• Wayfarer
    15.7k
    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)?javra

    Sure. :100: But they're not strictly separate faculties, are they?

    So, to my way of thinking there is no "intellect" (conceived as a kind of reified faculty) that grasps "universals" (as though they were some of disembodied entities) as it appears in the Scholastic conception.Janus

    Thanks. I'm reading some phenomenological texts right now, including Crisis of the European Sciences and Embodied Mind, both of which I've found as .pdfs.

    But I still stand by the idea that 'nous' signifies a real faculty, the understanding and appreciation of which has been lost in the transition to modernity. C S Peirce also believed that:

    Peirce understood nominalism in the broad anti-realist sense usually attributed to William of Ockham, as the view that reality consists exclusively of concrete particulars and that universality and generality have to do only with names and their significations. This view relegates properties, abstract entities, kinds, relations, laws of nature, and so on, to a conceptual existence at most. Peirce believed nominalism (including what he referred to as "the daughters of nominalism": sensationalism, phenomenalism, individualism, and materialism) to be seriously flawed and a great threat to the advancement of science and civilization. His alternative was a nuanced realism that distinguished reality from existence....

    I'm with him on that. It's the belief that universals are 'disembodied entities' which is one of the problems, when in fact they're the guiderails of reasoned cognition, they're structures within consciousness, if you like.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    I am no nominalist; I don't think "universals", or as I prefer to call them "generalities" are merely names. This is because I believe that animals also see particulars as general kinds; they are alive to difference, similarity and pattern, just as we are. This is just what pre-linguistic semiosis consists in. So I agree with you that generalities are, in a sense, "guiderails" of cognition, and not just of 'reasoned cognition" if by that you mean linguistically mediated cognition.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Excellent. Glad to be converging to some extent.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    How do you make sense of it in relation to this:javra

    First off, the SEP article reconstructs what Hume’s thesis is, whereas the Kant quote represents how Kant thought the thesis at least incomplete.

    Second, Hume was correct in that we should expect one thing to follow from another if only because our experience has never shown us anything else, but Kant criticized him for leaving it at that, which is found in E.C.H.U. 1.5.1.36.....

    “....By employing that word**, we pretend not to have given the ultimate reason of such a propensity****. We only point out a principle of human nature, which is universally acknowledged, and which is well known by its effects....”
    **custom/habit
    ***constant conjunction

    .....which he made worse by insisting....

    “....All these operations are a species of natural instincts, which no reasoning or process of the thought and understanding is able either to produce or to prevent....”

    But he came close, admitting in fn7 that it is always the case in philosophy to separate experience from reason, and even goes so far as to grant that reason acts a priori with respect to Nature, which is the same as with respect to experience. Kant is just saying......well, then why the hell didn’t you go ahead and do that?

    “...I shall venture to affirm, as a general proposition...”, says ol’ Dave, “....which admits of no exception, that the knowledge of this relation** is not, in any instance, attained by reasonings a priori; but arises entirely from experience, when we find that any particular objects are constantly conjoined with each other...”
    (**cause and effect)

    And of course, Kant ain’t having none of that, chastising Hume soundly....but nowhere near as soundly as Schopenhauer laid into Hegel....with this.....

    “....Against this assertion, destructive to all pure philosophy, he would have been guarded, had he had our problem before his eyes in its universality. For he would then have perceived that, according to his own argument, there likewise could not be any pure mathematical science, which assuredly cannot exist without synthetical propositions à priori—an absurdity from which his good understanding must have saved him....”

    Thing is....Hume couldn’t have had “our problem” before his eyes; Kant was the one that brought the “problem” up in the first place. Hume had no notion of synthetic propositions as Kant stipulated them, and most certainly never considered the validity of synthetic a priori propositions given from pure reason, having, as well, not given the faculty of understanding the power it must have, with respect to the categories, one of which is....TA-DAAAA.....cause/effect, at least according to transcendental metaphysics. Which, it is obvious, Hume knew nothing about, because there was not as yet any such cognitive methodology.

    This is what woke Kant up: there’s got to be a way to show the relationship between cause and effect doesn’t have to come from experience, that understanding itself can show the relation as universally necessary. So he invented a way to make it so.

    That’s how I make sense of it, at a minimum.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    This is what woke Kant up: there’s got to be a way to show the relationship between cause and effect doesn’t have to come from experience, that understanding itself can show the relation as universally necessary. So he invented a way to make it so.Mww

    As far as I remember Kant acknowledges that synthetic a priori thinking cannot arise prior to any experience, but that once experience has established it (the "synthetic" part) it is no longer dependent on subsequent experience.

    For me, Hume's statement that we never see causation is correct, but his excessive focus on the visual faculty blinds him to the fact that we feel the effects of forces; the wind, the sun, the rain and so on, on our bodies, and that we also feel ourselves exerting bodily forces on things; so the idea of causation does not come solely from observed constant correlations of events.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    framing of causality as something we bring to the worldManuel

    Yep, that’s what I get out of it, too.

    distinctions he draws between inner and outer senseManuel

    Ehhhhh...I just let it go with my sense of “in here” which is permanent, and my sense of “out there”, which comes and goes. Not clearly laid out, though, is it?
  • javra
    1.7k


    Ah. Thanks for that. Much to agree with.

    Where I’m still iffy:

    Having read Hume a long time ago, but as also affirmed in the SEP quote: Hume terms the principle which determines - hence, causes - us to make causal inference “custom”, or “habit”. This principle is not something that Hume, tmk, ever argues to be of itself acquired via experience but, instead, to be a requisite and innate aspect of our psyche - i.e., to be instinct - which, as an innate driving principle, facilitates our acquired experiential and inductive knowledge of connections between specific effects and causes.

    Making use of what you've provided, first looking at this:

    but Kant criticized him for leaving it at that, which is found in E.C.H.U. 1.5.1.36.....

    “....By employing that word**, we pretend not to have given the ultimate reason of such a propensity****. We only point out a principle of human nature, which is universally acknowledged, and which is well known by its effects....”
    **custom/habit
    ***constant conjunction

    .....which he made worse by insisting....

    “....All these operations are a species of natural instincts, which no reasoning or process of the thought and understanding is able either to produce or to prevent....”
    Mww

    and then this:

    This is what woke Kant up: there’s got to be a way to show the relationship between cause and effect doesn’t have to come from experience,Mww

    To Hume natural instincts, such as that of making causal inferences, are by default not acquired via experience (nor can they be in any way prevented nor produced, but are an innate aspect of our psyche - whatever explanation for their so being there might be). Otherwise stated, the generalized relation between cause and effect is instinctive in us, and hence not acquired via experience; only the particular concrete relations between cause and effect are acquired via experience. And this to me stands in contradiction to what Kant suggests Hume to have affirmed in relation to the drive to make causal inferences.

