Monday, January 03, 2011

The Everlasting Guest on the isness of beings.
The first thing to keep in mind is Heidegger’s insistence that being (Sein) is not a being (Seindes). If being is not itself a being, but rather that against which beings are revealed in their being, then being cannot be a being as there would be no possibility of encountering beings in the first place. Heidegger holds that in order for things to be intelligible they must be encountered against a horizon (or background) through which their qualities may be discovered as meaningful properties. Magda King’s own example is of Aristotle’s understanding of being as substantiality. When the being of beings is understand as substantiality, beings themselves may demonstrate their being (and therefore be understood) in terms of what is “brought forwards” by our a priori understanding of substantiality. Which means that the being (Seindes) encountered will be in a position to display its being as substance, where its properties of extension, mass, solidity, etc, can make sense (i.e. have meaning).
Plus, where is E-Prime in all this?
Academic linguists and philosophasters tended to mock E-prime but it has --or had--some pedagogical interest though was not quite as revolutionary as Korzybski & Co thought it would be. In some circumstances--like, evidentiary issues--E-prime, or subjective awareness/qualification of some type seems warranted.

The E-primers' discussion of the use (and misuse) of "is"--identity, predication, copula etc--was somewhat interesting. Many academics could do to review even Herr Wiki on the distinctionsd (it's not like filosophes and writers of all types have stopped offering sweeping generalizations , using a predicate form...or stopped conflating identity with predication).

But E-prime's not exactly a romantic schema.
I recall that the very first MH essay I ever read introduced him as someone who says no one understands him. I can now see why.

I could not, off the top of my head, elaborate on Aristotle's concept of substance. But I know that is not what MH means by beyng. Nor are the categories of foreground and background applicable.

As MH gains in popularity his message gets garbled. Dunno if it is worth it.
Across his lectures, Heidegger delves into different interpretations of being, including Aristotle's substantiality, and what what he's saying in contrast. So generally, when someone says that Heidegger meant being was...what someone else wrote earlier, there's probably a passage where Heidegger clarifies why that's not the case.

Apropos, I have a vague recollection of him describing why you can step into the same river formally, but not into the same river substantially. And that's the difference between Aristotle's substance and Plato's form.
If I had a credit for every time I backtracked in a Marty book because things didn't add up and realized he was representing someone else's perspective...
The Plato-Aristotle match up presents another...will to power issue, IMHE. Platonism's considered abstract, formal, mathematical--thus, nerdy and liberal (or socialist by some). Aristotle's practical, empirical, naturalist, militaristic. So ...conservatives and macho men, including the catholic sort tend to affirm the Aristotelian scheme (even the very modified form of a Nietzsche or Ayn Rand)--and MH, while positing Being instead of "ousia", could be seen in that tradition.

Korzybski it might be recalled did not dismiss Ari. term logic, either. He said it was not the all- encompassing program it was thought of--then Frege had said much the same (and updated via quantifiers, etc). Rivers are new every day, nay every second (tho perhaps a platonist might quibble). Another modification of the deductive/inductive schema was via probability (or CS Peirce's "abduction"). Ari. was aware of basic probability (wasn't he) but ...it wasn't very fleshed out until the time of LaPlace, etc . One might argue that a large part of quantum mechanics related to the application of statistical methods to experimental physics (and the anomalies developing from that).
@January. The example Magda King delivers is to give one some idea of what Heidegger meant by a "horizon" from which the question of being can be understood. The example is not supposed to demonstrate what Heidegger actually means when he talks of this horizon, but gives an idea of what he is looking for when he asks what the meaning of being is: an understanding (disclosure) which runs ahead of and permits discovery. One is, I expect, intended to use the example as an analogy pointing to the real problem, and not to confuse the analogy with the horizon from which being itself is understood (that which is being sought).

As far as I know, Heidegger's own presentation of the interpretation of being as substantiality (outlined in his Introduction to Metaphysics) is not delivered so as to provide some sort of definite account of what he means by being (Sein) but rather to present the scientific understanding as a way into seeing what the problem of being is. I may, of course, be incorrect.

Certainly one of Heidegger's biggest faults as a philosopher is the lack of example and analogy to help elucidate his work, which secondary sources helpfully provide. However I am still open to the idea that he did not provide such analogies simply so that such confusions could not arise.
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