An Analysis of the Dilemma of Protagoras and Euathlus and The Librarian's Paradox, Kelly G. Smith ...................................................... 1
Illoucutionary Speech Acts,John W Tucker........... 14
Darwin and Dennett: The Operationalist
Debate and the Teleological Response,
Jonathan Roorda .................................................. 21
Wittgenstein, Lewis Carroll and the Philosophical
Puzzlelnent of Language, Amy L. Kind ..... ........ 33
An Existential Ethical Imperative, Kent A.Lambert ................................................... 43
Kant Revisited, Lisa Bellantoni .............................. 52
An Analysis of the Dileluma of Protagoras and
Euathlus and the Librarian's Paradox
Kelly G. Smith
Niagara University Dilemmas and paradoxes, such as those we will examine here, which might conceivably occur in real-life situations, often capture the attention and imagination in a way that their purely symbolic forms could not. Consequently, students may be surprised to find themselves solving problems which they would not have even attempted had those problems been presented in symbolic form. As such, I think attention should be given to these type of argument and to the variety and complexity of the thinking skills needed to understand and solve them. This paper will fono~ a simple format - divided into three main parts and followed by a conclusion. Parts I and II concern the dilemma of Protagoras and Euathlus and each will make use of a dialogue. Part I will identify the source of the contradictory conclusions involved in the dilemma. Part IT will deal with the practical matter of deciding the case. In Part III, the librarhm's paradox will be discussed. Mention will be made of iL'l relationship to the Protagoras/Euathlus dilemma and to the liar paradox. In the conclusion I will present some finaJ thoughts concerning the role of situational dilemmas and paradoxes, such as those presented here, in the teaching of logic and philosophy, and some advantages they may have over their mathematical counterparts, especially in intrOductory courses.
It should be noted that paradoxes and dilemmas are two closely related types of argument. Dilemmas are often paradoxical. In addition, a paradox can be formulated as a dilemma, and this may facilitate the understanding of the problem. The dilemma of Protagoras and Euathlus, and the librarian's paradox can be seen as both paradoxical and dilemmatic. Part I The dilemma of Protagoras and Euathlusl arose from a lawsuit brought to court in Ancient Greece in the fifUl century B.C. An agreement had been made between the sophist Prolagoras and his student Euathlus concerning the future payment of tuition money. Copi relates the details of the agreement as
2 follows: Eulathus wanted to become a lawyer, but, not being able to pay the required tuition, he made an arrangement according to which Protagoras would teach him but not receive payment until Eulathus won his ftrst case. When Eulathns finished his course of study, he delayed going into practice. Tired of waiting for his money, Protagoras brought suit against his former pupil for the tuition money that was owed. ...Eulathus decided to plead his own case in court. (208) Protagoras presented his case in the form of a simple constructive dilemma, which at first, appeared to be a sound argument: if I win, he has to pay me -
that is the decision of the court. If I lose, he has won his first case, and
therefore has to pay me
that is the stipulation of the contract. I will either
win or lose. Therefore, either way, he must pay me. Euathlus defended himself with a counter-dilemma that had the same strengths and/or weaknesses as the case put forth by his teacher: If I win, I do not have to pay -
that is the decision of the court. If I lose, I will not yet have
won my first case, and therefore, I will not have to pay
that is the stipulation
of the contract. I will either win or lose. Either way, I do not have to pay. Copi puts forth the question, "had you been the judge, how would you have decided?" (209) Before we can address this question, we must discover the source of these contradictory conclusions arrived at by the teacher and student. At first it may seem a perplexing task. But upon a more careful examination, it is not difficult to identify the problem.2 Both the teacher and the student are inconsistent in their positions as to which has supreme authority interests
the court or the contract. When it serves their
supports their position - each will assign supreme authority
alternately to both the court and the contract, which conveniently ignoring the authority or binding force of the other. They contradict themselves. The teacher's position, once again, with hypothetical cross足
Teacher: Either I will or I lose. Either way, he has
to pay me. If 1 lose, he has won his first case, and therefore
must pay me - under the terms of the contract.
Cross-examiner: Yes, but the fact that he has won
means that the court has decided that he does not have to pay.
3 So you must believe that the contract carries more legal weight than does the court. Teacher: As I was saying, if he wins, he has to pay me. And ifI win, he must pay me - by order of the court. Cross-examiner: Ah. but what about the contract still in force - and you yourself understand it to be still in force, for you just used it to support your position. According to the contract, since the student will have lost, he will not yet have won his first case, and therefore would not have to pay you. So now, you are saying that the court carries more weight than the contract. Yet you just gave the opinion that the contract carries more weight than the court. You must realize, as a sophist, that this is a direct contradiction. So your position is that when it's convenient for you to have the court supreme, the court is supreme, and when it is convenient for you to have the contract supreme, the contract is supreme. Is this your argument? Protagoras, you cannot have it both ways. Please explain yourself.
Of course, the student could be cross examined in the same fashion. However, we know the teacher was intentionally trying to mislead the court with his "cleverly devised sophism" (Gellius 1: 409). The student adopted the same for only to defend himself. This type of argument, termed "convertible," has ben referred to by Gellius as "by far the most fallacious," "among fallacious arguments." Such arguments "may be turned in the opposite direction and used against the one who has offered it, and is equally strong for both sides of the question." (Gellius 1: 405) Part II Though we have identified the difficulty as arising from the contradictory premises ofHthe court has precedence over the contract" and "the conlIacl. has precedence over the court," this does not decide the case. The arguments cancel each other out. This leaves the teacher and the student on even footing. Once again, the terms of tJle agreement: "Protagoras would teach him but not receive payment until Eulath us won his first case," Therefore, looking only at what is stated, Euathlus does not have to pay until he has won his first case. At the time Euathlus is Laken to court by his former teacher, he has not yet won his first case, and therefore Protagoras has no grounds to sue him that are
4 rooted in any part of the contract. Protagoras is tired of waiting and therefore takes the student to court. Is there any clause in the agreement that says the student must pay him when he wins his fITst case or when Protagoras grows tired of waiting -
whichever comes first? There is not. Therefore, the student does
not have to pay. The teacher will just have to wait and hope for the best. Some might disagree with this decision. Perhaps there are those who would hold that the contract implicitly requires that the student actually practice law because that is the only way the teacher can be paid back: and therefore, that his failure to practice law constitutes breaking the contract, and, since he has broken the contract, he owes his teacher the tuition. But in this line of argument, these supporters of Protagoras would soon run into difficulties from which they could not extricate themselves, and interestingly, the teacher himself did not use this defense. Let us look at a dialogue in which a man holding this position is cross足 examined by one who wishes to refute his argument. For this dialogue, we will assume the teacher waited one year before taking the student to court. Were I the cross-examiner, I would begin by restating the terms of the agreement, as follows: Cross-examiner: "Protagoras would teach him but not receive payment until Eulathus won his first casc." So it is your position that somewhere in this brief contract, there is an implied requirement that the student must practice as a lawyer, because that is the only way the teacher can be repaid足 something that can be ascertained from the contract itself? And if he does not practice as a lawyer, then he is in violation of the agreement? And since he has broken the contract with his teacher, he owes him the tuition money? Supporter of Protagoras: Yes. Cross-examiner: So, as long as he practices as a lawyer at some point in his life time, he is following the agreement - even if he begins in his old age. Supporter of P: No - for thcn his teacher would be dead by the time the student has to pay the money. He cannot delay indefinitely. Cross-examiner: Ah, so now you are saying that somewhere, implied in this agreement, is the requirement, not only that he must practice as a lawyer, but that he must practice as a lawyer within his teacher's lifetime. Supporter ofP: Yes; of course. Cross-examiner: But surely you know that both
5 teacher and student are alive and well. Therefore, the student, even considering these so-called implied requirements, is now in violation of his agreement. Yet you still feel that the teacher has the right to sue? Supporter of P: Yes. Cross-examiner: So now, your position must be that somewhere, implied in this agreement, are stipulations that the student must practice as a lawyer, within the lifetime of his teacher, and must begin his practice by a certain date within the teacher's lifetime. And yet, there is no such specific date mentioned in the agreement. Supporter ofP: Well, he must begin promptly足 within a reasonable amount of time. Cross-examiner: A reasonable amount of time? So, if he began practicing the day after graduation, he would keep his part of the agreement? Supporter of P: Yes, exactly. Cross-examiner: But, since it has been a year since the student graduated, and he has not yet begun his practice, you would say he was definitely in violation of the agreement. Supporter of P: Yes. Cross-examiner: Well, what of the student decided to take a respite after completing his studies. If he decided to wail three weeks before starting his practice, would he be in violation of the agreement? Supporter of P: Well, no. Cross-examiner: Why? Supporter of P: Because that is a reasonable amount of time. Cross-examiner: And what if he waited six months - would he be in violation of the agreement? Supporter of P: I suppose not, for then his teacher would have brought him to court after six months. Cross-examiner: So he would not be in violation of the agreement. Now what if his teacher thought it perfectly acceptable for him to take time off to travel and see the world - to take two years or three, or ten. According to your line of reasoning, as long as his teacher did not objeet, the studenl still would not violatc his agreement. So according to your argument of implied stipulations, whether or not the student is in violation of his agreement, all depends on the teacher's subjective view of waiting. And, how tired must he be before the student is in violation of his agreement? And how are we to know objectively when the teacher has reached this threshold of tiredness? Do you not see the absurdity. of this
6 mode of argument? Supporter of P: (no reply) Cross-examiner: Now surely you will listen to reason. We can imagine a teacher having a variety of attitudes or reactions to such a situation. What other implications might we "discover" in this agreement, if we had cause to look for them? We can imagine a case in which the teacher would still take the student to court even if he did pay him the money, but, decided not to practice law. Perhaps such a teacher would regard his time as more important than money. He taught, not just to collect a fee, but to form the mind of a young lawyer for the next generation, to carryon the art of argument. In that case, even if the teacher received his tuition, he might still sue him for not practicing law, rendering all his teaching useless intending to penalize him in some way. Taking this position, the teacher would consider the student to have violated his agreement even if he paid the tuition, because he was not practicing as a lawyer. Or we can imagine the teacher having a completely different attitude. He does not expect him to pay the tuition at all. Since the student found the law profession unsuitable to him, for whatever reason, he should not have to pay for it. Since the agreement was that he should pay as soon as he won his first case, we might infer that he should pay because he is beginning to receive the intended benefit from the teacher's instruction a successful law practice and still neglected to pay his tuition. Or, we might infer that the contract is set up this way so that he will pay the teacher when he can afford to. Winning his first case will bring him financial rewards. Therefore, we might conclude that he should pay him back as soon as he can afford to. Under this interpretation, if he should receive a large inheritance the day of graduation, he would have to pay then, even though he has not yet won a case. Could not all these scenarios be compatible with the contract: "Protagoras would teach him but not receive payment until Eulathus won his first case." Do you not see now that these so-called implied requirements are not in fact based on any part of the contract?
As the preceding dialogue illustrates, we could suggest any number of meanings that might have been intended. But it cannot be demonstrated that they are a necessary part of the contract. We must go by the actual wording of the contract itself. As we have seen, when the teacher takes him to court, the student has not even had his first case yet, much less won it. So the student is
7 not in violation of his agreement. Therefore, the teacher had no grounds to sue him. As such, the teacher, by taking the student to court, is violating his part of the agreement in that he is trying to force the student to pay money which, under the terms of the contract, he does not owe. The fact that the student delays going into practice, though unfortunate for the teacher, is not relevant, for there is no stipulation in the agreement that the student must begin his practice immediately or, in fact, begin it at all. The teacher erred in making this assumption without specifically including it in the contract Technically, even with such a stipulation, were the student determined not to pay the teacher, he could begin his practice immediately; but deliberately lose the case and then go into retirement, and therefore, he would not have to pay. The teacher made an unwise agreement. One certainly cannot assume that a student will ever work in the profession for which he has studied, much less that he should begin promptly. We can imagine the disastrous results for our modem day institutions of higher education if the tuition payment plans were arranged according to a similar contract. Though we may have sympathy for the teacher in his predicament, we cannot allow such emotions to obscure the issues at hand. We see that if the contract had contained a requirement that the student begin his law practice by a certain date, there would be no problem. The case would be easy to decide. It is quite apparent UJat the contract as stated is inadequate to protect the financial interests of the teacher. He should never have agreed to such terms. It is not the responsibility of the law to rescue people from the results of there own foolish decisions. It is my opinion that the teacher should accept his losses gracefully and regard the episode as a learning experience. PartIlI In a logical paradox two statements are incompatible or contradictory, yet are apparently both true. "Each is backed by an argument which seems
correct" (Carney 147), A thorough analysis of the librarian's paradox reveals
several interesting facets often ignored or overlooked in brief explanations or
descriptions of the dilemma in which it is often dismissed as a mathematical
enigma or an unlikely and irresolvable practical problem. The version with
which I am acquainted follows.
In every branch library an index is made of the collection of books. Some of the librarians choose to include the title of the index itself in the index.
