For Logical Positivists, such as A.J.Ayer, the only statements that can be verified are those that are analytic. According to Ayer, they cannot be confirmed or refuted by facts of experience, and "do not make any assertion about the empirical world, but simply record our determination to use symbols in a certain way."Read More
According to the Lucretian account of chaos falling into order by the chance concourse of atoms -- Sometimes, wrote Lucretius, at uncertain times and places, the eternal, universal fall of the atoms is disturbed by a very slight deviation - the "clinamen." The resulting vortex gives rise to the world, to all natural things.Read More
For Georges Bataille, (sexual)"Reproduction implies the existence of discontinuous beings." (Erotism, p.12) Each being is distinct from all others, including its parents, who are distinct from each other. For Bataille death means the continuity of being and is brought into play by reproduction. Death is the end of discontinuous being, of the being formed at the moment when the discontinuous entities of sperm and egg unite to form a new continuity, when two become one, and a new entity is formed from the fatal fusion. The fascination with both reproduction and death is the dominant element in Eroticism.Read More
For Kant, The power of judgement is a mediating element between (theoretical) understanding and (practical) reason, between concepts of nature and concepts of freedom (natural philosophy and moral philosophy, the sensible and the supersensible), between the is and the ought.Read More
A prisoner, in his cell, kneeling at prayer before the central inspection tower. "morals reformed -- health preserved -- industry invigorated --instruction diffused -- public burthens lightened -- Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock .... all by a simple idea in architecture." Jeremy BenthamRead More
For Henri Bergson, duration is not an objective mathematical unit, but the subjective perception of space-time. Bergson believed that the conventions of scientific practice were incompatible with lived experience. In his "Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness" (1889), Bergson argued that experience viewed as a succession of separate, thinglike states is no less an abstraction from lived consciousness than time as measured by the hands of a clock. Both are fundamentally spatial. Lived consciousness, on the other hand, is a spatiotemporal continuum, "like a mutual penetration, a solidarity, an intimate organization of elements, each of which is representative of the others and neither distinguished from nor isolated by abstracting thought." (see also memory)Read More
a dynamical system consists of a space, or manifold, where the motion of the system takes place, and a rule of motion, or vector field. The starting point is called the initial state, and the path of motion the trajectory. The end point of a trajectory is the system's attractor.
Emergence refers to the appearance of patterns of organization and is one of the key concepts of complexity and a-life.It is sometimes referred to as a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, because it cannot be analyzed by taking the parts apart and examining them separately. One reason for this is that in a complex phenomenon showing emergent properties, the parts become a determining context for each other, and these patterns of feedback contribute to the appearance of the emergent phenomenon. For Michael Polanyi, " Evolution can be understood only as a feat of emergence."Read More
In the late nineteenth century, the concept of Einfühlung , as "feeling into," was proposed by Rudolph Lotz and Wilhelm Wundt. E. G. Tichener, a student of Wundt, coined the English translation "empathy" in 1910, using the Greek root pathos for feeling and the prefix em for in. Empathy was developed as an aesthetic theory in the work of Theodore Lipps and others.Read More
"In the late work of the painter is the fold / of that which comes to presence and of presence itself / become simple, 'realized.' healed, / transfigured in an identity full of mystery. / Does a path open up here, that leads to the co- / belonging of poetry and thought?" From Martin Heidegger, "Cezanne." in Gedaches, quoted in Agamben, Stanzas, p 158, n.)
"A structure is a regularized infolding of an aleatory outside." (Brian Massumi, p. 58) (see inside / outside ) For Gilles Deleuze, the Baroque is an operative function endlessly producing folds. These operations occur on two levels: the pleats of matter and the folds of the soul. What is the connection between the two? Correspondence, communication, or a fold between two folds?
Is there an independent problem of form, for which biology must develop its own concepts and methods of thought? The Pre-Darwinian project of rational morphology was to discover the "laws of form," some inherent necessity in the laws which governed morphological process. It sought to construct what was typical in the varieties of form into a system which should not be merely historically determined, but which should be intelligible from a higher and more rational standpoint. (Hans Driesch, 1914, p. 149)Read More
Kant's aesthetic is based on a distinction between reason's requirements for determinate concepts, and the indeterminate, yet universal quality of aesthetic judgement. For Kant, natural beauty is the prime paradigm, because it is not a product guided by concept (a design). Yet when we judge nature aesthetically, we impute the "mere" form of cognisibility to it. In Kant's terminology, the aesthetic judgement of nature requires that we think of nature as "purposive without purpose."Read More
My dialectical method is, in its foundations, not only different from the Hegelian, but exactly opposite to it. For Hegel, the process of thinking, which he even transforms into an independent subject, under the name of 'the idea', is the creator of the real world, and the real world is only the external appearance of the idea. With me, the reverse is true: the ideal is nothing but the material world reflected in the mind of man, and translated into forms of thought." Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1,Preface to the Second Edition. (p.102) (see ideal / real )Read More
"My dialectical method is, in its foundations, not only different from the Hegelian, but exactly opposite to it. For Hegel, the process of thinking, which he even transforms into an independent subject, under the name of 'the idea', is the creator of the real world, and the real world is only the external appearance of the idea. With me, the reverse is true: the ideal is nothing but the material world reflected in the mind of man, and translated into forms of thought." Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1,Preface to the Second Edition. (p.102)Read More
The word "ideology" was originally coined by Count Destutt de Tracy, a French rationalist philosopher of the late eighteenth century to define a "science of ideas." For de Tracy, ideology formed "a part of zoology" (i.e. biology) The concept of ideology was developed in Marxian thought as a term through which to articulate the relation between the realm of culture and the realm of political economy. For Marx, the proper method for analyzing concepts is one which retraces the steps from the abstract concept back to its concrete origin.
