On Unicorns

There is an old philosophical methodological trope which says that everything has to do with meaning. Basically, this methodological trope says that I am allowed to ask you what you mean by any statement or term, and that this method constitutes philosophy as it only and must be at all times and everywhere. Basically, to be a philosopher you only have to have the capacity And abilityto ask what one means, And then by extension, misunderstand the Socratic method and come to the conclusion that anything anyone else says is wrong because of all the holes I can poke in it, whereas what I say and think is not subject To the same method of critique by myself, but indeed only someone else. As a philosopher involved with this conventional method, I reserve the right to not have What I say to be subject to the same rules that apply to other philosophers. And that I am involved with philosophy in so much as I only allow someone else to poke holes in my ideas, against which I assert with confidence that my ideas definitely are not subject to any whole poking.

If this does not seem to make sense to you, it is because you’re not noticing what is happening in the situation.

If this is the case, then Perhaps you might be able to notice through the following consideration: 

The first philosopher may say, well I’m poking holes in my own arguments, and by doing so, I come to a definite opinion and ideas about what the situation might be from my own subjective view on things. And in as much as I am involved with other subjects, they have done the same kind of introspection, and we come together and compare ideas and discuss where each other may have problems with the idea what we have.

OK good. Yes that is legitimate and there’s nothing wrong with it at all.


And, the following consideration has nothing to do with the first consideration. By definition. — Because nothing arises outside of discourse —

My question would go to how I am able to know which thoughts make more sense, which thoughts I am able to come up with which poke holes in the first thoughts. And how am I able to discern between them sufficiently enough to come to some sort of opinion, at that, an opinion which is not really true, but it is just something that... I don’t know what you call it.

My question is, what allows us to sort out ideas like this in our own minds?

In the end, what criteria do we use within our own minds to come to this conclusion that is our personal opinion? But as well, when someone else gives me their opinion, what criteria am I using to discern the meaning that I’m gaining from them as opposed to the meaning that I gain from my own thoughts? What criteria am I using to discern the thoughts that I’m having about this other person’s ideas, and the thoughts that I am having as ideas? In other words, by what criteria am I sorting to the various foundations of kinds of ideas and where they’re coming from?

From the five senses? In what way, again, what criteria am I using to be able to separate out my thinking from my senses? How am I able to distinguish, say, the pain of smashing my finger with a hammer, and the ideas that I have around them? What criteria am I using to establish that the ideas are thinking about the pain, or my smashed finger, or the site of my bloody finger?

Now, I do not propose to have answers to these questions. In fact, I think those are unanswerable questions. Even though we can never know just how, nevertheless, we can call the notice of this situation something; we can notice that indeed we do assume that there is criteria, even though we can’t identify what it is, and call it something. I call this a method. It identifies that a particular method, a particular way — indeed, a route — that is involved in the discerning of what might be happening there, regardless of what might actually be true or otherwise argued about what might be happening.

Because the only way that I can come to any idea how to answer those questions Is to rely upon the very situation that I just put forth right there, above, I call that situation, as a situation, but also has a certain method by which the subject functions in reality, also an object. The method in itself arises in the universe itself As an existing element or aspect of the universe, and so I have no difficulty calling this kind of known thing an object.

Subjectivity functions in a certain way that we know so well. All you have to do is read a bunch of philosophers to know what I’m talking about. But you could also just read the dictionary definition of the term subject to also know what I’m talking about.

So I say: there is the subject. There it is, Being. It is the subject of discourse. Just like as if I am reading a story, and someone asked me what the subject is. I can tell them. If I’m writing a non-fiction report, Someone could ask me what the subject of the report is. And I could tell them. We get into philosophy. Someone could ask me what the subject is, and I likewise can tell them what the subject is. All of this arises in discourse, and it involves the subject of discourse.

On one hand, how we define the subject of discourse, is one way to understand things, one route into a real world. And then on the other hand the subject itself needs no definition because it is already present in the discourse that we are reading and understanding already.. Two routes. To argue that a further definition of the situation is required, is merely to argue one route, because really the assumption is by asking into the definition that a bridge reconciles the two routes to a further one route.

