• Janus
    12.2k
    Logic on the basic level is just simple deduction like "if not this, then that", although obviously not expressed linguistically in the case of animals.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    While I don't want to derail the thread from the OP more it already has been, for the sake of historical accuracy, Darwin himself was a teleologist.javra

    Thanks, I'll take a look at that article when I find the time. :smile:
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    For me it is absurd to deny intelligence to animals,Janus

    Point out specifically where I have done that, or the passage from Maritain does that.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Darwin viewed the very process of Natural Selection as telos-guided yet devoid of that notion of purpose which is contingent on a conscious agencyjavra

    There's a lurking problem here. That post of yours a few pages back makes an important point, I think:

    Were something like the Peircean idea of physicality as effete mind to take place, then reasoning - again, the activity of engaging in reason (which, again, can consist of causes, motives, or explanations) - would naturally be something which the physical world engages in; this in so far as the physical world engages in the activity of (physical) causation … which is a form of reasoning: i.e., the act of engaging in reason … here, in particular , of engaging in causes, hence causation.javra

    The lurking problem is, that we can't seem to able to concieve of anything like purpose or intention, without understanding it as conscious purpose or intention - just the kinds of purposes and intentions which we, as conscious agents, are able to entertain.

    I think that, deep down, this is a reflection of the individualist nature of our culture. Our culture views nature (the world, the universe) as 'just so', a backdrop for the activities of conscious agents such as ourselves, but as inherently devoid of purpose, intentionality or meaning in itself; just dumb stuff. Divested, as it has become, of any higher intelligence, it has to be seen this way.

    I think, perhaps, this is because it is instinctively seen from an egological point of view. (Husserl coined that term - not 'egocentric', but related in meaning. It means 'from the viewpoint of the ego', but without the perjorative overtone of 'egocentrism'.)

    From the viewpoint of the ego, aware of itself as apparently autonomous subject in a domain apparently comprising objects (and other beings, who appear as objects to it), we can only conceive of purpose or intention in terms of the kinds of things we ourselves consciously do. (That's also why modern atheism tends to depict God as a kind of 'super-being' - a being like us, albeit with puzzlingly enormous cosmic powers (which of course is an impossible conception).

    This is just a vague intuition at the moment, but I'm continuing to contemplate it.

    Oh, and regarding the point about teleology, have a glance at Evolution and the Purposes of Life, Steve Talbott (whose one of my favourite writers in this space.)
  • Janus
    12.2k
    Such behaviours can all be explained in terms of stimulus and response, without any requirement to introduce logic.Wayfarer

    the merely sensory psychology of animals, especially of the higher vertebrates, goes very far in its own realm and imitates intellectual knowledge to a considerable extent. ....

    Point out specifically where I have done that, or the passage from Maritain does that.Wayfarer

    You say that animals do not reason at all but that it is all just "stimulus and response" without explaining how that could work to mimic reasoning, and Maritain says that the "merely sensory psychology of animals imitates intellectual knowledge".

    What would you say that intelligence is then if it doesn't consist in any reasoning ability or intellectual knowledge? It's obvious that animals do not possess discursive knowledge since symbolic language is required for that; but I don't believe that basic reasoning requires language; do you?
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    What would you say that intelligence is then if it doesn't consist in any reasoning ability or intellectual knowledge?Janus

    All of the many capacities exhibited by sentient animals other than humans. in some, such as arachnids and other inverterbrates, it is not as developed as in birds and mammals. But I'm not denying for a moment that animals have intelligence; only that they don't engage in rational inference. I can't see how that is controversial.

    I don't believe that basic reasoning requires language, do you?Janus

    A lot rides on the extent of 'basic' here. Animals sense danger, engage in all kinds of behaviours in pursuit of prey or mating opportunities. But they don't speak or engage in abstract thought. So, no, they do not reason, in the way that you do when you compose this argument, or reflect on what you want to say.