    That's the part that gets me.

    Thanks again for the input.
  • javra
    1.7k
    But they're not strictly separate faculties, are they?Wayfarer

    :smile: Hard for me to conceive of any faculty of mind that isn’t in some way interconnected with some other. To take this into the left field a bit, as regards perception and abstraction/generalization, an ameba – being unicellular, having no nervous system to speak of – is known to be able to discern what is relative to it predator from prey. This ability to distinguish categories/generalities/types based on the functionality of that perceptually apprehended is - or at least so I argue - an aptitude of abstraction, however minuscule. I also cannot find how any lifeform can perceive anything in the complete absence of any and all abstraction regarding that apprehended. On the other hand, reasoning is wanting a universally acknowledged definition. But it's commonly understood to be required for forethought. The same lowly ameba, by sheer fact of finding optimal means to evade predators and consume evading prey, exhibits - again, minuscule but present - forethought. Hence some measure of reasoning.

    Or so my thoughts go: reasoning and abstraction are very prevalent in life and can be very roughly measured in amplitude on a cline.

    So, again, for me existential understanding is built in part upon abstraction and reasoning, yes, and so they are all interconnected - but it yet is miles apart from the mere presence of these latter faculties as a faculty of mind.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    once experience has established it (the "synthetic" part) it is no longer dependent on subsequent experience.Janus

    Kinda odd, isn’t it? Hume used constant conjunction to reference the future, Kant used it to reference the past. I think you’re right, but maybe only regarding, as you say, the synthetic part of propositions....

    “....But now I extend my knowledge, and looking back on experience from which I had derived this conception of body, I find weight at all times connected with the above characteristics, and therefore I synthetically add to my conceptions this as a predicate, and say, “All bodies are heavy.” Thus it is experience upon which rests the possibility of the synthesis of the predicate of weight with the conception of body, because both conceptions, although the one is not contained in the other, still belong to one another (only contingently, however), as parts of a whole, namely, of experience, which is itself a synthesis of intuitions....”

    ....but Kant wanted to extent those to a priori conditions, which must have nothing to do with experience.

    “....But to synthetical judgements à priori, such aid is entirely wanting. If I go out of and beyond the conception A, in order to recognize another B as connected with it, what foundation have I to rest on, whereby to render the synthesis possible? I have here no longer the advantage of looking out in the sphere of experience for what I want...”

    Everything that happens has a cause is something I am perfectly justified in thinking, whether or not I actually think it true, but I’ll never find the justification for my thinking in experience. My all time favorite, though, is so simple and oh-so obvious: you just cannot get to twelve, if all you have is a seven and a five. Experience proves the validity of the synthesis, and rote instruction embeds in it me, but I must first do the synthesis before the empirical proof is even possible in the first case, and there isn’t any a priori reason involved at all, in the second.
    —————

    his excessive focus on the visual faculty blinds him to the fact that we feel the effects of forces; the wind, the sun, the rain and so on, on our bodiesJanus

    True enough, but there is a section in E.C.H.U. where he posits feelings as just another kind of experience, which, naturally, Kant denies.

    You ok with all that?
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    This is from an important essay that I came across when it was first published (no longer online but a .pdf supplied for those interested.)

    The basic drift of the analysis is the identification of William of Ockham as one who 'ushered into the world the first case of a new intellectual disease' (Gilson). It is not an easy read but then the territory that it is covering is large, and the consequences have been profound. It's an essay in the history of ideas.

    The reason that it is relevant is that it identifies the loss of the idea of formal causation as the cause of the decline and finally the rejection of metaphysics from Western philosophy (the sub-title of the essay is Reassessing the Role of Nominalism in the Dissolution of the West.) It is of course an ultra-traditionalist essay in many respects (which pains me as I have no wish to identify with conservatism of this kind). But I'm persuaded by the logic of the analysis. Note in particular the connection the author makes between final cause, causality, and reason, and his remark that the loss of the connection between these is reflected in the philosophy of David Hume. So I can't help but feel that the underlying issue, which is the decline and rejection of Platonist-Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics, is still at the heart of the question in the OP.

    Ockham did not do away with objective reality, but in doing away with one part of objective reality—forms—he did away with a fundamental principle of explanation for objective reality. In doing away with forms, Ockham did away with formal causality. Formal causality secures teleology—the ends or purposes of things follow from what they are and what is in accord with or capable of fulfilling their natures. In the natural world, this realist framework secures an intrinsic connection between efficient causes and their effects—an efficient cause produces its effects by communicating some formality: fire warms by informing objects with its heat.

    Thanks to the nominalist rejection of forms, by the time of early modern philosophy the notion of formal causality had become the explicit butt of humanist jokes. In Moliere’s Invalid Imaginaire, for instance, a doctor is mocked for explaining that a drug causes sleep because it has a virtus dormativa, a sleep-causing power. What we have here, notably, is not an argument against the notion of formal causality, but a perspective which simply fails to appreciate the role that formal causality once served for those thinkers that took forms seriously. Forms had explanatory power in the older (i.e. scholastic) realist framework, not because general belief in that power was supposed to replace the empirical work of discovering and characterizing how they operated, but because confidence that there were such causal powers helped to account for the order of nature and the very possibility of successful scientific inquiry.

    It is commonly said that modern science neglects formal causes but attends to efficient and material causes; but classically understood, efficient and material causes cannot function or even be conceived without formal causes, for it is form which informs matter, giving concrete objects their power to act on other objects. The loss of formal causality is thus in a sense the loss of efficient and material causality as well—an implication that is not quite fully realized until we see it brilliantly explored in the philosophy of David Hume.
    ....

    Accordingly, Thomists and other critics of Ockham have tended to present traditional ( i.e. scholastic) realism, with its forms or natures, as the solution to the modern problem of knowledge. It seems to me that it does not quite get to the heart of the matter. A genuine realist should see “forms” not merely as a solution to a distinctly modern problem of knowledge, but as part of an alternative conception of knowledge, a conception that is not so much desired and awaiting defense, as forgotten and so no longer desired. Characterized by forms, reality had an intrinsic intelligibility, not just in each of its parts but as a whole. With forms as causes, there are interconnections between different parts of an intelligible world, indeed there are overlapping matrices of intelligibility in the world, making possible an ascent from the more particular, posterior, and mundane to the more universal, primary, and noble. In short, the appeal to forms or natures does not just help account for the possibility of trustworthy access to facts, it makes possible a notion of wisdom, traditionally conceived as an ordering grasp of reality.
    Joshua Hochschild , What's Wrong with Ockham? Pp 10-11
  • Janus
    12.2k
    ....but Kant wanted to extent those to a priori conditions, which must have nothing to do with experience.