In this notice, I am not discounting the one route, I am not disclaiming it or saying that it is invalid in anyway. But yet, strangely enough, as soon as I talk about the two routes, I get a bunch of arguments about how two routes are invalid, or wrong because of this way or this and that, and this and that.

This is why We can associate each of the two routes with inclusion and exclusion. Because one sees it’s exclusivity everywhere. Were the one that includes such exclusivity understands that being exclusive is that one matter of being amongst two possible manners of understanding Being, that is, an association with the routes. 

Non-philosophy accounts for this also by identifying it as a method; Laruelle calls this particular method, this particular philosophical method which proclaims subjectivity to be the ground and overreaching ubiquity under which all existence must submit, “sufficient philosophy”.

No matter how much I accept and notice the situation, as soon as I talk about it, people will argue that the situation does not exist or is not true for this and that subjective reason.

So, despite the argument, we have found a true situation, because every time it happens, it happens in exactly the same way. It appears, it arises in the same manner every time. And we can move to call that an object as well, because we can identify it with our senses. We can notice that there is a particular way, a method, a route, through which people regularly and typically understand how they are able to understand. But also, that they do not see it as just one particular criterion for understanding, they understand it as the only criterion upon or under which everyone who thinks, every human being, all things in existence, must adhere to.


In other words, in so much as no one will disagree with me that I have thoughts and that other people have thoughts and that I have a way in my mind to discern my thoughts from other peoples thoughts and then make decisions and come to opinions and ideas– because we can notice that situation, as indeed a situation, If this exists as such. As a defined thing. Which is not difficult to make the move and say that it is an object of the universe because we have defined it.

In this way, There is no sense data separated from the thought, and , there is an ability of consciousness to understand that thinking is separated from the sense data.

Those two clauses are contradictory. What conventional philosophy does, says and repeatedly asserts by its method is that there must be a way to reconcile those two situations. However, The only way to reconcile it is to rely on an ability of consciousness to understand that thinking is separate from the sense data.

Two routes. Two unilaterally dual routes. 

Which is to say, that thoughts are always ultimately determined by the totality of the situation in which they arise, AND, that thoughts consider things, but are not things in themselves, That thoughts arise in pure capability to consider it self separate, to consider things that are separate from it, to have ideas about things while reserving the right unto itself to not be a thing also existing in the universe. That is, reserving the right to exclude itself from the content through which it has itself separated from its products. I call this situation redundant .

This is the basis for colonialist theoretical praxis, but as well, systemic racism.

Those two situations — what should be the case theoretically versus what actually is the case — can only be reconciled by arguing one of them, that is, By asking what do you mean by X. In other words, by relying upon an assumption that there is only one route, one ever ubiquitous thing of the universe that is a neutral knowledge, and that human beings are part of a wholeness, a continuum of knowledge that we are all privy to Because we all think, albeit, reasonably.

Two routes.

Here I am not making the argument to say that we do not think, nor that reason is bad, nonexistent or incorrect. I am exactly making the argument that we do think, and that we don’t think. And I am talking about the conditions that must occur for each of them.... because nothing arises outside of discourse. Not the mind, not consciousness, not thoughts, not abstractions, not concrete empirical reality. Because all those things are in their essence discourse.

So then one rebuttal might be, well, I think there is an actual substantial reality outside of discourse that we are able to find. That discourse is just a sort of medium, between myself and the outside world, and that thinking has to do with discourse, etc. All those discussions about language and epistemology that we know very well.

And I say, yes absolutely I agree.

And …

Not but . Not, hey, let me make another argument about how I’m going to reduce that situation to my consideration, and my subjective opinion, based in my own thoughts.

Yes, and, no.

Not, yes or no.

So back to unicorns.

They exist by the pure fact that you understand exactly what I’m saying when I say unicorn. You can even draw one. And you can go out in the world and you can find one.


Unicorns don’t exist because we get to have thoughts which discern what is true and false, real and not real, abstract and concrete, etc.

