Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 18 of 18)

0069 Kirk Kanzelberger joins Thomas Aquinas with a basic acknowledgment: Evil is a privation of a good.

He then considers natural and moral evil.

In moral evil, he locates a semiotic disorder, in addition to a privation.

He considers the nature of the sign, as formulated by Charles Peirce.

0070 He publishes his argument in a journal worthy of the reader’s support.

Reality: A Journal for Philosophical Discourse

0071 My comments are not so different.  They thread through both Peirce and Poinsot.  They pass through the two loops brought to light by John Deely.

Yet, the are different, in that they offer diagrams based on Peirce’s categories.

0072 Typically, Razie Mah’s comments are published in the smashwords website and carried by a variety of e-book vendors.

Start with A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form.

Add A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

That is all that is needed to introduce oneself to the interscope of social construction.

Figure 09

0073 The three-level interscope appears in the chapter on meaning in the masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”.

The three-level interscope plays a role in A Primer on the Individual In Community.

The three-level interscope serves as a model of langue, in Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s Book (2016) Why Only Us: Language and Evolution.

0074 All these works are available at the smashwords website.

So concludes this look at Kanzelberger’s foray into both Aquinas and Peirce, concerning reality and the nature of privation.

Look to Reality.

God bless.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 17 of 18)

0066 Kanzelberger writes, “Moral evil is a dark image.  It weaves a web that bewitches its author, then ensnares others.”

But, the author and the ensnared do not necessarily stand on the same level.

0067 Natural evil makes no sense.  Natural evil is privation of the subject.

Moral evil makes sense.  Moral evil is privation in phantasms.  We selectively use word-symbols deprived of their fullness.  We seek agreement1a, not wisdom1c.

Metaphysical evil defies moral sense, by willfully projecting its own relations between what is and what ought to be2c, into spoken words2a, which cannot image or indicate on their own.

0068 Imagine a nest, full of duly-appointed avian-philic crooked lawyers, passing a law decreeing the latest innovation of their premier legal theorist.  All cats are to be banished from the sovereign realm, because they are symbols of human maliciousness and cruelty.

Here is a brood worthy of Kanzelberger’s philosophical consideration.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 16 of 18)

0063 What is the catch?

Alternate legal theories2c cannot endure in the absence of the original truth of justice1c.  There are two types of immoral actors.  The practitioners of concupiscence2b, like crooked lawyers, struggle with self-justification1c.  The self-justified2c, like opportunistic legal theorists, strain to defy right reason and divine law1c.  They offer better alternatives2c.  They3coffer them2c in droves.  A multitude of alternatives2c swarm with betterness.

Kanzelberger writes, “Purposeful evil is not a matter of ignoring the moral context of courses of action, but a semiotic disorder involving… a fictive construction… that functions as… an imagined future.”

0064 You mean, like that approaching cloud of legal locusts?

Imagine a world where the rule of reason2c and the divine laws1c are partially, then totally, eclipsed by a swarm of organizational objectives2c, each declaring its own righteousness1c, each supported by its own theoretical imperatives1c and each relying on the power of the state to enforce its dictates.

Imagine a world where certain words1a are made flesh2a, and this winged flesh2a fills the air with what is happening3a, so that all things and events2a actualize theory-distorted subjectivities1a.  

Imagine a world where our phantasms2b are not grounded in truth, but in the projection of meaning2b into once truth-filled speech-alone words2a.

0065 Surely, we have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good an evil.

Like locusts.

There will be hell to pay.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 15 of 18)

0060 In sections four and five, Kanzelberger pulls more threads through the loops of Poinsot’s scholasticism and Peirce’s postmodernism.  He does so well, that I continue in parallel, like a harmony to his melody.

0061 I turn to privation of judgment2c.

Consider an example.

0061 Crooked lawyers love the sin of omission.  They love to omit the evidence that would cause them to lose the case.  This love is justified by the doctrine of total satisfaction for the client.  The crooked lawyer does not serve justice.  The crooked lawyer serves only his client, even when his client is guilty as charged.

In the domain of morals, the doctrine of total client satisfaction stands in opposition to an oath to serve justice.  Lawyers take an oath to serve justice.  This doctrine deprives the oath of its merit.  Evil is a privation of good.

Legal theory contextualizes a lawyer’s cupidity, even as the lawyer’s exploits defy the attainment of justice.

0061 Is there a hierarchy here?

Crime is what happened3a.  A trial is what is happening3a.  Victory in court is what it means to me3b.  Someone really depraved constructs the legal process that permits it all3c.

