About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadPage 0Page 1Page 2Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 0

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 12:30pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I found Rand's 12 questions/challenges (to a public audience) to be so wise that I thought that they deserved to be officially validated. For instance, you could say to a friend visiting your home; one who thought they followed only feelings, not philosophy:

"You know, that notion that you're entertaining actually does have a philosophical basis; here, let me show you a quote which proves this."

Of course, ideally, you'd have a corresponding refutation (probably from Rand) to counter each quote in question. And that is part of what this thread is for.

:-)

Ed


Post 1

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 2:15pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thank you! Ed.

Post 2

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 6:21pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
You're welcome, Ciro.

By the way, I might be in South Boston, Virginia (in mid-September) -- how far from there is your nearest restaurant or pizzaria?

;-)

Ed


Post 3

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 8:32pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ed,
 I am about 30 minutes away from  Washington DC.
South Boston is about 5 hours away.
If  you feel like visiting me, I will be very happy to let you try some of my cooking.
http://www.ciroristorante.com/

Ciao


Post 4

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 9:22pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Nice web site, Ciro.

Sam


Post 5

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - 11:47pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ciro,

Looking at that "Medaglioni di Manzo con Salsa di Vino Rosso e Pancetta" literally made my mouth water!
 
Ed
[contemplating a 5-hour drive]




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 6

Thursday, August 2, 2007 - 6:39amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
This is a good exercise, Ed. You have a start. I am glad to see such interest in philosophy and the history of philosophy.

The entry #9 on your list is incorrect.
(9) "'I can't prove it, but I feel that it's true'.--that notion is from Kant."
 
Validating quotation:
"The principle of reason is thus properly only a rule, prescribing a regress in the series of the conditions of given appearances."--Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. Kemp Smith, A 508/B 536

"I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself."--Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. Kemp Smith, B 158

These two quotations do not support the thesis. The sort of principle that Kant is addressing in the first quote is a regulative principle. That is a rule concerning nature that, according to Kant, is rational and fruitful for us to adopt. It is not in contradiction of the senses or the rational mind. It is in contrast to what Kant called constitutive principles. Constitutive principles are rational principles concerning nature also, but their truth can be demonstrated by rigorous proof, such as the proofs Kant thinks he has presented for them in CPR. A regulative principle of reason cannot be so demonstrated, Kant concluded, having argued that the attempts of past philosophers to prove these fine principles have all been spurious. That is why that little word only is in the sentence you quote. It is because of comparison with constitutive principles, which are his pride and joy since he thinks he has been able to give them the extra strength of rigorous demonstration. Now those constitutive principles, you will recall, are so called because, although they are not subject to our discretion, they are prescribed for nature in a perfectly true way by the human understanding. (Kant's Understanding and Reason together are what you and I and Rand would call reason or the rational faculty or the reasoning mind.) This conception, constitutive principle, errs by taking consciousness as prior to existence, the error of Kant's "Copernican Revolution" in Philosophy.

The error of the primacy of consciousness comes in various forms, and Kant's is not a primacy of feeling-consciousness. So I would not expect to find corroboration for Rand's attribution in #9 in looking at what Kant says of constitutive principles any more than what he says of regulative ones. Nor in what Kant says of a faculty of intuition in sensory perception and in mathematics.

The distinction in your second quotation is between the noumenal self and the phenomenal self. The later is the self "as I appear to myself." How it appears is in no way discretionary nor illusory. The terms appears and appearance in Kant should in not be taken to mean appears falsely or false appearance. Appearances, in Kant's terminology, are givens that combine into the objective reality of everyday experience and science. So when Kant writes "I have no knowledge of how I am," he means how I am apart from how "I appear to myself" when I am not being self-deluding within the phenomenal world. In the background, of course, is that infamous sequence over in England: Locke's shakiness on the knowable reality of substance, Berkeley's definite jettison of material substance independent of our awareness, and Hume's jettison of spiritual substance (noumenal self) to boot. Kant is trying to assimilate the parts of this debate he thinks sound and refute or work around the rest. You and I and Rand are right to fight this particular degeneration from Locke to Kant as if we were fighting for our lives. Nonetheless, Kant is not endorsing the view that how I am phenomenally is however I wish to be to make me feel good.

