Thursday, April 19, 2018


Comment on The English Problem of “Consciousness”

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Our object in what follows is to teach ourselves philosophy, precisely by setting aside the false English 
problem of Consciousness. What is harboured in false English thought is nothing other than the 
Essence of Technology. All English thinking is in the service of this master, therefore, it does not 
think at all. Technology, and that means, what does not think. Only in the sense that English thinking, 
which is planetary thinking, is privative, does it think. If standing still is the limit case of motion, then 
not thinking is the limit case of being human. Human, a question, not the biological conception, not 
the Catholic conception, not the primordial conception known by the Early Greeks. Philosophy, this 
remains a name for the End of Metaphysics which is the consummation of the Greek World, as what is 
Planetary. Here we ashew analysis of the distinction between philosophy and thinking. 

We will take the road of a Hermeneutic Circle. We ask what is Consciousness through the four 
distinct levels of the problem of perception. 

  1. Perception is the work of the sensorium, the eye or the ear, etc., and it is first taken up by 
    Socrates in the liberal fashion, which is to say, not in the style of insisting that one can learn 
    nothing more about the matter. Dialogic work, in the Socratic manner, always presumes what 
    is latent and only comes to be seen in the Medieval period. Whether this whither was always 
    to be enunciated and so spoken explicitly, and so removed from its tempore or flow, 
    is a matter for the study of the History of Being. Yet, one knows that in the Medieval period 
    the sense of meaning of “ad hominem”, the principle of Socratic investigation, came clear. 
    Whoever denies the role of the human, as the ground of the statement, remains outside 
    the circle of learning.

In the course of a collective investigation someone affirms that through the eyes they gain 
knowledge of something. Someone sees the pale skin of Socrates. Socrates is pale. Through 
the eyes they have learned something. In the first stage what matters is that perception is of 
something, and that it happens through the sensorium. That what is learned in this way is kept 
within the being who has learned, and that it is something that can be known on multiple occasions. 
What is not meant is that this one, in their idiosyncratic character, has learned. 

2. On reflection one comes to consider the possibility that Aristippus and Plato may perceive 
something according to their own nature, thus differently. The subject matter of perception is 
alienated, and becomes the concrete question of how this one knows, and that one. Aristippus  
says Socrates has a sickly complexion, and Plato says, Socrates has not got any sun. There 
is no question here of the representation of something, skin that gives off a certain light according 
to a spectrometer, and an evaluation of that skin as this or that qualitative pattern. The eidos 
names what is seen prior to such an abstract division. The edios (idea) is theorized as genus or pattern. 
So one can say, Aristippus sees a different genus or kind of thing than does Plato. This issue 
never comes out in Plato because Plato does not analyze the eidos of “stones, mud and hair”, 
but only of the gods, e.g., Dike or Justice. 

3. It is theorized, that is, through reflection it is considered, that each animal might have its own 
manner of perception. This is not, however, to be confused with post-Cartesian thinking. It is not 
considered that physiological changes in the visual system lead to Perspectivalism. As in the case 
of tetrachromacy. The issue remains obscure, and might be translated as a question of intelligibility 
of something as something according to language and for beings without language, for captivated 
beings, and for choosing beings. 

4. The question of perception becomes the question of transcendental access. In Kant this 
reaches the highest clarity. How does any being get at what is? The question is not asked 
anymore about the sensorium. Perception and existence become the same thing. The notion 
of “German Idealism” comes clear only because the English take up “the other side” and say 
that existence, both primary and secondary qualities in Locke, are set off against the “Realist's” thing, 
i..e, the thing that Locke says “excites” the brain. This Lockean thing-in-itself falls away 
and Hume simply declares the whole world a fiction. In this sense physics continues, 
regarding all that exists, all that is “conscious” (read: folk knowledge), as set off against “the math”.           

If one recasts “consciousness” as existence one sees that it can not be that things that exist, 
such as the brain, are set off against other things that exist. If consciousness means, Socrates 
is pale, and he still exists whether or not I am now conscious of this paleness, one uses 
“consciousness” in a trivial common sense way. The conflation of these two conceptions leads 
to the absurdities of English thinking, which is an attempt to use the everyday notion of 
consciousness as a part of the sciences understood as movement taken up mathematically, 
or, as blind technology. The Cartesian problem is basically the understanding of “what exists” 
as, e.g., Socrates there is Cognized as Socrates there. I.e., Someone inwardly grasps 
Socrates in something that stands before them. What stands before them would not be 
there except that it was Socrates, i.e., the known eidos. At the same time, it is said, 
the something there is “outside” and thus a split of mind and body, as a split of outer and 
inner is asserted. Socrates, the form, can be thought, or pictured, or made plasticity, 
here or there, and in indefinite number. Ergo, the thought has no basis in the 
concrete symbol or property. Nothing is ever encountered that is not both form, 
and symbol or concrete thing before one. Ergo, Descartes must posit a connection 
between the realm of forms, and this brain. Yet, as Leibnitz says, such a form or 
“consciousness” is no place to be found in the brain. 

So far as “consciousness” is a figure, like DNA, used to discover the commands issued out of the 
causal web, it is a problem of Technicity and Power. It remains outside the circle of Philosophy. 
Consciousness is not a philosophic question, but a technical problem like improving the guidance 
system of the homing missile.    

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