The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on February 9th, 2015, 4:17 pm 

Neuro,

Before we proceed further, I should like to make one thing perfectly clear. I do not hold with Kant’s particular brand of anti-realism. I believe both that there are real things outside of us and that our senses give us knowledge of them as a matter of correspondence. My particular objection to Kant’s noumena is his claim that they are so constituted that we are unable to know anything about them. It seems to me that such a claim is inconsistent with certain philosophical positions that Kant developed elsewhere in his work.

First of all, Kantians need to establish that noumena exist. Given Kant's positions on “pure reason” and “experience,” this is an enormous task.

Kant maintained that knowledge cannot be attained without experience. As I observed previously:

“He [Kant] cannot properly support the proposition [that noumena exist] by pure reason; for he denies that reason itself without experience can yield knowledge. In fact, he says categorically that the moment appearance “transgresses the bounds of experience, and consequently becomes transcendent, produces nothing but illusion.” (Prolegomena, ibid. page 40)

As I further observed:

“It is true that Kant uses the expression “objects of experience” to include both sensibility and understanding acting in concert. Sensibility he called appearances. However, the appearances upon which understanding must work its magic are conditioned by the intuitions of time, space, change and motion, all of which Kant says are free creations of the mind not corresponding to any real condition or thing that lies outside of us.”

Thus, to Kant, knowledge is only possible with both experience and reason acting in concert. That is, he rejects the notion that knowledge is possible by “pure reason.”

But what does Kant call knowledge? The meaning of the following quote should be clear to any insightful reader.

"(...) Truth, it is said, consists in the agreement of cognition with its object. In consequence of this mere nominal definition, my cognition, to count as true, is supposed to agree with its object. Now I can compare the object with my cognition, however, only by cognizing it. Hence my cognition is supposed to confirm itself, which is far short of being sufficient for truth. For since the object is outside me, the cognition in me, all I can ever pass judgement on is whether my cognition of the object agrees with my cognition of the object. [Kant, Immanuel (1801), The Jäsche Logic, in Lectures on Logic. Translated and edited by J. Michael Young (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 557-558.]

Hence, Kant tells us that “all I can ever pass judgement on is whether my cognition of the object agrees with my cognition of the object.” This can only mean that knowledge is derived by comparing mental experiences and not by comparing such experiences with real objects that lie outside of us. In other words, Kant is telling us that truth is not the correspondence of experience with a reality independent of our cognition but rather only the coherence of our experiences taken as a whole. Reason is the thing that provides coherence, but it can never give us truth as a matter of correspondence with fact.

Given the limited manner in which we are, according to Kant, able to acquire knowledge, the question arises: How do we know that there really are things outside of us that are completely incomprehensible to us?

We cannot know them by experience; because, according to Kant, they are beyond our ability to experience.

We cannot know them by reason for, he says, reason alone “produces nothing but illusion.” To press this latter point home, Kant sets out a number of antinomies that result from the use of pure reason. For example, he gives us:

Thesis: The world had a beginning in time and is limited in space.
Antithesis: The world had no beginning in time and no limits in space but is infinite in both time and space.

Kant tells us that because both the thesis and antithesis are derived by pure reason, both, although contradictory, are susceptible to proof. He gives several other theses/antitheses that are supposed to prove his point. He leaves this one out:

Thesis: All things outside of us are unknowable.
Antithesis: There are things outside of us that are knowable.

Employing Kant’s logic we should conclude that both of these contradictory propositions are susceptible to proof. Indeed, there are philosophers who have advanced convincing proofs of the antithesis, even though Kant argued for the thesis.

Where does this leave us?

We can only rely on abduction—taking the simplest and most natural position that gives the best and most credible explanation. This leaves us with the proposition that there are things outside of us that are knowable. This proposition has the advantage of dispensing with the necessity of denying the reality of time, space, change and motion--and with the absurdities that unavoidably result from such a denial. It does not require that we call the senses useless. It confirms both what we actually believe and the way we behave to preserve ourselves from injury and death. On the other hand, the proposition that all things outside of us are unknowable serves only to make room for religious superstitions.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on February 9th, 2015, 4:44 pm 

Neuro,

I might add, in response to the particular point you raise, that when Kant says we acquire knowledge by combining experience with reason, he does not mean that by this combination we acquire any knowledge of what lies outside of us. His “knowledge” is only an internally coherent knowledge that gives us no window to the world outside. So that according to Kant, experience and reason, jointly or severally, give us no knowledge of external reality. Because noumena lie outside of us, we can know nothing of them.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on February 14th, 2015, 2:36 pm 

I have now been accused now of exhibiting a "pattern of evasion". (!!) And then , (insult on injury) the guy demanded I "confess my ignorance" (!!)

Okay. I will no longer be contributing to this thread. It is also highly unlikely that I will be interacting with this character in other parts of the forum.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on April 29th, 2017, 7:00 am 

Neri -

You are quite simply wrong. You can, and have, expressed your opinion on what Kant says. He doesn't actually say any of this though. I am not interested in opinions and interpretations made to fit said opinions.

Are you saying Kant says appearances are illusions? I hope not!

Explain yourself with page references.

In the mean time please tell me when you see a table do you see ALL of the table? Do you see its front and back? Does a blind man see a table? If everyone was blind then does this mean that sight doesnt exist? For the blind sight doesnt exist. The principle that remains unfathomable is sense absent of time and space (Kantian "intuition").
In th m
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby NoShips on April 29th, 2017, 7:20 am 

Neri » January 8th, 2015, 2:33 am wrote:The Copernican Revolution refers primarily to a paradigm shift in astronomy. Before Copernicus, it was assumed that the sun revolved around the earth. Afterwards, it was realized that the converse was the case. Kant described his own “Copernican Revolution” wherein he maintained that “objects do not determine cognition, but rather cognition determines objects.”



