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Explaining Kant: a weird attempt

sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/3/2016 9:08:53 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
We want to understand something about relations, so let"s imagine that somehow, into a total logical void, a single unit could appear from nowhere. To start with, we want to know what the most basic relations are, which we could start applying to this unit right away. However, since there are no other units, it may be considered invalid to even talk about "relations" at this stage. Thus, let"s see what "principles" can be rationally applied to this single unit.

There are two: continuum and identity. Continuum, because, existing in an otherwise empty logical space in which nothing else limits it, the unit spans infinitely. If we distinguished two separate points within it, they would be connected always by a bridge, and never by a sharp drop into some unoccupied gap. Any area of logical space we specified, would now be informationally filled by the unit, and we could "zoom in" ever increasingly and still find that area informationally "filled" by that unit. There would not be any limit at which detail would be lost. The second principle applicable to this lonely unit, is identity. This means that, although we could find any part of logical space informationally filled, this information would not be very interesting, because all parts occupied by the unit are stamped with the same uniform identity, which is the self-same character of the unit as such.

Not only "can" these principles be theoretically applied to the unit, but in saying that the unit "enters the world of possible relations" we are saying that those principles are, in actual fact, applied. Thus, in a sense we could call these two primary kinds of relation, the "self-relations" which the unit must apply to itself, which minimally grant its possibility within a logical space of relations. When we refer to "something relating" we are at least talking about a unit which engages in these two self-relations - a "minimally relating" unit is, in advance, one which formulates itself as continuing, but continuing as the same. It did this much internally, as a lone autonomous existence standing out against the open desert. But how, from here, can we formulate higher levels of complex relations? We must introduce another unit. Maybe we could imagine the units represented by circles; we have one circle, and now we sit another beside it. But now we come to a problem. How do we relate the two? It"s not enough to say "they are related" - just to suppose a relation between two separate units sitting alongside each other. Where is the relation? Does the relation continue, does it have identity? If it did, then we would only have created another unit between the first two, and nothing is achieved by idly multiplying the number of units, other than a mere concatenation of instances. And, in fact, since nothing distinguishes the further instances of "unit" from the first, we have not yet even gotten so far as a concatenation. Even an aggregate supposes in advance some relations which create a minimal distinction between each of the units housed within.

So, what is left to do? We cannot make the units distinct, because they end up the same. So, we must make them "partially distinct". We create a "spacing" within the logical space of the first unit, so that only "in a sense" is another unit created. Rather than totally distinct, the units are now partially distinct - distinct in a certain respect, but not altogether so. This "spacing" actually, in a way, broke the rules of our game. We wanted to get to the logic of relations starting with only one unit in a logical void. But we couldn"t start only with one unit, although neither could we start with two or any other number. We needed one "and a half". We needed a one, but a one with a certain violence done to it.

But what is this new, third relation? To conceive it, we can imagine two circles (representing units) overlapping as in a Venn diagram. Each circle, in its own area (and in a certain sense still as a whole) is still totally engaged in its two basic principles, continuum and identity. However, in the overlapping area both are trying to enact their mutually exclusive principles upon the same logical space. Since, in that new space of overlap, neither outcome can be totally achieved (each unit has the same conceptual power; the two units are identical "except for the fact that they are different"), a mediation occurs in the original self-relations of the units. While the units can no longer continue to infinity, nor enjoy a totally uniform identity, the mediation which has violated those principles has also allowed for a new conceptual relation.

The original unit can now, by limiting the scope within which it applies its pure principles, learn a new, secondary principle, which is the spatial relation. The pure temporality of a stream of identical "nows", has given way to a stream of "nows" mediated by spatial relationships. The temporal principles are still the most fundamental, because they are those which must be applied to anything whatsoever in order that it can enter the logical space of relationships. However, a unit cannot just exercise these temporal relations upon itself ("represent them to itself") in a purely temporal dimension, since the mediation of space means that any temporal change must express itself "through" a spatial change. If a unit tried once again to exercise a pure self-relation of continuing uniform identity, it would lose any hope of relating to the other. Now, we can imagine, rather than a Venn diagram consisting of two interconnected circles, a whole row, or a whole world of interconnected units. Above the temporal and spatial relations, which are fundamental in constituting the forms of self-relation and external relations, respectively, now we can conceive new and more complex forms of relation being formulated. Perhaps, even despite never having had "direct" (spatial) acquaintance with some unit (or structure of units in some shape), the unit may be able to "predict" what is happening at some distance down the chain of interconnected units by following the trail of mediated implications which it can comprehend. Thus, something like induction could be formulated.

But, some trouble begins to form. The unit, still mainly used to its life alone, has not been properly adjusted to this new life, as one among a "community" of units. Rather than simply accepting this state of mediation, it is moved by an internal force of its nature to attempt to enact its powers of relating through pure succession and pure identity. However, it doesn"t adjust its aspiration to match innate power, since it was not by nature intended to comprehend partial, mediate relations. And so, the unit attempts to enact its powers of "self"-relation, its relations of continuum and identity, not upon a logical void but upon the whole stage of separate, externally related units. It doesn"t realise that the other units have their distinct agenda, quite separate from its own. Since leaving the comfortable home of the logical void, it has not been sufficiently "primed" to enter the world of mediation. Stretching its powers of pure self-relation far beyond their actual scope, it ends up only depleting its energies that could have been usefully spent by application to strengthening mediated relations. It says instead, "All that is, must relate to itself and others in the same manner that I do; primarily, by succession, identity and space." He thinks that by assimilating their manner of relating to that which he can comprehend, he can thus comprehend by proxy all the other units - what he doesn"t realise is that it is just those relations in their fundamentally mediating nature, which precludes the possibility of what he attempts with them. It is the ground of the possibility for a unit to add to itself something fundamentally external to it.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/3/2016 9:23:25 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
What is important, is that the introduction of the mediating, spatial form of relationship into the picture does not change anything about the bare structure of any individual's criteria of relation in general. The individuals are different, not because they have a different set of criteria for forming relationships (which is impossible, because if that was the case then no relationships would form), but because they are different "in that they are different" - that is, in being separated by the spatial form of perception. Their mutual recognition of the mediating effect of space, along with their primordial temporal self-perpetuation, are necessary conditions for the relationship to even become recognizable in the first place.

What is special about the form of space as a way of processing the world, is that, by autonomously assuming a certain legislative limit upon their own temporal authority, the individuals are opened up to the possibility of a genuinely external relationship. In that, they are first actually constituted as autonomous individuals, because they become distinct agents with external relationships to a world they can both respond to and influence.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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8/4/2016 3:19:06 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 2:14:46 AM, sdavio wrote:
Idk I think I was just high writing this. Seems like cheapo Hegel.

I actually liked it, although it was a bit hard to follow.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/4/2016 4:02:09 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/4/2016 3:19:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/4/2016 2:14:46 AM, sdavio wrote:
Idk I think I was just high writing this. Seems like cheapo Hegel.

I actually liked it, although it was a bit hard to follow.

Basically it was an attempt to resolve Kant's idea of the relation of self to object by formulating all objects as just more transcendental unities with categories of their own I guess. But I think I run into the problem that Kant seems to just assert the universality of his categories of cognition while simultaneously insisting upon leaving the individuation of noumena radically unspecified. .... but isn't that a huge problem? How can he leave the noumena unspecified as to its individuated or non-individuated quality and then base the transcendental unity of the entire system from there up on it? WHat
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx