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Episteme ep-i-ste-me \ epa 'i 'ste'me \ n. [Gk.

episteme J: knowledge; speci} intellectually certain knowleJ...l.{e


Editors BenjamiIJ K Herrington James L. Kijowski Philip D. Miller

Associate Editor Angelica Lemke

Editorial Board Rebecca Bartley Nina Clements Nathan Cook Jim DUll50lJ Sarah Leyrer Leah Rowland David Tulkin

Faculty Advisor Barbara Fu/tlJer

•

Episteme is puhlished Ul1~ der the auspices of tlu? Denison University De~ partment of PhilosopllY.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Episteme aims to recognize and encourage el(cellence in under~ graduate philosophy hy providing both stu~ dents andfaculty with e/iamples ofsome ofthe best work currently beiJt.q done in under...qradu~ ate philosophy programs around the world. Episteme is des{.qJled to offer under...qraduates their first opportunity to puhlish philosopMcal work. It is our hope that Episteme will help stimulate philosophical dialo....que and inquiry among students and faculty at colleges and universities. Episteme is published anllually hy a staff of undergraduate philosop/ly majors and minors at DellisoJ) University. Please direct all inquir~ ies to 'The Editor5/Episteme, " Dept. of PM~ losophy, Deni50n Univer5ity, Grt1llllille, Ohio 43023. E~mail: episteme@delli5011.edlJ Episteme will com;ider papers written by {JIlder..llr.1duate 5tlldent5 illllny area ofpfliloso~ pby. Suhmissio115 should not el(ceed 4,000 words. Papers are evaluated accordillg to the followiJtll criteria: quality of research, depth of philosophical illquiry, creativity. or{.qinal il1~ 5[.qbt and clarity. Please provide tilree dOl/ble 5paced copies of each submi55ioll and a Olle pa,.qe biography including colle...qe or university name. major, class year, address, e~m'1iJ, Imd pbone llumher, as well as ,1 3..5" di5k in Microsoft Wordformat. Deadlinefor suhJllis~ siaM for Volume XI is Fehruary 1, 2000.


EPISTEME

A Journal of Undergraduate Philosophy Volume X

Septemher 1999

Contents ARISTOTLE

5'

THEORY OF GENIUS EXAMINED THROUGH REID

5'

THEORY OF

NATURAL SIGNS ............................................................................................ .

5

Andrew M. Stewart, Wake Forest University KANT's OSTENSIBlE ANTITIIESlS OF "PUBLIC" AND "PRJVATE" AND THE SUBVERSION OF THE LANGUAGE OF AUTHORITY IN 'jI!N ANSWER TO 111£ vv HAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT.;:I'" .................................................. . QVESTION: <T::rr. Michael D. Royal, Wheaton College

's CALL FOR FAiTH FROM THE A THEISM OF DEAD ................................................................... James L. Kijowski, Denison University

14

A CRITIQUE OF RICOEUR NIETZSCHE: GOD IS STILL

27

CONTRA MOTIJERS!!L CON11(A KANT: TilE iMPERA'J1VE jU[)GHMliNT ()//

TASTE IN BEAUTY RESTORED ANI) THE CRJ17QUE 01' jWXJEMBNT ...............

3'/

Christopher Douglas, M.l. T. FINDING A NEW ''/L1£1NING OF MEANING "................................................

/il

Benjamin K. Herrington, Denison University

Tile editors eKpress sincere appreCiation to tbe DeJlison UJ)ilJcr!Ji~1J ReBc,lreh Foundatio/l, tile DeniBoll qffice of Admi!J!Jiolls, the Denison fToIJors Pro..f{rmn, Pat Davis and R1clIltg Advi!Jor Bilrh,ml FlI/tncrfor tbeir .155i!JtiIllCC in m.1killfl the pllh/ic.1tioll of tl!i!J journal pO!J!Jih/c, Wc a/!Jo eKtend !Jpecialgratitllde to lile Pbi/o!Jopby Dcpifl'tmcnt ji/wlty: BarbilJ'il Fultncr, D,wid GoldMatt, Tony Li55ka,jonatbaJ) Mf1!Jkit, Mark Mol/cr, Ronald E. SantoJli <1lld Stcven VOlfclfor tlN!ir cOIJ!Jtant clltbll!Jif1!J/1J, support and creativc ilJput.


A Letter from the Editors:

With the dawning of the millenium upon us, we take a moment to reflect on the past ten years of Episteme's publication. In 1989, Episteme was introduced as the first undergraduate philosophy journal of its kind. Since that time, it has expanded to attain interna~ tional recognition, receiving submissions from and distributing is足 sues to colleges and universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. As our statement of purpose indicates, Episteme provides a forum for exem足 plary work in philosophy at the undergraduate level. Over the past ten years our volumes have covered a wide array of thinkers and topics, ranging from Ancient to Contemporary and philosophical traditions including Analytic, Continental, and Eastern. We are pleased to offer here our Tenth Anniversary issue, comprising five essays examining Aristotle, Kant, Putnam, Ricoeur, Nietzsche, and others, thus exemplifying our publication of a diverse range of philosophical topics. The articles presented in this anniversary edition have been selected from a record number of submissions received from across the United States. All papers undergo a process of blind review by the editorial staff and are evaluated according to quality of research, depth of philosophical inquiry, creativity, original insight, and clar足 ity. Final selections are made by consensus of the editors and the editorial board. In light of our Tenth Anniversary this year, we are particularly pleased that two of the works published in this issue are from students in the philosophy department at Denison University.

Benjamin K. Herrington James L. Kijowski Philip D. Miller, Editors June, 1999


ARISTOTLE'S THEORY OF GENIUS EXAMINED THROUGH REID'S THEORY OF NATURAL SIGNS

Andrew M. Stewart

Wake Forest University

It is easy to hear or read a metaphor and identify it as such. It is harder to say just what a metaphor does or how it does it. Metaphor departs from the standard use of a word or words to express some other meaning that typical prosaic language could not achieve. Perhaps it is this ability to communicate meaning beyond the scope of ordinary usages of words that makes the use of metaphor so popular. Whatever the source of its popularity, as an unconven足 tional, yet highly effective semiotic device, we might begin to won足 der about its origins. How is it that language, with its ability to convey meaning through its arbitrary sounds and relationships, can break its ownrules to convey even more meaning? Is there (1) a more fundamental relationship between things in the world on which this stretching of the structure of language relies or (2) does metaphor achieve its higher meaning through a fabrication that is just as arbitrary as the vocalized sounds which make up language? Aristotle's theory of metaphor affirms the former in order to understand how language can break its own rules and still convoy more meaning. Aristotle's realist theory of metaphor helps us an足 swer some difficult questions about how metaphor functions since it prescribes some limits to the subjects that may be properly used in a , metaphor. For Aristotle, there is some essential similarity between the actual objects compared which serves as the basis for a successful metaphor. One of the key differences between a good and bad metaphor is the selection of fitting terms. Aristotle says that the ability to create metaphors is II a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars" (P 1459a).1 But just how this functioning of'genius' takes place is left out of Aristotle's description. Aristotle's theory of metaphor commits him to at least the mini~ mal claim that objects actually contain properties since metaphor is supposed to utilize similarities actually found in the objects that are Stewart is a 1999 graduate of Wake Forest University. He plans to pursue

a Ph.D. in Philosophy.

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ANDREW M. STEWART

compared to each other. Thomas Reid's realism is similar in that he believes that objects really possess the characteristics which some philosophers (he thinks) are too quick to relegate to the realm of mere sensations. In order to explain the gap between our sensations and our awareness of material bodies, Reid theorizes that (as Derose says) "sensations 'naturally suggest' or are 'natural signs' for the qualities of bodies" (322). As a result of the realism which Aristotle and Reid share, we can use Reid's theory of natural signs to give a plausible account of the workings of, and problems related to, Aristotle's idea of genius. We begin by exploring how Aristotle's theory of metaphor commits him to the type of realism I have attributed to him. For Aristotle, "[m]etaphor consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else" (P 1457b). The nature of this relationship seems a bit oversimplified. This definition seems to allow for the giving of anything the name that belongs to any other thing. It is clear from Aristotle's formalism towards the creation of metaphors as expounded in the Rhetoric, however, that Aristotle does not think metaphor creation is so open ended: [m]etaphors ... must befitting, which means that they must fairly correspond to the thing signified" (R1405a). There are a few ways a metaphor may be" amiss" (R1405a) but the most crucial of these ways is the failure to pick subjects of metaphor which are similar in some essential way. Aristotle also tells us that [0]ne term may describe a thing more truly than another, may be more like it, and set it more intimately before our eyes" (R 1405b). It is clear from this statement that, for. Aristotle, there is such a thing as good and bad metaphor making. Already we can see that not just any word can be used metaphori足 cally with any other word for lithe want of harmony between two things is emphasized by their being placed side by side" (R1405a). Not only is the choice of terms determined by some internal similar足 ity, butto choose incorrectly exposes the failure of the choice since the subjects of the metaphor are juxtaposed as a necessary part of the form of metaphor. The right or 'fitting' way to construct a metaphor requires "an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars" (P 1459a). The similarity that a person with 'intuitive perception' (genius) can pick out is not an obvious or traditionally appreciated kind of similarity. If it were, the use of metaphor could be substituted by the standard employment of language in prosaic form but "[m]etaphor gives II

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style, clearness, charm, and distinction as nothing else can" and, unlike the ability to utilize and master ordinary speech, [metaphor] is not a thing whose use can be taught by one man to another" (R 1405a). This mastery of metaphor which cannot be taught by another is the power of genius which Aristotle identifies in the Poetics. Similarity can manifest itself in many different ways. Words, for example, can have similar sounding words, but Aristotle specifically has the hidden similarity of things in the real world (in 18th century terms, he has an anti-sensationalist view of the similarity of things compared with metaphor) in mind: "Metaphors must be drawn ... from things that are related to the original thing, and yet not obviously so related" (R 1412a, my emphasis). These 'original things' mostly include actual objects in the world which have specific, similar properties, but they can also include things like actions: in one of his examples of a fitting metaphor, Aristotle uses the substitution of the word "draw" for "sever" (P 1457b). It is not so crucial to note that Aristotle's theory of metaphor hinges on the use of similar objects in the real world. It is, however, very important to realize that the properties Aristotle believes make terms proper subjects for metaphors are independent of the term; the properties are a part of the term but only because the term points to something real (whether it be an object or an action or whatever) that actually has those characteristics. Metaphors are only as good as the similarities they point out between real things with real characteris足 tics, they do not simply"create similarity and resemblance" (Danesi 323) out of two completely dissimilar things. It is clear that Aristotle's theory of metaphor is grounded on the real existence of things and the properties they possess. Further足 more, Aristotle says that the ability to construct metaphors is depen足 denton the ability to grasp hidden similarities in things that are otherwise (on the surface) completely dissimilar. But how can we make sense of this power of genius? It is the power of genius which makes a person able to create fitting metaphors. Genius is an ability to pick out similarities that are already in dissimilar things and put them into metaphorical form, though not everyone has this ability. Moreover, genius is not a thing that one person can teach another. Genius, then, must be a power that is either developed through specific types of life experience (independent of a human /I teacher") or one with which a person is born. Regardless oHhe cause of genius, the odd thing is that the experience of the power of metaphor is not II


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restricted to those with genius. In other words, although only those with genius can create metaphors, a great many more people can receive and appreciate metaphors. Once similarities in seemingly dissimilars are brought to their attention by the person with genius, these receivers can appreciate the subtle similarities in otherwise dissimilar things. If this were not the case, the power of metaphor would be severely restricted since it would only be useful to those with the power of genius in the first place. Indeed, it is hard to believe that Aristotle would claim that rhetoriticians "must pay careful attention to metaphor" (R 1405a) when "the technical study of rhetoric is concerned with the modes of persuasion" (R 1355a) and these 'modes of persuasion' must be "notions possessed by every足 body" (R 1355a) in order for rhetoric to effectively persuade. Now that it is clear that even those without genius can appreciate the similarities made explicit through metaphor, a new question arises. We no longer need to know how the power of genius works, instead we need to understand how universal appreciation of meta足 phor can take place without universal possession of genius. One plausible explanation for the intelligibility of this state of affairs can be given using Reid's concept of natural signs. Before we can under足 stand how Reid's natural signs can explain Aristotle's porblematic theory of metaphor reception, it is important that we explore some of their characteristics. Reid defines natural signs in contradistinction to artificial signs. Artificial signs are those which" [arise] from some agreement among mankind" (LFA 29).2 Artificial signs are purely arbitrary signs which do signify, but only because they have been designated and learned by some group of people. Natural signs, on the other hand, "are understood by anyone, as smoke is universally understood to show that there is fire or as a sign of fire" (LFA 29). There are three types ofnatural signs which are distinguished by the manners in which the connection of sign to that which is signified is made apparent in humans. The connection of the first kind of natural sign to its obje~t is made through experience. The example of smoke being a natural sign of fire is an example of one such natural sign since, although the connection of the sign to the object is natural, it is only through experience that we can come to know this connection. The second type of natural sign is "not only established by nature but discovered to us by a natural principle, without reasoning or experience" (IHM 44). An example of this type of natural sign is the facial expression