    “....But to synthetical judgements à priori, such aid is entirely wanting. If I go out of and beyond the conception A, in order to recognize another B as connected with it, what foundation have I to rest on, whereby to render the synthesis possible? I have here no longer the advantage of looking out in the sphere of experience for what I want...”
    Mww

    I think a good example is mathematics. Some say it is analytic a priori, others, including Kant I believe, say it is synthetic a priori. Now you say that you can't get to a twelve if you just have a seven and a five. I presume you are implying that the concept of addition is also required. If so, true enough, I suppose: but if you have seven apples and you have five apples in a separate grouping, then if you put them together you get twelve apples.

    I think the basis of mathematics is counting and the basic actions of grouping what is separate (addition) and separating what is together (substraction) are fundamental with division and multiplication being slightly more abstract. Perhaps once we have the symbols to represent numbers and the four basic arithmetical functions the rest of mathematics is analytic, meaning that it just logically follows; but I can't be sure about that since I am no mathematician or philosophy of mathematics buff.

    True enough, but there is a section in E.C.H.U. where he posits feelings as just another kind of experience, which, naturally, Kant denies.

    You ok with all that?
    Mww

    Sure, but then so is seeing a tree, or causation (if we could) or anything. Hume seems to be implying that if we could see causation then we would be (rationally, empirically?) justified in believing it is real. Why not then if we feel causation?

    I don't think we are disagreeing about anything, but I'm not sure what you think.
  • Manuel
    2.5k


    No, it's not. :rofl:

    Glad it's not only me.

    But the effort pays off, in most areas. :up:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.9k
    Anyway, all that to say this: you are correct in saying there are two types of objects, external and internal, but incorrect in saying these are two types of intuitions. The two types of representations corresponding to the two types of objects are united into a single type, which is called cognition, on which only one type of logic is needed in order to determine the validity of it, which is called judgement. As an oversimplification, it is in this way that perception of something with wings, known as such from antecedent experience, is immediately cognized as what it may be, but as yet with insufficient judgement for what it is.Mww

    I'll state very clearly and concisely the reason why I believe there must be two types of intuition for the two types of objects whose impressions are received into the conscious mind. Let's say that the conscious mind must work, or make effort to understand an impression given to it. From the senses the mind gets an immediate impression, one not yet worked on by the conscious mind. From the memory the mind gets an impression already worked on by the mind. So we have right here, two very distinct forms of impressions, the virgin, and the ones already worked on.

    I believe it is necessary to allow for the possibility of virgin impressions, because these are the most immediate, up to date, and present in time. To the conscious mind, the virgin impression appears very real, every sensation is new to the mind, so all seem to the mind, to be unaffected by the mind, therefore virgin. But if we allow "mind" to include subconscious activities of the brain, then the claimed "virgin impression" within the conscious part, is just an unrealistic looking ideal. The impression is presented as virgin to the conscious part, but it's already been worked on by the subconscious part. Even in the case of a sense which seems very immediate, like eyesight, the impression is well worked on by the subconscious brain before it is present to the conscious mind.

    By insisting on this division, between the immediately present, and the represented, we can understand that the conscious mind itself is actually not immediately present, it is entirely representative in respect to its relation to empirical phenomena. The conscious mind works with representations, not immediate images. The immediately present is an ideal which the conscious mind attempts as a goal, (it's the goal of scientific observation for example), but necessarily fails in its attempts to obtain immediacy, because this is impossible from the empirical perspective.

    Now, even though the reality is that all these sense impressions are to some extent representations, produced through, amongst other things, the application of memory, the ideal which is the immediate present, serves the conscious mind to divide and separate intuitions of the future from intuitions of the past. This is what we haven't really touched on, intuitions directed toward the future. Notice the inversion, in relation to the conscious mind. The mind is directed by intuitions from the past (sensations), yet it directs intuitions toward the future. The ideal. is not the immediate present (eternal and removed from time), but what lies on the other side of the present, in the future, as the goal, or object. This renders the ideal object as more than just fantasy or fiction, but just as real as the empirical object, being validated by the reality of the future, as the empirical object is validated by the reality of the past.

    So say it is a tool, and he shows you what it does.....you still perceive the object in exactly the same way as when you didn’t know what it was for. If the object itself didn’t change, then the intuition of it couldn’t have changed, which makes explicit the understanding of it must be the sole factor in whatever judgement you came to for its use.

    Now, under the conditions you propose, you are using one type of logic for your ignorance, and a different type of logic for your knowledge. Wouldn’t it be the more parsimonious to suppose ignorance is the inability to use any logic, than to suppose ignorance uses a logic of its own kind?
    Mww

    So the other type of intuition I am talking about, is of the goal itself, as an object, not an intuition of the tool. The tool may be a material object, understood through intuitions which relate to sense impressions, or the tool may be a concept, understood through its application toward ends, and the intuitions involved with the objects of intention. In reality the two mix together in complex relations

    I'm not talking about one type of intuition for knowledge, and another for ignorance, because both the internal and external share in known and unknown.

    Intuitions represent the object the feeling is directed toward.Mww

    Now, do you accept the reality of "the object" as a goal? And when feelings are directed toward these objects, there must be intuitions involved?

    I love my car, the car I can intuit because it is an object, but I do not intuit the love of it. In short, love, hate joy, disgust and feelings in general, are not phenomena, those being the objects of intuitions. We can accede to this, because sometimes we have feelings, but either cannot describe them (because the object to which they relate is unknown), or, we simply don’t know why we even have that feeling in the first place (because the object to which it relates contradicts your experience).Mww

    You are assuming that the material object is something known, and intuition is of the known. I assume that the object is fundamentally an unknown. Regardless, my point is that there are aspects of the material object which are known, and aspects unknown, likewise with ideal objects. The known and unknown of the material are fundamentally different from the known and unknown of the ideal, and that's why we need a different sort of logic for each.

