By: Immanuel Kant, read in 2008
1 I doubt the existence of a priori knowledge at all except for knowledge of "how to" (e.g. swallow)
2 The problem is that we can't attain "real generality" or "strict necessity".
2 If all our knowledge begins with experience, then the putative a priori knowledge also comes after, which is a contradiction.
3 How can we be sure of any necessity? I doubt that we can.
3 "Thought with strict universality" ?? How does that work?
3 A priori knowledge is universal, necessary, and certain. I doubt there is any such.
4 Wrong! Non Euclidean geometry shows that mathematical propositions are not necessary and need not be universal.
4 Wrong! Quantum randomness destroys this assertion.
4 "For whence should experience take its certainty, if all the rules which it follows were always again and again empirical, and therefore contingent and hardly fit to serve as first principles?" I say, from the hypothesis that the "ability to know" is ontologically fundamental. From this follows the ability to experience, and from both, experience itself. And indeed, all that follows is contingent. The only first principle is the existence of the ability to know.
4 "For the present, however, we may be satisfied for having shown the pure employment of the faculty of our knowledge as a matter of fact, with the criteria of it." I agree that the faculty of knowledge is certain. But we must leave out "our" since we haven't defined the term, and, we can make no claim re universality or necessity.
5 "[P]hilosophers should first of all have asked the question how the mere understanding could arrive at all this knowledge a priori, and what extent, what truth, and what value it could possess." I agree.
5 Wrong! Mathematics is not "in possession of perfect trustworthiness".
7 Analytical and Synthetic Judgments
8 "That a body is extended, is a proposition perfectly certain a priori."
12 Wrong! Conservation of matter does not convey necessity.
21 Kant's "sensibility" sounds like Gregg Rosenberg's "receptive principle".
21 Sensibility --> intuition --> understanding --> thought --> conceptions
25 "If there were not infinity in the progression of intuition, no concept of relations of space could ever contain a principle of infinity." OK. But there is "not infinity..." so ... "no concept of ..."
25 Kant is certain that space has only 3 dimensions.
26 "Space does not represent any quality of objects by themselves, or objects in their relation to one another." General Relativity contradicts this assertion.
29 "Only when [the representation of time] a priori is given, can we imagine that certain things happen at the same time (simultaneously) or at different times (successively)." Wrong! Special Relativity shows this to be false.
29 "Time has one dimension only;" How can he be so sure and dogmatic?
30 "To say that time is infinite means no more than that every definite quantity of time is possible only by limitations of one time which forms the foundation of all times."
30 "[T]he concept of change, and with it the concept of motion (as change of place), is possible only through and in the representation of time; and that, if this representation were not intuitive (internal) a priori, no concept, whatever it be, could make us understand the possibility of a change, that is, of a connection of contradictorily opposed predicates (for instance, the being and not-being of one and the same thing in one and the same place) in one and the same object." Since Quantum Mechanics shows this possibility exists, Kant's argument says that something like my "cosmic time" must exist behind and in addition to our ordinary time.
31 "[T]ime is nothing but a subjective condition under which alone intuitions take place within us." I agree. All that remains is to be clear about the meaning of "us".
31 "Time is nothing but the form of the internal sense, that is, of our intuition of ourselves, and of our internal state." I agree. All that remains is to be clear about the meaning of "our".
32 "Time is therefore simply a subjective condition of our (human) intuition (which is always sensuous, that is so far as we are affected by objects), but by itself, apart from the subject, nothing." I agree. All that remains is to be clear about the meaning of "(human) intuition".
32 "[N]o object can ever fall under our experience that does not come under the conditions of time." Wrong! What about dreams? OBE? NDE? etc.
33 "If either I myself or any other being could see me without this condition of sensibility, then these self-same determinations which we now represent to ourselves as changes, would give us a kind of knowledge in which the representation of time, and therefore of change also, would have no place." If we see our self as in the car-driver analogy, then time is nothing, as he says. But by his earlier arguments, the driver must be in time. viz. Cosmic Time.
33 "Take away the peculiar condition of our sensibility, and the idea of time vanishes, because it is not inherent in the objects, but in the subject only that perceives them." It doesn't vanish; it moves up a level.
34-35 Philosophical problems relating mathematics to reality. Kant says he fixes them. I don't agree.
35 "[T]ranscendental aesthetic cannot contain more than these two elements, namely, space and time, becomes clear from the fact that all other concepts belonging to the senses, even that of motion, which combines both, presuppose something empirical." I think that receptivity and will are both prior to space and time.
36 "It remains completely unknown to us what objects may be by themselves and apart from the receptivity of our senses." True. It also remains a mystery what "receptivity" is and what we mean by "our".
36 "We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them, that manner being peculiar to us, and not necessarily shared in by every being, though, no doubt, by every human being." We don't even know that. And, yes, there is doubt.
37 "If we drop our subjective condition, the object, as represented with its qualities bestowed on it by sensuous intuition, is nowhere to be found, and cannot possibly be found; because its form, as phenomenal appearance, is determined by those very subjective conditions." Too strong. Consider BIV; They may be found by some larger entity.
40 The difficulty of self-consciousness: it can only be conscious of a representation of the self, not the self itself. This suggests a Rosenberg type hierarchy.
41 Kant disagrees with Berkeley; I'm with Berkeley.
42 Kant's speculation on the existence of God. I agree except for the infinitude; it does not always remain derivative but at some finite level is original.
44 "Our knowledge springs from two fundamental sources of our soul; the first receives representations (receptivity of impressions), the second is the power of knowing an object by these representations (spontaneity of concepts)." I agree, except I'd say receptivity is primary while conceptualization is secondary.
44 I think the "pure/empirical" distinction can be generalized to indicate a direction of vertical motion in Rosenberg's hierarchy of natural individuals, or as my notion of downward and upward information flow respectively.
