1. The still uninherited legacy from Hegel  10/06/1999

   Hello, I'm new to the list and much interested in the ontological side of Hegel's philosophy.

   Today many people take Hegel as a 'dead dog,' and there may be something of right in it. But in my view his so-called 'totally new way of thinking about the world' is not yet understood properly even now.
   What enabled him to insist on "grasping truth not only as substance but as the subject," (*1) which is the essence of his philosophy, is his comprehension of the 'priority of relations' to a thing: ontologically there exist certain relations first, and secondly, as a node of those relations, a thing shows itself. (*2)
   According to this way of thinking, the world is a system of differences, distinctive oppositions or 'pure negativity' a la Hegel.

   So he, not a structural linguist in the 20th century, could say, "For example, 'now' has its being only through its relation to 'ago' and 'later.' Similarly 'red' exists only when it is contraposed to 'yellow' and 'blue.'" (*3)


(*1) Phänomenologie des Geistes, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 3, S. 23

(*2) See 6. The three aspects (3) 10/27/1999.

(*3) "So hat z. B. 'Jetzt' nur Sein in Beziehung auf ein Vorher und ein Nachher. Ebenso ist das Rot nur vorhanden, insofern demselben Gelb und Blau entgegensteht." (Enzyklopädie, Abschn. 42, Zusatz 1)

2. The three aspects of Hegelianism  10/09/1999

   In order to interpret Hegel's philosophy today, I suppose, it may be helpful to investigate its three aspects:

  1. The monism of consciousness or Spirit

  2. The priority of relations to things (i.e., relationism)

  3. The creation of meta-worlds (i.e., substance as the subject)

   Because each of these aspects surpasses fundamentally the frame of the modern world-view, which began with Descartes and still prevails nowadays, Hegelianism perplexes us very much.
   Besides his style was notoriously poor and, even worse, too many pointless remarks have been made by pundits about his Idealism, the dialectic movement and so on. 
   But his thought, when taken without our juvenile sensitiveness or dislike to his terminology, e.g.,  the Absolute, God, etc., appears in sight reasonably and indicates a new direction.  

3. Sorry, I sent a draft by mistake.  10/10/1999

   I'm sorry, but I carelessly posted a rough draft for the reply to 'Re: The three aspects of Hegelianism' on October 10. Yes, I'm a beginning E-mail user.

   In my childhood there wasn't even water service but wells in our countryside. When I first used a public telephone as a schoolboy, I unfortunately dialed before picking up the receiver . . . then I felt hostility to the device.
   And now, "Enter E-mail." Whaaat?!

   Well, I must ask for tolerance for the delay of my reply. It still takes several days.   

4. The three aspects (1)  10/14/1999

   In a message dated 10/10/1999, Mr. Wxx wrote:

   >Hegel's major contribution: the recognition of self in the other which is his dialectic. I tend to look for this dialectic in everything he says as the kernel of his entire philosophy.<
   >Weber states simply that by modern, he means capitalist. I would never avoid reading Hegel without that definition in mind.<

   I agree to these points; though I don't know well about Weber. And it was natural for him to write:
   >I am not clear about this sum; <
   My 'sum' (i.e., the three aspects) of Hegelianism was no more than something like copy for advertisements, e.g., "Audi (an automobile brand), Future." So I'm glad to have been given a chance to explain those three aspects.


The first aspect: the monism of consciousness or Spirit (1)

   In the case of studying cognition in general, the so-called 鍍hree-term schema・is often used by modern epistemologists: an object of cognition (e.g., a tree itself)--contents of my consciousness (representations or images of the tree)--a cognitive subject (the workings of my consciousness).

  In logical order both an object (a tree itself) and a cognitive subject come first. Then secondly is produced a middle term (representations of the tree), which is ontologically separated from, and materially has nothing common to, the objective tree itself, for the middle term is a product of an cognitive subject under the influence of the tree itself.

