Concept Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 910 quotes )
We need to return from the self-centred concept of sincerity to the other-centred concept of truth. We are not isolated free choosers, monarchs of all we survey, but benighted creatures sunk in a reality whose nature we are constantly and overwhelmingly tempted to deform by fantasy. Our current picture of freedom encourages a dream-like facility; whereas what we require is a renewed sense of the difficulty and complexity of the moral life and the opacity of persons. We need more concepts in terms of which to picture the substance of our being; it is through an enriching and deepening of concepts that moral progress takes place. Simone Weil said that morality was a matter of attention not of will. We need a new vocabulary of attention.
I don't approve of mixing ideologies," Ivanov continued. "There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units. The other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community--which may dispose of it as an experimentation rabbit or a sacrificial lamb. The first conception could be called anti-vivisection morality, the second, vivisection morality. Humbugs and dilettantes have always tried to mix the two conceptions; in practice, it is impossible.
Any Christianity that rests upon a dichotomy - some sort of platonic concept - simply does not have an answer to nature, and we must say with tears that much orthodoxy, much evangelical Christianity, is rooted in a platonic concept, wherein the only interest is in the "upper story", in the heavenly things - only in "saving the soul" and getting it to heaven. In this platonic concept, even though orthodox and evangelical terminology is used, there is little or no interest in the proper pleasures of the body or the proper uses of the intellect. In such a Christianity there is a strong tendency to see nothing in nature beyond its use as one of the classic proofs of God's existence. "Look at nature," we are told; "Look at the Alps. God must have made them." And that is the end. Nature has become merely an academic proof of the existence of the Creator, with little value in itself. Christians of this outlook do not show an interest in nature itself. They use it simply as an apologetic weapon, rather than thinking or talking about the real value of nature.
That immense framework and planking of concepts to which the needy man clings his whole life long in order to preserve himself is nothing but a scaffolding and toy for the most audacious feats of the liberated intellect. And when it smashes this framework to pieces, throws it into confusion, and puts it back together in an ironic fashion, pairing the most alien things and separating the closest, it is demonstrating that it has no need of these makeshifts of indigence and that it will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard? of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.
The man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality -- the man who lives to serve others -- is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit. The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man, and he degrades the conception of love. But that is the essence of altruism
I find that some philosophers think that my whole approach to qualia is not playing fair. I do?t respect the standard rules of philosophical thought experiments.?But Dan, your view is so counterintuitive? No kidding. Tha?s the whole point. Of course it is counterintuitive. Nowhere is it written that the true materialist theory of consciousness should be blandly intuitive. I have all along insisted that it may be very counterintuitive. Tha?s the trouble with?pur? philosophical method here. It has no resources for developing, or even taking seriously, counterintuitive theories, but since it is a very good bet that the true materialist theory of consciousness will be highly counterintuitive (like the Copernican theory--at least at first), this means that?pur? philosophy must just concede impotence and retreat into conservative conceptual anthropology until the advance of science puts it out of its misery. Philosophers have a choice: they can play games with folk concepts (ordinary language philosophy lives on, as a kind of aprioristic social anthropology) or they can take seriously the claim that some of these folk concepts are illusion-generators. The way to take that prospect seriously is to consider theories that propose revisions to those concepts.
Let man then contemplate the whole of nature in her full and grand majesty, and turn his vision from the low objects which surround him. Let him gaze on that brilliant light, set like an eternal lamp to illumine the universe; let the earth appear to him a point in comparison with the vast circle described by the sun; and let him wonder at the fact that this vast circle is itself but a very fine point in comparison with that described by the stars in their revolution round the firmament. But if our view be arrested there, let our imagination pass beyond; it will sooner exhaust the power of conception than nature that of supplying material for conception. The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample bosom of nature. It is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere. In short it is the greatest sensible mark of the almighty power of God, that imagination loses itself in that thought.
I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There's no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Paine pointed out, you may if you wish take on a another man's debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves.
Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.
In the modern view, the pitched roof was itself a “dead concept,” but equally unhealthy were all those other dead concepts that got stored underneath the gable, in the attic. For there is where the ghosts of our past reside: the bric-abrac and mementos that a lifetime collects; the love letters, photographs, and memories that clutter an attic and threaten to bear us back in time.
In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague? and for the Far East? unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
The bright image projections of the Sophoclean hero--in short, the Apollinian aspect of the mask--are necessary effects of a glance into the inside and terrors of nature; as it were, luminous spots to cure eyes damaged by gruesome night. Only in this sense may we believe that we properly comprehend the serious and important concept of "Greek cheerfulness." The misunderstanding of this concept as cheerfulness in a state of unendangered comfort is, of course, encountered everywhere today.
The ingenerating of a principle of grace in the soul seems in Scripture to be compared to the conceiving of Christ in the womb... And the conception of Christ in the womb of the blessed virgin by the power of the Holy Ghost, seems to be a designed resemblance of the conception of Christ in the soul of a believer by the power of the same Holy Ghost.
Just as a concept becomes a unit when integrated with others into a wider concept, so a genus becomes a single unit, a species, when integrated with others into a wider genus. For instance, “table” is a species of the genus “furniture,” which is a species of the genus “household goods,” which is a species of the genus “man-made objects.” “Man” is a species of the genus “animal,” which is a species of the genus “organism,” which is a species of the genus “entity.
I guess I should say a little bit about my method - I really am a fence sitter. I *loathe* Science and am always keen to attack it in most situations, though not here, because I love Reason and I'm perfectly aware of the difference. I also know what a concept means like Rules of Evidence. I'm not sure that's a concept as widely circulated in these circles as it needs to be - in other words, how *do* you tell shit from shinola? That's very critical. I think reason can only take us a certain distance, and then we have to go with the divine imagination, but with all safety systems fully in operation, or the divine imagination will lead us into complete paranoia.
Whenever I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological. That is a large statement, and it is dangerous to make it, for almost anything you say about Southern belief can be denied in the next breath with equal propriety. But approaching the subject from the standpoint of the writer, I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner, who isn't convinced of it, is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God. Ghosts can be very fierce and instructive. They cast strange shadows, particularly in our literature. In any case, it is when the freak can be sensed as a figure for our essential displacement that he attains some depth in literature.