Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

Ontology and Power

26 Jan

Not the external aspects that show what kind of power we nurture and defend on a daily basis, but those that we concretely place inside our Being and practice as a consequence of what we have inside.

Just like vices, virtues can also have a virtuous circle, they can become habits, and in the face of each phenomenon or thing, we take an attitude that has a good or bad intention.

Power is strength, capacity and, at the same time, authority, but there is the authority of testimony and public recognition, which is a power that is imposed through respect, the only relationship that can give it symmetry (equality before the Other) , and there is the power of force, the one that leads to oppression and ultimately, wars.

We find this in the philosophy of Idealism, which led to a conception of the Absolute and the State, whose peak was Hegelian idealism, and we can find it in everyday life in theories of self-esteem, self-valuation to the detriment of the Other and literature that emphasize the “I”.

Ontology, which is the deepest study of Being and Entity, on the contrary, goes in search of the deepest roots of Being and individual fulfillment without forgetting the relationship with the Other and with things, yes there is an emphasis on “things” today (see Non-Things by Byung Chul Han) however, concrete relationships with nature, food and money say something about who we are.

In this philosophy, the essence is treated as a characteristic element of being in someone, like rationality, which makes man, for Saint Thomas Aquinas, the essence is “quiddity” (the thing in itself) or “nature” encompasses everything that It is expressed in the definition of the thing, both in its form and its matter.

There are no concepts in Ontology, but rather conceptualization, which is a relationship with Being on languages.

This philosophy, although metaphysical, is considered realism, as opposed to nominalism where naming things and conceptualizing them is stronger than the essence of what is, we observe this in all fields of philosophy and human life, we are a “label” and not what we are interiorly and essentially.

The authority of those who expel what is bad for the essence of human life and the civilizing process must be analyzed in light of these categories and not just from the perspective of power.

The essence of Christ’s authority, which underlies his “culture” was a type of Authority in essence, says the reading: “Everyone was amazed at his teaching, because he taught with those who have authority, not with the teachers of the Law” ( Mc 1:22) and even cast out “demons”.




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.


Metaphor and speculation

03 Aug

There is nothing in philosophical discourse (or in well-structured thinking) that is free from presuppositions.

In the living metaphor, Paul Ricoeur clarifies that this is “for the simple reason that the work of thought by which a region of the thinkable is thematized brings into play operational concepts that cannot, at the same time, be thematized” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 391).

These postulates are fundamental to understanding discourse, rhetoric and mere speculation.

Paul Ricoeur makes this study around the questions: “Which philosophy is involved in the movement that leads the investigation from rhetoric to semantics and from meaning to reference? “(idem).

It will be in the answer to these questions, and “without reaching the conception suggested by Wittgenstein of a radical heterogeneity of language games” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 392) it is possible to recognize: “in its principle, the discontinuity that ensures the speculative discourse its autonomy” (idem).

Not explained by Ricoeur, but Edgar Morin talks about two roots of modern discourse that lead speculative discourse to a modern form of obscurantism: the closure in areas of overly specialized knowledge, which he calls hyperspecialization.

Here, metaphor can be confused with mere speculation and philosophy would be “induced by the metaphorical functioning, if it could show that it only reproduces, on the speculative level, the semantic functioning of poetic discourse” (idem).

He clarifies that the touchstone of this misunderstanding is “the Aristotelian doctrine of the analogical unity of the multiple meanings of being, ancestor of the medieval doctrine of the analogy of being” (idem) which we will return to in the next post to understand the metaphysical limitations of Aristotelian ontology.

The second, more fundamental clarification is the categorical discourse, where “there is no transition between poetic metaphor and transcendental equivocality” which is the conjunction between theology and philosophy “in a mixed discourse” that creates confusion between analogy and metaphor” (Ricoeur , 2005, p. 393), and would this imply “a sub-reption, to return a Kantian expression?” (idem), for this reason it is necessary to return to the metaphysical question and in it the ontological question.

He quotes as an epigraph Heidegger’s statement that “the metaphorical only exists within metaphysics”, this is the heart of this work by Ricoeur, and he calls it a “second navigation”, an allusion to Jacques Derridá’s “Mytologie blanche”, passing from living metaphor to dead metaphor.

Ricoeur, P. (2005) Metáfora viva. trad. Dion David Macedo. Brazil, SP: Ed. Loyola.


Topology of Violence

14 Jul

The book Topology of violence (original: Topologie der Gewalt), can be considered a continuation of the analysis of Sociedade do Cansaço, in which it shows why society is on the brink of collapse, and shows that at the same time a general thesis about its disappearance, a war trend that now gives way to the other, changing its way of operating.

His ideas about violence are innovative and out of common sense, which always thinks of the modern conception of society in freedom, individuality and personal fulfillment, goes in search of the dark side of the subject, where he begins.

