May 29, 2012

The Purloined Letter from Dupin to the Queen

I had not read Poe's Purloined Letter. Now I have. It is very short. Things I thought strange about it...

They appear to be sitting in the dark. After the theft of the letter the whole story seems to take place in the dark, the conversations, the police search, until Dupin meets D__ pretending to be in the dark with his dark green glasses. The second time the three (Dupin, policeman, narrator) meet it is in similar circumstances (in the dark again?). But we are told the narrator can see the policeman's eyes.

The queen and king never seem to be mentioned. I had presumed their existence due to having read Lacan but they are only insinuated. In a story about hiding things in plain view, it seems as if the identity of the queen and king is, in a sense, hidden in plain view. We are invited to think that the policeman is talking about the queen and king but this does not appear to be stated. They are an "exalted personage," a "certain royal personage," in a/the "royal boudoir." In the last lines even Dupin refers to the presumed "queen" as the person termed "a certain personage." Normally I would think that not mentioning the queen and king by name were just "diplomacy," but who knows? This story has been analysed by everyone and his dog, so perhaps it has a deeper meaning.

Who is the unnamed narrator? Do we know from the other two stories in the trilogy that the unnamed narrator is not the King? Could Dupin be "the king"?! He has been done an evil turn by the minister. Who is the "queen's" lover? The "queens" lover remains pretty much a mystery. Perhaps from the family S? Could he have been any of the other protagonists? Could Dupin be the queens lover? If so, it is likely that he did not give the original letter to the policeman.

What of the narrators statement that he knows two brothers, both good in letters, and the minister good at maths not poetry (which Dupin admits to doing - doggerel - and to having an "MS" manuscript?). It is though (hidden in plain view) the narrator is telling us that the Minister has a brother who is good at poetry. Is Dupin the Minister's brother? Dupin responds by saying that the minister is both a mathematician and a poet, as if asserting that he and the minister and one and the same.

The back story of the story is too difficult for me! But other critics do not seem to mention the back story. The evil in Vienna, the two brothers, the "partisan" nature of Dupin's relationship with the queen.

There are many repetitions in the story, so it is not surprising that people attempt structural interpretations.

The "queen" has a secret, meant for herself, which would loose her position, which she allows to be stolen.
The policeman arrives at Dupin's dark library with a secret which he says would loose his position but he tells it immediately.
Dupin may have a secret, or a riddle. We find out at the end that he is an enemy of the Minister, or has been done "an evil turn" by the minister "in Vienna". He has left a riddle which for reasons I can't understand, may give a hint of his own identity.

1) The "queen" hides a letter in plain view, to be stolen by the minister D__ to be replaced by one of his own, in view of the "King."
2) The minister D__ hides a letter in plain view to the stolen and replaced by Dupin with "facsimile" with different contents. The contents are a little like a signature to hint that it was He Dupin that stole the letter for the second time. No one is watching but we are told that there is a "mad man" present out in the street, that both Dupin and D watch. (Compared to scene 1 Minister D = Queen, Dupin = Minister D, Mad man = King)
3) Dupin has the letter in a writing desk, and gives to the policeman to be replaced with a cheque which the policeman has signed, in view of the first person. (Compared to Scene two, First person = King, Dupin = Queen, Policeman = Minister D)

Despite Lacan's failure to mention the third scene, or rather choosing a third scene when the police fail to find the letter, the structural similarity of the first and third scenes appear to be greater that between first and since there are only two people present at the second scene - Dupin and the Minister D. There is a mad man and his gun but he can not see into the room where Dupin is doing the stealing.

Dupin first criticises the Parisian police for their "Procrustean bed" (I had to look that up) of always applying the same maxims, and Dupin criticises mathematicians for applying their principles to the world, and then almost immediately says, "The material world," continued Dupin, "abounds with very strict analogies to the immaterial," and goes to apply his own maxim, introduced at the beginning of the story.

