What does Kant mean in this passage? (referring to prolegomena to any future metaphysics)?

Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 02:47 pm
In the first place we must state that while all judgements of experience are empirical (i.e., have their ground in immediate sense-perception), yet conversely, all empirical judgements are not therefore judgements of experience; but, besides the empirical, and in general besides what is given to sensuous intuition, special concepts must yet be superadded-- concepts which have their origin quite a priori in the pure understanding and under which every perception must be first of all subsumed and then by their means changed into an experience.

Also, what place does this discussion have in the strategy of the Prolegomena?
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:58 pm
To study the mind, Kant seeks the conditions necessary for experience. The faculty of the understanding has the forms of thought (12 categories) and the faculty of the sensibility has the forms of perception (the pure intuitions of space and time). Experience requires the merger of both in order to emerge: "Concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”

IOW, simply receiving data organized to co-exist simultaneously according to a spatiotemporal structure doesn't equal apprehension or understanding of such. You need the four headings of quantity, quality, relation, modality -- and the concepts arranged in groups of three under them -- by which percepts are synthesized into meaningful judgments of Nature.

The PTAFM was intended as "The Critique of Pure Reason For Dummies". That is, there was either little or nothing new introduced apart from the attempted clarification of the more famous work.
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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 05:56 pm
Kant is attempting to tackle a classical puzzle for empiricism: that empiricism has no grounding/basic beliefs and therefore all our empirical beliefs lack justification.

Kant thinks that knowledge does not only rely on empirical (a-posterori) justification, for if it did, some of our beliefs e.g. cause & effect would lack justification i.e. we have no sense perception of causation itself (he calls this necessary connection). Instead, we infer ideas on the basis of experience, but this is all inductive reasoning. Rather, Kant thinks we do have certain a-priori (necessary) concepts which justify some of our beliefs (like in cause & effect!). Kant thinks this is due to the fact that we are cognitively equipped so to speak to do so. He calls these the pure ideas of the understanding, which you can think of as cognitive tools which organize experience into ideas and so forth. So we need experience for our beliefs, but as cognitive beings we possess the required "tools" /concepts to organize experience into beliefs/ideas.

So in terms of the Proglema, Kant's is trying to do big things. He is trying to characterize the nature/structure of reason itself. In doing so, we can better understand empiricism, rationalism, and how these two relate to a proper epistemology.
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Andrew H
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 12:29 pm
I took a philosophy course (undergrad) at university and have read a couple books on Kant about 20 years ago. So I am certainly no expert. Nevertheless, I generally agree with the other two posters re the meaning of the passage.

It would not surprise me if you (and many others, myself included) struggle with the readability of much philosophical material. I have great sympathy with the frustrations of readers who sense an author has something important to say, but does not quite understand the need of the reader for as clear, precise, and structured an explanation as possible.

In the spirit of trying to redress this, let me offer the following:

(1) Kant believes there is a "real" world out there, but that we cannot know it directly. That is, the very structure of the world is such that our access to that real world is necessarily mediated by these faculties of "thought" and "sensibility";

(2) The raw data of experience - signals from this "real" world - are received by us (e.g. via sight, hearing, etc.) and then synthesized (I really think this is the right word) into both sense experiences (e.g. the experience of a sunset) and judgements (e.g. the judgement that the lightning caused the fire) through the activity of these faculties.

(3) I therefore believe the most fundamental thing Kant is saying in the passage is that these faculties - sensibility and thought - in some sense add structure and organization to what our sense organs transmit to our brains. I believe that Kant thinks that without these faculties, our "experience" would be a kind of non-sensical chaotic mess.

Again, I am very much a Kant novice, and I may be fundamentally mistaken. My intent was to try to offer an explanation in as accessible a manner as I can.
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 12:37 pm
He explains a very base principle of humanity.
That is..
To know the truth of that information which is within our view and hidden in time at the same instance, one must perform mental stratagem or else..

A: One does not respect ones enemy.
B: One creates an enemy of no such thing.
C: One cannot perceive an allied force.
D: One fails to acknowledge ones own falling in the future.
E: One misses chance to witness ones path to betterment..

Thus onward, ad infinitum per diversity of intellect..
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Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 12:49 pm
@Andrew H,

I have just joined the forum.
I've been studying Kant for a long time now, and have formed some very dogmatic opinions/interpretations of Kant.

Many of the questions posed with regard to Kant's critical philosophy are limiting in scope in that they overlook the fundamental purpose that Kant had in mind when he wrote this philosophy. This purpose can only be gathered from taking in the whole, and not simply the parts, as Kant himself mentions in the opening to his "Critique of Pure Reason." He has reason to believe most of his readers will misinterpret his work because they will not put the required effort into it. And from all my reading of secondary works, Kant was absolutely right in holding to this suspicion.

The great variety of secondary works are for the most part, what I call closed interpretations of Kant.

If one adopts a closed interpretation of Kant it will block them from truly understanding the depth of Kant's critical insights, and furthermore, it will not allow them to understand the fundamental intention Kant had I mind when he wrote his critical philosophy.

You are quite right in what you've stated in your post to the above question.
However, Kant's critical insights go much further than most readers of Kant are willing to admit, or perhaps, they are not reading the relevant sections that show just how far-reaching his critical insights were, or what can be possible, given these insights.

To cut matters short, I have formulated an answer in response to Kant's challenge. The challenge Kant issues in his Prolegomena can be read in the Appendix, in the context of Kant's response to a reviewer of his "Critique of Pure Reason."

I have started another thread, with a question, directing members to my cite, at Edit (Moderator): Link Removed

This presents in part my answer to Kant.

There are a number of critical quotes from the CPR and the Prolegomena, and I've also quoted Hegel, where he is relevant, including Henri Bergson, and some of Kant's remarks that point to an interpretation of Kant that goes beyond the standard, orthodox (what I call closed) interpretation of Kant put forth by many scholars.

You might find this argument of some assistance if for only the purpose of opening up your understanding of Kant. I argue for an open, as opposed to a closed (skeptically grounded) interpretation of Kant.

Kant's critical philosophy allows for just such an argument as can be found at my cite, but it requires in-depth concentration and study of Kant to really get to the heart of the matter. Most readers simply do not have the depth of concentration it takes to understand Kant fully, which means to the point of taking in the possibility of just such an argument as the one I'm presenting to Kant and the challenge that his critical philosophy poses.
Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 02:36 pm
I see the editors/monitors have removed my link, suspecting maybe some nefarious infiltrators with evil intentions.

Is it against the law/rules to suggest that anyone wishing to practice their right to search the internet, do a search then for causal arguments; or to be more precise: causal argument for the existence of a supreme being. ???

That would certainly get you somewhere.
All of the responders to the question for this thread are quite right in all tha they have put forth. I am attempting to broaden this discussion, and hopefully, keep this very important thread, and question, going.

I also thank the member for posting this question. It shows that Kant is still relevant, regardless of what so many people seem to think. The cosmological questions that Kant raises to a new level in his critical philosophy will always be with us.
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