    I think that you think that it's just 'common sense' that man is a kind of primate, and continuous with other species. (It's neo-darwinian dogma after all.) Biologically, that is true, but we have crossed an evolutionary threshold with the development of language, reasoning, tool use and so on, which amounts to an ontological distinction (something which Alfred Russel Wallace also believed, see here). And through that, horizons of meaning are open to humans, that are not open to other sentient beings.

    See this review.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Incidentally by way of footnote, a passage from the above review notes that:

    Catholic theology affirms that the emergence of the first members of the human species (whether as individuals or in populations) represents an event that is not susceptible of a purely natural explanation and which can appropriately be attributed to divine intervention.

    However, I think it's possible to defend the ontological difference between humans and other species without appealing to divine intervention, by arguing that one of the capacities that h. sapiens developed was that of 'self-realisation' in the sense understood by the higher philosophical and spiritual traditions. This is the sense in which the human 'realises him/herself' as an embodiment of the same cosmic principle that animates all living beings (Tat Tvam Asi, 'that thou Art', one of the slogans of Advaita). Again as mentioned earlier in this thread, that idea is implicit in many traditional schools of philosophy such as Stoicism, Hermeticism, Advaita, and even Buddhism (where the 'true nature' or Buddha-nature is an allegorical depiction of the idea).

    That doesn't directly contradict the Catholic principle, but it attributes it to something other than divine agency (thus, some would say, probably more of a threat to Catholicism than outright atheism! Hence the article on my profile page, The Neural Buddhists.)
  • Janus
    12.2k
    But I'm not denying for a moment that animals have intelligence; only that they don't engage in rational inference. I can't see how that is controversial.Wayfarer

    Since I don't believe basic rational inference is dependent on possessing language I see no problem in ascribing varying degrees of capacity for it to animals.

    You are defining reason only as "abstract thought" so your position assumes its conclusion, since animals obviously don't possess language and if language is required for abstraction then there you go. It should be obvious, though, that I am talking about reasoning abilities which do not rely on language, and if you deny those to any and all non-human animals, then I can only conclude that you don't know much about animals and are stuck in human-centric thinking about them.

    I think that you think that it's just 'common sense' that man is a kind of primate, and continuous with other species.Wayfarer

    Thanks for imputing reasons to me which I don't hold to be primary (although they might carry some weight). My reasoning about animals reasoning ability comes from observing the behavior of animals, and most notably dogs. Judging from your comments on this issue over the years I think you have spiritualist or otherworldly-based reasons for wanting to promote human exceptionalism.

    I haven't denied that humans have 'crossed a threshold" with the development of linguistic capabilities; I acknowledge that all the time. Like any tool it allows its users to do things which those who do not possess the tool, or the ability to use the tool, cannot; that much is obvious. But if you think all thought, all reasoning whatsoever, is dependent on language use, then I think your view is poverty-stricken and lacking in depth.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    I can only conclude that you don't know much about animals and are stuck in human-centric thinking about them.Janus

    Have you ever looked into what happened when behavioural scientists tried to teach chimps - our nearest biological relative - to speak? Ever hear the sad story Nim Chimpsky?

    My view is not human-centric, but based on a rational assessment of the nature of reason. Yours appears to be based on nothing more than sentiment.

    I think your view is poverty-stricken and lacking in depth.Janus

    Your concern is touching, but I'm getting along ok.
  • DrOlsnesLea
    54
    Let me say something:
    We have a living philosophy of causality in how the sciences evolve.
    Physics for how causes and effects in physics, chemistry for causation in chemistry, biology for causation in biology, medicine for causation in medicine and so on.
    That's a kind of categories description to me.
    To continue: can psychology cause chemical effects, i.e., you think something in the laboratory doesn't effectuate anything chemical in the laboratory.
    Then a "black list" of causation: The Fantastic Phenomena or of Freak Nature as Accounts of Reality.
    Like with severe levels of torture to people in how desecrated places are created and so on.

