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 alleged 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: reader construing another’s representations. Disagreement may take place across months or years via replies and rejoinders via publication. (Or exchanges may more felicitously happen between reader and author privately.)

The case—whatever it’s best understood to be—is phenomenological at the point of “our” presence to and with each other communicatively (textually). What “is” the case is as understood by us, together, separately, or both, 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 (having its own horizon) and the author’s horizoned background. Present state-of-mind (or established mood of self identity) is integral, separately (relative to one’s life) and/or as a derived mode of topical interaction (writing/speaking <—> reading/listening). That understanding at the point of “our” presence (temporally constructed between us) is an identity-in-difference: between case makers and between oneself and interpersonal identity relative to the phenomenological case.

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, discovered (relative to each one’s own life) and constructed through shared time. 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—somewhat the same (granted and made) in different readings.

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