• Jamal
    9.2k
    Kant does not, anywhere I've seen, intimate we have any access whatsoever to the things-in-themselves.AmadeusD

    Yes, in Kant's scheme this is almost true by definition, since a thing-in-itself is a thing unintuited, i.e., not presented to our minds through sensation. But since that's how we access things, only some logically possible non-sensible intuition (like a God-like perception) could access them otherwise, whereby they would be noumena, not phenomena--and that's not a talent that creatures like us happen to have.

    The objects he discusses are those of the mind, as a result of perception and understanding arranging sense-data into a lil movie for us to watch via the internal projection system of the visual cortex.AmadeusD

    Kant was so steeped in the philosophy of his time that he seems to be understood today as promoting the idea of a barrier between inside and outside, and that's a shame, because when you read him you see that this is not really what he's doing. Rather, he is emphasizing that perception is not a barrier so much as a guarantor of access, and that we really can and do know objective reality (this is the whole point of the Transcendental Analytic). So I'd say the thrust of his thinking is the opposite of how he tends to be taken now, at least in the Anglosphere.

    He is certainly explicitly against any movie-in-the-head kind of idea. Think of his epistemology more as stating what was not so obvious at the time, namely that when you think or discuss things, you are doing it in the only way you can: using your faculties of perception and understanding, which have their own structures. You're not a mind in a fleshly container equipped with receptors; you are that container, which includes the brain, directly connected with the rest of the world.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    the world before humanity even existed.Janus

    'Before' is a concept.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    'Before' is a concept.Wayfarer

    A deepity?

    What is your point?
  • Michael
    14.1k


    Perhaps a distinction needs to be made between firsthand knowledge and secondhand knowledge. I do not have firsthand knowledge of history, for example. The skeptic seems to be arguing that sensory experience isn't firsthand knowledge of an external world. I think there's some truth in that. But I think it a fallacy to argue that all knowledge must be firsthand knowledge.

    The question, then, is whether or not our secondhand knowledge of an external world is reliable. The answer to that likely depends on whether or not the naive realist view of perception is correct.
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    That's a plausible way to explain how we arrive at such an internal/external distinction, just as having a dream and waking up to discover that its content was not realized, might also lead to that distinction.

    But it's still a quite fuzzy distinction that, while it may suffice for everyday dealings, becomes more problematic as we think and analyze it with some depth.

    Sure, you can say external objects are real, but to go on to argue,

    that our perceptions of them are real on account of the real affects they, along with environmental conditions, light, sound, molecules of scent and taste, and the nature of our bodies themselves, have on our perceptions.Janus

    Raises a serious problem.

    What about the objects' effects are we interacting with? As Descartes points out, the heat is not in the fire, and as almost everyone says, the orange and yellow colour is not in the fire either, and so on down the list of properties.

    Something other than the heat we feel and orange we see must account for these things, and furthermore they must be different from the heat we feel or the orange we see. For if the effects of the objects were identical with our internal causes, we wouldn't be able to make the distinction between an object and an idea.

    So, we are still left with the issue, what is external? I don't see an easy answer, outside of ordinary (and I hate this word) "folk" psychology.
  • javra
    2.4k
    So, we are still left with the issue, what is external?Manuel

    Not an easy issue, but it does revolve around “external to what?” Here’s an outline of my current take on this: Suppose idealism. Fine, but even here my mind will be located within that body of percepts (both extrinsic and intrinsic; with no pun intended) which I immediately know to constitute my physical body to which, for example, this keyboard I’m now typing on is external. But then what if the cosmos is all a dream? Fine, but even here the conscious minds of those who I perceive to inhabit different bodies to my own will hold contents (intentions included) that are foreign, external, relative to my own mind. Here, maybe we all share a foundationally common, universal unconsciousness from which the dream of the cosmos in large part results but our conscious minds will yet be other relative to each other. So, even if there were to be no notion of physicality—though physicality is intrinsic to the objective idealism of CS Peirce, for example—there would yet be other conscious minds external to my own with which I interact. But how can I know that they are in fact conscious? They apprehend what I do and at times react to what I do: this then signifying conscious agency, one apart from and independent of my own. I can at times imperfectly predict as best I can what their contents of mind will consist of, but I cannot know what their contents of mind have, do, or will consist of. These other minds, then, inhabiting what is relative to me the external world, i.e. the world which is external to my own conscious mind.

