• Possibility
    1.8k
    Basically, I think maybe the disagreement comes down to a confusion in terms. I suggest that "human reason itself" is different altogether (and is also confused itself) than the rationality inherent in the forms of art--their rationality is not "arbitrarily isolate[d]" by us; they are categorically independent from us, wrapped up in the means of art; free, if not from our opinion, from our control (our "meaning"), from our arbitrariness, and our falling into taste or mere experience. Whatever the reason you want/need to maintain a "subjective relation" (not capturedelieve in the Pleasant and the Sublime) we do not have a "variable" "relation" to knowledge of the forms of art (other than to know and use them). When I speak of possibilities of the forms, it is not a possibility to be rational, it is the open-ended possibilities of their rationality. And, again, this is not an "ontological" structure; there is no "object" in relation to the Beautiful (Witt's analogous "concepts" are not of a metaphysical or "objective" world). We do not make claims to "objectivity", we can make claims about art because of the rationality in their forms. A main point of mine is that there is rationality without the idea of "objectivity". In concert, our epistemology does not have to be more "accurate" so much as realize that knowledge in aesthetics does not ensure agreement, certainty, universality, etc. (what we philosophically have wanted from knowledge). This does not eat away at its sense of rationality as much as leave those things in our hands, up to our ability to evoke that rationality for others to see. Again, maybe this comes down to a misunderstanding that the rationality of the forms of art should not be confused with the critic giving us "reasons"--evidence, perspective, connections, etc.--to see the rationality inherent in the forms of art in the example of a work. We do not vary the structure, we vary in our capability or desire to discuss art in relation to its rational, formal structure.Antony Nickles

    I think perhaps most of this disagreement comes from my perspective as an artist, mainly because you (and, it appears, also Kant) talk about art as if the artist’s relation to the work is excluded, which I find difficult to reconcile to my own understanding of art. When I interpret Kant’s aesthetics, I tend to read that relation back into it. Needless to say, that’s my issue, not yours.

    I agree with your point that “there is rationality without the idea of ‘objectivity’”, and I think I have acknowledged this, while also pointing out that the OP question is regarding objectivity, not rationality. None of what I’m referring to is necessary for a rational discussion of art, but I think it’s relevant to a discussion of whether aesthetics can be objective. It seems, however, that this aspect does not concern you. From a critic’s view, the rationality of art is equal to its forms. From an artist’s view, the possibilities of aesthetic rationality may be constrained by the formal structures of art and aesthetic judgement.
  • Antony Nickles
    165

    I appreciate your resolve, but I believe I have addressed these concerns already. My point in all this was to shed light on the possibility of discussing art in a rational way. I have (Kant has) shown that there is more "objectivity" in aesthetics than most people would grant. Whatever you believe is excluded or constrained, I would only suggest that there is nothing left of that concept except the desire for the type of conclusions which created it.
  • Joshs
    948
    Hang on - I’m not talking about a normative perspective, but the possibility of a normative understanding (a developing rationality) that seeks to orient differentiated perspectives in a rational, overarching (and irreducible) structurePossibility

    Would I be correct in assuming that you are a realist( I understand there are many varieties of it)? In other words, that you believe with Kant that , while we can never attain the thing in itself, progress in human knowledge possible as an asymptotic goal via successive approximations? More specifically, do you believe that our models attempt to mirror or correspond to an independently existing reality?

    If so, then I assume you reject various relativisms( postmodernism, etc) that argue reason and logic rest
    on arbitrary , ungroundable assumptions , and that you prefer Popper’s Kantian notion of scientific process through falsification over Kuhn and Feyerabend’s post-Hegelian claims that science does not ‘progress’ but changes in arbitrary ways through paradigm shifts?
  • Possibility
    1.8k
    Would I be correct in assuming that you are a realist( I understand there are many varieties of it)? In other words, that you believe with Kant that, while we can never attain the thing in itself, progress in human knowledge possible as an asymptotic goal via successive approximations? More specifically, do you believe that our models attempt to mirror or correspond to an independently existing reality?Joshs

    A structural realist - I believe that the ‘independently existing reality’ we attempt to render is ontologically a relational structure, and nothing more. Successive approximations of knowledge can be viewed as heuristic devices in navigating this structure of relations.

    If so, then I assume you reject various relativisms( postmodernism, etc) that argue reason and logic rest on arbitrary, ungroundable assumptions, and that you prefer Popper’s Kantian notion of scientific process through falsification over Kuhn and Feyerabend’s post-Hegelian claims that science does not ‘progress’ but changes in arbitrary ways through paradigm shifts?Joshs

    Not reject, no. I think that relativistic thought is as important to progress in human knowledge as approximations of that knowledge, and that the constraints of reason and logic constitute a limited view of potentiality that amounts to quanta-like ‘paradigm shifts’ in the observation of scientific change.
  • Possibility
    1.8k
    Even so, with that moveability, which I understand, I am left with this seemingly unrelated moveability, which I do not......