    The key is the notion that feelings are not cognitions, but are just some condition in which the subject finds himself. You were all fine and dandy one minute, somebody stepped on your toe the next, and POW!!!....your condition.....the condition of yourself....immediately changes, directly proportional to the feeling in your toe and your reaction to it. And you never cognized a single thing in that briefest of instances. That there is something wrong with your foot is far systematically antecedent to the cognition of the cause of it.Mww

    Do you see, that just like there is a material object of sensation which is responsible for a sense intuition, there must also be an intuition involved with the sensation, or feeling of pain in the foot, described in your example? You said "intuitions represent the object the feeling is directed toward". The object in your example is the pain in the foot. The feeling is directed toward this, so there must be an intuition which represents the pain in the foot.

    Absolutely, which makes explicit the natural duality of the particular human cognitive system. On the one hand, as you sit there looking out the window, you perceive all that is presented to your senses. But if you shut off your senses, or make it so nothing is given to them, or just not pay any attention to those that get through, you can still think any object you like, those you know from experience and those you might know if you ever do experience them. But you can also sit there and think objects you will never experience, either because they exist but are nonetheless beyond your capability, or they don’t exist at all. But either way, you understand something about each and every one of them, and judge them accordingly, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to explain how they were thought.Mww

    All right, I see you have a good understanding of what I was saying here. Now, when you say you can think any object you like, even ones you've never experienced before, place future things in this category. The future thing has a degree of reality which is comparable to the past thing which has been perceived through the senses. In fact, there is no reason to affirm that one is more "real" than the other. But notice how the judgements which we make concerning future things require a completely different type of principles from judgements we make about past things.

    With respect to what you said, though, I submit there are two conditions under which the system can be directed inward, one in consideration of the world but without the sense of it, when you sit there and only think about it, and the other is with nothing whatsoever to do with the world. To direct the cognitive system inward without any regard for the world at all, is to employ the faculties of the system on itself. But if that is the case, and all the objects of experience and thought related to experience are eliminated from contention....where does that which we are inwardly directed toward, come from? What do the faculties of the system employ themselves on? Even to say they operate by different principles, principles are meaningless without something to which they apply, so we still need the something.Mww

    These are the goals, the objects of intention. In a sense they have "nothing whatsoever to do with the world", because they have to do with what is wanted, and this is completely distinct from what is. The object of intention, the goal, I propose, Is fundamentally outside the world. I cannot answer your question, ;where does it come from', because that is an aspect of the intentional object which is fundamentally unknown. All I can say is that it comes from within. The "something" though, is the object, the goal, so we at least know what the principles need to be applied toward

    So....one kind of object is given from sense, the other kind cannot be given from sense, so must be given from within the cognitive system itself.Mww

    It's not necessarily from within the cognitive system, depending on how you define "cognitive system". I think it's simply within the living system, and that's why other living beings also have goals, or different sorts of intention, or objectives in their activities. So when we turn the cognitive system inward, we see that it has a position sort of medium between the most inward and the most outward.

    Our scientifically minded society goes completely outward, then it dissects the external objects in an attempt to get to the inside. However, this technique is fundamentally flawed, because the act of dissecting, or dividing, only brings the inside outward, such that it cannot be apprehended by us as being inside, because we have already brought it outside to be able to see (observe) it. We can only get a true approach to the inside by turning the cognitive system toward the inside of the self of which it is a part of. Then we do not go outward, and try to get back inward, which makes a mess of temporality due to the necessary delay, we turn the cognitive system directly toward the inside, to apprehend what is further inward from it.

    But granting the differences in principles is most readily accomplished by granting differences in their source, rather than the form of their logic, in that it is possible for two differing sources can operate under one logic, if both the sources and the logic are all contained in and used by, a single unified cognitive system.Mww

    I do not agree that the same logic can be applied toward the possibilities of the future, as is applied toward the necessities of the past. There is a fundamental difference which one can easily apprehend. When we look to the past, there is a truth, a necessity of what actually happened. If we do not know exactly what happened, we can use a logic of possibility, in an attempt to determine the truth. But we know there is a truth, and all the possibilities are just logical possibilities, and there is a real, actual truth. When we turn to the future however, there may be a number of possibilities, and each one may have an equal chance of becoming true, depending on the choices which are made. So the sense of "possibility" is completely when referring to the past, from what it is when referring to the future.

    One of the “vast” differences, then, is that the one object is empirically determined when the cognitive system is directed outward, the other “object” is rationally determinable when the cognitive system is directed inward and examines only itself. It would seem to be the case that for determinable rational objects, principles different from those which ground the propositions containing conceptions longing to objects of experience. But granting the differences in principles is most readily accomplished by granting differences in their source, rather than the form of their logic, in that it is possible for two differing sources can operate under one logic, if both the sources and the logic are all contained in and used by, a single unified cognitive system.Mww

    Yes, I suppose this is similar to what I am saying. The empirical object is determined necessarily, but not by the cognitive system, but by the reality of passing time, such that by the time it is observed it is in the past, determinate. The internal object, being based in goals and objectives, is somewhat indeterminate. But I would argue that the difference is not simply a difference of source, but a fundamental difference in the type of object.

    There are differences in objects and principles, but they arise from differences in reason, not differences in logic. These all belong to a far different philosophy, the outer world of sense being epistemological, the inner world of feelings being moral. In the former Nature is the causality of its objects and they belong to it alone, in the latter it is we who are the causality of the objects and they belong to us alone. Just as there is no real physical basketball in our heads, there is no real physical beauty in the world. Reason in the former is pure theoretical, reason in the latter is pure practical. Judgement in the former is discursive, in the latter it is aesthetic. Imagination in the former is productive, in the latter it is re-productive. The former is conditioned by space and time, the latter is conditioned by our innate constitution. The former defines our intellect, the latter defines our character. The former concerns itself with what is, the latter concerns itself with what ought to be.

    All without a necessary difference in logic as such.
    Mww

    Yes, this is the difference I'm talking about. But I surely do not see how you draw your conclusion "All without a necessary difference in logic as such". Do you recognize the difference between is and ought? If so, do you think that the same logic which we apply to "what is", will work just as well if we apply it to "what ought to be"?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.9k
    That other animals don't use logic is an implausible assumption in my view. When I used to throw the ball for the dog onto the verandah and it went over the edge to drop onto the ground below, and he didn't see it go over, he used to look everywhere on the verandah, and when the ball was not to be found would immediately run down to look on the ground below. he didn't run off somewhere else in the garden but only looked where the ball could plausibly be, since it could only have gone off the verandah in the direction I was able to throw it. And he did this from the very first time the ball went over the edge, so it wasn't merely an acquired habit.

