Monday, September 05, 2011

Thought for the day...

Vader geeft baby de fles / Father feeding the babyThis is the moment when we must make the necessary pedagogical and institutional adjustments to a pervasively connected culture. That survey from last year found that even at Kindergarten level, two-thirds of parents were willing to buy a mobile for their children – if schools integrated the device into their pedagogy. But the survey also pointed to opposition within the schools themselves...Hyperconnected Education

There are many freedoms here but we have to free ourselves as practitioners first...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Falling and Throwness

From Being and Time:
Idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity characterize the way in which, in an everyday manner, Dasein is its 'there' - the disclosedness of Being-in-the-world. As definite characteristics, these are not present-at-hand in Dasein, but help make up its Being. In these, and in the way they are interconnected in their being, there is revealed a basic kind of Being which belongs to everydayness; we call this the "falling" of Dasein. (p. 219)

Idle talk and ambiguity, having seen everything, develop the suposition that Dasein's disclosedness. which is so available and so prevalent, can guarantee to Dasein that all possibilities of its Being will be secure, genuine and full. Through the self certainty and decidedness of the "they", it gets spread abroad increasingly that there is no need of authentic understanding or the state-of-mind that goes with it. The supposition of the "they" that one is for which everything is 'in the best of order' and all doors are open. Falling Being-in-the-world, which tempts itself, is at the same time tranquillizing.
However, this tranquillity in inauthentic Being does not seduce one into stagnation and inactivity, but drives one into uninhibited 'hustle'. Being-fallen into the 'world' does not now somehow come to rest. (p. 222)

The tempting tranquillization aggravates the falling. Versatile curiosity and restlessly "knowing it all" masquerade as a universal understanding of Dasein. (p. 222)

Falling Being-in-the-world is not only tempting and tranquillizing it is at the same time alienating. (p. 222)

The alienation of falling - at once tempting and tranquillizing - leads by its own movement, to Dasein's getting entangled in itself. (p. 223)

Is this of playing and being played?
Dasein plunges out of itself into itself, into the groundlessness and nullity of inauthentic everydayness. But this plunge remains hidden from Dasein by the way things have been publically interpreted, so much so, indeed, that it gets interpreted as a way of 'ascending' and 'living concretely'. (p. 223)

Is this a description of Dasein subsumed by 'the game'?
Dasein's facticity is such that as long as it is what it is, Dasein remains in the throw, and is sucked into the turbulence of the "they's" inauthenticity. Throwness, in which facticity lets itself be seen phenomenally, belongs to Dasein, for which, in its Being, that very Being is an issue. Dasein exists factically. (p. 223)

Dasein can fall only because Being-in-the-world understandingly with a state-of-mind is an issue for it. On the other hand, authentic existence is not something which floats above the falling everdayness; existentially, it is only a modified way in which such everydayness is seized upon. (p. 224)

Might playfulness as a state-of-mind allow Dasein the freedom to travel the roads between the authentic and inauthentic?

This freedom might be an understanding act of travelling. I am tempted to say is not a resistance to falling and that it may be falling with authenticity. Embracing the authentic and inauthentic, what is Dasein's own, what is shared and what is other. Is there a possibility that in this travel itself a transcendence of what is authentic and inauthentic may occur?
Falling reveals an essential ontological structure of Dasein itself. Far from determining its nocturnal side, it constitutes all Dasein's days in their everydayness. (p. 224)
Authentic learning (I use this phrase with trepidation) seems to require immersion in the everyday with the awareness of that leads to deeper understanding. Playfulness may be able to provide a state-of-mind that allows for a freedom as understanding of moving between (or transcending?) the authentic and inauthentic ways of Being. What else might be required? Can playfulness as a state-of-mind be further explored so it has as its understanding authentic learning as well as freedom? Or could a further state-of-mind, with its own system of understanding, disclosedness and modes of discourse etc, fill this void intertwined with playfulness? If so, would this state-of-mind always be the same or differ under changing circumstances? Or have I just go too far?

