1        Interpretation

1.1      Frameworks that Judge the Potency of Ontological Positions

1.2      Factors of Interpretation

1.2.1      Culture

1.2.2      Leadership in the Academic Community

1.2.3      Stereotype

1.2.4      Personality

1.2.5      Mood

1.3      Misinterpretation of meaning of the particular ontology

2        Motive

2.1      Power Motive

2.2      Defense against Impotence

2.3      Knowledge as Power

2.3.1      Secular

2.3.2      Spiritual

2.4      Mastery as Power

2.5      Consistency as Power

2.6      Passion and Power

3        Truth

3.1      Truth and Power

3.2      Truth, Personality and Culture

4        Metaphysics and motives

4.1      Association between Ontology and Psychology is Indirect

4.2      The Universe and Its Image

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The motives for holding viewpoints, the creative urge, and pursuit of knowledge are frequently given in an attempt to understand the process, why unusual views are held, and to disprove positions held. Such disproof is a reverse case of the genetic fallacy in which an understanding of origins of a viewpoint is taken as a proof of its validity. Frequently, such motives are assigned by writers and thinkers to “other authors” But who is not immune to motives other than validity and truth? This writer admits to, at times, needing to distinguish the variety of his motives – understanding and truth, the will to understanding – which is distinguished from understanding itself, the desire to make a difference – a mark, the desire to secure a position… and so on. Humans are complex, complex, intellectual and emotional beings who possess both gross and subtle motives. Since Freud, it has become difficult to claim immunity from motives of which one is unaware. The “academic enterprise” is a community endeavor and as such the minds and motivations of thinkers and scholars are subject to group and paradigmatic influences – both positive and slanted. Interpreted broadly, the academic community is not restricted to institutions – universities, research institutes… and, as such, being in immediate and diffuse contact with the world – the social world and the universe – the academic enterprise is subject to external and internal corrective forces; these include criticism. We deny neither the psychological and social frameworks of “deviance” or of correction. Even in the absence of intrinsic deviance, knowledge and understanding are not linear enterprises. The psychologies of individual thinkers are sources of error but also of insight. And, some errors are fruitful

Since the assignment of ulterior motives to other thinkers is a somewhat ad hoc process, I thought to provide a “rational” framework

1           Interpretation

1.1         Frameworks that Judge the Potency of Ontological Positions

An example: One hears that in external realism, the individual being is not in control of the universe, of destiny, or of fate; therefore the individual feels impotent under external realism. However, this is relative to a view of what constitutes potency; e.g. the nation, or science or perhaps only absolute powers constitute potency. In the metaphysical case the individual wants to feel power through absolutes. In the secular and democratic case the individual feels impotent to be “just a cog in the vast democratic machinery”

In contrast, in solipsistic idealism the universe is one individual’s mental content. How much more potent could one individual be? Solipsism is, with regard to the status of external reality, opposite to external realism

But realism allows the individual to engage his or her powers, to journey, to adventure. Solipsism is stale

Thus, in this example, both external realism and solipsism may, according to interpretation, be empowering and disempowering

1.2         Factors of Interpretation

1.2.1        Culture

…and education

Peer group… “Speech community”

1.2.2        Leadership in the Academic Community

Since Russell and others dealt a death blow to the British-American absolute idealism of the 19th century, mainstream Anglo-American philosophy has been characterized by materialism and external realism; the practical foundations of this view lie primarily in the ascent of science to cover essentially all realms of being and in the ascent of formalism in mathematics and logic

However, how many practitioners are there who could actually defend the position stated in the previous paragraph with appeal only to reason and fact and without the huge background support of science and the associate common sense and without resort to at least implicit derision?

Most practitioners hold beliefs that remain unjustified in their own minds. This is normal; however it is a reminder that common opinion influences thought by the urge to conformity as well as rebellion

Consider the following exercise. Construct an absolute idealism and a materialism / external realism such that an analysis of fact and the language of the constructs show the materialism to be contained within the idealism. If that is possible and if the materialism contains the dominant materialistic world view, what does it say for the alleged final character of that view?

