Projection of categories...
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Thread: Projection of categories...

  1. #1
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    Projection of categories...

    Originally posted by Victor Kaum
    Is understanding not already a meta-notion from our culture? How are we able to 'understand' something if this understanding is a projection of our own categories on the other culture?
    That's an interesting thought... But isn't everything a projection of our own 'categories'?
    We see and sense the world the way we do because of how our brain is arranged, because of the processes and mechanisms going on in there... Those 'structures' are similar for all human beings, but the way we 'fill' those pre-arranged structures is different for each of us.
    It's based on our cultural, geographical, personal ... situation/experiences, which determine our neural networks. We all have the same hardware, but the software is different for all of us, if you will...

    That's why I think your statement is correct, and you can even broaden your statement to everything we try to 'understand'.

    An example: about everything we know is based on causality (from the relativity theory over mechanics to biology). Sounds to me like our brain is limiting the things we can understand: we are limited by the pre-shaped forms of our brain...

    Leaves us with the final question: will we ever understand the exact working of our own brain? My answer: no, because it takes a PentiumIV to figure out a PentiumIII...
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  2. #2
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    Re: Negative

    So we are limited to our brian, we look through categories... eg. Kant
    Therefor: language is our limit? (Wittgenstein Philosophical Investigations)
    Like if there were only black and white televisions you could never know for sure that the broadcast is black and white and not in color. What you are saying is that we will never understand the "Ding an Sich".

    But then we have the problem that Anthropology is impossible...?
    Is there not one similarity: namely the fact that both, (traditional thinking and Western science) refer in the end to a cosmological explanation (at the edge of our knowledge). If this is true then there is some sort of similarity between the two language games.
    A strucural similarity that gives space for interpretation?
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    It would seem that the old cliche "the eye cannot see itself except thru reflection" would fit here. The standards or presuppostional concepts thru which we view our concept of "reality" are a result of cultural impression. Many times thru a sub-con. process of osmosis. The boundries are just absorbed without direct attention. It is impossible to remove oneself from such prejudices without discarding the very foundations of thought. What is needed is an absolute standard to measure by.....an axiom by which everything else is compared....ALAS we have no such standard or at least we cannot agree on it. A question by which I will prove my proir statement is this...."Where did life come from and why are we here?" I would love to see someone attempt to answer such a question without resorting to his paradigm concept of reality........any takers? <|;0)
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  4. #4
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    Re:

    Very true... there's no neutral base, a common standard.
    Everyone is part of their own web of belief...

    (See Wittgenstein: "Philosophical Investigations")

    perhaps the only standard is the cognitif, the neural and mental networks, structures. At all cultural worlds a participant is able to grap the mental structure of beliefs...?


    (See Dan Sperber: "Apparently Irrational Beliefs" and "Rethinking Symbolism")
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    Interesting...

    We all are in fact self biased, and to view something in truth is impossible then. This seems to be the trap that most eastern "monks" attempt to escape. In order to truly see things as they are, without imposing our own self image we must remove the self then?

    This reminds me of Chang Tsu, where it was stated "man cannot see his reflection in running water, yet only in still water. Only that which is still in itself can still the seekers of stillness." Although when put into that context, to be still in yourself means to not extend yourself to any view in any manner. To teach you need only remain silent.

    The point of "our lives are what we project them to be" can only be reinforced by studying cultures in themselves, although an upbringing in a rather unsuccessfull or stagnant culture is more likely to produce unsuccessfull and stagnant results (simply due to adaptation of views and thoughts to those around ones self) a few who make their own image of what they should, can, and will be... usually end up becoming exactly that image, or coming quite close. (so long as they truly project and follow through)

    just my thoughts....

    ~THEJRC~
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    Smile Re:

    Good thinking... almost the same is said by a neo-Wittgensteinian philosopher/anthropolist called Peter Winch, in the article "Understanding a Primitive Society" (I believe this article is also published in MAN 1967 or something?)

    P. Winch says that when we want to study an object the researcher has to place the object in the context of the object in order to understand it... so the researcher has to participate to the culture or at least be able to see the whole picture before and during interpretation.
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  7. #7
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    This explains cultural differences and the constant fighting between those with these differences...

    I suppose the question I will raise is... how does one remove the impact of self and self surroundings from his/her thoughts, views, and projections?? In Zen they live for the moment (in a manner of speaking) there is no beginning or end, first or last... there is only now, everything done in Zen is done as if it is the only chance (as if everything mattered on that moment, this promotes mastery as everything is done to the best of ones ability) and as if it were never done before (as to promote learning, for we cannot simply know all there is to know about anything can we?).

    If it is possible for one to shed the constraints of time and experience (in past/present, first/last relationship) isnt it possible for us to shed the same constraints of self and cultural impressionism?

    we must find a Zen master!!!

    ~THEJRC~
    ~THEJRC~
    I\'ll preach my pessimism right out loud to anyone that listens!
    I\'m not afraid to be alive.... I\'m afraid to be alone.
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    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    You cannot think without first making assumptions.
    Descarts' famous saying "I think, therefore I am"
    was supposed to be the result of an inquiry into
    the open-minded question, "Do I exist? and if so,
    can I prove it logically?", but his result is disingenuous.
    I cannot say "I think", unless I have already
    assumed that I exist.
    It is inescapable, dogma comes first, supporting arguments
    follow.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.
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  9. #9
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    this is quite true

    but then again the master butcher makes the right assumption, that which has no thicknes can pass through even the closest of joints

    so it is a matter of making the correct assumptions then?!


    ~THEJRC~
    ~THEJRC~
    I\'ll preach my pessimism right out loud to anyone that listens!
    I\'m not afraid to be alive.... I\'m afraid to be alone.
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  10. #10
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I think so, because the assumptions you make
    will determine the direction and destination
    of your thoughts.
    It's especially dangerous to deny that you
    make assumptions, because, then, you really
    don't know why you believe the things you do.
    Most people, even those in positions of
    power, are really slaves to the doctrines
    of some philosopher whose name they don't even know.
    They think their thoughts are original,
    but any first year university student could read the
    history of thought and know better.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.
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