Perhaps his own maxim is better than theirs, or perhaps, as Lacan suggests Dupin too has become a victim, fooled in some way, after he has possession of the letter.

The little story about the game of odd and even, and imitating the face of the person you are playing in order to feel what they are thinking good advice and analysed by Lacan elsewhere. I think that Lacan suggests it provides a key to understanding the story (as if the story needs another understanding!). The clever school boy copies expressions of others and predicts their behaviour. The preforms a sort of symbolic mimicry (if facial gestures are symbols too) in order to understand what an other thinks. Dupin overtly links the school boy (who may have been himself) to his own method of detection. As all great detectives do -- this story is repeated in many other subsequent detective stories -- Dupin performs"an identification of the reasoner's intellect with that of his opponent."

This is the thing that he says the Police can't do. They just apply their maxims. But then as noted, as soon as Dupin gets to the Minister's room, instead of copying the Minister he first looks in the writing cabinet (where Dupin subsequently hides the letter in his own apartment) and then applies his own maxim "hidden in plain sight" maxim. It works. Hmm....How about copying the Minister's "ennui?" (Is this a bad book or one with a hidden meaning!?)

Lacan seems to claim that the schoolboy's face copying is related to the copying of the letter that gets moved around. The Minister, Dupin, and perhaps in a sense the policeman make a copy of the letter, for which they exchange the real letter. Making a copy enables the Minister and Dupin to get the letter, like the boy's copying of faces enables him to understand his opponents' heart.

Derrida manages to relate this letter copying to the way in which we copy the words of others in our minds and then presume to have the meaning, the idea, of the original sender.

I would like to know more though about the background characters and events: the narrator, the "queen and king," the minister's brother, the evil turn that Minister did Dupin in Vienna, the person who sent the letter in the first place (family S? or is that of the presumed female fan that the minister has concocted?).

Dupin and D the same? Brothers? The effectiveness of his maxim application would be explained if Dupin were the double of Minister D. They are both active in the dark too.

What of the seal made of bread? What happened in Vienna? Who is the ministers brother???

The way in which the policeman leaves the room reminds me of the way in which Lacan's prisoner leaves the room, in his prisoner game. I think that the seminar in which he analyses the game may be the same as that in which he analyses the school boy's technique of facial mimicry in the same story.

I tried to reread Lacan's essay but find it too opaque. I don't think that Poe had some secret message but that Lacan is psychoanalysing Poe, and the detective genre. However at the same time, Poe was a cryptographer and may have liked to build structures into his works.

Lacan mentions only two scenes, the theft of the letter by the Minister and by Dupin. But there is a third when Dupin hands the letter to the Policeman.

Gets letter loses letter letter replaced by watches
sees nought
1 Minister Queen to queen from X similar, from or to minister King
2 Dupin Minister to minister from self to minister from Dupin Madman/Police
3 Policeman Dupin to ? from X to Dupin from Police Narrator

I can't help thinking that the Narrator should not have been able to understand something in the final scene. The only thing I can think of is that when the policeman gets the letter, replacing it with a cheque, he reads something in the letter that makes him realise what is going on, whereas the Narrator and the audience remain unclear to what is happening.

I suggest that Dupin is the queens lover.

We are told that he due his "politics" Dupin "acts as a partisan of the lady concerned". I.e. Dupin says that it is well known that he is a support of the queen. Is he only a supporter?

Furthermore we are told that the minister recognises the handwriting on the address of the letter he steals from the queen. When Dupin includes the cryptic piece of french prose which he did not himself write, he says "He [the minister] is well acquainted with my MS" where presumably "MS" stands for manuscript. How would an acquaintance of Dupin's "Manuscript" allow the Minister to ascertain that the letter from? Presumably from the handwriting. And we are told that the Minster recognised the letter that the "queen" had received from the handwriting. Had Dupin said "He [the minister] is well acquainted with my handwriting" it would have rather given the game away, hence the use of the rather ungainly "my MS."

