• Gregory
    4.6k
    1) saying that reality must have cause is very western, thomistic, Kantian,.and wrong. Kant attacked Spinoza as much as Hume. Hume didn't like the God noumena of Sponoza, but objects can move as.spontaneously as a deity if Spinoza was right

    2) scientist slip up all the time and say like "we will use this math instead.of that one". I'm convinced they use The Secret and if we are God, that makes sense. It's so bizarre they think they can prove the cosmological things within a materialistic paradigm. Math describes matter in a very limited precise way

    Morning thoughts
  • Kenosha Kid
    3.2k
    If he’d made it just another few years, he might have been the one to notice tossing an object out the window of his railcar didn’t appear anywhere near the same to him as it did to his manservant watching him ride away. The guy was a peer-reviewed scientist after all, even if his legacy is philosophy.Mww

    This was well known from Gallileo's Two New Sciences two hundred years before Kant. Although not on a train, obviously.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.6k
    If we give up any notion of noumenal properties besides a persistent propensity to produce particular kinds of phenomena to particular kinds of observers in particular contexts, then this whole problem goes away. By observing phenomena we are directly learning about the noumena, what kinds of phenomena they produce to whom and when, which is all we could possibly have reason to care about or to suppose might exist.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    saying that reality must have cause is very western, thomistic, Kantian,.and wrong.Gregory

    Kant said every effect must have a cause. I don’t imagine he said reality had a cause.

    In Kantian epistemology, reality, in and of itself, without modifiers or qualifications, is a category, a “pure concept of the understanding”, and accordingly, has no object of its own by which it is empirically known. Instead, they have schemata, by which they are thought. As such, no category, and by association, reality, can be either a cause or an effect. And if every effect must have a cause, and reality is not an effect, it follows reality does not necessarily have a cause.

    That reality must have a cause may very well be western, thomistic, and wrong.....but it isn’t Kantian.
  • Mww
    4.7k


    Absolutely. My fault for starting but not finishing: it stands to reason he knew of parabolics, but didn’t connect it to the possibility of relative simultaneity.

    Good catch.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    By observing phenomena we are directly learning about the noumenaPfhorrest

    How do you figure that?
  • jkg20
    405
    If we give up any notion of noumenal properties besides a persistent propensity to produce particular kinds of phenomena to particular kinds of observers in particular contexts, then this whole problem goes away
    Isn't the problem with this, at least on the Kantian view anyway, that concepts such as "to produce", which are causal in nature, only make sense in the realm of phenomena and so to think that noumena produce phenomena in any circumstances is incoherent. I know Kant tries to make sense of the idea of noumenal causation to deal make room for freedom of will, but not entirely successfully.
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    So Kant doesn't believe in miracles?
  • Pfhorrest
    4.6k
    How do you figure that?Mww

    In the way I just explained before the bit you quoted.

    Isn't the problem with this, at least on the Kantian view anyway, that concepts such as "to produce", which are causal in nature, only make sense in the realm of phenomena and so to think that noumena produce phenomena in any circumstances is incoherent. I know Kant tries to make sense of the idea of noumenal causation to deal make room for freedom of will, but not entirely successfully.jkg20

    "To produce" is at best a loose way of saying what I'm trying to say, but all our language is causal and temporal so what else can I do. Noumena are supposed to be the things that phenomena are appearances of; they're the "really real" things "behind" the mere appearances. That relationship between noumena and phenomena, whatever the details of that might be, is what I'm talking about with this "produce" talk.

