Emotion and Reason. Part 3

So back to my original intention behind this post that I have now divided up into three parts.

I am challenging the notion that reason is the crowning authority of human existence and consciousness. And, as a commenter on Part 2 pointed out: I do agree with the observation that what we often think is rational or reasonable is often hardly that.

But I would even counter this observation by saying that such an observation is based in an assumption of reason: it is by reason it’s self that we are able to make such distinctions.

I suggest keeping in mind the idea of the Two Routes, which is an extrapolation of the non-philosophical premise of unilateral duality: by pointing something out and describing it I am not therefore suggesting that something is wrong with it nor making an argument that I have a better idea: I am simply describing a fact. If I say the tree is green and it has bark, I am not suggesting that I have a better way that the tree should be. Of course we can fall down the rabbit hole of what I call conventional philosophical speculation and consider all the probability and possibility of subjective experience of that tree. We can talk about how these subjective reality is may be true and that how our world is constituent of a plurality of subjective worlds. I am not making any argument about whether or not phenomenal subjective worlds are true or false; The veracity of any subjective opinion is absolutely up for debate.

What becomes evident by the contradiction that arises between these two types of understanding, though, is called a unilateral duality. This is to say that we take each of those two situations as situations that indeed are true, but then also note that the activity of the attempt to reconcile those two situations into a further reconciled state only speaks of the One Route. Hence what I am proposing as The Two Routes. Readers can look back at some of my posts to try and wrap ones head around this more fully, one can read Francois Laruelle’s non-philosophical books, and one can investigate what other people have to say about non-philosophy, if really need to comprehend all those details to be able to move over into the issue of an orientation upon objects. It’s OK. No shame there.

Nonetheless; The example that I’m working with here is the strange paradox that (1) reason can somehow analyze it self to say that this situation over here is not reasonable or not rational, and then this situation over there we’re going to categorize another various sort of system, and then this over yonder is what we call actual reason in comparison to these two or three or more possibilities, and then the whole thing amounts to an argument that we can negotiate over about what reason is, and (2) That reason as an object in-itself is characterized by point (1). This is an example of a unilateral duality, and it characterizes a particular manner or approach by which we can begin to understand what the human being is doing.


This approach is not dissimilar to the way that counseling might approach someone with, say, anxiety or depression or some sort of neurosis, to use an older term, or some pervading issue that a client may come in for psychological help.

I believe a particular theory that I am nodding toward right here is called Internal Family Systems (IFS). But there are a few theoretical approaches that incorporate a similar manner.

I think the idea is not very new: A client comes in complaining of an inability to stop Behaving in a certain manner, say for example, avoiding parties or social situations because of accute social anxiety, say. Keep in mind that I am not a practicing counselor but I’m just beginning to learn.

In any case, a possible approach to this situation is to get the client to externalize the problem. In other words, what the client is having trouble with is this whole thing that she calls her self which manifests in general as a thinking subject that is her self. The point of the intervention is to help the client see or look at the presenting issue as though it is not part of a whole system that is “her Self”, to help her to To gain sufficient distance from the issue in order to view the issue and address the issue as though it is affecting her self rather than being constituent of her singular whole person.

The issue here is not a speculation or a negotiation about whether or not there is this whole subject called the client herself. We treat the client as though she is an interrelation of various effectual aspects as the primary methodological material, as opposed to a “whole” person who is screwed up in various ways.

In reference to what I’m talking about so far as reason, or as I tend to call “philosophy” sometimes, by suggesting that the client may be affected by a problem rather than being the problem itself, I am thereby not suggesting that the problem may indeed not have to do with a whole system. Rather, I am suggesting that we can approach the whole system by viewing the system in a different manner yet while the system is still functioning and operating as a whole system, which is to say, excluding nothing.

So I will repeat; to point out the fact that reason itself is implied in the activity of indicating things that are not reasonable or indeed irrational as opposed to reasonable or rational, does not negate the fact that indeed reason is allowing for this division of itself. Developing different terms in order to compensate for this apparent paradox gets us nowhere significant into understanding what the human being actually does as it is, except that it gives us insight in that this is indeed what the human being consciousness does: A fact of the object that is the human being. Developing new terms in this way maintains and reifies the one route. Reason is not negated by describing what reason does, neither does such an honest description suggest that there is another way that reason might be operating. The conventional philosophical route Is thus characterized by a method wherein a fact can only be argued with by denying the fact itself. Hence, I say the conventional philosophical method is based in denial. Yet I am not suggesting that there is a better way, or that philosophy/reason should do or be something different. I am merely stating a fact about conventional philosophy.


I believe by this line of reasoning I have come up with a second fact of the phenomenal subject. I think I came up with a first fact a year or two or so and you would have to look in my past posts for it. I think the first fact is that a phenomenal subject is bounded by nothing. But I could be wrong. Lol. Actually, with these two facts in place we could thereby come up with a third fact of the phenomenal subject that we have been calling “correlationalism”. Science is based on an honest acceptance of the facts, even while the facts might be tested.

