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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12


Constance

Paranormal Adept
More than a Feeling: Affect as Radical Situatedness
JAN SLABY

INTRODUCTION
Martin Heidegger’s perspective stands out among the many proposals for understanding affect in the phenomenological tradition. One reason for this is that Heidegger is the most thorough anti-Cartesian among the phenomenologists. He rigorously disbands affectivity from notions of psychological interiority, inner states, or other individualist allegiances, construing affect instead as a form of being open to the world in a radical sense. Another reason is that Heidegger places affect in the thick of everyday social and interpersonal commerce—within the warp and weft of all our days. With this orientation, he manages to combine a sense for ordinary comportment and experience—a phenomenological and cultural analysis of the everyday—with a profound sense for the ontological depths of human existence. Rarely have the mundane and the metaphysical been so thoroughly co- articulated; and yet Heidegger works from an acute sense of the massive discordance between these two distinct but interwoven layers of existence. Despite this promising outlook, there is much one should take issue with in Heidegger’s work, above all and most strikingly his dubious politics. My way of dealing with this problematic is not the usual one of trying to identify fascistic or proto-fascistic tendencies in Heidegger’s philosophy (I made a start at that elsewhere, see Slaby forthcoming). Rather, in the final section of this article, I will indicate how the perspective on affect and historicity developed here might help us turn Heidegger’s insights against his own putative political orientation. I will mainly focus on two aspects of Heidegger’s view, as these might help orient critical work on affect in philosophy and the humanities today.

I elaborate these points for the most part by way of an exegetical engagement with key passages from Being and Time. But ultimately, the position articulated here will be largely independent of Heidegger’s own concerns, that is, fundamental ontology. What matters for the present approach is the clarification of two interrelated points that can inform current work on affect independently of how one stands toward the project of Being and Time. The first point concerns the synchronic situatedness of affect. On the reading proposed here, affectivity must be construed as the radical situatedness of an agent in their factual surroundings. An important consequence of this is that affectivity cannot be restricted to what is currently felt or otherwise apprehended. The reach of affective disclosure outruns what is consciously registered at a given moment so that there “is” at all times more “in” affectivity than one is presently aware of or actively in touch with. This has consequences for understanding affective intentionality and for addressing questions as to the appropriateness of affective comportment, which points to the more general issue of the normativity pertaining to affect. Second, this affective situatedness crucially encompasses temporality. It is a situatedness in time, a diachronic situatedness that crucially reigns over synchronic situatedness. More than that, what affectivity gets us in touch with is the concrete past—lived, ongoing history—insofar as this past continues to weigh on and sets the stage for present and future comportment. Against the prioritizing of the present in many approaches to affect, Heidegger helps us appreciate the massive extent to which affect is, almost literally, a thing of the past. Affect is a central conduit for how the past prevails within the texture of the present—for how it comes to matter again and again in ongoing comportment.

The article is structured as follows. I begin by summarizing the gist of Heidegger’s approach to affectivity, focusing on the term Befindlichkeit and its translations into English (Section 2). Next, I elucidate what Heidegger means by “thrownness,” suggesting an understanding in terms of radical situatedness (Section 3). Then I discuss Katherine Withy’s concept of “disclosive posture,” as it can help appreciate the sense in which affect encompasses both, a type of comportment (posture) and a way of being in touch with the world that radically outstrips any sense of cognitive grasp, representational uptake, or consensual sense-making (disclosure) (Section 4). In the last two sections, I deal with the temporal dimension of affectivity, first by revisiting some key themes from Division II of Being and Time (Section 5), and then, in closing, by suggesting ways to move forward with forms of affect and emotion research that are mindful of the past’s continuous weighing on the present (Section 6). . . ."

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11097-018-9596-5.pdf
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
"Your total state of subjective consciousness is not generated by your conscious mental action at all (though of course it may have mental actions as a component). The subject's file on itself, if it is to contribute to the explanation of subjectivity, must be regarded as operating on representations which are precursors of the representations that underlie conscious events and states, on pain of misrepresenting consciousness and phenomenology."

Amazon.com: The Mirror of the World: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness (Context & Content) (9780199699568): Christopher Peacocke: Books

Peacocke's ramifying statement quoted above from The Mirror of the World is developed in this paper of his available in a pdf published in a different book, at:

http://cpeacocke.net/subjects-and-consciousness.pdf

ETA; Unfortunately the above link to the paper entitled "Subjects and Consciousness" is not available in the U.S. I did have access to it the other night but wasn't able to finish it. Hope to contact Peacocke and ask him to make it available at academia.edu.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
@Pharoah, I'm unable to open the above text from here in the US and wonder if you are able to locate in the UK another online site that provides the pdf of this text without such restrictions? Thanks for checking this out. :)

ps, it seems that Peacocke's publisher must be responsible for the restrictions on the text I want, titled "Subjects and Consciousness," because much of it is included in the book The Mirror of the World: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness. Seems unreasonable to me.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Notice at academia.edu of a new book by Michel Bitbol in a German translation from the original French. I hope someone is preparing an English translation:

HAT DAS BEWUSSTSEIN EINEN URSPRUNG?
Michel  Bitbol
Michel Bitbol

This German translation of my book "La conscience a-t-elle une origine?" (Flammarion, 2014) has just been published.