    So Kant synthesised human knowledge (...) and even rendered it moveable (by phenomena) in relation to possible knowledge of reality (noumena)
    — Possibility

    ......insofar as, according to Kant, there is no knowledge of noumenal reality possible for intelligences imbued with merely discursive understanding, such as is claimed for humans. Would I be correct in supposing you mean, that because of the speculative predication of phenomena, human knowledge is restricted to a sensory-determinant empirical domain, in effect removing it from any noumenal reality? That actually does make sense to me, in spite of the inconsistency explicit in the concept of “moveability”.
    Mww

    I may be reading more into Kant than is warranted, but I don’t think he believed humans were as constrained by discursive understanding as CPR suggested with regard to noumena. Nevertheless, by isolating human perspective as a rational structure from noumenal reality - in the same way that Copernicus used mathematics - the qualitative aspects of phenomenal experience are rendered as an unstructured variability or indeterminacy in our knowledge of the nature of objects. Where Copernicus structured this variability in the temporal dimension (as motion), Kant structured this aspect of human perception in an additional dimension of affect or feeling.
  • Mww
    2k
    I don’t think he believed humans were as constrained by discursive understanding as CPR suggested with regard to noumena.Possibility

    Hmmm....yeah, I can see that. Understanding itself is not constrained with respect to noumena; it is allowed that understanding thinks objects belonging to the categories, and those objects would be called noumena. On the other hand, if the categories can only apply to phenomena, and phenomena are the only possible objects of experience, and objects of understanding called noumena are themselves not phenomena, then it follows noumena cannot be cognized as objects of experience.

    “....But, in this case, a noumenon is not a particular intelligible object for our understanding; on the contrary, the kind of understanding to which it could belong is itself a problem, for we cannot form the most distant conception of the possibility of an understanding which should cognize an object, not discursively by means of categories, but intuitively in a non-sensuous intuition....”

    So we are constrained by discursive understanding with respect to cognitions, but understanding itself is not constrained with respect to noumena as general conceptions.
    ——————

    Kant structured this aspect of human perception in an additional dimension of affect or feeling.Possibility

    Yes, he did. But at the same time, he had precious little respect for the burgeoning science of psychology, which makes me wonder why he felt the need to examine purely subjective conditions with which this aspect of human perception concerns itself, albeit outside moral considerations. Transcendental moral philosophy is necessarily predicated on subjective conditions, sure, but knowledge of calculus and dump trucks? Or, our feeling of the beautiful/sublime inspired by them? Ehhh.....not so sure about that. Seems all he did was take the transcendental doctrine of a faculty of judgement with respect to empirical cognitions, and transplanted it into an a priori ground for something beyond itself.

    Still, in the preface to the A critique, he made it a point to have “.....the intention of erecting a complete and solid edifice of metaphysical science...”, elaborated in the B preface, “.....attempt to introduce a complete revolution in the procedure of metaphysics, after the example of the geometricians and natural philosophers....”.

    So I suppose all that in the CofJ is how such completion is attained.
  • Possibility
    1.8k
    Understanding itself is not constrained with respect to noumena; it is allowed that understanding thinks objects belonging to the categories, and those objects would be called noumena. On the other hand, if the categories can only apply to phenomena, and phenomena are the only possible objects of experience, and objects of understanding called noumena are themselves not phenomena, then it follows noumena cannot be cognized as objects of experience.

    “....But, in this case, a noumenon is not a particular intelligible object for our understanding; on the contrary, the kind of understanding to which it could belong is itself a problem, for we cannot form the most distant conception of the possibility of an understanding which should cognize an object, not discursively by means of categories, but intuitively in a non-sensuous intuition....”

    So we are constrained by discursive understanding with respect to cognitions, but understanding itself is not constrained with respect to noumena as general conceptions.
    Mww

    By the same token, we are constrained by determining judgement with respect to objects of sense, but judgement itself (on reflection) is not constrained with respect to noumena as aesthetics.

    But at the same time, he had little precious respect for the burgeoning science of psychology, which makes me wonder why he felt the need to examine purely subjective conditions with which this aspect of human perception concerns itself, albeit outside moral considerations. Transcendental moral philosophy is necessarily predicated on subjective conditions, sure, but knowledge of calculus and dump trucks? Or, our feeling of the beautiful/sublime inspired by them?Ehhh.....not so sure about that. Seems all he did was take the transcendental doctrine of a faculty of judgement with respect to empirical cognitions, and transplanted it into an a priori ground for something beyond itself.Mww

    I think psychology in Kant’s time was based on introspection and the equivocation of rational and empirical information, so it isn’t surprising that he saw little there in the way of science. And I don’t think Kant saw his approach to feeling as examining ‘purely subjective’ conditions, but instead he perceived in their variability (when isolated/abstracted from noumenal reality and attributed to our knowledge of objects/concepts) the possibility of building on our rational structures of knowledge, just as Copernicus did.

