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3. What Problematization Is: Contingency, Complexity & Critique

Colin Koopman Indiana University Press ePub


What Problematization Is

Contingency, Complexity & Critique

Genealogy and Normativity

Genealogy in the forms of both Nietzsche’s subversion and Williams’s vindication is susceptible to the charge that it commits the genetic fallacy. Though Nietzsche and Williams use genealogy in almost opposite senses, their respective uses commit this fallacy for the same underlying reason. Both attempt to deploy historical inquiry into the (actual or hypothetical) emergence of present practices in order to establish a normative evaluation of these practices. Nietzsche aimed to critically debunk, while Williams aimed to critically legitimate. But the form of error is the same in both cases insofar as both use history to evaluate the present. If pressed, I would happily admit that such reasoning is not as obviously fallacious as many critics have argued. But it is also not as obviously sound as many prominent genealogists, including Williams and Nietzsche, would have us suppose.

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Three: The Designation of the Region of Experience in the Critique of Pure Reason

Avery Goldman Indiana University Press ePub


The Designation of the
Region of Experience in the

Critique of Pure Reason

I. In Pursuit of the Kantian Conception of Experience

In the wide-ranging First Introduction to the Critique of Judgment, Kant reiterates the general conclusion of the Critique of Pure Reason, explaining that “the whole of nature [die gesamte Natur] as the totality of all objects of experience constitutes a system in accordance with transcendental laws, namely those that the understanding itself gives a priori.”1 While nature, within the critical project, has come to be understood as the totality of all objects of possible experience, this does not mean that nature will only permit an investigation of these universal laws, for while nature, following from its critical definition, is limited to that which can be subsumed under the a priori concepts of the understanding, what can be thus subsumed offers itself for further examination within the critical system. The Critique of Judgment can be understood to address precisely such a task. Reflective judgment distinguishes a further way, beyond the mechanism of categorical analysis, that nature can be examined. By pursuing nature's systematic coherence regulatively, we are able to explain how teleological progress is possible within the limits of possible experience, which is to say, the territory within which the categorical analysis of objects has been distinguished. Teleology does not contradict mechanism because, as Kant explains in the antinomy of teleological judgment, teleology pursues its inquiry beyond the territory of mechanistic explanation. Only because finite cognition has been explained as dependent upon the sensible subsumption of particulars under transcendental laws can teleology be distinguished from mechanism, for only thus is finite particularity understood to extend beyond mechanistic analysis.

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3. Topology

Marius Timmann Mjaaland Indiana University Press ePub

The questions of place and topology require separate consideration. The use of topics as an analytical approach goes back to Aristotle’s Topics, where he defines the conditions for the art of dialectics. The topological approach is reserved for arguments based on commonly held opinions, Greek endoxa. Thus, they differ from the questions that are treated by way of syllogisms. Aristotle gives no definition of a topos, but the topoi are referred to as places from where his arguments can be invented, elaborated, or discovered.1

In the early 1520s, topics as a philosophical and theological approach was rediscovered by humanist and Reformer Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s closest ally at the University of Wittenberg. His Loci Communes (1521) represents a new type of theology, based on common topoi in the scriptures, in particular from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Hence, it is written according to the principle sola scriptura, but with due respect to traditional rules of dialectic and rhetoric. Günter Frank points out that Melanchthon applied the same principle of topics to the interpretation of a variety of texts in his Tübinger Rhetorik (1519), but developed a specifically theological method in the Loci.2 Frank argues that the concept of topoi is ambiguous from the beginning, for example, through the different usage of the term in Aristotle’s Topics and the Rhetoric, and it oscillates between various meanings in Cicero and later in medieval philosophy up to the Renaissance. According to Melanchthon, the notion describes places of arguments (like in Cicero), but also a semantic field, a “signature” of things, which makes it possible to organize general thoughts under a common heading. Finally, he applies the term loci for generic propositions concerning a specific question, achieved through systematic analysis of texts.3 Hence, Melanchthon is basically faithful to Aristotle’s prescriptions, but he applies the method in a way which emphasizes the authority of scripture and thus remains faithful to the principles of the Reformation, including sola scriptura.

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6 August 1959

Wilfred R. Bion Karnac Books ePub


The waking unconscious thinking. Does this have the function I attribute to α, or does α carry out the transformation of sense impressions which makes these storable in such a form that they are available for waking unconscious thinking? When Y winces at each word said, it seems clear that the words are not, outwardly at least, being transformed by α into a form, ‘notation’, that makes the experience of the analysis available to him.

But the transformation by α is not all by symbol formation. For example, it is clearly of consequence to know from a particular transaction in which the individual possessor of two apples, when given two more, ends up having four apples, that this peculiarity applies always, namely that if two things of any kind whatever are added to two others of the same kind, the result will be a total of four such objects.

That 2 + 2 = 4 is sometimes said to be self-evident, an axiom. But it is by no means clear that this is or always has been so, any more than it has always been obvious that if I want something in my room which is out of reach I shall have to leave my chair, walk over to it and fetch it. At some point even the process of walking required thought, probably conscious thought. My suggestion is that it still requires thought, but that it is now waking unconscious thought which has been made possible by α. And it is similarly thanks to the operation of α that it seems obvious that 2 + 2 = 4. If α has not operated, it is probable that it would not be ‘obvious’ at all.

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2. Jealousy

Jidda Krishnamurti Krishnamurti Foundation America ePub

Can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word?

This is rather a complex process but, if you will kindly listen, I am sure you will get the signicance of it. Let us say I am greedy, envious, and I want to understand that envy completely, not merely get rid of it. Most of us want to get rid of it and try various ways of doing that, for various reasons, but we are never able to get rid of it; it goes on and on indenitely. But if I really want to understand it, go to the root of it completely, then I must not condemn it, surely. The very word envy has a condemnatory sense, I feel, so can the mind dissociate the feeling which is called envy from the word? Because the very terming, giving a name to that feeling as envy, with that very word I have condemned it, have I not? With the word envy is associated the whole psychological and religious signicance of condemnation. So can I dissociate the feeling from the word? If the mind is capable of not associating the feeling with the word, then is there an entity, a me, who is observing it? Because the observer is the association, surely, is the word, is the entity who is condemning it.

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