Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Interest

Stanley Cavell, an American philosopher who draws from the works of Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger, and who authored The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy (which was published the year I was born), said this:

"My interest, it could be said, lies in finding out what my beliefs mean, and learning the particular ground they occupy. This is not the same as providing evidence for them. One could say it is a matter of making them evident."

Precisely. I'm beginning to see the absurdity of squabbling over the things we say-- that is, squabbling over the "truth" of these sayings. All any of us have is our experience of existing, plus the power to see that experience through language, to speak it out, and therefore, my questions is this: why would anyone ever make a claim that a single perspective is the whole experience? This isn't an argument for relativism. It's merely a claim that anything you say will be from your perspective, which rather seems to me to be some sort of realist claim-- that the world is there, we can't escape the proto-logical belief that we exist in it, and when we talk about it, it is for use, and not for "truth." Truth is in the experience of it.

That itself was a string of (potentially incoherent) abstract claims, so I'll stop. I'll go and excercise this strange organic thing I am being. It wants it. Happy Cinco de Mayo.


Ryan Hofer said...

Totally. The other fascinating thing for me is that we must live with other people, and work together, on a now massive scale. But a lot of the time I feel we base our politics and interactions on what is "right" rather than on what works in the world at that point in time.

I'm going to go run my body too.

Ryan Hofer said...

I was thinking more about this and trying to incorporate other people into it. Who are we making ourselves evident towards? Ourselves? Seems I try to justify one part of myself to another part all the time. One who evidences to oneself will surely be prepared to evidence towards others. When I make evidence towards others, I am attempting to reason, to share a piece of the world with them. This is interesting to me because often we see reason as an idol to which others must bow as well. We often mistake reason with law.