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 January 21st, 2015, 9:38 am 

I, like Positor, am a realist and, as such, share his conviction that our perception of the moon—or of any other thing for that matter—corresponds to real properties belonging to it. Yet I believe, like him, that one cannot know all that may be predicated of a thing by simply perceiving it.

Kant, on the other hand, was an anti-realist. In all candor, my purpose has been to discredit his anti-realism by means of the reductio ad absurdum. There is more to come.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 21st, 2015, 5:08 pm 

I disagree with so many parts of Neri's original post , that I don't even think I have enough time to individually address each bad sentence. Not only are there errors in interpretation, but there are flat-out historical errors too. Without a full dissection of the article, let me just say two cursory things.

  • The idea that there is no external states which corresponds to any of our mental ideas or mental impressions probably more correctly attributed to George Berkeley, not Kant. The stronger claim that the "external world doesn't even exist" is something we today call solipsism. The German man, Immanuel Kant, is on record saying that "this is something even Berkeley will not commit to." In other words, Kant was saying even among the most solipsistic in our little circle of intellectuals, even Berkeley won't go that far. Yes, he did actually write that.
  • The manner in which Kant organizes his own writing, makes him very dangerous to read about in second-hand sources. Here is why. Kant would write in entire sections, where for 17 pages or more he would argue on the side of some opponent or opposing view. Laying out all its arguments in the strongest way he knew. Then in the very next section, he would argue the exact opposite point of view for about 19 pages. Finally, he would write a third section with a title such as "Remarks on the previous Sections" where he would attempt as a final analysis to synthesize both viewpoints laid down in the preceding sections. Why this makes him so dangerous to study, is that you can quote-mine Kant to make him argue practically anything you want, or even the opposite of it.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 12:01 am 

hyksos,

It is even easier to make Kant say whatever you want if you have no idea of what he is talking about.

In quotes that I previously submitted, Kant states quite clearly that “our sense representation is not a representation of things in themselves, but of the way in which they appear to us.” He also declares just as clearly that we cannot know what is true as a correspondence with external reality.

[By the way Berkeley did say that nothing exists apart from human minds and the mind of God.]

If you have any quote from the Critique of Pure Reason or the Prolegomena that says that noumena are knowable because they correspond to phenomena, I would be very interested in seeing it. However, please give an accurate citation of the source with a page reference. The quote should be in the exact words of Kant--not in the words of some third party who claims to understand Kant.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 22nd, 2015, 7:31 am 

If you have any quote from the Critique of Pure Reason or the Prolegomena that says that noumena are knowable because they correspond to phenomena, I would be very interested in seeing it. However, please give an accurate citation of the source with a page reference. The quote should be in the exact words of Kant--not in the words of some third party who claims to understand Kant.

Why am I being asked to produce a quote for something I never claimed?
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 22nd, 2015, 9:30 am 

Neri, I think the spirit of your original post is good and correct. It's just that your details are all wrong.

Kant was vindicated by contemporary neuroscience, as you say. And he was also vindicated in other disciplines of recent science, from physics to artificial intelligence. I would even go as far as to say, that nothing in quantum mechanics would be surprising to Kant.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby owleye on January 22nd, 2015, 9:36 am 

hyksos » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:31 am wrote:
If you have any quote from the Critique of Pure Reason or the Prolegomena that says that noumena are knowable because they correspond to phenomena, I would be very interested in seeing it. However, please give an accurate citation of the source with a page reference. The quote should be in the exact words of Kant--not in the words of some third party who claims to understand Kant.

Why am I being asked to produce a quote for something I never claimed?


I wish you luck in dealing with Neri, especially on matters, Kantian. This last response of his is a common tactic. However, I applaud that your insights are more penetrating and much clearer than mine. Over the years I'd been attempting to get into the nitty gritty with Neri, only to find he is very slippery. I've lost interest and resolve. My guess is that only in places like open forums can he get away with such nonsense. Were he actually trying to submit a paper for peer-review or for acceptance in some publication, I daresay he would find he is not welcome.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Positor on January 22nd, 2015, 11:02 am 

hyksos » January 21st, 2015, 9:08 pm wrote:The idea that there is no external states which corresponds to any of our mental ideas or mental impressions probably more correctly attributed to George Berkeley, not Kant.

