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The DIM Hypothesis - by Leonard Peikoff

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Likely an important help in the follow-up work indicated in #13:

Kant’s Elliptical Path

Karl Ameriks (2012 Oxford)

From the publisher:

Kant's Elliptical Path explores the main stages and key concepts in the development of Kant's Critical philosophy, from the early 1760’s to the 1790’s. Karl Ameriks provides a detailed and concise account of the main ways in which the later Critical works provide a plausible defence of the conception of humanity's fundamental end that Kant turned to after reading Rousseau in the 1760’s. Separate essays are devoted to each of the three Critiques, as well as to earlier notes and lectures and several of Kant's later writings on history and religion. A final section devotes three chapters to post-Kantian developments in German Romanticism, accounts of tragedy up through Nietzsche, and contemporary philosophy. The theme of an elliptical path is shown to be relevant to these writers as well as to many aspects of Kant's own life and work.

. . . Kant's Elliptical Path will be of value to historians of modern philosophy and Kant scholars, while its treatment of several literary figures and issues in aesthetics, politics, history, and theology make it relevant to readers outside of philosophy.

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.

 

In post #38, I quoted Dr. Peikoff’s characterization of skepticism in his effort paint Kant’s philosophy as more intellectually corrupt than skepticism: “The skeptic seeks to gain knowledge of reality, then bewails the failure of his quest . . . . The skeptic prizes the awareness of facts, but they elude him . . . . The skeptic would welcome the discovery of connections among things, but cannot find any . . .” (DIM 39).

 

I replied: “No. Scratch a skeptic and you’ll find a mystic. He wants the connections to be what he wants and must undermine reason and the senses to get that comfort. Because mysticism has never been vanquished by philosophy, skepticism stays, . . . .”

 

I see a good source on the employment of skepticism for fideism:

 

God and Skepticism: A Study in Skepticism and Fideism

Terrence Penelhum (1983)

 

Library

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.

 

In post #38, I quoted Dr. Peikoff’s characterization of skepticism in his effort paint Kant’s philosophy as more intellectually corrupt than skepticism: “The skeptic seeks to gain knowledge of reality, then bewails the failure of his quest . . . . The skeptic prizes the awareness of facts, but they elude him . . . . The skeptic would welcome the discovery of connections among things, but cannot find any . . .” (DIM 39).

 

I replied: “No. Scratch a skeptic and you’ll find a mystic. He wants the connections to be what he wants and must undermine reason and the senses to get that comfort. Because mysticism has never been vanquished by philosophy, skepticism stays, . . . .”

 

I see a good source on the employment of skepticism for fideism:

 

God and Skepticism: A Study in Skepticism and Fideism

Terrence Penelhum (1983)

 

Library

 

Is there a distinction to be made between a mystic/intrinsicist who fundamentally believes in the mystical/intrinsic basis of knowledge, certainty, and morality and someone who after repudiating mysticism and intrinsicism, honestly seeks knowledge, certainty, and morality, but because he only holds conceptions/definitions of them which are based on or at least tainted by mysticism/intrinsicism. he is "forced" to reject knowledge certainty and morality? 

 

The former is a mystic/intrinsicist, the latter suffers from a kind of conceptual deficiency because he has borrowed them (unknowingly?), taint included, from the very kinds of schools he rejects.  I think it is in this way the skeptic is not a mystic... honestly rejecting mysticism, but failing to escape wholly from the poisoned concepts of mysticism.

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SL,

 

Peikoff and I are talking about the specific history of philosophic skepticism, the specific skeptics of the senses or reason. The philosophic skeptics I had in mind were eminent ones like Montaigne and Bayle in modern philosophy or Nicholas of Autrecourt in the fourteenth century. Today I’ve been learning more about skeptics in the history of philosophy, reading The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle by Richard Popkin. The use of skepticism to save faith in God and immortality is a major pattern. The second kind you describe does seem a plausible ripple effect of inherited false setups from religious roots in philosophy. I haven’t come to any characters like that in Popkin’s book so far, but I’ll keep it in mind. One great thing about this book, which you might enjoy having, is the story of how skepticism came to be so important in modern philosophy.

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That is an intriguing thought. "Scratch a skeptic and you'll find a mystic."

Kind of an unwavering faith that doubting everything will ultimately lead to the truth, though the path hasn't revealed any for certain yet.

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That is an intriguing thought. "Scratch a skeptic and you'll find a mystic."

Kind of an unwavering faith that doubting everything will ultimately lead to the truth, though the path hasn't revealed any for certain yet.

In Justice for Hedgehogs, Dworkin makes the point that doubting everything is an impossible, internal contradiction.

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On 12.09.2012 at 6:37 PM, Boydstun said:

...the first tier of thinkers who loomed large for Kant, thinkers whom Kant confronted and partly appropriated, were Euclid, Newton, Leibniz, and Hume. Second-tier in Kant’s confrontation and appropriation, in his original construction of theoretical philosophy, would be Plato, Aristotle, Luther, Descartes, Wolff, Berkeley, and Reid.

To understand Kant, one needs to put him in context with other philosophers, like you did. I have to read up on Euclid, Wolff, and Reid in order to evaluate your context for Kant. In my own opinion, Hume and Descartes had the greatest influence on him, but his philosophy belongs to neither tradition, as my Diagram shows. Instead, his philosophy has been unknown for over 2000 years, throughout which all works of Democritus have been lost. By his 'philosophy,' of course, I do not mean his theology, which is, perhaps, what made his (non-)idealism be called transcendental.

On 13.09.2012 at 11:48 PM, Dennis Hardin said:

Peikoff predicts religious totalitarianism in America within 50 years.

Peikoff wonders what Ayn Rand would have thought of his theory. On that basis alone—his dire, miserably depressing prediction for the future of the world--I think I know.

