon a narrow focus; that is what we've tried to foster.  We must not bother with the notion that some people, true, will want to treat others as so-called equals; this is usually just the patronizing behavior that humans are fond of.  They cannot be stopped.  Humans as citizens should understand, on the other hand, that a basis of authoritarian control was written into the first words of the Declaration, our seminal political document; and that government could rightly interpret its own role as enforcing that provision.  Our culture is basically simply force equality.  This is by no means a paradox or self-contradiction.  Where the contradiction lies, the one that will undermine our civilization, is between the self-evidency that motivates a person (essentially, self-interest) flatly contradicts the civilization that we have with no possibility of compromise.  The present blog has an anarchist assumption which affirms the absolute self-assertion of the ego at the expense of anything ephemeral that humans might contrive.

We have talked in post-Hegelian terms of how the human being, having made a cultural "other," faces this "other" not as a friend or helper but as an adversary.  Civilization itself, in certain terms and to a certain degree, is actually an enemy, if not to humanity collectively then to the individual.  This is the position of Feuerbach, Engels, Stirner and Bauer.  We have tried here furthermore in the capacity of Philosophical Anthropologists to reconcile the notion of alienation with certain facts of early man.  Our position has been that alienation was a feature of human life as soon as the human being first picked up and used a stick or stone as a tool.  Animals have no such tools.  In the case of human beings, on the other hand, this artificial extension of the person--essentially an arti-fact--is already an "other" to which the human stands in a certain relationship of opposition.  By stages the dialectic of culture and civilization ensues. This is a scenario we have repeated frequently throughout this blog--the general word for which is alienation.  By painstaking increments we have moved towards some understanding of human relations and human politics in the recent age.  At the crux of our considerations is a notion of truth.  We are not epitomologists, precisely, nor are we even in what The True is as a "reality" apart from human understanding.   This is not our concern.  What interests us, rather, is how truth is used.  Truth, we are saying, is a stand-in (default?) authority.  The trend throughout the history of humanity has been for humans to attribute authority less to human beings themselves, and more to the authority of some idea.  The question--which we have already attempted to answer--is how an idea can have authority.  Is there something in an idea, or in one idea as opposed to another, that constitutes authority.  Thus an idea is not simply "had" by a mind of a person, so much as imposes itself on persons.  Of course an idea is simply the product of an individual mind and, as such, is no more imposing or assertive than any other part of him.  We might qualify this statement by saying that, indeed, ideas--and the fact that ideas can be shared through language--have always appeared as something more or less mysterious.  Human beings passed by degrees, sometimes more than other times, into the sphere of religion and the sacred.  Ideas, as I say, were shared through language; and in that sense, now as collective entities, the ideas carried more weight with people in general than simply an idea buried in an individual brain.  The idea finally appeared as a being greater than any one human being.  Ideas--as opposed to arms, legs and even brains--could in fact be shared with great facility and, in this way, appear as greater than the individual.  The idea emerged out of the swarms of anonymous humans.  The idea in this sense was great while people themselves were small.  This was the result of language or a "shared reality."  What was the human role in this emergence of ideas as "great"?  The idea's wholeness and oneness could not be compromised by confusion:  to eliminate this confusion was the function of the priests.  The idea is still an arti-fact, an artificial reality in the same way tools were man-made things.  Finally, we are at the point of deciding how it can be that an idea--or so-called truth--can be its own authority.  That is, how can an idea be self-evident?   Refering as we have earlier of the Declaration of Independence, with its phrase "We hold these truths to be self-evident...," it becomes apparent that the idea that humans are "created equal" is true precisely on account of this idea being collective and not a matter of individual perception.  First, the idea about humans--that they are "equal"--is a grand idea.  It is majestic simply on account of being the idea of many persons.  And these are humans who, precisely, rather than to announce their own power and authority, attribute this authority to the idea itself.  The idea becomes majestic.  The idea also has the power to compel acquiescence among many people.  Humans themselves, then, as they group themselves into semi-cabalistic and conspiritorial power cliques, appoint themselves spokesmen for the idea.  The arguments about the idea are solely arguments within the power groups themselves, as to how the idea is to be "interpreted."  At the outset, when our Declaration was first drafted, there was no consistent idea, even, as to what constituted a "man" or "human being."  This was a period in the history of knowledge when it was still debated whether apes were in some sense human.  As a question of fact, apes certain have human traits.  Above all it was concluded--not at first but later on--that Africans are human.  But this was simply a dicussion of fact, which discussion did not compromise the majest and authority of the idea of the "equality of all men."