And a quote to make me hold my horses:
The being of that disclosedness is constituted by states-of-mind, understanding, and discourse. Its everyday kind of Being is characterized by idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity. These show us the movement of falling, with temptation, tranquillizing, alienation, and entanglement as its essintial characteristics.
But with this analysis, the whole existential constitution of Dasein has been laid bare inits principal features, and we have obtained the phenomenal ground for a 'comprehensive' Interpretation of Dasein's Being as care. (p. 224)

Meaning and intelligibility

Cheers enowning for pointing out something I had missed in Being and Time.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity.

From Being and Time:
...when Dasein maintains itself in idle talk, it is - as Being-in-the-world - cut off from its promary and primordially genuine relationships-of-Being towards the world, towards its very being-in. p. (214)
The basic state of sight shows itself in a particular tendency-of-Being which belongs to everydayness - the tendency towards 'seeing'. We designate this tendency by the term "curiosity", which characteristically is not confined to seeing, but expresses a tendency towards a peculiar way of letting the world be encountered by us in perception. (p. 214)
[Aristotle] The care for seeing is essential to man's being. (p. 215)
What is to be said about this tendency just to perceive? Which existential state of Dasein will become intelligible in the phenomenon of curiosity? Being in the world is proximally absorbed in the world of concern. This concern is guided by circumspection, which discovers the ready-to-hand and preserves it as thus discovered. (p. 216)
When curiosity has become free, however, it concerns itself with seeing, not in order to understand what is seen (that is, to come into a Being towards it) but in order to see. (p. 216)
Curiosity is everywhere and nowhere. This mode of Being-in-the-world reveals a new kind of Being of everyday Dasein - a kind in which Dasein is constantly uprooting itself. Idle talk controls even the ways in which one may be curious. It says what one "must" have read and seen. In being everywhere and nowhere, curiosity is delivered over to idle talk. These two everyday modes-of-being for discourse and sight are not just present-at-hand side by side in their tendency to uproot, but either of these ways-to-be drags the other one with it. (p. 217)
This brings to mind some staffroom conversations I have had!
When, in our everyday Being-with-one-another, we encounter the sort of thing which is accessible to to everyone, and about which anyone can say anything, it soon becomes impossible to decide what is disclosed in a genuine understanding, and what is not. This ambiguity extends not only to the world, but just as much to Being-with-one-another as such, and even to Dasein's Being towards itself. (p. 217)
Thus Dasein's understanding in the "they" is constantly going wrong in its projects, as regards the genuine possibilities of Being. Dasein is always ambiguously 'there' - that is to say, in that public disclosedness of Being-with-one-another where the loudest idle talk and the most ingenious curiosity keep 'things moving', where, in an everyday manner, everything (and at the bottom nothing) is happening. (pp. 218-9)
Being-with-one-another in the "they" is by no means an indifferent side-by-side-ness in which everything has been settled, but rather an intent, ambiguous watching of one another, a secret and reciprocal listening-in. Under the mask of "for-one-another", an "against-one-another" is in play.
In this connection, we must notice that ambiguity does not first arise from aiming explicitly at disguise or distortion, and that it is not something which the individual Dasein first conjures up. (p. 219)
Could authentic learning be thought of as a mode of discourse which avoids idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity as framed by Heidegger? This may be direction for the nuts and bolts of my inquiry!

Being there and discourse

More from Heidegger: The fundamental existentialia which constitute the
Being of the "there", the disclosedness of Being-in-the-world, are states-of-mind and understanding. In understanding, there lurks the possibility of interpretation - that is, of appropriating what is understood. In so far as a state-of-mind is equiprimordial with an act of understanding, it maintains itself in a certain understanding. (p. 203)

Does learning - when described with assertion and interpretation - feed directly back into freedom as an understanding which discloses playfulness? Possibly - a sense of freedom may engender learning and learning may enhance the understanding that is freedom. This is interesting cold learning be associated with freedom in addition to other understandings?
In clarifying the third signification of assertion as communication (speaking forth), we were led to the concepts of "saying" and "speaking", to which we had purposely given no attention up to that point. The fact that language now becomes our theme for the first time will indicate that this phenomenon has its roots in the existential constitution of Dasein's disclosedness. The existential-ontological foundation of language is discourse or talk. This phenomenon is one of which we have been making constant use already in our foregoing Interpretation of state-of-mind, understanding, interpretation, and assertion... (p. 203)

Discourse is existentially equiprimordial with state-of-mind and understanding. The intelligibility of something has always been articulated, even before there is any appropriative interpretation of it. Discourse is the Articulation of intelligibility. Therefore it underlies both interpretation and assertion. (pp. 203-4)

The way in which discourse gets expressed is language. (p. 204)

I would prefer not to limit discourse to language. Discourse with oneself and others seems to me to have many other forms - of which language is an important, shared and obvious one. I would like to think that intelligibility can be articulated in many ways.
Discoursing or talking is the way in which we articulate 'significantly' the intelligibility of being-in-the-world. Being-with belongs to Being-in-the-world, which in every case maintains itself in some definite way of concernful Being-with-one-another. (p. 204)

'Communication' in which one makes assertions - giving information, for instance - is a special case of that communication which is grasped in principle existentially. In the more general kind of communication, the Articulation of Being with one another understandingly is constituted. Through it a co-state-of-mind gets 'shared', and so does the understanding Being-with. Communication is never anything like a conveying of experiences, such as opinions or wishes, from the interior of ones subject into the interior of another. Dasein-with is already essentially manifest in a co-state-of-mind and a co-understanding. In discourse Being-with becomes 'explicitly' shared; that is to say, it is already, but it is unshared as something that has not been taken hold of and appropriated. (p. 205)

In talking, Dasein expresses itself not because it has, in the first instance, been encapsulated as something 'internal' over against something outside, but because as Being-in-the-world it is already 'outside' when it understands. What is expressed is precisely this Being-outside - that is to say, the way one currently has a state-of-mind (mood), which we have shown to pertain to the full disclosedness of Being-in. Being-in and its state-of-mind are known in discourse and indicated in language by intonation, modulation, the tempo of talk, 'the way of speaking'. In 'poetical' discourse, the communication of the existential possibilities of one's state-of-mind can become an aim in itself, and this amounts to a disclosing of existence. (p. 205)

Ah, a sigh of relief. For me, at least, this seems to mean we do not have to limit our discourse to language, although we cannot deny its importance in Being-with. These quotes make me smile too - I am really interested in the co-state-of-mind, in particular in playfulness as a co-state-of-mind and the freedoms subsequently disclosed.
Keeping silent authentically is possible only in genuine discoursing. To be able to be kept silent, Dasein, must have something to say - that is, it must have at its disposal an authentic and rich disclosedness in itself. (p. 208)

Our Interpretation of language has been designed merely to point out the ontological 'locus' of this phenomenon in Desein's state of Being... (p. 210)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Assertion and interpretation

Assertion is not a free-floating kind of behaviour which in its own right, might be capable of disclosing entities in general in a primary way: on the contrary it always maintains itself on the basis of Being-in-the-world... ...any assertion requires a fore-having of whatever is disclosed; and this is what it points out by way of giving something a definite character... ...Thus any assertion requires fore-sight; in this the predicate which we assign and make stand out, gets loosened, so to speak, from its unexpressed inclusion in the entity itself. (p. 199)

When an assertion is made, some fore-conception is always implied; but it remains for the most part inconspicuous, because the language already hides in itself a developed way of conceiving. Like any interpretation whatever, assertion necessarily has fore-having, a fore-sight, and a fore-conception as its existential foundations. (p. 199)

...assertion cannot disown its ontological origin from an interpretation which understands. (p. 201)

Between the kind of interpretation which is still wholly wrapped up in the concernful understanding and the extreme opposite case of a theoretical assertion about something present-at-hand, there are many intermediate graduations: assertions about the happenings in the environment, accounts of the ready-to-hand, 'reports on the Situation', the recording and fixing of the 'facts of the case', the description of a state of affairs, the narration of something that has befallen. We cannot trace back these 'sentences' to theoretical statements without essentially perverting their meaning. Like the theoretical statements themselves, they have their 'source' in circumspective interpretation. (p. 201)