8 Others decide to leave it out. Duplicates of all the indexes are sent to the central library. The head librarian now wants to make two master indexes of the indexes, one for all those that include themselves, and another for all those that do not include themselves. It seems he has no trouble with the flrst, "The Master Index of All Indexes that Include Themselves," and includes the name of the master index in the master index, for he now has a complete listing of all the indexes that include themselves - the master index itself being one of them. This fIrst part of the librarian's task was not presented as problematic. However, we should note that technically. noting the sequence of events, as he takes up the pen to write in the name of the master index in the master index, he has no valid reason to do so, for at that moment or any moment previous, it was not an index that included itself. His decision to put in the name is based on the foreknowledge that it will be a true statement when it is completed. We see, looking at the fInal result, that this is the case. The inclusion of this title or any title in the index identifies or defines it as an index that includes itself. Translated into a proposition we have: "The Master Index of All Indexes that Include Themselves" is an index that includes itself. And, were we able to examine his book, we could easily verify that it was true. But before the act is accomplished, the librarian has decided to place the title of an index in the master index, which does not include itself, and therefore does not belong there, by definition of the type of index the master index will include. The librarian is thinking, "It does not include itself now, but will, once I have entered the title." The paradox is, that when the librarian flfst touches the pen to the paper, he is beginning to write a falsehood, but by the time he has flnished, he has written a truism. One could say that in writing down the false statement, he simultaneously makes it true. Putting the librarian's mental dilemma and decision aside and regarding only the written record, we might ponder whether or not in the physical act of writing in the title, there at some point occurs a split second of contmdiction an intermediate state - between true and false, or, whether there is simply a fine line between truth and falsity sweeping across the page as the librarian makes a false statement true simply by putting it down in ink. But lest I should stray too far from the subject, such considerations will not be Laken any further here. Now let us take a look at the second part of the problem -
tmditionally presented as paradoxical. The librarian begins to make an index of
9 all indexes that do not include themselves. But he ponders whether or not he should include the title of this master index in the index itself. He soon realizes that if he writes the title in, it will no longer be a index that does not include itself, and therefore will not belong in "The Master Index of All Indexes That Do Not Include Themselves." On the other hand, ifhe leaves it out, then it will be an index that does not include itself, and therefore will belong in the master index. Therefore he will not have a complete listing of all such indexes. The master index claims to be a complete listing, and therefore the index will not be what it is claimed to be. In simplified form: If he leaves the title out, he should put it in; and if he puts it in, he should leave it out. The problem stated in dilemma form: If I include the title, it will no longer be an index that does not include itself, and therefore will not belong in the master index. If I leave it out, the listing will not be complete. I can either include the tide, or leave it out. Therefore I will either have an incorrect entry, or an incomplete index. Interestingly, this side was presented as the paradox while the other was to presented as posing any such dilemma. It is the opposite paradox of the first. The difference is, that in the first case, the end result was a true statement willi no remaining paradox. In this case however, the librarian, as he puts pen to paper in writing down the tille, begins to write a true statement; but when he finishes, it is false. As a pmcticnl maUer, what should the librarian do? Where I in his place, I would conclude that including 01e title would be more objectionable thalleaving it out. It seems that an error of omission is less critical. To include the title would be to define it as something it is not - a direct contradiction - a false statement. The index would then properly belong in the other volume, "Master Index of Indexes That Include Themselves." If it is left out, at least all the individual entires are correct and belong in the books. And, leaving the title out presents no problem as the book is being compiled. for iL is not yet finished, and therefore, nol part of the collection. Only when it is put on the shelf does the difficulty arise. For then, one books which meets the criterion for inclusion will be absent. A lillle explanatory text in the preface would suffice to eliminate the contradiction by slightly redefining what the master index will include, thought it will not resolve the dilemma: "The Master Index of Indexes That Do Not Include Themselves" includes all such indexes excepting the Master Index itself. There is no way to solve the paradox as stated. The selection of either
10 option results in a false claim. It is impossible to satisfy both conditions - that every index included is one that does not include itself, and that all such indexes
be included. Carny presents an explanation of the resolution of this type of paradox:3 From the assumption that it is possible to have an index of all indexes that do not include themselves, we are able to deduce a contradiction. Thus the assumption that there could be such an index is false. The difficult is, that in specifying the criteria the master index must fulfill, "we unwittingly make them impossible, thereby eliminating the possibility" that such an index could exist (148) He also states that arguments, "which establish a surprising but true conclusion, are called veridical paradoxes" (149). Clearly the, the librarian's paradox is veridical, for our analysis established the surprising but true conclusion that there could be no such index - one that includes all those, and only those, indexes that do not include themselves. The problem in the librarian's paradox deals with self-reference. To satisfy one of the two necessary conditions, the index would have to refer to itself and in so doing, makes it impossible to satisfy the second condition. There is an element of self-reference in the case of Pro tagoras and Euathius. What is the relationship between tile case brought to court, and the case referred to in the contract (the first case Euathlus should win)? If we Hccept Protagorns' position and Euathlus wins, then the case about the contract will be the same case referred to in the contract - the first case won by Euathlus. Then the case brought to court, since it refers to the contract, would be referring to itself, since it itself would be a component part of that contract - the first case Euathius wins, mentioned in the contract. The liar paradox in not veridical, yet it is related to the librarian's paradox in that they both deal with self-reference. I will not attempt an in-depth discussion of tile liar paradox, but briefly state: "This sentence is false." Is the preceding sentence true or false? If it is true, then what it states must actually be the case, therefore it is in fact false. If it is false, then it is false that the sentence is false, then therefore it must be true. So if it is true, it is nllse; and if it is false, then it is true. (Carney 149-150) We might gain some further insight by breaking the sentence down into its components (subject and predicate). "This sentence" is the subject, and "is false" is the predicate. But we see, that once the sentence is broken down into
11 its separate components, there is no longer any corresponding reality to which the subject can refer. The sentence no longer exists. It has been separated into two phrases. The phrase, "This sentence," is only meaningful if left in its original context. The sentence may be though of as a self-contained closed system. It functions as its own subject, and is therefore indivisible if the subject
is to have meaning. In writing the sentence, when we put down the phrase "This sentence," there is no existing sentence to which it refers; but when we fmish, there is. We create the reality as we write the sentence. The liar paradox is of great importance in 20th Century logic, for the inconsistencies found within it, as well as some of the solutions proposed to it, raise questions about or threaten traditional modes of reasoning (Carney 150) and fundamental theorems in math and logic (Anderson 10). For example, one solution involves rejecting all self-referential sentences. However, "the difficulty with such a stance is that some of the most profound arguments in logic involve self-reference," and not all self-reference leads to contradiction (Anderson 8). Interestingly, one suggested solution to the liar paradox seems reminiscent of a solution offered by Carney to the Protagoms/Euathlus case: The most commonly accepted "solution" to semantic paradoxes such as the liar paradox makes use of the "levels of language" distinction. ... The language used to talk about some other language is considered to be on a higher levclthan the language talked about. They require that sentences asserting the truth or falsity of a given sentence be placed in a language at least one level higher than the given sentence.4 (Kahane 314) One possible solution is to argue that the trial is about the payment arrangement whether the arrangement has been violated. Thus this case, the one being tried, should not be considered as one falling under the terms of the arrangement. Thus Protagoras' second conditional premise is false. (Carney 143) In sum. language used to tl.llk about another language is on a different level
a higher lcvel- than the language talked about. As such, the sentence
on the higher level would have supremacy over the sentence on the lower level. Therefore, self-referential sentences such as that of the liar paradox, which
12 function as both a lower and higher level of language, will be rejected as meaningless (Kahane 314). And, concerning the Protagoras/Euathlus dilemma, the case that is about the contract cannot be considered to qualify as the case referred to in the contract. So it seems we have come full circle in our discussion -
form an ancient dilemma, to a problem of 20th century logic, and
back again. In Conclusion The librarian's paradox, like the dilemma of Protagoras and Euathlus, may not be on the cutting edge of philosophical enquiry, but in this writer's opinion, they, and other similar, hypothetical cases have a particular contribution to make to the development of critical thinking. Because they are presented as practical dilemmas occurring in real-life situations, students may fmd these scenarios more interesting and easier to grasp than the more abstract theories behind them. To weave a story into and around the basic symbolic form does not compromise the underlying principles involved. It does make the study of logic more interesting, and less threatening. As stated in the introduction, many students would be astounded to see the symbolic formulas that correspond to problems they were able to solve in verbal form. And, with such knowledge, perhaps they will be less intimidated by symbolic logic. In addition, they contain situations about which students are not likely to have strong feelings. By using neutral topics in introductory studies in logic and philosophy, a student's thinking skills can be allowed to develop without the distracting and often destructive influence of emotionally charged topics. Hopefully, the student will have accepted certain logical procedures or rules by the time he or she is ready to apply these principles to other areas of philosophy, such as ethics or philosophy of religion, in which the student's emotions are apt to interfere. It is my hope that teachers will continue to make use of these time足 honored and valuable tools.
13 Works Cited Anderson, Alan Ross. "St. Paul's Epistle tp Titus." The Paradox of the Liar. Ed. Robert L. Martin. New Haven: Yale UP, 1970. 1-11. Carney, James Donald and Richard K. Scheer. Eundamentals Of Logic. New York: Macmillan, 1974. Copi, Irving M. Introduction to Logic. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1968. Gellius, Aulus. The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius. 3 vols. Trans. John C. Rolfe. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1946. Kahane, Howard. Logi!;; and Philosophy. Belmon: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1973.
lIt appears there are several spellings of the name Euathlus. I have adopted the version used by Gellius, except in direct quotations. 2'fhe solution I propose is quite similar to that offered by Lewis Carroll in his book, Symbolic Logic. However, my conclusions were arrived at independently, before I became aware of Carroll's work. 3Camey's explanation refers specifically to another paradox which, like that of the librarian, is veridical. I have applied the same form to the resolution of the librarian's paradox. 4Not all philosophers accept the levels of language solution. (Kahane 315)
Illocutionary Speech Acts John W. Tucker
My aim in this paper is to examine closely the concept and institution of promising as it is used in ordinary language and speech act philosophy. This will be accomplished by 1) discussing the major tenets of speech act philosophy as developed by J. L. Austin J.R. Searle, 2) analyzing Derrida's critique, and 3) applying this critique specifically to Searle's account of the act of promising. In ~ ~ John Searle gives an Austinian account of language in which speaking a language is "engaging in a rule-governed form of behavior" (pg. 22). Speech act philosophy, then, is the analysis of these ac ts and the rules that govern them. For Searle the speech act is the basic unit of linguistic communication. It is not the symbol or token itself that is basic, but the production or issuance of that symbol or token. At the heart of the speech act, then, is the utterance, the performance of the act itself. One specific type of speech act is what Austin calls the performative ullerance. What is historically important about Austin's account ofperformatives is that they deviated from the positivistic paradigm that treated only those statements that were verifiably true or false as having sense. A pcrformativc is neiLher true nor false yet we would certainly not conclude that Lhey are nonsense. As its name indicates an utterance of this type can be used to J,lt:<rform certain acts such as promising and commanding. In this sense they not only say something, they .dQ something. Austin makes a distinction between locutionary acts and ilIocutionary acts. For example if I say, "The ice is cracked" I am performing the locutionary act of uttering a sentence in English and the illocutionary act of, in this case, warning someone that they had belter not walk on the ice. In this respect the illocutionary act carries with it a certain amount of what we will call iIIocutionary force. In this sense a performative utterance when performed is an ilIocutionary act. For our purposes "pcrformative utterance" and illocutionary act will be used interchangeably. Besides having no truth value. performatives differ from statements of fact in that lhere is a degree of "intention" that couples the utterance. This is not to say that when one utters a statement of fact such as, "The dog is on the table'" one does not "intend" to say it because presumably, under nonnal conditions.
15 one certainly does intend to say it. What differentiates statements of fact from performative utterances, on one level, is the fact that they (the latter) are saturated with intention. In other words, intention is necessary for a speech act to be truly performative. This intention seems to follow from the fact that a performance of an act is involved. Performatives are inherently a statement Qf intention whereas a statement of fact is a statement Qf fact, the structure of which is devoid of any inherent intention, save the intention of the speaker to utter the statement. Illocutionary acts, as we have said, carry some degree of "il1ocutionary force". Referring to this, Norris (1982) states that "performatives involve an intention and a commitment, on the speaker's part, to stand by his words and acknowledge all the obligations they entail" (pg 109). This statement must not be taken to hold for all performatives in the sense that not all performatives are acts of explicit obligation. For example, "Now I pronounce you man and wife" while certainly a perforrnative utterance entails no explicit obligation on the part of the speaker. Illocutionary force, among other things, has to do with the present intention and good faith of the speaker. What happens if the speaker does not mean what he says, and fails to acknowledge any and all obligations entailed? Or, if there is no obligation entailed, what if there is no intention on the part of the speaker (i.e. in a play). For example, what if I made a promise but then said I was just kidding? For Austin the speech act is not "felicitous", A true or serious speech act is subject to conditions. One is that whoever utters it must be in "good faith" or sincere. Others include a "correctness of form and propriety of context" (Norris, 109). If these conditions are not more than the act loses performative status and, for example, a promise would not be completed. The illocutionary act must embody the presence of intention in a certain context. This is unproblematic for the Austinian because in ideal ordinary language the gap between intention and expression is not that large. This suits the speech act philosophers well. For, curiously, they are not concerned with the deviant cases of the speech act. In short, I am only going to deal with a simple and idealized case. This method, one of constructing idealized models, is analogous to the sort of theory construction that goes on in most sciences, e.g., the construction of economic models, or accounts of the solar system which treat planets as points. Without abstraction and idealization there is no systematization. (Searle, 1969).