So what idea would it be correct to attribute to Kant? How did he view the relation between external states and our mental ideas/impressions? As far as I can tell, his view in the Critique of Pure Reason was that noumena "cause" or "ground" phenomena in some unknowable way, but that we have no justification for thinking they are structurally similar to phenomena, or that there is any one-to-one mapping between an individual noumenon and an individual phenomenon. (I am unfamiliar with his later works, so it is possible that he shifted his position on this, and of course one can always speculate on how his views might have changed if he had lived to see further developments in science.)

hyksos wrote:The stronger claim that the "external world doesn't even exist" is something we today call solipsism. The German man, Immanuel Kant, is on record saying that "this is something even Berkeley will not commit to." In other words, Kant was saying even among the most solipsistic in our little circle of intellectuals, even Berkeley won't go that far. Yes, he did actually write that.

Since neither Kant nor Berkeley nor anyone in this thread is arguing for solipsism, I don't see the relevance of this point.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 11:32 am 

Hyksos,

Read Positor’s post if you have any interest in focusing your thinking.

I would only add two things: (1) Kant’s philosophy is such that nothing in science can be said to vindicate it; for, to Kant, all science concerns itself with phenomena and has nothing to do with noumena. (2) Kant did not change is views on the phenomena-noumena distinction in subsequent additions of the Critique of Pure Reason. The quotes I provided are from the latest addition.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 11:34 am 

James,

Rather than making personal remarks about me, I suggest that you would spend your time more profitable by reading the quotes of Kant I provided and searching your own conscience as to their meaning.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby owleye on January 22nd, 2015, 11:41 am 

Positor » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:02 am wrote:Since neither Kant nor Berkeley nor anyone in this thread is arguing for solipsism, I don't see the relevance of this point.


So, what makes you think that Neri is not arguing Kant was a solipsist. Neri specifically regarded him an anti-realist, for example. Why don't you turn your attention to criticizing Neri. You seem to be giving him a pass. Do you hold the same position as he regarding Kant? You might draw your attention to Braininavat's quick response to one of the absurdities that Neri is spouting. Here he takes note of Neri getting wild in this post, referring to this paragraph:

Neri wrote:For example, reason would dictate that if a man stands in front of a speeding carriage and is run down, he will either be killed or seriously injured. Yet, to Kant, all of this is mere appearance, for in a timeless world the carriage could never close the distance between it and the man. Time is just the “inner sense” that creates the illusion of motion, not only in whatever may lie outside of us but also in the very progression of our own thoughts. Now, if as a result of the collision with the carriage, the man appears to be dead to all outside observers—he must appear to be dead to himself. But, to say that it appears to him that he is dead is nonsense; for if it appeared to him that he was dead, nothing would appear to him in the first place.


You were very much on top of what Neri was writing and seemed to be supporting him from a different part of that same post. Are you being amply critical in how you interpret what Neri is saying by some sort selective reading?
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 8:23 pm 

REGARDING SOLIPSISM

A solipsist is one who believes that only his mind exists.

Berkeley believed that we all exist as spirits and that God also exists as an all-powerful spirit. [He only denied the reality of matter.] Therefore, Berkeley was not a solipsist.

Kant believed that we all exist as minds, albeit with native limitations to know external reality as it really is. He did not deny the reality of things outside of us. He only denied that we have the power to know them as they really are. Therefore, Kant was not a solipsist.

My arguments have nothing to do with solipsism. Anyone who says I have argued that Kant is a solipsist has taken leave of his senses.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 8:33 pm 

James,

Since when is Positor, or anyone else for that matter, under a moral obligation to criticize me?
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby owleye on January 22nd, 2015, 8:42 pm 

Neri » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:23 pm wrote:Kant believed that we all exist as minds, albeit with native limitations to know external reality as it really is. He did not deny the reality of things outside of us. He only denied that we have the power to know them as they really are. Therefore, Kant was not a solipsist.


How does this square with your conclusion that Kant was an anti-Realist?

Or how does this square with something else you said: "For example, reason would dictate that if a man stands in front of a speeding carriage and is run down, he will either be killed or seriously injured. Yet, to Kant, all of this is mere appearance, for in a timeless world the carriage could never close the distance between it and the man."

