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> (mis)Understanding Nietzsche, perceptions and misperceptions
Culture
post Oct 13, 2006, 11:58 AM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 09, 2006, 07:14 PM) *

As I said earlier, I am not an expert on Nietzsche. But I wish to know more of who he was and what was his message. I did read the STORY OF PHILOSOPHY, by Will R. Durant, and what it said about Nietzsche.

Who can tell us who Nietzsche was and what did he really accomplish which still demands our attention? In my opinion, he may have writtren poetically, but not with clarity.


Sorry for the late reply. But I have been away for a few days.

Fifty or more years before the "vienna circle" set out to demolish metaphysical conceits, Nietzsche had done so rather briskly & artfully without all the numbing scholastic minutiae of soulless formalisms (re: Human, All Too Human; Daybreak; & The Gay Science). Nietzsche's anti-metaphysical meditations were undertaken from the perspective of philology not mathematical logic, However,it's not suprising how twentieth century logicism's formal syntactics has collapsed into ordinary language's informal semantics given that this was Nietzsche's point of departure!

Nietzsche's response to the crisis of nihilism was to show that it was an illusion self-inflicted by late european culture's discarding of it's founding illusions (e.g. "god is dead"). his prognosis was not for the masses but for the few who were needed to affirm life culturally as philosophers, educators & artists.

Even after his death many areas of contemporary western culture are still struggling to assimilate, respond to, and move beyond Nietzsche's profound provocations such as questions of "the value of science (truth) for culture", "the value of values for (forms of) life", "the value of art for evaluation (re: 'will to power' as will to interpretation)

I judge a philosopher's importance by the longevity of his concerns and the intensity with which those he's inspired undertake them and carrying them forward.
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Joesus
post Oct 14, 2006, 10:12 AM
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QUOTE
Sorry for the late reply. But I have been away for a few days.

That's Ok, I would think that your own desire to respond would be tantamount to the interest in your own heart rather than what any one else would think, even if you responded 2 years after the fact. wink.gif

QUOTE
I judge a philosopher's importance by the longevity of his concerns and the intensity with which those he's inspired undertake them and carrying them forward.

Umm... I could be wrong.... Then again I might think that you respond to what you think is important by letting others gage what you should find important because they think its important giving you inspiration to find it important.....
I dunno, I just don't find anything important unless it inspires something inside of me regardless of what anyone else thinks. mellow.gif
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Culture
post Oct 14, 2006, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE
Sorry for the late reply. But I have been away for a few days.


QUOTE(Joesus @ Oct 14, 2006, 10:12 AM) *

That's Ok, I would think that your own desire to respond would be tantamount to the interest in your own heart rather than what any one else would think, even if you responded 2 years after the fact. wink.gif


Interest---> inspiration---> response :-) However my desire stems from the mind and not the heart. If you look at my posts would you say that I am not responding to others questions? I am always curious of what others think. What others think of me of course is none of my business.

QUOTE
I judge a philosopher's importance by the longevity of his concerns and the intensity with which those he's inspired undertake them and carrying them forward.



QUOTE(Joesus @ Oct 14, 2006, 10:12 AM) *

Umm... I could be wrong.... Then again I might think that you respond to what you think is important by letting others gage what you should find important because they think its important giving you inspiration to find it important.....
I dunno, I just don't find anything important unless it inspires something inside of me regardless of what anyone else thinks. mellow.gif


Here we agree Joesus. Inspiration is a _key_ factor.
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Joesus
post Oct 14, 2006, 12:46 PM
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QUOTE
Interest---> inspiration---> response :-) However my desire stems from the mind and not the heart.

The heart knows no reason but the mind often determines what is necessary to the heart.
The motivation to seek is not bound by what is known but to find the Truth in stability not in the changing feelings of association to the interpretations of the mind.
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lucid_dream
post Oct 18, 2006, 10:05 AM
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QUOTE(Culture @ Oct 09, 2006, 11:47 AM) *
Schopenhauer's Will is superficially naturalist in that it is a will to survive. This will to survive according to him gave rise to all the happiness and suffering in the phenomenal world. Despite its naturalistic sounding tones, Schopenhauer's Will is closer to Hegel's "Geist" than to Darwin's "natural selection." It is more like a world-historical force than an elegant algorithm. This indeed lead to his famous "pessimism." If everything you do is because of the Will then your unhappiness derives from it. You try to oppose the Will but you cannot because all actions are the Will's actions. Thus he (perhaps ironically) suggested resignation, asceticsm or aesthetic enjoymnent as consolation.