"Abstract: This book addresses in a non-conventional way the question of whether it is possible to reduce consciousness to a neural process. The reader is invited to participate to the inquiry, not only as a pure thinker, but also as a fully committed living being, able to become aware of herself. Indeed, the key of the enigma might well be the fact that the question of the origin of consciousness originates in consciousness.

The investigation relies not only on phenomenology and metaphysics, but also on contemplative practices, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory. In the course of it, each statement about consciousness is exposed to two nagging questions: For whom is this statement valid, and in what state of consciousness do you have to be, in order to become convinced by it? The goal is not to pit theories against each other, but rather to draw them back to the existential attitudes to which they owe their power of persuasion. It turns out that cognitive neuroscience has a lot to contribute when it comes to reflexivity and self-knowledge. But pure experience is the exclusive domain of the phenomenological and contemplative attitudes."

HAT DAS BEWUSSTSEIN EINEN URSPRUNG?

In the meantime, we have this paper by Bitbol which seems to cover the basis of his thinking as expressed in the book:

http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/4007/1/ConsciousnessPrimaryArt2.pdf
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept

The Painter in the Head: A New Fallacy?

“... Several attempts to resist this slide have of course arisen, such as the embodiment movement, the theory of a ‘user interface’ which symbolically ‘mirrors’ only some aspects of the external world, and the ‘controlled hallucination’ compromise in which the flow from outside somehow ‘guides’ the hallucinated experiences. The notion of such bottom-up and top-down processes interacting is, however, also central to modern mainstream cognitive psychological and neuroscientific theories (‘indirect’ perception). Further, the ‘mirror world’ is constructed via ‘probing’ and feedback, giving a form of ‘hypothetical realism’ (Koenderink, 2015) – yet how is this different from Richard Gregory’s (and others’) ‘perceptual hypotheses’? All this leaves me wondering: Where is the radical shift in our thinking that is currently claimed, by certain phenomenologically oriented researchers, to be happening in vision research?

For example, the notion that colours do not exist in the outside world but are purely phenomenal experiences is actually already present within one of the core theoretical foundations of cognitive science – the idea that mental states and experiences are arbitrary symbols. It does not matter what an experience of ‘red’ is like, for any individual, so long as it is the same whenever the appropriate functional role is called for. The inner symbol for ‘red’ may be arbitrary, just as it is arbitrary which word we use to refer to this colour or to an object of this colour such as a ripe tomato (Fodor, 1975, 2008; Schneider, 2011). What is the difference between the so-called ‘user interface’ idea that phenomenal red is like a symbolic icon in an inner computer interface signifying affordances for action, and the cognitive theory that phenomenal red symbolically represents a file of information or knowledge about ‘red’ objects which can be used for various functional purposes?1Yet, this mainstream cognitive theory is exactly one that the new phenomenologists eschew with vigour as the opposite of what they believe.

The longer I work in this field, the more I wonder if we are all converging on the same truths. We start from very different fundamental assumptions – about reality, the nature of mind and perception (e.g., Rose, 2006; Rose and Brown, 2015; Zavagno et al., 2015) – so we express ourselves in a variety of specialised terminologies, which can lead to mutual incomprehension. Yet in the end, won’t our apparently conflicting views, on the nature of perception and how it works overall, turn out to be merely different perspectives on the same underlying mechanisms?”
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
... The longer I work in this field, the more I wonder if we are all converging on the same truths. We start from very different fundamental assumptions – about reality, the nature of mind and perception (e.g., Rose, 2006; Rose and Brown, 2015; Zavagno et al., 2015) – so we express ourselves in a variety of specialised terminologies, which can lead to mutual incomprehension. Yet in the end, won’t our apparently conflicting views, on the nature of perception and how it works overall, turn out to be merely different perspectives on the same underlying mechanisms?”
I think your bold paragraph ( above ) hits the nail on the head in some cases, while in others the concepts are divergent rather than convergent.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
The brief paper @Soupie links seems to be an editorial introduction to a journal issue or perhaps a book. @Soupie , can you link us to the text it precedes, or perhaps the table of contents? I find the bibliography to be intriguing and am following up on the works cited there. I'm glad you posted the paper and hope it might revitalize discussion here.