Finally, we are told that the letter is now worth a lot of money. That there is a very large reward. At least one other critic has suggested that the 50,000 francs that Dupin receives is "a fraction" of the reward money. Why does Dupin sell the letter so cheaply? Why not claim the reward himself? If the letter were his own then presumably he would receive no reward from his lover the queen. But then in a previous story in the trilogy, Dupin has showed that he is not interested in money. Perhaps he just wants the letter to be destroyed, or that which is equivalent, to get to its destination.

It is also possible, to make the structure more regular, that the letter that Minister leaves in place of the one he steals may be from himself to the Queen (though it is rather unlikely that he reads his own letter, perhaps).

Gets letter loses letter letter replaced by watches
1 Minister Queen to queen from Dupin to Queen from minister King
2 Dupin Minister to minister from self to minister from Dupin Madman
3 Policeman Dupin to queen from self to Dupin from Policeman Narrator

The letter that Dupin steals back from the Minister, if originally written by him, and already open and read by the queen, does not really have a destination any more. Its destiny is to be destroyed. If it was originally penned by Dupin then he grabs it to save his secret being outed, more than anything.

Gets letter loses letter letter replaced by watches
1 Minister Queen to queen from Dupin to Queen from minister King
2 Dupin Minister to minister from self to minister from Dupin Madman
3 Policeman Dupin to self from self to Dupin from Policeman Narrator

The letter has become increasingly self-addressed.

I can't help thinking that the "King" "Madman" and "Narrator" might even be the same person! The narrator remains unaware throughout. But, in the second scene the Narrator would have to be mad to have forgotten that he was employed to fire a gun!

If the letter were originally from Dupin, then the policeman should have been more surprised when he eventually received the letter. IF the letter were originally from Dupin then one would expect a pause from the Policeman after he reads the letter and runs for the door. But the pause, of "some minutes" is before he signs the cheque. Perhaps we give the policemen less credit than he deserves.

Doesn't the policeman think, when Dupin offers to sell him the letter, "How come this guy has found the letter so easily, and clearly already has it in his possession?", "How come he is going to sell me the letter for so little?" It might have occurred to the policeman, who structurally is the position of the gaze that sees (he is in third scene the person who gets the letter, 'who gets it' who unravels the plot), that the reason why Dupin found the letter already, and will sell it for so little is because, after a pause, "Streuth, this guy sent the letter in the first place."

Returning to Lacan, to what extent can the structure of the story be related to the structure of the lacanian psyche. Lacan stresses that the persona represent different types of gaze. He also picks up on their use of symbols. Are there any characters that are more symbolic than others, more visual than others?

In the first scene the queen can see but is dumb. She can read but not say anything.
The minister can see the queen, the letter and the king and understand and act by using symbols, stealing one letter and replacing it with another. He is not seen by the king but seen by the queen. The king sees but does not understand. He does not do anything or use symbols.

Dupin in the second scene can seen but at least his eyes can not be seen (very much like myself). He also uses symbols (at least the second time he is there) again steeling a lttter are replacing it with another. The minister can been. They both can watch the mad man. The mad man uses a gun but sees nothing, understands nothing.

Dupin in the third scene may be sitting in the dark. The policeman's eyes can be seen. The policeman uses symbols to address a check.

It would be interesting to write a story about characters than can use symbols and not see, or see and not use symbols.

When Lacan says that we need both the imaginary and the symbolic to construct reality (Borromean knot), I have here to fore understood him to mean that a unity which is the self needs the incomplete feedback loops of sight and language to represent himself using the metaphore of a three or two card monte.

But perhaps there is a sense in which language can speak only vision and vision can see only language. I.e. these faculaties or modalities are each only able to see the other but not themseles (as in Lacan's prisioner game). If I were made up of two faculties each of which could only see the other this would explain, more neatly, why both modalities are required for self perception, or the feelng of self perception (and it would be very mebius strip like too).

