• Bob Ross
    1.5k
    I am starting to embrace transcendental idealism, and so I would like to (briefly) explain my interpretation of it and inquire as to any contentions you guys may have of it.

    By ‘transcendental idealism’, I just mean the original view, plus my interpretation of it, made by Immanuel Kant; which starts with the core idea that we cannot know what is ‘transcendent’ to us (viz., what may exist completely independently of our representative faculties) but, rather, only what is ‘transcendental’ (viz., the necessary preconditions for the possibility of experience) and ‘empirical’ (viz., inferences made from the, a posteriori, content of experience which is only valid for possible experience).

    I add, although Kant didn’t say this, that we cannot know that we are representing objects (i.e., that we have representative faculties), from empirical evidence (sorry science) because it could be, without any transcendental investigations, totally fabricated content (of whatever origin it may be). Instead, we can know that we have representative faculties because:

    1. There is experience, therefore something exists.
    2. That something, or a part of it, must be producing experience.
    3. The unified parts of that something which are producing it is the ‘I’.
    4. The ‘I’ can only produce experience through (data) input (i.e., sensibility).
    5. The production of experience via sensibility (and whatever may afterwards interpret such sensibility) entails that one’s experience is a representation.

    I think Kant just kind of takes for granted that we represent, without really affording us a transcendental elaboration of why that is the case.

    From here, it is pretty straightforward Kantianism: we must intuit the spatiotemporal relations of objects (which are sensations, and not the objects-in-themselves), ‘feed’ that to our faculty of understanding (which includes the faculty of judgment, most categories of the understanding, etc.) (to subsume the diverse sensations into more general conceptions), and then the aftermath of it all is a phenomena (i.e., a representation).

    To keep this brief, math, logic, and categories which we use to produce representations are a priori and are not necessarily properties of the things-in-themselves. Whatever the things are in-themselves is entirely impossible to know.

    Unlike Kant, I would say that, although there must be something intuited as outside of me in order to determine myself within experience, it is entirely possible that the sensations which are given (for me to intuit) are completely or partially fabricated (by myself or another) and there is no way to know. To me, this doesn’t really matter for practical purposes, but is technically true.

    For science (and all other empirical studies), transcendental idealism entails that we can only ever claim empirical statements, at best, as valid for possible [perfect—in the sense of the best capabilities and not a perfect representation of reality-in-itself—human] experience. Thusly, science (and the like) are pragmatic for paradigmatic and not ontological purposes.

    What contentions do you have?
  • Pantagruel
    3.4k
    Unlike Kant, I would say that, although there must be something intuited as outside of me in order to determine myself within experience, it is entirely possible that the sensations which are given (for me to intuit) are completely or partially fabricated (by myself or another) and there is no way to know. To me, this doesn’t really matter for practical purposes, but is technically true.Bob Ross

    I think this contradicts an essential characteristic of transcendental intuition, which is that effect a synthesis of the subjective and the objective. Hence its transcendental character.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    Whatever the things are in-themselves is entirely impossible to know.Bob Ross

    In which case, they should be of no concern to us. Not exactly a contention, I know, but an entirely reasonable judgment.
  • Corvus
    3k
    Whatever the things are in-themselves is entirely impossible to know.Bob Ross

    Not exactly entirely? For one thing, we know that they are impossible to know, so we know something about them partially, but not entirely.
  • Gnomon
    3.7k
    For science (and all other empirical studies), transcendental idealism entails that we can only ever claim empirical statements, at best, as valid for possible [perfect—in the sense of the best capabilities and not a perfect representation of reality-in-itself—human] experience. Thusly, science (and the like) are pragmatic for paradigmatic and not ontological purposes.Bob Ross
    Your summary of Transcendental Idealism reminded me of a Quantum pioneer's response to the question whether queer quantum science revealed anything about the Real world. It also sounds like something a modern Buddha might say. Or like the spoon-bending-boy to Neo. :smile:


    Quote attributed to Neils Bohr :
    When asked ... [about] an underlying quantum world, Bohr would answer, 'There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.'
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    I think this contradicts an essential characteristic of transcendental intuition, which is that effect a synthesis of the subjective and the objective. Hence its transcendental character.