    Of course animals don't self-reflectively use logic; that is they are not aware that they are using logic, and they don't have thoughts like "I am using logic"; but logic is everywhere inherent, obviously to greater or lesser degrees, in the perceptions of both humans and animals, if the behavior of the latter is anything to go by.
    Janus

    I did reply to this post, the first time you posted it.

    I really don't think that we can truthfully say that an individual (dog or whatever animal) uses "logic" without being aware of it. This activity would not fulfill the common definition of "logic" which is a learned activity following a specific method. My OED calls it "the science of reasoning...". The method employed must be identifiable, and categorizable as a specified type of "logic", following the method of that type. Adhering to the method is what makes it science.

    So I think this form of intentional activity which is sort of seen as unintentional because we cannot identify the specific intentions involved, or the specific thinking method, is not correctly described by words like "logic" which have a specific corresponding intelligible concept. When you call something which is squarish, "a square", you provide yourself the opportunity to mislead people if they accept your proposition, 'this is a square'. So I will not accept your proposition that a dog uses logic, to protect myself from being misled by you.

    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

    This is clearly not an example of simple logic, because it is invalid. Out of many possibilities, you cannot conclude that if it's not one it's necessarily a particular one of the others. You are missing a premise here, the premise which states that it must be either this or that. The dog does not grasp this premise, the law of excluded middle, that a proposition must be false if it's not true.

    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.Janus

    This is a very real problem. "Inference" has a very specific, almost technical definition. It means to form a conclusion from premises. Clearly it requires language to make premises. When you do not adhere to accepted definitions, allowing yourself to use words in an ambiguous, or ill-defined way, to make an argument, you engage in sophistry and your intent can only be seen as the intent to deceive. That is a very real problem.

    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.Wayfarer

    I agree with this. There is intention, purpose displayed throughout the living world. The problem is with distinguishing intent, as it manifests within the human consciousness, as consisting of specific definable goals, and intent as it exist within the natural world, as an undefinable source of direction. Intent, in its natural form, wells up within us, in the form of primitive desires and wants, but the human mind has developed a method for analyzing those basic feelings, subjecting them to what we call "reason", and resisting those temptations which are designated as unreasonable.

    So we as human beings have a very specific type of "intent", layered on top of the natural intent. This is the self-conscious "intent" of the human being which is the most common use of the general term. "Intent" under this definition refers to the goals which the human mind, in its filtering, altering, and specifying, of the natural intent, comes up with. It is rational intent, unless the human being is designated as acting irrationally.

    But when we go to define "intention", if we say that this self-consciousness is an essential aspect of intent, we make self-consciousness the broader term, therefore logically prior to, intention. Then self-consciousness would be required for intention. This can be seen as a mistake, because then all the purposeful activities of living beings appear as outside the realm of intentional, and these activities become unintelligible to us. So it is better to define "intention" with reference to "purpose", making self-conscious intention a specific type of the broader, more general "intention". Then "intention" is seen as logically prior to self-consciousness, being essential to self-consciousness, and required for it. The more general term is logically prior to the more specific, as essential to it, like "animal" is logically prior to, as essential to "human being". Definition in this way is what enables deductive reasoning. If an individual is human, one is necessarily animal, as "animal" is logically prior to (essential to) human.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    Otherwise stated, the generalized relation between cause and effect is instinctive in us, and hence not acquired via experience; only the particular concrete relations between cause and effect are acquired via experience.javra

    I think Hume wants it understood that the generalized relation between cause and effect is always given by experience. The principle grounding the relation is constant conjunction, and constant conjunction is itself merely an instinctive condition of human nature. If so, then the particular concrete examples merely represent the general principle.

    Kant denies that principles can be given from experience, but must be derived from reason and then applied to experience. His rationale being, because principles are the logical ground for law, than all our experiences should conform to law if they are grounded in an empirical principle. If our experiences are grounded in law, every experience must be a necessary replication of that which it is an experience of, rather than a derivative of a mere representation of what we think it to be.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    the concept of addition is also required. If so, true enough, I suppose: but if you have seven apples and you have five apples in a separate grouping, then if you put them together you get twelve apples.Janus

    And the putting them together, just is that requirement, which represents the conception of synthesis. Maybe that is a modernized version of a philosophy predicated on intentionality. I suppose a guy putting seven things in series with five other things does it for a reason. But below that intention, is the consciousness of the possibility of actually doing it. Hence, the pure transcendental form of a priori justifications.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    I'll state very clearly and concisely the reason why I believe there must be two types of intuition for the two types of objects whose impressions are received into the conscious mind. (....) From the senses the mind gets an immediate impression, one not yet worked on by the conscious mind. From the memory the mind gets an impression already worked on by the mind. So we have right here, two very distinct forms of impressions, the virgin, and the ones already worked on.Metaphysician Undercover

    I shy away from use of “mind”, preferring to use “reason” instead. But I can work with mind, in order to be on the same page as you.

    Two distinct impressions the mind gets, yes. The immediate from perception, the mediate from the mind itself. The impression the mind presents to itself is not immediately sensed, so in that respect, they are not the same type of impression. Technically, then, we can say the impression from sense is an appearance, the impression from the mind on itself, is a recollection of an appearance.

    But distinction in impressions on the mind is not the same as distinctions in intuitions given to the mind. Not yet worked on by the mind implies no knowledge; worked on by the mind implies knowledge. Otherwise, why have a working mind? An impression we know must be very different than an impression we don’t know, but that doesn’t qualify intuitions themselves as being of different types, or, there being one type of intuition for this impression and another for that impression.

    I grant that, as you said before, intuition is hard to pin down, and linguistic convention has tended to obfuscate the irreducibility of it. Accordingly, in the theory I favor, your hypotheticals just don’t work, but there’s nothing whatsoever to establish my theory as an irrefutable certainty, which means I can never prove your hypotheticals are wrong. So we can just argue the pros and cons of each til Doomsday. Or intellectual boredom, whichever comes first.
    ————-

    We can only get a true approach to the inside by turning the cognitive system toward the inside of the self of which it is a part of.Metaphysician Undercover

    Which is a perfect rendition of the intrinsic circularity of the human cognitive system. We use reason to examine ourselves, ourselves being that which reasons. We can never examine the inside of the self. We merely call it self-consciousness, represent it to ourselves as “I”, and reason from it, to everything else, by using a system reason itself invents. Like it or not, we’re stuck with it because we’re human. Or, we need to come up with a better explanatory, albeit speculative, methodology. Which hasn’t happened since 1787.
    ————-

    Now, when you say you can think any object you like, even ones you've never experienced before, place future things in this category.Metaphysician Undercover

    Place future possible things in this category, yes. I can place existent things in this category just as well, insofar as experience only qualifies my condition, not that of the object. There’s millions of existent things I can think about and never hope to experience.