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-11-07 15:21:29)

Re: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

Positive Law and Natural Law are two topics of philosophy.  Thankfully we may easily understand these terms when they are defined narrowly and defined also in the only precise way that they can be defined.  (1)Positive Law--from "posit," or to put or make or create--means laws that are made through human agency.  Law says that I must drive on the left side of the street.  That law could be changed or disregarded or deleted from the statutes.  But as long as it is a statute the law, if the law is to mean anything at all, will be en-forced.  Breaking that law will be punished by human and social agency; so that a person stands advised not to transgress.   (2)Natural Law consists of principles that determine the form and movement of physical bodies.   These are laws such as gravitation or the temperature for boiling water.  These are physical laws; they were here before the advent of man.  Man must obey these laws, too, as one physical and chemical object among others; though the human being can also create ways that employ certain principles to overcome other principles.  For instance, gravitation holds the person to the earth; but knowledge of principles of flight allow him to create the appearance of overcoming gravitation; he does not negate gravitation, of course, so much as find a way around it in the short term.  All these things can easily be understood; they are recognized not only by non-scientist laypersons but by theologians (who are likely to glibly work them into sermons).  Natural Law and Positive Law are not neglected in any formal philosophical system, nor will we neglect them here.  But there is something more.  We still have not talked about a third meaning of the word law.  While Natural- and Positive Law can be straightforwardly defined there is also in the background of philosophy another sense of "law" which is not so readily defined; yet this sense of law is a veritable preoccupation or obsession of philosophy and religion alike.  (Science is less concerned.)  That is (3) Moral Law.  The source of Moral Law is unknown and its application is inconsistent.  I will take my own career as a college teacher as an example.  Here is one teacher's "confession."  It is that of unorthodoxy that violates a present-day code of teacher's ethics but an ethics, moreover, (alleged) to be based on a broader moral code regarding "humanity."   The law that binds and controls me as a college professor is not physical or Natural Law, by the definition given earlier; nor is it Positive Law.   I am obligated by Moral Law.  So it behoves me to understand Moral Law, even where I do not live in the university by physical or legal rules.  The term "professional code of ethics (for teachers) is a phrase that comes up; although the code is obviously derived from more general values.   The Moral Law is a broad and intangible--undefinable--mode of human relationship which has to be understood more by instinct than objective intelligence.  A teacher as a priest has to know of this law because, in proposing heterodoxy (heresy) he has  broken the moral law of his church or university.  Catholic priests, at least, that their tenure is conditional on a largely manufacted orthodoxy;  teachers in general do not have this clear understanding. The Moral Law of which I speak "law of humanity," which is a rule that is supposed to extend to limits of so-called humanity but, nevertheless, is not a physical or posited (made) law.  Clearly what I have said so far about the Moral Law is vague.  But that is precisely the point of Moral Law--it is vague and subjective.  But those humans who are charged with, or appoint themselves as, adjudicating the Moral Law are the last to concede this point.  Finally, it is clearly in the interests of the (so-called) Moral point of view that the source of morals--and human values in general--is left vague.  Bruno Bauer said that the "history of religion is the critique of religion."  This principle applies values as well:  an idea of the source of values evokes the clear idea that values, finally, are subjective and arbitrary.  In the Congo somewhere today there is a particularly gruesome massacre, so common there that it's not even mentioned in our newspapers.  This appears to be a "crime against humanity."  It might appear to be such a crime; but no so much so when the general or "big man" explains his purpose in commanding his troops.  He had a reason.   Here in this essay we are not going to reject the words "morality" and "value," which will always have a meaning that, although very vague.  We propose only to critque the words as having no solid and consistent application to specifically the university.  This is a way of asking for so-called "free speech" regarding issues of the day such as race.  And objective discussion of so-called sensitive and controversial issues (which I'll not name here on grounds that they would drag this essay off into another and unwelcome direction).  The university, I am saying, is grounded on moral moral principles; and, as such, the university is of ephemeral importance in the broad world of human events.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-12-04 14:43:19)