Perhaps you have changed your position on Kant and we're working off an old model.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Positor on January 22nd, 2015, 9:26 pm 

owleye » January 22nd, 2015, 3:41 pm wrote:You were very much on top of what Neri was writing and seemed to be supporting him from a different part of that same post. Are you being amply critical in how you interpret what Neri is saying by some sort selective reading?


I don't think anyone could argue that Kant was a solipsist (in the strong sense that "the external world doesn't even exist"). That would imply that things-in-themselves are nothing at all, which seems like a contradiction. When Kant says they are "unknowable", I take him to mean that we cannot know what they are, although we can know (by deduction) that they exist and what they do (i.e. act as some mysterious form of raw data for our spatio-temporal phenomenal experiences).

The argument about the man run down by a carriage is a difficult point. I see it as a reductio ad absurdum, roughly along the following lines:

1. Things-in-themselves are timeless; it is only our intuition that arranges them into a temporal progression.

2. Therefore my intuition itself (and hence my existence) must be independent of (logically prior to) that temporal progression.

3. Therefore my existence and intuition must be timeless.

4. Therefore the totality of the noumenal world (insofar as it affects me) must affect me all at once.

5. Part of this noumenal world, somehow 'decoded' and temporally arranged by my intuition, must relate to states-of-affairs in which I am dead (or not yet born).

6. Therefore, according to this argument, I can (at some phenomenal time) perceive phenomenal states-of-affairs in which I am dead (or not yet born).

7. But this is absurd; I know by experience that I cannot (at any phenomenal time) perceive such states-of-affairs.


In the above argument, I think I would dispute step 5. Just as I am not affected by noumenal 'data' (if any) relating to remote parts of the universe, I could be similarly unaffected by data relating to the existence of my dead body. Step 7 could perhaps also be disputed if the possibility of reincarnation is considered.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 9:40 pm 

James,

A realist is one who believes that the senses present to the mind the world as it really is. Kant was an anti-realist because he did not believe this. However, the fact that he held that the senses do not give us the world as it really is, does not make him a solipsist. This is Philosophy 101. You ought to know better.

What is your answer to my question?
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 22nd, 2015, 10:20 pm 

Neri » January 22nd, 2015, 7:32 pm wrote:Hyksos,

Read Positor’s post if you have any interest in focusing your thinking.

I would only add two things: (1) Kant’s philosophy is such that nothing in science can be said to vindicate it; for, to Kant, all science concerns itself with phenomena and has nothing to do with noumena. (2) Kant did not change is views on the phenomena-noumena distinction in subsequent additions of the Critique of Pure Reason. The quotes I provided are from the latest addition.


You are very confused. These are not the sentences from your original post in which I find error. Instead of asking me "in which parts in my writing do you find error?", you instead stuck words in my mouth and have preceded to argue against a strawman.

This thread is going too far astray. So far I have asked you a clear question: Why did you ask me to produce a citation to something I never claimed? You are still silent on that question. I conceded to the overall spirit of your OP, adding that only your factual details are bad. Your response was to become more acrimonious. As far as I can see, other people in this thread can see you doing that. You are quickly running out of chances of redeeming yourself now. My suggestion is that you quote particular sentences from my actual posts, and then pointedly respond to those words contained therein.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 10:58 pm 

Positor,

Thank you for you for your thoughtful post. However, my argument is not quite in the form that you present. I would summarize it follows:

1. Several people see a man run down by a speeding carriage.

2. Kant tells us that the motion of the carriage is mere appearance, because time does not exist in the world as it really is.

3. From this, it necessarily follows that in the world independent of our sensibilities, the man could not have been killed.

4. But, the man is pronounced dead by a physician and appears dead to all outside observers.

5. Since, according to Kant, the man is still alive in the world as it really is and only appears to be dead to all observers, he must appear to be dead to himself (since he possesses the human sensibilities common to all other observers).

6. But this is nonsense; for if the man appears to himself to be dead , this can only mean that nothing appears to him at all.

Kant would agree with this argument but would take it as a kind of proof that the soul is immortal. That is, he would say that, stripped of all appearances, the man would see himself as he really is—an immortal soul. One can see, therefore, why Kant finds it necessary to argue that the senses give us no knowledge of things as they really are. He comes from a deeply religious tradition. The only problem is, there is no real reason to believe that our senses give us no knowledge of external reality. Indeed, if this were the case, we would have no senses in the first place.