His prediction is like the predictions of global warming (and I also believe that, philosophically, our history goes in cycles). In truth, Peikoff is as optimistic about Objectivism and Objectivist politics as Ayn Rand ever was, and this means Peikoff is still an optimist. You might ask this of him yourself, and I predict that his answer will be affirmative. You only need to hurry because Peikoff is pretty old, and it would be worse to perpetuate such false claims about him after he would have passed away. Nicky's reply has been spot on.

On 14.09.2012 at 1:29 AM, Dennis Hardin said:

“Why the Lights of the West are Going Out—And What You Can Do To Stop it.”

He obviously regards that last part as comparable to pissing into the wind.

His 'pissing into the wind,' as you call it, is following Objectivism in opposition to mis (conservatives like Trump) and dis (liberals, like Hillary?--Hillary is an amoeba whose philosophy I don't pretend to understand).

On 14.09.2012 at 1:32 AM, Dennis Hardin said:

My use of the word malevolent had strictly to do with Peikoff’s dark and overwhelming pessimism, not any intentional destructiveness on his part. He may be a prophet of doom...

Maybe you are seeing your own pessimism in Peikoff? I allow that Peikoff has a pessimistic underbelly, but his optimism is the prevalent crown. dream_weaver's reply is excellent: Peikoff shows what majority believes (and enacts in reality), but the minority -- like Objectivists -- are certainly the better path on which the enlightened few need to continue (intellectually, rhetorically) fighting to prevail even after 'probable' setbacks and even while minority itself is seemingly fractured by interpretations of Peikoff's genius hypothesis. Like I've implied above, Peikoff's 'predictions' are not as important as his contextualizations of the most important and archetypal philosophies. That, as far as I know, has never been done before to such an extent.

On 15.09.2012 at 1:25 AM, Dennis Hardin said:

I stated very clearly what I am arguing for: Fighting for the future instead of passively resigning oneself to the dialectical progression of the Hegelian “zeitgeist,” as if there’s little or nothing we can do to prevent it from happening

You seem to be cutting off Peikoff's overarching vision by reducing it to your own blind fight. Peikoff is certainly close to Hegel in his evaluations (e.g., of Kant) and idealizations of their own philosophies, but Peikoff very clearly presents his evaluations with the major implication of Objectivism being 'the better path' (in dream_weaver's words), even though he is not so explicit about this in this book. Rhetorically, though, it's a brilliant move, since the obvious absence formidably invites attention and pulls at our focus.

On 20.09.2012 at 3:14 PM, Boydstun said:

His [Peikoff's] conclusion that SR and GR are cases of misintegration is false. Quite the contrary.

Actually, your criticism is not correct. Peikoff is totally right in evaluating Einstein as a MIS (Platonic idealist in my book, connected through Berkeley -- also thanks to Leibniz -- to Plato). The reason Einstein is a MIS is that he idealized ('beautified' and overgeneralized--like Harriman is trying to do now with his physics/philosophy applied to other MIS like Copernicus and Kepler) only an interpretation or a specific instance of Lorentz's transformation, whose mathematics is so extensive that it allows space for an aetheric (Newtonian) physics, which Lorentz himself supported but for which couldn't make a case. However, the case for this kind of INT physics could be attributed to an ignored genius physicist by the name of Hannes Alfvén, who, like Lorentz before him, was discarded in favor of another Einstein: a popular Einstenian and bigbanger darling -- Hawking. Now, however, all this is ancient history. The physics debate progresses on the quantum level, such as Copenhagen vs. quantum decoherence and consistent histories and string many-worlds interpretations. In contrast to what many of you believe, philosophical debates are indeed currently taking place in contemporary physics, but Rand and Peikoff would never understand them because of being restricted to an obsolete, classical view of atomic structure.

On 28.09.2012 at 6:21 PM, Boydstun said:

it had not been clear to Peikoff “that materialists, just as much as idealists, are not secular at all, but rather are supernaturalists and thus essentially akin to religionists”

This is indeed very interesting and salient. While considering that I take all materialists as DIS and all idealists as MIS, you may find that the whole traditions of non-atheistic materialists and atheistic idealists had started with Kant. Kudos to Kant, wouldn't you say? You may also now thank him for confusing the hell out of idealists. (Poor Rand, she had no idea what she got herself into, but at least her intense hate for Kant opens her up to deep criticism.)

On 02.10.2012 at 5:12 PM, Boydstun said:

...he [Peikoff] does not mean Kant is in league with Georgias, who held that nothing exists.

God, indeed I hope not. At least Gorgias understood (while most reduce his understanding to mere sophistry) that nothing exists everywhere and nowhere at the same time because that is the 'nature' of nothing. Kant, on the other hand, wrote that nothing can be proved about the existence of Noumenon, which logically means one and only one thing: Noumenon doesn't exist physically for the sole reason of it being Nonexistence (I swapped the terms, but essentially you get the same thing). Hence Peikoff was right in his criticisms of Kant, as Kant opposed things for having the nature of things, i.e. being those things. Kant's 'nature' (which he swaps for 'matter') is only found through mental categories, which leads, on the inward path through the metaphysical brain/mind to his highly cherished Nonexistence (yes, it is found inside mind; and yes, that's how his theoretical and practical reasons connect, see Crit#3). To a point, I agree with Kant, but only to a point -- I think his subjective theology is (and was) revolutionary. Mostly, what Peikoff misunderstands about him is Peikoff's own psychological inadequacies projected on Kant. Other than that, Peikoff is nearly perfect (haha).

In addition, Boydstun, you may disagree that 'rational foundation' is as overrated as the concept of 'God.' I'd rather stick to reality than be fooled by anyone to illusively get unstuck from it because everything is learned only in relation to a context (reality). Kant was merely critiquing knowledge but not learning anything new or integrating anything with it.