"If in all ideology men and their relations appear upside-down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-processes as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-processes." Karl Marx, The German Ideology. (note the analogy between physiology in perception and social life in thought, both function as the concrete origins, if not as determinants.)
In Marxist theory, every society is crucially defined by its class structure, by the specific relation between the dominant class and the producing or working class, or proletariat. Societies use the apparatuses of ideology to reconcile its social subjects to their structure, using force only when ideology does not suffice. "A society is possible in the last analysis because the individuals carry around in their heads some sort of picture of that society." (Mannheim) -- "and their place in it." (Kavanagh) (see hegemony ) Thus the disavowal of politics and "ideology" in contemporary liberal culture is precisely ideological, whose social function is to obscure the real processes that found one's social life. As Althusser puts it, "Those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology...Ideology never says 'I am ideological.'" (Lenin and Philosophy, p.175)
Althusser (and Lacan) define ideology as "the representation of the subject's imaginary relationship to his or her Real conditions of existence." (Louis Althusser, "Ideological State Apparatuses", in Lenin and Philosophy.) "Ideology offers the social subject a fundamental framework of assumptions that defines the parameters of the real and the self; it constitutes what Althusser calls the social subject's "'lived' relation to the real." (James H. Kavanagh, "Ideology," in Critical Terms for Literary Study) For Althusser the term Ideological State Apparatuses designates the material existence of ideology in ideological practices, rituals, and institutions.
Ideology is not simply "false consciousness," however, nor can any society dispense with it.
Henri Lefebvre aks "What is an ideology without a space to which it refers? ...What would remain of the Church if there were no churches?" (p.44) For Lefebvre, "Ideology per se might well be said to consist primarily in a discourseupon social space.
For Michel de Certeau, "Denial of the specificity of the place (of production) is the very principle of ideology." ("The Historiographical Operation") "By moving discourse into a non-place, ideology forbids history from speacking of society and of death -- in other words, from being history." (p69) "If religion is one form of ideology, it is also the form of every ideology. Only the religious illusion may found that of a perfect autonomy, characteristic of all ideology." (Sarah Kofman)
Virtuality can be interpreted as ideology, particularly in the characteristic feature of denying its material basis.
"We are indebted to Pascal...for the wonderful formula which will enable us to invert the order of the notional schema of ideology. Pascal says, more or less: 'Kneel down, move your lips in prayer, and you will believe.' " (Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" in Zizek, Mapping Ideology, p. 127) Slavoj Zizek glosses this passage to say "kneel down and you shall believe you knelt down because of your belief. ...that the 'external' ritual performatively generates its own ideological foundation." (Intro, pp 12-13)
Another version of this apparent reversal of cause and effect can be seen in descriptions of the physical expression of emotional states. Not only is expression (such as breathing rate, tension of the facial muscles etc.) the physical manifestation of a mental process, but the emotion can be stimulated by the physical expression itself.
Albert Einstein described the motives for scientific study as a need to construct a satisfactory image of the world: "Man seeks to form for himself, in whatever manner is suitable for him, a simplified and lucid image of our world, and so to overcome the world of experience by striving to replace it to some extent by this image. This is what the painter does, and the poet, the speculative philosopher, the natural scientist, each in his own way. Into this image and its formation he places the center of gravity of his emotional life, in order to attain the peace and serenity he cannot find within the narrow confines of swirling personal experience." (Quoted in Steven J. Heims, The Cybernetic Group.)Read More
Intuition can be related to empirical, or embodied knowledge. It is also identified with an internal or creative aspect of thought. In the latter sense, intuitionism can be described as a "free doing."Read More
Introducing the revised version fo the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant, in a now proverbial analogy, likened the procedure of his philosophy to that of Copernican astronomy: both propose a change in the position of the observer in order to explain apparently errant or contradictory phenomena.Read More
The prestige of mechanistic physics after Newton led to an extended confrontation between the norms of physics and other areas of science such as biology and psychology. Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophystood as a classical prototype, or canon, by which to judge all subsequent science. Newton's great achievement was to have produced a mathematical theory of nature that provided general solutions based on a rational system of deduction and mathematical inference, coupled with experiment and critical observation. Newtonian mechanics established "universal laws" that explained the movements of the planets, the tides, and whose predictive powers were given an overwhelming demonstration with the appearance of Halley's comet, just as predicted, in 1758, long after both Halley and Newton were dead. Even today, the exploration of space is a straightforward application of classical gravitational mechanics.Read More
How does the physical brain give rise to the psychological mind? How do the laws of mental life emerge from the brain?
The hypothesis of all those who examine the brain as "organ of the mind" is that a close enough analysis of the workings of the brain would, if we also had the key to psychophysiology, lead to a knowledge of consciousness. The psychophysiological hypothesis, at least in its narrow version of it, seeks point-to-point mappings of brain, consciousness, and memory.