    I would argue that human knowledge of calculus and dump trucks were both originally predicated on ‘subjective’ conditions - those conditions built on rational structure when we attributed their variability (differentiation) to previously consolidated knowledge. This is the point that CofJ approaches but doesn’t follow through on: for Kant, all human knowledge is a rational structure abstracted from noumenal reality through a process that is most accurately predicated on the qualitative variability of conditions for integrating information being attributed to previously consolidated knowledge - variation in our perspective of knowledge, rather than as external ‘forces’. Kant argues that a priori knowledge (what we appear to ‘just know’) can be synthetic, and demonstrates this synthesis by converting qualitative variability in phenomenal experience into a rational structure. In my own constructionist view this allows for all a priori knowledge to be understood as synthetic - but there is no allowance for this in Kant’s anthropocentric perspective of knowledge.

    We are so accustomed to learning via the rational structure of knowledge that we sometimes forget how much we learned to identify initially by qualitative relation: including early language and objects, shapes, colours, faces, sounds, etc. A look at Lisa Feldman Barrett’s theory of constructed emotion might shed some neuroscientific light on this argument, but I digress...

    Still, in the preface to the A critique, he made it a point to have “.....the intention of erecting a complete and solid edifice of metaphysical science...”, elaborated in the B preface, “.....attempt to introduce a complete revolution in the procedure of metaphysics, after the example of the geometricians and natural philosophers....”.

    So I suppose all that in the CofJ is how such completion is attained.
    Mww

    I think the change in his use of terms here is interesting. In the A preface, his intention was to complete the structure itself; in the B preface, his intention was to complete a revolution of the procedure - suggesting a recognition that his intended structure may not be as ‘solid’ or ‘complete’ as he had presumed - or perhaps that it was more of a scientific process rather than a fixed body of knowledge.

    CofJ journeys through the four moments of aesthetics to a state of ‘free play’ between the faculties of imagination and understanding in relation to the faculty of judgement - suggesting that what in CPR he had described as the capacity to distinguish whether something falls under a given rule is in fact part of the process by which those rules are given.
  • Mww
    2k
    Kant argues that a priori knowledge (what we appear to ‘just know’) can be synthetic......

    A priori knowledge can be synthetic...yes. A priori knowledge can also be analytic.

    .....and demonstrates this synthesis by converting qualitative variability in phenomenal experience into a rational structure.....

    Is there another way to say: demonstrates this synthesis by converting qualitative variability in phenomenal experience into a rational structure? This would be good to know, in order for me to understand why such synthesis allows all a priori knowledge to be synthetic. Sure, you could use qualitative phenomenal experience to justify “to fall up contradicts gravity”, but why would you? And what about a priori knowledge by which no phenomenal experience is at all possible, re: all parts of space are themselves each a space”, yet still has a rational or logical structure?

    .....In my own constructionist view this allows for all a priori knowledge to be understood as synthetic - but there is no allowance for this in Kant’s anthropocentric perspective of knowledge.
    Possibility

    Which is fine, depending on what you mean by constructionist, given that the concept exemplifies the difference between some speculative epistemology in metaphysics based on reason, and some psychology of learning in the physical world based on experience alone. Although, it might be hard to disseminate how all a priori knowledge is the kind of knowledge susceptible to being learned, as opposed to being merely thought. Might be what Kant had in mind with:

    “....For it would be absurd to think of grounding an analytical judgement on experience....”

    So does your constructionist perspective deny analytic a priori knowledge?

    Yes, we learn from a young age by means of qualitative relation, and I suppose psychology has more to say about it than philosophy.
  • LuckyR
    46
    If you address a "subjective" issue like aesthetics, statistically, psychologically and neurologically, there are clearly objective aspects to it. However since a portion of the mix is based on life experience and those are quite varied, it will appear almost random and thus resemble a wholely subjective entity.

    Another unrelated complication is that there is the phenomenon of painful stimuli triggering a positive response, which though quantifiable, makes the final analysis appear random as it cancels out tradition evaluation.
  • Possibility
    1.8k
    Which is fine, depending on what you mean by constructionist, given that the concept exemplifies the difference between some speculative epistemology in metaphysics based on reason, and some psychology of learning in the physical world based on experience alone. Although, it might be hard to disseminate how all a priori knowledge is the kind of knowledge susceptible to being learned, as opposed to being merely thought. Might be what Kant had in mind with:

    “....For it would be absurd to think of grounding an analytical judgement on experience....”

