• Blessed thorns : a meditation on Spinoza's God

      Balasak, John Scott Theisen; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2010-03-09)
      Despite having been published over three hundred years ago, Spinoza's Ethics is a text that is still, even today, widely misunderstood. Two of the more common and persistent misunderstandings revolve around the accusations of some who have labeled his philosophy both atheistic and materialistic. These two misunderstandings date back to the first time the Ethics was published, immediately following Spinoza's death. In an attempt to not only address these accusations, but as well to clear up any misunderstandings surrounding them, this thesis will be split into four chapters that are divided into two main parts. The first half will deal with the question of whether or not Spinoza is an atheist. The second half will deal with the question of whether or not Spinoza is a materialist. In so doing this thesis will establish and defend the position that it is a misreading to characterize Spinoza's philosophy as atheistic and materialistic.
    • Buddhism and the earth : environmental thought in early Buddhist philosophy

      Sieg, Tara E.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
      Introduction Fundamental to the philosophy of Buddhism, is the insight that there is "unsatisfactohness" (dukkha) in the world and that it can be eliminated through the practice of the Noble Eight Fold Path. Buddhism also maintains that the world as we experience and entities that exist are bereft of any substantiality. Instead existence is manifest through dependent origination. All things are conditional; nothing is permanent. However, inherent in this dependent existence is the interconnectedness of all beings and their subjection to the cosmic law of karma. Part of cultivating the Eight Fold path includes a deep compassion for all other living things, 'trapped' within this cycle of dependent origination. This compassion or empathy (karuna) is crucial to the Buddhist path to enlightenment. It is this emphasis on karuna that shows itself in Mahayana Buddhism with respect to the theory of the boddhisatva (or Buddha-to-be) since the boddhisatva willingly postpones his/her own enlightenment to help others on the same path. One of the ramifications of the theory of dependent origination is that there is no anthropocentric bias placed on humans over the natural world. Paradoxically the doctrine of non-self becomes an ontology within Buddhism, culminating in the Mayahana realization that a common boundary exists between samsara and nirvana. Essential to this ontology is the life of dharma or a moral life. Ethics is not separated from ontology. As my thesis will show, this basic outlook of Buddhism has implications toward our understanding of the Buddhist world-view with respect to the current human predicament concerning the environment. While humans are the only ones who can 4 attain "Buddhahood", it is because of our ability to understand what it means to follow the Eight fold path and act accordingly. Because of the interconnectedness of all entities {dharmas), there is an ontological necessity to eliminate suffering and 'save the earth' because if we allow the earth to suffer, we ALL suffer. This can be understood as an ethical outlook which can be applied to our interaction with and treatment of the natural environment or environment in the broadest sense, not just trees plants rocks etc. It is an approach to samsara and all within it. It has been argued that there is no ontology in Buddhism due to its doctrine of "non-self". However, it is a goal of this thesis to argue that there does exist an original ontology in Buddhism; that according to it, the nature of Being is essentially neither "Being nor non-being nor not non-being" as illustrated by Nagarjuna. Within this ontology is engrained an ethic or 'right path' (samma marga) that is fundamental to our being and this includes a compassionate relationship to our environment. In this dissertation I endeavour to trace the implications that the Buddhist worldview has for the environmental issues that assail us in our age of technology. I will explore questions such as: can the Buddhist way of thinking help us comprehend and possibly resolve the environmental problems of our day and age? Are there any current environmental theories which are comparable to or share common ground with the classical Buddhist doctrines? I will elucidate some fundamental doctrines of early Buddhism from an environmental perspective as well as identify some comparable modern environmental theories such as deep ecology and general systems theory, that seem to share in the wisdom of classical Buddhism and have much to gain from a deeper appreciation of Buddhism.
    • Commodities and their fetishism

      Keatinge, David G. A.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      Many pr oblems present themselves in at tempting t o discuss Marx's noti on of the fetish characteristics of commodities. It has been argued that it is one of the central points of Marx's en tir e c or pus. 1 It has also been argued that it i s merely "a brilli an t s oci olog i cal genera lization l ! and, even furth er, that it is an Hi ndependent and separate entity, internally hardly related t o Marx's economic theory" .2 How could such a theory be understo od i n such drastically diff erent ways? Perhaps the clue is to be f ound somewhere in Marx' s discussion of the fetishism of commodities itself. Because of the difficulty in un derstanding fetishism , I intend t o examine what Marx himself has t o say first befor e dealing with any points related to the notion of fetishism. Thus , the first parts of this thesis will c onsist of l ong qu otations and repetition of what Marx has t o say. If a noti on may be called ' central' and yet 'hardly related' t o Marx's wor k at the same time, surely a clear examination of this section is necess ary. Aft er an examination of the initial secti ons of Cae ital ] I intend t G examine the f ollowing : the r e lation of fetishism t o the t he ory of alienati on; how one may regard f etishism as a pr oblem f or philosophy; and how, in f act, the theory of fetishism is of prime imp ortance f or an understan ding of Marx's wr itings. What I want to stress throughout is that with o u~ an understanding of what is inherent in the pr oduction of the commodity causing i t t o be necessarily fetishistic, it is practically imp ossible t o understand much of Marx's other writin gs. A commodity appears, at fir st sight, a very trivial thing and easi ly un derst ood. Itsanalysis shows that it i s , in r eality , a very queer thing , abo unding in ~taphysical s ubtleties and theological nic eties .
    • Descartes' Meditations : can the idea of God be derived from a meditation on the will and substance?