    Bottom line: causation is described by the unfolding sciences, the ways in nature.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    My view is not human-centric, but based on a rational assessment of the nature of reason. Yours appears to be based on nothing more than sentiment.Wayfarer

    You haven't answered the question as to what you think intelligence actually consists in. Also the lack of other animals' ability to speak is irrelevant, since we are discussing pre-linguistic reasoning capacities. Other animals lack the physiological structures, i.e. vocal chords, required for speech, in any case.

    What evidence do you have that my view is based on sentiment? Maybe I'm just more familiar with and/ or a closer observer of animals than you are, as well as not being blinded by otherworldly wishful thinking.

    Perhaps your view would broaden and deepen if you investigated the issue yourself with an open mind. You could make a start here:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=reasoning+in+animals&atb=v216-1&ia=web

    This is one of the many papers on the subject:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316890553_Causal_and_inferential_reasoning_in_animals
  • javra
    1.7k
    Also, many animals are known to recognize types and categories, which are conceptual/abstract rather than concrete particulars. As one easy to digest mention: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/many-animals-can-think-abstractly/
  • javra
    1.7k
    The lurking problem is, that we can't seem to able to concieve of anything like purpose or intention, without understanding it as conscious purpose or intention - just the kinds of purposes and intentions which we, as conscious agents, are able to entertain.Wayfarer

    Without denying the epistemic importance of egos in all of this, nations and cultures can be said to have differing agencies of behavior and different intelligences of comportment. For instance, “does a nation or culture that self-annihilates itself via shortsightedness exhibit intelligence?” makes sense as a question. Nonetheless, no nation or culture is endowed with a conscious agency - and no nation or culture of itself intends. Very roughly expressing at least my own take of it, in the Peircean view, the physical world as effete mind is in some ways akin to the global, or cosmic, manifest culture of all coexistent active minds. I grant that it’s a bit more than this, but still: its intelligence in terms of logos, reason, can well be conceived as present in manners devoid of a governing conscious agency. In parallel, the notion of dharma and karma also are conceived to occur universally - in a manner of speaking, with intelligence - in manners devoid of any cosmically governing ego. So I’m approaching the matter from the viewpoint that the universe - replete with its causal reasoning, i.e. logos - itself does not intend (intentions being something that individual minds/egos do), though the universe does hold global teloi as part of its logos, making it operate, in part, teleologically. Which I find in keeping with both quotes you mention.

    As before, I’m shying away form the term “purpose” in all this due to its ambiguities.

    The article you link to addresses the teleology of individual life-forms – rather than that of any global telos. Other than that, interesting.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Also the lack of other animals' ability to speak is irrelevant, since we are discussing pre-linguistic reasoning capacities.Janus

    No, you're discussing that. They have some rudimentary capacity to reason, but I'm not particularly interested in it, and furthermore I think it is easily exagerrated.

    I’m approaching the matter from the viewpoint that the universe - replete with its causal reasoning, i.e. logos - itself does not intend (intentions being something that individual minds/egos do), though the universe does hold global teloi as part of its logos, making it operate, in part, teleologically.javra

    :up:
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    The article you link to addresses the teleology of individual life-forms – rather than that of any global telos. Other than that, interesting.javra

    All biological activity, even at the molecular level, can be characterized as purposive and goal-directed. As a cell grows and divides, it marshals its molecular and structural resources with a remarkably skillful “wisdom.” It also demonstrates a well-directed, “willful” persistence in adjusting to disturbances. Everything leads toward fulfillment of the organism’s evident “purposes.”

    Teasing out the meaning of these scare quotes may be the most urgent task for biologists today. As the Chilean neuroscientist and philosopher of biology Francisco Varela wrote: “The answer to the question of what status teleology should have in biology decides about the character of our whole theory of animate nature.”

