• frank
    14.5k
    So, Kant's analysis might very well be relevant to some "essential nature," of human experience, provided we narrowly defined what constitutes the actualization of such an essence. However, it can't be prior to sensory perception. If anything, developmental biology would suggest that such regularities only come to exist provided a narrow range of environmental inputs.Count Timothy von Icarus

    I think what you're missing is that there's an aspect of the underlying framework of developmental biology that is a priori. You're putting the scientific cart before the logical horse.
  • frank
    14.5k
    Phenomena for Kant are appearances - which I so far take to always be in one way or another empirical. And, hence, I so far take it that for Kant space and time - both being a priori representations that are then in no way empirical - are not phenomenal in and of themselves.

    Which is not to then say that either pure or empirical intuitions are not representations for Kant.

    If you find this interpretation mistaken, can you please back up your disagreement with references.
    javra

    You're right. I thought you were saying that space and time are mind independent. Kant shows that they can't be.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    No, I'm aware of that. I think there are good issues to raise there. For example, Donald Hoffman does a good job bringing these issues to the fore in his "The Case Against Reality." However, his elucidation of these issues would seem to cast greater doubt on Kant's suppositions.

    Our cognitive architecture might lie posterior to our sciences, but then, as Hoffman shows, there is good reason to doubt if our cognitive architecture represents truth as opposed to biological fitness. One of his key points is on the evidence that "3D space" is simply a "hallucination" of sorts. Of course, Hoffman thinks these problems are more acute than I do, and he ultimately uses them as a springboard for a sort of idealism with phenominalist flavors.

    I don't think foundationalism works. If anything, the greatest mistake of modern philosophy has been to put the epistemological cart before the horse. Kant wants us to buy his demonstration before any other considerations and I just don't think this is a good way to vet theories (and even if I did, I'd tend to agree with Hegel on Kant having his own dogmatic presuppositions, and the whole "oh look, I just happen to have discovered Aristotle's exact categories," thing).
  • frank
    14.5k
    However, his elucidation of these issues would seem to cast greater doubt on Kant's suppositions.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Which suppositions?

    I guess my point was that we should take a second to understand Kant's thought experiments before we poo poo him.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    For Hoffman, the core mistake would be the presupposition that experiences must necessarily be of objects "out there," which in turn leads to the concept of the noumenal and thus the significant problems understanding the world around us that follow from this being being posited axiomatically. And this would probably be the biggest problem more direct theories of perception have as well. The relationship between man and "external objects," flows from axioms that might be questioned on grounds of their validity (or on charges of dogmatism). Plus, if you think there now exist better answers to Hume's challenges and you are unhappy with where Kant ends up (or different readings on Kant), going back to the drawing board for a new paradigm only makes sense.

    But aside from that, there seems plenty to pick over in Kant's cognitive anthropology even if we agree with some of his core intuitions. Might it be valid to say that what is often labeled in Kant as "a priori" might be better described using modern concepts of "unconscious" processes, a concept unavailable to Kant? There is an important distinction between "unrelated to the experience/environment" and "prior to recursive self-awareness," that didn't really exist prior to a better understanding of biology, and this distinction seems to have follow-on implications. It's sort of like how you might be sympathetic to Aristotle but think that our current understanding of the world requires that the foundational definition of essence needs to be reworked, and this will change a lot of things because much follows from/is built upon the foundational concept.
  • Mww
    4.5k
    ….“unconscious" processes, a concept unavailable to Kant?Count Timothy von Icarus

    “….a blind but indispensable function of the soul, without which we should have no cognition whatever, but of the working of which we are seldom even conscious….”

    “….For they pass, unconsciously, from the world of sense to the insecure ground of pure transcendental conception….”

    “….whether they be conscious or unconscious, be it of the manifold in intuition, sensuous or non-sensuous, or of several conceptions, is an act of the understanding….”

