Sunday, May 10, 2009

45c Kant on judgement II

Let look over our shoulder and see what lies behind us. What it is all about is the question 'How do I achieve certainty of knowledge?'

For Descartes an object had extension. This was a clear and certain idea in our mind. It was a property of the object recognize by the mind.

Hume considered extension the result of the way we treat sensory impressions; it is not a property of the object but the result of the association of impressions.

And then there is Kant. Yes he says, all we know we derive from our sensory impressions, so also the concept of extension (Hume) and yes our mind tells us that objects have extension (Descartes).

But Kant says it isnt either .....or, but both. Our sensory impressions tell use there is something out there and our mind starts working on this endless stream of impressions and molds and shapes it, so that we see real objects.

And all this is possible because the mind has access to a number of judgements which are a priori and yet synthetic. What does this mean?

As we saw on Tuesday an analytical judgement combines a subject and predicate where the predicate is already contained logically in the subject: a circle is round. Synthetic meant that the connection between subject and predicate were not logically deductive: some rocks are heavy. This kind of judgement brings new knowledge.

Furthermore he made the distinction between 'a piori' (before sensory experience) and 'a posteriori' (after sensory experience)

In his Critique of Pure reason gives an analysis of these a priori concepts which are used in a priori synthetic judgements. And then he comes up with a whole classification of categories which the mind applies to the stream of sensory input.

It would take to far to go into detail, but let me give you some of the Kantian categories: oneness completeness, reality, negation, restriction, causation, possibility, necessity.

The most important observation is that we do not know reality as such, but only how it is molded and shaped by our mind.

But there is some twist in all this: just the simple did Kant know all this? I mean Kant uses his mind to analyse the mind. All of a sudden I remeber a visualisation of this , which I had as a student.

The situation we are in is that we are holding a ruler in our hands and we measure the length of this ruler with the ruler, which we are holding in our hands. It puzzled me then and now after almost 30 years teaching this class makes me think of this puzzling idea again.

Yet I think Kant was on the right track. In modern terms we would say that the central nervous system processes all stimuli in the way it is configured. So we do not experience a unique conscious-independent reality, but a reality as the result of the processing of the central nervous system.

But yet does this answer our epistemological question: how do we obtain certain knowledge?