    I am not following: could you please elaborate? I don't see any proof offered by Kant that actually proves (transcendentally) that my intuitions are not fabricated but, rather, just that they must have intuited objects outside of me in space in order to determine myself within the representations.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Not exactly entirely? For one thing, we know that they are impossible to know, so we know something about them partially, but not entirely.

    Not knowing anything about X does not entail knowledge of anything about X.

    Another way to put it, is that I have only negative knowledge of X by negation and never positive knowledge.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    In which case, they should be of no concern to us. Not exactly a contention, I know, but an entirely reasonable judgment.

    :up:
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Your summary of Transcendental Idealism reminded me of a Quantum pioneer's response to the question whether queer quantum science revealed anything about the Real world. It also sounds like something a modern Buddha might say. Or like the spoon-bending-boy to Neo

    Yeah I could see why, since we share a bit of scientific anti-realism (at least metaphysically).
  • Banno
    23.7k
    I am starting to embrace transcendental idealism...Bob Ross
    Good. Keep reading. You may grow out of it.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    How much Kant have you read? Have you moved away from Kastrup? I think many people with an interest in philosophy end up here abouts at some point. I held a similar view (mainly through secondary sources) in the 1980’s.

    I guess I also find myself wondering, if accurate. so what? Does it make any difference to how one lives? How is this way of thinking of use?
  • Pantagruel
    3.4k
    If the sensations are fabricated then are you implying that your intuitions of objectivity are unreliable? As long as you are not effacing the link with objectivity that the intuition effects.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    :smirk:

    I also find myself wondering, if accurate. so what? Does it make any difference to how one lives? How is this way of thinking of use?Tom Storm
    :up:
  • Corvus
    3k
    Not knowing anything about X does not entail knowledge of anything about X.

    Another way to put it, is that I have only negative knowledge of X by negation and never positive knowledge.
    Bob Ross

    For you to arrive at the conclusion that you don't know anything about X, you should have known,

    1. the fact that you don't know anything about X.
    2. the reason why you don't know anything about X.
    3. you don't know anything about X now, but you know that there is a possibility that you might be able to know about X, if a, b, c, ...
    4. You don't know anything about X now, but you know that there is also a possibility you might have mistaken or misunderstood something about X.
    ..... etc etc.

    You know a lot about X, when you don't know anything about X. Consequently the conclusion you don't know anything about X is false.

    Again this is not about semantics or contentless logic, but is highlighted from Kant's Transcendental Logic.

    And negative knowledge is also knowledge, no?
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    I am starting to embrace transcendental idealism,Bob Ross

    Am I right in thinking that your position is that of Indirect Realism, as described by the Wikipedia article Direct and Indirect Realism

    Indirect realism is broadly equivalent to the scientific view of perception that subjects do not experience the external world as it really is, but perceive it through the lens of a conceptual framework.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    Whatever the things are in-themselves is entirely impossible to know.Bob Ross

    While this is in accord with Kantian T.I., there is nothing implied therein having to do with negative knowledge. “Impossible to know”, or, knowledge not possible to obtain, with respect to thing-in-themselves, merely highlights human sensory limitation and says nothing whatsoever about the cognitive aspect of the overall human intellectual system. It is absurd to expect a system to make a determination on something that was never given to it.

    Another way to put it, is that I have only negative knowledge of X by negation and never positive knowledge.Bob Ross

    Under the assumption X is some empirical condition, and negative knowledge regarding X is obtained according to judgements such as, “I know X’s are not this or that”, such judgements are “….inane and senseless; that is, they are in reality purposeless and, for this reason, often very ridiculous…”(A709/B737). You cannot say anything about, nor legitimately claim any kind or degree of knowledge for, that for which nothing is given with which to form a judgement.

