Arquivo para July, 2018

Deceleration and the technique

18 Jul

After convincingly criticizing Baudrillard and categorically asserting that “mere speed does not suppose great influence on the production of historical sense” (page. 36), goes back to the easy critique of technology.

What counts above all is the instability of the trajectory, the disappearance of one’s own gravitation, irritationen or temporal oscillations. “(Page 36), Byung-Chul Han yields to Baudrillard’s temptation that modern technology is responsible for this Well, but what is the origin of this?

Baudrillard’s Culture and Simulation book is from the 1970s, the internet was born with academic users, and Freud’s civilization was in the 1930s, not to mention Nietzsche who passed away at the beginning of the last century, more precisely on August 25, 1900.

Therefore, it is necessary to return to Han’s earlier arguments which are more solid, “acceleration is not the only plausible explanation of the disappearance of meaning” (page 35), and the expression “atoms of meaning” also leads to an error, because the sense is not nuclear “(idem), takes a small step in the right direction:” rest is not caused by the acceleration and the movement of exchanges, but by the no-if-know-to-where “(page 38) , a lack of goals.

He will also criticize Bauman, for whom modern man is a pilgrim in the desert, who practices a “life on the way” (page 43), and at a glance returns to the meaning affirming “secularization does not entail a demarcation (Demarratovosoerimg)”, but goes back and says that modernity continues to be a narrative, but the printed culture and reproduction does not have the mythical and eschatological character of oral culture, is another narrative, the romantic, Gadamer has already clarified.

The criticism of technique and technical progress is the common temptation, to point out it as religious is at least contradictory since it is the legitimate heir of the lights and reason, it is not history as a history of salvation, but as romantic historical determinism the fashion of Dilthey.

The immersion in digital culture, or in cyberculture, did not deterritorialize (radio, TV and the cinema did it before) nor secularized, those who made it were the lights and financial capital that recognizes neither country nor place, the narrative that omits the process of production of videos, images, photographs and also digital code all over the planet is not only a technical or technological inversion, it is a cultural inversion, thanks to them cultures and people have been reborn.

It is not necessary to walk the world, because the world walks by you, and this is what stimulates young people to know other countries and places, rooted country that is anti-evolutionary and conservative, man walked the world before fixing borders, who fixed the empires, which now erect walls and speeches radical patriarchs, the world is already a global village, what there is now is a nostalgic feeling of a world that never returns


The scent and significance

17 Jul

Like art, scent requires appreciation and sensitivity, but this is longer than meaning,  this tells us Byung-Chul Han: “the world is full of meaning. The gods are only meaningful. ” (Han, 2016, 25). It penetrates into the true meaning of the narrative, of the primitive and contemporary oral: “narrative creates the world from nothing” (p.25), but it is not bound by the image: “the world can read itself as an image” (idem).
Without mentioning them, Han seems to penetrate the rock art, when he unveils the relation: “here all that has meaning is the eternal repetition of the same, the reproduction of the already been, the imperishable truth.
This is how prehistoric man lives in a present that endures. “(HAN, 2016, 26) Han’s cosmogony penetrates the eschatological: “it distinguishes in any way from historical time that promises progress … the eskáton indicates the end of time … the eschatological time admits no action, no project” (HAN, 2016, 27).
It also reveals the deeper meaning of the post-truth, “time will be defactised and at the same time denatured (entnaturalisier)” (page 28), by pointing to it already in the Enlightenment: “the revolution refers to a defaced time.
Free from all being/to be launched, from any natural or theological force, the world, like a steamy colossus, looses itself towards the future, where it hopes to find salvation “(page 29). Citation Robespierre speaking at the constitutional ceremony of 1793: “The progrès de la raison humaine ont préparé cette grande révolution, et c’est à vous que’est spécialement imposé le décision le l’accélérer” (quoted on page 29).
Was the triumph of reason, also comments on the same experience in “The Death of Danton” written by Büchner, when quoting Camille: “The common fixed ideas which pass for being common sense are unbearably boring” (cit. Byung-Chul separates oral time from history by understanding “the mythical which functions as an image,” and sees the history of the Gutenberg galaxy as one that “gives way to information” (p. 30), to give these a definition unpublished: “in reality, the information presents another paradigma”.
“Within it, inhabits another very different temporality. It is a manifestation of atomized time, of a time of points (Punkt-Zeit) “(page 31). I return to the previous page to understand its concept of aroma: “History illuminates … imposes a linear narrative trajectory … has no aroma” (HAN, 2016, 30).

