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  conceptual appeal
gary e. davis
June 6, 2022
In May,“What’s integral to engaged, meaningful lives?” shared a short path about my sense of things, from confessional comments, through a gradation of keynote themes, to high conceptual attitudes which are allegorical of detailed discourse (not yet occasioned), but which altogether portray another version of “singular pluralism,” expressed last August. Three later postings during May supplement that conceptual prefacing. (I seem to not be able to get beyond extensive prefacing, which probably feels obtuse at times.)

Implicit in my discussions is a sense of conceptuality as such which hasn’t been focal, though I’ve expressed so much over the years that there is ample material
to draw from. Yet, I want to eventually focus on conceptuality in a specific way,
in terms of which earlier intimations are understood retrospectively.

That would begin with an appreciation of the lexical sense of ‘concept’ (beyond quick noting at “lifeworld conceptuality,” linked at ‘obtuse’ above), which is interestingly nebulous, reflecting the nomadity of usage which is common for most words. It’s fascinating, including the etymological root notions of ‘con-‘ (pertaining to withness) and ‘-cept’ (pertaining to taking).

Conceptuality is especially mental—we say “abstract”; but the mentality of that is not abstract: interest in using the term, just as any word is appealing because it’s useful. All mentality is interested, i.e., it’s part of our always being interested in doing something.

The notion of mentality itself is a concept of mindedness employing meanings. Concepts apart from usage, i.e., as focus of attention, are abstractions from use, which has sense relative to our interest in making sense within activities which have value, thus have interesting (self invested) goals, which concepts serve.

For the most part, “an ordinary sense of concept is good enough: a term for gathered instances of a kind—a kindness of sense,” I noted a couple of years ago. But such a representational sense is actually derivative of a prior relational sense, due to the reality that we’re in relations before we’re representing anything (differentiated from the relating). That representation is a derivative aspect of the relating. (That reality is why, years ago, I created the substitute for ‘vis-à-vis’: “irt”: in relation to, which is really in relation with; but I’ve been using ‘irt’ too long to change all of my instances online).

That primacy of relating may seem obscure, because our commonly-objectivist sense of meaning naturalizes a sense of relation as compositional (combining pre-given elements), rather than relations enabling differentiations; or evincing derivative representations as differentiated from a constituting difference. (A cell divides by itself.... An infant learns to distinguish itSelf from godly presence / Mother—then the egoistic toddler may go on for some time believing it’s Every-
thing, which all else is to serve, in the trials of separation / individuation.)

Thus, abstractly: Conceiving a relation derives from lifeworld priority of relating, such that concept as such has relational meaning (grouping) that precedes its re-
presentational character as trope for a set of relevants (i.e., relevant items). The classical type / token difference conceals the activity of typing which gives way to there being the type taken with tokens, so to speak: a domain implying a range of relevance.

Accordingly, a “normal” concept as such (which is representational or set-theo-
retical) tropes or symbolizes (and conceals) the conceiving which gives way to there being the concept in the first place (just as lexicality as such tropes and conceals etymological background).

Self-hiddennesss of conceiving through its given conception distracts (and “naturally” inhibits) understanding conceptuality as temporal result of conceiving. Even a conception about self-conceiving may conceal the genesis of that self-reflectivity, unless the conceptual engagement is overtly meta-generative of its own emergence. But, even then that engagement may “beg the question” of its own capability (or intelligibility).

Derivatively, for normal understanding, representational sense conceals the pre-interested involving of concepts in orientations of interested (valuable) action, i.e., action-oriental understanding. Action-oriental understanding is always in service to interested activity, which is better understood (for the better life) as project-ive, just as child learning is better enabled through project-oriented activity.

The better action-oriental understanding is project-ive—and the better project-ivity is part of a complex of life projects which imply the overall engagement of one’s life, which I’ve called “AProject-ivity.” Conceptuality is practically part of project-ve life, and the articulable conception of the life (“Meaningfulness,” career engagement, sense of life span, anticipation of elderly years as actualization of one’s “life”) is AProject-ive, which warrants a sense of conception that embraces the life-enabling capability for conceiving which horizons a life (e.g., enhancement of concepts as Self enabling capabilities, advocated by Martha Nussbaum, Ruth Garrett Millikan, and some educaitonal psychologists).

In all cases, conceptuality is basically an engaged cohering mentability. (A mentality results from the mentability which gives way to there being a given mentality.)

Being engaged follows from valuing the activity. A concept as such can be explicated as a mental cohering value.

I would further characterize that (beyond my present discussion) as resulting from a generativity “of” manifold phenomena which evinces constellational chaining into a valued conception of that constellating which is troped by the valuable concept of it (analogously as a climb [noun] tropes a climb [verb]; and being tropes its being).

Generating a focal topic can be usefully characterized as valuable domainal regioning (accomplished by—as Heidegger coyly put it—“that which regions,” DOT, p. 75), resulting in a valaued way of regarding or acting irt a topic, project, or thing.

Lastly here, conceptuality, as basis for understanding, can be usefully explicated as value anchoring, but I’ll return to that later.

Altogether, conceiving and conceptuality in life involve manifolds and levels which we commonly understand and value as a complex topic—topoi—whose background genesis (topogeny) gave way to there being topographies of topics.

next—> scaling an individuated Flow


  Be fair. © 2022, gary e. davis