    So…..upon sufficient reflection, you might find that rather than having negative knowledge of X, there is only positive knowledge of yourself, re: you know there is something you cannot know, from which follows, that forcing the former at the expense of the latter is what the A/B quote is meant to indicate.

    Anyway….just sayin’. One interpretation of “the original view” in relation to another. Although, given the high pagination of the quote and your admission of “starting” to embrace the source, you must be forgiven for not being familiar with the intent of it, and how it tends to correct this one point of your personal interpretation.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Any book suggestions? Or counter arguments to transcendental idealism that you find hold weight?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Tom Storm,

    How much Kant have you read? Have you moved away from Kastrup? I think many people with an interest in philosophy end up here abouts at some point. I held a similar view (mainly through secondary sources) in the 1980’s.

    I have read critique of pure reason, prolegomena, and the groundwork for the metaphysics of morals. I working on reading his critique of practical reason and judgment books.

    In terms of Kastrup, yes I am moving away from that view.

    Moreover, you alluded that you used to have a similar view, but have moved past it: could you please elaborate on what convinced you against the view?

    I guess I also find myself wondering, if accurate. so what? Does it make any difference to how one lives? How is this way of thinking of use?

    The implications is that we cannot do proper ontology but rather create paradigms of possible human experience.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k

    Hello Pantagruel,

    If the sensations are fabricated then are you implying that your intuitions of objectivity are unreliable? As long as you are not effacing the link with objectivity that the intuition effects.

    If the sensations are fabricated, then I would never know it; but, yes, they would be unreliable with relation to whatever actual exists in the world-in-itself. It wouldn’t change much about practical life though, because, either way, I a condemned to compare experiences and navigate my life with them. So if I were, for example, in a matrix, then it really would not impact my practical life at all. I still have to do what I have to do.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Corvus,

    For you to arrive at the conclusion that you don't know anything about X, you should have known,...You know a lot about X, when you don't know anything about X. Consequently the conclusion you don't know anything about X is false….And negative knowledge is also knowledge, no?

    That’s fine by me. I just don’t think the colloquial expression “I know nothing of X” is contradicted here, since it precludes negative knowledge. But I do not have a problem admitting that I have negative knowledge of X when I “know nothing about it”.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Yes, but not for scientific reasons.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Mww,

    While this is in accord with Kantian T.I., there is nothing implied therein having to do with negative knowledge. “Impossible to know”, or, knowledge not possible to obtain, with respect to thing-in-themselves, merely highlights human sensory limitation and says nothing whatsoever about the cognitive aspect of the overall human intellectual system. It is absurd to expect a system to make a determination on something that was never given to it.

    So…..upon sufficient reflection, you might find that rather than having negative knowledge of X, there is only positive knowledge of yourself, re: you know there is something you cannot know, from which follows, that forcing the former at the expense of the latter is what the A/B quote is meant to indicate.

    This is a really good point I, admittedly, missed. @Corvus I change my mind: I don’t have negative knowledge of the things-in-themselves because it could be the case that what I negate of is false (since I know nothing about it). Instead, I know that what I am given is not a thing-in-itself, but the thing-in-itself could turn out to be a mirror (by happenstance) of what I am given (and I would never know it). Thusly, I cannot say "this X is not Y" but rather "I only have knowledge of Y, which is not X".
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    Yes, but not for scientific reasons.Bob Ross

    What non-scientific reasons are there to hold the view of perception that subjects do not experience the external world as it really is, but perceive it through the lens of a conceptual framework.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    Instead, I know that what I am given is not a thing-in-itself, but the thing-in-itself could turn out to be a mirror (by happenstance) of what I am givenBob Ross

    It is the function of understanding/judgement, to as closely mirror the thing as it is in itself with the thing as it is represented in us. So….not by happenstance, but by logic, Nature herself being the arbiter.
  • Banno
    23.7k
    Any book suggestions? Or counter arguments to transcendental idealism that you find hold weight?Bob Ross
    One core problem has already been mentioned by .

