Sunday, May 10, 2009

45a Immanuel Kant

Knowledge is based on judgements. We say..the universie is infinite....the earth rotates around the sun..water freezes at zero degrees and so on.
What we do in such judgement is, that we link a subject to a predicate, an object to a property.

According to Kant we can make two kinds of links: an analytical one and a synthetic one. An analytical proposition (a judgement which is either true or false) is a proposition whose predicate is contained in the subject concept. Example..all circles are round.

This proposition is true by the nature of the meaning of the words. It is about the meaning of words. We need nothing more than to understand language.

A synthetic proposition is a proposition whose predicate concept is not contained in its subject concept ; e.g., "All swans are white" While the analytical judgement tells us something about the meaning of words the synthetic judgement tells us something new about the world.. So this judgement requires sensory experience.

Kant was trying to recounsil empiricism and he comes up with a second distinction. Judgements can be a priori and a posteriori. A priori means 'before sensory experience', which means..originating from reason.A posteriori means 'after sensory experience', which means originating from experience.

Now you easily would think that all a posteriori judgements are synthetic, a new link between a subject and a predicate, and that all a priori judgements are analytical, because reason only gives an analysis of what is given.

And then there is Kant's idea that this is just half the truth, for there are also synthetic judgements a priori possible. So..judgements that come before sensory experience and yet give NEW knowledge about the world.

Kant held the view that mathematics was built of such judgements. Let me try to give you an example...To add is to put two or more quantities together. This is an analytical judgement, doesnt tell us anything new.

We do not need any empirical experience to know that 100 + 100 = 200, and in this way it would appear that arithmetic is in fact analytic. But it isnt according to Kant. When you examine the numbers 6 and 5, from neither one you can deduce 11, though 6 + 5 = 11.

This means that this mathematical judgement tells us something new, which means it is synthetic and yet not based on experience but on the a priori knowledge of what addition means, so here we have a synthetic judgement a priori.

This reasoning should not only count for mathematics but also for metaphysics.

Science requiers, according to Kant, judgements that offer new knowledge: thence synthetic judgements. However science presupposes also judgements, which are necessary and generally true: thence a priori judgements.

The a posteriori judgements are depending on multiple and changing experiences, so they can't be necessary or general. Therefore science needs synthetic judgements a priori.

There are a number of truths, where reason shows a general and necessary connection between subject and predicate, although the predicate isnt contained in the subject. For instance in the case of causation. How is this possible?

Kant holds the view that our sensory experience is just one stream of input without any order or structure. There are two sources of human knowledge, experience and reason. And it appears that reason creates order in the sensory data stream.

We capture this data stream for instance in categories of space and time. This means, that we do not perceive the real thing but that we shape what we perceive by using the a priori concepts space and time on our experiences.

To say is in a simpler way. Suppose we experience a constant stream of colors. What causes this stream we dont know, tho we might call it reality. Then our ratio with its tools begins to mold and shape this stream by applying special filters to it: space and time. It is like looking throuhg your camera when it is not in focus. You need to use the mechanism of the lense to focus and then you see the image.

Although we are not yet done with Kant's epistemological thoughts, let me summarize: on the one hand Kant says that all scientific knowledge comes from experience, but we can only arrive at that knowledge because our mind contains a set of tools to create shape and order in the continious stream of sensory input.

This leads to an interesting conclusion: what we know, what we see is molded and shaped by these mindtools. So it is our mind that creates our perception of the world. This means that we do not perceive and know the real world, the world as such which causes our sensory perceptions. We see a reality created by our mind.