There are a number of other anomalies that result from Kant’s anti-realism. Time permitting, I will set them out in another post.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 22nd, 2015, 11:02 pm 

Positor » January 22nd, 2015, 7:02 pm wrote:So what idea would it be correct to attribute to Kant? How did he view the relation between external states and our mental ideas/impressions? As far as I can tell, his view in the Critique of


I think what is happening now is you guys are engaging in a tactic of trying to draw me into a sentence-by-sentence correction and dissection of Neri's original post. I having not done that yet, confusion is abounding in this thread.

Since neither Kant nor Berkeley nor anyone in this thread is arguing for solipsism, I don't see the relevance of this point.

I understand the confusion. Neri's opening post he continually conflated the word "phenomena" with "appearance". For brevity let me bracket all the instances in which Neri did this.

1. Our world is the world of phenomena (appearances, mental impressions)

2. Thus, Kant argues that our experience of consciousness in its temporality and of our very selves is merely an appearance (phenomenon)

(As well as the instances in which the word "appearance" did not happen, but Neri extrapolated on the same logic.)

Now why does it matter that Neri thinks that Kant's phenomena is a placeholder for "appearance" and why is this such a grave error? It needs to be said that Neri seems to be confusing Kant for Descartes. (remember Descartes is going to question whether sense experience is even reliable, with his demon is creating them as illusions. This leads to famous issues of solipsism. Fill in the blanks with your own historical knowledge here. I will not waste everyone's time rehashing). Immanuel Kant is not Rene Descartes, and he is not dealing with the same issue as Descartes. If phenomena is "appearance" (as Neri claimed) the implication is that phenomena are illusory, untrustworthy, or unreliable for knowledge.

So why have I introduced solipsism into this thread? Merely to communicate that Kant's body of work is not rehashing Cartesian solipsism, by replacing Descarte's demon illusion with "appearances". I detected this confusion in Neri's opening post and I responded in turn.

In Kant's writing, Phenomena are not appearances. Take it or leave it.

Let me buttress the above with Kant himself. In your copy look for the chapter entitled `Of the Ground of the Division of all Objects into Phenomena and Noumena.` The section contains 18 paragraphs and one footnote paragraph.

  • Total occurrences of the word "appearance" in this section: 0 (zero)
  • Total occurrences the word "intuition" in this section: 45 (forty five)

I will remind you, positor, that I agreed with and conceded to the spirit/general point of Neri's OP, and I even buttressed his point with additional examples. That concession was altogether ignored, and now I am being attacked from all sides for "bringing up solipsism".

This phenomena=appearance is only one of the many errors I found in Neri's OP. On top of those, he has also made errors in responses. I have to ask myself as a person, whether my "job" here at this forum is to be Neri's personal secretary. I need to ask whether he is worth the time, whether he is open to correction, or whether he just wants endless forum drama. I have to calculate these parameters before I waste 3 hours of my life writing up long articles about Kant's conception of intuitions. Articles which would be for his benefit , not mine. Before spending hours writing a fleshed-out fully-cited article on Kant, I will first determine if the person is even going to read it.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 22nd, 2015, 11:13 pm 

owleye » January 22nd, 2015, 5:36 pm wrote:I wish you luck in dealing with Neri, especially on matters, Kantian. This last response of his is a common tactic. However, I applaud that your insights are more penetrating and much clearer than mine. Over the years I'd been attempting to get into the nitty gritty with Neri, only to find he is very slippery. I've lost interest and resolve. My guess is that only in places like open forums can he get away with such nonsense. Were he actually trying to submit a paper for peer-review or for acceptance in some publication, I daresay he would find he is not welcome.


Thank you for coming to this thread. I know , and you probably know too, that I could easily waste 4 hours or more in this thread debunking and critiquing. Oh..easily. I am having to chain myself to a chair to stop from doing this. That is the level of personal restraint I am undergoing at this moment.

Let me make a very brief comment, without opening the floodgates completely. Neri's continual claims that Kant was "deeply religious" and his other claim in the OP that Kant thought morality "is originated in the unknowable noumenon".