ARISTOTLE'S THEORY OF GENIUS

one makes when expressing a certain emotion. The ability to under足 stand these expressions is not gained by experience, but is a product of lithe constitution of human nature" (LFA 30). The third type of natural sign suggests things of which we "never before had any notion or conception but give us grounds to "create a belief of [them]" (IHM44). I will focus on the second type of natural sign since it is "the foundation of the fine arts, or of taste" (IBM 45) and the understanding of metaphor falls under the category of taste. While exploring the notion of grandeur as an attribute of things which please taste, Reid makes it clear that "power, wisdom, and goodness, are properly the attributes of mind only. They are ascribed to the work figuratively, but are really inherent in the author" (EIP 496). He asks the question: "ls there no real grandeur in material objects?/I (ErP 497). Reid asks this question because he seems to have gotten himself into trouble with one of his earlier claims-namely, that the object has its excellence from its own constitution, and not from ours" (EIP 495). In "Objectivity and Expression in Thomas Reid's Aesthetics/' Josefine Nauckhoff solves this seemingly devastating problem by explaining how attributes of mind may subsist in objects through the presence of natural ~igns (of the second type). Natural signs function as material significations of attributes of mind. Nauckhoff explains how uReid thinks we have direct access to the meaning of these signs. We do not need to interpret them in order to know what they express" (187). The truth of this statement lies in the fact that natural signs about which she is speaking fall under the second type of natural signs that are discovered to us by a natural principle, without reasoning or experience" (IBM 44). The upshot of our having direct access to this type of natural sign is that "we do not need to 'read' excellence 'into' a sign which naturally signifies an excellencei rather, the excellence is directly expressed by the sign" (Nauckhoff 187). Now it should be clear how the excellence is both in the object as expressed through natural signs as well as originally the '[attribute} of mind only.' It is important that natural signs do more than merely point to excellence since Reid presents a theory of metaphor based on their actual similarities: ll

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The various objects which nature presents to our view, even

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those that are most different in kind, have innumerable similitudes, relations, and analogies, which we contemplate with pleasure, and which lead us naturally to borrow words and attributes from one object to express what belongs to another. The greatest part of every language under heaven is made up of words borrowed from one thing, and applied to something supposed to have some relation or analogy to their first signification. The attributes of body we ascribe to mind, and the attributes of mind to material objects (EIP 501). Just like Aristotle, Reid theorizes that metaphors are created as a result of "innumerable similitudes, relations, and analogies which we contemplate with pleasure." For Reid the creation of a metaphor takes place "by ascribing to [the objects of sense] intellectual qualities which have some analogy to those they really possess" (EIP 497, my emphasis). On Reid's account, creation of a metaphor means more than for Aristotle since a basis in objects of sense is a basis in natural

signs. How does all of this help us with the problem of universal reception of metaphor in Aristotle's theory? Recall that Aristotle thinks that genius "implies an intuitive perception of tlle similarity in dissimilars" that"cannot be learnt from others." For Aristotle, those subjects that are capable of systematic study are rightly defined as arts. The man of art is thought to be wiser than the man of experience "because the former know [s] the cause, but the latter do[ es] not" (M 981a). Because of the conceptual nature of an art, the artist can teach, and therefore we think art more truly knowledge than experience is" (M 981b). Since the conceptual nature of art is the characteristic which makes art teachable, it follows that something that is notteachable must not be based on concepts. 3 The importance of the unteachable nature of the power of genius is now clear: genius is non-conceptual. The non-conceptual nature of the foundations of Aristotle's theory of metaphor is crucial to its relationship with Reid's natural signs of the second type. Recall that the reason these signs need no interpretation is because they are discovered to us by a natural principle, without reasoning or experience." So we know tllat the natural signs on which metaphors are based are not the product of reasoning. Reasoning deals with concepts, so we can say that natural signs - Reid's basis for the reality of metaphor - are non-conceptuaL II

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Furthermore, if we substitute similarity of Reid's natural signs as the basis for metaphor for Aristotle's ambiguous similarity in dissimilars," we get a non-conceptual basis for a non-conceptual process. The only thing left is to show how this relationship entails the possibility of universal appreciation of metaphors without uni­ versal possession of non-conceptual genius. If we consider the other characteristic of the second type of natural signs-that they are not derived through experience-we must conclude, with Reid, that their connections must be made known "by some original principle" (LFA 30). This original principle is resolved by Reid "into the constitution of human nature" (LFA 30). Since the second type of natural sign must automatically be discovered by everyone since it is within the"constitution of human nature," the ability to compre­ hend similarities between natural signs and intellectual qualities in cleverly constructed metaphors must be available to all. It is true that "we find pleasure in discovering relations, simili­ tudes, analogies, and even contrasts that are not obvious to every eye" (ElP 497, my emphasis), but this process of 'discovering' (which is not open to all) is different than the process of grasping similarities already brought out through metaphor (which must be open to all since the knowledge of how natural signs signify must be available to all people as a part of their human constitution). The diHCOVl..!ring process is an active one through which we conned [similitudcli and analogies between things of very different nature] in our imagina tion and ascribe to one what properly belongs to the other" (Ell' 497). It is this activity which differentiates the two processes of metaphori­ cal cognition (discovery and reception) and makes it possible for Reid to claim that in one sense (the creative, active sense), the similarities are not open to all but in another sense (the receptive passive sense), since the similarities are based on the human consti­ tution, they must be open to all. The synthesis of Reid's theory of natural signs can fHI out some of the ambiguities of Aristotle's otherwise outstanding theory of metaphor. By pointing to similarities in Reid's natural signs as the source of correctly executed metaphor, we can moke sense or Aristotle's process of genius (as Reid's active process of imagina~ tion). Perhaps more importantly, we can resolve the difficulties arising from the restriction of metaphor to those with genius while the power of metaphor through comprehension remains available to II

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all. In the end, the combination of Aristotle's theory of metaphor with Reid's theory of natural signs gives us a solid explanation not only of how metaphor functions, but how this functioning is possible with a basis in the real properties that belong to actual things. 4

NOTES

Citations from Aristotle are abbreviated as follows: P==Poetics, R=Rhetoric and M=Metaphysics. 2 All citations from Reid are abbreviated as follows: LFA=Lectures on the Fine Arts in Thomas Reid's Lectures on the Fine Arts, EIP=Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man in The Works afThomas Reid, vol. 1., and II-lM;: Inquiry into the Human Mind quoted from excerpts in Thomas Reid (page numbers given from Thomas Reid) 3 Since All Conceptual things are Teachable things, the contrapositive of this statement, All non-Teachable things are non-Conceptual things, must be true. 4 I wish to thank Josefine Nauckhoff and Marcus Hester for their helpful discussions about this paper. 1

WORKS CITED

Aristotle. The Basic Works of Aristotle. ed. Richard McKeon. New York: Random House, 1941. (used for Poetics and Metaphysics citations) Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle. ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984. (used for Rhetoric) Danesi, Marcel. "Metaphor./I reprinted in Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts. ed. David Goldblatt and Lee B. Brown. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,1997. DeRose, Keith. "Reid's Anti-Sensationalism and His Realism." The Philosophical Review. 98 (1989) pp. 313-348. Lelu'er, Keith. Thomas Reid. New York: Routledge, 1989. Nauckhoff, Josefine. "Objectivity and Expression in Thomas Reid's Aesthetics." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 52:2 Spring 1994.


ARISTOTLE'S THEORY OF GENIUS

Reid, Thomas. The Philosophical Works of Thomas Reid. vol. 1. ed. Sir William Hamilton. 8th ed. London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1872.

__.Thomas Reid's Lectures on the FineArts. ed. Peter Kivy. Netherlands: The Hague, 1973.

13


KANT's OSTENSIBLE ANTITHESIS OF "PUBLIC" AND "PRIVATE" AND

THE SUBVERSION OF THE LANGUAGE OF AUTHORITY IN U AN ANSWER

TO THE QUESTION: .IWHAT Is ENLIGHTENMENT?'" Michael D. Royal

Wheaton College

In An Answer to the Question: 'What Is Enlightenment?',"1 written in 1784, Kant brought to the table of philosophical discourse what previously had been merely a political concern - the manner in which enlightenment ought to proceed (Schmidt, "The Question" 270). His essay was one of tw0 2 historically significant responses to Protestant clergyman Johann Friedrich Zollner's query, posed in a footnote of an essay in the Berlinische Monatsschrif. "What is enlight­ enment? This question, which is almost as important as [the ques­ tion] What is truth? would seem to require an answer, before one engages in enlightening other people... . (qtd. in Bahr 1-2). The topic of social enlightenment was widely debated as Europe searched· for a scientific identity, one which Kant was willing to supply with whathecalledhis own "Copernicanrevolution." Kant's line of reasoning in "What Is Enlightenment?/I is different and more compelling than those of his contemporaries in that Kant not only proposes bothdefinitionofandmethodforenlightenment, butconjoins the two in an intimate relationship, the essential link between them being free speech, but (as we will see) a qualified kind of free speech termed the public use of reason./I Consequently, Kant's argument is political in its aim but philosophical in its approach, appealing to the nature of the polis itself, the nature of historical progress, and the nature of reason. As such, its implications are deep and far-reaching. In this critique of "What Is Enlightenment?" I am not concerned with Kant's conclusion, that free speech is necessary for social enlighten­ ment, but only with evaluating the structure of the arguml?l1t and its epistemological underpinnings which are both presupposed and recommended in the language of the essay. I intend to show that Kant is making a political argument that is built around his manipu­ lation of the grammatical relationship between "public" and "pri­ vate." U

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I. The Public and Private Uses ofReason

Kant offers us the public use of reason" as an object for our contemplation and proceeds to argue that this thing, by nature, is free. Kant's argument depends on the way he distinguishes the public from the private use of reason. He defines the private use of reason as that use which one makes of his reason in a certain civil post or office which is entrusted to him." Kant provides three examples in which one operates by the private use of reason: the military officer on duty must obey the command of his superior, the citizen must pay the taxes imposed on him, and the clergyman must preach accord足 ing to the symbol of the church which he serves" (Kant, An Answer" 60). Before we get to Kant's definition of the public use of reason, it is worth noting that although the distinction between "public" and "private" is strange if not counter-intuitive, Kant is to some degree warranted in his application of these terms. John Laursen shows the etymological grounds for Kant's uses of these words. The German word for "private" reflects its Latin heritage in that, after Cicero, privatum acquired a legal meaning, denoting the duty that an indi足 vidual has to another entity by way of a contract or wilt versus, more generally, "public" or state law (Laursen, "The Subversive Kant" 254). Thus, the emphasis on duty is reflected in Kant's use of the word "private" in "the private use of reason" - the private use of reason has as its job the duty to serve someone else or some other entity. The private use of reason is employed in cases in which a person's position,like a contract, obliges him to do certain things: for example, the military officer is obligated, because of his position in . the military, to obey the command of his superior. The public use of reason Kant defines as that use which anyone makes of it [reason] as a scholar [Gelehter] before the entire public of the reading world." In the public role one may raise criticism about those institutions or practices to which one is bound in one's private role: the officer criticizes the military; the citizen, the government; and the clergyman, religious and ecclesiastical affairs (Kant, An Answer" 60). The Latin term publicus, the meaning from which the German adjective offentlich ("public") is derived, was associated with both (1) the idea of the state or government, and (2) the notion of" that which is out in the open." In the Middle Ages offentlicTJ held more the latter of these connotations, but legal scholarship in Germany be足 tween the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries strengthened the prior 1/

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connotation (Laursen, liThe Subversive Kant" 254). It is in this sense that we call a government building a public building, not necessarily because it has public access, but because it is owned by the state (Habermas 1-2). Kant's employment of the term "public" with reference to that which the scholar brings"out into the open" was a kind of reversal of the prevailing usage of the times but was not completely unwarranted since lithe wider meaning of 'public' had not died out entirely. (Laursen, liThe Subversive Kant" 255). II

II. Kant's Grammatical Error in His Uses of "Public" and "Private" A. The Grammar of'Opposition' Despite the etymological roots from which Kant derives mean­ ings for "public" and "private," his distinction is counter-intuitive. One would not typically describe something which is regulated by government as private, but that is what Kant does with the phrase lithe private use of reason." However, I am arguing with John Laursen againstthe position that some have taken: that Kant exhibits in his distinction an exact reversal of the words IIpublic" and IIpri_ vate." The different uses of the words "public" and IIprivate" demonstrate that the counter-intuitive character of Kant's distinc­ tion is not the result of a definitional problem, but rather the result of a grammatical confusion (I mean "grammatical" in a broadly Wittgensteinian sense, Le., a word has a grammar, meaning it is used in certain contexts in certain ways and not others). John Laursen has argued for a subversive interpretation of KantJ, and to continue in the vein of his reading of the essay, I shall attempt to elucidate the grammatical mechanism itself which makes possible the subversive conceptual recommendations which follow from it. First, it is important to recognize that the words "public" and "private" share a grammatical feature which, we will see, is key to Kant's line of reasoning: this feature, we might call, "having an opposite" or opposition." Now, we must take a short break from Kant and ask, in a Wittgensteinian spirit, What kind of a concept is 'opposition'? We find out by looking at how the word oppositionll is used in ordinary language.4 The concept of opposition has a grammar which governs the ordinary use of it in language. Many words have opposites. Nouns include "top" vs. "bottom;" preposi­ tions, "inside" vs. "outsidei" verbs, "rise" vs. "fall;" adverbs, "hap­ pily" vs. "sadly;" conjunctions, "therefore" vs. "however;" interjec­ tions, "Yes!" vs. "No!"; and adjectives, "public" vs. "private." Many II