Can sight see sight, can sight see language?
My sight can not see its eye unless that be determined as the whole of the screen itself. Even if it were the screen, the screen itself is generally speaking felt to be invisible. This may contradict some of what I have claimed about Japanese culture but, generally speaking, the screen, the visual field itself, the "mirror" itself, can not be seen only the contents.
Body can be seen mirrors, but that is not the seeing subject itself.
It might be argued that sight can only see symbols of self (is body self, or a symbol for sel?f), or that sight can only see self via language since any image of my body I have is always in a ground or context and always requires language to remove it from that ground or context. Sight can also see language as writing. Or if the imaginary might be widened to include sounds, phonemes, phonemes in mind then it might be able to say that in a sense we imagine language.

Can language mean sight, can language mean language?
I am not sure what it is to mean! Lacan claims that it can only mean another signifier. I am not sure if that means that language can only refer to language because language might be argued to be the (ghostly) world of the signified. On the other hand, nominalism such as that Derrida criticises in Rousseau who quotes Aristotle I think, seems to suggest that language (especially phonemes) name sights. "This is red." "This is a cat." Do I as language refer to myself as language or refer to myself in the world? It could be argued that when I refer to I or Timothy I always refer to something that can be seen and can not name my source of language. When I say I what am I refering to?
Taking a step back again, what does is the symbolic equivalent of "sight not being able to see itself"? Symbols can not symbolise themselves? Or I can not speak myself. Westerners generally assume, I think, that we can speak ourselves, but this, as the "contradition" I point out above (that Japanese may feel that they see themselves, or see "the mirror"), may be at the very least culturally relative, and possibly a delusion. Can I speak myself? This question has already been considered by Beneviste's critique of the esubject of utterancef or enunciator and the enunciated. I think that he pointed out that they were not necessarily the same, in the cogito, and not that they were necessarily different. Derrida, in this critique of Husserl however, points out (as I have waffled about too, here) that language existing as it does in time will always move on from the point of starting speech, such that I am I, or I know me, or any statement about self (or indeed the world) will not be able to take place at a temporal singularity so, perhaps it could be argued, the subject of utterance (whatever that may be - there is no mouth in my head but.... something is making these noises) is never, can never, enunciate itself.

Is there a parallelism here to do with both vision/the imaginary and language being....I would like to say "extended" but Descartes reserves this phrase for the visual imaginary... not-singularities?...extended

I am really getting into this idea though: that I am made up of two faculties that can each see itself only via the other. It might even make sense of Poe and Lacan's knots and strips. Like an invisible ghost that can see a blind man that can only speak of ghosts? This reminds me of "The Sixth Sense" and all those imaginary friends I wrote about on

Beneviste is online and I am reading him.

The ending of Lacan's essay suggests that Dupin was duping us. Perhaps Lacan is saying the same thing as me? Who knows.

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The Horor of the Other, of self-speech and the autoscopic gaze

"they pray to images, much as if they were talking to temple edifices, for they do not know what gods
and heroes are." Heraclitus

What is the most grotesque thing that you can think of?

Today in a online news outlet regarding Japan there was a news story about a gentleman that had his genitalia surgically removed and then cooked them and sold them to people who were prepared to pay. I was not particularly disgusted, and any disgust I felt I feel ashamed of. The gentleman in question is free to do as he pleases in accordance with the law. Most of those commenting on the news article did feel disgust. There are some things, such as cannibalism, that many people seem to find disgusting.

My experience of the structure of my self was considerably more disgusting to me.

I do not get embarrassed easily. I do not feel ashamed easily at all. But my experience of the breakdown of my self, was so disgusting that I have found it difficult to recount. I also think that if I recount my experience of myself, I will alienate any audience that might conceivably be listening, or reading. At the same time, I think that it is important to share that experience with people. Perhaps this is some kind of self-therapy attempt. I don't think that I am altruist.