These claims are making my blood boil.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 22nd, 2015, 11:39 pm 

Hyksos,

You said:

“The idea that there is [sic] no external states which corresponds to any of our mental ideas or mental impressions probably [is] more correctly attributed to George Berkeley, not Kant.”

In English, this means that Kant, in your view, did not claim that noumena (“external states”) do not correspond to phenomena (“mental ideas or mental impressions”). Instead, you claim that this was the position taken by Berkeley. With the double negative removed, your statement is correctly set forth as: Kant claimed that noumena correspond to phenomena. This is what I asked you to substantiate by appropriate quotes from the works of Kant.

If you did not understand what you were saying and intended another meaning, please be good enough to make that meaning clearly known.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 23rd, 2015, 12:53 am 

I did not mean that. And No, my statement is not correctly set forth as that. I never said nor implied that noumena="external states". You did. I never said nor implied that phenomena="mental ideas". You did. If I meant to say noumena, I would use the word right in a sentence. I have not.

The sentence you are fumbling over:
The idea that there is no external states which corresponds to any of our mental ideas or mental impressions probably more correctly attributed to George Berkeley, not Kant.


A more clear way to write this would have been "The claim that those external states (which correspond to any of our mental ideas) do not exist ; that is more correctly attributed to George Berkeley, not Kant."

The correspondence referred to there ("which corresponds") is a correspondence made between us, in this conversation. I am not claiming a metaphysical correspondence assumed to exist in extended objects like some sort of glowing string connecting ideas at one point in space to external states in another. (Kant would turn in his grave at such metaphysical claims!). I chose "external states" there to avoid any particular theme (objects, vs substances, vs phenomenal actions) Objects are not substances in any Kant discussion. And Kant has very good reasons for making that distinction.

I agree that the sentence is not completely grammatically clear, but I never made a metaphysical claim about noumena and phenomena. In fact, if you look at all my posts, I have not used either of those words until now. Kant used both of those words to refer to types of objects. And he had a very good reason for doing that. The ontology of objects entails they may have additional 'properties' attached to them, which he called "real predicates". You should never confuse the word "object" in Kant's writing with regular physical objects sitting in the room around you. He is uses the word "object" in an abstract ontological manner.

Instead of knowing the reasons for these distinctions, your posts are peppered with conflations. Earlier in this thread you were pretending phenomena = appearances. Then later in the thread, you switched to phenomena = mental ideas.

Kant would never make those conflations. He would be appalled by what you are doing. He knew exactly what "intuitions" were, and exactly what faculties of "reason" are, and his writing is crystal clear on their differences. My best advice to you is this -- Kant is not writing poetry. He makes distinctions between things in a very rigorous, formal logical way. He explains the need for these distinctions in elaborate and lengthy expository. You cannot substitute his words in the willy-nilly manner you are doing.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby neuro on January 23rd, 2015, 7:29 am 

I am no philosopher.
This may be he reason why I do not see what Neri is discussing about.

His point seems to be that Kant is "anti-realist".
It seemed he was claiming that Kant negates the existence of what we perceive.
More recently, he told us that
Neri » January 23rd, 2015, 2:40 am wrote:A realist is one who believes that the senses present to the mind the world as it really is. Kant was an anti-realist because he did not believe this.

The curious thing is that in this sense
-- any serious neuroscientist, who knows how the sensory input is manipulated and interpreted by our cerebral circuits, how the idea of space is built in our brain by elaborating mutual relations between patterns we interpret as objects, how our perception of time, apart from small intervals, is an internally built spatial dimension along which we order our perceptions and recalls
-- any quantum theorist, who would be seriously embarassed to be forced to talk about the "reality" of objects, space and time,
-- any reasonable and knowledgeable person

would be, today, an "anti-realist"
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby owleye on January 23rd, 2015, 8:24 am 

Neri » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:40 pm wrote:James,

A realist is one who believes that the senses present to the mind the world as it really is. Kant was an anti-realist because he did not believe this. However, the fact that he held that the senses do not give us the world as it really is, does not make him a solipsist. This is Philosophy 101. You ought to know better.

What is your answer to my question?


