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Tuesday, November 03, 2020


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Is the Grenzbegriff related to the infinite/indefinite concept of the scholastics, discussed by Kant in his Logic? An ostrich is a non-man. So we have a concept 'non-man' which ostriches, lions, stones, justice fall under, to which no essence corresponds, except perhaps the essence *man*, in the negative.

I don't have the text of the Logic to hand, but will check later.

We agree that 'non-man' does not pick out a real essence. The concept *non-man* could be called factitious in Descartes' sense. (The Frenchman distinguished among innate, adventitious, and factitious ideas, as you recall.)

But while the concept *non-man* does not pick out a real essence, it is not a Grenzbegriff because it does not mark a limit in the way the concept *materia prima* marks a limit to hylomorphic analysis.

*Hypokeimenon* in Aristotle would be a candidate Grenzbegiff. That which has properties but is not itself a property. The Absurd in Sartre; the Ding an sich in Kant; the libertarianly free noumenal agent in Kant. This would be a positive Grenzbegriff whereas the Ding an sich would be negative according to some CPR passages.

I read (a few times) A255/B311 and the surrounding passages, but afraid I am none the wiser.

At the moment I am looking at the relation between the scholastic conception of the categories, and Kant's reinvention of them.

If you remember, I studied Kant as a student under Stephan Körner - and then read no more. Difficult stuff.

What's not to understand? Kant is saying that the concept of noumenon is a limit concept. Clear to me! But then I wrote my dissertation on Kant.

Here's a project for you: write something on the similarities and differences between the concepts of transcendental in the scholastics and in Kant.

>>What's not to understand? Kant is saying that the concept of noumenon is a limit concept. Clear to me!

Well I understand the individual words ('limit', 'concept') in their ordinary meaning but far from understanding what Kant says in that place.

>>Here's a project for you

I don't understand the concept of the transcendental in either the scholastics, or in Kant!

Are you feigning incomprehension again, as you analytic dudes sometimes do?

Are you 'petering out'? -- I trust youcatch the allusion.

>>I trust youcatch the allusion

Actually, no.

To 'peter out' is to do what Peter van Inwagen sometimes appears to do, namely, feign incomprehension. "I don't know what you mean." "I don't understand."

See here: https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2013/09/annoying-habits-of-some-philosophers.html

8. Feigning incomprehension. Saying, 'I don't know what you are talking about,' when you have a tolerably clear idea of what I am talking about. This may be the same as Petering Out.

What is offensive here is the dismissal of an idea or an entire philosophy because it is not totally clear, when it ought to be one purpose of philosophical dialog to clarify what is not totally clear. You say you have no idea what Emmanuel Levinas is driving at in Totality and Infinity? Then I say you must be one stupid fellow or uneducated or both. Same with Heidegger and Hegel, et al. You say you don't know what Hegel is talking about what he says, at the beginning of his Science of Logic, that Being passes over into Nothing? No idea at all? Then you are dumb or inattentive or lazy or a philistine or something else it would not be good to be.

Don't feign incomprehension. If you find what I maintain unclear, explain why you think it unclear, and then ask for clarification. In that way, we may make a bit of progress.

OK but I am not feigning incomprehension. I read through some Kant today, to refresh myself on the idea of the 'transcendental'.

From the intro to the Guyer and Wood edition:

Kant's thesis that space and time are pure forms of intuition leads him to the paradoxical conclusion that although space and time are empirically real, they are transcendentally ideal, and so are the objects given in them. Although the precise meaning of this claim remains subject to debate
So experts on Kant (not just me, who is far from an expert) cannot decide on what Kant is talking about?

Good boy! That Giacomo Zabarella cat sounds interesting. If you can understand 'second intention' then surely Grenzbegriff and 'transcendental.'

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