    My own sense of the matter is that the question has yet to be fairly taken up within the core disciplines of biology. What appears certain is that as yet we have no secure answer to it.
    Even more important is what seems least recognized: to the degree that we lack understanding of the organism’s purposive life we also lack a respectable foundation for evolutionary theory.

    There are, in any case, two confusions to be avoided immediately. The first confusion is that the question about teleology in living organisms is often presented as a question about final causes, with conscious human planning as the model. One thinks of an external goal or end, which then must be aimed at. Avoiding any suggestion of such planning is considered urgent when we try to understand biological or organic, as opposed to psychological, activities.

    The concern is justified. What may be overlooked, however, is that we can speak of end-directed activity without assuming an external goal to be planned for and aimed at. We can, that is, think of the organism as simply giving expression to the wholeness of its own nature, which comes to an ever fuller realization over the course of its life.

    Even more important is what seems least recognized: to the degree that we lack understanding of the organism’s purposive life we also lack a respectable foundation for evolutionary theory.

    There are, in any case, two confusions to be avoided immediately. The first confusion is that the question about teleology in living organisms is often presented as a question about final causes, with conscious human planning as the model. One thinks of an external goal or end, which then must be aimed at. Avoiding any suggestion of such planning is considered urgent when we try to understand biological or organic, as opposed to psychological, activities.

    The concern is justified. What may be overlooked, however, is that we can speak of end-directed activity without assuming an external goal to be planned for and aimed at. We can, that is, think of the organism as simply giving expression to the wholeness of its own nature, which comes to an ever fuller realization over the course of its life.

    The telos or end of teleological behavior, in other words, rather than being a goal “out there,” freely conceived by a reflective organism, may simply be the organism’s own completeness and wholeness — the fullness of its self-expression under all life conditions that present themselves....

    The second source of confusion about teleology and inwardness lies in the failure to realize how weak and lamed our conscious human purposiveness and intelligence are in relation to biological activity. We struggle even to follow with our abstract understanding the unsurveyably complex goings-on in our own organs and cells, let alone to animate our material artifacts with the same sort of life. And when we achieve a pinnacle of effective self-expression as pianists or gymnasts, it is by grace of a body whose execution of our intentions is a mystery to our understanding.

    We need to reject conscious human performance as a model for organic activity in general, not because it reads too much wisdom and effective striving into the organism, but rather because it reads far too little.
    Steve Talbott, Evolution and the Purposes of Life

    The bolded sentence about 'human intention as the model' is similar to what I argued above. In short, this essay pleads for a more holistic perspective on 'purpose'. (Actually, I remember the Whiteheadian process-philosopher Charles Birch's last book, called On Purpose, which expresses a very similar philosophy.)
  • Janus
    12.2k
    but I'm not particularly interested in it, and furthermore I think it is easily exagerrated.Wayfarer

    Well, that's an easy out for you! Probably a good idea to exercise some intellectual modesty, and don't express ill-considered opinions about subjects you are not interested in.

    For those who are interested in the question of animal reasoning (which I think is pertinent to the OP because if it exists it would seem to dispel the idea that logic is something more than an adaptive faculty that has evolved through lived animal experience, rather than some transcendental insight that only humans possess) this is another suggestive article.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Probably a good idea to exercise some intellectual modesty, and don't express ill-considered opinions about subjects you are not interested in.Janus

    I don't consider the point about whether animals are rational as relevant to the OP.

    (I am listening to audio books about Franz de Waal and Jakob von Uexküll, which are very fascinating but not germane to the point I'm arguing, which I don't believe you have responded to.)
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Actually, on further reflection, I think that the ability of animals to plan and act according to goal-directed purposes (something also central to the Steve Talbott article) supports the idea that reason, per se, is not solely confined to the conscious intellectual operations of h. sapiens, but rather is somehow latent or potentially existent throughout the organic world. But the 'something more' that h. sapiens has, is the ability to consciously recognise it.

    “The world is my idea”, said Schopenhauer - "this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness."
  • Janus
    12.2k
    very fascinating but not germane to the point I'm arguing, which I don't believe you have responded to.Wayfarer

    I don't know what point you are referring to.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    Actually, on further reflection, I think that the ability of animals to plan and act according to goal-directed purposes supports the idea that reason, per se, is not solely confined to the conscious intellectual operations of h. sapiens, but rather is somehow latent or potentially existent throughout the organic world. But the 'something more' that h. sapiens has, is the ability to consciously recognise that.Wayfarer

    Now that I agree with, and I think it is solely on account of our unique (as far as we know) ability to use symbolic language that we can achieve such unique reflective recognitions of our condition.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    But language is not just an adaption, like a tooth or a claw. If you think about what is required for language to really operate, then you get into the whole field of semiotics, linguistics, and theory of meaning.

    There's one of Kelly Ross' essays pinned to my homepage, 'universals and the problem of meaning'. I'm not asking you to read it, but the point that Ross identifies is that universals are implicated in any cohesive theory of meaning (to know why, you would have to read it :-) ).

    But my hunch is that 'universals' refers, at least in part, to 'the ability to grasp abstract likenesses'. This is intrinsic to our thinking - the mind does it without having to consciously reflect on it. The mind is constantly operating in terms of 'is' 'is not' 'is like' 'is not like', and so on, and beyond that, in terms of similarities, resemblances, and differences. And also in terms of concepts, which are the constituents of rational discourse. This is what Kant painstakingly uncovers in his 'Critiques'.

    This is why language is not simply an adaption - or rather, that there is much more that has to be considered. The massive explosion of the hominid forebrain from 2.5 mya until h. sapiens around 100k years ago - that development is what it took for language to be possible. The massive h.sapien forebrain is like a 'meaning-detecting organ'. That is where we really grew apart from our simian forebears (something which I can't see as plausibly deniable, the anatomical changes alone in terms of child-bearing capacity and the upright gait and so on, are utterly profound.)

    This ability to grasp abstractions is what I think Plato intuits with his 'theory of universals'. He sees that universals or forms or ideas are not real things, 'out there somewhere'. But at the same time, he realises that without the capacity to recognise them reason can't get a foothold, as they are like the organising principles of both thought and things. Of course, Plato was alive in the 4th c BC and his thought was often symbolic or allegorical, there is much that has obviously been discovered since. But I'm convinced his basic intuition was valid (and also one of the reasons why Western culture went on to develop science, although that's another story.)

    So the million dollar question is, are universals real? And by that, we mean, do they exist? My response is, they are real, as the constituents of meaning and reason - but no, they don't exist. So they're real, but not existent. And that's why this is a metaphysical question. It differentiates what exists from what is real, and naturalism can't handle that.

    Go back to the passage I quoted from Maritain and read it again. Here Maritain is making a crucial point about the nature of reason.

    the human intellect grasps, first in a most indeterminate manner, then more and more distinctly, certain sets of intelligible features -- that is, natures, say, the human nature -- which exist in the real as identical with individuals, with Peter or John for instance, but which are universal in the mind and presented to it as universal objects, positively one (within the mind) and common to an infinity of singular things (in the real).

    Ed Feser makes a similar point in a blog post, Think, McFly, Think:

    As Aristotelians and Thomists use the term, intellect is that faculty by which we grasp abstract concepts (like the concepts man and mortal), put them together into judgments (like the judgment that all men are mortal), and reason logically from one judgment to another (as when we reason from all men are mortal and Socrates is a man to the conclusion that Socrates is mortal). It is to be distinguished from imagination, the faculty by which we form mental images (such as a visual mental image of what your mother looks like, an auditory mental image of what your favorite song sounds like, a gustatory mental image of what pizza tastes like, and so forth); and from sensation, the faculty by which we perceive the goings on in the external material world and the internal world of the body (such as a visual experience of the computer in front of you, the auditory experience of the cars passing by on the street outside your window, the awareness you have of the position of your legs, etc.)