44 "We call sensibility the receptivity of our soul, or its power of receiving representations whenever it is in any wise affected, while the understanding, on the contrary, is with us the power of producing representations, or the spontaneity of knowledge."
45 "Thoughts without contents are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind."
45 "The understanding cannot see, the senses cannot think. By their union only can knowledge be produced."
46 Kant's division between pure and applied logic is equivalent to my view of mentality being divided between on-board brain functions and extra-brain functions (PC), also like the logical functions of a Mars rover are split between on-board and JPL functions. Also parallel to Buddhist notions of losing the (human) self.
47 Important distinction between transcendental and empirical. Apply this paragraph to the context of a VR game.
47 Think of Kant's musings on the possibility of a transcendental logic in the VR context. The VR player may think about the logic of the VR program, or the logic of his own thoughts. In Rosenberg's hierarchical view, this expands to the logic of each natural individual and also each "program" implementation at each level.
52 This description of "Pure Understanding" sounds like my description of PC.
54 "Concepts are based therefore on the spontaneity of thought, sensuous intuitions on the receptivity of impressions."
54 Think about this description as applying to the problem of "C's initial bootstrap. e.g. forming judgments = recognition of a difference
55 "[T]he understanding may be defined as the faculty of judging. For we saw before that the understanding is the faculty of thinking, and thinking is knowledge by means of concepts, while concepts, as predicates of possible judgments, refer to some representation of an object yet undetermined."
56 Table of the logical functions of the understanding in judgments.
62 The categories of the pure concepts of the understanding. It isn't clear to me how Kant can be so sure this list is complete.
69 Kant sees the need to explain "the possession of pure knowledge". Me too!
70 "Geometry, however, moves along with a steady step, through every kind of knowledge a priori, without having to ask for a certificate from philosophy as to the pure legitimate descent of its fundamental concept of space." We can learn from this error by hindsight.
73 "[T]he objective validity of the categories, as being such concepts a priori, rests on this very fact that by them alone, so far as the form of thought is concerned, experience becomes possible." I don't think Kant has established this "fact".
73 "There is therefore a principle for the transcendental deduction of all concepts a priori which must guide the whole of our investigation, namely, that all must be recognized as conditions a priori of the possibility of experience, whether of intuition, which is found in it, or of thought."
74 "There are three original sources, or call them faculties or powers of the soul, which contain the conditions of the possibility of all experience, and which themselves cannot be derived from any other faculty, namely, sense, imagination and apperception. On them is founded -
1. The synopsis of the manifold a priori through the senses.
2. The synthesis of this manifold through the imagination.
3. The unity of that synthesis by means of original apperception."
Kant's connotation of "manifold" is in the sense of the set of all phenomena - like Dr. Dick's Set "A". It is not in the mathematical sense of multi-dimensional space. However, if you make the mistake of assuming our phenomenal world is all there is, then those two connotations coincide. Interesting!
77 "[A]ll categories [of the pure concepts of the understanding] depend on logical functions in judgments" Two distinct concepts of unity: one of quantity, as one of the categories, the second as a qualitative concept at a higher level than the categories themselves. This second, to me, is PC; to the Buddhists, The One.
77 "It must be possible that the I think should accompany all my representations:" It would be even better to say "This thought occurs" to avoid the "I" and "my".
77-78 Apperception, self-consciousness and the possibility of knowledge.
78 "I also call the unity of it the transcendental unity of self-consciousness, in order to indicate that it contains the possibility of knowledge a priori." This is exactly what I mean by 'PC'.
78 Kant sees the trouble caused by "I" and "my"; The fix is my notion of PC as a multiplexing driver of vehicles.
78 "The synthetical unity of apperception is, therefore, the highest point with which all employment of the understanding, and even the whole of logic, and afterwards the whole of transcendental philosophy, must be connected; ay, that faculty is the understanding itself." This is a characterization of PC!
79 "[I]t is only because I am able to comprehend the manifold of representations in one consciousness, that I call them altogether my representations, for otherwise, I should have as manifold and various a self as I have representations of which I am conscious. The synthetical unity of the manifold of intuitions as given a priori is therefore the ground also of the identity of that apperception itself which precedes a priori all definite thought." This same approach, at higher level(s) works to demonstrate the singularity of consciousness, viz PC
79 "[U]nderstanding...is nothing but a faculty of connecting a priori, and of bringing the manifold of given representations under the unity of apperception, which is, in fact, the highest principle of all human knowledge."
79 "It is true, no doubt, that this principle of the necessary unity of apperception is itself identical, and therefore an analytical proposition; but it shows, nevertheless, the necessity of a synthesis of the manifold which is given in intuition, without which synthesis it would be impossible to think the unbroken identity of self-consciousness." Sounds like a good argument for the validity of the PC model because, in fact, the identity of human self-consciousness is manifestly NOT unbroken!
80 "[T]he unity of consciousness is that which alone constitutes the relation of representations to an object, that is, their objective validity."
80 "The first pure cognition of the understanding...is this very principle of the original synthetical unity of apperception."
81 "The synthetical unity of consciousness is, therefore, an objective condition of all knowledge." In other words, the ability to know is ontologically fundamental.
81 "[A]ll my representations in any given intuition must be subject to the condition under which alone I can ascribe them, as my representations, to the identical self, and therefore comprehend them, as synthetically connected, in one apperception through the general expression, I think." Well and good. But the notion of "I" is not well defined. The plurality of humans seems to contradict the "identical self". The notion of a single consciousness, viz. PC, fixes these problems.
81 Hard to slug your way through this last paragraph. Again, it makes more sense in the context of the PC model. Some thought occurs at the human level, as some cognition occurs on board a Mars rover. But self-consciousness, and the awareness that "I am", occur only at the highest level, in PC or in JPL.