Contrary to Baudrillard’s thesis, “information is not related to history as the always perfect simulation of the original or the origin” (page 31), it will say for this is a new paradigm.
He will say at the end of this chapter that time “rushes, fills itself to balance a lack of the essential Being,” causing “the lack of Being to become even more pervasive” (32).

HAN, B.C. The Scent of Time: A Philosophical Essay on the Art of Lingering – Wiley, 2017. (notes and pages in portuguese edition).


Distime and death

16 Jul

Recalling Nietzsche, Chul Han speaks of the feeling of the last of men (in “Thus spoke Zaratrusta”): “what is love? What is creation? What is craving? What are the stars? ” (page 13), is not the anxious question of a thinker, but rather the desperate question before the end:” ex-pyre (ver-endet) is in distemper instead of dying “(HAN, 2016, 13).

Thus, the author explains, what can not die due to time seems a “dis-time”, then the “present acceleration” is this inability to finish and conclude, disappears “any appropriate or good time” (page 14), then life is small pleasures at night or in the day.

Here Nietzsche ingeniously approaches Heidegger: “being free for death,” but there is something new in our time where “the fragmentation of death reduces death apparently” (page 15), and will say both Nietzsche and Heidegger “oppose fragmentation of time”, but how?

Han’s analysis of Nietzsche is perfect, claiming that insistently invoking “the heir” and the “goal” indicates that “he is not aware of the extent of God’s death” (page 16) (HAN, 2016, p. 16).

Here he will separate Heidegger’s impersonal “se” from Nietzsche’s “last of men”, while in Being and Time, Heidegger tries “history in view of its imminent end,” the inheritance (not Nietzsche’s heir) and transmission as “legacy” generate “a historical continuity,” but in a “present-day disengagement,” the contraction of the present, and the loss of duration and acceleration that are much more complex forms, Han states.

Here I return to the point, where there is no temporal attraction between processes, which would be in essence what he called the smell of time, both in its appreciation and in its duration.

It is a present reduced to current peaks, it also intensifies the terrain of action, to the timelessness (Unzeitigkeit) (page 19), where the opposite of full time, “is that of an empty duration, which expands without principle nor end “(HAN, 2016, p.19).

He explains at the end of this chapter, which he somehow intuited without having an exact explanation, “people tend rather to rush from one present to another.

This is how each one grows old without becoming bigger, “then time ex-pyre in the meantime”.

HAN, B.C. The Scent of Time: A Philosophical Essay on the Art of Lingering – Wiley, 2017. (notes and pages in portuguese edition).


Load weights or a light life

13 Jul

The human mind is prodigious, but it is the first source of benefits and harms, as a body that by putting spoiled food react, the mind will react to whatever is put there. The bombardment of information, consumption and especially the absence of an ethic and an aesthetic of a light life, leads to the most diverse contemporary diseases: depression, anxiety, workaholic (excessive work), and above all a lack of healthy living.
The Korean-German philosopher Byung -Chul Han wrote that the present problem is no longer acceleration, it has now passed: “it is only one of the symptoms of temporal dispersion” (HAN, 2016, p.9).
The philosopher had already warned these problems in “The society of weariness” and “The salvation of the beautiful”, now penetrates the human soul and says that now there is an atomization of time, each one begins to live his fragment of self as “his little self,” with the “radical loss of space, of time, of being-with (Mitsein)” (HAN, 2016, p.10).
In the society of weariness he developed the theme of the “active vita” reference to Arendt in animal laborans (see our post), which led to hyperactivity of work (workaholic), now it is already “necessary to revitalize the contemplative vita.” (HAN, 2016, p.11).
Reducing daily weights, taking time for nature, for walking and socializing, not walking with lots of weights, bags, and “running over time”, consumption is also a discharge of bad everyday habits, lack of contemplation. It is curious that even to rest we need to carry heavy bags, food and a host of other things that remind us of the heavy day-to-day and without the “aroma of time”, it is like to miss a life that at heart we want to free ourselves . Jesus in sending his apostles to the mission, so that they would not worry about these things, advises to carry little, in Mark 6: 8-9: “He advised them not to take anything in the way, but a staff, bread, no bag, no money on the waist. He commanded them to wear sandals and not to wear two coats. ” Life can be light if we do not carry many “bags” and weights, it is curious to note that even beggars who do not have anything need to carry sacks and trash, it is actually the reflection of the mind that is occupied with strange things and nothing light, even though they live as nothing. 


