July 29, 2010 3 Comments
I propose a modified form of the transcendental argument for God’s existence. Not that it’s different, but it’s an aspect to the argument I’ve never seen previous proponents take. It occurred to me while reading Alisdair MacIntyre and while considering some of what Husserl and Karl Otto Appel have said. But of course, debates get old. They get old as I get old, maybe. Anyway, the subject matter itself is still worthy of reflection, even if one chooses not to engage in debate. Didn’t debate used to be a respected art? yes. But in our INGSOC modernity, questioning is itself suspect. But to the point.
MacIntyre points out that there is a kind of narrative structure for any meaningful conversation to take place. He makes a convincing case in his piece mentioned above. It occurred to me that for the localized instance of conversation to make sense, though, there has to be a larger narrative structure within which the localized conversation takes place. MacIntyre’s The Virtues, The Unity of a Human Life and the Concept of a Tradition gives an example along the lines of approaching someone gardening. To say a nonsense statement like “flight of the condor eats cheese wings perpetually,” has no meaning. In fact, to say even a meaningful phrase assumes some sort of context, such as, “how is the gardening coming?” or something of that nature. So why is it that we do one and not the other? Deconstructionists, relativists, nihilists, and so on, can say that it’s just utilitarian and social convention that has caused to use certain sounds in a certain way to stand for certain things, and that we evolved this way, blah blah blah.
But this kind of simple, mundane interaction doesn’t just show a kind of appropriateness to the content of what can be said, it also evidences a narrative structure. For example, generally, such a conversation would have a greeting, middle, and climax. Granted not always per se, but even a passing hello, has a kind of narrative structure to it, with an intended meaning that one party has, that the other party receives and many or may not acknowledge. Again, the intentions obviously vary as well as the received meanings and responses, but none of this changes the loosely narrative structure of such interactions. Read more of this post