This violence is the one that tends to eliminate the other, anonymous, “subjective” and systemic, which is not revealed as it accepts the antagonist’s freedom.

His concept of violence is then that which he defines as functioning in a free individuality, motivated by the activity of persevering and not failing, and with the ambience of efficiency he renounces even making sacrifices at the same time, but entering a whirlpool of limitation, self-exploration and collapse.

All this has a relationship with seduction, which he explained in an interview with El Pais newspaper that seduction cannot be confused with buying: ““I think that not only Greece, but also Spain, are in a state of shock after the crisis financial . The same happened in Korea after the Asian crisis. The neoliberal regime radically implements this state of shock. And here comes the devil, which is called liberalism or the International Monetary Fund, and gives money or credit in exchange for human souls.”

All this to increase credit and give greater incentive to supposed efficiency, and he explains that in the end: “We are all exhausted and depressed. The fatigue society in South Korea is now in a deadly stage,” revealing the little-known side of the country he came from and who speaks property.

And it’s not a happier society, he explains, “the invisible doesn’t exist, so everything is delivered naked, without secret, to be devoured immediately, as Baudrillard said”, he explains that everything should have a veil, however thin, an interiority.


Arroyo, Francesc. Aviso de derrumbe (Crash warning). interview by Byung Chul Han to the daily El País, Spain.



Dialogue is the essential

09 Jul

The essential is far from modern society because it is required of every human being, even those who have some physical limitation or social difference, the maximum performance, Byung-Chul Han in his book Society of Tiredness (Brazil, Vozes, 2015), defines also as a performance society.

It projects us out of the essential, unlike an “immunological epoch” it is a “neuronal epoch”, the division between “inside and outside, friend and enemy or between self and stranger”, is defined as “attack and defense ” (HAN, 2015, p. 8) that is why it tends towards confrontation and not peace.

Peace requires dialogue, and the essential requires inner choices that move us to the outer essential.

This exhaustion of performance is what “disables us to do anything” (Han, 2015, p. 76) and dialogue becomes difficult, proselytizing or even mere rhetoric, but only it can lead to peace. Edgar Morin, who turned 100 (see previous post), established as a dialogical operator that capable of operator: reason and emotion, the sensitive and the intelligible, the real and the imaginary, reason and myths, and, science and art.

It can be seen that polarization is always on one side, it does not articulate “inside and outside” as proposed by Chul Han, so dialogizing is to admit the connection between these poles and not their mutual exclusion.

Due to the identity issue, strong in our times involving cultures, religions and nationalities, the pole between reason and myths becomes exacerbated where dialogue is difficult.

It is necessary to respect the different when dialoguing, also allowing the word and not excluding it with only rational arguments, there are ontological, historical, cultural, and social reasons for their arguments, and if we are not “disarmed” the dialogue does not take place.

When sending the disciples to bring the “good news”, the instructions given to the apostles are interesting, in Mk 6:8-10 he asks them not to take anything, not even purses or bags, and when they enter a house they wish for peace, and stay there until your departure, and the reading says that you cured the sick and cast out demons, the essentials and dialogue have this potential.

The unbalanced performance, tiredness and frivolity lead society to exhaustion and the difficulty of dialogue, because we are also full of convictions and reasons.

HAN, B.-C. (2015) Sociedade do Cansaço (Society of Burnout). Translation by Enio Paulo Giachini. Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes.


Being aware of Being and living with the essential

07 Jul

Philosopher Socrates’ phrase “the life that is not examined is not worth living” would not be a great success today, frivolity has given rise to what is not essential as a false need for happiness and an environment of pain and resilience clashes with this mindset.

One must examine in this context what consciousness is, and as hermeneutics asks, there is no consciousness, other than the consciousness of something, the phenomenological consciousness there is no dualism between subject and object, Being is seeking to examine the consciousness of something, whether it is concrete or abstract.

Social life requires some form of mutualism, being well and the Being does not deny its sociability, personal life requires examination of the Being, balance with nature, also with its own implies health, balance and this is not separate from interiority and capacity for personal reflection.

Pure exteriority leads to the unessential, performance, public image and personal self-worth are forms of exteriority that can lead to consumerism and exaggerated individualism.

Life and “examined the life” is complex, but living in essential change to simple style.

The essentials to live require few things: modest clothing, food and possessions can lead to a balanced and happy life, the opposite can lead to an excess of worry and stress.

At the other extreme, not having the essential can also lead to despair, there are the biggest and most unfair social situations, a society that does not care about this is out of balance and leads everyone to imbalance, even those who accumulate and become selfish and consumerist.

The consciousness of Being in the Hegelian view would be linked to Being-in-itself and for-itself is only in the form of perception, it is in the imagination, the intentionality of phenomena that denies other objects (external) or of itself (internal) and so this type of  awareness is related to nothingness.