    So does your constructionist perspective deny analytic a priori knowledge?

    Yes, we learn from a young age by means of qualitative relation, and I suppose psychology has more to say about it than philosophy.
    Mww

    While I would agree with Kant’s statement, I think any assumption that analytic a priori knowledge is the essence of language concepts ignores the possibility that significant concepts such as ‘body’ and ‘extension’ may in fact be constructed from qualitative relations of experience into a consolidating capacity for self-consciousness, language and reason. Consider the notion of ‘priori/posteriori’ as a temporal relation to information, and the difference between analytic and synthetic is one of awareness with regards to consolidation. If we let go of an assumption that only humans or other self-conscious organisms can integrate information we consolidate as ‘knowledge’, and recognise the capacity of simpler organisms to synthesise (without necessarily consolidating) information we consider to be ‘a priori knowledge’, then this speculation may not be so much of a stretch. I’m afraid there’s a lot to unpack here, though.

    Still, I’m intrigued by this seeming reluctance of philosophers to venture into the domain of psychology. Are they worried about what they might find, or simply resisting based on the historical criticisms that Kant espoused? I think that grounding a psychological theory of conceptual development on empirical neuroscientific research in relation to the possibility of rational structures of affect/introspection may be an approach of which even Kant would approve (which is partly why I find Barrett’s theory so compelling).
  • thewonder
    537

    Engaging in the pathology of what recorded version of the play, Hamlet, is "objectively" the best for long enough never to want to think along such lines again is how you can liberate yourself from ever feeling the need to ask such an absurd question.
  • Mww
    2k
    reluctance of philosophers to venture into the domain of psychology.Possibility

    One informs the intellect, the other insults it? Opinion only, of course.
    Philosopher: I can tell you how I think.
    Psychologist: I can tell you how you think.

    Kant would never concede a relation between empirical neurological research and pure reason. At the same time, if he had any knowledge of empirical neurological research, it is unlikely he would have spent 12 years developing transcendental philosophy. Still, that particular bell can never be unrung.
    ————

    I’m afraid there’s a lot to unpack here, though.Possibility

    True enough, and starting with the recognition of anthropomorphism. The bane of good philosophy, but conveniently overlooked in the other sciences. What warrant have we to classify the mental capacities of lesser animals, ref. Nagel, 1974. No matter what we think about how lesser animals process information, such thinking is only possible from the way we think about anything at all. It looks to us as if dolphins enjoy surfing, and it looks to us like eagles play catch with their catch. Might be nothing but another kind of observer problem.

    You ask what if we let go of the assumption only higher intelligence animals synthesize information a priori; I say the strictly human criteria by which lesser animals synthesize information a priori, can never be met.

    Still fun to talk about, though. As long as nobody claims to have all the answers.
  • tim wood
    6k
    What warrant have we to classify the mental capacities of lesser animals,Mww
    Well, of animals that appear to have mental capacities (very much to be clarified), it seems to me not that they are different in kind, but in degree. (I'm thinking) Kant appealed to reason in itself - the reasonable being - obviously exemplified in human thinking, but not thereby exhausted by it.

    The more and more closely we look, the more we find animals doing smart things. I'm guessing much that vexes us when at leisure they don't consider or worry about. But lots of animals have to figure out how to be, and become very clever at being, themselves - something many people don't do so well.

    But I do not know what Nagel said. If he said animals are not lesser humans, no issue here. If he said they don't think or reason, or that such that they do is nowhere on any continuum of intelligence that includes human thinking, then what warrant not to dismiss him out-of-hand, because I have seen with my own eyes....
  • Mww
    2k
    of animals that appear to have mental capacities (very much to be clarified), it seems to me not that they are different in kind, but in degree.tim wood

    Sneakers and loafers are both shoes, but they are different kinds of shoes. A size 3 shoe is different in degree than a size 11 shoe of the same kind, but neither of them fit a size 9 foot.

    Report that a car just hit a mailbox, first thing you’ll be asked is....what kind of car was it? If degree was more important, you would have been asked....how hard was the mailbox hit?

    Doesn’t matter the degree of a brain; it matters what it is capable of, and kinds of brains have different kinds of capabilities. Degree would matter regarding the same kind of brain, it’s general capabilities being developmentally predicated on evolution, long term, or merely common experience, short term. A hummingbird brain is never going to evolve enough, nor experience the requisite preliminaries, to do calculus.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Complexity is just another word for degree. Did you know and elephant has more neural connections than a human, and he can’t even write his own name. An orangutan has only slightly fewer neural connections in a brain roughly the same size as a human, but he picks his nose in public, fercrissakes!!!!