Re: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

[POSSIBLY DELETE (ERRATICA)]

As I write I am bound to shift position on one topic or the other; this is one of those times.  Just how I have shifted may become a later topic.  For now it must suffice to raise an old issue--that of alienation--and here is where my stance seems to shift.  I have wanted always to stand by Ludwig Klages and the old German romantics.  The Hegelians have also contributed much on the subject "alientation from one's own self.". This is a state of being unique to humans among all animals; and the suspected cause of alienation is culture.  Culture, in Klages' words, is a wedge that divides the human being from nature and from his self.  Force Theory, on the other hand, as outlined by Eugen Duehring is non-commital on these basic issues and is certainly not radical.   We propose here to build upon Force Theory.  What we are saying--and what we contribute to Force Theory--is the idea that, indeed, as we stated above, culture actually engages human beings in nature; culture brings humans closer to nature. It would then not be correct to say that culture, on the contrary, alienates humans from nature.  The opposite is true.   But the agent of this engagement is mind.  We are confronted immediately with a paradox that demands our closest attention.  The animal has evolved, and the human being himself has evolved as an animal, precisely by separating itself or himself from nature, not by engaging himself in it.  The animal does not trouble itself over what nature is really like; nor does the human being care much, either, about nature.  (What we can call axiomatically) nature is simply taken for granted.  Such complacency would be expected, of course, or is itself "natural" because of the long association between animals and nature and the length of time allowed for such a relationship to become encoded in animal and human genetics.  So that, in other words, instinct rather than intellect is the basic relation humans have by virtue of their animal past.  The human being still has these instincts--they dictate the core self-concept of humans--and freezes the human, we are saying, in an attitude of certain indifference to nature. The human's as the animal's self-concept is set through the fact that the human being is not nature and vice versa.  This means that the human is already in a fundamental sense not-nature.  Not nature is what the human is.  Indeed, not-nature is what an animal is insofar as the animal is self-ishly assertive.  That the human being is at all is because he is, or through the fact that he is, not nature.  The human being sees himself for what he is as basically not nature.  The animal condition is one already of a certain separation from nature, even an opposition to nature.  In the movement of the animal--which distinguishes the animal from a plant--there is already a certain contrariness in relation to nature.  The human might bely this fact, not so much in what he does on behalf of himself but because of what he does to other humans.  I earlier discussed the issue of slavery, and that is relevant to what is presently discussed.  The slave is less than an animal; he has been deprived of the self-assertion allowed to the most humble animal.  This is his relation to his master--the slave is less, as I say, than the lowest creatures that there are, lower even than plants.  But this relationship is through slavery.  Once the slavery is ended, the slave again is an animal--and one dangerous to his former master.  For there to be a benign connection between former slave and former master a whole social conception is necessary, one that is far from any original "state of nature" in which animals or living beings co-exist with one another.  The former slave is now the most dangerous "animal" that the master confronts.  These and other considerations must be encorporated into force theory.  Our basic present issue is that of the correct interpretation of the notion of alienation.  The paradox of culture as stated by Force Theory is that in fact, in bringing humans closer to nature--engaging them in nature--culture actually separates humans from their own "natures."  The nature within humans, through which they are personally constituted, is the "real" nature; and yet precisely this inner nature is separated from, and would not be what it is were it not for this separation, the nature around the person.  Culture, in drawing humans into nature outside them, pulls them away from the nature within themselves.   Culture "externalizes" humans.