But, whatever my motives, I do want to be honest. I wish to confess, admit, and share the fact that, whether I like it or not, I am someone that, well, went mad once and experienced something about my self. I do not mean "myself" so much as "my self." I went mad and saw a certain self structure that I found really disgusting. You can read about it in a blog post or two, or see a video of me attempting to explain it. I don't think that my own experience of my self's structure is applicable to many other people. I am not sure. It does not need to be identical. I suggest that the grotesquely horrible queasiness of the self only this part is common.

I experienced a sort of crumbling, a division of parts that I normally felt, feel, as a whole. Normally I feel that I am me, and only me, and that I have no parts. But in that mad experience it seemed that I was more than one person. I felt as though I was three people. I became or realised I was a real giant me, and two roles that real me was playing: a listening me, and a speaking me. There was also a sense of loss, so perhaps there was a fourth part to the structure too.

Why was it disgusting?

I felt that I was engaging in homo-erotic, incestual, self love: that I was, my self was, is at its essence, a homo-erotic incestualism. I was (and am) in love with mother as simulated in my mind, and having a romantic, or even sexual, relationship with her. I was creating a woman within myself and in a sense, continually, chatting her up. I was making myself female. I was feminising myself for the purpose of this auto-erotic intra-cranial incestual fantasy. And the worst part is that I think that I continue to do this to this day. I continued then, and I continue now. I am engaging in a homo-auto-incestual fantasy. And this, it seems to me, is why I have a self at all. I can not think of anything more disgusting.

There are many theories as to the origin of the self.

Mead presents one of the best most sober, renditions.

In order to have a self we need to see ourselves from an objective point of view. In order to see oneself from an objective point of view, one needs to internalise the viewpoints of others (plural). In order to have a self, an independent self perhaps, one needs to create within oneself a "Generalised other," the perspective of oneself as it were, from no-where. How is this possible. Mead's sober Anglo Saxon explanation is mathematical or logical. The more views that one has of oneself the more one understands oneself. And by combining these views one can achieve objective self-hood, from the viewpoint of *not* one's mother, *not* ones father, but from a sort of mathematically, logically, systematically amalgamated general view point. How is this possible? Mead does not say. It sounds reasonable. But it is difficult to conceive of.

Freud is more vague. He also has a sort of generalised other in the form of the "super ego". Freud has written a lot and I do not pretend to have read everything he has written but in one rendition of the origin of the super ego (though he does not use that phrase in the paper in question) he suggest a historical event: that an alpha-male, woman monopolising primal father was killed by brothers who internalised the father figure that they had killed, and felt so guilty about that murder that they repressed it. In this rendition there is the horror, the shame or guilt, but towards a concrete act. That slaying of the primal father seems unlikely.

Bakhtin does not explain the origin of his super addressee. He just says that we always presume the presence of another addressee of our language. He suggests that this super addressee is a presumed God.

Lacan wavers. On the one had his "Other" seems to be language itself, a sort of neo Kantian (these days championed by Chomsky and Pinker) static, systematic, non-persona-ised version of the "generalised other". By non-persona-ized, I mean that the other from which we see the self is (under a non persona-alised, non personalised account) something that is not a simulated human. It, the other of our self speech, is rather a system, a structure, something that is not seen as a person. I think that his view is probably very popular among many theorists, or anyone with a scientific outlook. This generalised-other-as-system view does not require anything grotesque. If we understand ourselves from a generalised point of view then it is because we understand language. Language is our other, not a person at all. How nice, how clean and un-queasy that would be if it were the case.

There is another side to Lacan and Derrida, that however, does suggest a more personalised, or animistic view of the Other/super-adressee/generalised other. I would like to draw readers attention to two texts. Lacan's interpretation of an Edgar Allen Poe story, and Derrida's "The Postcard." Both of these texts are extremely opaque. These thinkers are never very clear but in these two texts, which they seem to address to each other, (even as they address themselves) there are aspects which I reverberate with my own (anomalous perhaps) crumbling of self.