Sounds like you made up that definition to suit yourself. But of course this is what you do all the time. However, you failed to address the second part of my post. That part glaringingly is different than what it was compared. Instead you start talking about your question to me. This is typical of you. You try to throw off any criticism by having the interlocutory do all the work, whereas you do nothing except pontificate.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby owleye on January 23rd, 2015, 8:47 am 

Positor » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:26 pm wrote:
owleye » January 22nd, 2015, 3:41 pm wrote:You were very much on top of what Neri was writing and seemed to be supporting him from a different part of that same post. Are you being amply critical in how you interpret what Neri is saying by some sort selective reading?


Your remarks about solipsism then are not about Hyksos' claim that Neri's Kant was a solipsist, which is what the fuss was about. Hyksos presented a case where Kant's object reality is far from how Neri characterized it.

Positor wrote:The argument about the man run down by a carriage is a difficult point. I see it as a reductio ad absurdum, roughly along the following lines:

1. Things-in-themselves are timeless; it is only our intuition that arranges them into a temporal progression.

2. Therefore my intuition itself (and hence my existence) must be independent of (logically prior to) that temporal progression.

3. Therefore my existence and intuition must be timeless.

4. Therefore the totality of the noumenal world (insofar as it affects me) must affect me all at once.

5. Part of this noumenal world, somehow 'decoded' and temporally arranged by my intuition, must relate to states-of-affairs in which I am dead (or not yet born).

6. Therefore, according to this argument, I can (at some phenomenal time) perceive phenomenal states-of-affairs in which I am dead (or not yet born).

7. But this is absurd; I know by experience that I cannot (at any phenomenal time) perceive such states-of-affairs.


Well, Neri might find something of value in this. However, the very first point is problematic. You make a claim about an object-in-itself that it is timeless. Kant would object strenuously to this. It requires an understanding of objects-in-themselves that is denied. There is an object associated with the understanding, absent our infusion of intuitions. And it this object that is claimed to be a noumenal representation of the same object that is obtained when we infuse the intuition part which dealt with how the object "affected" the senses. This affectation is a complete mystery. The latter is a phenomenal representation, the former, purely intellectual. Same object, different way of representing it.

In any case, what you lead yourself into is an empirical understanding of an object that can't make sense of a timeless object. However, the only requirement on this noumenal object is that it is the same object that the understanding establishes when applying the forms of intuition. That's it. There's no need to speak of motion or location of such object unless it is represented phenomenally (ie. infused with the forms of intuition).
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 23rd, 2015, 10:11 am 

Neuro,

Thank you for your intelligent comments.

Scientists may be either realists or anti-realists depending upon whether or not they believe that their experience of the world (what Kant called “phemomena) corresponds to the world as it really is (what Kant called noumena).

From Kant’s point of view, all of neuroscience concerns itself with how we appear to ourselves and not with how we really are. He says that we only know what we really are when, through the supersensibility of our own free will, we make choices consonant with a categorical imperative (moral choices). If you believe this sort of thing, you are a Kantian anti-realist. If, on the other hand you believe that your experience of such things as cerebral circuits and sensory inputs correspond to reality, then you are a realist.

If by your statements--“the idea of space is built in our brain” and “our perception of time...is an internally built spatial dimension along which we order our perceptions and recalls”—you mean that neither time nor space is real in itself [that is, real only in our own consciousness], then you are a Kantian anti-realist.

If, by these same statements, you mean that only space, but not time, is real, then you are a Parmenidean anti-realist. That is, you believe, like Parmenides and Einstein, that the senses are deceiving us when they give us the impression that there is such a thing a time in the real world. Such a view necessitates the bizarre notion that nothing ever happens in the real world--that the latter is actually an unchanging and impenetrable geometric object.

The curious fact [as I pointed out previously] is that Kant’s version of idealism trips over itself if it accepts any empirical evidence of the distinction between phenomena and noumena. This is because he regards all you have described in your post as phenomena (appearances); and he insists that all phenomena, because they are only appearances, can tell us nothing about things as they really are (noumena).