We qualify this statement by saying that, first and always, the human being never has been a creature of introspection and self knowledge.  Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living; he thereby dismissed as hopelessly stupid almost the whole of humanity.  Humans understand themselves in the same way that they once understood the nature around them, that is through instinct.  But they do not understand what is within themselves because understanding itself, construed as intellect and mind, came about originally as a power to engage oneself in the external world.  Mind is not for self knowledge.  Philosophical Anthropology, as refined introspection, is in these terms contrary to the whole purpose and function of human intelligence.  Finally we pass to questions that are ethical and moral; we ask where arises the idea of The Good.   Human ethical systems stress external engagement; and they discourage self-involvement.  This is seen in every ethical demand for unselfishness.  Culture on the one hand means engagement not only with nature but with "others."  But here these others, while they are humans, these others are construed in the same way that we know external nature.  Self understanding as self-assertion is not an issue here.  My writing methods are simple.  In my last paragraph there is, there, one sentence which stands out as strongest.  That is the one with which I start my next paragraph.  Often in this modus operandi I begin to drift in one way or another without much sense of direction.  We are saying here, now, that the involvement that a person has with "people" as they are seen by human intelligence itself--which has evolved as in order to engage the human with the external world--in that same "external" way.  In fact, to understand a human being at all is to understand him falsely.  What do I mean?  I suggest here that understanding itself has nothing to do with the self, whose existence is a consequence of an ancient line of evolution.  In this evolution a close relation has unfolded between the animal and nature, so close, in fact, that the relation is thoughtless.  We sense this lack of "external" engagement in primitive peoples.  Though we attribute to their ideas on "justice," for example, to differences in culture, these ideas in truth derive from the fact that they have no ideas of justice at all.  Such ideas are possible only through a general extrernal engagement with what is "outside" and "other" than the people themselves, whether this "other"is external nature or human beings themselves as an extension of external nature.  The selfishness of the individual, which is genetic, is the original way that humans have long existed in relation to nature.  But this was not a relationship of engagement but, on the contrary, a "bond of separation."  The identity of the human consisted in the fact that the person was "other" than nature.  This separation constitutes the animal or primitive person's notion of what it or he is.  The person sees himself as mirrored in nature at the same time, essentially, he understood the concept of "mirror" at all.  This required a higher intelligence.  But the selbstverstaendlichkeit (self-evidency) of the primitive human is what we are talking about.  The human was and still is "self-evident" to himself.  The idea of self-evidency might be a core idea of Force Theory and is one we certainly will emphasize.

Re: 48. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE GOOD

[POSSIBLY DELETE (ERRATICA)]

As I write I am bound to shift position on one topic or the other; this is one of those times.  Just how I have shifted may become a later topic.  For now it must suffice to raise an old issue--that of alienation--and here is where my stance seems to shift.  I have wanted always to stand by Ludwig Klages and the old German romantics.  The Hegelians have also contributed much on the subject "alientation from one's own self.". This is a state of being unique to humans among all animals; and the suspected cause of alienation is culture.  Culture, in Klages' words, is a wedge that divides the human being from nature and from his self.  Force Theory, on the other hand, as outlined by Eugen Duehring is non-commital on these basic issues and is certainly not radical.   We propose here to build upon Force Theory.  What we are saying--and what we contribute to Force Theory--is the idea that, indeed, as we stated above, culture actually engages human beings in nature; culture brings humans closer to nature. It would then not be correct to say that culture, on the contrary, alienates humans from nature.  The opposite is true.   But the agent of this engagement is mind.  We are confronted immediately with a paradox that demands our closest attention.  The animal has evolved, and the human being himself has evolved as an animal, precisely by separating itself or himself from nature, not by engaging himself in it.  The animal does not trouble itself over what nature is really like; nor does the human being care much, either, about nature.  (What we can call axiomatically) nature is simply taken for granted.  Such complacency would be expected, of course, or is itself "natural" because of the long association between animals and nature and the length of time allowed for such a relationship to become encoded in animal and human genetics.  So that, in other words, instinct rather than intellect is the basic relation humans have by virtue of their animal past.  The human being still has these instincts--they dictate the core self-concept of humans--and freezes the human, we are saying, in an attitude of certain indifference to nature. The human's as the animal's self-concept is set through the fact that the human being is not nature and vice versa.  This means that the human is already in a fundamental sense not-nature.  Not nature is what the human is.  Indeed, not-nature is what an animal is insofar as the animal is self-ishly assertive.  That the human being is at all is because he is, or through the fact that he is, not nature.  The human being sees himself for what he is as basically not nature.  The animal condition is one already of a certain separation from nature, even an opposition to nature.  In the movement of the animal--which distinguishes the animal from a plant--there is already a certain contrariness in relation to nature.  The human might bely this fact, not so much in what he does on behalf of himself but because of what he does to other humans.  I earlier discussed the issue of slavery, and that is relevant to what is presently discussed.  The slave is less than an animal; he has been deprived of the self-assertion allowed to the most humble animal.  This is his relation to his master--the slave is less, as I say, than the lowest creatures that there are, lower even than plants.  But this relationship is through slavery.  Once the slavery is ended, the slave again is an animal--and one dangerous to his former master.  For there to be a benign connection between former slave and former master a whole social conception is necessary, one that is far from any original "state of nature" in which animals or living beings co-exist with one another.  The former slave is now the most dangerous "animal" that the master confronts.  These and other considerations must be encorporated into force theory.  Our basic present issue is that of the correct interpretation of the notion of alienation.  The paradox of culture as stated by Force Theory is that in fact, in bringing humans closer to nature--engaging them in nature--culture actually separates humans from their own "natures."  The nature within humans, through which they are personally constituted, is the "real" nature; and yet precisely this inner nature is separated from, and would not be what it is were it not for this separation, the nature around the person.  Culture, in drawing humans into nature outside them, pulls them away from the nature within themselves.   Culture "externalizes" humans.

