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The dream of modernity

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The dream of modernity finding meaning in the modern tradition
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Mitchell, Galen
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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Postmodernism ( lcsh )
Meaning (Philosophy) ( lcsh )
Meaning (Philosophy) ( fast )
Postmodernism ( fast )
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theses ( marcgt )
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This paper argues that in order for philosophy to move forward without undue baggage, post-modernism should be addressed from the analytic perspective--including the contemporary philosophy that has grown out of it. This paper takes up that task with relation to Derrida's "Differance" through a discussion of language and meaning in Frege, Russell, Quine and Paul Churchland. In discussing the differences between these thinkers' theories of meaning we can see that post-modernism, at least with regard to Derrida's account of language and meaning in "Differance," was a false start that ultimately provided an unnecessary critique of modern positions. This is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of the modern tradition itself, and an incorrect interpretation of Nietzsche. In the course of making this argument, we gain insight into the commonalities shared by the two major branches of the modern tradition (analytic philosophy and continental philosophy) and can see that they provide complementary accounts of language and meaning (Churchland's neurosemantics and Habermas' communicative reason).
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver. Humanities and social sciences
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
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by Galen Mitchell.

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Full Text
THE DREAM OF MODERNITY:
FINDING MEANING IN THE MODERN TRADITION
by
Galen Mitchell
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, 2009
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
Humanities and Social Sciences Program
2013


This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by
Galen Mitchell
has been approved for the
Humanities and Social Sciences Program
by
Candice Shelby, Chair
Myra Bookman
Gabriel Zamosc-Regueros
April 11th, 2013
11


Mitchell, Galen (M.H., Humanities and Social Sciences)
The Dream of Modernity: Finding Meaning in the Modern Tradition
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Candice Shelby.
ABSTRACT
This paper argues that in order for philosophy to move forward without undue
baggage, post-modernism should be addressed from the analytic perspectiveincluding
the contemporary philosophy that has grown out of it. This paper takes up that task with
relation to Derridas Differance through a discussion of language and meaning in
Frege, Russell, Quine and Paul Churchland. In discussing the differences between these
thinkers theories of meaning we can see that post-modernism, at least with regard to
Derridas account of language and meaning in Differance, was a false start that
ultimately provided an unnecessary critique of modern positions. This is due, in part, to a
misunderstanding of the modem tradition itself, and an incorrect interpretation of
Nietzsche. In the course of making this argument, we gain insight into the commonalities
shared by the two major branches of the modem tradition (analytic philosophy and
continental philosophy) and can see that they provide complementary accounts of
language and meaning (Churchlands neurosemantics and Habermas communicative
reason).
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Candice Shelby
in


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my parents, Steve and Jisele, for putting up with my
incessant questions, and to my wife Laura, for putting up with my incessant answers.
Without their patience and support over the years, I never would have been able to take
this silliness so seriously.
I love you all.
IV


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank Deane Curtin and Douglas Huff at Gustavus Adolphus
College for taking a Political Science major under their wings and doing their best to
make him into a decent student of philosophy with only a couple semesters left until his
graduation. Their classes were the highlight of my academic career at Gustavus, and they
showed me that its true what Socrates said: an unexamined life isnt worth living. I
would also like to thank Candice Shelby at the University of Colorado, Denver for
inspiring me to be better at all this than I am, and for introducing me to the analytic
traditionincluding all of the amazing contemporary philosophy that has followed from
it. Candices energy and enthusiasm for the strange and curious problems of philosophy
is infectious, and without her help, this ship of Theseus of a thesis would be at the bottom
of the Mediterranean. Finally, I would like to thank my dogs for reminding me that
sometimes, playing with a ball in the backyard is more important than staring at books.
Ok, most of the time.
v


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. TRADITIONS AND GOALS.............................................. 1
The Goal of Modernism...............................................1
An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?...................2
The Goal of Post-Modernism..........................................5
II. SENSES AND REFERENCES AND DOGMATIC DIFFERANCES....................7
Difference..........................................................8
Frege and Russell..................................................12
Quine..............................................................22
III. THE WAY FORWARD.................................................36
Epistemology Naturalized...........................................36
Brains, Brains, the Meaningful Fruit...............................39
Neurosemantics.....................................................41
Neuronal Holism....................................................45
Language...........................................................48
Habermas and Modem Reunification...................................49
IV. THE MODERN NIETZSCHE.............................................54
On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life..................55
The Birth of Tragedy...............................................59
Beyond Good and Evil...............................................61
V. AN EXTENDED METAPHOR.............................................66
vi


REFERENCES


LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE
I. DERRIDAS THEORY OI MEANING............................. 11
II. FREGES THEORY 01 MEANING.............................. 15
III. RUSSELL'S THEORY 01 MEANING...........................20
IV. QUINES THEORY 01 MEANING..............................31
viii


PREFACE
Suffice to say, modernism is somewhat complicated.
For most of those working in the modern traditionparticularly its more
analytically flavored branchthe problems pointed out by the post-moderns are not
actually problems at all, and certainly not worth the time to address them. For these
moderns, what addressing needs to be done has already been done. This attitude has led
to the fact that most modems dismiss post-modernism entirely. Still, there are some
within the modern tradition who tackle issues highlighted by post-moderns; this is best
exemplified in Nagels The View From Nowhere, which tackles issues relating to the split
between subjectivity and objectivity. That said, as many moderns are bound to point out:
these crossovers of the The View From Nowhere sort are not really crossovers at all.
Instead, they are cases in which modems tackle issues that arose within the modem
traditionthere is no need to "crossover" to post-modernity, in tackling concerns relating
to modern accounts from within the modem tradition. Objectivity, for example, the
question Nagel tackles in The View From Nowhere, is not a question pursued solely by
post-modernists, and tackling it does not make one a post-modem. If anything, it just
makes someone ambitious.
However, for those who draw upon the post-modern tradition, the concerns of the
movement are more relevant. Marking oneself a post-modern or even consciously
living in the wake of post-modernism implies a belief that a departure has been made
from the modern traditionthat modernism is in some way defunct, or at the very least
naive. This attitude gives rise to a number of claims by post-modernists and their
IX


sympathizers that modernism is positivistic, scientisticin the pejorative senseas
well logocentric. Claims that modernism is positivistic and scientistic can be found
throughout Heideggers phenomenological skepticism. Foucault and Habermas (along
with the Frankfurt School in general) similarly attack modernisms positivistic
tendencies. The claim of modern scientism then goes on to appear in Richard Rortys
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. The critique of modern logocentrism inevitably
relies primarily on Derridas analysis of language. For these thinkers, modernism is said
to be positivistic in that it supposedly disregards intuition; requiring all knowledge to
be rational and based in sensory experience. It is then said to be scientistic in that it
supposedly believes the only valid pursuit of knowledge is through the scientific method.
Modernisms supposed logocentrism then refers to a supposedly undeniable aspect of
modern theories in which they privilege logos above all else. This charge is based on
the belief that modern theories assume there is some definite irreducible thing through
which our experience is mediateda platonic form, for example. Along these lines, post-
moderns such as Jacques Derrida believe modernism is lacking an ability to deal with the
fluidity of knowledge and meaning due to its privileging the word or reference in the
formation of meaning. This, as we will see, is not necessarily the case. Regardless, post-
moderns do not dismiss modernism in quite the same way that modems dismiss post-
modernism. Modernism is definitive of post-modernism in at least the oppositional sense.
The point at which post-moderns are dismissive of modernism in the same way the
moderns are of post-modernism is in relation to contemporary modern positions which
they believeare based on failed foundations.
x


This dismissiveness on both sides of the divide is rarely overcome. Habermas is
one of the few avowed moderns to take post-modernism seriously, and he works within
the continental traditiona modern tradition, but one that has always been sympathetic
to post-modernism, due to the roots that it shares with the post-modern movement. So,
with so few moderns taking post-modernism seriously, it is important that the issue be
considered from a modem perspective. Habermas can't be the only one to tackle post-
modernismit's much too slippery for one man to hold down, and it has been known to
throw an elbow here and there.
For this reason, it is especially important that post-modernism be considered from
an analytic perspective. The two movementspost-modernism and analytic
philosophyshare a close temporal proximity. This fact, combined with the vast
differences between the two, provides evidence that they comprise two distinct
theoretical paths that diverged at the start of the 20th century. Once we have analyzed
these two roads to an account of how language works, we can see that the post-modem
account is an unnecessary detour. In doing so, we arrive at a theoretical perspective at
which we can view the conflict between modernism and post-modernism in general. This
is made possible, in part, because theories of meaning are conceptually central to the
traditions in which they appear.
In addition, by lending an analytic hand to Habermas we have the opportunity to
present a theory of modernism that helps bridge the gap between the continental and
analytic branches of the modem tradition. This is possible by providing an account of
analytic modernism that mirrors Habermas account of continental modernisms internal
counter-discourse (which has existed since Nietzsche) that makes the post-modem
xi


detour unnecessary. With this done, contemporary modern philosophy can move forward
as a unifiedif not differentiatedmovement and without undue baggage. It can do this
without ignoring the post-modern movement (as it often does) and without completely re-
inventing itself (as many post-moderns seem to advocate). This is made possible by
understanding the post-modern movement as a mistakea false startthat never truly
got off the ground due to two factors: a misreading of the modern traditions goals, and
its own prejudices. This paper is dedicated to bringing the analytic tradition to bear on
post-modernism, in order to arrive at this understanding and move on.
Xll


CHAPTER I
TRADITIONS AND GOALS
The viability of the modern tradition has been questioned nearly from its
inception. Each successive entry into the discourse of modernity has been to propose a
revision, or an outright critique of the discourse. This process of self-reflection can be
said to have come to a head in French philosophy during the latter half of the 20th
century with the post-modern movement. However, modernism continues to find its
champions. These champions all find varying solutions to post-modern critiques and their
solutions make a persuasive argument for the viability of the modem tradition, and post-
modernisms status as a mistake or a false start. For the purposes of this paper, we will
limit discussion of modernisms viability to the role of language and the formation of
meaning. However, we should first be clear what we're talking about when we say "the
modern tradition" or "modernism."
The Goal of Modernism
In discussing something as large as a philosophical tradition, it is helpful to
simplify. In this vein, what seems most simple and yet representative of a tradition is its
goal. So, what is the goal of modernism? We might be tempted to look for hints in the
term "modem" itself. In this particular case, the surface level usage of the term can only
go so far, and no doubt this has caused some amount of confusion in its use. As far as
philosophy goes, the most superficial sense in which "modem" can be taken is "in
opposition to traditional." However, the extent and type of oppositional nature that
"modern" has with regard to "traditional" cannot be seen without digging a bit deeper. In
analyzing the term's usage, we can see that "modern" should not be taken simply as
1


opposed to "traditional." Instead, it is only initially constituted by that opposition.
Modernism is not any one thing when separated from that opposition. Rationalism,
empiricism, and idealism are all modem movements despite their disagreements. This is
because they all have this systematic opposition to traditional beliefs and their inherent
dogmatism at their core. Tradition, in this case, means: inherited beliefs presented as a
given body of knowledge.
In this sense, the modern enterprise encourages individual experimentation and
interrogation of traditional thought; this is what makes it an "enterprise" in the first place.
In addition, what becomes clear with this definition is that modernism is concerned with
progress. Progress, in this case means: moving toward more nuanced and less dogmatic
theories without an assumption of an ultimate end. To be modern is to strive forward
without being restrained by the limitations of the past, and without artificially limiting
future progress. In this way, theoretical freedom is paramount in the modern tradition.
However, this active sense of modem can beand has beendifficult for
contemporary philosophers to apprehend. This is due to the fact that modernism itself has
become "traditional" at times, and it is reliant on tradition (in the given body of
knowledge sense) as a starting point. This may explain why some philosophers still find
themselves caught in a loop, constantly returning to the past for answers and unable to
break free. It also explains why others take the sense in which "modern" is opposed to
"tradition" to an extreme and attempt to break from the modem enterprise itself.
An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?
So far we have discussed modernism without reference to any specific modem
works. We should rectify that. Luckily, everything that we have said about modernism
2


can be found in a discussion of Kant's "An Answer to the Question: What is
Enlightenment?" In discussing "What is Enlightenment? we have to make one
concession for the sake of clarity. That concession is: while there are plain practical and
political motivations for Kant's writing the essay, those practical and political motivations
should not be seen as delimiting the scope of his argument. Rather, they provide a
practical application of Kant's overarching concept of enlightenment. So, in discussing
"What Is Enlightenment?" we will leave Kant's thoughts on Frederick II and late 18th
century life in Prussia at the door in our pursuit of a philosophical analysis of
enlightenment and its relationship to the goal of modernism.
Kant's opening statement says it all: "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his
self-incurred immaturity."1 In this statement Kant implies that we have been burdened by
our own immaturity, and enlightenment relieves us of this burden. In this sense,
emergence functions similarly to emancipation. However, we should ask what Kant
means by self-incurred. In other translations, this occasionally pops up as self-
imposed, which seems to point in the same general direction. However, self-incurred is
the better term. Self-incurred gives a slightly more neutral reading of the situationa
sense that through our actions we have burdened ourselves unintentionally. So, we might
say that self-incurred could be read here as unintentionally created.
Moving to the term immaturity, Kant provides his own definition: "Immaturity
is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another."2 So,
immaturity is an inability to take personal responsibility for your own use of reason.
1 Kant, Immanuel. "An Answer to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?'." (Konigsberg,
September 30, 1784), 1.
2 Ibid.
3


Kant reinforces this interpretation in describing how immaturity comes to be self-
incurred. For Kant, our immaturity is self-incurred due to our lack of "resolution and
courage" to use our reason without guidance from another. Kant believes it is extremely
convenient for us to remain immature, moreover, he holds that those whom we have
relied upon to guide us have ensured that we see moving past this immaturity as quite
dangerous.3 This complex picture of immaturity as a lack of personal responsibility, and
a reliance on others coupled with laziness and fear will help us further unpack Kant's
initial definition of enlightenmenthowever, it is still missing a key component, and this
is the sense in which Kant wants to say we are burdened by our immaturity. This burden
of immaturity lies in dogmas and formulas. These "are the ball and chain of [our]
permanent immaturity."4 Immaturity is not just an unwillingness to use our own
understanding without the guidance of another due to our lack of resolution and courage.
It is also a restricted state where we are held back by unchallenged dogmatic beliefs.
So, when Kant says, "enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred
immaturity," we can unpack that statement as, "enlightenment is our emancipation from
our unintentionally created reliance upon tradition." This reading of "An Answer to The
Question: What is Enlightenment?" coupled with Kant's unambiguous status as a modem
philosopher supports our previous discussion of the goal of the modern enterprise.
Modernism is defined by its rejection of dogmatic tradition in the pursuit of progress in
the sense of theoretical freedom we defined above. Tradition, once again, should be
taken in the "given body of knowledge" sense.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
4


The Goal of Post-Modernism
The goal of post-modernism is harder to pin down. It might be tempting to say
that post-modernism's goal is the opposite of modernism's. However, this is not the case.
If we take "modernism" to mean the same thing in this context as it did above, we arrive
at a reading of post-modernism according to which its goal is to move beyond an
opposition to tradition. Perhaps more accurately, we might say that the name "post-
modern" is given to philosophy that believes it has already moved beyond modernism
itself because it has failed to move beyond tradition, and is not theoretically free. This
second reading is more accurate than the first, but it still does not capture post-
modernism. After all, post-modernism is opposed to at least one traditionthe modern
tradition.
Without recourse to the sort of interpretation we relied on in sketching out
modernism, it is hard to talk meaningfully about the goal of post-modernism. However,
one option still remains: tracing post-modernism's development in order to see whether it
strikes out in any particular direction. This direction, if there is one, might say something
about post-modernism's goal. Along these lines, post-modernism is said to have its roots
in the work of Nietzsche and other skeptical philosophers. In Beyond Good and Evil and
The Genealogy of Morals in particular, Nietzsches skepticism leads him to attack
contemporary accounts of the world and morality. These attacks are particularly strong,
and serve as an obvious touchstone in post-modern philosophy. Deleuze in particular was
admittedly influenced by Nietzsche's thought.5 However, post-moderns claim numerous
other figures, many of whom were also influenced by Nietzsche. A few of the more
5 See: Deleuze, Gilles. Nietzsche and Philosophy. (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1983).
5


obvious figures included in this group are Heidegger, Adorno (particularly his Negative
Dialectics) and Arendt (especially in The Vita Activa and the Modern Age).
Drawing connections in this way shows the growth of the post-modern movement
out of skepticism (Nietzsche), phenomenological skepticism (Heidegger), and finally
pessimism (Adorno and Arendt). This final evolution of phenomenological skepticism
into pessimism has to do with modernism's ability to accomplish the goals it set out for
itself at the time Adorno and Arendt were writing, and a belief that modernism is not free
to explore other positions. Without going into these thinkers and their works in depth,
Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno and Arendt should at least serve as signposts along the
road to post-modernism. With the road to post-modernism traced in this manner, post-
modernism's development can be seen as an increase in pessimism among continental
philosophers during the early 20th century. This then points to post-modernism's goal: to
cease relying upon what it sees as failed modem methods and concepts, and strike out in
a new, more free direction. This is precisely the goal of Jacques Derrida, and this can be
seen in his concept of differance, which is built in such a way as to avoid traditional
logocentric accounts of meaning.
6


CHAPTER II
SENSES AND REFERENCES AND DOGMATIC DIFFERENCES
With modernism and post-modernism sketched out, we can turn to a discussion of
their differences when it comes to their treatment of the role of language and the
formation of meaning, and show how it is that the post-modern position is a mistake. In
analyzing these differences, we will discuss a major post-modern account of language
and meaning before turning to a discussion of one branch of the modem account of
language and meaning. In this case, we will be discussing Derrida's "Differance" before
turning to 20th century analytic accounts of language and meaning. Without an in-depth
discussion of how Differance relates to each successive entry in a modem branch of
philosophy of language and meaning, it is unlikely a complete understanding of the issue
can be achieved.
After discussing Differance we will tackle three analytic accounts, across four
papers, in chronological order. We will move from Differance to a discussion of
Frege's "On Sense and Reference" which was actually published in the late 19th century.
Following that, we will consider Russells On Denoting, which serves as the next
major development in modern philosophy of language. From there, we will discuss
Quines On What There Isa substantial addendum to Russell's "On Denoting." We
will then end our discussion of the development of this branch of modem philosophy
with Quines Two Dogmas of Empiricism. "Two Dogmas" is a further development of
Quine's minimalist ontology (originally presented in "On What There Is") into a more
robust form of holism. Through this discussion, we will see how Differance is a
substantial critique of modem accounts of language and meaning, but ultimately
7


unnecessary due to Derridas misreading of the modem traditions goals. We will also see
that Derridas approach lacks the ability to account for a number of phenomena that the
modern account is able to account forin part because the modem account has a
practical foundation in empiricism.
Differance
"Differance," by Jacques Derrida, is a perfect example of a "post-modem"
account of language and meaning. It has strong connections to French philosophy during
the mid twentieth century, and it touches on a number of different issues typically
highlighted by post-modem philosophy: the importance of context, pessimism with
regard to traditional philosophy, and a willingness to push the limits normally placed on
interpretative analysis. It is also an example of post-modernism's inability to provide a
theory of meaning that obviates modem theories of meaning like Freges, Russells, and
Quines. However, before we can credibly label "Differance" a failure in this way, we
should take a moment to understand "Differance" on its own terms and then see how it
relates to Freges, Russells, and Quines theories.
To start, we should begin with the term 'differance.' For clarity, when discussing
the term we will use 'differance,' and when discussing the associated concept, we will use
"differance." 'Differance' is a neologism that Derrida uses in order to conduct what he
calls a "writing on writing" as well as a "writing within writing." Both of these phrases
will become clear once we have delineated what exactly 'differance' means. Derrida
believes the term carries two different senses of equal importance. 'Differance,' in this
way, marks both conceptual temporization through a detour, and conceptual discemibility
8


through spacing. It is the "becoming-time of space and the becoming-space of time"6 in
the formation of meaning. According to Derrida, regular old 'difference' does not carry
with it these two senses, and so we need a new term that can carry them both in order to
adequately account for meaning, and its peculiarities.
However, what do these two senses of difference mean? When the senses are
presented out of context, it is difficult to say. So, in answering this question we have to
talk about the context in which they are presented. This context is one in which there is a
systematic emphasis on the importance of context itself in the formation of meaning and
knowledge in general. Derrida, along with other post-moderns, is intensely interested in
context. For Derrida, context of the sort that gives rise to meaning relies fundamentally
on differences between signs, and likewise the meaning of "differance" relies on signs
being seen in context with each other. Derrida takes Saussure's conception of differences
between signs and expands it in order to make 'differance' mark the play of differences
between signs, and the "possibility of conceptuality, of a conceptual process and system
in general."7 In other words, "differance" is Derrida's lynch pin of context and differences
between signs through which we arrive at meaningit is the one essential concept
without which meaning could not exist.
Now seen in this light, the "becoming-time of space" refers to the time involved
in the interpretation of terms that, along a Saussureian line, always point back to other
related and oppositional terms. In this sense, the meaning of a term is delayed or put off
onto another term. Terms for Saussure, and Derrida, do not have meaning outside of the
6 Derrida, Jacques. "Differance." In Margins of Philosophy, translated by Alan Bass
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 8.
7 Ibid, 11.
9


systems of language they belong to and the connections within those systems. So, in
order to arrive at the meaning of one term, you must first take a detour through other
terms in the same system. In taking this detour, the space between the terms is
experienced temporally as a gap between signifiers and the signified. "Meaning" then
requires time between terms in order to develop. Likewise, "the becoming-space of time"
relies on this same interpretation but heads in the other direction. Through reading
'differance' as "the becoming-space of time" we see that in our detour through other terms
in pursuit of meaning, the time required in bridging the gaps between terms becomes a
gap in conceptual space. "Meaning" then requires conceptual space between terms in
order to develop. Seen in this light, "differance" is meant to encapsulate both the active
and passive aspect of context through differences between signs and the necessity of gaps
between terms in the formation of meaning. "Differance" is then both the deferring and
the differentiating aspect of being which gives rise to meaning. This is why Derrida
chooses the particular form of the term he does. In his words, "the ending -ance remains
undecided between the active and the passive," it is the "middle voice."8
A concrete example of these two different aspects of differance can be seen in
the term bachelor. First, according to Derrida the term is seen in the context of the
system of language in which it exists. Through existing in context, the meaning of
bachelor is created through its relationship with other termssuch as unmarried,
man, husband, wife etc.and the sort of relationship it has to those terms. Making
these connections to other terms requires time. In this way, the space between terms is
temporal (the becoming time of space). Second, the meaning of bachelor, is reliant on
8 Ibid, 9.
10


the time required to trace these
connections in that such time creates
conceptual space between the terms to
begin with.
Derridas motivation for this
account of meaning is due to his
opposition to atomistic interpretations of
meaning in which there are terms, and
their meanings exist fully formed "out
Figure I. Derrida's Theory of Meaning
there," or even inside our own minds. In
Differance, Derrida wants to point out that meaning does not proceed along atomistic
lines. There is a gap between signifiers and signifieds due to the structure of language
itself, and this gap is constitutive of meaning. In holding this position, he strikes out
against both the Platonic and Kantian conceptions of meaning. Given his opposition to
these more atomistic interpretations, the concept of "differance" can be seen as his
answer to the problem of meaning, through an emphasis on the differences between
terms, and their systemic (rather than empirical) context. Along this line, Derrida defines
'differance' as "the movement according to which language, or any code, any system of
referral in general, is constituted "historically" as a weave of differences.10 A graphical
interpretation of Derridas theory of meaning can be seen in Figure I.
With "difference" fleshed out in this way, we can see why Derrida refers to his
usage of the term as being in pursuit of a "writing on writing" and a "writing within
Ibid, 11.
Ibid, 12.
10
11


writing." "Differance" is a writing on writing in the sense that throughout the essay,
Derrida is concerned with understanding the system of writing and its functioning.
However, by virtue of "differance," the essay should also be seen as a writing made
possible by the system of writing to begin with. At this point, we can begin to guess how
"Differance" relates to modem accounts of language and meaning like Freges, Russells,
and Quines. Differance consists of three significant critiques of modem accounts of
language and meaning. To begin with, Derrida believes modern accounts are unable to
account for meaning through context in the sense of conceptual temporization and
spacing. In this way, they are logocentric. In addition, they are overly atomistic because
they do not recognize the gap between signifiers and signified and its importance in the
formation of meaning. Finally, modem accounts are Platonic or Kantian in nature, and in
that way, they are dogmatically tied to tradition. In this way, "Differance" fits our
previous definition of post-modernism where we defined it as an attempt to move beyond
modernism and the concepts upon which modern thought relies to a more free mode of
inquiry.
Frege and Russell
Now let us turn to a discussion of the modern accounts of language and meaning.
First, Frege's "On Sense and Reference." OSaR is intended to address an apparent
problem with the traditional modern account of language and meaningspecifically, the
question of "equality." "Equality" is referred to by a number of different names, and
relied upon by a number of related concepts (such as analyticity). However, Frege
specifically wants to know what sort of thing "equality" is. "Is it a relation? A relation
12


between objects, or between names or signs of objects?11 This question resurfaces under
different names and associated concepts throughout Russell's "On Denoting" as well as
Quine's "On What There Is." It is particularly important in Quine's "Two Dogmas of
Empiricism."
When Frege asks about "equality," he's asking whether it is a relationship between
a thing and itself, or a thing and its name/sign. For example, when I say that a bachelor is
an unmarried man, a statement we might translate as "a = b," am I saying something
equivalent to "a = a," or am I saying that the terms "a" and "b" are both names/signs for
some other object "o"? According to Frege, the statement "a = b" implies that "a" and "b"
designate the same thing ("o"), and so the relationship that is asserted in equality
statements deals with differences between signs. This is because there must be a
difference in the way each sign presents the designated object for us to ever have a need
to say something of the "a = b" form. This difference in the ways the signs present the
object comes down to what Frege calls "the sense of the sign."12
However, Frege notes that senses can be difficult to pin down at times. Frege
contends that for every expression that belongs to a finite system of signs there should
only be one sense. Unfortunately, natural languages don't measure up to this requirement.
For example, "bachelor" has a different sense when applied to a type of flower
("bachelor's buttons") than when applied to a marriageable but unmarried man. So, Frege
says, we must be "... content if the same word has the same sense in the same context."13
11 Frege, Gottlob. "On Sense and Reference." In Meaning, edited by Mark Richard.
(Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), 36.
12 Ibid, 37.
13 Ibid, 38.
13


In this way, natural languages rely on referential (empirical) context to provide a
particular sense.
Even when we parse signs this wayinto a reference, and a sense (dependent on
empirical context or not)we still have to account for what Frege calls "the associated
idea."14 This associated idea is, for Frege, an internal image attached to a sign that gains
its shape through all of the different experiences an individual has had with the sign's
reference. As such, the associated idea "varies and oscillates... The idea is subjective:
one man's idea is not that of another."15 This "associated idea" might seem to make it
hard to speak substantively about what others mean, but this is not a significant issue.
This is because, Frege says, "one can hardly deny that mankind has a common store of
thoughts which is transmitted from one generation to another" and because we have this
common store of thoughtswhich are senseswe can safely limit ourselves to speaking
of the sense of a term without worrying too much about the associated idea.16
This is an inevitable concession when speaking of signs in this way because,
while we can occasionally establish where two individual's ideas or experiences differ,
they cannot be objectively compared. Two different ideas of the same thing cannot exist
within the same consciousness, and that is the only way we seem able to access them. As
for the potentially subjective nature of the sense of a term, Frege is not concerned. This is
because while each individual may have a slightly different sense of a term, those
different senses are still "objective" in that they are held in common and can be used
14 Ibid.
15 Ibid, 38-39.
16 Ibid, 39.
14


effectively by several observers referring
to the same thing.17 Thus, through the way
they function, Freges senses are similar to
Platonic forms or ideals, even if they are
not strictly speaking Platonic.
Frege formulates his theory of
meaning by saying, "A proper name
(word, sign, sign combination, expression)
expresses its sense, and stands for or
designates its reference. By means of a
sign we express its sense and designate its reference."18 A graphical interpretation of
Frege's theory of meaning can be seen in Figure IF This theory is built in such a way as
to preserve the value and usefulness of determining the "truth" of a statement. In other
words, we need to have recourse to senses and references "[bjecause, and to the extent
that, we are concerned with [a statement's] truth value."19 In fact, for Frege, the reference
of a sentence (as opposed to a singular term) is its truth value. This might sound like
something of a leap, but for Frege, sentences constitute judgments and "in every
judgment, no matter how trivial, the step from the level of thoughts to the level of
reference (the objective) has already been taken.20 Ultimately, the issue of identity arises
because two terms can have two different cognitive values while having the same
reference (or truth value in the case of sentences). So, it is useful to have recourse to the
Q) t
Figure IE. Frege's Theory of Meaning
17
18
19
20
Ibid, 40.
Ibid.
Ibid, 42.
Ibid, 42-43.
15


concept of equality for the purpose of increased knowledge.21 In other words, "equality,"
and Freges theory of meaning in general, is used pragmatically in pursuit of increased
knowledge.
When looking at Freges account of language and meaning, it is clear to see
where Derridas three critiques apply. First, Freges theory does not even begin to create
the sort of conceptual space inherent in difference, because the former proceeds along
linear lines. A sense is tied to a sign, and a sign is tied to a referent. Meaning, in this
Fregeian model, exists fully formed as sense, and only needs to be connected to a sign
in order to be used in communication with others about the external world. Senses do not
rely on other senses, or even signsthey exist on their own, and therefore no system
that produces meaning needs to be identified. Frege certainly accounts for the system of
language, but he accounts for it in the same way a logician accounts for a system of
symbolic logic in that semantics are abstracted to some other process. Freges account is
then incredibly logocentric.
Second, Frege preserves Derridas differences between signs, but instead of
differences being constitutive of meaning, they are simply a fact of language. If there are
different signs, they have different senses, and therefore different meanings. The
differences between signs exist because of differences in meanings, not the other way
around. That Freges discussion of different signs centers around issues of reference
further illuminates the fact that for Frege, meaning may be tied to signs (at least in
communication), but it is not made by them. In this way, meaning is atomistic in Freges
account, and tied to empirical states of affairs.
Ibid, 56.
16


We have already hinted that Derridas third critiquethat modem accounts are
either Platonic or Kantian and in that way they are dogmaticapplies to Frege. Freges
use of senses as functionally equivalent to Platonic ideals is plain to see in his discussion
of how communication is possible. Whether this is actually dogmatic or not requires a bit
more interpretation and discussion of On Sense and References philosophical context
than we have the time for here. But, we can certainly see how Derrida might argue that in
relying on this sort of Platonic conception of meaning, Frege at least looks a bit dogmatic.
Through this discussion of Frege and Derridas critiques of modem accounts of
language and meaning we can see that if a modem account is going to be immune to
Derridas critiques, it has to account for meaning in context (not just be tied to it in a
linear fashion), move away from atomism, and strike out in a new direction as far as an
account of meanings existence goes. Russells On Denoting starts us on a path toward
such a modern account. "On Denoting" takes a number of cues from Frege but moves
away from a discussion of equality in favor of developing a more robust theory of
"reference" than Frege provided. Russells motivation here is to address the issue,
inherent in Freges atomistic account, of signs without referenceshow to understand
and talk about non-existent objects. So, like "On Sense and Reference," Russell's "On
Denoting" recognizes a problem with the traditional account of language and meaning
and seeks to resolve it.
Frege is clear that names, symbols and sentences have references, but he does
little to address how this process works at the theoretical level. In pursuing such an
account, Russell introduces the concept of a "denoting phrase" which he takes to be
similar to any of the following: "a man, some man, any man, every man, all men, the
17


present King of England, the present King of France, the center of mass of the Solar
System at the first instant of the twentieth century, the revolution of the earth round the
sun, the revolution of the sun round the earth."22 Initially, this concept of a "denoting
phrase" is meant to help describe our ability, from within the general framework provided
by Frege, to reference things that we are not acquainted with, but have knowledge about.
These things, according to Russell, can only be reached through the use of denoting
phrases.23 However, saying that we come to know things we are not acquainted with
through "denoting phrases" is not to say that thinking can proceed without acquaintance.
Russell argues that thought proceeds from things we are acquainted with to encompass
things we are not acquainted with.24 In short, the foundation of thought is experience.
For Russell, denoting phrases do not have any meaning of their own, but all
propositions containing them do.25 In this way, Russell outlines a less atomistic model of
meaning by expanding the unit of meaning to sentences as a whole. Further clarifying
this model, Russell provides the proposition "I met a man" as an example. In this
proposition "a man" is the denoting phrase, and it is clear that while "a man" does not
have any particular meaning, the entire statement "I met a man" does. In order to parse
this proposition and find the meaning, Russell goes beyond the atomistic model provided
by Frege and converts the entire proposition into a quasi-logical structure that explodes
the denoting phrase "a man" to match the different implied propositions in the overall
22 Russell, Bertrand. "On Denoting." Mind, New Series (Oxford University Press) 114,
no. 456 (October 2005), 873.
23 Ibid.
24 Ibid, 874.
25 Ibid.
18


statement. So, the proposition becomes '"I met x, and x is human' is not always false.'"26
As is evident, Russell believes, like Frege, that truth is what we are after when we assert a
proposition. Russell does not explain his slip into the Fregeian assumption that "truth
values" are at the heart of propositions, but it can be assumed this "slip" is in line with the
reasoning Frege supplied.
Russells logical translation provides "a reduction of all propositions in which
denoting phrases occur to forms in which no such phrases occur."27 This translation into a
set of propositions containing variables that make up denoting phrases comprises a less
atomistic account of meaning. This is because Russell explodes the atoms of traditional
accounts of meaning into a number of entities that do nottaken on their ownshare all
the qualities atoms of meaning traditionally have. Where Frege might say a bachelor
has a meaning on its own, Russell explodes such denoting phrases into a number of
components and shows that their meaning does not spring fully formed from them, and
that meaning relies on bound variables that arise from propositions as a whole. So,
meaning comes from a contextual component of denoting phrases. In providing this less
atomistic account, Russell helps explain how it is reference "happens" without resorting
to a traditionally atomistic model in which words or signs themselves have inherent
meanings.
This less atomistic account of reference is obviously more in-depth than the one
provided by Frege. However, the true purpose of this account is not so much to explain
reference per se, but rather, to explain how it is we can refer to things that do not exist in
a way consistent with normal referential acts. This explanation leads Russell to conclude
26 Ibid, 875.
27 Ibid, 876.
19


that, "With our theory of denoting, we are
able to hold that there are no unreal
individuals; so that the null-class, is the
class containing no members, not the class
containing as members all unreal
individuals."28 This solution is made
possible by the fact that instead of terms
and propositions pointing directly at their
reference as they did with Frege, they
\ / \ \ /
c Variable 5

< Variable 5
( > \ /
t Variable 5

<- Variable 5
/ V / / V ,
Figure IEL Russell's Theory of Meaning
serve more as a net and only those things
with the constituent properties implied by the denoting phrase(s) in question are caught in
it. A graphical interpretation of Russells theory of meaning can be seen in Figure 3.
Much of what we have said about Freges vulnerability to Derridas critiques is
sure to carry over to a discussion of Russells. After all, Russells theory takes Freges as
a starting point and seeks to a resolve a problem within that theoryhe does not wish to
give the entire theory up. However, in trying to resolve problems within Freges theory,
Russell significantly improves its defenses against Derrida. To start, Russells
introduction of variables, and his use of them in a delimiting fashion with regard to
reference introduces the idea of context (granted, still empirical) and conceptual space in
the formation of meaning. This is not the sort of context that Derrida speaks of (where
meaning is entirely constituted by differences between signs) but it is certainly
contextual. This switch to a more contextual theory of meaning is due to Russells focus
28 Ibid, 885.
20


on reference. In talking about reference, Russell gets away from talking about
meanings in the sense that Frege does with senses. This is a necessity for the theory to
accommodate non-existent referents. In order to account for non-existent referents,
Russell abstracts reference, and with it some degree of meaning, to singular
descriptions. These singular descriptions are still logocentric, in that they still rely on
some abstract process of reference to create meaning, but with a move from meaning
being tied directly to signs to meaning being tied to a variable as part of a set of
descriptive phrases, Russells theory is less directly logocentric than Freges.
As for Derridas second critique, of atomism, Russells theory is similarly
improved. Differences between signs are once again present, and in giving over meaning
to a conjunction of signs, Russell provides a less traditionally atomistic theory of
meaning. Meaning is not entirely holistic in Russells account because he relies on finite
singular descriptions (propositions) instead of the entire system of language, so some of
Derridas critique still applies, but the bite of the critique is much less apparent. This is
the sense in which Russells account is sub-atomic. It is by no means the equivalent of
field theory, because things can still be reduced to specific entities at some level, but it is
certainly a move in the right direction, and much more flexible in terms of
accommodating the peculiarities of meaning.
Given all of this, it should be no surprise that Russells account is significantly
less traditional than Freges, and in that way it is less dogmatic. In introducing singular
descriptions, Russell is able to account for communication without resorting to the quasi-
Platonic senses Frege relies upon. In fact, it is quite hard to say what traditional
philosophical basis Russells theory has. It is simply an attempt to account for non-
21


existent referents without sacrificing all of Freges theory of meaning. This makes
Russells theory incredibly un-dogmatic. Ultimately, Russells theory is a pragmatic re-
evaluation of previous assumptions in order to arrive at a more nuanced theory of
meaning that is better able to account for different problems. To call Russells theory
dogmatic would be to ignore its clear novelty and inventiveness in solving the problem it
sets out to solve.
Quine
Further improvements need to be made to our modem account of language and
meaning if Derridas critiques are to be adequately addressed. With our reliance on
Platonic conceptions of meaning dispensed with, we still need to fully account for
meaning through conceptual spaces and relationsnot just empirical context. This will
require a fully holistic account. In pursuit of this account, we should continue addressing
Russells non-existent referents through Quines essay "On What There Is." In "On What
There Is," Quine moves away from the more straightforward discussions of meaning
provided by Frege and Russell in order to clarify an ontological position that was implied
by Russell's "On Denoting." For Quine, the entire issue of non-existent referents revolves
around the fact that".. .there is gulf between meaning and naming even in the case of a
singular term which is genuinely a name of an object."29 The upshot of Russell's singular
descriptions is that in endorsing them, "we are convicted of a particular ontological
presupposition if, and only if, the alleged presuppositum has to be reckoned among the
entities over which our variables range in order to render one of our affirmations true."30
29 Quine, Willard V. "On What There Is." The Review of Metaphysics (Philosophy
Education Society Inc.) 2, no. 5 (September 1948), 28.
30 Ibid, 32.
22


Put simply, the only time we can be charged with implicitly believing in the
existence of a particular entity is when that entity is required for one of our statements to
be true. If I were to say Pegasus came to visit me last night, and we flew off to the
Chucky Cheese to play skee-ball, you could reasonably charge me with a belief in the
existence of Pegasus, Chucky Cheese, skee-ball, and a variety of other things required for
that statement to be considered true. You could also reasonably infer that I had an
amazing time. However, if I do not make a statement of this sort, there is no way to
charge me with a belief in Pegasus etc. This sort of ontological freedom ties into
modernisms goal of theoretical freedom, and ties back to Derrida in that it
accommodates the gulf between meaning and naming, and by doing this it is actually
more robust and flexible than other theories.
Quine considers Russells solution a withdrawal to "the semantical plane" (rather
than the more syntactical plane of Frege) and believes that it is useful because it allows us
to find common ground without having to agree on the existence of different entities. It is
possible for us to find common ground because, "our conceptual schemes converge
sufficiently in their intermediate and upper ramifications to enable us to communicate
successfully on such topics as politics, weather, and, in particular, language."31 Shifting
in this way to addressing issues with the way we use language in communication is
necessary if we are going to say anything substantial about meaning. The insight here is
that an account of meaning and reference must also effectively account for
communicationdisagreements and all.
Ibid, 35.
23


Everything Quine says about our ability to disagree over existence claims comes
down to one question: what sort of ontology should we adopt? This question is not
possible without the modern assumption that we are free to choose. For Quine, this is a
fairly straightforward issue, and one that is not particularly unique to this situation. Quine
believes that accepting an ontology is "... similar in principle to our acceptance of a
scientific theory... we adopt, at least insofar as we are reasonable, the simplest
conceptual scheme into which the disordered fragments of raw experience can be fitted
and arranged."32 This leads Quine to an interesting conclusion: our beliefs are essentially
convenient mythsat least from the perspective of those who do not believe them. Our
beliefs are not true in any ultimate sense, but contain some amount of truth.33 This
conclusion comes hand in hand with another: the quality of a myth is relative to our
epistemology, and a given epistemology is one among many that correspond to our
various enterprises.34 Through these conclusions we can see that, for Quine, meaning is
dependent upon our ontological and epistemological approach, and we are free to choose
those approaches.
Given the fact that Quines On What There Is simply expands on the
ontological implications of Russells singular descriptions, we might be tempted to say
that theres nothing radically new in Quines account of meaning at this stage. However,
there is most definitely something new, and that something new is implied by Quines
statements about choosing ontologies. This newness is the importance of seeing
theories as pragmatic attempts to find answers to existing questions, and seeing theories
32 Ibid, 35-36.
33 Ibid, 37.
34 Ibid, 38.
24


as tied to a particular epistemological and ontological outlook. While Quine does not
introduce anything radically new as far as a theory of meaning goes at this stage, he does
introduce some principles that help us judge different theories of meaning. So, before
moving on to Quines theoretical contribution to our discussion of meaning, we should
take a minute to see how the preceding theories stack up.
Starting with Derrida it is clear to see that his theory of meaning is simple.
However, some difficulties arise when we look at the pragmatic achievements of
Differance. Obviously, Derrida wants to provide a theory that can account for meaning
through context in the conceptual space sense without resorting to logocentrism, and his
concept of differance is built in order to do that. Derrida also wants to use differance
to move away from atomistic accounts because they cannot account for the gap between
signifiers and signifieds, and insist on meanings existing somewhere out there. This
out there-ness of meaning inevitably ties back to a dogmatic pursuit of meaning and
Derrida wants to use differance to strike out in a new, non-dogmatic direction. All three
goals are legitimate responses to the failures of past theories of meaning. It is their
execution in differance that makes them problematic. In choosing to limit his theory of
meaning to signs, and the differences between those signs, Derrida cuts himself off from
a variety of answers Frege and Russell have recourse to in their more logocentric,
atomistic and dogmatic accounts.
For example, Derrida is left without an explicit way to account for equality
statements. When Frege says a = b, we can describe what is going on because we have
empirically based referents as a foundation. Derrida, in his admirable attempt to avoid
atomism and dogmatism avoids giving differance a foundation like this, and throws
25


language into an indeterminate state. It is clear that without a tangible foundation,
differance is also going to struggle to explain communication. Likewise, Derrida cant
account for non-existent referents and our disagreements about them. He avoids Russells
semi-atomism, but leaves himself without obvious recourse to Russells solution.
On the flipside, we can see how Freges and Russells accounts are vulnerable to
Derridas critiques, but they also seem to have a significant amount of explanatory
power. In Quines terms, they do a surprisingly good job of fitting the disordered
fragments of experience into their theoretical spaces. We could, if we wanted, go so far as
to contend that all logocentric, atomistic, or dogmatic accounts of language and meaning
are necessarily wrong, and wed still be left with practical benefits of endorsing Freges
and Russells accounts. Further, if these really are just supposed to be convenient myths
we take to be true, whats the harm in endorsing one we know to be wrong assuming it
helps us? The question that has to be asked of Derrida is: what do we get from endorsing
differance? What, exactly, does differance do that these incorrect theories dont? Is
there a benefit to differance other than being more accurate? This line of questioning
should be carried out if we are ever expected to endorse differance wholeheartedly on
its own, and not simply as a critique. However, in the meantime, it seems Quine has
provided us with a better idea as to what a theory of meaning immune to Derridas
critique ought to look like: it ought to be free of logocentrism, holistic, thoroughly un-
dogmatic, and it ought to be able to account for the disordered fragments of experience
(including communication) through a reliance on practical foundations. This is almost
exactly the sort of account Quine provides in Two Dogmas of Empiricism.
26


Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" is an attempt to solve two of the most
important issues within empiricism. These issues significantly influence the way in which
we view meaning, language, and the "truth" it contains. The first issue (or dogma) Quine
attacks is the analytic/synthetic distinctiona distinction he traces back through Kant,
Hume, and finally Leibniz. Asserting that there is a distinction between analytic and
synthetic statements means believing that there is a difference between statements that
are true by virtue of meanings (analytic) and statements that are true by virtue of fact
(synthetic).35 The other dogma Quine tackles is reductionism: a position, popularized by
the logical positivists, that all meaningful statements can be translated into either
tautologies or into statements that refer to immediate experience.36 In discussing Quine's
solutions to these issues, we arrive at a theory of language and meaning that can be seen
as the fruit of the Fregeian and Russellian branch of analytic philosophy of language we
have been discussing. We'll start with the analytic/synthetic distinction.
Quine starts his analysis of analyticity with what might appear to be its most basic
definition: analytic statements are those whose denial would be self-contradictory.
However, this definition doesn't get us anywhere, according to Quine, because "self-
contradictoriness" is a concept that needs to be clarified just as much as "analyticity."37
Another definition that we might attempt is that"... a statement is analytic when it is true
by virtue of meanings and independently of fact."38 However, this definition of analytic
requires us to talk about some category of things called "meanings" and these are rather
35 Quine, Willard V. "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." The Philosophical Review (Duke
University Press) 60, no. 1 (January 1951), 21.
36 Ibid, 20.
37 Ibid.
38 Ibid, 21.
27


hard to identify. Quines pursuit of analyticity in this way is particularly important in
relation to Derridas critiques because in attempting to pin down "meanings," Quine
echoes the lessons of the preceding theories: meaning is not naming, nor is it reference.39
In other words, there is a gap between signifiers and signifieds. Without recourse to
individual signs and references, we have to look elsewhere for meanings. However,
Quine contends that while meanings seem to be ideas (mental, or Platonic) they are
elusive, debatable, and ultimately there is little hope we can talk about them in a
scientific manner.40 So, we would be better off not identifying a specific meaning
entity.
Without recourse to self-contradictoriness or meanings to explain analyticity,
we are left with the sorts of statements the term analytic is usually applied to. This
produces two categories of statements: those that are logically true (no unmarried man is
married) and those that are statements about synonyms (no bachelor is married)41 As
should be obvious, "analyticity" in this sense has its base in Frege's "equality. For
Quine, the second type of statements, statements about synonyms, leads to issues of
"synonymy." Some individuals try to avoid this issue by saying that the second set of
statements reduces to the first "by definition." In other words, bachelor is substitutable,
by definition, with unmarried man. However this solution puts off the issue of
"synonymy" onto "definition"42 and "definition," except when introducing new notations,
rests on prior relationships of synonymy 43 As such, Quine argues that if there are
39 Ibid.
40 Ibid, 22.
41 Ibid, 23.
42 Ibid, 24.
43 n
28


connections that can be made between two terms such that we would call them
synonyms, those connections would be grounded in usage.44 This interpretation, however,
would completely unravel any hope of analyticity. Synonyms would be synonyms by
virtue of "fact" and the analytic/synthetic would have no substance to speak of.
Quine attempts a number of other solutions to this issue, but concludes that usage
is the only possible basis of synonymy, and that the systemic difference between analytic
and synthetic statements simply cannot be drawn. The idea that there is an
analytic/synthetic distinction is therefore "an unempirical dogma of empiricists, a
metaphysical article of faith."45 In this way, Quine ties equality statements directly to
usage, and does away with meanings, senses etc. as concrete entities separate from states
of affairs. This implies that meaning is not a thing per se, and has its basis in context.
What sort of context gives rise to meaning can be found in Quine's discussion of
reductionism.
Quine believes reductionism is evident in empiricism's reliance on the verification
theory of meaning. In other words, the verification theory of meaning is a form of radical
reductionism where every statement that isnt a tautology must be a statement about
immediate experience, or at least be translated into one, in order for it to be meaningful.46
Russells subatomic account has a lot in common with the verification of meaning in its
use of variables to pin down entities with specific properties, but it does not quite hit
radical reduction in the way the verification theory does. Quine contends that it is
impossible to carry out a translation of all statements into statements relating to
44 Ibid, 25.
45 Ibid, 34.
46 Ibid, 36.
29


immediate experience in principal. This impossibility is avoided, Quine, says, if we stop
looking at statements reductively as individuals but instead look at them in terms of their
relationship to a whole theory. In Quine's words, "our statements about the external world
face the tribunal of sense experience not individually but only as a corporate body."47 If
this is true, then we are left to conclude that in analyzing statements on their own as
Frege and Russell did, they were missing the fact that "meaning" or significance requires
an entire theory in order to exist.48 In this way, the context that gives rise to meaning is
all of science (or whatever theoretical basis has been endorsed), and meaning is a relation
between parts of that whole.
It is this conclusion that leads Quine to offer a metaphorical reformulation of the
traditional conception of language, meaning, and even "truth" that Frege and Russell aim
for. In this vein, Quine argues that "[t]he totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs,
from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic
physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on
experience only along the edges."49 This statement ties into his earlier work in "On What
There Is" by realizing that the question of what ontology to choose extends to individual
bits of that ontology. This is because each presuppositum is man-made.
47 Ibid, 38.
48 Ibid, 39.
49
30


Quine believes that ontologies of
this sort gain a measure of durability due
to the fact experience is the only thing that
can modify themand even then it is not
all-powerful. This is because experience
only meets the fabric of our ontology at
the edges and that means that the bulk of
the fabric is incredibly underdetermined.
This entails that when we are presented
Bella Belief
. X~S------------o-AS---------------------------
IMeaningl Ifjleaningl IMeaningl

^Jeajin^
r^T Experl
s s s s
1 I I Belief |
C 1 1 Meaning I 1 Meaning I 1 Meaning I 1 j
nin^ V j/ V j/ V Y \ Y
Figure IV. Quine's Thoery of Meaning
with an experience that might challenge
our previous assumptions, we have a number of options with regard to explaining that
experience and modifying our assumptions.50 The assumptions that lie on the edge of the
fabric, closest to experience, are likely to be adjusted long before the bulk of the fabric
requires adjustment. This implies a sort of theoretical lucidity in determining the structure
of our conceptual frameworks. A graphical interpretation of this theory can be seen in
Figure 4.
This holistic stance with regard to meaning and truth leads to a few conclusions:
conceptual schemes and ontologies are tools, and for an empiricist like Quine, these tools
are meant primarily to predict future experience based on past experience. A number of
concepts, including "physical objects," "truth," and maybe even "meanings," can be
leveraged to do this, but they are leveraged "as irreducible posits comparable,
epistemologically, to the gods of Flomer... in point of epistemological footing the
50 Ibid, 39-40.
31


physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind."51 As an empiricist,
Quine is particularly interested in the concept of physical objects, and contends that the
assumption of physical objects is "coeval" with language itself because language is
socially constructed and relies on intersubjective statements about physical states of
affairs.52 In this way, language itself is firmly tied to our scientific endeavors and shown
in such a light as to make it the basis (along with empiricism) of all scientific endeavors.
Quines theory, as implied at the beginning of our discussion of it, is not
vulnerable to any of Derridas three critiques. For one thing, meaning for Quine has to do
with the relations between different parts of our conceptual frameworks and their
relationship to experience. This is partly due to the fact Quine is wary of any talk of
meanings as actual entities because he doesnt believe we can pin them down in any
concrete way. Quines theory of meaning is then conceptually spacial in the same sense
that Derridas theory of meaning is conceptually spacial, even if he has recourse to
empirical observation. Quine does not focus on an account of how this conceptual space
is formed in the way Derrida describes differing and deferring, but it is clear that the
differences and relations between different parts of Quines conceptual frameworks can
be represented spacially. A case might be made that Quines theory is still somewhat
logocentric, but whatever logocentrism remains in Quine is present in Derrida as well.
Because meaning for Quine is a relation between a number of things, and not a
thing in itself, Quines theory of meaning is in no way atomistic. Quines use of
experience as the basis of our conceptual frameworks not only decenters the traditional
atoms of meaning, it emphasizes something Derrida is unable to account for in his
51 Ibid, 41.
52 Ibid, 42.
32


play of differences. Specifically, Quines reliance on experience as the foundation of
conceptual frameworks emphasizes the role of reason and agency in determining the
content of our conceptual frameworks. In a very real way, Quines theory places us in a
position to create meaning and value through our choices vis-a-vis conceptual
frameworks. This is because, as the experiencers, we are directly involved in both
experience and our interpretation of it. Derrida does not account for reason and agency in
his difference because Derrida refuses to give difference an empirical foundation for
fear of succumbing to logocentrism, atomism, and the metaphysics of presence. In this
way, Quine provides a practical theoretical freedom Derrida is unable to achieve.
Finally, Quines account is not dogmatic. In order to arrive at his theory, Quine
goes against two significant dogmas within the modern empirical account, along with a
vast tradition of folk-psychological stories about meaning and reference. Through a truly
pragmatic pursuit of a theory of meaning, Quine is able to arrive at a novel theory of
meaning. Quines theory is neither Platonic nor Kantian. It has some similarities to a
Kantian account, in that he puts reason at the center of conceptual frameworks, but it is
ultimately un-Kantian because there are no categories things necessarily fall intowe
have the choice to adjust our frameworks however we want, and we choose to impose
them onto the world.
Quines theory also preserves the utility of Frege and Russells theories. Equality
is still a relation between signs that are presupposed to apply to some referent, but this
reference no longer proceeds along linear lines (as Freges does in tying senses directly to
terms). In this way, Quine avoids the problems with Freges theory while preserving the
importance, and non-triviality, of identity statements in communication and the pursuit of
33


increased knowledge. Likewise, Quines theory allows us to explain our disagreements
with each other consistently. We need not worry about accidentally ascribing to the
existence of things we do not believe exist, and we can coherently explain our
disagreements to each other. All of this is possible because Quine avoids the explicit
logocentrism, atomism, and dogmatism of previous theories of language and meaning.
Derridas difference does this too, but where Quine is able to preserve the pragmatic
benefits of these inaccurate theories through a reliance on the practical foundation of
experience, Derrida is not.
Throughout this discussion we have left out one important fact: Derridas
Difference comes after the analytic accounts. At the time Derrida is writing
Difference, Quines theory of meaning already exists. So, while Derridas critiques are
substantial in relation to the modern tradition at one point in time (Frege and Russell),
they are ultimately unnecessary at the time they are given. This is because the modem
tradition had already produced a theory capable of not only meeting (and in many ways
agreeing with) Derridas critiques, it was able to produce it without external prompting,
and while preserving the practical benefits of past theories.
In explaining Derridas failure, and the post-modern traditions failure more
generally, to produce a theory of meaning that obviates modern accounts we have
recourse to two possibilities. For one, it could be that the Derrida and the post modems
failed to see the modem tradition as it is (a constant interrogation of all of tradition in
pursuit of progress) and instead confused it with incidental aspects of its existence like
positivism or scientism. Put differently, Derrida could have misread the modern
traditions goals. Another option is that Derrida mistakenly believed that the modem
34


traditions foundations (like empiricism) were unreliable or burdensome, and that we
needed to distance ourselves from them. However, while this concern is somewhat more
understandable than a misinterpretation of modernisms goals, it is no less mistaken when
presented in the context of Derridas motivations in Difference. Derridas critique
does nothing to challenge the foundations of modernism seen as it actually is (other than
abandon them), and without a significant challenge to those foundations, any belief that
those foundations are unreliable or limiting is dogmatic. Either way, we can see how
Derridas Differance is a mistake, or false start.
35


CHAPTER III
THE WAY FORWARD
So far we have discussed how Derridas critique of modem accounts of language
and meaning was unnecessary. In the course of doing so, we followed the development of
one branch of the analytic account of language and meaning. However, Quines account
is in no ways the end of philosophy of language in the analytic tradition. Quines account
still leaves us talking about conceptual frameworks and a whole host of other things
that we need to clarify. By following a contemporary offshoot of Quine's semantic
holism, we begin to see how modernism can proceed in such a way as to clarify any
lingering concepts that have gone without explanation, and how modern philosophy can
even more thoroughly rebut the arguments of post-modernists such as Derrida that argue
modernism is logocentric, atomistic, and dogmatic. In doing so, we will arrive at a theory
of meaning that brings the analytic and continental branches of modern philosophy closer
together.
Epistemology Naturalized
Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" is an obvious continuation and expansion of
his work on semantic holism. In it, Quine argues for a view of epistemology that is
coextensive with science. For Quine, epistemology is already intricately linked with
science in two modes: doctrinal inquires, in which we are concerned with truth; and
conceptual inquiries, in which we are concerned with meaning.53 As one might guess
from his "convenient myths" comment in "On What There Is," Quine does not believe
53 Quine, Willard V. "Epistemology Naturalized." In Ontological Relativity and Other
Essays. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), 69.
36


that we have gotten anywhere on the doctrinal side of empirical science.54 We are not,
according to Quine, in the business of divining universal laws. Instead, we are in the
business of synthesizing convenient myths for practical purposes. On this more
conceptual side, there has been a significant amount of progress.
The conceptual side of epistemology is left to work with two "cardinal tenets" of
empiricism. The first of these is the belief that all evidence for science is sensory
evidence. The second tenet is a belief that meaning ultimately rests on sensory
evidence.55 These tenets assert a link between science, meaning and sensory evidence,
but sensory evidence does not, strictly speaking, translate into objective science or
meaning. So, instead of deriving the laws of nature from sense experience, we are tasked
with trying to understand the link between our observations and our conceptual
frameworks (science). In pursuit of this understanding, Quine argues we should use all
the resources available to useven the conceptual frameworks whose link we wish to
understand.56 This means using scientific inquiry to help us understand the foundations of
science itself. Psychology is then an important field of study because it can be used to
investigate how science comes to be (how our observations become conceptual
frameworks) without resorting to doctrinal fabrications.57
When we look at the issue of an epistemology dealing with meanings and links to
sense experience from a psychological perspective, we can see that "[t]he sort of meaning
that is basic to translation, and to the learning of one's own language, is necessarily
54 Ibid, 72.
55 Ibid, 75.
56 Ibid, 76.
57 Ibid, 78.
37


empirical meaning and nothing more."58 This is shown through psychological observation
of how children learn their first words. Through such observation, we can see that a child
learns the meanings of words by those words being used in close proximity to certain
external stimuli shared by both the child and a speaker. In this way, "[1 language is
socially inculcated and controlled."59 With this sort of account in mind, we are able to say
that epistemologyhow we know what we knowis part and parcel with psychology
and natural science itself.60 There is no separating science from epistemology without
resorting to broad, unjustified fabrications.
One of the benefits of this more scientific, foundational account of epistemology
is that in putting sensory input at the foundations of language and meaning, post-modern
claims about the indeterminacy of language lose some of their power. Language is still
indeterminate and terms are still dependent on the overall system, but meaning is not
entirely undecidable.61 In addition, the "analytic" statements Quine tackled in "Two
Dogmas of Empiricism" finally have something resembling a definition: they are true by
virtue of all fluent speakers in a language community subscribing to them.62 In this way,
analyticity is truth via "systematic" agreement. Put differently, analyticity is an
intersubjective phenomenon in which all speakers of a given language agree by virtue of
their sharing the same language and understanding its rules. A synthetic statement is then
one in which all speakers of the language ".. .give the same verdict when given the same
58 Ibid, 81.
59 Ibid.
60 Ibid, 82.
61 Ibid, 84.
62 Ibid, 86.
38


concurrent stimulation."63 This ties into Quine's earlier semantic holism in that these
sentences cease to have any "meaning" on their ownthey derive what meaning they
have from belonging to a system of language and its empirical context.64 Science itself is
still largely underdetermined. However, like Quine's semantic holism and even Derridas
difference, this account is still slightly logocentric in its reliance on systems and
conceptual frameworks.
Brains, Brains, the Meaningful Fruit
Luckily, with epistemology tied to science, we presumably have recourse to a
wide variety of empirical sciences to help us further develop a more nuanced account of
language and meaning. The most promising of these sciences is contemporary
neuroscience. At the very least, neuroscience allows us to carry on developing this same
line of thinking with the aid of biological study. At its best, neuroscience allows us to
speak of language and meaning in sublinguistic terms, which allows us to get a bit more
distance from logocentric accounts. However, such a neuroscientific account requires a
bit of background. Paul Churchland's "Catching Consciousness in a Recurrent Net" is a
good place to start.
Philosophy of the sort that Churchland pursues has its roots in the analytic
tradition outlined above. However, it diverges from the more logical/linguistic accounts
provided by Frege, Russell and to some extent Quine. This divergence follows along the
lines of U.T. Place's "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?" which argues for the possibility
of a physicalistic account of consciousness. Such an account would allow us to link our
sense experiences to science in a more thoroughly scientific way than is available if we
63 Ibid, 86-87.
64 Ibid, 89.
39


pursue dualist or idealist accounts of consciousness. Churchland is an optimist when it
comes to this sort of account. Churchland disagrees with Dan Dennett, who seeks a
neuroscientific account of meaning along slightly different lines. Namely, Dennett argues
that brains are similar to virtual von Neumann machines running the software of
consciousness, where Churchland argues that consciousness is a result of the brains
hardwarenot just made possible by the brains hardware. Regardless, Churchland claims
he and Dennett are both "closet Hegelians."65 This closet Hegelianism lies in their belief
that the conceptual activity of philosophy and science "involves an endless contest
between an evergreen variety of conceptual alternatives; and it displays, at least
occasionally, a welcome progress in our conceptual sophistication, and in the social and
technological practices that structure our lives."66 This Hegelian optimism meshes well
with what we have already said about the modem tradition and its pursuit of progress.
Ultimately, Churchland's neuroscientific account rests on the idea that
consciousness is the result of certain physical structures in the brain, and its activity.67
This is important because "consciousness"in the broad sense of mental activityis
presumably where the bulk of the language and meaning "work" is done. So, if we're
going to further our account of language and meaning, we must turn to a study of the
brain. Churchland's optimism, and his belief in a Quineian scientific epistemology leads
him to say that "a proper account of human scientific knowledge must somehow be a
proper part of a general theory of biological systems and biological development" and
65
Churchland, Paul. "Catching Consciousness in a Recurrent Net." In Neurophilosophy
1.
at Work. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
66 Ibid.
67 Ibid, 2.
40


this necessitates looking to the brain for language and meaning.68 Such an account of
language and meaning in the brain requires painting a picture in which an individual's
understanding of the world consists in the arrangement of their brain's roughly 1014
acquired synaptic connections.69
Neurosemantics
With the broad outlines of the sort of account Churchland pursues in view, we can
turn to Churchland's account of language and meaning via neurologically based "state
space semantics." Churchland introduces this account in part to address the problem of
translation in Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized." It is unclear, particulalry in Quine's
account, how we ought to go about "mapping the lexicon of one language onto the
lexicon of another, or the concepts of one persons conceptual framework onto the
concepts of anothers" in a way that preserves "sense, meaning, [and] semantic identity
across the pairings effected by such a mapping."70 This mapping issue boils down to an
ontological question about what meaning and concepts are. We have to get clear on
"meaning" and "concepts" before we can talk meaningfully about language. Churchland
attempts to provide an internalist account of meaning in order to avoid criticisms of past
empirical accounts.71
Churchland pursues his internalist account with finding a solution to two issues
that we encountered earlier in Freges and Quines work, the issues of "identify of
meaning" and "similarity of meaning," in mind. Individuals such as Jerry Fodor and
68 Ibid, 6.
69 Ibid, 7.
70 Churchland, Paul. "Neurosemantics." In Neurophilosophy at Work. (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2007), 126.
71 Ibid, 126-127.
41


Ernest Lepore provide accounts of these issues more in lineat least in some ways
with these more "traditional" logocentric accounts. However, in pursuing a physical
internalist account of these issues, Churchland abandons most of the content of these
accounts.72 In doing so, he presents a theory of meaning in which "meaning" is reduced
to particular neuronal relationships (activation patterns) in the brain. According to
Churchland, these relationships can be mapped out into "state spaces" comprised of
"prototype points" and viewed as geometrical solids (or hyper-solids as the case may be).
The "prototype points" in this geometric metaphor are the vertexes of the geometrical
solids, and are, in reality, the neurons themselves.
The problem with this account is that it's hard to tie prototype points to specific
"things" without resorting to empirical observation. Without empirical observation, we
seem to lose out on a fundamental part of "translation." As Quine said, if two things are
said to be synonymous, that synonymy must be grounded in usage. However, with an
internalist account, we are cut off from any recourse to usage (similar, in fact, to the way
Derrida is cut off from usage with difference), and seem to lose our ability to compare
prototype points between individuals. Churchland is not fazed by this difficulty.
Churchland argues "...such direct causal/semantical identifications of the prototype
points are wholly unnecessary to the business of mapping the conceptual structure of one
network onto the conceptual structure of another, and equally unnecessary to measuring
the degree of similarity that, failing perfect identity, each structure bears to the other."73
In other words, if we have each map of prototype points, we can compare them to each
72 Ibid, 127.
73 Ibid, 129.
42


other without necessarily knowing the empirical "content" of the maps because, in a
Quineian way, they only lay across reality as a whole.
In addition, if two individuals have the same concept, the concept's prototype
points will presumably map out in a metrically identical manneror something close to
it.74 When dealing with these mappings, their multi-dimensional nature allows us to
manipulate them (rotate, flip etc.) in order to find at least one way in which they line up.
When this is accomplished, Churchland claims we know that the two sets of prototype
points are semantically identical.75 If they are not metrically identical, we can measure
any differences between them in order to discuss issues of similarity. In this way, we
have an internalist account of identity and similarity of meaning that does not require us
to know the content of the concepts in question.
The downside of this account is that we are stuck with talking about "narrow
content." We can say that two concepts are identical between users, but we can't say
much about themthat would require an empirical account of their usage. While this
account does not allow us to definitively decide everything content-wise, it does allow us
to say quite a bit more about the sort of existence concepts and meanings have. Quine, we
will remember, despaired of ever finding "meanings" and this account seems to have
found themand not in an atomistic manner that Derrida could critique.
Churchland addresses a number of criticisms of this account, primarily from
Fodor and Lepore. For Churchland, Fodor and Lepore's rejection of neuronal accounts is
due to "a tension that has been with us at least since Frege. It centers on the contrast
between meaning as reference, extension, or denotation versus meaning as sense,
74 Ibid, 130.
75 Ibid, 132.
43


intension, or connotation."76 People like Fodor and Lepore take Frege and Russell's side
in emphasizing meaning as reference or denotation and a more logocentric account.
Churchland, on the other hand, focuses on "sense" which is more in line with Quine's
comments about conceptual frameworks in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" and semantic
holism itself.
This difference in emphasis has a lot to do with the fact that unlike Fodor and
Lepore, Churchland considers the content of a concept a "highly peculiar" portrayal of
some aspect of the world.77 This is in opposition to Fodor and Lepore's accounts
according to which concepts have an essentially law-like relationship to the external
world. For Fodor and Lepore, it is odd that anyone would ever misunderstand anyone else
because we all share the same law-like connections to external stimuli. Churchland,
however, believes it is our lack of law-like connections, and our reliance on rough
"portrayals" that defines meaning. For Churchland, it is somewhat amazing that we ever
understand anyone else because we all have slightly different portrayals of the world. In
discussing how these different portrayals come to be, Churchland returns to a more
science-based account.
Churchland argues that neuronal relations are earned the "hard way" through
years of learning that ultimately lead to a fairly stable portrayal of the world.78 In this
way, concepts are tied to the "peculiar cognitive history of each individual, and in the
peculiar cognitive history of the society in which that individual was raised."79 Not only
does this explain how individuals can have different portrayals of the world, it brings one
76 Ibid, 134.
77 Ibid, 135.
78
44


of the primary concerns of continental philosophyand post-modernismsociety's
influence on thought, into play. It also stands on ground similar to Quine's "Two Dogmas
of Empiricism" and "Epistemology Naturalized." It provides the beginning of a non-
logocentric scientific account of human knowledge that maintains the general tone of
semantic holism.
Neuronal Holism
This makes the account somewhat hard for semantic atomists like Fodor and
Lepore to digest because Churchland's account has little to do with the traditional
logocentric way concepts and meanings are treated in philosophy. However, it has a lot to
do with the way concepts and meanings are treated by semantic holists.80 In this way, the
account builds off of and supports a holistic account of meaning with recourse to
"empirical neuroscience, the study of the microanatomy and the physiology of terrestrial
brains."81 This is exactly the sort of convergence of science and philosophy Quine calls
for in "Epistemology Naturalized." In addition, it supports the holistic account of
meaning by describing how it is things are understood as wholes on a biological level and
without relying on linguistic entities.
This last bit requires some explication. First, the benefit of using empirical
neuroscience in pursuit of meaning and concepts is that it allows us to discuss how
meanings come to be. In Churchland's view, prototype-families (the solids and hyper-
solids in the geometric metaphor) are "learned" through repeat encounters with the world.
This "learning" is the reconfiguration of synaptic matrices.82 In short, "[t]he acquisition of
80 Ibid, 136.
81 Ibid, 138.
82 TU J
45


concepts, on this view, is thus something that requires the intricate and simultaneous
tuning of trillions of synaptic connections the individual coefficients of the relevant
matrix."83 These concepts, with all of their intricacies, cannot be accounted for in any
other way. Semantic innateists like Fodor and Lepore are left trying to explain how it is
that so much data, so much complexity, could possibly arise as a matter of strict
geneticsof simply being human (or any other animal for that matter). Because it is
mathematically impossible, according to Churchland, to explain semantic data as a result
of genetics, it is impossible to believe that concepts are innate and that they consist in the
"microconfigurations of our 1014 synapses."84 So concepts, on this view, are necessarily
learned synaptic relations. However, this says little about their being understood
holistically.
The holistic connection can be seen in digging deeper into Churchland's account
of learning concepts. During the process of learning Churchland believes we do not
simply learn a thing. Instead, in the process of learning a thing a number of other things
are learned. Churchland uses an artificial neural network's ability to discriminate faces as
an example of how this happens. In order for this neural network to discriminate faces, it
must be able to recognize differences in face shape, eye type etc. This information is
essential for the neural network to recognize faces.85 In this same way, Churchland says,
"[h]uman children learn readily to recognize faces, and dolls, and cookies, and socks. But
there are no laws of nature that comprehend these things qua faces, dolls, cookies, and
83 Ibid, 139.
84 Ibid, 139-140.
85 Ibid, 142.
46


socks."86 Instead, children recognize these things by accumulating a large amount of
information about them, out of which they synthesize (with the help of a speaker) the
concept "face" or "doll" etc. An interesting aspect of these concepts that comes out of this
"repeat experience and fine tuning" model is that concepts necessarily range over a
number of cases.87 We might even think of them in a Russellian or Quineian "bound
variable" sense. This reading of concepts helps provide an account of how the
nonexistent referent issue tackled by Russell in "On Denoting" and Quine in "On What
There Is" came to exist in the first place. Essentially: complex concepts can range over
"things" that are not found in our ontology, but whose meaning we can understand via
experience with entities that do exist in our ontology. This issue trips up meaning
atomists in part because strictly referential accounts of meaning can't account for how
those complex concepts can exist without a direct causal relation.
Churchland's account also bears some resemblance to Quine's metaphorical
statements about the "edges" of our conceptual frameworks making contact with
experience and being subject to change, but their bodies being relatively stable. In this
sense, our prototype points may change due to new experiences, but their overall shape
their relationship to each otherstays mostly the same. In Churchland's words: "a broad
sample of imperfect approximations is adequate to project a smooth metric that will
capture all cases the marginal, the prototypical, and even the hyperbolic cases."88 In this
sense, concepts are networks that delimit the range of possible images of a certain sort.
Having a given concept is to "command that well-informed range of possible
86 Ibid.
87 Ibid, 144.
88 Ibid, 145.
47


representations.89 This, along with other developmental concerns leads Churchland to say
that we perceive things as "holons" not atoms.90
Language
So far we have been talking about what Churchland's account entails for
"meaning" and "concepts" and "conceptual frameworks" overall. However, the most
interesting thing that this account opens up is a new view of language. For Churchland,
when we understand meaning and concepts as existing in the brain as neuronal relations,
and as developed over time in the presence of certain stimuli, we can see that language is
an acquired skill. Language is acquired in the sense that it is learned along the same lines
Quine outlines in "Epistemology Naturalized" when he says that language is socially
inculcated and controlled. What this language skill allows for is the perception and
manipulation of others' brain states, and for others to perceive and manipulate our brain
states in return.91 According to Churchland, this ability unites us all cognitively in a way
that no other species is united, and entails that our cognition can be a "collective activity,
on a minute-by-minute and even a second-by-second basis."92
Ultimately, this view of language gives rise to an overarching theory of language,
communication and even thought itself. This is because, "[o]ver generations, the evolving
form of that manipulational skill would itself come to embody useful general information,
information transmittable from generation to generation as the skill itself gets passed
down.93 And herein lies a bit of a Hegelian treat. At its foundation, Churchland's account
89 Ibid.
90 Ibid, 150.
91 Ibid, 159.
92 Ibid, 160.
93 Ibid, 160.
48


holds out for the sort of progress that Hegel and all modems seek to some extent, and
asserts such progress is made possible by language. Unlike Derrida, who makes language
indeterminate and hard to manage in order to avoid foundations, Churchland puts
language at the foundation of human knowledge and the possibility for trutheven if it's
not doctrinal truth. This account, in other words, pushes forward the modem conception
of language and meaning by providing an even more nuanced, less logocentric account
than that provided by the branch of analytic philosophy of language we discussed earlier.
This account also has a funny way of bringing the analytic tradition it grew out of closer
to the continental tradition. This is by virtue of this account's surprising similarity,
specifically in its treatment of language as a communal activity that unites us, to
Habermas' concept of "communicative reason."
Habermas and Modern Reunification
It is safe to say that for all of our discussion of modernity and the analytic
tradition, Habermas has said quite a bit more about modernity and its continental branch.
Habermas' The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity in particular provides a mountain
of material to digest, but we will focus, having already sketched our own path of
modernity, on Habermas' concept of "communicative reason." Communicative reason
can be seen as the continental branch's equivalent of Quine's, and ultimately
Churchland's, comments about language and its role in human reason. This can be seen in
the fact that they both end up arguing for language as a medium by which we can
communicate (and come to agreement on) a variety of different things despite having our
own peculiar societal and cognitive histories.
49


Habermas argues that the post-moderns make a mistake in pursuing anti-
foundationalist goals. This mistake is due to their ignoring "the philosophical
counterdiscourse which, from the start, accompanied the philosophical discourse of
modernity initiated by Kant, already drew up a counterreckoning for subjectivity as the
principle of modernity."94 In other words, the modern discourse already contains within it
the ability to deal with the issue of subjectivity, and the post-moderns ignore this ability.
In this way, the post-moderns misidentify subjectivity as the primary principle of
modernity, when in fact it is incidental to the tradition as a whole. This general line of
argument was repeated earlier in our discussion of Derridas account of language and
meaning in comparison to the analytic account that actually came before it. The road to
post-modernity that Habermas traces from Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and on to Derrida is
then riddled with opportunities to take a different road, but at every point this opportunity
is refused by the post-modems and proto-post-moderns.
This alternative route lies in what Habermas calls "communicative reason." This
route means giving up Heidegger and Derrida's "sentimental presupposition of
metaphysical homelessness"their anti-foundationalismand seeing it as "a symptom
of exhaustion."95 This exhaustion is due to Heidegger and Derrida's repeated attempts to
make sense of the relationship between the transcendental and empirical modeshow we
can go from contingent statements about the here and now to "law-like" statements about
the world. Using the road analogy, the post-moderns take a detour from modernity
because they are convinced the road is dangerous and unsupported, but the detour is
94 Habermas, Jurgen. "An Alternative Way Out of the Philosophy of the Subject." In The
Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 296.
95 Ibid.
50


unnecessary (as we saw with relation to language and meaning), and it leaves them tired,
without an obvious way back to the main road, and no way of moving forward.
According to Habermas, this detour could have been avoided if the post-moderns
had understood that through coming to mutual understandingthrough using language to
communicatewe are able to overcome the apparent gap between transcendental {a
priori) and empirical ( saying when he said that making a statement presupposes objectivitymultiple speakers
come together and use the same terms and are able to communicate effectively. Quine
also supports this position. Subjective interpretation is bridged through the use of
objective language. Habermas goes further to say that "[wjhoever has been trained in
this system [of language] has learned how, in the performative attitude, to take up and to
transform into one another the perspectives of the first, second, and third persons."96 This
same ability is at work in Churchland's account: we learn to manipulate the brain states of
others, and receive their manipulations through intersubjective language and the "truth"
of that system. We can go from our particular conceptual framework to a "universal"
language and back to another's particular conceptual framework at will.
When we speak of language in this wayas bridging the gap between
subjectivity through an "objective" or "common" systemand we cease talking about
some separate realm of truths beyond empirical observation "the ontological separation
between the transcendental and the empirical is no longer applicable."97 So long as
speakers are able to achieve understandingfind common groundthey operate within
the "horizon of their common lifeworld" and this is an intuitively known holistic
96 Ibid, 296-297.
97 Ibid, 298.
51


background. Similar to Churchland's account, Habermas' account of language and
meaning puts an emphasis on the society an individual is raised in, and the methods by
which they have been taught to communicate.98 99 These methods and backgrounds are
internalized by the individual and incorporated as part of their lifeworld. Relating back
to Churchland, we might say that these methods are similar to a key that accompanies our
internal conceptual maps. This key helps us translate and communicate the content of our
internal maps with others. Through this mediating aspect of language (the key to our
conceptual maps), "the purism of pure reason is not resurrected again in communicative
99
reason.
Not only does Habermas argue for communicative reason as the road post-
modernity should have taken, he argues that attacking subject-centered reasonthe goal
of the post-modern detour on his readingis only possible from within modernity to
begin with. By moving beyond modernity, and attempting to move beyond paradigms in
general, the post-modems cut themselves off from the solution to their problems, and
lock themselves into a reliance on subject-centered reason.100 This is because you cannot
simply call for the end of something like subject-centered reason and then move onone
paradigm must be replaced by another, and modernism is the only tradition able to
contain the paradigm of communicative reason.101 Through viewing it in this way,
Derridas Difference and the post-modern tradition it belongs to can, at most, be
considered a critique of modernity's logocentrismnot a critique of modernity as a
whole. Churchland's account, in reducing truth and meaning to non-linguistic entities in
98 Ibid, 299.
99 Ibid, 301.
100 Ibid, 309.
101 Ibid, 310.
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the brain achieves the same result as far as critiquing modern logocentrism, and
Habermas' communicative reason can be seen as the praxis side of Churchland's account.
The two accounts are not the same, but they are complementary.
Despite the differences in focus between philosophy in the analytic and
continental traditions (science and politics respectively), then, the two traditions come
together in defense of modernity in a compelling manner through a redefinition of
language, meaning, and their respective roles in pursuit of knowledge. However, it is
important to note what is likely clear to every philosopher reading this: the branch of the
analytic tradition sketched out here is in no way entirely representative of the variety of
positions contained in the tradition, nor is Habermas entirely representative of everything
going on in continental philosophy. However, if we are going to take the post-modern
movement seriously, address its concerns, and move on, these two modern accounts of
language and meaning are the best options we have.
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CHAPTER IV
THE MODERN NIETZSCHE
The question remains why, if alternative conceptual routes were available to them,
the post-modems avoided them. Why did Derrida present an unnecessary theory of
meaning, and if we side with Habermas, why was post-modernism itself ultimately a
mistake, or a false-start? The answer to this question can be seen in post-modernism's
roots. Specifically, the post-modern tradition relies on an incorrect interpretation of
Nietzsche, and this interpretation causes them to miss the alternative conceptual routes
open to them. Post-moderns do not see Nietzsche as the modern he is, in part due to a
misreading of the modern tradition's goals and in part due to a misreading of Nietzsche
himself. However, this misinterpretation of Nietzsche has gone unquestioned within post-
modernism thanks in part to Deleuze's repetition and expansion of it. Even Habermas,
who we just turned to for support in arguing for modernity, supports this incorrect
interpretation. In his discussion of Nietzsche's role in the birth of post-modernism,
Habermas seems to support a view that the post-moderns were at least partially right to
use Nietzsche. In this sense, Habermas contends that Nietzsche was a post-modern
precursor. However, this is not actually the case. In showing how this is not the case, we
will start with Habermas' account of Nietzsche's philosophical ties to post-modernity and
see if we can't cut them. Following that, we will turn to a direct discussion of Nietzsche.
Through this direct discussion, we will see how Nietzsche was in fact a modem and not
only did the post-moderns misinterpret him, Nietzsche would never support the post-
modern position.
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On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life
According to Habermas, Nietzsche can be seen as responding to Kant's idea of
"enlightenment." Habermas says that Kant's "enlightenment" entails that it is impossible
to reverse the learning process, and that insights gained through enlightenment cannot
simply be forgotten. This means that enlightenment, and with it the modem tradition (if
our earlier reading of Kant is accurate), can only proceed and address its deficits by
"radicalized enlightenment."102 In this way, the only solution to the modern tradition's
problems is more modernism. At the time Nietzsche was writing this manifested as an
ever-growing interest in history and a desire for more and more knowledge, without a
specific goal in mind. Nietzsche, to be fair to Habermas, was most certainly against this
culture of historicism and its gluttonous pursuit of knowledge. Habermas quotes
Nietzsche's "On The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" to demonstrate this:
"'Knowledge, taken in excess without hunger, even contrary to need, no longer acts as a
transforming motive impelling to action and remains hidden in a certain chaotic inner
world ... and so the whole of modern culture is essentially internal... a 'Handbook of Inner
Culture for External Barbarians.'103 In this sense, Nietzsche argues that an
overabundance of historical knowledge is a bad thing, and that it prevents us from
moving forward. However, this is not the attack on "modernity" that Habermas makes it
out to be. This is because Habermas mistakes Nietzsches modem culture for
modernity and fails to see that in advocating that we avoid obsessing about the past,
Nietzsches is striking out against tradition in a very modem way. Habermas identifies
102 Habermas, Jurgen. "The Entry into Postmodernity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point." In
The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 84.
103 Ibid, 85.
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the historicism and relentless pursuit of knowledge of Nietzsches contemporaries with
the modem tradition, when in fact the modem tradition, as we have defined it, strikes out
against this sort of historicism and knowledge for knowledges sake in order to
preserve theoretical freedom in much the same way Nietzsche does.
In order to see this fact, we must distinguish between Nietzsche's use of the term
modem and what we have been calling the modem tradition. Nietzsche uses the term
modem in a way we dont use it when discussing the modern tradition. Namely, he uses
it in something closer to its original sense of "new" or "recent." So, Nietzsche is not
speaking of the modern tradition when he says "modem culture," he is speaking of
contemporary culture at the time he is writing. This culture, Nietzsche feels, is destroying
itself through a relentless pursuit of history. This is destructive, Nietzsche believes,
because an overabundance of history leads to a sort of nihilism. Too much history causes
things to lose their meaning, their weight etc., and further, we lose our motivation to
move forward, to strike out in pursuit of something new. In the same essay, Nietzsche
says, "a living thing can be healthy, strong and fruitful only when bounded by a horizon;
if it is incapable of drawing a horizon around itself, and at the same time too self-centered
to enclose its own view within that of another, it will pine away slowly or hasten to its
timely end."104 This horizon is a limit on knowledge, and functions like an atmosphere
that allows us to breathe. In this way, drawing horizons is a foundational move: it gives
us a basis to work from, and provides a theoretical springboard toward the future. More
explicitly, there must be an end to our pursuit of historyalways looking backward
104 Nietzsche, Friedrich. "On The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life." In
Untimely Meditations, edited by Daniel Breazeale, translated by R.J. Hollingdale.
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 63.
56