    We can keep the notion that there is something "really real" and observer-independent -- unlike all the phenomenal appearances that are observer-dependent, conditioned by the structures of the minds doing the observation -- but at the same time do away with any notion that there is anything to those "really real" things besides their propensity to appear certain ways to certain kinds of observers.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    How do you figure that?
    — Mww

    In the way I just explained before the bit you quoted.
    Pfhorrest

    Ok. Under that condition, I shall remain satisfied with what I know, rather than anticipate something I might learn.
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    Kant was trying to deny the resurrection as surely as he was angry with Hume. God could make the world chaotic in our eyes to arouse faith. In a theistic universe or a Humean one, regularities are not guaranteed
  • Marchesk
    4.6k
    In a theistic universe or a Humean one, regularities are not guaranteedGregory

    Regularities are a strange concept. A always follows B for no reason is very odd. It's strange because there are plenty of times where C does not follow A. And we can only observe that Bs follow As and not Cs. It's just a brute fact of existence that Bs happened to follow As and not Cs.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    Kant was trying to deny the resurrection as surely as he was angry with Hume.Gregory

    Reference?
  • jkg20
    405
    "To produce" is at best a loose way of saying what I'm trying to say, but all our language is causal and temporal so what else can I do
    Perhaps stop talking about noumena and "really real" things?
    I can think of some context where "really real", "actually real" and so on might make sense, but they are all cases of insisting on the reality that how things appear are how things are.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.6k
    In this case that is exactly what we’re talking about. The supposition of noumena is the supposition that reality isn’t “just an appearance” entirely in the mind, like Berkeley would have it, but that although everything we experience is inescapably conditioned by our minds, there is still something objective behind it all, that the appearances are of. That something, whatever it is, is the noumenal world.

    I am saying that the difficulties that that might otherwise pose are dissolved if we dispense with any notion about the noumena besides their propensity to appear certain ways to certain kinds of minds. We are then left with something like the “objective idealism” of JS Mill, who held the "permanent possibilities of experience" to constitute the entirety of an object's existence. We could also call that kind of view “empirical realism” (which Kant himself embraced), or “physicalist phenomenalism”.
  • jkg20
    405
    The problem with Mill's position, as I'm sure you know from Philosophy 101 is that if something is claimed to be possible, permenanently or otherwise, there should be something to say about what grounds that possibility. At least, when we customarily use modal language there is an expectation that we be able to justify what we are claiming is possible. What grounds Mill's permanent possibilities of sensation? If you are tempted to respond "Just a propensity to appear a certain way to certain kinds of minds", you should appreciate that the notion of a propensity is steeped in modality itself, and effectively the response just reduces to "permanent possibilities ground themselves", which is more like an absence of justification than a genuine response. If, taking another tack, we respond with the idea that the permanent possibilities of sensation are grounded by the actual sensations we already have or have had, Mill's position collapses more or less into a version of Berkeleian idealism. Incidently, Berkeley's position was not that reality is "just an appearance", he was perfectly well aware that he needed to account for the distinction between mere appearance and reality, but he does so, with the assistance of his god of course, whilst rejecting that there is such a thing as matter. Kant is unkind to Berkeley, by the way, and his so called refutation of Berkeleian idealism is far from a knock out punch.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.6k
    The “grounding” of appearances is exactly what noumena are supposed to be for. All I’m suggesting is that we don’t need to suppose there is anything about noumena other than that they ground such appearances. They do nothing besides appear to certain observers in certain ways. Or at least, we have no reason to suppose they should, since all we can know of them is the phenomena they supposedly ground.

    This issue of grounding things is itself problematic though, for it runs into an infinite regress. If phenomena are grounded by noumena, what grounds noumena? Whatever it is that does, what grounds that in turn? Ad infinitum. To demand everything be grounded leads to Munchausen’s/Agrippa‘s trilemma: either you need an infinite chain of grounding, or you stop in a loop somewhere, or you just stop somewhere. Kant’s way out of that conundrum, and that of critical rationalists after him like Popper, is to turn that demand on its head: you don’t initially reject everything until it can be grounded from the (infinite) bottom up, you initially accept all possibilities and then progressively rule out the ones that you find reason to reject.