On 02.10.2012 at 5:12 PM, Boydstun said:

Kant puts God in the noumenal.

Actually God is not only within Noumenon but also as if shimmering within it because His sight cannot be continuously grasped. See Remark to §86 of Crit#3. This means not only that God is not the only one within Noumenon but also that he is, in a way so conceived, 'beyond' it as if behind its veil. This can be confused with mysticism, but... well, I am not sure what exactly this is other than the term I use: "subjective theology." This concept of God, in Kant, had nothing to do with philosophy as a whole, and this was Kant's great revolution: he separated philosophy from God as the US founding fathers separated state from church. Did Peikoff grasp that? I don't think so. But don't blame Peikoff. Many philosophers today perhaps understand neither Kant's philosophy nor its true accomplishment.

On 02.10.2012 at 5:12 PM, Boydstun said:

That such a thing [as God] be devoid of substantial identity is ancient hat.

Yes, but you need to remember that ancient theists wrapped their philosophy around God in a very different way than Kant did. You earlier stated more properly Kant's negative way concerning God. Pythagoras, Parmenides, Plato, and others (Plotinus too, but I haven't yet studied Pseudo-Dionysus or Alcinous, even though if the latter were a true Platonist, his negativity would be made-believe as much as his positivity) were quite positive about this concept (even while they gave it other names). Kant's break from conceiving of God in this ancient way is thus quite profound. In fact, it's unprecedented because it's not atheistic. Now, what you wrote about those who described God by what God is not seems to be an implicit proof from absence (kind of like Objectivism in Peikoff's DIM) -- not evidence of absence or argument from ignorance. Kant never claimed that any proof of God is possible, only that we should praise reason that leads us to God (means he enjoyed proofs of God but never defended any himself). Thus, Kant differentiated himself from such objective theologists, i.e. theists, who would like to find a proof of God (even in Kant).

On 02.10.2012 at 5:12 PM, Boydstun said:

...served to protect faith (of a watered-down sort)

I would say reduced, inversively. Kant followed this inversive reductionist formula: make the outer world into both the non-world (noumenon) and the inner world (phenomenon) by reducing it through categories of thought. Only the non-world is basically a deeper 'inner world', like an unconscious level several subconscious levels deep. So, basically, the reason we cannot phenomenally sense Noumenon is that it is too far and deep in us from our conscious mind.

On 04.10.2012 at 0:50 AM, dream_weaver said:

One of the lecture from ARI that I have makes the analogy of integration to a puzzle. As the various pieces are put together, a picture begins to emerge. If random pieces from another puzzle are present, it doesn't really matter because on[c]e you have the puzzle fully assembled, the errant pieces are easily discarded as irrelevant to the completion of the now completed puzzle.

If I were to extrapolate that analogy to DIM, the example given would be applicable to the (I) method or approach.

Thank you for sharing the analogy, dream_weaver. In a way it reflects the process in the movie 21 Grams -- what I consider to be an integrative piece of art. On the other hand, this is not the process employed by David Harriman in The Logical Leap. Instead, Harriman overgeneralizes, waves hands, and thinks that all pieces are used in an integration without being able to prove this (understandably, as this cannot be so).

On 17.11.2013 at 7:45 PM, Boydstun said:

This work The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (Harvard 1998), by Randall Collins, might well repay study and comparison with Peikoff's DIM.

Have you read it? I will need to check it out.

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Hi Ilya, thank you for all the thinking comments. No, I haven’t yet gotten to read Collin’s book.

On Reid and Kant, the great help is Manfred Kuehn’s Scottish Commonsense in Germany 1768–1800.

I wondered in what ways you think of Descartes as having a great influence on Kant. Is it because of Kant’s attraction to the a priori? But wouldn’t that be a long inheritance starting back at Plato, not at Descartes?

Kant did not buy Descartes’ metaphysical scheme of extension and thought. And Kant did not seem to take the Cartesian form of skepticism seriously, unlike his seriousness with Humean skepticism. Leibniz had earlier shredded Descartes’ skeptical-doubting way to sure knowledge; perhaps that had an effect on Kant.

I do recall some striking concord with Descartes' concept of motion (and significant deviations from Newton's dynamics) in Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science.

I’ve lately been studying Alcinous’ The Handbook of Platonism (c. 150). He’s got Aristotle and the Stoics as articulators of implicit systematic doctrine in the Dialogues of the perfect master Plato. Even the syllogistic, invented by Aristotle, is credited to Plato. Yes, Alcinous was a go for the negative way, among other ways more positive. From the negative spiel:

“God is ineffable and graspable only by the intellect [intuitive intellect, I think], as we have said, since he is neither genus, nor species, nor differentia, nor does he possess any attributes, neither bad (for it is improper to utter such a thought), nor good (for he would be thus by participation in something, to wit, goodness), nor indifferent (for neither is this in accordance with the concept we have of him), nor yet qualified (for he is not endowed with quality, nor is his peculiar perfection due to qualification) nor unqualified (for he is not deprived of any quality which might accrue to him). Further, he is not a part of anything, nor is he in the position of being a whole which has parts, nor is he the same as anything or different from any thing; for no attribute is proper to him, in virtue of which he could be distinguished from other things. Also he neither moves anything, nor is he himself moved.” (165, 5–17)

Translation of John Dillon (1993).

Edited by Boydstun

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Boydstun,

Plato started with mind/body dichotomy (I believe he mentioned it in Timaeus) and Descartes developed and extended it, while Kant took the mind part and cut off the rest. This is of course a simplification of Plato and Descartes, and the only thing Kant seems to have inherited from Plato is terminology. As you well understand, essential Plato has more to do with Berkeley than Kant, which is to say his philosophy has little to nothing to do with Kant.