    The future thing has a degree of reality which is comparable to the past thing which has been perceived through the senses. In fact, there is no reason to affirm that one is more "real" than the other.Metaphysician Undercover

    Agreed, in an off-handed way you may not appreciate, insofar as the object I perceived is “real” in a way the object I haven’t perceived is “real”, because, for me, they are both equally represented by my cognitive system, the past thing “real” as a phenomenon, the future thing just as “real” as a mere conception. Again....differences in source faculties within the system, not differences in logic used by the system.

    Now, the actual reality of the thing may be quite different, insofar as the past thing certainly existed, whereas the future thing may not, so it is correct to say I have no reason to affirm one is more REAL....that is to say, more existent....than the other, and I am in fact logically prohibited from claiming such is the case. Logically permitted is exactly the same kind of logic as logically prohibited, the difference being merely the conditions manifest in the premises and not its operation by means of them.
    ————

    The internal object, being based in goals and objectives, is somewhat indeterminate. But I would argue that the difference is not simply a difference of source, but a fundamental difference in the type of object.Metaphysician Undercover

    There is a fundamental difference in the type of internal object, sure, but why not simply because of the fundamental differences in their respective sources? If the different types of internal objects came from the same source, in what way could we say they are different? All conceptions represent different objects, but all conceptions, as internal objects of the faculty of understanding, are all the same type, just as phenomena represent different objects but are all the same type of object of the faculty of intuition, or maybe we could say the same species, respectively.

    Even the goals and objectives are different respecting different types of objects. If the goal is empirical knowledge of the world because it is always objectively conditioned, we require both kinds of internal objects; if the goal is proper moral activity, which is always subjectively conditioned, we have no need of the type of internal object found in intuition. Although, post hoc, we will need intuition to determine whether or not our moral activity is in fact properly moral.
    ————

    All without a necessary difference in logic as such.
    — Mww

    Yes, this is the difference I'm talking about. But I surely do not see how you draw your conclusion "All without a necessary difference in logic as such". Do you recognize the difference between is and ought? If so, do you think that the same logic which we apply to "what is", will work just as well if we apply it to "what ought to be"?
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Yep, I surely do. The logic is the same; what the logic concerns, doesn’t have to be. It is the difference between the form of logic as such, and the conceptions contained in its propositional architecture.

    For that which is, “If A then B” is the form; “All events are in time” is the content of the form. If event then time adheres to the form exactly, hence the soundness of the logical form is served by the content, and we have an analytical, therefore non-contradictory proposition, which is true. Doesn’t matter what A and B are, or even if they’re valid conceptions themselves. As long as they don’t contradict the form into which they are entered, the conclusion is a sound logical inference. When the conceptions conflict, the form of the logic remains exactly as it was, but the soundness of the logic disappears.

    For what ought to be, “the will is always and only good and immediately diminishes desires” is the form; “my will is good and my desires ought to be diminished accordingly” is the content. While the content serves the form in truth, it doesn’t always serve it in fact. Nevertheless, the logic by which one does not follow from the other, is just the same as if it did. This shouldn’t be that hard to grasp, if one grants that even irrational conclusions are nonetheless logically derived. Logic improperly employed is still logic.

    While the content of logic can be of real-world things, the content can also be of things thought and felt, with equal justice, from which follows that logic itself cannot belong to any faculty of mere perception, which justifies the idea that logic is a purely formal condition of human understanding and reason.
  • javra
    1.7k
    I think Hume wants it understood that the generalized relation between cause and effect is always given by experience. The principle grounding the relation is constant conjunction, and constant conjunction is itself merely an instinctive condition of human nature. If so, then the particular concrete examples merely represent the general principle.

    Kant denies that principles can be given from experience, but must be derived from reason and then applied to experience.
    Mww

    My readings of Hume have been I think more charitable - tending to view the Kantian interpretation of Hume as a misinterpretation of what Hume argued for. So, as I find Hume saying, the principle of constant conjunction is epistemically, not ontically, given by our experience only in the same sense that the basic principles of thought are given to us by experience: we infer them based on what we epistemically realize ourselves able to do and incapable of doing. Just as we learn of our existential limitations, or boundaries, of thought by our experiences wherein we take note of our thinking, so too we learn of our instinctive (unproduced and unchangeable) impetus to associate causes and effects via experiencing our comportments. Again, this innate, active principle of association is not, and cannot, be gained from experience - contra what Kant finds Hume to say. And the particular instantiations of this association between causes and effects are only facilitated, else enabled, by - rather than representations of - the very principle of association in question, which of itself holds no particular content. This just as all the particular instantiations of our thinking in the manners we do are only facilitated/enabled by - but not re-presentations of - our basic principles of thought, which again of themselves hold no specific content. And, in both cases, we infer, hence reason, from our experiences to general principles that facilitate our experiences.

    Also related: I fail to understand how conscious reasoning devoid of any content can manifest, nor of how this content can obtain if not from either present or former experience in the broadest sense - to include not only perceptions of the external world but our experience of things such as thoughts, emotions, wants, states of being, and so forth.

    Well, I know I’m against to populist flow of things with my belief that Kant misinterpreted Hume - in spite of my respect for Kant. And, though I don’t much want to bicker on the subject - unless there’s reason to - I’m so far not convinced to the contrary. Basically, just wanted to express this for what its worth.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    find Hume saying, the principle of constant conjunction is epistemically, not ontically, given by our experience only in the same sense that the basic principles of thought are given to us by experience: we infer them based on what we epistemically realize ourselves able to do and incapable of doingjavra

    But without those basic principles already in the mind, it would not be possible to make any inferences. They are what allow us to marshall and organise our thoughts with regard to experience.

