• Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k
    Just keep in mind, what appears to be a failure to grasp is really nothing but a difference in points of view. I would never be so presumptuous to think you fail to grasp your own philosophy, so I’d appreciate reciprocity.Mww

    OK I respect that. Sorry, too much time spent at TPF and I've developed bad habits. Since you said "lay it on me", you get a long post. Feel free to ignore parts, or just reply to any issue which is important to you, or the thread, as the dialogue has gotten unruly.

    So, the first point I'd like to make, external/internal is not clear cut. If we make these two into categories, and say that some things might be of the internal, and some might be of the external, then we need a boundary in order to classify, and I don't think such a boundary can be established. But if we make these two into directions, then we can conceive of them as opposite directions. Something can be moving from the inside outward. or from the outside inward. No boundary is needed, just a sense of direction.

    There is a problem with assuming boundaries between external and internal, because we see from chemical analysis that things which are supposed to be individual, like atoms and molecules, actually overlap each other. Furthermore, we see that things are active, and the nature of interaction is that it crosses external/internal boundaries. Therefore the external/internal division, while it appears on the surface to be a clear cut division, is not very useful because it can't help us to represent the reality of the activity of things. We'd be best off to place internal/external as the two extremes of a single category, spatial existence, and represent all activities as occurring by degrees in between.

    It has already been agreed, that any content of a thought prevents all other content for that thought. This is a necessary prevention, because its negation is impossible. If the thinker doesn’t think something at some time, it is a contingent prevention, for the impossibility of a thought is not given merely from the not having of it, but from the having of a different one.Mww

    OK this is a starting point of agreement The thought prevents contrary thoughts, at the same time. This is during the act of thinking. But what do you think happens when a decision is made? I propose that the conclusion (decision) is either acted upon immediately, or relegated to memory, then the act of thinking on that subject, therefore all thoughts on that subject, are prevented. If the conclusion is acted on and the act is successful, this is relegated to memory as well. So anytime there is an urge to think about that subject, the mind is directed toward that conclusion in the memory, and thoughts on that subject are avoided. If the conclusion is acted on and there are problems, thoughts might be resumed.

    Not sure of any benefit in mixing the two greatest thinkers known to man.Mww

    There is a very good reason for mixing great thinkers. As people say, great minds think alike, but that does not mean that they think the same. When we find principles of consistency between them, we are likely on the right track. But every great thinker has weaknesses, and it takes comparison with another great thinker to find the weakness.

    Not sure how you arrive at form as possibility in a Kantian sense. Seems to me the idea always refers to something definitive, re: space and time are the forms of all sensible intuition; categories are the forms of all experience, and so on.Mww

    Do you apprehend the suffix "ible" on "the forms of all sensible intuition"? This introduces possibility into the phrase, in an ambiguous way, because Kant does not make it clear as to where the possibility lies. We have a capacity for sensation, which he calls "sensibility". We have forms, which are intuitions, and "matter" to an extent, as a representation of the sensation itself. The "form" of the intuition, is a priori. But this designation, that the form is a priori renders it as nothing other than the capacity for sensation. So this is where the ambiguity lies. If the form of intuition is supposed to be something other than the capacity for sensation (a possibility), to ensure that the "form" is something actual, as is necessary under Aristotelean terminology, Kant does not provide us with that separation. The forms of intuition, space and time, as a prior to sense experience, are rolled together under the term "sensibility", which is the possibility for sensation, and this is a category mistake from an Aristotelian perspective, to make "forms" possibilities.

    What is at issue here is the source of activity, and that defines what is actual, rather than possible. When we look at living creatures like human beings, we see the source of activity as internal, moving outward toward the environment. This is the essence of free will, the human being acts according to an internal principle, rather than being determined by the external activities. Now, we ought to represent sensation in the same way, the living being is actively sensing, such that the activity comes from within, as the being senses its surroundings. Under this representation, the possibility for sensation (sensibility) is provided by the environment. And in Aristotelian categories, possibility, or potential, is provided by matter. So the "forms of intuition", would be proper to the activity of sensation, not properties of sensibility, because the capacity for sensation, as the possibility for sensation is provided by the external, matter.

    However, placing matter (potential, possibility) as only external, is inadequate. We need to bring the capacity for activity (potential, possibility) inside the individual being, by providing for the necessary potential within. This is where Aristotle excels (oddly enough), in his biology, "On the Soul". Capacities are the powers of the soul. However, since these powers, or capacities, like self-nourishment, self-movement, sensation, and intellection, are not active all the time, they must be represented as potential, potencies, the possibility for action. And, since potential is properly assigned to matter in categorization, this creates the dilemma of the nominalist/realist debate. How do we allow matter into the mind to account for the passive intellect? The problem with the passive intellect was already identified by Aristotle, as inherent within the ancient understanding of the act of abstraction. The ancient understanding was that the mind received the forms of object, in abstraction. But this would mean that the mind is passive in abstraction, rather than active.

    In any case, this is how Aristotle provided the principles whereby we can understand ourselves as material beings. The powers of the soul are potentials, and potential is grounded in matter, so he brings matter right into the living being, as an essential part of "the being" in this way. However, it is still necessary to posit a first principle of activity, and this is the soul. Any powers or potentials, as possibilities, must be actualized, so the soul (as the first form) accounts for the activities of a living being, while matter accounts for the powers that it has. This allows that all the powers of the soul, including intellection itself, are accounted for by the material aspect of the being (the brain in the case of intellection), yet there is still an immaterial source for the activities of the material being.

    There are alternatives for categorization which the Scholastics take advantage of. If matter and potential are not categorically the same, then there might be potencies which are not material.

    In Kant, though....two things: matter is not a category, and, possibility for thought does not require matter, if the thoughts are a priori, re: space, time, causality, existence, geometry, etc.Mww

    This is the difficulty I have in interpreting Kant. If a "possibility" is not grounded in matter, its existence cannot be logically supported. This is the problem Aquinas had in interpretation of Aristotle's passive, or possible intellect. In the attempt to keep the intellect free from matter, he speculated about the nature of time and potentiality, in order to come up with a form of possibility, or potential, a passivity, which is not grounded in matter. I believe he posited a medium between eternal and temporal, as "aeviternal".

    A priori implies "necessary for", prerequisite, or required for. Any sense of "prior" is reducible to a temporal sense. People try to argue that logically prior is distinct from temporally prior, but in the end this makes no sense, because logic is dependent on understanding, which is a temporal process.

    So the issue here is that a priori thoughts have to be grounded in something. If they are looked at as the potential for a posterior thoughts, then this is a temporal priority. If we do not ground them in the Aristotelian way, by saying that they only have actual existence by being "discovered" (which really means created) by the human mind, then they become eternal like Pythagorean or Platonic idealism. So Plato could not validate Pythagorean idealism, and Aristotle decisively refuted it with what is known as the cosmological argument. Because of these principles, a priori thoughts, or thoughts which do not require matter (or perhaps some other form of potential) are incomprehensible. We could move toward some other form of potential, but what's the point? All this does is add an extra layer of complexity for the sake of denying the reality that human thought requires a material element.

    That being said, you are correct in that the synthesis of the two is phenomena. It must be kept in mind, that there is no matter, per se, except external to us. Internal to us is merely representation of matter. It follows “subject matter” can attributed to any of the individual faculties for which there is an object derived from it, therefore “subject matter” of the unconscious part of the mind in general, is phenomena. The subject matter of the faculty of sensibility is represented as appearance; the subject matter of the faculty of intuition is the form of the appearance.Mww

    This is hard for me to grasp, because as human, we are material beings. So I don't see how you can say matter is only external to us. The physical body which we use in the acts of sensation, and the brain which we use in thinking are composed of matter. If I am supposed to assume that all matter is external to me, then where does this leave "me"? If I am internal to all matter, this just leaves me as an inner soul, with the entirety of my body somehow clinging to me from the outside. How could the sensations, and all unconscious faculties relate to the conscious mind if not through the means of the material body?

    The production of phenomena itself must be a complex process, whereby the immaterial soul would use the material body. The material body is a necessary condition for the faculty of sensibility so we cannot remove matter, as the passive element (providing the possibility) from sensibility. And for the same reason we cannot remove matter from the faculty of intuition.

    As history would have it, yes. However, in order to theorize on the possibility and truth of a priori cognitions in general, as the means to explain the certainty of mathematics in particular, rather than just take such certainty for granted, the entire historical methodology for the understanding the real world needed a paradigmatic overhaul. And the most radical part of the overhaul, was the speculation that it is us that assigns form to objects, not, as history warrants, that objects come to us with their forms included.Mww

    I don't think the idea of "a priori cognitions" really makes sense, for the reasons explained above. I don't think that cognitions free from the influence of matter are possible. And so these cognitions cannot be free from the influence of that matter interacting with other matter which is the essence of experience. But this brings up the importance of differentiating between activity which is sourced internally, from the soul, and external activities which are understood as the relations between material bodies.

    Suppose there's an internal source of activity within me, the soul. I also see other people moving, so that motion is sourced externally to me, though it is internal to them. Now, whether the motion is internal or external is completely dependent on one's perspective, of what constitutes "an object". For example, if a culture or society is taken as an object, then all the different activities, sourced from the different people is all internal to that object, the culture. But from the perspective of myself, as an object, only what's within me is internally sourced. Now look at what happens if I divide myself into distinct objects, like we could divide a culture into distinct individuals. Where would I find the internal source of activity? Does each part of me have its own internal source, or is some part specially equipped? We might resolve the issue by dissolving the boundaries between individual objects, allowing them all to overlap, like atoms and molecules overlap, but then we might completely lose the meaning of "internal".

    Granted. Actual a priori and actual a posteriori. Both from the principle of cause and effect. Done deal.)Mww

    The problem here is that "a priori" is given the status as prior to sensation, in the form of sensibility. In this way it becomes a possibility rather than an actuality. So the principle of cause and effect doesn't really apply. The a priori does not cause the a posteriori by any sense of necessity as is required for causation. The a priori is required as a condition, or possibility, required necessarily for it, but not necessarily producing it. That's why the a priori is more properly called a possibility rather than an actuality.

    Yeah, I guess, sorta. The external activity is given, so not a possibility, but knowledge of what the external activity entails, is possibility. In effect, what we are trying to establish is not compatibility, but intelligibility, insofar as the external activity could be anything at all, but in order for us to comprehend it, it absolutely must at the very least be logically possible, or......intelligible.)Mww

    Yeah, intelligibility is compatibility. The internal activity produces principles for understanding, and those are applied towards the external activity. But even the principles are just part of the internal activity (going back to our discussion on thinking, where I argued a conclusion is a stopping point for activity). The stopping of internal activity (perhaps you'd understand it better as "redirecting") must be caused by resistance which itself is the opposed, the external activity. So the internal sourced activity must seek ways out through the opposition, and these ways become possibilities, as weak points in the external activity, and the way through the resistance. When a way out is determined, it is remembered as a possibility.

    [quote="Mww;393406"(But we can; there is compatibility or there is not. Either of which is an establishment with respect to ontological disparity)[/quote]

    Sure, but that ontological disparity is misunderstanding, plain and simple, and that's what we need to dispel. One can assert "it is possible to understand ontological reality, the reality of existence is intelligible". But if that person applies principles which render ontological reality as unintelligible there is an inconsistency between the person's assertion and the person's actions. That's a form of hypocrisy. And if the person says it is impossible, then there's no point to even trying. So the only logical approach is to seek compatibility. If the principles we employ lead us to a dead end (we think and think and think without coming to a conclusion, i.e. finding no way out) then our principles have mislead us, and it is time to discard then (that itself being a conclusion, and possible way out).

    [quote="Mww;393406"[(Isn’t external/internal clear cut?)[/quote]

    This is the type of principle which needs to be discarded. We find that through language and communication, ideas which are internal to me are also internal to you. The boundary between us therefore, is porous. The internal is shared through the medium, which forms the boundaries. But that's an odd concept to wrap one's hand around, and it results in many people insisting that the boundaries between us are not real. We see a very similar issue in our attempts to understand physical reality, physics. We have in the past, individuated objects, separated the earth from the moon, and from the sun, divided things up in labs, etc.. However, such separations are incomplete as there are gravitational fields, electromagnetic fields, and other fields, which permeate distances and penetrate objects, making these principles, this dichotomy of internal/external, inapplicable to the objects we've actually individuated in practise.

    (I take “imposing activity onto the external possibility” to mean we tell Nature what it is rather than Nature telling us, to which I agree.Mww

    Right, we impose our activities onto nature. However, Nature grants us real limitations, real impossibilities which must be respected. So in that sense we must allow also that Nature tells us what it is. We can have great success in telling Nature what it is, going very far in one direction, but that is simply one direction out of many possible directions. If we hit a dead end, the confidence produced by that progress will impede any inclination to turn back, and find a fork in the road that may have been missed. This is where skepticism is essential. Consider the history of evolution, and the creation of dinosaurs. Back then, bigger was better, and that's the direction evolution followed. But it was a dead end, the creatures could only get so big and it didn't really help them get anywhere, so it all collapsed. Then the mammals superseded, with the capacity to teach their young, and smarter was better. The point being that if the dead end is not recognized as a dead end, we won't seek the real way out.

    (Correct, we may fail to abide by law as the condition of our thinking, as witnessed by our possible errors in judgement, which is the same as being unintentionally irrational. All that means is that it was never absolutely necessary we think in a certain way to begin with, which is the same as saying reason is not law-abiding in itself. It couldn’t be, given the differences in subjectivity in otherwise perfectly similar people. Still, if a cognitive system as a whole is theoretically predicated on logic, then reason should theoretically adhere to logical law in order for us to trust in its authority.)Mww

    Unintentional irrationality is one possibility, but what I was talking about is intentional irrationality. That is the dilemma of moral philosophy, first identified by Plato, or Socrates. A person can know that it is irrational to go ahead with a particular act, yet go ahead with it any way. This reality was Socrates' ammunition against the sophists, who claimed to teach virtue. Since knowing the right thing to do does not necessitate the right thing being done, the claim that virtue is a type of knowledge is effectively refuted. This reality is extremely evident in the fact that bad habits are extremely difficult to break. Augustine, who has probably the most comprehensive treatise on free will is somewhat stymied by this dilemma.

    So the issue you point to is dependent on how one defines "reason". If "reason" is defined by the principles produced by a rational mind, as rules or laws, then it is impossible for reason to be non law-abiding. But remember, in the model I propose, the rational mind is itself constrained by matter, the human brain. So the rules or laws produced by the rational mind, principles which we say the free soul ought to follow, are not infallible. And, the free soul is not necessitated to follow those principles, which are the habits of thought, but are essentially possibilities, so the person might act in a way which is knowingly irrational.