   Opposing this schema, Hegel took notice of the relation between the object and the subject and called this relation 'consciousness,' somewhat misleadingly:
   "In the whole of knowing there is not only an object but also the I, which knows, and the mutual relation between the I and an object: consciousness." (*1) And "we should consider the universal determinations of a thing only as the certain relation of the object to the subject." (*2)

   So 'consciousness' in the Hegelian sense is not equal to that of modern epistemology, i.e., the subjective term of the 'three-term schema,' which could purely subsist by itself. He denied such pure consciousness, saying: "consciousness is, in general, knowledge of an object whether it be external or internal." (*3)
   Hegel also denied the 'purely objective,' or thing in itself. It is merely an abstraction as the purely subjective consciousness above is. (*4)

   Therefore his 'consciousness' seemingly indicates the total of 'representation' or the middle term of the 'three-term schema.' But unlike 'representation,' it is not produced nor modified by the objective thing in itself and its subjective counterpart, both of which do not indeed exist from the beginning for Hegel. Consequently it would be appropriate for us, at the moment, to take his consciousness as the whole of the cognitive field. (*5)

   By the way, our sketch of Hegelian monism from the viewpoint of relationism is, to our disappointment a bit, not quite new. Many people must have made it. (*6) 


(*1) "Das Ganze aber, was im Wissen vorhanden ist, ist nicht nur der Gegenstand, sondern auch Ich, der weiß, und die Beziehung meiner und des Gegenstandes aufeinander: das Bewußtsein." (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 4. S. 111)

(*2) "Hier sind die allgemeinen Bestimmungen der Dinge nur überhaupt als bestimmte Beziehung vom Objekt auf das Subjekt zu betrachten." (ebenda, S. 112)

(*3) "Das Bewußtsein ist überhaupt das Wissen von einem Gegenstande, es sei ein äußerer oder innerer, . . . " (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 4, S. 112)

(*4) "das reine Bewußtsein kann im empirischen nicht mehr und nicht weniger nachgewiesen werden als das Ding-an-sich des Dogmatikers. . . . das rein Subjektive ist Abstraktion so gut wie das rein Objektive;" (Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden,  Bd. 2, S. 61 f.)  

(*5) cf. "Weder das Subjektive noch das Objektive allein füllt das Bewußtsein aus;" (ebenda, S. 61 f.)

(*6) For one, a popular guidebook by G. H. Lewes, Biographical History of Philosophy, first published in 1845-46.

5. The three aspects (2)  10/21/1999

The first aspect: the monism of consciousness (2)

   Since Hegel disapproves such realism as presupposes things and their determinations that are out of consciousness and independent of it

(*1), his consciousness occupies not merely the whole cognitive world, but also the ontic one. Thus his theory of consciousness is the monistic kind.

   As mentioned in the preceding post dated 10/14/1999, the existents that emerge in Hegelian consciousness lack their footings, i.e., both the objective thing in itself and subjective pure consciousness. Hegelian epistemology then looks like some kind of phenomenalism, which tells that only appearances exist, and that they must be the foundation of all our knowledge. 
   However, the existents in the Hegelian cognitive field do not emerge merely side by side, indifferently to each other, but mediated by others. And they are also identical by nature; i.e., intrinsically same consciousness produces itself one after another in different existents.
   This self-producing consciousness is the reality of Spirit, and the different existents are its immediate being. Spirit has the certainty of being all reality (Realität) and is alone the actual (das Wirkliche). (*2) So Hegel can be called a monist of Spirit (or consciousness).

   Now our concern is how Hegelian self-production or self-alienation is made. This question leads us to the second aspect: the priority of relations to things. Hmm . . . it's really a tough question!


(*1) "Indem im Wissen die Dinge und ihre Bestimmungen sind, ist einerseits die Vorstellung möglich, daß dieselben an und für sich außer dem Bewußtsein sind und diesem schlechthin als ein Fremdes und Fertiges gegeben werden; . . . [Diese] Vorstellungsweise ist der Realismus . . . genannt worden. Hier sind die allgemeinen Bestimmungen der Dinge nur überhaupt als bestimmte Beziehung vom Objekt auf das Subjekt zu betrachten." (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 4, S. 111 f.)

(*2) "Das Bewußtsein hat . . . drei Stufen. . . . Es ist also:
   1. Bewußtsein überhaupt,
   2. Selbstbewußtsein,
   3. Vernunft." (ebenda, S. 113)
Die Vernunft ist Geist, indem die Gewißheit, alle Realität zu sein, zur Wahrheit erhoben und sie sich ihrer selbst als ihrer Welt und der Welt als ihrer selbst bewußt ist." (Phänomenologie des Geistes, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 3, S. 324)
   "Das Geistige allein ist das Wirkliche;" (ebenda, S. 28)

6. The three aspects (3)  10/27/1999

The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (1)

-- What is the 'priority of relations'? --

   The thesis, "relationship is prior to a thing" was originally stated by Wataru Hiromatsu (1933-1994), who was a creative thinker and probably the most important one in Japan after the WW II. 
   Thus spake Hiromatsu ( . . . a well-known drinker):
   Diverse world-views that have hitherto appeared in the history of philosophy could be classified into two major categories: substantialism and relationism. The former presupposes some sort of substance or hypostasis, "which is by itself and is conceived through itself" (Spinoza), whether it be physical or psychic, finite or infinite. We simply call it a 'thing.'