82 The logical form of judgment. It seems to me that judgment, and all other communication for that matter, can be seen as metaphor where the known, or familiar, is set against the unknown, or unfamiliar; it tells "what it is like".
92 "I am conscious of myself, neither as I appear to myself, nor as I am by myself, but only that I am."
92 "I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but only as I appear to myself."
95 "Categories are concepts which a priori prescribe laws to all phenomena, and therefore to nature as the sum total of all phenomena"
95 "Things by themselves would necessarily possess their conformity to the law, independent also of any understanding by which they are known. But phenomena are only representations of things, unknown as to what they may be by themselves. As mere representations they are subject to no law of connection, except that which is prescribed by the connecting faculty." I think this is what Dr. Dick is trying to say.
103 "[C]onsciousness, though deficient in pointed clearness, must always be there, and without it, concepts, and with them, knowledge of objects are perfectly impossible."
105 "No knowledge can take place in us, no conjunction or unity of one kind of knowledge with another, without that unity of consciousness which precedes all data of intuition, and without reference to which no representation of objects is possible. This pure, original, and unchangeable consciousness I shall call transcendental apperception."
107 "It is the permanent and synthetical unity of perceptions that constitutes the form of experience, and experience is nothing but the synthetical unity of phenomena according to concepts."
108 This paragraph is obscure, but it sounds like an argument that PC (the original apperception) is "driving" each of us.
109 "[T]here are three subjective sources of knowledge onwhich the possibility of all experience and of the knowledge of its objects depends, namely, sense, imagination, and apperception."
109 "Sense represents phenomena empirically in perception, imagination in association (and reproduction), apperception in the empirical consciousness of the identity of these reproductive representations with the phenomena by which they were given; therefore in recognition."
110 "Intuitions are nothing to us, and do not concern us in the least, if they cannot be received into our consciousness, into which they may enter either directly or indirectly. Knowledge is impossible in any other way." In other words, the fundamental basis of consciousness is the ability to know.
110 Seems like a good argument for a single consciousness
110-111 "This synthetical unity, however, presupposes or involves a synthesis, and if that unity is necessary a priori, the synthesis also must be a priori. The transcendental unity of apperception therefore refers to the pure synthesis of imagination as a condition a priori of the possibility of the manifold being united in one knowledge." Sounds like the top of Gregg Rosenberg's hierarchy of Natural Individuals.
111 Kant derives the necessity of the categories, but fails to explain why these particular categories.
112 Apprehension = imagination(perception) [using the notation of f(x)] i.e. imagination is a function of perception.
113 "We have thus seen that the objective unity of all (empirical) consciousness in one consciousness (that of the original apperception) is the necessary condition even of all possible perception, while the affinity of all phenomena (near or remote) is a necessary consequence of a synthesis in imagination which is a priori founded on rules." I think this is more profound than even Kant himself thought.
114 "We have therefore a pure imagination as one of the fundamental faculties of the human soul, on which all knowledge a priori depends." This makes more sense if 'human soul' is replaced by 'PC'. He needs to define 'human soul'.
114 Definition of 'experience' and the general derivation of the categories.
114 Kant's elements of knowledge: apprehension, reproduction(imagination), association, and recognition.
115 Definition of 'understanding' : faculty of rules.
117 I don't see how this proves the deduction of the categories, but it dies seem to imply my notion of PC.
119 "Deficiency in the faculty of judgment is really what we call stupidity, and there is no remedy for that."
122 Definition of 'Schema' - The "formal and pure condition of sensibility, to which the concept of the understanding is restricted in its application"
124-5 Kant's explanations of the categories: quantity, reality, substance, causality, community, possibility.
124 Kant's definition of 'number': "Number therefore is nothing but the unity of the synthesis of the manifold (repetition) of a homogeneous intuition in general, I myself producing the time in the apprehension of the intuition."
124 Kant's definition of 'reality': "Reality is, in the pure concept of the understanding, that which corresponds to a sensation in general: that, therefore, the concept of which indicates by itself being (in time), while negation is that the concept of which represents not-being (in time)."
124 Kant explains that "every reality [is] representable as a quantum."and the schema of a reality, as the quantity of something which fills time". Hmmm, the schema sounds like the evolution described by Schroedinger's equation.
124 "[W]e either descend from the sensation which has a certain degree, to its vanishing in time, or ascend from the negation of sensation to some quantity of it." This might describe what is going on with PC at the ultimately grandest scale.
124-5 Kant's description of time (Newtonian).
125 Explanation of causality: "The schema of cause and of the causality of a thing in general is the real which, when once supposed to exist, is always followed by something else. It consists therefore in the succession of the manifold, in so far as that succession is subject to a rule." Who does the "supposing"? And how can we be certain of the "always"?
125 "The schema of reality is existence at a given time. The schema of necessity is the existence of an object at all times."
125 "It is clear, therefore, if we examine all the categories, that the schema of quantity contains and represents the production (synthesis) of time itself in the successive apprehension of an object" This is like the aperture of a projector or the action of a read/write head.
125 "The schemata therefore are nothing but determinations of time a priori according to rules, and these, as applied to all possible objects, refer in the order of the categories to the series of time, the contents of time, the order of time, and lastly, the comprehension of time."
126 Kant seems to make the case for my notion of PC
126 This seems to describe Dr. Dick's discovery.
127 '[S]ensibility...realises the understanding by, at the same time, restricting it."
128 The principle of contradiction - the highest principle of all analytical judgments.
132 "The highest principle of all synthetical judgments is therefore this, that every object is subject to the necessary conditions of a synthetical unity of the manifold of intuition in a possible experience."
132 "[S]ynthetical judgments a priori are possible..."
134 "All principles of the pure understanding are therefore,
I Axioms of Intuition.
II Anticipations of Perception.
III Analogies of Experience.
IV Postulates of Empirical Thought in General.