    Yes, if we wish to instill a necessary ground for something. It is never the case we absolutely must know some external object as a single thing, but it is absolutely necessary we act in a very certain way iff we wish to think ourselves as moral agents. That is to say, we are allowed to contradict ourselves with respect to what we know, which merely makes us silly, but we are never allowed to contradict ourselves in our moral determinations, the occurrence of which jeopardizes our very human worthiness. Thus it is the power of necessity, and the authority of law given from fundamental principles, from which a singular effect called “morality”, is at all possible.Mww

    That we cannot contradict ourselves in moral determinations is an irrelevant platitude. The fact is that we actually knowingly do what we know is wrong. So we actively contradict our moral determinations with our actions, as hypocrisy. And hypocrisy is not a rare occurrence, it's widespread. Therefore, if we take as a fundamental epistemological principle, that hypocrisy is impossible, or that it would make us look silly, irrational, or inhuman, we are starting on falsity. Hypocrisy is common place and widely accepted, "do as I say, not as I do".

    Again, not to put too fine a point on it, all knowledge is possible from pure reason; morality is possible from pure practical reason. The difference is that morality has its own object, that being the agency that both formulates its own criteria for formulating his moral disposition, then obligates itself to conform to such formulation in order that becoming such an agent is possible.Mww

    Here is the difficulty. Thinking is itself the activity of an agent. And thinking produces the principles to be followed, even if you assert that these are principles of "pure reason". So even the principles of "pure reason" have come into existence through practise. Understanding follows from the production of those principles, it is posterior, requiring principles of reason. The principles are posited prior to understanding, as enabling understanding. Following understanding, i.e. posterior to understanding, it may be determined that some thinking practises, and therefore some principles of pure reason, are wrong, or unacceptable. Since these principles are already accepted epistemological practise, the only recourse for redress is the precept of morality. The thinking practises which produces the principles of pure reason, which understanding reveals as possibly faulty, cannot be demonstrated as epistemological faulty, because they are by their very nature the principles which ground the epistemology. Therefore the skeptic, who recognizes through understanding, the possibility that the principles are unsound, must turn to moral principles to demonstrate how this practise could possibly be wrong.

    I would say logic has determined the need to assume distinct ontologies, but not so much distinct intellects. Transcendental idealism dictates there is but one intellect, which functions under two ontological conditions. The external condition is a passive ontology, insofar as everything about it is given to us. The internal condition is the active ontology, insofar as everything about our cognitive system arises from itself. There is one inconsistency intrinsic to this system, in that we think perception to be passive, which falsifies the notion that our entire cognitive system is active. We just allow an overlap between them, so we can move on. Hence the lack of precision??Mww

    Yes indeed, apprehending the system of sensation as passive is a serious issue which needs to be resolved. This is why the Aristotelian biology "On the Soul" is so coherent and comprehensive. It allows passivity, and therefore matter to enter into our principles of understanding, as a necessary condition. By describing the powers of the soul as potencies, potentials, or possibilities for action, we allow the required passivity into the human being. Now we can create consistency between all the various powers, including intellection. But passivity is only allowed for by matter, and this means that we must allow matter as an essential part of the intellect. In doing this we separate "mind" from "soul", as a potency of the soul. So even "mind" is a contingent property, and not a necessity of the soul.
  • Mww
    1.4k


    Glad you’re back; was afraid you mighta got The Big C-19!!! We did major necessity shopping the other day, and we’re exercising a selective “Katie, BAR THE DOOR!!” mentality for the duration. (Grin)

    Outstanding post. I should have something in return tomorrow. Depends on how much backspacing/mindchanging I have to do.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    We'd be best off to place internal/external as the two extremes of a single category, spatial existence, and represent all activities as occurring by degrees in between.Metaphysician Undercover

    All in the paragraphs before this ending for them, is theoretically acceptable. If anything were to disavow the tenets, it would be that the subject cannot think a spatial existence for itself. Even if I can think your internal activities as merely an extreme of spatial existence, I could never think that for myself.
    —————

    It has already been agreed, that any content of a thought prevents all other content for that thought. (....)
    — Mww

    OK this is a starting point of agreement The thought prevents contrary thoughts, at the same time. This is during the act of thinking. But what do you think happens when a decision is made? I propose that the conclusion (decision) is either acted upon immediately, or relegated to memory, then the act of thinking on that subject, therefore all thoughts on that subject, are prevented. If the conclusion is acted on and the act is successful, this is relegated to memory as well. So anytime there is an urge to think about that subject, the mind is directed toward that conclusion in the memory, and thoughts on that subject are avoided. If the conclusion is acted on and there are problems, thoughts might be resumed.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    By substituting the terminology and procedure from my philosophy, I can understand where you’re going with this. Still.....how are thoughts on the subject avoided, if the mind is directed toward the conclusion in memory with respect to it? How does the mind know it’s being directed to the conclusion that corresponds to the subject it is avoiding thinking about?
    ——————

    re: space and time are the forms of all sensible intuition; categories are the forms of all experience, and so on.
    — Mww

    Do you apprehend the suffix "ible" on "the forms of all sensible intuition"? This introduces possibility into the phrase, in an ambiguous way, because Kant does not make it clear as to where the possibility lies.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, that was me using “sensible”, not Kant, who used “sensuous”, or external or empirical. A sensible intuition indicates an intuition given from sense data of real physical objects in space, thus not to be mistaken for an intuition that is sensible, that is to say, makes sense in itself. Intuition from sense, not intuition that makes sense. In the introduction to the “Doctrine of Elements” is found the definitions for terms used explicitly in his theory of knowledge, of which I may have taken some liberties.

    In case such clarification wasn’t needed in the first place, the thing about possibility remains. Just let me say.....form does not indicate possibility, if possibility means there is some arbitrariness in the association of form to appearance. As you have said already, intuition is merely a “memory”, in that objects for which there are intuitions, have already been subjected to experience. Combined with the Kantian definition which says, “form is the arrangement of the matter of objects”, we see that some object given to us, if it is known already as a particular thing, re: “cat”, it is represented as having its matter arranged in a certain way already given a priori.

    But this designation, that the form is a priori renders it as nothing other than the capacity for sensation.Metaphysician Undercover

    Not in my philosophy. The effect of an object, so far as we are affected by the said object, is sensation. Form, as intuition, is not yet a procedural presence. Sensation represents a physical effect; form is an a priori representation of the composition of the effect. The capacity for sensation is, therefore, dependent on our sense organs and something that effects them. In truth....theoretically....this designation, that the form as a priori, renders it as nothing other than the capacity for phenomena, and subsequently, the capacity for experience of objects.

    The forms of intuition, space and time, as a prior to sense experience, are rolled together under the term "sensibility", which is the possibility for sensation, and this is a category mistake from an Aristotelian perspective, to make "forms" possibilities.Metaphysician Undercover

    I understand where this comes from, though, for Kant says, “...These (space and time) belong to pure intuition, which exists a priori in the mind, as a mere form of sensibility, and without any real object of the senses or any sensation...”. I rather think this conundrum is a manifestation of the necessary separation between what is given to us, and how we treat what is given to us. On the one hand, a thing is given to us because it is in space and time, which implies space and time are properties of objects, and on the other hand, a thing is given to us only if we can say it is in space and time, in which case space and time are merely subjective conditions for objects, and of course, subjective conditions are always a priori. In the former, space and time could be said to be rolled under the possibility of sensation, insofar as sensation only becomes possible when space and time adhere in the objects being sensed, but in the latter, space and time, being conditions for things of sense, do not need to be thought as properties of things of sense. The proof thereof, is quite facile, being a scant few uncharacteristically short paragraphs, and readily understandable.

    Now, we ought to represent sensation in the same way, the living being is actively sensing, such that the activity comes from within, as the being senses its surroundings. Under this representation, the possibility for sensation (sensibility) is provided by the environment. And in Aristotelian categories, possibility, or potential, is provided by matter. So the "forms of intuition", would be proper to the activity of sensation, not properties of sensibility, because the capacity for sensation, as the possibility for sensation is provided by the external, matter.Metaphysician Undercover

    Close enough. The “forms of intuition”, however, are not proper to the activity of sensibility, for the very reason that the capacity for sensation is provided by the external matter, the environment. Also, there are only two “forms of intuition”, but there are as many intuitions as forms as there are arrangements of matter met with in perception.

    Again....immediately upon perception, our knowledge of what we’ve been affected by is not available to us, but that we have been affected must have a validation in order for the eventual experience given from it to be called knowledge. The reasons are legion for why the unconscious part of our mind is necessarily ordered, and the fact Aristotle didn’t recognize them is why his metaphysics was subsumed under an advanced theory that does. His theory wasn’t wrong, per se, just incomplete. And there is nothing to say Kant’s theory is right, per se, no matter how complete it is.

    so he brings matter right into the living being, as an essential part of "the being" in this way. (....), yet there is still an immaterial source for the activities of the material being.Metaphysician Undercover

    That matter is brought right into the living being is easy enough to understand, as is the immaterial source of the activities of the material being. I don’t understand matter as the essential part of “the being”, as different than the living being. If I were to simplify it in some way, I might say something like...reason is one of two fundamental conditions of the being of human. But I wouldn’t go as far as to imply that’s what you meant.
    ————————-

    In Kant, though....two things: matter is not a category, and, possibility for thought does not require matter, if the thoughts are a priori, re: space, time, causality, existence, geometry, etc.
    — Mww

    This is the difficulty I have in interpreting Kant. (...) A priori implies "necessary for", prerequisite, or required for. Any sense of "prior" is reducible to a temporal sense. People try to argue that logically prior is distinct from temporally prior, but in the end this makes no sense, because logic is dependent on understanding, which is a temporal process.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Prior to is a temporal relation, to be sure, but is generally understood as an empirical predicate. A logical temporal relation of the same kind is usually represented by “antecedent”. A priori is a logical distinction representing the relation between things, or, the ground of the origin of things, but not necessarily in a temporal sense. We have empirical objects given to us simultaneously with the a priori representations of them, after all.

    Analytic propositions are necessarily true or false because of the relationship of their content, but not because they are a priori. A priori judgements are true of necessity, but may very well be empirical judgements, re: married men, and all that......, true just as much as pure a priori judgements of no empirical content whatsoever are true or false, re: every part of space is itself space (true), all bodies are heavy (false).

    Temporal priority can only be logical, if one accepts that time is not real. The time of this thing may be prior to the time of that thing, not because of time itself, but because of our understanding of things.

    In a strictly Kantian point of view, and because you were wondering about why he never said much about possibilities, it is from the a priori itself that his reasoning for possibilities is given. In short, that which is known is a posteriori because the cognitions from which such knowledge is given is from the senses alone, what it only possible to know is a priori, is not given by the senses but is merely thought. It may become knowledge, but while it is not, it remains a priori.

    So the issue here is that a priori thoughts have to be grounded in something.....

    (Yes, they do. They are grounded in the faculty of understanding)

    .....If they are looked at as the potential for a posterior thoughts, then this is a temporal priority....

    (True enough, but they are not so looked at)

    .....If we do not ground them in the Aristotelian way, by saying that they only have actual existence by being "discovered" (which really means created) by the human mind, then they become eternal like Pythagorean or Platonic idealism.....

    (Maybe, but rather then eternal, they are called transcendental, for they are either discovered or created by human reason)

    ......So Plato could not validate Pythagorean idealism, and Aristotle decisively refuted it with what is known as the cosmological argument. Because of these principles, a priori thoughts, or thoughts which do not require matter (or perhaps some other form of potential) are incomprehensible.....

    (By classic Greek reckoning, perhaps. Enlightenment reckoning says a priori thoughts do not require matter, but the proofs for them do, re: mathematics. This is why forms are a priori; they have no matter but are applied to or justify our knowledge of matter)

    .....We could move toward some other form of potential, but what's the point? All this does is add an extra layer of complexity for the sake of denying the reality that human thought requires a material element.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, except humans are capable of thought of non-material things, some of which, as in beauty or the sublime, can hardly be said to be incomprehensible, even with, or despite, the added complexity of a faculty never considered fundamentally important.

    Enough for now, in order to get something put up without being 2 feet long. You know....the ol’ word salad dismissal.
  • christian2017
    1.2k


    I would argue all fields of study (personality, psychology and physics) can be broken down to linguistic analysis. Considering the dictionary definition of 5 is 4 + 1(all math is built off of simple defintions going all the way up to the complex defintions), all logic and reason and even our personalities can be broken down into extremely small parts called definitions.

    If we spent a ridicoulous and perhaps sometimes an impractical amount of time on any subject or field of study, we could find exactly what the cause or solution to any problem is.

    Mathematics can be understood with definitions and linguistics then so can anything.
  • christian2017
    1.2k


    to add to the previous comment, linguistic analyis is built off of definitions. Etymology (a sub field) can be tricky but not all of linguistic analysis is etymology.
  • fdrake
    3.3k


    We're talking about linguistic analysis, a philosophical method associated with the ordinary language philosophy movement and Wittgenstein.

    But I think that the history of philosophy is simply not possible without the kind of semantic blindness Wittgenstein puts his finger on. That is, if philosophers know this, they sure act like they don'tSnakes Alive

    Some papers read like shuffling words about, the best ones don't. Something like intersectionality (in the heritage of Bell Hooks) turns on stuff out there happening; taking something as a topic and providing a lens to see it through.As such, I think good philosophy facilitates or enables and then provides good descriptions of how things are. Even if that thing is its own lens crafting.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    It must be kept in mind, that there is no matter, per se, except external to us. Internal to us is merely representation of matter.
    — Mww

    This is hard for me to grasp, because as human, we are material beings. So I don't see how you can say matter is only external to us.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Us. Me. We. External to that which is represented by personal pronouns. I may experience my own blood but I think I’d be in serious trouble if I come to experience my own brain. And even if I could, I’m not about to experience the workings of it, except by means of philosophical musings. Imagine....a machine on my head, showing me what it looks like to enjoy a brisk swim in the lake. I don’t think so. The point being, there is no matter of basketball in my head when I represent one to myself upon perceiving or remembering it.

    If I am supposed to assume that all matter is external to me, then where does this leave "me"?Metaphysician Undercover

    As nothing but a representation of that which thinks about stuff. You can't deny the reality of your “me”, in some form or another, so if you decide to make some claim about it, you can only do so theoretically. The hard sciences may tell us eventually exactly what “me” is, but as you said before....what’s the point? Is the “me” going away just because you’ve been given some empirical facts about it? Won’t you still say, I wonder; I think; we’re going; our plans, in my mind......