Consciousness cannot be achieved without identifying itself with any being-in-itself (something in phenomenology) it is in it that it approaches in relation to another consciousness, this is because an action or choice as consciousness perceives in this relation the contingency and gratuitousness of existence.

Thus, this awareness leads to reciprocity, mutualism and an existence that is worthwhile, in the words of the philosopher Socrates “because it examines itself” and this vivifies it and moves towards fullness.

Pure exteriority is voluntarism and pure interiority is false essentiality and can be an escape.



The whole, the part and the Being

02 Jul

It was from this theorization of the whole that Werner Heisenberg started the quantum principle, when he formulated his theory there was no answer from scientific experience, which in itself already contests empiricism, and it was a “theory” which in itself contests that reality is practical, but it was the first attempt, happy because later Physics and Science would come to their rescue, starting from the whole and not from the parts, as proposed by the Cartesian method.

The truth of physics, however, changes over time, new discoveries about new discoveries of subparticles (among them the Higgs boson), the 7 states of matter (it joins the three widely known, the plasma (light liquid), Bose-Einstein states, fermionic gas and polarations superfluid, and there may be an eighth, so there is already a paraphysics.

But there is already, and there always was, metaphysics (later physics), modernity wanted to reduce it to subjectivity (something proper to the subject, but only stuck in his mind), the current ontology, the result of hermeneutics and phenomenology, it recovers by questioning the “veiling” of being, and proposes a clearing, the crisis of humanism is nothing other than this crisis.

The philosophical question about everything is “because there is everything and not nothing” and this supposes ex-sistence, as the question about the whole could be, it is not asked philosophically but only theologically, if there is “everything” which it is the intention that justifies the ex-sistence of everything ?.

Phenomenology recovers intentionality, a subcategory of consciousness in medieval philosophy, with a sense of being directed at something, or of being about something, thus ontological.

Husserl recovered it by directing it to an object, an essential category in modern idealism, but directing it to something that can be imaginary or real, thus including metaphysics and Being.

So the fantastic thing about the existence of everything is not just its existence, but the intention for the Whole.

What is the whole and if it exists is Being, so only He can Be beyond the whole universe that is locus, since in modern physics time is an abstraction, says Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, who is among the most respected.

F or Christians, the entrance of God into the physis happens with Jesus, says the passage that Jesus asks who they say is “the son of man” (He thus speaks of one of his two natures: divine and human), and he goes to ask the apostles the who they say He is.

The apostles respond (Mt 16:14-16), they replied: “Some say it is John the Baptist; others that it is Elijah; still others, that it is Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. Then Jesus asked them, “And you, who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus says he is happy because it was God who revealed him.



The possible clearing

30 Jun

To scrutinize and investigate the unfathomable is man’s own, but there is always the possibility of daydreaming and well-constructed schemes of thought that do not lead to the clearing, just like an explorer in the forest, the risk of walking in circles without a compass, a river of guide or celestial stars are essential.

This has been happening since the beginning, warned Heraclitus in a fragment “The φύσις likes to hide herself”.

The φύσις (“Physis kryptesthai philei”) was left untranslated because literally it would be physis, but this was for the Greeks nature itself and what is now separated from it as Being, the dichotomy between subject and object.

In Heidegger, the truth is this abyssal foundation, hidden but possible to be unveiled, this is linked in this author by the link between being and truth as bottomless, abyssal foundation, the unfathomable, that’s why we explore in last week’s posts the metaphor , when contemplating being, this becomes ineffable.

What could be called ontological excess is nothing more than the mystery of being, its unfounded eschatology, it is neither a fragment of the universe, nor is it itself, part of it and incognito like it.

Truth is generally thought of as correction, agreement of a statement with what it says, or of a thing with what was previously thought of it, a hypothesis that seeks to make it true.

One can think of relativism, but it is exactly the opposite, for Heidegger the truth is always the truth, the experience of truth, from Plato to Husserl, was always an adaptation of representations, trying to escape from metaphors, with the essence of things themselves .

So truth is not being discoverer, but being discovered, Dasein (being there) is open to itself and to the world, and only in it can the originality of the phenomenon of truth be reached, what the Greeks called Aletheia , and that Heidegger goes further by proposing to be the institutor of the belonging of Being-Man.

This is the sense of the originality of Being, the being thinks in its primordial sense as “present”, Being is being in the present, it unveils itself in it,

Thus, the only sense that one could think of dialectics as ontology is the one in which the “basic feature of presenting itself is determined by remaining veiled and unveiled”, is Being in motion.

The reason we are trapped in the veiling of Being (its forgetfulness as Heidegger used to say) is the prison to logical-rational schemes to which the truth is tied to the entity and disconnected from Being.