136 "All phenomena contain, so far as their form is concerned, an intuition in space and time, which forms the a priori foundation of all of them. They cannot, therefore, be apprehended, that is, received into empirical consciousness, except through the synthesis of the manifold, by which the representations of a definite space or time are produced..."
139 "Anticipations of Perception...Their principle is: In all phenomena the Real, which is the object of a sensation, has intensive quantity, that is, a degree.
139 "Perception is empirical consciousness, that is, a consciousness in which there is at the same time sensation."
141 Kant asserts that time and space are continuous.
145 Knowledge is "... a synthesis of perceptions, which synthesis itself is not contained in the perception, but contains the synthetical unity of the manifold of the perceptions in a consciousness, that unity constituting the essential of our knowledge of the objects of the senses."
145 "[E]xperience is possible only through a representation of the necessary connection of perceptions." The general principle of the Analogies of Experience.
146 The importance of "the Original Apperception" (PC in my view) in the determination of time.
147 Analogy in Mathematics vs. in Philosophy.
147 "An analogy of experience can therefore be no more than a rule according to which a certain unity of experience may arise from perceptions (but not how perception itself, as an empirical intuition, may arise);"
148 "[T]hese analogies have their meaning and validity, not as principles of the transcendent, but only as principles of the empirical use of the understanding. They can be established in this character only, nor can phenomena ever be comprehended under the categories directly, but only under their schemata."
148 Phenomena are connected to concepts only by analogy.
150 "If we were to ascribe a succession to time itself, it would be necessary to admit another time in which such succession should be possible."
150 Kant says that the permanance of substance will never be doubted.
152 Definition: "Change is a mode of existence, which follows another mode of existence of the same object."
155 "[H]ow things may be by themselves (without reference to the representations by which they affect us) is completely beyond the sphere of our knowledge."
155-6 Definition: 'object': "That which in the phenomenon contains the condition of this necessary rule of apprehension is the object."
160 Kant explains our world of phenomenal experience as if it were PC assembling a movie film frame by frame. I think that's just about how it works.
160 "That something happens is therefore a perception which belongs to a possible experience, and this experience becomes real when I consider the phenomenon as determined with regard to its place in time, that is to say, as an object which can always be found, according to a rule, in the connection of perceptions." This sounds like observer-created reality, ass in QM. But who exactly is the "I"?
160-1 Kant's "principal of sufficient reason". Sounds, to me, equivalent to Schroedinger's Equation.
161 "It is therefore the relation of phenomena (as possible perceptions) according to which the existence of the subsequent (what happens) is determined in time by something antecedent necessarily and by rule, or, in other words, the relation of validity of our empirical judgments with regard to the series of perceptions, and therefore also the condition of the empirical truth of them, and of experience." I.e. cause and effect determines objectivity, validity, truth, and experience.
161 "The principle of the causal relation in the succession of phenomena is valid therefore for all objects of experience, also (under the conditions of succession), because that principle is itself the ground of the possibility of such experience." QM contradicts this position.
165 "All change therefore is possible only through a continuous action of causality"
170 "[S]o many and always unsuccessful attempts have been made to prove the proposition of the 'sufficient reason'."
175-6 Refutation of the Idealism of Descartes and Berkeley
179 "Hence the proposition that nothing happens by blind chance ... is an a priori law of nature"
181 What is real? Possible?
182 "[I]f in the understanding the concept is only connected with the formal conditions of experience, its object is called possible; if it is connected with perception (sensation as the material of the senses), and through it determined by the understanding, its object is called real; while, if it is determined through the connection of perceptions, according to concepts, its object is called necessary."
183 "[T]he categories are not knowledge, but mere forms of thought, by which given intuitions are turned into knowledge."
184 "realiter" ??
187 Wonderful metaphor of the domain of the pure understanding being an island of truth in a vast sea of illusion.
188 "If the understanding cannot decide whether certain questions lie within its own horizon or not, it can never feel certain with regard to its claims and possessions, but must be prepared for many humiliating corrections, when constantly transgressing, as it certainly will, the limits of its own domain, and losing itself in follies and fancies."
189 "All concepts, therefore, and with them all principles, though they may be possible a priori, refer nevertheless to empirical intuitions, that is, to data of a possible experience. Without this, they can claim no objective validity, but are a mere play..."
189 Mathematical concepts have no meaning unless or until they are related to objects of possible experience. Same goes for all concepts.
190 Kant explains that the precise definitions of the categories was deliberately delayed.
190 Kant's definition of 'definition'
192 "As to possibility, existence, and necessity, no one has yet been able to explain them, except by a manifest tautology, so long as their definition is to be exclusively drawn from the pure understanding."
192 "The logical functions of judgments in general, namely, unity and plurality, assertion and negation, subject and predicate, cannot be defined without arguing in a circle, because the definition would itself be a judgment and contain these very functions."
193 "Transcendental Analytic has therefore yielded us this important result, that the understanding a priori can never do more than anticipate the form of a possible experience; and as nothing can be an object of experience except the phenomenon, it follows that the understanding can never go beyone the limits of sensibility, within which alone objects are given to us."
193 Kant: Ontology is vacuous; we can never know the things in themselves but only phenomena.
193 "Thought is the act of referring a given intuition to an object." OK. But who exactly is the actor?
194 "[T]he principles of the pure understanding admit of empirical only, never of transcendental application, nay, ... no synthetical principles a priori are possible beyond the field of possible experience."
194 Phenomena and Noumena
198 Positive and negative definitions of 'Noumenon' In the positive case, who exactly is referred to by "our'?
198 Kant claims that only the negative definition is valid.
199 "I call a concept problematic, if it is not self-contradictory, and if, as limiting other concepts, it is connected with other kinds of knowledge, while its objective reality cannot be known in any way.
200 "[A]lthough concepts may very well be divided into sensuous and intellectual,...no objects can be assigned to these intellectual concepts..."