There is a hierarchical difference between a corrupt lawyer3b, who objectifies what is happening3a in the pursuit of total victory for his client1a, and a legal theorist3c, who formulates the consensus of what is legally permissible1c.  Legal theorists3c fashion suprasubjective entities, concocting law-determining judgments2c that alter, tweak, nudge, correct and re-configure the intersubjectivity2b within which a moral agent3b signifies.  Legal theorists3c alter the machinery of justice2c.  Evil ex academia1c.

The well-educated cutting-edge legal theorist3c offers norms2c that may oppose the rule of reason and the divine law1c, just as parody opposes tragedy.  The projection of alternate meaning into words1c, such as “client interests”, “service”, “mandates” and so on, mocks the hard-won projection of true meaning1c, where the client’s interests do not outweigh justice and true justice ultimately furthers the interests of us all, including the client.

0062 Here is a picture.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 14 of 18)

0056 Kanzelberger lays out the moral theodrama.

The mystery of iniquity starts to unfold when I come up with ‘something’ objective1b, without attention to the rules of reason and the divine law1c.  At first, the objective1b sets aside the suprasubjective1c, by not admitting to the intersubjective1b.  

I decide what makes sense3c.

0057 Isn’t this the nature of concupiscence?  Why should I worry about right reason or Yahweh’s law?  I’m going to hang out with Cupid.  Cupid likes me.  Cupid agrees with me.

After a phantasm2b of deliciously-worded2a desire2b becomes habitual, self-justification3b strains towards the intersubjective1b.  For self-deception1b to become openly regarded, it must first become intersubjective.

So, I, a self-deceiver3b, search out a team that will judge2c my privation2b as virtuous and true.  Let my intersubjective2bhabit find an accommodating suprasubjectivity1c.  Yes, I may join the club.  I may join the secret society that does not pay attention to some aspect of the rule of reason or the divine law1c, then justifies the consequences2a.

In fact, our common intersubjective privation2b reflects a self-congratulating fullness of suprasubjective being2c.  Our good is obvious to anyone who is “educated”.  We all love one another and despise the uneducated morons, don’t we?

0058 We blather2a in production of our subjective agreement1a.

Are we really free to choose1b?

Or, am I forgetting something1c?

0059 There are privations in things and events2a, including speech-alone talk2a.

There are privations in phantasms2b, losing the balance between judgment2c and speech2a.

Here is a diagram for social construction.

Figure 7

What am I missing?


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 13 of 18)

0053 I can get away with anything if I can find the right words.  Call me a smooth talker.

Every one of us is infected with this potential.  We are sinners before we are conceived.  Let us not strain under the illusion that we can sort out the voluntary from the involuntary, knowledge from ignorance, or freedom from slavery.  Speech-alone talk produces a privation rarely seen in the natural world.  My spoken words can tell me whatever I want to hear.

0054 That is just the beginning.

My own self-justification3b seals my commitment2c to free-nihilation3c

I3c decide what makes sense3c, not the One Who Gives, Without Us Knowing Why3c.

Then, I expect3a someone else to agree1a with my blather2a.

0055 The sacrament of baptism contests this mystery of iniquity.  Grace flows into human nature.  A spiritual battle is already engaged before my arrival.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 12 of 18)

0049 Kanzelberger writes, “Moral evil deflects from a norm which the voluntary agent is conscious.”

0050 What about the agent’s unconscious?

Does the story of Adam and Eve bring, to consciousness, the arrival of an evil, a privation, that natural selection ruled out by grounding talk in gesture, even in its final incarnation, hand-speech talk?

0051 In the Lebenswelt that we evolved inour hand and hand-speech talk words overflow with meaning, because they image and indicate the things that they refer to.  The referent itself defines the word.  How can a gesture-word be false?  How can a gesture-word be deceptive?  They are pictures and pointings, even though they operate in a symbolic order.

In our current Lebenswelt, our spoken words do not image or point to anything.

0052 How horrifying and unbelievable is that?  How deep does the privation go?  Does it trap our desire?  Does it entangle our will?  What does this mean to me3b brings the actuality of moral thinking in phantasms2b into relation with the possibility of objectivity1b, on the basis of a thing or event2a which now, consists of spoken words2a, which are sequences of formant frequencies.

Moral evil arises when our spoken words2a, which are purely symbolic, sow and reap the joys of symbolic privation within our phantasms2b.  We find the right words to both express and conceal our falsehoods and deceptions.  Prostitution is not the world’s oldest profession.  The oldest job is to tell someone something that they want to hear.