The Discussion

[13:21] Herman Bergson: The answer is up to you...:-)
[13:22] AristotleVon Doobie: How can it ever be certain if we all have our own mental methods of molding it?
[13:22] itsme Frederix: and even if we have all the same the question remains ;)
[13:22] Herman Bergson: yes..that is a legit question Aristotle
[13:23] arabella Ella: If I may, Herman, two comments: (1) do you have any idea what led Kant to the categories he mentioned and (2) what you mention as the ruler measuring the ruler brings to mind some philosophers who claim we can never know about our mind since it is beyond our mental capacitites
[13:23] Herman Bergson: wow..a lot of things...
[13:23] Herman Bergson: First are right..:-)
[13:23] Alarice Beaumont: mmhh
[13:24] Herman Bergson: then..
[13:24] Herman Bergson: what brought Kant to his idea....tho I guess it may go back to aristotle
[13:25] Herman Bergson: and is a paradox..
[13:25] arabella Ella: ok ty herman because i have no clue either and never seem to have come across an answer to that ;)
[13:25] Herman Bergson: I always say it like this
[13:25] itsme Frederix: good answer Herman, in search for the common knowledge/experience
[13:25] arabella Ella: your example with the ruler is brilliant herman
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: isnt his molding and shaping very much like Berkely's belief the the mind applies shape and size to objects?
[13:26] Herman Bergson: when I say I think about myself I always wonder to what the I refers to and to what the myself
[13:27] itsme Frederix: another good one Herman, seems it's easier to point outside a 2nd cause
[13:27] Herman Bergson: Not quite Aristotle..for Kant acepts a real existence of reality
[13:27] arabella Ella: Kant's theory of knowledge is often referred to as his Copernican revolution
[13:28] arabella Ella: things exist but we cannot know them as they are in themselves
[13:28] Herman Bergson: yes..I know...but I forgot what the big change was..:-)
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: so he says
[13:28] Herman Bergson: he refered to it himself in those terms
[13:29] arabella Ella: the shift from objects being known by the mind to our mind imposing its structure on things
[13:29] itsme Frederix: araella I think you are quite rigth, leave the things on theirselve
[13:29] Wife Stepford is Online
[13:29] Herman Bergson: yes Arabella that is the right description..our mind imposing a structure on experiences
[13:29] Herman Bergson: that is Kant..
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: with time and space
[13:30] Herman Bergson: yes..time, space cuasation, extension..the whole jazz..:-)
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: I am fairly confident that we bias objects with memories stored in our brain but for me my mind is a single unit and contains no departrments
[13:30] itsme Frederix: sounds healty
[13:30] Alarice Beaumont: haha
[13:31] Herman Bergson: My mind is a departmentstore..and I love shopping..:-)
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: it analyses and responds
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: mine is a messy closet
[13:31] itsme Frederix: no creativity Aristotle
[13:31] arabella Ella: Aristotle ... remember you are talking of mind and not brain ... so how do you know so much about mind?
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: my brain is that which you speak
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: my mind is superior to that
[13:32] Cailleach Shan: My mind is a sponge
[13:32] arabella Ella: the question remains ... Aristotle ... what is mind?
[13:32] Alarice Beaumont: but your mind stores somethings in the back.. cause you don't need it.. and somethings in the front to have a fast grip
[13:32] itsme Frederix: is there any creativity or only responds Aristtle?
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: well it is me
[13:32] Alarice Beaumont: your mind has some kind of order, no Ari?!
[13:32] itsme Frederix: your mind is you?
[13:33] Cailleach Shan: Is it the data bank, the computer or the output?
[13:33] Alarice Beaumont: but not only the mind!
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: but is the memory part of the mind or outside the mind
[13:33] arabella Ella: so Aristotle if your mind is you what about your Body?
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: I believe that my mind is a single celled creature
[13:33] arabella Ella: and where is the mind in your body?
[13:33] arabella Ella: where is the single cell located?
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: it does not have a place other than everywhere
[13:33] Alarice Beaumont: and what about the feelings?
[13:34] Herman Bergson: Hold on....:-)
[13:34] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:34] Alarice Beaumont must grin
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: been waiting for that statement
[13:34] Herman Bergson: I am going out of my mind...^_^
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: lololol
[13:34] Alarice Beaumont: lol no.. you are the teacher!!!
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: the cell is just a metaphor of course but what I mean is it is just 'one'
[13:34] Cailleach Shan: Hahahahaha..
[13:34] Herman Bergson: just a moment...
[13:34] Herman Bergson: let's get back to basic first..
[13:35] Herman Bergson: first of all we are studying the epistemological question: how can I know..
[13:35] Herman Bergson: Descartes, Hume and now Kant came up with an answer
[13:36] Herman Bergson: Kant is most interesting for he gives a dominant role to the mind..or as he calls it to the power of judgement
[13:36] Herman Bergson: and the discussion that evolved just a moment ago is quite logical..
[13:37] Herman Bergson: what is the role of the mind in all this...and is there a difference between mind an d brain?