    He had a conception of the “unconscious”, and for “unconscious processes” nothing could be said anyway, so….
    —————

    Might it be valid to say that what is often labeled in Kant as "a priori" might be better described using modern concepts of "unconscious" processesCount Timothy von Icarus

    Even if it is valid to say, it remains whether the newly described terms are as sufficient in their support of the theory in which they originated, as the terms described under the original conditions are necessary for it. Modern conceptions grounding modern descriptions of formerly defined terms tend to refute, or at least obfuscate, the original theories. Might be called “re-structuring” though, in order to assuage conscience, which is tacit acknowledgement the original should have just been left alone. (yeah, I’m talkin’ to YOU, Arthur!!!).

    So, sure, to describe Kantian terms in modern understandings is just to have a newer theory. People been doing that since forever, right?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    So, sure, to describe Kantian terms in modern understandings is just to have a newer theory. People been doing that since forever, right?

    Certainly.

    He had a conception of the “unconscious”, and for “unconscious processes” nothing could be said anyway, so….

    Yes, but I don't think it's exactly the same. We can, in a roundabout, absential way, observe these processes. If you look at how people describe their experiences of agnosia, having major strokes, etc. they point to an absence of "innate" features of consciousness, but it's like trying to "see your own blind spot."

    The careful studies of different sorts of brain injuries and neurological disorders that has occurred since Kant's time has led to a different sort of conception of how these "innate" faculties are in some ways conditional on proper development and function. That doesn't negate the crucial insight that these lie posterior to any theorizing, but I don't actually think the whole modern focus on "beginning at the beginning" is actually helpful, which means an analysis of them shouldn't attempt to be totally presuppositionless or critical the way the German Idealists tended to go about things. This seems like a Cartesian foundationalist hangover.
  • frank
    14.5k
    For Hoffman, the core mistake would be the presupposition that experiences must necessarily be of objects "out there," which in turn leads to the concept of the noumenal and thus the significant problems understanding the world around us that follow from this being being posited axiomatically.Count Timothy von Icarus

    What would you replace that paradigm with?

    Plus, if you think there now exist better answers to Hume's challenges and you are unhappy with where Kant ends up (or different readings on Kant), going back to the drawing board for a new paradigm only makes sense.Count Timothy von Icarus

    I don't think there is a better solution to the problem of induction. Searle resorted to repeating Hume. What better answer did you have in mind?

    Might it be valid to say that what is often labeled in Kant as "a priori" might be better described using modern concepts of "unconscious" processes, a concept unavailable to Kant?Count Timothy von Icarus

    Innateness is pretty modern since Chomsky. Remember that Kant is part of the trunk of the western philosophy tree. Every philosopher since Kant has been influenced by him in some way, even if he was seen as something to defeat.

    I still think you're just sort of ignoring what's central about his epistemology. But good discussion! Thanks
  • Manuel
    3.9k
    yeah, I’m talkin’ to YOU, Arthur!!!Mww

    :angry:
  • Mww
    4.5k
    We can, in a roundabout, absential way, observe these (“unconscious”) processes.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Yes, but such are the exceptions to the rule, rather then a metaphysical, albeit speculative, establishment of it.
    ———-

    …I don't actually think the whole modern focus on "beginning at the beginning" is actually helpful….Count Timothy von Icarus

    Not helpful….in what context? I guess it depends on where “beginning” actually is, relative to whatever follows.
  • Mww
    4.5k


    HA!!! Yeah, sorry, bud. Just calls ‘em as I sees ‘em, donchaknow.

    I thought your Main Man was Chomsky anyway, so gimme credit for not throwing him under the transcendental bus, maybe?
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    :shade:

    It's all good. More flavor the merrier! :victory:
  • J
    165
    I don't want to lose sight of this exchange between Jamal and Hanover. Hanover is uneasy with the idea of an “intersubjective” way-station between individual subjectivity and some kind of “divine” objectivity which presumably would include knowledge of the noumena. I think the distinction Jamal is making is quite innocent, and conforms well with our experience and practice. I see a dog but for some reason have doubts. So I invite my neighbors to have a look. Together, we agree that I’m not deceived. Further doubts could resolved by a zoologist, post mortem, I suppose. But the point is that my increasing confidence in my subjective judgment never approaches statements about “reality” of the sort that concerns Hanover. We could all be deceived about the “reality” of the dog if you want to limit the use of “reality” to “what the noumena reveal”. But this isn’t how humans (other than philosophers!) operate, and Kant surely wasn’t doubting this intersubjective version of reality. On the contrary, his entire project is to make sense of it, to understand what would have to be the case in order for it to exist.

