-Ruyer: There is a contradiction between making intention and consciousness a pure effect of neural activity and the development and use of anesthetics. By definition, to use anesthetics is to make consciousness act upon neural activity. Something similar can be said about soundproofing a room or pulling the shades in order to get to sleep. For that matter, the choice to kill oneself – or, better, to find meaning in death – point towards the same thing.
- Say that Neutrino-faster-than-light experiment actually was confirmed. After a news-cycle of stories, we would go back to teaching Relativity as if nothing had happened, and it would be reasonable to do so. One sparrow doesn’t make a spring, and we have a great deal more conformational experience of Relativity than can be undone with a single result, no matter how confirmable. The same goes a fortiori for experiments against free will. The experiments are weak and objectionable as they stand – but even airtight results would objectively deserve no more than a shrug. It is only our fascination with evil – the glamor of evil – that makes us think otherwise.
-Heidegger is right that prior to any choice or awareness we are thrown into things, and find ourselves swept up in a stream that simply is going. Our past is already determining our future so far as the future is the set of possibilities we confront. This is the condition prior to life (or prior to the disclosure of being – which makes it being itself) – a dynamic, flowing, condition that man can never take control of – or, said another way, we can only control it in a way that already takes the dynamic, flowing condition as a given.
A poor-man’s version of the argument might go like this: [1.) man's horizon of being is historical], but history does not progress like tree development progresses – i.e. through something like an atemporal form working out its possibilities in time. There is something deserving to be called a species or nature or eidos of a living thing- not in the sense of a classification but in the sense of some governing principle set over a process of development to maturity. But [2.) history has no eidos,] and so being – at least so far as being is that field of disclosure where entities can appear, which is exactly what Heidegger thinks it is – has no eidos.
Aristotle tamed the motion of the natural world by making all motion analogous to life – i.e. the working out of an eidos. But Aristotle himself saw that this wouldn’t work if history had to enter into an account of the reality of things, that is, if we called on history to do the work that philosophy (to his mind) had to do. If it ever came to this, we’d be better off handing over everything to the poets (which seems to be something like what Nietzsche suggested).
Dekoninck deserves mention too – for he saw God as supreme over history, as man’s good within it (a life lived according to prudence), and yet also saw that history had no eidos. One can only speak of God’s providence as a per se cause of being so far as the per accidens is also a part of being too. It’s hard to see how this is anything but the insistence that God is the per se cause of what has no per se cause, but even if one was not so glib with it, there is still a rapprochement between CDK and Heidegger. In other texts, CDK will say that history enters into being only on the side of matter, by which he probably means matter so far as it is not dominated by form (or eidos). In the measure that form dominates matter, it either is a man or is tending to one. This is why CDK says that, if nature were given immediately after the big bang, one could necessarily conclude from this that man must come forth from it. If this is laughable, what are we left with?