Friday, January 16, 2015

(The) Completed Thoughts

When Popper says in his Objective Knowledge that objectivity depends on some ‘objective fact’ what he may be referring to is the following idea. Say I physically rotate a piece of junk mail around a new package containing a precious book. The piece of junk mail may be interpreted one way as ‘inspiring’ new ideas, such as semantic ones. But, a better way is to see the piece of junk mail as objectively obstructing some future knowledge which I would gain if I had not rotated the junk mail around the precious book. The case would be trivial, except that it is highly metaphorical. We begin to think that indeed, the precious book could be rotated around things --- What would happen then?

When Cassirer writes:

The simplest and surest way to demonstrate the significance of the universal symbolic function for the formation of the theoretical consciousness would seem to turn to the highest and most abstract achievements of pure theory. For in them the connection stands out in full brightness and clarity. ^1

How different it would be, if he had expressed a desire to turn symbols into functions.

[1. Cassirer, Ernst. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Vol. 3. New Haven: Yale U, 1957. P. 45].

If Immanuel Kant had taken a grasp of Descartes’ mathematics, he might have reached a universal theory of language which he would term metaphysical, and have abandoned his concept of the Noumena!

If Wittgenstein had seen that “The general form of the proposition is the essence of a proposition.” ^2 without contradicting himself, he might also have been led to imitate Rene Descartes. Of course, with Wittgenstein there is nothing to do but learn, but how little learning there is! It is as if Wittgenstein were communicating the dreams of Strunk & White.

[2. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.“ Major Works. Basil Blackwell, trans. New York: Harper Perennial, 1958, 2009].

If Isaac Newton had known that an object pushed by a slanting surface can gain altitude if the slope is less than the sharpness of the vertical, then he might have thought about perpetual motion machines instead of cannons and prisms!

How different if LeFebvre’s genius in The Production of Space(^3) had been turned towards logical theories, as opposed to those native to social science!

[3. LeFebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Donald Nicholson-Smith, trans. Malden: Blackwell, 1991. P. 100].

If Avi Sion had abandoned his Aristotelian study in favor of something more artistic and metaphorical, what a difference there would be.

If Nietzsche’s On the Geneology of Morals were not devoted to the detesting of Jews, but to the development of a logical metaphysics, what a difference there would be.

The above text is now available as an academic article HERE.

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