HEIDEGGER, Martin. (1985) Alétheia. Os pensadores. Brazil, São Paulo : Abril Cultural, 1985.


From language to being

29 Jun

Language as speech and rhetoric is just what is externalized, but if thought of as ontology, it is the opening (Erschlossenheit) from the silent appropriation of the self, as Heidegger thought of Being and Time, whether the opening (offenheit) is thought of as clearing of being (lichtung des Seins), the one used by thinkers and poets, and which shows itself in the measure of its silent correspondence as being, expressed in Letter on Humanism.

In this text, he writes: “Destiny appropriates itself as a clearing of the Being, which it is, as a clearing. It is the clearing that grants the being’s proximity. In this proximity, in the clearing of Da Lugar, the man lives as a former caretaker, without him being able to experience and assume that dwelling today” (Heidegger, 1967, p. 61)

In general terms, language is a vehicle for the expression of something internal to man, that is, a bridge that links the inside and outside of man, such a way of speaking is thought of as an activity that takes place in which man is the very medium, that’s why there is silence before.

But according to the ontological conception of language, it is not language that belongs to man, but rather man himself conceived ontologically as a resolute being-toward-death or ontologically being that responds as mortal to the silent request of Being.

In more simplistic terms, this is the difference between the being that “has” a language, in the sense of the ability to speak, and the ontological conception that thinks man as “being” through being possessed of the ability to speak, the language here is not just the transmission of information, but the way in which human existence itself manifests.

In this context, communication begins with silence, an emptiness is needed, an epoché in communication, which presupposes an Other who will be a recipient, is not thus a receiver, but a destination of his speech, and this is the way in which human existence itself manifests. .

Thus for Heidegger, but also for Niklas Luhmann, it would be necessary to review the entire theory of Communication, since receiver and transmitter are themselves the non-human environment, and do not “replace” man, they cannot exist or have a relationship as if If man were something accessory, there is all the hallucination of the current Artificial Intelligence, putting receiver and transmitter in the place of source and destination, it would be necessary to foresee a “clearing” of the being “outside” of Being

For this reason, the clearing is internal, we have already posted in another opportunity what Heidegger affirms in his magnum work Being and Time: “Insofar as the being is in force from the aletheia, the self-unveiling emerging belongs to him. We call this the action of self-enlightenment and enlightenment, the clearing” (cf. Being and Time).

HEIDEGGER, Martin. Carta sobre o Humanismo (Letter on humanism). Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro, 1967, p. 61.



The hermeneutic circle and the metaphor

25 Jun

We are betrayed when we think we know and we are still in the initial stage of interpretation, the one that has not yet started a period process, to put our preconceptions in parentheses and start a real dialogue.

Metaphor helps us to bring, using poetic language, a relationship of belonging, to bring the world to poetry and to bring poetry to the world, because the poem projects a world in its ontological dimension, a reality that lies between the seeing as of the metaphor itself to be.

In addition to this function in the scope of semantic innovation, the unveiling of deeper reality, for example, explaining issues that are complex in order to allow this belonging, this proximity, is the function, for example, of parables, metonymy and synecdoche.

Examples of more marked parables are the biblical ones, associating the Kingdom of God with seeds that grow unnoticed, or with the mustard seed, a tiny seed that becomes a tree, this to say that there is a life-giving force in man, and in all men.

However, metaphor, through the use of figurative language, always runs the risk of remaining on the surface.

We exemplified last week the biblical passage in which Jesus went to the seaside work of Galilee and a threat threatens the boat and Jesus calms the storm (Mark 4: 35-41), but the subtlety of this passage is the metaphorical meanings of going the other bank and the storm itself.

Needed to explain deeper things and questioned the disciples fear of storms, and goes to the other side, meaning a more direct moment with the apostles, much of the analytical exegesis (see previous post) is fixed on an immediate understanding that go to the other shore means changing the route, when in fact beyond resting (Jesus slept in the storm), as deeper realities were explained directly to the apostles.

This is proven if we verify that later Jesus returns “to the other bank” where he again encounters a crowd (Mk 5:21-43), and in this crowd he is beyond an unknown woman who touches the master’s robe and is cured of a hemorrhage of 12 years old, there is a synagogue chief named Jairus.

Jairus had the daughter in the last few years, and while he was with Jesus he asked him to lay hands on his daughter, friends of Jairus arrived, who said that she died and Jesus says that she “only sleeps”, goes to Jairus’ house and performs the miracle pronouncing the words “Talitá cum”, the girl gets up.

This subtlety, an ordinary person and a synagogue leader, shows very clearly that in the “crowd” there are also religious authorities who want signs (the Jews want signs and the Greeks wisdom) and so the metaphor is complemented with “signs” and a “wisdom” inherent in Jesus.