    Keep in mind that when Kant posited his ideas, microscopes were a novelty and Dalton had yet to explicate the place of atoms in Chemistry. Much that was hidden was subsequently revealed. We've learned quite a lot about the stuff we couldn't see. This has obliged Kantians to move to treating of phenomena rather than of reality.

    So you might reconsider your first argument. Folk have experiences that do not imply that something exists - hallucinations, dreams, illusions and so on. Your conclusion is not justified.

    A seed of doubt, maybe.
  • Banno
    23.7k
    Odd, isn't it, that when some folk discover that the chair they are sitting on is composed of atoms, and is overwhelmingly space, they sometimes decide that therefore it's no longer really a chair.
  • J
    236
    So you might reconsider your first argument. Folk have experiences that do not imply that something exists - hallucinations, dreams, illusions and so on. Your conclusion is not justified.Banno


    I don’t think Bob Ross meant that the experiences we have are necessarily veridical. Nor does this question have anything to do with our more sophisticated scientific knowledge, compared to Kant. The Enlightenment thinkers were well aware of hallucinations, etc.

    Rather, when Bob Ross gives his first two premises:

    1. There is experience, therefore something exists.
    2. That something, or a part of it, must be producing experience.
    Bob Ross

    I take him to mean that the “something” which must exist and be producing experience could just as well be whatever process produces illusions. The point is that, veridical or not, something is going on.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Mww,

    It is the function of understanding/judgement, to as closely mirror the thing as it is in itself with the thing as it is represented in us. So….not by happenstance, but by logic, Nature herself being the arbiter.

    I am hesitant to agree here: wouldn’t it be more that the understanding/judgment facutly(ies) are preconditioned to try to represent things according to principles, conceptions, and judgments? I don’t see how that would entail a close mirroring of the things-in-themselves.
  • J
    236
    Under the assumption X is some empirical condition, and negative knowledge regarding X is obtained according to judgements such as, “I know X’s are not this or that”, such judgements are “….inane and senseless; that is, they are in reality purposeless and, for this reason, often very ridiculous…”(A709/B737).Mww

    I have a different interpretation of this passage. Kant is talking about the distinction between negative judgments “which are such not merely as regards their form but also as regards their content.” Negative formal judgment is not a problem; “we can make negative any proposition we like.” The task is different for a negative judgment of content, however. Such a judgment is meant to be “rejecting error” (Kant’s italics). So a negative formal judgment can’t do this, since “no error is possible – [such judgments] are indeed true but empty. . . “ And now comes the rest of the lines you quoted: “that is, they are not suited to their purpose, and just for this reason are often quite absurd” (sorry, I have a different translation). But Kant is not talking about negative content judgments here; he’s saying that a negative formal judgment that pretends to add to our knowledge is inane, absurd, etc.

    The example he gives makes this clear, I think: “Alexander could not have conquered any countries without an army.” In other words, this is a negative formal judgment that seems to be offering a piece of knowledge, but in fact it merely restates a logical truism (if you stipulate, as Kant probably would have, that an army is necessary for conquering). So it's "true but empty."

    It’s never easy to grasp Kant, of course, and I welcome your thoughts if I'm off track.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    1. There is experience, therefore something exists.
    2. That something, or a part of it, must be producing experience.
    3. The unified parts of that something which are producing it is the ‘I’.
    4. The ‘I’ can only produce experience through (data) input (i.e., sensibility).
    5. The production of experience via sensibility (and whatever may afterwards interpret such sensibility) entails that one’s experience is a representation.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    Moreover, you alluded that you used to have a similar view, but have moved past it: could you please elaborate on what convinced you against the view?Bob Ross

    I'm of no use here, Bob, apologies. There wasn't an argument. It was simply the fact that for practical purposes idealism makes no difference to my day-to-day experience. So it just faded as I got on with life. Additionally, I'm not all that concerned if the nature of reality remains forever elusive to humans. Since we conduct ourselves in a realm which appears to be material (whatever it may be in itself), that's all I need to make effective use of the life I have.


    What are the advantages of Kant over Kastrup?
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