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Re: Spinoza and Identity

From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2011 19:45:45 +0100
Cc: Jeff Sayre <jeff@sayremedia.com>, "public-xg-webid@w3.org XG" <public-xg-webid@w3.org>
Message-Id: <C2F6B5E1-6B7E-43CD-A39B-FCE7DFB0DA25@bblfish.net>
To: Saint-Andre Peter <stpeter@stpeter.im>, Halpin Harry <hhalpin@w3.org>

On 7 Dec 2011, at 19:38, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:

> Interesting stuff, but perhaps slightly off-topic here. :) Is there a
> www-philosophy list set up at w3.org or elsewhere?

We should create one. I'll ask Harry if there is one yet. But if there were one, then I would
have sent it there and CCed this list :-) 

> On 12/6/11 4:23 PM, Henry Story wrote:
>> On 7 Dec 2011, at 00:11, Jeff Sayre wrote:
>>> I cannot determine if Spinoza envisioned a Web of Linked Data, but your
>>> email made me think of this thought piece on how Socrates would view the
>>> Web.
>>> http://bigthink.com/ideas/39407
>> yes, French Philosopher Bernard Stiegler has spent the last year in his online course
>>  http://pharmakon.fr/wordpress/
>> going over Plato's work, and showing in detail the relationship between Socrates and Plato.
>> Greek civilisation at the time was in situation of crisis, having slowly moved over 200 years
>> from an oral to a fully written tradition which gave rise to the democracy of Athens. 
>> Bernard Stiegler will be speaking at the WWW Conference in Lyon http://www2012.wwwconference.org/
>> So Socrates never wrote anything, but Plato did, and he wrote in this writing about someone who 
>> was always searching not for answers but to push questions back further. Plato then became in the
>> Republic an absolutist of ideas.
>> It is these ideas that Spinoza started undoing in his Ethics as I understand it. The idea of thoughts
>> as abstract objects that are independent of other things coming from Plato is replaced by Spinoza 
>> by the fundamentally relational nature of things. 
>> But was far as we are concerned in Spinoza's world we are composed of relations and are enmeshed in relations.
>> Our identity emerges from this meshing. The Platonist view would be a much more object oriented view on
>> could say or perhaps even the beginning of an Ideal view, with Classes existing first, and objects
>> second. In Spinoza's view it seems, relations are primary. One could say that the web is a confirmation or 
>> application of this philosophy.
>> Henry
>>>> Is Spinoza the grandfather of the Semantic Web?
>>>> Here is a short presentation by Philosopher Rocco Gangle: "Spinoza,
>>>> Language, and Relational Identity"
>>>> http://vimeo.com/9581201
>>>> "Spinoza's philosophy shows how relationality and, in particular, the
>>>> human capacity for language provides a model of human personhood in which
>>>> individual subjectivity and identity exist only through mutually affective
>>>> relations with the world and with others. Spinoza's Ethics offers definite
>>>> ways to conceive and to implement interdisciplinary possibilities,
>>>> particularly by applying the relational conception of personal identity
>>>> more generally to the identities of collectivities and traditions. In this
>>>> way, the concept of relational personhood opens out onto a more general
>>>> framework for rethinking the constructive relationality of groups,
>>>> traditions, disciplines and ways of life."
>>>> On the W3C WebID Incubator Group we have come across exactly this feature
>>>> of identity. Your identity is how you are related to other people or
>>>> things. Thinking this way leads one down paths were many problems suddenly
>>>> just disappear that seemed insurmountable when thinking of things
>>>> atomistically.
>>>> See http://webid.info/spec .
>>>> Henry
>>>> Social Web Architect
>>>> http://bblfish.net/

Social Web Architect
Received on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 18:46:21 UTC

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