josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

newest | archives | search | about | wishlist | flickr | email | rss

24 Jun '04 10:08:23 AM

'Understanding is the maximum with regard to a doctrine, and becoming an adherent is a cunning way by which people who do not understand something slyly pretend that they have understood. With regard to an existence-communication, existing in it is the maximum and wanting to understand it is a cunning evasion that wants to shirk the task. To become a Hegelian is open to suspicion, to understand Hegel is the maximum; to become a Christian is the maximum, to want to understand Christianity is open to suspicion.'

23 Jun '04 08:04:47 AM

'In a time when it is so common to do evil, it is practically praiseworthy to do what is merely useless.'

20 Jun '04 03:55:26 AM

Potter found this and sent it to me.

19 Jun '04 06:46:33 AM

Damned kids these days!

18 Jun '04 10:36:01 AM

'So also with knowing, when it becomes fantastic. The law for the development of the self with respect to knowing, insofar as it is the case that the self becomes itself, is that the increase of knowledge corresponds to the increase of self-knowledge, that the more the self knows, the more it knows itself. If this does not happen, the more knowledge increases, the more it becomes a kind of inhuman knowledge, in the obtaining of which a person's self is squandered, much the way men were squandered on building pyramids, or the way men in Russian brass bands are squandered on playing just one note, no more, no less.'

18 Jun '04 10:19:30 AM

'Because philosophy is good for nothing, it is not yet outmoded.'

17 Jun '04 09:51:43 AM

Pac was born on Bloomsday!

17 Jun '04 07:27:58 AM

'You bid me rouse myself. Go, bid a man paralytic in both arms rub them briskly together, and that will cure him. Alas! (he would reply) that I cannot move my arms is my complaint.'

15 Jun '04 07:30:21 AM

'To provide the right background for the genuine change that Schleiermacher makes in the history of hermeneutics, let us consider a point which Schleiermacher himself does not and which, since Schleiermacher, has totally disappeared from the sphere of hermeneutics (its absence curiously narrows Dilthey's historical interest in the history of hermeneutics); nevertheless, it in fact dominates the problem of hermeneutics and must be taken into account if we are to understand Schleiermacher's place in its history. We begin with this proposition: "to understand means to come to an understanding with each other" (sich miteinander verstehen). Understanding is, primarily, agreement (Verständnis ist zunächst Einverständnis). Thus people usually understand (verstehen) each other immediately, or they make themselves understood (verständigen sich) with a view toward reaching agreement (Einverständnis). Coming to an understanding (Verständigung), then, is always coming to an understanding about something. Understanding each other (sich verstehen) is always understanding each other with respect to something. From language we learn that the subject matter (Sache) is not merely an arbitrary object of discussion, independent of the process of mutual understanding (Sichverstehen), but rather is the path and goal of mutual understanding itself. And if two people understand each other independently of any topic, then this means that they understand each other not only in this or that respect, but in all essential things that unite human beings. Understanding becomes a special task only when natural life, this joint meaning of the meant where both intend a common subject matter, is disturbed. Where misunderstandings have arisen or where an expression of opinion alienates us because it is unintelligible, there natural life in the subject matter intended is impeded in such a way that the meaning is given as the opinion of another, the opinion of the Thou or of the text, or in general as a fixed datum. And even then in general one attempts to reach a substantive agreement - not just sympathetic understanding of the other person - and this in such a way that one again proceeds via the subject matter. Only if all these movements comprising the art of conversation - argument, question and answer, objection and refutation, which are undertaken in regard to a text as an inner dialogue of the soul seeking understanding - are in vain is the inquiry detoured. Only then does the effort of understanding become aware of the individuality of the Thou and take account of his uniqueness. If we are dealing with a foreign language, the text will already be the object of a grammatical, linguistic interpretation, but that is only a preliminary condition. The real problem of understanding obviously arises when, in the endeavor to understand the content of what is said, the reflective question arises: how did he come to such an opinion? For this kind of question reveals an alienness that is clearly of a quite different kind and ultimately signifies a renunciation of shared meaning.'