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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Default Where do you keep your mind? Existential thoughts.

    I think of myself a 'hedge philosopher'. But, I've decided to actually learn a bit more on the academic side of it, and am watching a presentation on Heidegger and Existentialism. The discussion starts out by laying out the differences of starting points between Cartesian thought and Existentialism. Basically, Cartesian thought has built into it the separate existence of mind and matter. That those are essentially different things. Existentialism is unconcerned and doesn't recognize that idea of duality, that there is any fundamental difference of existence.

    Now, in the presentation I'm watching, the presenters are claiming that Existentialism is actually a more natural way of thinking about the world and ourselves, and that Cartesian thinking takes training. While I agree that the conception of the separation makes little difference in day to day life, for me, even though I don't exactly subscribe to a concept of a duality, the idea that I am my mind and that the world is separate is a deceptively natural way to think. This probably has much to do with me being raised in a Western culture and being a naturally introspective person. I wonder if that's how you, by default, see yourselves when you care to look.

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    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Hmmm..

    In theory, I reject dualism. I don't think mind has an origin that is non-physical in nature. That's why minds cannot come back from death... the body has broken, which breaks the mind.

    In practice, though, I suppose I do treat them as very much separate. There is the world in my head, everything I know of, and then there is everything "out there." They aren't always perfectly aligned.

    This doesn't happen because I've been trained this way... it's more or less always been this way. Perhaps it depends on the psychology of the person?

    Do you have a link to the presentation?
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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Hmmm..

    In theory, I reject dualism. I don't think mind has an origin that is non-physical in nature. That's why minds cannot come back from death... the body has broken, which breaks the mind.

    In practice, though, I suppose I do treat them as very much separate. There is the world in my head, everything I know of, and then there is everything "out there." They aren't always perfectly aligned.

    This doesn't happen because I've been trained this way... it's more or less always been this way. Perhaps it depends on the psychology of the person?

    Do you have a link to the presentation?
    I agree with you, that's why the presupposition was surprising to me. Perhaps they were talking about, like I mentioned, the conceptualism of dualism not necessary to actually living. Or maybe they were talking about learning to think about the subject and object in strict ways necessary for their craft.

    William Barret on Existentialism

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    I keep my mind in a jar and whenever I reach for it my brain sends out an electric shock to keep me from grabbing.

    All imagery aside though, I beleive in a pretty strict duality between mind and body. We dont really know what happens after death, even though minds dont come back without the body it doesnt mean they have ceased to exist.

    It really a question of how you choose to view things, though. The question is only worth answering from a pratcical angle, ie if I choose temporality and living for the here and now, Im probably not going to adopt a philosophy of duality, just like Im not gonna opt for a mind-body union if I wanna beleive in eternity of the soul.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I think of myself a 'hedge philosopher'. But, I've decided to actually learn a bit more on the academic side of it, and am watching a presentation on Heidegger and Existentialism. The discussion starts out by laying out the differences of starting points between Cartesian thought and Existentialism. Basically, Cartesian thought has built into it the separate existence of mind and matter. That those are essentially different things. Existentialism is unconcerned and doesn't recognize that idea of duality, that there is any fundamental difference of existence.

    Now, in the presentation I'm watching, the presenters are claiming that Existentialism is actually a more natural way of thinking about the world and ourselves, and that Cartesian thinking takes training. While I agree that the conception of the separation makes little difference in day to day life, for me, even though I don't exactly subscribe to a concept of a duality, the idea that I am my mind and that the world is separate is a deceptively natural way to think. This probably has much to do with me being raised in a Western culture and being a naturally introspective person. I wonder if that's how you, by default, see yourselves when you care to look.
    I think that perhaps the discussion of Cartesianism was in order to contrast the metaphysical thinking or theistic thinking with atheistic existentialism, although cartesianism is not synomynous with theism or religiosity and some theologians and religious philosophers are highly critical of cartesianism as the absolutely first step in a philosophical trend which leads up to Nietzsche, or rather the whole deal about lenses and sensory deception which Descartes responded to or was part of.

    I think that the whole attack on dualism is over done you know, its also not that alienated to think that way and no academic training is requisite, it could just be embedded in western culture but I'm not sure if that is it either. The cultures which pride themselves on being in opposition to western dualism, ie oriental cultures, had traditions of severing heads in battle the same as the celts or other western nations pre-dating Cartesianism, the reason? Well, call it the consciousness, mind, soul, psyche, elan vital, whatever, it was believed to be resident in the head, that's just one example of it, the Hindu Yoga Chakras (spelling) represent a sequence extending from the base of the spine to the skull/head. That's all arguably a kind of dualism.

    The thing is that I think that's a waste of time, whether you believe in metaphysics or atheistic materialism makes no difference, we live, we die, we have to make decisions in the mean time, choice and consequence exist, death is the end of a life, it has a finality, it is inescapeable and terrifying, the world, cosmos, whatever would appear, at least at times, to be meaningless, mankind is one of the only species therefore whose own existence is a problem for itself.

    Sometimes I think in a dualistic fashion, other times I dont, maybe, most of the existentialists were more populist than academically philosophical or psychological, Camus contrasted his thinking, even his life, with Sartre's deliberative intellectualism and vanity to great effect, although I dont know if it makes it a more "natural" or "practical" reasoning, no one knows what existentialism is until they look it up.

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    I feel kind of both ways. I don't think that anything is really separate. Everything that is (mind, body, soul, earth) is all part of the same universe and constantly interacting and affecting change on one another. That being said, I do think that they are all distinct forces or entities that can be named and distinguished between. Not sure which side that puts me on.
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I think that perhaps the discussion of Cartesianism was in order to contrast the metaphysical thinking or theistic thinking with atheistic existentialism, although cartesianism is not synomynous with theism or religiosity and some theologians and religious philosophers are highly critical of cartesianism as the absolutely first step in a philosophical trend which leads up to Nietzsche, or rather the whole deal about lenses and sensory deception which Descartes responded to or was part of.
    Well actually, Heidegger characterizes (or actually popularized the characterization) of Catersianism as being ontotheological. I was hearing an excellent discussion that fleshed that idea out for me. Any body of thought that separates object and subject must define being by an undefinable property of 'beingness'. This always ends up being a conception of god (not necessarily a religious one) in one form or the other.

    I know not of lenses of sensory deception that had been addressed by Descartes, I will look it up, but I do understand that Existentialism was made possible by the study of Phenomenology. It's the idea that objective experience of something need not be anything more than what a person senses of it, and that is the ultimate truth of it. Perhaps, this is related to the idea of sensory deception? If it is, then it illustrates that the main differences aren't that people may have different experiences of the universe, but that in existentialism, that difference is taken as the starting point in thinking about the universe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I think that the whole attack on dualism is over done you know, its also not that alienated to think that way and no academic training is requisite, it could just be embedded in western culture but I'm not sure if that is it either. The cultures which pride themselves on being in opposition to western dualism, ie oriental cultures, had traditions of severing heads in battle the same as the celts or other western nations pre-dating Cartesianism, the reason? Well, call it the consciousness, mind, soul, psyche, elan vital, whatever, it was believed to be resident in the head, that's just one example of it, the Hindu Yoga Chakras (spelling) represent a sequence extending from the base of the spine to the skull/head. That's all arguably a kind of dualism.
    I don't know that this really is a war. Even Heidegger acknowledges the place for the Cartesian paradigm in his philosophy. It's another way of looking at it, not a replacement for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The thing is that I think that's a waste of time, whether you believe in metaphysics or atheistic materialism makes no difference, we live, we die, we have to make decisions in the mean time, choice and consequence exist, death is the end of a life, it has a finality, it is inescapeable and terrifying, the world, cosmos, whatever would appear, at least at times, to be meaningless, mankind is one of the only species therefore whose own existence is a problem for itself.

    Sometimes I think in a dualistic fashion, other times I dont, maybe, most of the existentialists were more populist than academically philosophical or psychological, Camus contrasted his thinking, even his life, with Sartre's deliberative intellectualism and vanity to great effect, although I dont know if it makes it a more "natural" or "practical" reasoning, no one knows what existentialism is until they look it up.
    I totally disagree with this. But to me, the fact that it's not a waste of time is self evident to me. I've been coming to these conclusions of my own accord, because I have felt the need to strive for them. It proposes a framework for me to think in that I've found very comforting, because it is in line with how I have come to experience the world. I'm sure this is all wrapped up in the idea of alienation that central to the theme of Existentialism. I'm still learning, so I don't feel qualified to bring much more to the table about it.

