Monday, May 10, 2010

Maverick Philosopher reads last week's review in the NYTimes and asks:
And let's not forget that the later Jean-Paul Sartre was not just a Commie, but a Stalinist. Should Critique of Dialectical Reason be dismissed as hate speech? Should we deny Sartre the title 'philosopher' and re-classify him as a Commie ideologue? Of course not. And please no double standard. Why is being a Nazi worse than being a Stalinist? Why is murdering people because of their ethnic affiliation worse than murdering people because of their class affiliation?
If we're going to get relativistic and compare the cases of Heidegger and Sartre, we don't even have to go as far as Sartre's support for Stalin, but we can simply contrast how the Nazis treated the two. Like Jean-Paul said: "In war there are no innocent victims".
The legendary MavP takes a break from St. Thomas and Aynnie Rand to kick down a heavy compare and contrast: Heidegger vs Sartre.

I'm not a bona fide expert on conty phil. yet I wonder whether the Enowning/Ereignis/Seyns./KTL posse thinks of this somewhat analytical bon mot from MavP:

""... once a philosopher's propositions have been clearly set forth, the question of their truth or falsity is logically independent of their psychological, or sociological, or other, origin. To think otherwise is to commit the Genetic Fallacy.""

Propositions, true or false? While I agree that chestnut is a relevant consideration--at least for propositional logic--that seems to miss out on much cont.philosophy, ie the Hegelian tradition, not to say...Nietzsche's own rejection of truth functionality, more or less, which Hei. was aware of-- MavP's sort of missing the point, isn't he. Ontology, the question of Being (and Dasein) precedes logick, supposedly. Or to spin it pragmatic-ally to a degree, yes, if one's doing propositional logic, then truth functionality holds. But is, say, Descartes in his Med. on First Phil. (relevant to Hei. and Sartre) saying, I exist, true or false? It's more like...plausibility; metaphysics seems more...conceptual and holistic than mere logic chopping (Which is to say, via prop. logic you really can't prove very much at all--like, "MavP exists"--, except that conclusions follows from certain premises...or something like that.
Martin says several times that he's not against propositional logic or truth as correspondence, he's just more interested on what makes those possible.
It's been years since I waded through SZ (abridged) or Basic writings, but I seem to recall Heidegger intepreting the correspondence of truth theory as limited in some sense, and discussing "alethia," etc.

I'm not a postmodernist, or anti-rationalist per se, but as the quote indicates, the Maverick Philosopher's reductionist reading of Heidegger (and philosophy, if not human thought as a whole) is, quite frankly, a laugh, like his ridiculous site as a whole (and barely superior to Hirsch's pop-drivel). And Vallicelli's no high-powered analytical sort either--even Carnap's criticisms of Heidegger rather more cutting (ie, the being of negation, etc). For that matter many a continental thinker--certainly marxist-hegelians-- would say logical truth cannot be separated from social or economic conditions.

One might argue (and some have) that formal logic, like programming, serves a purpose--it functions in a sense, usually for corporate interests. Wittgenstein's Tractatus becomes C++, eventually--a great tool for the technostructure. And Heidegger in his own enigmatic, difficult manner may have suggested as much--recall the discussion of "Techne" etc.
The correspondence theory of truth is limited in the sense that it can't tell us everything we need to know. The situation is similar to that with science. There's nothing wrong with empirical science. Newtonian physics is very good at some things, like calculating how to send a spaceprobe in-between Saturn's rings, but useless for other things, like writing a moving poem. When someone says that truth is limited to what science or propositional logic can tell us, they are poor in the world.
OK, I agree. But consider the Question C.T.: it's not just about the limits of logical and technological formalism, but I believe ...something rather sinister; Techne itself serves the ends of industry, not humanity (or the individual for that matter). Hei.'s no marxist-luddite (is he?), but he does have a sense of historical process; with the rise of Techne (as with the hydroelectric dams example), something new and strange enters the world...and the new techniques of formal logic, programming, advanced mathematics forms part of the industrial Techne...

for instance, Google's search engines make use of advanced set theory ...which, the Stanford "philosophy" people--logical-technicians, really-- dutifully devote themselves to...

also see Feyerabend on this issue--ie the politics of scientific "truth" more or less-- tho' PF's not so "hermeneutic."
The problem with technology is not technology itself, but that we allow it take over; become the dominant mode of being. Ereignis is still going on the Gestell, but things no longer shine for us, but are only ordered up to serve an efficient purpose. We need to keep technology in its place and control our detiny ourselves.

There are interesting folks at Stanford like Sheehan, Girard, Serres, and Todorov. Plus Stanford hosts Robert Harrison's Entitled Opinions.
The problem with technology is not technology itself, but that we allow it take over; become the dominant mode of being.

Yes, that's one reading, but I suggest his point in QCT was weirder, unsettling, somewhat troubling: Techne ...takes over (recall the bracketing discussion), enters the world, establishes instrumental thinking (rather than philosophical reflection) and becomes the dominant mode of Being...it's a...manifestation of sorts within history, or to be a bit plainer, Techne serves the needs of industrial capitalism.

As you say, technological tools are often put to good use (ie we want to keep penicillin, xrays, computers, etc), but on the macro view probably do more harm than good (ie consider bombs, jets, factories etc)...So in a sense MH was a sophisticated luddite (and/or perhaps ultimately pessimistic about humanity and Techne).

(at any rate, MavP's cut-rate platonism doesn't make it).
QCT has this bit:

"Thus where enframing reigns, there is danger in the highest sense.

But where danger is, grows
The saving power also."

I'll leave it with Hölderlin.
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