The rest as a category

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Kristian Johannes Odgaard Kirk
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
When trying to understand and make sense of situations, we are making conceptual domains, to gather facts that are relevant for understanding the situation. In doing so, we are not always only confronted with what is but also with what could be. When I am at the zoo looking at animals, I am not only aware of the animals that I am currently perceiving, but at a certain level, I am also aware of the rest of the animals in the zoo. I am aware, that the zoo is a domain. And when I have seen the lions, I am aware, that there are more animals in the zoo than the lions. And even if I haven’t perceived these animals, I still have an idea, that there are more animals in the zoo than the ones I have already seen. This remainder is what in the assignment is described with the danish term resten (the rest, a remainder). This assignment seeks to explore how this remainder appears to us. How does this remainder appear to me, which is not present here and now, but only present as a possibility? If resten is simple in its logic form, why can it still cause trouble understanding it?
When trying to understand a remainder, it is necessary to understand the domain in which it appears. Based on Marcus Gabriels understanding of domains, the assignment tries to distinguish between three ways that a remainder (resten) can appear to us: as unpractical, as unknown, and as undescribed. The difference between these three forms is rooted in the fixation of the boundaries of the domains in which they appear. If the boundaries are tight, it is simple to define this remainder, which creates a simple domain. In a simple domain, there is a clear contrast between the inside and outside of the domain. When the boundaries of a domain are looser and more unclear, it is correspondingly complex to define, what is inside and outside of the domain. These complex domains are characterized by a more diverse and motley content.
In analyzing this remainder, the assignment tries to see, how this remainder is perceived from four different perspectives: the first-person perspective, the third-person perspective, the all-knowing perspective, and the infinite perspective. These four perspectives let us see, that the remainder is only present in two of them. I am only aware of that which I cannot see if I can imagine it from a perspective different from my own. I can be aware of the remaining animals in the zoo because I am able to take a third-person perspective. This perspective gives me an imagination of what something could look like if I was to be in that position. Secondly, when taking the universal perspective of the infinite, everything seems to be perceived as a resten.
The assignment sees these questions as relevant because the domains we find ourselves in are, due to an information-overload, becoming increasingly complex. This makes resten (the remainder) grow in such a way, that we find it more and more difficult to create domains at all.
Publication date3 Jan 2022
Number of pages59
ID: 457640348