Saturday, August 28, 2021

It is as: given as is

from journalism to phenomenology

Professional journalism (distinct from promotional writing, disguised as “journalism”) has a default stance toward topic T that is “reportedly T” or “allegedly, T…” or, implicitly, “the story goes” or “It’s said that…” or “They say.” (Of course, a reliable source may simply assert what is the case, evincing trust by reputation.)

Representing what claims to be valid is separate from establishing the validity of it. Ordinarily, the two aren’t distinguished by a subject of reporting because the speaker/writer postures itself as trustworthy. Ordinary life postures itself as validly present.

But astute journalism frames the presumably frameless as being under question about its pretense of transparency. A subject of reporting may be playing a confidence game of “guileless” duplicity. “Who, me?”

The pretense of the subject is always possibly frameable as a “non-“posturing posture—yet, one that could be actually trustworthy.

In other words, the phenomenological epoché is implicit to astute journalism, but not as prelude to conceptual analysis of its own framing and framability. Though a reputable journalist may straightly tell readers how the story indeed goes, he implicitly postures himself as a known professional (standardly by employment and byline) who has moved beyond skepticism about what is the case only after living through his default framing.

But normally, the reporting stance is “Here’s the story: what they say about how it goes.” (Heidegger’s vital notion of “They-self” in Being and Time is integral to his later workbooks of the 1930s—“Considerations”—for his critical phenomenology of gigantic or “great” pretenses.)

An entire story may be, by journalistic default, in frame-quote marks, like the distinction between mention and use in linguistic analysis. To assert something as said is different from saying (affirming) what is said, i.e., asserting that something.

“The sun rises,” so to speak.

He “loves” her, “truly.”

Or the writer may be implicitly highlighting an uncanny triteness of something posturing itself as novel or genuine.

A phenomenologist turns this into questioning how anything pretends to be without interpretive frame, precisely because everything is already always received as understandable.

A common acceptability of A is just that its conditions of understanding are so commonly taken for granted as uncontroversial: The guy is trustworthy. The object is the “original” (though its conception isn’t especially novel).

Framelessness is a kind of frame, the unquestioned frame: “We” may all agree that the emperor is finely clothed.

Getting more technical: “Is” conceals the interpretivity of whatever appeals, for the sake of definite assertability and/or for action-oriental confidence.

When receptive “as” frames “is,” one gets phraseology that isn’t a “well-formed” sentence (“the sun as rising”), but that’s predication, too. What ‘is’ does that ‘as’ doesn’t is to stipulate—or proffer a pretension of—there being a literal present (presence as merely present).

Persons may need that for peace of mind or manageable coherence. Also, confidence about presentness (“the” present) serves genuinely basic interests
of action well, especially for advancing one’s life admirably: Growing up well
gives one an oriental reliabilism, which we commonly trope as one being “experienced”: She’s very experienced in/with E, so she’s thereby quite successful or/and (therefore) trustworthy.

Yet, that life-oriental legacy of self-efficacy is generatively framed by “good sense” capability which has been, over years, cultivated—by oneself through fascination and curiosity; by others through concerted parenting and teaching; and, in all events, by love of learning. At best, one gains autonomous maturity that we associate with admirable independence, which may be richly conceived as high-scale flourishing.

That’s a life oriented by ongoing engagement, which shapes the appeal of events. What appeals is as part of future-oriented engagement. A futurity of interest frames all appealing presents as received for one’s responsive ongoingness.

A life’s futurity frames every present. An individuated scale of understanding frames every perception as appreciated and, at best, as more appreciable.