      Yurkewich-Liddell, KellyAnn.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
    • Desire and the paths of recognation [sic] in Hegel's intersubjectivity

      Benson, Michael Thomas.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis poses two fundamental issues regarding Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity. Firstly, it examines Kojeve's problematic interpretation of Hegelian intersubjectivity as being solely rooted in the dialectic of lordship and bondage. It is my contention that Kojeve conflates the concepts of recognition {Anerkennung) with that of desire (Begierde), thereby reducing Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity to a violent reduction of the other to the same. This is so despite the plenary of examples Hegel uses to define intersubjectivity as the mutual (reciprocal) recognition between the self and the other. Secondly, it examines Hegel's use of Sophocles' Antigone to demonstrate the notion of the individual par excellence. I contend that Hegel's use of Antigone opens a new methodological framework through which to view his philosophy of intersubjectivity. It is Antigone that demonstrates the upheaval of an economy of exchange between the self and the other, whereby the alterity of the other transcends the self Ultimately, Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity must be reexamined, not only to dismiss Kojeve's problematic interpretation, but also to pose the possibility that Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity can viably account for a philosophy of the other that has a voice in contemporary philosophical debate.
    • An examination of existential faith in the writtings of Søren Kierkegaard

      Tebbutt, Suzanne K.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis takes seriously the proposition that existentialism is a lived philosophy. While Descartes' proof for the existence of God initially sparked my interest in philosophy, the insights of existentialism have allowed me to appropriate philosophy as a way of life. I apply the insights of Kierkegaard's writings to my spiritual and philosophy development. Philosophy is personal, and Kierkegaard's writings deal with the development of the person in his aesthetic, ethical and religious dimensions. Philosophy is a struggle, and this thesis, reveals the existential struggle of the individual in despair. The thesis argues that authentic faith actually entails faith. The existential believer has this faith whereas the religious believer does not. The subjectively reflective existential believer recognizes that a leap of faith is needed; anything else, is just historical, speculative knowledge. The existential believer or, the Knight of Faith, realizes that a leap of faith is needed to become open in inwardness to receive the condition to understand the paradoxes that faith presents. I will present Kierkegaard's "Analogy of a House" which is in essence, the backbone of his philosophy. I will discuss the challenge of moving from one floor to the next. More specifically, I will discuss the anxiety that is felt in the very moment of the transition from the first floor to the second floor. I will outline eight paradoxes that must me resolved in order for the individual to continue on his journey to the top floor of the house. I will argue that Kierkegaard's example of Abraham as a Knight of Faith is incorrect, that Abraham was in fact not a Knight of Faith. I will also argue that we should find our own exemplars in our own lives by looking for Knight of Faith traits in people we know and then trying to emulate those people. I will also discuss Unamuno's "paradoxical faith" and argue that this kind of faith is a strong alternative to those who find that Kierkegaard's existential faith is not a possibility.
    • An examination of Simone de Beauvoir's theme of situated embodiment

      Penney, Megan.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-07-14)
      Abstract This thesis is an examination of Simone de Beauvoir's theme of situated embodiment. The aim of the thesis is to demonstrate that the theme of situated embodiment was a concern of Beauvoir's since early childhood and that it was this interest which was the impetus for Beauvoir's later philosophical notion of authentic embodiment. Through the examination of Beauvoir's autobiographies it becomes evident that Beauvoir consistently demonstrates an early awareness that one's situation will be expressed through one's body. This idea is also present in Beauvoir's novels. In the novels it is shown that many of the characters are struggling within authentic embodiment. Beauvoir also fictionalizes many of her own experiences in the novels. These novels are used as concrete examples of Beauvoir's philosophy. Through Beauvoir's philosophical works it becomes evident that authentic embodiment will include the notions of freedom, ambiguity, and reciprocity. All are crucial when trying to live an authentic existence. Beauvoir's philosophy also focuses on marginalized groups who are in the position ofthe Other. One of the marginalized groups studied are women, and this thesis investigates Beauvoir's understanding of why woman is in the position of the Other. This thesis also addresses two feminist criticisms of Beauvoir's study on women. These criticisms are argued against in an effort to defend the notion ofauthentic situated embodiment as delineated in the first three chapters. Overall it is established that Beauvoir's early experiences allowed for her to form the philosophical idea of situated embodiment that lies at the core of her philosophy.
    • For the love of a barking lady: an exploration of mental illness in the light of Max Scheler's "Invisible person"

      Boland, Karen Maureen.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1984-07-09)
    • From being ill in time to love of eternity

      Rosenkranz, Raymond.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
    • From inference to affordance : the problem of visual depth-perception in the optical writings of Descartes, Berkeley, and Gibson