    Territorial animals will kill interlopers of their own kind, and matriarch lionesses apparently torture an interloping female lion before allowing the rest of the pride to kill it. Does that grant a human the warrant to suppose such animals have a moral disposition, when, as far as he knows, it is only himself that supposes moral dispositions per se?

    A whale dives hundreds of feet for squid. Does that grant a human warrant to suppose a whale knows a priori, to hold his breath, when a human knows a priori, not that he must hold his breath underwater, that being merely instinct, but rather, what will happen if he doesn’t? Odd, isn’t it, that young whales don’t attempt to dive with the adults, but does that give a human the warrant to suppose the youngster thereby knows a priori he is at the mercy of orcas?
    ——————

    because I have seen with my own eyes....tim wood

    ....and whatever you’ve seen, and therefore anything derived from it, is bound by your own cognitive system. You have not the means to judge by any other system whatsoever. So......what exactly have you seen? Nothing but that which is within the bounds of your system to report, which can tell you nothing about any other reporting system unlike yours. Which is what we’re talking about here, at bottom: @possibility and his a priori information synthesizing capabilities.
    ——————

    Nagel 1974: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/study/ugmodules/humananimalstudies/lectures/32/nagel_bat.pdf
  • tim wood
    6k
    Thank you for the reference.

    This much will do for present purpose:
    "I have said that the essence of the belief that bats have experience is that there is something that it is like to be a bat. Now we know that most bats... perceive the external world primarily by sonar,... But bat sonar, though clearly a form of perception, is not similar in its operation to any sense that we possess, and there is no reason to suppose that it is subjectively like anything we can experience or imagine. This appears to create difficulties for the notion of what it is like to be a bat. We must consider whether any method will permit us to extrapolate to the inner life of the bat from our own case, and if not, what alternative methods there may be for understanding the notion....
    ", it seems unlikely that any physical theory of mind can be contemplated until more thought has been given to the general problem of subjective and objective. Otherwise we cannot even pose the mindbody problem without sidestepping it."
    ----------------------------------------------
    Phenomenology, subjectivity, inner life, what-it-is-like-to-be. Nagel appears to have addressed the possibility of us having bat experiences and concluded we cannot. No complaint here. You appear to have extended this to reason. Watch the first seventeen seconds of this Youtube video,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8b1hQlKRFY&t=299s

    and tell me that no reason is manifested there. Of course this is one of many, many examples.

    I'm thinking Kant actually referred to reasoning/reasonable beings (no citation), in which category he apparently thought people belonged. Now to be sure in extending human reason categorically he may have been extending it upwards to angels and God, but why not also downwards? And insofar as many animals have brains like people, why should not his general descriptions of how knowledge and understanding work not also apply generally to those animals? This not to confuse or conflate human and non-human animal thinking, but to suppose they have some things in common, among them what might be called a general capacity for reason: people reasoning for people, cat for cat, dog for dog, and so forth. And it would seem that to deny it would create the problem of naming just what it is an octopus is doing when it escapes a cage, or a cat opening a door or a cabinet where its food is kept.
  • Mww
    2k
    tell me that no reason is manifested theretim wood

    Reason by what standard? If ours, then surely not; we don’t know how our own reason works, assuming there is such a thing that isn’t merely a premise in a metaphysical theory. That something is happening between our ears there can be no doubt, but whatever is happening is at the same time the very thing that tells us what is happening, so we have a thing representing itself. In other words, we’re telling ourselves what ourselves are telling us. So we’re going to gain something, are we, by using that gross circularity to tell us about the exact same thing but in a different situation under different conditions? I think not, mon ami.
    ———

    You appear to have extended this to reason.tim wood

    There is no use whatsoever for inventing concepts like understanding, consciousness, synthesis, experience, knowledge.....reason itself, except as means for US, as humans, to relate to other things. So presumptuous of us, on the one hand, and absolutely necessary on the other, if you ask me, to use concepts relating to humans for their own purpose, in observing the operation of animals nothing like us except for being of alive and taking up space.

    It would be impossible to talk about experiences in other animals, if we hadn’t already determined what the concept entails, and we can only determine what the concept entails, when we relate it to ourselves. We invented it....what else could it be applied to, sufficient to justify its invention?

    Is there another kind of reason in other kinds of animals? Could be, but....so what? We can’t do anything with it, we can only make inferences pursuant to observation, from which we know nothing of its reasoning, that isn’t in fact contingent on our own. As you say...cat for cat, dog for dog, and so forth.

    Now, the common rejoinder is, because all biological entities are composed of the same elemental chemistry, they must obey the same physical laws. It follows that because all brains operate under the same physical conditions, it must be the case that the manifestations of their operations must have an intrinsic congruence. But logic informs us that a condition being necessary is not the same as being sufficient, which means if we can find a situation of disparity for similar possibilities, it may simply be a case of insufficiency. Now it becomes a matter of lesser animals meeting the condition of necessity, but lacking the condition of sufficiency, and BOO-YA!!!....animals in fact might reason, just of a different kind than, and therefore unavailable to fundamental examination by, humans.