    So, what do Jacques Maritain and Edward Feser have in common? Why, they're both neo-thomists. So they both get the Aristotelian theory of universals, mediated through Aquinas. And I'm of the view that this remains a valid metaphysic (and that yes, that there is such a thing).

    And thanks for reading. :up:
  • sime
    748


    To my faint recollection, Hume never denied the ability to associate observations, and neither did he deny the imperative mood. By my understanding, his remarks are only suggestive of scepticism that causal and logical necessity are objective properties of objects. i.e he would have accepted anti-realistic understandings of logic and causation, especially those that make no commitment to synthetic a priori propositions, such as Hacker's interpretation of Wittgenstein.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    By my understanding, his remarks are only suggestive of scepticism that causal and logical necessity are objective properties of objectssime

    Quite. But that implies that we can ascertain what such properties are, independently of our imputation as to their nature. Interesting paper, though, I'm sure it will be right up @Banno's alley. I will try and find time to take it in.
  • javra
    1.7k
    Since no one has yet commented on your post ...

    It seems to me that the move Kant makes is correct, in essence. Nevertheless, causality is a bit harder that merely arguing that it must be an a-priori aspect of our cognition. It undoubtably is, but there is no guarantee that these apply in "ordinary experience", as a necessity, there are exceptions and illusions.

    But, even granting that most of the time, we are roughly correct in our causal inferences in everyday life, the problem of causality in the objects outside ourselves remains entirely untouched.
    Manuel

    As is also the case for causality within us. Whether we as conscious agents actually cause anything (by which agency is here defined) - rather than our sensations of so doing being an illusion - is tmk yet an open question in philosophy.

    And the concept is rather obscure, in as much as we can only perceive that it is a constant conjunction, though there has to be more than this to causality.

    Of course, Kant would say, plausibly, that of these things in themselves we know nothing. Maybe we don't. But Hume's statement of the problem remains rather fierce, as I see it.
    Manuel

    I'm in agreement. Though to me Hume's statement on the matter is not the presentation of a "problem" so much as a lucid observation of the way things inherently are.
  • javra
    1.7k
    This is a hunch on my part, but rather than finding a sharp demarcation between humans and lesser animals in terms of reasoning and abstraction - both of which research evidences to be found on a cline - might not this sharp demarcation be more properly stipulated to be that of a consciously held existential understanding (here to include issues of ethics, if not meta-ethics, and the like)? We humans have semblances of it; lesser animals have none.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    ...after much fear and trepidation, am reading Kant's CritiqueManuel

    ,,,,and how’s that going for ya?

    I'm aware there is likely more about Hume here...Manuel

    Then you must have read this by now, although it’s in Sec II not III.

    “.....David Hume perceived that, to render this possible, it was necessary that the conceptions should have an à priori origin. But as he could not explain how it was possible that conceptions which are not connected with each other in the understanding must nevertheless be thought as necessarily connected in the object—and it never occurred to him that the understanding itself might, perhaps, by means of these conceptions, be the author of the experience in which its objects were presented to it—he was forced to drive these conceptions from experience, that is, from a subjective necessity arising from repeated association of experiences erroneously considered to be objective—in one word, from habit....”

    Have fun!!
  • javra
    1.7k
    Then you must have read this by now, although it’s in Sec II not III.

    “.....David Hume perceived that, to render this possible, it was necessary that the conceptions should have an à priori origin. But as he could not explain how it was possible that conceptions which are not connected with each other in the understanding must nevertheless be thought as necessarily connected in the object—and it never occurred to him that the understanding itself might, perhaps, by means of these conceptions, be the author of the experience in which its objects were presented to it—he was forced to drive these conceptions from experience, that is, from a subjective necessity arising from repeated association of experiences erroneously considered to be objective—in one word, from habit....”