200 I think Kant's view of the limitations imposed by noumena is too strict. By using the concepts of emergence and analogy together with sensuous experience, e.g. QM, SR, and GR observations, new possibilities for objects can arise.
201 "The question therefore is whether, besides the empirical use of the understanding (even in the Newtonian view of the world), a transcendental use is possible, referring to the noumenon, as its object; and that question we have answered decidedly in the negative." I disagree.
202 "There are no principles therefore according to which the concepts of pure and merely intelligible objects could ever be applied, because we cannot imagine any way in which they could be given, and the problematic thought, which leaves a place open to them, serves only, like empty space, to limit the sphere of empirical principles, without containing or indicating any other object of knowledge, lying beyond that sphere." I disagree. Who is the "we"? And how can he be so sure that "we cannot imagine..."?
208 Kant's critique of Leibniz's "Intellectual System of the World" - monads
208 Locke's error compared with Leibniz's
212 "We cannot understand anything except what carries with it in intuition something corresponding to our words."
217 The problem with noumena
217 "[A]s sensuous intuition does not embrace all things without exception, there remains a place for other objects, that cannot therefore be absolutely denied, but cannot be asserted either as objects of our understanding, because there is no definite concept for them (our categories being unfit for that purpose)." I'd say, start by adding dimensions to space.
218 Kant's explanation of why we can't extend understanding into the noumenal world.
218 "[T]he categories are the only concepts which apply to objects in general..."
218 Applying the categories to the concept of "nothing".
222 Definitions of 'immanent' and 'transcendent'
223 "...the proposition that the world must have a beginning in time."
224 Definition of 'reason' in general
224 Definition of 'principle'
226 "...the understanding is a faculty for producing unity among phenomena, according to rules[;] reason is the faculty for producing unity among the rules of the understanding, according to principles."
229 My interpretation of this passage is that mathematics can never have any meaning in physical reality
231 "To coin new words is to arrogate to oneself legislative power in matters of language, a proceeding which seldom succeeds..."
232 Eloquent admonition not to misuse words: "Whenever therefore there exists one single word only for a certain concept, which, in its received meaning, exactly covers that concept, and when it is of great consequence to keep that concept distinct from other related concepts, we ought not to be lavish in using it nor employ it, for the sake of variety only, as a synonyme in the place of others, but carefully preserve its own peculiar meaning, as otherwise it may easily happen that the expression ceases to attract special attention, and loses itself in a crowd of other words of very different import, so that the thought, which that expression alone could have preserved, is lost with it."
232 Plato's use of the term 'idea'
232 "[Plato] knew that our reason, if left to itself, tries to soar up to knowledge to which no object that experience may give can ever correspond; but which nevertheless is real, and by no means a mere cobweb of the brain."
233 It is a useless exercise to try to derive the concept of virtue from experience.
234 "A constitution founded on the greatest possible human freedom, according to laws which enable the freedom of each individual to exist by the side of the freedom of others (without any regard to the highest possible human happiness, because that must necessarily follow by itself), is, to say the least, a necessary idea, on which not only the first plan of a constitution or a state, but all laws must be based."
234 Kant: Plato: All of nature originated from ideas
235 "...it is altogether reprehensible to derive or limit the laws of what we ought to do according to our experience of what has been done."
235 Kant begs that we (philosophers) stick to Plato's definition of 'idea'
235 Words which Kant asks us not to conflate with 'idea': representation, perception (conscious representation), sensation, knowledge, cognition, intuition, concept, notion. Kant spells out the relationships among these terms. Should be diagrammed.
236 "To any one who has once accustomed himself to these distinctions, it must be extremely irksome to hear the representation of red colour called an idea, though it could not even be rightly called a notion (a concept of the understanding)."
237 "The transcendental concept of reason is, therefore, nothing but the concept of the totality of the conditions of anything given as conditioned."
237 "...reason in general may be explained as a concept of the unconditioned, so far as it contains a basis for the synthesis of the conditioned."
238 The abuse of the term 'absolute'
239 "I shall therefore use the term absolute in this enlarged meaning only, in opposition to that which is valid relatively and in particular respects only, the latter being restricted to conditions, the former free from any restrictions whatsoever."
239 Kant describes reason as if it were a search for God - or PC
239 "By idea I understand the necessary concept of reason, to which the senses can supply no corresponding object."
240 "Thus one might say, that the absolute whole of all phenomena is an idea only, for as we can never form a representation of such a whole, it remains a problem without a solution." ... until Dr. Dick
241 "Reason ... is the faculty of concluding...
244 Kant classifies all transcendental ideas into psychology, cosmology, and theology. I think psychology and theology should be one, yielding Descartes' mind/body dualism.
245 "There is in the progression from our knowledge of ourselves (the soul) to a knowledge of the world, and through it to a knowledge of the Supreme Being, something so natural that it looks like the logical progression of reason from premisses to a conclusion." Is it a progression? Or is it a circle? Or better yet, one turn along my helix.
248 "It is easily seen, however, that this concept[, I think,] is the vehicle of all concepts in general..." Interesting choice of words, 'vehicle'. Hmmmm
248 Support for the idea of PC
248 "I", "am", and "soul" - a little confusing
249 "...this inner perception is nothing more than the mere apperception, I think, without which even all transcendental concepts would be impossible..." Better to say, "thought happens"
249 The case for PC
249 "I think is, therefore, the only text of rational psychology, out of which it must evolve all its wisdom." This sounds like the kind of Psychology Prof. Robinson is looking for.
249 Typo?? Shouldn't 'threat' be 'thread'?
249 Isn't it significant that his starting point, viz. "I, a thinking being", is singular?
250 "...the I ... is ... a consciousness that accompanies all concepts."