      Braund, Michael J.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      This thesis explores the debate and issues regarding the status of visual ;,iferellces in the optical writings of Rene Descartes, George Berkeley and James 1. Gibson. It gathers arguments from across their works and synthesizes an account of visual depthperception that accurately reflects the larger, metaphysical implications of their philosophical theories. Chapters 1 and 2 address the Cartesian and Berkelean theories of depth-perception, respectively. For Descartes and Berkeley the debate can be put in the following way: How is it possible that we experience objects as appearing outside of us, at various distances, if objects appear inside of us, in the representations of the individual's mind? Thus, the Descartes-Berkeley component of the debate takes place exclusively within a representationalist setting. Representational theories of depthperception are rooted in the scientific discovery that objects project a merely twodimensional patchwork of forms on the retina. I call this the "flat image" problem. This poses the problem of depth in terms of a difference between two- and three-dimensional orders (i.e., a gap to be bridged by one inferential procedure or another). Chapter 3 addresses Gibson's ecological response to the debate. Gibson argues that the perceiver cannot be flattened out into a passive, two-dimensional sensory surface. Perception is possible precisely because the body and the environment already have depth. Accordingly, the problem cannot be reduced to a gap between two- and threedimensional givens, a gap crossed with a projective geometry. The crucial difference is not one of a dimensional degree. Chapter 3 explores this theme and attempts to excavate the empirical and philosophical suppositions that lead Descartes and Berkeley to their respective theories of indirect perception. Gibson argues that the notion of visual inference, which is necessary to substantiate representational theories of indirect perception, is highly problematic. To elucidate this point, the thesis steps into the representationalist tradition, in order to show that problems that arise within it demand a tum toward Gibson's information-based doctrine of ecological specificity (which is to say, the theory of direct perception). Chapter 3 concludes with a careful examination of Gibsonian affordallces as the sole objects of direct perceptual experience. The final section provides an account of affordances that locates the moving, perceiving body at the heart of the experience of depth; an experience which emerges in the dynamical structures that cross the body and the world.
    • Gadamer's transformation of hermeneutics : from Dilthey to Heidegger

      Ford, Martin.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show how Gadamer's hermeneutics synthesizes the insights of both Heidegger and Dilthey in order to introduce a new hermeneutics. Gadamer's hermeneutics is based not only on the priority of ontology, as Heidegger insists, and neither is it only a product of life which can be objectively understood through study and rigorous method, as Dilthey suggests. For Gadamer, hermeneutics is the bringing together of ontology in terms of history. By this synthesis Gadamer not only places himself within the context of a Lebensphilosophie, but also shows that it is within language that Being can be disclosed according to a lived context. Throughout this paper the philosophies ofDilthey and Heidegger are explicated within a historical context as to bring out how, and why, Gadamer sees the need to surpass these philosophies. Through Gadamer's philosophy of play and the game, language, the dialogical model, application, and the fusion of horizons we can see how Gadamer's critique and questioning of these two philosophy leads to his new hermeneutics. Special attention is paid to the role in which these two contrasting philosophies were used to complement each other in the product of Gadamer' s philosophical hermeneutics as it is presented in his major work Truth andMethod. For Gadamer, the task of understanding is never complete. Therefore, his hermeneutics remains a dynamic structure with which we can always question the past and our traditions. This paper seeks to show his philosophical movements within these questions
    • Heidegger on the way of thinking

      Moi, Shawn.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis attempts to clarify what Heidegger meant by the term "thinking" (Denken), where this ^'meanr is submitted in the double sense: firstly, in the sense of what Heidegger intended by the use and exposition of this term that we find in his lecture series. Was Heisst Denken?, where Heidegger quickly makes it clear that this intention is to actually bring thinking on the way, viz. making provision for the leap into thinking, and where this intention was carried out with the employment of a specific guiding phrase. In the second sense, it is an attempt at clarifying the meaning of the term. But this is not to say that we are here simply out to see how Heidegger defines the word '*thinking." It is in fact precisely within such definitive discourse that thought dies out. It is not merely be a case of defining a word, because this enterprise would be just as shallow as much as it would be unworkable. It is for this reason that Heidegger decided to establish for himself the task, not merely of explaining thinking as something to be beheld at a distance, but rather of bringing thinking underway by means of his lecture, proclaiming that, "Only the leap into the river tells us what is swimming. The question 'What is called thinking?' can never be answered by proposing a definition of the concept thinking, and then diligently explaining what is contained in that definition." (WCT, 21) This being Heidegger's intention, in order to understand Heidegger in his treatment of the term thinking, it is clear that we must also undergo an experience with thinking. It is in this spirit that the present work was written so as to collaborate the two senses of what Heidegger meant by "thinking."
    • Heidegger's tragic Greeks : the relation between presence and deinon

