File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1998/bhaskar.9807, message 3


Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 01:24:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re:  BHA: Causal powers of absence - are they real?


Louis,

I'm sorry I don't have time to respond properly on the heart growing 
fonder.  My basic point though goes to the entire question of lack or 
desire as an element of intentional agency.  I ran a quote from the 
17th century zen monk Hakuin at the bottom of my posts for a good long 
while which read "what is there just now you lack"  No punctuation.  
Eminently dialectical.  The notion of lack is very important to agency, a 
powerful conceptual tool.  But for me it makes more sense to think of 
it as a product of semiotic work.  This causes me to inquire how I come 
to specify a counterfactual, etc.  The notion of absence without more 
risks losing ongoing inquiry in precisely an empty void.  The way we 
are motivated by our lacks has traditionally been analyzed as a final 
cause, and I think it is true that we do tend to think that if it aint 
efficient it aint cause as a result of positivism's view that cause is 
one thing striking another, I suppose.  I do that and have to remind 
myself that we do other things with causal explanation than identify 
what the active force is.  But the final cause which explains why we 
have done something is a product of semiotic work -- because of syntax 
we can imagine a world that includes the presence of the one we love, 
imagine touch, etc., and then set about to transform the world in 
function of our imaginings, making our reasons real.  

But I want to come back to the ontology of information.  Bhaskar has 
very good stuff in SRHE and Rec;laiming Reality on "the concept of a 
fact."  Facts are real also on causal criteria.  It seems we need to be 
careful to specify nature and structure and mechanisms of generation in 
this case too.

Howard


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