Re: New To List

>On Fri, 14 Jul 1995 Jorge.E.Pedraza@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> > >the light of rationality could be bent by cultural and
>historical > interpretations - interpretations of the world and the place
>of humanity in > that world....Thus the logic of pure reason is countered
>by the logic of > practice.
>> Hagen,
>> I'm with you.
>I'm afraid I'm not. You lost me here, Hagen. Could you (or
>someone else who gets it) enlarge on this statement? (Beginning with "If
>rationality is understood in this way, as a way of comprehending the
>world, then it is not hard to see how subsequent thinkers could argue
>that...) What in particular do you mean by "cultural and historical

Parenthetically, the more specific this explanation becomes the more
likely it is that others will disagree with it. On the one hand, this is not
a rare or isolated intepretation, on the other, there are other ways to
approach this topic, however, someone else will have to champion them.

If rationality is understood in this way, as a way of comprehending
world, then it is not hard to see how subsequent thinkers could argue
that the basis of our understanding is broader than the faculty of reason.
One way to look at this progression is in terms of the locus of
intelligibility. In pre-modern thinking the locus of intelligibility was
situated outside man, in the objects themselves. For example Aristotle
argues that there is a rational principle governing the organization of
every living organism. He claims that that Idea or Form residing in the
orgranism can travel through transparent mediums such as air and water and
impact the jelly of the eye, thereby imprinting the essential structure of
the organism on the window of the mind. Rationality in that scheme pointed
to our ability to grasp that essential structure abstractly, separately from
the matter.
With Descartes and Kant, the locus of intelligibility shifted out of
the world into the mind. In that interpretation we approach the world with a
fully developed mental apparatus. We use that architecture to order an
experience that has no intrinsic order. I've already elaborated that view.
In the current intrepretation, the locus of intelligibility has
shifted out of the mind into the culture. We as individiuals are no longer
thought to have an innate fully articulated mental apparatus by which we
grasp our surroundings. Instead we are thought to acquire that apparatus in
an interplay with our culture. A simple example might be that with the
advent of modern science we are less likely to appeal to spiritual
explanations of natural phenomena. We approach mechanistic relations between
objects and forces in a manner which the Greeks and Romans could never do,
because they lacked the interpretative scheme our culture has articulated.
If we look to someone such as Heidegger, cultural and historical
intepretations mean "worlds", e.g., the Greeks interpreted their cosmos and
their place in the cosmos differently than the ancient Chinese. We, in turn,
interpret our cosmos and our position in the cosmos differently than the
Greeks and the Chinese. As individuals, our grasp of our experience
participates in the collective grasp of existence. The components of that
interpretative mechanism are more subtle and complex than the transcendental
idealism of Kant. They include elements such as our day to day behavior and
habits, our language, the composite of our life experiences, our location on
the social map of class, our inhereted temperment and physical aptitudes, to
name a few.
Hagen Finley
Berkeley, CA


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