16 It is at this point that we come to the problems of speech act philosophy, especially as it concerns illocutionary acts. For this we must refer to Jacques Derrida. For Derrida it is just this method of analyzing speech acts that is in itself misleading. This stems from an analysis of the presence of intention. To quote Wittgenstein, "What is the natural expression of an intention1-Look at a cat when it stalks a bird; or a beast when it wants to escape" (PI. 647). What Wittgenstein is reminding us is that the intention is best understood apart from some mental function or entity. Where Derrida finds fault with Austin and Searle is in the condition of a felicitous speech act that requires the speaker to "mean what he says in the sense of being llresentIy involved with his utterance and faithfully intending its import" (Norris, 1982), Derrida's point here is subtle and requires some discussion. The concept of presence is very important for him in general. It is a property of writing, says Derrida, that the reader is absent from the written sign when it is being written and that what is written is communicated in the absence of the writer. In this sense the written sign is subject to repeatability in the absence of the writer. Due to this repeatability the written sign may be subject to a certain drift or stretch in essentiality, context, and meaning. This is what Derrida refers to as the "iterability" of the sign. As this holds for writing so too does it hold for speech. In both cases it is on account of the boundlessness of context. For Derrida meaning is dependent on context but context, to an extent, is independent. While no meaning can be determined out of context, context itself cannot be saturated with meaning. Context itself is always open to further interpretations and misinterpretation, to further discussions as to what would and would not be relevant. This is not to say that any interpretation at any time would be allowed. Derrida argues that the structure of context and of the concept of iterability is such that any repetition, drift, or iteration will always carry with it a trace of meaning in previous context. Thus iterability can be permissive but not without bound. Derrida wants to argue that the grounding of the performative utterance in the present is too limiting. He holds that the acts get their force from institutions that have existed before the speaker employs the speech act. Thus, the institution or concept itself has the property of "iterability", or "its repeatability in principle in a series of tokens that, as distinct spatiotemporal things, to some extent differ from each other" (Staten, 1984). Thus, to Derrida,
difference is just as important as identity. What Derrida argues is that Austin's criteria for felicitous speech acts are inconsistent simply because of their iterability, The iterability ofillocutionary speech acts allows them to work when the "force of intention" is no longer present. This is evidenced by the fact that there is nothing inherent in or about an utterance that would allow us to detennine whether the original intention is there or not. As Wittgenstein points out ..... the most explicit expression of intention is by itself insufficient evidence of intention" (PI 641). The product of the iterability of the illocutionary speech act is the detachability of the "sign" form the intention itself. It is important to keep in mind throughout that Derrida does not for a moment deny the fact that speech acts can function the way Austin and Searle want them to, it is just that their glossing over of the "parasitic" cases is in itself a telling matter. This is an area of great disagreement between Searle and Derrida; Searle holds that in Derrida's criticism of himself and Austin he has severely misunderstood Austin's position on the exclusion of the marginal uses of any certain speech act. The brunt of Searle's argument is that Austin has brushed aside these parasitic cases simply for methodological purposes, not as some sort of "metaphysical" exclusion. Some sort of metaphysical exclusion docs not bother Derrida at this point. It is Austin's method of assuming and beginning with some ideal or pure speech act that is misguided. Such an idealizing is in itself defective to the extent that it is the possibility of borderline cases I1mt is necessary and cannot be ignored. Dcrricia wants to point out U13t these marginal cases are just as essential as the "serious cases", In this sense Dcrrida has found the flaw that tarnishes the idealist method wat Searle originally outlined. We can now consider our illustrative iIlocutionary act, promising, and flush out from the margins that which Searle has chosen to ignore. In ~ Acts Searle outlines the conditions for a promise in good faith, Without great detail it can be summarized as follows, where S is a person, His aperson, P is a proposition, T is the utterancc, and A is an action. 1. Normal input and output conditions obtain 2. S expresses the proposition that Pin U1C utterance ofT. 3. In expressing that P, S predicts a future act A of S. 4. H would prefer S's doing A to his not doing A, and S believes H would prefer his doing A to his not doing A. 5. It is not obvious to bow Sand H that S will do A in the normal course of events.
18 6. S intends that the utterance ofT will make him
responsible for the intending to do A.
7. S intends that the utterance of T will place him under an obligation to do A. 8. S intends to produce the knowledge of (7) in H. 9. The semantical rules of the dialect spoken by Sand H are such that T is correctly and sincerely uttered if and only if conditions 1-8 obtain. (Adapted from ~~, J.R. Searle). My contention is that Searle's formulation is (1) mistaken in many respects and (2) limited in application in its exclusion of marginal cases of promising. One must keep in mind that for the most part Searle seems to forget that "communication is not a closed circuit of exchange where intentions are never mistaken and messages always arrive on time at the appointed place" (Norris, 1987). The iterability of the illocutionary act itself should serve to preclude any analytic formulation of its preconditions, except, of course, if those preconditions can accommodate iterability, which Searle's cannot. Let us see in what way many of Searle's conditions preclude the function of iteration. One of the most interesting is (6), which allows for insincere promises. It is not the case that one must intend to fulfill the promise, one must simply acknowledge the responsibility of intention. What exactly does this mean? Why does Searle
include this instance and not an instance of a promise made on the stage? In this case it seems that the difference lies in the fact that one would be held responsible in the first case and not the last. The difference is ethical. But where can Searle locate the intention? Who is to decide? Certainly not in the explicitness of the language, for it is language's inexplicity that masks intention. For example, what is the difference between the insincere promise and the promise on the stage. Does simply the repetition and absence of presence of the utterance preclude it from being a felicitous speech act? In the case of the actor on the stage are we to say that he is void of intention? What if the script called for him to actually fulfill the promise'! In this case he would certainly intend to fulfill it and would acknowledge this intention. Otherwise he would ruin the play. This brings us to (5). It cannot be obvious that what is promised will take place. What if for instance what the actor promised to do did not take place even though the script said it would. In one sense it would be odd to reproach him by saying, "But you promised!". Yet in an obscure sense he did not do
19 what he promised. With regard to (3) he is certainly predicting some future act. I do not pretend that promising in a play and promising out of the context of a play are indistinguishable, because they are. What I want to point out is that Searle's conditions presuppose the validity of the present intent of the speaker. Another interesting feature of these conditions is the fact that they do not necessitate the utterance of the word "promise". In other words the expression of the promise need not incl ude the world "promise". This is evident in the fact that "I will take you to the store", and "I promise to take you to the store" may each fulfill Searle's conditions. Austin is sympathetic to this concern. Does one seem to have less intention than the other? Certainly not, one either intends or does not intend, one cannot "sort of intend". Wherein lies the difference? Consider the following, "I wil1 take you to the store, I promise". Here "I promise" is added to the end of the sentence, it seems, as an emphasis. Emphasis of what, of intention? In both cases one, supposedly, intends to carry out whatever action. In both cases we have a prediction about the future in that I am predicating of my self that I will do a certain action at a certain time from present. The only thing that differs is the actual words themselves. A Fregian might want to say something to the effect that the sense of the propositions are different. But does this change the degree of responsibility and obligation entailed by each? Why should it and why would it'! It seems in one sense one would want to use the word "promise" when he is very confident (not obvious) that whatever is predicted will come to be, and not use it when the converse is true. Yet this assumes a differing degrcc of responsibility, or for that matter "force" of intention. What I am getting at here is the fact that Searle's formulation in no way necessitates the use of the "iIIocutionary force indicating device," namely the sign "I promise". Where does this leave promising? Searle envisions the illocutionary act as saturated with intent, ideally. Thus expressed, in our example, the utterance and the intention are indistinguishable. What I have tried to indicate specifically, and what Derrida has mentioned generally, is that when one distinguishes utterance from intention than it becomes clear that any attempt to formalize an utterance such as promising as grounded in intention is mislead and incomplete. The anomalies of a speech act themselves serve to undermine its very foundation as a speech act. Especially as in this case it is apparent that the self indenlity of the intention is distinct from the utterance itself. This is only possible when we, like Derrida, recognize the anomaly as a necessary possibility.
20 Works Cited
Norris, C. (1982). Deconstruction: Theory and Practice London: Methuen. Norris, C. (1987). Derrida Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Searle, J.R. (1969). Speech Acts New York: Cambridge University Press. Staten, H. (1984). Wittgenstein and Derrida Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). PhiloswhicaJ Investigations New York: MacMillan Publishing,
Darwin and Dennett:
The Operationalist Debate
and the Teleological Response
Jonathan Roorda Massachusetts Institue ofTechonology "What, Klapaucius, would you equate our existence with that of an imitation kingdom locked up in some glass box?!" cried Tror!. "No, really, that's going too far! My purpose was simply to fashion a simulator of statehood. a model cybernetically perfect, nothing more!" "Trorl! Our perfection is our curse, for it draws down upon our every endeavor no end of unforeseeable consequences!" Klapaucius said in a stentorian voice. "... Don't you see, when the imitator is perfect, so must be the imitation, and the semblance becomes the truth, the pretense a reality! ..." "Sheer sophistry!" shouted Trud, all the louder because he felt the force of his friend's argument. "... The subjects of that monster Excelsius do in fact die when decapitated, sob, fight, and fall in love, since that is how I set the parameters, but it's impossible to say, Klapaucius, that they feel anything in the process the electrons jumping around in their heads will tell you nothing of thatl" "And if I were to look inside your head, I would also see nothing but electrons," replied Klapaucius. "... You say there's no way of knowing whether Excelsius' subjects groan, when beaten, purely because of the electrons hopping around inside - like wheels grinding out the mimicry of a voice 足 or whether they really groan, that is, because they honestly experience the pain? A pretty distinction, this! No, Trod, a sufferer is not one who hands you his suffering, that you may touch it, weigh it, bite it like a coin; a sufferer is one who behaves like a sufferer! II This dialogue from Stanislaw Lem's charming collection entitled The
Cyberiad: Fabies for the Cyberne lic Age, captures perfectly the nature of a debate which has raged for nearly four decades among philosophers, psychologists, and computer scientists. Like Klapaucius' and Trurl's argument,
22 this debate focuses on the precarious status of the inner mental life of human artifacts which exhibit certain aspects of convincingly human behavior. In the real world, however, the artifacts in question are digital simulations not of kingdoms but of individual minds, and they are instantiated not in glass boxes but in the computers which have become such a familiar presence in modern society. This debate over the possibility of expressing true intelligence in terms of a computer program has found its two most eloquent rivals in the legendary war-era British computer scientist Alan Turing and the tenacious Berkeley philosopher John Searle. Their respective papers on artificial intelligence form the antipodal landmarks around which the rest of the debate has been mapped. Fundamentally, however, the differences between Turing and Searle reflect not only upon the specific issues of machine intelligence but upon more basic philosophical and scientific questions which can be traced back to the eighteenth century and to the question of the existence of purpose in the world of natural creation. Like the artificial intelligence debate, this issue had two definitive antagonists, David Hume and William Paley. The intellectual conflict surrounding their works extended into the nineteenth century, when Charles Darwin published his seminal Origin ofSpecies. Like many other debates, the issue of purpose was derailed by the upheaval which followed Darwin's work, as its fundamental assumptions where called into question and eventually fused into the Darwinian synthesis. Today, a new intellectual synthesis seems to be forming, and the antipodes of Turing and Searle are drawn closer together by en inchoate philosophical tradition inspired by Daniel Dennett. Borrowing a page from Darwin, Dennett simultaneously reconciles and dismantles the arguments of Turing and Searle, using precisely the same philosophical mechanism by which Darwin both vindicates and undermines Hume and Paley. Although the idea of artificial intelligence as a serious conceptual possibility dates back to Charles Babbage, its first coherent philosophical expression is found in Alan Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," published in 1950. Turing. at the time a prominent although socially ostracized figure in the developing field of computer science, turns his attention to the question, "Can machines think?" He quickly rejects this formulation of the question as incoherent, pointing out that it contains terms whose extensions are too vaguely defined to be pressed into reputable philosophical service. In his own words, "The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous. If the meaning of the
23 words 'machine' and 'think' are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, "Can machines think?' is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll." Turing insists that the question must be replaced with a second formulation, one which avoids conceptual terms shaded with nuances of interpretation and which relies only on well-defined, observable phenomena. From this basic operationalist stance, Turing proceeds to define his famous Turing test, according to which a human observer interrogates two hidden conversationalists and attempts to ascertain which is a human and which is a computer. The question which Turing considers can now be formulated as "Can a computer be programmed to pass the Turing test?", and Turing devotes the rest of the article to defending his argument that the two questions can be substituted for one another against a wide range of objections. An important point which must be recognized is that Turing does not offer his article as a defense of the ultimate possibility of artificial intelligence. At one point, he surmises that computers with a storage capacity of one thousand megabytes will be able to pass the Turing test by the end of the century; however, he offers no arguments to support this conviction, and he abandons it as merely a tangential point in his essay. As he admits, "The only really satisfactory support that can be given for the view expressed [in favor of artificial intelligence] will be that provided by walting for the end of the century and then doing the experiment described." Instead, Turing seeks to formulate a criterion which can be used to arbitrate the emotionally heated arguments surrounding artificial intelligence in a systematic way. He is less interested in defending the pursuit of artificial intelligence than in devising a mechanism to judge the products of that pursuit. In taking up this challenge, Turing finds himself confronted with the same dilemma which haunted the behavioral psychologists of his day: the seeming necessity of defining mental phenomena in purely observational terms. Turing correctly realizes that an intellectual consensus on machine intelligence can never be reached by appealing to the wildly varying institution which exist on the nature of intelligence: agreement can only be reached by reducing the question to one which can be answered through appeal to accessible, reproducible data. The strength of the Turing Test is that it reformulates the questions of artificial intelligence in a way that simultaneously appeals to our intuitions of linguistic behavior as an exclusive product of human-like intellect, preserves the vagueness inherent in the original
24 question by relying on the judgment of an interrogator, and utilizes a controlled set of experiments with verifiable results. In introducing this mechanism, Turing violates an unspoken philosophical tradition by insisting that our intuitions be forced to conform to our rigid conceptual formulations, rather than
the other way around. Since "at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted," it makes no sense to base philosophical arguments on such malleable intuitions. From Turing's standpoint, the resolution of the artificial intelligence question must derive not from idle speculation concerning the ultimate nature of mental phenomena but from the establishment of a rigid scientific yardstick which permits no ambiguities in verification. For John Searle, on the other hand, such a yardstick can only be an obfuscating device used to promote a degenerate ideology which has captured the minds of computer scientists. In his 1980 paper "Minds, Brains, and Programs," he mounts a scathing attack against "the claims I have defined as those of strong AI, specifically the claim that the appropriately programmed computer literally has cognitive states and that the programs thereby explain human cognition." Although he cites the contemporary programming work of Schank, Winograd, and Weizenbaum as primary targets of his critique, the argument which he develops seems aimed directly at Turing, whom he views as the primary godhead of the artificial intelligence pantheon. Searle's infamous "Chinese room" thought experiment attacks the premises of the Turing test by constructing a hypothetical mechanism, analogous to a digital computer program, which is able to pass the test and yet which seems intuitively to fall short of any reasonable standard of human intelligence. Searle imagines himself confined to a room along with a huge body of un interpreted Chinese characters and a comprehensive set of formal rules for their syntactic manipulation. Native Chinese speakers pass messages written in Chinese to him; heapplies the algorithm to these messages and returns the resulting character sequences, which are actually appropriate responses in fluent Chinese. This system represents a finite program which could in theory be instantiated on a digital computer and which would presumably be able to pass any Turing test administered by a Chinese speaker. Yet, as Searle writes, "it seems to me quite obvious in the example that I do not understand a word of the Chinese stories. I have inputs and outputs that are indistinguishable from those of the native Chinese speaker,
and I can have any formal program you like, but I still understand nothing." In other words, Searle argues that the Turing test must fail as a criterion of intelligence, because his hypothetical computer program simulates the external linguistic behavior of human intellect in every particular, yet lacks understanding. a crucial factor in any conception of inner mentailife. Now, the battle lines are drawn between Searle and Turing, and it is worthwhile to reflect on their points of similarity and difference. Both Turing and Searle agree that human beings engage in certain behavioral patterns as a direct consequence of their possession of a set of faculties and inclinations which are collectively referred to as "intelligence"; in addition, both agree (at least for the sake of argument) that it is in theory possible to program digital computers to produce behavior which is identical to intelligent human behavior in all relevant aspects. They differ in their beliefs on what these two facts imply. For Turing, the fact that machines can instantiate intelligent behavior proves that they are at least in principle capable of intelligence in the full sense defined above. Turing argues from a position which Searle dismisses as "residual behaviorism or operationalism": the position that concepts such as intelligence are coherent only when defined in terms of the observable phenomena by which they are characterized, and thus that whatever produces these observable phenomena falls completely within the scope of the concept. Stripped of the emotional baggage it has acquired in recent philosophical and psychological discourse, the term "operationalism" seems a good one to use to refer to Turing's essential stance. Searle, on the other hand, opposes operationalism in all its forms. From his perspective, even though intelligence is ultimately defined in terms of unobservable "causal powers" which cannot be instantiated through any level of syntactic manipulation and whose presence, although presumably impossible to verify experimentally, nevertheless serves as an absolute requirement for the existence of true intelligence. Searle illuminates this position when he considers the natural tendency to attribute intelligence to any source of intelligent behavior: "The reason we make these attributions is quite intercsting, and it has to do with the fact that in artifacts we extcnd our own intentionality; our tools are extensions of our purposes, and so we find it natural to make metaphorical attributions of intentionality to them; but I take it no philosophical ice is cut by such examples." Here, Searle calls upon the philosophical concept of intentionality, which Brentano defines as "the hallmark of the Mental" and which can be associated with the set of faculties and
26 dispositions mentioned in the previous definition of intelligence. Searle is willing to grant to computers only "derived intentionality," a metaphorical shadow of the intentionality possessed by the resourceful computer programmers who create the illusion of intelligence. The introduction of intentionality provides another important way to characterize the debate between Turing and Searle: Turing believes that intelligent behavior is a failsafe indicator of the presence of intentionality, while Searle argues that the observation of such behavior gives us no means to determine whether the intentionality in question is original, true intentionality or illusory, derived intentionality. As stated previously, The Turing - Searle debate as it has been framed here bears a strong similarity to the intellectual debate over the Argument from Design which was carried on during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although the primary focus of this debate as it was formulated by its participants was the existence of the Deity, it can be reinterpreted in more religion-neutral terms without compromising the essential positions of its contributors as a debate over the existence of purpose in the universe. The strongest proponent of the Argument from Design was the nineteenth-century theologian William Paley, whose treatise Natural Theology serves as an expression of the argument in its purest form. Like Searle, Paley relies heavily on a thought experiment which he uses to call upon certain intuitions common to the human experience. He asks his readers to imagine crossing a heath and encountering a pocket watch lying on the ground, then to renect upon the probable cause of the watch's presence. In doing so, Paley invokes an overwhelming intuitive pull which forces any reasonable person to conclude that the only satisfactory explanation is the existence of an intelligent, purposeful watchmaker. From this point, the author extends the scope of this intuition to encompass the entire natural universe. As he writes, " ... every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater and more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation. I mean that the contrivances of nature surpass the contrivances of art, in the complexity, subtlety, and curiosity of the mechanism; and still more, if possible, do they go beyond them in number al}d variety: yet in a multitude of cases, are not less evidently mechanical, not less evidently contrivances, not less evidently accommodated to their end, or suited to their office, than are the most perfect
27 productions of human ingenuity." Paley devotes most of the remainder of his text to the presentation of various observations from the natural world which indicate a level of complexity, design, and purpose far superior to that of human artifacts. In adopting this tactic, Paley uses the same basic operationalist tactic employed by Turing. He begins by noting that the concept of purpose as applied to human artifacts is characterized by certain observable traits such as design efficiency and complexity; he then incorporates the opcrationalist assumption that the presence of these traits is both necessary and sufficient for the applicability of the concept. Thus, Paley concludes that both the presence or absence of purpose in Creation and the nature of this purpose can be discovered through the careful observation of accessible phenomena in the natural world. In this aspect, Paley and Turing share common philosophical ground. If Paley is the counterpart of Turing, then David Hume takes the role of Searle in the argument on design. Although Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion was published a quarter of a century before Natural Theology, it serves as a direct attack on the essential Argument from Design which Paley espouses. The dialogue pits Cleanlhes and Demea, who represent respectively the forces of reason and dogmatic Christian belief, against Philo, who disagrees with the Argument from Design as prcsented by the other two. CleanUlCs utilizes the argument in much the same manner as Paley; he observes a correlation of like effects shared by designed artifacts and natural phenomena, and from this concludes that rational purpose, the force responsible for these effecls in artifacts, must also be the cause at work in the case of Nature. Philo begins his refutation with the observation that the similarity between the two effects is tenuous and imperfect at best, and thus that the operationalist inference made by Cleanthes requires a broad stroke of the imagination to include the regularities of Creation within the scope of the characteristic symptoms of artificial purpose. Later in the dialogue, however, he develops an argument with a much more significant impact. As he points out, the observable world contains not one but two concepts of purpose, each of which bears its own set of related observablcs. Artifact!; have purpose which is imparted to them by their designers (an argument which foreshadows Searle's "derived intentionality"), while plants and animals possess a purpose which secms to derive from their own self-organization. Thus, the operationalist must decide which set of
28 characteristic phenomena the universe truly possesses before an assessment can be made of the nature of universal purpose. From here, Philo attacks Cleanthes' choice on this issue by stating that ...the operation of one very small part of nature, to wit man, upon another very small part, to wit that inanimate matter lying within his reach, is the rule by which Cleanthes judges of the origin of the whole; and he measures objects, so widely disproportioned, by the same individual standard. But to waive all objections drawn from this topic; I afftrm, that there are other parts of the universe (besides the machines of human invention) which bear still a greater resemblance to the fabric of the world, and which therefore afford a better conjecture concerning the universal origin of this system. These parts are animals and vegetables. The world plainly resembles more an animal or a vegetable, than it does a watch or a knitting-loom. By developing this tactic, Hume (through Philo) both delivers a preemptive blow to Paley's work and brings the analogy to Turing and Searle full circle. Just as Turing uses operationalist assumptions to deduce the existence of intentionality in digital computers, Paley uses the same technique to infer the existence of purpose in the universe. And just as Searle argues that Turing's operationalism cannot distinguish between original intentionality and intentionality derived from the programmers of the computers, Hume argues that Paley and his ilk cannot differentiate between purpose derived from a Creator and original purpose contained within the organic structure of the universe itself. At this point, of course, Darwin intervenes. One of the few truly earthshaking publications in the history of science, The origin ofSpecies establishes a new intellectual framework from which all that has gone before it must be re-evaluated. With the adoption of Darwin's paradigm, the issues of purpose and operationalism as debated by Hume and Paley are swallowed by a dense cloud of ideas which borrow from both writers but which fail to entirely vindicate either. The great contribution of Darwin to the debate is the reformulation of purpose as a teleological concept: purpose acquires a definition only relative to a given environment and is defined solely in terms of selection value within that environment. Whatever succeeds in being selected for in a given environment possesses sufficient complexity and design efficiency to have purpose attributed to it within that environment. This reformulation collapses
29 Hume's two classes of purpose into a single notion: just as a species which is moved to a new environment may lose its survival potential and thus lose its right to be attributed purpose relative to that environment, an artifact which is given a new task may not be attributed design purpose relative to its new function. The example of a pocket watch pressed into service as a doorstop illustrates this well: although the watch's complexity and regularity may still provide reasons to attribute design to the watch. its failure to succeed in the role of doorstop precludes one from attributing design purpose to it. Likewise, Darwin does not answer the ultimately theological question of whether species are consciously designed or not; he merely provides a teleological framework for the ascription of purpose. Thus, Paley is in some sense vindicated by Darwin's recognition .of a single universal principle of purpose which can be derived through the observation of natural and artificial phenomena. However, Darwin's teleological formulation does not correspond exactly to Paley's concept of derived purpose. For Paley, purpose is derived from a supematural Creator; for Darwin, however, if purpose is derived at all, it is derived from the complicated interrelation between the species and the environment. In the Darwinian world, purpose is no longer a purely metaphysical property which is unambiguously possessed by certain objects and which manifests itself through observable phenomella; instead, it is an epistcmic notion which can be attributed to species only relative to a given environment and to the species' performance within that environment. Thus, Darwin refocuses the question of purpose from "'What possesses purpose?" to "In what contexts and under what circumstances can we attribute purpose?" It is this astonishingly successful strategy which inspires Daniel Dennett to seek a position which both reconciles and overthrows Turing and Searle. Dennett's twenty-year commitment to the pursuit of a coherent notion of intentionality begins with his 1969 book Content and Consciousness; however, his ideas find their first clear expression in the 1971 publication of "Intentional Systems." Here, Dennett introduces the idea of stance adoption, the utilization of a certain attitude toward a certain seat of behavior as a method of predicating or describing the behavior in question. He first discusses the design stance, which can be viewed as an elaboration of Darwin's reformulation of purpose as already discussed. Dennett describes the various versions of the design stance as "alike in relying on the notion of/unction, which is purpose-relative or teleological." When animals or artifacts are analyzed from the design stance,