The Discussion

[13:26] herman Bergson smiles
[13:27] Herman Bergson: I hope you all are stile with me..
[13:27] Cailleach Shan: Whew!! sort of.
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: actually i think i am!!
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:27] Rasana Destiny: ? ; )
[13:27] Herman Bergson: I know it is a tough matter
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: I can see this world created in my mind but wonder about his a it like a storehouse of templates he says we possess?
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: I think that Kant has taken a ping pong table and is using it very well
[13:28] Herman Bergson: let me try to say it as simpe as possible..
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Kant says that we have a stream of sensory data, but it has no shape..
[13:29] Herman Bergson: it is the mind which shapes this stream by applying categories like time and space to it
[13:29] Nick Cassavetes: you can also say, there is no view from nowhere, we are 'positioned' in our appreciating of reality
[13:29] Alarice Beaumont: and then happens for everybody different because the expierence is different with everybody
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: Then we are a sculpter of experienes
[13:30] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. i agree Ari
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: marvelous
[13:30] Herman Bergson: Well Alarice..that is an issue indeed...
[13:31] Herman Bergson: it seems that in all these philosophical theories..and you saw it in Hume's too, there is the postulate that all humans function the same way
[13:31] Herman Bergson: individual differences of course, but the system of percetion is supposed to be universal
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: only some may be more talented than others?
[13:32] Alarice Beaumont: but how do you define talent?
[13:32] Herman Bergson: as I said..individual differences are accepted
[13:33] itsme Frederix: Herman I was late (reading Emile ;)) but I came in when you said : the real world, the world as such which causes our sensory perceptions
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: the successful interpretation of reality, I suppose AL
[13:33] itsme Frederix: Herman isn't that a dangerous definition for REAL world - what is real
[13:33] Cailleach Shan: And also, what is success?
[13:34] Herman Bergson: No..let's stick to Kant...
[13:34] Alarice Beaumont: well.. but what successful is a point of view again, Ari
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: only a goal I am sure, Cail
[13:34] Alarice Beaumont: lol yes...
[13:34] Cailleach Shan: Doesn't each individual define their own reality.
[13:34] Herman Bergson: the thing is..Kant introduced the concept of das Ding an sich / the object as such
[13:35] Nick Cassavetes: was Kant platonistic in his appreciation of numbers herman?
[13:35] itsme Frederix: sticking to Kant I would say this is another brain-catagory
[13:35] Alarice Beaumont: that's what i would think , too Caill
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: I think that is wahat Kant is saying..that we all do devfine our reality
[13:35] Nick Cassavetes: if so, it doesn't make sense to me that he regards 5+6=11 as synthetic
[13:36] itsme Frederix: ethaDas Diing an Sich does not bother about sensory perceptions of me/us - so does not need that to be real
[13:36] Herman Bergson: I dont think you can call Kant Platonic
[13:37] Nick Cassavetes: with platonistic I mean to say wether he believed numbers are 'real'
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: doesnt the a priori ring a platonic tone?
[13:37] Nick Cassavetes: like Godel tried to prove
[13:37] Herman Bergson: No..I dont think so....for being Platonic means ascribing real exiistance to ideas..
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: ah
[13:38] Herman Bergson: I think Kant meant just the concept of the number 6 or 5
[13:38] Nick Cassavetes: ok
[13:38] Herman Bergson: the concept of 6 represents a quantity in which you cant find 11
[13:38] SALDOG Brezoianu: Is he saying nothing can be true? no universality?
[13:39] Herman Bergson: I would say the contrary SALDOG
[13:39] Nick Cassavetes: he's saying our truth depend on our categories, space and time being the first and most important ones
[13:40] Herman Bergson: Kant is convinced that this mix of a mind molding sensory experience delivers true knowledge
[13:40] Nick Cassavetes: and causality
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: where does ths a priori come from?
[13:40] Nick Cassavetes: in his appreciation you can really find his wanting to reconcile Descartes and Hume I think
[13:40] Herman Bergson: what he says is that we dont have knowledge of the world as such
[13:40] Nick Cassavetes: appreciation of causality
[13:42] Nick Cassavetes: for it allways helps to think of that there no such thing as a view from nowhere like Nagel said when understanding Kant, or no view without a lens or glasses
[13:42] Nick Cassavetes: for me
[13:42] Nick Cassavetes: you can't look at something without taking a position
[13:42] itsme Frederix: In that way I can go with Aristotle - and have a sense of Platonic in it - : not the world as such only the shadows we create with our catagories
[13:42] Nick Cassavetes: but for Kant this position he is talking about is supposedly universal
[13:43] Nick Cassavetes: wich can be problematised like Alarice did
[13:43] Herman Bergson: thank you Nick..:-)
[13:43] Nick Cassavetes: yw :)
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: I can not see the difference between his 'understaning faculty' and the mind itself.
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: :-)
[13:44] SALDOG Brezoianu: "All swans are white" they are all colors except white it reflects the color it is not, unless it is black :).
[13:45] Herman Bergson: As you see, Kant isnt an easy subject..:-)
[13:45] Herman Bergson: But we have to face him too..
[13:45] Herman Bergson: He tried to combine rationalism and empiricism
[13:46] Herman Bergson: on the one hand he recognized sensory experience as the source of knowledge and on the other hand he gives the mind an important role in molding the experience