251 "...consciousness in itself is not so much a representation, distinguishing a particular object, but really a form of representation in general, in so far as it is to be called knowledge, of which alone I can say that I think something by it."
251 Kant seems to be saying that there is only one consciousness
252 The substance of the soul
253 He seems to say that real knowledge inheres only in PC
254 Kant debunks Minsky's notion of a composite mind
255 "It is manifest that if we wish to represent in ourselves a thinking being, we must put ourselves in its place." Too strong. The car/driver analogy is a weaker alternative.
255 "...the formal proposition of apperception..." = PC
255 The "I" in the cogito
256-7 Kant believes he has proved that thought occurs outside the brain
257 "...what we call matter is an external phenomenon only, the substratum of which cannot possibly be known by any possible predicates." This is Berkeley's view that matter is thoughts in the mind of God - or mine re PC
259 "Whatever is conscious of the numerical identity of its own self at different times, is in so far a person."
259 This argument ignores the fact that consciousness is discontinuous across episodes of sleep.
261 Kant: We cannot conclude the uninterrupted continuance of the soul.
262 Realism and Idealism
270 "It is true that I do not know thus this thinking self any better according to its qualities, nor can I perceive its permanence, or even the independence of its existence from the problematical transcendental substratum of external phenomena, both being necessarily unknown to us."
273 Interaction of soul and body
275 "...how [is] external intuition, namely, that of space (or what fills space, namely, form and movement), ...possible in any thinking subject?"
276 Wonderful paragraph explaining our efforts at understanding "the nature of a thinking being".
279 Kant describes PC
280 "Thus the soul knows in itself:-
I. The unconditioned unity of the relation, that is, itself, not as inherent, but as subsisting.
II. The unconditioned unity of quality, that is, not as a real whole, but as simple.
III. The unconditioned unity in the manifoldness of time, that is, not as at different times numerically different, but as one and the same subject.
IV. The unconditioned unity of existence in space, that is not as the consciousness of many things outside it, but as the consciousness of the existence of itself only, and of other things, merely as its representations."
289 Kant on the cogito
290 The inability to prove that there exists life after death
300 Kant precludes or overlooks the possibility of levels of reality. The concepts of the possible, the real, and the necessary might lead to a series in which the possible becomes the real and the real becomes necessary in the next level. Thus my single helix gives a sequence. So "the absolute completeness of the composition of the given whole of all phenomena" would apply only to one turn of the helix. Phenomena would thus be parochial and not comprehensive or complete.
300 Here Kant seems to provide for the "levels" idea.
302 Cosmological concepts: world, nature, existence, liberty, cause, contingent, necessary
303 Thesis and antithesis
306 Arguments pro and con re finiteness of time and space
308 Definitions of 'infinity'
312 Arguments pro and con re the existence of simplicity. This relates to the difference between a point and an interval and to the idea behind my "Practical Numbers"
315 The absurdity of filling space with points
318 Freedom and spontaneity vs. causality and determinism
331 Fundamental positions of philosophy: "The questions, whether the world has a beginning and any limit of its extension in space; whether there is anywhere, and it may be in my own thinking self, an indivisible and indestructible unity, or whether there exists nothing but what is divisible and perishable; whether in my acts I am free, or, like other beings, led by the hand of nature and of fate; whether, finally, there exists a supreme cause of the world, or whether the objects of nature and their order form the last object which we can reach in all our speculations..."
332 Dogmatism of pure reason. Premisses of the thesis: "That the world has a beginning; that my thinking self is of a simple and therefore indestructible nature; that the same self is free in all his voluntary actions, and raised above the compulsion of nature; that, finally, the whole order of things, or the world, derives its origin from an original Being, whence everything receives both unity and purposeful connection - these are so many foundation stones on which morals and religion are built up."
333 Empiricism is the antithesis
333 "...empiricism seems to deprive both [morality and religion] of their power and influence. If there is no original Being, different from the world; if the world is without a beginning, and therefore without a Creator; if our will is not free, and our soul shares the same divisibility and perishableness with matter, moral ideas also and principles lose all validity, and fall with the transcendental ideas, which formed their theoretic support."
337 "To attempt to solve all problems, and answer all questions, would be impudent boasting, and so extravagant a self-conceit, that it would forfeit all confidence."
351 Kant makes Zeno sound like a Buddhist
352 Kant seems to argue that the world is nothing but thought in the mind of God - or PC
357 I maintain that all his examples are finite and limited. I deny the existence of infinity.
357 But at each and every point in the regressus there is a finite limit defined by what you have done so far.
358 "...we can never speak again of the absolute quantity of different series in [the world of sense], whether they be limited or in themselves unlimited..." I agree. Nothing infinite exists in nature.
358 Here it seems that Kant anticipates the quantum revolution
362 This argument rests on two assumptions which I think are false: that the world is continuous, and that the whole is given.
362 This is an example of the trouble caused by a vague definition of "all" or "the whole". This error leads to Cantor's Paradox and Russell's Paradox
363 "Every space, perceived within its limits, is such a whole the parts of which, in spite of all decomposition, are always spaces again, and therefore divisible in infinitum." Not true. Kant didn't have the benefit we do of having familiar examples of digital spaces (e.g. computer memories and computer screens). Here the divisibility ends at the bit or pixel.
366 "We can conceive two kinds of causality only with reference to events, causality either of nature or of freedom."
367 "Freedom in its practical sense, is the independence of our (arbitrary) will from the coercion through sensuous impulses." Thus the expression of our free will must be mediated by quantum events, just as I have said.
374 Free will - There is no "ought in nature
375 Kant seems to argue here that man has no free will.
376 Here he says that from a different point of view, reason can cause action.
376 "The causality of reason in its intelligible character does not arise or begin at a certain time in order to produce an effect; for in that case it would be subject to the natural law of phenomena, which determines all causal series in time, and its causality would then be nature and not freedom."
