Arquivo para August, 2021

Crisis of thought and cynical reason

17 Aug

Modern thought is still strongly linked to idealism, there are several points to question Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, two points that I consider central: the subject and object dualism (called the infernal dichotomy by Bruno Latour) and the transformation of eidos Greek in an abstract idea, almost all contemporary Western philosophy is heir to Kant.

The crisis of Greek “democracy” (questionable because slaves and women did not participate) happened amidst the crisis of sophistic thinking, founded on relativism and the justification of power, the art of rhetoric and oratory and the power of argumentation was worth more than the truth.

There, too, another infernal dichotomy is born: between nature (phýsis) and culture (nómos), after all, what is nature and what we mean by culture when we distance it from experience and techné.

Sloteridjk is one of the rare Western philosophers who will question without losing the rationalist and progressive slant, both the classic current models of argumentation and Adorno and Horkheimer, Sartre and Foucault, neither escapes nor Heidegger, who in a way is also heir, by questioning his Charter on Humanism, and thinking about what humanism actually is today.

What you call culture, for example, can show the contradiction, giving the example of China where you can eat dog meat and in India you can’t eat beef, which is a sacred animal.

The point that I consider most central is the explanation of modern relativism, since this was also the foundation of the Greek sophists, there everything that referred to practical life could be changed, so both religion and politics were considered cultural factors and could be modified is convergent, according to Sloterdijk with modern thought, according to his analysis of the concepts of cynicism and kynisms, its founder Antisthenes of Athens (445-365 BC) preached a simple life as a wild life (in nature, the word kynós means dog), the figure of Diogenes in his barrel is the most emblematic (in the painting above, Jean Leon Gerome).

Although a disciple of Socrates, unlike Plato, he opted only for the stereotype of the master, as opposed to educating and organizing an “episteme”, he will make everything simple and relative.

The context of these sophists was the city-state and the democracy of Athens which was in crisis.

The second part of Sloterdijk’s book is a critique of applied cynicism, structured in four parts: physiognomic, phenomenological, logical and historical.

Sloterdijk, P. Critique of Cynic Reason, trans. Marco Casanova et al., Brazil, SP: Estação Liberdade, 2012.


Genomic surveillance and precautions

16 Aug

According to José Eduardo Levi, coordinator of the Genomic Surveillance Scientific Project (Genov), 11 of the 1380 analyzed between May and June had a mutation called P681H, in which the amino acid proline is replaced by another one, histidine, and is being called Gamma plus.

The Delta variant is already spread across the country with a record of 760 cases up to 5 days ago, however, Gama-plus: “a convergent mutation with a characteristic of Delta, a variant that usually presents this structural change” said the project coordinator Genov.

Many experts have warned that easing may be premature, and we may have to live with restrictions for a while, although the rate of vaccination has advanced, it still does not have a sufficient safety margin beyond the risk of new variants.

The death of actor Tarcisio Meira from complications of covid-19, having taken the two doses of the vaccine, rekindled the debate on the effectiveness of vaccines, but experts are categorical in saying, based on studies by USP and UNESP, that 91.49% of those who died did not have the second dose or the single dose in the case of the Janssen vaccine.

On the other hand, the Delta, Delta-plus and Gama-plus variants are of concern to infectologists around the world and many countries are reviewing the flexibility measures, however the WHO itself warns of the “false sense of security” due to 80% of cases of infection of the last 4 weeks are of the Delta variant.

It should also be noted that the younger population, the most prone to activities that can cause crowding, still do not have the second full dose and it is important to maintain restrictions so that the new, more lethal variants do not cause countless deaths.


The orgic birth

13 Aug

How modern knowledge can give birth to a new world, overcome the humanitarian crisis (which is beyond the pandemic), overcome the crisis of thought warned by so many thinkers Bachelard and the new science, Husserl and the crisis of scientific thought, Morin and the crisis of humanitarian thought, which Sloterdijk also criticized by revising Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism”.