    How could the sensations, and all unconscious faculties relate to the conscious mind if not through the means of the material body?Metaphysician Undercover

    It probably does. It almost has to. But as long as we have no suitable explanation for everything we do with respect to mind, we are permitted to theorize on it as much as we like. Helps to be reasonable, logical, comprehensible about it, though, obviously. Just can’t claim such theories as necessarily the case, even if we can claim them as logically sufficient.

    Now look at what happens if I divide myself into distinct objects, like we could divide a culture into distinct individuals. Where would I find the internal source of activity?Metaphysician Undercover

    You’re dividing an immaterial representation. Therefore, you can only divide into others of the same kind. The source of the activities of such divisions would depend on what you want them to do, what they’re supposed to accomplish. The most fundamental division of self, I suppose, brings up the representation of consciousness as ego, and is the source of both feelings and cognitions, the only mental activities of which humans are capable.

    We might resolve the issue by dissolving the boundaries between individual objects, allowing them all to overlap, like atoms and molecules overlap, but then we might completely lose the meaning of "internal".Metaphysician Undercover

    Absolutely, we might. All the needs to be done is come up with a theory that allows its hypotheticals to overlap. Problem is, what is responsible for what, if they stumble all over themselves? How do they stay out of each other’s territories? A molecule cannot be confused with an atom, even if their fundamental physical constituency overlaps. In the same way, hypotheticals cannot be confused with each other even if their respective logical conditions overlap. Still, if individual things have individual jobs, I don’t see how boundaries for those things won’t be part of the bargain.
    ——————-

    Granted. Actual a priori and actual a posteriori. Both from the principle of cause and effect. Done deal.)
    — Mww

    The problem here is that "a priori" is given the status as prior to sensation, in the form of sensibility. In this way it becomes a possibility rather than an actuality.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    This from Aristotle? Could be.....I’ll take your word for it. In Kant, to reiterate, a priori and a posteriori are conditions relative to their respective objects or relative to each other, within the context of a particular cognitive system, and not necessarily in a temporally prior sense.

    I might be starting to see what you mean....sorta. Your saying intuitions, for example, don’t determine an object, which means the best they can do, because they are a priori, is determine the possible identity of an object. This notion is reconciled by the operational parameters of the modern term “memory”, same as the old term “intuition”, which we agree readily identifies objects of our extant knowledge.

    Anyway......think I’ll let the rest of your post alone. Thing to keep in mind is, Kant knew Aristotle very well, being a professor of metaphysics and held the chair in logic. Kant’s major philosophical claim to fame is taking Aristotle where he either didn’t know he could go, or refused to go because he saw no reason to. Either way, Kant is based on Aristotle, for most intents and purposes.

    For what that’s worth.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k
    Still.....how are thoughts on the subject avoided, if the mind is directed toward the conclusion in memory with respect to it? How does the mind know it’s being directed to the conclusion that corresponds to the subject it is avoiding thinking about?Mww

    When something is put into memory, it is forgotten about. That seems contradictory, but what I mean is that it's put away for later access, so it leaves the conscious mind at that time (is forgotten by it), but can still be accessed later. Any random occurrence, or odd association might incline one to access the conclusion which lies waiting in the memory. The conclusion is remembered, because it has significance in the present circumstances, but the conditions which led to making that conclusion (thinking on that particular subject) need not be remembered. I think that we can find the essence of a symbol, or word here. It has meaning or significance, as a sort of conclusion, stashed away in the memory, but the actual conditions of why and what for, are not remembered. So the mind is directed toward particular words when determining what to say in a particular situation, without remembering the particularities of the situation in which the word was used, when it was remembered. Numerous instances of use are remembered when learning a word, so usage is remembered in a general sense.

    This is why word meanings vary so much, and evolve, sometimes quite rapidly. Likewise, in the case of a conclusion, a person will be in a situation doing something, and realize, 'I have a principle (conclusion) which applies here'. They'll remember it, and use it, without ever thinking about the problem which first lead to the conclusion, so thinking on that subject is quickly forgotten.

    Yeah, that was me using “sensible”, not Kant, who used “sensuous”, or external or empirical. A sensible intuition indicates an intuition given from sense data of real physical objects in space, thus not to be mistaken for an intuition that is sensible, that is to say, makes sense in itself. Intuition from sense, not intuition that makes sense. In the introduction to the “Doctrine of Elements” is found the definitions for terms used explicitly in his theory of knowledge, of which I may have taken some liberties.Mww

    Kant did use "sensibility". Here's a definition from the first page of "Transcendental Aesthetic"

    The capacity (receptivity) for receiving representations through the mode in which we are affected by objects, is entitled sensibility. Objects are given to us by means of sensibility, and it alone yields us intuitions; they are thought through the understanding, and from the understanding arise concepts.

    First, notice that sensibility is a passive, receptive thing. It is a capacity, like an Aristotelian potency, like "matter" is for Aristotle. As taken from Plato's Timaeus, matter is the receptacle. Second, notice that "objects" is used in two distinct ways. In the first sense, sensibility is the passive thing, affected by objects. In the second sense, sensibility gives us objects, as intuitions, therefore sensibility plays an active role as well. So "sensibility" has a dual personality, it receives from external objects, and it gives (internal) objects, as intuitions. This is the basis of the Kantian ambiguity. If he would have adhered to the Aristotelian categories of active and passive, he would have apprehended the need to divide sensibility into two distinct aspects. Instead of such an analysis, he has synthesized the two distinct aspects into one thing "sensibility". But there is no such thing as "sensibility", he just made it up as a means of putting an end to the analysis and starting a synthesis. In reality, he ought not have stopped the analysis here, because this made up thing, "sensibility", just causes ambiguity by allowing that one thing, sensation, is both passive and active, which is sort of contradictory if we do not distinguish a passive aspect from an active aspect of the thing.

    In Aristotelian terms "form" refers to the active aspect of a thing, while "matter" refers to the passive aspect, which provides the potential for activity. So a little further on, Kant defines matter and form in relation to sense appearances:

    That in the appearance which corresponds to sensation I term its matter; but that which so determines the manifold of appearance that it allows of being ordered in certain relations, I term the form of appearance.

    Can you see the problem here now which the ambiguity creates? An appearance is an object created by sensibility and given as intuition. As an object, it must consist of matter and form to be consistent with Aristotelian principles, yet here Kant assigns to it "matter" only. In the previous definition, of "sensibility" he has made the mind which receives the intuition, passive. But now he wants to reverse roles, making the mind active, such that instead of receiving objects it creates objects by ordering intuitions into relations. So the active role of sensibility, giving objects to the mind, he now retracts, and hands it over to the mind, as sensibility is only supposed to provide a passive aspect, matter. But now the sensation, the object given to the mind, has no form at all, and cannot correctly be called an object, it is completely dependent on the mind for its form. Therefore it cannot be actively "given" by sensation, it is actively created by the mind. But this turn around is what allows him to talk about pure intuitions, because there must be an active form in the mind to act on the matter of sensibility. But these pure intuitions are contradictory because he has already succinctly stated that intuitions can only come as objects, from sensibility.

    By not differentiating the passive and active aspects of sensibility he has gotten himself into a pickle. He must allow that sensibility is passive, in order to receive the forms of sensible objects. But he cannot allow that sensibility passes these forms directly to the mind, because he needs to maintain a separation between the object as appearance, and the sensible object itself. So he says that sensation creates an object which is given to the mind. But sensibility cannot create the form of these objects because he has no a priori principle there, no pure intuition to act within sensibility.

    Now he has the same active/passive problem again, at the level of mind, or intuition, so he posits a pure, "a priori", intuition to account for the activity of the mind in creating forms. But this is wrong because he's already said that all intuitions come only from sense. So this "a priori" or pure intuition which he posits must be something completely different from an intuition, or an object, or anything like that, it would be more like a pure actuality, pure activity. Furthermore, this pure actuality must really, also be present within sensibility, to account for the activity of creating the objects of sensation. which are given as intuitions.

    Not in my philosophy. The effect of an object, so far as we are affected by the said object, is sensation. Form, as intuition, is not yet a procedural presence. Sensation represents a physical effect; form is an a priori representation of the composition of the effect. The capacity for sensation is, therefore, dependent on our sense organs and something that effects them. In truth....theoretically....this designation, that the form as a priori, renders it as nothing other than the capacity for phenomena, and subsequently, the capacity for experience of objects.Mww

    You don't seem to be accounting for the distinction between the thing itself which is sensed, and the object which is the appearance. If you recognize that the object of sensibility which is given to the mind is the appearance, then we need to account for the cause of existence of this object. The cause is the sensibility itself, so we cannot say that the sensation is the effect of the thing being sensed, though the sensation is affected by it. The sensation is the effect of the sensibility (capacity to sense) when the sensibility is active. When the capacity to sense is active, objects, appearances, are produced. What activates the capacity is the internal, pure actuality, we might call it the a priori, rather than the external thing which is being sensed. the external thing does not activate the sensibility. This is evident from the fact that we can sleep, and not sense while we sleep, then wake up and start sensing.

    A sense organ is a passive thing, a receptacle, which needs to be activated, to actually sense. Only when it is activated can it sense. It is activated from within. This is where scientism has lead us away from vitalism, in what I believe is a misguided direction. A sense organ is not simply a passive receptacle which receives outside activity. Yes, it has a passive element which receives outside activity, but whatever is received is 'interpreted' within the sense organ itself, and this means that it is judged or measured somehow, by an internal activity in the sense organ. So sensing is properly an activity itself, an activity of judging other activities. It's not well described as a reaction.

    I think I see why you are so reluctant to accept the idea that the conscious mind can prevent thoughts. You do not really accept free will. You think that sensation is the effect of the sensible object, caused by that object. Therefore you believe that objects in the mind, intuitions, are caused by sensations, and the mind does not have the capacity to prevent these thoughts.

    But still, you want an immaterial mind, so you posit an "a priori". But this creates inconsistency, because if the a prior exists within the mind, to influence and act on the intuitions, then why is it not at work in the sensibility as well, to influence and act on the sensations? And if we remove it from the sensibility, as Kant attempts to, we have no separation between the object received by sensibility and the object given to the mind from sensibility (the phenomenon/noumenon separation). The object given to the mind by sensation must have form as well as matter, and the form cannot be the same as the form of the external object sensed, or else we lose the separation. So the form must be given to that object of sensibility, by the active sensibility. But where does the sensibility get that form from? It can't come down from the pure intuition.

    This is why the Aristotelian conceptualization, which is has the form (soul) acting at all levels, from bottom up, is more consistent and comprehensible. The form, as soul, is active in all the potencies of the soul, from self-nourishment, to self-movement, through sensation, and intellection. The soul creates the forms of existence of the material body, from the lowest organism to the highest organism. The forms of intuition, are just an extension of this activity of the soul creating forms. However, we have a distinction between the material form of a living body, and the immaterial form (final cause) by which the body is created. Even the lowest organism (maybe even a virus) acts on an immaterial form. The immaterial form which accounts for the activities of the soul is prior to any material form.

    In this way, we have the pure immaterial form, the soul, acting from the bottom up, at all levels of living organisms, active in all the activities of living beings. There is no need for the "pure intuition", or "a priori" conceptions, which within the Kantian system appear to be imposed from the intellect downward onto the material sensations. The "pure intuition" is inherent within even the lowest organisms, and is therefore already inherent within the object given to the mind from sensation. Notice that "intuition" in a common sense of usage refers to what is instinctual, provided through hereditary means, so the most pure intuition can only be sourced from the most primitive life form. Though it is sourced from the lowest levels of life, it appears to us in the highest levels, as that knowledge which goes beyond empirical knowledge. But what this means is that it must really be prior to, before, all empirical knowledge, which takes us to the lowest forms of organisms. I recommend you consider what I said last post, that all forms of "prior" are grounded in, or reducible to, temporally prior.

    I understand where this comes from, though, for Kant says, “...These (space and time) belong to pure intuition, which exists a priori in the mind, as a mere form of sensibility, and without any real object of the senses or any sensation...”. I rather think this conundrum is a manifestation of the necessary separation between what is given to us, and how we treat what is given to us. On the one hand, a thing is given to us because it is in space and time, which implies space and time are properties of objects, and on the other hand, a thing is given to us only if we can say it is in space and time, in which case space and time are merely subjective conditions for objects, and of course, subjective conditions are always a priori. In the former, space and time could be said to be rolled under the possibility of sensation, insofar as sensation only becomes possible when space and time adhere in the objects being sensed, but in the latter, space and time, being conditions for things of sense, do not need to be thought as properties of things of sense. The proof thereof, is quite facile, being a scant few uncharacteristically short paragraphs, and readily understandable.Mww

    So, these pure intuitions, space and time, as necessary conditions for sensation, must be prior (in time) to all sensation. This means that they must have existed within living beings before living beings could develop the capacity to sense, therefore a property of non sensing beings. Therefore we cannot posit these as properties of the mind, if a mind requires intellection, because intellection came after sensation. As prior to sensation, and active in sensation, they actively form the object produced by the sensibility. Then when the sensibility gives objects of intuition to the mind, the pure intuition, the a priori, is already inherent within those objects. This resolves the apparent contradiction above, where Kant says that only the sensibility can provide intuitions, yet the mind has pure intuitions, free from sensation, a priori. The pure intuitions are already inherent within, as required for, the empirical intuitions.

    Close enough. The “forms of intuition”, however, are not proper to the activity of sensibility, for the very reason that the capacity for sensation is provided by the external matter, the environment. Also, there are only two “forms of intuition”, but there are as many intuitions as forms as there are arrangements of matter met with in perception.

    Again....immediately upon perception, our knowledge of what we’ve been affected by is not available to us, but that we have been affected must have a validation in order for the eventual experience given from it to be called knowledge. The reasons are legion for why the unconscious part of our mind is necessarily ordered, and the fact Aristotle didn’t recognize them is why his metaphysics was subsumed under an advanced theory that does. His theory wasn’t wrong, per se, just incomplete. And there is nothing to say Kant’s theory is right, per se, no matter how complete it is.
    Mww

    So I think you're wrong here. The "forms of intuition", as space and time, the pure intuitions, as a priori, and a necessary condition for sensation, must be active within the activity of sensibility (sensation). This means they must be temporally prior to sensation as required for sensibility. Otherwise the inconsistency and contradiction appears.