    So on that kind of account, we don’t need to ground permanent possibilities of appearances: things just seem to us to be persistently available to observe, and until we have reason to doubt that, we don’t need any further justification to suppose that things just are as they seem.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    “...On the other hand, the representation in intuition of a body contains nothing which could belong to an object considered as a thing in itself, but merely the phenomenon or appearance of something...”

    “....The effect of an object upon the faculty of representation is sensation. That sort of intuition which relates to an object by means of sensation is called an empirical intuition. That undetermined object of an empirical intuition is called phenomenon....”

    “... The conception of a noumenon is therefore not the conception of an object, but merely a problematical conception inseparably connected with the limitation of our sensibility. That is to say, this conception contains the answer to the question: "Are there objects quite unconnected with, and independent of, our intuition?"—a question to which only an indeterminate answer can be given. That answer is: "Inasmuch as sensuous intuition does not apply to all things without distinction, there remains room for other and different objects." The existence of these problematical objects is therefore not absolutely denied, in the absence of a determinate conception of them, but, as no category is valid in respect of them, neither must they be admitted as objects for our understanding....”

    Taken together, it is very non-Kantian to say noumena are the ground of appearances, in the human cognitive system, the only one of which we have any empirical knowledge or a priori suppositions at all.

    Phenomena are appearances; appearances are given from sensation, which is an entirely empirical condition, hence appearances cannot be given or grounded in either a transcendental object or idea, nor a conception of a strictly discursive faculty such as human understanding, which requires an object for its conceptions.

    Inseparably connected to the limits of our sensibility does not imply a limit in procedure, to which noumena can never be connected, but a limitation in kind, the possible differences of which make noumena at least possible.
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    Reference?Mww

    Its pretty obvious if you study his religious writings that Kant loved what Hume had to write on miracles. Kant put the world in our minds, our heads themselves in our minds. He did this in order to protect regularities. Heidegger had a more realistic approach in his arguments about "being in the future". Technically, there is no way to know what a cup will do when you reach to drink your coffee
  • jkg20
    405
    The “grounding” of appearances is exactly what noumena are supposed to be for. All I’m suggesting is that we don’t need to suppose there is anything about noumena other than that they ground such appearances
    If you want to define "noumena" as "whatever grounds appearances" go ahead, but it is completely topic neutral since even appearances can ground appearances.
  • jkg20
    405
    :up: So, on the Kantian view, even if noumena are possible, we have not , and indeed cannot have, the slightest reason for believing them to be actual. Does that sound right to you?
  • Mww
    4.7k
    cannot have, the slightest reason for believing them to be actual. Does that sound right to you?jkg20

    Not quite; we can have reasons to believe whatever we like, and apparently, some even believe noumena to be actual, which presupposes they have reasons justifying such beliefs. Or, if not actual, at least functional, in some way. For instance, that noumena ground appearances, which in itself may even be the case, but not from Kantian transcendental epistemology, because the ground for appearances is already stipulated as sensation.

    What we don’t have, and cannot have, is the cognitive system under which noumena are included.as an operational predicate. All Kant was doing by even mentioning noumena, is admitting the cognitive system we do have, as he describes it, does not imply there can be no other kinds.

    As a sidebar, perhaps, is that Kant, as well versed in Greek philosophy as he was, felt he had to account for noumena because the Greeks did. I mean, he predicated his entire system on logic, which is the epitome of Greek thought, so if he left noumena out, his system wouldn’t be as complete as logic required. But noumena confuse and confound his system, again, highly illogical, so he did account for it by saying it has no account outside the mere thought of it. For which he has been thoroughly chastised by non-Kantians and neo-Kantians alike.
  • Dan Langlois
    2
    Mww: 'The problem since, isn’t the understanding of it, but whether or not it is the case.'

    You go on to mention Quine, as if Quine maybe understood it. Did Quine even read Kant? No reason to feel misled, he never claimed to have read Kant. As to 'whether or not it is the case', yes, it is the case.