Reviewing the three changes, in antiquity Socrates through Plato gave birth to the episteme that surpassed the sophist model and Plato organized the model of the city-state, with the limitations that did not entitle women and slaves, a model that collapses along with the Roman empire, we inherited the law from them, but in what was translated the natural law: in the social contract.

The modern republic comes precisely from a discussion of what human nature is, the anthropocentrist model ignored the Being and its relationship with the Being, it is not just about the relationship with Nature, but with human nature itself, which is also a phenomenon.

We have already posted here about the orgic change, the relationship with nature itself and with ours, which Sloterdijk calls “matrix in grêmio” (picture), an appropriate name for Christian eschatology, where there is the female figure as the promoter of this orgic change, the relationship tense with nature that will bring profound changes in the planet and in the human relationship.

What we developed in our previous post about aorgic mutation was the necessary overcoming of anthropocentrism, the nature of nature (developed in Edgar Morin’s Method I), the place of man in nature (the title of one of Teilhard Chardin’s books) and many others point out that anthropocentrism is a paradox, we are co-dependent and co-participants of Nature.

But nature shows signs of agony, climate change is just a symptom, the very structure of the planet (volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.) can profoundly and dangerously alter the planet, remember the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters, and polarization behind the danger of war.

In Christian eschatology, the book of the Apocalypse of St. John reads (Rev. 12-19a-12): “The Temple of God in heaven was opened and the Ark of the Covenant appeared in the Temple. Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.

Theologians and exegetes shuffle over this passage, of course the figure of Mary comes to the fore, but the temple of God is nothing more than the universe and nature, including human nature, and the crown of twelve stars, the doses tribes of Israel, but curiously the European flag has two stars too, and metaphorically I would say that it represents a more united world, in the initial European model because it also suffered cracks like the English Brexit.

The orgic change is a possibility not a fatality, and everything depends on human action, as the centenary philosopher Morin says, one can hope and believe in change.



Birthing knowledge and phenomenology

12 Aug

The definition of the phenomenology method as a form of knowledge is according to the philosophy dictionary (Abbagnano, 2000, p. 437) as “description of what appears or science that has as its objective or project this description”, with the phenomenon being “what appears or manifests itself” (idem).

The German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) developed it as a radical way to review methodologies and concepts of science with logical and positivist assumptions, starting from how things (the concept of object is also surpassed here, it is linked to the subject) have its appearance to consciousness, and from there “going towards things in themselves” (HUSSERL, 2008, p. 17).

Intentionality is the fundamental mark in phenomenological consciousness, it is always turned outwards, towards something, but it is neither substance nor envelope, it is an intuition, an apodictic evidence, and this is the birth of phenomenology.

The first step of this method to “search” the phenomenon is the phenomenological reduction (epoché), a suspension of our concepts or preconceptions, placing them in parentheses, since it is impossible to separate the subject from the object, when something appears will manifest itself now.

Starting from this “suspension of judgment” (it is used by other currents of thought), scrutinize the phenomenon in its “purity” and avoid what would be a “natural attitude” in the apprehension and analysis of the phenomenon, then carry out an eidetic reduction or variation ( the idea in the Greek sense is an image rather than a concept), it passes through a psychological level and a transcendental level.

Here, becoming something like “pure consciousness”, Husserl calls it “phenomenological attitude”, it allows new perspectives (Abschattungen) and several profile variations (Abschatung), the German roots are important, because it is perceived that one is a “variation” of the other is eidos.

It is precisely in this eidetic variation that something takes place in consciousness that goes from the perceived object (noesis) to the noema, a complex of predicates and modes to be given by experience.

The thing that presents itself to my consciousness is not only abstract, it does not have its existence denied, what Husserl defends is that we have a perception of something (object for idealism), which is only supported by the possibility of different profiles (abschatung) that he is apprehended. We are left with two questions whether this is separate from its materiality (hylé for the Greeks) and whether it is possible to think of this consciousness as consciousness of the world, transcendence in history.