without an eye on the future paralyzes us. But this is not to say that history is a bad thing.
Rather, "the unhistorical and the historical are necessary in equal measure for the health
of an individual, of a people and of a culture."105 An individual able to balance these two
things would be Nietzsche's "historical man" who uses history in pursuit of life. The
scholars of his day are then "suprahistorical" and see nothing in the future that is not
already in the past. This is an outlook that Nietzsche says causes nausea.106 It is a
sickness. In this way, Nietzsche is not arguing against increased knowledge and the
modern tradition, he is arguing against pursuing knowledge for knowledge's sake without
limit. Perhaps if we could construe Kant's enlightenment as arguing for pursuing
knowledge for knowledge's sake we could say that Nietzsche is anti-modem in the sense
Habermas contends, but this would do a disservice to Kant.
When it comes to Nietzsche's critiques of the scholars of his day, the critique still
stands. However, the critique is not directed at philosophy or history in the modem
tradition. In fact, if we were to accuse anyone of this sort of limitlessness today, it would
have to be post-modernistsat least on Habermas reading. Their relentless pursuit of
foundations, and their ultimate decision that there are none is a clear failure to "draw a
horizon." Their pessimism mirrors the pessimism Nietzsche ascribes to the
suprahistorical man in tone and general cause (lack of foundations). By getting caught up
in this endless pursuit of past origins, the post-moderns cut themselves off from progress.
Quine and Churchland, on the other hand, very clearly draw a horizon. Quine's semantic
holism even uses a metaphor compatible with this idea of a "horizon within which we are
able to live." This is the "conceptual fabric" metaphor in which knowledge and science
105 Ibid.
106 tu: a ^
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only impinge on the world around its edges. Experience is the horizon Quine and
Churchland draw in order to move forward, and empirical science is the atmosphere they
breathe.
Back to Habermas. Habermas says that Nietzsche, when faced with this historical
aspect of "modern culture" was forced to either present an imminent critique, or give up
the program entirely. Because Habermas fails to understand Nietzsche's emphasis on
balancing history with the unhistorical, he believes Nietzsche chose the latter option and
abandoned the dialectic of enlightenment.107 But if we read Nietzsche correctly, we can
see what his actual contention is: the dialectic of enlightenment (if we want to call it that)
cannot proceed on only one term. There must be an "other" to historywe cannot let our
pursuit of history dissolve the future. But likewise, we cannot proceed into the future
without the past as a starting point. Pursuing one without the other is doomed to failure.
To be sure, Nietzsche does say, as Habermas cites, "history must itself dissolve
the problem of history, knowledge must turn its sting against itself this... is the
imperative of the new spirit of the 'new age' if it really does contain something new,
mighty, original and a promise of life.'"108 However, this is not evidence of Nietzsche
calling for a sort of post-modern dissolution of history and knowledge, it is, rather,
evidence of Nietzsche calling for a critique of these pursuits from within them. This is the
sort of critique provided by Frege, Russell, Quine, and especially Churchland. Quine and
Churchland in particular take on assumptions within philosophy and science and do away
with them using the tools of philosophy and science. Further, Quine's embracing myth
addresses Nietzsche's concern that we have lost a sense of myth as a requirement for life,
107 Habermas, Jurgen. "Nietzsche as a Turning Point," 85-86.
108 Ibid, 86.
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while also drawing limits on what science can and cannot do. Derrida, on the other hand,
in his wish to extract himself from the objective pursuit of history or knowledge, loses his
ability to critique the pursuits from within and fails to move forward along the
Habermasian lines already outlined.
The Birth of Tragedy
The rest of Habermas' interpretation of Nietzsche relies on Nietzsche's The Birth
of Tragedy. While we will not address specific claims of Habermas' about The Birth of
Tragedy and Nietzsche's positions in it, we should take a moment to see what all the fuss
is about. If Habermas is right, it is Nietzsche's apparent role as an "acolyte" of Dionysus
in The Birth of Tragedy that ultimately leads him to fight against the modern tradition. At
the outset, it may seem reasonable that The Birth of Tragedy is an anti-modern work
because Nietzsche truly does advocate for the Dionysian perspective at a number of
points in TBoTand Habermas correctly interprets this Dionysian perspective as
irrational. In his retrospective preface, Nietzsche even says that in TBoThe recognized
for the first time that science (and rationality) itself was something problematic and
questionable.109 However, taken on its own, this statement says nothing about the modern
tradition, and even less about science as a whole. Once again, Nietzsche is attacking
science as it existed at the time of his writingensconced in dogmas and a belief that it
could divine the laws of nature. Further, this is not the point, strictly speaking, of The
Birth of Tragedy.
109 Nietzsche, Friedrich. "The Birth of Tragedy." In The Birth of Tragedy and Other
Writings, edited by Raymond Guess and Ronald Spiers, translated by Ronald Spiers.
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 4-5.
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To start, Nietzsche is primarily concerned with explaining the birth of "tragedy."
Tragedy, in this case, refers to the Greek tragedies and tragic art as a whole. For
Nietzsche, tragedy has two sides: the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The former gets its
name from Apollo, and has connotations of light, images and dreams. The latter gets its
name from Dionysus, and has connotations of darkness and intoxication. In tragedy, these
two aspects are joined as one.110 Tragedy is then seen as a necessary development to
cover over the Dionysian meaninglessness of existence with Apollonian illusions.111 For
Nietzsche, Dionysian reality is too much for people to handle. It paralyzes us, and makes
us see any action as ultimately meaningless.112 It is the Apollonian drive to images and
illusion that saves us from this abyss. It is the interplay between these two aspects of
tragedy (Apollonian and Dionysian) that make tragedy the perfect art form in Nietzsche's
eyes. Each aspect taken on its own is insufficient to justify and cultivate life, but together
they are able to elevate life itself to an art form.
If there is a tone in which Nietzsche comes across as an acolyte of Dionysus in
The Birth of Tragedy, it is in his arguing that through our pursuit of science we have lost
the Dionysian aspect of life. For Nietzsche, Socrates and his followers became so focused
on their images that they forgot the underlying structure of realitythey lost sight of the
fact that their theories were illusions.113 However, Nietzsche does not ultimately argue for
Dionysus, he argues for tragedy. This is not a case of an acolyte making a case for his
god, it is a case of a skeptic calling for a return to a balanced view of the world, and a
more nuanced view of the world. Socrates, on Nietzsche's reading, killed tragedy, and
110 Ibid, 14-15.
111 Ibid, 23.
112 Ibid, 40.
113 Ibid, 60-64.
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Nietzsche wants to bring it back. The way in which Nietzsche argues for tragedy is the
same way in which he argues against a focus on history and knowledge without an end in
mind. Nietzsche does not want to destroy history, or science or any of these thingshe
wants them to return to a more nuanced and balanced tragic view of the world so that
they can be used to cultivate life. In perceiving Nietzsche as an anti-modem, it is clear
that Habermas conception of modernism privileges rationality and misses the ultimate
goal of modernism: theoretical freedom.
Beyond Good and Evil
We now have a defense for an alternate interpretation of Nietzsche's views in the
works Habermas cites. However, there is still more that can be said arguing in favor of
Nietzsche being a modern. Our best bet for that sort of thing is in Beyond Good and Evil.
To be fair to the post-modems and Habermas, Nietzsche says in Ecce Homo that Beyond
Good and Evil is a critique of modernity, and that he is as unmodern as possible.114 Two
things can be said about this statement. First, this is once again an issue of distinguishing
between the modem tradition as we have been speaking of it and "modernity" in the
"contemporary age" sense. Second, we should note that Nietzsche does not say he is anti-
modernrather, he says he is unmodern. This, taken in context with the previous
consideration, points to an interpretation of the statement in which Nietzsche is saying he
does not belong to his contemporary age. This itself can be seen as a symptom of an
extreme version of the sort of modernism we have been talking about. Nietzsche, in this
sense, finds little in tradition worth preserving and attempts to critique all of it. While this
114 Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Ecce Homo." In The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the
Idols, an Other Writings, edited by Aaron Ridley and Judith Norman, translated by Judith
Norman. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 135.
61


sort of extreme modernism might resemble post-modernism on a superficial level,
Nietzsche is clearly not an anti-foundationalist. As we said in discussing Habermas'
interpretation, Nietzsche believes we need foundations.
So, while Beyond Good and Evil is most definitely a critique of the age Nietzsche
writes in, it is more in line with what we have said about the modem tradition than
perhaps any other work at the time. On close inspection, we can actually find statements
that undergird those made by Quine and Churchland. Even if Quine and Churchland
would not list Nietzsche as an influence, there is a case to be made that he is something
of a kindred spiritalbeit a strange and somewhat bombastic kindred spirit. Such a case
goes as follows. Nietzsche starts Beyond Good and Evil with a question that is indicative
of his entire viewpoint: "Suppose that truth is a woman and why not? Arent there
reasons for suspecting that all philosophers, to the extent that they have been dogmatists,
have not really understood women?"115 This question encapsulates Nietzsche's overall
thrust to rid philosophy of dogmato attack even those things that we have held at the
center of our conceptual frameworks for thousands of years. For example, a belief in the
opposition of values.116
Nietzsche asks us to question the distinction between "truth" and "falsehood."
Incorporating our discussion of The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche wants us to find a middle
ground where the two are not separate and oppositional, but rather two sides of the same
coin. This coin is "perspectivism." Nietzsche's "perspectivism" replaces the traditional
conception of truth and objectivity with subjectivity, and insists that we view our
115
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Edited by Rolf-Peter Horstmann and
Judith Norman. Translated by Judith Norman. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2002), 3.
116
Ibid, 6.
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statements about the world as entirely context dependentdependent on who we are,
where we are from, what society we live in etc. All of these contextual factors shape our
perspective, and no one individual has the "true" perspective. However, this is not a
limitless subjectivism. For Nietzsche, we can judge a statement by how well it "promotes
and preserves life, how well it preserves, and perhaps even cultivates, the type."117 In
other words, judgments should be considered pragmatically, with our goals in mind. This
is what Nietzsche means by going "beyond good and evil."118
Derrida and the post-modems have a goal in mind, but it leads them to a dead end.
While modems like Quine and Churchland make epistemology coextensive with science,
the post-modems, according to Habermas, limit themselves to epistemology. Derrida, in
cutting himself off from ontology and traditional metaphysics as a whole (his
metaphysical homelessness), limits himself to talking about "the play of differences" as
the sole means of talking about the world. While "the play of differences" can certainly
be seen as a way of talking about how we know what we know, it does nothing more, and
allows no further progress. The fact that such a philosophy would be intended to shake
modernism to its core is laughable for Nietzsche. Nietzsche says that "[a] philosophy
reduced to 'epistemology,' which is really no more than a timid epochism and doctrine of
abstinence; a philosophy that does not even get over the threshold and scrupulously
denies itself the right of entry that is a philosophy in its last gasps, an end, an agony,
something to be pitied."119 He goes further to ask, rhetorically, how a philosophy like that
could possibly dominate. To be fair, Nietzsche is talking in this case about the state of
117
118
119
Ibid, 7.
Ibid.
Ibid, 95.
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philosophy in the 1880s as it is embattled by positivism, but his criticism is no less
applicable to post-modernism.
Nietzsche can also be seen as supporting some aspects of Quine's and
Churchland's accounts of language and meaning. Nietzsche believes that we must declare
war on the atomistic need of past philosophy and science.120 Quine attacks this
atomistic need through a discussion of semantic holism, and meanings existence as part
of an overarching conceptual system. In doing so, he follows a path that brings
mythological aspects of knowledge back into the picture. By doing this, he incorporates
Nietzsche's belief that "[w]e are the ones who invented causation, succession, for-each-
other, relativity, compulsion, numbers, law, freedom, grounds, purpose; and if we project
and inscribe this symbol world onto things as an in-itself, then this is the way we have
always done things, namely mythologically,"121 Churchland further attacks the atomistic
need of philosophy and science by shifting to a less logocentric account of meaning, and
continuing to view meaning and knowledge along holistic lines. Churchland even
incorporates some amount of Nietzsche's perspectivism in his contention that each
individual has their own particular peculiar world portrayals.
The only difference from Nietzsche here is that Churchland, along with
Habermas, is willing to say that language can bridge these gaps; that there is something
productive in our pursuit of consensus. However, this difference in beliefs about the
possibility of bridging perspectival gaps is not evidence that Nietzsche was anti-modem,
but rather it is evidence that he was not an optimist. He was a more skeptical modern than
either Quine or Churchland, to be sure, but he was not a pessimist in the way the post-
120 Ibid, 14.
121 Ibid, 21.
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moderns are pessimists. This is because, for Nietzsche, "True philosophers reach for the
future with a creative hand and everything that is and was becomes a means, a tool, a
hammer for them."122 The post-modems seem to want to reach for the future, but they
have discarded everything that "is and was" and in so doing, they have cut off any hope
of ever moving forward.
The fact that Nietzsche is ever cited in support of post modernism comes down to
two things. The first, as we keep saying, is a misunderstanding surrounding the term
"modern" and Nietzsche's use of it. The second, is a misinterpretation of Nietzsche more
generally. The first misunderstanding can be seen as simple anachronism, the second has
to at some point be considered willful. Deleuze hints at as much in his Nietzsche and
Philosophy, through his discussion of enculage. Regardless, supposing we were to take
the first issue, in which post-modems mistake Nietzsche's use of the term modem due to
an anachronism, and grant them that one. Suppose Nietzsche really is anti-modem in the
sense he would need to be to serve as an effective touchstone for post-modernism. Even
then, the post-modem movement is not one Nietzsche would support based on their
inability to draw a horizonto find their footing, to have a foundation. Even if Nietzsche
wasn't a modern in the strict sense, the post-modems still get him wrong because they are
anti-foundationalists. The post-modern movement, if it is going to claim Nietzsche as its
founder, is an obvious misstep. Not only do they have nothing to stand on currently, they
have nothing to stand on historically. Post-modernism, if it keeps using Nietzsche as a
touchstone is more than just a false start: it is a failure of Nietzschean philosophy as a
whole.
122 Ibid, 106.
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CHAPTER V
AN EXTENDED METAPHOR
In concluding our discussion of modern philosophy and its conflict with post-
modernism, I would like to offer a less straightforward and more metaphorical retelling.
The primary purpose of this retelling is to put forward a view of the modern enterprise
that strips away all the incidental and contingent facts of modernism we have discovered
through the course of this investigation of modem accounts of language and meaning and
get at the heart of modernity. In this case we will attempt such a retelling by discussing
modernity as if it were a dream. However, this is not to say that modernity is a dream in
the wishful goal sense, but rather to speak of it as an actual dreama dream in a long
line of shared dreams involving all of humanity. With modernity presented as a dream,
we can distinguish what makes modernity unique in relation to those dreams that came
before it, and the nocturnal deviations that have arisen within it. The second purpose of
this retelling is to argue for modernitys continued existence and wholehearted
revitalization as a joint effort between philosophers working in both the analytic and
continental traditions. This will necessarily follow from reading modernity as a dream.
So, how are we to take the title of this investigation, The Dream of Modernity?
It would seem that at times it has been met with anticipation, hope and other positive
feelings, while at others it has been laughed off as impossible, or naive. All of these
interpretations rely on a reading of the phrase in terms of goals and ambitions. The
dream of modernity is then given over to a sense of success that is yet to come, and we
have made a strong case for this sort of interpretation. But what if the phrase were taken
more literally? What happens when the dream of modernity is read as referring to an
66


actual dream? What sort of dream would it be? Would it be a brilliant adventure in some
strange fantastical land, or a nightmare in which there is no escape from our failures?
Further, what would it say about us as dreamers?
If we are to take the phrase in this actual dream sense, the answer to the
question what kind of dream is it? is clear: it is a lucid dream. Why a lucid dream?
Kants An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? is best able to address this.
For Kant, enlightenment is mans emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.123
What makes this immaturity self-incurred, for Kant, is an inability to use reason without
guidance. Kant gives examples of the ways we avoid using reason without guidance: a
reliance on books instead of taking responsibility for our understanding, a reliance on the
clergy to decide moral issues instead of consulting our own consciences etc. What these
avoidance measure all have in common is laziness and cowardice.
Kant further attacks the pre-modem reliance on rules as shackles that prevent
humanity from taking advantage of its own natural gifts.124 For Kant, these sorts of rules
attempt to impose boundaries on what is knowable. In this way, one age conspires to
place a succeeding one in a condition whereby it would be impossible for the later age to
expand its knowledge.125 Kant believes this act of binding to be in opposition to human
nature, which is specifically focused on the progress of knowledge. It is this sort of
optimism about the human condition that leads Kant to say that so long as humanity
manages to avoid inventing artifices to keep us from progress, we will inevitably move
forward.
Kant, Immanuel. "What is Enlightenment?," 1
Ibid.
Ibid, 2
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What is it about Kants account of enlightenment that allows us to say that
modernity, taken as a dream, is a lucid dream? Lucidity, as in all things, implies being
able to think clearly and rationally. This concept of lucidity is obviously important to the
modern enterprise, and Kants focus on talking about reason in his An Answer to the
Question: What is Enlightenment? is straightforward evidence of this fact. However,
in relation to dreams, lucid takes on a further connotation: awareness on the part of the
dreamer that they are dreaming. This is somewhat harder to pin down in Kant. Kant never
makes a grand metaphysical claim that we are all dreaming, so if we are to find a
connection to lucid dreaming in Kant, it must be a metaphorical connectiona
connection that preserves the sense of lucid dreaming but which does not necessitate
grandiose metaphysics. This connection is found in awareness.
Kant does not simply want us to use reasonsurely, we had been using reason all
along to some degree. Rather, Kant wants us to be aware of the world we are in, and
apprehend it as burdened with traditions and structures that limit human reason and the
expansion of knowledge. For Kant, this means realizing the fact of our own freedom to
use reason, and with it, the responsibility to use it without getting caught up in artifices
that prevent progress. In this way, Kants awareness of reason, and our freedom to use it,
speaks to the sense of lucid dreaming in which the dreamer is aware of the fact that they
are dreaming, and able to take responsibility for their actions within the dreamperhaps
even consciously pushing the dream in a particular direction.
In this way, Kant represents one of the first truly lucid thinkers of modern
philosophy. Modernism thus defined entails an awareness of freedom, the wish to cast
aside presuppositions, and a willingness to take responsibility. Descartes, Leibniz, and
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Spinoza all got close to this principle of lucidity, but failed due to their own reliance on
presuppositions. Kant also succumbed to his presuppositions at times, but managed to see
the problem as it was: we had been pursuing knowledge as if asleep. We would flit about,
not questioning the things given to ussociety and tradition stood in for the individual
and so there was no innovation, and no responsibility. In seeing this, Kant was the first to
have the lucid realization that all was not as it seemed. So, like a lucid dreamer looking at
a clock twice within close succession and receiving vastly different reports each time, he
saw the flaw in the illusions we had made for ourselves. Kants solution was to give
reason back to the individual. However, this was not without objections.
Hegel in particular takes issue with Kants emphasis on the individuals use of
reason, and the sense of freedom that drives Kants arguments against tradition. Hegel
believes Kants focus on the individual rational subject leaves out a significant part of the
picture. For Hegel, the focus is not on individuals, it is on the world history of Spirit. It is
important to note, however that [t]he term world includes both physical and mental
nature.126 In this way, Spirit is the historical movement of both physical and mental
toward the absolute. According to Hegel, reason is involved in this process, but not as a
tool. Rather than individuals driving reason (as in Kant), reason drives individuals in the
pursuit of the absolute.
However, this is not to say that individuals are simple cogs in a great machine of
reason. Hegels idea of Spirit incorporates individuals, and relies on them to create a
larger sense of societal freedom.127 So, while it can appear that individuals are at the
126 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. "Freedom, The Individual, and the State." In
Introduction to The Philosophy of History, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988), 19.
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mercy of circumstance, being together in Spirit, they are caught up in a process by which
they freely come to know the absolute. For Hegel, the realization of this sort of
freedomthe freedom of Spirit as a whole in all its worldlinessis the process that
makes up all of history.128 In this sense, Hegel is concerned with societal self-
consciousness and self-determination where Kant is concerned with individual self-
consciousness and self-determination.
When it comes to our reading of modernity as a dream, through Hegels concept
of self-consciousness and self-determination, we arrive at a view of modernity that is
more nuanced than the one presented by Kant. Kant, in his focus on individuals, was
unable to account for modernity as a shared dream. There was the implication in Kant
that if we all acted as rational individuals there would be progress, but the we all was
left unexplained. Hegel rectifies this by uniting us all together in Spirit. Unfortunately,
this is not without issues. In uniting us all together in Spirit, Hegel forces us into the
pursuit of an endthe absolute. This, in itself, is not necessarily problematic for our
reading of modernity as a lucid dream. However, in doing this, Hegel traces our pursuit
of the absolute back through history and ties all of the present to the past and future
transfiguring it into just one moment of an inevitable movement toward the absolute. This
has the effect of placing modernity in a historical context, but it also burdens modernity
with the tasks of the ages before it, thus taking away the novelty that one would typically
use to delineate a lucid dream from a normal dream. In this way, Hegel takes the
ultimate freedom, the total controland thus some amount of the lucidityout of the
128 Ibid, 21.
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dream of modernity. The casting aside of presuppositions becomes a simple moment in a
larger whole, and thus novelty is subsumed.
Hegel reminds us that modernity is a shared dream, but in reading it in such a
historical way, he takes the lucidity out of it. Kant may have focused too much on the
individual, but Hegel focuses too much on the historical and thus ties us to those
traditions Kant asked us to question. In this way, Hegel marked the beginning of a
historicism that threatened to paralyze modernity, and return us to the undifferentiated
mass of dreams that came before it.
It is at this point that Nietzsche saves the dream of modernity, and reawakens the
sense of lucidity presented by Kant in an even more robust manner than Kant. For
Nietzsche, modernism after Hegel was pessimistic. However, he wondered if this
pessimism could be due not to weakness, but to strength. In this sense, he wondered if
modern pessimism of his day could be due to [a]n intellectual preference for the hard,
gruesome, malevolent and problematic aspects of existence which comes from a feeling
of well-being, from overflowing health, from an abundance of existence.129
In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche contends that this pessimism is due to the fact
that modernism had come to realize the true nature of existence. For Nietzsche, this
meant seeing the world as utterly meaningless. Nietzsche contends that the only way out
of this realization is through art: Art alone can re-direct those repulsive thoughts about
the terrible or absurd nature of existence into representations with which man can
live.130 Modem pessimism is then due to the fact that modernism hadnt taken itself to
129 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil, 4.
130 Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy, 40.
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be artistic; it had taken itself, along Hegelian lines, to be carrying out a divine process
toward the absolute rather than covering over the absolute with reason.
In other words, modernism was mistaken about what it was doing. In obsessing
itself with reason and freedom, it lost sight of the true nature of reality, and in finally
coming into contact with it in a roundabout manner, found itself repulsed. The problem
was not so much reason, but that we lost sight of the artistic nature of reason. In this vein
he calls for using reason creatively and realizing that the meaning of reality is not given
to us, but created by us to cover over the meaninglessness of existence.131 This leads
Nietzsche to take up a position as an anti-dogmatist. Dogmatism is then the primary issue
when it comes to our pursuit of truth in modernism.132 It is this distaste for dogmatism
that leads Nietzsche to say that truth/falsity are not at issue but rather how far the
judgment promotes and preserves life, how well it preserves, and perhaps even cultivates,
the type.133
We said before that Nietzsche saves the dream of modernity and reawakens the
sense of lucidityhow does all of the preceding manage to do that? Nietzsche saves the
dream of modernity by shifting the pessimism of the modern enterprise onto a realization
of the true nature of reality. In this way, Nietzsche is able to explain the failures of
modernity while still allowing us to move forward as modems. The sense of lucidity is
restored in the subsequent realization that we are, in a very significant way, dreamers. For
Nietzsche, all art is dreamlike, and when we realize that knowledge itself is artistic, we
131 Ibid, 19.
132 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good andEvd, 3.
133 Ibid, 7.
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realize that we are dreamersengaging in the creation of dreamlike images that we use
to cover over the void of meaning inherent in the world.
In this sense, Nietzsche is the first to question the place of reason within our
dreaming, and he is the first to fully realize modernity as inherently creative. The result is
that the concerns of Hegel and Kant with regard to the locus of freedom are not relevant
for Nietzsche. We as individuals are engaging in the creation and manipulation of dream-
like images together with each otherprivileging either side of the equation is a mistake,
just as it is a mistake to read some sort of order into the process. We put order and
meaning into the world where there was none before. In this sense, Nietzsche is the
closest to a lucid dreamer out of all the modernsnot only does he question what we
have been given, he acknowledges that we are ultimately the source of what we have
been given. If we are comfortable saying that modernism is a lucid dream, then Nietzsche
is the most modern of the moderns.
Despite Nietzsches efforts to revitalize the modem tradition, by the early 20th
century, much of modernism had once again relapsed into modes of inquiry that took
themselves to be carrying out either a Kantian cold discovery of truths or a Hegelian
march toward the absolute. The result was, on the one hand, philosophy that became
burdened with the intricacies of language, and an attempt to determine the structure of
language; and on the other hand, philosophy that found itself entirely unable to comment
on external truths, and that had retreated to a discussion of human experience. Both of
these traditions, while still modern, lost sight of lucidity due to their relinquishing the
creative aspects of reason.
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Over time, the continental traditions growing pessimism gave rise to thinkers like
Hannah Arendt. For Arendt, the modern tradition is defined by its pessimism. In Arendt,
the doubt that Kant wished us to apply to the old traditions is thought to have been
generalized to all of knowledge. This is in some sense the paradox of the modem
traditionit allowed for the natural sciences to rise and give birth to a vast amount of
knowledge and power, but at the same time it led to the hardly less demonstrable
increase in human despair or the specifically modern nihilism which has spread to ever
larger sections of the population.134 For Arendt, this despair is rooted in alienation.
According to Arendt, throughout the history of modernism we became more and more
alienatedfrom the world and then from the earth itself.135 This alienation has led to the
fact that while modem philosophy was always in some sense pessimistic (at least about
the current state of affairs) modernism itself became pessimistic, and this leads Arendt to
say that there is no cheerfulness left in the modern tradition.136
If we are to still speak of modernism as a dream, we can see Arendt arguing that
the dream of modernism has turned into a nightmareor a fever dream. What control we
had over the course of the dream has been given up to the structures we have created.
However, we can also see how Arendts comments on modernism are the result of
modernism not incorporating the Nietzscheian conception of the world and creative
reason. Alienation is impossible in a modernism that sees its products as wholly creative,
human attempts to create meaning in the world. However, it is easy to say that Nietzsche
is the answerits another to actually embrace the Nietzscheian concept of modernism,
134 Arendt, Hannah. "The Vita Activa and the Modem Age." In The Human Condition,
(Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998), 261.
135 Ibid, 264.
136 Ibid, 273.
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which is something that seemed wholly impossible given the mood of contemporary
philosophy at the time Arendt was writing.
However, the road back to Nietzsche has been in the process of being built for a
number of years. In the analytic (Kantian) tradition, this road began with Quines
semantic holism, and has now been taken over by Paul Churchland and other
contemporary philosophers of mind who have devoted themselves to modern science and
subsequently been forced to come to grips with the strange, horrible questions Nietzsche
warned us about. In the continental (Hegelian) tradition, the road back to Nietzsche has
been championed by Habermas, with his emphasis on communicative reason and
progress. Churchland and Habermas value both reason, and the we all aspect of reason.
The result is that they ask us to take up Kant and Hegel in ways that bring us closer to
Nietzsche than anyone has dared to go in years.
Habermas concept of communicative reason relies on a view of reason that takes
Kants wish for progress along with Hegels point that we progress together as a group
and joins them together. Whoever has been trained in Habermas communicative reason
is then able to take up and to transform into one another the perspectives of the first,
second, and third persons.137 In other words, through communicative reason we are able
to overcome the hurdles of subjectivity together, in pursuit of mutual understanding (not
the absolute). This is not explicitly Nietzscheian, nor is Churchlands Neurosemantics,
but in resolving the Kantian/Hegelian split without resorting to either the Kantian issue of
rampant subjectivity, or the Hegelian issue of binding, it is a firm step in the right
direction toward a reawakening of modernism as a shared lucid dream.
137 Habermas, Jurgen. An Alternative Way, 287.
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Needless to say, when we read modernity as an actual dream, it is plain that the
dream is not over. To paraphrase Nietzsche; it is now beginning to dawn on a few minds
that positivism and other incidental aspects of modernity are only interpretations of
modernity, not explanations of it. It is no small irony that the movement that most
frequently drew on Nietzschepost-modernismhas failed to secure a sure footing, and
moves steadfastly away from Nietzsche while the Kantian and Hegelian traditions are
coming back to him. This is due to the post-modern traditions inability to see modernism
as a lucid dream. Post modernism finds itself so pre-occupied with the incidental failures
of the modem tradition that it is unable to see that the clock on the wall just moved
forward five hours in the last fifteen minutes. Instead of taking the failures of modernism
post-Nietzsche as a sign of lost lucidity, and the realization that we are ultimately free to
create, they infer that modernism was just a normal dream after allthat there is no such
thing as lucid dreams, and that we shouldnt even bother trying. This attitude is far more
dangerous than the naive relapses modernism has had into simple dreaming because it
embraces relapse, and encourages us to go back to sleep.
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Adorno, Theodor W. Negative Dialectics. Translated by E.B. Ashton. London:
Routledge, 1990.
Arendt, Hannah. "The Vita Activa and the Modern Age." In The Human Condition.
Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998.
Churchland, Paul. "Catching Consciousness in a Recurrent Net." In Neurophilosophy at
Work, 1-17. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Churchland, Paul. "Neurosemantics." In Neurophilosophy at Work, 126-160. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Deleuze, Gilles. Nietzsche and Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.
Derrida, Jacques. "Differance." In Margins of Philosophy, translated by Alan Bass, 1-27.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
Frege, Gottlob. "On Sense and Reference." In Meaning, edited by Mark Richard, 36-56.
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
Habermas, Jurgen. "An Alternative Way Out of the Philosophy of the Subject." In The
Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 294-326. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.
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Habermas, Jurgen. "The Entry into Postmodemity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point." In The
Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 83-105. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. "Freedom, The Individual, and the State." In
Introduction to The Philosophy of History, 19-56. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988.
Kant, Immanuel. "An Answer to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?'." Konigsberg,
September 30, 1784.
Nagel, Thomas. The View From Nowhere. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Edited by Rolf-Peter Horstmann and Judith
Norman. Translated by Judith Norman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Ecce Homo." In The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols,
an Other Writings, edited by Aaron Ridley and Judith Norman, translated by Judith
Norman, 69-152. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. "On The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life." In Untimely
Meditations, edited by Daniel Breazeale, translated by R.J. Hollingdale, 57-124.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
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Nietzsche, Friedrich. "The Birth of Tragedy." In The Birth of Tragedy and Other
Writings, edited by Raymond Guess and Ronald Spiers, translated by Ronald Spiers, 1-
116. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Place, U.T. "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?" British Journal of Psychology, no. 47
(1956): 44-50.
Quine, Willard V. "Epistemology Naturalized." In Ontological Relativity and Other
Essays, 69-90. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969.
Quine, Willard V. "On What There Is." The Review of Metaphysics (Philosophy
Education Society Inc.) 2, no. 5 (September 1948): 21-38.
Quine, Willard V. "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." The Philosophical Review (Duke
University Press) 60, no. 1 (January 1951): 20-43.
Russell, Bertrand. "On Denoting." Mind, New Series (Oxford University Press) 114, no.
456 (October 2005): 873-887.
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Full Text

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THE DREAM OF MODERNITY: FINDING MEANING IN THE MODERN TRADITION by Galen Mitchell B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, 2009 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities Humanities and Social Sciences Program 2013

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! "" This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Galen Mitchell has been approved for the Humanities and Social Sciences Program by Candice Shelby, Chair Myra Bookman Gabriel Zamosc Regueros April 11 th 2013

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! """ Mitchell, Galen ( M.H., Humanities and Social Sciences ) The Dream of Modernity: Finding Meaning in the Modern Tradition Thesis directed by Associate Professor Candice Shelby ABSTRACT This paper argues that in order for philosophy to move forward without undue baggage, post modernism should be addressed from the analytic perspective including the contemporary philosophy that has grown out of it. This paper takes up that task with relation to Derrida's "DiffÂŽrance" thr ough a discussion of language and meaning in Frege, Russell, Quine and Paul Churchland. In discussing the differences between these thinkers' theories of meaning we can see that post modernism, at least with regard to Derrida's account of language and mean ing in "DiffÂŽrance was a false start that ultimately provided an unnecessary critique of modern positions This is due in part to a misunderstanding of the modern tradition itself and an incorrect interpretation of Nietzsche In the course of making this argument, we gain insight into the commonalities shared by the two major branches of the modern tradition (analytic philosophy and continental philosophy) and can see that they provide comple mentary accounts of language and m eaning (Churchland's neurosemantics and Habermas' communicative reason ) The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Candice Shelby

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! "# DEDICATION I d edicate this work to my parents, Steve and Jisele, for putting up with my i ncessant questions, and to my wife Laura, for putting up with my incessant answers. Without their patience and support over the years I never would have been able to take this silliness so seriously. I love you all.

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! # ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Deane Curtin and Douglas Huff at Gustavus Adolphus College for taking a Political Science major under their wings and doing their best to make him into a decent student of philosophy with only a couple semesters lef t until his graduation Their classes were the highlight of my academic career at Gustavus and they showed me th at it's true what Socrates said: an unexamined life isn't worth living I would also like to thank Candice Shelby at the University of Colorado Denver for inspiring me to be better at all this than I am, and for introducing me to the analytic tradition including all of the amazing contemporary philosophy that has followed from it. Candice's energy and enthusiasm for the strange and curious probl ems of philosophy is infectious and without her help, this ship of Theseus of a thesis would be at the bottom of the Mediterranean Finally, I would like to thank my dogs for reminding me that sometimes, playing with a ball in the backyard is more importa nt than staring at book s Ok, most of the time.

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! #" TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. TRADITIONS AND GOALS ................................ ................................ ......................... 1 The Goal of Modernism ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 1 An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? ................................ .................... 2 The Goal of Post Modernism ................................ ................................ .......................... 5 II. SENSES AND REFERENCES AND DOGMATIC DIFFƒRANCES ......................... 7 DiffŽrance ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 8 Frege and Russell ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 12 Quine ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 22 III. THE WAY FORWARD ................................ ................................ ............................. 36 Epistemology Naturalized ................................ ................................ ............................. 36 Brains, Brains, the Meaningful Fruit ................................ ................................ ............ 39 Neurosemantics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 41 Neuronal Holism ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 45 Language ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 48 Habermas and Modern Reunification ................................ ................................ ........... 49 IV. THE MODERN NIETZSCHE ................................ ................................ ................... 54 On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life ................................ ..................... 55 The Birth of Tragedy ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 59 Beyond Good and Evil ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 61 V. AN EXTENDED METAPHOR ................................ ................................ ................... 66

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! #"" REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 77

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! #""" LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE I. DERRIDA'S THEORY OF MEANING ...................................................................... 11 II. FREGE'S THEORY OF MEANING .......................................................................... 15 III. RUSSELL'S THEORY OF MEANING ........................................... ......................... 20 IV. QUINE'S THEORY OF MEANING ......................................................................... 31

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! "$ PREFACE Suffice to say, modernism is somewhat complicated. For most of those working in the modern tradition particul arly its more analytically flavored branch the "problems" pointed out by the post moderns are not actually problems at all, and certainly no t worth the time to address them For these moderns what addressing needs to be done has already been done. This attitude has led to the fact that most moderns dismiss post modernism entirely Still there are some within the modern tradition who tackle issues highlighted by post moderns; this is best exe mplified in Nagel's The View From Nowhere which tackles issues relating to the split between subjectivity and objectivity That said as many moderns are bound to point out: these crossovers of the The View From Nowhere sort are not really crossovers at all. Instead, they are cases in which moderns tackle issues that arose within t he modern tradition there is no need to "crossover to post modernity in tackling concerns relating to modern accounts from within the modern tradition. Objectivi ty, for examp le, the question Nagel tackles in The View From Nowhere is not a question pursued solely by post modernists and tackling it does not make one a post modern If anything, it just makes someone ambitious. However, f or those who draw upon the post modern tradition, the concerns of the movement are more relevant. Marking oneself a "post modern" or even consciously living in the wake of post modernism implies a belief that a departure has been made from the modern tradition that modernism is in some way defu nct, or at the very least na•ve. This attitude gives rise to a number of claims by post modernists and their

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! $ sympathizers that modernism is "positivistic ," "scientistic" in the pejorative sense as well "logocentric." Claims that modernism is "positivistic" and "scientistic" can be found throughout Heidegger's phenomenological skepticism Foucault and Habermas (along with the Frankfurt School in general) similarly attack modernism's "positivistic" tendencies. The claim of modern scientism then goes on to app ear in Richard Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature The crit ique of modern logocentrism inevitably relies primarily on Derrida's analysis of language. For these thinkers, m odernism is said to be "positivistic" in that it supposedly disregards intui tion; requiring all knowledge to be rational and ba sed in sensory experience. It is then said to be "scientistic" in that it supposedly believes the only valid pursuit of knowledge is through the scientific method. Modernism's supposed "logocentrism" then refer s to a supposedly undeniable aspect of modern theories in which they privilege "logos" above all else This charge is based on the belief that modern theories assume there is some definite irreducible thing through which our experience is mediated a p latonic form, for example. Along these lines, post moderns such as Jacques Derrida believe modernism is lacking an ability to deal with the fluidity of knowledge and meaning due to its privileging the "word" or "reference" in the formation of meaning This, as we will see, i s not necessarily the case. Regardless post moderns do not dismiss modernism in quite the same way that moderns dismiss post modernism. Modernism is definitive of post modernism in at least the oppositional sense. The point at which post moderns are dismissive of modernism in the same way the moderns are of post modernism is in relation to contemporary modern positions which they believe are based on failed foundations.

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! $" This dismissiveness on both sides of the divide is rarely overco me. Habermas is one of the few avowed moderns to take post modernism seriously, and he works within the continental tradition a modern tradition, but one that has always been sympathetic to post modernism due to the roots that it shares with the post mode rn movement So, w ith so few moderns taking post modernism seriously it is important that the issue be considered from a modern perspective. Habermas can't be the only one to tackle post modernism it's much too slippery fo r one man to hold down, and it ha s been known to throw an elbow here and there. For this reason it is especially important that post modernism be considered from an analytic perspective. The two movements post modernism and analytic philosophy share a close temporal proximity. Th is fact, combined with the vast differences between the two, provides evidence that they comprise two distinct theoretical paths that diverged at the start of the 20th century. Once we have analyzed these two roads to an account of how language works we can see t hat the post modern account is an unnecessary detour In doing so, we arrive at a theoretical perspective at which we can view the conflict between modernism and post modernism in general. This is made possible in part b ecause theories of meaning are conceptually central to the traditions in which they appear. In addition, by lending an analytic hand to Habermas we have the opportunity to present a theory of modernism that helps bridge the gap between the continental and analytic branches of the modern tradition This is possible by providing an account of analy tic modernism that mirrors Habermas' account of continental modernism's internal "counter discourse" ( which has existed since Nietzsche ) that makes the post modern

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! $"" detour unnecessary. With this done, contemporary modern philosophy can move forward as a unified if not differentiated movement and without undue baggage. It can do this without ignoring the post modern movement (as it often does ) and without completely re inventing itself (as many post moderns seem to advocate). This is made possible by under standing the post modern movement as a mistake a false start that never truly got off the ground due to two factors: a misreading of th e modern tradition's goals and its own prejudices This paper is dedicated to bringing the analytic tradition to bear on post modernism, in order to arrive at this understanding and move on

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! % CHAPTER I TRADITIONS AND GOALS The viability of the modern tradition has been questioned nearly from its inception. Each successive entry into the discourse of modernity has been to pro pose a revision, or an outright critique of the discourse. This process of self reflection can be said to have come to a head in French philosophy during the latter half of the 20th century with the post modern movement. However, modernism continues to fin d its champions These champions a ll find varying solutions to post modern critiques and their solutions make a persuasive argument for the viability of the modern tradition and post modernism's status as a mistake or a false start For the purposes o f th is paper, we will limit discussion of modernism's viability to the role of language and the formation of meaning. H owever, we should first be clear what we're talking about when we say "the modern tradition" or "modernism." The Goal of Modernism In discussing something as large as a philosophical tradition, it is helpful to simplify. In this vein, what seems most simple and yet representative of a tradition is its goal. So, what is the goal of modernism? We might be tempted to look for hints in th e term "modern" itself. In this particular case, the surface level usage of the term can only go so far, and no doubt this has caused some amount of confusion in its use. As far as philosophy goes, the most superficial sense in which "modern" can be taken is "in opposition to traditional." However, the extent and type of oppositional nature that "modern" has with regard to "traditional" cannot be seen without digging a bit deeper. In analyzing the term's usage, we can see that "modern" should not be taken s imply as

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! & opposed to "traditional." Instead, it is only initially constituted by that opposition. Modernism is not any one thing when separated from that opposition. Rationalism, em piricism, and idealism are all modern movements despite their disagreements. This is because they all have this systematic oppositi on to tradition al beliefs and their inherent dogmatism at their core. Tradition,' in this case means: inherited beliefs presented as a given body of knowledge. In this sense, the modern enterprise en courages individual experimentation and interrogation of traditional thought; this is what makes it an "enterprise" in the first place. In addition, what becomes clear with this definition is that modernism is concerned with progress. Progress, in this cas e me ans: moving toward more nuanced and less dogmatic theories without an assumption of an ultimate end. To be modern is to strive forward without being restrained by the limitations of the past and without artificially limiting future progress In this w ay, theoretical freedom is paramount in the modern tradition. However, this active sense of modern' can be and has been difficult for contemporary philosophers to apprehend. This is due to the fact that modernism itself has become "traditional" at times, and it is reliant on tradition (in the given body of knowledge sense) as a starting point. This may explain why some philosophers still find themselves caught in a loop, constantly returning to the past for answers and unable to break free It also expla ins why others take the sense in which "modern" is opposed to "tradition" to an extreme and attempt to break from the modern enterprise itself. An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? So far we have discussed modernism without reference to any sp ecific modern works. We should rectify that. Luckily, everything that we have said about modernism

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! can be found in a discussion of Kant's "An Answer to the Qu estion: What is Enlightenment?" In discussing "What is Enlightenment? we have to make one concession for the sake of clarity. That concession is: while there are plain practical and political motivations for Kant's writing the essay, those practical and political motivations should not be seen as delimiting the scope of his argument. Rather, they provide a practical application of Kant's overarching concept of enlightenment. So, in discussing "What Is Enlightenment?" we will leave Kant's thoughts on Frederick II and late 18th century life in Prussia at the door in our pursui t of a philosophical analysis of enlightenment and its relationship to the goal of modernism. Kant's opening statement says it all : "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self incurred immaturity 1 In this statement Kant implies that we have been burd ened by our own immaturity, and enlightenment relieves us of this burden. In this sense, emergence' functions similarly to emancipation.' However, we should ask what Kant means by self incurred.' In other translations this occasionally pops up as self imposed,' which seems to point in the sa me general direction. However, self incurred' is the better term. Self incurred' gives a slightly more neutral reading of the situation a sense that through our actions we have burdened ourselves unintentionally. So, we might say that self incurred' could be read here as unintentionally created.' Moving to the term immaturity,' Kant provides his own definition: "Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without th e guidance of another 2 So, im maturity' is an inability to take personal responsibility for your own use of reason. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 Kant, Immanuel. "An Answer to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?'." (Konigsberg, September 30, 1784), 1. 2 Ibid.

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! ( Kant reinforces this in terpretation in describing how immaturity' comes to be self incurred. For Kant, our immaturity is self incurred due to our lack of "resolution and courage" to use our reason without guidance from another. Kant believes it is extremely convenient for us to remain immature, moreover, he holds that those whom we have relied upon to guide us have ensured that we see moving past this immatur ity as quite dangerous 3 This complex picture of immaturity' as a lack of personal responsibility, and a reliance on others coupled with laziness and fear will help us further unpack Kant's initial definition of enlightenment however, it is still missing a key compone nt, and this is the sense in which Kant wants to say we are burdened by our immaturity. This burden of immaturity lies in dogmas and formulas. These "are the ball and chain of [our] permanent immaturity." 4 Immaturity is not just an unwillingness to use our own understanding without the guidance of another due to our lack of resolution and courage. It is also a restricted state where we are held back by unchallenged dogmatic beliefs. So, when Kant says, "enlightenment is man's emergence from his self incurr ed immaturity," we can unpack that statement as, "enlightenment is our emancipation from our unintentionally created reliance upon tradition." This reading of "An Answer to The Question: What is Enlightenment?" coupled with Kant's unambiguous status as a m odern p hilosopher supports our previous discussion of the goal of the modern enterprise. Modernism is defined by its rejection of dogmatic tradition in the pursuit of progress in the sense of "theoretical freedom" we defined above T radition, once again, s hould be taken in the "given body of knowledge" sense. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid.

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! ) The Goal of Post Modernism The goal of post modernism is harder to pin down. It might be tempting to say that post modernism's goal is the opposite of modernism's. However, this is not the case If we take "modernism" to mean the same thing in this context as it did above, we arrive at a reading of post modernism according to which its goal is to move beyond an opposition to tradition. Perhaps more accurately, we might say that the name "post modern" is given to philosophy that believe s it has already moved beyond modernism itself because it has failed to move beyond tradition and is not theoretically free This second reading is more accurate than the first, but it still does not capture post modernism After all, post modernism is opposed to at least one tradition the modern tradition. Without recourse to the sort of interpretation we relied on in sketching out modernism, it is hard to talk meaningfully about the goal of post modernism. However, one op tion still remains: tracing post modernism's development in order to see whether it strikes out in any particular direction. This direction, if there is one, might say something about post modernism's goal. Along these lines, p ost modernism is said to have its roots in the work of Nietzsche and other skeptical philosophers. In Beyond Good and Evil and The Genealogy of Morals in particular, Nietzsche's skepticism leads him to attack contemporary accounts of the world and morality. These attacks are particula rly strong, and serve as an obvious touchstone in post modern philosophy. Deleuze in particular was admittedly influenced by Nietzsche's thought. 5 However, post moderns claim numerous other figures, many of whom were also influenced by Nietzsche. A few of the more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 See: Deleuze, Gilles. Nietzsche and Philosophy. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).

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! obvious figures included in this group are Heidegger, Adorno (particularly his Negative Dialectics ) and Arendt (especially in "The Vita Activa and the Modern Age"). Drawing connections in this way shows the growth of the post modern movement out o f skepticism (Nietzsche), phenomenological skepticism (Heidegger), and finally pessimism (Adorno and Arendt). This final evolution of phenomenological skepticism into pessimism has to do with modernism's ability to accomplish the goals it set out for itsel f at the time Adorno and Arendt were writing and a belief that modernism is not free to explore other positions Without going into these thinkers and their works in depth, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno and Arendt should at least serve as signposts along t he road to post modernism. With the road to post modernism traced in this manner, post modernism's develo pment can be seen as an increase in pessimism among continental philosophers during the early 20th century. This then points to post modernism's goal: to cease relying upon what it sees as failed modern methods and concepts, and strike out in a new more free direction This is precisely the goal of Jacques Derrida, and this can be seen in his concept of "diffÂŽrance which is built in such a way as to a void traditional logocentric accounts of meaning.

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! + CHAPTER II S ENSES AND REFERENCES AND DOGMATIC DIFFƒRANCES With modernism and post modernism sketched out, we can turn to a discussion of their differences when it comes to their treatment of the role of language and the formation of meaning and show how it is that the post modern position is a mistake. In analyzing the s e difference s we will discuss a major post modern account of language and meaning before turning to a di scussion of one branch of the modern account of language and meaning. In this case, we will be discussing Derrida's "DiffŽrance" before turning to 20th century analytic accounts of langua ge and meaning. Without an in depth discussion of how "DiffŽrance" re lates to each successive entry in a modern branch of philosophy of language and meaning it is unlikely a complete understanding of the issue can be achieved. After discussing "DiffŽrance" we will tackle three analytic accounts across four papers, in chronological order. We will move from "DiffŽrance" to a discuss ion of Fr ege's "On Sense and Reference" which was actually pub lished in the late 19th century Following that, w e will consider Russell's "On Denoting which serves as the next major developm ent in modern philosophy of language From there, we will discuss Quine's "On What There Is" a substantial add endum to Russell's "On Denoting. W e will then end our discussion of the development of this branch of modern philosophy with Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." "Two Dogmas" is a further development of Quine's minimalist ontology (originally presented in "On What There Is") into a more robust form of holism. Through this discussion, we will see how "DiffŽranc e" is a substantial critique of modern a ccount s of language and meaning, but ultimately

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! ! unnecessary due to Derrida's misreading of the modern tradition's goals. We will also see that Derrida's approach lacks the ability to account for a number of phenomena that t he modern account is able to acco unt for in part because the modern account has a practical foundation in empiricism. DiffÂŽrance "DiffÂŽrance," by Jacques Derrida, is a perfect example of a "post modern" account of language and meaning. It has strong connections to French philosophy during the mid twentieth century, and it touches on a number of different issues typically highlighted by post modern philosophy: the importance of context, pessimism with regard to traditional philosophy, and a willingness to push the limits normally placed on interpretative analysis. It is also an example of post modernism's inability to provide a theory of meaning that obviates modern theories of meaning like Frege's, Russell's, and Quine's. However, before we can credibly label "DiffÂŽrance" a failure in this way, we should take a moment to understand "DiffÂŽrance" on its own terms and then see how it relates to Frege's, Russell's, and Quine's theories. To start, we should begin with the term 'diffÂŽrance.' For clarity, when discussing the term we will use 'diffÂŽ rance,' and when discussing the associated concept, we will use "diffÂŽrance." 'DiffÂŽrance' is a neologism that Derrida uses in order to conduct what he calls a "writing on writing" as well as a "writing within writing." Both of these phrases will become cl ear once we have delineated what exactly 'diffÂŽrance' means. Derrida believes the term carries two different senses of equal importance. 'DiffÂŽrance,' in this way, marks both conceptual temporization through a detour, and conceptual discernibility

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! ! through spacing. It is the "becoming time of space and the becoming space of time" 6 in the formation of meaning. According to Derrida, regular old 'difference' does not carry with it these two senses, and so we need a new term that can carry them both in order to adequately account for meaning, and its peculiarities. However, what do the se two senses of diffÂŽrance' mean? When the senses are presented out of context, it is difficult to say. So, in answering this question we have to talk about the context in which they are presented. This context is one in which there is a systematic empha sis on the importance of context itself in the formation of meaning and knowledge in general. Derrida a long with other post moderns is intensely interested in context. For Derrida, context of the sort that gives rise to meaning relies fundamentally on di fferences between signs, and likewise the meaning of "diffÂŽrance" relies on signs being seen in context with each other Derrida takes Saussure's conception of differences between signs and expands it in order to make 'diffÂŽrance' mark the play of differe nces between signs, and the "possibility of conceptuality, of a conceptual process and system in general." 7 In other words, "diffÂŽrance" is Derrida's lynch pin of context and differences between signs through which we arrive at meaning it is the one essen tial concept without which meaning could not exist. Now seen in this light the "becoming time of space" refers to the time involved in the interpretation of terms that, along a Saussureian line, always point back to other related and oppositional terms. I n this sense, the meaning of a term is delayed or put off onto another term. Terms for Saussure, and Derrida, do not have meaning outside of the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 6 Derrida, Jacques. "DiffÂŽrance." In Margins of Philosophy translated by Alan Bass ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982 ), 8 7 Ibid, 11.

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! %. systems of language they belong to and the connections within those systems. So, in order to arrive at the mean ing of one term, you must first take a detour through other terms in the same system. In taking this detour, the space between the terms is experienced temporally as a gap between signifiers and the signified. "Meaning" then requires time between terms in order to develop. Likewise, "the becoming space of time" relies on this same interpretation but heads in the other direction. Through reading 'diffÂŽrance' as "the becoming space of time" we see that in our detour through other terms in pursuit of meaning, the time required in bridging the gaps between terms becomes a gap in conceptual space. "Meaning" then requires conceptual space between terms in order to develop. Seen in this light, "diffÂŽrance" is meant to encapsulate both the active and passive aspect of context through differences between signs and the necessity of gaps between terms in the formation of meaning. "DiffÂŽrance" is then both the deferring and the differentiating aspect of being which gives rise to meaning. This is why Derrida chooses the p articular form of the term he does. In his words, "the ending ance remains undecided between the active and the passive," it is the "middle voice." 8 A concrete example of these two different aspects of "diffÂŽrance" can be seen in the term bachelor.' Firs t, according to Derrida the term is seen in the context of the system of language in which it exists. Through existing in context, the meaning of bachelor' is created through its relationship with other terms such as unmarried,' man,' husband,' wife' etc. and the sort of relationship it has to those terms. Making t hese connections to other terms requires time In this way, the space between terms is temporal (the becoming time of space). Second the meaning of bachelor is reliant on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8 Ibid, 9.

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! %% the time require d to trac e these connections in that such time creates conceptual space between the terms to begin with Derrida's motivation for this account of meaning is due to his opposition to atomistic interpretations of meaning in which there are terms, and their meanings exist fully formed "out there," or even inside our own minds. 9 In "DiffÂŽrance," Derrida wants to point out that meaning does no t proceed along atomistic lines. T here is a gap between signifiers and signifieds due to the structure of language itself, and this gap is constitutive of meaning. In holding this position, he strikes out against both the Platonic and Kantian conceptions of meaning. Given his opposition to these more atomistic interpretations, the concept of "diffÂŽrance" can be seen as his answer to the problem of meaning, through an emphasis on the differences between terms, and their systemic (rather than empirical) context. Along this line, Derrida defines 'diffÂŽrance' as "th e movement according to which language, or any code, any system of referral in general, is constituted "historically" as a weave of differences." 10 A graphical interpretation of Derrida's theory of meaning can be seen in Figure I With "diffÂŽrence" fleshed out in this way, we can see why Derrida refers to his usage of the term as being in pursuit of a "writing on writing" and a "writing within !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 9 Ibid, 11. 10 Ibid, 12. DiffÂŽrance Sign Relation Differentiation Meaning Figure I Derrida's Theory of Meaning

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! %& writing." "DiffÂŽrance" is a writing on writing in the sense that throughout the essay, Derrida is concerned with understanding the system of writing and its functioning. However, by virtue of "diffÂŽrance the essay should also be seen as a writing made possible by the system of writing to begin with At this point, we can begin to guess how "DiffÂŽ rance" relates to modern accounts of language and meaning like Frege's, Russell's, and Q uine's. "DiffÂŽrance" consists of three s ignificant critiques of modern accounts o f language and meaning. To begin with Derrida believes modern accounts are unable to a ccount for meaning through context in the sense of conceptual temporization and spacing In this way, they are logocentric In addition, they are overly atomistic because they do not recognize the gap between signifiers and signified and its importance in the formation of meaning Finally, modern accounts are Platonic or Kantian in nature, and in that way, they are dogmatic ally tied to tradition In this way, "DiffÂŽrance" fits our previous definition of post modernism where we defined it as an attempt to mo ve beyond modernism and the concepts upon which modern thought relies to a more "free" mode of inquiry Frege and Russell Now let us turn to a disc ussion of the modern accounts of language and meaning First, Frege's "On Sense and Reference "OSaR" is intended to address an apparent problem w ith the traditional modern account of language and meaning specifically, the question of "equality." "Equality" is referred to by a number of different names, and relied upon by a number of related concepts (such as analyticity). However, Frege specifically wants to know what sort of thing "equality" is. "Is it a relation? A relation

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! %' between objects, or between names or signs of objects ?" 11 This question resurfaces under different names and associated concepts through out Russell's "On Denoting" as well as Quine's "On What There Is." It is particularly important in Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." When Frege asks about "equality," he's asking whether it is a relationship between a thing and itself, or a thing and its name/sign. For example, when I say that a bachelor is an unmarried man, a statement we might translate as "a = b," am I saying something equivalent to "a = a," or am I saying that the terms "a" and "b" are both names/signs for some other object "o"? Accor ding to Frege, the statement "a = b" implies that "a" and "b" designate the same thing ("o"), and so the relationship that is asserted in equality statement s deals with differences between signs This is because t here must be a difference in the way each s ign presents the designated object for us to ever have a need to say something of the "a = b" form. This difference in the ways the signs present the object comes down to what Freg e calls "the sense of the sign." 12 However, Frege notes that senses can be di fficult to pin down at times. Frege contends that for every expression that belongs to a finite system of signs there should only be one sense. Unfortunately, natural languages don't measure up to this requirement. For example, "bachelor" has a different s ense when applied to a type of flower ("bachelor's buttons") than when applied to a marriageable but unmarried man. So, Frege says, we must be "content if the same word has the same sense in the same context." 13 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 11 Frege, Gottlob. "On Sense an d Reference." In Meaning edited by Mark Richard. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), 36. 12 Ibid, 37. 13 Ibid, 38.

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! %( In this way, natural languages rely on refer ential (empirical) context to pro vide a particular sense. Even when we parse signs this way into a reference, and a sense (dependent on empirical context or not) we still have to account for what Frege calls "the associated idea." 14 This associated idea is, for Frege, an internal image attached to a sign that gains its shape through all of the different experiences an individual has had with the sign's reference. As such, the associated idea "varies and oscillates The idea is subjec tive: one man 's idea is not that of another." 15 This "associated idea" might seem to make it hard to speak substantively about what others mean, but this is not a significant issue. This is because, Frege says, "one can hardly deny that mankind has a common store of thoughts which is transmitted from one generation to another" and because we have this common store of thoughts which are senses we can safely limit ourselves to speaking of the sense of a term without worrying too much about the associated idea 16 This is an inevitable concession when speaking of signs in this way because, while we can occasionally establish where two individual's ideas or experiences differ, they cannot be objectively compared. Two different ideas of the same thing cannot exist w ithin the same consciousness, and that is the only way we seem able to access them. As for the potentially subjective nature of the sense of a term, Frege is not concerned. This is because while each individual may have a slightly different sense of a term those different senses are still "objective" in that they are held in common and can be used !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid, 38 39. 16 Ibid, 39.