    But I ramble. Old people do that a lot, I’m here to tell ya.

    Oh.......did you see the fireworks in DC last night? Man, that was the most intense display I’ve ever seen. Most impressive, I must say. ‘Course...I don’t get out much, so there is that.
  • tim wood
    6k
    So we’re going to gain something, are we, by using that gross circularity to tell us about the exact same thing but in a different situation under different conditions? I think not,Mww
    And might well you think, but why (exactly) not? ("There are more things....")

    There is no use whatsoever for inventing concepts like understanding, consciousness, synthesis, experience, knowledge.....reason itself, except as means for US, as humans, to relate to other things.Mww
    Do we or does anything we know of do anything other than relate to other things?

    But logic informs usMww
    You may remember a line from an old sci-fi movie, which I here paraphrase, "Logic is not the master."

    If I read you right, reason seems to be a real something, but in itself a black box. No doubt scalpeled down and laid out it will nothing appear as what we think of as reason. But as you say, "So what?" Whatever reason is, I think we do it. By all appearances and standards, cats, dogs, and lots of other animals also appear to "do it." And pursuing the matter deep into phyla, we may find a need to define reason, but not yet I hope. So we have a name, "reason," for something we think underlies certain behaviours. But,
    Is there another kind of reason in other kinds of animals? Could be, but....so what? We can’t do anything with it,Mww
    Care to reconsider this? I am from other posts of yours 110% convinced that you're right and I'm wrong. In the present instance, however, your expression of that appears to have me right. Please mend, I'd rather know than be right.
  • Mww
    2k
    I think not,
    — Mww
    And might well you think, but why (exactly) not? ("There are more things....")
    tim wood

    Horatio here, and all I’m sayin’ is, given gross circularity, that which is derived from it cannot be any more certain then the circularity itself permits. It is still the case that reason tells us what reason is, which is the gross part of the circularity. Poor choice of adjective, maybe.
    (years ago, a guy initiated me on the geometry of asymtotic lines. I had thought reason to be circular, but what if it was generally circular but at the same time asymtotic, which gives a spiral? It would seem from this that reason could be the cause of itself but still progress be means of itself. Then I got lost in the complexities and didn’t follow through on it. Anyway.....)
    ————-

    Do we or does anything we know of do anything other than relate to other things?tim wood

    Relation is a cognitive term, so relation only means anything when thought is involved. To ask whether things relate when we don’t think abut them doesn’t make any sense. Best we can do is profess ignorance.
    ————-

    Logic is not the master.tim wood

    It is the master of our kind of thinking. Theoretically anyway. Can there be a method for human thinking that has no logical base?
    ————

    Is there another kind of reason in other kinds of animals? Could be, but....so what? We can’t do anything with it,
    — Mww
    Care to reconsider this?
    tim wood

    In what way? Where would I start? Help me out?
  • tim wood
    6k
    In what way? Where would I start? Help me out? Is there another kind of reason in other kinds of animals? Could be, but....so what? We can’t do anything with it,Mww

    Well, the cat in the video solved a problem, but more than that are working border collies and seeing-eye dogs. And it seems strange to me you would reserve reason to humans. Human reasoning, arguably, but surely not all reasoning. Are you prepared to say we're the only beings in the universe able to reason?
    given gross circularity, that which is derived from it cannot be any more certain then the circularity itself permits.Mww
    Consider what you consider certain. That certainty must be subject to the same critique, Does that suddenly make you feel less certain?

    Until I grasp the reason in your argument, I shall fail to find it reasonable. Perhaps back to the ground. Do you say that dogs, e.g., are incapable of reason or capable of reason (near as you can tell)?

    Edit: And I found this, "No one should fault you for that. So what....there isn’t any behind the scenes going on, or there is but it doesn’t manifest in applying criteria? There must be a behind the scenes or the notion of being conscious is meaningless. So it reduces to.....what is going on behind the scenes if not the application of criteria?" And what else that but a kind of reasoning?
  • Mww
    2k
    And it seems strange to me you would reserve reason to humans.tim wood

    Actually, I’m only reserving reason we can know about, to humans. I did say animals may have their own kind of reason, but even if they did, we couldn’t do anything with it.

    Do you say that dogs, e.g., are incapable of reason or capable of reason (near as you can tell)?tim wood

    Incapable of reason as it is understood by humans.

