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Thursday, November 12, 2020

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But if I say, "The sun warms the stone," then I make an Erfahrungsurteil, a judgment of experience which is objectively valid. I am not merely recording a succession of perceptions, but an instance of causation in which the cause necessitates the effect. The necessary connection is not out there among the things; it enters via the understanding's imposition of the category of cause on the sequence of perceptions. The objective or transcendental unity of apperception, as the vehicle of the categories does the job. Just don't ask me how exactly. Here is where things get murky. This is what I wrote my dissertation on.

“The necessary connection is not out there among the things”. So the sun doesn’t warm the stone?

Oz,

You told me you studied Kant under Stephan Koerner, but you seem not to have understood one of Kant's most basic ideas, namely, that there are necessary causal connections, contra Hume, but that they hold only among phenomena. So this sentence is correct: >>The necessary connection is not out there among the things [in themselves]; it enters via the understanding's imposition of the category of cause on the sequence of perceptions.<<

Kant is trying to do justice to Hume's point that necessary connection betwixt cause and effect is not empirically detectable, without abandoning the idea that causes necessitate their effects.

You may be confusing phenomena with merely subjective data, and experience with sensation.

>>you seem not to have understood one of Kant's most basic ideas,

Possibly. But you haven't answered my question. According to Kant, does the sun warm the stone or not? Yes/no answer will do.

>>You may be confusing phenomena with merely subjective data

Possibly. Are you/Kant saying that the sun is a phenomenon? (y/n)

(According to you/Kant) Are phenomena “out there among the things”? (y/n)

Fortunately, it is relatively clear what phenomena are: “appearances to the extent that as objects they are thought in accordance with the unity of the categories are called phenomena” (A249). Earlier, in the “Aesthetic”, Kant had defined appearance as: “the undetermined object of an empirical intuition” (A34/B20). All objects of empirical intuition are appearances, but only those that are “thought in accordance with the unity of the categories” are phenomena. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-transcendental-idealism/#PhenNoum

The word 'as' (Latin qua, quantum ad etc) is a giveaway.

I am afraid I am going to ‘peter out’ at this point. The guiding principle of analytic philosophy – not always observed – is that the author has a duty to be maximally clear. The guiding principle of Continental philosophy – always strictly observed – is that the reader has a maximal duty to understand. ‘Burden tennis’.

>>According to Kant, does the sun warm the stone or not? Yes/no answer will do.<<

Of course. Why do you ask such a question?

>>Are you/Kant saying that the sun is a phenomenon? (y/n)<<

That is what Kant is saying. (I am merely thinking through some Kantian ideas and arguments.) I am getting the impression that you haven't studied Kant. Of course, the sun is a phenomenon for Kant. The whole of nature and everything in it, including animals like us, is a phenomenon for Kant.

>>Are phenomena “out there among the things”? (y/n)<< Yes, but to be clear: Bodies are literally out there at various spatial distances from my body. My body is 'out there' in the sense that it really exists qua phenomenon: it is not in my mind as a mental state. No subjective idealism! My body and every body is empirically real albeit transcendentally ideal.

So you have agreed (on Kant’s behalf) to

(1) The sun is a phenomenon.

(2) Phenomena are “out there among things”

Which implies

(3) The sun (together with the stone) is out there among things

You also said

(4) The sun warms the stone

which implies

(5) The sun causes the stone to warm

And you said

(6) The necessary connection is not out there among the things

From which I infer

(7) The sun causing the stone to warm is not a necessary connection between sun and stone.

Correct?

>>I am getting the impression that you haven't studied Kant.

I did, but never understood a word.

Oz, consider this analogy: suppose you are playing a computer game where you move creatures called elves around on the screen to fight other little creatures called orks. You might recount the course of a particular game event with the following propositions:

1. Eloish was an elf.
2. Oanor was an orc.
3. Eloish shot Oanor with an arrow.
4. Oanor was killed by the arrow that Eloish shot.

These propositions are all literally true within the language of the game (I'm using "language" here to mean something like "conceptual framework"). There is another relevant language--the language of the game implementation where there is no such thing as an elf, only a collection of data structures. "Eloish" is nothing more than a label used to access these data structures through a hash table. The "arrow" was nothing more than a temporary visual effect. Nothing died because nothing lived. Rather a set of data was flagged as inactive and its storage was eventually collected to be used for something else.

However, the existence of the implementation does not make the language of the game false or non-literal. That little figure on the screen was literally an elf, because that is the word we use for little figures of that sort on the screen. The orc really did die because that is the word we use when a figure is removed from the game.

The Critical Philosophy says that the language of the game (the language of phenomena) is the only language we have available to us; therefore, when you ask if the sun warms the stone, the only intelligible answer is "yes", because in the only language we have available to us, that is the literal and true answer.

Many philosophers would like to get to the language of the implementation (the language of noumena), and many scientists think that this is what they are doing, but such a thing is impossible because we have no concept of what sort of thing the implementation is. No matter how carefully we examine the objects of the game, we will never discover the concept of a hash table of objects indexed by a label or the concept of collecting unused storage.

Suppose while playing the game, a message pops up occasionally: "please wait while storage is being collected". This is revelation--an insight into an underlying truth of the implementation. However the analogy breaks down at this point because in the case of phenomena/noumena, we simply don't have the conceptual apparatus--or even the potential to acquire the conceptual apparatus--to grasp truths about the world of noumena. We can at most grasp a phenomenal analogy to a noumenal truth. This may be what Bill is getting at with his talk of limit concepts.

Oz,

Since you have 'petered out,' and by your own admission never understood a word of Kant, I am absolved from responding to your latest. Life is short and the clock is running.

>>Since you have 'petered out,' and by your own admission never understood a word of Kant, I am absolved from responding to your latest.

Non sequitur. Logic is everything. The steps above appear to show you caught in a contradiction.

Tell you what. You get hold of a copy of CPR and a copy of Prolegomena to Any, etc. Study them carefully. Learn what Kant's problematic is. what his solutions are, and most importantly, how he uses his terms. Then we can discuss Kant. Understanding first, evaluation second.

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