    This is why the Aristotelian metaphysics is actually more sound than the Kantian. Kant introduces ambiguity within the concept of "sensibility", making it appear like the sensibility gives objects of pure matter to the conscious mind. But this is impossible, these objects, as objects, must have form and the form must be derived from the act of the sensibility, sensation. Therefore the forms of intuition, space and time, as pure a priori intuitions, must be prior to sensation, and active within the activity of sensibility.

    Prior to is a temporal relation, to be sure, but is generally understood as an empirical predicate. A logical temporal relation of the same kind is usually represented by “antecedent”. A priori is a logical distinction representing the relation between things, or, the ground of the origin of things, but not necessarily in a temporal sense. We have empirical objects given to us simultaneously with the a priori representations of them, after all.Mww

    This I also see as a mistake. You are assuming that the temporal necessity can be removed from "a priori", and this is impossible. You assume that there can be a logical type of "origin" which is not temporally prior. Removing the temporal order from prior, or "a priori", introduces contradiction into your logic, rendering the principles as unsound.

    Here's an example, 1 is prior to 2. You could argue that it is logically prior, but not temporally prior, arguing that the concept of two is logically dependent on the concept of one, but there is no need for one to be temporally prior to two. But this is false because it is impossible that there could be two things, prior in time to there being one thing. The concept of "2" requires that there be two individual "ones".

    Temporal priority can only be logical, if one accepts that time is not real. The time of this thing may be prior to the time of that thing, not because of time itself, but because of our understanding of things.Mww

    To assume that time is not real is to assume a falsity, rendering the principles which follow from this assumption as unsound. Again, you are showing that you do not believe in free will. Free will requires that there is a real difference between past and future, and therefore time is real.

    So the issue here is that a priori thoughts have to be grounded in something.....
    Metaphysician Undercover
    (Yes, they do. They are grounded in the faculty of understanding)Mww

    This is the falsity which Aristotle demonstrated with the cosmological argument. If the a priori is produced by understanding, it only exists in potential prior to being understood. Then it cannot play an active role in understanding.

    Here is a big problem. You claim that Kantian metaphysics has supplanted Aristotelian as an "advanced theory", but all it really does is neglect sound Aristotelian arguments. This plunges us backward toward Pythagorean idealism, the deficiencies of which Plato had already demonstrated by analyzing the theory of participation. It was Plato's analysis of "participation", which revealed the nature of idealism, as the concept that things participate in the Idea. Kant's transcendental idealism brings us right back to this conception of passive, unchanging, eternal a priori, necessary Truths. This assigns activity to the things participating, and passivity to the Idea, or a priori Truth which is participated in. The passivity of the a priori Truth leaves it exposed to the Aristotelian refutation. So Neo-Platonists turned to an active Form, the One, from which emanates the Soul, then the Intellect. Kant undoes all this, foregoing the cosmological argument, and plunging us back to pre-Socratic times. That cannot be called an advancement.

    (By classic Greek reckoning, perhaps. Enlightenment reckoning says a priori thoughts do not require matter, but the proofs for them do, re: mathematics. This is why forms are a priori; they have no matter but are applied to or justify our knowledge of matter)Mww

    But this is just a rehash of Pythagorean idealism, which was soundly refuted.

    Us. Me. We. External to that which is represented by personal pronouns. I may experience my own blood but I think I’d be in serious trouble if I come to experience my own brain. And even if I could, I’m not about to experience the workings of it, except by means of philosophical musings. Imagine....a machine on my head, showing me what it looks like to enjoy a brisk swim in the lake. I don’t think so. The point being, there is no matter of basketball in my head when I represent one to myself upon perceiving or remembering it.Mww

    This is just an issue of how you would define "experience". Regardless, when you perceive a basketball, under Kantian principles there is a material aspect, the object given by the sensibility. And when you experience a memory of a basketball there must be a material aspect given by the memory. What Kant neglects is that these "objects" given to the mind, must also have a form as well as matter. Since he neglects it, he doesn't need to tell us where they get that form from. A careful analysis of his principles, as explained above, reveals that these objects must receive their forms from the a priori, or pure intuitions. Therefore these pure, a priori intuitions, cannot be property of the conscious mind.

    Absolutely, we might. All the needs to be done is come up with a theory that allows its hypotheticals to overlap. Problem is, what is responsible for what, if they stumble all over themselves? How do they stay out of each other’s territories? A molecule cannot be confused with an atom, even if their fundamental physical constituency overlaps. In the same way, hypotheticals cannot be confused with each other even if their respective logical conditions overlap. Still, if individual things have individual jobs, I don’t see how boundaries for those things won’t be part of the bargain.Mww

    I don't agree that we "might", because these fundamental "things" turn out to be activities. Notice that you even implicitly agree to this principle by saying that the individual things have individual jobs, they are doing something, so they are activities. And activities cannot overlap each other without some sort of interference, that's what's called interaction. Now, boundaries are out of the question here because interaction is not per se, a boundary. But we describe interactions as the distinct activities either cooperating or interfering with each other. If we assume that there is such a thing as cooperation, then we must assume a further end, a common goal. Without that end, the interactions are just interferences. Therefore to have a theory in which the interactions of distinct activities are described as cooperating, instead of simply interfering with each other, we need to assume final cause.

    Anyway......think I’ll let the rest of your post alone. Thing to keep in mind is, Kant knew Aristotle very well, being a professor of metaphysics and held the chair in logic. Kant’s major philosophical claim to fame is taking Aristotle where he either didn’t know he could go, or refused to go because he saw no reason to. Either way, Kant is based on Aristotle, for most intents and purposes.Mww

    Here's something to keep in mind. Long before Kant, Aristotle's "Physics" had been determined by the scientific community, as not worth the time to read. I assume his biology "De Anima", had gone the same way. His logic was maintained and taught, as valuable, but his metaphysics would be incomprehensible without the structure and principles laid out in his physics and biology. So I'm not as sure as you seem to be, that Kant had an adequate understanding of Aristotelian metaphysics. He doesn't address the cosmological argument, to either accept or reject it, which is the basis of Aristotelian ontology. Instead, he introduces ambiguous synthetic judgements which create the appearance that further analysis is not possible.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    Can you see the problem here now which the ambiguity creates?Metaphysician Undercover

    Of course. The ambiguity arises from using Aristotle to qualify Kantian methodology, which just ain’t gonna work.

    “....A philosophical system cannot come forward armed at all points like a mathematical treatise, and hence it may be quite possible to take objection to particular passages, while the organic structure of the system, considered as a unity, has no danger to apprehend. But few possess the ability, and still fewer the inclination, to take a comprehensive view of a new system. By confining the view to particular passages, taking these out of their connection and comparing them with another, it is easy to pick out apparent contradictions....”
    ———————-

    First, notice that sensibility is a passive, receptive thing. It is a capacity, like an Aristotelian potency, like "matter" is for Aristotle.Metaphysician Undercover

    “...The capacity (receptivity) for receiving representations through the mode in which we are affected by objects, is entitled sensibility...”. (1);
    “...We apply the term sensibility to the receptivity of the mind for impressions, in so far as it is in some way affected....” (2)

    The mode in which we are affected by objects, is the five varieties of perception. Objects here being real physical things, affected by objects indicates the kind of sensation corresponding to the mode of perception, the cause of sensations, in short, an impression. That which is received from an impression of an object is its effect, called an appearance. This is where sensibility stops, insofar as it has fulfilled its capacity for receiving impressions of sensation, such that “...the faculty of cognition is awakened into exercise...”. (3). It is also here that the physical matter of real objects stops, because the object’s extension in space and duration in time is not represented merely by their impressions on our sensation.
    (Sidebar: in order to maintain consistency between the presence of a real object and the impression by a real object, the real object without its physical matter is thought a priori as a transcendental object. For the process of cognition, however, this is not pertinent. It is like reason saying to itself.....yep, ok, sensibility was right, there really is somebody at the door. For cognition to be awakened to its exercise is not a waste of my time)

    “....The effect of an object upon the faculty of representation, so far as we are affected by the said object, is sensation. That sort of intuition which relates to an object by means of sensation is called an empirical intuition....” (4)

    This distinguishes a capacity from a faculty, the latter a rational, that is, other than a physical, function with a resultant product, the former merely the physical ability to do something from which all else follows. As such, the resultant product of the faculty of representation are themselves representations, and in this preliminary stage, with an impression as a cause, is an intuition and this is accomplished by the imagination in its synthesis of appearance of an object in sensation with the arrangement of its matter in consciousness. This means the faculty of representation is every rational function which we have already termed the unconscious part of the mind, up to and including the understanding, but not including the part of understanding having to do with a priori judgements.

    The “sort of intuition” does not indicate there are a multiplicity of sorts, but indicates the only sort of intuition there is, and the only sort of intuition there is, is empirical because it is by the impression of empirical objects that it is at all possible.

    “.....the undetermined object of an empirical intuition is called phenomenon....” (5).

    Of course undetermined, because the determinant itself has yet to be given. Nothing whatsoever has been given to conscious cognition, but only that something has been given possible to cognize. Also, because intuition is a representation, its object can only be a representation, therefore object here has nothing to do with matter, but is merely a rational, albeit unconscious, hence a priori, product.

    “...but that which effects that the content of the phenomenon can be arranged under certain relations and by which they are susceptible of assuming a certain form (...) cannot be itself sensation....”

    That the content of phenomena is susceptible to arrangement into a form because of certain relations of the characteristics of its content, is a valid observation given from judgement, in as much as we know from experience certain conditions about objects, that there is one by sensation of it, and what it is like by the form of it. If the content of phenomena is derived from the matter of objects through their sensations, then it follows that “that which effects that the content can be arranged”, cannot be sensation, so must be something subsequent to phenomena themselves, or, something common to both objects and their representations.

    But now the sensation, the object given to the mind, has no form at all, and cannot correctly be called an object, it is completely dependent on the mind for its form.Metaphysician Undercover

    That which is given to, or affects, perception is an object as such. That which is given to, or affects, the mind is not an object, so cannot properly be called one; it is, rather, a representation of the object that affects perception. And it has content, given from the characteristics of the object, intuited as such. The representation from intuition, called phenomenon, is dependent on the mind for the ordering of its content according to certain relations.

    “....The difference between a confused and a clear representation is merely logical and has nothing to do with content....”

    This says that without the certain relations, which are always logical, under which the content of phenomena are susceptible to arrangement, we cannot have any use for them, regardless of what they represent, or, regardless of their content. This is just a roundabout way of saying we can only conceive “dog” if the matter intuited as tail is on the other end from the matter intuited as nose, and we need the tail, and the nose to be constituted of different substances. These arrangements are necessary in order to cognize a particular object of sense even if it is not an object immediately present to sense. It is how we remember things already known every bit as much as how we learn a thing not yet known. Phenomena are undetermined, always, regardless of extant experience or novelty, but to be eventually determined in conformity to experience or instantiation a new one, it must have a certain logical order to its content.

    There are only two ways for us to cognize anything, one is by sense perception, the other is by thought. It would be totally bizarre of Mother Nature to imbue us with two separate and distinct cognitive systems, one for cognizing objects present to our senses, and another to cognize objects not present to sense, but of which there is antecedent experience of when it was present to our sense, and, in addition, of which we are completely capable of presenting to ourselves in thought alone without it having ever been an experience at all. It is much more parsimonious, and logically consistent, that we as rational agents operate under the auspices of a singular system, albeit under the restrictions pursuant to the two types of cognition given by our very nature.

    Obviously, the difference between the conditions for cognitions is only given from the faculty of representation, And then only that part of the faculty of representation that has appearance for its product. All else remains exactly the same, as it must, because understanding needs something to think about even if there is no object present to our senses. If appearance is missing, and imagination synthesizes appearance with intuition to give phenomena, then phenomena become necessarily comprised of intuition alone. This must be the case, understanding is the faculty of thought, and phenomena are absolutely required for understanding. If we think, we must be using understanding and if we use understanding, there must be phenomena. That which the understanding thinks about must necessarily already exist for us in the faculty of representation from which it arises. And if it arises not from anything empirical, because the source of it is missing, it must arise a priori as already residing in the faculty of representation called intuition.

    Furthermore, if intuition arises a priori under one condition, there is no reason to suspect it does not so arise under any condition. If it arises a priori under any conditions, it arises a priori under all conditions. Remembering that this is all occurring in the unconscious part of the mind, makes explicit there is no conscious mechanism in place to tell the faculty of cognition from where or how phenomena come from. If there is no conscious mechanism supports the notion that all intuitions reside a priori in the mind.

    It should be clear now that the notion of a priori is not temporally significant, but is merely a condition for a means for something. A priori isn’t necessarily before experience when it is logically instead of experience. The problem then becomes, even if forms of cognized objects reside a priori in intuition, says nothing about how they got there in the first place. Simply put, they are derived from experience, and thereby suffices as logical equivalent to the psychological principle of memory. Just as we can never remember that which was never known, so too can we never have empirical intuition of that which we’ve never experienced.

    Lastly, the form of empirical intuition is not the form of empirical objects represented as phenomena. Intuition is given from objects of sense, so the form of intuition must be that which all objects have in common, or, which is the same thing, that which makes objects possible as perceptions, which in turn makes intuition itself possible. The number of intuitions is predicated on the number of perceptions, but the possibility of intuitions is directly related to the possibility of objects. For humans, space and time are the necessary conditions of the possibility of objects, and thereby the possibility of experience. Theoretical derivatives to follow, if interested.
    ——————-

    If the a priori is produced by understanding, it only exists in potential prior to being understood.Metaphysician Undercover

    It isn’t. A priori isn’t a production at all, it’s a relation.
    —————-

    Kant undoes all this, foregoing the cosmological argumentMetaphysician Undercover

    See “SECTION VII. Critical Solution of the Cosmological Problem“, CPR B519. From there, for the next few chapters, is a rather thorough dissertation on the cosmological argument. Kant certainly cannot be said to forego it.

    It is obvious empirical science has put the general hurts on much of pure metaphysics, more so for Aristotle than Kant, who didn’t grant the empirical any apodeictic unconditioned conditions, which the C.A. demands.
    —————-

    To assume that time is not real is to assume a falsity, rendering the principles which follow from this assumption as unsound. Again, you are showing that you do not believe in free will. Free will requires that there is a real difference between past and future, and therefore time is real.Metaphysician Undercover

    Correct, I do not think free will as a valid conception. That there is a will, and that it is grounded in the transcendental causality of freedom, all conditioned by pure practical reason, having nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of time for its implementation, but may invoke coexistence or successions in time for its predicates.