      MacDonald, John.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2002-07-14)
      Martin Heidegger's interpretation of the ancients was born out of something like a crisis in the interpretation of the Greeks, which can be characterized as nothing other than the realization of the idea that the Greek philosophers put a serious question mark over existence. This idea, which had its germination in Prussia with Jakob Burckhart and his teacher, but first came to be seriously cultivated in the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, was the first in depth investigation into whether the Greeks, on the one hand, questioned existence or, on the other hand, put a question mark over existence. To question existence is rather innocuous, since it amounts to little more, in the end, than a child looking up at the stars and asking what it all means. To put a question mark over existence, however, is another business entirely. For the Greeks, as the life work of Martin Heidegger amply demonstrates, the nature of Greek thinking and the objects towards which it is directed follows so absolutely from the tragic view of the human person that, in a certain sense, philosophy is Greek and could only have developed in Greece. Perhaps stating it a little less categorically, philosophy could have developed elsewhere at least to the extent that something like they way the Greeks understood life was at the forefront: presence, in other words. This thesis deals with the problem ofHeidegger's relation to the Greeks, specifically in terms of his understanding of the Greeks and presence. It is the position of this dissertation that the Greek notion of presence is, as Heidegger understands it, the homeliness of the hearth that radiates through all the things that humans concern themselves with. This is thought by Heidegger, as the Greeks did, specifically in contrast with the uncanninesslunhomeliness of the hqrnan apart from his or her concern with things. Therefore, the thesis is an attempt at exposing the relation between presence and the unhomely by situating it withing Greek existence and the meaning of the Greek Philosopher. In order to support this position, the thesis has been divided into five parts. The first two chapters deal with Heidegger's explanation of the relation between Greek notion of physics (Phusis), metaphysics (specifically in relation to an analysis of time and motion in Greek thought), and what Heidegger calls the fundamental attunement of Dasein (boredom). More exactly, it deals with these issues only so far as they allow us to bring out something like the notion of 'presence' in relation to things and homelessness or restlessness in relation to the human being. The rationale for these two chapters in relation to the central problem of the paper is that in Heidegger's elucidation of physics and metaphysics, he conducts his analysis in such a way that he explicitly uncovers that dimension of human existence that he calls the fundamental attunement of Dasein. This fundamental attunement is, in tum, similar to what the Greeks understood as the deinon, the uncanninesslunhomeliness of the human. The third and fourth chapters take as their explicit themes the problem of the Greek understanding of the assertion and the ways in which the person can comport himlherself toward things, two issues which are not separable. The rationale for these two chapters in relation to the central theme of the paper is that Heidegger's analysis of these two areas in Greek thought brings out precisely why the philosopher and the philosophical way of life is the highest mode of existence for the Greeks and how this is thought specifically in tenns of the uncanniness of humans. The final cijapter gives a complete elucidation of presence as the homeliness of the hearth and shows specifically how this is thought of in contradistinction to the uncanny/unhomely for the Greeks. 1I1 This last chapter also explains Martin Heidegger's reaction to the Greek's interpretation of the highest mode of existence, and what he posited as a counter-thought. The essay as a whole is an attempt to fully concertize an important dimension of Heidegger' s understanding of the Greeks, that is, the relation between presence and the deinon or Greek notion ofunhomely, which, to my la)owledge, has not been offered anywhere in commentaries on Heidegger.
    • The historical game-changes in the philosophy of devotion and caste as used and misused by the Bhagavad-gita

      Chandulal, Thilagavathi; Department of Philosophy (2012-04-03)
      This thesis considers that the purport of the Bhagavadgita is to prioritize the philosophy of loving devotion to God (bhakti), not the propagation of color-coded-caste (varna system). The distinction between bhakti and caste becomes clear when one sees their effect on human life and on the society. Jnana and karma, two of the other polarities with which the Gita contends, finally support bhakti towards betterment, not deterioration, if done selflessly and with balance. Caste, however, is a totally different tension, which is always detrimental to the well-being of the person and the society. In the Gita, the devotees' mystical or emotional love of, God apprehends their ~ oneness with the Supreme God and with all beings, and transcends the pitiless segregation of the caste system, and opens the path of salvation to all irrespective of race, color, caste, class or gender in life. In spite of much opposition from orthodoxy, the bhakti movement spread allover India, and bhakti itself rose to the level of orthodoxy and has become the faith of millions of people especially of the south, and surprisingly, of even of those of the so called highest caste. And yet, caste still remains as an indelible mark of every Hindu, even after they change their religion. Although caste is less venomous now, it is still openly present in all walks of Indian life and shows up its ugly head at important moments such as marriage, elections for public office, admission to school or employment. True, bhakti is the antidote for. caste; but only real bhakti can remove caste completely, not mere lip-service to it. This thesis claims that bhakti is the deliberate major thrust of the teaching of the Gita while caste seems to be a contradiction of this thrust.
    • Husserl's approach to transcendental intersubjectivity