What Kant rejected in Descartes is exactly his Platonism, the idea of mind coming from an analytic a priori noumenal realm. The materialist side of Descartes, which is also reflected in Peter Ramus, Kant gladly accepted. Evidently, Descartean and Kantian metaphysics are not the same, since Descartes is coming from a kind of Augustinian-Platonic realm, a God-head rationalization for mind's existence. Yet surely you must understand that Descartes is more complex than that, as he was delving into mental and bodily mechanics - the ways our minds and bodies work. That's what I meant above when I said that Kant took the mental (not metaphysical per se) part of Descartes and cut everything above mind (body and Platonic et al. metaphysics), reducing it to mind alone (really, metaphysical brain, which is today reduced by neuroscientists and psychologists to brain alone - not a major difference, in my book).

Oh yes, Hume was a huge influence on Kant in terms of skepticism, but Kant at least transcended Hume's agnosticism as well as Hume's criticisms of metaphysics and ethics. So, in a way, I agree with you that Hume is a first-tier influence on Kant, and Descartes is a second-tier, but you understand that Descartes came before both, and he had built the foundation that Kant, arguably more than Hume, required for his philosophy.

Everything I write comes through the lens of metaphilosophy I borrowed from Peikoff's DIM and developed on my own. So your comment of "Leibniz had earlier shredded Descartes’ skeptical-doubting way to sure knowledge" does not come through my lens, since Leibniz was essentially a Descartean, that is they had the same philosophy, as the boundaries of philosophies are concerned in my metaphilosophical framework. Even if Leibniz criticized Descartes so unfairly (from his own necessitated by the same metaphysics view, and not your evaluation of Leibniz), the nature of his criticism could only be compared to that of Francis Bacon's criticism of Aristotle, which wasn't a criticism of essential parts of philosophy but merely some new ideas trying to replace the old, forgotten, misunderstood ones. As we know, ideas change historically, but people's minds don't change. With that, you may and should, of course, attempt at providing counter-evidence to my claims. To start, you would need to show with quotes how (better from both sides) Leibniz contradicted Descartes in essential parts of his philosophy. This way you may finally be the one to contradict my hypothesis and make it collapse like a house of cards.

Yes, so continuing with following results of my hypothesis, since Descartes and Leibniz are essentially following Descartean idealism, influence on Kant from Leibniz is essentially the same as when I said that Descartean foundation had provided the grounds for Kant. The specification of these grounds had the face of monadology, which reflects Democritus and, therefore, Kant (a major result of my hypothesis is that Kant is essentially a DIS because he is following in the footsteps of Democritus, even though he formalized and specified the philosophy to such an extent as to cause us to call this philosophy not merely Democritean but Kantian). Now, if you are unable to contradict me in regard to essential differences between Descartes and Leibniz, your contradiction in regard to essential similarities between Democritus and Kant would not only shut down my blog but would also shut me up, possibly forever. For that, of course, we would need to contentially compare the surviving fragments of Democritus from secondary sources to the bulky corpus of Kant.

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

I do recall some striking concord with Descartes' concept of motion (and significant deviations from Newton's dynamics) in Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science.

There you go. But this way you are not contradicting the results of my hypothesis. Instead, you are only supporting them because Descartes, as Ramus before and Leibniz later, contradicted Aristotle and later Newton, and the essentially same kind of contradiction against Aristotle and Newton was at the core of Kant's philosophy. So you know, my INTs are, among many others, Aristotle, Bacon, Locke, and Newton. MIS (idealD) are Descartes, Ramus, Leibniz; related to MIS (idealP) to Plato and Berkeley. DIS (mat7) are Democritus and Kant; related to DIS (mat8) Epicurus and Hume. Here you can find all their essential conflicts or similarities, based on who they are categorically. But the best way to see what I mean is through the visualization my Diagram provides, a major improvement, I think, upon Peikoff's hypothesis, even though it required some changes to Peikoff's five categories.

I could see from my side why Aristotle's syllogistic would be credited to Plato (and no, not merely from the side of Socrates's appearance in it). Aristotle developed logic not to describe his own philosophy, but to understand the end of his philosophy, which he saw in Plato. Aristotle's whole philosophy can be described as potentials actualizing. That actualization part is logic and Plato - hence the non-essential similarity in terms of Aristotle's direction toward Plato's position (their directions are pointed toward each other - quite a stable bond, as we've seen through history). Yet, it would be wrong to take this similarity anywhere further because direction and position aren't the same, and many people reduce directions to positions - such is, perhaps, a conclusion of Alcinous.

Notice what Alcinous starts with in your quote: God. And Kant ended with God in his Critique of Judgment. This similarity of 'negative' theology thus may be non-essential. The differences in Alcinous and Kant are becoming much stronger as we continue reading the quote. Kant would contradict Alcinous, in that we cannot intellectually grasp God. Hereby, Alcinous's theology seems as objective as any other, except Kant's. If Alcinous was a Platonist, as you say, then his intuitive intellect would be vastly different from Kant's. Platonic 'intuition', as is their intellect, is basically analytical and not synthetic. In fact, the result of my hypothesis can be said to be that all genuine idealists (like Plato and Descartes; i.e. MISes) use analytic a priori. We need to thank Kant for revealing this, as he himself was NOT an idealist if we follow his analytic vs. synthetic distinction. He would be as much an idealist as transhumanists be humanists today. The 'trans' part was Kant's essential invention, and many people who only look on the surface then write that (I paraphrase) idealism is a kind of philosophy that is based on mind (sorry I cannot find the source where I saw this definition). The reason such 'definitions' are ludicrous is that materialism is also a kind of philosophy that can be based on mind. See Democritus, for the sake of an example! Or any of our eliminative materialists, if a need arises. Mind is basically brain - the essence of brain. Hence true idealists must make claims that stretch metacosmically and thus BEYOND mind. If someone cannot understand this clear description of idealists, then they must be materialists because only materialists cannot grasp this!