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words do not share this grammatical feature; for example, there is no definite opposite for the word "dog." If we were asked to give one and we said, "cat," for instance, we might as well have said, "puppy" or "enemy." These words might be opposites to "dog" in some contexts, but" dog," as such, has no opposite. To offer one is to perpetuate the mistaken assumption of the questioner. I would like to point out three rules at work in the language-game of opposition. First, when two things are opposite to each other, on some level they share no common ground. They do not simply have generally different meanings or very different meanings, but rather, are severed from each other. Thus we cannot properly say that the words "food" and"drink" are opposites, for" drink" is contained in "food." Secondly, opposites not only lack common ground, butthey also have a kind of antagonism toward each other. They face each other as if in adual. Although "hamburger" and"thinking" share no common ground, there is nothing about them that makes them necessarily opposed to each other - nothing in one which anticipates the other. This kind of mutual exclusivity leads us to a third rule: on some level, the concept of opposition does presuppose a common ground, but a special kind. As we look at the word as it is used in ordinary language, we see that relationship is a necessary grmnmati足 cal condition for things to be mutually exclusive, namely n relation足 ship of antagonism, and that common ground nllowflthe opposition to make sense. So, the third rule might be stated: It is only with respect to the issue about which the words arc being played against one another that they share no common ground and are mutually . exclusive, but the issue itself is a COmlTIOn ground. For exam pIe, it is with respect to temperature that"cold" and "hot" share no common ground, but both have a common ground as descriptions of tempera足 ture. Not only do we find the meaning of a word by looking at its use in the language, we also find which meaning of a particular word is used by looking at its immediate context in a passage. Notice tlmt a word like" alive" can have more than one line of oppo3ition. " Alive" can be conh'asted with both inanhna te" and ",kad," two words whose grammars are very different. Arid the word I, alive" itself has different grammars depending on which of these it揃 is contrasted with. Consider these two statements: "Father is alive, but sand is not" (where the understood opposite is "inanimate and "Father is alive, but mother is not" (where the understood opposite is deadl t ). If

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The second statement may appropriately be accompanied with, for example, emotion, special memories, or vehement denials. None of these accompaniments are provided for in the grammar of the contrast in the first statement. Rather, we might expect some scientific explanation or further definition of what a thing must have or do to be considered" alive." In this way, we can speak of a line of opposition as being the determining factor in the grammar of the words being opposed. Like simple concept-words, different lines of opposition involving a single word are used in different language足 games. B. The Ostensible Antithesis of "Public" and IIPrivate" In light of the above sketch we can see how Kant both capitalizes on and manipulates the grammaticalfeatures of opposition in his use of the words "public" and "private." For any use of the word "public," there is an opposite use ofthe word "private." Butnotethat these words are antonyms only in so far as they are being put to use in opposite ways in a given context of the language. Kant's sneaki足 ness is in his drawing his purportedly opposite terms "public" and "private" from different lines of opposition. (A) For the word "public," Kant adopts a usage derived from the "out in the open" connotation, but for the word private, he adopts a usage derived from the 'I contractual" connotation. If Kant had obeyed normal usage in pairing these words, he would have used either the wOl'd "private to mean "indoors not accessible to the public at large,u or the word public II to mean IIhaving to do with state (public) law and not private contracts. In either of these cases, the pair of words would have been equal and opposite, so to speak. (B) By identifying "private" with its contractual 'I duty" connotation, Kant can then exploit the fact that religious as well as military and legal affairs operated (in his time) under the auspices of the state, thus contracting the private use of reason to governmental control. So it is in one's private military, citizenry, or religious role that one must stTictly obey the state authority despite the fact that the idea of'state' would not ordinarily have been a connotation of the word "private." (C) Thus, Kant suggests an identity between one use of the word "pri足 vatelf and one use of the word "public,'1 which happen to be oppo足 sites. The result is that we have the two meanings of "public set against each other as if they were opposite. What had been merely ll

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a dual meaning of one word, "public," Kant made into an (apparent) antagonism by giving one of those meanings the name which was already, on the surface, opposite to it, Le.," private." Because the two meanings of the word "public" are not, in fact, opposite to each other, the opposition that Kant suggests exists between his words public" and private" is an illusion based merely on the ostensible antithesis between those words. To summarize, the pair "public" and" private" contains two lines of opposition. Kant makes a grammatical error in his uses of the words "public" and "private" by confounding these lines of opposi足 tion, joining the two words in a single context as if their meanings were commensura te, when, in fact, their grammars are different. The evidence of this error is seen in the mistaken opposition between "scholar" and citizen" or between "reading world" and civil post." Like "public use of reason" and private use of reason" the words in these pairs share no common ground which they can divide up into mutually exclusive parts, distinguishing themselves from each other in a characteristically opposite way. Now the question: So what? The significance of the ostensible antithesis is that, on a general level, it gives the false illusion that the spheres of activity to which the words "public" and "private'l refer are as mutually exclusive as the words themselves, and, more specifically, it gives the false illusion that the private use of reason is by nature bound to an authoritative (ecclesiastical or governmental) Other, while the public use ofreason is by nature free. Thus, Kant's political agenda hinges on his manipulation of the grammatical feature of opposition in "public" and "private." 1/

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III. Redefining the Authority Structure A. Hamann's Critique Johann Georg Hamann, friend and critic of Kant, wrote in a letter to Christian Jaco b Kraus a sharp review of Wha t Is Enlightenment?" He was one of the first to make a criticism of Kant' s distinction which would be repeated by many: If the public and private uses of reason are separate, the public use being free while the private use is controlled, the free public use of reason can do nothing to relieve whatever societal oppression is being suffered unsier an absolutist government. At some point, the people must be empowered to use more compelling, practical means to help themselves than just words. HamaIUl writes, " ... the public use of reason & freedom is 1/


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nothing but a dessert, a sumptuous dessert. The private use is the daily bread that we should give up for its sake" (148). "What good to me/' he asks, "is the festive garment of freedom when I am in a slave's smock at home?"5 At first blush, Kant's distinction does seem to welcome a passiv足 ist interpretation. Kant supports the state's and church's claim to authority throughoutthe essay, even praising the Frederick's "large, well-disciplined army as a garuntee of public peace" (63). Kant's argument for the freedom of the public use of reason is presented as greatly beneficial to the interests of the throne. The free, public use of reason can only help the government and is not a threat. As if addressing Frederick himself, Kant employs reassuring words say足 ing that the free public use of reason is "harmless" (59); it works without "harming the affairs" of the private sphere (60); it is some足 thing to "have little fear from" (62); and it presents fIno danger" (63). "For this enlightenment, Kant writes, " ... nothing more is required than freedom; and indeed the most harmless form of all the things that may be called freedom: namely, the freedom to make a public use of one's reason in all matters" ("An Answer" 59). The public use of reason is harmless because it is separated from the duty every citizen has to obey the government in his private role, for in his private role, the citizen is "part of the machine" (60). But we ought to take issue with the view that, in Kant's scheme, the" private sphere," as James Schmidt puts it, " could remain undis足 turbed by the 'innocuous' freedom of an umestricted public use of reason ..." ("What Enlightenment Was" 99). The public use ofreason would disturb the relationship between the people and the governing authorities and at the same time leave them unharmed. Though the effects of the free, public use of reason may be harmful to the stability of Frederick's structure of authority, they would be considered improvements by the truly enlightened government of a mature society. For such a status is required for anyone who would judge what is good for society. Note that Kant remarks that his is not yet an enlightened age, but an age coming to enlightenment. How can Kant presume to appeal to the hypothetical judgment of the mature mind of an enlightened government? We will come back to this in a moment. The fact is, Kant equivocates on the phrase "use of reason." It is not a constant of which " public" and "private" are two variations. Kant draws his publicI private line of distinction in order to alter his


KANT'S ANTITHESIS OF "PUBLIC" AND "PRIVATE"

reader's conception of the nature of those spheres which it separates, and the public and private uses of reason are not two uses of the same thing, namely reason, but two altogether different things. There is one use of reason, and that is the public use of reason. To Kant, Reason depends on ... freedom [of inquiry] for its very existence" (qtd. in Laursen, "Scepticism" 449). For Kant, reason is by nature free, objective, scientific, self-legislative, truth-seeking, active, and above all, autonomous (Schmidtr "What Enlightenment Was" 93). Kant's typical Enlightenment view of true reason is that it is purified of prejudice. Prejudice comes about by its being taught; thus, to purify oneself from prejudice, one must not take for granted what one is told, but rather use one's own, autonomous faculty of reason to find truth. The opening lines of Kant's essay read, Enlight足 enment is mankind's exit from its self-incurred immaturi ty. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. Self-incurred is this inability if its cause lies not in the lack of understanding but rather in the lack of the resolution and the courage to use it without the guidance of another. Sapere aude! [IIDare to know!"] Have courage to use your own understanding! is thus the motto of enlightenment. (Kant, "Answer," 58) The notions of privateness and duty are foreign to this descrip足 tion of reason. How much reasoning, we might ask, does it really take to pay one's taxes? The point, it is clear, is not to reason about it in the private role, but just to pay them. What Kant calls "the private use ofreason" amounts to no more than passive subservience to an authoritative Other. It is a surrendering of one's ability to properIy reason at all. The motto which Kan t commends to Frederick is, "Argue, as much as you want and about whatever you want, but obey!" (Kant, "An Answer" 59). This sentence, which pictures the division between the public and private uses of reason, makes plain the incommensurateness of the words "private" and "reason." To the degree that true reasoning is autonomous, the "private use of reason," under the auspices of a regulating Other, is not a use of reason at all. In fact, Kant's description of the private use of reason matches his description of those things which reason must correct足 opinion, prejudice, superstition. The whole of the private sphere, then, is not one concerned with truth. It is concerned with, as Hamann puts it, "the daily bread" - the practical matters of living (148). Only the public sphere deals with truth. U

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B. The Reversal of Hamann's Critique: Kant's Appeal to His Own Reason So, to return to our question from above, how can Kant presume to appeal to the mind of an enlightened government? He is, I believe, appealing to his own, autonomous reason. For he is one of the few who has thrown off the yoke of immaturity," and, as such, is able to reason without prejudice (59). He is a representative of the enlight足 ened age, and he assumes the privileged place of judge over all authorities by virtue of his own ability to reason. Furthermore, he is enacting the free, public use of reason in the very essay in which he espouses it, and thefreedom of expression in his essay is proportion足 ate to the political freedom that the public use of reason has attained in his not-yet-but-becoming "enlightened age." Because of the way Kant's ostensible antithesis of "public" and "private" capitalizes on the grammatical features of separation and antagonism in opposition, but neglects that of having a common ground, the publiciprivate distinction serves as a redefinition of the authority structure. Kant uses the antithesis like a balance. What足 ever concept Kant predicates on the private sphere, the opposite automatically accrues to the public sphere. The more Kant binds the private use of reason to the authority, the more he frees the public use from it. But the public and private spheres are tiered, not equal, in their opposition. The more private and practical the private sphere is, the more control government has but the less it deals with truth. Hence, the degree of privateness in the private sphere is proportiori足 ate to the degree that the private sphere needs the public sphere as its authority. Hamann's critique, that the public use of reason is worthless for having no affect on the private sphere is reversed by the fact that goverrunent, as the embodiment of the private sphere, is itselfobliged to an authority, and that authority is none other than reason, of the free, public variety (the agents of which include Kant). The state, which is charged with the care of its people, is bound, obligated in its own right, to the ultimate guiding principle and authority: the Truth of reason. It must then, by duty, grant freedom to the public use of reason and accept the guidance of it. If the government is the embodiment of the private sphere, Kant is the symbol of the public sphere. As a philosopher, he himself is bound by private obligation to serve the state by freely reasoning to inform the state on how it II


KANT'S ANTITHESIS OF "PUBLIC" AND "PRIVATE"

should be run (Laursen, "Subversive" 261-2). The philosopher's private use of reason is his public use of reason6• Consequently, the authority is only an authority in a qualified way.7 According to Kant's scheme, it is perfectly reasonable for one, in the private role, to completely submit to the authority. This is a direct appeal to the interests of Frederick and his government, but notice that even in this appeat it is reason that gives the authority its authority. If Kant can make people speak the way he speaks in "What Is Enlightenment?" he has done something to subvert the language of absolutism, as Laursen puts it ("The Subversive Kant" 253). The public/private division is a division between truth (discovered by pure reason) and practical affairs, and the private sphere, or the practical matters of governing the nation, must be subsumed itself under the governance of the public sphere for the same reason that human action must be directed by a human mind. The greatest changes occur during revolution, but they only last if they are accompanied by a fundamental shift in a people's way of thinking. Kant shows his cleverness in discouraging physical revolution, which could only achieve temporary and inconsequential freedoms, and bolstering the government's authority over the private sphere. His argument is aimed at a conceptual revolution in the politics of communication. Instead of installing a new king on the throne, he installs new meanings into words and, thus, controls the ways in which we use those words.

Conclusion In this reading of Kant's essay, I have tried to elucidate the mechanics and implications of what I take to be a subversive argu­ ment for free speech. In"An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightemnent?" Kant is doing political philosophy politically -with a view to influencing the political state of affairs - and, believing that government must grant freedom of speech in order for enlighten­ ment to proceed and human history to progress, he has engineered his language to that end. Kant wants to convince us of this because the nature of reason, upon which the progress of the human race depends, is such that human society must be constituted in a certain way, namely, one which allows for free, public use of,reason - free, both legally and conceptually, of private, practical hindrances. What makes Kant's argument for the freedom of the public use of reason

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different than other historical arguments for the freedom of speech

is that it seeks to free only a certain kind of speech, and the criterion

for this kind of speech is that it is produced by unprejudiced reason.