   For this example, consider a kind and loving individual, Mr. X. He works for an oil company. If he (a substance) did not exist, there would be neither his kindness nor his workableness (attributes). One day he met a girl (another substance) and got married to her. They made a good couple (a relation). In substantialism attributes and relations come only after substances.

   On the contrary, relationists say, "The human essence is the ensemble of social relations." The ensemble or the node of social relations (e.g., his kindness, workableness, husbandship, etc.) is Mr. X.
   Further, his workableness or, strictly speaking, his being a wageworker presupposes the capitalistic economy, i.e., certain relations of production; his husbandship does similarly modern civil law, which determines and reflects our rights and duties, i.e., legal relations among us in a society at a certain historical stage; his kindness also does similarly . . . gosh . . ,  perhaps some kind of communal relation.
   Every attributes and relations (in a substantial sense) dissolve into functioning and functional (in an allegorical sense of mathematics: f(x)) relationships.

   Hiromatsu once commented on Hegel as a philosopher in transition from substantialism to relationism; while Hegel grasped substance as the subject, and in this way he made the former fluidic, but still presupposed the fundamental identity of substance.
   We need not follow after, or agree with, Hiromatsu's interpretation of Hegelianism altogether. But yet our investigation in the second aspect is going across his thoughts.

7. The three aspects (4)  11/05/1999

The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (2)

-- 'Spirit = thinking = language' --

   We can make a convenient formulation about Hegelian spirit: 'spirit = thinking = language.' The kernel of spirit is thinking and its universality:
   "Spirit as feeling is . . . only at the lowest level of consciousness, yes, in the form of mind that is common to animals. Thinking first changes mind, with which animals also endowed, into spirit." (*1)
   "Since language is the product of thought, nothing but the universal can be expressed in language. What I only mean is mine and belongs to me as this particular individual. Because language expresses only the universal, I cannot say what I merely mean." (*2) 

   Consequently our strategy is to research the qualities of language in order to throw light on Hegel's spirit. However, before starting our work, we should notice two problems.
   First, can we ourselves accept that formulation, 'spirit = language,' as Hegel did? He even added:
   "And the unutterable, feeling or sensation is not the most excellent nor true, but the most unimportant and untrue." (*3)
   It is undoubtedly out of the question for us to reduce all human experiences into 'language' in a Procrustean manner and to cut off what sticks out of the bed. We should pay serious attention to the "unutterable" in this (and maybe the other) life. But Hegel had the image of science or philosophy in his mind when he wrote the sentences above. We can, at least, acknowledge the possibility of philosophy a la Hegel.

   The second problem is about intersubjectivity. Because the modern world-view bases on 'cogito' (I think), it always supposes consciousness to belong to a certain individual or to individuals, never to a group or society as a whole; So I can not in principle know my neighbor's consciousness, but only infer it. 
   There is no room for intersubjectivity in the modern world-view, except for a gathering of seemingly the same consciousness of individuals. (To be sure, many thinkers have tried to establish intersubjectivity in their own philosophy, especially in the 20th century.)
   On the contrary, language is by nature a medium of social communication or 'socialized consciousness.' Where it is used, some factual or pseudo intersubjectivity, if without realizing it, is supposed to exist among users.
   In the result, when a Hegelian attaches importance to language, he inevitably accepts intersubjectivity to a greater or less extent. Typical modernists would then accuse, "He has no right to do it!" I, as a post-postmodernist (precisely, post-post-postmodernist), like to support intersubjective views and reject 'cogito,' but this problem is too big to discuss now. So I try to proceed without touching intersubjectivity for the time being. I believe our argument will not be affected directly by this problem.