OK. Well it looks like I’ve gotten done with part three and I still haven’t gotten to the original intention behind the whole post so it looks like there’s going to be a part 4


Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

49 thoughts on “Emotion and Reason. Part 3”

  1. Allow me to qualify ‘relativity’ versus ‘objectivity’.

    Earlier, I proposed that ‘Killing is wrong’. Let’s make this easier. In the Judeo-Christian bible, a Commandment is ‘Thou shalt not kill’. This is most typically recontextualised as ‘Don’t murder’, this amendment not only descoping killing to humans but also bifurcating human killing into justified and unjustified, or legitimate verus illegitimate.

    I am not a Christian, but let’s accept this at face value. Would God have given Moses this Commandment and include jurisprudent language exculpating some power structure? I’m going to go with no. 😉

    This Commendment is subjective. Christians will argue that this is why they prosletise to ensure everyone abides by God’s Will, but this would be a stretch.

    In the end, once we resort to qualifying ‘Thou shalt not kill’ into ‘…except for enemies of the state or tribe and capital criminals’ and so on, we’ve lost any claim to objectivity.


    1. “. Would God have given Moses this Commandment and include jurisprudent language exculpating some power structure? I’m going to go with no. 😉

      This Commendment is subjective. Christians will argue that this is why they prosletise to ensure everyone abides by God’s Will, but this would be a stretch. “

      Can you unpack this? I am not sure what it means.

      I think if God indeed gave Moses the commandments. Then indeed he was incorporating exclusivity language. That seems obvious to me, so maybe I’m not understanding what you are saying. .

      I think Christians preach because they see that the commandments as objective.

      Please explain.


      1. Hey, man. Thanks. I’m not in school, and I am still backlogged. I’m not sure I’ll ever catch up. 😉

        I think I’ll grab a copy of this. I used to strongly identify as an existentialist and have read much of the source material directly, but I now label myself a postmodern non-cognitivist (or moral subjectivist—even though I don’t buy into the fundamental of truth-aptness—because it’s simpler to explain to non-philosophiles). I still fall back to nihilistic existentialism for practical issues.

        In part 3, you discuss the analytical approach to vis-a-vis correspondence theory of truth, where in there is no real truth value. It’s merely definitional. I think of Saussure here. If I define a leaf (as the like object in the world) and I define green (as having the properties of a 500–565nm wavelength, a frequency between 530–600 THz, with photon energy between 2.25–2.34 eV, then to declare a ‘green leaf’, not additional information has been conveyed beyond the componnent definitions.

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      2. Definition for sure has a use, and this a value. And likewise simple terms have value without explicit definition. But I could be suggesting that these two values do not have to combine towards a unified truth: the truth of their combination identifies – yes – Reality, the real world, but The suspension involved in allowing each value to do its work unto itself, truly, is a different matter.

        But I am not intending a meaning that then suggests that there is a “rationality” against a correspondent “irrationality”. I am suggesting that such correlation is real, but that there is a different manner of rationality that does not answer to real relative designations, even while it may recognize it. I use the analogy: the quantum use-value does not correspond to the classical use-value of things, yet the quantum does have a value unto itself. And at that despite what classical assessments would want to pronounce.

        Perhaps you might want to spend $3 on the Philosophical Hack the first part. There Cedric begins to discuss how the ontological argument functions.


      3. … My approach is just simplicity. I see one of the problems that philosophy has gotten it self into, at least in areas of the continental tradition, has come about because it’s sees that the most complex explanation must account for the truth of it. I see one of the problems that philosophy has gotten itself into, at least in areas of the continental tradition, has come about because it sees that the most complex explanation must account for the truth of it. But what is happened is that the complexity, or The perpetual effort to have to create something new from the old has created a condition where Philosophy tends to merely replay all day ideas in new terminology. It’s like the reverse of the emperors new clothes; The way I see it is that all philosophy has to do is re-dress itself in different terms and it understands itself is talking about something different.

        And this is so much the case that even while philosophy may admit this much of itself it nevertheless still attempts to come up with something new through which to escape this issue.

        I simply say that there is no escaping it.

        In the example is if I say I’m wearing green shoes you know exactly what I’m talking about even though I haven’t defined to you what green shoes actually are. But further, it doesn’t matter what exactly I’m talking about so far is green shoes if I tell you that I am wearing some purple pants and a plaid tie. You already know about the image before you and you already have an interpretation of it and a reaction. These responses have nothing to do with whatever “actuality“ of shoes pants and tie might there be.

        But then I also say that if someone wants to find out exactly what a “green shoe“ is, I find no fault with it. Rather, the only fault that I would find of it is in as much as finding what the actual green shoe is or the actual plaid tie is is really saying something More about the fact that I am wearing green shoes purple pants and a plaid tie. As if there is some larger meaning going on behind the scenes of my green shoes purple pants and plaid tie.

