Sunday, October 31, 2021

for your consideration, among considerations

It’s common in philosophy to prefix assertions with “It is the case that…X.” What’s done by that, you know, is to contend an assertion (or argument) as tenable.

Are you already feeling averse to such consideration? Bear with me five short paragraphs, then things get interesting.

Inasmuch as anyone comes to that relative to their own stage of development, going forward with actual argument proximally depends on the other’s sense of the claim. That would pertain to two persons face-to-face.

But the philosopher standardly has derived a typical audience or typical sense of the claim such that, in bringing the claim before “us,” one is bringing a generalized claim and/or counterclaim; and arguing for or against it.

In this sense, X is presented in quote marks, so to speak—in epoché: “..’X’ is [it is claimed] X.” (You might recognize that as “Convention T” for a deflationary conception of truth-as-factuality.)

Person A makes the claim, anticipating that it’s a claim worth making, viz. that person B will disagree (or otherwise, in solidarity, B wants a good argument for X).

B says: “X is invalid.” Person A argues for X. B says that A misunderstands the case. A says that B misunderstands the case.

In any case, there is misunderstanding. Is it “mine,” “yours,” or a bit of both? Is “your” reading of my misunderstanding a mirror of your own? Conversely? That’s the status of case making: It’s between “us,” whether face-to-face or, more commonly, via text (e.g., in a journal that receives rejoinder—if at all—years later, in a thread of disagreement possibly spanning years).

The case is phenomenological at the point of “our” presence to and with each other. What “is” the case is as understood by us, separately and together (or not, to some degree). That presence is at least ephemeral (for face-to-face), but is likely dependent on the background sense of understanding of each person separately: the reader’s background understanding and the author’s background. The state-of-mind (or established mood of self identity) is integral, separately and/or as a derived mode of interaction (writing/speaking // reading/listening). That understanding at the point of “our” presence (temporally constructed between us) is linguistic (textual, oral).

The discourse, understanding, and state-of-mind belong to the presencing of “our” presence (which contains what is present: particular meanings, interpretable implicature, disclosable assumptions). Proximal difference between backgrounds, examined in depth together, scales into shared background. Disputes about meaning scale into the shared sense of shared language whose history is the same for both of us: belonging together in the same linguistic relativity between us.

The temporality of this calls for care: good-faith reading of the text (by default—until evidence undermines default trust); and authorial good-faith confidence in readers’ integrity: openness and desire to learn.