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! %) effectively by several observers referring to the same thing 17 Thus, t hrough the way they function, Frege's senses are similar to Platonic forms or ideals even if they are not strictly speaking Platonic. Frege formulates his theory of meaning by saying, "A proper name (word, sign, sign combination, expression) expresses its sense, and stands for or designates its reference. By means of a sign we express its sense and designate its reference." 18 A graphical interpretation of Frege's theory of meaning can be seen in Figure II This theory is built in such a way as to preserve the value and usefulness of determining the "truth" of a statement. In other words, we need to have recourse to senses and references [b]ecause, and to the extent that, we are concerned with [a statement's] truth value ." 19 In fact, for Frege, the reference of a sentence (as opposed to a singular term) is its truth value. This might sound like something of a leap, but for Frege, sentences constitute judgments and "in every judgment, no matter how trivial, the step from the level of thoughts to the level of reference (the objective) has already been taken ." 20 Ultimately, the issue of identity arises because two terms can have two different cognitive values w hile having the same reference ( or truth value in the case of sentences ) So, it is useful to have recourse to the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 17 Ibid, 40. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid, 42. 20 Ibid, 42 43. Sign Sense Sense Sense Sign Sense Sense Sense Reference Sign Sense Sense Sense Figure II Frege's Theory of Meaning

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! %* concept of equality for the purpose of i ncreased knowledge. 21 In other word s, "equality and Frege's theory of meaning in general is used pragmatically in pursuit of increased knowledge. When looking at Frege's account of language and meaning, i t is clear to see where Derrida's three critiques apply. First, Frege's theory does not even begin to create the sort of conceptual space inherent in "diffÂŽrance because the former proceeds along linear lines. A sense is tied to a sign, and a sign is tied to a referent. Meaning, in this Fregeian model, exists fully formed as "sense," an d only needs to be connected to a sign in order to be used in communication with others about the external world. Senses do not rely on other senses, or even signs they exist on their own, and therefore no "system" that produces meaning needs to be identif ied. Frege certainly accounts for the system of language, but he accounts for it in the same way a logician accounts for a system of symbolic logic in that semantics are abstracted to some other process. Frege's account is then incredibly logocentric. Seco nd, Frege preserves Derrida's differences between signs, but instead of differences being constitutive of meaning, they are simply a fact of language I f there are different signs, they have different senses, and therefore different "meanings." Th e differe nces between signs exist because of differences in meanings, not the other way around. That Frege's discussion of different signs centers around issues of reference further illuminates the fact that for Frege, meaning may be tied to signs (at least in comm unication), but it is not made by them. In this way, meaning is atomistic in Frege's account, and tied to empirical states of affairs. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 21 Ibid, 56.

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! %+ We have already hinted that Derrida's third critique that modern accounts are either Platonic or Kantian and in that way they are dogmatic applies to Frege. Frege's use of senses as functionally equivalent to Platonic ideals is plain to see in his discussion of how communication is possible. Whether this is actually dogmatic or not req uires a bit more interpretation and disc ussion of "On Sense and Reference's" philosophical context than we have the time for here. But, we can certainly see how Derrida might argue that in relying on this sort of Platonic conception of meaning, Frege at least looks a bit dogmatic. T hrough this d iscussion of Frege and Derrida's critiques of modern accounts of language and meaning we can see that if a modern account is going to be immune to Derrida's critiques, it has to account for meaning in context (not just be tied to it in a linear fashion) m ove away from atomism, and strike out in a new direction as far as an account of meaning's existence goes. Russell's "On Denoting" starts us on a path toward such a modern account. "On Denoting" takes a number of cues from Frege but moves away from a discu ssion of equality in favor of developing a m ore robust theory of "reference than Frege provided. Russell's motivation here is to address the issue inherent in Frege's atomistic account, of signs without references how to understand and talk about non exi stent objects So, like "On Sense and Reference," Russell's "On Denoting" recognizes a problem with the traditional account of language and meaning and seeks to resolve it. Frege is clear that names, symbols and sentences have references, but he does littl e to address how this process works at the theoretical level. In pursuing such an account, Russell introduces the concept of a "denoting phrase" which he takes to be similar to any of the following: "a man, some man, any man, every man, all men, the

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! %, presen t King of England, the present King of France, the center of mass of the Solar System at the first instant of the twentieth century, the revolution of the earth round the sun, the revolution of the su n round the earth." 22 Initially, this concept of a "denoting phrase" is meant to help describe our ability from within the general framework provided by Frege, to reference things that we are not acquainted with, but have knowledge about. These things, according to Russell, c an only be reached through the use o f denoting phrases 23 However, saying that we come to know things we are not acquainted with through "denoting phrase s is not to say that thinking can proceed without acquaintance. Russell argues that thought proceeds fr om things we are acquainted with to encompass things we are not acq uainted with. 24 In short, the foundation of thought is experience. For Russell, denoting phrases do not have any meaning of their own, but all propositions containing them do. 25 In this way, Russell outlines a less atomistic model of meaning by expanding the unit of meaning to sentences as a whole Further clarifying this model, Russell provides the proposition "I met a man" as an example. In this proposition "a man" is the denoting phrase, a nd it is clear that while "a man" does not have any particular meaning, the entire statement "I met a man" does. In order to parse this proposition and find the meaning Russell goes beyond the atomistic model provided by Frege and converts the entire prop osition into a quasi logical structure that explodes the denoting phrase "a man" to match the different implied propositions in the overall !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 22 Russell, Bertrand. "On Denoting." Mind, New Series (Oxford University Press) 114, no. 456 (October 2005), 873. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid, 874. 25 Ibid.

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! %! statement. So, the proposition becomes "'I met x, and x is human' is not always false.'" 26 As is evident Russell bel ieves, like Frege, that truth is what we are after when we assert a proposition. Russell does not explain his slip into the Frege i an assumption that "truth values" are at the heart of propositions, but it can be assumed this "slip" is in line wi th the reas oning Frege supplied. Russell's logical translation provides "a reduction of all propositions in which denoting phrases occur to forms in which no such phrases occur 27 This translation into a set of propositions containing variables that make up denoting phrases comprises a less atomistic account of meaning This is because Russell explodes the "atoms" of traditional accounts of meaning into a number of entities that do not t aken on their own share all the qualities "atoms" of meaning traditionally ha ve. Where Frege might say a bachelor' has a meaning on its own, Russell explodes such denoting phrases into a number of c omponents and shows that their meaning does not spring fu lly formed from them and that meaning relies on bound variables that arise from propositions as a whole So, m eaning comes from a contextual component of denoting phrases In providing this less atomistic account, Russell helps expla in how it is reference "happens without resorting to a traditionally atomistic model in which words or signs themselves have inherent meanings. This less atomistic account of reference is obviously more in depth than the one provided by Frege. However, the true purpose of this account is not so much to explain reference per se but rather, to explain how it is we can refer to things that do not exist in a way consistent with normal referential acts. This explanation leads Russell to conclude !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 26 Ibid, 875. 27 Ibid, 876.

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! &. that, "With our theory of denoting, we are able to hold that there are no unreal individuals; so that the null class, is the class containing no members, not the class containing as members all unreal individuals." 28 This solution is made possible by the fact that instead of terms and proposi tions pointing directly at their reference as they did with Frege they serve more as a net and only those things with the constituent properties implied by the denoting phrase(s) in question are caught in it. A g raphical interpretation of Russell's theory of meaning can be seen in Figure 3 Much of what we have said about Frege 's vulnerability to Derrida's critiques is sure to carry over to a discussion of Russell's. After all, Russe ll's theory takes Frege's as a starting point and seeks to a resolve a problem within that theory he does not wish to give the entire theory up. However, in trying to resolve problems within Frege's theory, Russell significantly improves its defenses again st Derrida. To start, Russell's introduction of variables, and his use of them in a delimiting fashion with regard to reference introduces the idea of context (granted, still empirical) and conceptual space in the formation of meaning. This is not the sort of context that Derrida speaks of (where meaning is entirely constituted by differences between signs) but it is certainly contextual This switch to a more contextual theory of meaning is due to Russell's focus !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 28 Ibid, 885. Reference Variable Variable Variable Variable Variable Variable Variable Variable Figure III Russell's Theory of Meaning

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! &% on reference. In talking about reference, Russell gets away from talking about "meanings" in the sense that Frege does with senses This is a necessity for the theory to accommodate non existent referents. In order to account for non existent referents Russell abstracts reference, and with it som e degree of meaning, to "singular descriptions." These s ingular descriptions are still logocentric in that they still rely on some abstract process of "reference" to create meaning but with a move from meaning being tied directly to signs to meaning bein g tied to a variable as part of a set of descriptive phrases, Russell's theory is less directly logocentric than Frege's. As for Derrida's second critique, of atomism, Russell's theory is similarly improved. Differences between signs are once again present and in giving over meaning to a conjunction of signs, Russell provides a less traditionally atomistic theory of meaning. Meaning is not entirely holistic in Russell's account because he relies on finite singular descriptions ( propositions) instead of the entire system of language, so some of Derrida's critique still applies, but the bite of the critique is much less apparent. This is the sense in which Russell's account is sub atomic. It is by no means the equivalent of field theory, because things can st ill be reduced to specific entities at some level, but it is certainly a move in the right direction, and much more flexible in terms of accommodating the peculiarities of meaning. Given all of this, it should be no surprise that Russell's account is signi ficantly less traditional than Frege's, and in that way it is less dogmatic In introducing singular descriptions, Russell is able to account for communication without resorting to the quasi Platonic senses Frege relies upon. In fact, it is quite hard to s ay what traditional philosophical basis Russell's the ory has. It is simply an attempt to account for non

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! && existent referents without sacrificing all of Frege's theory of meaning. This makes Russell's theory incredibly un dogmatic Ultimately, Russell's theo ry is a pragmatic re evaluation of previous assumptions in order to arrive at a more nuanced theory of meaning that is better able to account for different problems. To call Russell's theory dogmatic would be to ignore its clear novelty and inventiveness i n solving the problem it set s out to solve. Quine Further improvements need to be made to our modern account of language and meaning if Derrida's critiques are to be adequately addressed. With our reliance on P latonic conceptions of meaning dispensed with we still need to fully account for meaning through co nceptual spaces and relations not just empirical context T his will require a f ully holistic account In pursuit of this account, we should continue addressing Russell's non existent referents through Q uine 's essay "On What There Is." In "On What There Is," Quine moves away from the more straightforward discussions of meaning provided by Frege and Russell in order to clarify an ontological position that was implied by Russell's "On Denoting." For Quine, the entire issue of non existent referents revolves around the fact that "there is gulf between meaning and naming even in the case of a singular term which is genuinely a name of an object 29 The upshot of Russell's singular descriptions is that in endor sing them, "we are convicted of a particular ontological presupposition if, and only if, the alleged presuppositum has to be reckoned among the entities over which our variables range in order to render one of ou r affirmations true." 30 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 29 Quine, Willard V. "On What There Is." The Review of Metaphysics (Philosophy Education Society I nc.) 2, no. 5 (Septembe r 1948), 28. 30 Ibid, 32.

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! &' Put simply, the only time we can be charged with implicitly believing in the existence of a particular entity is when that entity is required for one of our statements to be true. If I were to say "Pegasus came to visit me last night, and we flew off to the Chucky Cheese to pl ay skee ball ," you could reasonably charge me with a belief in the existence of Pegasus, Chucky Cheese, skee ball, and a variety of other things required for that statement to be considered true. You could also reasonably infer that I had an amazing time. However, if I do not make a statement of this sort, there is no way to charge me with a belief in Pegasus etc. This sort of ontological freedom ties into modernism's goal of theoretical freedom, and ties back to Derrida in that it accommodates the gulf between meaning and naming and by doing this it is actually more robust and flexible than other theories Quine considers Russell's solution a withdrawal to "the semantical plane" (rather than the more syntactical plane of Frege) and believes that it is useful because it allows us to find common ground without having to agree on the existence of different entities. It is possible for us to find common ground because "our conceptual schemes converge sufficiently in their intermedi ate and upper ramifications to enable us to communicate successfully on such topics as politics, weather and, in particular, language." 31 S hift ing in this way to addressing issue s with the way we use language in communication is necessary if we are going t o say anything substantial about meaning. The insight here is that a n account of meaning and reference must also effectively account for communication disagreements and all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 31 Ibid, 35.

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! &( Everything Quine says about our ability to disagree over existence claims comes down to one question : what sort of ontology should we adopt? This question is not possible without the modern assumption that we are free to choose. For Quine, this is a fairly straightforward issue, and one that is not particularly unique to this situatio n. Quine believes that accepting an ontology is "similar in principle to our acceptan ce of a scientific theory we adopt, at least insofar as we are reasonable, the simplest conceptual scheme into which the disordered fragments of raw experience can be fi tted and arranged 32 This leads Quine to an interesting conclusion: our belief s are essentially convenient myth s at least from the perspective of those who do not believe them. Our beliefs are not true in an y ultimate sense, but contain some amount of trut h 33 This conclusion comes hand in hand with another: the quality of a myth is relative to our epistemology, and a given epistemology is one among many that corres pond to our various enterprises. 34 Through these conclusions we can see that, for Quine, meanin g is dependent upon our ontologic al and epistemological approach, and we are free to choose those approaches. Given the fact that Quine's "On What There Is" simply expands on the ontological implications of Russell's singular descriptions, we might be tempted to say that there's nothing radically new in Quine's account of meaning at this stage. However, there is most defin itely something new, and that something new is implied by Quine's statements about choosing ontologies. This "newness" is the importance of seeing theories as pragmatic attempts to find answers to existing questions, and seeing theories !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 32 Ibid, 35 36. 33 Ibid, 37. 34 Ibid, 38.

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! &) as tied to a partic ular epistemological and ontological outlook. While Quine does not introduce anything radically new as far as a theory of meaning goes at this stage, he does introduce some principles that help us judge different theories of meaning. So, b efore moving on t o Quine's theoretical contribution to our discussion of meaning, we should take a minute to see how the preceding theories stack up. Starting with Derrida it is clear to see that his theory of meaning is simple. However, some difficulties arise when we loo k at the pragmatic achievements of "DiffÂŽrance." Obviously, Derrida wants to provide a theory that can account for meaning through context in the conceptual space sense without resorting to logocentrism and his concept of "diffÂŽrance" is built in order to do that. Derrida also wants to use "diffÂŽrance" to move away from atomistic accounts because they cannot account for the gap between signifiers and signifieds, and insist on meanings existing somewhere "out there." This "out there ness" of meaning inevita bly ties back to a dogmatic pursuit of meaning and Derrida wants to use "diffÂŽrance" to strike out in a new, non dogmatic direction. All three goals are legitimate responses to the failures of past theories of meaning. It is their execution in "diffÂŽrance" that makes them problematic. In choosing to limit his theory of meaning to signs, and the differences between those signs, Derrida cuts himself off from a variety of answers Frege and Russell have recourse to in their more logocentric, atomistic and dogma tic accounts. For example, Derrida is left without an explicit way to account for equality statements. When Frege says "a = b we can describe what is going on because we have empirically based referents as a foundation. Derrida, in his admirable attempt to avoid atomism and dogmatism avoids giving "diffÂŽrance" a foundation like this and throws

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! &* language into an indeterminate state. It is clear that without a tangible foundation, "diffÂŽrance" is also going to struggle to explain communication. Likewise, Derrida can't account for non existent referents and our disagreements about them. He avoids Russell's semi atomism, but leaves himself without obvious recourse to Russell's solution. On the flipside, we can see how Frege's and Russell's accounts are vulnerable to Derrida's critiques, but they also seem to have a significant amount of e xplanatory power. In Quine's terms, they do a surprisingly good job of fitting the disordered fragments of experience into their theoretical space s. We could, if we wanted, go so far as to contend that all logocentric, atomistic, or dogmatic accounts of la nguage and meaning are necessarily wrong, and we'd still be left with practical benefits of endorsing Frege's and Russell's accounts. Further, if these really are just supposed to be convenient myths we take to be true what's the harm in endorsing one we know to be wrong assuming it helps us? The question that has to be asked of Derrida is: what do we get from endorsing "diffÂŽrance?" What, exactly, does "diffÂŽrance" do that these "incorrect" theories don't? Is there a benefit to "diffÂŽrance" other than bei ng more "accurate?" This line of questioning should be carried out if we are ever expected to endorse "diffÂŽrance" wholeheartedly on its own, and not simply as a critique. However, in the meantime, it seems Quine has provided us with a better idea as to wh at a theory of meaning immune to Derrida's critique ought to look like: it ought to be free of logocentrism, holistic, thoroughly un dogmatic and it ought to be able to account for the disordered fragments of experience (including communication) through a reliance on practical foundations. This is almost exactly the sort of account Quine provides in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism."

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! &+ Quin e's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" i s an attempt to solve two of the most important issues within empiricism. These issues significantly influence th e way in which we view meaning, language, and the "truth" it contains. The first issue (or dogma) Quine attacks is the analytic/synthetic distinction a distinction he traces back through Kant, Hume, and finally Leibniz. Asserting that there is a distinction between analytic and synthetic statements means believing that there is a difference between statements that are true by virtue of meanings (analytic) and statements that are true by virtue of fact (synthetic) 35 The other dogma Quine tackles is reductionism : a position popular ized by the logical positivists, that all meaningful statements can be translated into either tautologies or into statements that refer to immediate experience. 36 In discussing Quine's solut ions to these issues, we arrive at a theory of language and meaning that can be seen as the fruit of the Fregeian and Russellian branch of analytic philosophy of language we have been discussing We'll start with the analytic/synthetic distinction. Quine s tarts his analy sis of analyticity with what might appear to be its most basic definition: analytic statements are those whose denial would be self contradictory. However, this definition doesn't get us anywhere, according to Quine, because "self contradict oriness" is a concept that needs to be clarified just as much as "analyticity 37 Another definition that we might attempt is that "a statement is analytic when it is true by virtue of mean ings and independently of fact." 38 However, this definition of anal ytic' requires us to talk about some category of things called "meanings" and these are rather !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 35 Quine, Willard V. "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." The Philosophical Review (Duke University Press) 60, no. 1 (January 1951), 21. 36 Ibid, 20. 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid, 21.

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! &, hard to identify. Quine's pursuit of analyticity in this way is particularly important in relation to Derrida's critiques because i n attempting to pin down "mean ings," Quine echoes the lessons of the preceding theories: meaning is not naming, nor is it reference. 39 In other words, t here is a gap between signifiers and signifieds. Without recourse to individual signs and references, we have to look elsewhere for meanings. However, Quine con tends that while meanings seem to be ideas (mental, or Platonic) they are elusive, debatable, and ultimately there is little hope we can talk about them in a scientific manner 40 So, we would be bet ter off not identifying a specific "meaning" entity. Without recourse to self contradictoriness or meanings to e xplain analyticity, we are left with th e sorts of statements the term analytic' is usually applied to. This produces two categories of stat ements: those that are logically true (no unmarried man is married) and those that are statements about sy nonyms (no bachelor is married). 41 As should be obvious, "analyticity" in this sense ha s its base in Frege's "equality For Quine, the second type of statements, statements about synonyms, leads to issues of "synonymy." Some individuals try to avoid this issue by saying that the second set of statements reduces to the first "by definition." In other words, bachelor' is subs titutable, by definition, wit h unmarried man.' However this "solution" puts off the issue of "synonymy" onto "definition 42 and "definition," except when introducing new notations, rests on p rior relationships of synonymy. 43 As such, Quine argues that if there are !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid, 22. 41 Ibid, 23. 42 Ibid, 24. 43 Ibid, 27.

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! &! connections that can be made between two te rms such that we w ould call them synonyms, those connect ions would be grounded in usage. 44 This interpretation however, would completely unravel any hope of analyticity. Synonyms would be synonyms by virtue of "fact" and the analytic/synthetic would have no substance to speak of. Quine attempts a number of other solutions to this issue, but concludes that usage is the only possible basis of synonymy, and that the systemic difference between analytic and synthetic statements simply cannot be drawn. The idea that there is an analytic/synthetic distinction is therefore "an unempirical dogma of empiricists, a metaphysical artic le of faith." 45 In this way, Quine ties equality statements directly to usage, and does away with meanings, senses etc. as concrete entities separate from states of affairs. This implies that meaning is not a thing per se and has its basis in context. What sort of context gives rise to meaning can be found in Quine's discussion of reductionism. Quine believes reductionism is evident in empiricism's reliance on the verification theory of meaning In other words, the verification theory of meaning is a form o f radical reductionism where every statement that isn't a tautology must be a statement about immediate experience, or at least be translated into one, i n order for it to be meaningful. 46 Russell's subatomic account h as a lot in common with the verification of meaning in its use of variables to pin down entities with specific properties, but it does not quite hit "radical reduction" in the way the verification theory does. Quine contends that it is impossible to carry ou t a translation of all statements into statements relating to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 44 Ibid, 25. 45 Ibid, 34. 46 Ibid, 36.

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! '. immediate experience in principal. This impossibility is avoided, Quine, says, if we stop looking at statements reductively as individual s but instead look at them in terms of their relationship to a whole theory In Quine's words, "our statements about the external world face the tribunal of sense experience not individually but only as a corporate body 47 If this is true, then we are left to conclude that in analyzing statements on their own as Frege and Russell did, they were missing the fact that "mea ning" or significance requires an entire theory in order to exist. 48 In this way, the context that gives rise to meaning is all of science (or whatever theoretical basis has been endorsed) and mea ning is a relation between parts of that whole. It is this conclusion that leads Quine to offer a metaphorical reformulation of the traditional conception of language, meaning, and even "truth" that Frege and Russell aim for In this vein, Quine argues tha t "[t]he totality of our so called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges ." 49 This statement ties into his earlier work in "On What There Is" by realizing that the question of what ontology to choose extends to individual bits of that ontology. This is because each presuppositum is man made !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 47 Ibid, 38. 48 Ibid, 39. 49 Ibid.

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! '% Quine believes that ontologies of this sort gain a measure of durability due to the fact experience is the only thing that can modify them and even then it is not all powerful This is because experience only meets the fabric of our ontology at the edges and that means that the bulk of the fabric is incredibly underdetermined. This entails that when we are presented with an experience that might challenge our previous assumptions, we have a number of options with regard to explaining that experienc e and modifying our assumptions. 50 The assumptions that lie on the edge of the fabric, closest to experience, are likely to be adjusted long before the bulk of the fabric requires adjustment. This implies a sort of theoretical lu cidity in determining the structure of our conceptual frameworks. A graphical interpretation of thi s theory can be seen in Figure 4 This holistic stance with regard to meaning and truth leads to a few conclusions: conceptual schemes and ontologies are too ls, and for an empiricist like Quine, these tools are meant primarily to predict future experience based on past experience. A number of concepts, including "physical objects," "truth," and maybe even "meanings," can be leveraged to do this, but they are l everaged "as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer in point of epistemological footing the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 50 Ibid, 39 40. Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Meaning Belief Belief Belief Belief Belief Experience Experience Experience Experience Experience Experience Experience Experience Figure IV Quine's Thoery of Meaning

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! '& physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind." 51 As an empiricist, Quine is particularly interested in the co ncept of physical objects, and contends that the assumption of physical objects is "coeval" with language itself because language is socially constructed and relies on intersubjective statements about physical states of affairs 52 In this way, language itself is firmly tied to our scientific endeavors and shown in such a light as to make it the basis (along with empiricism) of all scientific endeavors. Quine's theory, as implied at the beginning of our discussion of it, is not vulnerable to any of Derrid a's three critiques. For one thing, meaning for Quine has to do with the relations between different parts of our conceptual frameworks and their relationship to experience. This is partly due to the fact Quine is wary of any talk of "meanings" as actual e ntities because he doesn't believe we can pin them down in any concrete way. Quine's theory of meaning is then conceptually spacial in the same sense that Derrida's theory of meaning is conceptually spacial even if he has recourse to empirical observation Quine does not focus on an account of how this conceptual space is formed in the way Derrida describes differing and deferring, but it is clear that the differences and relations between different par ts of Quine's conceptual frameworks can be represented spacially A case might be made that Quine's theory is still somewhat logocentric, but whatever logocentrism remains in Quin e is present in Derrida as well. Because meaning for Quine is a relation between a number of things, and not a thing in itself, Qui ne's theory of meaning is in no way atomistic. Quine's use of experience as the basis of our conceptual frameworks not only decenters the traditional "atoms" of meaning, it emphasizes something Derrida is unable to account for in his !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 51 Ibid, 41. 52 Ibid, 42.

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! '' "play of differences." Specifically, Quine 's reliance on experience as the foundation of conceptual frameworks emphasizes the role of reason and agency in determining the content of our conceptual frameworks. In a very real way, Quine's theory places us in a position to create meaning and value through our choices vis ˆ vis conceptual frameworks This is because as the experiencers we a re directly involved in both experience and our interpretation of it Derrida does not account for reason and agency in his "diffŽrance" because Derrida refuses to give "diffŽrance" an empirical foundation for fear o f succumbing to logocentrism, atomism and the metaphysics of presence In this way, Quine provides a practical theoretical freedom Derrida is unable to achieve. Finally, Quine' s account is not dogmatic. In order to arrive at his theor y, Quine goes against two significant dogmas within the modern empirical account, along with a vast tradition of folk psychological stories about meaning and reference. Through a truly pragmatic pur suit of a theory of meaning, Quine is able to arrive at a novel theory of meaning. Quine's theory is neither Platonic n or Kantian. It has some similarities to a Kantian account, in that he puts reason at the center of conceptual frameworks, but it is ultim ately un Kantian because there are no categories things necessarily fall into we have the choice to adjust our frameworks however we want, and we choose to "impose" them onto the world. Quine's theory also preserves the utility of Frege and Russell's theo ries. Equality is still a relation between signs that are presupposed to apply to some "referent," but this reference no longer proceeds along linear lines (as Frege's does in tying senses directly to terms) In this way, Quine avoids the problems with Fre ge's theory while preserving the importance, and non triviality, of identity statements in communication and the pursuit of

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! '( increased knowledge. Likewise, Quine's theory allows us to explain our disagreements with each other consistently. We need not worry about accidentally ascribing to the existence of things we do not believe exist, and we can coherently explain our disagreements to each other. All of this is possible because Quine avoids the explicit logocentrism, atomism, and dogmatism of previous theo ries of language and meaning. Derrida's "diffÂŽrance" does this too, but where Quine is able to preserve the pragmatic benefits of these "inaccurate" theories through a reliance on the practical foundation of experience, Derrida is not. Throughout this discussion we have left out one important fact: Derrida's "DiffÂŽrance" c omes after the analytic accounts. At the time Derrida is writing "DiffÂŽrance," Quine's theory of meaning already exists. So, while Derrida's critiques are substantial in relation to th e modern tradition at one point in time (Frege and Russell) they are ultimately unnecessary at the time they are given. This is because the modern tradition had already produced a theory capable of not only meeting (and in many ways agreeing with) Derrida 's critiques, it was able to produce it without external prompting, and while preserving the pract ical benefits of past theories. In explaining Derrida's failure, and the post modern tradition's failure more generally, to produce a theory of meaning that o bviates modern accounts we have recourse to two possibilities. For one it could be that the Derrida and the post moderns failed to see the modern tradition as it is ( a constant interrogation of all of tradition in pursuit of progress) and instead confused it with incidental aspects of its existence like positivism or scientism. Put differently Derrida could have misread the modern tradition's goals. Another option is that Derrida mistakenly believed that the modern

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! ') tradition's foundations (like empiricism ) were unreliable or burdensome and that we needed to distance ourselves from them. However, while this concern is somewhat more understandable than a misinterpretation of modernism's goals, it is no less mistaken when presented in the context of "Derrida 's motivations in DiffÂŽrance '" Derrida's critique does nothing to challenge the foundations of modernism seen as it actually is (other than abandon them), and without a significant challenge to those foundations, any belief that those foundations are unr eliable or limiting is dogmatic. Either way, we can see how Derrida's "DiffÂŽrance" is a mistake, or false start.

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! '* CHAPTER III THE WAY FORWARD So far we have discussed how Derrida's critique of modern accounts of language and meaning was unnecessary. In the course of doing so, we followed the development of one branch of the analytic account of language and meaning. However, Quine's account is in no ways the end of philosophy of language in the analytic tradition. Quine's account still leaves us talking about "conceptual frameworks" and a whole host of other things that we need to clarify. By following a contemporary offshoot of Quine's semantic h olism, we begin to see how modernism can proceed in such a way as to clarify any lingering concepts that have gone without explanation, and how modern philosophy can even more thoroughly rebut the a rguments of post modernists such as Derrida that argue mod ernism is logocentric, atomistic, and dogmatic. In doing so, we will arrive at a theory of meaning that brings the analytic and continental branches of modern philosophy closer together. Epistemology Naturalized Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" is an obv ious continuation and expansion of his work on semantic holism. In it, Quine argues for a view of epistemology that is coextensive with science. For Quine, epistemology is already intricately linked with science in two modes: doctrinal inquires, in which w e are concerned with truth; and conceptual inquiries, in which we are co ncerned with meaning 53 As one might guess from his "convenient myths" comment in "On What There Is," Quine does not believe !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 53 Quine, Willard V. "Epistemology Naturalized." In Ontological Relativity and Other Essays (New York: Columbia Un iversity Press, 1969), 69.