The mind and body, the relationship with mentalism

12 Jul

We have already posed here on structuralism, and what we consider late effects of modernity in what he called structuralism or deconstruction, which before Derridá are already present in the thought of Alun Munslow, and this in turn has a “deconstructionist” perspective linked to thought by Hayden White and Keith Jenkins, which can be read in Rethinking History.

But the aim here is to make a reading, even if it is almost impossible, of the angle of vision of the mind, there is an aphasia called Wernicke, which is precisely the change in oral and written language, which makes communication without precision because of of some neurological injury.

This is particularly interesting because it means that it is possible, under restricted circumstances, to link the mind to an anthropological process of its development, and to make the “mentalist” process linked in some way to the historical.

Thus the relation of the cerebellum is linked to the muscular and coordination functions, while the brainstem regulates the bodily functions (heart beat, body temperature, etc.) and the temporal lobe: understanding, language, listening, memory learning, but curiously it is there that is linked to the area of ​​oral and written language, called Wernicke. In the areas of superiority are the areas of human development historically posterior, especially in the Frontal Lobe: morality, reasoning, personality and others.

Nagel touches on the dilemma of body and mind, we already speak of the mind of the other, starting from the premise that admits that the other is conscious, and if one does not agree with skepticism, it is known that the relation of consciousness with the mind can only be that which “depends on the body,” or on reality. In order to explain his thinking, he makes the experience of eating a chocolate and asks if with instruments that could measure the sensations inside the brain: “But could you find the taste of chocolate?” (Page 31).

“But people think that believing in a soul is something outdated and unscientific. Everything else in the world is made of physical matter – combinations of different chemical elements? “(Page 32),” scientists have discovered what light is, how plants grow, how they move their muscles – it’s just a matter of until they discover the biological nature of the mind. This is how the physicalists think. “(P.33)

In the realm of the mind, mentalists have been called here. The author explains that an “advanced theory of physicalism [mentalism] is that the mental nature of their mental states consists in relations to the things that cause them and things they cause” (page 36), a return to chance, which contemporary physics itself tried to deny, Heisenberg enunciated and particle physics and astrophysics proved.

The subject is complex, but Nagel’s book is a good introduction to the body-mind problem.

Nagel, Thomas. What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy, UK: Oxford University Press, 1987.



Nagel, physicalism and the being

11 Jul

All modern physicalism, the Greek physis is something else, is essentially reductionist, for “every reductionist has his favorite analogy, drawn from modern science” (Nagel, 1974).

Although Nagel does not define what is physical for him, he says verbatim in footnote, he states that “beyond interesting, a phenomenology that is objective in this sense may allow questions about the physical basis of experience to take on a more intelligible form “(Nagel, 1974).

Although Aristotle called the pre-Socratics “physikoi“, this has nothing to do with the modern conception, just as physis can not simply be translated by nature.

Two authors who spoke about this Greek concept, for Jaeger: “the word also includes the original source of things, that from which they develop and by which their development is constantly renewed; in other words, the reality underlying the things of our experience, “while Burnet, in turn, states that” in the Greek philosophical language, physis always designates what is primary, fundamental, and persistent, as opposed to secondary, derivative, and transitional”.

It is these conceptions that most closely approximate Nagel, but it can be said that his concept is almost ontological: “But fundamentally an organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that is to be that organism – something that is to be for the organism. ”

But the important and definitive concept of Nagel is that it may make sense to ask what it is like to be a bat, but it is not conceivable to ask what it is like to be a toaster, physics has limits and if you can go deeper, here about Terrence Deacon’s “Incomplete Nature: the mind emerged to matter”.

