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Kant and group subjectivity

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I was looking through the Ayn Rand Lexicon, and I noticed how Kant, according to Peikoff, "ushered in the era of social subjectivism—the view that it is not the consciousness of individuals, but of groups, that creates reality. In Kant’s system, mankind as a whole is the decisive group; what creates the phenomenal world is not the idiosyncrasies of particular individuals, but the mental structure common to all men."

Peikoff then says how it was this that led to the claim that groups of people, whether divided by class, race, or country, have their "own distinctive type of consciousness."

I've been searching all over the internet to find where Kant said that it was groups that determined reality, but I can't find anything. It seems to me that, according to how Kant viewed the phenomenal world as being that which one perceives through one's senses. This implies to me that each individual would see reality differently.

So can anyone help me out by pointing out a quote of Kant on how reality is determined by groups, rather than individuals (Or help me understand it if it should be clear to me already)? Thanks in advance!

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I'm not quite sure what Peikoff is referring to. I know Kant, in the Groundwork, talks about how everyone necessarily has different experiences and that makes you who you are, but that experience is fundamentally unreliable to attain an objective, universal ethics because your experiences are different from another's. This could possibly be used as a justification to not judge other culture norms, but that is all that I can think of.

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I was looking through the Ayn Rand Lexicon, and I noticed how Kant, according to Peikoff, "ushered in the era of social subjectivism—the view that it is not the consciousness of individuals, but of groups, that creates reality. In Kant’s system, mankind as a whole is the decisive group; what creates the phenomenal world is not the idiosyncrasies of particular individuals, but the mental structure common to all men."

Peikoff then says how it was this that led to the claim that groups of people, whether divided by class, race, or country, have their "own distinctive type of consciousness."

I've been searching all over the internet to find where Kant said that it was groups that determined reality, but I can't find anything. It seems to me that, according to how Kant viewed the phenomenal world as being that which one perceives through one's senses. This implies to me that each individual would see reality differently.

So can anyone help me out by pointing out a quote of Kant on how reality is determined by groups, rather than individuals (Or help me understand it if it should be clear to me already)? Thanks in advance!

I think you're misreading what Peikoff is saying. Peikoff is saying that Kant's views led to the era of social subjectivism. Kant held that it was human consciousness, subjectivism of the human species, that creates the phenomenal world and divorces his awareness of things in themselves. It was his followers who came along and pointed out that proletarian consciousness was different from bourgeois consciousness, that women's are different from men's, that white's are different from blacks which is different from aborigine's, etc., etc.

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I've been searching all over the internet to find where Kant said that it was groups that determined reality, but I can't find anything. It seems to me that, according to how Kant viewed the phenomenal world as being that which one perceives through one's senses. This implies to me that each individual would see reality differently.

There is no actual phenomenal world, the real world which is absolute and common to all is the noumenal world. The phenomenal world is constructed by consciousness in the act of perceiving, and that construction takes places by employing the prior structures of consciousness (the categories) to make sense of appearances. Any commonality in experience, any objectivity, is due to common categories of knowledge.

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I think you're misreading what Peikoff is saying. Peikoff is saying that Kant's views led to the era of social subjectivism. Kant held that it was human consciousness, subjectivism of the human species, that creates the phenomenal world and divorces his awareness of things in themselves. It was his followers who came along and pointed out that proletarian consciousness was different from bourgeois consciousness, that women's are different from men's, that white's are different from blacks which is different from aborigine's, etc., etc.

So Kant never did all the God Awful Things that it is said he did? One can not be responsible for what followers do, especially after one is dead. Death ends all responsibility for future events. You might say, being dead is the best alibi. Even Mohamed, the Prophet, is not responsible for 9/11.

If one accepts the premise of Free Will then one is primarily responsible for his/her own choices/actions. One can always say No. One can always Refuse. Even if it is difficult to do so, it is always possible.

Bob Kolker

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There is no actual phenomenal world, the real world which is absolute and common to all is the noumenal world. The phenomenal world is constructed by consciousness in the act of perceiving, and that construction takes places by employing the prior structures of consciousness (the categories) to make sense of appearances. Any commonality in experience, any objectivity, is due to common categories of knowledge.

Is that what you actually believe, or is that merely what Kant said?

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That is Kant's philosophy, and it has consequences when taken seriously.

How may one go about disproving it? I've been contemplating Kant's system for a while, and, although many Objectivists affirm it's falsity, I still haven't arrived at a clear, unequivocal refutation of it. Any suggestions?

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How may one go about disproving it? I've been contemplating Kant's system for a while, and, although many Objectivists affirm it's falsity, I still haven't arrived at a clear, unequivocal refutation of it. Any suggestions?
You need to post if you expect people to reply, no? You have zero posts. Since you have no posts on the forum, people cannot simply guess what's in your mind. ;)
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You need to post if you expect people to reply, no? You have zero posts. Since you have no posts on the forum, people cannot simply guess what's in your mind. ;)

I actually have several posts. I didn't think it was necessary to start a new post when my question was germane to the current post; it would be superfluous. ;)

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How may one go about disproving it? I've been contemplating Kant's system for a while, and, although many Objectivists affirm it's falsity, I still haven't arrived at a clear, unequivocal refutation of it. Any suggestions?