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! '+ that we have gotten anywhere on the doct rinal side of empiri cal science. 54 We are not, according to Quine, in the business of divining universal laws. Instead, we are in the business of synthesizing convenient myths for practical purposes. On this more conceptual side, there has been a significant amount of progress The conceptual side of epistemology is left to work with two "cardinal tenets" of empiricism. The first of these is the belief that all evidence for science is sensory evidence. The second tenet is a belief that meaning ultimately rests on sensory eviden ce 55 These tenets assert a link between science, meaning and sensory evidence, but sensory evidence does not, strictly speaking, translate in to objective science or meaning So, instead of deriving the laws of nature from sense experience, we are tasked wi th trying to understand the link between our observations and our conceptual frameworks (science). In pursuit of this understanding, Quine argues we should use all the resources available to us even the conceptual frameworks w hose link we wish to understan d. 56 This means using scientific inquiry to help us understand the foundation s of science itself. P sychology is then an important field of study because it can be used to investigate how science comes to be (how our observations become conceptual frameworks ) without reso rting to doctrinal fabrications. 57 When we look at the issue of an epistemology dealing with meanings and links to sense experience from a psychological perspective, we can see that "[t]he sort of meaning that is basic to translation, and to the learning of one's own language, is necessarily !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 54 Ibid, 72. 55 Ibid, 75. 56 Ibid, 76. 57 Ibid, 78.

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! ', empir ical meaning and nothing more." 58 This is shown through psychological observation of how children learn their first words. Through such observation we can see that a child learns the meanings of words by those words being used in close proximity to certain external stimuli shared by both the child and a speaker. In this way, "[l]anguage is soci ally inculcated and controlled." 59 With this sort of acco unt in mind, we are able to say that epistemology how we know what we know is part and parcel with psychology and natural science itself. 60 There is no separating science from epistemology without resorting to broad, unjustified fabrications. One of the ben efits of this more scientific foundational account of epistemology is that in putting sensory input at the foundations of language and meaning, post modern claims about the indeterminacy of language lose some of their power. Language is still indeterminat e and terms are still dependent on the overall system, but mean ing is not entirely undecidable. 61 In addition, the "analytic" statements Quine tackled in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" finally have something resembling a definition: they are true by virtue of a ll fluent speakers in a languag e community subscribing to them. 62 In this way, analyticity is truth via "systematic" agreement. Put differently, analyticity is an intersubjective phenomenon in which all speakers of a given language agree by virtue of their sharing the same language and understanding its rules. A synthetic statement is then one in which all speakers of the language "give the same verdict when given th e same !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 58 Ibid, 81. 59 Ibid. 60 Ibid, 82. 61 Ibid, 84. 62 Ibid, 86.

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! '! concurrent stimulation." 63 This ties into Quine's earlier semantic holism in that thes e sentences cease to have any "meaning" on their own they derive what meaning they have from belonging to a system of language and its empirical context 64 Science itself is still largely underdetermined. However, like Quine' s semantic holism and even Derri da's "diffÂŽrance," this account is still slightly logocentric in its reliance on "systems" and "conceptual frameworks." Brains, Brains, the Meaningful Fruit Luckily w ith epistemology tied to science, we presumably have recourse to a wide variety of empiri cal scienc es to help us further develop a more nuanced account of language and meaning. The most promising of these sciences is contemporary neuroscience. At the very least, neuroscience allows us to carry on developing this same line of thinking with the aid of biological study. At its best, neuroscience allows us to speak of language and meaning in sublinguistic terms which allows us to get a bit more distance from logocentric accounts However, such a neuroscientific account requires a bit of background Paul Churchland's "Catching Consciousness in a Recurrent Net" is a good place to start. Philosophy of the sort that Churchland pursues has its roots in the analytic tradition outlined above. However, it diverges from the more logical/lingui sti c accounts provided by Frege, Russell and to some extent Quine This divergence follows along the lines of U.T. Place's "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?" which argues for the possibility of a physicalistic account of consciousness. Such an account would allow us to link our sense experiences to science in a more thoroughly scientific way than is available if we !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 63 Ibid, 86 87. 64 Ibid, 89.

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! (. pursue dualist or idealist accounts of consciousness. Churchland is an optimist when it comes to this sort of account. Churchland disagrees with Dan Dennett, who seeks a neuroscientific account of meaning along slightly different lines N amely, Dennett argues that brains are similar to "virtual" von Neumann machines running the "software" of consciousness, where Churchland argues that consciousness is a result of the brain's hardware not just made possible by the brains hardware. Regardless, Churchland claims he and Dennett are both "closet Hegelians." 65 This closet Hegelianism lies in their belief that the conceptual activity of philosophy and science "involves an endless contest between an evergreen variety of conceptual alternatives; and it displays, at least occasionally, a welcome progress in our conceptual sophistication, and in the social and technological practices that structure our lives 66 This Hegelia n optimism meshes well with what we have already said about the modern tradition and its pursuit of progress. Ultimately, Churchland's neuroscientific account rests on the idea that consciousness is the result of certain p hysical structures in the brain a nd its activity 67 This is important because "consciousness" in the broad sense of "mental activity" is presumably where the bulk of the language and meaning "work" is done. So, if we're going to further our account of language and meaning, we must turn to a study of the brain. Churchland's optimism, and his belief in a Quineian scientific epistemology leads him to say that "a proper account of human scientific knowledge must somehow be a proper part of a general theory of biological systems and biological d evelopment" and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 65 Churchland, Paul. "Catching Consciousness in a Recurrent Net." In Neurophilosophy at Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 1. 66 Ibid. 67 Ibid, 2.

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! (% this necessitates looking to the brain for language and meaning. 68 Such an account of language and meaning in the brain requires painting a picture in which an individual's understanding of the world consists in the arrangement of their brai n's roughly 10 14 acquired synaptic connections. 69 Neurosemantics With the broad outlines of the sort of account Churchland pursues in view, we can turn to Churchland's account of language and meaning via neurologically based "state space semantics." Churchl and introduces this account in part to address the problem of translation in Quine's "Epistemology N aturalized." It is unclear, particulalry in Quine's account, how we ought to go about "mapping the lexicon of one language onto the lexicon of another, or t he concepts of one person's conceptual framework onto the concepts of another's" in a way that preserves "sense, meaning, [and] semantic identity across the pairings effected by such a mapping 70 This mapping issue boils down to an ontological question abo ut what meaning and concepts are. We have to get clear on "meaning" and "concepts" before we can talk meaningfully about language. Churchland attempts to provide an internalist account of meaning in order to avoid critic isms of past empirical accounts. 71 Churchland pursues his internalist account with finding a solution to two issue s that we encountered earlier in Frege's and Quine's work, the issues of "identify of meaning" and "similarity of meaning, in mind. Individuals such as Jerry Fodor and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 68 Ibid, 6. 69 Ibid, 7. 70 Churchland, Paul. "Neurosemantics." In Neurophilosophy at Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 126. 71 Ibid, 126 127.

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! (& Ernest L epore provide accounts of these issues more in line at least in some ways with these more "traditional" logocentric accounts. However, in pursuing a physical internalist account of these issues, Churchland abandons most o f the content of these accounts. 72 I n doing so, he presents a theory of meaning in which "meaning" is reduced to particular neuronal relation ships (activation patterns ) in the brain. According to Churchland, these relationships can be mapped out into "state spaces" comprised of "prototype po ints" and viewed as geometrical solids (or hyper solids as the case may be). The "prototype points" in this geometric metaphor are the vertexes of the geometrical solids, and are, in reality, the neurons themselves. The problem with this account is that it 's hard to tie prototype points to specific "things" without resorting to empirical observation. Without empirical observation, we seem to lose out on a fundamental part of "translation." As Quine said, if two things are said to be synonymous, that synonym y must be grounded in usage. However, with an internalist account, we are cut off from any recourse to usage (similar, in fact, to the way Derrida is cut off from usage with "diffÂŽrance") and seem to lose our ability to compare prototype points between in div iduals. Churchland is not fazed by this difficulty. Churchland argues "such direct causal/semantical identifications of the prototype points are wholly unnecessary to the business of mapping the conceptual structure of one network onto the conceptual s tructure of another, and equally unnecessary to measuring the degree of similarity that, failing perfect identity, each structure bears to the other 73 In other words, if we have each map of prototype points we can compare them to each !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 72 Ibid, 127. 73 Ibid, 129.

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! (' other without neces sarily knowing the empirical "content" of the maps because in a Quineian way, they only lay across reality as a whole. In addition, if two individuals have the same concept the concept's prototype points will presumably map out in a metrically identical manner or something close to it. 74 When dealing with these mappings, their multi dimensional nature allows us to manipulate them (rotate, flip etc.) in order to find at least one way in which they line up. When this is accomplished, Churchland claims we kno w that the two sets of prototype po ints are semantically identical. 75 If they are not metrically identical, we can measure any differences between them in order to discuss issues of similarity. In this way, we have an internalist account of iden tity and sim ilarity of meaning that does not require us to know the content of the concepts in question. The downside of this account is that we are stuck with talking about "narrow content." We can say that two concepts are identical between users, but we can't say m uch about them that would require an empirical account of their usage. While t his account does not allow us to definitively dec ide everything content wise, it does allow us to say quite a bit more about the sort of existence concepts and meanings have. Quine, we will remember, despaired of ever finding "meanings" and this account seems to have found them and not in an atomistic manner that Derrida could crit ique Churchland addresses a number of criticisms of this account, primarily from Fodor and Lepore. For Churchland, Fodor and Lepore's rejection of neurona l accounts is due to "a tension that has been with us at least since Frege. It centers on the contras t between meaning as reference, extension, or denotation versus meaning as sense, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 74 Ib id, 130. 75 Ibid, 132.

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! (( intension, or conn otation." 76 People like Fodor and Lepore take Frege and Russell's side in emphasizing meaning as reference or denotation and a more logocentric account Chur chland, on the other hand, focuses on "sense" which is more in line with Quine's comments about conceptual frameworks in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" and semantic holism itself This difference in emphasis has a lot to do with the fact that unlike Fodor and Lepore, Churchland considers the content of a concept a "highly peculiar" portra yal of some aspect of the world. 77 This is in opposition to Fodor and Lepore's accounts according to which concepts have an essentially law like relationship to the external wor ld. For Fodor and Lepore, it is odd that anyone would ever misunderstand anyone else because we all share the same law like connections to external stimuli. Churchland, however, believes it is our lack of law like connections, and our reliance on rough "po rtrayals" that defines meaning. For Churchland, it is somewhat amazing that we ever understand anyone else because we all have slightly different portrayals of the world. In discussing how these different por trayals come to be, Churchland returns to a more science based account. Churchland argues that neuronal relations are earned the "hard way" through years o f learning that ultimately lead to a fairly stable portraya l of the world 78 In this way, concepts are tied to the "peculiar cognitive history of each individual, and in the peculiar cognitive history of the society in which that individual was r aised." 79 Not only does this explain how individuals can have different portrayals of the world, it brings one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 76 Ibid, 134. 77 Ibid, 135. 78 Ibid. 79 Ibid.

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! () of the primary concerns of continent al philosophy and post modernism society's influence on thought, into play. It also stands on ground similar to Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" and "Epistemology Naturalized." It provides the beginning of a non logocentric scientific account of human knowledge that m aintains the general tone of semantic holism. Neuronal Holism This makes the account somewhat hard for semantic atomists like Fodor and Lepore to digest because Churchland's account has little to do with the traditional logocentric way concepts and meaning s are treated in philosophy. However, it has a lot to do with the way concepts and meanings are treated by semantic holists. 80 In this way, the account builds off of and supports a holistic account of meaning with recourse to "empirical neuroscience, the st udy of the microanatomy and the physiology of terrestrial brains ." 81 This is exactly the sort of convergence of science and philosophy Quine calls for in "Epistemology Naturalized." In addition, it supports the holistic account of meaning by describing how it is things are understood as wholes on a biological level and without relying on linguistic entities. This last bit requires some explication. First, the benefit of using empirical neuroscience in pursuit of meaning and concepts is that it allows us to d iscuss how meanings come to be. In Churchland's view, prototype families (the solids and hyper solids in the geometric metaphor) are "learned" through repeat encounters with the world. This "learning" is the recon figuration of synaptic matrices. 82 In short, "[t]he acquisition of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 80 Ibid, 136. 81 Ibid, 138. 82 Ibid.

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! (* concepts, on this view, is thus something that requires the intricate and simultaneous tuning of trillions of synaptic connections the individual "coeffi cients" of the relevant matrix." 83 These concepts, with all of their intricacies, cannot be accounted for in any other way. Semantic innateists like Fodor and Lepore are left trying to explain how it is that so much data, so much complexity, could possibly arise as a matter of strict geneti cs of simply being human (or any other animal for that matter) Because it is mathematically impossible, according to Churchland, to explain semantic data as a result of genetics, it is impossible to believe that concepts are innate and that they consist i n the "microconfigurations of our 10 14 synapses 84 So concepts, on this view, are necessarily learned synaptic relations. However, this says little about their being understood holistically. The holistic connection can be seen in digging deeper into Church land's account of learning concepts. During the process of learning Churchland believes we do not simply learn a thing. Instead, in the process of learning a thing a number of other things are learned. Churchland uses an artificial neural network's ability to discriminate faces as an example of how this happens. In order for this neural network to discriminate faces, it must be able to recognize differences in face shape, eye type etc. This information is essential for the ne ural network to recognize faces. 85 In this same way, Churchland says, "[h]uman children learn readily to recognize faces, and dolls, and cookies, and socks. But there are no laws of nature that comprehend these things qua faces, dolls, cookies, and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 83 Ibid, 139. 84 Ibid, 139 140. 85 Ibid, 142.

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! (+ socks 86 Instead, children recognize the se things by accumulating a large amount of information about them, out of which they synthesize (with the help of a speaker) the concept "face" or "doll" etc. An interesting aspect of these concepts that comes out of this "repeat experience and fine tunin g" model is that concepts necessarily range over a number of cases 87 We might even think of them in a Russellian or Quineian "bound variable" sense. This reading of concepts helps provide an account of how the nonexistent referent issue tackled by Russell in "On Denoting" and Quine in "On What There Is" came to exist in the first place. Essentially: complex concepts can range over "things" that are not found in our ontology, but whose meaning we can understand via experience with entities that do exist in our ontology. This issue trips up meaning atomists in part because strictly referential accounts of meaning can't account for how those complex concepts can exist without a direct causal rela tion. Churchland's account also bears some resemblance to Quine's metaphorical statements about the "edges" of our conceptual frameworks making contact with experience and being subject to change, but their bodies being relatively stable. In this sense, ou r prototype points may change due to new experiences, but their overall shape their relationship to each other stays mostly the same. In Churchland's words: "a broad sample of imperfect approximations is adequate to project a smooth metric that will captur e all cases the marginal, the prototypical, and even the hyperbolic cases. 88 In this sense, concepts are networks that delimit the range of possible images of a certain sort. Having a given concept is to command that well informed ra nge of possible !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 86 Ibid. 87 Ibid, 144. 88 Ibid, 145.

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! (, repr esentations. 89 This, along with other developmental concerns leads Churchland to say that we percei ve things as "holons" not atoms. 90 Language So far we have been talking about what Churchland's account entails for "meaning" and "concepts" and "conceptual frameworks" overall. However, the most interesting thing that this account opens up is a new view of language. For Churchland, when we understand meaning and concepts as existing in the brain as neuronal relations, and as developed over time in the presenc e of certain stimuli, we can see that language is an acquired skill. Language is acquired in the sense that it is learned along the same lines Quine outlines in "Epistemology Naturalized" when he says that language is socially inculcated and controlled. Wh at this language skill allows for is the perception and manipulation of others' brain states, and for others to perceive and manipu late our brain states in return. 91 According to Churchland, this ability unites us all cognitively in a way that no other spec ies is un i t ed, and entails that our cognition can be a collective activity, on a minute by minute and even a second by second basis." 92 Ultimately, this view of language gives rise to an overarching theory of language communication and even thought itself This is because, "[o]ver generations, the evolving form of that manipulational skill would itself come to embody useful general information, information transmittable from generation to generation as th e skill itself gets passed down." 93 And herein lies a bit of a Hegelian treat At its foundation, Churchland's account !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 89 Ibid. 90 Ibid, 150. 91 Ibid, 159. 92 Ibid, 160. 93 Ibid, 160.

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! (! holds out for the sort of progress that Hegel and all moderns seek to some extent, and asserts such progress is made possible by language. Unlike Derrida, who mak e s language indeterminate an d hard to manage in order to avoid foundations Churchland puts language at the foundation of human knowledge and the possibility for truth even if it's not doctrinal truth. This account, in other words, pushes forward the modern conception of language and meaning by providing an even more nuanced, less logocentric account than that provided by the branch of analytic philosophy of language we discussed earlier. This account also has a funny way of bringing the analytic tradition it grew out of closer to the continental tradition. This is by virtue of this account's surprising similarity, specifically in its treatment of language as a communal activity that unites us, to Habermas' concept of "communicative reason." Habermas and Modern Reunification It is safe to say that for all of our discussion of modernity and the analytic tradition, Habermas has said quite a bit more about modernity and its continental branch. Habermas' The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity in particular provides a mountain of material to digest, but we will focus, having already sketched our own path of modernity, on Habermas' concept of "communicative reason." Communicative reason can be seen as the continental branch's equivalent of Quine's and ultimately Churchland's comm ents about langua ge and its role in human reason. This can be seen in the fact that they both end up arguing for language as a medium by which we can communicate (and come to agreement on) a variety of different things despite having our own peculiar socie tal and cognitive histories.

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! ). Habermas argues that the post moderns mak e a mistake in pursuing anti foundationalist goals. This mistake is due to their ignoring "the philosophical counterdiscourse which, from the start, accompanied the philosophical discour se of modernity initiated by Kant, already drew up a counterreckoning for subjectivity as the principle of modernity 94 In other words, the modern discourse already contains within it the ability to deal with the issue of subjectivity, and the post moderns ignore this ability. In this way, the post moderns misidentify subjectivity as the primary principle of modernity, when in fact it is incidental to the tradition as a whole. This general line of argument was repeated earlier in our discussion of Derrida' s account of language and meaning in comparison to the analytic account that actually came before it. The road to post modernity that Habermas traces from Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and on to Derrida is then riddled with opportunities to take a different road, but at every point this opportunity is refused by the post moderns and proto post moderns. This alternative route lies in what Habermas calls "communicative reason." This route means giving up Heidegger and Derrida's "sentimental presuppositio n of metaphy sical homelessness" their anti foundationalism and seeing it as "a symptom of exhaustion." 95 This exhaustion is due to Heidegger and Derrida's repeat ed attempts to make sense of the relationship between the transcendental and empirical modes how we can go f rom contingent statements about the here and now to "law like" statements about the world. Using the road analogy, the post moderns take a detour from modernity because they are convinced the road is dangerous and unsupported, but the detour is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 94 Habermas, JŸrgen. "An Alternative Way Out of the Philosophy of the Subject." In The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 296. 95 Ibid.

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! )% unnecessary (as we saw with relation to language and meaning) and it leaves them tired, without an obvious way back to the main road, and no way of moving forward. According to Habermas, this detour could have been avoided if the post moderns had understood that thr ough coming to mutual understanding through using language to communicate we are able to overcome the apparent gap between transcendental ( a priori ) and empirical ( a posteriori ) truth. This is exactly the sort of thing Frege was saying when he said that ma king a statement presupposes objectivity multiple speakers come together and use the same terms and are able to communicate effectively. Quine also supports this position. Subjective interpretation is bridged through the use of objective language. Habermas goes further to say that "[w]hoever has been trained in this system [of language] has learned how, in the performative attitude, to take up and to transform into one another the perspectives of the first, second, and third persons." 96 Th is same ability is at work in Churchland's account: we learn to manipulate the brain states of others, and receive their manipulations through intersubjective language and the "truth" of that system. We can go from our particular conceptual framework to a "universal" language and back to another's particular conceptual framework at will. When we speak of language in this way as bridging the gap between subjectivity through an "objective" or "common" system and we cease talking about some separate realm of t ruths beyond empirical observation "the ontological separation between the transcendental and the empirical is no long er applicable." 97 So long as speakers are able to achieve understanding find common ground they operate within the "horizon of their common lifeworld" and this is an intuitively known holistic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 96 Ibid, 296 297. 97 Ibid, 298.

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! )& background. Similar to Churchland's account, Habermas' account of language and meaning puts an emphasis on the society an individual is raised in, and the methods by which they have been taught to commu nicate. 98 These methods and "backgrounds" are internalized by the individual and incorporated as part of their "lifeworld." Relating back to Churchland, we might say that these methods are similar to a key that accompanies our internal conceptual maps. This key helps us translate and communicate the content of our internal maps with others. Through this mediating aspect of language (the key to our conceptual maps) "the purism of pure reason is not resurrected again in communicative reason 99 Not only does H abermas argue for communicative reason as the road post modernity should have taken, he argues that attacking subject centered reason the goal of the post modern detour on his reading is only possible from within modernity to begin with. By moving beyond m odernity, and attempting to move beyond paradigms in general, the post moderns cut themselves off from the solution to their problems, and lock themselves into a reliance on subject centered reason 100 This is because you cannot simply call for the end of so mething like subject centered reason and then move on one paradigm must be replaced by another, and modernism is the only tradition able to contain the p aradigm of communicative reason. 101 Through viewing it in this way, Derrida's "DiffÂŽrance" and the post m odern tradition it belongs to can, at most, be considered a critique of modernity's logocentrism not a critique of modernity as a whole. Churchland's account, in reducing truth and meaning to non linguistic entities in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 98 Ibid, 299. 99 Ibid, 301. 100 Ibid, 309. 101 Ibid, 310.

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! )' the brain achieves the same result as far as critiquing modern logocentrism, and Habermas' communicative reason can be seen as the praxis side of Churchland's account. The two accounts are not the same, but they are compl e mentary. Despite the differences in focus between philosophy in the ana lytic and continental traditions (science and politics respectively), then, the two traditions come together in defense of modernity in a compelling manner through a redefinition of language, meaning, and their respective role s in pursuit of knowledge. However, it is important to note what is likely clear to every philosopher reading this: the branch of the analytic tradition sketched out here is in no way entirely representative of the variety of position s contained in the trad ition, nor is Habermas entirely representative of everything going on in continental philosophy. However, if we are going to take the post modern movement seriously address its concerns, and move on, these two modern accounts of language and meaning are t he best options we have

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! )( CHAPTER IV THE MODERN NIETZSCHE The question remains why if alternative conceptual routes were available to them, the post moderns avoided them. Why did Derrida present an unnecessary theory of meaning, and if we side with Haber mas, why was post modernism itself ultimately a mistake, or a false start? The answer to this question can be seen in post modernism's roots. Specifically, the post modern tradition relies on an incorrect interpretation of Nietzsche and this interpretatio n cause s them to miss the alternative conceptual routes open to them Post moderns do not see Nietzsche as the modern he is, in part due to a misreading of the modern tradition's goals and in part due to a misreading of Nietzsche himself. However, this misinterpretation of Nietzsche has gone unquestioned within post modernism thanks in part to Deleuze's rep etition and expansion of it. Even Habermas, who we just turned to for support in arguing for modernity, supports this incorrect interpretation. In his discussion of Nietzsche's role in the birth of post modernism, Habermas seems to support a view that the post moderns were at least partially right to use Nietzsche. In this sense, Habermas contends that Nietzsche was a post modern precursor. However, this is not actually the case. In showing how this is not the case, we will start with Habermas' account of N ietzsche's philosophical ties to post modernity and see if we can't cut them. Following that, we will turn to a direct discussion of Nietzsche. Through this direct discussion, we will see ho w Nietzsche was in fact a modern and n ot only did the post moderns misinterpret him, Nietzsche would never support the post modern position.

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! )) On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life According to Habermas, Nietzsche can be seen as responding to Kant's idea of "enlightenment." Habermas says that Kant's "enlightenm ent" entails that it is impossible to reverse the learning process, and that insights gained through enlightenment cannot simply be forgotten. This means that enlightenment, and with it the modern tradition (if our earlier reading of Kant is accurate), can only proceed and address its deficits by "radicalized enlightenment." 102 In this way, the only solution to the modern tradition's problems is more modernism. At the time Nietzsche was writing this manifested as an ever growing interest in history and a desi re for more and more knowledge, without a specific goal in mind. Nietzsche, to be fair to Habermas was most certainly against this culture of historicism and its gluttonous pursuit of knowledge Habermas quotes Nietzsche's "On The Uses and Disadvantages o f History for Life" to demonstrate this : "'Knowledge, taken in excess without hunger, even contrary to need, no longer acts as a transforming motive impelling to action and remains hidden in a certain chaotic inner world ... and so the whole of modern cult ure is essentially internal... a 'Handbook of Inner Culture for External Barbarians 103 In this sense, Nietzsche argues that an overabundance of historical knowledge is a bad thing, and that it prevents us from moving forward. However, this is not the att ack on "modernity" t hat Habermas makes it out to be. This is because Habermas mistakes Nietzsche's "modern culture" for "modernity" and fails to see that in advocating that we avoid obsessing about the past, Nietzsche 's is striking out against tradition in a very modern way. Habermas identifies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 102 Habermas, JŸrgen. "The Entry into Postmodernity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point." In The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 84. 103 Ibid, 85.

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! )* the historicism and relentless pursuit of "knowledge" of Nietzsche's contemporaries with the modern tradition, when in fact the modern tradition, as we have defined it, strikes out against this sort of historicism an d "knowledge for knowledge's sake" in order to preserve theoretical freedom in much the same way Nietzsche does. In order to see this fact we must distinguish betwe en Nietzsche's use of the term modern' and what we have been call ing the modern tradition. Nietzsche uses the term modern' in a way we don't use it when discussing the modern tradition. Namely, he uses it in something closer to its original sense of "new" or "recent." So, Nietzsche is not speaking of the modern tradition when he says "modern culture," he is speaking of contemporary culture at the time he is writing. This culture, Nietzsche feels, is destroying itself through a r elentless pursuit of history. This is destructive, Nietzsche believes, because an overabundance of history leads to a sort of nihilism. Too much history causes things to lose their meaning, their weight etc., and further, we lose our motivation to move for ward, to strike out in pursuit of something new. In the same essay, Nietzsche says "a living thing can be healthy, strong and fruitful only when bounded by a horizon; if it is incapable of drawing a horizon around itself, and at the same time too self cen tered to enclose its own view within that of another, it will pine away slowly or hasten to its timely end 104 This horizon is a limit on knowledge, and functions like an atmosphere that allows us to breathe. In this way, drawing horizon s is a foundational move: it gives us a basis to work from, and provides a theoretical springboard toward the future. More explicitly, there must be an end to our pursuit of history always looking backward !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 104 Nietzsche, Friedrich. "On The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life." In Untimely Meditations edited by Daniel Breazeale, translated by R.J. Hollingdale. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 63.

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! )+ without an eye on the future paralyzes us. But this is not to say that history is a bad thing. Rather, "the unhistorical and the historical are necessary in equal measure for the health of an individual, of a people and of a culture 105 An individual able to balance these two things would be Nietzsche's "historical man" who u ses history in pursuit of life. The scholars of his day are t hen "suprahistorical" and see nothing in the future that is not already in the past. This is an outlook that Nietzsche says causes nausea. 106 It is a sickness. In this way, Nietzsche is not arguing against increased knowledge and the modern tradition, he is arguing against pursuing knowledge for knowledge's sake without limit Perhaps if we could construe Kant's enlightenment as arguing for pursuing knowledge for knowledge's sake we could say that N ietzsche is anti modern in the sense Habermas contends, but this would do a disservice to Kant. When it comes to Nietzsche's critiques of the scholars of his day, the critique still stands. However, the critique is not directed at philosophy or history in the modern tradition. In fact, if we were to accuse anyone of this sort of limitlessness today, it would have to be post modernists at least on Habermas' reading Their relentless pursuit of foundations, and their ultimate decision that there are none is a clear failure to "draw a horizon." Their pessimism mirrors the pessimism Nietzsche as cribes to the suprahistorical ma n in tone and general cause (lack of foundations). By getting caught up in this endless pursuit of past origins, the post moderns cut them selves off from progress. Quine and Churchland, on the other hand, very clear ly draw a horizon. Quine's semantic holism even uses a metaphor compatible with this idea of a "horizon within which we are able to live." This is the "conceptual fabr ic" metaphor in which knowledge and science !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 105 Ibid. 106 Ibid, 66.

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! ), only impinge on the world around its edges. Experience is the horizon Quine and Churchland draw in order to move forward, and empirical science is the atmosphere they breathe. Back to Habermas. Habermas says that Nietzsche, when faced with this historical aspect of "modern culture" was forced to either present an imminent critique, or give up the program entirely. Because Habermas fails to understand Nietzsche's emphasis on balancing history with the unhistorical, he believes Nietzsche chose the latter option and abandoned the dialectic o f enlightenment. 107 But if we read Nietzsche correctly, we can see what his actual contention is: the dialectic of enlightenment (if we want to call it that) cannot proceed on only one term. The re must be an "other" to history we cannot let our pursuit of history dissolve the future. But likewise, we cannot proceed into the future without the past as a starting point. Pursuing one without the other is doomed to failure. To be sure, Nietzsche does say, as Habermas cites, "history must itself dissolve the problem of history, knowledge must turn its sting against itself this is the imperative of the new spirit of the 'new age' if it really does contain something new, mighty, original and a promise of life.'" 108 However, this is not evidence of Nietzsche calling for a sort of post modern dissolution of history and knowledge, it is, rather, evidence of Nietzsche calling for a critique of these pursuits from within them. This is the sort of crit ique provided by Frege, Russell, Quine, and especially Churchland. Quine and Churchland in particular take on assumptions within philosophy and science and do away with them using the tools of philosophy and science. Further, Quine's embracing myth address es Nietzsche's concern that we have lost a sense of myth as a requirement for life, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 107 Habermas, JŸrgen. "Nietzsche as a Turning Point," 85 86. 108 Ibid, 86.