    I know there likely are questions/issues that could be raised of the just stated outline, and I'll be grateful for hearing of them. But if one is in search of infallible certainty, I’m as certain as I can be that such does not occur. For anything and at any time. (This likely being a different issue regarding fallibilism.)
  • Mww
    4.6k
    So, we are still left with the issue, what is external?Manuel

    I agree it hasn’t to do with properties of things, but it does seem quite easy just to say…the external is that by which sensations are possible.

    Wanna get stickier….the external is the permanent in time, simply because the internal never is.

    Helps to be a unrepentant dualist, though, right? If one isn’t, he would have a harder job with the issue, methinks.
  • Janus
    15.5k
    'Before' is a concept.Wayfarer

    Que?
    But it's still a quite fuzzy distinction that, while it may suffice for everyday dealings, becomes more problematic as we think and analyze it with some depth.Manuel

    I think the distinction between inside and outside the skin is a useful and valid one. A basic principle of semiotics is the idea that life and experience is only possible once there is a separation between an 'inside' and an 'outside', most primordially realized by the cell membrane.

    It's true that when we think about and analyze it we may become confused due to ambiguities of terms.
    Sure, you can say external objects are real, but to go on to argue,

    that our perceptions of them are real on account of the real affects they, along with environmental conditions, light, sound, molecules of scent and taste, and the nature of our bodies themselves, have on our perceptions.
    — Janus

    Raises a serious problem.

    What about the objects' effects are we interacting with? As Descartes points out, the heat is not in the fire, and as almost everyone says, the orange and yellow colour is not in the fire either, and so on down the list of properties.
    Manuel

    I don't see that as a serious problem. Whatever is actual and external to the body can act on it to produce perception, and the nature of that perception depends on the actual nature of the body being acted upon. I see no reason to think that what is reliably and cross-sensorially perceived is not real in some sense. After all, that is generally what is meant by the word 'real'.

    So, the colours and the heat are real phenomena that exist in the interaction of the body with fire and the light reflected off objects. You say the heat is not in the fire. but the fire can burn objects and even entirely consume them, even in the absence of anyone perceiving the fire.

    Heat is defined by science as the agitation of molecules caused by friction or combustion, but of course heat defined as a felt phenomenon is only possible for a percipient.
  • Manuel
    3.9k
    I think the distinction between inside and outside the skin is a useful and valid one. A basic principle of semiotics is the idea that life and experience is only possible once there is a separation between an 'inside' and an 'outside', most primordially realized by the cell membrane.

    It's true that when we think about and analyze it we may become confused due to ambiguities of terms.
    Janus

    Of course, I wouldn't dream of saying no such distinction exists, because, as you say, the difference between inside and outside is massive and would not be possible absent a sentient, much less a thinking being.

    I only want to stress that I think it makes more sense to think of it in terms of "internal internal" and "internal external", because this latter, as you also point out, is a representation (or a presentation, whatever word you prefer) and hence not AS external as is usually thought.

    At least, I find this persuasive at the moment.

    I see no reason to think that what is reliably and cross-sensorially perceived is not real in some sense. After all, that is generally what is meant by the word 'real'.

    So, the colours and the heat are real phenomena that exist in the interaction of the body with fire and the light reflected off objects. You say the heat is not in the fire. but the fire can burn objects and even entirely consume them, even in the absence of anyone perceiving the fire.

    Heat is defined by science as the agitation of molecules caused by friction or combustion, but of course heat defined as a felt phenomenon is only possible for a percipient.
    Janus

    Yes, the word "real", is thorny, often distracting. Everything is real is some sense, even Harry Potter, though he would belong in the books of J.K. Rowling.

    Heat and colors are quite real, they just don't belong to the objects alone, as you point out. I said heat, but heat is relative to us, a paper or piece of plastic burning, feels not heat, it disintegrates, due to an interaction between fire and the relevant object.
  • Manuel
    3.9k
    I agree it hasn’t to do with properties of things, but it does seem quite easy just to say…the external is that by which sensations are possible.