Here is a NDPR review of the first reference in the paper's bibliography, a book by Lee Braver entitled A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism, which might be a helpful orientation for us to issues raised by @Soupie's linked paper.

A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
@USI Calgary, what are 'push notifications' and why should one enable them? Thanks.
Push notifications are alerts associated with an application. I don't know what they're used for here. I've never played with the feature. I would imagine however it could do something like notify you of an update or reply to a message you've created, or a thread you are following. They are different than a browser popup in that they're able to send messages to cellular phones that have the associated app installed, and can popup whether you're using the app at the moment or not. A typical popup requires that the app be open first.

I don't allow them unless the site is one I regularly use ( e.g. Gmail ). I've enabled them for me here and have never received anything, but I don't use a cellphone either, so maybe that's why. I am generally leery of them because they're used heavily for marketing. They're essentially a supercharged popup, but tend to be more discreet than ones that take up a sizable portion of your screen, and can also be more useful than a simple advertisement.
 
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Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
@Pharoah, I'm unable to open the above text from here in the US and wonder if you are able to locate in the UK another online site that provides the pdf of this text without such restrictions? Thanks for checking this out. :)

ps, it seems that Peacocke's publisher must be responsible for the restrictions on the text I want, titled "Subjects and Consciousness," because much of it is included in the book The Mirror of the World: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness. Seems unreasonable to me.
I’m drawing a blank on this too.
Btw I’m doing a presentation of my paper at biosemiotics conference in Moscow in July!
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Shall we talk again about emergence? Here are two papers we might begin with:

1. A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts
Natalie Wolchover

Extract: ". . . The work on causal emergence is not yet widely known among physicists, who for centuries have taken a reductionist view of nature and largely avoided further philosophical thinking on the matter. But at the interfaces between physics, biology, information theory and philosophy, where puzzles crop up, the new ideas have generated excitement. Their ultimate usefulness in explaining the world and its mysteries — including consciousness, other kinds of emergence, and the relationships between the micro and macro levels of reality — will come down to whether Hoel has nailed the notoriously tricky notion of causation: Namely, what’s a cause? “If you brought 20 practicing scientists into a room and asked what causation was, they would all disagree,” DeDeo said. “We get mixed up about it. . . .”

A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts


2. Delegated Causality of Complex Systems
Raimundas Vidunas

Abstract: "A notion of delegated causality is introduced here. This subtle kind of causality is dual to interventional causality. Delegated causality elucidates the causal role of dynamical systems at the “edge of chaos”, explicates evident cases of downward causation, and relates emergent phenomena to Gödel’s incompleteness theorem. Apparently rich implications are noticed in biology and Chinese philosophy. The perspective of delegated causality supports cognitive interpretations of self-organization and evolution. Keywords Causality · Emergence · Reductionism · Self-organization · Yin and Yang

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10516-018-9377-3?wt_mc=alerts.TOCjournals&utm_source=toc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=toc_10516_29_1
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I meant to post a few weeks ago a link to this paper concerning Merleau-Ponty's distinction between speaking language and spoken language:

SPEAKING AND SPOKEN SPEECH
Thomas Baldwin

Extract: ". . . Merleau-Ponty is here introducing a distinction which thereafter runs
through all his discussions of language. His terminology is varied, but, as in the
notes just quoted, it is clear that he thinks of himself as characterising one and
the same distinction in different ways. His favoured description of it comes
towards the end of the chapter on speech, as a distinction between ‘speaking
speech’ (parole parlante) and ‘spoken speech’ (parole parlée), and I will take
these as labels for the two clusters of opposed terms. So ‘speaking’ speech is, as
we see in the passages quoted above, ‘authentic’ and ‘first-hand’; it is later
described in the Phenomenology of Perception as ‘transcendental’ (PhP, 390/454),
and in the essay ‘Science and the Experience of Expression’ (in The Prose of the
World
) Merleau-Ponty writes of it also as ‘operative’ (operant) and ‘constituting’
(constituant) (PW, 14; see p. 10 for explicit use of the ‘speaking’/‘spoken’ dis-
tinction, applied now to language [langage] and not speech, to introduce this
discussion). By contrast ‘spoken’ speech is, as we see above, ‘second-hand’6 and
‘empirical’. It is characteristic of speech as an ‘institution’ in which we make
only ‘commonplace utterances’ with ‘ready-made meanings’ (PhP, 184/214): so
it is ‘constituted speech’ (PhP, 184/214). . . ."