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! )! while also drawing limits on what science can and cannot do. Derrida, on the other hand, in his wish to extract himself from the objective pursuit of history or knowledge, loses his ability to critique the pursuits from within and fails to move forward along the Habermasian lines already outlined. The Birth of Tragedy The rest of Habermas' interpretation of Nietzsche relies on Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy While we will not address specific claims of Habermas' about The Birth of Tragedy and Nietzsche's positions in it, we should take a moment to see what all the fuss is about. If Habermas is right, it is Nietzsche's apparent role as an "acolyte" of Dionysus in The Birth o f Tragedy that ultimately leads him to fight against the modern tradition. At the outset, it may seem reasonable that The Birth of Tragedy is an anti modern work because Nietzsche truly does advocate for the Dionysian perspective at a number of points in T BoT and Habermas correctly interprets this Dionysian perspective as irrational In his retrospective preface Nietzsche even says that in TBoT he recognized for the first time that science (and rationality) itself was something problematic and questionab le. 109 However, taken on its own, this statement says nothing about the modern tradition, and even less about science as a whole. Once again, Nietzsche is attacking science as it existed at the time of his writing ensconced in dogmas and a belief that it could divine the laws of nature. Further, this is not the point, strictly speaking, of The Birth of Tragedy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 109 Nietzsche, Friedrich. "The Birth of Tr agedy." In The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings edited by Raymond Guess and Ronald Spiers, translated by Ronald Spiers. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 4 5.

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! *. To start, Nietzsche is primarily concerned with explaining the birth of "tragedy." Tragedy, in this case, refers to the G reek tragedies and tragic art as a whole. For Nietzsche, tragedy has two sides: the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The former gets its n ame from Apollo, and has connotations of light, images and dreams. The latter gets its name from Dionysus, and has connotations of darkness and intoxication. In tragedy, thes e two aspects are joined as one. 110 Tragedy is then seen as a necessary development to cover over the Dionysian meaninglessness of exis tence with Apollonian illusions. 111 For Nietzsche, Dionysian reality is too much for people to handle. It paralyzes us, and makes us see any a ction as ultimately meaningless. 112 It is the Apollonian drive to i mages and illusion that saves us from this abyss. It is the interplay between these two aspects of tragedy (Apollonian and Dionysian) that make tragedy the perfect art form in Nietzsche's eyes. Each aspect taken on its own is insufficient to justify and cu ltivate life, but together they are able to elevate life itself to an art form. If there is a tone in which Nietzsche comes across as an acolyte of Dionysus in The Birth of Tragedy it is in his arguing that through our pursuit of science we have lost the Dionysian aspect of life. For Nietzsche, Socrates and his followers became so focused on their images that they forgot the underlying structure of reality they lost sight of the fact that their theories were illusions. 113 However, Nietzsche does not ultimate ly argue for Dionysus, he argues for tragedy. This is not a case of an acolyte making a case for his god, it is a case of a skeptic calling for a return to a balanced view of the world, and a more nuanced view of the world. S ocrates, on Nietzsche's reading killed tragedy, and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 110 Ibid, 14 15. 111 Ibid, 23. 112 Ibid, 40. 113 Ibid, 60 64.

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! *% Nietzsche wants to bring it back. The way in which Nietzsche argues for tragedy is the same way in which he argues against a focus on history and knowledge without a n end in mind. Nietzsche does not want to destroy history, or science or any of these things he wants them to return to a more nuanced and balanced tragic view of the world so that they can be used to cultivate life. In perceiving Nietzsche as an anti modern, it is clear that Habermas' conception of modernism privileges rat ionality and misses the ultimate goal of modernism: theoretical freedom. Beyond Good and Evil W e now have a defense for an alternate interpretation of Nietzsche's views in the works Habermas cites. However, there is still more that can be said arguing in favor of Nietzsche being a modern. Our best bet for that sort of thing is in Beyond Good and Evil To be fair to the post moderns and Habermas, Nietzsche says in Ecce Homo that Beyond Good and Evil is a crit ique of modernity, and that he is as unmodern as possible. 114 Two things can be said about this statement. First, this is once again an issue of distinguishing between the modern tradition as we have been speaking of it and "modernity" in the "contemporary a ge" sense. Second, we should note that Nietzsche does not say he is anti modern rather, he says he is unmodern. This, taken in context with the previous consideration, points to an interpretation of the statement in which Nietzsche is saying he does not be long to his contemporary age. This itself can be seen as a symptom of an extreme version of the sort of modernism we have been talking about. Nietzsche, in this sense, finds little in tradition worth preserving and attempts to critique all of it. While thi s !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 114 Nietzsche, Friedrich. "E cce Homo." In The Anti Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, an Other Writings edited by Aaron Ridley and Judith Norman, translated by Judith Norman. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 135.

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! *& sort of extreme modernism might resemble post modernism on a superficial level, Nietzsche is clearly not an anti foundationalist. As we said in discussing Habermas' interpretation, Nietzsche believes we need foundations. So, while Beyond Good and Evil is most definitely a critique of the age Nietzsche writes in, it is more in line with what we have said about the modern tradition than perhaps any other work at the time. On close inspection, we can actually find statements that undergird those made by Quin e and Churchland. Even if Quine and Churchland would not list Nietzsche as an influence, there is a case to be made that he is something of a kindred spirit albeit a strange and somewhat bombastic kindred spirit. Such a case goes as follows. Nietzsche star ts Beyond Good and Evil with a question that is indicative of his entire viewpoint: "Suppose that truth is a woman and why not? Aren't there reasons for suspecting that all philosophers, to the extent that they have been dogmatists, have not really under stood women?" 115 This question encapsulates Nietzsche's overall thrust to rid philosophy of dogma to attack even those things that we have held at the center of our conceptual frameworks for thousands of years. For example, a belief in the opposition of valu es 116 Nietzsche asks us to question the distinction between "truth" and "falsehood." Incorporating our discussion of The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche want s us to find a middle ground where the two are not separate and oppositional, but rather two sides of th e same coin. This coin is "perspectivism." Nietzsche's "perspectivism" replaces the traditional conception of truth and objectivity with subjectivity, and insists that we view our !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 115 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Edi ted by Rolf Peter Horstmann and Judith Norman. Translated by Judith Norman. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 3. 116 Ibid, 6.

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! *' statements about the world as entirely context dependent dependent on who we are, where we are from, what society we live in etc. All of these contextual factors shape our perspective, and no one individual has the "true" perspective. However, this is not a limitless subjectivism. For Nietzsche, we can judge a statement by how wel l it "promotes and preserves life, how well it preserves, and perhaps even cultivates, the type 117 In other words, judgments should be considered pragmatically, with our goals in mind. This is what Nietzsc he means by going "beyond good and e vil 118 Derrida and the post moderns have a goal in mind, but it leads them to a dead end. While moderns like Quine and Churchland make epistemology coextensive with science, the post moderns according to Habermas, limit themselves to epistemology. Derrida, in cutting himself off from ontology and traditional metaphysics as a whole (his metaphysical homelessness) limits himself to talking about "the play of differences" as the sole means of talking about the world. While "the play of differences" can certainly be seen as a way of talking about how we know what we know, it does nothing more, and allows no further progress. The fact that such a philosophy would be intended to shake modernism to its core is laughable f or Nietzsche. Nietzsche says that "[a] philosophy reduced to 'epistemology,' which is really no more than a timid epochism and doctrine of abstinence; a philosophy that does not even get over the threshold and scrupulously denies itself the right of entry that is a philosophy in its last gasps, an end, an agony, something to be pitied 119 He goes further to ask, rhetorically, how a philosophy like that could possibly dominate. To be fair, Nietzsche is talking in this case about the state of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 117 Ibid, 7. 118 Ibid. 119 Ibid, 95.

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! *( phi losophy in t he 1880s as it is em battled by positivism, but his criticism is no less applicable to post modernism. Nietzsche can also be seen as supporting some aspects of Quine's and Churchland's accounts of language and meaning. Nietzsche believes that we must declar e war on the "atomistic need" of past philosophy and science. 120 Quine attacks this atomistic need through a discussion of semantic holism, and meaning 's existence as part of an overarching conceptual system. In doing so, he follows a path that brings mythol ogical aspects of knowledge back into the picture. By doing this, he incorporates Nietzsche's belief that "[ w ] e are the ones who invented causation, succession, for each other, relativity, compulsion, numbers, law, freedom, grounds, purpose; and if we proj ect and inscribe this symbol world onto things as an "in itself," then this is the way we have always done things, namely mythologically 121 Churchland further attacks the atomistic need of philosophy and science by shifting to a less logocentric account of meaning, and continuing to view meaning and knowledge along holistic lines. Churchland even incorporates some amount of Nietzsche's perspectivism in his contention that each individual has their own particular peculiar world portrayals. The only differenc e from Nietzsche here is that Churchland, along with Habermas, is willing to say that language can bridge these gaps; that there is something productive in our pursuit of consensus. However, this difference in beliefs about the possibility of bridging pers pectival gaps is not evidence that Nietzsche was anti modern, but rather it is evidence that he was not an optimist. He was a more skeptical modern than either Quine or Churchland, to be sure, but he was not a pessimist in the way the post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 120 Ibid, 14. 121 Ibid, 21.

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! *) moderns are pess imists. This is because, for Nietzsche, "True philosophers reach for the future with a creative hand and everything that is and was becomes a means, a tool, a hammer for them 122 The post moderns seem to want to reach for the future, but they have discarded everything that "is and was" and in so doing, they have cut off any hope of ever moving forward. The fact that Nietzsche is ever cited in support of post modernism comes down to two things. The first, as we keep saying, is a misunderstanding surrounding t he term "modern" and Nietzsche's use of it. The second, is a misinterpretation of Nietzsche more generally. The first misunders tanding can be seen as simple anachronism, the second has to at some point be considered willful. Deleuze hints at as much in his Nietzsche and Philosophy through his discussion of enculage. Regardless, s upposing we were to take the first issue, in which post moderns mistake Nietzsche's use of the term modern due to an anachronism and grant them that one. Suppose Nietzsche really is anti modern in the sense he would need to be to serve as an effective touchstone for post modernism. Even then, the post modern movement is not one Nietzsche would support based on their inability to draw a horizon to find their footing, to have a found ation Even if Nietzsche wasn't a modern in the strict sense, the post moderns still get him wrong because they are anti foundationalists The post modern movement, if it is going to claim Nietzsche as its founder, is an obvious misstep. Not only do they h ave nothing to stand on currently, they have nothing to stand on historically. Post modernism, if it keeps using Nietzsche as a touchstone is more than just a false start: it is a failure of Nietzschean philosophy as a whole. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 122 Ibid, 106.

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! ** CHAPTER V AN EXTENDED METAPHOR In concluding our discussion of modern philosophy and its conflict with post modernism, I would like to offer a less straightforward and more metaphorical retelling. The primary purpose of this retelling is to put forward a view of the modern enterprise t hat strips away all the incidental and contingent facts of modernism we have discovered through the course of this investigation of modern accounts of language and meaning and get at the heart of modernity In this case we will attempt such a retelling by discussing modernity as if it were a dream. However, this is not to say that modernity is a dream in the wishful "goal" sense, but rather to speak of it as an actual dream a dream in a long line of shared dreams involving all of humanity. With modernity pr esented as a dream, we can distinguish what makes modernity unique in relation to those dreams that came before it, and the nocturnal deviations that have arisen within it. The second purpose of this retelling is to argue for modernity' s continued existenc e and wholehearted revitalization as a joint effort between philosophers working in both the analy tic and continental traditions. This will necessarily follow from reading modernity as a dream. So, how are we to take the title of this investigation "The D ream of Modernity?" It would seem that at times it has been met with anticipation, hope and other positive feelings, while at others it has been laughed off as impossible, or na•ve. All of these interpretations rely on a reading of the phrase in terms of g oals and ambitions. The "dream" of modernity is then given over to a sense of success that is yet to come and we have made a strong case for this sort of interpretation But what if the p hrase were taken more literally ? What happens when "the dream of mod ernity" is read as referring to an

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! *+ actual dream? What sort of dream would it be? Would it be a brilliant adventure in some strange fantastical land, or a nightmare in which there is no escape from our failures? Further, what would it say about us as dreame rs? If we are to take the phrase in this "actual dream" sense, the answer to the question "what kind of dream is it?" is clear: it is a lucid dream. Why a lucid dream? Kant's "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" is best able to address this For Kant, enlightenment is "man's emergence fro m his self incurred immaturity." 123 What makes this immaturity self i ncurred for Kant, is an inability to use reason without guidance. Kant gives examples of the ways we avoid using reason without guidance: a reliance on books instead of taking responsibility for our understanding, a reliance on the clergy to decide moral issues instead of consulting our own consciences etc. What these avoidance measure all have in common is laziness and cowardice. Kant furth er attacks the pre modern reliance on rules as "shackles" that prevent humanity from taking adv antage of its own natural gifts. 124 For Kant, these sorts of rules attempt to impose boundaries on what is knowable. In this way, one age conspires "to place a suc ceeding one in a condition whereby it would be impossible for the later age to expand its knowledge." 125 Kant believes this act of binding to be in opposition to human nature, which is specifically focused on the progress of knowledge. It is this sort of opt imism about the human condition that leads Kant to say that so long as humanity manages to avoid inventing artifices to keep us from progress, we will inevitably move forward. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 123 Kant, Immanuel. "What is Enlightenment?," 1. 124 Ibid. 125 Ibid, 2.

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! *, What is it about Kant's account of enlightenment that allows us to say that mod ernity, taken as a dream, is a lucid dream? Lucidity, as in all things, implies being able to think clearly and rationally. This concept of lucidity is obviously important to the modern enterprise, and Kant's focus on talking about reason in his "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? is straightforward evidence of this fact. However, in relation to dreams, "lucid" takes on a further connotation: awareness on the part of the dreamer that they are dreaming. This is somewhat harder to pin down i n Kant. Kant never makes a grand metaphysical claim that we are all dreaming, so if we are to find a connection to lucid dreaming in Kant, it must be a metaphorical connection a connection that preserves the sense of lucid dreaming but which does not neces sitate grandiose metaphysics. This connection is found in awareness. Kant does not simply want us to use reason surely, we had been using reason all along to some degree. Rather, Kant wants us to be aware of the world we are in, and apprehend it as burden ed with traditions and structures that limit human reason and the expansion of knowledge. For Kant, this means realizing the fact of our own freedom to use reason, and with it, the responsibility to use it without getting caught up in artifices that preven t progress. In this way, Kant's awareness of reason, and our freedom to use it, speaks to the sense of lucid dreaming in which the dreamer is aware of the fact that they are dreaming, and able to take responsibility for their actions within the dream perha ps even consciously pushing the dream in a particular direction. In this way, Kant represents one of the first truly "lucid" thinkers of modern philosophy. Modernism thus defined entails an awareness of freedom, the wish to cast aside presuppositions, and a willingness to take responsibility. Descartes, Leibniz, and

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! *! Spinoza all got close to this principle of lucidity, but failed due to their own reliance on presuppositions. Kant also succumbed to his presuppositions at times, but managed to see the problem as it was: we had been pursuing knowledge as if asleep. We would flit about, not questioning the things given to us society and tradition stood in for the individual and so there was no innovation, and no responsibility. In seeing this, Kant was the first to have the lucid realization that all was not as it seemed. So, like a lucid dreamer looking at a clock twice within close succession and receiving vastly different reports each time, he saw the flaw in the illusions we had made for ourselves. Kant's sol ution was to give reason back to the individual. However, this was not without objections. Hegel in particular takes issue with Kant's emphasis on the individual's use of reason, and the sense of freedom that drives Kant's arguments against tradition. Hege l believes Kant's focus on the individual rational subject leaves out a significant part of the picture. For Hegel, the focus is not on individuals, it is on the world history of Spirit. It is important to note, however that "[t]he term "world" includes bo th physical and mental nature 126 In this way, Spirit is the historical movement of both physical and mental toward the absolute. According to Hegel, reason is involved in this process, but not as a tool. Rather than individuals driving reason (as in Kant), reason drives individuals in the pursuit of the absolute. However, this is not to say that individuals are simple cogs in a great machine of reason. Hegel's idea of Spirit incorporates individuals, and relies on them to create a l arger sense of societal f reedom. 127 So, while it can appear that individuals are at the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 126 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. "Freedom, The Individual, and the State." In Introduction to The Philosophy of History (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988), 19. 127 Ibid, 20.

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! +. mercy of circumstance, being together in Spirit, they are caught up in a process by which they freely come to know the absolute. For Hegel, the realization of this sort of freedom the freedom of Spirit as a whole in all its worldliness is the proce ss that makes up all of history. 128 In this sense, Hegel is concerned with societal self consciousness and self determination where Kant is concerned with individual self consciousness and self determinati on. When it comes to our reading of modernity as a dream, through Hegel's concept of self consciousness and self determination, we arrive at a view of modernity that is more nuanced than the one presented by Kant. Kant, in his focus on individuals, was unable to account for modernity as a shared dream. There was the implication in Kant that if we all acted as rational individuals there would be progress, but the "we all" was left unexplained. Hegel rectifies this by uniting us all together in Spirit. Unf ortunately, this is not without issues. In uniting us all together in Spirit, Hegel forces us into the pursuit of an end the absolute. This, in itself, is not necessarily problematic for our reading of modernity as a lucid dream. However, in doing this, He gel traces our pursuit of the absolute back through history and ties all of the present to the past and future transfiguring it into just one moment of an inevitable movement toward the absolute. This has the effect of placing modernity in a historical con text, but it also burdens modernity with the tasks of the ages before it, thus taking away the novelty that one would typically use to delineate a "lucid" dream from a normal dream. In this way, Hegel takes the ultimate freedom, the total control and thus some amount of the lucidity out of the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 128 Ibid, 21.

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! +% dream of modernity. The casting aside of presuppositions becomes a simple moment in a larger whole, and thus novelty is subsumed. Hegel reminds us that modernity is a shared dream, but in reading it in such a historic al way, he takes the lucidity out of it. Kant may have focused too much on the individual, but Hegel focuses too much on the historical and thus ties us to those traditions Kant asked us to question. In this way, Hegel marked the beginning of a historicism that threatened to paralyze modernity, and return us to the undifferentiated mass of dreams that came before it. It is at this point that Nietzsche saves the dream of modernity, and reawakens the sense of lucidity presented by Kant in an even more robust manner than Kant. For Nietzsche, modernism after Hegel was pessimistic. However, he wondered if this pessimism could be due not to weakness, but to strength. In this sense, he wondered if modern pessimism of his day could be due to "[a]n intellectual pref erence for the hard, gruesome, malevolent and problematic aspects of existence which comes from a feeling of well being, from overflowing health, from an abundance of existence." 129 In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche contends that this pessimism is due to t he fact that modernism had come to realize the true nature of existence. For Nietzsche, this meant seeing the world as utterly meaningless. Nietzsche contends that the only way out of this realization is through art: "Art alone can re direct those repulsiv e thoughts about the terrible or absurd nature of existence into represent ations with which man can live." 130 Modern pessimism is then due to the fact that modernism hadn't taken itself to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 129 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil 4. 130 Nietzs che, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy 40.

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! +& be artistic; it had taken itself, along Hegelian lines, to be carryin g out a divine process toward the absolute rather than covering over the absolute with reason. In other words, modernism was mistaken about what it was doing. In obsessing itself with reason and freedom, it lost sight of the true nature of reality, and in finally coming into contact with it in a roundabout manner, found itself repulsed. The problem was not so much reason, but that we lost sight of the artistic nature of reason. In this vein he calls for using reason creatively and realizing that the meanin g of reality is not given to us, but created by us to cover over t he meaninglessness of existence. 131 This leads Nietzsche to take up a position as an anti dogmatist. Dogmatism is then the primary issue when it comes to our pursuit of "truth" in modernism 132 It is this distaste for dogmatism that leads Nietzsche to say that truth/falsity are not at issue but rather "how far the judgment promotes and preserves life, how well it preserves, and perhaps even cultivates, the type. 133 We said before that Nietzsche "s aves" the dream of modernity and reawakens the sense of lucidity how does all of the preceding manage to do that? Nietzsche saves the dream of modernity by shifting the pessimism of the modern enterprise onto a realization of the true nature of reality. In this way, Nietzsche is able to explain the failures of modernity while still allowing us to move forward as moderns. The sense of lucidity is restored in the subsequent realization that we are, in a very significant way, dreamers. For Nietzsche, all art i s dreamlike, and when we realize that knowledge itself is artistic, we !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 131 Ibid, 19. 132 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil 3. 133 Ibid, 7.

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! +' realize that we are dreamers engaging in the creation of dreamlike images that we use to cover over the void of meaning inherent in the world. In this sense, Nietzsche is the first to question the place of reason within our dreaming, and he is the first to fully realize modernity as inherently creative. The result is that the concerns of Hegel and Kant with regard to the locus of freedom are not relevant for Nietzsche. We as individuals are engaging in the creation and manipulation of dream like images together with each other privileging either side of the equation is a mistake, just as it is a mistake to read some sort of order into the process. We put order and meaning into the world where there was none before. In this sense, Nietzsche is the closest to a lucid dreamer out of all the moderns not only does he question what we have been given, he acknowledges that we are ultimately the source of what we have been given. If we are comfor table saying that modernism is a lucid dream, then Nietzsche is the most modern of the moderns. Despite Nietzsche's efforts to revitalize the modern tradition, by the early 20 th century, much of modernism had once again relapsed into modes of inquiry that took themselves to be carrying out either a Kantian cold discovery of truths or a Hegelian march toward the absolute. The result was, on the one hand, philosophy that became burdened with the intricacies of language, and an attempt to determine the struct ure of language; and on the other hand, philosophy that found itself entirely unable to comment on external truths, and that had retreated to a discussion of human experience. Both of these traditions, while still modern, lost sight of lucidity due to thei r relinquishing the creative aspects of reason.

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! +( Over time, the continental tradition's growing pessimism gave rise to thinkers like Hannah Arendt. For Arendt, the modern tradition is defined by its pessimism. In Arendt, the doubt that Kant wished us to app ly to the old traditions is thought to have been generalized to all of knowledge. This is in some sense the paradox of the modern tradition it allowed for the natural sciences to rise and give birth to a vast amount of knowledge and power, but at the same time it led to "the hardly less demonstrable increase in human despair or the specifically modern nihilism which has spread to ever larger sections of the population." 134 For Arendt, this despair is rooted in alienation. According to Arendt, throughout the h istory of modernism we became more and more alienated from the world and then from the earth itself. 135 This alienation has led to the fact that while modern philosophy was always in some sense pessimistic (at least about the current state of affairs) modern ism itself became pessimistic, and this leads Arendt to say that there is no cheerfulness left in the modern tradition. 136 If we are to still speak of modernism as a dream, we can see Arendt arguing that the dream of modernism has turned into a nightmare or a fever dream. What control we had over the course of the dream has been given up to the structures we have created. Howe ver, we can also see how Arendt's comments on modernism are the result of modernism not incorporating the Nietzsche i an conception of the world and creative reason. Alienation is impossible in a modernism that sees its products as wholly creative, human att empts to create meaning in the world. However, it is easy to say that Nietzsche is the answer it's another to actually embrace the Nietzsche i an concept of modernism, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 134 Arendt, Hannah. "The Vita Activa and the Modern Age." In The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998), 261. 135 Ibid, 264. 136 Ib id, 273.

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! +) which is something that seemed wholly impossible given the mood of contemporary philosophy at the time Arendt was writing. However, the road back to Nietzsche has been in the process of being built for a number of years. In the analytic (Kantian) tradition, this road began with Quine's semantic holism, and has now been taken over by Paul Church land and other contemporary philosophers of mind who have devoted themselves to modern science and subsequently been forced to come to grips with the strange, horrible questions Nietzsche warned us about. In the continental (Hegelian) tradition, the road b ack to Nietzsche has been championed by Habermas, with his emphasis on communicative reason and progress. Churchland and Habermas value both reason, and the "we all" aspect of reason. The result is that they ask us to take up Kant and Hegel in ways that br ing us closer to Nietzsche than anyone has dared to go in years. Habermas' concept of communicative reason relies on a view of reason that takes Kant's wish for progress along with Hegel's point that we progress together as a group and joins them together. Whoever has been trained in Habermas' communicative reason is then able "to take up and to transform into one another the perspectives of the fi rst, second, and third persons." 137 In other words, through communicative reason we are able to overcome the hurd les of subjectivity together, in pursuit of mutual understanding (not the absolute). This is not explicitly Nietzsche i an, nor is Churchland's Neurosemantics, but in resolving the Kantian/Hegelian split without resorting to either the Kantian issue of rampa nt subjectivity, or the Hegelian issue of binding, it is a firm step in the right direction toward a reawakening of modernism as a shared lucid dream. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 137 Habermas, JŸrgen. "An Alternative Way," 287.

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! +* N eedless to say, when we read modernity as an actual dream, it is plain that the dream is not over. To pa raphrase Nietzsche; it is now beginning to dawn on a few minds that positivism and other incidental aspects of modernity are only interpretations of modernity, not explanations of it. It is no small irony that the movement that most frequently drew on Niet zsche post modernism has failed to secure a sure footing, and moves steadfastly away from Nietzsche while the Kantian and Hegelian traditions are coming back to him. This is due to the post modern tradition's inability to see modernism as a lucid dream. Po st modernism finds itself so pre occupied with the incidental failures of the modern tradition that it is unable to see that the clock on the wall just moved forward five hours in the last fifteen minutes. Instead of taking the failures of modernism post N ietzsche as a sign of lost lucidity, and the realization that we are ultimately free to create, they infer that modernism was just a normal dream after all that there is no such thing as lucid dreams, and that we shouldn't even bother trying. This attitude is far more dangerous than the na•ve relapses modernism has had into simple dreaming because it embraces relapse, and encourages us to go back to sleep.

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! ++ REFERENCES Adorno, Theodor W. Negative Dialectics. Translated by E.B. Ashton. London: Routledge, 1990. Arendt, Hannah. "The Vita Activa and the Modern Age." In The Human Condition Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998. Churchland, Paul. "Catching Consciousness in a Recurrent Net." In Neurophilosophy at Work 1 17. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni versity Press, 2007. Churchland, Paul. "Neurosemantics." In Neurophilosophy at Work 126 160. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Deleuze, Gilles. Nietzsche and Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. Derrida, Jacques. "DiffŽrance." In Margins of Philosophy translated by Alan Bass, 1 27. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982. Frege, Gottlob. "On Sense and Reference." In Meaning edited by Mark Richard, 36 56. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003. Habermas, JŸrgen. "An Alternative Way Out of the Philosophy of the Subject." In The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity 294 326. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.

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! +, Habermas, JŸrgen. "The Entry into Postmodernity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point." In The Philosophica l Discourse of Modernity 83 105. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. "Freedom, The Individual, and the State." In Introduction to The Philosophy of History 19 56. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988. Kant, Immanuel. "An Answer to the Quest ion: 'What is Enlightenment?'." Konigsberg, September 30, 1784. Nagel, Thomas. The View From Nowhere. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Edited by Rolf Peter Horstmann and Judith Norman. Translated by Judit h Norman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Ecce Homo." In The Anti Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, an Other Writings edited by Aaron Ridley and Judith Norman, translated by Judith Norman, 69 152. Cambridge: Ca mbridge University Press, 2005. Nietzsche, Friedrich. "On The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life." In Untimely Meditations edited by Daniel Breazeale, translated by R.J. Hollingdale, 57 124. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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! +! Nietzsche Friedrich. "The Birth of Tragedy." In The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings edited by Raymond Guess and Ronald Spiers, translated by Ronald Spiers, 1 116. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Place, U.T. "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?" Br itish Journal of Psychology no. 47 (1956): 44 50. Quine, Willard V. "Epistemology Naturalized." In Ontological Relativity and Other Essays 69 90. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. Quine, Willard V. "On What There Is." The Review of Metaphysics (Philosophy Education Society Inc.) 2, no. 5 (September 1948): 21 38. Quine, Willard V. "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." The Philosophical Review (Duke University Press) 60, no. 1 (January 1951): 20 43. Russell, Bertrand. "On Denoting." Mind, New Series (Oxf ord University Press) 114, no. 456 (October 2005): 873 887.