(*1) " . . . der Geist ist wesentlich Bewußtsein, somit von dem gegenständlich gemachten Inhalt; als Gefühl ist er der ungegenständliche Inhalt selbst . . . und nur die niedrigste Stufe des Bewußtseins, ja in der mit dem Tiere gemeinschaftlichen Form der Seele. Das Denken macht die Seele, womit auch das Tier begabt ist, erst zum Geiste . . . " (Enzyklopädie, 'Vorrede zur zweiten Ausgabe,' Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 8, S. 24 f.)

(*2) "Indem die Sprache das Werk des Gedankens ist, so kann auch in ihr nichts gesagt werden, was nicht allgemein ist. Was ich nur meine, ist mein, gehört mir als diesem besonderen Individuum an; wenn aber die Sprache nur Allgemeines ausdrückt, so kann ich nicht sagen, was ich nur meine." (ebenda, Abschn. 20, S. 74)

(*3) "Und das Unsagbare, Gefühl, Empfindung, ist nicht das Vortrefflichste, Wahrste, sondern das Unbedeutendste, Unwahrste." (ebenda, S. 74)

8. The three aspects (5)  11/19/1999

   I must apologize for this series of my posts becoming, beyond my expectation, so long. With replying to the message Re: The three aspects of Hegelianism dated 10/10/99, my intention was to revitalize a 'dead dog' to living Hegel with modern, the state of the art technologies.
   When Hegel wrote, "Lessing said in his time: people treat Spinoza like a dead dog," he perhaps had no presentiment of his own fate--further of being forced to stand on his head and now to be galvanized.
   While Sony's robot dog AIBO has come into the world and won the love of the public, our poor dog still lies in the deathbed . . . Look! Some motions in its face . . . Frankenstein?


The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (3)

   Now, the world is divided by meshes of language.(*1) Each mesh is a supposed unit of meaning  (roughly speaking, a word or a sentence) and 'corresponds' to part of the world.

   Some people insist, after the later Wittgenstein,  that language has no correspondence to reality or the world, but is a kind of game or just an instrument of communication and expression.
   Wittgenstein in his youth, on the contrary, proposed a "picture theory," which supposed a rigid correspondence between language (i.e., propositions) and reality (i.e., facts). The early Wittgenstein's 'facts' were atomistic: "What is the case, the fact, is the existence of atomic facts." (*2) So were his 'propositions,' i.e., "pictures of reality."
   This means to us that there could be vacuums of meaning among propositions and that language would contain discontinuation in itself. It seems that various difficulties with his early philosophy then came out and that he consequently turned to his later view.

   In contrast to his early view, our meshes of language are adjoined to each other. (*3) The totality of language corresponds to the totality of reality, the world. So part of language divides the world and has 'correspondence' to part of it. (*4)
   Maybe Our correspondence thesis appears to be old-fashioned, for it presupposes things (or their notions) beforehand that language should refer to. Besides the later Wittgensteinian, some of Saussureans would contend that before language there are no definite referents and that a linguistic sign (signe) itself carries both an acoustic image (signifiant) and a concept (signifié) that has been socially formed and historically deposited.
   Even if that is the case, we think language ought to have a moment or aspect of correspondence between itself and a referent or part of the world. Without this moment, we are not able to talk about something in the world at all. And we are investigating this moment of language philosophically, not language itself linguistically.


(*1) We are here taking up only the 'second language,' (Yoshiro Takeuchi) which is autonomous and makes a self-contained system, such as literary, scientific and philosophical language. The ordinary or everyday language, whose meaning depends on each situation, is not to be handled.

(*2) Tractatus, sec. 2.

(*3) By the way, they enlarge if their neighbor mesh diminishes or does not exist at all, as is said: "if there were not the word, 'wolf,' then 'dog' would be used as a substitute for it." And if not an imperative sentence, then a declarative sentence, etc.

(*4) Strictly speaking, these correspondences overlap nearly everywhere. But as our argument will not be influenced by the fact of overlapping, we do not deal with it.

9. The three aspects (6)  12/03/1999

The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (4)

-- The system of difference and Hegelian idealism --

   Structural linguistics pointed out to us:
   Each element (mesh--in our wording) of language derives its meaning or referent according to its differential position in language, or to distinctive oppositions to each other; the element is not an independent entity but, a la Hegel, a 'being for another' (Sein-für-Anderes).

