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No Reality Outside Our Own Existence

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 08:39 am
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
I have been meaning to read a work ABOUT Spinoza but keep putting it off for more immediately rewarding works. Spinoza is, as I remember, a non-dualist insofar as he has been labelled a psychophysical monist; his theory is termed "psycho-physical parallelism". I've read that he sees the unitary universe as consisting ultimately of a single "substance" which cannot be known directly. Reminds me of Kant's thing-in-itself (noumena). He argued that of this Subtance's infinte attributes all we can know are its physical and mental (matter and mind) manifestations. Since mind and matter are aspects of the same substance, what happens to mind affects matter and what affects matter affecs mind. This interchangeability qualifies his general position as an example of Metaphysical MONISM. Please me know if your reading of Spinoza leads to the same interpretation.

I finished Spinoza's "Ethics" and "On the Improvement of the Understanding" (an old translation, but, fortunately, not a bad one). In general, I agree with your assessment: Spinoza takes the premise of an infinite God and follows it to its logical conclusion: if God is infinite, then He has no limits; therefore, God is everything and everything is God. If we believe that we have independent existences, it's simply because we cannot comprehend the totality of God as an infinite being would. It's not that substance is unknowable -- we know it's God and we are assured, by logical necessity, of God's existence -- it's just that we have a limited understanding of it. So, in that respect, I don't see a parallel with Kant's Ding an sich (which was really a rather half-hearted reply to Berkeley's idealism).

All in all, it's something that might be congenial to the non-dualists out there. Perhaps fresco should take another look; it might change his dismissal of Spinoza as just a "logic freak."
0 Replies
 
David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 11:36 am
Quote:
it is twyvel's "blatantly obvious" and fresco's "self-evidence


Arrow LOL
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 12:28 pm
Thanks, Joe. It does seem to me that Spinoza is a "logic freak" in the sense of a rationalist. He does start from an intuited premise (what else can he do?) of an infinite God, as you say, and then proceeds logically to his conclusions. Mystics, I would think, come to a similar conclusion--"God is everything and everything is God" which, as I see it, is another way of saying All is one (and, nondualistically and non-locally, One is All). I am not sure to what extent Kant's "thing in itself" (noumena) differs from Spinoza's "substance." In the former we can only know its manifestations in phenomena; in the latter, we can only know a few of its "infinite attributes." But, on second thought I guess I can't equate "phenomena" with the "attributes" of mind and matter. The former are sensations; the latter are dimensions. Rolling Eyes
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David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 12:39 pm
JLNobody wrote:
I am not sure to what extent Kant's "think in itself" (noumena) differs from Spinoza's "substance." In the former we can only know its manifestations in phenomena; in the latter, we can only know a few of its "infinite attributes."


I'm uncertain of "exactly" what you've said here, but be certain that Kants philosophy of things in themselves is just his opinion, an opinion that denies the validity of our senses and doesn't necessarily mean we can only know a few of an objects attributes, it explicity states that we can only know the appearances of them and NEVER know the things in themselves as they aren't detectable by the senses, IOW, even as science and technology improves we'll still have minimal access as the senses aren't the arbiter of truth...when in fact they are.

Is Kant dumb, of course not....is he right, IMO opinion no.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 03:14 pm
I don't remember Kant's argument too clearly, but it is my impression that he logically deduced the existence of the noumena. That may simply reflect the limitation of logic as a research tool. I tend to agree with Kant, insofar as I "intuit" that appearances must be appearnces OF something. But that something may just be my requirement, and a reflection of the influence of language on my intuitions. There is no necessity for my intuitions, or Kant's, to be true. Logic must be "valid" by definition--in order to be correct. But truth is more a matter of a proposition about the world that is borne out empirically or pragmatically.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 06:28 pm
David Henry wrote:
I'm uncertain of "exactly" what you've said here, but be certain that Kants philosophy of things in themselves is just his opinion, an opinion that denies the validity of our senses and doesn't necessarily mean we can only know a few of an objects attributes, it explicity states that we can only know the appearances of them and NEVER know the things in themselves as they aren't detectable by the senses, IOW, even as science and technology improves we'll still have minimal access as the senses aren't the arbiter of truth...when in fact they are.

Kant didn't deny the validity of the senses. Indeed, his concession that noumena were unknowable was based on the belief that the only things we can "know" empirically (as contrasted with logically) are through our sense perceptions. As he stated in The Critique of Pure Reason:
    In whatsoever mode, or by whatsoever means, our knowledge may relate to objects, it is at least quite clear, that the only manner in which it immediately relates to them, is by means of an intuition. . . . The capacity for receiving representations (receptivity) through the mode in which we are affected by objects, is called [i]sensibility[/i]. By means of sensibility, therefore, objects are given to us, and it alone furnishes us with intuitions; by the understanding they are [i]thought[/i], and from it arise conceptions.


David Henry wrote:
Is Kant dumb, of course not....is he right, IMO opinion no.