The λόγος gets experienced as something present-at-hand and Interpreted as such, while at the same time the entities which it points out have the meaning of presence-at-hand. This meaning of Being is left undifferentiated and uncontrasted with other possibilities of Being, so that Being in the sense of a formal Being-something becomes fused with it simultaneously, and we are able even to obtain a clear-cut division between these two realms. (p. 203)

I need to reflect and explore further assertion, interpretation and learning. Certainly what is being described here in reminiscent of learning. Reflecting on playfulness, freedom and learning; it will be interesting to see whether the tenuous associations so far explored can maintain and strengthen themselves as they unfold and enfold. Or will something new emerge?

Back to Being and Time - Assertion (Judgment)

From a previous blog:

This process of interpretation and building meaning could be one way of starting to define learning.

The ability to move between possible interpretations and meanings is a freedom and requires playfulness. In this sense the understanding could be freedom - understanding and choosing possibilities as possibilities.

Learning can be assisted by the freedom to move between, subsume and synthesise interpretations and meanings.

On further reflection, it is hard to imagine learning without understanding and pursuing possibilities as possibilities that is freedom as I have started to define it.

Heidegger introduces us to a place for 'assertion' (judgment?):

All interpretation is grounded on understanding. That which has been articulated as such in interpretation and sketched out beforehand in the understanding in general as something articulable, is the meaning. In so far as assertion ('judgment') is grounded on understanding and presents us with a derivative form in which an interpretation has been carried out, it too 'has' a meaning.
Yet this meaning cannot be defined as something which occurs 'in' a judgment along with judging itself. (p. 195)

In what follows, we give three significations to the term "assertion". These are drawn from the phenomenon which is thus designated, they are connected among themselves, and in their unity they encompass the full structure of assertion.

1. The primary signification of "assertion" is "pointing out". In this we adhere to the primordial meaning of... ...letting and entity be seen for itself. I the assertion 'The hammer is too heavy', what is discovered for sight is not a 'meaning', but an entity in the way that it is ready-to-hand'...

2. "Assertion" means no less than "predication". We 'assert' a 'predicate' of a 'subject', and the 'subject' is given a definite character by the 'predicate'. In this signification of "assertion", that which is put forward as assertion is not the predicate, but 'the hammer itself'... ...Every predication is what it is, only as a pointing-out. The second signification of "assertion" has its foundation in the first. Within this pointing-out, the elements which are Articulated in predication - the subject and predicate - arise. It is not by giving something a definite character that we first discover that which shows itself - the hammer - as such; but when we give it such a character, our seeing gets restricted to it in the first instance, so that by this explicit restriction of our view, that which is manifest may be explicitly manifest in its definite character. In giving something a definite character, we must, in the first instance, take a step back when confronted with that which is already manifest - the hammer is too heavy. In 'setting down the subject', we dim entities down to focus in 'that hammer there', so that by thus dimming the, down we let that which is manifest be seen in its own definite character as a character that can be determined. Setting down the subject, setting down the predicate, and setting down the two together, are thoroughly 'apophantical' in the strict sense of the word.

3. "Assertion" means "communication". As communication, it is directly related to "assertion" in the first and second significations. It is letting someone see with us what we have pointed out by way of giving it a definite character... ...That which is put forward in the is something which can be passed along in 'further retelling'. There is a widening of the range of that mutual sharing which sees. But at the same time, what has been pointed out may become veiled again in this further retelling, although even the kind of knowing which arises as hearsay (whether knowledge that something is the case or merely an acquaintance with something always has the entity itself in view and does not 'give assent' to some 'valid meaning' which has been passed around. Even hearsay in a Being-in-the-world, and a Being towards what it has heard. (pp. 196-8)

If we bring together the three significations of 'assertion' which we have analysed, and get a unitary view of the full phenomenon, then we may define "assertion" as "a pointing-out which gives something a definite character and which communicates". (p. 199)