The result is that, although this reason is supposedly free," it is self­

regulating against all"authoritative" language from the government

or the church.

We have seen that Kant's opposing of the terms "public" and "private" is misleading, his use of the word "use" is dubious at best, and his matching of the words reason" and "private" is inconsistent with his own definition of reason. That freedom is associated with the public use of reason and lack of freedom is associated with the private use of reason is not justified because Kant grounds the antithesis'free' vs. 'not free' in a merely ostensible antithesis'public' vs. private.' Kant is outwardly bolstering government and religious authority by championing strict obedience to them in their domains, but Kantis delicately redefining those domains so thatwhile the state and religion do not directly deal with truth, they depend on public free speech and the reasoning of philosophers like Kant to direct them. Thus Kant's public/private antithesis is a philosophically­ camouflaged strategy for normative, conceptual recommendations about political and religious authority. It

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NOTES 1 Originally published 12 December 1784 as "Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist AufkUirung?" Berlinische Monatsschrift 4 (1784): 481-494. 2The other was written by Moses Mendlessohn, originally published as "Ueber die Frage: Was heisst aufkHiren?" Berlinishe Monatsschrift 4 (1784): 193-200. 3In "The Subversive Kant: The Vocabulary of 'Public' and ·Private.''' See Works Cited. " "Our investigation is ... a grammatical one/' Wittgenstein writes (Philosophical Investigations § 90). "Such an investigation sheds light on our problem by dearing 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." In order to relieve the philosophical confusion of such analogies (for example, the explanation of 'understanding' as a mental process'), Wittgenstein shows that a word's meaning is simply its use in the language. Analogies are not the only causes of philosophical confusion. Kant's critical distinction between "the public use of reason" and lithe private use of reason" is, I believe, an example of a mistake (which I will call"ostensible antithesis") similar to that of misapplying analogies and properly dealt with by I


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grammatical investigation. Garret Green comments that to Hamann, "Kant's distinction amounts to taking away with the left hand the freedom that he has just granted with the right. ... Kantian 'public' freedom is of little use to a civil servant like Hamann, who is 'privately' enslaved in the kings service" (296,297). 6 Kant's On the Conflict of the Faculties, written after the 1788 censorship edicts under Minister Woellner, is even dearer in its prescription of the government's job as not being concerned with reason or truth so that the philosopher's uncensored judgment is more needed. 7 Foucault points out this paradox saying that Kant proposes "what might be called the contract of rational despotism with free reason: the public and free use of autonomous reason will be the best guarantee of obedience, on condition, however, that the political principle that must be obeyed itself be in conformity with universal reason" (37).

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WORKS CITED

Bahr, Ehrhard. "Kant, Mendelssohn and the Problem of 'EnlightenmentfromAbove./II Eighteenth-Century Life (1982): 1-12.

Foucault, Michel. "What Is Enlightenment?" The Foucault Reader. Ed. Paul Rabinow. New York: Pantheon, 1984. Green, Garrett. "Modern Culture Comes of Age: Hamann versus Kant on the Root Metaphor of Enlightenment." What Is Enlightenment? Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth足 Century Questions. Ed. James Schmidt. Berkeley: California UP,1996. 291-305. Haberrhas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation ofthe Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category ofBourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger. Cambridge: MIT P, 1989. Hamann, Johann Georg. "Letter to Christian Jacob Kraus (18 December1784)." What Is Enlightenment? Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth-Cen tury Questions. Ed. James Schmidt. Trans. Garrett Green. Berkeley: California UP, 1996. 145-53.


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Kant, ImmanueL "An Answer to the Question: 'What Is Enlightenment?'" What Is Enlightenment? Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth-Century Questions. Ed. James Schmidt. Berkeley: California UP, 1996. 53-57. Laursen, John Christian. "Scepticism and Intellectual Freedom: The Philosophical Foundations of Kant's Politics of Publicity./I History ofPolitical Thought 10 (1989): 439-55. -. liThe Subversive Kant: The Vocabulary of 'Public' and 'Private."' What Is Enlightenment? Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth-Century Questions. Ed. James Schmidt. Berkeley: California UP, 1996. 253-69. Schmidt, James. "The Question of Enlightenment: Kant, Mendelssohn, and the Mittwochsgesellschaft./I Journal ofthe History ofIdeas 50 (1989): 269-91. "What Enlightenment Was: How Moses Mendlessohn and Immanuel Kant Answered the Berlinische Monatsschrift." Journal ofthe History of Philosophy 30 (1992): 77-101. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Trans. G. E. M. Anscombe. New York: MacMillan, 1958.


A CRITIQUE OF RICOEUR'S CALL FOR FAITH FROM THE ATHEISM OF NIETZSCHE: GOD IS STILL DEAD

James L. Kijowski

Denison Umversity

Discourse has been analyzed in philosophy since the earliest thinkers. It can be understood as the saying of something about something through language. As such, it encompasses both speak­ ing and writing, and requires interpretation on behalf of all parties involved. Discourse displays, or makes manifest, a world of con­ cerns. As a referential facet of discourse, this entails the taking of given words or objects to convey certain meanings. 1 For Paul Ricoeur, this is a "metaphorical reference," in which this making manifest occurs against the understanding of metaphors. This is in the context of the field of hermeneutics, of which the central problem is, for Ricoeur, interpretation. In his work, Metaphor and the Central Problem of Hermeneutics, Ricoeur connects the revealing of meaning through metaphor to the hermeneutic duty of interpretation by displaying the parallels be­ tween metaphor and text. Including both under the heading of discourse, Ricoeur displays how the understanding of metaphor can adequately explain the proper understanding of larger texts, includ­ ing the world (given the metaphor of the world as a text). With an understanding of this project, and its conclusion that the interpreta­ tion of metaphor can be used to explain hermeneutical problems of interpreting larger texts and even the world, Ricoeur undertakes in other works the task of interpreting the metaphorical reference fowld within religion, faith, atheism, and so on. In his essay, "Religion, Atheism, and Faith/' Ricoeur undertakes such a project. His hypothesis, as I will explore in much more detail below, asserts "atheism is not limited in meaning to the mere negation and destruction of religion but that, rather, it opens up the horizon for something else, for a type of faith that might be called, in a way that we shall further elucidate, a postreligious faith or a faith for a poslreligious age."2 This hypothesis is formed with respect to a Nietzschean atheism, and includes Ricoeur's interpretation of Kijowski is a 1999 graduate oj DenisO/t University with a B.A. in philosophy.

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such. In the following pages I wish to offer an analysis of Ricoeur's project. This will include a discussion of Ricoeur' s notion of meta­ phorical reference" with regard to hermeneutics, and how it is utilized in his essay. I will also analyze Nietzsche's atheism through a brief treatment of The Gay Science (specifically, section 125 of Book Three, The Madman). Upon offering an understanding of each, and displaying what it is that Ricoeur is attempting in his essay, I will develop an argument against Ricoeur's original hypothesis, show­ ing that it is impossible for any system of faith or morality to emerge from Nietzsche's notion of the death of God. Nietzsche utilizes a type of hermeneutics that entails a critique of cultural representations, which he considers to be disguised effects of the will and of fears. For Nietzsche, Ricoeur suggests, the cultural dimension of human existence, to which ethics and religion belong, has a hidden meaning which requires a specific mode of interpreta­ tion, a stripping-away of masks."3 Ricoeur names the hermeneutics of Nietzsche "reductive hermeneutics./I It is a reduction of such cultural representations, the "stripping-away" mentioned above, which drives Nietzsche's perspectivist view of interpretation. Nietzsche's hermeneutics works as a genealogy, Le., in The Genealogy ofMorals, he attempts to get back to the origin of religious values and morality. Nietzsche reveals the notion of a supreme or ideal being as an exterior realm, both outside of and superior to human volition. From this exterior realm, then, humans receive restrictions and condemna­ tion. However, Ricoeur suggests that, for Nietzsche, this realm is "nothing."4 As Nietzsche blatantly explains early in The Genealogy of Morals, this realm is nothing more than the result of the weakness, rancor, and resentment of the slave morality. Nietzsche's hermeneu­ tic task, then, is to reveal this origin of religious values as nothingness or void, exposing hence, that the God of morality - or on a meta­ physical level, the absolute good or the One- does in fact not exist. Ricoeur notes, and rightfully so, proposing such a reduction of hermeneutics brings about the destruction of metaphysics and nec­ essarily leads to nihilism.5 What Nietzsche attempts to do, is to expose the emptiness behind the genealogy of morals, thus destroy­ ing the foundation of metaphysics, in order to move, as he asserts, beyond good and evil. Ricoeur elaborates this notion with the example of TI1e Madman. With regard to the well known assertion of this section in The Gay 1/

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Science, that God is dead6, Ricoeur posits what he believes to be the more central question. He notes, UBut the true question is to know, first ofalt which god is dead; then, who has killed him (if itis true that this death is a murder); and finally, what sort of authority belongs to the announcement of this death."7 In an analysis of the madman's words, we can answer at least the first two of these questions. The madman cries: Whither is God? ... I will tell you. Wehave killed him - you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? ... Are we not plunging continually? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? '" God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.B As to Ricoeur's second question, the madman explains that this death in fact was a murder, and that the murderers are us; we have killed God. Ricoeur suggests that it is not the atheist that has killed God, but rather this nothingness that lies beneath the notion of the ideal, i.e. the process of nihilism as mentioned above. The first question, ns to which god is dead, is answered upon a closer analysis. Let us examine some of the repercussions of this death. The madman wonders where the world will move now, how the entire horizon has been wiped up, and whether we are not amid a continual plunge consequently. Such consequences suggest that the death results in total chaos; Being itself will be cast into all directions. In the suggestion of lighting lanterns in the morning, we even receive the notion of insanity or simply the suggestion of being lost, not knowing what to do, and hence, doing something as ridicu足 lous as lighting lanterns in the morning. Such effects of this death point to which god is dead. It is precisely as Ricoeur suggested, as I noted earlier, the god of metaphysics. And, as Ricoeur notes, "insofar as theology rests on the metaphysics of the first cause, necessary being, and the prime mover, conceived as the source of values and the absolute good,"9 it is also the god of theology, or the god of morality. It is here where Ricoeur introduces the notion of accusation, which is imperative to his hypothesis. Accusation, is what lies at the

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root of any principle of obligation. Throughhis reductive hermeneu足 tics, Nietzsche strips away the a priori character of such a system, what Ricoeur names onto-theology, using the terminology of Heidegger. 10 Ricoeur elaborates this notion by explaining that accusation appears as the truth of formal obligation and the root of duty, but does so only by the uncovering of the hermeneutic method. Nietzsche's reductive hermeneutics replaces normal abstractive methodology with that of a genealogical and philological methodol足 ogy.ll Hence, and so much is suggested in The Genealogy ofMorals, this reductive hermeneutics reveals the illusion of the so-called "autonomous will." He exposes what was hidden in its background, namely the resentment of the will of the weak. Ricoeur asserts, "Because of this exegesis and this genealogy, the god of morality, to speak in the manner of Nietzsche, reveals himself as the god of accusation and condemnation."12 We can now turn to Ricoeur's third question; again, the question asks what sort of authority belongs to the announcement of this death. We have already suggested which god is dead, namely the god of morality, and as well, have agreed that the cause of this death was nihilism and its resulting destruction of metaphysics. As to this third question, however, Ricoeur suggests that everything becomes problematic. Ricoeur asserts, "This positive Nitzschean philosophy, which alone is capable of conferring authority on his negative hermeneutics, remains buried under the ruins that Nietzsche has accumulated around him."13 If the authority of this announcement is suggested by Zarathustra, few individuals can live up to his level, or to the level of the overman. Ricoeursuggests here that Nietzsche's work remains an accusation of accusation, and hence falls short. From this, Ricoeur concludes that everything is left open. At this point, he moves back to his original hypothesis. Ricoeur asserts: It seems to me that only one path has been decisively closed off, that of an onto-theology which culminates in the idea of a moral god, conceived as the origin and foundation of an ethics of prohibition and condemnation. I believe that we are henceforth incapable of returning to an order of moral life which would take the form of the simple submission to commandments or to an alien or supreme will, even if this will were represented as divine.14


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Ricoeur is suggesting that, although Nietzsche's reductive herme­ neutics leaves no room for the existence of a god of morality, or on a metaphysical level an ideal, absolute good, that an opening to faith still is possible. Here, Ricoeur introduces his relationship to word, specifically, all forms of word that say something about beings and about Being. The editor of this essay, James M. Edie, suggests that this has been translated in the Heideggerian context, "word" coming from the French la parole (" speech" or "spoken language").15 In this sense, he explains, "word" is used as the"third sense" between language and the "speaking" of the subject-"word" comes to us, it is not at our disposal. In other words, although we have control over our act of speaking, the words which we use are conventionally predeter­ mined; they are not freely chosen by us. Hence, through this relationship to word, Ricoeur implies a notion of obedience that is independentofanysortofethicalimplication;inordertounderstand anything about Being, we obediently depend upon word which, again, is not at our disposal. Ricoeur adds in light of this, "It is this non-ethical obedience that can lead us out of the labyrinth of the theory of values."16 It is this notion which drives Ricoeur's hypoth­ esis, that a postreligious faith can stem from Nietzsche's destruction of the god of morals. But, how is this move possible? Ricoeur suggests that the only way to think ethically in this situation is to begin by thinking non­ ethically. This is indicative of something along the lines of Nietzsche's notion of the Will to Truth stemming out of the Will to Ignorance. Ricoeur asserts, "In order to attain this goal, we must discover that place where the autonomy of our will is rooted in a dependence and an obedience that is no longer infected with accusation, prohibition, and condemnation."17 The pre-ethical situation Ricoeur describes is indicative of a Heideggerian hearkening, in which there is revealed a mode of being which is not yet a mode of doing. In other words, II word" says something; it reveals not only something about the meaning of beings, but as well, something about Being itselfYI Coinciding with the notion of a non-ethical obedience, it is important to note that with Ricoeur's understanding of word, as with his understanding of metaphor, something is said or revealed of which he is "neither the source or the master." In this situation, where the philosopher is independent of the source and mastery of the meaning of being, an obedience is estab­