I hope that Kant's reputation can survive this setback.
0 Replies
 
David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 11:30 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
[Kant didn't deny the validity of the senses. Indeed, his concession that noumena were unknowable was based on the belief that the only things we can "know" empirically (as contrasted with logically) are through our sense perceptions


If he didn't deny the validity{I should say scope} of the senses, then where did "things in themselves come from"..A=Kants own arbitary assertion due to the limits he placed on the senses as a source of knowledge.

The only way we'll ever fully know anything about objects is via the senses, so there's no things in themselves, only the things we know via our senses....if our scientific knowledge/instruments update, we'll still be using our senses to know the new info.

If you or Kant want to believe in a supernatural realm, that's fine, but that belief can only be of a logical necessity/inference, ie, you have no empirical evidence, but this is hardly grounds to then suggest that we can't "know" an object fully regardless of how precise our instrumentation becomes.

Time to give up on good ole Plato Joe and stop worshipping philosophers who were a part of the history of philosophy, but are no longer epistemologically relevent.
0 Replies
 
David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2004 11:38 pm
JLNobody wrote:
Logic must be "valid" by definition--in order to be correct. But truth is more a matter of a proposition about the world that is borne out empirically or pragmatically.


Knowledge is the intergration of our sense data, we use the tool of logic to do that....and our sense data is NEVER wrong, as reality is as it is...our interpretations might be incorrect or incoherent, but the sense data is always accurate as it's reflection of nature as it is, nature/reality is never wrong, contains no contradictions.

The errors are contained in the epistemology of humans.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 04:06 am
JLN I can't remember Kant either all I know is what all of y'all have to say. I like learning this way - over the net and behind a computer how interesting it is to listen electronically.

Welcome to A2k David Henry.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 04:34 am
Quote:
this is hardly grounds to then suggest that we can't "know" an object fully


Our inability to know an object fully is precisely what quantum mechanics tells us. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle encapsulates this.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 08:32 am
David Henry wrote:
If he didn't deny the validity{I should say scope} of the senses, then where did "things in themselves come from"..A=Kants own arbitary assertion due to the limits he placed on the senses as a source of knowledge.

Kant believed that sense perceptions are valid insofar as the object of those perceptions was sensible. Far from being an arbitrary assertion, I think this is eminently reasonable. In contrast, the noumena, according to Kant, are insensible, i.e. not subject to sense perception. Consequently, Kant maintained that the senses cannot form perceptions of that which they cannot perceive. The noumena, which are insensible, are thus knowable only theoretically.

David Henry wrote:
The only way we'll ever fully know anything about objects is via the senses, so there's no things in themselves, only the things we know via our senses....if our scientific knowledge/instruments update, we'll still be using our senses to know the new info.

Kant would simply reply: how do you know that what you sense is all that there is?

David Henry wrote:
If you or Kant want to believe in a supernatural realm, that's fine, but that belief can only be of a logical necessity/inference, ie, you have no empirical evidence, but this is hardly grounds to then suggest that we can't "know" an object fully regardless of how precise our instrumentation becomes.

I certainly never said that I agreed with Kant. I merely implied that my understanding of Kant was better than yours.

David Henry wrote:
Time to give up on good ole Plato Joe and stop worshipping philosophers who were a part of the history of philosophy, but are no longer epistemologically relevent.

You discuss Kant and then you criticize me because my discussion of Kant is irrelevant? Truly, David, it is to laugh.
0 Replies
 
David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 09:56 am
[quote="JoanneDorel"

Welcome to A2k David Henry.[/quote]

Hi, and thanks....btw, you might as well jump in and unload some BS, many others seem to be.
I love it here Razz
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 09:57 am
I think David Henry has a significant point when he speaks of "epistemological relevence". Neither Plato nor Kant (etc) could possibly have visualized the "reality" of particle physics and we can only selectively dip into their "systems" for tentative suggestions of meaning. But this issue even extends to discussions of "logic" itself which is similarly not "context neutral" as some respondents seem to suggest.
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David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 10:10 am
Steve (as 41oo) wrote:
Quote:
this is hardly grounds to then suggest that we can't "know" an object fully


Our inability to know an object fully is precisely what quantum mechanics tells us. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle encapsulates this.


You should get into the Philosophy of Science rather than just buy that line.
Many of the leading physicists of the early 20th century are kantians and the uncertainty principle is the outcome based on the belief in the primacy of consciousness leading to acceptance of the primacy of mathematics whereby mathematical models represent progress in physics even if they have only conceptual referents.

Btw, science*, especially physics isn't about Absolute Truth, it's about the most effective methods/models that support the metaphysical disposition of the most influential science popularizers, and those popularizers are mathematically obsessed as per the primacy of consciouness, ie Kants belief in mental categories that create order, and thus reality, rather than consciouness merely reflecting exactly what it senses.

Plato was also obsessed with the abstract world in which perfection lay.