      Peterson, James Lee.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      It is our intention in the course of the development of this thesis to give an account of how intersubjectivity is "eidetically" constituted by means of the application of the phenomenological reduction to our experience in the context of the thought of Edmund Husserl; contrasted with various representative thinkers in what H. Spiegelberg refers to as "the wider scene" of phenomenology. That is to say, we intend to show those structures of both consciousness and the relation which man has to the world which present themselves as the generic conditions for the possibility of overcoming our "radical sol itude" in order that we may gain access to the mental 1 ife of an Other as other human subject. It is clear that in order for us to give expression to these accounts in a coherent manner, along with their relative merits, it will be necessary to develop the common features of any phenomenological theory of consdousness whatever. Therefore, our preliminary inquiry, subordinate to the larger theme, shall be into some of the epistemological results of the application of the phenomenological method used to develop a transcendental theory of consciousness. Inherent in this will be the deliniation of the exigency for making this an lIintentional ll theory. We will then be able to see how itis possible to overcome transcendentally the Other as an object merely given among other merely given objects, and further, how this other is constituted specifically as other ego. The problem of transcendental intersubjectivity and its constitution in experience can be viewed as one of the most compelling, if not the most polemical of issues in phenomenology. To be sure, right from the beginning we are forced to ask a number of questions regarding Husserl's responses to the problem within the context of the methodological genesis of the Cartesian Meditations, and The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. This we do in order to set the stage for amplification. First, we ask, has Husserl lived up to his goal, in this connexion, of an apodictic result? We recall that in his Logos article of 1911 he adminished that previous philosophy does not have at its disposal a merely incomplete and, in particular instances, imperfect doctrinal system; it simply has none whatever. Each and every question is herein controverted, each position is a matter of individual conviction, of the interpretation given byaschool, of a "point of view". 1. Moreover in the same article he writes that his goal is a philosophical system of doctrine that, after the gigantic preparatory work. of generations, really be- . gins from the ground up with a foundation free from doubt and rises up like any skilful construction, wherein stone is set upon store, each as solid as the other, in accord with directive insights. 2. Reflecting upon the fact that he foresaw "preparatory work of generations", we perhaps should not expect that he would claim that his was the last word on the matter of intersubjectivity. Indeed, with 2. 'Edmund Husserl, lIPhilosophy as a Rigorous Science" in Phenomenology and theCrisis6fPhilosophy, trans". with an introduction by Quentin Lauer (New York.: Harper & Row, 1965) pp. 74 .. 5. 2Ibid . pp. 75 .. 6. 3. the relatively small amount of published material by Husserl on the subject we can assume that he himself was not entirely satisfied with his solution. The second question we have is that if the transcendental reduction is to yield the generic and apodictic structures of the relationship of consciousness to its various possible objects, how far can we extend this particular constitutive synthetic function to intersubjectivity where the objects must of necessity always remain delitescent? To be sure, the type of 'object' here to be considered is unlike any other which might appear in the perceptual field. What kind of indubitable evidence will convince us that the characteristic which we label "alter-ego" and which we attribute to an object which appears to resemble another body which we have never, and can never see the whole of (namely, our own bodies), is nothing more than a cleverly contrived automaton? What;s the nature of this peculiar intentional function which enables us to say "you think just as I do"? If phenomenology is to take such great pains to reduce the takenfor- granted, lived, everyday world to an immanent world of pure presentation, we must ask the mode of presentation for transcendent sub .. jectivities. And in the end, we must ask if Husserl's argument is not reducible to a case (however special) of reasoning by analogy, and if so, tf this type of reasoning is not so removed from that from whtch the analogy is made that it would render all transcendental intersubjective understandtng impos'sible? 2. HistoticalandEidetic Priority: The Necessity of Abstraction 4. The problem is not a simple one. What is being sought are the conditions for the poss ibili:ty of experi encing other subjects. More precisely, the question of the possibility of intersubjectivity is the question of the essence of intersubjectivity. What we are seeking is the absolute route from one solitude to another. Inherent in this programme is the ultimate discovery of the meaning of community. That this route needs be lIabstract" requires some explanation. It requires little explanation that we agree with Husserl in the aim of fixing the goal of philosophy on apodictic, unquestionable results. This means that we seek a philosophical approach which is, though, not necessarily free from assumptions, one which examines and makes explicit all assumptions in a thorough manner. It would be helpful at this point to distinguish between lIeidetic ll priority, and JlhistoricallJpriority in order to shed some light on the value, in this context, of an abstraction.3 It is true that intersubjectivity is mundanely an accomplished fact, there havi.ng been so many mi.llions of years for humans to beIt eve in the exi s tence of one another I s abili ty to think as they do. But what we seek is not to study how this proceeded historically, but 3Cf• Maurice Natanson;·TheJburne in 'Self, a Stud in Philoso h and Social Role (Santa Cruz, U. of California Press, 1970 . rather the logical, nay, "psychological" conditions under which this is possible at all. It is therefore irrelevant to the exigesis of this monograph whether or not anyone should shrug his shoulders and mumble IIwhy worry about it, it is always already engaged". By way of an explanation of the value of logical priority, we can find an analogy in the case of language. Certainly the language 5. in a spoken or written form predates the formulation of the appropriate grammar. However, this grammar has a logical priority insofar as it lays out the conditions from which that language exhibits coherence. The act of formulating the grammar is a case of abstraction. The abstraction towards the discovery of the conditions for the poss; bi 1 ity of any experiencing whatever, for which intersubjective experience is a definite case, manifests itself as a sort of "grammar". This "grammar" is like the basic grammar of a language in the sense that these "rulesil are the ~ priori conditions for the possibility of that experience. There is, we shall say, an "eidetic priority", or a generic condition which is the logical antecedent to the taken-forgranted object of experience. In the case of intersubjectivity we readily grant that one may mundanely be aware of fellow-men as fellowmen, but in order to discover how that awareness is possible it is necessary to abstract from the mundane, believed-in experience. This process of abstraction is the paramount issue; the first step, in the search for an apodictic basis for social relations. How then is this abstraction to be accomplished? What is the nature of an abstraction which would permit us an Archimedean point, absolutely grounded, from which we may proceed? The answer can be discovered in an examination of Descartes in the light of Husserl's criticism. 