30 they are ascribed a purpose appropriate to their environment and then assumed to possess a design structure appropriate to that purpose. In the study of electronic devices, the design stance manifests itself through "black box" analysis; in the study of biological organisms, it appears as the adaptionist school of thought, a version of which Dennett defends in his paper on "Intentional Systems in Cognitive Ethology." From this Darwinian framework, however, Dennett abstracts to a higher level of stance adoption. Noting that the design stance becomes largely inappropriate when applied to the behavior of complex systems such as humans, animals and computer programs, he introduces what ne calls the intentional stance. Adoption of this stance entails the assumption not only of environment-relative purpose bllt of purpose-relative rationality; by adopting the intentional stance, we assume that the systems under description have beliefs and desires appropriate to their environments and purposes and then predict their behavior by presuming that they will act rationally upon these beliefs and desires. Dennett's reformulation of intentionality in these terms forces a wholesale reconsideration of the presumptions which Turning and Searle share in their debate. Like Darwin's concept of purpose, Dennett's definition of intentionality is teleological: it establishes a basic assumption of rationality and then justifies the attribution of the concept to any being whose behavior meets the terms of the assumption. And like Darwin's approach, Dennett's is a stance足 relative concept: intentionalily is no longer a property which can be possessed by a system, but one which can only be attributed to a system. This conception seems to justify Turing's essential vision in every particular. According to Turing, any computer program which is able to pass the Turing test can obviously be described through adoption of the intentional stance as well as its human competitors can; thus, by Dennett's definition, the computer is an intentional system as surely as the human mind is. There exists one substantial difference between Turing and Dennett, however, which proves to be fatal to the philosophical spirit, if not the letter, of the Turing test. Turing views intentionality as a metaphysical property which can be identified by the presence of certain observable phenomena; however, he does not define the property as simply the conjunction of the observables. He agrees with Searle that intentionality has an intrinsically phenomenological and unobservable component; however, he argues that the presence of intentionality'S observable properties entails the presence of the metaphysical component as well. Dennett,
31 on the other hand, removes this component completely from his formulation of intentionality. As he writes, "We do quite successfully treat these computers as intentional systems, and we do this independently of any considerations about what substance they are composed of, their origin, their position or lack of position in the community of moral agents, their consciousness or self足 consciousness, or the determinacy of indeterminacy of their operations. The decision to adopt the strategy is pragmatic, and is not intrinsically right or wrong ... it is much easier to decide whether a machine can be an intentional system than it is to decide whether a machine can really think, or be conscious, or morall y responsible." Thus Searle can claim some measure of vindication from Dennett's teleological position as well. Even though a machine which can pass the Turing test is by definition an appropriate target for adoption of the intentional stance, the act of adoption cannot confrrm or deny the presence of those unique phenomenological properties and "causal powers" which Searle views as necessary for the existence of what he refers to as original intentionality. In the end, however, neither Searle's nor Turing's conceptions of intentionality survive the transition to the teleological stance adoption of Darwin and Dennett. While Turing recognizes only a single form of primary intentionality and Searle divides intentionality into two types, original and derived, Dennett restricts the concept to a single notion which falls much closer to Searle's derived intentionality than to his idea of true intentionality. In his 1987 paper on "Evolution, Error, and Intentionality," Dennett argues persuasively to this point. Just as our artifacts derive their purpose from the environment in which we use them, they derive their intentionality in the same way. From coin-operated vending machines which "perceive" and "judge" quarters and slugs to sophisticated chess computers which "invent" plans and "pursue" goals, the products of design can have the intentional stance attributed to them only as a consequence of their performance within a given functional environment. Human beings, however, arc nothing more than another species designed by the forces of evolution. Thus, just as Darwin demonstrates the purpose relativity of species, Dennett argues that the intentionality of all species, humanity included, is ultimately derived from the only truly primary level of intentionality: the level of evolutionary selection. We are machines designed by millennia of natural selection, and the fact that we can be described and predicated in terms of beliefs, desires, plans, and goals can be attributed entirely
32 to the motivating forces responsible for our presence and success within our environmental niche. This argument, then, brings the connection between Darwin and Dennett full circle. The arguments over operationalism advanced by Hume, Paley, Turing, and Searle are all swept aside by this powerful intellectual synthesis. The concepts of design, purpose, and intentionality are powerful ones which can afford us considerable explainatory and predicative power over a wide range of complex systems, from the myriad species of the natural world to the humans whom we interact with daily to the electronic machines which are rapidly changing the face of modem civialization. Ultimately, however, all of these attributions of purpose and intentionality must be relegated to the status of mere metaphors, of shadows derived from the single overriding purpose of natural selection. Through the blind manipulation of random genetic factors, an operation which scems wholly antithetical to the very essence of purpose and intelligence, nature has created a cosmic process endowed with a level of intentionality that dwarfs our own notion of intentionality and yet which provides the foundation for our use of the same notion. Dennett devises an intriguing passage which perfectly captures the difference between the position he shares with Darwin and the doctrine implicitly subscribed to by both Turing and Searle: "Aristotle said that God is the Unmoved Mover, and this doctrine announces that we are the Unmeant Meaners... [but] we are artifacts, in effect, designed over the eons as survival machines for genes that cannot act swiftly and informedly in their own interests. Our interests as we conceive them and the interests of our genes may well diverge - even though were it not for our gene's interests, we would not exist: their preservation is our original raison d' eire, even if we can learn to ignore that goal and devise our own summum bonum, thanks to the intelligence our genes have installed in us. So our intentionality is derived from the intentionality of our "selfish" genes! They are the Unmeant Meaners, not us!" This world-view of Darwin and Dennett is at once chilling and exhilarating. The choice is up to us: we can regard their ideas as a threat to the primacy of human authority, or as a challenge to press on in the pursuit of a comprehensive scientific vision of the forces which are ultimately responsible for our purpose, our intentionality. and our very existence.
Wittgenstein, Lewis Carroll And The philosophical
Puzzlement of Language
Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter's remark seemed to her no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. "I don't quite understand you," she said, as politely as she could. (l&, 61) When Lewis Carroll sends Alice down the rabbit hole in his fairy-tale masterpiece, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, he plunges her into a world of puzzlement. The characters speak English, and it is grammatically correct (even elegant) English, but Alice is nonetheless continually baffled by their use of language. In his PhilosQphical Inv!(;!tigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein discusses this type of puzzlement, describing philosophy as "a battle against the bewitchment of intelligence by means of language" CEl #109). In fact, Wittgenstein spends a large part of the Investigations attempting to show how philosophy must deal with the problems inherent in our use of language. But while Wittgenstein is concerned with finding an escape from the puzzlement, Carroll submerges himself furlher in the morass. In his fairy-tale masterpieces, Carroll uses and misuses language to achieve humor and charm; his heroine, in both Wonderland and ThrQugh !.he Looking Glass, continually meets with the very sources of philosophical puzzlement which Wittgenstein fears. The methods differ, but both Wittgenstein and Carroll admonish their readers to pay attention to language, pointing out the fallacy in assuming that we can understand a sentence simply because it is grammatically well-formed, containing familiar words. Peter Heath, in a philosophical analysis of the Alice books, describes Carroll's message as having the form 0[: a sottisier: a horrendous catalog of philosophical blunders, logical fallacies, conceptual confusions, and linguistic breakdowns, which do not only entertain but persistently tease the reader, compelling him to ask himself, "What has gone wrong here? Why won't this do?" and to find that it is not always perfectly easy to supply the answer. l
34 By this approach, Lewis Carroll conveys a message (or, as the duchess would say, a moral) which is strikingly like Wittgenstein's description of a philosophical problem as a statement of the form: "I don't know my way about"
(ÂŁI, #123). According to this view of philosophical puzzlement, we start with a set of seemingly true propositions and are led to a conclusion that either seems extremely implausible or contradicts what we know to be true. In both cases, the outcome seems completely devoid of sense: "it can only be expressed by what strikes us as an illegitimate combination of words."2 Furthermore, says Wittgenstein, when we are in the clutches of philosophical puzzlement we cannot look to any new facts for help. Unlike the empirical investigations of science, philosophy does not attempt to introduce new information - for there is no need to do so. Rather, philosophers must concentrate on finding a new understanding of the propositions, construing them in such a way that they are no longer seen as contradictory. Our pursuit is therefore best seen as interpretive: we shed light on our problem by clearing misunderstandings away - "misunderstandings concerning the use of words, caused, among other things, by certain analogies between the forms of expression in different regions of language" (ÂŁ! #90). Philosophy must provide clarification by unraveling the confusion, not by formulating a new theory. This view, which emerges in the Investigations, is a departure from his earlier position in the Tractatus: The Wittgenstein of the Tractatus operates, as it were, on the same level as, say, Frege and Russell. He pursues problems they raised and gives answers that are at times the same and at times rival to theirs. He is playing more or less the same game ... The latcr Wittgenstein does not give answers or formulate ideas on the same level ... Were the later Wittgenstein to read a contemporary work of philosophy, he would not get down on all fours with it and dispute it. He would rather stand back, and seek to find the source of the author's ideas. which source would be held to be disguised nonsense.3 The aim of philosophy, says the later Wittgenstein, is to "shew the fly the way out of the ny-bottle."
In contrast, it seems that Carroll makes no attempt to release the fly; but only ensnares it further. Throughout the Alice tales, Carroll draws on the
35 nonsense inherent in language, purposefully construing common statements in such a way as to cause bewilderment. For instance, at the mad tea-party: Alice sighed wearily. "I think you might do something better with time," she said, "than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers." "If you knew Time as well as I do," said the Hatter, "you wouldn't talk about wasting it. It's him." "I don't know what you mean," said Alice. CAW, 63) Alice's confusion at the Hatter's description of "time" exemplifies what Wittgenstein means by philosophical puzzlement. The reference to "time" as something that can be known as a person can be known indicates a common, deeper problem of our language: we tend to be held captive by a picture of time, space, etc., that causes perplexity; "this kind of mistake recurs again and again in philosophy, e.g., when we are puzzled about the nature of time, when time seems to us a Queer thing." (BB, 6) The cause of the problem, says Wittgenstein, lies in an oversimplification of the function of language. We must not assume that all words function in the samw way. Even in identical contexts, words may be used differently: merely because the word "time" appears in sentences in the same position as, for example, "sugar" ("There's no left") or as "money" ("If we have we'll go to the store") does not mean that it represents an entity or a thing. (cf. PI #112, "A simile that has been absorbed into the forms of our language produces a false appearance, and this disquiets us"). As Wittgenstein says in the Blue Book, "the man who is philosophically puzzled sees a law in the way a word is used and trying to apply this law consistently, comes up against cases where it leads to paradoxical results." 27) However, in examining the actual circumstances behind our use of the word, we see that it is not a word like "money" or "sugar." Thus, the only means of escape from our philosophical puzzlement is the abandonment of our a priori picture of the use of words. We cannot "guess" how a word functions, but we have to look at each specific use. Once we "command a clear view of the use of words" (fl., #122), we can eliminate our confusion; we will no longer have to ask ourself "what is time?" for "we will realize that the very question is illegitimate, if it presupposes, as it seems to, that time is some kind ofthing."4
36 But-throughout the Alice Tales- Carroll delights in depicting this sort of "illegitimate questioning." For example, in DJrough the Looking Glass, he plays upon the concept of "nobody":
"I see nobody on the road," said Alice. "I only wish I had such eyes," the King remarked in a fretful tone. "To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance tool Why it's as much as I can do to see people, by this light."
<LQ., 198-9) .... "Who did you pass on the road?" The King went on, holding out his hand to the Messenger for some more hay. "Nobody," said the Messenger. "Quite right," said the King. "This young lady saw him too. So of course Nobody walks slower than you." (LQ" 201) Once again, this illustrates Wittgenstein's point. In the Blue Book, he specifically points to problems with words such as "nobody," describing a possible language in which the problem would be even worse than common English. He asks us to envision a language in which "Mr. Nobody" would replace the term "nobody," so that for example, Alice's remark would be: "I see
Mr. Nobody on the road." Imagine, he says, the problems that would arise from this! 69). Another concept played upon by Carroll is the word "today." After the Queen offers Alice some jam, Alice responds:
"Well, I don't want any ~ at any rate." "You couldn't have it if you gjQ want it," the Queen said. "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday-but never jam lQ:ill!y." "It must come sometime to 'jam to-day,'" Alice objected. "No, it can't," said the Queen. "It's jam every ~ day: to-day isn't any ~ day, you know." "1 don't understand you," said Alice. "It's dreadfully confusing!" (L,Q., 174-5) Once again, we are sympathetic with Alice's confusion; Wittgenstein, too, speaks of this kind of mistake as being one of the "most fertile sources of
philosophical puzzlement" am,J08). According to his discussion, we must
resist the temptation to say that "now" and "6 p.m." refer to "point of time."