    Wanna get stickier….the external is the permanent in time, simply because the internal never is.

    Helps to be a unrepentant dualist, though, right? If one isn’t, he would have a harder job with the issue,
    Mww

    Well, if you want to get super sticky, then in so far as your first sentence goes, sure, in SOME cases. What happens when we receive stimulus with no external object, such as dreams? Or cases in which, for no apparent reason, we suddenly have an intense flashback and literally forget where we are at this moment. We would need to account for cases of internal stimulation too.

    Agree with your second statement, quite perceptive.

    Dualism, shmualisms. Seeing is extremely different from hearing, yet we say they are both senses. Serious monism requires a lot of imagination, in my mind.
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    The ideas of other people could be said to be external to you, in so far as they don't express what they are thinking, otherwise we assume they are a person-like-me.

    But then we may be stretching the term "external" a bit. It would be perhaps more accurate to say, these people's thoughts are hidden from me.

    We only see behavior, from which we guess internal states. Reading a good novel, is, I think, the closest you could get into the mind of another person, though of course in a much more structured form than what actually happens in our heads all the time.

    As for the notion of a single mind or consciousness, that's too much Kastrup like for my tastes. But there is an interesting aspect here, and it applies to everything: if you take the brain of a person and do certain experiments, we assume that this brain applies to all other brains on Earth, given we are essentially the same creature with superficial differences.

    This happens with all creatures and plants too. So there's plenty to chew on.
  • javra
    2.4k
    But then we may be stretching the term "external" a bit. It would be perhaps more accurate to say, these people's thoughts are hidden from me.Manuel

    That's fine by me. But then when you stipulate "external" what are you saying "external" in reference to?
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    I'm only trying to show how the term is problematic, and I find this puzzling given all this talk about "externalism", as if this idea is so clear. I don't think it is.

    If forced to pick, I'd say external is what is not literally in my mind at any moment. But I have to tweak it more.
  • Mww
    4.6k
    the external is that by which sensations are possible.
    — Mww

    What happens when we receive stimulus with no external object, such as dreams?
    Manuel

    I don’t think it is the case dreams are the reception of stimuli, for one thing, and for another, reception of stimuli just is sensation anyway, which is only possible by the causality of external things.

    But you probably mean the brain receiving stimuli from itself, which requires no immediate sensation. But then, does any dream contain that which was not at some former time a sensation, or at least a possible sensation? If so, then external objects are at least the mediate content of dreams, even if not their cause.
    —————

    Serious monism requires a lot of imagination, in my mind.Manuel

    What does serious monism look like? By what description might I understand what it is?
  • Manuel
    3.9k
    I don’t think it is the case dreams are the reception of stimuli, for one thing, and for another, reception of stimuli just is sensation anyway, which is only possible by the causality of external things.

    But you probably mean the brain receiving stimuli from itself, which requires no immediate sensation. But then, does any dream contain that which was not at some former time a sensation, or at least a possible sensation? If so, then external objects are at least the mediate content of dreams, even if not their cause.
    Mww

    Yes, that's what I should have said.

    Well, if you consider say, geometrical shapes as sensations, then by definition everything in a dream would be some aspect of a prior sensation.

    I think that the most we can say about objects is that they are the stimulus for our ideas and conceptions, to awaken them in a manner of speaking or to put them to work, though they were there all along, dormant.

    But then the combination of actual objects to possible objects, does not involve sensation, or if it does, it would be a quite minor part.


    What does serious monism look like? By what description might I understand what it is?Mww

    I think Galen Strawson's conception of materialism, in his essay "Real Materialism", would be a very good approximation. You don't even have to accept it as materialism, you could call it "actual monism" or "ideal monism" - he does have an essay called Realistic Monism, which is not as good.

    You don't even have to buy into his panpsychism (I don't.)

    In short, everything that is, is X, wherein X is whatever designation you want to call the stuff of the world, which include our minds. And by everything, I mean everything: history, novels, ideas, flowers, cabbages, kings, atoms, art, grass, dreams, all sensations, etc. It's all a modification of X.