3. The Impulse for Scientific Philosophy. The Method to which it Gives Rise. 6. Foremost in our inquiry is the discovery of a method appropriate to the discovery of our grounding point. For the purposes of our investigations, i.e., that of attempting to give a phenomenological view of the problem of intersubjectivity, it would appear to be of cardinal importance to trace the attempt of philosophy predating Husserl, particularly in the philosophy of Descartes, at founding a truly IIscientific ll philosophy. Paramount in this connexion would be the impulse in the Modern period, as the result of more or less recent discoveries in the natural sciences, to found philosophy upon scientific and mathematical principles. This impulse was intended to culminate in an all-encompassing knowledge which might extend to every realm of possible thought, viz., the universal science ot IIMathexis Universalis ll •4 This was a central issue for Descartes, whose conception of a universal science would include all the possible sciences of man. This inclination towards a science upon which all other sciences might be based waS not to be belittled by Husserl, who would appropriate 4This term, according to Jacab Klein, was first used by Barocius, the translator of Proclus into Latin, to designate the highest mathematical discipline. . 7. it himself in hopes of establishing, for the very first time, philosophy as a "rigorous science". It bears emphasizing that this in fact was the drive for the hardening of the foundations of philosophy, the link between the philosophical projects of Husserl and those of the philosophers of the modern period. Indeed, Husserl owes Descartes quite a debt for indicating the starting place from which to attempt a radical, presupositionless, and therefore scientific philosophy, in order not to begin philosophy anew, but rather for the first time.5 The aim of philosophy for Husserl is the search for apodictic, radical certitude. However while he attempted to locate in experience the type of necessity which is found in mathematics, he wished this necessity to be a function of our life in the world, as opposed to the definition and postulation of an axiomatic method as might be found in the unexpurgated attempts to found philosophy in Descartes. Beyond the necessity which is involved in experiencing the world, Husserl was searching for the certainty of roots, of the conditi'ons which underl ie experience and render it pOssible. Descartes believed that hi~ MeditatiOns had uncovered an absolute ground for knowledge, one founded upon the ineluctable givenness of thinking which is present even when one doubts thinking. Husserl, in acknowledging this procedure is certainly Cartesian, but moves, despite this debt to Descartes, far beyond Cartesian philosophy i.n his phenomenology (and in many respects, closer to home). 5Cf. Husserl, Philosophy as a Rigorous Science, pp. 74ff. 8 But wherein lies this Cartesian jumping off point by which we may vivify our theme? Descartes, through inner reflection, saw that all of his convictions and beliefs about the world were coloured in one way or another by prejudice: ... at the end I feel constrained to reply that there is nothing in a all that I formerly believed to be true, of which I cannot in some measure doubt, and that not merely through want of thought or through levity, but for reasons which are very powerful and maturely considered; so that henceforth I ought not the less carefully to refrain from giving credence to these opinions than to that which is manifestly false, if I desire to arrive at any certainty (in the sciences). 6 Doubts arise regardless of the nature of belief - one can never completely believe what one believes. Therefore, in order to establish absolutely grounded knowledge, which may serve as the basis fora "universal Science", one must use a method by which one may purge oneself of all doubts and thereby gain some radically indubitable insight into knowledge. Such a method, gescartes found, was that, as indicated above by hi,s own words, of II radical doubt" which "forbids in advance any judgemental use of (previous convictions and) which forbids taking any position with regard to their val idi'ty. ,,7 This is the method of the "sceptical epoche ll , the method of doubting all which had heretofor 6Descartes,Meditations on First Philosophy, first Med., (Libera 1 Arts Press, New York, 1954) trans. by L. LaFl eur. pp. 10. 7Husserl ,CrisiS of Eliroeari SCiences and Trariscendental Phenomenology, (Northwestern U. Press, Evanston, 1 7 ,p. 76. 9. been considered as belonging to the world, including the world itself. What then is left over? Via the process of a thorough and all-inclusive doubting, Descartes discovers that the ego which performs the epoche, or "reduction", is excluded from these things which can be doubted, and, in principle provides something which is beyond doubt. Consequently this ego provides an absolute and apodictic starting point for founding scientific philosophy. By way of this abstention. of bel ief, Desca'rtes managed to reduce the worl d of everyday 1 ife as bel ieved in, to mere 'phenomena', components of the rescogitans:. Thus:, having discovered his Archimedean point, the existence of the ego without question, he proceeds to deduce the 'rest' of the world with the aid of innate ideas and the veracity of God. In both Husserl and Descartes the compelling problem is that of establ ishing a scientific, apodictic phi'losophy based upon presuppos itionless groundwork .. Husserl, in thi.s regard, levels the charge at Descartes that the engagement of his method was not complete, such that hi.S: starting place was not indeed presupositionless, and that the validity of both causality and deductive methods were not called into question i.'n the performance of theepoche. In this way it is easy for an absolute evidence to make sure of the ego as: a first, "absolute, indubitablyexisting tag~end of the worldll , and it is then only a matter of inferring the absolute subs.tance and the other substances which belon.g to the world, along with my own mental substance, using a logically val i d deductive procedure. 8 8Husserl, E.;' Cartesian 'Meditation;, trans. Dorion Cairns (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1970), p. 24 ff.
    • Husserlian phenomenology : an understanding of its standpoint and predicament