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lished with regard to the power of "word." This allows for a non足 ethical obedience and concern, whatRicoeur names the postreligious faith. Hence, the philosopher is still notcapable of designating a kind of word th~t could truly be called the word of God. However, Ricoeur contests, she is capable of designating the type of being that would make something like the word of God possible.19 Prior to all moralism, Ricoeur continues, we perceive of this hearkening, the foundation of all other modes of listening. He concludes, NThis analysis, and 'the fundamental analysis of Dasein' to which it per足 tains, reveals the horizon and opens up the way to approximations, yet to be established/ to a relation to God as the word which proceeds all accusation and prohibition." 2o In other words, a non-ethical obedience can stem from the situation of hearkening, through which one must listen to the independent word which is indicative of the meaning and instance of Being, this word being non~accusing and non-prohibiting, but being itself, as Ricouer readlily suggests, God. In other words, the ultimate word of Being, which is not at our own disposal, but rather, comes to us, is the word of God. This suggests, then, an ethical situation that is merely an ethics of our desire to exist, an appropriation of our effort to be. 21 I wish to offer here a different interpretation which Ricoeur has overlooked. Let us return to his answer to the third question posited earlier. What sort of authority is invested in the proclamation of the death of God? As displayed above, Ricoeur concludes first, that only one path has been closed off, that being an onto-theology with the idea of a moral god conceived as the origin of an ethics of prohibition and accusation. Next, he develops this non-ethical obedience through the Heideggerian concept of hearkening, allowing for an ethical system of faith dependent upon our desire to be. However, I am not convinced that Ricoeur has constructed a complete analysis. Let us look again at The Madman, in Nietzsche's work. I wish to propose a hermeneutic analysis similar to Ricoeur's, one of metaphorical reference. Let us imagine that God is merely a metaphor signifying the metaphysical concepts of the ideal or abso" lute good. As Sarah Kofman paints out in her work, Nietzsche and

Metaphor: Knowledge and mastery are one and the same thing: one cannot aim at' objectivity' by cutting oneself off from every 'point of view' but, on the contrary, one needs to multiply


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CRITIQUE OF RICOEUR1S CALL FOR FAITH

perspectives in order to see 'the world' with the greatest possible number of 'eyes,' constructing and deconstructing worlds as an artist. 22 The Nietzschean idea Kofman seems to be alluding to directly pertains to The Madman. Again, let us consider God as a metaphor. This perspectivism of "the greatest possible number of 'eyes'" sug足 gests that we discount no interpretation as to the meaning of meta足 phor. Let us noW consider Ricoeur's own metaphorical reference. He states, "Literal meaning is the totality of the semantic field, the set of possible contextual uses which constitutes the polysemy of a word. flll Thus, the literal meaning of the notion of God would require such a totality of contextual uses. What Nietzsche is suggesting in The Madman is the impossibility of this very notion. One could not possibly entertain the concept of God in totality. Such, at a minimal level, includes the notion of an infinite, supreme, all-seeing, all足 knowing being who is unseen and immaterial yet denotes the power to interject within our lives. It is entirely impossible for humans to comprehend such aspects, and thus, it is impossible to conceive of God as possessing any literal meaning. Hence, Nietzsche seems to be asserting to his readers the fact that, due to this impossibility, no one is truly capable of taking seriously the idea of God, and hence, God is not only a metaphor, but a dead metaphor. TIlerefore, we find the assertion of the madman that God is dead. Kofman points out a few of the consequences of this notion. We shall consider these in regard to Ricoeur's question of the authority of proclaiming God's death. She asserts: After the" death of God" all concepts change their meaning, lose their lueaning: the madman who lights a lantern in broad daylight to look for God symbolizes the confusion of man when the traditional norms collapse, when meaning is re足 moved. From that point on, all "lunacy" becomes possible and all absurdity licit: day no longer means day, nor night, night, when the rigorous architecture of the concepts is dislocated and reduced to fragments of wreckage floating without direction on an enigmatic and infinite sea. TIle death of God," abolishing any proper, any absolute centre of reference, plunges man into Heraclitus' "becoming-mad." II

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Thus ... all hierarchical oppositions based on an absolute distinction between "high" and "low" collapse. 24 Ricoeur was correct in his assertion that the death of God results in the destruction of metaphysics through Nihilism, but it does not follow that anything particular is left open as he suggests. As Kofman notes, all hierarchical oppositions, i.e. "high and low" and "good and evil," collapse. This is what Nietzsche means by his notion "beyond good and evil." With no such binary opposition left, there is no room for any type of morality or faith. Since Ricoeur proposes the notion of a non-ethical obligation via our driving effort for existence, he presupposes that existence is superior to non-existence. This suggests the continuation of hierar足 chical opposites, which are destroyed with the death of God. There is left no possibility of any system of merit, which Ricoeur's postreligious faith seems to depend on. The authority of the madman's proclamation of the death of God, then, is rather Nietzsche's call for a move beyond good and evil. Neither is deemed superior, for such binary opposites no longer apply. On the other hand, he calls to the free spirits, or the new philosophers, who will utilize this perspectivist hermeneutics of "the greatest possible number of 'eyes'." In doing such, a faith may exist in this very perspectivism, but it could have no possible association with God, the ideal, or an absolute good, for each of these maintain the notion of a hierarchical opposition. The closing words of the madman are also important. He states, "This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars-and yet they have done it themselves."25 Keeping in mind the above analysis of the death of God, in which God has become a dead metaphor, it is the people who have created God as a dead metaphor, this has been done as a result of the impossibility of conceiving God in a literal sense. He therefore has become stale or dead, in that it proves impossible to take his meaning seriously. In the case of metaphors, we do not realize when they become stale or dead. No one can paint to the particular time when such occurs, it does so at a distance from us. As welt the section following The Madman. seems to coincide with what I am suggesting here. It reads, "Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is thatthey are not even superficia1."26 In other words, mystical explanations are not explanations at all, they


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CRITIQUE OF RICOEUR'S CALL FOR FAITH

35

onl y seem to be. As such, any notion of faith related to God - even this non-ethical one that Ricoeur is suggesting - is not a true expla足 nation. And, as well, it definitely cannot follow from the death of God, and consequently of metaphysics. Ricoeur provides an excellent analysis of Nietzsche's atheism. His inquiry into The Madman is quite good, well thought out and complete. However, I must disagree with his hypothesis. Although the nihilism of Nietzschean atheism creates the collapse of meta足 physics, it does not seem to allow any room for a postreligious faith. Although Ricoeur's conclusion is coherent and seems to make sense, it does not follow from Nietzsche's thought. Hence, I am forced to conclude that Ricoeur's hypothesis is not valid. He suggests that atheism is not limited to the mere negation and destruction of religion, but rather, that it opens the horizon for a postreligious faith. I suggest in reply, the impossibility of such: God is still dead.

NOTES

Silverman and Idhe (eds.), Hermeneutics & Deconstruction (Albany: Stntc University of New York Press, 1985), p.28. 2 Ricoeur, Paul. The Conflict oj Interpretations: Essays ill I-Iel'/11CIICulicH. "l{digion, Atheism, and Faith." (RAF). (Evanston: Northwestern University PJ'('SH, '1974), p. 440. . 3 RAF, 442. 4 ibid., 443. 5 ibid. 6 Nietzsche, The Gay Science. (GS). (NY: Vintage Books, 1974), 125. 7 RAF, 445. 8 GS, 181. 9 RAF,445. 10 ibid., 445-6. 11 ibid., 446. 1

ibid. 13 ibid., 447.

14 ibid.

15 ibid., 449. (footnote)

12

16

ibid., 449.

ibid.

ibid., 449-50.

19 ibid., 450-1.

20 ibid., 451.

17

'18

21

ibid., 452.


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1. KIJOWSKI

22 Kofman, Sarah. Nietzsche and Metaphor. (NM). (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), p. 102. 23 McNeill, William and Karen S. Feldman (eds.). Continental Philosophy: An Anthology. (Malden: Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1998), pp. 194-202. Ricoeur, Paul. Metaphor and the Central Problem ofHermeneutics, p. 197. 24 NM, 108. 2'i GS, 182. 26 ibid., 126, 182.

WORKS CITED

Kofman, Sarah. Nietzsche and Metaphor. Stanford: StanfordUniversity Press, 1993. McNeill, William and KarenS. Feldman (eds.). Continental Philosophy: An Anthology. Malden: Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1998. Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. New York: Vintage Books, 1974. Ricoeur, PauL TIle Conflict of Interpretation: Essays in Hermeneutics. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974.

Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.

Essays on Biblical Interpretation. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979.

J.

and Don Ihde (eds.). Hermeneutics & Deconstruction. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.

Silverman, Hugh

Walchterhauser, Brice R. (ed.). Hermeneutics and Modern Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.


CONTRA MOTHERSILL CONTRA KANT: THE IMPERATIVE

JUDGEMENT OF TASTE IN BEAUTY RESTORED AND THE

CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT

Christopher Douglas M.LT. . In the Critique ofJudgement, Kant isolates aesthetics as an autono­ mous field of human experience and philosophical study by charac­ terizing the aesthetic judgement of the beautiful as a synthetic judgement based on no determinate concept and yet laying claim to a priori universal validity. Explicating the obligatory force of this judgement"of taste," he refers to the judgement as "demanding, requiring, exacting," and ,I imputing" agreement. In Beauty Restored, Mothersill criticizes this imperative language as a misdirected at­ tempt to distinguish judgements of the beautiful from ordinary empirical judgements. Characterizing aesthetic judgements as "commands" is, she says, theoretically unattractive and untrue to phenomenological reflection. In particular, this peremptory view of the judgement of taste is inconsistent with the commonplace request for reasons in support of a judgement and denies the possibility of tentative judge­ ments of taste. She argues that aesthetic judgements of the beautiful are most aptly construed, not as "implicit commands/' but as asser­ tions concerning a genuine property of the object in question. I will argu,e that: (1) Kant's use of imperative language to describe the judgement of taste is an emphasis on the universal validity of the judgement as opposed to the merely personal validity of the judge­ ment of sense and is not primarily a distinction between the judge­ ment of taste and the ordinary empirical judgement. (2) Mothersill's characterization of the Kantian judgement of taste as a command" is a misleading dramatization of the normative force of the aesthetic judgement which informs her therefore misplaced phenomenologi­ cal objections to Kant's text. (3) The primary distinction between the aesthetic judgement and the empirical judgement is not the extraor­ dinary normative dimension of the former but that, because the judgement of taste is not based on determinate concepts, there exist Ii

Douglas is a 1999 graduate of M.I, T. He will be attending O:xford

University on a Rhodes Scholarship in the fall.

