Lecture 42

The question of subject and object functions – we are looking at this at the moment.

We might hear something like this: Hegel is a very subjectivistic thinker; what does it means to call someone a subjective thinker. In someone’s mind, he is theoretically exaggerating the subjective. We now have to decide what the subjective is, it goes back to subject; what does that mean?

As we saw last time, for the most part, subject has meant the realm of mind. We have: the experiencing subject; the experienced world or object. This is the way subject and object are used.

In the middle ages, philosophers distinguished properties and qualities of things. I said we had to look at the Latin words in these two terms: Properties propos – my own proper self; properties are characteristics that are its own. Characteristics that it has in and of itself without reference to something else.

Qualities – quala – it means of what sort it is for the other person or thing; qualities have to do with characteristics it has in reference to another.

This distinction was no longer observed on the seventeenth century and everything became qualities – primary and secondary

Wiley chapter 5:

Since the advent of the Copernican theory …. things are not what they seem, neither are what they have been said to be by the authorities.

Rapid rise of mathematical physics we get men who have this peculiar angle of vision as a special science who come by the materials by abstraction, but not aware it is an abstraction, and so comes to think of this matter as the world. It becomes a concrete world of real things. So we get matter and mind.

For Galileo, properties of figure, motion were the primary qualities of matter, qualities said to be in things and could be measurable and expressible in mathematical formulae. Secondary qualities such as taste, colour, sound. Secondary because they are irrelevant to mechanics AND they are mental phenomenon, they are only in relation to the senses, not objective entities.

Two divisions: man and the world; subjective and objective. It’s what every one thinks, it must be right, right? No!

Sound is nothing more than physical waves – sound is not waves, sound is what I’m hearing. In all physics classes people are taught that sound is waves in motion!

Psychical object functions require the lower subject functions.

There is no creation except man at the centre. Everything created is in reference to him. We don’t have things without this subject-object correlation. Object functions are not actualised until creatures having certain level of subject functions are present.

Anything in God’s creation all these functions either subjectively or objectively. Let’s take water.

Physical this is the highest law sphere in which water has a subject function. Water has relations to plants and animals.

Biotic Water is indispensable for all organic plants; organic functioning requires water. He created creatures so that water is indispensable for their being. Water doesn’t have an organic subject function. It has an organic object function.
Psychical Humans enjoy the feel of water – bathing, fishing etc. When it’s warm enough whole populations migrate because of the feel of water – it doesn’t mean water goes around feeling. It has no psychical subject function. water functions in the psychical world objectively.

Social Put water in a glass and add ice cubes, it enhances the social meeting. The social functioning is not adequately described without introducing water as an element in it.
Economic Water has a high monetary value. If you don’t believe me go to the desert!

Plants has biotic as highest subject function and animals sensitive as highest subject function. In training animals they are reacting instinctively, condition and response – not something they initiate on their own. It belongs to the instinct, the senses, not the social.

Wiley: For Galileo and Descartes, colour or sound (secondary qualities) is merely a sign in consciousness of the existence of this reality outside. The sense do not give knowledge of the thing itself – this is behind Locke’s empiricism by the way – only the abstracting intellect can approach such knowledge of the thing in itself. It does so by filtering sense impressions as clear as possible of subjective ingredients. That’s what the scientific mind does; only science opens up reality to us.

True knowledge would be knowledge to which the mind itself contributed nothing.
Thus the analysis of the properties of matter into primary and secondary in the seventeenth century effort to separte the true from the false, primary being true and secondary false or fictitious. Descartes used those words: what the sense present us with is false or fictitious.

To get to what is really real we must get away from the mind!

What the seventeenth century called secondary qualities and which the medieveal metaphysicists called qualities as distinct from properties we call psychical object functions, but that’s not all the object functions that there are.

There are a whole range of object functions. Even Greeks, Socrates made a big point of technical object functions. Socratessays: ‘No man knowingly errs’; he has reduced the mind to the technical dimension, he is technicistic. No man would make shoes of marble, a man must know his piece, he doesn’t err. Man and the craftsman as the object function.

The Greeks recognised different object functions. Economic object functions: ‘economic goods’ – we refer to things, physical or plants or even man as a slave, as economic objects. They are economically manageable. With -ing on the end it is an object function; with -able it denotes a subject function.

What is a point? Only when we get geometrically, spatially, extended figures, we get points. Only in this connection, with spatial subject functions, we get points, a point points back to the discontinuity of the number series; they belong to a higher modality but point back to a lower modality. Likewise, the path of Mars or Venus, we know it so exactly, we can send out objects to be there at the appointed time, a mathematical circuit we can determine. But the paths is not Mars, Mars is a physical body, its path is a place in space, but you don’t have it until we get to the kinematic. The path of Mars refers back to the earlier modality of spatial extendedness and yet it can only occur in a kinematical subject function. That is what we call a kinematic object function. And so we find it all the way up.

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