The words Kant used in his thoughts, and to make his argument - to what do those words refer, and how did those words come to be in his head?

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How may one go about disproving it? I've been contemplating Kant's system for a while, and, although many Objectivists affirm it's falsity, I still haven't arrived at a clear, unequivocal refutation of it. Any suggestions?

Affirming the primacy of existence principle denies the essence of Kant's system. There is no need to follow every branch and twig when the tree has been destroyed at the root.

Primacy of Existence vs. Primacy of Consciousness has some selected quotes, and followup with the cited sources for more. The first chapter of Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses covers several arguments against the prior certainty of consciousness.

D. Kant is self-refuting

Kant's principle that the identity of consciousness distorts knowledge applies to self-knowledge. Consciousness 'in itself' is noumenal, our theories about it are phenomenal, there is no way to relate the two.

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So Kant never did all the God Awful Things that it is said he did? One can not be responsible for what followers do, especially after one is dead. Death ends all responsibility for future events. You might say, being dead is the best alibi. Even Mohamed, the Prophet, is not responsible for 9/11.

If one accepts the premise of Free Will then one is primarily responsible for his/her own choices/actions. One can always say No. One can always Refuse. Even if it is difficult to do so, it is always possible.

Bob Kolker

Are you denying the causal efficacy of ideas in man's consciousness? To the extent one accepts another person's ideas, then the originator of the idea can be said to be responsible for his ideas affects on you. Please don't drop the context here and say that means Kant should be tried as a murderer if the person who accepts his ideas murders someone. That is not what it means.

One does not have to "do" something in order to be responsible for it.

Edited by A is A
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How may one go about disproving it? I've been contemplating Kant's system for a while, and, although many Objectivists affirm it's falsity, I still haven't arrived at a clear, unequivocal refutation of it. Any suggestions?

According to what Rand and Peikoff have said about Kant, it is not us who have to disprove him. He never offered proof for his major points: the categories are arbitrary constructs, the noumenal vs phenomenal world are unknowable and unreal, the identity of consciousness invalidates it, morality consists of acting from duty. Exactly what is there to disprove?

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I see you enjoy being an unsociable asshole. Nice to know! ;)

He was trying to be socratic. However, that often doesn't work when he is just one poster among several who have taken a question literally. The context shift involved is too much to ask of people. I've seen it happen before so I only know what is going on from recognizing the pattern, not because I'm particular smart or mentally flexible.

The forum format seemingly lends itself well to the dialectic method, but not when there are other people interjecting themselves into the conversation. Those interjections are actually the valuable part of, and even the point of, an internet forum, anybody with a contribution can and will contribute. So this place is only infrequently appropriate to use for reenacting Plato's dialogs.

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I see you enjoy being an unsociable asshole. Nice to know! ;)
Me? I'm just a figment of your consciousness. So, simply think different and I'll be different.

Yes, I understand how frustrating it is when someone takes this notion of non-reality literally, because everything you say and think and discuss assumes differently. When you ask for proof, you're really saying: if I assume a reality, with things like you, and truth and proof, could you use that context to prove that that context does not exist. Can't be done.

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Are you denying the causal efficacy of ideas in man's consciousness? To the extent one accepts another person's ideas, then the originator of the idea can be said to be responsible for his ideas affects on you. Please don't drop the context here and say that means Kant should be tried as a murderer if the person who accepts his ideas murders someone. That is not what it means.

One does not have to "do" something in order to be responsible for it.

I am asserting efficacy of free will. One can always say No to any idea or argument. Actions are the responsibility of the individual who takes them. No one who lived after Kant's death had to take a word he wrote seriously. For example me. I rejected Kant's epistemology and metaphysics from the git-go. I rejected the apodictic synthetic apriori. That was my free will in action. If I had bought Kant's bogosity, then shame on me, not on Kant.

Bob Kolker

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You're asleep. You're asleep and dreaming you're missing the point. (and yes, I'm just referencing a movie, I don't have much to add)

I'm simply trying to understand Objectivism and philosophy in general. I don't know why you people have to make such inane comments. Honestly.

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I'm simply trying to understand Objectivism and philosophy in general. I don't know why you people have to make such inane comments. Honestly.
How is it inane when someone on the forum makes a comment like this, and yet when Kant says the same thing you take him seriously and want to discuss how it can be disproved?

The replies are simply making the following point: take Kant seriously on this aspect and see if you really can.

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How is it inane when someone on the forum makes a comment like this, and yet when Kant says the same thing you take him seriously and want to discuss how it can be disproved?

The replies are simply making the following point: take Kant seriously on this aspect and see if you really can.

I see what you mean.

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I'm simply trying to understand Objectivism and philosophy in general. I don't know why you people have to make such inane comments. Honestly.

I assure you, on most philosophy forums that would've been considered a great point. (because, if you decide to ignore the fact that you're aware that you're not dreaming, there is no other evidence available to you that you're awake: whatever I say is consistent with you dreaming all this, except for your own ability to be aware that you're not)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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