        So, in a manner of speaking, I am saying that there are two routes involved in this particular get up I have on. One would say that there is some deep substantial behind-the-scenes meaning in my garb. And the other one would say that there is no behind the scenes meaning except the meaning it’s self that understands itself as finding something “behind-the-scenes”.

        I suggest that philosophically speaking, this is a more significant route for what’s actually going on with a human being. But I am also not saying that the behind-the-scenes meaning is lacking meaning or isn’t saying something about what might be going on.

        And yet philosophers will routinely try to say that there is more significance in finding out what’s happening behind the scenes of my green shoes and plaid tie.

        I am simply saying that I’m not making any sort of value judgment as to this behind the scenes meaning.

        But I am making a value judgment on that particular judgment that would say that this latter judgment is more important or more significant.

        Is that making any sense? And, if it’s making any sense, is it making any sense to you? And then if it is , I’d like to hear what you have to say about it. 😄

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      4. I’ve written a bit abot my overarching vantage, which is there is no truth beyond rhetoric. Thre are, as you note ‘facts’, and we can have analytiocal truths, e.g. 1 + 1 = 2 or ‘unmarried men are bachelors’, but this is tautological. What we cannot have (beyond rhetoric) are moral truths. All truth is contextual and therefore subjective and relative. Until we defend the underlying context, we cannot arrive at a truth; once we define that context, the truth is relative to it.

        We like to talk about Enlightenment rationality and Scientism, but this all presupposes soem prevailing metanarrative. We can buy into the metanarrative, but we shoudl still be aware of what we’re buying. I’ll save any elaboration for another day. I rampble on about it off and on at my blog. Take care.

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      5. ….so what does that say, i.e. that there is only rhetoric? Certainly, if rhetoric is all there is then there is no ‘thinker’ that is using rhetoric? No? Then there is only the term “thinker” and not actually any person that is thinking, in truth ? Just like moral truths are but rhetoric ? As well as context? And even rhetoric itself? And what is relative is not even relative but also rhetoric?

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      6. Here’s my point on rhetoric. There are no truths outside of language. Only facts, and these facts are simply conventions of language. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. In the physical realm, if I name something, say, a tree, and I return to that object (or a similar enough object based on core attributes), speakers of a common tongue will agree that this is a tree, as it fits the previouslly-agreed definition.

        But language and similes have limitations. I have convey elsewhere a story of my 3-year-old son and his first encounter with a poodle at a park. Having never seen it before, he joyfully exclaims, ‘lamb’. Generalising based on his taxonomic knowledge and experience reasoned that iut was more ‘lamb-like’ than ‘canine-like’. In fact, there have been cases in science where some plant of animal is reclassified. I can even think of the everyday instance of people mis-classifying as vegetables tomatoes and squashes, which are more properly fruits, and potatos and corn, which are more properly starches. In these cases, except perhaps to a nutricianist, these things are all edible, so the taxonomic confusion is hardly problematic.

        But when we look at abstract concepts such as freedom and justice and the like, these all feel like they have meaning to us, but like the pain scale (and perhaps the reason-emotion scale), the shared meaning is pretty much an illusion, as I’ve discussed on my own blog over the past few years.

        Winding down, this is where rhetoric rules. If I am able to convince you or a population of the truth of some abstract claim, it will remain perceived as truth. Let’s take as an example an easy emotional claim:

        Slavery is wrong.

        In the past, slavery was a way of life, In fact, there are still many slaves in the world today and the practice is defended by those societies. But just because Western societies has proclaimed slavery as wrong does not mean it is inherently wrong. It is only wrong under some agreed context. If this context were to change based on some rhetorical notion, slavery could be determined to be good.

        Many people defend the notion of democracy as inherently good, but it is only good if you accept the underlying premises as good or at least valid.

        Anyway, I’m rambling…


      7. I’ll take a look in a bit. Meantime, I wrote a cursory post on this topic of reason-emotion scales. Feel free to comment here or there.

        Feel free to borrow the images if they make sense and you feel like it.


      8. I am going to address point by point:

        “There are no truths outside of language”

        This is very similar to what I say calling there is nothing outside of discourse. But are use the term “discourse“ because I do not mean language. I think there is something outside of language because other people speak other languages, and so whatever I may understand by the English language there is someone else on another part of the globe who is using a different language that is outside of my language.

        If you mean language in a universal sense, like all the human languages are really a human language, then I would have to ask how you know that. And I would have to say that the only way that you know that is through your own language, but not only that I particular configuration of language that understands itself in the context that there’s nothing outside of it.

        And so then I would have to challenge the notion of subjectivity. Because it seems you could be saying or indicating a certain propriety of “your language” and how that establishes your particular subject of real world and so then I would have to challenge the notion of subjectivity. Because it seems you could be saying or indicating a certain propriety of “your language“ and how that establishes your particular subject of real world.

        And again I would have to ask how you are able to know that there’s nothing outside of language. Because ultimately I think that you would have to post some sort of subjective truth against which I would eternal he say that I have no possibility of knowing what your subjective truth is and then that would deny the fact that there is nothing outside of language once again. Because then I would have to ask how I am able to even know of you in a conversation using language, that is, me and yourself, that there’s nothing outside of.

        Further, you also say something similar how there is nothing outside of rhetoric, and that rhetoric is an act of persuasion. I don’t know if I am in the act or if I am involved in the act of using language in an effort to persuade you of anything.

        You do mention something about description and I think if I am describing this field in front of me I am not attempting to persuade you of anything I’m merely describing a field and you can decide what you want to do with it.

        – how about your story of evidence that language has limitations:
        Yes, I would say that the use of language has limitations but it doesn’t limit my world. In fact, I would put it more in the realm of that I am attempting to communicate to you end it is your particular orientation upon discourse that would be preventing you from understanding what I’m trying to communicate to you. The limit, is as I try and describe in my work, Hass to do with one’s orientations upon objects, which then in turn has to do with how language is being used more than language as some sort of fundamental and basic essential absolute truth of knowledge of some sort.

        Kierkegaard for sure gives us the parameters of either or and how that goes about posing reality for the subject. But I don’t think that was his point. I don’t think that he would that’s what he was trying to tell us about; I think that particular take on Kierkegaard is something that Sartre gave us and then everyone just decided to believe. Personally, my argument about Kierkegaard is that he is talking about another way of coming upon the world, that he calls various terms and indicates through various sorts of ironic use of language, but in particular what he calls “absurd”. I don’t think he was making a point about how everything is relative against an absurdity or that there’s some sort of truth in irrational thinking. I think that take on Kierkegaard is already involved in a particular route of understanding, I particular orientation upon objects, as I say, that is missing the point of what Kierkegaard is trying to say.

        Likewise the post modernist people. What the postmodernists give us is indeed how that particular orientation upon the one world has to do with ethics and justice and things like that.

        The point I try to get across through my work is that I am not justified in the world by what I can convince people of. And this is to say that as I may go about trying to justify myself I am involved in a particular and necessary way of being in the world, of which I am making no choice..

        My work concerns finding out what the universal object that we called a human being is.

        Just like a car engine say; The one route of ethics and language and persuasion and rhetoric and pretty much everything that I designate as “real“, is like the car moving down the road. Most philosophers would say that we cannot know anything but that moving down the road and then in for an argue about what might be true or false and how the engine is running. The mechanics of the engine.

        I am saying that indeed one part of being human is going down the road but there is another part of being human that communicates directly the mechanics of the engine functioning. If that makes any sense . .


      9. Let’s see if I can parse this and focus on a core tenet. If I don’t address something, and you are interested in my response, feel free to copy-paste it or re-ask it separately.

        The notion of moral truth is a function of language, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s presume that there is some objective moral truth agnostic of language. Without much consideration, I’ll pick a representative moral claim:

        « Killing is wrong »

        I won’t bother to qualify the definition of ‘wrong’. An idiomatic version will work fine. I also won’t bother to scope the application of killing. Let’s just take is as given.

        Here are my questions:
        – How do we know that this is an objective edict?
        – On what authority do we accept this?
        – Some people derive this type of authority from religious texts, but there is nothing to substantiate the sort of chain of evidence.

        My point is that even if there were some universally objective moral truth, there is no way to validate it outside of language. Prophets and certain religious types attempt to claim this providence, but there is also no way to validate their claims. In fact, different people claiming this connection contradict and differently interpret the supposed direct insight.


      10. I can see that. Morality/ethics encoded into language. My question/point is indeed: How do you know his? And I mean this as a logistical question, not a semantic question. What is doing the assessment of things that are arriving in language codes?

        The simple version of this question is: what is being left out?

        Given that moral truth is a function of language, or that ethics is encoded in language, what is it encoding to?

        The extrapolation of this I have found usually gets responses That it is all encoded, that it is a kind of vicious cycle, perhaps Leica end of the rainbow kind of thing where I soon as you put your finger on one end of the rainbow then the rainbow appear somewhere else.

        for sure Zizeks psychoanalysis is saying something very similar. I think.

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      11. I guess I’m not concerned with what’s left all. Human language and all its grammar, syntax, and vocabulary are constructed. If I had time to think about it, I might argue that conceptual language may be beyond the original function of language. And though it’s served an evolutionary purpose—we are here communicating, no? We may have extended beyond the limits of coherence.

        Raymond Geuss pointed out that most people don’t consider this abstract philosophy. This is reserved for people with time on their hands. I can’t say that I disagree.


      12. My second point is on the ambiguity and lack of specificity in language that is exascerbated in the realm of abstract concepts. For example, let’s consider the concept of fairness.

        I think it’s pretty universally accepted that things should be fair. Outcomes should be fair. We should be able to rationalise how we came to some judgment. So far, so good, right?

        Not so fast. Some people would call it fair (or its correlate, just) that a person convicted for a crime to receive a harsh sentence even if that person had had, say, an abusive childhood because they presume some causal relationship between the abuse and the action taken. Others would call it unfair (or unjust) not to show lenience based on these mitigating factors. To this cohort, it would be fair to show leniency.

        So, each side is arguing for the same thing, fairness or justice, but internally they’ve defined it differently.

        Note that for an ordinary person regarding a tangible object, this is not a problem. If you ask be to think of an automobile and I think of a Range Rover when you had a BMW in mind, we can quickly resolve this. This is not a matter of rhetoric. To convince me that a BMW is supoerior to a Range Rover, inb the other hand, would require rhetoric.

        This is not so for fairness. The only way you could convince me that your conception of fairness to superior to mine is through rhetoric.


      13. …ok, yes. I concur with your assessment there: The only way that I could convince you as to what is just is through language or rhetoric.

        But I go even deeper, I go further than that, and I say that I have no choice about what I’m going to argue to you is just. And you have no choice in the matter of whether or not you’re going to change your mind based on my argument.

        In a way, it would be like if someone got shot. The matrix of possibilities of what could happen necessarily collapses in the event of the doctor and the patient coming together in their particular moments and situations.

        So Innoway, really I’m not talking about how one should live. Because I see the choices that I have and the choices that I make as utterly involved in this totality of subjectivity outside of which nothing exists. And I use the term “discourse” as opposed to “language” because when we use the term language we tend to be thinking of something like a tool that people use. And the tool is configured in such a way that the tool only has a limited number of possibilities in the ways that it can be used. But when I say that there is nothing outside of discourse, I am indicating the general situation of language at all levels and all frames, including the manner that we are even able to have thoughts to make decisions upon. And so I kind of see a distinction going on between perhaps an effort to persuade another person out there, and the activity that is going on that is my self that are usually center and talk about in reference to thinking or choosing. Yet in both cases I think the same type of operation is occurring. But when we say language we tend to exclude something, we tend to privilege or hold above the interaction and leave out something that we typically call the “self”. But when we talk about discourse we find that I must have a different relationship to what’s going on with things if indeed I’m going to be honest about this use of discourse outside of which nothing exists. Because I would have to ask myself how I am making decisions without the use of discourse. I might be able to make decisions without the use of language because when I’m using language, as speaking as mouth as long as as tongue as air vibrations as ears etc. , I naturally privilege my thinking as if indeed I am thinking outside of language. But when I bring up discourse I have to ask myself if indeed something is going on such as my thinking outside of discourse.


      14. …ah: And the point I am making is that if indeed both language and discourse exhibit a situation that nothing gets out of, then there is no argument that can find the truth of it no matter how many choices are presented and made, which is to say, upon whether there is eternal and incessant negotiation with Communication involving language, or whether there is no need for incessant negotiation in the collapse where communication does not need to take place such as when I hold the door open for you. There is no reduction to an either or situation which can prove that one is more true than the other. Rather, any proof would just be a further argument in the negotiation of that particular one route by which people are oriented upon truth.

        Hence I say that the either or condition of knowledge does not find us the actual truth of being human, but more find the human in the situation that the human being must reside under particular conditions. But that those particular conditions under which that human being acts as a real agent a real subject, is not including all knowable conditions. And that this other set of conditions in deed can be known and can be talked about as facts, as and dealt with as a science.

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      15. Agreed. But people still argue ‘morality’.

        One last response in re this: I’ve adopted Ayer’s Emotivism (and extended by Expressivism): what we call moral positions are merely expressed emotions:

        Charity is good; murder is bad

        translates to:

        Yay charity; boo murder

        or in Expressive terms:

        I like charity; everyone should do it.

        I dislike murder; no one should do it.



      16. Also: I think morality is more that language. It is imperative to the species. Not the individual. The individual considerations are incidental to the species as they are instrumental to it. There are Two Routes which grant one’s ability to have knowledge, as well as then one’s ability to do work.


      17. I think a way of framing this is: science is about coming upon what is inconceivable through letting the universe give material. Conventional philosophy is about conserving what is conceivable, about producing material.
        In this way, the question of morality is always a religious speculation. The plain fact is that some human beings murder but most do not; any regulation of this fact, by any means, is an assertion of conservative propriety, which is to say a kind of religious posture.


      18. … oh, but likewise. I am not suggesting either Route is more or less correct; I am merely describing what occurs. With not judgment or involment in attempt to persuade. I present facts, and look for those who also see them: like science: science persuades through its obviousness. It makes no argument as to what is better except through function and purpose.