    'That mathematics is synthetic is beside the point of whether a priori cognitions are possible, and if so, whether they are necessary.'

    Okay, but there isn't anything controversial in mathematics being a science. What then, is the 'mathematical evidence'? It's a priori. Nothing controversial in that either. The synthetic part is the controversial part. Addition and geometry have apodictic certainty, they're necessary. You came to the thread to debunk them? Don't you *like* mathematics? 2+2 = .. what?

    'If he’d made it just another few years, he might have been the one to notice tossing an object out the window of his railcar didn’t appear anywhere near the same to him as it did to his manservant watching him ride away.'

    This doesn't get me to Kant having been wrong about anything that he did notice.

    By the way, I see this later remark of yours:
    'In Kantian epistemology, reality, in and of itself, without modifiers or qualifications, is a category, a “pure concept of the understanding”, and accordingly, has no object of its own by which it is empirically known. Instead, they have schemata, by which they are thought. As such, no category, and by association, reality, can be either a cause or an effect. And if every effect must have a cause, and reality is not an effect, it follows reality does not necessarily have a cause.'

    True that 'reality' is a category, but I don't think that seems to be the issue. I think the thread is, maybe I rephrase a bit, that *appearances* have a cause. Kant discusses this notion. The logic is that 'appearance' is what things look like or seem to be rather than what they actually are. Thus, there is the question of 'what they actually are' -- it's implied in the mere concept of 'appearances'.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Hi Dan - welcome to thephilosophyforum. You might have a look at the help article on how to quote. Without those methods, the poster you are quoting will not be notified that he or she has been quoted and so will probably not respond.
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    I'll argue this way (and Kant is no way responsible for my errors). Kant's was about knowledge. His gold standard for knowledge was science - then as now understood to be the science of nature. "But," he asked himself, "how does that work? what grounds it?"tim wood
    Excellent observation. Both Plato & Aristotle were doing Science in 500BC, but walking the tightrope without a net of technology-enhanced empirical evidence. And both saw a necessary distinction between physical Nature (Real) and metaphysical Theories (Ideal). So, Kant was merely updating that ancient science, with almost 1800 years of empirical & theoretical knowledge. Descartes' Discourse on Method had already boiled it down to the basics : the Observer, the "I" whose existence cannot be doubted, is the foundation of all other knowledge.

    Therefore, Kant grounded his science in the distinction between Observer (noumena) and Nature (phenomena). These categories are equivalent to the Ideal vs Real dichotomy of the early scientist/philosophers, who made no professional distinction between Scientist & Philosopher. But they did ground their knowledge in both physical (phusis) & psychological (meta-physical) forms of information. :smile:


    He noted that one theory was that nature was all "out there." But how if it's all out there can we move beyond mere observation - this being Hume's question? Alternatively, it's all a creation of the mind - but how then do we know anything of what we call nature? His resolution was through a synthesis of the two.tim wood
    Kant's Transcendental distinction was between "out there" empirical things and "in here" mental ideas about things. Hence, our knowledge of Nature consists of sensory appearances (haecceity), and rationally-inferred essences (quiddities). So, we don't know those ideal essences directly, but only by inferences from observations. And Hume had already noted a problem with Induction of general principles from limited observations of instances. As you noted, Kant proposed a synthesis of Ideal essences and Real appearances : the unobservable ding an sich, which we must accept as an unobtainable Ideal that we only approximate in our ideas & theories. :nerd:


    Transcendental idealism is the view that objects in space are “outer” in the empirical sense but not in the transcendental sense. Things in themselves are transcendentally “outer” but appearances are not.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-transcendental-idealism/

    The Problem of Induction :
    Hume asks on what grounds we come to our beliefs about the unobserved on the basis of inductive inferences.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/induction-problem/

    PS___ I'm not an expert on these quirky questions. So my remarks are only an attempt to clarify my own understanding of the knowledge problem : how do we verify what we know?
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