    Have fun!!
    Mww

    I understand that's what Kant says. I'm probably missing something. How do you make sense of it in relation to this:

    5.2 Causal Inference: Constructive Phase

    Hume calls his constructive account of causal inference a “sceptical solution” to the “sceptical doubts” he raised in the critical phase of his argument.

    Since we’re determined—caused—to make causal inferences, then if they aren’t “determin’d by reason”, there must be “some principle of equal weight and authority” that leads us to make them. Hume maintains that this principle is custom or habit:

    whenever the repetition of any particular act or operation produces a propensity to renew the same act or operation … we always say, that this propensity is the effect of Custom. (EHU 5.1.5/43)

    It is therefore custom, not reason, which “determines the mind … to suppose the future conformable to the past” (Abstract 16). But even though we have located the principle, it is important to see that this isn’t a new principle by which our minds operate. Custom and habit are general names for the principles of association.

    Hume describes their operation as a causal process: custom or habit is the cause of the particular propensity you form after your repeated experiences of the constant conjunction of smoke and fire. Causation is the operative associative principle here, since it is the only one of those principles that can take us beyond our senses and memories.

    Hume concludes that custom alone “makes us expect for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past” (EHU 5.1.6/44). Custom thus turns out to be the source of the Uniformity Principle—the belief that the future will be like the past.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume/#CauInfConPha
  • Manuel
    2.5k


    He found it puzzling that he couldn't find the idea of "necessary connection" in our ideas of causality. I admit that to me, the issue is at times a bit hard to grasp. Sometimes I see the difficulty he is pointing out, other times, I take your attitude and simply say that's just the way things are.

    I tend to appreciate Schopenhauer's comments here that "motives are causes experienced from within", but, am not sure it is true.

    Thanks for replying.
  • Manuel
    2.5k
    ,,,,and how’s that going for ya?Mww

    Not great. :lol:

    It's harder than I was expecting and some of the distinctions he draws between inner and outer sense escape me. In fact, many of his distinctions are a bit dubious in exact formulation, but not in general outlook (the big picture, as it were).

    I tend to prefer his comments about our ignorance of things themselves and his ideas on the imagination are a step forward from Hume's conception and is quite interesting.

    Then again, I've learned the essential points of Kantianism from very reading some excellent philosophers so, I keep that in mind, despite my reservations on some of the precise exposition he makes.

    Yes, the parts where he talks about Hume have been the best so far, I like the attitude and the reply in general. I think the problem remains concerning external objects, but the framing of causality as something we bring to the world, was quite lucid and penetrating.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    But language is not just an adaption, like a tooth or a claw. If you think about what is required for language to really operate, then you get into the whole field of semiotics, linguistics, and theory of meaning.Wayfarer

    I think language is an evolved semiosis, or system of symbolic signification, that grew out of the much vaster realm of pre-linguistic semiosis; pre-symbolic signification, and that it remains moored to that vaster realm of sense, and in ways that we cannot consciously fully explicate.

    Go back to the passage I quoted from Maritain and read it again. Here Maritain is making a crucial point about the nature of reason.

    the human intellect grasps, first in a most indeterminate manner, then more and more distinctly, certain sets of intelligible features -- that is, natures, say, the human nature -- which exist in the real as identical with individuals, with Peter or John for instance, but which are universal in the mind and presented to it as universal objects, positively one (within the mind) and common to an infinity of singular things (in the real).
    Wayfarer

    I favour a more phenomenological approach, whereby it is the body that is directed towards things, "makes sense" of them in a space of common embodiment, and that this is not an 'inner' process at all but comes about primordially in our "being-in-the-world" (per Heidegger and Merleau Ponty). So, to my way of thinking there is no "intellect" (conceived as a kind of hermetically sealed reified faculty) that grasps "universals" (as though they were disembodied entities) as it appears in the Scholastic conception.
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Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.