Oh, that is prostitution.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 11 of 18)

0047 Our capacities for phantasms2b are adaptations to the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Each team talks in icons and indexes that are so distinct that they function as symbols in a symbolic order (a finite system of differences).  This is parole2a.  Langue consists of the sign-objects of word-gestures that picture or point to their referents2b

Our genus innately assumes that gesture-words2a image and indicate things and states of things2a.  Our human ancestors continue to think this, even when a new way of talking, speech2a, gets added to hand talk2a.  In the beginning, Homo sapiens practices hand-speech talk.  They do so for around two-hundred thousand years. Then, something radical happens.

0047 Humans drop the hand-component of hand-speech talk.  This is no accident.  There is an archaeology to the Fall.  Humans adopt speech-alone talk.  The semiotics of speech-alone talk potentiates civilization.

Speech-alone words do not image or indicate their referents.  Speech-alone deprives us of an automatic, intuitive answer to the team-oriented question, “What does this mean to me3b?”  The thing that we picture and point to in our gesture-word2a, where is it?

Oh, I know.  Let’s build an artifact2a, an idol2a, that will validate our spoken words.

0048 In our current Lebenswelt, we are deprived of the fullness of gesture-words2a.

Evil is privation.  So, is speech-alone talk evil?  Are our phantasms evil?  Are our judgments evil?

They all suffer privation of the fullness of what they evolved to be.


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 10 of 18)

0043 How do teams work?

In the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, we join a team and our commitments2c are plain to see.  Each person has a role1cand communicates that role1c through behavior, including manual-brachial gestures2a. These gestures2a are natural signs.  They are icons and indexes.  They are subjectively experienced as images and indications1a.

0044 But, there is a caveat, the more obvious the gesture, the more distinct from any other gesture, the more likely the gesture will be instantly understood.  So, each gesture-word2a becomes more and more distinct from every other gesture-word.  Language consists in systems of differences.

0045 Word-gestures2a are symbols, purely relational beings, striving for fullness within an ever more effective system of differences.  Language evolves within each team.  Humans, as a kind, adapt to what each team does2b.

0046 What does this mean in regards the prior interscope?

Here is a diagram of the social construction where the situational phantasm2b (including its manifestation as langue2b) aligns with both things and events2a (including parole2a, hand and hand-speech talk2a) and a judgment2c (which cannot be symbolized, so is expressed as a commitment2c). 


Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 9 of 18)

0038 I see what is happening3a, I ask, “What does this mean to me3b?”.

This business about phantasms2b is crucial.  If our mind-dependent beings, our phantasms2b, are to stand the trial of the suprasubjective1c, then their symbols2b must be true1c.  Plus, they must be able to be subjectively1a communicated.  They must be witnessed as things and events2a.

0039 There is a profoundly biological reason for this.  Our genus evolves by cooperating in teams.  Each team is like the cat.  It disposes privations to others, in order to achieve its perfection.  One team hunts rabbits.  Another team digs up tubers.  Human teams hunt and gather, all in the pursuit of their fullness of being.  The One Who Gives, Without Us Knowing Why, provides in many different ways.

Just as metabolism resides in every living being, the One Who Gives, resides in each social circle.  As noted in Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big, the One Who Gives is an object that brings all teams into relation. Otherwise, teams might come into conflict. Like metabolism, this relational object stands undifferentiated from the organization objectives of each team.  This relational object sustains them all.

0040 We choose our teams based on disposition and natural abilities.  Or maybe, our teams choose us.  After all, if a prosperous team lasts long enough, generation after generation, our kind will adapt to its challenges.  The tasks will become more intuitively natural.  Evolutionary psychologists will call these adaptations, “mental modules”.

0041 In the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, there is no contradiction between the phantasm2b simultaneously touching base with the potential of truth1c and the potential of subjective agreement1a.  That is because hand talk2a and hand-speech talk2a image and indicate their referents1a.  A referent1a defines the objectivity1b of each gesture word2a.  The referent1a is also suprasubjectively evident1c.  If it1a were not real1c, it1a could not be imaged or indicated2a.

In our current Lebenswelt, there is a contradiction.  Speech-alone2a talk is purely symbolic.  It2a does not image or point to anything1c.  So, the phantasm2b suffers a privation, opening the door to a condition where the potential of subjective agreement1a may be actualized without the simultaneous realization of the potential consilience1cunderlying the One Who Gives, Without Us Knowing Why3c.