376 I think this "unconditioned series of events is easier to explain if it occurs outside the brain.
376 "How much of [the true morality of actions] may be the pure effect of freedom, how much should be ascribed to nature only, and to the faults of temperament, for which man is not responsible, or its happy constitution (merito fortunae), no one can discover, and no one can judge with perfect justice."
377 "For as reason itself is not a phenomenon, and not subject to any of the conditions of sensibility, there exists in it, even in reference to its causality, no succession of time, and the dynamical law of nature, which determines the succession of time according to rules, cannot be applied to it.
Reason is therefore the constant condition of all free actions by which man takes his place in the phenomenal world."
377 Reason and free will act outside of time. I think a better view is that they act in a separate temporal dimension.
379 "Our problem was, whether freedom is contradictory to natural necessity in one and the same action: and this we have sufficiently answered by showing that freedom may have relation to a very different kind of conditions from those of nature, so that the law of the latter does not affect the former, and both may exist independent of, and undisturbed by, each other." The (obvious to me) answer could be action under the radar of quantum randomness.
380 Beginning the search for "the necessary Being"
381 The "intelligible condition" could be in higher dimensions while the world of sense is an embedded manifold.
382 "...the complete contingency of all things in nature and of all their (empirical) conditions, may well coexist with the arbitrary presupposition of a necessary, though purely intelligible condition, and that, as there is no real contradiction between these two views, they may well both be true."
383 "For in this case, an intelligible cause only means the transcendental, and, to us, unknown ground of the possibility of the sensuous series in general, and the existence of this independent of all conditions of the sensuous series, and, in reference to it, unconditionally, necessary, is by no means opposed to the unlimited contingency of the former, nor to the never-ending regressus in the series of empirical conditions." This is Newton's picture of an unattended clockwork. It leaves consciousness and free will unexplained. Need PC, the driver!
384 "As, however, if we have once allowed ourselves to admit, outside the field of the whole of sensibility, a reality existing by itself, phenomena can only be considered as contingent modes of representing intelligible objects on the part of beings which themselves are intelligences, nothing remains to us, in order to form some kind of concept of intelligible things, of which in themselves we have not the slightest knowledge, but analogy, applied to the concepts of experience." Yes! So let's use our most modern analogies, e.g. Mars rovers
384 "...we shall have to derive our knowledge of [things which are not meant to be objects of experience] from what is necessary in itself, that is, from pure concepts of things in general."
389 "the substratum of the unlimited (the All)."
391 "...the ideal of the original being must be conceived as simple."
391 "The derivation of all other possibility form that original being cannot therefore, if we speak accurately, be considered as a limitation of its highest reality, and, as it were, a division of it - for in that case the original being would become to us a mere aggregate of derivative beings, which...is impossible..."
391 "...the highest reality would form the basis of the possibility of all things as a cause, and not as a sum total."
391 "The concept of such a being is the concept of God in its transcendental sense,"
395 "This therefore is the natural course of human reason. It begins by persuading itself of the existence of some necessary Being. In this being it recognises unconditioned existence. It then seeks for the concept of that which is independent of all condition, and finds it in that which is itself the sufficient condition of all other things, that is, in that which contains all reality. Now as the unlimited all is absolute unity, and implies that the concept of a being, one and supreme, reason concludes that the Supreme Being, as the original cause of all things, must exist by absolute necessity."
397 "There are only three kinds of proofs of the existence of God from speculative reason."
400 "...if you say, God is not [almighty], then neither his almightiness, nor any other of his predicates is given; they are all, together with the subject, removed out of existence, and therefore there is not the slightest contradiction in that sentence."
403 "Time and labour therefore are lost on the famous ontological (Cartesian) proof of the existence of a Supreme Being from mere concepts; and a man might as well imagine that he could become richer in knowledge by mere ideas, as a merchant in capital, if, in order to improve his position, he were to add a few noughts to his cash account."
405 Kant refutes Leibniz's cosmological proof of the existence of God.
412 "...matter and everything in general that belongs to the world are not fit for the idea of a necessary original Being, as a mere principle of the greatest empirical unity, but that we must place it outside the world."
415 "The principal points of the physico-theological proof": 1. Evidence of design in nature, 2. The fitness of life is foreign to things existing in the world, 3. Therefore there must be an intelligent cause, 4. The unity of that cause can be inferred by analogy.
417 The argument from design and the necessity of an infinite, as opposed to finite, God.
419 The difference between deists and theists: God as cause vs. author respectively.
424 Kant asserts that God must be perfect, omnipotent, etc.
428 "Thus we see, for instance, in the human mind sensation, consciousness, imagination, memory, wit, discrimination, pleasure, desire, etc."
428-9 Kant suggests searching for a unified theory of mind
430 "...well-known scholastic rule, 'entia praeter necessitatem non esse multiplicanda,' 'beginnings or principles should not be multiplied beyond necessity."
439 "The mob of sophists, however, cry out as usual about absurdities and contradictions, and blame the government the secret plans of which they cannot even understand, while it is to its beneficent influence that they owe their protection and that amount of intelligence which enables them to blame and condemn the government." Reminds me of Zinn, Chomsky, Ayers, and their ilk.
440 Kant sketches out the grand projects of psychology, cosmology, and theology.
442 "Thus it happens that, if we admit a Divine Being, we have not the slightest conception either of the internal possibility of its supreme perfection, nor of the necessity of its existence, but are able at least thus to satisfy all other questions relating to contingent things."
442 "...it is the speculative interest of reason, and not its real insight, which justifies it in starting from a point so far above its proper sphere, in order to survey from thence its objects, as belonging to a complete whole."
444 "...the concepts of reality, substance, causality, ay, of the necessity in existence, lose all their meaning, and become mere titles of concepts, void of contents, as soon as I venture with them outside the field of the senses."