37 Using words in this way causes "the puzzlement which one might express in the question 'what is the "now"? - for it is a moment of time and yet it can't be said to be the "moment at which I speak" or "the moment at which the clock strikes", etc., etc.'" (lU!,109). We have only to look at Hegel's discussion of "the Now" in his Phenomenology of Mind to see an example of this kind of philosophical puzzle: To the question, What is the Now? we reply, for example, the Now is night-time. To test the truth of this certainty of sense, a simple experiment is all we need: write that truth down. A truth cannot lose anything by being written down, and just as little by our preserving and keeping it. If we look again at the truth we have written down,look at it now at this noon-time, and we shall have to say it has turned stale and become out of date. 5 As a result of these reflections, Hegel concludes that "the Now" is a !!Qt ~, or a Universal. 6 His conclusion results from bring caught in the clutches of a philosophical confusion; as Wittgenstein explains, the word "now" functions in a completely different way from the specifications of time. Although we could see this if we were to examine how the word "now" is used in our language, confusion reigns when we look only at small contexts and short phrases in which the Lerm appears, rather than at the entire languagc game. Alice and the Queen make a similar mistake in thcir discussion of the jam. The words "today" and "tomorrow" do not function as dates, likc "Monday" or "April 5th". Although they might seem to be used in the same way as these terms, we must look at the whole of the language game, and see that the word "tomorrow" is completely different from a specification of a date. When only a particular context is seen, as is the case in the discussion with the Queen, the role of the word is obscured, and it is no wonder that Alice is "dreadfully puzzled." Even as early as the Trac1atys, Wittgenstcin shows the confusion that can come about as a result of these kinds of problems in language: "Language disguises thought. So much so, that from the outward form of the clothing it is impossible to infer the form of the thought beneath it, because the outward form of the clothing is not designed to reveal the form of the body, but for entirely different purposes" (TLP, 4.002). Though language serves its purpose for ordinary human beings, providing themwith a means of communication, it was not designed to serve the purpose of the philosopher. Any English speaker, for
38 example, gets through everyday life perfectly well using words such as "time,"
"today," and "now." But when the philosopher attempts to analyze the meanings of these words, the overwhelming temptation is to succumb to false analogies, to see these words only within a narrow language context When doing so, philosophers make the mistake of treating words abstractly, as if they had no relationship to those around them. But words do have relationships to those around them; they are components of language games. For the later Wittgenstein, the whole of our language is a multitude of these language games. We must look at a word's use in the specific game, and not at its grammatical function, in order to glean its meaning. Expanding on the Tractatus idea that "only in the nexus of a proposition does a name have a meaning" (3.3), Wittgenstein tells us in the Investigations that each word has meaning only as part of the language game which is its "original home" (ÂŁI, #116). We must not lose sight of this fact, he stresses: "if we forget the intimate connections between language and behavior, and try to treat words in isolation from the actual practical situations which they are used, we end up in puzzlement."7 This kind of problem arises when "language goes on holiday" (ÂŁI, #38).8 Humpty Dumpty, in ThrQlJgh the Looking Glass, amuses the reader with his imaginative use of English, but his speech is a clear illustration of "language on holiday." Though Humpty Dumpty scornfully tells Alice: "When I use a word ... it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less" (L&, 190), he has used "to mean" illegitimately. We cannot pick a word and assign whatever meaning we choose, as Wittgenstein indicates in a note to the Investigations: "Can I say 'bububu' and mean 'If it doesn't rain I shall go for a walk'? -It is only in a language that I can mean something by something" (fl, p.IS). Humpty Dumpty misconstrues the role "to mean" plays in the language game; as Wittgenstein shows us, the function of "to mean" is not like the function of "to imagine" or "to say." Alice has previously been taught by the Hatler and the March Hare that "I mean what I say" is different from "I say what I mean" (};ii, 61);Humpty Dumpty has yet to learn this lesson. Distinguishing "surface grammar" from "depth grammar," Wiugenstein notes that our immediate impression of a word is the way it is used in a sentence, "the part of its use -one might say- that can be taken in by the ear" (fl, #664). He could almost be speaking of Humpty Dumpty in this remark; he even points specifically to the words "to mean." A comparison of the depth grammar with
39 our expectations from the surface grammar leads us into the puzzlement Humpty Dumpty remains unruffled by his failure to look beyond the surface, in fact, he uses the phrase "I make words mean what I want" in a fashion similar to "I make workers do what I want''9 and even goes as far as to tell Alice he gives the words additional wages when he forces them to do "extra work." There are many other places in the Alice books Where Carroll sends language on vacation and a lot of passages which seem, at fIrst glance, to be completely nonsensical. However, "nonsense" is a term we apply without discrimination to anything failing to make sense. In his article, Heath suggests that a distinction should be drawn between nonsense and absurdity, where "the former neglects and defies the ordinary conventions of logic, linguistic usage, motive and behavior, [and] the latter makes all too much of them."tO Regarded in this way, Carroll's works are incorrectly classified as nonsense, and we should see him instead as a matter of the absurd: Instead of blithely departing from the rules, as the nonsense-writer does, the absurdist persists in adhering to them long after it has ceased to be sensible to do so, and regardless of the extravagances which thereby result. This is what Carroll and his characters habitually do. II Though Wittgenstein did not draw this distinction in his writings, he did distinguish between "disguised nonsense" and "patent nonsense," indicating that his aim was to show how one could pass from the former to the latter. (ÂŁL 464). With this differentiation, it seems clear that the Alice books fall under the heading of "patent nonsense," and thus, Carroll has aided Wittgenstein in accomplishing his task. If the fly can get out of the fly-bottle by recognizing patent nonsense, then Carroll has provided an escape route. philosophical problems arise because fundamental mistakes are made deep in the language game. These mistakes, misinterpretations of language, have the feature of being ingrained deep within us, and it is the philosopher's task to bring them to the surface. By doing so, as Carroll does in the Alice books, we can see the puzzle more clearly and (it is hoped) proceed to solve it. As Wittgenstein suggests: "Let us ask ourselves: why do we feel a grammatical joke to be ~?" (ÂŁ!, #1l1). It has been reported that Wittgenstein used to cite, as an example of a good grammatical joke, the Mock Turtle's remark CAYi., 84) "We called him Tortoise because he taught us." 12 Grammatical jokes sllch as these abound in the Alice books, for example, when
40 the Gryphon tells Alice that boots and shoes under the sea are made with "soles and eels" (A:U.., 92), when the Mouse tells Alice the driest story he knows because she is sopping wet CAYi. 25), or when Alice learns aoout lessons: "And how many hours a day did you do lessons?" said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject. "Ten hours the first day," said the Mock Turtle: "Nine the next, and so on." "What a curious plan!" exclaimed Alice. "That's the reason they're called lessons," the Gryphon remarked: "because they lessen from day to day." (A:U..,87). In fact, it is precisely the recurrent use of grammatical jokes that lends Carroll's work its wit and irony. But puzzles of language, besides being at the very heart of the ~ books, are crucial to Wittgenstein's Investigations. Discerning the puzzle is, for Wittgenstein, a necessary component of philosophy; if we do not suffer from this kind of puzzlement, then we cannot see the need for further philosophical inquiry. The philosopher must necessarily be immersed in a state of bafflement, the subsequent outcome of which is "the uncovering of one or another piece of plain nonsense and of bumps that the understanding has got by running its head up against the limits oflanguagc." (PI, #119). Thus, Wittgenstein iY.IDltS. us to see the puzzle, and it is in this sense that sharp parallels can be drawn between his endeavor and the works of CarrolL Carroll is a master of presenting the puzzle, and surely no one comes away from a reading of the Alice books without a sense that something strange is going on with language; even a child gains an increased comprehension of the importance of words. 13 Furthermore, Wittgenstein is known to have read the works of Carroll; along with the two specific references to Carroll in the Investigations, this suggests it may not be coincidence that some of Wittgenstein 's examples of sources of philosophical confusion overlap with the puzzles in the Alice books. But, though Carroll has shown us the puzzle, and like Alice, we know that something has gone wrong, it is philosophy's job to c1ear up the confusion. As Wittgenstein indicates in the Blue BOQk: "Philosophy, as we use the word, is a fight against the fascination which forms of expression exert upon us" 011i, 27). Carroll leaves the reader in this state of fascination, but, as Wittgenstein tells us, it is only through philosophy - and a close examination of the language games played- that we can lead the reader out of bafflement, the fly out of the fly-bottle, and Alice out of Wonderland.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Lewis Carroll, New Haven, Conn.: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. Canfield, John V., Wittgenstein: Language and World, Amherst Mass.: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1981. Carroll, Lewis, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the LQQkingÂ Glass and What Alice Found There, Edited with an introduction by Roger Lancelyn Green, New York: Oxford University Press, 1971. [abbreviated as A'5Y. and LG, respectively] Fann, K. T., ed., Ludwig Wittgenstein: the Man and his PhilosophX, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1978. Hegel, G.W. F., The Phenomenology of Mind, Translated with an introduction by J. B. Baillie, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1967. Hudson, Derek, Lewis Carroll, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., Inc., 1958. Pitcher, George, Tbe PilosQI)hy ofWiugcnstein, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Inc., 1964. Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Tbe Blue and Brown Books, New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1958. [abbreviated as llli.l - - - - - - - - - , PhilQsophical Investigations, Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co .â€˘ Inc., 1958. [abbreviated as PI, citations are by remark numbers] - - - - - - - - - , Tractatus LQgico-PhiloSODhicus, Translated by D.F. Pears and B.F. McGuiness, London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974. [abbreviated as TLP, citations are by remark numbers]
42 Peter Heath, "The Philosopher's Alice" in Modem Critical Views:
Lewis Carroll, Harold Bloom, ed. (New Haven, Conn.: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987), p. 49. George Pitcher, The Philosophy ofWiUgenstein. (Englewood Cliffs,
N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964), p. 190. John V. Canfield, Wittgenstein: Language and World, (Amherst,
Mass.: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1981), pp. 10-11. 4
s a.W.F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind, translated with an
introduction by J.B. Baillie. (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1967), p.lS!. 6
If someone other than Hegel had written this, we might consider it a
joke. Surely we wouldn't take the Queen seriously if (in another example of Carroll's "illegitimate questioning") she had asked Alice "what is the now?" 足 and then concluded that it must have gone bad! 7
Ibid, pp. 244-5.
Note that this very phrase could itself be a source of philosophical
puzzlement, if "language" were seen to function as an entity, e.g., analogously to "the Jones family" in "the Jones family went on holiday." As the Queen might ask, "And where does language go on holiday;! go to the beach." 9
George richter, "Wittgenstein, Nonsense and Lewis Carroll" in
Ludwig Wittgenstein: the Man and His Philosophy, K.T. Fann, ed. (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1978), p. 331. 10
Ibid, p .. 47.
"Wiltgenstein, nonsense and Lewis Carroll," p. 316.
Derek Hudson, Lewis Carroll, (New York: Longmans, Green, and
Co., 1958), p. 23.