We qualify this statement by saying that, first and always, the human being never has been a creature of introspection and self knowledge.  Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living; he thereby dismissed as hopelessly stupid almost the whole of humanity.  Humans understand themselves in the same way that they once understood the nature around them, that is through instinct.  But they do not understand what is within themselves because understanding itself, construed as intellect and mind, came about originally as a power to engage oneself in the external world.  Mind is not for self knowledge.  Philosophical Anthropology, as refined introspection, is in these terms contrary to the whole purpose and function of human intelligence.  Finally we pass to questions that are ethical and moral; we ask where arises the idea of The Good.   Human ethical systems stress external engagement; and they discourage self-involvement.  This is seen in every ethical demand for unselfishness.  Culture on the one hand means engagement not only with nature but with "others."  But here these others, while they are humans, these others are construed in the same way that we know external nature.  Self understanding as self-assertion is not an issue here.  My writing methods are simple.  In my last paragraph there is, there, one sentence which stands out as strongest.  That is the one with which I start my next paragraph.  Often in this modus operandi I begin to drift in one way or another without much sense of direction.  We are saying here, now, that the involvement that a person has with "people" as they are seen by human intelligence itself--which has evolved as in order to engage the human with the external world--in that same "external" way.  In fact, to understand a human being at all is to understand him falsely.  What do I mean?  I suggest here that understanding itself has nothing to do with the self, whose existence is a consequence of an ancient line of evolution.  In this evolution a close relation has unfolded between the animal and nature, so close, in fact, that the relation is thoughtless.  We sense this lack of "external" engagement in primitive peoples.  Though we attribute to their ideas on "justice," for example, to differences in culture, these ideas in truth derive from the fact that they have no ideas of justice at all.  Such ideas are possible only through a general extrernal engagement with what is "outside" and "other" than the people themselves, whether this "other"is external nature or human beings themselves as an extension of external nature.  The selfishness of the individual, which is genetic, is the original way that humans have long existed in relation to nature.  But this was not a relationship of engagement but, on the contrary, a "bond of separation."  The identity of the human consisted in the fact that the person was "other" than nature.  This separation constitutes the animal or primitive person's notion of what it or he is.  The person sees himself as mirrored in nature at the same time, essentially, he understood the concept of "mirror" at all.  This required a higher intelligence.  But the selbstverstaendlichkeit (self-evidency) of the primitive human is what we are talking about.  The human was and still is "self-evident" to himself.  The idea of self-evidency might be a core idea of Force Theory and is one we certainly will emphasize.