For the trivia buffs...

Jimmy Cagney never cursed "You dirty rat", at least not on screen, Bogie didn't implore "Play it again, Sam", it wasn't Voltaire who said “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it", and according to historian J. Bernard Cohen in his "Revolution in Science" Kant never described his own philosophy as a "Copernican Revolution".

Cohen provides a sample of a dozen or more authors who will nonetheless try to persuade you otherwise. Just don't expect to find any Copernican Revolution self-references in Kant's own oeuvre. Don't be fooled, boys and girls.

He does say "You dirty schweinehund" though on page 2,301 of the Critique of Pure Reason.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on April 30th, 2017, 5:52 am 

Neri -

Just reading back what I've said and the replies you've received elsewhere. Maybe I am coming across as being too X (insert expletive!)

I see the concepts of noumenon and phenomenon as the heart of the problem. Science deals with "phenomenon". Science has NOTHING to say in regard to noumenon. Noumeneon is not within the sphere of empirical science.

That is the basis of the distinction between noumenon and phenomenon. What you have said above is as if you are saying science can tell us about noumenon, when in fact science staunchly denies any such enquiry.

I can certainly understand the difficulty in coming to terms with misunderstanding concepts used in philosophy given that there are terms that are given a universal weight in philosophy and that the reality is that they do differ subtly from philosopher to philosopher. A certain amount of leeway should be offered to each other sincerely.

When Kant says we cannot know the thing in itself he is talking about knowing anything beyond perception as if it is perception. I cannot see what cannot be seen, I cannot feel what cannot be touched. And when I say cannot I don't mean we are not able I mean cannot. I would argue that if we can refer to such a thing then by reference we can at least adumbrate beyond our immediate perception. By such means I know the chair I am sitting in, not "in itself", but I know it exists by way of my perception of it (the phenomenon of chair is understood by me.)

I can say quite definitively that if you think Kant saying we cannot know something in itself is the same as saying we don't know that the Earth exists, then you've really made a horrible error in how you've interpreted his words.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on April 30th, 2017, 11:49 am 

BJ,

If Kant says (as he does) that our phenomenal experiences (appearances) are only real to us, and that things that are real in themselves are completely unknowable—what would you call “appearances”?

In the First Edition of the CPR, Kant says:

“[…] external objects (bodies) are merely appearances, hence also nothing other than a species of my representations, whose objects are something only through these representations, but are nothing separated from them.” (A370–1)

“Everything intuited in space or in time, hence all objects of an experience possible for us, are nothing but appearances, i.e., mere representations, which, as they are represented, as extended beings or series of alterations, have outside our thoughts no existence grounded in itself.” (A490)

After receiving criticism for statements such as this, Kant added the following language to the Second Edition of the CPR:

“If I say: in space and time intuition represents both outer objects as well as the self-intuition of the mind as each affects our senses, i.e., as it appears, that is not to say that these objects would be a mere illusion. […] Thus I do not say that objects merely seem to exist outside me or that my soul only to be given if I assert that the quality of space […] lies in my kind of intuition and not in these objects in themselves. It would be my own fault if I made that which I should count as appearance into mere illusion. (B70–1)”

So that, Kant seems to be saying that because appearances are representations of “outer objects” that are real in themselves, appearances are not illusory, even though they do not reveal what outer objects really are.

Further, if time and space are intuitions not existing in what Kant calls “outer objects,” there can be no relation between appearances and those objects, except to say that the objects cause the appearances. This leaves one wondering how an outer object can cause an appearance when, according to Kant, causation is itself only an appearance.

To put the basic question in more precise philosophical form:

Suppose that a sentient being other than a human has a sensibility such that outer objects are perceived as they are in themselves. In that case, according to Kant’s analysis, the perceptions would be equivalent to the outer objects and not merely representations of them.

However, Kant tells us that this is not the case for humans, owing to the fact that human sensibility yields representations that in no way correspond to outer objects.

In the first case, we have the direct experiences of things-in-themselves. In the second case we have sensory representations that are not at all like things-in-themselves.

Does this not mean that, in the first case, perceptions confer knowledge of reality, whereas in the second case they do not? If this is so, why then are all human propositions not illusions?

Kant answers as follows:

“But the difference between truth and dreaming is not ascertained by the nature of the representations which are referred to objects (for they are the same in both cases), but by their connection according to those rules which determine the coherence of the representations in the concept of the object, and by ascertaining whether they can subsist together in experience or not.” Prolegomena, Prentice Hall, 1997 at page 38.

What Kant is doing here is changing the meaning of truth from correspondence-to-fact to internal coherence. He is saying that it is impossible for any proposition to correspond to a fact [at least in the case of human sensibilities]. Because Kant redefines truth in this way, he is able to say that a proposition is true if it is coherent with the rest of our thinking, even though it does not correspond to a fact.

If you are asking my opinion on the matter, I would say that any proposition that does not correspond to fact is true in name only, and hence may properly be called an illusion.

I will not be available for further comments until May 9th .
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on April 30th, 2017, 7:07 pm 

BJ,

With regard to the last paragraph of your later post, Kant would explain our conception “earth” in the following way:

A thing-in-itself causes the experience “earth” (as it is expressed in the English language). Yet, this experience cannot be sensible to us without the intuitions of space and time. But the latter do not exist in things-in-themselves nor are they conditions of things-in-themselves [for reasons Kant explains in his transcendental aesthetic].

Thus, we think of the earth as having a certain spatial extension, as being separated from the moon and other celestial bodies by space and as orbiting the sun—that is, traversing a certain space in a certain time. However, these things belong only to human intuition and not to things-in-themselves. Thus, the experience“earth” does not correspond to a thing-in-itself but rather to a representation existing only in the mind.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 3rd, 2017, 4:00 am 

His point was that our intuitions and sense give us a patterned view.

Our appearances are no more caused by our intuition than by some noumenal world. To one is the cause is like saying the chessboard causes the pieces and the players to play. Such a statement is absurdly biased toward a singular view of relation.

If you can know "noumenon" then give an example of noumenon you know? You simply cannot do it. If you can then you've missed the entire point of the concept he uses.

We only know phenomenon, appearance. Our sensibility maps out a pattern through intuition (because patterns and maps of proposed "things" are only tangible in a spaciotemporal manner - to talk beyond this is to say we know noumenon that exist beyond time and space)

So, I guess when you say we can know things-in-themselves, you understand you are saying that you can know things beyond time and space?

To put it another way. If you say you can know, then you are saying you know what the weather is like where I am right know (without any idea of where I am). You are saying you can know with certainty that you cannot know with certainty. You can make an educated guess/estimate, but you seem to think this is called "knowing" something.

Kant is very clear about what he regards as "certainty" and "opinion". He says it is absurd to have opinions about mathematical questions.

The "thing-in-itself" is an idea you seemed not to be grasping properly.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 12th, 2017, 10:06 pm 

BJ,

It seems necessary to return to the basics where Kant is concerned.

Kant tells us that propositions (judgments) are of different kinds:

(1) Analytic judgments are true by definition and do not depend on the senses. They add nothing to the definition and hence do not expand our knowledge. Example: “All triangles are three-sided figures enclosed on a plane.”

(2) A priori judgments do not depend on the senses and are undeniably true on their face. That is, it is impossible for anyone to believe otherwise. Example: “The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.”

(3) All analytic judgments are a priori, because they are necessary, universal and independent of the senses.

(4) Synthetic judgments are ampliative in that they add to what is already known.

(5) Empirical judgments depend on the senses and are neither necessary nor universal. Example: “Cigarette smoking causes cancer.”

[It is thought to be the case that all synthetic judgments are empirical in that both are dependent on the senses and neither is necessary nor universal; but this is not true.]

(6) There are in fact synthetic a priori judgments. Example: “The sum of the internal angles of any triangle is 180 degrees.”

Kant says that such a judgment is synthetic, because it expands upon what is already known in the definition of a triangle; and is a priori because it is derived by logical proof that does not depend on the senses.

Thus, such a judgment is both necessary and universal even though it is synthetic.

Kant concludes that all of mathematics, and particularly all of geometry, is synthetic a priori. Indeed, he makes the sweeping statement that all metaphysical knowledge is synthetic a priori.

Through geometry, Kant makes his basic argument that space is an intuition supplied by the mind and not a property of things in themselves.

He argues:

(1) Knowledge of geometry is knowledge of space.

(2) If knowledge of geometry is synthetic a priori, the same must be true of space.

(3) If space is synthetic a priori, it cannot be empirical (dependent on the senses).

(4) Hence, knowledge of space must be independent of sensory experience.

(5) Therefore, space must be something purely of the mind and not a property of things in themselves.

An obvious objection to this analysis is found in modern physics as it is conjoined with non-Euclidean Geometry in General Relativity. Indeed, all of physics is indubitably empirical, for it relies on experimental confirmations that are accessible to the senses. Thus, the geometry of General Relativity cannot be synthetic a priori as Kant claims. However, we may forgive Kant for this error, because he lived at a time when non-Euclidean geometry was unknown.

A second objection is more serious. To say that space is a form of intuition does not exclude the possibility that it can also be a property of things in themselves. Logically, the two are not mutually exclusive.

It may be, as I have previously argued, that such things as spatial points, one-dimensional lines, two-dimensional planes and perfect spatial intervals are merely things of the mind--while, at the same time, things in themselves do exhibit a rough spatial extension and an imperfect spatial separation.

This would mean that our appraisal of our own spatial extent and its separation from other spatially extended things, while not a precise determination (as geometry would dictate) is nonetheless something real in its own right. Indeed, if it were otherwise our senses would be entirely useless.

In his Transcendental Aesthetic, Kant presents a number of additional arguments intended to show that space is an intuition supplied by the mind and not a property of things in themselves. However, these arguments, while they allow such a description of space, do not eliminate the possibility that, to some extent, space can also be a property of things in themselves. Earlier in this thread, I took these arguments seriatim and set out the allowable alternatives to those presented by Kant. I made particular comments to each of Kant’s arguments in support of the ideality of space. I invite you to read them.

Although Kant expends considerable effort in elucidating time as “the internal sense” or as “how we appear to our selves but not as we really are,” the fact is that time’s fate as an intuition supplied by the mind is sealed with the conclusion that space is such an intuition.

Thus, to have change in the noumenal realm, time must be a condition of things in themselves. Yet time itself does not change. It is only things in time that can change. Things with spatial extension and successions of spatial forms are necessary. In other words, in order for time to be a property of things in themselves, it needs space to be the same. However, if space is only an intuition supplied by the mind, time can hardly be more.