      Ishikawa, Yukinori.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1976-07-09)
    • The importance of love in the thought of Plotinus

      Senior, Doris.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1977-07-09)
    • An investigation of the nature and role of historicality in the thought of Dilthey and Heidegger

      Twohig, Andrew K.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      Introduction The question of the meaning, methods and philosophical manifestations of history is currently rife with contention. The problem that I will address in an exposition of the thought of Wilhelm Dilthey and Martin Heidegger, centers around the intersubjectivity of an historical world. Specifically, there are two interconnected issues. First, since all knowledge occurs to a person from within his or her historical age how can any person in any age make truth claims? In order to answer this concern we must understand the essence and role of history. Yet how can we come to an individual understanding ofwhat history is when the meanings that we use are themselves historically enveloped? But can we, we who are well aware of the knowledge that archaeology has dredged up from old texts or even from 'living' monuments of past ages, really neglect to notice these artifacts that exist within and enrich our world? Charges of wilful blindness would arise if any attempt were made to suggest that certain things of our world did not come down to us from the past. Thus it appears more important 2 to determine what this 'past' is and therefore how history operates than to simply derail the possibility for historical understanding. Wilhelm Dilthey, the great German historicist from the 19th century, did not question the existence of historical artifacts as from the past, but in treating knowledge as one such artifact placed the onus on knowledge to show itself as true, or meaningful, in light ofthe fact that other historical periods relied on different facts and generated different truths or meanings. The problem for him was not just determining what the role of history is, but moreover to discover how knowledge could make any claim as true knowledge. As he stated, there is a problem of "historical anarchy"!' Martin Heidegger picked up these two strands of Dilthey's thought and wanted to answer the problem of truth and meaning in order to solve the problem of historicism. This problem underscored, perhaps for the first time, that societal presuppositions about the past and present oftheir era are not immutable. Penetrating to the core of the raison d'etre of the age was an historical reflection about the past which was now conceived as separated both temporally and attitudinally from the present. But further than this, Heidegger's focus on asking the question of the meaning of Being meant that history must be ontologically explicated not merely ontically treated. Heidegger hopes to remove barriers to a genuine ontology by II 1 3 including history into an assessment ofprevious philosophical systems. He does this in order that the question of Being be more fully explicated, which necessarily for him includes the question of the Being of history. One approach to the question ofwhat history is, given the information that we get from historical knowledge, is whether such knowledge can be formalized into a science. Additionally, we can approach the question of what the essence and role of history is by revealing its underlying characteristics, that is, by focussing on historicality. Thus we will begin with an expository look at Dilthey's conception of history and historicality. We will then explore these issues first in Heidegger's Being and Time, then in the third chapter his middle and later works. Finally, we shall examine how Heidegger's conception may reflect a development in the conception of historicality over Dilthey's historicism, and what such a conception means for a contemporary historical understanding. The problem of existing in a common world which is perceived only individually has been philosophically addressed in many forms. Escaping a pure subjectivist interpretation of 'reality' has occupied Western thinkers not only in order to discover metaphysical truths, but also to provide a foundation for politics and ethics. Many thinkers accept a solipsistic view as inevitable and reject attempts at justifying truth in an intersubjective world. The problem ofhistoricality raises similar problems. We 4 -. - - - - exist in a common historical age, presumably, yet are only aware ofthe historicity of the age through our own individual thoughts. Thus the question arises, do we actually exist within a common history or do we merely individually interpret this as communal? What is the reality of history, individual or communal? Dilthey answers this question by asserting a 'reality' to the historical age thus overcoming solipsism by encasing individual human experience within the historical horizon of the age. This however does nothing to address the epistemological concern over the discoverablity of truth. Heidegger, on the other hand, rejects a metaphysical construel of history and seeks to ground history first within the ontology ofDasein, and second, within the so called "sending" of Being. Thus there can be no solipsism for Heidegger because Dasein's Being is necessarily "cohistorical", Being-with-Others, and furthermore, this historical-Being-in-the-worldwith- Others is the horizon of Being over which truth can appear. Heidegger's solution to the problem of solipsism appears to satisfy that the world is not just a subjective idealist creation and also that one need not appeal to any universal measures of truth or presumed eternal verities. Thus in elucidating Heidegger's notion of history I will also confront the issues ofDasein's Being-alongside-things as well as the Being of Dasein as Being-in-the-world so that Dasein's historicality is explicated vis-a-vis the "sending of Being" (die Schicken des S eins).
    • The issue of truth in the thought of Martin Heidegger

      Rundle, Ann A.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1983-07-09)
    • Kierkegaard : the temporality of becoming a self

      Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 1997-05-21)
      Introduction In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze compares and contrasts Kierkegaard's and Nietzsche's ideas of repetition. He argues that neither of them really give a representation of repetition. Repetition for them is a sort of selective task: the way in which they determine what is ethical and eternal. With Nietzsche, it is a theater of un belie f. ..... Nietzsche's leading idea is to found the repetition in the etemal return at once on the death of God and the dissolution of the self But it is a quite different alliance in the theater of faith: Kierkegaard dreams of alliance between a God and a self rediscovered. I Repetition plays a theatrical role in their thinking. It allows them to dramatically stage the interplay of various personnae. Deleuze does give a positive account ofKierkegaard's "repetition"; however, he does not think that Kierkegaard works out a philosophical model, or a representation of what repetition is. It is true that in the book Repetition, Constantin Constantius does not clearly and fully work out the concept of repetition, but in Sickness Unto Death, Kierkegaard gives a full explanation of the self and its temporality which can be connected with repetition. When Sickness Unto Death is interpreted according to key passages from Repetition and The Concept of Anxiety, a clear philosophical concept of repetition can be established. In my opinion, Kierkegaard's philosophy is about the task of becoming a self, and I will be attempting to show that he does have a model of the temporality of self-becoming. In Sickness Unto Death, Kierkegaard explains his notions of despair with reference to sin, self, self-becoming, faith, and repetition. Despair is a sickness of the spirit, of the self, and accordingly can take three forms: in despair not to be conscious of having a self (not despair in the strict sense); in despair not to will to be oneself; in despair to will to be oneself2 In relation to this definition, he defines a self as "a relation that relates itself to itself and in relating itself to itself relates to another.''3 Thus, a person is a threefold relationship, and any break in that relationship is despair. Despair takes three forms corresponding to the three aspects of a self s relation to itself Kierkegaard says that a selfis like a house with a basement, a first floor, and a second floor.4 This model of the house, and the concept of the stages on life's way that it illustrates, is central to Kierkegaard's philosophy. This thesis will show how he unpacks this model in many of his writings with different concepts being developed in different texts. His method is to work with the same model in different ways throughout his authorship. He assigns many of the texts to different pseudonyms, but in this thesis we will treat the model and the related concepts as being Kierkegaard's and not only the pseudonyms. This is justified as our thesis will show this modelremains the same throughout Kierkegaard's work, though it is treated in different ways by different pseudonyms. According to Kierkegaard, many people live in only the basement for their entire lives, that is, as aesthetes ("in despair not to be conscious of having a self'). They live in despair of not being conscious of having a self They live in a merely horizontal relation. They want to get what they desire. When they go to the first floor, so to speak, they reflect on themselves and only then do they begin to get a self In this stage, one acquires an ideology of the required and overcomes the strict commands of the desired. The ethical is primarily an obedience to the required whereas the aesthetic is an obedience to desire. In his work Fear and Trembling (Copenhagen: 1843), Johannes de Silentio makes several observations concerning this point. In this book, the author several times allows the desired ideality of esthetics to be shipwrecked on the required ideality of ethics, in order through these collisions to bring to light the religious ideality as the ideality that precisely is the ideality of actuality, and therefore just as desirable as that of esthetics and not as impossible as the ideality of ethics. This is accomplished in such a way that the religious ideality breaks forth in the dialectical leap and in the positive mood - "Behold all things have become new" as well as in the negative mood that is the passion of the absurd to which the concept "repetition" corresponds.s Here one begins to become responsible because one seeks the required ideality; however, the required ideality and the desired ideality become inadequate to the ethical individual. Neither of them satisfy him ("in despair not to will to be oneself'). Then he moves up to the second floor: that is, the mystical region, or the sphere of religiousness (A) ("despair to will to be oneself). Kiericegaard's model of a house, which is connected with the above definition ofdespair, shows us how the self arises through these various stages, and shows the stages of despair as well. On the second floor, we become mystics, or Knights of Infinite Resignation. We are still in despair because we despair ofthe basement and the first floor, however, we can be fiill, free persons only ifwe live on all the floors at the same time. This is a sort of paradoxical fourth stage consisting of all three floors; this is the sphere of true religiousness (religiousness (B)). It is distinguished from religiousness (A) because we can go back and live on all the floors. It is not that there are four floors, but in the fourth stage, we live paradoxically on three at once. Kierkegaard uses this house analogy in order to explain how we become a self through these stages, and to show the various stages of despair. Consequently, I will be explaining self-becoming in relation to despair. It will also be necessary to explain it in relation to faith, for faith is precisely the overcoming of despair. After explaining the becoming of the self in relation to despair and faith, I will then explain its temporality and thereby its repetition. What Kierkegaard calls a formula, Deleuze calls a representation. Unfortunately, Deleuze does not acknowledge Kierkegaard's formula for repetition. As we shall see, Kierkegaard clearly gives a formula for despair, faith, and selfbecoming. When viewed properly, these formulae yield a formula for repetition because when one hasfaith, the basement, firstfloor, and secondfloor become new as one becomes oneself The self is not bound in the eternity ofthe first floor (ethical) or the temporality of the basement (aesthete). I shall now examine the two forms of conscious despair in such a way as to point out also a rise in the consciousness of the nature of despair and in the consciousness that one's state is despair, or, what amounts to the same thing and is the salient point, a rise in the consciousness of the self The opposite to being in despair is to have faith. Therefore, the formula set forth above, which describes a state in which there is not despair at all, is entirely correct, and this formula is also the formula for faMi in ^elating itself to itself and in willing to be itself, the self rests transparently in the power that established it.