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CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS

no secure procedures for confirming the tru th of a judgement of taste. Because of this inherent difficulty, judgements of taste solicit agree足 ment and offer themselves as examples of potentially genuine judge足 mentsi the uncertainty of aesthetic confirmation necessitates the existence of aesthetic dialogue. (4) The Kantian portrait of the judgement of taste as soliciting agreement to a universally valid claim not only allows but depends on the request for reasons and the possibility of tentative aesthetic judgements. Summary of the Deduction of the Judgement of Taste. Kant distin足 guishes the aesthetic judgement of sense from the aesthetic judge足 ment of taste. The former may be infl uenced by personal interest and emotion and declares an object to be agreeable, while the latter is free of these impure influences and declares an object to be beautiful. In contrast with cognitive judgements, whether theoretical or practical, the aesthetic judgementof taste is not based on a determinate concept of the object of judgement. With this preliminary characterization, Kant deduces, as he did in the first two Critiques for theoretical and practical judgements, a principle grounding the universal validity of the genuine judgement of taste. Because the judgement of taste is based on neither personal interest nor a concept of the object, it has reference only to the mere form of the object, what Kant calls the "subjective purposiveness of the presentation of the object". Because it is a formal judgement, the judgement of taste is located in the free play of the cognitive facul ties of the imagina tion and understanding; the obscure notion of free play records, among other properties, that aesthetic presentations engage the cognitive faculties without being restricted by any particular rule of cognition. These cognitive faculties of imagination and understanding may be presupposed in everyone, and moreover presumed the same in everyone, because they are the basis for the communicability of all cognition. Therefore, the pure aesthetic judgement of taste, depending only on these communicable cognitive faculties, is universally communicable and lays claim to universal validity. Now to defend (1}-(4). (1) That the judgement of taste and the ordinary empirical judgement are alike in demanding" and "requiring" agreement. Consider an ordinary empirical judgement: upon consideration, I announce that there is a telephone pole standing between us. You reply that it is rather a tree. I glance up to confirm my judgement and, confirmed, conclude that you have failed to consider the scene carefully or your eyesight is poor or you don't know what a "telephone pole" is or else /I


CONTRA MOTHERSILL CONTRA

KANT

are teasing me. I am confident my judgement is true. Would I say that you should judge in agreement with me? There is no reason you need judge at all, but if you undertake to judge, to assert a fact about whatis the case, you are under obligation to doso properly. Whether the obligation is to judge truly or only to take appropriate measures to ensure that you are qualified to judge (look up, get glasses, buy a dictionary of roadside attractions), in either case, there are definite constraints on the conditions of your reply. If you ignore these obligations, you are not undertaking to judge but are playing a game, or stretching your vocal cords, or speaking in code. The aesthetic judgement appears to have a similar normative structure: when I judge that Ulysses' Gaze is a beautiful film, I am, according to both Kant and Mothersill, making a claim to truth or general validity.l You reply that it was ugly (worthless?); I watch it again and am quite convinced otherwise - I resolve to discuss it with you, butin the meantime may hypothesize that you fell asleep during the film or your eyesight is poor or you haven't read the Odyssey or are trying to upset me. Ought you to judge in agreement with me? Again, if you undertake to judge, you should do so properly, whether that means judging truly, or making proper preparations to judge, or both. In her chapter "Kant: Three Avoidable Difficulties," Mothersill acknowledges that the normativity of the two judgements might be aligned in this way, but she says that Kant's repeated reference to Ii demand, requirement," and" implicit command" in the judgement of taste reflect his belief that "the claims of beauty are ... more peremptory than the claims of fact. 1II2 Consider the full length of a passage Mothersill quotes in this connection: I

Hence [a judgement of taste, which involves] this pleasure[,] is like any empirical judgement because it cannot proclaim objective necessity or lay claim to a priori validitYi but like any other empirical judgement, a judgement of taste claims only to be valid for everyone, and it is always possible for such a judgement to be valid for everyone despite its intrinsic con足 tingency. What is strange and different about a judgement of taste is only this: that what is to be connected with the presentation of the object is not an empirical concept but a feeling of pleasure (hence no concept at all), though, just as if it were a predicate connected with cognition of the object, this feeling is nevertheless to be required of everyone. A singular

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empirical judgement, e.g., the judgement made by someone who perceives a mobile drop of water in arock crystal, rightly demands that anyone else must concur with its finding, be­ cause the judgement was made in accordance with the uni­ versal conditions of the determinative power of judgement under the laws of a possible experience in general. In the same way, someone who feels pleasure in the mere reflection on the form of an object, without any concern about a concept, rightly lays claim to everyone's assent, even though this judge­ ment is empirical and a singular judgement.3 [emphasis added] Kant emphasizes that the judgement of taste has, despite its intrinsic subjectivity, a claim to universal validity; in doing so, he repeatedly stresses the similarity between the normative structure of the judgement of taste and the ordinary empirical judgement. He repeatedly applies the same imperative language of claiming", demanding", and requiring" to both types of judgement. Presum­ ably Kant does not believe the ordinary empirical judgement is particularly "peremptory" in its claim to general validity; therefore his description of the" demand" and "requirement" implicit in the judgement of taste is not meant to highlight an especially strong normative dimension to that judgement. Throughout the Critique Kant's use of imperative language contrasts the judgement of taste with the judgement of sense by emphasizing the universal validity of the former, and is not meant primarily to distinguish judgements of taste from ordinary empirical judgements. For example: II

/I

IL

In making a judgement of taste (about the beautiful) we require everyone to like the object, yet without this liking's being based on a concept ... and that this claim to universal validity belongs so essentially to a judgement by which we declare something to be beautiful that it would not occur to anyone to use this term without thinking of universal valid­ ity; instead, everyth.ing we like without a concept would then be included with the agreeable. 4 [emphasis added]

For although the principle [grounding the judgement of taste] is only subjective, it would still be assumed as subjec­ tively universal (an idea necessary for everyone); and so it


41

CONTRA MOTHERSILL CONTRA KANT

could, like an objective principle, demand universal assent...5 [emphasis added] The frequency and strengthofKant' s imperative language records his consciousness of the counter-intuitive nature of deducing the universal validity of a subjective, non-conceptual judgement. Let us proceed directly to the most extreme imperatives which Mothersill takes as evidence for Kant's" peremptory" stance. (2) ThatMothersill's characterization ofthe Kantian judgemen t oftaste as a "command" is misleading; that her phenomenological objections are misplaced. Mothersill suggests that Kant focuses on the "demand" and "requirement" implicit in the judgement of taste in order to distinguish it from a mere fact or assertion: It is, in other words, the normative aspect of the judgement of taste that is not captured by the analysis that would entitle us to say that at least some judgements of taste are' true'. And it is with a view to supplying the lack that Kant says that in judging something beautiful, I'exact' (or demand orrequire) that everyone else find the object a cause of pleasure.6

Why Kant does not permit the application of the predicate true" to judgements of taste is a topic for careful consideration, but whatever the eventual answer, his imperative characteriza tion of the judgement of taste is not undertaken in an attempt to supply any extTaordinary normative dimension that might not be captured by a more conservative description. As suggested in section (1), the demand" and "requirement" emphasize the universal validity of the judgement of taste, and confirm the status of the aesthetic judgement alongside other forms of general assertion. Mothersill proceeds with her discussion of Kant's supposedly peremptory concerns by quoting from the"General Comment on the Exposition of the Reflective Aesthetic Judgement"; to my knowledge this is the only passage of Kane s that she quotes containing the word "command", and moreover this is the only passage of which I am aware in the entire first division of the Critique in which"command" is used in association with the judgement of taste; in particular I do not find the word in the Analytic of the Beautiful or in the Deduction of Pure Aesthetic Judgements: II

II


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CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS

We can never arrive at such a principle [to ground the judgement of taste] by scouting about for empirical laws about mental changes. For these reveal only how we dci judge; they do not give us a command as to how we ought to judge, let alone an unconditioned one. And yet judgements of taste presuppose such a command, because they insist that our liking becormected directly with a presentation? It is a striking miSinterpretation to presume from this passage that judgements of taste are commands or imply commands. "Com­ mand" is here used as a substitute for "principle"; the focus of the passage is Kant's argument that empirical studies of our taste can never ground an unconditioned principle which would serve as a basis for the universal validity of the judgement of taste. Universal validity is a logical feature of the judgement of taste and therefore the judgement of taste presupposes such a principle as a condition of existence; without it, all aesthetic judgements would be mere judge­ ments of sense. Because there is no explicit evidence that Kant views the judgement of taste as a command per se, I presume Mothersill reads the Kantian 1/ demand" or requirement" as synonymous with an implicit "command" and that this association informs her phe­ nomenological objections to Kant's position. s Mothersill' s primary criticism of Kant's discussion depends on a dictatorial interpretation of the obligation implicit in the judgement of taste: II

I spoke earlier about the difficulties of making sense of the command, "Be pleased by 0." Some of these are mitigated if the thought is recast in the third person as "Let everyone be pleased by 0," or "Everyone ought to be pleased by 0." We might then imagine Kant as holding that just as the judge­ mentof taste (speech act) implicates 110 pleases me", soitalso implicates "Everyone ought to be pleased by 0." But is this the case? The only test is to appeal to reflective conscious­ ness, and though the former claim passes the test, the latter (it seems to me) does not. In putting forth my primary judge­ ment, I make a claim on behalf of the object, a claim to the effectthatit has a special sort of power. But! do not recognize the intention to issue an order or afiat, nor is a concern with what other people ought to think a conscious (still less a dominant) element of what I mean to convey.9


CONTRA MOTHERSILL CONTRA KANT

However close Kant's" claim to general validity" is to Mothersill' s interpreted "implicit command," it is unquestionably not a "Hat" and nowhere does Kant suggest that the" dominant" element of a judgement of taste is a "concern with what other people ought to think." The claim is a logical feature of the judgement and is, if anything, prior to intentional meaning. Nevertheless, Mothersill's characterization of the statements "Be pleased by 0" and "Let everyone be pleased by 0" as odd and unnatural is accurate. In this connection she quotes Kant, from Section 38, saying "we must be entitled to require this pleasure from everyone." But her focus on pleasure is an artifact of another confu­ sion: near the beginning of the Critique, in Section 9, Kant indicates that the pleasure resulting from a beautiful object follows the judge­ ment of taste as its consequence: lilt must be the universal communi­ cability of the mental state, in the given presentation, which under­ lies the judgement of taste as its subjective condition, and the pleasure in the object mustbe its consequence." 10 Thus, by Section 38, when Kant speaks of "requir[ing] pleasure from everyone," he is substituting a consequentin place of the direct requirement: Irequire that everyone assent to my judgement and thereby experience the associated pleasure. Kant footnotes this line, which is the only line in the section referring to pleasure, with the immediate clarification that the phrase "require this pleasure" refers to "laying claim to universal assent to a judgement of the aesthetic power of judge­ ment. flll In short, objecting to the Kantian judgement of taste as implying the questionable imperatives "Be pleased by 0" and "Let everyone be pleased by 0" is a mistake. Even were we to accept that Kant's judgement of taste entails a strong implicit command, the statements "Judge in accord with pit or "Let everyone judge pI! are neither odd nor unnatural, but quite common.

(3) That the judgement of taste is different from the ordinary empirical judgement, not in its imperative claim to universal validity, but in having no determinate testing procedures; explication ofthe exentplm' model. We have focused on the similarities Kant establishes between the norma­ tive structure of the genuine judgement of taste and the ordinary empirical judgement. But the aesthetic judgement is not based on a determinate concept of the object of judgement, as is the ordinary empirical judgement, and this imposes a strong condition on the proper application of the power of aesthetic judgement. 1£, uninten­ tionally, I issue an aesthetic judgement based on a concept of the

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object, I may have given a practical or theoretical judgement or uttered a judgement of sense, but! will nothave succeeded in making a genuine judgement of taste. Kant describes other hazards which may befall a judgement of the beautiful: if it is tainted by personal interest, or is based in an emotional response or in the mere"charms" of the object, the abortive judgement of taste will become a judge­ ment of sense or a practical judgement. If these various conditions of felicity are met, the power of aesthetic judgement is properly em­ ployed and the resulting judgement will be universally valid. In this case, Kant says, the judgement has been correctly subsumed under the principle of subjective universal validity" . If the aesthetic judgement was based on a determinate concept, there would exist rules or procedures, given by the concept, for determining whether the power of judgement has been properly employed. For example, if I praise this painting of a woodpecker because the woodpecker painting market is on the rise, which Kant calls judging according to the concept of utility, you could determine whether the woodpecker painting market is, in fact, on the rise, and whether this is, in fact, a painting of a woodpecker and thus worthy of my accolade; alternately, were I to praise the painting because it is an excellent representation of a woodpecker, which Kant calls judg­ ing according to the concept of perfection, you could conjure a woodpecker and compare ("But woodpeckers don't have green feet!"). Ordinary empirical judgements are based on concepts of the objects involved; therefore, when I judge that there is a raven in the belfry, you may go up to the belfry and trap all the birds and see whether any of them match the concept "raven." Kant's judgement of taste is never based on a determinate concept, and therefore no such procedure exists for aesthetic judgements. That the difficulty of confirming the proper application of the power of aesthetic judge­ ment in no way undermines the universal validity of the genuine judgement, Kant indicates in numerous passages: 1/

Beauty is not a concept of an object, and a judgement of taste is not a cognitive judgement. All it asserts is that we are justified in presupposing universally in all people the same subjective conditions of the power of judgement that we find in ourselves; apart from this it asserts only that we have subsumed the given object correctly under these conditions. It is true that this latter assertion involves unavoidable dif£i­


CONTRA MOTHERSILL CONTRA KANT

culties that do not attach to the logical power of the judge­ ment (since there we subsume under concepts, whereas in the aesthetic power of judgement we subsume under a rela­ tion of the imagination and understanding, as they harmo­ nize with each other in the presented from of an object, that can only be sensed, so that the subsumption may easily be illusory) .... For as far as the difficulty and doubt concerning the correctness of the subsumption under that principle is concerned, no more doubt is cast on the legitimacy of the claim that aesthetic judgements as such have this validity (and hence is cast on the principle itself), than is cast on the principle of the logical power of judgement (a principle that is objective) by the fact that [sometimes] (though not so often and so easily) this power's subsumption under its principle is faulty as well. 12 If this difficulty of confirmation is extreme, if we can find no method for confirming aesthetic judgements, how is the lengthy deduction which determined the universal validity of genuinejudge­ ments other than otiose? Thoughhe does not describe the connection explicitly, Kant hints that aesthetic discussion provides a method for confirmation of judgements of taste in the absence of explicit testing procedures, and in his Aesthetic Problems of Modern. Philosophy," Cavell elabo­ rates this possibility. Consider two passages in which Kant mentions the difficulty of aesthetic verification: /I

Hence the ought in an aesthetic judgement, even once we have all the data needed for judging, is still uttered only conditionally. We solicit everyone else's assent because we have a basis for it that is common to all. Indeed, we could count on that assent, if only we could always be sure that the instance had been subsumed correctly under that basis, which is the rule for theapprovalP [emphasis added]

Whenever we make a judgement declaring something to be beautiful, we permit no one to hold a different opinion, even though we base our judgement only on our feeling rather than on concepts; hence we regard this underlying feeling as a common rather than as a private feeling. ... Hence the

