Podcast: Week 1 What is a ‘ground’? What is doubt? Conviction? Reason?

2013-09-30 MA Media Arts Philosophy Practice Term 1 2013/14

What is a 'ground'? What is doubt? Conviction? Reason?
Consider these fragments, the first from Nietzsche; the second from Descartes and then ask yourself: in what way do they create a 'ground'? [Acorns and Trees and a small point about TELOS]


1. Dear Wendy (2005). Dir by Thomas Vinterberg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KZkT_9uoP4 
2. Nietzsche, Friedrich: Human, All Too Human. As below:

§629: "Conviction is the belief that in some point of knowledge one possesses absolute truth. Such a belief presumes, then, that absolute truth exists; likewise, that the perfect methods for arriving at them have been found; finally, that every man who has convictions makes use of these perfect methods. [...] The countless people who sacrificed themselves for their convictions thought they were doing it for absolute truth. All of them were wrong [...] If only all those people who thought so highly of their conviction, who sacrificed all sorts of things to it and spared neither their honour, body nor life in its service, had devoted only half of their strength to investigation by what right they clung to this or that conviction, how they had arrived at it, then how peaceable the history of mankind would appear! How much more would be known!" (p. 261-62).

3. Descartes, "Meditation 1," in his Meditations on First Philosophy

Let us assume that we are asleep and that all these particulars, e.g. that we open our eyes, shake our head, extend our hands, and so on, are but false delusions; and let us reflect that possibly neither our hands nor our whole body are such as they appear to us to be. At the same time we must at least confess that the things which are represented to us in sleep are like painted representations which can only have been formed as the counterparts of something real and true, and that in this way those general things at least, i.e. eyes, a head, hands, and a whole body, are not imaginary things, but things really existent. For, as a matter of fact, painters, even when they study with the greatest skill to represent sirens and satyrs by forms the most strange and extraordinary, cannot give them natures which are entirely new, but merely make a certain medley of the members of different animals; or if their imagination is extravagant enough to invent something so novel that nothing similar has ever before been seen, and that then their work represents a thing purely fictitious and absolutely false, it is certain all the same that the colours of which this is composed are necessarily real. And for the same reason, although these general things, to wit, [a body], eyes, a head, hands, and such like, may be imaginary, we are bound at the same time to confess that there are at least some other objects yet more simple and more universal, which are real and true; and of these just in the same way as with certain real colours, all these images of things which dwell in our thoughts, whether true and real or false and fantastic, are formed." (p. 47)

Additional Seminar Questions:

1. Who or what does the 'preparing' of the ground?
2. What is the 'subject' (and for that matter, what is the 'object') above? Does it matter, and if so, to whom or what does subject/object matter
3. The problem of the '-ologies': What is the difference between 'methodology,' 'ontology,' epistemology?
4. Trick question: Do you think this (ground) has anything to do with the question of Time? Space, continuity, discontinuity?
5. Who is Wendy?

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