Derrida's book "The Postcard," includes an collection of postcards, a long series of them, all written by the same author, Derrida, to an unknown recipient, a lover. After the postcards, there is an essay of massive opaqueness regarding Lacan's interpretation of Edgar Allen Poe.

Why is it that these too famous thinkers, wrote such horribly difficult to understand texts? I think that they were ashamed of what they were writing about. I think that they had a similar (though different) experience to me. And they, as academics, with position in society, could not share the facts of what they were writing about in a straightforward way. Not that that was the only reason. It was one of the reasons. The facts of the self are so abhorrent, so disgusting, so queasy, that even philosophers of the self are unable to say them in a more straight forward way.

I understand Lacan's text perhaps far less than Derrida. I may not understand Derrida at all. But it seemed to me that Derrida's postcards, addressed to a lover, were self-addressed. Derrida is famous for his instance that the phoneme is no different from the letter.

We all engage in self-speech. We all talk to ourselves. Derrida emphasises that talking to oneself is always in time. We can not talk to oneself instantaneously. The time it takes to say, think, or recall phonemes in self-speech, is. It takes time. There is nothing special about the phoneme. It is more ephemeral. But there is no digital distance, no dualism, no radical shift, between speaking to oneself and sending oneself postcards. Derrida writes these postcards about a picture of Plato and Socrates to himself, addressing himself as his own lover. He Derrida, is in love with Derrida in the future, the time that it take for a postcard to reach its destination. And he suggests that this self-correspondence is auto-erotic, and homosexual. Of course it is homosexual because there is only Derrida there. Only one guy. Only one recipient. But in time they split themselves and love each other, homo-erotically. Derrida makes jokes about the homo erotic aspect of the pictorial side of the postcard he is sending. His message for me is, as he said elsewhere that the self speech that we do is basically pretty grotesque, a homo erotic, intra-psychic (i.e. within ones own head) masturbation.

Lacan's reading of Poe is even more opaque. You might think that as someone who believed in the importance of the internalisation of language would be especially clear when recounting the way in which this occurs and the effect that it is has. But in this most important of points, this most important of things that need to be explained, Lacan is as confusing as he ever gets. Even so, Lacan too mentions that "the letter," feminises the person that has purloined it. For my money (of course I am biased) the purloiner purloins a letter that is addressed to a "Queen," and makes a Queen of himself. The purloiner, like Derrida's postcard sender, keeps a letter that should have been addressed to a queen. In a sense perhaps, he readdresses the letter to himself. He sends to himself a letter that should have been written to a woman, and in so doing womanises himself.

I am not a French dude. I don't try to speak in riddles.

It seems to me that self-speech, is not just to ourselves. There is as Bakhtin, Mead, Freud, and perhaps Lacan, there is a presumed, simulated other, other than oneself. As Hermans and Kempen point out we can and do simulate the ears of many others, of our friends, of people we envisage speaking to. But for there to be a "generalised" and or "super" other, an "Other" (with a capital) we need to speak to someone that at the same time we hide. I reject the nice, clean, logical, Kantian, Pinkerian, other-as-system. I think that Bakhtin and Wittgenstein are right to say that language is always discursive, it takes place in a presumed at least, dialogue, a game.

But at the same time we do have a super-ego, we do have a capitalised Other, we do have a super-addressee. This is possible because we repress the simulated capitalised Other, super-addressee. We are able repress this other, or continue to repress this other, because it is so queasy, so horribly, horribly queasy, or just plain horrible.

If so then perhaps this may explain why the Japanese, who may have internalised a co-gaze (Kitayama, 2005) or a mirror in the head, read and watch narratives and cinema in the horror genre which seems to feature monstrous women getting out of images, TV sets (Ringu), mirrors (Juuon, Mirrors), photo developer (Juuon), Lanterns (Oiwasan), and scrolls (Izakaya Yurei). I suggest that these represent the horror that keeps the gaze of the Japanese Other, hidden, generalised, capitalised, in place.