    Are you prepared to say we're the only beings in the universe able to reason?tim wood

    Oh hell no!!! But of all the creatures we know about, and in consideration of what we know about them, we are the only ones with the capacity to consciously create both the means and the ends of our behaviors, as opposed to mere reaction to instinct or training.
    —————-

    given gross circularity, that which is derived from it cannot be any more certain then the circularity itself permits.
    — Mww
    Consider what you consider certain. That certainty must be subject to the same critique, Does that suddenly make you feel less certain?
    tim wood

    What I consider certain is the impossibility of it being otherwise. From there, the only things I consider certain are the three laws of logical thought. I don’t think the laws are subject to the same critique as that to which the laws apply, but they are subject to the same circularity. Reason tells us what the laws are, then uses the laws to tells us what reason does. Do I now feel less certain? No, I can’t allow myself that, because if I do, I have no ground whatsoever on which to justify anything at all.

    You know....The Esteemed Professor himself says, just because we think the world a certain way doesn’t mean it couldn’t be any other way.
  • tim wood
    6k
    What I consider certain is the impossibility of it being otherwise.Mww
    For your consideration, Bell's Theorem and Bell's inequality. It turns out that what as a matter of logic cannot be, is the ordinary and usual process of the world. And while I hate reference to quantum physics in this kind of discussion, my defense here is that there is nothing whatsoever quantum about the tests themselves and the results of the measurements. Or as you have it, "just because we think the world a certain way doesn’t mean it couldn’t be any other way."

    Or Haldane, "“The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine—it is queerer than we can imagine.”

    But our difference seems to be on reason. And in this like two worms in the same apple that haven't met. (I think) you allow people can reason. You allow animals maybe reason. But it appears you allow for no commonality between the two reasons, as if these were homonyms.

    Immanence and transcendence come to mind here. And it cannot be exclusively one or the other. If reason is immanent only in people, then either it is transcendent among people, or immanent in each individual. If transcendent, then how limited only to people? If immanent, then there is in essence no such thing as reason, but only behaviour. (This adapted from Collingwood, The Idea of Nature, pp. 60-65.)

    Agreed, reason known only by its tracks - no one has ever seen reason. And agreed, individual tracks allow of some variation. But bear tracks are never deer tracks are never fox tracks, & etc. Reason leaves its own tracks (and as with animals in the woods, sometimes more besides!). And these irreducibly reason, notwithstanding age, shape, size. Which leaves the conclusions 1) that non-human animals reason, and 2) that any difference is within a whole that is reason.

    Crows, or some of them, can apparently manage one through seven; Koko, sign language.

    Having now fired my arrow, I am resolved to stand still and patiently await yours, to see if there is in the bow or the arm that draws it, strength to distance the target, accuracy to hit it, and force to register upon it. Yours Gridley!
  • Mww
    2k


    I bow to your esteemed Admiral-ness. I have not the range nor caliber for such registry.

    I might request you trounce that pretentious Kantian wannabe over yonder, for I, but for being entrenched in this rotten Manila harbor, fain would myself sally forth to partake of particularly destructive broadsides.

    HA!!! That was fun. Silly....but fun.
  • Possibility
    1.8k
    One informs the intellect, the other insults it? Opinion only, of course.
    Philosopher: I can tell you how I think.
    Psychologist: I can tell you how you think.
    Mww

    I can see that, sure - but I would argue that it is this territory that still needs to be mapped if we’re to bridge the gap between philosophy and science. This, I think, is why Kant ventured an exploration of affect.

    Kant would never concede a relation between empirical neurological research and pure reason. At the same time, if he had any knowledge of empirical neurological research, it is unlikely he would have spent 12 years developing transcendental philosophy. Still, that particular bell can never be unrung.Mww

    Point taken.

    True enough, and starting with the recognition of anthropomorphism. The bane of good philosophy, but conveniently overlooked in the other sciences. What warrant have we to classify the mental capacities of lesser animals, ref. Nagel, 1974. No matter what we think about how lesser animals process information, such thinking is only possible from the way we think about anything at all. It looks to us as if dolphins enjoy surfing, and it looks to us like eagles play catch with their catch. Might be nothing but another kind of observer problem.

    You ask what if we let go of the assumption only higher intelligence animals synthesize information a priori; I say the strictly human criteria by which lesser animals synthesize information a priori, can never be met.

    Still fun to talk about, though. As long as nobody claims to have all the answers.
    Mww

    Why must it be strictly human criteria, though? I agree that there may be a kind of observer problem occurring here - this is why I keep going back to Copernicus. No matter what Copernicus could observe in how the planets moved, such observations were only possible from the way he observed anything at all. But he recognised that the variability in the way he observed the motion of the planets was one of many possible perspectives of the same system. So he structured the relativity of conditions under which we made observations of heavenly bodies to inform our prediction of motion. From that relational structure, he was able to imagine similar conditions for alternative perspectives, and develop a broader rational structure that more accurately predicted our observations.

    There’s no reason why we can’t do the same thing here. Copernicus enabled us to structure a human perspective of a body’s motion in a consolidation of space, then Newton adjusted for this and restructured it in a broader awareness of time. Darwin enabled us to structure a human perspective of potential in a consolidation of change, then Einstein adjusted for this and restructured time’s relativity in a broader awareness of potential. Kant enabled us to structure a human perspective of knowledge, value and potential in a consolidation of reason. What is required now is to adjust for and restructure the relativity of those conditions for human reasoning in a broader awareness of knowledge, value or potential. Kant’s aesthetics - despite his anthropocentric conclusions - allows us to imagine possible non-human conditions for alternative perspectives of meaning, and develop a broader rational structure that more accurately predicts how we conceptualise reality.

    We cannot make claims about what animals ‘know’, how they ‘think’ or what they ‘feel’. But then, we can’t make these claims about each other, either (a la psychology). I cannot even make consistent claims about what I know, think or feel with any certainty. It is the qualitative variability in these claims - how what I ‘feel’ affects what I can ‘think’ and what I can ‘know’ in each moment - which Barrett re-structures into a rational theory that, unlike Kant, plugs back into empirical intuition. She has Kant’s aesthetics to thank for the sense her theory makes at the philosophical/idealism end, and current neuroscience to thank for the sense it makes at the scientific/materialism end.

    I’m confident that information and quantum theories - as much as I understand the reluctance to bring these into philosophical discussions - are also important contributors to this endeavour. The reason they’re so troublesome is the same reason we haven’t progressed much from Kant: our structures of language and grammar fail us for certainty at this level. But what these theories do is structure alternative perspectives of knowledge, value and potential that transcend Kant’s consolidation of human reason.

    I’ll make a comment on your interesting discussion with @tim wood here, if I may:

    Relation is a cognitive term, so relation only means anything when thought is involved. To ask whether things relate when we don’t think abut them doesn’t make any sense. Best we can do is profess ignorance.Mww

    I don’t see relation as an exclusively cognitive term - just because we’re not thinking about a relation, doesn’t mean we don’t feel it, or that it has no effect on our intuition, and therefore our structure of knowledge, value or potential. We may not achieve justifiable certainty, but we can’t afford to plead ignorance here, either. Kant’s aesthetics structures the capacity for what we feel to interact with our faculties of imagination and understanding without interference from judgement. Barrett then re-structures this affect in terms of attention and effort, enabling it to inform both empirical and cognitive intuition from the interoceptive network. Ignorance is not the best we can do - not by a long shot. That’s been my point.
  • Mww
    2k
    Kant’s aesthetics structures the capacity for what we feel to interact with our faculties of imagination and understanding without interference from judgement.Possibility

    All good and well said. If anything, I might take exception to your statement with this:

    “....Whether now the Judgement, which in the order of our cognitive faculties forms a mediating link between Understanding and Reason, has also principles a priori for itself; whether these are constitutive or merely regulative (thus indicating no special realm); and whether they give a rule a priori to the feeling of pleasure and pain, as the mediating link between the cognitive faculty and the faculty of desire (just as the Understanding prescribes laws a priori to the first, Reason to the second); these are the questions with which the present Critique of Judgement is concerned....”

    It is clear Kant attributes to judgement different areas of concern, one area definitely given in the cognitive, the other of no special area in the aesthetic. Buried in the text is the exposition that regulative judgment does interfere.....arbitrate?....so to speak, regarding the condition given from the appearance of an object and how the subject feels about it.

    “....because the Understanding necessarily proceeds according to its nature without any design; yet, on the other hand, the discovery that two or more empirical heterogeneous laws of nature may be combined under one principle comprehending them both, is the ground of a very marked pleasure, often even of an admiration, which does not cease, though we may be already quite familiar with the objects of it. (....) There is then something in our judgements upon nature which makes us attentive to its purposiveness for our Understanding — an endeavour to bring, where possible, its dissimilar laws under higher ones, though still always empirical — and thus, if successful, makes us feel pleasure in that harmony of these with our cognitive faculty...”

    And because we already know imagination is responsible for the synthesis upon which judgement acts, and feelings of pleasure is a synthesis, it follows that judgement acts on feelings. It’s all in the text, if one can dig it out, and then accept what’s dug out.

    And here’s why. I guess. Seems to me anyway. The account for any term of art whatsoever, are all necessarily derivable a priori from phenomena, yet objects themselves merely from the properties by which they are known, cannot render to us our feelings, our subjective condition, illicited because of those properties alone. We are hardly amazed that a basketball is spherical, but we may be stupefied to cause a spheroid to drop through a circle 50 feet away.

    CofJ is long and dense to the point of impenetrability, so I might have it all wrong, or at least arguable. I don’t claim to be certain, so forgive me for appearing that way.
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