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commonsense, of whose judgement I am at that point offering my judgement oftaste as an example, attributing to it exemplary validity on that account, is a mere ideal standard .... [this judgement] could, like an objective principle, demand uni足 versal assent insofar as agreement among different judging persons is concerned, provided only we ,,,ere certain that we had subsumed under it correctly.14 [emphasis added] Because I am never certain of the proper application of my own power of aesthetic judgement, when making judgements of taste I "solidt" agreement from all others and offer" my judgement"as an example" of the common, genuine judgement. As Cavell says, in making an aesthetic judgement, 1 tum to the other "not to convince him without proof but to get him to prove something, test something, against himself. [1 am] saying: Look and find out whether you can see what I see, wish to say what I wish to say."1S If together, in aesthetic dialogue we can find a judgement in common, an understanding we can agree upon, we assert it as valid and hold to it until another person comes to question us or until we decide to question one another again. Thus, we might saYI dialectic is the main instrument for the acquisition of aesthetic knowledge; because of the conditional inherent in the judgement of taste, the other holds a hallowed place in our aesthetic lives. (4) That the Kantian model ofaesthetic judgement as soliciting ~gree足 ment to a universally valid claim admits the request for reasons and tentative judgements. Mothersill motivates the supposed Kantian command by saying, liThe advantage (it might seem) of a command is that provided you have the requisite authority, the request for reasonsisoutoforder" (16). Immediatelyfollowingthis,shecounters, as a matter of fact, the request for reasons is not out of order." As we have seen, Kant's judgement of taste lays claim to general validity only on the implicit condition that it is genuine, and the confirmation of that condition is always uncertain. There is ample room in the process of confirmation for the request for reasons and, in factI the process depends on that request. The "requirement" of agreement which appears to threaten this openness to questioning is a logical feature of the judgement, as the claim to universal validity is a logical feature of an ordinary empirical judgement. When I assert that there is a owl in the bam, I expect you to agree, but that never precludes you asking how it is 1 know. 1/

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Mothersill raises a related objection concerning the categoricality of the judgement of taste, namely, that Kant's judgement of taste could not be tentative. She says: The security I feel in those of my primary judgements which cluster at one end of a spectrum .,. Kant wants to construe as a logical feature of the judgement of taste itself. It is as if no one ever made a tentative appraisal or was ever persuaded that he had made a mistake. An opinion can be venrured, floated for discussion, modified over time, revised, aban足 doned, but it is not clear, nor does Kant explain how such modalities are construed on the view that makes the judg足 ment of taste a 'command' which is 'unconditioned' and which extracts a 'necessary universal delight' P Another conflict born of her reading of Kant: that a judgement of taste lays claim to universal validity is a logical feature of the judgement and is the condition of the existence of such judgements. Without it, they would be mere judgements of sense. Mothersill would be the first to agree that when I venture that a film is good, I am being tentative about the accuracy of the claim, butnotin the least about the categorical implications of the judgement if true. If con足 firmed, my judgement is, as Mothersill would put it, a claim that the object itself has a power that is valid for everyone. Ordinary empirical judgements again provide a model. When I say, flI suspect there is a grouse in the pantry," I await confirrnationor disconfirmation of my claim ("Get a flashlight!"), but all the while the claim concerns a grouse in the pantry for me and for you and for anyone else who cares to look. When Mothersill reconsiders Kant's Critique in Chapter XI, she acknowledges more explicitly that Kant is aware of the contingencies inherent in the power of aesthetic judgement and she refers to a number of the passages quoted above that indicate Kant's position is not so far removed from her own. She says, "I argued earlier that if Kant were willing (as he sometimes seems to be) to weaken the notion of what we'demand' of everyone and allow that the'ought' of the judgement of taste is to be construed as a subjunctive, he would have come very close to the truth." 1S The extent of the difference between Kant's position, as it stands, and Mothersill's revision is, as I hope I have shown, a matter for more careful consideration;

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perhaps Kant's emphasis on the"demand" implicit in the judgement of taste is not intended with the dictatorial force Mothersill reads in it. Nevertheless, Mothersill reiterates a remaining objection to Kant's characterization of the conditions on the truth of the judgement of taste: My quarrel with Kant, as suggested earlier, is that he presents a conceptual daim in such a way as to suggest that the task of a critic, that is, someone who wants to communicate, test, and consolidate his findings, is largely introspective ",19 She goes on to say, with reference to her imagined perplexity at finding a brush-and-ink scroll beautiful, " An investigation (if I care to undertake one) will focus not on my inner life but ort the scroll I see before me."20 Kant's conditions on the proper application of the power of aesthetic judgement, namely that the judgement is made without a determinate concept and without reference to personal interest or emotion, are internal conditions. This characterization of the contingency in the judgement of taste appears to conflict with the phenomenological fact that we resolve doubts concerning the truth of aesthetic judgements by attention not to our mental or emotional state but to the object in question - confirmation is an external process, Aesthetic dialogue can, through mutual external scrutiny, con足 firm and facilitate the satisfaction of the internal conditions for genuine judgement. Consider an extreme example of aesthetic disagreement: I attest that my friend's novel is one of the best of the year, you respond that it is trash. Your denial of my judgement alone may be sufficient for me to reconsider; I reread the novel and discover that it is, in fact, trash - perhaps it occurs to me that my earlier judgement was biased, perhaps not; in either case, I have arrived at an unbiased, disinterested judgement through confronta足 tion with the judgement of another. Or again: you rave about The Brothers Karamazov, but your extended discussion of the intricacies and subtleties of Ivan's character leave me bewildered; I realize how strongly I identified with Alyosha and recognize that my love of the novel bears, not reconsideration, but refOCUSing. We are each prone to a different set of aesthetic failures; the variety of favorite subjects, personal biases, and emotional responses ensures that in confronting another over an aesthetic judgement, I will have my prejudices and


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49

confusions challenged, perhaps by other prejudices and equal confu足 sions but nevertheless in a mode which, if I am open to it, may move me toward a more honest evaluation of the work in question.

NOTES

1. It is worth noting that our paradigmatic examples of ordinary empirical judgements are specific statements, while examples of aesthetic judgements tend to be generic. Does this suggest that our aesthetic vocabulary is impoverished or that our real aesthetic judgements are embarrassing or betray a fantasy or confusion of our theoretical model~or does it reflect an inherent difference in the structure of the two judgements? 2. Mary Mothersill, Beauty Restored. p. 215. 3. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement. Trans. Werner S. Pluhar ak.191. All quotations are from Pluhar's translation. All section references are to the Akademie edition. 4. ibid., 215. 5. ibid., 239. I will not defend this point further. See section 6.211~2, s.7 entire,

s.8.214, s.18.236, and s.20 entire. That Kant's imperative language distinguishes the judgement of taste from the judgement of sense and not from the ordinary empirical judgement is also evidenced in the quotations given in section (3) below. 6. Mothel'sill, p. 214. 7. Kant, 278. 8. In any discussion where distinctions tum on apparent subtleties of word choice, we must be wary of confusions and artifacts of translation. For the purpose of this discussion, I can only take Pluhar's translation on faith; he does, however, specifically attest to the accuracy of rendering ansinnen and zumetel1 as "require" in footnote 26, p. 57. We may hope his other choices are as true to the original. 9. Mothersill, p. 215. 10. Kant, 217. 11. ibid., 290. 12. ibid., 290~1.

13. ibid., 237. 14. ibid., 239. 15. Stanley Cavell/ /I Aesthetic Problems in Modem Philosophy" in Must We Mean What We Say?, p. 95-6. 16. Mothersill, p. 217. 17. ibid., 162. 18. ibid., 328. 19. ibid., 329. 20. ibid., 330.


50

CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS WORKS CITED

Cavell, Stanley. Aesthetic Problems of Modern Philosophy/' in MustWeMeanWhatWeSay?, pp. 73-96. New York Cambridge University Press, 1976. 1/

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgement, trans. Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1987. Mothersill, Mary. Beauty Restored. New York Adams, Bannister, Cox, 1991.


FINDING

A NEW JlMEANING OF MEANING" Benjamin K Herrington

Denison University

I. Introduction

In Puh1am's seminal article I'The Meaning of Meaning" (TMM)1 several central issues to the philosophy of mind are critiqued using an extended thought experiment. For this paper, at least, the issues relevant to my ar guments will be those that deal with men tal content. My interest in this essay is not the validity of most of Putnam's views; these ideas have been widely accepted as correct. Instead, I want to focus on the expansion of these ideas, specifically, the ones advanced in the work of Tyler Burge. For Putnam, mental content is separable into two parts, 'wide' and 'narrow.'l Thus, while we can imagine that we share the identical mental states, brain constitution, etc., with our Twin Earth doppelganger, the external substance to which we refer when we say "water," is different. For me, here, now, water is H20; for me on Twin Earth water is XYZ. It is certainly the case that for Putnam my doppelganger and I share the same 'narrow' content, in that we are similar in all relevant respects internally. However, the externalities that we find ourselves surrounded by are different in one important enough respect, (H20 v. XYZ), thus our 'wide' content is different. I use 'narrow' to refer to individual mental states that do not presuppose or depend in anyway on the external world, and 'wide' to designate those states that do. In part II of my paper I will argue that Burge's articles 1I1ndividualism and the Mental" (1M), and "Other Bodies" (OB), show the impossibility of narrow mental contents. In section III I shall explain why Burge views Putnam as being unable to see this problem. On Burge's reading, Putnam's claim that natural kind terms are indexical obscures this error. Finally, I will address Burge's concerns about the inexorably referential nature of all mental con足 tents. Putnam seems to believe that not all mental contents 'fix' [refer to, designate, pick out, depend on] external objects. For Burge, "all of an agent's intentional states involving natural kinds do presupHerrington is a 1999 graduate of Denison University. He will be pursuing a J.D. at Washington University in the fall. EPISTEME -

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pose entities other than the agent" (TMM 118). Thus, we should rightfully conclude that there could not be narrow mental content and acknowledge thatthe Twin Earth examples take us further away from any sort of individualism, (e.g. meanings are to be found in the mental contents of an isolated individual), than Putnam originally thought. The remainder of this essay will deal, then, with two related problems. The first will be how the Twin Earth examples exclude the possibility of narrow content. The second will be the confusion that occurs in Pumam's liThe Meaning of Meaning" with respect to the idea of narrow contents and his discussion of indexicality. I shall conclude with a brief Twin Earth example that is intended to show the impossibility of narrow content, and the necessary role of both the external world and the social universe. II. liThe Meaning ofMeaning"

Putnam is eager to show that the traditional conception of meaning rests on two fundamentally false principles. These are: A. That knowing the meaning of a term is just a matter of being in a certain psychological state; B. That the meaning of a term (intension) determines its exten sion; E.g. sameness of intension entails sameness of extension. Through his Twin Earth examples, Putnam shows that it is not the case that being in a certain psychological state determines a term's meaning for an individual. I will very briefly rehash the gist of Putnam's arguments against principle A. We can plausibly imag足 ine a world that is qualitatively and quantitatively identical to ours, excepting the simple fact that on this other Earth the molecular structure of water is not H20, it is XYZ. We can also imagine that we have a duplicate on this other Earth who has the same thought processes, feelings, and mental contents as we do. However, it is the case that on Twin Earth when our duplicate talks about water, she is talking about XfZ, and here on Earth we are talking about H20. So, while this is indeed a thin sketch of Putnam's article, we can see that for Putnam, principle A is admittedly false. One cannot determine the meaning of a term by examining the psychological state of the individual using the term. For this paper, the interesting difference between Putnam and Burge will be shown to rest on their different revisions of principle B. To make this clearer, I will differentiate between the conclusions that Pumam reaches and those that Burge accepts. Burge is not going


FINDING A

NEW "MEANING OF MEANING II

to accept Putnam's revision of B. That is, Burge will not agree with Putnam that Glenn on Earth and Glenn on Twin Earth merely refer to whichever extended body (H20, XYZ respectively) is present when they talk about water. That is, while Putnam thinks intension can be the same and extension different, Burge argues that if exten足 sion differs intension must be different as well. Burge goes on to say that Glenn Earth and Glenn Twin Earth must have different mental content even though their respective physical constitutions are identical. It is not the case, for Burge, that there can be sameness of intension but a difference in extension. Thus, while Putnam believes he can allow for Glenn E and Glenn TE to have identical mental contents, but refer to different external objects, Burge will show this to presuppose the existence of narrow mental contents. The real crux issue in this paper will be how Burge brings Putnam's arguments to fruition. It is to this set of issues that I now turn.

