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The Noumenal/Phenomenal Dichotomy is dumb.

ShabShoral
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11/19/2015 3:41:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
If noumena are unknowable (by definition), then there is absolutely no way to say "Noumena exist" - the proposition lacks referents. It's absolute nonsense. If you can say that noumena exist, then you must have some conception of what noumena are, which is, as the concept implies, impossible.

Similarly, there is no way to distinguish between the knowable and unknowable, for such a distinction presupposes a way to transcend the limits of reality in order to observe them from without. What is, is. Nothing more can be said.

So much for philosophy.
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kp98
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11/20/2015 5:21:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
If noumena are unknowable (by definition), then there is absolutely no way to say "Noumena exist"

"Noumena exists. Noooouumeeena existss. NNNNoumenaaExists. Noumena..... exists! Noumena exists" - I appear have no trouble saying it in all sorts of ways. What did you mean to say?

I am not a Kant fan, so I'lll just give a precis of my take on Kant's ideas .

Essentially, Kant says that it would be a mistake to think that by looking at something you get to know that thing as it really is (the noumenonal form of X). All we can know anything about is the phenomenal form of X, that is how X appears to be.
Kant doesn't seem particularly concerned that there might be no noumena at all - indeed he seems to say that there must be a noumena behind every phenomena, although the noumea might be very diffrent from the phenomena.

An example of that might be a hallucinatory horse. The phenomenon has 4 legs and a tail, but the noumenon is probably some drug-addled neurones in your brain but - according to Kant - there has to be some existing noumenon beind a phenomenon.
ShabShoral
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11/20/2015 5:39:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/20/2015 5:21:00 AM, kp98 wrote:
If noumena are unknowable (by definition), then there is absolutely no way to say "Noumena exist"

"Noumena exists. Noooouumeeena existss. NNNNoumenaaExists. Noumena..... exists! Noumena exists" - I appear have no trouble saying it in all sorts of ways. What did you mean to say?
You can't *meaningfully* say that noumena exist, since noumena are unable to be referred to.
I am not a Kant fan, so I'lll just give a precis of my take on Kant's ideas .

Essentially, Kant says that it would be a mistake to think that by looking at something you get to know that thing as it really is (the noumenonal form of X). All we can know anything about is the phenomenal form of X, that is how X appears to be.
How x appears to be - as opposed to what? As opposed to how x "really is"? A distinction requires two meaningful alternatives - here, there is only one: being.
Kant doesn't seem particularly concerned that there might be no noumena at all - indeed he seems to say that there must be a noumena behind every phenomena, although the noumea might be very diffrent from the phenomena.

An example of that might be a hallucinatory horse. The phenomenon has 4 legs and a tail, but the noumenon is probably some drug-addled neurones in your brain but - according to Kant - there has to be some existing noumenon beind a phenomenon.

But what is noumena? You have only stated what it is not, not what it is.
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kp98
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11/20/2015 5:55:04 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Kant is important historically, but I don't think his philosophical ideas are all that great, so I'm not going to defend them. But despair not...there is often a Kantian not far away ready for a scrap!
sdavio
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11/21/2015 9:01:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/19/2015 3:41:57 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
If noumena are unknowable (by definition), then there is absolutely no way to say "Noumena exist" - the proposition lacks referents. It's absolute nonsense. If you can say that noumena exist, then you must have some conception of what noumena are, which is, as the concept implies, impossible.

Similarly, there is no way to distinguish between the knowable and unknowable, for such a distinction presupposes a way to transcend the limits of reality in order to observe them from without. What is, is. Nothing more can be said.

So much for philosophy.

Kant holds that noumena are not accessible via sensation (the senses) but rather, it is present as an ordering principle, the fact of which we can grasp through reason. If one wishes to deny him the whole realm of pure reason and noumenal reality, then we are left with a Humean brand of thoroughgoing Empiricism in which all that exists is a concatenation of appearances, the organization of which being purely arbitrary. Kant doesn't believe that this position is viable, because the empiricist, in espousing their theory, is constantly called upon to seek the help of principles which cannot be given in sensation, which is represented by Kant's idea of the categories. For instance, Hume applied his skepticism to causality, but Kant believed that this same skepticism could be applied almost unilaterally, to the point that Hume would be left with no philosophy whatsoever. Therefore the empiricist is, despite themselves, constantly drawn toward the need for a "transcendental" philosophy, in order to avoid the absurdity of stating that the 'distribution of objects in space' is itself given us as an object in space, that temporality is given in sensation, and so on. There is also a famous characterization of this idea in the very beginning of Hegel's phenomenology, where he shows a philosophy attempting to attain pure sense-certainty, which is despite itself drawn to transcend the particular and forced to recognize the abstract principle within which it is embedded. Noumena are the abstracted objects of the resulting transcendental philosophy, which are presented to reason rather than to the senses.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
ShabShoral
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11/21/2015 9:13:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/21/2015 9:01:30 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 11/19/2015 3:41:57 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
If noumena are unknowable (by definition), then there is absolutely no way to say "Noumena exist" - the proposition lacks referents. It's absolute nonsense. If you can say that noumena exist, then you must have some conception of what noumena are, which is, as the concept implies, impossible.

Similarly, there is no way to distinguish between the knowable and unknowable, for such a distinction presupposes a way to transcend the limits of reality in order to observe them from without. What is, is. Nothing more can be said.

So much for philosophy.