Kant tells us that we can say nothing about things in themselves (noumena) except that they must exist. Clearly this is not the case; for, based on Kant’s own analysis, we are able to say:

(1) Things in themselves cause the mental representations of them.

(2) These mental representations in no way correspond to things in themselves.

(3) Neither space nor time are things in themselves or properties of things in themselves. This can only mean that the noumenal world contains neither space nor time; for, we are told, they exist only in the mind.

(4) Because the noumenal realm contains neither space nor time, nothing can move or change there. In fact, nothing of any kind can happen there.

(5) Without space, nothing can have extension in the noumena nor can anything be separate from any other thing in itself. This reduces the whole of the noumena to a singularity—something infinitely small and utterly without properties of any sort. Kant would say that such a thing is unimaginable, yet modern-day physicists imagine exactly that as the starting point of the universe.

Kant would deny all this by claiming that it is an attempt to impress our own sensibilities on the noumenal world. But, such a position, in effect, denies the truth of negative propositions. Thus, if this argument is taken at face value, the proposition “that the noumena do not include time and space” can never correspond to a fact—even if the proposition “that time and space are not things in themselves nor conditions of things in themselves” corresponds to a fact.

Of course, Kant’s fallback position would be: Although it may be true to say that time and space are no part of the noumena, it is not possible for us to draw conclusions as to the consequences of such a state of affairs, for in that respect, at least, we are limited by our own sensibilities which are incapable of giving us any insights into things in themselves. However, such an argument cannot but falsify the negative proposition that time and space are neither things in themselves nor conditions of things in themselves.

Kant tells us that one directly experiences himself as a conscious subject. That is, he experiences that he is conscious and not just what he is conscious of. The latter is manifold and necessarily experienced in a spatio-temporal framework that represents nothing real in itself. The former justifies, as a practical matter, the hypothesis that the soul is real in itself. Kant also employs this sort of supersensibility to justify faith and morality.

On the surface, this line of thinking may seem to contradict his assertion that the existence of God cannot be established as a synthetic-a-priori fact. Yet Kant maintained that he had “to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.” By this, he meant that he had to establish limits of human understanding is such a way that he affirmed the worth of science and mathematics without excluding the possibility of a God that is real in Himself. To make his idea of strict morality coherent, he also had to show that science does not exclude the possibility of free will.

He does not say that that God and the soul necessarily exist as noumena. He says only that, as a practical matter, one is justified in believing that they are real in themselves. If such beliefs are justified, it must be the case that it is possible for us to know at least some things that are real in themselves. In other words, it is possible for us to rise above the transcendental to grasp the transcendent—or, so says Kant.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 13th, 2017, 11:35 am 

Having re-read my last post, I see that the substance of the fourth from the last paragraph was inartfully stated.

What I meant was this:

If one denies the truth of all negative propositions, he denies not only the truth of the proposition “that the noumenal realm does not contain time and space” but also the truth of the proposition “that time and space are not things in themselves or properties of things in themselves.”

On the other hand, if one admits the truth of the proposition “that the noumenal realm does not contain time and space,” he necessarily admits the truth of the proposition “that the noumenal realm does not contain any of the properties of time and space,” else that negative proposition would be meaningless; for, in such case, something other than time and space would be excluded.

Thus, one is able properly to conclude what an exclusion of all the properties of time and space would entail with regard to things in themselves.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Braininvat on May 13th, 2017, 1:31 pm 

Interesting reflections on Kant. It's good to revisit his concept of the noumenon when one enters into domains of science that seem not comfortably Realist, as happens in modern physics where our intuitions about time and space prove faulty. Aspects of the macroscopic world that appeared as indisputable properties, crumbled at the quantum level. Space that was smooth turned into something chunky composed of information Legos. Synthetic empirical "facts" fell apart.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 13th, 2017, 2:27 pm 

Neri -

I will go into furthwr when I have time (on hols myself right now so will probably be able to address this more fully when I have copy to hand).

One thing bothers me in what you seem to be saying so hopefully you can clear this up easily enough for me. What bothers is you seem to be saying something in itseld can be known, that the noumenal can be known to us. If you are saying you know some obect "in itself" you are saying the equivalent of "I can know the noumenal"?

As for his intuitions he merely says we know because of our capacity to 'see' spaciotemporally. That is all.

We do not possess the intuition to 'see' via some otherness, some way other than spaciotemporally. He argues that prior to experience we seemingly must possess a capacity to appreciate the world spaciotemporally. Whether the world "out there" operates purely in the sense we see it or not is irrelevant because to us that is all there is. Beyond, if there is such a thing, is nothing other than speculation at best. Such a non-inuitive world is no world at all to us as we cannot intuit it at all (in the Kantian sense of intuition referring specidically to space and time). So when you say you can know "a thing in itself" how Kant puts it, you will effectively be saying I can intuitions about the universe beyond space and time.

Qhat we can do is say maybe there is more beyond our mere human intuitions. This is to know the noumenal as only we can. That being in a negative and limiting sense. To say you know something in itself is to refer to the noumenal in the positive sense (ie. I know what I cannot know), which I am sure you'll see is nonsense.

Kant essentially says in regard to the whole phenomenon/noumenon debarcle that we know the world as we know it and the world is to us what it is to us. By means of experience we come to establish methods to understand the world. We appreciate that our limitations allow us to know not our grasping toward some omnipresent oblivion.