      19. OK I could go with “rhetoric”. I can follow that.

        But what if I just run up to you and punch you in the face? And walk away.

        I am sure that at least some of human existence is or can be encapsulated in the maximum of rhetoric, and for sure we can talk about that category with reference to morality.

        My question would ask what about random events such as me coming up and punching you in the face and walking away or you stabbing your toe, or a child randomly getting sick and dying. I’m not sure that I am using discourse in anyway to try and convince you of anything by telling you of those exceptions.

        In fact I might even say that what you see as me trying to convince you of, I am actually trying to convince you of something that is not put into these words; I think I would even go far as far to say that the meaning that you’re gaining from the words that I am putting here right now and so far is I might be trying to convince you of something, you have completely missed what I’m actually talking about.

        That’s why I don’t think the sound waves vocal cords tongue long’s physical body eardrum text coordination of the idea of “rhetoric” really for Phils the criteria of “everything”. Something is being left out and if you say that you’re not concerned with it then I would say that your proposition is inherently contradictory. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily false, but I am saying that you are relying either upon a recognized problem or an unrecognized problem.

        So when I use the word “discourse” I can account for what is occurring in as much as I might say that I am talking about how there is nothing outside of discourse, because I am inherently including end the discussion that there’s nothing outside of discourse the very fact have nothing. In particular I like to refer to Rudolph’s Otto’s book “the idea of the Holy” where he inadvertently gives us the way to talk about what is left out: in a very small part, maybe one or two sentences which really does not go to the point of his book at all, but is merely one small comment toward what are you saying; basically he says that discourse surrounds its object (the object itself being the “mysterious tremmendum” that he argues accounts for the idea of the holy, The awe-fullness that is nothing in its full emptiness.).

        But Id say that it is not Rhetoricthat is resting on an implicit nothingness; rhetoric is constantly referring to the conversation and the discussion of trying to convince one another of something.

        Because there are plenty of theories that are very systematic and talk about the whole of everything and why it should be the case, and it really comes down to various theories making arguments to try and convince one another which one is more true than the other. I just say OK they are all equally true in potential and are judged by the criteria that are presented by each parties. I don’t think anyone in particular is saying anything more true than any other and it is ultimately just a facet of being human that tends to see through its own lens and sort of spray it out over everyone and everything. Lol

        And so that’s why I say like I agree with you, but I don’t agree with you. I agree with you and I disagree with you. The issue I see then is if other people can include the absolute truth of the situation and compared to another absolute truth without bridging it through a relativity of subjective knowledge.

        If I come up and I punch you in the face and I walk away and I don’t say anything and you don’t know who I am. That bloody nose you have is ultimately true just as the meaning you make from it just as the reason why I did it. I would say that there is nothing in any particular discourse around that punch in the face that is any more true than any other, but also not relative: they are all equally true.

        But then I extend it to not only these apparently random and occasional instances. Because then I would have to account for what is occurring in between all these random and occasional instances. And I would be left in the same situation that I began with in the beginning of this reply.


      20. I don’t think I am following… You state… ‘If I come up and I punch you in the face and I walk away and I don’t say anything and you don’t know who I am. ”

        I am not sure how this in itself is a moral issue. It may be interpreted morally/ethically as right or wrong, be the even itself just ‘is’.

        The the event occurred is a simple fact (presuming that it actually happened).

        I’d appreciate the clarification here, and I’ll pose a second scenario separately.


      21. Second scenario: A person is being caned for some ‘legal’ infraction…rather than being randomly punched in the face. Is this different? Is this inherently wrong? For the record, I am a pacifist and a registered Consciencious Objector. It is inherently wrong given my moral system. I do not reserve additional latitude for the State to commit violence, whether retribution or so-called ‘justice’.


      22. Let me see…

        1. Something that just “is“.
        2. A legal infraction.

        I would say that they are different and they are the same.

        I touched on this at the end of my last comment I think.

        The reason why I posed a random events such as me coming up and punching you in the face is because on one hand, it is around them event that could not be anticipated and really falls flat so far as some “true” reason why it happened The reason why I posed a random events such as me coming up and punching you in the face is because on one hand, it is around them event that could not be anticipated and really falls flat so far as some “true“ reason why it happened . as you say, it just “is”.

        You have been saying that everything is rhetoric, that everything functions through language in an effort to persuade someone, and you link this to morality and ethics. Yes.

        And so I took your qualification of “everything” To mean “all that can be”.

        So I am kind of juxtaposing the punch in the face against someone being fired, because it would not be difficult to draw a sort of “true reason“ of why a person might be fired that all the parties involved with would be discussing on a sort of “level playing field”; which is to say, the boss would have his reasons and the employee would have reasons why it was unjust or or whatever. They would both assume that there was this common event that is justified in various ways and they would have a discussion and try to persuade each other (whether or not they would actually engage in trying to persuade each other is another question and I would imagine ) whether his being fired was a moral or based on a moral decision or is somehow ethical or not.