    But you’re more than welcome to enlighten me as to these alleged false assumptions.
    —————

    You are assuming that the temporal necessity can be removed from "a priori", and this is impossible.Metaphysician Undercover

    I can show how temporal necessity for some a priori considerations is unwarranted. There may be conditions for temporal necessity, but withdrawing such necessity is not impossible. Remember, this is all with respect to human cognition alone, without reflection on all and everything that is or may be possible.
    ————-

    Here's an example, 1 is prior to 2. You could argue that it is logically prior, but not temporally prior, arguing that the concept of two is logically dependent on the concept of one, but there is no need for one to be temporally prior to two. But this is false because it is impossible that there could be two things, prior in time to there being one thing. The concept of "2" requires that there be two individual "ones".Metaphysician Undercover

    Numbers are nothing but the schema of the category of quantity. If there are two things, each is already in its own part of time from its perspective, but they may very well coexist in the same time from mine.

    Only if I count objects, must there be temporal priority, because I cannot count all things at the same time. But this has to do with me, not the temporal necessity of existences. And it has to do with me, because time is merely the subjective condition within which all phenomena are possible. We cannot think the non-existence of time, even if we may think the non-existence of things in time.
    —————

    This is why the Aristotelian metaphysics is actually more sound than the Kantian.Metaphysician Undercover

    I’ll take your word for that. Hell....it might actually be more sound. I dunno. But I judge the value of a theory only on how much sense it makes to me, so if I spent as much time and effort on Aristotle as I have on Kant, I might’ve had a different allegiance. But I didn’t, so I don’t. So there ya go....
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k

    You haven't resolved the ambiguity and inconsistency. You have an "impression" or "appearance" which is the effect of a sensible object on the capacity of sensation, sensibility, and also a "representation" which is a synthesized product of a faculty.

    Objects here being real physical things, affected by objects indicates the kind of sensation corresponding to the mode of perception, the cause of sensations, in short, an impression. That which is received from an impression of an object is its effect, called an appearance.Mww

    As such, the resultant product of the faculty of representation are themselves representations, and in this preliminary stage, with an impression as a cause, is an intuition and this is accomplished by the imagination in its synthesis of appearance of an object in sensation with the arrangement of its matter in consciousness.Mww

    See, the faculty of representation produces a representation through synthesis, but the capacity of sensation produces an appearance only by being affected by objects. The pure intuitions, the a priori, are required to account for that synthesis which produces the representations. But how do we account for the synthesis within sensation, required to produce an appearance? The pure intuitions are not supposed to be there, within sensation, or are they?

    The ambiguity arises from using Aristotle to qualify Kantian methodology, which just ain’t gonna work.Mww

    The ambiguity is because of the inconsistency and lack of clarity in Kant's work. That has nothing to do with Aristotle. However, Aristotle provides a good example of what consistency looks like.

    This distinguishes a capacity from a faculty, the latter a rational, that is, other than a physical, function with a resultant product, the former merely the physical ability to do something from which all else follows.Mww

    Here's that same inconsistency again. You distinguish a rational function from a physical ability to do something, with reference to the "resultant product". However, there is a resultant product from the capacity to do something called "sensibility", or sensation. There is an appearance, just like the representation is the resultant product of the rational faculty.

    There is no basis for the proposed difference between these two, it is an inconsistency. If there is something a priori, some sort of pure intuition, involved in producing rational representations, that same pure intuition must also be involved in producing the appearances of sensation. Otherwise we have no principle to account for the production of those appearances. By Kant's own transcendental aesthetic, the pure intuitions are prior to any sensible properties, and necessary a priori for sensibility. If these pure intuitions are part of the rational mind, then the rational mind must be prior to sensibility. But that's nonsense, so whatever it is which is called "pure intuitions" must be prior to the rational mind.

    The “sort of intuition” does not indicate there are a multiplicity of sorts, but indicates the only sort of intuition there is, and the only sort of intuition there is, is empirical because it is by the impression of empirical objects that it is at all possible.Mww

    You are intentionally neglecting the "pure intuitions", space and time. All intuitions are given to the mind from sensibility, but not all intuitions are appearances. That's why pure intuitions are a different sort of intuition. The pure intuitions are a priori, and therefore prior to any appearances, as necessary for sensibility. Hence the 'transcendental' aesthetic.
    "This pure form of sensibility may also itself be called pure intuition".
    "The science of all principles of a priori sensibility I call transcendental aesthetic."
    Do you apprehend these pure intuitions, space and time, as prior to, and necessary for sensation, and therefore existing in all instances of sensation, as the conditions for sensation, whether the being which is sensing is rational or not?

    That the content of phenomena is susceptible to arrangement into a form because of certain relations of the characteristics of its content, is a valid observation given from judgement, in as much as we know from experience certain conditions about objects, that there is one by sensation of it, and what it is like by the form of it. If the content of phenomena is derived from the matter of objects through their sensations, then it follows that “that which effects that the content can be arranged”, cannot be sensation, so must be something subsequent to phenomena themselves, or, something common to both objects and their representations.Mww

    The matter of the object itself cannot be the matter of the appearance in sensation, or else there would be no separation between these two. They would be one and the same thing. So the content of phenomena, if it is supposed to be matter, cannot be derived from the objects of sensation. That content must come from something other than the objects.

    What comes from the object is its form, that is the traditional way of understanding abstraction. If Kant wants to turn this around, and say that matter comes from the object, into the appearance, and this is the content of phenomena, then we need some principles to support this. That the sensibility is affected by the form of the object is already supported by the principles I described. The question for Kant then, is if the matter of the object is distinct from the matter of the appearance, as is necessary for the two to be distinct, then how can the appearance be in any way related to the object, unless it is through the means of some type of form?

    That which is given to, or affects, perception is an object as such. That which is given to, or affects, the mind is not an object, so cannot properly be called one; it is, rather, a representation of the object that affects perception.Mww

    But Kant calls it an object, in the passage I quoted. "Objects are given to us by the means of sensibility...they are thought through the understanding..." If these appearances are not objects, then it's not objects which are given by sensibility. It's something else. Why say "objects" are given to us? Furthermore, if they are the content, or "matter" of the phenomenon, how can they be anything other than objects? Consisting of matter, they must be objects. Do you see the ambiguity here? Kant brings matter into the mind, but he has no source for that matter. It cannot be the matter of the object itself, so where does it come from? Can you say that the sensibility creates matter, or ought we not turn to the pure intuitions, as I do, and see that the matter of the appearance can only be provided for by the a priori, pure intuitions? But then the pure intuitions cannot be property of the mind.

    There are only two ways for us to cognize anything, one is by sense perception, the other is by thought. It would be totally bizarre of Mother Nature to imbue us with two separate and distinct cognitive systems, one for cognizing objects present to our senses, and another to cognize objects not present to sense, but of which there is antecedent experience of when it was present to our sense, and, in addition, of which we are completely capable of presenting to ourselves in thought alone without it having ever been an experience at all. It is much more parsimonious, and logically consistent, that we as rational agents operate under the auspices of a singular system, albeit under the restrictions pursuant to the two types of cognition given by our very nature.Mww

    It is Kant who is trying to impose two distinct systems of cognition, the a priori and the a posteriori. If you think that such a proposal would be totally bizarre, as you say here, then reject Kant's system as totally bizarre. Do you not see that Kant's pure intuitions, space and time, and the a priori in general, are presented by Kant as a distinct form of cognition which does not require sense objects. Having two distinct forms of cognition is totally bizarre, and that's why the a priori, pure intuitions, ought to be rejected as misunderstanding. Whatever it is, which is active in the a priori sense, and is responsible for the existence of what Kant calls "pure intuitions", cannot be a type of cognition at all, because it is necessarily prior to cognition. The Aristotelian representation of this, as a pure form, "the soul" is extremely primitive, I agree, but it is far more accurate. instead of giving us a step forward, Kant gives us a step backward toward misunderstanding.

    Obviously, the difference between the conditions for cognitions is only given from the faculty of representation, And then only that part of the faculty of representation that has appearance for its product.Mww

    This is not consistent with Kant. Appearance must be prior to representation, as that which is given to the faculty of representation, from sensibility. That's the problem I'm trying to point out to you. We need to account for the production of appearances. We cannot say that appearances are a product of the cognitive faculty of representation, because they are given to this faculty by sensibility, as the faculty's content, matter.

    If we assume that the cognitive faculty has some pure intuitions, not requiring any sensibility, free from appearances, then how do these pure intuitions get into that cognitive faculty without being contaminated by appearances, when the cognitive faculty is described as a posteriori to the sensibility. How could a cognitive property, the property of pure intuitions, be prior to sensibility, in order that it be free from sense appearances, and therefore provide us with 'pure' a priori intuitions?

    This must be the case, understanding is the faculty of thought, and phenomena are absolutely required for understanding. If we think, we must be using understanding and if we use understanding, there must be phenomena. That which the understanding thinks about must necessarily already exist for us in the faculty of representation from which it arises. And if it arises not from anything empirical, because the source of it is missing, it must arise a priori as already residing in the faculty of representation called intuition.Mww

    Right, except the a priori intuitions cannot be already residing in the faculty of understanding, because all intuitions are provided from sensibility. So how could these a priori intuitions, space and time, get into the cognitive faculty which gives us understanding? The faculty of understanding is a posteriori to sensibility, and receives all its content from sensibility. Yet there are a priori intuitions, pure and free from sensible content. How does the faculty of understanding receive a priori intuitions? They cannot be already residing in the faculty of representation (a cognitive faculty), because this faculty only receives intuitions from sensibility. Therefore, if the a priori pure intuitions are free from sensible content (appearances), they must be prior to sensibility.

    Furthermore, if intuition arises a priori under one condition, there is no reason to suspect it does not so arise under any condition.Mww

    This is inconsistent with Kant again. "Objects are given to us by means of sensibility and it alone yields us intuitions...". In your own words, it would be extremely bizarre if one faculty of the mind was receiving a posteriori intuitions, and another part was creating a priori intuitions. It may be true that there is a part which retrieves memories, while another part receives current appearances, but it doesn't make sense to say that one part of the mind is creating 'pure' intuitions, because these would be completely random, free from all influence of sensibility. How could the mind even do that, isolate a part of itself, from any sensible content to produce pure intuitions?

    It should be clear now that the notion of a priori is not temporally significant, but is merely a condition for a means for something.Mww

    Don't you recognize that a condition for something means that this thing which is the condition, is necessarily prior in time to the thing which it is a condition for? How can you even think that you might remove temporality from this concept?

    The problem then becomes, even if forms of cognized objects reside a priori in intuition, says nothing about how they got there in the first place. Simply put, they are derived from experience, and thereby suffices as logical equivalent to the psychological principle of memory. Just as we can never remember that which was never known, so too can we never have empirical intuition of that which we’ve never experienced.Mww

    You ought to recognize this as contradictory as well. To say that the a priori is derived from experience begs the question of what type of "experience" might you be referring to. And to say that this is experience "which we've never experienced", is simple contradiction.

    Lastly, the form of empirical intuition is not the form of empirical objects represented as phenomena. Intuition is given from objects of sense, so the form of intuition must be that which all objects have in common, or, which is the same thing, that which makes objects possible as perceptions, which in turn makes intuition itself possible. The number of intuitions is predicated on the number of perceptions, but the possibility of intuitions is directly related to the possibility of objects. For humans, space and time are the necessary conditions of the possibility of objects, and thereby the possibility of experience. Theoretical derivatives to follow, if interested.Mww

    Again, it makes no sense to say that the possibility of objects as perceptions, is a property of the human mind, because this makes it impossible for other sensing animals to sense objects as perceptions. So, if the pure intuitions, space and time, are necessary conditions for sensibility (possibility of sense experience), then these intuitions must exist in all sensing creatures, and even must have been produced prior to sensation itself. That is why it does not make sense to speak about this feature of living beings as a property of the mind, and it is better understood as a property of the soul which all living being have.

    can show how temporal necessity for some a priori considerations is unwarranted. There may be conditions for temporal necessity, but withdrawing such necessity is not impossible. Remember, this is all with respect to human cognition alone, without reflection on all and everything that is or may be possible.Mww

    I agree that withdrawing temporality from a priori is a possibility, but it is not a logical possibility; it is illogical, because the defining terms of "a priori" will be contradicted in such an effort. If you think you can demonstrate otherwise go ahead and try. You would have to define "a priori" in some non temporal way, but this would be nonsense, just like defining cause and effect in a non temporal way.

    Numbers are nothing but the schema of the category of quantity. If there are two things, each is already in its own part of time from its perspective, but they may very well coexist in the same time from mine.Mww

    Sure, two things might coexist, but that is not what we're talking about, we are talking about a priority of existence. To determine if one is prior to the other, we need to consider their origins. If they are both caused to come into existence at the exact same time, we can rule out coincidence as improbable, and conclude that they have the same cause. That cause is one thing, which is prior to the two. If we accept coincidence, then we still have two distinct things, and we need to look to the cause of those things, and avoid infinite regress.

    But I judge the value of a theory only on how much sense it makes to me, so if I spent as much time and effort on Aristotle as I have on Kant, I might’ve had a different allegiance.Mww

    This is why I am trying to demonstrate to you how Kant's system makes very little sense.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    You know.....I love a good Socratic, and even a somewhat Hegelian, dialectic as much as the next guy. Being from two distinct metaphysical paradigms pretty much promises you and I will go back and forth for the foreseeable future, without agreeing on much of anything. I don’t mind, though, so, once more into the breech.....

    See, the faculty of representation produces a representation through synthesis, but the capacity of sensation produces an appearance only by being affected by objects. The pure intuitions, the a priori, are required to account for that synthesis which produces the representations. But how do we account for the synthesis within sensation, required to produce an appearance? The pure intuitions are not supposed to be there, within sensation, or are they?Metaphysician Undercover

    In a theory of knowledge predicated on logical structure, but initiated by physical means, the transition between the two needs no technical account; it is sufficient that the transition occurs, and is sustained by observation. Think of that transition as the major premise in a propositional syllogism: if an object affects perception and from such affect is given an appearance that represents the affect, and if....(continue to minor premise). This is a valid procedure, regardless of whether such logical system is representational or not, because obviously there is in fact a transition of some kind between the physical external and the rational internal. I know you have doubts about the external/internal relation, having to do with possibilities and activities and whatnot....but I don’t see why that should be the case. No matter their names, a dualism of some kind is consistent with the human complementary architecture under which the logical system works. Up/down; left/right; yes/no......ad infinitum.