[13:37] Cailleach Shan: You certainly can't have one without the other
[13:37] Herman Bergson: this only shows how much land we still have to cover in our journey
[13:38] itsme Frederix: we will never arive ....
[13:38] Herman Bergson: Cailleach..that is a heavy statement..
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: I just have a problem with Kant's a priori for it interferes with my independence
[13:38] Herman Bergson: you just said that the mind is generated by the brain..:-)
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: the mind controls the brain I believe
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: but not my toying
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: lol
[13:39] itsme Frederix: is mind consiousness?
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Oh we end up in some weird ontology..
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: yes it is
[13:40] itsme Frederix: oke
[13:40] Herman Bergson: just one remark...
[13:40] arabella Ella: actually consciousness pertains to mind but cannot be equated to mind
[13:40] Alarice Beaumont: this is complicated ;-)
[13:40] itsme Frederix: Aristole consiousness could be fake (I'm sure you have had that thought once)
[13:40] Herman Bergson: when I use the word brain..I could say that the reference of the word is this grey stuf fin my skull
[13:41] Herman Bergson: now tell me..
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: very Twilight Zone Itsme
[13:41] Herman Bergson: when I use the word what does that refer to?
[13:41] itsme Frederix: you see
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: me
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: you
[13:41] Herman Bergson: hold on...
[13:41] Cailleach Shan: lol fake, what is fake...
[13:41] Cailleach Shan: I think it's all an illusion.
[13:41] Alarice Beaumont: no it is what i think!
[13:42] Alarice Beaumont: but that could be false!
[13:42] itsme Frederix: twisted twilight Cailleach
[13:42] Cailleach Shan: Hahahaha..
[13:42] Herman Bergson: Remember Hume!!
[13:42] Herman Bergson: Think of the Self and personal identity
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: I only know that I think, therefore I am
[13:43] itsme Frederix: you think you know
[13:43] Herman Bergson: Hold on...
[13:43] arabella Ella: materialists think that the brain is all there is but materialists revert to science to explain the brain and science cannot explain everything such as what is it like to experience for the first time, for example, a bright reed tomato or a beautiful red rose
[13:43] Cailleach Shan: I can see you, yet I don't know what you think Ari.
[13:43] arabella Ella: the what it is like feeling cannot be explained by science or by materialists
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: thank goodness Cail :)
[13:44] itsme Frederix: feeling is a very sophisticated kind of chemistry ;)
[13:45] SALDOG Brezoianu: what in the world is not chemistry
[13:45] Cailleach Shan: There is experience I can't explain, like sensing someone is watching you and looking up at a high bulding and seeing that person look down.
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Hume defined the mind as the stream of impressions you experience...he had trouble to define personal identy through time
[13:46] Cailleach Shan: That doesn't come from experience.
[13:46] arabella Ella: well herman isn't personal identity another big issue for philosophers on which no consensus is possible at least so far
[13:46] itsme Frederix: i don't think we are very kantian at the moment - or are we inventing more catagories
[13:46] Herman Bergson: Oh yes Arabella..a big issue indeed
[13:46] Herman Bergson: Very true Itsme..
[13:47] Herman Bergson: Well..let's see how far we got..
[13:47] itsme Frederix: i think we all want to know what is life, Kant also - therefore we need statements
[13:48] itsme Frederix: not only what is life, but even more important what is my life, what to do with it
[13:48] Herman Bergson: we had the rationalist..we had the empiricists
[13:48] itsme Frederix: idealist?
[13:48] Herman Bergson: and now we have Kant who kind of combines the two..
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: a marriage
[13:49] Herman Bergson: the idealists will come with Hegel
[13:49] Herman Bergson: yes.. a marriage...
[13:49] SALDOG Brezoianu: meaning of life or the meaning of my life?
[13:49] itsme Frederix: mmm maybe some path to that was founded by p.e. Kant
[13:50] Alarice Beaumont: everybody give a meaning to his / her own live
[13:50] Herman Bergson: when it is about knowledge..the epistemological question we are investigating we can say..the rationalist comes from the mind..the empiricists said it comes form the senses
[13:50] itsme Frederix: after all he stated its right to lie for a good sake
[13:50] Mickorod Renard: mine is to collect information by way of experience
[13:51] Herman Bergson: and Kant said it is a mix...the mind makes interpreting the sensory input possible
[13:51] itsme Frederix: and he tells us how it (might) works
[13:51] Herman Bergson: yes and it is not a satisfactory answer to me
[13:52] arabella Ella: herman i see it like a rope intertwined where you cannot tell where the pieces merge, like the sensory and what the mind imposes thru space and time
[13:52] itsme Frederix: but very helpfull I gues
[13:52] arabella Ella: but Kant makes them merge to beautifully together and he counteracts the tendency of many philosophers to take one side against the other
[13:53] Herman Bergson: be honest..I prefer the route of showing what is NOT the case
[13:53] itsme Frederix: well he certainly wanted to have a rigid system - just look how his books are written
[13:53] Herman Bergson: but we will come to that...
[13:54] Herman Bergson: Next lecture will be on kant's theory on ethics...
[13:54] Alarice Beaumont: oh yes.. that is a very important subject!!