SPEAKING AND SPOKEN SPEECH
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
A fuller treatment of the same subject:

Human Studies
September 2018, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 415–435 | Cite as

Hayden Kee, Phenomenology and Ontology of Language and Expression:
Merleau-Ponty on Speaking and Spoken Speech

Abstract: "This paper clarifies Merleau-Ponty's distinction between speaking and spoken speech, and the relation between the two, in his Phenomenology of Perception. Against a common interpretation, I argue on exegetical and philosophical grounds that the distinction should not be understood as one between two kinds of speech, but rather between two internally related dimensions present in all speech. This suggests an interdependence between speaking and spoken aspects of speech, and some commentators have critiqued Merleau-Ponty for claiming a priority of speaking over spoken speech. However, there is a sense in which Merleau-Ponty is right to emphasize the priority, namely, in terms of the ontological priority of the speaking subject with respect to language understood as a constituted cultural ideality. The latter only maintains its ontological status insofar as it is taken up by a language community. I favorably contrast Merleau-Ponty's views on this question to those of the late Heidegger and de Saussure, and suggest potential applications of this clarified position for contemporary discussions in philosophy of language."

Phenomenology and Ontology of Language and Expression: Merleau-Ponty on Speaking and Spoken Speech


Note: I think I linked a two-page extract from this paper a week or two ago, but now the author has made the entire paper available at academia.edu at this new link..
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Ted Toadvine, Ecological Aesthetics

"The emerging subdiscipline of ecological aesthetics concerns the aesthetic appreciation of the world in its entirety, including both the natural and built environments, and is consequently the broadest category of aesthetics. This area of study emerged as a distinct field in the latter half of the twentieth century, although its historical roots may be traced to eighteenth century British and Scottish theories of natural aesthetics, especially their treatment of the picturesque in landscape painting, which culminated in Kant’s analysis of the beautiful and sublime in nature. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, aesthetic theory tended to focus almost exclusively on artworks and other objects of human design. But encouraged by increasing concern with environmental issues among philosophers and the general public, a new interest in the aesthetics of nature and its relationship to the built environment has emerged over the last several decades. Ecological aesthetics today incorporates studies of the aesthetics of nature, including natural objects and larger wholes such as ecosystems, gardens and landscape architecture, environmental and earth art, architecture and urban planning, and the relations between the different modes of aesthetic appreciation appropriate to these different domains. This extension of aesthetic consideration to both natural and built environments has led to a reconsideration of traditional aesthetic categories and of central tenets of aesthetic theory.

Explicitly phenomenological work in ecological aesthetics is still in its infancy, but the insights of many of the major figures in the tradition are applicable to this new field of study. EDMUND HUSSERL's concept of intentionality and his descriptions of the intuitively given experiential lifeworld, for example, provide a concrete framework for understanding aesthetic experience as a basic and pervasive quality of everyday life.
MARTIN HEIDEGGER’s appreciation of the role of earth in the formation of the artwork, his critique of the enframing character of modern technology, and his description of poetic dwelling as an alternative to
modern technological civilization suggest parallels with contemporary environmental concerns and a critique of the humanistic limits of modern aesthetic theory. MAX SCHELER proposes the aesthetic value of nature as a paradigmatic example of the nonrelativity of values. MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY’s investigations of embodied perception and his later ontology of flesh hold implications for the epistemological and meta-physical foundations of an environmental aesthetics ,and many of his writings on art address the relationship between the painter’s vision and our perceptual experience of nature. MIKEL DUFRENNE recognizes in pure aesthetic experience an incipient phenomenological reduction that brings to the fore the intentional bond between subject and world, suggesting the particular appropriateness of the phenomenological approach for formulating a general aesthetic theory. His description of aesthetic objects as expressive 'quasi-subjects' and of the sensuous as a common act of the sensing and the sensed also pave the way for an elaboration of aesthetics into a philosophy of nature.

ARNOLD BERLEANT, a leading figure in the development of a specifically ecological aesthetics, has been the strongest proponent of the phenomenological approach in this field. His 'aesthetics of engagement',
inspired by Husserlian intentionality and Merleau-Ponty’s descriptions of embodied experience, challenges core assumptions of traditional aesthetics. According to Berleant, the 'doctrine of disinterestedness' that pervades aesthetic theory entails the separation of a spectator, conceived as passive and primarily visual, from an aesthetic object lacking any practical connections with the wider natural and cultural context (Berleant 1988: 1992). In contrast, he holds that the human perceiver is embedded in the aesthetic environment and continuously interacts with it in an active, engaged, and multisensory fashion. This 'participatory model' of aesthetic experience treats the environment as 'a field of forces continuous with the organism, a field in which there is a reciprocal action of organism on environment and environment on organism and in which there is no real demarcation between them' (Berleant 1988: 93). This general model of aesthetic experience is equally applicable, he suggests, to works of art, the built environment, and the natural environment. . . ."

Ecological Aesthetics (2010)
 

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