    As for the question about mistaken or invalid reasoning, this seems to me an argument in favor of intersubjectivity. It’s precisely by engaging in rational discussion with others that we’re able to correct our mistakes. Could we all be simultaneously mistaken? Sure, but only more rational investigation will tell. And same point as above: None of this back-and-forth around possible mistakes has any bearing on a “reality” that would put us in direct contact with Kant’s noumena.
  • Hanover
    11.9k
    I do think the pragmatists have laid to rest any concerns anyone should actually have over whether the dog really is there in a noumenal sense or whether it is just a pure expression of phenomena. I'm content to push on with the conversation regardless because I concede the point that the bulk of what I think about is ultimately irrelevant.

    So here's the best I've got:

    You've got a dog running about in the noumena but he does so outside of space and time because space and time are human constructs. So this dog is no where at no time, which might lead some to think he doesn't exist because existence requires that you be somewhere at some time.

    But such is my human error. The fact that I think the noumenal dog doesn't exist is because I'm a person and people can't comprehend without space and time, and so I can't say existence is dependent upon space and time. I can just say comprehension is dependent upon space and time.

    What this means is that there is a dog in the spaceless timeless but I have no earthly (literally) idea what that dog is. I might say that the noumenal dog "out there" caused the phenomenal dog "in here" once doggy dog gets a heaping helping of space and time in my head, but that would assume the noumenal dog is a causative agent of phenomenal dogs.

    If we can say that the noumenal dog is the causative agent of the phenomenal dog, that would be phenomenal (as in wonderful), but can we say that? If that be true, then maybe the dog is just an impluse, like what zippedy zaps throgh the computer to put a blip or blap on my screen. This is to suggest that the reduction of phenomena to predecessor noumenal impulses means the dog might just be my brain waves that precede my internal perception. If such be that, then how isn't that idealism, pray tell?

    To your initial point, I need know none of this to feed my dog, pet my dog, and remind my dog that he is such a good boy, but I do need to know what a dog is when he's in the woods and he falls and no one sees him.

    I just named my dog Phenomenomenomenomana. The word is best said sung. He used to be called Fred.
  • J
    165
    Love it! Can we see his picture? Well, not "his" picture, if by that you mean Noumenal Former Fred . . .

    Of course the Kantian analysis can be played for laughs. The question, if we want to be serious, remains whether some kind of intersubjective agreement is a sensible way of describing human "objective" knowledge.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    If such be that, then how isn't that idealism, pray tell?

    I slogged my way though a lot of Kant asking this question. So I found it amusing to find out that there are a significant number of Kantians who say "he was a subjective idealists, mystery solved" although some add to that "he just didn't know it/want to be one."

    But I don't feel like I have the expertise to say how credible these claims are.

    What I find neat is where 19th century phenominalist take this. They claim there is only phenomena. But what about the external world? Well this is just potential phenomena that may or may not be actualized. Historically, this view was very influenced by Kant, but the idea of external "matter" as potential informing the actualities that we perceived actually comes back around to start sounding a lot like Aristotle. Full circle I guess.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    Amongst other objectives, Kant wanted to squelch Hume's depiction of cause as only consisting of accidents and coincidence. David and Immanuel both accepted that Fred is real and not a figment of imagination. Immanuel says that the conditions of experience do not rule out asking how Fred appeared by necessity since Fred does not flicker in and out of immediate presence. But the ways we explore that idea is rimmed by a horizon we will never surpass.
  • Lionino
    849
    I'm mainly antagonistic to the Cartesian take on "res extensa" being utterly severed from mind stuff due to the former having extension in space but not the latter.javra