        And so far is me punching you in the face, for sure you would have an idea about how there was something wrong with that. And me walking away I would have some sort of idea about how it was possibly right morally.

        And so it seems in these two situations we have quite similar aspects. We have two people’s assessment of an event. It would seem that the punch in the face was more random, but indeed there is that event that two people are involved with that would each come up or have their understanding of it from an ethical standpoint. And yet the event itself was totally random, say, so much as perhaps I had just made a bet with a friend that I could not walk up to some random individual and punch him in the face and walk away: even that kind of decision, which is totally random, has an ethical component between me and my friend. And then you of course would have your idea about what was right or wrong about it even as it seem to you totally random.

        And then we have the person being fired. In what way are these two events different? Where does one rely upon a “ethically causal lineage“ say, A causal lineage that is justified along certain lines of understanding, and where does one not rely upon a causal lineage?

        I might argue that they both rely upon a causal lineage and that they both surround any event that is utterly random. that it would depend upon how a person is viewing things ethically, which is to say how a person justifies themselves in a world.


      23. « The reason why I posed a random events such as me coming up and punching you in the face is because on one hand, it is around them event that could not be anticipated and really falls flat so far as some “true” reason why it happened The reason why I posed a random events such as me coming up and punching you in the face is because on one hand, it is around them event that could not be anticipated and really falls flat so far as some “true“ reason why it happened . as you say, it just “is”. »

        So we are diverging threads here. I am not trying to determine some ‘true’ reason, as in some court of law. That’s why I do not use ‘true’ as a direct synonym to fact. You are also adding an element of ‘intent’, so under this construct we have at least three things to consider:

        1. Is is fact?
        2. What was the intent or motivation?
        3. Is it some truth or moral truth claim?

        In the random-punch-in-the-face scenario, my responses follow:

        1. Yes (taking the hypothetical to be factual for the sake of discussion)
        2. Don’t know; don’t care
        3. No and no.

        Unpacking these, I’d evaluate this as:

        1. Excepting fallible senses, this either happened or it didn’t. (Nothing to see here.)
        2. Intent is a sticky wicket. It is the basis of much litigation, but it is really just psychobabble. We can say we understand intent, but can we really? Psychoanalysis may attempt to say that intent is unconscious. So, even if person A cuts of person B, and B punches A, we can on one level claim that B intended to hurt A. But we could as well claim that the intent was some deepseated hatred for some bad childhood experience and she the intent was to (unconsciously) harm a sibling or someone. I content that was cannot know intent.

        In the film Witness, there is a scenario where the dialogue flows like this:

        Eli Lapp: Would you kill another man?
        Samuel Lapp: I would only kill the bad man.
        Eli Lapp: Only the bad man. I see. And you know these bad men by sight? You are able to look into their hearts and see this badness?

        The same goes for intent. The best you can do is to infer intent (or badness), but you can never know. And the person cannot even know him- or herself.

        3. The event you discribe has no truth or moral claim. As an eyewitness, we can make a moral assessment of the situation, but that involves other information, if only context.

        « You have been saying that everything is rhetoric, that everything functions through language in an effort to persuade someone, and you link this to morality and ethics. Yes. »

        So, I am not claiming that ‘everything is rhetoric’. I am only asserting that claims concerning truth or morality can be swayed by rhetoric.

        Neither am I saying that ‘everything functions through language’. What I am saying is that language loosely describes what we attemt to convey, and that it’s a poor medium, subject ambiguity and interpretation in its own right.

        In a film from the 1980s, Back to School starred Rodney Dangerfield, a successful businessman who has to return to school to encourage his son to attend college. He hires NASA to source his Astronomy reports, and he enlists Kurt Vonnegut to author his report on the meaning of a Vonnegut work. He receives an F and is admonished by his teacher, ‘Whoever *did* write this doesn’t know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut!’ As Derrida claimed, ‘The author is dead.’ And, as with intent, it assumes that the author actually knows.

        So, again, I am not concerned here with an event or a reason. I am simply limiting my concern to the moral/truth claim, if one exists. Does this help to clarify?


      24. It appears to me that you’re sliding. I think we need to back up. You made a statement and I am addressing that statement and then it appears to me that you’re saying that you didn’t say that.

        So maybe let’s back up and somehow get back to what you are saying about rhetoric and morality and reason and emotion.

        Somehow I’m lost in what you were saying.


      25. I’ll pick this up tomorrow… I think the best foundation is the pist I wrote a few months ago about ‘the truth of rhetoric’ or something like that. 😉


      26. I found one.

        [ lol. I find that the problem with having a good philosophy discussion through blogs and the comments, is that the comments get longer and longer. 😄]

        “Here’s my point on rhetoric. There are no truths outside of language. Only facts, and these facts are simply conventions of language. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. In the physical realm, if I name something, say, a tree, and I return to that object (or a similar enough object based on core attributes), speakers of a common tongue will agree that this is a tree, as it fits the previouslly-agreed definition. …” and you go on to say that language is a convention, of sorts.