   We agree the structuralistic view of language above. And common sense also tells us that the word, e.g., 'good' keeps its meaning only in contrast to the word 'bad.' The meaning of the word 'blue' of childrenese would differ from that of our 'blue,' if a child does not know the word 'ultramarine.'
   So the meaning of the word 'blue' is determined by the totality of language a 'speaker' possesses. That is, the distribution of meanings to the elements of language is done through the totality. The being of an element is "not grounded on itself but on the other, it [an element] then is ideal." (*1) This Ideality of the finite designates nothing but Hegelian 'idealism.' (*2)

   (By the way, my argument about language is a sort of structure analysis, i.e., an analysis done after the formation of language system. If we analyze some language in its genesis, e.g., when a mother speaks the word 'dog' to a child with her finger pointing to an animal, it would be a different story.)

   On the other hand, the totality of language consists of ideal elements. It is the result and accumulation of their workings. They are preserved as ideal moments in it and derive their being from it. Hegel calls this insight 'absolute idealism.' (*3)

   A point to notice: what actually appear are elements or, so to speak, 'figures,' not the totality, 'ground.' Even when you face a thick dictionary or a grammar of English, they are only the accumulation of the elements of English. You can deal with the elements only one by one at a time, not English as a whole, which, the totality, is also ideal.
   This ideal totality, of course, exists but as the ground at an element, e.g., the word 'blue.' If not so be, that is, not being accompanied with the ideal totality, 'blue' would be merely an ink spot or an empty sound without symbolic meaning.

    To Hegel the argument about 'existence for another' is valid for reality itself: "'Now' has no meaning except in reference to a before and a hereafter. Red, in the same way, only exists through being opposed to yellow and blue . . . which (the former) is, only in so far as it is not the other, and only in so far as that other is." (*4)

   Many people should contend that even if the idealistic view holds its validity for language, concepts and thoughts, which are inherently, from the beginning, imaginary and unsubstantial, however, real things are not idealistic because they do have matter indeed.
   To reply to that contention, we had better refer to the 'structure of something as something' (Heidegger) of our cognition. (*5)


(*1) Wissenschaft der Logik, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 5, S. 172

(*2) ebenda, S. 172
   Hegelian idealism differs very much from the previous 'dogmatic' one, which, as we know well, denies the aseity of the object:
   "Der dogmatische Idealismus erhält sich die Einheit des Prinzips dadurch, daß er das Objekt überhaupt leugnet und eins der Entgegengesetzten, das Subjekt in seiner Bestimmtheit als das Absolute setzt, . . . " (Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2, S. 61)
   " . . . indem das Bewußtsein dem Wissen ebenso wesentlich ist, wird auch die Vorstellung möglich, daß das Bewußtsein diese seine Welt sich selbst setzt und die Bestimmungen derselben durch sein Verhalten und seine Tätigkeit ganz oder zum Teil selbst hervorbringe oder modifiziere. [Diese Vorstellungsweise ist] der Idealismus genannt worden" (
Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Banden, Bd. 4, S. 111 f.)

(*3) z. B. ". . . daß dieses die eigene Bestimmung der . . . endlichen Dinge ist, den Grund ihres Seins nicht in sich selbst, sondern in der allgemeinen göttlichen Idee zu haben. Diese Auffassung der Dinge ist . . . als absoluter Idealismus zu bezeichnen, . . . " (Enzyklopädie, Abschn. 45, Zusatz)
   "Der Standpunkt des Begriffs ist überhaupt der des absoluten Idealismus, und die Philosophie ist begreifendes Erkennen, insofern, als in ihr alles, was dem sonstigen Bewußtsein als ein Seiendes und in seiner Unmittelbarkeit Selbständiges gilt, bloß als ein ideelles Moment gewußt wird." (ebenda, Abschn. 160, Zusatz)

(*4) "So hat z. B. ›› Jetzt ‹‹ nur Sein in Beziehung auf ein Vorher und ein Nachher. Ebenso ist das Rot nur vorhanden, insofern demselben Gelb und Blau entgegensteht. Dies Andere aber ist außer dem Sinnlichen [d. i., dem Rot--Taki], und dieses ist nur, insofern es das Andere nicht ist, und nur, insofern das Andere ist." (ebenda, Abschn. 42, Zusatz 1)

(*5) "die Struktur des Etwas als Etwas" (Sein und Zeit, Paragraph 32)

10. Re: The three aspects (6)  12/04/1999

Dear Ms. Bxx,

   Thank you for your remark on 'The three aspects (6)'. You wrote:
   >Hegel nowhere said that the totality of language is absolute idealism, but that absolute idealism refers to god and specifically the Trinitarian grasp of god.<

   That's right and I agree with you. But I, as a light or soft-boiled Hegelian, should conceptualize (begrifflich erfassen) 'god,' and explain to impious contemporary non-Hegelians in philosophical terms how our world has the structure of absolute idealism. So in that post my intention was:

  1. to check the signification of idealism, and

  2. to show that idealism holds good at least in the case of language and, implicatively, of concepts and thoughts.

   Whether or not actual things with their material moment have the structure of idealism, and where historical materialism's gone long time ago,--I am going to deal with these questions hereafter, if I had divine protection.

   I suppose, as you wrote, that Trinitarian grasp of god decided Hegel's philosophy (absolute idealism) fundamentally. However I don't regrettably know this side of Hegelianism. I hope you (or anyone else) elucidate it for us.

11. Re: language, totality, correspondence  12/09/1999

Dear Mxx,

   Thank you for your sincere comment. I have no problems with redefining our title as "language, totality, correspondence"; I feel like I visit a new cafe.

   Practically I too believe in what you wrote:
   >Scientific language, as it becomes more correspondent, more truthful, is changing all the time, and so revealing its past imperfections. <
   >And by recognizing the likely imperfection of our knowledge we leave ourselves open to its improvement. <

   Now there are two ways to research language: synchronic linguistics, which analyze its inherent structure, and diachronic one, which deal with its historical changes and development.
   My interest in language in this series of my posts is only in the synchronic area, i.e., the idealistic structure of language, which structural linguistics has indicated to us. Your argument, though, seems to have mainly focused on the diachronic area. 

   You wrote:
   >Consider the whale: The operation of the re-definition of whale from "big fish" to "marine mammal" did not take place because there was some spontaneous (unexplained?) alteration in the totality of usage. Rather, it happened because someone, or a few people, who were engaged in a kind of biological science, determined that the attributes of the whale (hair, lactation, skeletal structure, etc.) were such that it should be classified as a mammal, not a fish. And then this classification was accepted as correct, and so passed into general usage: the totality. This process of language change indicates the extent to which language has a crucial element of singularity and correspondence, in so as "whale" became more correspondent to the entity which it referred to.<

   I agree with your argument above, but that does not mean to deny the inherent, idealistic structure of language, i.e., the distribution of meanings or referents to its elements through the totality of language. Diachronic changes of language occur within, and in accordance with, its synchronic structure, inherent rules, or,  in our wording, the idealistic structure of language.
   For example:
   A child who called a whale 'big fish' is now taught by a biological scientist in a zoo: "That fish is actually a marine mammal." When, however, the child does not know the word 'mammal,' and it might take much time to teach him the meaning of the word, the scientist would call it "marine animal."
   On the contrary, when that scientist gives a practical training to his class, he would say to the students, "That thing's a cetacean." The referent (a whale) is not distributed to the word '(marine) mammal' but to its rival, 'cetacean,' because the latter word is in a better position in the language of biology than the former.
   (We should not, of course, substantialize the totality of language, which is nothing but the ensemble of the relations among elements.)

   By the way, we can not rely on (natural) science in a philosophical argument very much, for the method of science, induction, has, as is well known, the fallacy of begging the question:
   A male scientist, for instance, wanted to know the essence or the features of mammal, and he observed a dog, a mouse and a horse. Then he induced common features among the three creatures. He supposed that the essence of mammal was composed of those features.
   But why did he not observe a tortoise? He would answer, "Because it is not a mammal." But how did he know that it is not a mammal? He searched into what mammal is, for he did not know it. The scientist chose the creatures to observe with his 'prejudice.'
   Further even if he could have concluded from his observation of the three animals that mammal was a creature which has such and such features, why did he not count 'terrestrial' among those features? He would say, "Because that feature is unessential to mammal." But how did he know that it is unessential to mammal, whose essential features he did not know at the time when he induced common features?

   Logically, de jure, Science always suffers that kind of fault. A sarcastic person would then say, "Science is a refining process of prejudices." A historical materialist: "Modern science is just one of ideologies, each of which has its own rationality in its peculiar way." I myself: "The development of cognition is not to get near to truth, but to go away from a preceding untruth." (Oops, didn't I teach science to junior high school students for many years, boasting, "Science is the greatest achievement of humankind!"?)

12. Re: language, totality, correspondence  12/16/1999

Dear Hxx, (and Cxx, in the latter half of this post)

   Thank you for your message dated 12/13/1999 JST.

   There are, as you know, a whale of a crowd of schools in the field of semantics and they have each and all presented so many language models.
   While from my experiences as a teacher I well know various types of pupils: a naughty one, a disciplined little gentleman, an angel, a little yakuza-gangster . . . , I have hardly studied any of those language models yet (including regrettably what you mentioned: a paper written by Errol E. Harris and Principia Mathematica).
   So what I can do here is only to prevent misunderstandings on my standpoint.

(1) About 'correspondence'

   Many linguists today think that language has two functions, denotation and connotation, though there are as many definitions of these terms as linguistic schools.

   It is quite natural for laymen to take an actual entity or a set of actual entities of a same kind for denotation, and to understand the latter for the meaning of language. Very few linguists, however, do so except some symbolic (mathematical) logicians. As Mr. Byy and Mr. Cxx pointed out, "the meaning of language = an entity (or a set of entities)" thesis has fundamental difficulties.

   Then how about taking a genus or a general concept for denotation and looking upon understanding it as the meaning of language? With such a sheerly universal language, however, we could not describe particular, individual things or events. (Mr. Cabrera cited an example, "a warm blooded creature," in his post.)
   When an American, visiting his friend's home in Britain, heard a word 'lounge' and realized that its meaning differs in America and Britain, did he not find the difference by having seen a British living room? His finding would tell us some relation between an actual entity, a lounge in Britain, and the meaning of the word 'lounge.'

   Finally, is it favorable to take connotation or an image for the meaning of language? They are a sort of representations of actual entities. When automobiles and democracy did not exist in old times, there were also no representations of them. The ground and contents of connotations, in their most basic level, consists in actual entities and events. (We have the word and the image of a nonactual Pegasus. But it is regarded as 'a horse + two wings.')

   Consequently it may be said that simple, direct equations of an actual entity, a genus, and connotation with the meaning of language are all irrelevant. Maybe we should now ask why language can have meaning at all, that is, show something else to us than its own corporeality, i.e., a spot of ink or an oral sound before we start to determine what is meaning.

   At once some people would answer, "That's an effect of conditioned reflex between language and its meaning."
   But many psychologists think that conditioned reflex works well in the area of first signals: smoke (--- fire), the bell sounds of Pavlov's dog, etc., but not in that of second signals: a cross (-- Jesus), language, etc.)
   If conditioned reflex theory indeed works at the language-activity level too, then our question might be: "What structure of the world do conditioning processes base upon?"

   For that purpose we had better give our attention rather to existents and events in general, and >to the 'structure of something as something' of our cognition< (*1) than to language.
   If our research succeed, we will find that the meaning of language is something ideal (both in the Platonic and Hegelian sense), and that it does not have a simple, direct reference to actual entities or events but nevertheless holds some sort of correspondence with them.


(2) About proposition and Hegel's concept

Dear Cxx,

   In his post dated 12/13/1999 JST, Mr. Hxx wrote:
   >I was interested in what Cxx 08/12/99 22:39 had to say and was hoping someone would be prepared to take it further.<

   So was I exactly. It seemed to me, though, that you had misinterpreted Hegel's logic a bit, which, of course, did not injure your great scholarship in the least. You wrote:
   > Hegel's logic, on the other hand, deals with logical entailments between non-propositional types of things, in a broad sense (without using Hegel's specific jargon) between concepts, e.g., his well-known dialectical analysis of Being, Nothing, and Becoming.<

   But Hegel's concept (Begriff) includes judgment that is in a propositional form: strictly speaking, "a judgment is concept's determination that is posited at a concept." (*2) For an simple example:
   "A fisherman who bought a car yesterday was my uncle."
 (Though this sentence is too simplified and not Hegelian, it is good enough to see a logical structure.)
   'A fisherman' is surely a "smaller syntactical unit," but it is semantically equal to 'who bought a car yesterday,' a proposition. Hegel would say on this point that the former is direct and the latter is mediated.
   So for a Hegelian a smaller syntactical unit and a proposition are changeful into each other.


(*1) cf. 9. The three aspects (6) dated 12/03/1999.

(*2) "Das Urteil ist die am Begriffe selbst gesetzte Bestimmtheit desselben." (Wissenschaft der Logik,  Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 6, S. 301)

Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

e-mail : takin@be.to