Nagel, Thomas (1974). “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”. The Philosophical Review. 83 (4): 435–450.


It s it possible to simplify philosophy?

10 Jul

Yes and no, as we posted last week, there is complexity in simplification and not everything that is simple can be correct, most of the times it is a reductionism. But someone who got it, at least in part, was Thomas Nagel, proposed to address such themes as: the world beyond minds, beyond other minds, the old paradox body and mind, how language is possible, there is the free will, which inequalities are unjust, the nature of death, and the meaning of life.

Without saying authors and names is addressing central problems of philosophy, will also use practical examples, didactic and begins with a question on things that is at the core of the question of much of the philosophy: “Would things look different if fact existed only in his mind … what if it was just a giant dream? … (Nagel, 1987). “It is even possible that you do not have a body or a brain – since your beliefs about it come solely from the data of your senses” (NAGEL,1987).

He then begins to divide the currents of philosophy, “the most radical conclusion to draw from here would be that your mind is the only thing that exists”, this is the solipsistic current.

The second position is whether or not an outer world exists, and if it exists, it may or may not be completely different from the way it seems to you – is there no way to know it? “, this is the position of skepticism . “If you can not be sure that the world is out of your mind, there is now yourself, how can you be sure that you existed before ?, and this refers to the problem of time, memory, information, language and being.

In the end, the author states that it is “impossible to seriously believe that all things in the world around you may not exist in reality” (p.20), this may be so evident that we do not need to substantiate, but there would still be three serious questions :

1) Does it make sense that the inner world is all that exists, but that the outside world guarantees that it is not different from what it thinks?

2) If any of these hypotheses are possible, is there any way to prove to yourself that this hypothesis is not really true?

3) If you can not prove that there is anything outside of your own mind, is it right to continue to believe in the existence of an outside world?

If the external world exists, the problem is whether everything moves as a clock, ie, is predetermined, so-called determinism, or if there is free will and things can be chosen, the author speaks of the choice of people between eat a nice piece of cake or a fruit, and the fact that the sun can not choose not to rise at the beginning of the day, but even in nature the physics of the particles show that there is an indeterminism in nature.

Approach this in chapter 6 hence the question of logic will come in chapter 7. If you think that there are both, you must think that there are other minds as well, and these minds will have experiences and vision of things different from yours, is there a way of seeing that the two are right or the wrong two, right or wrong?

He will approach this in chapter 7, and right and wrong before righteousness, will approach this in chapter 8, and death what is, chapter 9 and the meaning of life, chapter 10.

Nagel, Thomas. What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy, UK: Oxford University Press, 1987.



Why do we need to think?

09 Jul

I dreamed of writing a philosophy book, I will not write it any more, I may make considerations, such as I shall do here, but upon unexpectedly finding the author Thomas Nagel in: “What does all this mean? An Introduction to Philosophy “in his 5th. edition in portuguese, original en english in 1987 (Oxford University Press) I think he did the trivial: to present fundamental questions in everyday words.

So I’ll just make comments, it’s not a summary, it’s just notes, and maybe it’s interesting to say how I found it, it was even from another work: What’s it like to be a bat? (The Philosophical Review LXXXIII, pp. 435-50, 1974), where it says that this question may make sense, but it does not make sense to ask what it is like to be a toaster, updating to this day what it feels like to be Robot Sophia, people asking this question.

It is not this question that answers directly, but current issues that are in everyday thinking, namely: How we know what it is, what other minds are, the meaning of words, freedom (free will), death and the sense of life.

Philosophy does not seem to deal with this, but only in dialogue with other thinkers, the author explains at the beginning of the book: “Philosophy is different from science and mathematics … it is not based on experimentation or observation, but only on thought . “(p.8).

We all think, it is wrong to think that only philosophers and scientists think, the question of philosophy is; “To question and to understand very common ideas that we use every day without thinking about them” (p.8), and in doing this we are taken “in the wave” wherever it wants to take us, in times of crisis and deep changes this can be fatal .