III. "Individualism and the Mental" The structures and results of "Individualism and the Mental" parallel closely Putnam's seminal essay. Individualism, as Burge construes it, is the belief that by examining an agent's mental struc足 tures, thoughts, beliefs, etc. independently of her external/ social enviromnentwe can come to know the content of the agent's thought. The very existence of this concept is the target of Burge's arguments, and after some explanatory notes we can sketch out the thought example and its effect on the status of mental content. To begin Burge makes a series of specifications to eliminate confusion with regard to the sort of mental states he wants to discuss. What immediately becomes crucial is the notion of obliquely occur足 ring content clauses. These are sentential expressions that contain a non-interchangeable referent. That is, to use the example Burge gives II [F]rom the facts that water is H20 and Bertrand thought that water is not fit to drink, it does not follow that Bertrand thought that H20 is not fit to drink" (1M 538). Bertrand's expression contains an obliquely occurring content clause because one cannot substitute the notion of'water' with the notion of 'H20' and preserve the meaning of the original sentence. Burge continues with this idea by stating that "Mentalistic discourse containing obliquely occurring expres足 sions has traditionally been called intentional discourse" (ibid.). Burge goes on to say "obliquely occurring expressions in content-clauses are a primary means of identifying a person's intentional mental

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states or events" (ibid.). I will continue by explaining why, in talking about mental content this way, Burge opens the way to discrediting, at least, principle A from before. To discredit mental content in a narrow sense, Burge first makes a number of important distinctions. He defines a 'narrow' content psychological state as one in which being in said state" does not presuppose a proposition P if it does not logically entail P" (OB 150). Further, he says "being in a psychological state in the narrow sense is to be in a state correctly ascribable in terms of a content-clause which contains no expressions in a position which admits of existen足 tial generalization and which is not in any sense de reo De dicta non足 relational propositional attitudes would thus be psychological states in the narrow sense" (ibid.). I take this to mean that, on Burge's reading, Putnam thinks these narrow content states do not relate in anyway to objects outside the agent. It is with this understanding of narrow content that Burge goes on to question Putnam's claim that these attitudes fail to 'fix' anything outside of the subject. Here again we need to qualify a term, and I am using 'fix' in the sense of refer to, or pick out. To see why these'narrow' content states cannot be narrow, as we have defined them above, let us return to the H20jXYZ example from before. Gle111Lrn, when he wonders if there is any water around, is obviously not talking about H20. The content of his mental state, regardless of whether he knows what the molecular structure of 'twater' is, does not contain H20. Nor does it seem possible that it ever could. Both Glenn E and Gle111Lrn "will have numerous proposi足 tional attitudes correctly attributable with the relevant natural kind terms in oblique position" (ibid.). If Glenn on Twin Earth expresses the desire for a glass of 'water' [H20], as opposed to 'twater' [XYZ], or any other attitude containing the concept of 'water,' e.g. that this stream contains 'water,' he seems to have a number of false beliefs. Why would we want to attribute largely false beliefs to our Twin Earth duplicate and largely true ones to ourselves? This appears immediately counterintuitive. The best response to this dilemma seems to be to rule out narrow content. Putnam understates the role that the environment and social context seem to play in determining the propositional attitudes of both Glenns. If the original Twin Earth account is correct then it appears that we have to assume a number of umeasonable premises. We have to account for how Gle11l1.rn could ever obtain the concept of 'water', (not 'twater') without


FINDING A

NEW "MEANING OF MEANING

II

having been exposed to it. We have to account for why we would want to violate the principle of charity2 by attributing largely false belief to Gle~if we took him to hold beliefs about 'water.' Hopefully, Burge~ s revision of mental content and propositional attitudes will also lead us to a refutation, notably different from Putnam~ s, of principle B as well. I shall go on to discuss the arthritis thought experiment that Burge uses, and show how this will pave the way for Burge's strengthening of the force of Putnam's Twin Earth arguments. Burge begins his thought experiment by talking about counterfactual situations. We can imagine that"A given person has a large number of attitudes commonly attributed with content足 clauses containing 'arthritis' in oblique occurrence u (ibid.). This person would have many ideas about what arthritis was, what it caused, how itfelt, etc. And Burge supposes that this person, let' scalI him Hank, thinks he has developed arthritis in the thigh. Actually, Hank's physician tells him that one cannot develop arthritis in the thigh. Hank is sort of surprised, distraught, and" goes on to ask what might be wrong with his thigh" (1M 539). The counterfactual involves Hank2 who while being identical physically, qualitatively, and historically, goes to his doctor to express his concern that he has develop ed arthritis in the thigh, and is answered by the coun terfactual doctor in the affirmative. What does this imply? Burge thinks that it means that "arthritis," for Hank2's world, is used to signify not only the conventional cases of rheumatoid joint-inflammation, but other pain producing rheumatoid ills as well. Thus, "In the counterfactual situation the patient lacks some-足 probably a11--of the attitudes commonly associated with content足 clauses containing 'arthritis' in oblique occurrence. He lacks the occurrent thoughts or beliefs that he has had arthritis in the thigh, that he has had arthritis for years, ... and so on" (ibid.). The difference in the counterfactual world is not only that the theoretical definition of'arthri tis' is different, but that the social praxis involving the term is as well. Hank zcomes to his (correct?!) conception concerning the usage of arthritis, not under his own steam, but rather through experience involving a social environment in which arthritis is used as a blanket term to apply to all sorts of rheumatoid ailments. Hank in our world learns to apply arthritis correctly not only through his actual encounter with joint pain, or being in the psychological state of having arthritis, but also through his myriad encounters with l

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others, especially those who can correctly use'arthritis,' e.g. physi­ cians. This example of Burge's should be seen to undermine indi­ vidualism [principle A from before]. Meanings are not in the hands of an isolated individual, or, as Putnam himself would put it "Mean­ ings just ain't in the head." What 1have hoped to show in the elucidation of Burge's thought experiment is that while being similar to Putnam's in its dismissal of principle A the implications go beyond natural kinds and demon­ strate the problems with the Twin Earth example. For Burge, we do not have to construe concepts like"arthritis" as natural kinds to get the medicinal effects of the thought experiment. As 1said before, for GlennE and Gle11Itrn, having identical mental contents and yet refer­ ring to different external objects is not a valid option. If it is the case that GlennE and Gle~ refer to different extended objects, then they cannot have identical mental contents. "Social content infects even the distinctively mental features of mentalistic attributions. [Nobody's] intentional mental phenomena are insular. Every [one] is a piece of the social continent, a part of the social main" (1M 545). IV. Another trip to Twin Earth, and those "Other Bodies"

I said at the beginning of this paper that I would show how Putnam's Twin Earth examples are not compatible with the idea of narrow mental content. It is to this task that I now tum. I will permit Burge to speak for himself in explaining the main problem with Putnam's thought experiment. "What I reject is the view that mental states and processes individuated by such obliquely occurring ex­ pressions can be understood purely in terms of non-intentional characterizations of the individual subject's acts, skills, dispositions, physical states, functional states, and effects of environmental stimuli on him ... or the activities of his fellows" (OB 143). Further, to clarify how this differs from our characterization of Putnam, in changing tl1e external environment of the subject we modify the contents of his thoughts. While Putnam has argued that sameness in intension does not entail sameness in extension, d. principle B, according to Burge, sameness in intension is impossible if there is difference in extension. The confusion that Putnam's claims about the indexicality of natural kind terms creates will dissipate once we see that Burge denies that there is indexicality in terms like 'water.' We all know about the Twin Earth example. GlennE and Gle11l.'1.rn are identical in all respects. Their respective worlds are as welt


FINDING A

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l

exceptthat'water on Earth is H2O and twater/ as Burge refers to the water on Twin Earth is XYZ. However, to paraphrase Burge, when Glenna thinks or says 'There is some water within twenty miles, I hope,' Glenn", must reciprocally think the same sentence. YetI for Putnam this entails that Glenna is thinking about Iwater' [H20] and Glenn", is thinking about ItwaterI [XYZ]. And, as Putnam does not note the differences [in the actual physical constitutions of 'water' and 'twater/] affect oblique occurrences in that-clauses that provide the contents of their mental states and eventslf (OB 145). What Burge is getting at is that on Earth, Glenn is hoping that he can discover some H20 ['water']. Counterfactually, on Twin Earth, Glenn is hoping he can discover some XYZ etwaterT IIThat is, even as we suppose thaewater' and ' twater' are notlogically exchangeable with coextensive expressions salva veritate, we have a difference between their thought (contentsY' (OB 145). So while Putnam thinks that the different extensions of'water' on Earth and Twin Earth do not impIy the existence of different intensions, Burge has shown this supposi足 tion to be mistaken. liThe difference in their mental states and events seems to be a product primarily of differences in their physical envirorunents - in the mental states of their fellows and conventional meanings of words they and their fellows emplot' (OB 146). Now we can directly address the problem of indexicality, and why Burge thinks that this is a major reason for Putnam to leave the force of his own arguments out to dry. While Puhlam thinks that natural kind terms like Iwater' have an indexical component, Burge does not want to allow this conclusion. In fact, Burge states, 11 that 'water interpreted as it is in English, or as we English speakers standardly interpret it, does not shift extension from context to context ... The extension of Iwater' as interpreted in English in all non-oblique contexts, is (roughly) the set of all aggregates of H20 molecules. There is nothing at all indexical about 'water' in the customary sense oeindexicall l l (OB 146). Burge continues by criticiz足 ing some of the grounds that Putnam uses to claim that' water' is indexical. One of these is: I

II

l

l

1. 'Water' is stuff that bears a certain similarity relation to the water around here. Water at another time or in another place or even in another possible world has to bear the relation [same-liquid] to our 'water' in order to be water. (T.Mlv119)

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The main criticism that Burge has with this conception of the indexicality of 'water' is a simple one. If GlennE was to visit Twin Earth and ostensively indicate the XYZ in the stream, that is, call 'that stuff there 'water,' for Putnam this would be a true declaration. However, by Putnam's previous account of Twin Earth, there is no 'water' [H2O] there. And there is no reason why an English speaker should not be held to this account when he visits Twin Earth. The problem is that although 'here' shifts its extension with context, 'water' does not. Water lacks the indexicality of 'here'lf (OB 147). I continually have been referring to the confusion that results when we allow Putnam to claim that natural kind terms have an indexical component. For Burge, allowing this claim to stand "has large implications for our understanding of mentalistic notions" (0B 149). It is the case, for Burge, that the identity of one's mental contents, states, and events is not independent of the nature of one's physical and social environment" (ibid.). It seems hard to accept that 'water' is indexical. Suppose you or I were to be instantaneously switched with our Twin Earth doppelganger. When we, on Twin Earth, asked for a glass of 'water,' we would not be making any reference to 'twater.' The two are different substances, and our unwitting indication of 'twater' when we mean 'water,' evenifitgoes unnoticed, points out the non~indexicality of natural ki~d terms. II

/I

V. Conclusions The last relevant section of the Burge piece, "Other Bodies," can be viewed as showinghow propositional attitudes do indeed I fix' the extensions of the relevant terms. To radically oversimplify this point before I end, I shall quote Burge once more, "[Glenn's] attitude contents involving relevant natural kind notions~- and thus, all his relevant attitudes--are individuated by reference to other entities. His having these attitudes in the relevant circumstances entails the existence of other entities" (OB 155). This quotation makes more sense once I tell you that Burge previously noted that even in presupposing counterfactual situations we must make use of the actual existence of things. This seems to me somewhat like a rigid designator conception. We can imagine, at least momentarily, a world where Monica Lewinsky did not exist, or had blond hair, or a small nose, etc. However, for us to be able to do so hinges on our knowledge that Monica Lewinsky did in fact exist here and now. To return to section II, Burge does not find Putnam's notion of narrow


FINDING A

NEW "MEANING OF MEANING"

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content states acceptable. It is umealistic to suppose that one can hold a belief P, where P is a belief about x and x has no existent counterpart in the world that we are part of. That is, there could be no x that the holder of belief P has heard spoken of in the world, experienced, etc. The twofold thesis of this paper is that Putnam was incorrect to accept the existence of narrow content mental states and that Burge, in exposing this error, can explain why mental content is not in the hands of the individuaL For Burge, there cannot be a difference in extension without a correspondent difference in propositional con足 tent-clause beliefs. Burge is correct to see that Putnam's false beliefs, that there can be narrow content states and that natural kind terms have an indexical component, obscure the true force of the Twin Earth thought experiment. Putnam radically underestimates the importance of having the sort of social environment like Hank, in our arthritis example does, to obtain correct knowledge of the meaning of a term and the correspondent mental content. The conceivability ofHank2 to refer to "arthritis" as Hank does in our world, or to have the sort of mental content that we do regarding arthritis is niL For Burge, the intricate social interplay between speakers helps account for mental content. It is because Burge wants to prove this that he discounts the possibility of narrow mental content. All mental content for Burge is broad, in the sense that it is inextricably related to both the physical and social environments. To end, I hope that this paper has explicated the differences to be found in Putnam's revision of the traditional principles of meaning [A and B] that comes out of the Twin Earth examples, and Burge's reinterpreta tion of these. For Burget mental contentjustain't determined by the things in our head. It is also determined, to a larger degree than Putnam admits, by the actual things in the external world and our sodal networks. NOTES

1.This view is not really held by Putnam anymore t but for the sake of the arguments in my paper I needed these arguments as foils for Burge. 2. The 'principle of charity' was the label used by Daniel Dennett in his article IITrue Believers as Intentional Systems in The Nature of Mind (New York: Oxford University Press t 1991). D. Rosenthat ed., to explain why we must attribute largely true beliefs to other persons in order to make rational sense of their actions. ll


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WORKS CITED

Burge, Tyler "Individualism and the Mental" in The Nature ofMind (New York: OxfordUniversi ty Press, 1991). D. Rosenthal, ed. ---. "Other Bodies" in The Twin Earth Chronicles (New York: M.E. Sharpe & Co., 1996). A. Pessin and S. Goldberg, eds. Putnam, Hilary "The Meaning of Meaning" in The Twin Earth Ch ronicles (New York: M.E. Sharpe & Co., 1996). A. Pessin, and S. Goldberg, eds.


Vol. X, Sept. 1999