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

...neither bad (for it is improper to utter such a thought)

Seems to be a superstition - a darling to idealists, like "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain". All his other 'negative' descriptions of God are so specific as to be intended as descriptions of Him in general. Kant realized this, so he never uttered any claim or description of God until the end of his last Critique and even then he qualified it by calling it subjective (see Remark to § 86).

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

neither is this in accordance with the concept we have of him

Oh, Alcinous, you have a 'concept' of Him!? And you are trying to prove it to us through a seeming absence of words that can be applied to describe it? But even whenever we say there is NO God, psychologically we are thinking of God. And so when we say we cannot describe God, you are still thinking of God as so many objective theologists do, like Muhammad, for example. In Islam, Allah is also ineffable and hidden beneath a veil. Actually many veils, so many that I've lost count.

Put in other words, all these qualifications and unqualifications when negated result in Hegel's absolute idea. Still sounds idealist, whichever way you turn it. And idealism whether it's negative or positive theologically is still idealism. Even theology, whether it's negative or positive in idealism, most probably is objective. Hence I like to use objective vs. subjective distinctions in theology rather than negative vs. positive. The latter is deceiving, whereas the former reflects exactly the kind of content these theologies possess.

16 hours ago, Boydstun said:

he is not deprived of any quality which might accrue to him...

This, for example, sounds like a very objective statement about God. Latter statements about God's ontology from the quote merely show God's transcendental nature (which Kant knowingly flipped or inverted), as with all transcendental, metacosmic realms, be they Platonic or idealist in general (but obviously not Kantian!). This kind of pure transcendentalism (both not Kant's original terms) was later modified in a very distinctive and essential manner by pantheists like Spinoza, as in thinking of God not being essentially 'different from any thing'. Nevertheless, Spinoza, through such modifications, didn't become an atheist; instead, he became a different kind of objective theologist. Kant, however, called Spinoza an atheist (e.g., § 87 in Crit#3). Why? I think because Kant himself wasn't an objective theologist, so he had to oppose any theologies that claimed to be 'objective', and especially those that were in direct conflict with his own 'subjective' kind, as Spinoza was not an idealist but an INT - the direct enemy of DIS.

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27 minutes ago, Boydstun said:

.Free online recent papers of high quality on Kant are available at Contemporary Studies in Kantian Philosophy

I wish there were something that had to do with an elaboration on how exactly Kant 'disproved' Locke's realism. Perhaps that discussion should involve Kantian understanding of perception versus the Lockean one. I am still struggling with the so-called 'perception' in Kant. Just because you got abstract properties of objects (a priori categories) put into mental space and time forms and with imaginary and schematic handwaving somehow you get 'perceptions'? I feel like there is a major gap in Kant's philosophy exactly where actual perceptions should be, but some of these Kantian lovers (like from CSKP and NAKS) maybe like to think that 'perception' is complete in Kant and works perfectly well, so there is no need to add anything extra or elaborate further on the topic. Am I right?

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.

You’ll have to do the study and make your own informed discernments. (Record your sources and page numbers in your notes and drafts; it saves you time later and helps you make real progress over the years.)

 

Before Kant what criticisms of Locke’s realism were made by Berkeley, Hume, and Reid? What criticisms were made by Kant of all those predecessors?

Chapters 6-12 of Primary & Secondary Qualities – The Historical and Ongoing Debate (2011, Lawrence Nolan, editor) and see Kant’s Prolegomena and his Critique of Pure Reason (Pluhar translation, index).

 

What empiricist rejoinders were promptly made against Kant?

Kant’s Early Critics –The Empiricist Critique of the Theoretical Philosophy (2007, Brigitte Sassen, editor)

 

Philosophy of perception continues alive and lively to this day, as in A. D. Smith’s The Problem of Perception. As for the Kant scholars, none find Kant either faultless or the last word worth saying on any of his topics.

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3 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

I wish there were something that had to do with an elaboration on how exactly Kant 'disproved' Locke's realism. Perhaps that discussion should involve Kantian understanding of perception versus the Lockean one. I am still struggling with the so-called 'perception' in Kant. Just because you got abstract properties of objects (a priori categories) put into mental space and time forms and with imaginary and schematic handwaving somehow you get 'perceptions'? I feel like there is a major gap in Kant's philosophy exactly where actual perceptions should be, but some of these Kantian lovers (like from CSKP and NAKS) maybe like to think that 'perception' is complete in Kant and works perfectly well, so there is no need to add anything extra or elaborate further on the topic. Am I right?

Kant made little sense to me until I quit thinking of "Kant the Philosopher" and started thinking of "Kank the Physicists".

Here's a good link to a paper by Boydstun that you might like regarding just that.

Newton and Locke were still wrestling with the Form|Substance distinction which was a holdover from the Scholastics.  Locke's distinction between Primary and Secondary characteristics formed the basis of Berkeley's (who studied Optics) criticism of Locke, which in turn influenced Hume, which in turn influenced Kant.

Kant's Analytic Synthetic distinction makes a sort of sense when you understand the dominant ideas of science at the time.  And while this is only my opinion and one I can't fully support just yet, Kant's Categories can be seen as moving Aristotelian Metaphysical Realism's Catagories from "out there" into "mind."

Also, science, philosophy, and religion were not as separated back then as they are now.  It really helps to study all 3 fields to get the "big picture".

Edited by New Buddha

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53 minutes ago, Boydstun said:

see Kant’s Prolegomena and his Critique of Pure Reason (Pluhar translation, index)

You mean this passage, concerning 'the nature of perception'?