HUSSERL, E.(2008) The crisis of European humanity and philosophy. Brasil, Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS.


Maieutics and giving birth to knowledge

11 Aug

The Socratic method was that the philosopher believed that no one had definitive answers to his questions and so walked the streets of Athens asking questions he considered basic about politics, morality and truth, the young democracy was corrupting itself.

In this way, each person could “give birth” answers, and with each answer he asked new questions, thus he defined himself as an “idea midwife”, he sought to instruct the “citizens”.

His opponents were the sophists who relied solely on the art of persuasion, and their aim was to flatter the rulers and give answers that people wanted to hear.

But many people, especially young people, were involved by his wisdom and teachings, among them was the disciple Plato who describes the various Socratic dialogues.

Thus his method was opposed to those of the sophists based on rhetoric and the art of persuasion, their theses were the most diverse, Gorgias for example, defended that “nothing exists”, Protagoras that “man is the measure of all things”, besides of this they charged for the lessons.

Aristotle will define it as “apparent but not real wisdom (sapientia), but it has not disappeared completely, it has changed form and discourse throughout history, but essentially it is rhetoric, today for example, performative thinkers and self-referentials.

Socrates’ great opposition to the sophists was that they, using persuasion and rhetoric, only proclaimed “opinion” called doxa and Plato, disciple and disseminator of Socrates, will organize the “episteme”, knowledge must be organized from the its “currencies, limits, its aspects and its appearance”, described as its “dialectic”.

Also Bachelard in our time criticizes opinion as unscientific: “Science, both in its need for completion and in its principle, is absolutely opposed to opinion” in his work: The Formation of the Scientific Spirit: contribution to a psychoanalysis of knowledge .

Socrates, accused of subverting the young and not worshiping the gods of the state, was sentenced to death, Plato will develop his method and create a school of thought.



(Português) Knowledge and a new Paideia

10 Aug

Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese.


(Português) O conhecimento e uma nova Paideia

10 Aug

Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese.


Delta variant and slow vaccination

09 Aug

The delta variant of covid 19 has lit a warning around the world that the pandemic may not yet be under control. In Brazil, the recent Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Bulletin (FioCruz) states after a study that there is a dangerous combination, high Delta contagion and slow vaccination .

The risk of the explosion of a new wave of contamination and infection is worrying, the study points out that Brazil already has 435 confirmed cases of the Delta variant and in 19 states the levels of contamination are dangerous despite being declining.

In an interview with CNN, last Friday (08/06), deputy director Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned that confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Brazil are just the “tip of the iceberg” and highlighted the importance “that the vast majority of cases of the variant are asymptomatic or mild, which do not realize and are not tested”.

We cannot relax prevention and isolation measures, recalled Jarbas Barbosa, in the cases of Chile and Uruguay that after relaxing measures had a new wave of infections, although Uruguay announced a weekend without deaths for the first time.

The contagion comparison made with the Delta variant is didactic, as contagious as chickenpox, can cause more severe symptoms than the previous variants and are also transmissible among vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), in an article published in The Washington Post, in a note signed by Maíra Menezes, the Fiocruz postcard also warns of the danger of this variant.

Vaccination is important, which is still slow, the current numbers are close to 45 million for the two doses and 100 million for the first dose, it is possible to accelerate and as there is still no explosion of the Delta variant in the country, if combined with preventive measures, we can prevent a new wave of infections, hospital overflows and deaths.

Both infections and deaths that fall slowly in Brazil have a tendency towards stability with a slight increase, it is too early to say that it is the Delta variant, but a policy of testing and prevention would be important, researchers of Fiocruz warns of the lack of a plan B.



The agnostic version of heaven’s bread

06 Aug

Ignoring poetic language is not just ignoring metaphor, analogies do have a metaphysical limitation, but metaphor goes beyond analogy and there are assumptions in it that have yet to be verified by science as truth.