Where things get messy is in understandinf that we know this or that via this or that. The idea of some external "cause" is not within our capacity. Such things as singularities and relativity take nothinf away from what Kant says because he is talking about our inuitive capacity not merely our sensible perception and ability to record and measure phenomenon. And dont forget ALL science deals with phenomenon not noumenon, because it simply cannot. So to say you knwo something in itself (the noumenon) is to say you can something beyond the experimental reach of the physical sciences.

Maybe I am simply arguing with you here because I've made a mistake in what you're saying about the "thing in itself" and that you are not using this term as Kant used it. The "thing" is what is supposed to lie "beyond" the physical phenomenon it not "a thing" more of a negative proposition that allows us to know anything at all. Our phenomenal experience of worldly objects is just that, our phenomenal experience of them (the "them" being more about our community about the world via each other which we only know in a phenomenal sense). Much like what I said to Rasp recently about putting my hand in a fire and watching someone put their hand in the fire. Observing is not the same as being that "other" person/object over there.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 13th, 2017, 11:09 pm 

BJ,

I understand perfectly well the distinction Kant sought to make between phenomena and noumena. While there can be no doubt that Kant was a great philosopher, this particular aspect of his philosophy is problematic to say the least. I might add that I am not the first to make this observation. My purpose has been to point out where some of the difficulties arise.

It is important to understand Kant’s motive in postulating a place out of space and time.

He feared that faith and morality could not survive if it were conceded that science had the ability to discover what is real in itself. Kant was a devout Lutheran with a very strict moral sense. These things made him the man he was.

Accordingly, Kant’s project was to demonstrate the value of science while, at the same time, preserving a place for the divine. He granted science a kind of truth that was objective only in the sense it appeared to be true to all of us yet was not true as corresponding to the real world. The latter, he declared, was outside of space and time.

Such an analysis allowed him to profess that a belief in morality and the divine was justified as rising above the realm of science and indeed above all human understanding.

None of this is a criticism of Immanuel Kant. It speaks only of his humanity
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 14th, 2017, 10:34 am 

I think you are imposing some idea of his intentions on his work. True he talks about the idea of "god", but he doesn't try to convert people. I don't think it is useful to say what you think his motivation was when he clearly makes his intention at the start of Critic of Pure Reason. He asked simply What can we know before experience and how knowing and experience are connected.

I do know a bit about him. He was an extreme person and lived his life like clockwork. He does come across as a strange character.

If you want to focus on him as pushing some religious agenda I am not interested because I think such a position is quite false.
Accordingly, Kant’s project was to demonstrate the value of science while, at the same time, preserving a place for the divine.


I don't see this at all. I think that is probably why I don't understand your perspective on this matter of "noumenon" and "phenomenon". I think you simply miss the whole philosophical point by assuming some religious quality to what he is saying.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 14th, 2017, 10:39 am 

I should add that the point of this postulate of "place out of space and time" is basically the scientific postulate of assuming there is something beyond our grasp. This is precisely what is meant by noumenon in the NEGATIVE sense. In the positive sense means to actually KNOW "outside" time and space, which ironically you seem to be arguing that you can. You are the one saying something "devine" exists and Kant is saying the opposite.

I do not think Kant really reconciles the problem though. It is still an ongoing problem that people have taken in various directions. My personal position is undefined still. I can see several ways of looking at this, but none are dismissive of the others.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 14th, 2017, 6:30 pm 

BJ,

The author of the article on the philosophy of Kant in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy makes the following pertinent comments:

“…[Kant] now claims that rejecting knowledge about things in themselves is necessary for reconciling science with traditional morality and religion. This is because he claims that belief in God, freedom, and immortality have a strictly moral basis, and yet adopting these beliefs on moral grounds would be unjustified if we could know that they were false. ‘Thus,’ Kant says, ‘I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith’ (Bxxx). Restricting knowledge to appearances and relegating God and the soul to an unknowable realm of things in themselves guarantees that it is impossible to disprove claims about God and the freedom or immortality of the soul, which moral arguments may therefore justify us in believing. Moreover, the determinism of modern science no longer threatens the freedom required by traditional morality, because science and therefore determinism apply only to appearances, and there is room for freedom in the realm of things in themselves, where the self or soul is located.”

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant/ (page 9, “Transcendental Idealism”)
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 15th, 2017, 12:00 pm 

I think it has already been mentioned by a previous member here that practically anything Kant says can be held up to their own position. The context of his words are about arguing both for and against an item at hand.

I honestly don't recall him using the term "faith". He does outline the differences between knowing, believing and opining. In my copy I simply don't recall him using the term "faith".

Going off this point he said knowing is what everyone calls true and I call true, belief is what I see as true but others do not, and opinion is what is I have flimsy reason to hold to truth. (Maybe I've gotten the definitions of how he used "belief" and "opinion" muddled here, don't have copy to hand). Either way I am thinking the quote above is taking this into account. So he is saying he had to deny all that we already hold to be true (as philosophers do, they remove the obvious and make it less so if and where possible) in order to reveal what current possible biases may be covering up.

I should add I differ from Kant in saying that thinking of an object and sensing an object are the same thing to me. Kant presupposes the validity of the world (something Husserl had qualms with over what Kant says, and which I am inclined to agree with).

I don't see that you understand noumenon because you have expressed that you CAN know the "something in itself", that you can experience noumenon in the positive sense. If you have not said this and I am mistaken then I won't say you've got it completely wrong. IF you do it is not simply my opinion against yours, it is you taking his words and getting muddled by them.

The only "noumenon" we can talk about is negative. We cannot even bring barely into comprehension noumenon in the positive sense. This is confusing because it looks like Kant is talking about the very thing he says he cannot talk about. Whatever we talk about is comprehended in some fashion. The problem with this is all he is saying is we cannot know what we cannot know. What the "knowing" is all about is some presupposed "negative noumenon", which limits our knowledge and thus gives us any kind of understanding in the first place.

And I will repeat. Kant is NOT arguing for his "faith" or religious beliefs. He was asking WHAT CAN WE KNOW BEFORE EXPERIENCE? I would argue that the question itself leads a lot to be desired, but he uses it as a doorway to look into the dualistic notion of our inner world and the outer world.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 15th, 2017, 1:06 pm 

BIV,

I noticed your last post.

Modern science seems to contradict Kant’s Copernican revolution. The notion that the universe follows our intuitions (rather than the other way round) is no longer supportable.

Modern instruments such as space telescopes and neutron colliders have expanded our senses far beyond our intuitions.

Therefore, it appears that empirical data is not a slave to our thought processes, as Kant claimed. This is a severe blow to his antirealism.

Nature has a vote after all.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 15th, 2017, 1:09 pm 

BJ,

You are not understanding the quoted material in my post of yesterday. Please read it more carefully.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 15th, 2017, 11:32 pm 

Neri -

You are evading my direct question which would help clear up an awful lot of confusion. IF I didn't read it carefully then explain what I missed?

Your reply to Biv above also shows a remarkably naïve view of what Kant says and furthers my belief that you don't actually understand what he meant by noumenon.

Modern science seems to contradict Kant’s Copernican revolution. The notion that the universe follows our intuitions (rather than the other way round) is no longer supportable.


This is completely wrong. He says no such thing.

Modern instruments such as space telescopes and neutron colliders have expanded our senses far beyond our intuitions.


This is not strictly true at all. Not in the sense that Kant applies the term "intuitions". If they were beyond our intuitions they'd be noumenon in the positive sense (unknowable). Even when we talk about noumenon in the positive sense it is still only negative noumenon that we are explicating for we cannot even begin to grasp any "beyond". That is the entire point of his concept and its use as a limitation.

I will ask again. Are you saying we can know "something in itself" in the way Kant puts it? If you say YES then you clearly don't understand what he says. Please put my mind at rest and answer the question.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 16th, 2017, 5:01 pm 

BJ,

Here are Kant’s own words [in translation] regarding the Copernican revolution as it applies to his metaphysics:

“We here propose to do just what Copernicus did in attempting to explain the celestial movements. When he found he could make no progress by assuming that all the heavenly bodies revolved round the spectator, he reversed the process, and tried the experiment of assuming that the spectator revolved, while the stars remained at rest. We make the same experiment with regard to the intuition of objects. If the intuition must conform to the nature of the objects, I do not see how we can know anything of them a priori. If, on the other hand, the object conforms to the nature of our faculty of intuition, I can then easily conceive the possibility of such an a priori knowledge.” [CPR, Second Edition, (Meiklejohn translation) Barnes and Noble, (2004)]

What is unclear about this?

I hesitate to repeat material already covered, but I will pass over it again lightly.

Kant’s distinction between phenomena and noumena is clear. My purpose was not so much to explain the distinction as to critique it. There is no doubt that Kant claimed that we could know nothing about the noumenal realm. However, I argued to the contrary that Kant’s own analysis dictated that certain facts could be known about that realm and that those facts allowed the whole notion to be reduced to absurdity. I listed these facts in my previous posts. They are self-explanatory.

Also, I argued that Kant had a certain motivation in making a distinction between things real in themselves and things only real to us. That motivation was set out clearly in my previous posts and was aptly set forth by the commentator from Stanford University. This should be clear enough.

Kant also maintained that we are justified, as a practical matter, in believing in God, the immortal soul, morality and free will—even though all of these are, he claimed, things in themselves (noumena). He did not say that it is possible by empirical proof to establish the reality of such things (for the obvious reason that he denied that anything in the noumenal realm was susceptible to such proof). This leaves one wondering how we can be justified in believing in God, the immortal soul, morality or free will if we can know nothing about things in themselves.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 18th, 2017, 2:55 am 

Neri -

Okay, I think we're on the same page though. I was pointing at the important distinction between the negative and positive noumenon.

If you take the whole "god" concept out it is clear enough to see that we can willingly believe that we are not omnipresent. It is really that simply. We are "justified" because we know of noumenon in the negative sense, meaning we know that we don't know everything. He goes further, obviously, into trying to get to grips in some fashion how we approach what we cannot and can never know and what this means to us.

Are you asking if it is rational to ask what we can know about something beyond our intuitions? I am with you there!

It most certainly isn't possible to establish empirical proof of noumenon. Noumenon essentially doesn't exist for us because it is "outside" our intuitions. Its use is only as a limiting concept that allows us to know things.

The biggest problem here is that if we are talking about such a "thing in itself" and suggest we canont know it "in itself" then we are effectively saying there is no road to it through the physical sciences. This is where the dualistic bias, laid down by Decartes before, rears its ugly head.

It appears Kant is tyring to reconcile this dualistic habit of his time.

Am I correct that we've been through this before in one of my threads? Talking about the general phenomenological position, a lot of which we're talking about here relates to, although Kant was not, in the modern sense, a "phenomenologist".

When I return from holiday I'll see what I can do with what you've said above. Of course Kant's work is not complete, I don't think any philosophical work is. Even in light of current physics what he says does not really change much at all though. Don't confuse his "intuition" with physical space/space. To do such a thing is a huge mistake regarding the question he is dealing with.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 18th, 2017, 10:16 am 

BJ,

It is not a question of “confusing his [Kant’s] ‘intuition’ with physical space/time,” as you put it. It is a question of what exactly one considers space and time to be. Kant denied that there was such a thing as “physical space/time.” By his lights, they were pure intuitions.