Quote

Reality, in the pure concept of understanding, is what corresponds to a sensation as such. Therefore reality is that whose very concept indicates a being [of something] (in time); and negation is that whose concept presents a not-being (in time). Hence the contrast of reality and negation is made by distinguishing the same time as either a filled or an empty time. Now, time is only the form of intuition, and hence only the form of objects as appearances; therefore what in these objects corresponds to sensation is the transcendental matter of all objects as things in their own right (i.e., their thinghood, reality). Now every sensation has a degree or magnitude whereby it can, in regard to the same presentation of an object, fill the same time-i.e., [form of] inner sense-more or fill it less, down to where the sensation ceases in nothingness (= 0 = negatio). Hence there is a relation and coherence, or rather a transition from reality to negation, which is responsible for every reality's being presented as a quantum. And the schema of a reality taken as the quantity of something insofar as it fills time is precisely this continuous and uniform production of that reality in time, where from a sensation having a certain degree we descend, in time, until the sensation vanishes, or ascend gradually from the sensation's negation to its [actual] magnitude. (A 143, B 182-3; footnote numbers deleted)

I've paid attention to this paragraph from my first reading of the Meiklejohn's translation. I knew there was something wrong about it, namely that it doesn't show what perception is. Rather, it reduces it to properties (such as quantity) and ultimately disintegrates it into nonexistence. A very sad epistemology indeed.

27 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

started thinking of "Kank the Physicists"

Very apt, considering that Kant believed that he was missing the 'physical' part of his philosophy, so he delved into it before he died (see SEP, last pp. of sec. 1).

30 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Kant's Analytic Synthetic distinction makes a sort of sense

I accept the distinction, especially with Putnam's critique of Quine. The problem is not with this distinction (even though it becomes pretty complex and confused after Carnap plays with it). The problem, as I stated, concerns Kant's epistemic understanding of perception. And no, this doesn't stray from the topic of this discussion. Peikoff was right that Kant was a disintegrator. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary.

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7 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Very apt, considering that Kant believed that he was missing the 'physical' part of his philosophy, so he delved into it before he died (see SEP, last pp. of sec. 1).

By "Kant the Physicists" I mean that Kant was a physicist first and turned to philosophy later in life.  Many of his ideas regarding the Analytic Synthetic distinction were developed in the realm of physics prior to turning to philosophy.  While I've spent years studying/reading about 17th Century science, I was only tangentially aware that Kant was also a physicist.  Once I put one-and-two together, much about Kant fell into place.

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2 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

By "Kant the Physicists" I mean that Kant was a physicist first and turned to philosophy later in life.  Many of his ideas regarding the Analytic Synthetic distinction were developed in the realm of physics prior to turning to philosophy.  While I've spent years studying/reading about 17th Century science, I was only tangentially aware that Kant was also a physicist.  Once I put one-and-two together, much about Kant fell into place.

I am glad that worked out for it. I must hold off reading Boydstrun's piece, however, as reading it on computer is killing me. I will have to take it a piece at a time.

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On 3/23/2017 at 4:02 AM, Ilya Startsev said:

To understand Kant, one needs to put him in context with other philosophers, like you did. I have to read up on Euclid, Wolff, and Reid in order to evaluate your context for Kant. In my own opinion, Hume and Descartes had the greatest influence on him, but his philosophy belongs to neither tradition, as my Diagram shows. Instead, his philosophy has been unknown for over 2000 years, throughout which all works of Democritus have been lost

 

On 3/25/2017 at 1:29 AM, Ilya Startsev said:

The specification of these grounds had the face of monadology, which reflects Democritus and, therefore, Kant (a major result of my hypothesis is that Kant is essentially a DIS because he is following in the footsteps of Democritus, even though he formalized and specified the philosophy to such an extent as to cause us to call this philosophy not merely Democritean but Kantian). Now, if you are unable to contradict me in regard to essential differences between Descartes and Leibniz, your contradiction in regard to essential similarities between Democritus and Kant would not only shut down my blog but would also shut me up, possibly forever. For that, of course, we would need to contentially compare the surviving fragments of Democritus from secondary sources to the bulky corpus of Kant.

The Atomism of Democritus was front-and-center among scientists in the 17th and 18th Centuries, but it was reintroduced through the writings of Lucretius (and Epicurus) specifically Lucretius' On the Nature of Things which was found in 1417 by Poggio.  I visited your website through the above link and see no reference to Lucretius.

Regarding Newton's corpuscular theory of light:

In this paper, by William Jensen (Dept Chem, University of Cincinnati) on Newton & Lucretius, he details the introduction of Epicurean atomism into renaissance intellectual life:

Though the manuscript of the epic poem, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius, was first printed in book form in 1473 and in many subsequent editions, it was not until the 17th century that it began to impact significantly on scientific thought...Sir Isaac Newton was a second-generation participant in this revival of atomism and so could build upon the earlier atomism of such 17th Century writers as Pierre Gassendi, Walter Charleton and, especially, that of his older British contemporary, Robert Boyle.

Whether Newton was also directly exposed as a student to the famous poem of Lucretius is not known. However, by the 1680s, when he began seriously writing the Opticks, he had almost certainly read Lucretius in the original, since among the surviving books of his personal library is a 1686 Latin edition of De rerum natura, which one Newtonian scholar has described as “showing signs of concentrated study” (i.e. numbering of lines and dog-earing) [6][7]. Likewise, the Scottish mathematician, David Gregory, reported a conversation with Newton in May of 1694 in which Newton stated that he could demonstrate that [8]: "The philosophy of Epicurus and Lucretius is true and old, but was wrongly interpreted by the ancients as atheism."

