11-06-08

Eigenpsychisches und Fremdpsychisches

"Die eigenpsychischen Gegenstände sind erkenntnismässig primär in bezug auf die die physischen Gegenstände, die fremdpsychischen dagegen sekundär. Wir werden deshalb die physischen Gegenstände aus den eigenpsychischen und die fremdpsychischen aus den physischen konstituieren." R. Carnap, Der logische Aufbau der Welt, Felix Meiner Verlag Hamburg (1998), p. 79.

(amateuristic English translation below)


I´m on thin ice here, I know. So forgive me if I´m not going to start jumping up and down. Carnap isn´t very popular at the moment but he tried to think it true & I for one applaud him for having done just that. Maybe later I could risk going into the deep, now I merely want to wonder about the 1st person attitude (& then hurry back to safer ground).
I wonder whether Carnap doesn´t take the 1st person as too unproblematic. Let me reassure you: this is not going to be about intricate subtleties. This is about whether the 1st person here is, for instance, a giraffe - or one of those walking, talking living things known as you & me. In both 1st person cases it is necessary to constitute a world & in both cases we do well to leave all that speculative metaphysics to the side, if at all possible. But there is a difference between walking, talking living things & merely walking living things.
One such difference, & a crucial difference it is, is that the giraffe won´t write a book on 'Der logische Aufbau der Welt'. However - if it were to write one - it would have an advantage of not confusing what it knows (or thinks it knows) with what it talks about when it talks about what it (thinks it) knows. I regret having to use a hyperbole but, still, the point is clear - albeit a bit muddled (I am, in my defense not presenting an argument but just wondering).
Let us assume that something like Carnap´s assertion is correct at the base, or beastly, level. Does this then imply that it is necessarily also correct at the level of linguistically based social interaction? Carnap would have it that way as he ultimately constitutes social phenomena, even further down the road, out of the 3 areas mentioned in the quote. But the glaring weakness is that in order to do that he has to rely on thousands of years of linguistically built-up knowledge. He himself, in a quote that will certainly be treated here some time, stresses the progressive character of our human knowledge. I doubt it very much that somehow we can cut back unproblematically to those days of yore where language wasn´t yet or simply wasn´t.
Yes, that´s circumstantial evidence at best. The to-do is to answer something like the question I put higher. I do not think you can answer that question in the positive. There are no limits to the creative, productive power of language & specifically no limits set by 1st person experience or even physical objects - there is a restriction in the sense that, ultimately, linguistic creation can only make itself felt via a physical conduit (no, I may be dabbling around here but I´m definitely not dabbling around in the supernatural or esoteric) but that´s not the same.
´Nuff said for the moment. The disclaimer on 'just wondering´ was put in for public safety in good time ;-) I do think the primacy we have to respect is not that of 1st person experience but that of interpersonal communication. I also think that - whilst there is something like a giraffe 1st person in us - there is also another type of person associated to us (rather than ´in us´), and that it is, yeah why not, foolish to gloss over this type of person as if it were of 1 kind merely because we refer to it with the same word (an issue that, by the way, is addressed superbly by Carnap elsewhere in the book).


"Physical objects are cognitively based on first person psychology, other person psychology is however cognitively based on physical objects. Therefore, we will constitute physical objects out of first person psychology and the other person psychology out of physical objects." (this was the hardest one up to now - I do apologize if this is as opaque as the original is clear)


Whilst writing this I was listening to ´The Very Best of The Beach Boys'.

23:15 Gepost door Guido Nius in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: carnap, language, self, imagination |  Facebook |

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