An atomic physicist, who believes that all events in the subatomic world as determined by experiments are mere appearances, is a Kantian anti-realist. One who believes that such events occur in the real world quite independently of our awareness of them is a realist.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Neri on January 23rd, 2015, 11:43 am 

James,

There is a certain incoherence in what you say. According to Kant time exists only in our minds as an “internal sense.” Clearly, this means that it exists nowhere else and indubitably not in things in themselves. For if we say that time can possibly exist in things in themselves and we know not if it does, we are saying that it is possible that our experience of time is not only an inner sense but also an outer reality and this Kant categorically denies; for Kant does not even admit of the possibility that time exists as a thing in itself or as a condition of things in themselves.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby neuro on January 23rd, 2015, 12:21 pm 

Neri » January 23rd, 2015, 3:11 pm wrote:.... and he insists that all phenomena, because they are only appearances, can tell us nothing about things as they really are (noumena).


This I believe is the crucial point.
They tell us nothing under an ontological point of view (we have to assume, accept or refuse their ontological existence independent of our senses, which in my opinion defines whether one is a realist, a solipsist, an anti-realist, an agnostic or whatever)

But it seems to me that it is not true Kant claims they tell us nothing about the properties of things "as they really are" (provided "they are", i.e. they exist, which is another question).
In other words, it appears to me that the correspondence is there, in Kant.

Reality certainly is not exactly as we see it. Something we seem to see might not be there, somethng we don't perceive may be there.
Is this anti-realism?

Space and time are abstractions, conceptual constructions we need in order to account for what we see out there (movement, forces, etc.). Their absolute existence or not - or the fact that only a spacetime texture makes sense but space and time in themselves don't - actually is irrelevant, isn't it?
You can interpret reality using time and space, or energy and momentum, or any other set of dimensions; nobody needs them to "exist" per se, they only constitute a relational framework to describe and understand what we see and measure. Whatever frame you choose, you can derive time and space from it as mere relational aspects.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 23rd, 2015, 12:41 pm 

I think this thread turned out pretty well. I believe that Kant was vindicated by modern science, and I predict he will continue to be vindicated by sciences in the future.

Nevertheless, the details in some of these posts are horrendous. Neri continues unabated in his error of conflating phenomena with "appearances". This is dangerous because it implies that the disconnection between phenomenal objects and noumenal objects is purely due to Cartesian illusion-of-appearances. This would imply even more errors in thinking -- such that the disconnection is the same sort of lies told by illusions.

Kant never made that argument. Kant was much more concerned with whether categories which create and maintain the reasonableness of sense experience -- whether those categories are applicable to objects in-themselves. (Kant eventually called these "sensuous categories"). Kant himself wrote protracted 'proofs' that deny the possibility of solipsism. And he also wrote 'proofs' that denied Berkeley's dogmatic idealism. Not my words either. Kant himself called it dogmatic idealism!

I happen to be an instrumentalist, so I will naturally have strong opinions on Kant's writings in relation to Philosophy of Science. This will be coupled with my complete disinterest in his purely canonical ideas. Neri is correct in noting that Kant sits at the cornerstone of the distinction between realism and anti-realism in Philosophy of Science.
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby Braininvat on January 23rd, 2015, 1:36 pm 

Also instrumenalist - I touched on this way back there, in regard to the role of natural selection - brains that form useful models of the external world, that accurately map movement and events in the environment, tend to survive and pass along their genes. Go with what works - success, not absolute truth, is what matters in the marriage of phenomenon and noumenon. A successful appraisal of the relations between things, and the properties of those things - and that success measured by the agreement of all observers - is all the reality we are going to get.

What is the category of time? Is it change and the relative rates of change in different processes and motions we observe in nature? Or is it only the organized and carefully paced movement of thought across the solid and static landscape of a Parmenidean block universe? Are things happening out there, or are we just paging through a flipbook, creating an illusion of things happening? For me the answer is grounded in Ockham's razor and in the pragmatic value of assuming that the old neural net is striving to accurately observe the genuine passage of events. Kant was working out his ideas in an era before science had shown fully its effectiveness in plumbing the inner workings of the world, its power to enhance the senses and reveal realms previously invisible and insensible. So I cut him some slack. :-)
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Re: The Copernican Revolution and the Senses

Postby hyksos on January 23rd, 2015, 2:34 pm 

Braininvat » January 23rd, 2015, 9:36 pm wrote:Go with what works - success, not absolute truth, is what matters in the marriage of phenomenon and noumenon.


Right. But in a thread on Immanuel Kant, you would write it as:

Go with what works - success, not absolute Reason, is what matters in the marriage of phenomenon and noumenon.


;)
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