I don't agree with this characterization. There is nothing superficially naturalist about Schopenhauer's Will since he repeatedly states that it is metaphysical and that naturalism, realism, materialism, and scientific explanation fall within the realm of phenomena, which is distinct from the kernel of reality, the Will. What we experience as will is phenomena as well. Any relation to Hegel is far-fetched given Schopenhauer's repeated criticisms of Hegel's philosophy on the grounds that it was an empty conceptual system devoid of any perceptual contact. Schopenhauer's Will as thing-in-itself, is not an empty construct, nor should it be taken to represent just the thing the underlies our own experience of will. It goes beyond common-sense notions of will and something more accurate would involve inner/outer distinctions; but Schopenhauer makes all of this clear in 'The World as Will and Idea', so I would suggest (re)reading it. His pessimism is a conclusion that most people who have been influenced by his philosophy do not draw. Instead, they use his philosophy as a tool and dispense with his pessimistic conclusions (made in the fourth book of WWI).

Nietzsche's philosophy is, in large part, simply an optimistic interpretation of Schopenhauer's philosophy. Unfortunately, Nietzsche's literary style involving humor, sarcasm, and play, that he used in 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', while amusing at times, can oftentimes come across as childish in comparison to the seriousness with which Schopenhauer communicates his work.

There is no doubt in my mind that Schopenhauer is one of Philosophy's giants, and that Nietzsche is more like a dwarf (or at any rate, a smaller person) who stood on Schopenhauer's shoulders.
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Culture
post Oct 19, 2006, 07:47 AM
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QUOTE(Culture @ Oct 09, 2006, 11:47 AM) *
Schopenhauer's Will is superficially naturalist in that it is a will to survive. This will to survive according to him gave rise to all the happiness and suffering in the phenomenal world. Despite its naturalistic sounding tones, Schopenhauer's Will is closer to Hegel's "Geist" than to Darwin's "natural selection." It is more like a world-historical force than an elegant algorithm. This indeed lead to his famous "pessimism." If everything you do is because of the Will then your unhappiness derives from it. You try to oppose the Will but you cannot because all actions are the Will's actions. Thus he (perhaps ironically) suggested resignation, asceticsm or aesthetic enjoymnent as consolation.


QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Oct 18, 2006, 10:05 AM) *

I don't agree with this characterization. There is nothing superficially naturalist about Schopenhauer's Will since he repeatedly states that it is metaphysical and that naturalism, realism, materialism, and scientific explanation fall within the realm of phenomena, which is distinct from the kernel of reality, the Will. What we experience as will is phenomena as well. Any relation to Hegel is far-fetched given Schopenhauer's repeated criticisms of Hegel's philosophy on the grounds that it was an empty conceptual system devoid of any perceptual contact. Schopenhauer's Will as thing-in-itself, is not an empty construct, nor should it be taken to represent just the thing the underlies our own experience of will. It goes beyond common-sense notions of will and something more accurate would involve inner/outer distinctions; but Schopenhauer makes all of this clear in 'The World as Will and Idea', so I would suggest (re)reading it. His pessimism is a conclusion that most people who have been influenced by his philosophy do not draw. Instead, they use his philosophy as a tool and dispense with his pessimistic conclusions (made in the fourth book of WWI).

Nietzsche's philosophy is, in large part, simply an optimistic interpretation of Schopenhauer's philosophy. Unfortunately, Nietzsche's literary style involving humor, sarcasm, and play, that he used in 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', while amusing at times, can oftentimes come across as childish in comparison to the seriousness with which Schopenhauer communicates his work.

There is no doubt in my mind that Schopenhauer is one of Philosophy's giants, and that Nietzsche is more like a dwarf (or at any rate, a smaller person) who stood on Schopenhauer's shoulders.


Thanks for the reply as always.

Schopenhauer claims "Every true act of his will is also at once and inevitably a movement of his body; he cannot actually will the act without at the same time being aware that it appears as a movement of the body."

How can this occur if someone is a paraplegic? If such a person wills his foot to move, and it doesn't, what does this say of his "Will"?