The author explains, among other things, two questions that I consider essential: “A physicist will ask what atoms are made of or what explains gravity, but a philosopher will ask how we can know that there is anything outside our minds” (p. 9).

This is essential because this is the contemporary idealist question, and idealism is the great philosophy of our time, it is the basis of what is conventionally called modernity.

Nagel, Thomas. What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy, UK: Oxford University Press, 1987.


Simplicity and Wisdom

06 Jul

To simplify is not to reduce concepts or things that are naturally profound, among them, love, wisdom and knowledge itself are difficult to be treated in a simple way, and should not be seen with simplicity and little wisdom, but it is possible with life and with very concrete examples of everyday life to show and demonstrate what is human knowing.

But in times of post-truth and book access to the production and diffusion of knowledge, the mistakes of simplism and shallow culture can have devastating effects, which does not mean confusing and unnecessarily complexing what is explained or demonstrated.

Just as the reduced knowledge of a given subject or object of study can and usually leads to reductionism, a term used in scientific terms to say that the reduction of complexity did not explain the phenomenon it was proposed to study, is one of the major causes of cultural impoverishment contemporary, to which the Web is only a “medium” of diffusion.

Studies that lead to a better structuring of knowledge such as Ontologies, Semantic Web and now a new dawn of artificial intelligence, undoubtedly lead to further progress in human thought and scientific knowledge.

It is necessary, it is emphasized to not complicate beyond what is necessary and also not to reduce beyond the possible so that the essence of a phenomenon or object of study is not lost when studying it.

In social terms, it is generally imposed by authority much more by the form than indeed by content, the pomp that has certain knowledge does not necessarily mean the wisdom or depth of knowledge, often change the form by the content.

Thus, if some deity or supreme wisdom were among us, it would scarcely be recognized, as in Christian culture, the biblical passage from Mark 6: 3 reflects: “This man is not the carpenter, son of Mary, brother of James, of Joseph, of Judas and of Simon? Your sisters do not live here with us? “And they were scandalized by him.” Do not be scandalized by simplicity, but precisely by the absence of it among those who arrogate knowledge and wisdom”.


Basic Questions of Semantic Web and Ontologies

05 Jul

We are always faced with concepts that seem common sense and are not, is the case of many examples: social networks (confused with the media), fractals (numbers still too generic to be used in everyday life, but important), the artificial intelligence, finally innumerable cases, being able to go to the virtual (it is not the unreal), the ontologies, etc.

These are the cases of Semantic Web and Ontologies, where all simplification leads to an error. Probably so, one of the forerunners of the Semantic Web Tim Hendler, wrote a book Semantic Web for Ontologists modeling (Allemang, Hendler, 2008).

The authors explain in Chapter 3 that when we speak of Semantic Web “of a programming language, we usually refer to the mapping of language syntax to some formalism that expresses the” meaning “of that language.

Now when we speak of ‘semantics’ of natural language, we often refer to something about what it means to understand the utterance – how to go from the structured lyrics or sounds of a language to some kind of meaning behind them.

Perhaps the most primitive part of this notion of semantics is a representation of the connection of a term in a statement to the entity in the world to which the term refers.” (Allemang, Hendler, 2008).

When we talk about things in the world, in the case of the Semantic Web we talk about Resources, as the authors say perhaps this is the most unusual thing for the word resource, and for them a definition language called RDF has been created as a Resource Description Framework, and they on the Web have a basic identification unit called URI, along with a Uniform Resource Identifier.

In the book the authors develop an advanced form of RDF called RDF Plus, which already has many users and developers, to also model ontologies using a language of their own that is OWL, the first application is called SKOS, A Simple Organization of Knowledge, which proposes the organization of concepts such as thesaurus dictionaries, taxonomies and controlled vocabularies in RDF.

Because RDF-Plus is a modeling system that provides considerable support for distributed information and federation of information, it is a model that introduces the use of ontologies in the Semantic Web in a clear and rigorous, though complex, way.

Allemang, D. Hendler, J. Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist: Effective Modeling in RDFS and OWL, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing, 2008.