EDIT:...*Science as its commonly practiced.
0 Replies
 
David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 10:26 am
Quote:
Kant believed that sense perceptions are valid insofar as the object of those perceptions was sensible. Far from being an arbitrary assertion, I think this is eminently reasonable. In contrast, the noumena, according to Kant, are insensible, i.e. not subject to sense perception. Consequently, Kant maintained that the senses cannot form perceptions of that which they cannot perceive. The noumena, which are insensible, are thus knowable only theoretically.


I like the sound of all this Joe, but if that's all he's saying, then why did he also stress the notion of things in themselves, seemingly implying that HE knew/suspected that their essence was not available to us, and would never become available by virtue of the limitations of the senses WRT to objects.
I agree the supernatural is just a concept, and I don't necessarily write it off, and God is entitled to live there...at least until someone explains the origins of matter and forces to me.

Quote:
Kant would simply reply: how do you know that what you sense is all that there is?


David Henry boasts: because that which exists can only be known via our senses, existence being of a physical* quality{ascribing physical qualities to God is not on in my view}.
*mental entities exist as concepts.

Quote:
I certainly never said that I agreed with Kant. I merely implied that my understanding of Kant was better than yours.


We'll see...LOL.

Quote:
You discuss Kant and then you criticize me because my discussion of Kant is irrelevant? Truly, David, it is to laugh.


I'm saying that kant has heavily influenced people into believing that consciousness has primacy and that this has restricted rational progress in physics and it would be a good idea to investigate some of the views held by those who advocate the primacy of existence*, ie, Objectivist scientists.

*the primacy of existence doesn't equate to accepting an eternal universe IMO, athough this is what Objectivists assert.
0 Replies
 
David Henry
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 10:30 am
fresco wrote:
"logic" itself which is similarly not "context neutral" as some respondents seem to suggest.


Are you saying there are different forms of logic, IOW, 2+2 can=5 in another "logical" system...??????????????? Shocked
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 11:06 am
Quote:
Btw, science*, especially physics isn't about Absolute Truth, it's about the most effective methods/models that support the metaphysical disposition of the most influential science popularizers, and those popularizers are mathematically obsessed as per the primacy of consciouness, ie Kants belief in mental categories that create order, and thus reality, rather than consciouness merely reflecting exactly what it senses.


gimme a sec to think on this David
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 11:07 am
David Henry wrote:
I like the sound of all this Joe, but if that's all he's saying, then why did he also stress the notion of things in themselves, seemingly implying that HE knew/suspected that their essence was not available to us, and would never become available by virtue of the limitations of the senses WRT to objects.

Because Kant had to respond to idealists like Berkeley who, in effect, claimed that reality was "all in our heads." Objects are "real," in that they can be sensed, but we can never sense that which cannot be sensed. Furthermore, we can never establish that the entire world is sensible, since that is not a priori true. Thus, we are left with saying that all that is sensible is knowable through sense perception, and all that is insensible is knowable, if at all, solely through logic.

Frankly, I don't think Kant really cared one way or the other about noumena. Although he spent a good deal of time discussing them, he consistently maintained in the Critique of Pure Reason that we simply cannot know anything about them. Moreover, it is clear that he was quite content to leave it at that.

David Henry wrote:
I agree the supernatural is just a concept, and I don't necessarily write it off, and God is entitled to live there...at least until someone explains the origins of matter and forces to me.

Well, I'm not sure how we turned to discussing the supernatural, but I tend to agree with your position.

David Henry wrote:
Quote:
Kant would simply reply: how do you know that what you sense is all that there is?


David Henry boasts: because that which exists can only be known via our senses, existence being of a physical* quality{ascribing physical qualities to God is not on in my view}.
*mental entities exist as concepts.

If you define "all that exists" as "all that is sensible," then that's nothing more than question-begging.

David Henry wrote:
I'm saying that kant has heavily influenced people into believing that consciousness has primacy and that this has restricted rational progress in physics and it would be a good idea to investigate some of the views held by those who advocate the primacy of existence*, ie, Objectivist scientists.

*the primacy of existence doesn't equate to accepting an eternal universe IMO, athough this is what Objectivists assert.

I have no problem with that.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 11:08 am
David Henry wrote:
fresco wrote:
"logic" itself which is similarly not "context neutral" as some respondents seem to suggest.


Are you saying there are different forms of logic, IOW, 2+2 can=5 in another "logical" system...??????????????? Shocked

Uh oh, here we go again.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 11:28 am
David Henry

No, I refer to an earlier point where "Fuzzy Sets" were discussed with Joe, the main point being that "binary logic" is a special case of "fuzzy logic" in which set boundaries are probabalistic not "certain". I also refered above to the Piagetian position of "logical thought" being an "outcome" of "cognition", and hence not being sufficient to "explain" such cognition. The implication is that discussions of "reality" must rest on "coherence" not "logical validity", and that such "discussions" must pay particular regard to "language games" in the Wittgensteinian sense.
0 Replies
 
 

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