An Existential Ethical Imperative Kent A. Lambert
Morality is not simply the ability to judge something as being "good" or "bad". Indeed, far more fundamental for moral activity is the ability to recognize responsibility for one's choices. Whether that responsibility is there implicitly or not, morality requires that it be recognizable to the individual (else morality is meaningless). In other words, the individual must be able to apprehend and authentically affirm some value that provides him or her with a recognition of his or her responsibility in making choices. It is the intent of this paper to illustrate that this fundamental moral activity is possible in Sartre's ontological structure through the existence of an existential imperative, that is, a truth revealed by our existence which necessitates us to choose some value if we are to authentically understand and relate to our own humanity. An appropriate place to begin any discussion of human morality is with the issue of what it means to be human. For Sartre, to be a human being, i.e., to be a for-itself - is to be an ambiguity, a Heraclitean tension between opposites. Sartre suggests that we can conceive of this ambiguity, Or what he refers to as an internal negation, by nothing that the human individual "is not what it is, and is what it is not." To see what Sartre is trying to say here, consider the same phrase in terms of temporality: "as present, it is not what it is (past) and is what it is not (future)." The individual is no longer what it was (it was its past) and it is what is shall be - the individual is its future possibilities. The past is always possible only for a specific present. It has meaning only in relation to the prescnt. The past exists as a substance, part of the individual's situation or circumstance in the concrete world. We can say, then, that one is not one's past exactly to the extent that one was one's past. The present derives its significance not only from the past but also from the future. It is human rcality that tcmporalizes itself, and to the extent that it does so, it always does so from this moment, not some past or future moment. The present exists strictly as a sort of ground zero. Hence, we may say of the present that it is a sort of nullity, a goometrical point in time with no diameter or space, connecting what has been temporalized as the past with what has yet to become - I.e. the individual's possibilities or future. Future, to the extent that it
44 defines the present, acts as a lack, denying that in the next moment I necessarily will be what my past suggests I wiIl be. The human being, however, is not just a consciousness, is not an abstract or spiritual conscious entity, but rather, is an embodied for-itself. I can temporalize myself, i.e. I can make decisions, exactly and only to the extent that I exist in a concrete situation. Therefore, both physical and mental factors are required to generate a choice - you cannot choose when there is nothing to choose from, whether or not there is something to choose with. Now we are in a position to come to terms with Sartre's understanding of freedom. As human beings, we certainly do have an acute notion of temporality, and further, we also have an awareness of existing in a situation. Noting this, Sartre suggests that human beings are unable not to temporalize, and temporalization, in tum, requires that human beings act as choice makers within a specific situation. If I am a termporalizer, then my future and past must
be distinguishable, which in tum implies that my future not be determined by my past - i.e. that I am free to make decisions that are wholly independent of my past decisions. Further, however, it means that I must choose constantly if I am to exist as a conscious for-itself. As long as I am alive, because I exist in a situation and have an awareness of it and myself, I must choose myself with reference to the situation. The human being, to the extent that it temporalizes, is apprehensible only as a choice-in-the-making. It is this notion that Sartre equates with human freedom. Freedom is choosing. The success of a choice is unimportant. It is important only that as a human being we must choose, or else we cannot exist as anything but meaningless temporalized (versus temporalizing) stuff, i.e. as objects (as beings that are what they are, wherein our past, present, and future are all perfectly synonymous and hence meaningless). We may fail, we may be wrong, we may be constrained to the basest of choices, but we must nonetheless choose or else cease to exist as human beings, as conscious beings. Another way to understand the freedom of the human being is to say that as a for-itselfj the human individual's existence must precede its essence. If I, as a human being, am a temporalizer, tllen it must be me who introduces past and future, it must be me that makes legitimate choices - Le. there can be no "God''. etc., which has at some original moment determined me as what I am, creating a synonymity between my past, present and future. My identity, as it can be expressed, is identifiable only with my past and will therefore never fully
45 capture the significance of my present and future. Instead of viewing myself (and being viewed) as a fixed identity, the individual is forced to acknowledge that he or she is exactly what he or she does. I must (to make the above point differently) determine myself. It is true that this means I am from the outset undetermined, but my indeterminacy does not relieve me from action. Indeed, as we have just seen, it condemns me to action. However, it is not enough for me to simply act, to naively engage my indeterminism with the world. If I act wi thout recognizing in the world my own essential, farthest reaching possibilities and goals, ifI allow each act's immediate directionality or inertia to pull me along without an awareness of its meaning relative to my own essential possibilities and values, I am effectively denying my own freedom. Any and every situation, and hence any and every meaning I envision within the world, exists only in reference to all the possibilities present to me. I must decide, and by deciding (whether I actively or willingly choose to recognize it or not) I posit meaning and values, and this valuation is based upon my freedom. Indeed, I am the only means for realizing the meaning of the world and of my essence, and this, finally, can be meaningful only to he extent that it derives fTom my freedom. We are "free", yet we must nonetheless make ourselves free, we must recognize and accept our freedom as the creator of all existential possibility, or it will appear to us simply as another determined part of our situation. In other words, if I am not 1.0 deny what is necessarily the case, I must recognize my freedom as the source of all values, and, in so doing, I must will my freedom. I must, in order to avoid denying what is constantly revealed to me as true, refuse to polarize my existence with any end beyond itself. My existence as a choice-in-the-making must grru.-p itself as its own value and end or I am consciously deceiving myself. How is it that I am able to deceive myself consciously? To grasp the point one is probably better off trying to explain the validity of its antithesis 足 can I unconsciously deceive myselr? Any effort to nee my reality as the sole author of meaning in the world only serves to show that I am aware of it - I must think of my freedom constantly in order to not think about it. I may deny my own freedom, but as I do so, I do so with an awareness of it since I must choose to do so, that is, I must exercise my freedom to do so by making that decision. I can nee my freedom, but I cannot then ignore my flight! If I recognize my freedom as human existence, that is as something that
46 must constantly be accomplished (constantly because I am set at a distance from my values by my freedom to affmn or reject the choices and projects of my past), I am living an authentic life. The inauthentic life can then be thought of as a type of bad faith wherein the individual denies his or her ambiguity as a for足
itself, which, as noted earlier, consists in the fact that one is not what one is and is what one is not. Bad faith is manifested by playing these two truths of human existence off one another, so that I may hide from my responsibilities by defining myself in terms of my past, or similarly, may deny the significance of my past by denying that I am anything but a disembodied free "choice-in-the足 making". Hence, the rapist, ashamed of his identity as such, may deny that his past actions affect his present being by identifying himself exclusively as a transcending of his past; however, in order to grasp this transcendence so as to deny his past, he must understand it as a substantive identity of "not being a rapist". To be authentic is to coordinate the two aspects of my ambiguous identity, not just embracing one by denying the significance of the other. The rapist is confronted by the actions of his past as a substantive aspect of his situation and how he chooses in that situation determines the meaning of his present and future acts. We are without appeal to anything but ourselves when we make a decision, and hence we arc completely responsible for our decisions. To act authentically is merely to act in accordance with the nature which ontology defines. In this case, it means not to surrender ourselves to some role, giving objective significance to the meanings which only we, in our frecdom, and hence with complete responsibility, can create. Nonetheless, it also means not imagining that I can exist beyond or without the situation, nor does it entail denying the significance of my past. I do have a past that exists as a substantive part of my situation and which must be acknowledged. However, acknow ledgement of my past in no way eliminates my nced to choose - i.e. have a future. Hence, any time that I attempt to be for myself what I am, I am in bad faith - that is, I am living inauthentically, for such an effort denies my reality as tcmporalizcr, denies my existence as a choice-in-the-making. The challenge for the authentic individual is to become conscious of one's self as the author of meaning and values. It means disallowing and challenging any significance ascribed to values on their own. It means recognizing and accepting one's responsibility. And it means doing all this without positing such an awareness as an ideal, as possessing value for itself.
47 While this seems almost contradictory, there is a solution: by positing the ontological truth of our condition as a value, recognizing therein its authorship of all other values, we can accomplish authenticity. Here I no longer naively play out a role, but neither do I objectively transcend all roles by identifying myself as beyond mere roles. I do not objectify values and yet I posit my ontological identity as the source of values. However, as we have noted, we exist in situation, as an embodied consciousness, and must act out our authenticity in a concrete fashion. The for-itself must act. Action, as distinct from mere movement, etc., requires one to have a goal or project. That is to say, action presupposes freedom - I must express an intentionality towards the future. I am free, and hence I must create myself. My freedom exists at the heart of my being as a void, as a nothingness which demands that I make myself, not simply will myself. I must act on my freedom, not merely contemplate it. There are no motives or passions innate within me, so that only through making a choice, only through action (which presupposes, in turn, a situation) are my intentions established; indeed, only here are they ever revealed to me. Freedom exists only as a negative reality (as a undetermined existence). To become a positive reality, freedom must be realized by us through action. We are free, but we must nevertheless free ourselves our voluntary reflexiveness must be brought to an active realization of our spontaneous constitution as thoughl/choosing. As has been already noted, we are an embodied consciousness. We exist physically in situations. Further, our situation includes the presence of others. We do not somehow constitute olhers, we merely encounter them. Yet in encountering another, I am not encountering a mere object. The other is for足 itself, or consciousness, and this is a fact which I recognize when I feel ashamed or self-conscious around another. What I am for the other, what field of possibilities the other ascribes to me, is beyond my control. The other makes me become, suddenly, an object, but not for myself - only for the other. This view of myself as existing for the other (as what I was) is a result of my own existence as an ambiguity - I do have a being for others, and it is no more revealing of my subjectivity than the others being for me is in my encounter with her. My being for others is my objective side, revealed to me by the presence of others, real or imagined, when I am suddenly aware of myself as appearing to others as an inert, passive object-in-the-world which is exactly what it is. To be authentic, I must recognize that my actions are not effected
48 only by me. The objective identity I take before the other is as much a part of who or what I am as the being I have for myself. If I try to utilize one or the other in order to escape my responsibility as author of meaning in the world by asserting one while denying the other I am guilty of bad faith. I am exposed to the other by my physical presence before him, and am aware of this exposure, indeed I am wholly responsible for how the other perceives me - I possess as part of what I am the identity given me by the other, and to deny this is to deny that I am ambiguous, that I am neither purely an object in the world nor purely subjectivity. The substance of my past is the primary fact of an objective history, yet it is nonetheless inaccessible to the individual as such - it is revealed only through one's encounter with another. My intentions are revealed only through the act itself, and the act can be revealed only through the objective reality it attains in the situation, and this objective reality which helps to constitute the substance of my past is revealed to me only by the objectivity conferred upon me by others. From my own perspective I am only subjective. The objective side of my existence is revealed to me only by the other (the "Peeping Tom" revealed to me as myself by another's footsteps as I peek through a key hole). This objective side is hidden from me without the other, yet it is part of me because of my own ambiguous identity. My action implicates others, for it is not enough that I will freedom - I must act for freedom. But this action exposes me to the demands of the situation and to the demands of others. Therefore, I am forced to give meaning and value to the situation through my action, and I ma forced to do it for all humanity. The approach of consciousness to authenticity would itself be inauthentic if it ignores that consciousness exists only in situation. The situation cannot be abandoned, but rather must be penetrated to its deepest recesses by freedom. Thus, choosing my freedom requires choosing free relationships with others. My own freedom needs the freedom of the other in order not to deny itself. I must recognize myself, as a free being, as essential to the other's attempt at authentic self knowledge. The other must not be desired, neither as a freedom to be possessed nor as a freedom to be negated. Rather, the other must appear before me, in an authentic recognition of my own ambiguity and of the other's role in revealing myself to myself as well as the others own ambiguity as something I must achieve a consonance with. I must authentically realize the coincidence of ambiguity between myself and the other. To the other
49 I appear as an object, as an instrument to fulfill the others ends. Only when I may discover in this relationship the other's freedom as neither denying my freedom nor limiting it, but in fact as instrumental to its realization, can I be authentic. As I perform my own goal oriented activity, revealed as an object before the other, I am acted upon by the other (as I act upon him), both of us engaged in goal oriented activity. If in the process of accomplishing these activities we recognize that each of our own ends entailed in their realization the free choice of the activity of the other to be realized, each person's freedom was a free movement towards achieving the freely chosen end of the other, we achieve an active, real authenticity. The only possible crossroads for such an occurrence is freedom itself, the sole efficient cause for every value and end. Just as it would be pointless to engage in an argument, or to write a book, etc.â€˘ without intending or assuming the freedom of other people. my freedom must intend the freedom of the other, else, to the extent that I am a being-for-others. my "intention" will fail to be realized through my actions! Further, to the extent that I require others to pursue their freedom, I must will them the opportUnity to do so - I must emancipate others! Freedom, to be conceived authentically - with a view to our nature as ambiguous beings - cannot be conceived of either as an object that is all at once determined for everyone, nor a personal, inviolate project of each - it is neil.her a common transcendent truth nor an individual role. We cannot will freedom without grasping, on an intcrhumun level, the ambiguous existence of each other. We must make ourselves free, make ourselves human, both [or ourselves and in conjunction with other people. Sartre exemplifies this by pointing out the similarity between an aesthetic imperative and an ethical imperative. He suggests that an artist can create meaningful art only by recognizing of or positing the freedom of the viewer of his or her art, else his or her projcct would involve little more than a meaningless collection of stuff. Similarly, the viewer must recognize in an a priori manner the freedom of the artist when he or she examines the work of art. The act of creating an art work is an act which asserts a priori the freedom of both the artist and viewer by both parties if the art work is to be a true or meaningfull (authentic) art work. Just as in a moral imperative, a value is recognized: freedom is asserted as a value. is recognized and appealed 1.0, for if the ability to choose were not asserted and and recognized by both parties, why would either engage in the activity? The conclusion we can draw from this is that an existential imperative
50 is possible. It is 1X)ssible exactly to the extent that we can engage in activities which posit humanity's ambiguous existence on an interhuman level. As we have seen before, authenticity is not possible if I am play-acting, and further it is not 1X)ssible if I imagine that I do not, nonetheless, act in a situation with the result of creating a substantive past, a being-for-others. I cannot, therefore, imagine freedom to subsist on its own with a transcendent value - it is to be valued exactly because to do so is to act in accordance with the nature ontology defines for me. I am an ambiguous being, without appeal, and hence condemned to complete responsibility. I am, in other words, free, and to live my life authentically, to avoid denying what is necessarily true, I must realize my freedom, that is, act in a concrete manner in recognition of myself as freedom.