    Incidentally the section on synthetic a priori from the introduction:

    We might, indeed at first suppose that the proposition 7 + 5 = 12 is a merely analytical proposition, following (according to the principle of contradiction) from the conception of a sum of seven and five. But if we regard it more narrowly, we find that our conception of the sum of seven and five contains nothing more than the uniting of both sums into one, whereby it cannot at all be cogitated what this single number is which embraces both. The conception of twelve is by no means obtained by merely cogitating the union of seven and five; and we may analyse our conception of such a possible sum as long as we will, still we shall never discover in it the notion of twelve. We must go beyond these conceptions, and have recourse to an intuition which corresponds to one of the two—our five fingers, for example, or like Segner in his Arithmetic five points, and so by degrees, add the units contained in the five given in the intuition, to the conception of seven. For I first take the number 7, and, for the conception of 5 calling in the aid of the fingers of my hand as objects of intuition, I add the units, which I before took together to make up the number 5, gradually now by means of the material image my hand, to the number 7, and by this process, I at length see the number 12 arise. That 7 should be added to 5, I have certainly cogitated in my conception of a sum = 7 + 5, but not that this sum was equal to 12. Arithmetical propositions are therefore always synthetical, of which we may become more clearly convinced by trying large numbers. For it will thus become quite evident that, turn and twist our conceptions as we may, it is impossible, without having recourse to intuition, to arrive at the sum total or product by means of the mere analysis of our conceptions. Just as little is any principle of pure geometry analytical. “A straight line between two points is the shortest,” is a synthetical proposition. For my conception of straight contains no notion of quantity, but is merely qualitative. The conception of the shortest is therefore fore wholly an addition, and by no analysis can it be extracted from our conception of a straight line. Intuition must therefore here lend its aid, by means of which, and thus only, our synthesis is possible.Critique of Pure Reason, Introduction, V
  • javra
    1.7k
    But without those basic principles already in the mind, it would not be possible to make any inferences.Wayfarer

    Exactly, and Hume classifies these as instincts (as "instinct" was understood back in his times rather than our own, in our times being interpreted as genetically inherited predispositions of behavior ... different issues, though). Instincts being roughly interpreted as "basic principles already in the mind" not acquired via experience.

    Nevertheless, we gain insight into these same basic principles, or at the very least justify their so being, via experience-filled reasoning - such as Kant is doing in the quote you reference. And such as Hume likewise did with the principle of association regarding causes and effects:

    [...]

    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:

    [...]

    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.

    [...]

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume/#CauInfConPha
    javra

    Instead of reading "habit" as that which is formed a posteriori, in the context of Hume's arguments regarding causation read it as that which is a priori to all experiences of cause and effect. As it being an/the a priori instinct which causes - or leads us to make - our causal inferences.

    Having read Hume - albeit some time back - this so far is the only sensible way I can interpret what Hume said given his arguments. And to me it seems well enough supported by the SEP article just mentioned. Hence my intuition that Kant misinterprets Hume on this important point. To me, one says "instinct" the other "category of understanding" and both refer to the same basic thing: basic principles already in the mind prior to experience.

    If I'm wrong, I haven't yet seen anything to evidence that I am.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    Instincts being roughly interpreted as "basic principles already in the mind" not acquired via experience.javra

    But instinct is sharply differentiated from reason by most. Describing reason as an instinct was highly controversial in its day and it's hardly elaborated at all by Hume. Animals perform extraordinary feats by dint of instinct, so it is said, but that does not amount to reasoning.

    In the Analytic of Concepts section of the Critique, Kant argues that in order to think about the input from sensibility, sensations must conform to the conceptual structure that the mind has available to it. By applying concepts, the understanding takes the particulars that are given in sensation and identifies what is common and general about them. A concept of “shelter” for instance, allows me to identify what is common in particular representations of a house, a tent, and a cave.

    The empiricist might object at this point by insisting that such concepts do arise from experience, raising questions about Kant’s claim that the mind brings an a priori conceptual structure to the world. Indeed, concepts like “shelter” do arise partly from experience. But Kant raises a more fundamental issue. An empirical derivation is not sufficient to explain all of our concepts. As we have seen, Hume argued, and Kant accepts, that we cannot empirically derive our concepts of causation, substance, self, identity, and so forth. What Hume had failed to see, Kant argues, is that even the possibility of making judgments about objects, to which Hume would assent, presupposes the possession of these fundamental concepts. Hume had argued for a sort of associationism to explain how we arrive at causal beliefs. My idea of a moving cue ball, becomes associated with my idea of the eight ball that is struck and falls into the pocket. Under the right circumstances, repeated impressions of the second following the first produces a belief in me that the first causes the second.

    The problem that Kant points out is that a Humean association of ideas already presupposes that we can conceive of identical, persistent objects that have regular, predictable, causal behavior. And being able to conceive of objects in this rich sense presupposes that the mind makes several a priori contributions. I must be able to separate the objects from each other in my sensations, and from my sensations of myself. I must be able to attribute properties to the objects. I must be able to conceive of an external world with its own course of events that is separate from the stream of perceptions in my consciousness.
    Kant's Metaphysics, IEP

    I don't see how Hume can be defended against this critique. Hume is failing to account for the way that the understanding creates the entire framework within which his 'customs and impressions' are meaningful. And that framework is transcendental, that is, not given in experience, but necessary for experience.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    And the putting them together, just is that requirement, which represents the conception of synthesis. Maybe that is a modernized version of a philosophy predicated on intentionality. I suppose a guy putting seven things in series with five other things does it for a reason. But below that intention, is the consciousness of the possibility of actually doing it. Hence, the pure transcendental form of a priori justifications.Mww

    I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here. It seems to me that the "possibility of actually doing it" would have been realized quite early in human evolution, roe example, due to trading practices and planning hunting and gathering groups and other common tribal tasks. I think the realization of the possibility of grouping things together would plausibly have long before any "conception of synthesis" in the evolution of human understanding.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    This is clearly not an example of simple logic, because it is invalid. Out of many possibilities, you cannot conclude that if it's not one it's necessarily a particular one of the others.Metaphysician Undercover

    You're conflating deductive with inductive logic. The classic example, given by an ancient Greek thinker whose name escapes me at the moment, describes a dog tracking a rabbit by scent along a path; when the single path forks into three she is observed sniffing down two paths and when no scent is detected on those, immediately continuing pursuit, without bothering to sniff, down the third. This is inferential: we would express it as "if the rabbit didn't go down either of those paths it went down this one". It doesn't matter that the dog could be mistaken and that the rabbit might have gone off into the bushes; not all inferences are correct; and not discounted as inferences if they are shown to be incorrect.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    Right, that Kant passage supports my earlier response to @Mww. The further thought in my response was that mathematics (arithmetic) certainly seems to begin synthetically in perceptual experience, but in its more highly abstracted form could still be analytic; that is derived by analyzing the logic inherent in the basic arithmetical functions. We don't necessarily have to think that mathematics is nothing but synthetic or nothing but analytic. Black and white, either/ or thinking very often leads us astray.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.9k
    You're conflating deductive with inductive logic. The classic example, given by an ancient Greek thinker whose name escapes me at the moment, describes a dog tracking a rabbit by scent along a path; when the single path forks into three she is observed sniffing down two paths and when no scent is detected on those, immediately continuing pursuit, without bothering to sniff, down the third. This is inferential: we would express it as "if the rabbit didn't go down either of those paths it went down this one". It doesn't matter that the dog could be mistaken and that the rabbit might have gone off into the bushes; not all inferences are correct; and not discounted as inferences if they are shown to be incorrect.Janus

    Again, you demonstrate the same problem I already pointed out. You obviously didn't get what I meant. The rabbit didn't necessarily go down a path, logically, it could have gone anywhere, therefore the dog's conclusion was not a logical conclusion. It does matter that the rabbit could have gone anywhere, because the only way we have valid logic is by assuming the unstated premise that the rabbit must have gone down one of the three paths. Only through this premise can you logically conclude the third path, by excluding the first two. So the dog did not use logic, because what it concluded was invalid. It concluded that if it wasn't the first or the second, it must be the third, without considering other logical possibilities. That's illogical, when all other possibilities are not excluded. Therefore the dog did not use logic. And I will not accept your sophistic attempt to define "inference" in such a way which allows an illogical conclusion to be called an "inference".
  • javra
    1.7k
    But instinct is sharply differentiated from reason by most. Describing reason as an instinct was highly controversial in its day and it's hardly elaborated at all by Hume. Animals perform extraordinary feats by dint of instinct, so it is said, but that does not amount to reasoningWayfarer

    instinct: A natural or inherent impulse or behavior.

    I think that, in a nutshell, what you say here conveys the pivotal issue. And I believe that it is hardly elaborated at all by Hume because it was - as it remains - highly controversial that humans are instinct driven, as is all other life, albeit to far lesser extents then lifeforms of lesser intelligence. The concept of religious heresy was, after all, not foreign in Hume's time, and the concept of biological evolution hadn't even entered the picture.

    I'm however far more sympathetic to the idea. Yes, in part from a Darwinian point of view. Far more pertinently though, from a metaphysical one. The principles of thought are not of themselves thoughts nor conscious reasoning nor concepts (general ideas) we produce, hence bring about, by abstraction. We neither think, nor reason, nor abstract the principles of thought into being. Yet they facilitate all the thinking, reasoning, and abstracting we do, including that via which we discern them to be. And these same principles of thought are "natural or inherent impulses or behaviors" in us - which defines instincts.

    And neither are instincts in the form of principles of thought thus conceived (for instance, but as can also be said of the instinct to discern causation) given in experience, while yet being necessary for experience.

    This in my humble mini-defense of Hume. But I get how controversial it must be, even today.

    (As to the maybe Peircean-like metaphysics that I'm contemplating, it's far more complex and probably idiosyncratic, so I won't get into it. But, in synopsis, the basic laws of thought are fully determinate aspects of the cosmos and thus necessarily pivotal to any lifeform's experience.)
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    these same principles of thought are "natural or inherent impulses or behaviors" in usjavra

    Instinct is too blunt an instrument to account for human capabilities.
  • Janus
    12.2k
    . The rabbit didn't necessarily go down a path, logically, it could have gone anywhere, therefore the dog's conclusion was not a logical conclusion.Metaphysician Undercover

    Already addressed; read more carefully and you might avoid further misunderstandings.
  • Mww
    3.2k
    I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here. It seems to me that the "possibility of actually doing it" would have been realized quite early in human evolutionJanus

    Sure, but we’re not talking human anthropology, we’re talking a method of reason in individual human subjects.

    Backtracking a bit...

    Perhaps once we have the symbols to represent numbers and the four basic arithmetical functions the rest of mathematics is analytic, meaning that it just logically followsJanus

    ....which relates to how we find the numbers, “cognition” here tacitly understood as merely a number, numbers in general, which we could envision as “what is it that represents some quantity”, from which follows that because there is no such thing to answer the question to be found in Nature, which must be the case otherwise we wouldn’t be looking for it in reason itself, we make up that which is sufficient for the job.

    “....Philosophical cognition is the cognition of reason by means of conceptions; mathematical cognition is cognition by means of the construction of conceptions. The construction of a conception is the presentation à priori of the intuition which corresponds to the conception. For this purpose a non-empirical intuition is requisite, which, as an intuition, is an individual object; while, as a general representation, it must be seen to be universally valid for all the possible intuitions which rank under that conception...”

    So it is that we construct a symbol, an individual intuition, which then represents every empirical quantity of that measure. One apple, one house, one star; a million of anything all represented by the same constructed representation cognized as a unit of measure.

    I think the realization of the possibility of grouping things together would plausibly have long before any "conception of synthesis" in the evolution of human understanding.Janus

    Except the realization of the possibility of grouping things together just is the conception of synthesis.

    “...The mathematical conception I should construct, that is, present à priori in intuition, and in this way attain to rational-synthetical cognition. But when the transcendental conception of reality, or substance, or power is presented to my mind***, I find that it does not relate to or indicate either an empirical or pure intuition, but that it indicates merely the synthesis of empirical intuitions. (...) The synthesis in such a conception cannot proceed à priori to the intuition which corresponds to the conception; and, for this reason, none of these conceptions can produce a determinative synthetical proposition, they can never present more than a principle of the synthesis of possible empirical intuitions. A transcendental proposition is, therefore, a synthetical cognition of reason by means of pure conceptions and the discursive method, and it renders possible all synthetical unity in empirical cognition, though it cannot present us with any intuition à priori....”

    This is saying that although we already constructed the conceptions representing quantities, they in themselves have not the capacity to form composite mathematical propositions, which is where your....

    basic actions of grouping what is separate (addition) and separating what is together (substraction) are fundamental with division and multiplication being slightly more abstract.Janus

    ....comes in, and where the transcendental nature of synthesis itself is required, which is not a cognition as is the mathematical proposition, but rather, merely, as a transcendental principle.....hey, it just there, dunno/don’t care how or why, it just is so deal widdit...... makes that synthesis into a proper mathematical cognition, possible. And what Kant is indicating with my *** in the quote above.

    I know all that is sometimes hard to swallow, and most people just even try, even taken with the proverbial grain of salt or perhaps the dumptruck-ful. I mean....we don’t really gain anything whether we actually agreed with it as intellectual magnificence or reject it as unintelligible philosobabble.

    Still, if “at least it made me think” has any positive meaning, then there is some significance to be found here.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

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.