Derrida, J. (1987). The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. (A. Bass, Trans.) (First ed.). University Of Chicago Press.
Freud, S. (1913). Totem and taboo. (A. A. Brill, Trans.). New York: Moffat, Yard and Company. Retrieved from
Hermans, H. J. M., & Kempen, H. J. G. (1993). The dialogical self: Meaning as movement. Academic Press.
Kitayama, O. kRC. (2005). _. uk.
Lacan, J., & Mehlman, J. (1972). Seminar one The Purloined Letterf. Yale French Studies, (48), 39–72.
Lacan, J. (2007). Ecrits: The First Complete Edition in English. (B. Fink, Trans.) (1st ed.). W W Norton & Co Inc.
Bakhtin, M. M. (1986). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. (V. W. McGee, Trans.) (Second Printing.). University of Texas Press.
Mead, G. H. (1967). Mind, self, and society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist (Vol. 1). The University of Chicago Press.

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May 02, 2012

Mary is a in a story, not a room

Mary's problem (Jackson, 1982) is not that she is in a physical room isolated from the world of experience, but that "Mary" is a part of a thought experiment, a word, or what a word expresses, and she lives in a story. Mary knows all and only the words about colour. Her question her story poses is how can anyone 'know' (note that know is a word) something that is not a word. If people can't know things that are not words, then they can't know them irrespective of whether they are in a room or not.

So do I mean to say that this is a language problem rather than a physicalist problem? Not really, they are the same problem. There 'is' nothing outside the text.

One can't argue with people who say that there is nothing outside the text. "What then?"they will ask, and they will take our silence as proof of their victory. I 'met' one on line once who wanted to to prove to me that there is nothing outside language. I became silent and I suppose he continued to believe he was right. I think perhaps conquering people into silence helps such people to maintain their belief in omnipresent omniscience of words.

Hellie, one of the commentators in the book about Jackson's essay says similar things.

Hellie suggests that (i) the gcore idea behind the knowledge argumenth is that gan expressible concept and an inexpressible concept cannot both denote the same entityh and infers that (ii) gthe passage through knowledge is largely a detourh (Hellie 2004, p. 350).

I largely agree but I feel sorry for him. "Inexpressible concept" is pretty weird, and would come under the same kind of attack. "What is that then?" They may ask, as usual.

Furthermore, I think that that the interesting thing about Mary is that we are all Mary, we are all in her room. The colours we are not seeing, the ones that would enable us to know "what colours look like", are not visible to any of us. If we see anything at all then what ever it is, it is not colours. Colours are what we can agree on.

I think that the world is that impossible place 'outside' where we presume we are, or make the mistake that we are. In that world the expressible world and the inexpressible world meet. We go around thinking that unlike Mary we know what red looks like, but how could "red look like" anything? Strictly speaking the sentence is nonsense. A plane can look like a bird but red only looks like red, and neither the subject or predicate of that sentence are any different from each other.

Fortunately perhaps we do think that "expressible concepts" and "inexpressible concepts" "denote the same entity." Or rather we do believe in the meeting point of sound and vision, or the meeting point between the itterable and the extensive, which usually means between sound and vision.

Perhaps originally we do believe in the meeting of word and vision in people, but people are all rather ventriloquists.

Or drifting off into the world of Christian mysticism we believe that a sounds can come from vision because we believe one can put an apple in ones mouth, or body in ones mouth, and have it come again as a word.

I get the feeling that we are all in Mary's room, or that there is a Mary in our room. Is it purely a coincidence that a lot of men are getting worked up about a woman in room on her own with only people, or a person, to talk to about the world? Does she correspond to anything in their, our psyche?

Hellie, B. (2004). Inexpressible Truths and the Allure of the Knowledge Argument. Therefs something about Mary: essays on phenomenal consciousness and Frank Jacksonfs knowledge argument, 333.
Jackson, F. (1986). What Mary didnft know. The Journal of Philosophy, 83(5), 291–295.

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