    And do smells necessarily have extension in space?Count Timothy von Icarus

    The question raised here is an interesting one, and I also take trouble with the split of res extensa and res cogitans. Here is my take on it from another thread if you are interested:

    the simple fact that we can tell where we are being touched just by feeling it hints that our mind has extensionality (it is not a substance without dimensions, 0D). It is not just that the mind has the idea of extension within it and that some interaction with our organs causes some idea of spatial localisation¹, but that experience itself can be located with coordinates x,y,z — we can isolate sight and smell and hearing to operations or projections of our 0D mind, but we can't do that with touch. Our mind would not just be a point of volume 0 in our "pineal gland", but extend everywhere where there is sense perception, from our scalp to the tip of our toes.Lionino

    Can one imagine a sound without any volume or pitch? Can we imagine a smell without odor?Count Timothy von Icarus

    In the topic of Descartes and thus Scholastics, volume and pitch would be attributes of the substance sound (and I might be abusing the term substance here), through which the mind can come to know sound, without which it cannot know sound. Odor however is synonymous with smell.
  • javra
    2.4k
    I'm mainly antagonistic to the Cartesian take on "res extensa" being utterly severed from mind stuff due to the former having extension in space but not the latter. — javra


    And do smells necessarily have extension in space? — Count Timothy von Icarus


    The question raised here is an interesting one, and I also take trouble with the split of res extensa and res cogitans.
    Lionino

    Apropos to directional smell, turns out research does evidence directional, else stereo, smell in humans. Given that most other mammals have a keener sense of smell than we do, I by this then infer that smell is generally directional, and, hence, spatial, in most lifeforms that are equipped with this physiological sense.
  • Lionino
    849
    Given that most other mammals have a keener sense of smell than we do, I by this then infer that smell is generally directional, and, hence, spatial, in most lifeforms that are equipped with this physiological sense.javra

    I was also thinking about smell and sound being directional. But I think that touch goes even beyond. When we hear something at our left or our right, we simply hear it, and that sound invokes the idea of left or right, the experience does feel like it is happening within your brain; but when it comes to touch, we can tell the actual experience is not in our brain but all over our body. Maybe that makes sense.
  • javra
    2.4k
    the simple fact that we can tell where we are being touched just by feeling it hints that our mind has extensionality (it is not a substance without dimensions, 0D). It is not just that the mind has the idea of extension within it and that some interaction with our organs causes some idea of spatial localisation¹, but that experience itself can be located with coordinates x,y,z — we can isolate sight and smell and hearing to operations or projections of our 0D mind, but we can't do that with touch.Lionino

    But I think that touch goes even beyond. When we hear something at our left or our right, we simply hear it, and that sound invokes the idea of left or right, the experience does feel like it is happening within your brain; but when it comes to touch, we can tell the actual experience is not in our brain but all over our body. Maybe that makes sense.Lionino

    I think it makes a lot of sense. I’ll complement what you’ve written by adding that via vision, for example, our body is other relative to us as first-person points of view (i.e., as conscious minds) that seem to be affixed to this perceptual other via the location of our eyes. It is only via touch that we as first-person points of view—i.e. as consciously aware beings—permeate throughout and are, as such, fully unified with our own bodies in an indisputable manner: such that we are here defined as that awareness which touches and anything we touch becomes other relative to us, thereby delimitating us as bodies (yes, this does get complicated by the touching of one’s own body, but the relation between subject of awareness being that which touches and its objects of awareness being that which is touched remains unchanged).

    Point being, only via touch do we hold immediate awareness of us conscious minds being unified with our physiological bodies via which we then experience otherness; in all other exteroceptive senses—sight, smell, and sound, included—we as conscious minds experience our own bodies as an object of awareness, i.e. as other, that then is automatically inferred to be perceptual experiences of one own physiological self.

    I’m not certain we could isolate sight, smell, sound, as occurring within a 0D mind as I interpret you describing (e.g., if sight is deemed to be a strictly mental occurrence, then the mind cannot be of zero dimensions, for it consists of sight which itself cannot be of zero dimensions ... or so it seems to me). That said, I too find touch to be a unique and highly underrated physiological sense—this, at the very least, in philosophies addressing the subject of perception.
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