    It that does not sound persuasive, then, we have the classical problems, how con two (or more) totally distinct things, which appear to have nothing in common, interact? No one has been able to answer this in a convincing manner that I can see.
  • Mww
    4.6k


    All good. Thanks.

    Except, my mind isn’t included in stuff of the world. Or, at least, I make every effort to prevent the world from getting its grubby paws on it. I mean, really…..who or what would have the power to decide such a thing anyway?
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    Yeah, you've said something similar before I believe. I think the mind is part of the world, it isn't the same thing as an object, clearly, but it is a modification of world stuff.

    If that's not true, then minds are literal miracles, and I don't think we need to go that far.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    So, any correlation with those expectations would be baseless without that assumption.Janus

    Do not agree. If you replace 'assumption' with 'inference' then, yes, that is where i stand. I think this is where science actually stands. I do not think 'evidence for evolution' is the factual, undebatable schema it is claimed to be outside its competition with other theories. I'm just unsure why the failure of theory is a problem for the underlying fact (if so) that we can't access the external world at all. I understand the problems you're bringing up, but they're straws being clutched at if my position holds any weight, and not arguments against it. Just ... results of it.

    Appreciate the pov.

    I have to say, I cannot grasp this in Kant at all.

    It seems he is deeply committed, whether he states it or not, to a barrier between the world and our ability to intuit.. anything. However, it is clear Kant provides for various interpretations. Would you mind pulling out any passages you think speak to this? Your formulation doesn't strike me as particularly workable - where's the access, if the system necessarily precludes it? If you mean to say that Kant advises us that the access we do have, as indirect and unreliable as it is, is in fact access, i would reject it even if i read that into Kant.

    But since that's how we access things, only some logically possible non-sensible intuition (like a God-like perception) could access them otherwise, whereby they would be noumena, not phenomena--and that's not a talent that creatures like us happen to have.Jamal

    Which is exactly why he is committed to the above, imo. Happy to read anything you think does not require this in Kant :)

    If that's not true, then minds are literal miracles, and I don't think we need to go that far.Manuel

    Well, if it's true, we do :)
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    It seems he is deeply committed, whether he states it or not, to a barrier between the world and our ability to intuit.. anything.AmadeusD

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. Since intuition, in Kant’s technical sense, is the capacity to form representations, and since he spends a lot of time showing how important it is for us, it’s clear enough that he does not think we intuit nothing. But maybe that’s not what you mean.

    Anyway, the barrier, such as there is, is between human knowledge and things as they are in themselves.

    Your formulation doesn't strike me as particularly workable - where's the access, if the system necessarily precludes it? If you mean to say that Kant advises us that the access we do have, as indirect and unreliable as it is, is in fact access, i would reject it even if i read that into Kant.AmadeusD

    In the Critique of Pure Reason he sets out to show how synthetic a priori knowledge is possible, without considering that it is not. Synthetic a priori knowledge is knowledge that is informative, universal and necessary. This is the reliable access you seek, and our sensibility provides the direct access to things about which we can have this knowledge.

    As I pretty much said, if you are instead seeking access to things that cannot be accessed (things as they are in themselves) you will struggle.
  • Jamal
    9.2k


    Note that everything I said was standard and uncontroversial, except for my bit about the “fleshly container”, which is a modern spin on it.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    But maybe that’s not what you mean.Jamal

    Suffice to say it isn't - But i also am entirely unsure how you got there, so I'll refrain from going further.

    This is the reliable access you seekJamal

    It's not access at all. This is why I'm asking for passages - I recall, and can find, nothing to support this formulation.
    our sensibility provides the direct access to things about which we can have this knowledge.Jamal

    Which things are not 'in-themselves' or external. They are, themselves, representations. Degree of separation (or several) remains.

    As I pretty much said, if you are instead seeking access to things that cannot be accessed (things as they are in themselves) you will struggle.Jamal

    Perhaps you're not quite understanding me. You seem to be admitting we have no access to external objects - because those objects are things in themselves. Representations are necessarily internal. They could not appear to us otherwise. So i'm really not seeing anything here that changes my position..?

    Note that everything I said was standard and uncontroversialJamal

    Perhaps - but with recourse to the response immediate above this (within this comment, I mean) I don't think you're arguing against my position.
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    We do what, perceive and think? Sure.

    But if it's a miracle (meaning, minds are not part of world-stuff), then maybe it happens once ever, in the whole history of the universe.

    But if it happens several billion times, as is the case with our species, it can't be a miracle and thus our minds are a property of the world.

    I don't see an alternative between these two options.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    It's not access at all. This is why I'm asking for passages - I recall, and can find, nothing to support this formulation.AmadeusD

    Which formulation, exactly? I’m not sure which passages I should be looking for, since all I did in that paragraph was remind you what Kant famously set out to do in the CPR.

    Which things are not 'in-themselves' or external.AmadeusD

    This is crucial. Kant does not conflate the empirical with the internal. In other words, things perceived and theorized about are not in the head, for Kant. A way to think about it: just because we perceive external things under an aspect, i.e., in a certain way, or expressed more generally, as phenomena, it does not follow that we do not perceive external things. Kant is explicit that external things are things we can possibly experience. External = empirical, and Kant is an empirical realist.

    There are those who claim that Kant failed in his efforts not to be construed as a subjective idealist, and they sometimes have a point—it was his own fault to some degree—however, I think the direction of his project is in a contrary direction, and of course he was explicit in rejecting that interpretation, e.g., in the Refutation of Idealism, in which he argues that perceiving your own inner states is dependent on the existence of objects in space, i.e., so-called external objects.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    We do what, perceive and think? Sure.

    But if it's a miracle (meaning, minds are not part of world-stuff), then maybe it happens once ever, in the whole history of the universe.

    But if it happens several billion times, as is the case with our species, it can't be a miracle and thus our minds are a property of the world.

    I don't see an alternative between these two options
    Manuel

    I'm unsure why - this seems to define miracle as rare. As i understand, we could get a miracle per moment; as long as it's something which requires the suspension of established natural law, it would just be a lot of miracles. Though, this does go to the origin of those laws - and a force which overcame them. I don't think I either know enough, or care enough, to go further but 'being common' doesn't seem a defeater, to me. Might be misunderstanding!

    I do, though, presuppose that if mind-at-large is a thing (in mind of panpsychism, lets say) then there will be natural laws regulating its behaviour and so there's no miracle in it. If it is somehow totally inexplicable, then yeah, it would have to be an ingression to reality, rather than some discreet aspect of reality.

    Which formulation, exactly?Jamal
    Of Kant's project (though, i refer to success./failure rather than intention) establishing access to the external world. I just can't get that from anything in the CPR, as my understanding currently sits. It seems patently., inarguably clear that Kant does nothing but outline teh exact problem with the claim that we have access to the external world. This said, I also think his intention was not to establish that, but to remove the basic scepticism of Hume in the sense that Kant's system allows us to not doubt external existence, but still remain totally out of touch with it. I do not think he intended, and absolutely reject that he succeeding, in establishing any way to access external objects.

    in a certain way, or expressed more generally, as phenomena, it does not follow that we do not perceive external things. Kant is explicit that external things are things we can possibly experience. External = empirical, and Kant is an empirical realist.Jamal

    Again, I would need passages. This is alien to my reading, and through conversations with Mww, seems to contradict the practical use drawn from the synthetic apriori. It seems to be that the synthetic apriori is the only possible way to gain reliable information about external objects to which we have no access - logical consistency derived from inferential experience. I do not see Kant anywhere inferring, much less stating, that this consistency traces up access to those objects. Quite hte opposite, to my mind.

    in which he argues that perceiving your own inner states is dependent on the existence of objects in spaceJamal

    Absolutely. And again, we have no access to those objects (on my, and I am weakly confident, Kant's account).
    Edited after Jamal replied (and I haven't read it): "in space" is the giveaway here. That means he's definitely not referring to the external world, in which he seems to believe time and space are incoherent.

    And If I am wrong, then I am arguing against Kant, not you. But I maintain that we do not have that access. As noted earlier with, i think Janus, You absolutely cannot access an empty bay in Bengal by experiencing a tidal wave in Chile.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    I do not think he intended, and absolutely reject that he succeeding, in establishing any way to access external objects.AmadeusD

    Maybe you’re thinking of a different philosopher, because this is a really odd thing to say about Kant. Your move at this point ought to be to say that for Kant, external objects, which we do have access to, are mere phenomena, and thus mind-dependent. I take issue with that too but it’s at least a decent interpretation.

    But that’s probably enough Kant for now.

    And If I am wrong, I am arguing against Kant, not you. But I maintain that we do not have that access. As noted earlier with, i think Janus, You absolutely cannot access an empty bay in Bengal by experiencing a tidal wave in Chile.AmadeusD

    You are most definitely arguing against me too. We are animals in direct sensorimotor engagement with the environment. To deny this like a 17th century philosopher is perverse.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    Absolutely. And again, we have no access to those objects (on my, and I am weakly confident, Kant's account).AmadeusD

    I know I said enough Kant, but just a small point about this. You make a good point, although in the Refutation he does state that “inner experience is itself only indirect and is possible only through outer experience.” (B277)

    Whether he carries the argument from the existence of external things to the experience of those things, it’s obvious that he thinks the latter is possible.

    Also, if you need me to get the bits where he sets out his empirical realism I guess I could do it tomorrow, if you’re interested. However, you are not precise enough in saying what you object to.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Up top, let me point out, as i tend to do at roughly this point, I am new to figuring out 'what I think' as such. A lot of my language may be imprecise, or necessarily under-developed. I apologise for that. I do understand basic sense and internal consistency though.

    because this is a really odd thing to say about KantJamal

    It seems so. But i find that very odd. It seems like some kind of idolatry to think he did this. Though, that may not be far off - he appears to inspire as much stupidity as insight.

    You are most definitely arguing against me too. We are animals in direct sensorimotor engagement with the environment. To deny this like a 17th century philosopher is perverse.Jamal

    So you say. But you have no addressed anything I've put forward as reasons for my position, so far. The tide example is a really good one, to my mind because (to the bolded) that isn't access to external objects. And your formulation earlier in this same comment seems to agree with that.
    To the underlined: This seems to be an extremely restricted way of considering different view points. It's not idealism to contend that while we're able to reliably infer external objects (and take them as 'given' in some noumenal sense), we cannot access them. In fact, as best i can tell, that is exactly what 'transcendental idealism' amounts to. Again, why I think Kant's intention was never to pretend to overcome the mitigatory fact of sensory organs producing experience 'of the world'.

    external objects, which we do have access to, are mere phenomenaJamal

    This is fully self-contradictory to my mind. If they are "mere phenomena", they are not external objects(this seems as simple as "cold is not heat"). This is why I am pretty hard-up in accepting Kant intended to establish that. It is nonsensical in his language, and his own claims. Also, why i've asked for passages. Having very recently finished (in a three-month go) the CPR, it is incongruous with even the most basic reading of hte overall thesis to think he's trying to, or has established that necessarily internal phenomenal representations could possibly be external objects, rather than the result, we know not how, of external objects. He seems to explicitly acknowledge that we have no access, and require reason to infer anything about hte external world. Is he not illustrating hat the upper limits of pure reason are within? It seems unavoidable... as an eg Kant relies in many places on the concept of mathematical a priori to ground the limits of his own system in cognition of intuitions, not objects "as they are":

    "Mathematics gives us a splendid example of how far we can go with a priori cognition independently of experience. Now it is occupied, to be sure, with objects and cognitions only so far as these can be exhibited in intuition"

    It's funny - you're, I think, the third poster with what I take to be some serious understanding of these things to deny this denial (my denial of Kant's either project, or success in it) and yet none have proposed any possible solution to the mitigation depriving us of access to the external world. Only externalities. I am, in my 'heart', as they say, fairly sure I must be wrong. Yet, I take up the horn, and nothing comes of it...

    Again, if the argument is that synthetic a priori's give us access, my response is "No, they very, very clearly do not and that would, to my mind, make the mistake Kant spends his entire introduction trying to avoid".