447 "There remains therefore for pure reason nothing to deal with but nature in general, and the completeness of its conditions according to some principle. The absolute totality of the series of these conditions determining the derivation of all their members, is an idea which, through never brought to perfection in the empirical use of reason, may yet become a rule, telling us how to proceed in the explanation of given phenomena (whether in an ascending or descending line), namely, as if the series were in themselves infinite, that is, in infinitum; while, when reason itself is considered as the determining cause (in freedom), in the case of practical principles therefore, we must proceed as if we had to deal, not with an object of the senses, but with one of the pure understanding. Here the conditions are no longer placed within the series of phenomena, but outside it, and the series of states considered, as if it had an absolute beginning through an intelligible cause. All this proves that cosmological ideas are nothing but regulative principles, and by no means constitutive, as establishing a real totality of such series." This sounds exactly like the basis of Dr. Dick's argument.
450 Kant warns against "dogmatical spiritualism" - a trap I may be in with PC.
451 "...if we may not presuppose a priori the most perfect design in nature as belonging to its very essence, what should direct us to look for it, and to try to approach by degrees to the highest perfection of an author, that is, to an absolutely necessary and a priori intelligible perfection?" Good question! I say discard perfection.
452 "If...we are asked the question ... whether there is something different from the world, containing the ground of the order of the world and of its connection according to general laws? our answer is, Certainly there is."
453 "If, secondly, we are asked whether that Being is a substance of the greatest reality, necessary, etc.? our answer is, that such a question has no meaning at all."
453 "If, Thirdly, the question is asked, whether we may not at least conceive this Being, which is different from the world, in analogy with the objects of experience? our answer is, Certainly we may, but only as...a substratum, unknown to us." I disagree. I think that assumption leads to error.
454 "...it must be the same to you when you do perceive [the principle of its systematical and well-planned unity according to general laws], whether we say, God has wisely willed it so, or nature has wisely arranged it so."
456 Eloquent summary - worth re-reading.
465 "Philosophical knowledge is that which reason gains from concepts, mathematical, that which it gains from the construction of concepts." Doesn't this simply mean that philosophers don't carefully define their terms? Sounds like Brouwer and Kronecker.
466 The difference between philosophy (i.e. science) and mathematics
470 Mathematics deals with space and time; philosophy (science) deals with matter.
472 Kant insists that Hilbert's 6th problem can't be solved.
473 Definition of 'definition'
473 "...an empirical concept cannot be defined, but can be explained only."
474 "...mathematics only can possess definitions"
474 "The German language has but the one word Erklärung (literally clearing up) for the terms exposition, explication, declaration, and definition" I'm surprised and puzzled by this. I wonder how this sentence reads in Kant's original German manuscript.
474 "Mathematical definitions make the concept, philosophical definitions explain it only."
481 Kant is "certain" that it will never be proved whether God exists or whether there is a future life. I say it depends on the definition of 'God' and of 'future'. We need to consider a limited god and multiple temporal dimensions.
487 Kant's advice against keeping heretical ideas away from young people.
487 Kant admonishes us not to hypothesize anything hyper-physical.
500 Kant says it's OK to hypothesize - just don't think it proves anything.
511 "The highest aim to which the speculation of reason in its transcendental employment is directed comprehends three objects: the freedom of the will, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of God." Of course we need to define, or explain, the meaning of 'free will', 'soul', and 'God'.
512 "...these three propositions remain always transcendent for speculative reason, and ...are by themselves entirely valueless and yet extremely difficult exertions of our reason."
512 "...their true value will probably be connected with our practical interests only.
I call practical whatever is possible through freedom."
514 "A will is purely animal (arbitrium brutum) when it is determined by nothing but sensuous impulses, that is, pathologically, A will, on the contrary, which is independent of sensuous impulses, and can be determined therefore by motives presented by reason alone, is called Free-will (arbitrium liberum), and everything connected with this, whether as cause or effect, is called practical." Both types are exhibited in a Mars rover.
515 "The whole interest of my reason, whether speculative or practical, is concentrated in the three following questions:-
1. What can I know?
2. What should I do?
3. What may I hope?"
516 Happiness and morality
519 Kant's case for the existence of God
519 Leibniz's case for the existence of God
521 "[The ultimate cause] must be one sole supreme will which comprehends all these laws within itself. For how with different wills should we find complete unity of ends? That will must be omnipotent, in order that the whole of nature and its relation to morality and the world may be subject to it; omniscient, that it may know the most secret springs of our sentiments and their moral worth; omnipresent, that it may be near for supplying immediately all that is required by the highest interests of the world; eternal, that this harmony of nature and freedom may never fail, and so on." Not necessarily. The manifest imperfection of the world should convince us otherwise.
522 "A concept of the Divine Being was elaborated which we now hold to be correct" Now, after more than 200 years since Kant wrote this, it doesn't seem to be so "correct" any longer.
523 Conviction and persuasion. I say all belief is persuasion that varies in degree only.
524 Kant seems to argue that consensus is an adequate proof of truth. Of course that's pure baloney.
524 The "easy concepts" of trowing, believing, knowing, conviction, and certainty.
525 Universal, Necessary, and Certain
525 "...it is absurd to have an opinion in pure mathematics; here one must either know, or abstain from pronouncing any judgment." Kant wrote this prior to the Kronecker/Hilbert controversy, which in my humble opinion, was decided the wrong way.
526 Betting. Similar to my scale-of-beliefs notion and my notion of 'faith'.
528 Kant's personal reason for believing in God
539 "Empirical psychology, therefore, must be entirely banished from metaphysic[s]"
540 The goal of philosophy and metaphysics
541 Kant's historical perspective and summary of philosophy
543 Kant claims that we need critics to pursue knowledge to its ultimate depth and he hopes the field of criticism will develop. Could he possibly have wanted it to lead to Derrida??!!
©2008 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.