articulate ... meaning out of the world

Salt & Pepper

New Member
Brazilian Portuguese
"W. Hogrebe (...) described this phenomenon of attempting to articulate ourselves and meaning out of the world as the unwitting construction of a cold home".

I understand the meaning of "out of the world" (wich is in itself meaningless, that is the context here) but What is being articulated here? Ourselves AND the meaning?
Could anyone offer an alternative way of saying it?
 
  • DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Please, always give the name of your source. It is a requirement of the forum and it is very helpful when it comes to deciphering the meaning of obscure texts. I am presuming that W Hogrebe is, in fact the German philosopher Dr Wolfram Hogrebe. I would offer the following paraphrase of "to articulate ourselves and meaning out of the world": "to answer the philosopher's big question: i.e. what is the meaning of life; what's it all about?"
     

    Salt & Pepper

    New Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Please, always give the name of your source. It is a requirement of the forum and it is very helpful when it comes to deciphering the meaning of obscure texts. I am presuming that W Hogrebe is, in fact the German philosopher Dr Wolfram Hogrebe. I would offer the following paraphrase of "to articulate ourselves and meaning out of the world": "to answer the philosopher's big question: i.e. what is the meaning of life; what's it all about?"
    Thank you, DocPenfro, and sorry, I indeed forgot to name my source. The author is german philosopher Markus Gabriel, here quoting Wolfram Hogrebe.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think the sense is different. There is paradox in the view expressed, as well as in the view commented on. The preceding context is the key. Gabriel says (Mythology, Madness, and Laughter: Subjectivity in German Idealism By Markus Gabriel, Slavoj Žižek ):
    The assertion that there is no meaning, that the world is ultimately nothing but a function of particles (or waves or whatever candidate one prefers) in space and time itself generates comfort and meaning. The German philosopher Wolfram Hofgrebe ... recently described this phenomenon of attempting to articulate ourselves and meaning out of the world as the unwitting construction of a 'cold home (kalte Heimat)'.
    Since Hofgrebe's description was presumably formulated in German, the possibility arises that 'ourselves' is a translator's or editor's mistake for 'our selves'.

    Be that as it may, Hofgrebe's criticism of scientific positivism [what perhaps in the English-speaking world is more often called 'reductionism'] is that while its authors are trying to analyse out of existence the concept of individuals and of any meaning in life, they are at the same time, without realising it, building themselves a home in this worldview - a cold home, true, but a source of comfort nonetheless.
     

    Salt & Pepper

    New Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Thank you, Wandle. I fully agree with your understanding of the philosophical/ conceptual meaning of the passage, but the sentence [the part following the word "phenomenon", wich I first indicated] still "sounds" weird to my "ears".
    Since not only Hogrebe is German, but also Markus Gabriel is a German writing here in English, perhaps the sentence is not completely "succeeded"?
    I see two alternatives: either the phenomenon he envisages is the attempt "to articulate ourselves in order to extract meaning out of the world" or else "to articulate ourselves and the world in order to extract meaning out of it";
    Does that make sense to you? Or maybe I am "forcing" a reading?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    but the sentence [the part following the word "phenomenon", wich I first indicated] still "sounds" weird to my "ears".
    Well, the last part of my last sentence above is my paraphrase of that.
    I see the sense not as 'extracting' meaning, but as eliminating it.

    The phrase 'to articulate ourselves [perhaps: 'our selves'] and meaning out of the world' means: 'to analyse out of existence the concept of individuals and of any meaning in life': analyse them to the point that they are no longer in the world (no longer existing).

    Two things struck me as odd about that phrase on first reading: the use of 'articulate' and of 'meaning'.
    Normally one would expect the verb 'articulate' to mean 'link together' or 'express clearly'. However, the author evidently means 'break down into its successive (linked) parts'. The context requires this to mean 'analyse' or even 'dismantle' or 'deconstruct'.
    This strikes me as an invalid use of 'articulate' (unless such a use is already established in philosophical language). 'Analyse' would be better.

    The word 'meaning' in its present sense is generally part of a phrase such as 'meaning of life'. However, the author no doubt wants to avoid tying himself down to any particular understanding people may attach to 'life' or any similar term. He is using 'meaning' more generally, to refer to any sense or logic which people might see in life or in their belief or philosophical system. When we look at the wider context in the article, we see 'meaning' used repeatedly on its own in this more general sense.
    This seems to me a reasonable use of the term in a philosophical context.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top