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[Xmca-l] Re: The Russian Spinozists



Annalisa,

You wrote,

Unless there is a personal connection, I wondered if it is possible to
carry on a tradition, in the sense that one would be taught personally by a
teacher a certain body of thought, and then that student, eventually
becoming a teacher would then also teach a student and so on. That to me is
a tradition.

How might this be different from one who just reads the works of? In that
case it seems to me we would be borrowing thoughts, concepts, and ideas, if
those might be proper classifications for thinking, in essence,
appropriation, but not a tradition.

Annalisa, I am using the term "tradition" as a way to express how concepts
are situated within a background [a taken-for-granted assumption of
meanings].  Traditions can be implicit and what Jan Derry is attempting to
do is make clear and explicit what is usually an
invisible taken-for-granted background.

Here is a specific example of  Derry using the term tradition:
 "The concept of freedom has different meanings in different traditions OF
thought. The sense in which we commonly think of ourselves as free actors
owes much to Descartes modernist separation of mind and world.  To
understand the sense of free will that informs Vygotsky's work, by
contrast, it is NECESSARY to get to grips with the sense that derives FROM
Spinoza and Hegel." [page 87]

Derry is arguing that the way we "read works OF" is actually a way of
reading "UPON WHICH" that is assuming a taken-for-granted invisible
 "ground".

Martin Packer's article that Greg mentioned explores a notion of
"construction" that also challenges  "construction" metaphors as focussed
merely on  being OF "knowledge".
In other words construction of knowing that is separated from the "knower"
[who is also being ontologically constructed in the process OF coming to
know]

The concept "of" can be "read" as "upon which" that points to "traditons"
OF thought.

"Reading" Jan Derry or "reading" Martin Packer I am suggesting may be
understood as entering a "reading OF" process as a reading UPON WHICH [ a
process that often includes a taken-for-granted invisible "ground" emerging
within a tradition]
Both Jan Derry and Martin Packer are inviting us to "see through"
taken-for-granted ground(s)upon which we "read" an author's work.  The upon
which OF an author's concepts [such as the concept OF "free will"]
is developing [and extending] from within a particular "tradition" that is
often implicit and invisible.

What I am suggesting may only be a "moment" in a sociocultural "process"
that Martin articulates as including both objects AND ground(s). Traditions
can be understood as emerging forms within a "process" and as "plural" [not
universal or relative].  Traditons are not "static" or "objects of", they
are the taken-for-granted "ground" upon which meaning and sense emerge as
both knowing and knower transform.

I am questioning the contrast between the "object FOR" [the object used "in
order to"] and the other notion "object OF" [the object "upon which"
now becoming ground which has been transformed FROM the object that was
used "in order to"].
Martin asks "What is the "object/artifact" in his article. Is the object
 describing "the paper" [which transforms into the taken-for-granted
invisible ground]  or the "distribution" and its qualities?  His answer is
that there is no static "object" or "artifact" but rather a sociocultural
"process" of becoming AS IF.
THIS answer emerges within a radically different "tradition"
Larry





On Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 2:40 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hi Larry,
>
> Am not familiar with all of these thinkers, however I wonder if we can
> actually say there is a tradition that runs through?
>
> Unless there is a personal connection, I wondered if it is possible to
> carry on a tradition, in the sense that one would be taught personally by a
> teacher a certain body of thought, and then that student, eventually
> becoming a teacher would then also teach a student and so on. That to me is
> a tradition.
>
> How might this be different from one who just reads the works of? In that
> case it seems to me we would be borrowing thoughts, concepts, and ideas, if
> those might be proper classifications for thinking, in essence,
> appropriation, but not a tradition.
>
> We have the notion that what is taught is passed as if like a family
> heirloom (such as a great and beautiful book), that can be enjoyed from
> whatever viewpoint one stands, but I wonder if it is more like the game of
> telephone, in which there are distortions and misconstruals, whereby things
> that were not thought by the originator are held to be thought by the
> originator. This of course can happen even during the life of the
> originator!
>
> I write all that because I sense that Spinoza is one of those thinkers who
> was misunderstood, as if anyone can take what they want or what resonates
> and leave what they do not like, like a cafeteria smorgasbord. I'm not sure
> that that is a fair thing to do, though while I say I am not sure if there
> is any way to prevent it.
>
> IN any case, it dawned upon me that the notion of will as Spinoza presents
> it could be matched with the belief of karma, in that if one chooses good
> acts to do, one will reap good results, and so how one chooses becomes
> paramount to how one acts in the world, toward oneself and others. One can
> point the bow wherever one chooses, but once the arrow leaves the bow, it
> is the physical laws that determine the rest. Given that Spinoza seems to
> have a deterministic flavor in his rendering of will, this seems to me the
> only way to make sense of it. If I do X and I will get the family of Y as a
> result, then I should be sure to do X if I want anything resembling Y to
> result. If I do W and I get the family of Z to result, and it is not Z that
> I care for, then I should refrain from ever doing W.
>
> What is always strange is when people do W and they expect Y to happen,
> which is perhaps what magical thinking is.
>
> I believe that this might be why the ethics (which was the title of
> Spinoza's last work) then becomes a concern of study, because one wants to
> do what is good but how can one know what is good?
>
> So, I'm thinking, a space of reason, would likely line up with the Hindu
> understanding of dharma, which is hard to translate into English, but I see
> definite parallels of dharma to Spinoza's space of reason, if space of
> reason isn't abstract, but stands in the world as material cause and
> effects. Dharma is the order that is here, and the ethical code (which is
> truly stunted and oversimplified if we only see it in terms of good and
> bad, but instead a kind of physics of causes and effects) would be to live
> in dharma, meaning, to be in harmony with the larger order that is here.
>
> Further, because the dharma is of the manifest and unmanifest world, it is
> not something we construct, but which constructs us, in the sense that
> there are as-if laws that operate based upon activities that result in
> certain (sometimes understandable) ways. This is why I'm not sure about
> using the word "construct," because it makes it seem that we are authors of
> what we do, when it is a dynamic of the world acting upon us and us upon
> the world dialectically.
>
> (nature AND nurture!)
>
> I agree with Henry that Vygotsky and Spinoza rhyme, and I like that
> rendering of their thought, that they rhyme!
>
> Apparently Marx and Spinoza rhyme as well, and it appears that Spinoza's
> philosophy was not only about existence, but also commitment to the polis.
> It seems to me there is much communistic thought in Spinoza's philosophy,
> as might be seen when he verbalized his projects with his Collegiant peers,
> similar to what Vygotsky did with his own community of peers.
>
> The Collegiants are actually quite an interesting historical group. I'm
> enjoying learning about them.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Annalisa
>
>