    I know I said enough KantJamal

    This is all Kant :)

    “inner experience is itself only indirect and is possible only through outer experience.” (B277)Jamal

    This seems to be a fairly direct explication of what i'm positing - we can be 'sure' that intuition is 'caused by' external objects of whatever, unknowable, kind. But our experience is indirect and we do not have access to those objects.

    Whether he carries the argument from the existence of external things to the experience of those things, it’s obvious that he thinks the latter is possible.Jamal

    For sure. But its a mediation which necessarily precludes us, as thinking beings, access to the 'cause' of our intuitions.
    you are not precise enough in saying what you object toJamal

    I'm unsure that's true - I'm wanting something from Kant that indicates he thinks we have an access to things-in-themselves.
    Would be weird if there was such a passage, right?
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    I'm wanting something from Kant that indicates he thinks we have an access to things-in-themselvesAmadeusD

    I have never claimed anything like that, so I don’t know why you’d be looking for it from me.

    Of course, I actually do. You’ve said it yourself: you think an external object just is a thing as it is in itself. But the latter is merely an aspect of an external object, the aspect that we logically cannot access (what it looks like when you’re not looking).

    If you’d prefer to use a different scheme, one in which it’s all in the head, then do so if you’re into that, but don’t try to use Kant in support of your position. He doesn’t think what you think he thinks.

    That said, he does appear to contradict himself quite a lot so I understand the misunderstandings.

    This seems to be a fairly direct explication of what i'm positing - we can be 'sure' that intuition is 'caused by' external objects of whatever, unknowable, kind. But our experience is indirect and we do not have access to those objects.AmadeusD

    I think maybe you have misunderstood. He is saying that inner experience, unlike outer experience, is indirect.

    Here he summarizes the idealist position:

    Idealism assumed that the only direct experience is inner expe­rience and that from it we only infer external things; but we infer them only unreliably, as happens whenever we infer determinate causes from given effects, because the cause of the presentations that we ascribe—per­haps falsely—to external things may also reside in ourselves. — B276

    Then he goes on to present his own contrasting position:

    Yet here we have proved that outer experience is in fact direct, and that only by means of it can there be inner experience

    In a footnote for “direct”:

    In the preceding theorem, the direct consciousness of the existence of external things is not presupposed but proved, whether or not we have insight into the pos­ sibilitv of this consciousness.

    Since we have direct access to external objects, their existence is not merely inferred.

    So you say. But you have no addressed anything I've put forward as reasons for my position, so far. The tide example is a really good one, to my mind because (to the bolded) that isn't access to external objects. And your formulation earlier in this same comment seems to agree with that.

    To the underlined: This seems to be an extremely restricted way of considering different view points. It's not idealism to contend that while we're able to reliably infer external objects (and take them as 'given' in some noumenal sense), we cannot access them. In fact, as best i can tell, that is exactly what 'transcendental idealism' amounts to. Again, why I think Kant's intention was never to pretend to overcome the mitigatory fact of sensory organs producing experience 'of the world'.
    AmadeusD

    Sorry, I didn’t read any of your previous posts in the thread so I don’t know your arguments. What’s the tide thing?

    I won’t address your comments about transcendental idealism, because TI is not very relevant at this point. TI plays a special role in allowing Kant later on to establish human objective knowledge of the world.

    Aside from Kant, for the sake of argument let’s say (which I would never say) that we infer external things. Why wouldn’t you accept that this inference is a neural component in our access to the world outside our skulls?
  • Janus
    15.5k
    Do not agree. If you replace 'assumption' with 'inference' then, yes, that is where i stand. I think this is where science actually stands. I do not think 'evidence for evolution' is the factual, undebatable schema it is claimed to be outside its competition with other theoriesAmadeusD

    I am not aware of any competing theories. And as I have already acknowledged scientific theories are never proven; it is always the case that they may be wrong.

    I'll repeat this once more because I don't think you have grasped it: the distinction between the things in themselves and phenomenal objects is not meant to be a claim that there are two worlds: the world for us and the world in itself.

    If we are affected by things via the senses, then in that connection we have access to them. We know how they appear to us. The dialectical development of that realization is to say that while we know, that is have access, to things as they appear to us, we do not know, and do not have access to what and how they are in themselves. It's really not that hard to understand.
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