On the other hand, my position is that time and space are indeed ideas yet not pure intuitions upon which synthetic a priori judgments are based.

I maintain that time and space are discursive and not intuitive in that they are derived from motion and change, which I refer to collectively as Happening. The latter, I consider to be the fundamental nature of reality. So that, because time and space are derived from Happening, they are ideas well founded in reality.

Time and space arise from our native inclination to consciously isolate aspects of Happening and to attempt to measures them in such a way that they are fully determined. Such a thing, of course, has obvious practical value, even though perfect measurements (which constitute the ideality of time and space) cannot be a reality independent of our thought processes.

Yet because time and space are conceived as aspects of Happening, they correspond to the real world to the extent that they can adequately, though not perfectly, correspond to whatever may happen there; for the world is all that happens and not all that is.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 18th, 2017, 12:28 pm 

There are so many faults with what you've said above regarding Kant that I honestly don't know where to start. I see you've said several times it is "quite clear" what Kant meant by noumenon yet you seem to evade answering my question about what you take noumeneon to mean regarding negative/positive?

to repeat :

I will ask again. Are you saying we can know "something in itself" in the way Kant puts it? If you say YES then you clearly don't understand what he says. Please put my mind at rest and answer the question.


Is your answer YES or NO? Put my mind at rest on this one please. I have asked maybe half a dozen times. Saying "it is clear" is not an answer to the question.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 18th, 2017, 1:13 pm 

BJ,

It is necessary to make a clear distinction between Kant’s position on what he calls the noumenal realm and what I call the real world.

Kant says that space and time are pure creations of the mind that have no counterpart in what he calls things in themselves. Because, he argues, all of our experiences are placed in a spatio-temporal context by the mind, we can know nothing of a world that is independent of the mind. In this respect, Kant’s views are epistemically anti-realistic.

In previous posts, I have set forth in detail the reasons why Kant’s position on this subject is insupportable.

Instead, I have argued that, while space and time are only ideas, they are well founded in reality (for the reasons just stated in my previous post). My position is both epistemically and ontologically realistic.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 18th, 2017, 2:26 pm 

It is necessary to make a clear distinction between Kant’s position on what he calls the noumenal realm and what I call the real world.


If it is necessary for you go ahead. The problem is in explicating what you mean before imposing your view on what Kant says.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 19th, 2017, 6:13 am 

Neri -

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get across to you what you appear to be missing. It is not easy!

It seems you cannot really grasp what is meant by Kant regarding "noumenon". I am not trying to lay down a defense of Kant only bring you to see and understand the concepts used (and I agree, as with all concepts, they are limited in their uses).

Kant tells us that we can say nothing about things in themselves (noumena) except that they must exist. Clearly this is not the case; for, based on Kant’s own analysis, we are able to say:

(1) Things in themselves cause the mental representations of them.

(2) These mental representations in no way correspond to things in themselves.

(3) Neither space nor time are things in themselves or properties of things in themselves. This can only mean that the noumenal world contains neither space nor time; for, we are told, they exist only in the mind.

(4) Because the noumenal realm contains neither space nor time, nothing can move or change there. In fact, nothing of any kind can happen there.

(5) Without space, nothing can have extension in the noumena nor can anything be separate from any other thing in itself. This reduces the whole of the noumena to a singularity—something infinitely small and utterly without properties of any sort. Kant would say that such a thing is unimaginable, yet modern-day physicists imagine exactly that as the starting point of the universe.


Yes, he does. He means noumenon, in this case, in the POSITIVE sense. We cannot 'know' what X is only call it X and infer (by abduction) there is this "thing in itself" the proposition of which we use to navigate about the world.

1) Abduction. It is precisely our 'intuition' that allows 'knowing' about 'something' (I say 'about' meaning as if to surround map out said 'thing' not to actually 'know' it in and of itself, which would be to deduce meaning beyond experiential confirmation). This is where many fall into skepticism or dismiss this principle as extreme skepticism. The idea of "causing" some mental representation is a dualistic view. To be clear we it is like saying my eyes cause my sight rather than "neural processing". It is obvious enough to us to say that we cannot see without eyes or with eyes alone (we need a way to understand what the eyes "say"). The proposed "cause" is hidden and unknowable in and of itself is what Kant is saying.

2) Er ? Sorry, I don't see where you get this from? It is the difference between "abductive" and "deductive" reasoning. Once we start to cut away the jargon with which we understand the world we are left with abduction not deduction. Nothing corresponds to "positive noumenon", it is like saying we can perform a 100% accurate experiment using empirical data. It is simply not possible to say such a thing (there is always room for skepticism because there has to be).

3) Well, yes. This follow with the above. Space and time do not exist outside of our experience of time and space? If they do we cannot possibly grasp such an idea by placing our mental capacities "OUTSIDE" space and time? We are not talking about "distance" from me to object I experience over there. We are talking about me being able to 'know' such and such an object because I appreciate space and time (intuitively not merely as infinitely physical measured). If I do not have such an intuition (basically a way to navigate and map and know differences) then there is no 'knowing'.

note: You say "This can only mean ...", but you've made the mistake of extending into things "in-themselves" which you cannot do and probably need to guard against more.

4) There is no "there". You've fallen off the track of what Kant was saying.