Two routes upon objects. To orientations upon knowledge. 

I think you might want to read “principles of non-philosophy”, because that would go far. 

When I describe the situation of the two routes, I am not attempting to get out something more substantial than the thing itself. There is a plant. There it is. Period.

The discussion I’m putting forth, the proposal, is not an argument about what might be underlying appearances. I’m not talking about atoms and electrons, for example.

I am talking about the log on which your head is split open. The true object log. The true object head. The object pain. The object “ouch”.

Yes, for sure we can reduce all that stuff to language and we can absolutely take the route of being a centralized thinker that gets to ponder thoughts upon things and ideas and extractions and what empirical reality is and etc. That route is absolutely true in its way and grants us a real situation that we deal with all the time.

But that route does not constitute the truth of reality. Rather, It constitutes what is really true. That is, so..to…speak.


12 thoughts on “On Unicorns

  1. That’s fine. I am happy for that.

    Our short discussion so far has given me an entire book. For that, I have you to thank. Sitting here in Japan with not discussion had meant I had to resort to online methods. I do this through replies on posts had not been easy but useful nonetheless.


  2. Yes. But what I am saying is that spending 45 minutes to write up a post that makes sense to publish on WordPress, I might as well put in that effort towards actually publishing a paper in a journal. Because what happens if I only publish on WordPress, is people just might take my idea and then use it for their own gain. Because I feel that, yes there is knowledge for knowledge sake, but then there is a sort of practical career but I would like to have. For yourself Warren, maybe you’re already in a good place so far as your life has gone the way that it is wanted to go. But indeed, we could analyze my life through psychology in this way, I’ve never made a choice on anything. I made one choice in my life and that was to follow my bliss into doubt. From then on my life never went any way that I wanted it to go. It is only recently that I can say that I make a definite choice into real practice. And so like I said, if I’m gonna spend 45 minutes or an hour typing up a reply to you just for WordPress, I feel like I’d rather spend that time writing an actual paper to send into a journal for a potential publication.

    So there’s that.


  3. There is no pressure to publish quickly or publish at all. Since this is a conversation in public domain we have to maintain a professional standard. But even if it was not we still need to maintain a standard between the conversationalists.

    I could see that if we left the date as it is, there is all possibly that an argument could arise from one of us claiming that the other person said “this” before or after “that”, which could be true or not true. A timeline of things that did not reflect the actual order things happened would compromise the integrity of the conversation.

    I have also put up a “draft” guideline on the “About” page. And I am working on fuller guideline for authors and administrator(s). I have been inviting people to join in the dia(b)logue but have been unsuccessful so far.

    Do invite people who might feel would make a good contributor to it. The more dialogue we can have the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah I think about 98% of what I do on WordPress is done through my smart phone. But yes when I get on my PC I could probably look around and change the date.

    I don’t usually spend much time on my computer on WordPress anymore because it usually turns out into being like 30 minutes or 40 minutes of writing an essay in the exact way that I would want to. And somehow if I feel I’m gonna do that then I should put my energy into actually publishing. Instead of just writing a blog. So that’s why for the past little while I mostly just post other peoples posts and then make small comments.

    But we’re a little more involved here. So I am trying to make time and be more deliberate and what I write.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I understand that you started it a while back. But it came into the public domain after the other posts, meaning you had access to other the public domain material, your own and other people’s. The time does not reflect that and can cause confusion to others and to yourself.


  6. No it’s always been that way. If I start writing and then I’m not done but I have to come back to it at another time, I’ll save it as a draft.

    Then I come back to it a few days later after I’ve published other things, and I’ll finish it and then publish it. It’ll put it in the order of the date from when it was started.

    It’s always been that way .


  7. You may have inadvertently hit the publish button, then reverted it back to a draft before republishing it.

    The time can be changed in the post settings, desktop version (I don’t know if the change can be done on a smartphone).


  8. Hi, Lance.

    Can you please change the time of the post to the actual time it was posted?

    It does not reflect the order in which it was written in relation to other posts and can cause confusion.



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