His main credibility is his maintenance that this problem is purely metaphysical in nature. He's correct that objectivity is presupposed by a subject. He's correct that the body is a unique 'object' as it is given in a way unlike any other. But I disagree that because of this, we must necessarily concede that the 'willed' body is thing-in-itself, noumena, ultimate-state-of-reality. Why? Basically it's a matter of chicken and egg. The western tradition, from occam's razor to the principle of sufficient reason, focuses on what is the most succint and reasonable explanation for any given situation. In this case S. has placed the cart in front of the horse in terms of reasonableness. Metaphysically speaking, he is correct that all we can intuit is reality-through-will. Nevertheless, the phenomenal state, for instance what we know from the latest research in neuroscience, indicates that the subjective awareness of 'will' correlates entirely with what is empirically evident--to this extent the metaphysical quandary is exactly what one should expect an individual human to experience. My contention: the phenomenal situation creates the metaphysical situation.

Schopenhauer argues that we never know the subject, but it is precisely that which knows. However if the subject does not lie within the forms of knowledge, how can we possibly know anything ABOUT it? To PRESUPPOSE that we can know anything ABOUT it, contradicts the definition of knowledge.

If the subject is the ultimate foundation point of all objective knowledge, why then is it not thing-in-itself? Why is the subject still a representation?

Also argues "We shall ASSUME that as, on the one hand, they (objective existence outside of body) are representations, just like our body, and are in this respect homogeneous with it, so on the other hand, if we set aside their existence as the *subject's representation!!!*, what still remains over must be, according to its inner nature, the same as what in ourselves we call will."

According to Schopenhauer, all knowledge presupposes the subjects representation, so to "set aside their existence as the subject's representation" is impossible.
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lucid_dream
post Oct 22, 2006, 07:23 PM
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Thank you too, Culture.

QUOTE(Culture @ Oct 19, 2006, 08:47 AM) *

He's correct that the body is a unique 'object' as it is given in a way unlike any other. But I disagree that because of this, we must necessarily concede that the 'willed' body is thing-in-itself, noumena, ultimate-state-of-reality.

If the subject is the ultimate foundation point of all objective knowledge, why then is it not thing-in-itself? Why is the subject still a representation?

I agree. There are problems with Schopenhauer's association of Will as thing-in-itself. One of the problems I have is that it's based on introspection, and according to Schopenhauer, our experience of our own will is special because it does not contain the veil of space, only of time, hence it is closest to the thing-in-itself. However, this logic seems flawed because introspection reveals many things, including feelings, that do not have the veil of space, only of time, and hence are on equal par to our experience of will as thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer attempts to explain this fact by claiming that all feelings are modifications of our will, but this is questionable. As you mention, the subject seems more apt as the thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer makes an analogy with a flower: that the roots are the Will, the stem is the self, and the petals are the varied and colorful aspects of phenomena (or phenomenal consciousness). This is a nice metaphor, but metaphors can be misleading. If the self is claimed to be thing-in-itself, then it is necessary to clarify what is meant by self. Surely it's not ego or some mental construct. Possibly it is simply pure consciousness, without an object (something that Schopenhauer denied was possible but that I don't agree with). Consciousness without an object, if equated to thing-in-itself, would imply panpsychism, which could be problematic if we assign consciousness as we know it to inanimate objects. However, if we accept that inanimate objects possess a very rudimentary consciousness that is completely different from human consciousness, then it becomes more acceptable. However, the problem still remains of determining what 'objects' possess consciousness. That is, is a rock conscious, or are the atoms comprising the rock each conscious. Or a different example, is it our brain that is conscious, or do each of our neurons possess its own consciousness? What are the conditions for consciousness? Panpsychism doesn't really address this, but merely claims that everything is conscious. To make panpsychism more acceptable, then the conditions for consciousness must be further elucidated instead of merely postulating an identity between consciousness and reality.

I never said I agreed whole-heartedly with Schopenhauer. However, I find that he really strikes deep into the matter. I said above that many people who are influenced by Schopenhauer do not necessarily agree with him on everything, but use his philosophy or parts of it as a tool. This is how I would be inclined to use his teachings. His notion of Will as thing-in-itself and in resurrecting metaphysics is interesting and deserve our attention and thought, even if they don't necessarily deserve our uncritical acceptance.

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