Paul Ricoeur clarifies: “what remains remarkable for us who come after the Kantian critique of this type of ontology is the way in which the thinker behaves in relation to the difficulties internal to his own solution…. of the categorical problem is resumed in its broad lines” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 419).

This is not only linked to the idea of ​​the analogy that was re-elaborated by Thomism, but the main source of all the difficulties “is due to the need to support the analogical predication by an ontology of participation” (p. 420), this analogy is in the level of names and predicates, thus “it is of the conceptual order” (p. 421).

The attack on metaphor and metaphysics reached modernity, he stated “Thought looks listening and listens while looking” (Heidegger apud Ricoeur, 2005, p. 436), and Jean Greisch says that this “leap” places language in “the ´there is´ es gibt [has], there is no possible transition” and this would be the deviation.

Ricoeur himself replies that what makes this enunciation as a metaphor is the harmony (einklang) between ist and Grund in the “nothing is without reason”, it is necessary to understand the metaphor-statement.

Remember the biblical passage about Pharisaism unable to understand the divine transcendence (Jn 6:42), “Is not this Jesus the son of Joseph? Don’t we know your father and mother? How then can you say that you came down from heaven?”, and that is why they cannot understand the bread of heaven, the divine food, because they are trapped in material food alone.

There is indeed a metaphor-statement that links material food to divine food, but harmony is not being tied to one by submitting it to another, as explained in the previous post, this was the great Thomist argument to overcome the Aristotelian analogy: science divine is to God, what human science is to the created” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 423), quoting Aquino’s De Veritate.

Of course, the problem of metaphor and poetics is not limited to divine knowledge, but it does not prevent it.



From metaphysics to ontology

05 Aug

There is no dishonorable resource of using metaphor toaffirm metaphysics, as Ricoeur asked, the Thomist resource “did not stop at the solution closest to the Platonic exemplary adopted in the commentary on Book I of the Sentences, still under the influence of Alberto the Great” (Ricoeur, 2005, p . 421).

Aquinas, when working on being, potency and act (his great categories), conceives an order of descent “in the series being, substance and accident” observes Ricoeur, “according to which one receives the other esse et rationem”, and thus establishes another analogy as described in Distintio XXXV (q. 1, ar. 4):

“There is another analogy [besides the order of priority] when a term imitates another as much as it can, but does not match it perfectly, and this analogy is found between God and creatures” (Aquino apud Ricoeur, 2005, p. 421), and explains Ricoeur it is necessary to understand this feature of a common term between God and creatures, and this can be explained thus:

“Between God and creatures there is no similarity through something common, but through imitation, from which it is said that the creature is similar to God, but not the other way around, as Pseudo-Dionysius says” (idem).

This participation by similarity means that “it is God himself who communicates his likeness: the diminished image ensures an imperfect and inadequate representation of the divine exemplar” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 422), and this has a weakness: “the total disjunction between attribution of names and categorical attribution” (idem), thus the theological discourse “loses all support in the categorical discourse of being”.

The resource already pointed out above being as an act and power, direct similarity is still close to univocity, so Aquino observes that exemplary causality, due to its formal character, must be subordinated to efficient causality, the only one that founds the communication of underlying being analog assignment. The discovery of being as an act then becomes the ontological foundation of the theory of analogy” (RICOEUR, 2005, p. 422).

The discourse is too philosophical, and I simplify it here: God is pure being in act and potency, the creature is being in act and can be in potency, so Thomas Aquinas develops this.

Aquinate in De Veritate distinguishes two types of analogy, one proportional (proportio), for example a number and its double, and another one of proportional relation (proportionalitas) which is a similarity of relation, in numbers, for example, 6 is to 3 as 4 is to 2.

Of course this is not just mathematics, Ricoeur does this as a didactic resource, the infinite and the finite are disproportionate, but it can be said (divine science is for God, what human science is for the created” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 423) and which is a quotation from Thomas Aquinas’ De veritate.

Ricoeur, P. (2005) Metáfora viva. trad. Dion David Macedo. BR, São Paulo: Edições Loyola.