Or, expressed another way, I must value my freedom. Let us turn, now, to a real world example to illustrate how it is possible to act authentically. Imagine that I am confronted by a singular elderly gentleman by the name of Dostoevski. After approaching me mumbling something about how if God is dead everything is permitted, he tells me that he wishes, as a free for-itself, to become my slave. I realize that I must refuse this request, and endeavor to explain myself to Mr. Dostoevski. The first thing we must consider, I suggest, is that freedom exists only as a negative reality until we determine it as our own freedom, making it a positive value. Given what I know about the ontological structure of the individual. I must will freedom for others as well as myself, else I am acting inauthentically, adopting freedom as my goal merely as it is urged upon me by my role as an "authentic person". Dostoevski, peering over his spectacles, suggests that, if it is his choices which define value, without which there could be no value at all, then whatever he decides must necessarily be right since it is his choices which define what is right. In retort, I suggest to Dostoevski that if I were to allow him to be my slave, it would deny my own authenticity, for not only is freedom not just an object with a transcendent value for all, it is also not a personal role I can play isolated from all others. By enslaving him, I would be denying my own ambiguous nature. The authentic life I seck is possible only if my intention to value my own freedom is revealed not just in the meanings I initiate in the world, but in the embodied I revealed to me by the other. In other words, I must be authentic with regard to both dimensions of my existence, both as a being-for-myself and as a being-for-others. I must act in such a way that, just like the artist and art connoisseur, my own actions presuppose the freedom
51 of not only me but of the other as well. In other words, I must grasp freedom on an interhuman level if! an to avoid being regulated to either positing freedom as an ideal, objectively valuable in itself, or as a mere role which I play. serving as a flight from my responsibility instead of a conscious recognition of it. To return, then, to our initial discussion, it is possible to have an imperative ethic in SaItre's ontological system. The key to this imperative is our being-for-others. We are an ambiguous being, and that ambiguity is continually revealed to us by others. If we recognize the subjective existence of others, we must at the same time recognize that freedom, while not a transcendent value for all, is also, nonetheless, not merely an isolated role to be realized by the individual on his or her own. Freedom, if we are to live our lives authentically, must be apprehended and valued on an interhuman level, and this requires the recognition of responsibility for our choices on an interhuman level as well.
Kant Revisited Lisa Bellantoni
Kant doesn't make it any easier for his reader to understand his first critique when he fails to tell us bluntly that consciousness should not be understood as a mental or, if one prefers, a psychic reality. As long as we think of consciousness as somehow mental, we'll wonder how to accommodate the fact that mentality most often comes across as individualized, as distributed in finite minds, yet Kant surely means to be talking about liI.!ll:. consciousness, not this or that consciousness. Moreover, were consciousness not other than mental, neither Kant nor for that matter, Hegel, could seriously mean to seek "objective" knowledge instead of intersubjective knowing. For both, to conceive consciousness as psychic would forbid moving from consciousness as ~ to the kind of unique subjectivity required to make judgements Qf m:!Y. kind. If instead consciousness is treated as a kind of nonindividualized, high-energy mental stuff, no subjectivities robust enough to make judgments will ever occur. If the subjectivity required to make judgments which can in principle be right bccaUaQ they can in principle be wrong is to survive, this Glop Theory of Consciousness and thus of subjectivity must be rejected. Neither Kant nor Hegel can anow consciousness as a sameness which includes difference as difference of a kind and thus includes difference as the structure of sameness. The self-identity of individuals requires only a partly nonindividual sameness (or there would be no need to recognize both similarity and difference simultaneously); the sameness or self路identity of individuals which are also subjcctivities allows only a partly non-individual sameness (or there would be no capacity to recognize both simultaneously). Avoiding this menlalization of consciousness does not, however, allow Kant to avoid accounting for the particularity which is represented in part by the individuality of minds. Neither will Kant be able to get away with the treatment he affords this variety of particularity by conf:lating some of these notions under the title of a "self' and then confining that structure to a mere regulative idea of reason. He has to get freedom and subjectivity from somewhere, presumably from consciousness, yet in the usual characterization, consciousness is tied too tightly to the phenomenal realm to allow Kant a plausible treatment of
53 particularity. If one focuses only upon the first critique, Kant all but identifies particularity with sense particulars, seeming to think that he can handle particularity merely by distinguishing between transcendental and empirical ideality. Plainly he was thinking only about objective empirical knowledge and thus identifying particularity with sense partiCUlars. Had he not made that identification, it would not be terribly difficult to eliminate particularity instead via the "general particulars" or instances ploy. He might wen have said, for example, that any phenomenon, as a determinate object x, is a particular but a particular in the sense of a fusion of phenomenal particulars (as universalized, generalized particulars corresponding to the transcendental modes of cognition) and sense-particulars (tantamount to alterations in the subjective constitution of the knower, having no objective validity). Geneml particulars would constitute the realm of possible experience; sense particulars would arise in actual experience. He could then argue that we think by rules and that as such, a priori truths are dependent upon beings which are themselves general particulars. But the problem isn't with consciousness as instances, it's with consciousness as subjectivities. Kant recognizes this problem himself, at least implicitly, in his distinction between pure and practical reason as well as in the paralogisms. For Kant, pmctical reason makes its objcct actual, its object being freedom. The making of a kingdom of ends is actually the constitution of an inLersubjcctive domain of freedom, a nonphenomenal domain, which yields the intersubjcctive ought as contrasted to lhe objective/necessary must. He thinks we cannot say that we are free in Ule direct way that we can say that we cognize that chair. In the latLer case, the we is dominant to the extent that our cognitive experience of the chair is shared knowledge where in the former case, only I can say that I am free. Any "we" resulting from this activity is intersubjective. The recognition by the "In of freedom requires us to infer that "we" is free. Intersubjectivity must, then, be the locus of both freedom and of subjectivity since if intersubjectivity were reached (epistemologically) prior to this constituting, objective knowledge could degcnemte in collective illusion. But how can we assign the required texLure to intersubjectivity when that structure must rest upon fiercely independent subjectivities? The best hope lies in the recognition that any analysis of reason which when made consistent as it was by Hegel must identify being with knowing and must treat reason's project of self.knowledge as bi-directional. It is in a sense easier to work from the "outside" in, to proceed as Kant did in the Prolegomena and in at least some
54 portions of the first critique, by examining the alleged products of reason and then to infer what the cognitive faculties must be like given the evident products. This activity, for Kant, yields objective knowledge. But what of the product of reason called the "phenomenal self'? How does one examine that product, a product SO different from the rest that Kant even says that although detennined in time, space has no role in its status? It would seem that reason must in this case be examined from the "inside". The immediate problem, however, is that we now have a process of a
reason and that activity, as knowledge,
cannot be undertaken from a subjective ground but only from an intersubjective ground. Intersubjectivity, then, has to be the recognition of similarity through difference, an activity which requires giving subjectivity its due without giving it everything. Each locus must reach the others primarily through their particularity rather than through their commonalities. Otherness and subjectivity therefore necessarily arise in tandem, just as Hegel said they did. We require otherness to link the "inside" and the "outside" especially when we're dealing with a philosopher whose work when taken seriously, as seriously, say, as Hegel took Kant, links being and knowledge inextricably. Otherness is necessary to identify them in both epistemological and in ontological tenns: 1) as a mode of being- the slatus of a thing in itself 2) as a mode of knowledge- the consciousness of the objects' relation to a subject
2) balances 1) in the
1) balances 2) in the
subject-subject relation. Together they fonn a continuum from knowledge/being to being/knowledge as the basis for the movement from objective to intersubjective knowledge. These two must balance each other to prevent dissolution into subjective atomicity, which would forbid any identity stronger than that of logical identity, the identity of consciousnesses as instances. Intersubjectivity turns out on this reading to be the condition of subjectivity; the self can never be 2nlY. self-identical. It must be denied absoluteness to preserve itself. To handle particularity in even the kind of first approximation sketched thus far, then, consciousness simply must be treated in both epistemological and ontological terms. Noumena simply cannot be left in blessed ignorance. The claim in the first critique that consciousness represents a veil marking the
55 interface of the phenomenal and the noumenal realms is acceptable only as long as the phenomenaIlnoumenal distinction is merely the epistemelogical mate of what should be the ultimate pairing here, the one and the many. On this dual account, when you know something, you are backing away from it into your own sUbjectivity. The intuited object becomes less fully determinate; correspondingly, it becomes increasingly relational/empirical. "Consciousness oC' itself is inherently relational above the level of the bare spatial-temporal localization of intuited objects. Objects of experience become increasingly less determinate, and correspondingly more complex. To the extent that they are known, being and knowing are opposites; this is expressed epistemologically in the phenomena/noumena dichotomy. But for Kant, being and knowing are identified insofar as we can know (experientially). This suggests that what underlies the phenomenal (knowing) self. as bound to experiential knowledge, is not identical with what underlies the noumenal (existent) self, which is free and thus ~ make judgements. Consciousness of itself could help to bridge the gap between the noumenal (subjective) self and the phenomenal self if "consciousness oC' is regarded as a fusion of the two, a subjective mentality. In not entirely metaphorical terms, consciousness itself would be regarded as a sort of wave, the pulsating, uniulrY interface of opposites. Its structure as we infer it is logical while its content, aside from this structure, is unknown, thus incorporating Kant's notion of the limiting factor of experience, consciousness of. Around this wave, imagine four interwoven threads, space-time incarnate. At certain points (or instants), these four threads intersect with each other and with consciousness. These intersections would yield nascent subjectivities. The unity of consciousness and the unity of space-time at these loci thereby generate mentality as a function of consciousness. Yes, we have indeed departed from the master but there's no help for it. What Kant says about the unity of consciousness as providing the unity ofthe pure intuitions, jointly and separately, is eitller flat wrong or true only epistemologically. Kant is right to say that space and time inhabit us as intuitions but he is wrong in asserting that they would not exist apart from consciousness. They need to be both phenomenal ancI noumenal to avoid the idealism/self-identity problem (identity like subjectivity needs a noumenal basis) and to enable beings "determined in time" to be also free. Put bluntly, finite minds could not exist without contributions from a
56 self-existent space-time. Finite minds cannot be merely immanent in each other (too similar. thus no change) nor can they be entirely discontinuous (no simultaneity), It is no surprise that we do not experience space-time as being as continuous as Kant thought each was or as discontinuous as, Whitehead thought. We experience space-time as a continuum in which unitary space is presented as simultaneous (in time) and successive times are represented only via alterations registered within unitary space through time. Thus space and time are what they are for us (as phenomenal) only in tandem. We experience space-time in this manner, i.e., phenomenally, as successive continuity rather than immanence because we're not m!.l.Y. subjectivities. We are also phenomenal beings and thus must always have a very tentative grasp of the noumenal, a grasp so tentative that if the need for a plausible account of particularity and freedom and subjectivity did not drive us to that account, we would follow Kant and put off consideration of our membership in the "intelligible" world until the second and third critiques. Fortunately, the epistemological status of space and time provides the best guide to inferences about their ontological status. For us, space and time are almost but not quite interchangeable, are sometimes one thing, sometimes two, but never anything fully reconciled. That metastable status is reflected in a qualitative gap between consciousness and consciousness of, derivatively between "outer" experience and "inner" sense. This gap must be present because our potential consciousness of experience arises out of a fusion of space-time which would make all experience (including that of space足 time)impossible in the absence of such a gap. With respect to the not quite metaphorical interpretation offered just a bit ago, space and time seem almost to be alternate, super-imposed waves which intersect only along the consciousness wave, a duality which underscores the difficulty consciousness always has with being forever out of synchronization with itself. One is strongly tempted to believe that in themselves, space and time are as much other than each other as they are other than consciousness. Yes, that does suggest that they may present an alternative ontological realm. No, we're not going to pursue that suggestion here. Instead, let's see to what extent these extensions deal with some of Kant's vices without abandoning his virtues. Given this account of space-time, the cognitive process of any human subject may be presented as a continuum consisting of the following moments:
57 1. Consciousness - an inferred logical structure but
2. Consciousness -the spawn of space-time and
consciousness, textured by both.
3. Mentality - fluid structure and experiential content. How does the phenomenalnoumena distinction fare when looked at from this vantage point? Phenomena - empirical intuitions present to the inner sense which includes this entire apparatus of knowing arise on the edge of "consciousness of', the interface between the noumenal realm and the structures which confer human significance upon it (consciousness as a limiting factor). In consequence: a. We experience all phenomena including the phenomenal self as pinned down in space-time. 1) The initial encounter will be the relatively static/passive isolation of the mere form of appearance (extension and figure) of the object. 2) Intuition cuts the object's form out of the fabric of space-time producing a highly determinate intuited object. b. If there were no gap between consciousness and "consciousness of", and derivatively between "consciousness of' and its objects, this atomicity is as far as experience could go and we could never get from intuited objects in general to objects of experience. 1) The lag between immediate (outer sense; intuited objects) and mediate experience (inner sense; involving objects of experience) produces an increasingly less immediate, and therefore determinate cognitive process. The intuited object is "painted in" via concepts; this determines what lies in experience (objects of experience) in a more "empirical", less determinate form. 2) Concepts and intuitions acting in tandem constrain the imagination; in unison. these three generate experience just as Kant says they do. 3) Knowing therefore represents a progressive modification of mind which heightens subjectivity which in tum allows judgments accommodating particularity without abandoning Kant's passion for generality. Perhaps it is nO,t too much to hope he might be pleased.
Published on Jun 1, 2011