Thursday, 15 April 2010

Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance - 49th Weekly Meeting - CHANGE OF TOPIC

Dear all

We learn that unfortunately Mr Axenov will not be able to give his talk as he could not obtain the visa. While hoping that he will visit us in the near future we revert to Descartes.

At the 49th session of the Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance on Friday 16 April 2010, from 6.00 to 8.00pm, in room 5.16, 309 Regent Street (University of Westminster), we will read further from the Discourse on Method ( ) with Joe’s insight: “The Cogito is Entirely Impersonal”.

Descartes' meta-method outside inventing analytical geometry is to provide us with a via negativa. We eliminate the implausible, the impossible, and the uncertain, and look for that which we cannot deny. We can deny our schooling, our teachers, books, cultures, chat and cant but this effort of elimination cannot itself be denied. The cogito ergo sum ("I think therefore I am") is not a positive statement about the being (Dasein) but a reflection on the noninvertibility of the pattern of thought, which cannot itself be denied. It is a statement of three compact assertions: (1) the personal act of thinking, (2) the assertion of personal being, and (3) the assertion of the linkage between the act of thinking and the sense of personal being. This holy trinity of assertions is unmeaningful to those who have not themselves undertaken the process of elimination--to strip naked and pay back all that is borrowed. What we have left after the process, after the method, is the austere design. Is this the trivial equivalence--the obvious given duality of mind and body--or is this a version of the surprising "many is one" argument? That the List of infinite particular thoughts are equivalent to one Property of existence? As we have said before such rationalistic analytical assertions are better read as hypotheticals of what we could be. The cogito is not about you in the particular--it is about what cannot be denied about you without denying the existence in the particular that is you.

At 8pm we – bodies, minds, many in one, whatever you think – will aim to Vapiano (19-21 Great Portland Street, W1W 8QB)

See you on Friday!
Joe and Laura

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