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed
[13:54] Herman Bergson: we cant ignore that for it has been influential througout history
[13:54] Alarice Beaumont: that's a current issue!!!
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: I am going to try to read more of that difficult piece i plato.stanford
[13:55] Herman Bergson: ehtics always is Alarice..
[13:55] arabella Ella: that's great herman
[13:55] Mickorod Renard: sounds good to me
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. but it's getting more important.. because people are leaving the religions..
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: and religions provided ethic in our society.. i think
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Yes..Alarice..and you give me an idea for the future
[13:56] itsme Frederix: well maybe religion let us down!
[13:56] Herman Bergson: when we have completed the 100 philosophers I could start a series on the history of ethics
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: no, I have a problem with religion getting credit for ethics and morality
[13:56] arabella Ella: yes but my question there is - on what should ethics and morality be based if there were to be no religions?
[13:56] Alarice Beaumont: mmh.. i did not have ethics in school.. but was brought up with religion
[13:56] Herman Bergson: no Aristotle..ethics in not a credit of religion
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: I will take the credt and the blame for my ethical state
[13:57] Alarice Beaumont: and that gave the rules for good and bad and how to act in society
[13:57] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:57] arabella Ella: me too Alarice
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: ethics should come with the natural laws
[13:57] itsme Frederix: a very selfish mind indeed Aristorle
[13:57] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. you are right
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: but religion does get in ther
[13:57] arabella Ella: but Gemma what are the natural laws?
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: yes natural law shoudl dictate
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: well those we are looking at
[13:58] Alarice Beaumont: but because everybody belong to a religious group.. that acutally became ethics
[13:58] Cailleach Shan: To apreciate Kan't view on ethics shouldn't we know something about the politics and religious view of his time.
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: as we go through the philosopers
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: oh yes
[13:58] Alarice Beaumont: yeah right Caill :-)
[13:58] arabella Ella: what is natural law? remember Hobbes ... life is nasty, brutish and short in a state of nature
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: of each time
[13:58] Herman Bergson: ok.....a lot of homework for the future..
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: for all here
[13:59] Cailleach Shan: Oh boy!!
[13:59] Herman Bergson: We stil have so much to investigate
[13:59] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: I thnik it was mans cerebral cortex that developed ethics
[13:59] itsme Frederix: is that part of the brain - mind ?
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: brain
[13:59] Herman Bergson: well ..and because I will retire soon I will have tons of time to study on any subject we need to take care of
[13:59] itsme Frederix: and results formed the mind?
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: the mind built it
[14:00] Cailleach Shan: When does your retirement begin Herman?
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: ah yes that will be your enjoynment
[14:00] Herman Bergson: August or Septemeber Cailleach..:-)
[14:00] itsme Frederix: enlightent at last Herman
[14:00] arabella Ella: good luck then herman and if u get bored contact us and we will keep you busy no doubt
[14:01] Cailleach Shan: lol well another step in the enlightening journey perhaps.
[14:01] Herman Bergson: yes Itsme..I'll turn on the light.:-)
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: dont scare yourself
[14:01] itsme Frederix: after so many years ...
[14:01] Herman Bergson: no..just another light...
[14:01] Herman Bergson: the green light...
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: go fast
[14:01] itsme Frederix: study bulb on the desk!
[14:01] Herman Bergson: before it was the red light..occupied
[14:02] itsme Frederix: out off the redlight (district) back to the desk
[14:02] herman Bergson grins...
[14:02] Cailleach Shan: lol...
[14:02] Herman Bergson: I'll miss the redlight
[14:02] AristotleVon Doobie: kind folks, I must leave early....bye to all
[14:02] Gemma Cleanslate: yes time for me too
[14:02] Alarice Beaumont: oh gosh.. got a go... sorry..
[14:03] Cailleach Shan: Bye Ari
[14:03] Mickorod Renard: bye ari
[14:03] SALDOG Brezoianu: Bye Ari
[14:03] itsme Frederix: well if they go on it will not be there in a year or two
[14:03] Herman Bergson: Aristotle..have a nice day
[14:03] Alarice Beaumont: c u sunday :-)
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: yes Sunday
[14:03] itsme Frederix: on sunday ethics - how nice
[14:03] Herman Bergson: thank you all ..:-)
[14:03] Cailleach Shan: Or Monday for those of us who are always ahead.
[14:03] Cailleach Shan: lol
[14:03] AristotleVon Doobie: Thanks Herman for another great class
[14:03] Cailleach Shan: Thanks Herman... Bye everyone.
[14:04] itsme Frederix: thx
[14:04] Mickorod Renard: thank you very much Herman
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: as usual
[14:04] Mickorod Renard: bye cal
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[14:04] SALDOG Brezoianu: Thank you professor good day to all

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-03-01 11:37:02

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