    But I really have no idea about Sartre or Camus. I'll get to them eventually, but so far philosophical lectures consider them mostly writers and not thinkers and gloss over them. I feel lucky that I'm not academic, and I know little about the cultural aspect of Existentialism, which from what I'm gathering takes on certain themes in ways I'm not particularly interested in.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Well actually, Heidegger characterizes (or actually popularized the characterization) of Catersianism as being ontotheological. I was hearing an excellent discussion that fleshed that idea out for me. Any body of thought that separates object and subject must define being by an undefinable property of 'beingness'. This always ends up being a conception of god (not necessarily a religious one) in one form or the other.

    I know not of lenses of sensory deception that had been addressed by Descartes, I will look it up, but I do understand that Existentialism was made possible by the study of Phenomenology. It's the idea that objective experience of something need not be anything more than what a person senses of it, and that is the ultimate truth of it. Perhaps, this is related to the idea of sensory deception? If it is, then it illustrates that the main differences aren't that people may have different experiences of the universe, but that in existentialism, that difference is taken as the starting point in thinking about the universe.



    I don't know that this really is a war. Even Heidegger acknowledges the place for the Cartesian paradigm in his philosophy. It's another way of looking at it, not a replacement for it.



    I totally disagree with this. But to me, the fact that it's not a waste of time is self evident to me. I've been coming to these conclusions of my own accord, because I have felt the need to strive for them. It proposes a framework for me to think in that I've found very comforting, because it is in line with how I have come to experience the world. I'm sure this is all wrapped up in the idea of alienation that central to the theme of Existentialism. I'm still learning, so I don't feel qualified to bring much more to the table about it.

    But I really have no idea about Sartre or Camus. I'll get to them eventually, but so far philosophical lectures consider them mostly writers and not thinkers and gloss over them. I feel lucky that I'm not academic, and I know little about the cultural aspect of Existentialism, which from what I'm gathering takes on certain themes in ways I'm not particularly interested in.
    Well, I'm not that hot on Heidegger, I prefer other existentialists, such as Camus, when I think about existentialism. Even Nietzsche.

    I'm not sure what your reading and associating with existentialism though, it sounds more like intersubjectivity to me.

    I dont think that whether you are strictly athiest or theist/a metaphysical believer makes a difference to experiencing the sorts of angst or anxiety which existentialism deals with. You think it makes a difference?

  9. #9
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    Dualism is unfashionable, and worse, dualism is politically incorrect - and this is enough to make me suspicious.

    Particularly as our very perceptions are dualistic in that we perceive by making distinctions. And a distinction, dear reader, is necessarily dual.

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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Well, I'm not that hot on Heidegger, I prefer other existentialists, such as Camus, when I think about existentialism. Even Nietzsche.

    I'm not sure what your reading and associating with existentialism though, it sounds more like intersubjectivity to me.

    I dont think that whether you are strictly athiest or theist/a metaphysical believer makes a difference to experiencing the sorts of angst or anxiety which existentialism deals with. You think it makes a difference?
    I'm just just watching various online lectures from academic philosophers, they seem to have similar views on Sartre as a philosopher, and the real origins of existentialism with Heidegger. I'll be doing some reading soon, since this is actually exciting me as a subject.

    It's not intersubjectivity, because we have subject again. Existentialism doesn't ask the question, 'what is real'? It attempts to describe, 'what is being?'.

    As far as atheism and theism and alienation, umm, I have no opinion at the moment. And neither did I ever state that I did. As I stated before, what I'm learning from Heidegger, is that subject/objectivity has a type of philosophical god, while Existentialism from his explanation, doesn't. This applies even to atheistic Cartesian views.

    EDIT: And it's worth mentioning that Heidegger did express the notion at one point that in the act of not looking for god, as he did, it may be the only way humankind can find god. I think that's a worthy sentiment.

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