Vince Imbat

The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-09-05

Sep 2, 2022

In his September 5 entry, Henry Bugbee demonstrates perhaps one of his cryptic writings, an illustration of why he can be difficult to read. Bugbee interestingly connects Wonder1 with Certainty2. Presence, which makes wonder possible bears fruit into certainty. But then he introduces a new concept: Experience. He said that knowing that wonder leads to certainty “must be continuous with the experience in which it is confirmed.” In other words, an experience leads to wonder, which leads to certainy. This thread should be established. Seen this way, experience can be used as a “proving ground of philosophic thought.” How? He introduces another concept: the Day. He calls a day “the place of meeting with the lives of persons, yes, even with one’s own life.” Combine a series of days and you can give birth to philosophic thought. This reminds me of what I am already doing with Uman. I write Daily review reports then consolidate them at the end of the month (interestingly, that is exactly what I am about to do this morning).

Bugbee raises a new criticism to Analytic philosophy, which removes intimacy of experience to theorize about them. He says that most philosophers “think of experience in the image of objects.” But this is not how we should look at experience. “Experience is a tissue of meaning,” Bugbee says. What most philosophers do is use past experiences to create statements about objects. In doing so, the assumption is that experience is a possession of the mind. We accumulate it and use it when needed. But experience according to Bugbee is a tissue of meaning to be understood “not from behind but before our attention.” Experience is not an object that we observe objectively. “Experience is our underdoing, our involvement in the world, our lending or witholding of ourselves.” Bugbee’s understanding of Meaning seems to go against mine. I understood fairly recently that writing about my experience is a way to create more meaning about it. Doing it this way, am I treating my experience as a possession, an object of study? Bugbee says, we do this thinking that we can be masters of our lives. Am I guilty of this? “We are not masters of the import of our deeds,” Bugbee says. Meaning, Bugbee seems to suggest, must be created simultaneously with the experience. We realize or gail to realize meaning as the experience is ongoing. He says that we desire to objectify experience so we can uncover and implement empirical knowledge and techniques. We want to predict and control. If Bugbee believes in Moral realism, then this statment makes sense: the experiences themselves, not us, brings with them their meaning. I disagree with this.

I am also confused. Despite suggesting that an experience’s meaning is created simultaneously with it, Bugbee also says “we understand our experience at our own time.” So is meaning different from understanding? This part of Bugbee’s entry isn’t clear to me.

# References

Bugbee, H. (1999). The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form. The University of Georgia Press.

  1. The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-08-29, The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-08-31 ↩︎

  2. The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-08-27, The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-08-28 ↩︎