    So we don’t synthesize within sensation, we grant a physical/mental transition, a representation being the result, and get on with it. Representation understood to indicate a “change in the subjective state”. The pure intuitions are not there, no, but the time until they are is practically instantaneous.
    —————-

    The ambiguity is because of the inconsistency and lack of clarity in Kant's work.Metaphysician Undercover

    Ok, I’m forced to grant you that. He’s infamous for apparent inconsistencies and notorious for lack of clarity, employing, as is his wont, the paragraph for a unit of argument. Still, we do the best we can with what we have to work with. The strength of the theory as a whole far outweighs the troubles in its construction, and whether it was from the validity on the pro side or vagary on the con side, that philosophical academia reinvented itself after CPR, is irrelevant.

    As an aside, the Transcendental Analytic is far FAR more controversial, ambiguous and obfuscated than the easy stuff occupying us here in this first, merely groundwork part of Elements, the Transcendental Aesthetic.
    —————-

    This distinguishes a capacity from a faculty....
    — Mww

    Here's that same inconsistency again. You distinguish a rational function from a physical ability to do something, with reference to the "resultant product". However, there is a resultant product from the capacity to do something called "sensibility", or sensation. There is an appearance, just like the representation is the resultant product of the rational faculty.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Ways and means, I say. Ways and means. It being abundantly manifest that the external and internal are very distinct, it follows the operational parameters governing the expositions of them must also be. Interchange the terminology if you like, in that a capacity can be a faculty and vice versa, (Kant does this himself regarding sensibility, four times throughout the text) but what have you gained? If the gain is clarity and consistency, but we end up in the same speculative end......who cares? Again, no matter the names, there is a difference between them. All each has to do is be self-consistent within its own arena, and not functionally intrude on the other. It’s a process, after all.

    Sensibility is the capacity for receiving impressions, it does not have a product of its own. Nothing will make any sense if it is not shown that we actually do perceive things, and how they relate, what their place is. Sets the stage, if you will. Sensibility the conception, merely denotes that we are able to perceive things as external to us, while the affect on us still belongs to the object. Sensation is the affect of an object of perception on “our faculty of representation”, of which sensibility is not a part.

    Hopefully, this horse is now dead enough.
    ——————

    If there is something a priori, some sort of pure intuition, involved in producing rational representations, that same pure intuition must also be involved in producing the appearances of sensation.Metaphysician Undercover

    Intuition does not produce representation, intuition is a representation of a certain kind, produced by the human system. It follows then, that pure intuitions also do not produce representations, they are the conditions which must be met in order for there to be empirical representations. Appearance is just a name for a kind, along with the name conception, idea, and of course, intuition, the kind dependent on the cause and effect of each.

    Space and time are called intuitions because they are representations of a kind that indicates a subjective state, just as they all do. Space and time are called pure intuitions because there is nothing in experience that belongs to them. Empirical intuitions, on the other hand, represents empirical predicates, because only empirical objects are perceived by us and become experiences.

    Gotta keep in mind the theory under discussion, in which space and time are the absolutely necessary ground of the possibility of all experience. If involved at all in the producing appearance as representing sensations, it is because without space and time, objects and the sensation of them are impossible for us. That is not to say appearances are actually produced by them.
    ————————-

    This must be the case, understanding is the faculty of thought, and phenomena are absolutely required for understanding......
    — Mww

    Right, except the a priori intuitions cannot be already residing in the faculty of understanding, because all intuitions are provided from sensibility. So how could these a priori intuitions, space and time, get into the cognitive faculty which gives us understanding?
    Metaphysician Undercover

    They don’t. There are no intuitions at all in understanding, there are only conceptions. Space and time are not conceptions. We need space and time as the necessary conditions for objects, but absent perception, we can still think objects, which just means we are thinking the form of objects as representations arranged a priori as phenomena. This explains why time is the condition of our conceptions but space is not. Thoughts do not occupy space but they do subsist in time.

    Just as there are the pure intuitions represented as space and time, there are the pure conceptions of the understanding called categories, which relate phenomena to empirical conceptions.

    Understanding isn’t given to us; it is what we do as part of our nature, just as we intuit, and judge, and cognize and experience.

    How does the faculty of understanding receive a priori intuitions?Metaphysician Undercover

    It doesn’t; it receives phenomena that imagination synthesizes with conceptions, which gives judgement.

    if the a priori pure intuitions are free from sensible content (appearances), they must be prior to sensibility.Metaphysician Undercover

    Technically, it isn’t quite right to say intuitions are free from appearances. It is more that the content of appearance have no organization, or “...arranged under certain relations...”, which intuition provides. Saying imagination synthesizes is the same as saying intuition arranges the content of appearance into the organized form called phenomena.
    ——————

    "The science of all principles of a priori sensibility I call transcendental aestheticMetaphysician Undercover

    Interesting. Kemp Smith and Guyer/Wood translations read that way, but Meikeljohn reads: "The science of all principles of sensibility a priori I call transcendental aesthetic...”. I like that better, because of what follows:

    “....In the transcendental aesthetic we will therefore first isolate sensibility by separating off everything that the understanding thinks through its concepts, so that nothing but empirical intuition remains. Second, we will then detach from the latter everything that belongs to sensation,
    so that nothing remains except pure intuition and the mere form of ap­pearances, which is the only thing that sensibility can make available a priori...”

    Taken together, we should see it isn’t sensibility itself that is a priori, but only the rational product of it, which we have agreed all along, is mere appearance. This reflects back to my interpretation that the affects of objects stops at sensation, whereby the mind takes over from the empirical, hence the advent of a priori conditions. Not prior to physicality, but instead of it.
    ——————-

    Don't you recognize that a condition for something means that this thing which is the condition, is necessarily prior in time to the thing which it is a condition for? How can you even think that you might remove temporality from this concept?Metaphysician Undercover

    I wouldn’t, and I haven’t. I said there are situations where the notion of temporal sense is unwarranted, and that the a priori is just as much a logical relation from deductive inference as it is a relation in time. Furthermore, we need to keep in mind what we actually talking about here, and that is a theory of knowledge, in which the hypotheticals make clear we don’t give a hoot about the when of something, but only the use of it. Saying the premises of a syllogism are necessarily prior in time to the conclusion of it, it a trivial truth, and serves no purpose whatsoever.
    ——————

    it would be extremely bizarre if one faculty of the mind was receiving a posteriori intuitions, and another part was creating a priori intuitions.Metaphysician Undercover

    Not what I said, and certainly not what I meant. The mind doesn’t receive intuitions, it creates them because objects are given to us, hence always a priori but with empirical cause. Pure intuitions created as the form of empirical intuitions.

    You know.....you can’t have matter/form necessarily in one place, use that necessity for something else, yet arbitrarily drop out the matter/form complementarity, just because. If the theory starts with it, the theory must maintain it for its own internal consistency. Form has always been a rational aspect, so at some point, the matter part of the complement must also become rational, or the theory defeats itself again, it being, after all, a metaphysical thesis.
    ——————

    it makes no sense to say that the possibility of objects as perceptions, is a property of the human mind, because this makes it impossible for other sensing animals to sense objects as perceptions.Metaphysician Undercover

    To say anything is a property of humans does nothing to say it is thereby an impossible property of anything else. For humans, space and time are the necessary conditions of the possibility of objects, and thereby the possibility of experience. Keyword.....for humans. At best, we may allow other rational beings like us to be imbued with similar cognitive apparatus, but rational beings does not necessarily include “sensing animals” in general, but only certain kinds.

    “.....I join one representation to another, and am conscious of the synthesis of them....”, is the determinant factor in what a rational being would be.

    It makes perfect sense to say the possibility of objects as perceptions is a property of humans, but such property in no manner makes the possibility of objects in themselves dependent on human perception. Human experience of objects, on the other hand, is entirely predicated on the initiating perception of them. Such proclamation should broker no controversy whatsoever.
    —————-

    You would have to define "a priori" in some non temporal way, but this would be nonsenseMetaphysician Undercover

    “.....But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means follows that all arises out of experience. For, on the contrary, it is quite possible that our empirical knowledge is a compound of that which we receive through impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition supplies from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occasion), an addition which we cannot distinguish from the original element...

    .....For, in speaking of knowledge which has its sources in experience, we are wont to say, that this or that may be known a priori, because we do not derive this knowledge immediately from experience, but from a general rule, which, however, we have itself borrowed from experience....

    ......By the term "knowledge a priori," therefore, we shall in the sequel understand, not such as is independent of this or that kind of experience, but such as is absolutely so of all experience. Opposed to this is empirical knowledge, or that which is possible only a posteriori, that is, through experience. Knowledge a priori is either pure or impure. Pure knowledge a priori is that with which no empirical element is mixed up....”

    So there!!! PPPFFFTTTT!!! Defined, just as you demanded. Notice, if you will, the glaringly obvious lack of temporal and non-sense. This being independent of that removes time from their relation.
    ——————

    This is why I am trying to demonstrate to you how Kant's system makes very little sense.Metaphysician Undercover

    And doing a good job of it, too, I must say. Thing is, I like to think I’m doing just as well in refuting your demonstrations. Still, the controversy intrinsic to a thing, and the degree of sense it makes, are directly related to the understanding of it, assuming it is comprehensible in the first place, of course.

    “.....Despite its brevity - a mere thirty pages in the first edition and forty in the second - the "Transcendental Aesthetic" argues for a series of striking, paradoxical and even revolutionary theses that deter­mine the course of the whole remainder of the Critique and that have been the subject of a very large proportion of the scholarly work de­ voted to the Critique in the last two centuries. In this section, Kant at­ tempts to distinguish the contribution to cognition made by our receptive faculty of sensibility from that made solely by the objects that affect us (A21-2/B36), and argues that space and time are pure forms of all intuition contributed by our own faculty of sensibility, and therefore forms of which we can have a priori knowledge. This is the basis for Kant's resolution of the debate about space and time that had raged be­tween the Newtonians, who held space and time to be self-subsisting entities existing independently of the objects that occupy them, and the Leibnizians, who held space and time to be systems of relations, con­ceptual constructs based on non-relational properties inhering in the things we think of as spatiotemporally related. Kant's alternative to both of these positions is that space and time are neither subsistent be­ings nor inherent in things as they are in themselves, but are rather only forms of our sensibility, hence conditions under which objects of expe­rience can be given at all and the fundamental principle of their repre­sentation and individuation. Only in this way, Kant argues, can we adequately account for the necessary manifestation of space and time throughout all experience as single but infinite magnitudes - the fea­ture of experience that Newton attempted to account for with his meta­physically incoherent notion of absolute space and time as the sensorium dei - and also explain the a priori yet synthetic character of the mathe­matical propositions expressing our cognition of the physical properties of quantities and shapes given in space and time - the epistemological certainty undercut by Leibniz's account of space and time as mere rela­tions abstracted from antecedently existing objects (A22-5IB37-41, A30--2IB46-9).
    Kant's thesis that space and time are pure forms of intuition leads him to the paradoxical conclusion that although space and time are empiri­cally real, they are transcendentally ideal, and so are the objects given in them. Although the precise meaning of this claim remains subject to debate, in general terms it is the claim that it is only from the human standpoint that we can speak of space, time, and the spatiotemporality of the objects of experience, thus that we cognize these things not as they are in themselves but only as they appear under the conditions of our sensibility (A26-30/B42-5, A32-48/B49-73). This is Kant's famous doctrine of transcendental idealism, which is employed throughout the Critique of Pure Reason (and the two subsequent critiques) in a variety of ways....”
    (Guyer, Cambridge Press, 1998)

    All that to say this: nothing is but what we think of it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k
    In a theory of knowledge predicated on logical structure, but initiated by physical means, the transition between the two needs no technical account; it is sufficient that the transition occurs, and is sustained by observation. Think of that transition as the major premise in a propositional syllogism: if an object affects perception and from such affect is given an appearance that represents the affect, and if....(continue to minor premise).Mww

    Actually, this is precisely where scientism fails us. It assumes that if a premise or proposition is supported by observation, then it must be true. In reality though, the fact that the referred to "transition" is supported by observation is insufficient to support the truth of the proposition or premise produced, because the "observation" itself must be verified.

    If you're not familiar with the tinted glass analogy, I will introduce it to you now. It was used in middle Christianity, by Aquinas for one, to argue for the immateriality of the mind. Perhaps it was derived from a Muslim source, or even Aristotle in a slightly different format. The argument is that in order for the mind to be able to know all material objects, there cannot be anything material within the mind, because this would taint the mind's perspective, like looking through a tinted glass.

    The problem this brings up, is that we cannot simply assume that the mind is purely immaterial, and is not thus tainted, and that the human being has the capacity to know all material objects through its immaterial mind. We must allow for the possibility that our observations are made through a lens, and that the lens itself, is contributing to the observation, like a tinting on the glass. Therefore, we need a clear analysis and understanding of the means of observation (and this is sense, or sensibility, in the context of our discussion), before the observations themselves can be held as valid.

    In conclusion then, we need to reject your major premise "if an object affects perception...", because we need to determine how perception is constituted, and how it is disposed to be affected by objects, before we can draw any conclusions from that premise.

    So we don’t synthesize within sensation, we grant a physical/mental transition, a representation being the result, and get on with it. Representation understood to indicate a “change in the subjective state”. The pure intuitions are not there, no, but the time until they are is practically instantaneous.Mww

    To continue the analogy, I will refer to sensibility as "the lens" through which the internal mind observes the external sensible world. I'll agree then, that we do not synthesize with sensation, but sensibility contributes to the representation. I won't call this contribution a synthesis, but we must accept the reality of this contribution. Furthermore, our apprehension and understanding of the reality of sensible objects will always be tainted until we determine the features of this lens, and account for those features in our representations.

    As an aside, the Transcendental Analytic is far FAR more controversial, ambiguous and obfuscated than the easy stuff occupying us here in this first, merely groundwork part of Elements, the Transcendental Aesthetic.Mww

    Of course this would be the case, the fundamental principles are laid out in the ground work. So if there is even a small or seemingly insignificant degree of inconsistency or ambiguity (an indication of uncertainty in the author) there in the ground work, it will be multiplied in what follows. This is why Aristotle serves as a good example. The groundwork, his physics and biology, each is consistent and unambiguous. The ambiguity and inconsistency enters in the more difficult subjects of ethics and metaphysics. But due to the clarity in the ground work these inconsistencies are easier to identify and isolate.

    It being abundantly manifest that the external and internal are very distinct, it follows the operational parameters governing the expositions of them must also be. Interchange the terminology if you like, in that a capacity can be a faculty and vice versa, (Kant does this himself regarding sensibility, four times throughout the text) but what have you gained?Mww

    The external and internal are not "very distinct". This is a necessary principle I've brought to your attention already, but you do not appear to have apprehended it. And this points right to the topic of this thread. When you read this passage, the 'same' word exists within your mind (internal) as in the written medium (external). We might maintain the internal/external separation by saying one is a representation of the other, but which is which? Proponents of the scientism perspective will say that the mind makes a representation of the spoken word, but Platonists would say that the word is a representation of the idea. If we do not get this relationship right, we have a misunderstanding.

    Suppose we start with a mind/body separation, as did the pre-Socratics; mind being internal, body being external. Now, we propose sensibility, or sensation as the medium between the two. But sensations come in different sorts. We feel pains, pleasures, emotions like desires and satiation, as well as tactile sensing, right in the body. We also sense external objects through senses like hearing and seeing. Now the human body is no longer the external, as external to the mind, but it is the medium of sensation which separates the external objects, and the internal mind.

    So it appears like we cannot make sensibility a property of the internal mind, nor is it a property of the external object (the body). It must share both. However, if, when we talk about "sensibility" we may refer to it as a property of the immaterial mind, or we may refer to it as a property of the body, something external to the mind, then each of these two times the thing referred to as "sensibility" has a different relation to the mind. Then the respective role which sensibility plays in mental activity is completely different in each of these cases, because in one case it is external to the mind, and in the other case it is internal, as part of the mind.

    Furthermore, we have the standard objection of naive monists against dualism, that the internal, as distinct from the external, cannot have interactions. What these monists fail to recognize is that Plato resolved this problem long ago, by positing passion, or spirit, as the medium between mind and body. However, this medium itself has a dual characterization. It may cooperate with the material body to act on the immaterial intellect, or it may cooperate with the immaterial intellect to act on the material body. Notice that in the one case the immaterial intellect is a passive recipient of activity, while in the other case it is the source of activity. This provides the basis for the Aristotelian division of passive and active intellect. Not only must the intellect be passive in receiving sense impressions, and whatever "feelings" it gets from the material body, it must also be active in causing bodily activities, thus actively causing change to the material world.

    This is why moral philosophy becomes very relevant to epistemology. Reconsider "the lens" of observation now. The lens is the human body, which the immaterial intellect looks through, by means of sensibility. However, we now conceive of the immaterial intellect as also acting in the sensible world, through the means of the human body. From this perspective the body is a tool. So the same thing, which is the medium between the mind and the external world, is both, what affects our representations, as lens, and how we affect the world, as tool. Was that tool created for the purpose of scientific observation? Evolution theory would tell us no, it evolved according to survival, so it was created for the purpose of survival. But even this principle is doubtful, because we see such a vast array of life forms of all different shapes, sizes, colours, etc., this suggests that it is not simply survival which accounts for the bodily form.

    In any case, "the lens" of sensibility can now be considered to be a tool, and as a tool, it is shaped and adapted for the purpose it is put to. And observation itself is subjective, depending on the purpose of the observation. This is why Plato, through the character of Socrates moved from the aesthetic principle of beauty in the "Symposium", to a more pragmatic principle, "the good", in the "Republic". Socrates' teacher in the Symposium, Diotima, supposedly taught him how to recognize beauty in human art and institutions. These things could only be beautiful because they partook in the Idea of Beauty, so Socrates was encouraged to find true beauty in the Idea of Beauty.

    To me, it is indicated from the progression of Plato's dialogues that Socrates was not satisfied by this type of Idea, he literally could not find the Idea of Beauty, or any of the other Ideas he sought in the Plato's early dialogues. Then we might say he "saw the light", so that in the Republic, "the good" is said to make intelligible objects (Ideas), intelligible, just like the sun makes visible objects visible. This makes ideas and concepts, as they appear to human minds, relative. The way that they are understood by a human mind, is relative to the good which they are put toward. But this revelation completely changes one's perspective of on ideas and concepts. These things are created by the mind to be used as tools, for whatever purpose the mind gets up to, they are not at all representations of sensible objects. Further, it becomes apparent that all the artificial things in the world, and even the natural things (put there by the Creator), are simply representations of the Ideas. So the people in the cave see sensible objects as the real things when they are really just reflections of the Ideas.

    Sensibility is the capacity for receiving impressions, it does not have a product of its own. Nothing will make any sense if it is not shown that we actually do perceive things, and how they relate, what their place is. Sets the stage, if you will. Sensibility the conception, merely denotes that we are able to perceive things as external to us, while the affect on us still belongs to the object. Sensation is the affect of an object of perception on “our faculty of representation”, of which sensibility is not a part.

    Hopefully, this horse is now dead enough.
    Mww

    Well the horse is not dead at all, because this is what I absolutely dispute, and I'm trying to explain to you why I dispute it. Let me state it bluntly, there is no "faculty of representation". The immaterial aspect, what you call the internal, is active, doing things, creating ideas, etc.. These things which the internal mind is creating, ideas and such, are created for a purpose, implying that their existence is based in a final cause. As such, it is only when representation is desired, as the final cause, that the mind is creating representations. If "sensation" was created with the purpose of giving the mind representations, then we could say what you say. However, sensation was produced from the forces of evolution, so this feature was selected for on the basis of survival, or something like that, not on the capacity for providing a representation.

    Intuition does not produce representation, intuition is a representation of a certain kind, produced by the human system. It follows then, that pure intuitions also do not produce representations, they are the conditions which must be met in order for there to be empirical representations. Appearance is just a name for a kind, along with the name conception, idea, and of course, intuition, the kind dependent on the cause and effect of each.

    Space and time are called intuitions because they are representations of a kind that indicates a subjective state, just as they all do. Space and time are called pure intuitions because there is nothing in experience that belongs to them. Empirical intuitions, on the other hand, represents empirical predicates, because only empirical objects are perceived by us and become experiences.
    Mww

    The problem here is what I pointed to in my last post. Kant very clearly states that all intuitions are derived through sensibility. This includes pure intuitions. Therefore we cannot say that pure intuitions are devoid of experience. What Kant says is that they are devoid of sense experience. As I explained, the only logical way to interpret this is that the pure intuitions are prior to sensibility, taken by sensibility and given to the mind unaltered by sensation.

    “....In the transcendental aesthetic we will therefore first isolate sensibility by separating off everything that the understanding thinks through its concepts, so that nothing but empirical intuition remains. Second, we will then detach from the latter everything that belongs to sensation,
    so that nothing remains except pure intuition and the mere form of ap­pearances, which is the only thing that sensibility can make available a priori...”
    Mww

    See, this is very consistent with what I said in the last passage. First we exclude what is proper to the mind, concepts etc.. Then we take empirical intuition and remove everything derived from sensation. So we are left with everything which is prior to sensation. Effectively, this is "the lens". The only problem is that Kant goes and posits space and time as the pure intuitions, the lens, and that is completely unwarranted. If we look from the Aristotelian perspective, the pure intuition would probably be matter. And Aristotelian matter, being what accounts for temporal continuity, inertia for example, and also having the character of potential, is a temporal concept. Form is spatial. But notice also, that when Kant talks about space and time, time is described as an internal intuition, and space is an external intuition. What could he mean by external intuition? "Space" might not be an a priori intuition at all, it might be a synthesized concept.

    I wouldn’t, and I haven’t. I said there are situations where the notion of temporal sense is unwarranted, and that the a priori is just as much a logical relation from deductive inference as it is a relation in time. Furthermore, we need to keep in mind what we actually talking about here, and that is a theory of knowledge, in which the hypotheticals make clear we don’t give a hoot about the when of something, but only the use of it. Saying the premises of a syllogism are necessarily prior in time to the conclusion of it, it a trivial truth, and serves no purpose whatsoever.Mww

    Right, we're talking about a theory of knowledge which distinguishes a priori from a posteriori, and you're telling me "we don't give a hoot about the when of something". Tell me another one, President Trump.

    Not what I said, and certainly not what I meant. The mind doesn’t receive intuitions, it creates them because objects are given to us, hence always a priori but with empirical cause. Pure intuitions created as the form of empirical intuitions.Mww

    I already quoted the passage where Kant clearly states: "Objects are given to us by means of sensibility, and it alone yields us intuitions...". This is where the ambiguity leads to inconsistency. So you are handing sensibility over to the mind, as if it is a property of the mind. But sense organs are clearly material aspects of the material body, and not part of the internal, immaterial mind. We sense through the means of material organs, and the distinction between the various sense capacities (sensibilities) is due to the difference in the material features.

    To say anything is a property of humans does nothing to say it is thereby an impossible property of anything else. For humans, space and time are the necessary conditions of the possibility of objects, and thereby the possibility of experience. Keyword.....for humans. At best, we may allow other rational beings like us to be imbued with similar cognitive apparatus, but rational beings does not necessarily include “sensing animals” in general, but only certain kinds.Mww

    You can say that, but it doesn't really have any bearing. The pure intuitions are necessary conditions for human sensation, this means that they are prior to human sensation. If you want to say that other animals sense in a completely different way from the way that human beings sense, a way which doesn't require the pure intuitions, we could accept that as a possibility. However, evolutionary theory shows consistency between the various animals, and it really would not make sense to entertain the idea that human eyes are radically different from the eyes of other animals, to account for such a difference between human sensation and the sensation of other animals.

    “.....But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means follows that all arises out of experience. For, on the contrary, it is quite possible that our empirical knowledge is a compound of that which we receive through impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition supplies from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occasion), an addition which we cannot distinguish from the original element...Mww

    This is not what Kant is giving us though. He says all intuitions are derived from sensibility. And, it makes much more sense this way. How could the mind produce ideas, or any sort of thought, which is free from sense impressions. Remember earlier, I said something about meditation. If you've tried meditation, the idea might be to separate your mind from sense influence. But that's impossible, it can't be done. The closest we come perhaps is in sleep, dreaming, but this is more like the mind utilizing memories. So I think back to childhood and see if I can remember a time when I was thinking prior to sensing, but I don't think such a time existed. Therefore it appears impossible to me, that the faculty of cognition, the thinking mind itself, could add anything to one's knowledge, which is not influenced by sensation.

    So there!!! PPPFFFTTTT!!! Defined, just as you demanded. Notice, if you will, the glaringly obvious lack of temporal and non-sense. This being independent of that removes time from their relation.Mww

    It looks to me like you failed.
    "For, in speaking of knowledge which has its sources in experience, we are wont to say, that this or that may be known a priori, because we do not derive this knowledge immediately from experience, but from a general rule, which, however, we have itself borrowed from experience...."
    Notice, the temporal procession described here.

    And doing a good job of it, too, I must say.Mww

    Thanks, I'm glad you appreciate the effort.

    Kant's thesis that space and time are pure forms of intuition leads him to the paradoxical conclusion that although space and time are empiri­cally real, they are transcendentally ideal, and so are the objects given in them.Mww

    We need to consider the meaning of "ideal". Space and time may be ideal for the purpose of representing material objects, but "ideal" is relative to the purpose. The purpose is defined by what is sought, the good. So Plato was moved to posit "the good", as the object itself. Therefore, depending on the nature of the object, (the good), space and time might not be ideal. So Kant hasn't really determined what sensibility contributes, he proposes space and time as the ideals for representation, but sensibility is probably not designed for the purpose of representation.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    In conclusion then, we need to reject your major premise "if an object affects perception...", because we need to determine how perception is constituted, and how it is disposed to be affected by objects, before we can draw any conclusions from that premise.Metaphysician Undercover

    Hmmmmm.....

    So you’re saying theories concerning knowledge in general, depends on knowledge of particulars. Makes me wonder....how can we claim knowledge of a thing before we have decided how it is possible to know anything at all?

    We must allow for the possibility that our observations are made through a lens, and that the lens itself, is contributing to the observationMetaphysician Undercover

    No, actually we don’t. We can just as well assume our sensory apparatus doesn’t distort our perceptions, work out a theory under those conditions, see if the conclusions make sense. If there is contradiction or inconsistency, it then becomes possible the apparatus does affect the perception; if there is no contradiction, and as a rule we are not confused by our sensations, we are justified in disclaiming the notion of an interfering lens. I have never ever looked at an apple and conceived from that observation, a grape. And even if my perception apparatus has distorted whatever that object actually is, to me it is a grape nonetheless.

    Hence the value in a representational cognitive system. We already know the object in itself is not what the mind is working with anyway, and we already know the object in the aftermath of immediate perception is not itself lent to the mind, so it makes little difference if observations are lensed or not. Whatever gets to the mind is that which is cognized.

    the fact that the referred to "transition" is supported by observation is insufficient to support the truth of the proposition or premise produced, because the "observation" itself must be verified.Metaphysician Undercover

    We’re not looking for truth of anything, no theory grounded on empirical conditions can ever be graded by its truth, but only on the non-contradiction of itself. All observations are verified, right up until they are not.

    Therefore, we need a clear analysis and understanding of the means of observation (and this is sense, or sensibility, in the context of our discussion), before the observations themselves can be held as valid.Metaphysician Undercover

    We don’t care if the observations are valid, we actually know sometimes they are not. We do not need to reduce a theory of knowledge to the inception of it, but only to ascertain if the ends conforms to the means.
    ———————

    The external and internal are not "very distinct". This is a necessary principle I've brought to your attention already, but you do not appear to have apprehended it.Metaphysician Undercover

    There you go again, attributing my lack of apprehension for what is actually sheer rejection. You cannot prove I reject this alleged necessary principle because I don’t apprehend the theory to which it belongs, as opposed to rejection of it because I do. Just because I find the internal/external dualism sufficiently explanatory doesn’t mean I don’t apprehend the arguments that it isn’t.

    We might maintain the internal/external separation by saying one is a representation of the other, but which is which?Metaphysician Undercover

    If the separation is held as a valid hypothesis, the which is which is given by it.
    ——————-

    Suppose we start with a mind/body separation.....Metaphysician Undercover

    Everything including and after this opening paragraph, and ending with.....