        It makes a certain sense to you that your argument is the case, ie that language is a convention, that it is vested with ethical norms, that these norms arise in efforts to convince others of the normative veracity.

        Correct me if I have that wrong.

        “I’ve written a bit abot my overarching vantage, which is there is no truth beyond rhetoric…”

        How else was I supposed to read that ?

        Then you say…”But language and similes have limitations…”

        My question is: How is it possible for you to know these things ? Do you know them falsely ?

        Because I think your answer is that there is no truths…

        “I am not trying to determine some ‘true’ reason, as in some court of law. That’s why I do not use ‘true’ as a direct synonym to fact. You are also adding an element of ‘intent’, so under this construct we have at least three things to consider:

        1. Is is fact?
        2. What was the intent or motivation?
        3. Is it some truth or moral truth claim?”

        So then I ask: Why are you making an argument about something that is not true ?

        Why should I give any weight to your argument if it isn’t put forth as true?
        Are you saying that you are trying to tell me about something that is false? How is that making any sense for me then? It seems you are thus involved in a contradiction by telling me something in argument the point of which is false. Why are we discussing anything then?

        And then, to what are you referring if you say that your statements are not having to do with truth, such as in a case of law? What are your statements referring to then? If we, you and I and the rest of the world hypothetically, are involved in any ternal negotiation of linguistic meaning and stuff like that, then what is that statement referring to?

        If you diverge from your statement to say that I am assuming an intention, then am I supposed to likewise figure that the intention is false ?

        My point is that it seems to me you want to be referring to some truth that we do not have access to, so everything thus is qualified by anything but a “absolute” truth. But I ask: what is this idea of an absolute truth? I feel like you must be aware of that kind of contradictory redundancy of certain statements; for example, the statement “I am lying”. Philosophically, maybe, we can go around that circle over and over again and then we can come to some transcendental metaphysical truth about what may be happening, but I don’t think that really gets us anywhere. Rather, I think it gets exactly to the fact of the matter: full stop, no more running in circles.

        So, Which of all these terms you toss out onto the table is actually conveying a substance ?

        For example; if you say ‘language’ is X, in what manner am I supposed to be knowing this ‘X’? Context? Context of what? Are you then speaking of the Content Y? At what point does something become true in the sense that we actually understand truth, without pushing it ever further into an unknowable realm of “absolute” truth. Am I now supposed to understand that the term “absolute” is the only term in the series that teaches the “absolute truth” of what everything else is referring to, which is to say that “the truth” is that it’s all language ? Is this last statement then false ?

        I just keep it simple: the broken nose from me punching you is a fact that has nothing to do with language. That is unless you want to sit there and let your nose bleed and not go get it fixed because the truth of the matter is that it’s all being contained in language or rhetoric or has something to do with trying to convince people of something.

        What is the point behind us saying that you’re broken nose is not a fact? Is there some better way to talk about the state of your nose after getting punched than that the truth of your nose is that it’s broken? Is it not really broken? Does language function to convince you that something is severely wrong with your nose? At that, through a evolutionary cultural history?

        What is the point to take all those words and then say that there’s some sort of underlying — what? Not- Truth ? — about the condition of your disrupted cartilage and blood vessels?

        Am I making any sense?

        I don’t think there’s any intention or motivation behind the fact of the matter that your blood is pouring down your face. Lol. And that the language that I am using to describe that fact is indeed factual language, it is the fact of the language itself conveying a true fact of the existence of your damaged face. 🤣. (this is sounding so funny . Lol)

        So that was a long reply so hopefully you can pull something out of there to make an answer.


      27. … and I’m pretty sure you said that everything is rhetoric used to try and persuade people. I’m pretty sure you said everything is language.

        So maybe we could back up and you could give me a concise view on what I have been saying about reason and emotion , or something.


      28. I am getting lost in our thread. I didn’t see this one about metanarrative

        But you are using a metanarrative to describe to me how something is a metanarrative and something that is not.

        I am not sure I could know that a bachelor is an unmarried man without a superscript which tells me what any of those terms mean. So I am not sure how you are able to Distinguish what is an what is not a metanarrative, that is except through a “true metanarrative” that is excluded. At that for the sake of establishing your true position.


      29. …. oh, but I I like to hear your opinion on it even if it doesn’t make any sense to you as well 🤘🏾. And in fact I would definitely like to hear from you how I might not make any sense. 👾🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      30. I will.

        By the way, I’ve created some charts I’d like to share with you to discuss the emotional-rationality/reason scale, but I can’t share them in a reply. I may write a post to talk around the topic and reference your content, but not tonight. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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