[13:47] Herman Bergson: The essential question is: is this theory universal...does it apply to all humanity
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: which makes sense to me
[13:47] Cailleach Shan: It sounds a bit like baking a cake. You collect all the ingredients, mix them up and pop them in the oven.... voila... cake.
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: I picture him in his decade of dormancy, frantically with long tentacles reaching into his peer's philosophy and his predecssors philosophy and tyring to consoladate them all the best of each.
[13:47] itsme Frederix: I can go with Kant as you summarized it,thats oke, nice dualism again
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: lol but you have to have to right measurements!
[13:48] Morriganne Tatsu is Online
[13:48] Qwark Allen is Online
[13:48] itsme Frederix: is it universal - is that the question?
[13:48] itsme Frederix: well Godel proved you can not prove that in your own system!
[13:48] Herman Bergson: Good remark Alarice....the measurements are kant's categories
[13:49] Morriganne Tatsu is Offline
[13:49] Nick Cassavetes: the fact that the thing in itself remains unknown to us is universal in my regard
[13:49] Nick Cassavetes: but one can question the categories
[13:49] Nick Cassavetes: now we speak about spacetime, not about space and time anymore
[13:49] Nick Cassavetes: but!
[13:50] Nick Cassavetes: one can argue our brain thinks in space and time
[13:50] Nick Cassavetes: like Kant said
[13:50] Herman Bergson: I would agree with that Nick
[13:50] Nick Cassavetes: it's very difficult to think is spacetime lol
[13:50] Nick Cassavetes: in
[13:50] itsme Frederix: Nick would be possible the catagories will have some evolutionary in it also ..?
[13:50] Herman Bergson: spacecake maybe?
[13:51] Nick Cassavetes: hehe
[13:51] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:51] Alarice Beaumont: ;-)
[13:51] Nick Cassavetes: but what maybe interesting is, that with relativity theorie we can transcend our categorical limitations, and come closer to the thing in itself
[13:51] Nick Cassavetes: I would think yes itsme
[13:52] SALDOG Brezoianu: By definitiion is it Universal...If something is not universal...not being universal is universal therefore there are infinite universalities
[13:52] Herman Bergson: MY goodness SALDOG...:-)
[13:52] Nick Cassavetes: maybe we will be able to create artificial intelligence wich appreaciated reality in a total different manner as we do
[13:52] itsme Frederix: SALDOG that sound very sofisticated ;)
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: and scary
[13:53] Herman Bergson: Hmmmm..You make me frown Nick
[13:53] Nick Cassavetes: howso herman?
[13:53] Herman Bergson: well..artificial intelligence cant appreciate anything, Ithink
[13:54] Herman Bergson: it cant make judgements of value like a huma does
[13:54] Herman Bergson: it only can apply rules
[13:54] Nick Cassavetes: not yet
[13:54] itsme Frederix: Herman be aware appreaciation is based on rules too
[13:54] Nick Cassavetes: I'm sure we'll a lot of changes in that the coming decades
[13:54] Nick Cassavetes: we'll see
[13:55] Herman Bergson: Not only rules..also associative thinking
[13:55] Nick Cassavetes: I fear the artilects
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: so AI will apply the rules in a perfect sequence?
[13:55] itsme Frederix: mmm I pass this round for Kants sake
[13:55] Nick Cassavetes: how do mean Aristotle?
[13:55] Herman Bergson: Itsme gives the sign again..:-)
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: well if it is make sound judgements it must don t you think?
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Maybe we should all pass and reread everything and think it over..:-)
[13:56] Nick Cassavetes: allway a good idea herman :)
[13:56] itsme Frederix: rereading Kant - I only did some chapters - took me a spanisch holiday
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: I think we will have to digest it all
[13:57] Cailleach Shan: That's a holiday???
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: and look at the sidebars also
[13:57] Nick Cassavetes: nothing is perfect in this cosmos I think aristotle
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: LOl
[13:57] Herman Bergson: you should read Hanna's article on
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: i started it]
[13:57] Herman Bergson: he really tries to emulate Kant's style of writing
[13:58] Herman Bergson: You did brave!!
[13:58] itsme Frederix: don't think thats a good idea to emulate that writing
[13:58] Herman Bergson: I started too..:-)
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: lol started!!!!!!
[13:58] Rasana Destiny: have a godd day all bye
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: and stopped til I heard more
[13:58] Herman Bergson: Bye Rasana
[13:58] Alarice Beaumont: bye :-)
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: yes I am afraid i have an engagement also
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: so i will have to say goodbye
[13:59] SALDOG Brezoianu: bye bye
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman what is sceduled for Knat next class?
[13:59] Cailleach Shan: cu
[13:59] Herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[13:59] Nick Cassavetes: :)
[13:59] Alarice Beaumont: ;-)
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gem
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: more of Kant
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: i am sure of that
[13:59] itsme Frederix: You also can read what Schopenhauer summarizes in his master piece about Kant - a whole appendix in good formulated colored sentences
[13:59] Herman Bergson: yes..Kant isnt over yet
[13:59] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. think so..
[13:59] Alarice Beaumont: lol good
[13:59] Osrum Sands: sunny day here so must go walk the dog ..... and think about it
[13:59] Osrum Sands: cu all
[13:59] Alarice Beaumont: that's perfect timing then!

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-02-27 08:22:21

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