Circle5 wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:29 am
Hello Circle 5,
See for example this article by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-transcendental/
. I find difficulties to explain it. However I find the "eye" analogy very interesting.
Anyway I try to summarize the argument with the "eye-visual field" analogy. When our eyes are open and functioning we have the experience of the visual field. However if we search to "find" the eyes as part of our visual field, we fail because at best we can experience seen
eyes, like in a reflection in a mirror. At the same this visual field is "private" in the sense it can be "marked" by an identifier (i.e. "my" visual field, "your" visual field etc). This "unity" seems to be correlated to something that makes this "visual field", "this particular visual field". All
my vision therefore is correlated with "something" that makes them part of the totality of "my" visual experiences. When the eyes do not function or are closed we do not experience a visual field. Logically speaking (I know of course the Sutta's take on this with the concept of contact etc) we cannot even say that the "opening" of the eyes causes the visual "field" since correlation does not imply causation. Logically we can only say that "when eyes are open and functioning, there is the visual experience", i.e. the "eye" and "its visual field" are associated, correlated etc.
In the same way our experience is private. Hence there must be something that is correlated all
"my" particular experiences to make them part of all "my" experience. As the eye-visual field analogy however we cannot find
"what" gives the mark of "myness" to all our experience. Therefore this unifying "factor" of all my experience cannot be found by examining the objects of our experiences. The "spaghetti monster" instead is a possible
occurance of our experience. The "self"/"subject" and its "experience"/"object" are associated, coordinated. We cannot say that the "subject" causes its "object", but instead that the "object" is there whenever there is a "subject". So the subject in reality in this view is not even a "controller" of its experience, but simply is the "unifying" principle of its experience. Schopenhauer as reported here (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/self ... scSelfCons
) wrote “that the subject should become an object for itself is the most monstrous contradiction ever thought of”. However the simple analysis of our experience cannot be used to "deduce" the subject, rather must "deduce" it as what render it "unified".
But of course, this argument cannot IMO strictly speaking "prove" the existence of the unifying principle (also because there is the assumption that our experience is "unified") that renders experience "my experience". But in the same way the arguments by the analysis of our experience cannot "disprove" it simply because it is already posited that it cannot be "found" in experience.
I hope to have outlined the difference
Sam Vara wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:31 pm
Many thanks for your contributions to this thread, and in particular for this very nice summary. My point about the unity of apperception being a potential candidate for some type of selfhood (briefly mentioned in one of my posts above) is that I don't think that self-awareness is a necessary requirement of the type of self that Sam Harris and Hume are concerned to deny. In terms of a coherent conception of anatta
, I don't think it is necessary to eliminate either a unity of apperception, or self-awareness, although both of them may well be dependently originated. (Self-awareness certainly is...)
Hello Sam Vara,
Let me separate two similar concepts of "self". One is a dynamical
, dependently originated
"unifier of experience". The other is the fixed
"unifier of experience". The first is what can be thought to be the "empirical self". The second is the "trascendental" self
, which is the "mark" that renders all experience as "my" experience.
The first seems to be accepted by "anatta", but with a "precisation". It is conventional
, i.e. it is an abstraction. To make sense of our subjectivity we need to "distinguish" our experience as "ours". But as I understand "anatta" this is ultimately untrue, there is "no thing", "no mark" that really make "distinct", i.e. our experience is not really distinct from others. To re-use the "wave-ocean" analogy, the "distinctivness" of the "wave" to the rest of the ocean is ultimately
illusory. To reify it is to posit the "self" of the "trascendentalists". This however should not to be taken as an assertion of the denail of the "wave". If we look to a "macroscopic" perspective there is the wave. However if we analyze the wave we find that at some levels of the analysis the "water" contained in the "wave" is not "special".
The trascendentalists disagree and say that, the "water" inside the wave is "special" at all level of analysis. They think that the water of the wave is somewhat "marked". So our experience are "marked" by the correlation to the "self". We cannot find a particular "experience" (i.e. a particular droplet of water) that shows the existence of the self. It is what is common to all experience. And again we cannot "go inside" others. So we cannot in any way find, in experience, that there is a "unifying principle" that makes "our" experience as ours.
What I meant with my observation that such a "self" cannot be "self-aware" without change is that according to DN15 it seems that we posit a self because we are "self-aware". But if there are no experience then our "trascendental self" neither experiences neither is self-aware.
SDC wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:24 pm
boundless wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:27 pm
For this reason I tried to argue that the "unobservable observer" is simply a concept that is valid epistemologically but cannot be regarder as a self, because it does not entail self-awareness. I was trying to prove that the view itself is in some ways inconsistent without arguing from the "unfindability" of the self.
...Thus, that thing which was regarded as Self, does not disappear upon realization of anicca and dukkha, it ‘changes direction’, so to speak, and becomes not-Self, anattā. However, even then, the thing remains there and what disappears is Self-view... -Ven. N. Nanamoli, Hierarchy of Awareness
I'm super jealous I have not had the time to join this discussion. If I get a chance to read the BV piece maybe I'll jump in.
IMO Ven Nanamoli here asserts what I am talking about. What really matters if we can be "self-aware" and
"happy" perpetually. However "anicca" implies that all our possible "lives", where we are self-aware, are not
eternal. This renders them dukkha
because we want to exist forever (even at a unconscious level). And therefore if we do not to suffer we have to consider them "not me, not mine, not myself" (anatta). I interpret Nibbana the only "state" (I am sorry if you find this word problematic) that is both "positive" and "not impermanent". However (per DN15) there is no self-awareness "in" it. So even Nibbana is "not me, not mine, not myself" (anatta).
I do not know Nanamoli's work, but I wonder if he was influenced by the "Personalists" in asserting that a "thing" remains there. IMO the Personalists were very close to the "trascendentalists" (maybe they were "trascendentalists", asserting the reality of the "mark" that makes "my experience" as "my"). Could you please explain what Nanamoli intended in this passage?
By the way Nanamoli seems close to what I was trying to say. Possibly "anatta" refers more to "self-awareness". In fact if Samsara is beginningless and endless* the fact that there is "something" that continues forever does not bring necessarily happiness to us (i.e. permanent/"nicca" does not imply "sukha")!
*As an (off-topic) note. The beginningless character of Samsara seems to follows from causal chain. If everthing we see is due to causes, then a "beginning" of time either requires a First Cause or a "coming to existence out of nothing". To my knoledge no Buddhist school accepts either possibility
. In the same way in the sutta the "world" is neither said to be finite (in time) nor "eternal" (it is one of the "imponderables"). I was wondering if the Pali word "loka", translated as "world", refers to the "experienced world" rather than the "physical world", so to speak. In the first case I can see how a beginningless samsara can be reconciled to this "imponderable". However the "regression ad infinitum" seems to be implied by the suttas. (Maybe I will open a thread on this issue...)