Regarding the influence of Lucretius on Kant see this paper, page 143:

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) was perturbed by Leibniz and heavily influenced by Newton. He openly acknowledged his debt to Lucretius in offering a nebular hypothesis concerning the formation of the planets and solar system.40

‘I will not deny’, he admitted, that the theory of Lucretius, or his predecessors, Epicurus, Leucippus, and Democritus has much resemblance with mine. I assume, like these philosophers, that the first state of nature consisted in a universal diffusion of the primitive matter of all the bodies in space, or of the atoms of matter, as these philosophers have called them. Epicurus asserted a gravity or weight which forced these elementary particles to sink or fall; and this does not seem to differ much from Newton’s attraction, which I accept. (Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven, 1755) 41

Despite his favourable attitude towards Lucretian cosmology, Kant rejected ‘the mechanical mode of explanation’ which, he said, ‘has, under the name atomism or the corpuscular philosophy, always retained its authority and influence on the principles of natural science, with few changes from Democritus’ (Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, 1786). Kant argued in the finale of his critical writings, the ‘critique of teleological judgement’ (Part 2 of The Critique of Judgement, 1790), that science required, conceptually, a teleological framework for the explanation of life, regardless of the basically unknowable nature of things. But atomistic and anti-teleological ideas were attracting a favourable reading in the rapidly developing life sciences. David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (first published 1779) contained a paraphrase of Lucretius’ selection principle,42 arguing that currently existing species of animals are those which, unlike their counterparts, had apt combinations of organs and were thus able to survive and reproduce, and this notion was common amongst the philosophes.

For additional info on Atomism, there is a good link to an article by the physicists Carlo Rovelli in the below post:

 

Edited by New Buddha

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To mix Newton and Leibniz seems abhorrent to me. As Peikoff argues, Newton stems from Aristotle (even while building a mathematical apparatus out of the latter's logical one), while Leibniz, well, is a guy of 'harmonic' and individuating fantasy, which tries to converge the 'parallel' universes of Plato and Democritus. And to further mix fantasy with something true is to, well, get Kant. As Rand properly understood, Kant is indeed a mixture of good and bad, right and wrong. And there surely is nothing worse than this. I would sooner accept Leibniz with his explanation that a hand moves both out of the accord with free will and, simultaneously, out of matter's random motion, fortuitously coinciding with the motion of the hand, than go along with Kant's brown singular upright existent as chair... or tree... or... you get the point. (You can have an infinity of properties, and they won't mean a concrete thing.)

Also, leptons are actual physical particles. That they can be mathematized as 'pure points' shouldn't bare the point of stressing, since this fact is secondary, as are interpretations of quantum mechanics compared to the actual things happening on the quantum level. On the other hand, I am still confused over Locke's metaphysical particle that has no extension. I mean, what's the point of that? It has nothing to do with empiricism.

In the beginning of the quote on page 14 of Boydstun's piece (sorry for an earlier misspelling), Kant equates matter with sensation. This is very interesting because I also thought so when I read about sensation in Rand's theory of concepts. That is, sensation as physical particles. But while developing my own epistemology, I started thinking of sensation as thoughts externally stimulated by such particles or matter in general. The issue here is whether to think of sensations as internal or external, and even then we indeed have what is external inside of us (the same particles travel in our brains and bodies as well). I guess there is no conflict then, just something to think through. But there is a conflict when you reduce percepts to sensation (matter), however conditioned transcendentally, as in the passage I quoted above from Kant's KrV. Of course, we have the same trouble of promoting sensation over perception with the likes of Thomas Reid and A. N. Whitehead, but for some reason I still have a greater problem with Kant than with these two.

I also like Boydstun's pointers toward the fact that noumenon in Kant is a "limiting idea" that regulates how "we employ in thinking our way about the phenomenal world" (p. 18). It is necessary to stress that noumenon is nothing besides this, contrary to what many interpreters of Kant like to think. Noumenon is not really important to Kant other than of such a peripheral role that it plays in his philosophy. The closest concept I can think of to parallel that of Kant is Democritus's bottomless well. Do you know of it, Boydstun? I don't think it's improper to compare the two, since, as New Buddha mentioned (although Boydstun shows that Kant was more like a failure in some instances of physics), they are both physicists to some extent and both employ the same concept about the formation of cosmos in a vortex. (Kant indeed borrowed this idea from Democritus.) Democritus was first ignored by Plato, but then his fame spread in Renaissance and Enlightenment. Nonetheless Kant derides him in Crit3, §72, for subjectivism in causality, even though his own system employs "a subjective principle of Reason for the Judgement, which as regulative (not constitutive) is just as necessarily valid for our human Judgement as if it were an objective principle" (Crit3, §76, italics here).

The other issue is why Democritus was ignored by Plato. Is it because Democritus called himself a 'materialist'? That's what I don't understand in academia: so much weight is given to mere words that it's ridiculous. These are just WORDS, people, learn to think independently of what someone else says but don't ignore it.

I love these phrases: "corporeal metaphysics" and "metaphysics of matter" (p. 19, from Boydstun's piece). I think it reflects much of Kant's contribution to philosophy.

Re New Buddha latest post: Lucretius was an Epicurean, which in my book doesn't count as Democritean. The major difference, paralleling the difference between Hume and Kant, is that the first were indeterminists, whereas the second were determinists. These are very different materialist views indeed (even though the second pair called themselves 'idealists'. It doesn't matter what someone calls himself; we need to look at what they specifically thought and how they related to others.) The link to the Diagram doesn't show reasons for why individuals are added to the list, but merely includes them as a way to demonstrate inductively the choices and outline the data range. The Diagram is an ever-in-progress project. To actually prove every individual on it and many more that I've added since then (currently 666 individuals) would take not only my lifetime but lifetimes of many in the school of philosophy I am trying to start and promote. Hence the reason for my desire to get a PhD in philosophy (by the way today I was accepted into a Master's program in it).

Newton's sympathy toward Democritus doesn't necessarily show that he was a materialist like that. Bacon, without understanding Aristotle, also famously quipped against the Socratics and similarly sympathized with materialists. However, if we look at Bacon's tradition, his empiricism is nothing like materialism. There are many other philosophers and/or scientists (even modern ones, like Carl Sagan) who were inspired by Democritus but who evidently didn't reflect him in their philosophies. So the second conclusion that I derive from my research, following not to trust what people call themselves, is not to equate influences (like those shown on Wikipedia) with the substance of philosophy influenced. For example, I am evidently influenced by Rand and Peikoff, but my philosophy also obviously (ask StrictlyLogical, who hates me, for example) has nothing to do with Rand's or Peikoff's. Again, labels and influences mean nothing without substance to prove the connections.

As a third conclusion, theology has nothing to do with philosophy, as Kant determinately showed. It bares naught whether an individual is a theist or an atheist, considering that one can be a subjective theist like Giordano Bruno, for a notorious example. Hence Newton's comment concerning theological interpretation of materialists draws no significant content for philosophy in general.

There is lots on mechanistic vs. teleological views of nature in the second part of Kant's Crit3. He goes back and forth there like he did in the antinomies in Crit1 and reflects much of Descartes and Democritus. The latter's anti- or quasi-teleological view is reflected in this particular quote from Kant:

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...nature everywhere shows in its free formations much mechanical tendency to the productions of forms which seem, as it were, to be made for the aesthetical exercise of our Judgement, without affording the least ground for the supposition that there is need of anything more than its mechanism, merely as nature, according to which, without any Idea lying at their root, they can be purposive for our judgement (Crit3, §58)

Cf. to the (long, sorry) passage from Aristotle arguing against Democritus's view (atomists, namely Leucippus (c. 480 BC) & Democritus (c. 460 BC), implied in bold):

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We must explain then (1) that Nature belongs to the class of causes which act for the sake of something; (2) about the necessary and its place in physical problems, for all writers ascribe things to this cause, arguing that since the hot and the cold, &c., are of such and such a kind, therefore certain things necessarily are and come to be-and if they mention any other cause (one his 'friendship and strife', another his 'mind'), it is only to touch on it, and then good-bye to it.

A difficulty presents itself: why should not nature work, not for the sake of something, nor because it is better so, but just as the sky rains, not in order to make the corn grow, but of necessity? What is drawn up must cool, and what has been cooled must become water and descend, the result of this being that the corn grows. Similarly if a man's crop is spoiled on the threshing-floor, the rain did not fall for the sake of this-in order that the crop might be spoiled-but that result just followed. Why then should it not be the same with the parts in nature, e.g. that our teeth should come up of necessity-the front teeth sharp, fitted for tearing, the molars broad and useful for grinding down the food-since they did not arise for this end, but it was merely a coincident result; and so with all other parts in which we suppose that there is purpose? Wherever then all the parts came about just what they would have been if they had come be for an end, such things survived, being organized spontaneously in a fitting way; whereas those which grew otherwise perished and continue to perish, as Empedocles says his 'man-faced ox-progeny' did.

Such are the arguments (and others of the kind) which may cause difficulty on this point. Yet it is impossible that this should be the true view. For teeth and all other natural things either invariably or normally come about in a given way; but of not one of the results of chance or spontaneity is this true. We do not ascribe to chance or mere coincidence the frequency of rain in winter, but frequent rain in summer we do; nor heat in the dog-days, but only if we have it in winter. If then, it is agreed that things are either the result of coincidence or for an end, and these cannot be the result of coincidence or spontaneity, it follows that they must be for an end; and that such things are all due to nature even the champions of the theory which is before us would agree. Therefore action for an end is present in things which come to be and are by nature. (Physics II, 8)

There are many other passages from other ancient writers who discussed Democritus's views, but this should do for now.

Concerning the infinite universe in Kant (as per Boystun, p. 29; and in Crit3, e.g. V), it is very much the infinite worlds in Democritus. There are other similarities as well, but enumerating all is like chasing an inductive rabbit: either you accept my categorization of Kant along with Democritus or you don't; there is no necessary, deductive line of reasoning for me to follow here, as the theory needs to be developed further and come to maturity in the hands of serious philosophers. The funny thing is that if you understand how the Diagram works, there is nothing else necessary to 'prove' categorizations, as they are very intuitive (more so than Peikoff's system of one/many) and bypass all the data debris by getting at the essence of a particular consciousness, and there can be no better proof than the accuracy of this statement.

I will have to read the Atomic article later, thanks for the reference!

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48 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Re New Buddha latest post: Lucretius was an Epicurean, which in my book doesn't count as Democritean.

The point is to consider Atomism and its influence on 17th & 18th Century as you study science and philosophy.  You can pretty much pick out of thin air any name of any scientist, mathematician, theologian, etc. from that period and Google their Name + Lucretius + Democritus + Epicurus + Atomism and find multiple hits - usually in the original words, writings and texts of the scientists themselves.  But as you note, much of Democritus writings were lost (or destroyed by the Church?) whereas the documented connection to Lucretius is heavy and overwhelming.

Atomism was the central idea in opposition to the lingering influence of the Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism of the Medieval Scholastics.  Many such as Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Locke, Leibniz, etc. were wrestling with new concepts of form, substance, matter, force, gravity, motion etc. but they were still using the words and concepts of the Scholastics.  They had one foot in the Medieval Religious world and one foot in the forthcoming Modern Scientific one.  That's why it's so had to classify any one scientists as believing in such-and-such - they were in the process of creating the knowledge that we now take for granted.  But Atomism was also universally equated with Atheism, so many scientists were circumspect when mentioning it in public.  That's why info can often be found in private letters.

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