    So the people in the cave see sensible objects as the real things when they are really just reflections of the Ideas.Metaphysician Undercover

    ......is acceptable from a Classic perspective. Sensibility is a tool, shaped for its purpose as a capacity for something, by Nature; sensibility is not a property of the internal nor the external, it is a gateway between, hence can be said to be shared by both but belongs to neither. Intuition is impossible without the appearance of objects and objects are unknowable by us as something if they do not appear to us as something.
    ——————-

    “....In the transcendental aesthetic we will therefore first isolate sensibility by separating off everything that the understanding thinks through its concepts, so that nothing but empirical intuition remains. Second, we will then detach from the latter everything that belongs to sensation,
    so that nothing remains except pure intuition and the mere form of ap­pearances, which is the only thing that sensibility can make available a priori...”
    — Mww

    See, this is very consistent with what I said in the last passage. First we exclude what is proper to the mind, concepts etc.. Then we take empirical intuition and remove everything derived from sensation. So we are left with everything which is prior to sensation. Effectively, this is "the lens". The only problem is that Kant goes and posits space and time as the pure intuitions, the lens, and that is completely unwarranted.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    You’re misreading the passage. Isolate sensibility is to separate it, and in effect use an erasure on it. It’s gone, extinguished. Separating off what understanding thinks is what extinguishes it. You’re thinking separating off means sensibility is left. But if nothing but empirical intuition remains, it cannot be sensibility that is left because sensibility does not give us empirical intuitions as representations. It gives us appearances as representations by means of the sensations objects impress upon us, which is merely part of the capacity for receiving impressions.

    Then, from this empirical intuition remainder, is anything from sensation separated, which are those other representations, re: appearances, which are always empirical. Now, the empirical intuition has lost its empirical part, but is nonetheless intuition. So the final remainder is an intuition, but without anything belonging to it whatsoever. If a thing exists in some form, but has no content, it is nothing but a condition for that which was separated from it. It has become irreducible. What was taken was appearance, the empirical content from sensation, which in its turn came from the impression of objects, which in their turn, are actual real objects all given from sensibility, the capacity to receive objects. Therefore, for us, space and time as pure intuitions, are the necessary conditions of objects.

    We are not left with everything prior to sensation; we are left with everything after it, which is what is meant by “...all that sensibility can make available a priori....”. Just another.....18th Century scholastic upper class Prussian.....way of saying, if there is something a priori we have, from which sensibility is the ground for its abstraction, it is intuitions in general, of which pure intuitions are included. This also explains why all intuitions are a priori in origin, but empirical in employment, for these must also apply to merely possible objects. It also contradicts your claim that a priori means prior to, because there cannot be an intuition of an object antecedent to its impression on our senses. Just the opposite of what you’re claiming.
    ——————

    “.....But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means follows that all arises out of experience. For, on the contrary, it is quite possible that our empirical knowledge is a compound of that which we receive through impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition supplies from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occasion), an addition which we cannot distinguish from the original element...
    — Mww

    This is not what Kant is giving us though. He says all intuitions are derived from sensibility. And, it makes much more sense this way. How could the mind produce ideas, or any sort of thought, which is free from sense impressions.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    No, he does not. We do, in current parlance, because we disregard what he is trying to say under the constraint of his language, and disregarding exactly to whom he is aiming that language. We say derived from sensibility because nothing happens to our knowledge that doesn’t begin with sensibility, but that doesn’t mean we have knowledge because we have sensibility. Again...capacity vs faculty.

    Intuitions are the product of experience, sensuous impressions giving merely the occassion....for that experience. This should be obvious, because it is possible to perceive something, have the impression or sensation of a thing, and have no knowledge of what it is. But we can still think that sensation relates to something. We just won’t know if what we think about the sensation represents what it actually is. We may think “bug” when we experience a tickle in a place we can’t see, but it turns out to be a hair. We may very well know we have a sensation, but that doesn’t mean we know the content of it. If knowledge begins with experience, it cannot begin with something that happens in the system long before it can even be called experience.

    The mind produces ideas and thought of all sorts of things without sensation. Whenever nothing is the immediate focus of our attention, the mind can think whatever it wants. I mean.....when was the last time you had a sensation of potentiality, that wasn’t simply the sensation of something in possession of it?
    ——————-

    It looks to me like you failed.
    "For, in speaking of knowledge which has its sources in experience, we are wont to say, that this or that may be known a priori, because we do not derive this knowledge immediately from experience, but from a general rule, which, however, we have itself borrowed from experience...."
    Notice, the temporal procession described here.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Irrelevant. The context is empirical knowledge: “speaking of knowledge which has its sources in experience”. We are wont to say it is a priori, but it isn’t if it’s given from a rule that was itself given from experience. This is impure a priori, as opposed to pure, which is covered in the next paragraph. For all intents and purposes, it is reason operating under an improper judgement.

    “We are wont to say” means it is our habit, without due consideration of the truth of it.
    ——————-

    We need to consider the meaning of "ideal". Space and time may be ideal for the purpose of representing material objects, but "ideal" is relative to the purpose.Metaphysician Undercover

    Sure. Space and time are the ideal relative to the purpose of explaining how it is possible for us to know material objects. Ideal here means “Perfect for explaining....” because it is irreducible to something which could be more perfect for explaining. Purpose is defined as what is sought, and what is sought is knowledge. Transcendental, not Platonic.
    ———————

    Let me state it bluntly, there is no "faculty of representation". The immaterial aspect, what you call the internal, is active, doing things, creating ideas, etc.. These things which the internal mind is creating, ideas and such, are created for a purpose, implying that their existence is based in a final cause.Metaphysician Undercover

    Sure, I can dig it. The final cause of the activities of the internal aspect, is pure reason, and its purpose is either knowledge with respect to what is, or morality with respect to what ought to be. Damn!!! Yet another necessary dualism.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k
    So you’re saying theories concerning knowledge in general, depends on knowledge of particulars. Makes me wonder....how can we claim knowledge of a thing before we have decided how it is possible to know anything at all?Mww

    Come on, you can't be serious? Knowledge is specific, to particular individuals. To say "we have knowledge" is a generalization. But to say that a group of individuals collectively has "a body of knowledge" is a sort of composition fallacy. Where would that knowledge exist, in the libraries?

    So your question is like asking how can a person claim to see without knowing how it is possible to see. Living capacities don't work that way. They have developed over time, as features of the various beings, and these beings use those capacities without knowing how they work. Knowledge is a product of those capacities, so we claim to have knowledge without knowing how it is possible to have knowledge.

    No, actually we don’t. We can just as well assume our sensory apparatus doesn’t distort our perceptions, work out a theory under those conditions, see if the conclusions make sense. If there is contradiction or inconsistency, it then becomes possible the apparatus does affect the perception; if there is no contradiction, and as a rule we are not confused by our sensations, we are justified in disclaiming the notion of an interfering lens. I have never ever looked at an apple and conceived from that observation, a grape. And even if my perception apparatus has distorted whatever that object actually is, to me it is a grape nonetheless.Mww

    Right, and this has already happened. It happened for the ancient Greeks (as Socrates displayed in sophism). In those days people didn't even know that the earth revolved around the sun. Things aren't as they appear. The senses don't "represent" things the way that they are. And, it has happened again in modern society. Contradiction and inconsistency are rampant. Principles of one field of study contradict and are inconsistent with those of another field, and even within a particular discipline there is contradiction. Look at quantum physics for example, or some advanced evolutionary biology. Therefore the notion of the "lens" is justified.

    Kant knew about the "lens", read the passage you quoted for me from Guyer.

    In this section, Kant at­ tempts to distinguish the contribution to cognition made by our receptive faculty of sensibility from that made solely by the objects that affect us (A21-2/B36), and argues that space and time are pure forms of all intuition contributed by our own faculty of sensibility, and therefore forms of which we can have a priori knowledge.Mww

    Kant knew that the senses don't represent things as they are, hence the phenomena/noumena division. What he didn't recognize is how deep the difference is. Why even call it a "representation"? Semiotics gives us insight into this difference. What living beings use is symbols rather than representations.
    A symbol has significance due to associations, we say a symbol has meaning. Sometimes we might say that a symbol represents something, but it doesn't represent it by being similar to it, it represents it by corresponding to it. When a word is used to refer directly to an object, like a proper noun, the word doesn't "represent" in the sense of being a reflection of the thing. And a significant portion of word usage does not involve proper nouns, the word simply has significance, or meaning. Semiotics gives us the principles to look at all the functions of living beings as semiosis, processes using symbols. Why wouldn't sensibility be the same? The senses don't give us representations, they give us symbols, which are associated with aspects of the world which have significance to us, are meaningful to us. As evidence of this, consider all the features of the world which modern chemistry and physics have determined are real like molecules and atoms, which the senses don't show us.

    Hence the value in a representational cognitive system. We already know the object in itself is not what the mind is working with anyway, and we already know the object in the aftermath of immediate perception is not itself lent to the mind, so it makes little difference if observations are lensed or not. Whatever gets to the mind is that which is cognized.Mww

    A representational cognitive system doesn't have value in the way that you claim it does. Consider your example of distinguishing an apple from a grape. Differentiation is not performed by representation. Imagine if you had a number of individual apples, and a number of individual grapes, and you were asked to determine which is which. You do not have an ideal representation of a grape, and of an apple, in your mind, to serve as paradigms by means of which you would make your judgement. In fact, this sort of judgement is not derived from representations at all. If it was, it would require the ideal paradigm for comparison. No such ideal exists This principle I learned from Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations".

    We’re not looking for truth of anything, no theory grounded on empirical conditions can ever be graded by its truth, but only on the non-contradiction of itself. All observations are verified, right up until they are not.Mww

    I don't get this. Isn't truth exactly what we are looking for in an empirically grounded system? We want a theory which corresponds precisely with the empirical conditions. X theory corresponds precisely with a specific set of empirical conditions. The problem is that empirical conditions are unique, and particular to the subject. Furthermore, empirical conditions are necessarily of the past. Therefore such a theory would deal exclusively with how a subject might ideally represent the past. Succinctly, this is memory. But in knowledge, memories are applied. And, since the capacity for application must play a big role in establishing the systems for remembering, (the memory systems must be useful for application) we can no long say that the "ideal" system for remembering empirical conditions is a precise and exact representation. All empirical conditions are unique. This is because empirical conditions are always changing. So the ideal "representation" would be one which is applicable to a multitude of different conditions, therefore not actually a representation at all, but a useful form of association, significance.

    Again, we get a glimpse of the importance of final cause, and the relevance of moral philosophy. Our goals, ends are a determining feature of application, and applicability is a determining feature of memory systems. Since applicability plays a determining role in how things are remembered, memories are not properly represented as representations, they are principles available for application just like concepts, which may or may not be used for representation.

    You’re misreading the passage. Isolate sensibility is to separate it, and in effect use an erasure on it. It’s gone, extinguished. Separating off what understanding thinks is what extinguishes it. You’re thinking separating off means sensibility is left. But if nothing but empirical intuition remains, it cannot be sensibility that is left because sensibility does not give us empirical intuitions as representations. It gives us appearances as representations by means of the sensations objects impress upon us, which is merely part of the capacity for receiving impressions.Mww

    All intuitions are received from sensibility! I quoted that twice already for you. What is an empirical intuition other than a sense impression? I think you need to reread the passage.

    .In the transcendental aesthetic we will therefore first isolate sensibility by separating off everything that the understanding thinks through its concepts, so that nothing but empirical intuition remains. Second, we will then detach from the latter everything that belongs to sensation,

    First we separate sensibility from thinking through the means of concepts so that nothing but empirical intuition remains. The we detach from the latter (empirical intuition), everything which belongs to sensation. So Kant claims, we are left with space and time. Notice we are proceeding from the highest toward the most fundamental, removing the highest, thought with concepts (proper rational thought) first. Then we move to the next highest, intuitions derived from sensibility, and remove everything which is proper to sense. We are left with what is prior to sensation, pure intuition.

    Then, from this empirical intuition remainder, is anything from sensation separated, which are those other representations, re: appearances, which are always empirical. Now, the empirical intuition has lost its empirical part, but is nonetheless intuition. So the final remainder is an intuition, but without anything belonging to it whatsoever. If a thing exists in some form, but has no content, it is nothing but a condition for that which was separated from it. It has become irreducible. What was taken was appearance, the empirical content from sensation, which in its turn came from the impression of objects, which in their turn, are actual real objects all given from sensibility, the capacity to receive objects. Therefore, for us, space and time as pure intuitions, are the necessary conditions of objects.Mww

    Wow, this is extremely confused. Interpret it my way, it's so much easier, and clearly how it was meant to be taken.

    It also contradicts your claim that a priori means prior to, because there cannot be an intuition of an object antecedent to its impression on our senses. Just the opposite of what you’re claiming.Mww

    Actually a priori does mean prior to. This contradiction which is derived from your interpretation, is evidence that you are misinterpreting, not me. To make sense out of your interpretation you have to give a priori some strange definition. Switch to a proper interpretation and you no longer need to give a priori a strange definiti

    The Latin phrases a priori ('from the earlier') and a posteriori ('from the later') are philosophical terms popularized by Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason... — Wikipedia

    No, he does not. We do, in current parlance, because we disregard what he is trying to say under the constraint of his language, and disregarding exactly to whom he is aiming that language. We say derived from sensibility because nothing happens to our knowledge that doesn’t begin with sensibility, but that doesn’t mean we have knowledge because we have sensibility. Again...capacity vs faculty.Mww

    I'll quote it again. It's at the very beginning of Transcendental Aesthetic.
    Objects are given to us by means of sensibility, and it alone yields us intuitions...But all thought must, directly or indirectly, by way of certain characters, relate ultimately to intuitions, and therefore, with us, to sensibility, because in no other way can an object be given to us. — Kant
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k
    Sure, I can dig it. The final cause of the activities of the internal aspect, is pure reason, and its purpose is either knowledge with respect to what is, or morality with respect to what ought to be. Damn!!! Yet another necessary dualism.Mww

    You're going the wrong direction with "pure reason", you're looking to the top instead of the bottom. The dilemma of moral philosophy, that a person will knowingly do wrong, indicates that the motivating factor for human activity does not come from reason. It comes from bottom up, not top down. All reason can do is attempt to directed the living activity, vitality, which is already active within.

    Sensibility, as the capacity to sense is (temporally) prior to sensation. The pure intuitions, as constituent parts of sensibility, providing the capacity to give us objects, are therefore prior to sensation.

    Compare this to the theory of recollection which Plato presented in the Meno. If knowing these ideas is always just a matter of remembering them, then we get an infinite regress temporally. We cannot account for them having ever come into existence, so Platonism considers them as eternal. But Plato exposed problems with this perspective, of eternal passive ideas. Aristotle provide a way to account for them as capacities; they come into existence and evolve as the potencies of living forms. But this makes them essentially material, giving us the tinted lens problem.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    I think you need to reread the passage.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah.......think I’ll get right on that.

    It’s been real.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k

    What can I say? When your interpretation of the work forces you into unconventional definitions of some key terms, like a prior and a posteriori, it's time to consider that your interpretation is a little off the mark.
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