Kant holds that noumena are not accessible via sensation (the senses) but rather, it is present as an ordering principle, the fact of which we can grasp through reason. If one wishes to deny him the whole realm of pure reason and noumenal reality, then we are left with a Humean brand of thoroughgoing Empiricism in which all that exists is a concatenation of appearances, the organization of which being purely arbitrary. Kant doesn't believe that this position is viable, because the empiricist, in espousing their theory, is constantly called upon to seek the help of principles which cannot be given in sensation, which is represented by Kant's idea of the categories. For instance, Hume applied his skepticism to causality, but Kant believed that this same skepticism could be applied almost unilaterally, to the point that Hume would be left with no philosophy whatsoever. Therefore the empiricist is, despite themselves, constantly drawn toward the need for a "transcendental" philosophy, in order to avoid the absurdity of stating that the 'distribution of objects in space' is itself given us as an object in space, that temporality is given in sensation, and so on. There is also a famous characterization of this idea in the very beginning of Hegel's phenomenology, where he shows a philosophy attempting to attain pure sense-certainty, which is despite itself drawn to transcend the particular and forced to recognize the abstract principle within which it is embedded. Noumena are the abstracted objects of the resulting transcendental philosophy, which are presented to reason rather than to the senses.

One cannot describe temporality without referring to things in time, or extension without referring to extended things. There is simply no way to make the sort of abstractions that Kant is trying to make. The recourse is not to say that "temporality is an object in time," but rather "objects are," with temporality merely being something which is shown through the being of the objects as temporal objects. There is no grounds for a Platonic conception of temporality apart from things which actually are temporal; one does not try to save the concept of temporality "in itself," nor does one have to.
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sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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11/21/2015 9:47:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/21/2015 9:13:11 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
One cannot describe temporality without referring to things in time, or extension without referring to extended things. There is simply no way to make the sort of abstractions that Kant is trying to make. The recourse is not to say that "temporality is an object in time," but rather "objects are," with temporality merely being something which is shown through the being of the objects as temporal objects.

What do you mean when you say that temporality is "shown through" objects?

There is no grounds for a Platonic conception of temporality apart from things which actually are temporal; one does not try to save the concept of temporality "in itself,"

You seem to have misunderstood Kant as stating that the categories (space, time, necessity, etc) are things-in-themselves (noumena). These are two different concepts.

nor does one have to.

Kant's goal is not to encourage rampant speculation about another Platonic world of abstractions beyond our own world. In fact, his goal is just the opposite, as he states in the intro to the first critique: He wants to ground philosophy (to place is limits) in such a way that the possibility of such speculation will be cut off before it can get started, but without succumbing to the dead end which philosophies that attempt to strip themselves of abstraction altogether always end up finding themselves facing. Temporality for Kant is not some elusive Platonic object in another dimension which the philosopher observes from their armchair, but is rather a principle which sets the limits of any possible description of temporal events.

Whether or not we can talk about categories like temporality without referencing particulars, this doesn't change the fact that there are certain facts about temporality (and categories in general) which Kant argues cannot be deduced from any such particular. For instance, the rules of geometry. I do not gather the fact that two 2-dimensional, straight, parallel lines never meet by observing a sufficient number of examples. If this were how such statements were arrived at, then they would never attain the sense of necessary truth which they actually have.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
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11/21/2015 9:52:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/21/2015 9:47:34 AM, sdavio wrote:
Whether or not we can talk about categories like temporality without referencing particulars, this doesn't change the fact that there are certain facts about temporality (and categories in general) which Kant argues cannot be deduced from any such particular. For instance, the rules of geometry. I do not gather the fact that two 2-dimensional, straight, parallel lines never meet by observing a sufficient number of examples. If this were how such statements were arrived at, then they would never attain the sense of necessary truth which they actually have.

And yes, we'd always need to communicate things like geometry through individual instances and examples, but Kant's argument is that the universal necessity which these emit cannot be comprehended by the bare lines on a page.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
kp98
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11/21/2015 3:18:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
As a non-expert in Kantian philosophy, there is something I am not sure about... is a category a property/predicate of external objects or of the way people's minds work?
sdavio
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11/21/2015 4:23:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/21/2015 3:18:33 PM, kp98 wrote:
As a non-expert in Kantian philosophy, there is something I am not sure about... is a category a property/predicate of external objects or of the way people's minds work?

I'm not an expert, but I'm quite sure it's the latter.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
kp98
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11/21/2015 5:09:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think it must be so, but why I asked was that Kant wrote: "A category is an attribute, property, quality, or characteristic that can be predicated of a thing. ""I remark concerning the categories"that their logical employment consists in their use as predicates of objects.

It seems to me that Kant is saying categories belong to (are predicates of) objects, not to their observers - observers aren't mentioned. Kant also had the idea of 'schemas', but it seems no-one knows what the heck he was on about there, so I don't know if they are relevant or not!
sdavio
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11/22/2015 1:51:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/21/2015 5:09:39 PM, kp98 wrote:
I think it must be so, but why I asked was that Kant wrote: "A category is an attribute, property, quality, or characteristic that can be predicated of a thing. ""I remark concerning the categories"that their logical employment consists in their use as predicates of objects.

It seems to me that Kant is saying categories belong to (are predicates of) objects, not to their observers - observers aren't mentioned. Kant also had the idea of 'schemas', but it seems no-one knows what the heck he was on about there, so I don't know if they are relevant or not!

That is confusing - maybe it's that categories are 'predicated of' objects appearing as phenomena, such as objects are distributed visually throughout space. They are certainly not predicates of things-in-themselves, so it's confusing that he uses the word 'object' there.

Of course, whether or not he uses the word 'observer' it is implicit in the fact that he denies the categories as being within things-in-themselves. His phrase is that they are "concepts of the understanding" and hence the sense of this being something that happens 'within' the observer is imo very present.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx