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On 7/17/2017 at 6:48 AM, 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?

3

Isn't the bold above explained by Kant's Transcendental Unity of Apperception?

Wrt to perception and Locke and differences with Kant -- and a previous post of yours questioning how Locke can be considered an Empiricists (he can't per the below excerpt) here's an interesting article:

Excerpt:

In particular, in virtue of claiming to be "empiricists," Locke and Hume appear to celebrate ordinary perception. However, Roecklein promises to show that neither Locke nor Hume are actual empiricists, but instead, are atomist philosophers, and so, endorse the atomist metaphysical (i.e. not empirical) position;

[....]

Chapter Two, "John Locke's Philosophy of Mind" explains why, in detail, Locke is an atomist. In particular, Roecklein argues that not only is Locke's "experimental," i.e. empirical philosophy, inherently atomist, it is, concomitantly, elitist; it subjugates common perception. For instance, Roecklein writes: "in Locke's model, the ordinary speakers are deemed incompetent to know for themselves what are the humblest truths of perception, knowledge that experience had never taught them to doubt." (87) He continues further on:

Nobody, not even philosophers outside their office hours, describe perceptible objects as bundles of qualities . . . Locke's reduction of objects to bundles of qualities is close enough to the atomist portrait of the macroscopic object as a mere arrangement of particles. (93)

 

 

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20 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Transcendental Unity of Apperception

I fail to grasp that, and Kant's explanations are of no help. I guess I need to read more of his critics.

22 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Locke is an atomist

I surely wouldn't call Locke a pure empiricist, but an atomist? That's a very strange claim, so I will have to read the article to understand the argument.

26 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Locke's reduction of objects to bundles of qualities is close enough to the atomist portrait of the macroscopic object as a mere arrangement of particles.

Is Roecklein sure that he was not reading Kant? Locke's categories are intuitive and perceptible, like those in Aristotle. Similarly, Roecklein wouldn't claim that Aristotle reduced objects to 'bundles of qualities', right?

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Tell me this is not intuitive (contra Kant):

Quote

Locke defines the ‘quality’ of any substance as “the Power to produce any Idea in our mind” (II.viii.8). There are three categories of qualities according to the mechanical natural philosophy. Primary qualities are the inseparable features of a body, e.g., its size, shape, solidity, mobility, texture, weight, etc. (II.viii.9). Secondary qualities are the colors, sounds, smells, tastes, etc., of any object. These are secondary because these features of objects do not exist in the objects themselves, but rather are nothing but the power of the primary qualities of the object to produce an idea in us of a certain kind (II.viii.10). So, for example, the color of the table is not in the table, rather, it is part of how the matter and texture of the table (i.e., its primary qualities), as it reflects, absorbs and refracts light, has the power to produce ideas in us of that color. Finally, the tertiary qualities of a body are those powers in it that, by virtue of its primary qualities, give it the power to produce observable changes in the primary qualities of other bodies, e.g., the power of the sun to melt wax is a tertiary quality of the sun (II.viii.23). SEP

 

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Roecklein argues, Parmenides' unity must, if it is to exist, admit of "being" as a part, and so, it follows that it must admit of parts in general.

Is he serious? After such thinking I must conclude that Roecklein is either an idiot or an atomist himself.

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31 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

I surely wouldn't call Locke a pure empiricist, but an atomist? That's a very strange claim, so I will have to read the article to understand the argument.

Another and more accurate term for atomism would be corpuscularianism.

From wiki Corpuscularianism:

Corpuscularianism is a physical theory that supposes all matter to be composed of minute particles. The theory became important in the seventeenth century; amongst the leading corpuscularians were René Descartes, Pierre Gassendi, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, and John Locke.[1]

Corpuscularianism is similar to the theory of atomism, except that where atoms were supposed to be indivisible, corpuscles could in principle be divided. In this manner, for example, it was theorized that mercury could penetrate into metals and modify their inner structure, a step on the way towards the production of gold by transmutation. Corpuscularianism was associated by its leading proponents with the idea that some of the properties that objects appear to have are artifacts of the perceiving mind: "secondary" qualities as distinguished from "primary" qualities.[2] Corpuscularianism stayed a dominant theory for centuries and was blended with alchemy by early scientists such as Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton in the 17th century. - end excerpt.

 

As a member of the Royal Society Locke assisted Boyle in early experiments and Boyle is regarded as one of the founders of modern chemistry.  What drove the idea of atomism or corpuscularianism was the realization that the five Substances (earth, water, fire, air and aether) was making less and less sense.  It was after all Galileo's discovery of craters on the moon and Newton's postulate that the heavenly bodies (supposed pure immaterial bodies) obeyed the same laws as the earth-based bodies composed of the four earthly substances - thus calling into question the entire notion of the 5 Substances.

However, for Locke, the "atoms" were pure geometry and extension (not the modern chemical elements as we now know them to be) - and this is was what he regarded as Primary Qualities.  Secondary Qualities (color, etc.) were postulated to exist in the mind.  This was part of the whole "transition period" away from the Form|Substance distinction of Scholasticism.

51 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Similarly, Roecklein wouldn't claim that Aristotle reduced objects to 'bundles of qualities', right?

No, Aristotle held to the Form|Substance distinction.

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2 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Is he serious? After such thinking I must conclude that Roecklein is either an idiot or an atomist himself.

Or he could be right about some things and wrong about others.

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6 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Or he could be right about some things and wrong about others.

Yes, or maybe it's that Roecklein and I don't agree upon anything. In that case I would love to debate the issues with him directly.

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Without having read Locke properly, it's hard to answer on some of these attacks, but they continue bugging me. For example, while reading Kelley's Evidence of the Senses, I came upon this passage:

Quote

The assault on Locke’s theory by George Berkeley and David Hume is a familiar story, and only a few significant points need be noted here. The criticism was directed against Locke’s confidence that ideas in the mind have external sources; and the criticism merely brings to light the instability we noticed earlier in Descartes's theory. Unlike Descartes, to be sure, Locke asserts that the mind’s basic ideas are not innate but acquired from reality; but in adopting Descartes's model of ideas, he makes it impossible to support this position. (Ch. 1, "Kant's Idealism").

Locke has a form of metaphysical empiricism (I am taking this term from Oizerman's Metaphilosophy). I don't see anything inherently unstable in his philosophy. Now, if Kelley agrees with the criticisms of Locke like Roecklein does of Parmenides, it doesn't mean that those criticisms actually applied to these philosophers. They could very much be straw men or, even better, red herrings. A good criticism always reveals the essence of a philosophy, but I don't see these projections by Kelley and Roecklein as anything other than what they are.

23 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Aristotle held to the Form|Substance distinction.

Explain how form and substance are different from the bulk of size, shape, solidity, and other primary qualities? Aren't form and substance basically a simplified quintessence of these qualities? Of course as a mere distinction they differ but not as what referents they signify.

On 23.07.2017 at 9:17 PM, New Buddha said:

Kant's Transcendental Unity of Apperception

I've remembered that Unity is the first a priori category belonging to Quality, along with Plurality and Totality. So how can you necessarily have such a 'unity' at all times? Seems like it's doing a double work that is unjustified (not that anything is justified in Kant).

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Another distracting projection by Kelley (ibid.) now concerning Kant's philosophy:

Quote

The fact that consciousness has an identity prevents it from grasping the identities of things outside it.

I think he is confusing Kant with Fichte here. Pamfil Yurkevich in his "Mind from the teachings of Plato and experience from the teachings of Kant" shows that Kant never specified or identified consciousness, in contrast to Plato, for example.

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This all goes back to what 'mind' is for Kant. If 'reason' for him is Vernunft, then 'mind/reason' is Verstand. The two are equivalent semantically but not so philosophically unless you can think of the entire mind within a single thought.

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And then there is this which makes everything a lot more confusing:

 

Quote

 

‘In the former part of our Transcendental Logic, we defined the understanding to be the faculty of rules; Reason may be distinguished from understanding as the faculty of principles.’ (p.211)

The difference drawn by Kant between Reason (Vernunft) and Understanding (Verstand) will be crucial for philosophy and human sciences. Hegel praises Kant for this distinction, whilst criticising his idea of the functions of Reason. In fact, we might say retrospectively and adopting the Romantics language that understanding is concerned with finitude as much as reason is with the infinite. To go back to Kant, then, understanding cannot supply synthetic cognitions from conceptions, in other words it cannot produce principles. (link)

 

 

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Just to confuse everything a thousandfold, I refer to Kant's early use of Verstand in his "Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime":

Quote

Verstand ist erhaben, Witz ist schön (Kant, I. [1912]. Sämliche Werke in Sechs Bänden. Leipzig: Inselverlag. B. 1, S. 13).

 

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To make my point short, I have to say that each of us has one brain, not two or three. And each brain does one and only one thing: it thinks. It thinks in whatever form: whether of understanding, judging, or whatever. Each of these ways of thinking doesn't justify having different brains or different subparts of brains that answer to these functions. I believe that neurological evidence shows that our brain employs more complex nonlinear phenomena than if it had separate functions à la Kant.

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On 7/18/2017 at 7:32 PM, New Buddha said:

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."

Quote

In a larger perspective, the Stoics and Epicureans were competing over the same rationalistic religious space; the Epicureans too allowed that the gods existed, but declared that they, like everything else, were composed of material atoms. This was in effect a defensive concession to popular religion, which placed legal penalties on outright atheism in places such as Athens during these centuries. But the two schools were at pains to differentiate themselves within this space, the Stoics taking a pantheist line, the Epicureans the view that the gods existed concretely, but that they had nothing to do with human affairs, living in remote places in the void. ~ Collins, R. (2002). The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard UP. p. 104, my emphasis

 

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On 7/20/2017 at 3:39 AM, Ilya Startsev said:

This is excellent news. It shows evidence of a segment of the connection between quantum and cosmic levels (here on earth). Two things I want to elaborate on for you specifically, EC, as you are new to this discussion: I argued against the Loop quantum gravity, a theory that competes with string theory but bases itself also on quantum gravity (but philosophically vastly different). Also, when I mentioned that gravity for strings is an a posteriori fact (and even than a fact of mathematics, not an empirical fact), I want to stress that a posteriori doesn't exclude necessary conclusions, as Saul Kripke wonderfully argued, contrary to what all Kantians believe.

Bold mine.

I see. I'll admit I didn't follow the arguments in the thread carefully and was only responding to what I quoted directly.

I think it is entirely possible that LQG might just be an alternative description of the same underlying physics. I can't prove but would guess there is some duality (or a change of coordinate using an existing symmetry) where LQM and String theories are alternative descriptions of the same phenomena. The ideas of a discrete geometry that creates spacetime is probably correct. For instance strings exist as excitations that are multiples of h-bar.  

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22 minutes ago, EC said:

I think it is entirely possible that LQG might just be an alternative description of the same underlying physics.

Perhaps, but I am not in a syncretic mood.

23 minutes ago, EC said:

The ideas of a discrete geometry that creates spacetime is probably correct. For instance strings exist as excitations that are multiples of h-bar.

Susskind doesn't deny that the Planck units (particularly of space and time) are the most fundamental in our universe, and he uses them as such natural blocks to explain black holes. However, adding something else besides them or making something else more fundamental seems like an unjustified reification. Like graviton.

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I found something quite illuminating from the book that Boydstun recommended, The Sociology of Philosophies. On page 527 there is this chart of most if not all pre-Kantian philosophers in classical Europe. It answers on my question concerning the relationship of Berkeley and Hume. The connecting link is Maclauren (Edinburgh math chair). I have no idea who it was, but it's shown that he attacked Berkeley, so Hume is connected to the attacker on Berkeley, not Berkeley himself. Hence you can see how inappropriately he called himself an "idealist" "following" Berkeley.

classical_philosophers.png

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Similarly, concerning Kant from the same book:

Quote

Kant initially was not an Idealist; his first Critique prohibits just the kind of philosophy that his followers went on to develop. Kant was playing in a different intellectual arena. His ideas were picked up and transformed into a billowing philosophical movement precisely when an organized group appeared. Kant’s late work was turned Idealist by the presence of this movement. Here again the link is Fichte: he was the one member of the Idealists to make personal contact with Kant, and launched his own career on Kant’s sponsorship. / Fichte, one may say, made Kant what he turned out to be for the history of philosophy. (p. 4, original italics)

 

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7 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Similarly, concerning Kant from the same book:

 

So if I had a time machine and a gun with only one bullet (time machines are expensive) I should shoot Fichte and not Kant or Hitler?  Wouldn't Fichte have been replaced by someone else?

Edited by Grames
grammar

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6 hours ago, Grames said:

So if I had a time machine and a gun with only one bullet (time machines are expensive) I should shoot Fichte and not Kant or Hitler?  Wouldn't Fichte have been replaced by someone else?

Perhaps. It doesn't deny the point that it wasn't Kant's fault. Besides, you really can't change history, no matter how much you'd try. :P

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Hallelujah, I've found "perception" in Kant's KrV! The only unfortunate thing is that it is reduced to imagination for him, and moreover he deleted it from his second edition because he was very upset being called a Berkelean. It's in the section also explaining the 'unity of apperception', by the way, even though the method starts with this kind of 'perceptual' apprehension and ends with the apperception (which is more related to his a priori logic).

Quote

Let us now show how the understanding by means of the categories coheres necessarily with appearances, and let us do so by starting from the bottom147 upward, viz., from the empirical. What is first given to us is appearance. When appearance is combined with consciousness, it is called perception. (Without the relation to an at least possible consciousness, appearance could never become for us an object of cognition, and hence would be nothing to us; and since appearance does not in itself have any objective reality and exists only in cognition, it would then be nothing at all.) But because every appearance contains a manifold, so that different perceptions are in themselves encountered in the mind sporadically and individually, these perceptions need to be given a combination that in sense itself they cannot have. Hence there is in us an active148 power to synthesize this manifold. This power we call imagination; and the act149 that it performs directly on perceptions I call apprehension.150 For the imagination is to bring the manifold of intuition to151 an image; hence it must beforehand take the impressions up into its activity, i.e., apprehend them. (A 119-20, trans. Pluhar, original italics)

The most substantial note is 150, which says:

Quote

That the imagination is a necessary ingredient of perception itself has, I suppose, never occurred to any psychologist. This is so partly because this power has been limited by psychologists to reproduction only, and partly because they believed that the senses not only supply us with impressions, but indeed also assemble these impressions and thus bring about images of objects. But this undoubtedly requires something more than our receptivity for impressions, viz., a function for their synthesis. (A 120)

Talk about the psychologizing revolution Kant had brought forward!

Edited by Ilya Startsev
corrected A 122 to A 120

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And that's unfortunate because, following Kant, I would have been able to say that when I see a white shape on a green surface I then perceive a unicorn on a pasture.

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On 7/17/2017 at 7:38 PM, New Buddha said:

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

I am starting to sense this too while reading Kant's pre-critical works, and particularly his mathematico-linguistic side shines through. While Aristotle's project was to connect the philosophy of the ontologically real to the language of the essentially and mentally actual, Kant's project, as can be seen from his Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy (1763), was to connect the language of philosophy to the mathematics of the real. Hence Kant's logic allowed coexistence of opposites that he saw as non-contraries, such as -1 and +1 with 0 as a real possibility, and hence he switched the context, supporting the idea that Aristotle's logic was analytical and, having nothing to do with reality, meaningless. Meaning for Kant was only in what's real, and what's real for him is mathematically quantifiable, matter rather than form. Aristotle, of course, shunned mathematics, as it wasn't in his primary interests. So this is the way the moderns were able to supersede Aristotle.

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