1.2.3        Stereotype

Includes aspects that make individuals want to fit in versus rebel; versus the laissez-faire attitude to norms: what is the individual’s view of the size of the normal image?

…and what is the individual’s view of the shape and flexibility of that image?

1.2.4        Personality

Flexible versus [merely] self-confirming

1.2.5        Mood

I imagine that most people have experience of how the same scene may appear warm or desolate according to mood

Some scientists find, with science providing the world view, humankind to be a lonely and isolated accident

In the previous sentence lonely is an emotion that is supplied by the individual’s psyche but not by science; humankind is isolated on some descriptive accounts e.g. the magnitude of the universe but at the same time the material constituents of human bodies are made up of the elements that constitute the universe – elements that on the scientific accounts were formed in cosmological origins; and accident has at least two meanings, “oops” and unlikely

Now, being unlikely is irrelevant in that we are here – though not irrelevant in all ways; and it is diminishing only against a background that holds necessity to be more reassuring or more important than possibility i.e. it is science and an implicit scheme of values that are not scientific that finds humankind irrelevant or necessary or comic, tragic or grand

Regardless of cosmic perspectives, we are irrevocably here; the sun is warm at times, the sky blue, the grass green – and it is and can be so lovely. This is all subjective of course but no less so than the accidental and isolated nature of our presence. And, although the qualities assigned by the feelings may be labeled subjective the presence of the subjective feelings is an objective fact and if the universe is entirely and nothing but matter than subjectivity is also a phase of the material universe

1.3         Misinterpretation of meaning of the particular ontology

The previous example continued: External realism in the case of science is supposed to be alienating because “man is revealed as an accident tucked away in a speck of cosmos called the solar system”. Fact is, science and externalism neither say nor imply any such thing. The implication follows only on lack of imagination and dogma. Although science casts doubt on explanations that place humankind at the center of being, science itself says nothing of ultimates. Scientific explanations reach realms significantly wider than our niche; but the universe of science itself may be a speck. Science says nothing of the destiny of spirit in the vast space of the real

2           Motive

2.1         Power Motive

Power itself is under-specified. Will to power versus power in the present; power over versus power in; power over self versus power over other

2.2         Defense against Impotence

Related but not identical to power motive

This is typified by being obstinately stuck in positions of belief and [feigned] ignorance. A mark of modernity “look how ignorant I am, and notice how cool I am to say this”; and “how stupid anyone must be who thinks they truly know anything” And, then “I know that being is weirder than you can imagine” And, “humankind, whatever it is that I associate with, is a limited, misdirected being” But, “Since I recognize this, I really am cool, I truly know all that an individual can really know: my private unspoken solipsism”

An example is defense – occasionally mean spirited – of one’s personal ideology. Desire to believe one has arrived – that one is an adult; growth therefore difficult. Desire to know the answer cutting off the ability to find an answer

2.3         Knowledge as Power

2.3.1        Secular

Political, economic, military

2.3.2        Spiritual

Mirror of being

2.4         Mastery as Power

I am capable of knowing

My powers of analysis are greater than others’

2.5         Consistency as Power

“As I said in my seminal paper of 25 years ago…”

Once a materialist [idealist], always a materialist [idealist]

2.6         Passion and Power

Love, passion, power, knowledge: the confluence. In the eye of the scholar, knowledge is ultimate power

Passion to power and knowledge

Knowledge and seduction

Will and power. Will and seduction

3           Truth

3.1         Truth and Power

Truth is conceptually different from power

In the psychology of the individual truth may equate to power

Power as corruption of truth

3.2         Truth, Personality and Culture

Personality, i.e., dispositions from nature and nurture versus choice and learning

Difference between education and learning

4           Metaphysics and motives

4.1         Association between Ontology and Psychology is Indirect

Due, at least, to: issues of interpretation; to the polar spectrum of manifestations of power; and to the will to truth, which may stand in opposition to power as such

4.2         The Universe and Its Image

The image of the universe is not only our picture of it; it includes the feelings of warmth, abundance, adventure, isolation, desolation, alienation associated with that picture

“It is the best of times; it is the worst of times…”

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Document status: June 1, 2003

Maintained out of interest

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I may revise and expand this essay if I return to the topic