5) Again, a mistake in taking what Kant says and applying it to physics. Physicists do not imagine any such thing. They cannot. The "illusion" is thinking saying something and surrounding an idea makes it substantial and real. Anyway, at that point physicists actually stop doing physics because there is no physics to be done. Beyond our intuitions we obviously have no intuitions with which to develop an understanding of non-space and non-time.


Thanks for your time. The second part of that post is more interesting I feel. Sadly I don't have a copy to hand (CoPR) but will porbably attempt to respond to that as best I can because you lay out some interesting observations that many have issues with.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on May 19th, 2017, 3:04 pm 

BJ,

You should be able to understand by now that I have not “imposed my view of what Kant says” [your words]. I have pointed out repeatedly what his views are on the subject at hand (with ample citations from the CPR and other works) and have explained in considerable detail why I believe his arguments are insupportable.

I have also supplied an alternative view of my own on time and space and have presented extensive arguments in support of it. This, however, is not an alternative interpretation of Kant but rather my own point of view on the matter. This distinction seems to have escaped you. Indeed, my interpretation of Kant is quite mainstream.

Regarding your latest post, I take it that your numbered paragraphs (five in all) are in response to those set out in my previous post (which you quoted). I will treat those responses seriatim.

Issue (1)

Abduction involves providing the best explanation under all the known circumstances. This is exactly what we ask a jury to do in a criminal case. The important point to remember is this: Abduction does not guarantee the truth of any conclusion. That is, a conclusion reached by abductive reasoning is not logically compelled. However, It is justified even if it is untrue. Thus, a jury may justifiably convict a defendant even if he is actually innocent.

However, abduction is inapposite in the present inquiry, because Kant claims that the existence of the noumenal realm is logically compelled. He reasons: If the senses provide only a representation, there must be something that is being represented.

This reasoning is questionable when one considers that Kant claimed that we can know nothing about what is represented from the representation itself. In other words, the representation has none of the qualities of the noumenon it is supposed to represent.

Kant says in his earlier work that the thing in itself “causes” the representation or that it “yields” the representation. This raises the question: if only the effect and not the cause is known, how can we say that the effect does not in any way resemble its cause? Surely, an effect must reveal something about its cause.

Further, Kant claims that causation is purely experiential and does not exist in noumena. If this is so, how can a noumenon cause anything? We cannot say it only seems that it causes the representation, for that would mean that it does not actually do so. Thus, we go round in circles.

In later years [apparently because he recognized the difficulties involved in this noumena/phenomena business] Kant adopted a somewhat different analysis. He claimed that something supersensible (noumenon) “grounds” sensory representations. [See, “On a Discovery According to Which All Future Critiques of Reason Have Been Rendered Superfluous by a Previous One” By Kant, Translated by Henry Allison in “Theoretical Philosophy after 1781.” 8:205].

Some commentators have interpreted this to mean that things in themselves provide the “matter” of the representation, whereas only the “form” is mind-dependent. However, this hardly cures the problem.

If things in themselves provide the matter [whatever that might be] of the representation, that matter should somehow be contained in the perception. But we are told that the perception contains nothing of things in themselves, for the reason that the perception is limited by the intuitions of time and space that have no counterpart in things in themselves. Thus, the whole explanation is internally inconsistent.

Issue (2)

See Issue (1) immediately preceding.

Issue (3)

See my previous post wherein I explain that Kant’s reasoning does not guarantee that every aspect of time and space is excluded from what he calls noumena.

Issue (4)

Kant does say, “there is a there, there,” so far as noumena are concerned. Further, he says that time and space exist only in sensory experience. This can only mean that time and space are no part of noumena. This fact (if true) leads to unavoidable conclusions that I outline in paragraph 5 of my post, as you quoted it.

Issue (5)

As to intuition and science, see my post directed to BIV herein. Otherwise, this issue is covered in paragraph (5) of my post, as you quoted it.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby BadgerJelly on May 19th, 2017, 4:52 pm 

You should be able to understand by now that I have not “imposed my view of what Kant says” [your words]. I have pointed out repeatedly what his views are on the subject at hand (with ample citations from the CPR and other works) and have explained in considerable detail why I believe his arguments are insupportable.


And I should point out that someone has already said, a few pages back, that it is possible to quote Kant to back up practically anything because he argues for and against. My issue was with you riling against his religious views (if I was wrong about this I was wrong, it happens).

What you've said above is not reconciled by Kant. He was trying to patch together, as I think I said (cannot remember what I decided to post now?), dualistic foundations laid down by Decartes. Husserl actually argues the same point by saying Kant "presupposes" the existence of the surrounding world ... obviously Husserl takes the idea of transcendental method in a different direction and intricates the whole idea of phenomenon (there is no "noumenon" for Husserl, but he recoins the basic concept into terms such as "epoche" ("bracketing") and "empty horizons".

As I said in PM to you I think it would be a good subject for us to get into maybe?

I have to admit I have not read the work Kant was inspired by (Hume). I can say the term of the "thing in itself" is very unwieldy and misleading. It is a repercussion of natural empirical sciences and the view of "inner" and "outer" objects. Decartes set us down this dualistic path and scientific method enforced it by steering away from subjectivity (making it "as if" in the "in itself" way). Sorry if that is not clear enough don't want to digress.

Hume was, from what little I understand, saying we cannot have any way of understanding the world without experience. Kant merely pointed out that if this was so then how is it we come to have any experience in the first place? What is there that we "know" before our first experience? What capacity is required to possess an experience? He came up with space and time (I cannot disagree, but it most certainly not a conclusive answer merely a whole new area to explore).
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