The attribution Rand makes in #9 is incorrect when taken in a straightforward way. Rand may have meant it in a straightforward way, and in that case, she was misunderstanding Kant, at least in the overwhelming preponderance of
the first Critique. Possibly Rand was doing a bit of telescoping here. When Kant writes that he has attempted to make reason small in order to make room for belief, he is relying on the double meaning of belief. The same double meaning runs with glauben and Glaube. It can mean belief as when we say that knowledge is a certain constrained type of belief, or it can mean religious belief that contravenes reason. By this resident ambiguity of the term, Kant can satisfy his own mostly secular mind and the subsequent entirely secular minds reading Kant today, and he can satisfy the clerics of his day having social and political power. In the minds of (not-too-irrational) religious readers of Kant, the sage can be construed as saying that he has made reason small enough that, even though he has refuted proofs for the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, there will be some room left over for religious faith in the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, the holy trinity, the virgin birth, and so forth.

Behind belief in the sense of religious belief that contravenes reason, I think, as Rand thought, that one will find feeling. Depend on it. The fact that Rand may sometimes get Kant wrong or not entirely right does not entail that her philosophy is incorrect.


Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 7

Thursday, August 2, 2007 - 8:51amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
It can mean belief as when we say that knowledge is a certain constrained type of belief, or it can mean religious belief that contravenes reason.
That is the fallacy of - it is all belief, and knowledge is merely belief with certainty........ which is not true...


Post 8

Thursday, August 2, 2007 - 3:19pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Right Rev',

'Knowledge' not is not merely: 'Justified, True Belief' -- as I've previously shown in my May 3, 2005 article entitled: "The Veridicality of Conceptual Discernment" *

Ed

* Find at:
http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Author_101.shtml

Post 9

Thursday, August 2, 2007 - 3:42pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Stephen,

I sanctioned you for that constructive criticism. Thank you.

I do have a few points to contend, however. You wrote:

====================
The sort of principle that Kant is addressing in the first quote is a regulative principle. ...

A regulative principle of reason cannot be so demonstrated, Kant concluded, having argued that the attempts of past philosophers to prove these fine principles have all been spurious.
====================


But when you say: "cannot be so demonstrated" -- isn't that just another validation of the first half of the Kant quote?:

====================
"I can't prove it, ...
====================



And, Stephen, I really appreciated this synopsis of yours:

====================
In the background, of course, is that infamous sequence over in England: Locke's shakiness on the knowable reality of substance, Berkeley's definite jettison of material substance independent of our awareness, and Hume's jettison of spiritual substance (noumenal self) to boot.
====================



But I have one more point of contention. Regardless of whether you agree or not that you have re-validated the first "I can't prove it, ..." part of Kant's quote -- didn't you (inadvertently?) ADD YOUR OWN Rand-validating quote (to the second half of the quote: "... but I feel[italicized] that it's true.") by writing this?:

====================
When Kant writes that he has attempted to make reason small in order to make room for belief, he is relying on the double meaning of belief.
====================



Considering how myself and Robert Malcom have responded to the inescapably-spurious connection between knowledge and belief, then didn't you, at least implicitly, offer up the following Kant quote as further validation to #9 from my essay?:

====================
I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge[italicized] in order to make room for faith[italicized].
====================
-"Critique of Pure Reason", trans. N. Kemp Smith, B xxx



I think that you did. Now, if you take these 2 halves of the Kant quote, and you take my 2 points of contention with what you had written (1 for each half of the Kant quote), then haven't you validated the whole quote? Would you agree with that?


Preemptively, I do see a point of contention wherein you might argue something like this:

====================
But, in Kant's mind, knowledge WAS a belief (only a justified and true one). But, for Kant, our "phenomenal" knowledge was too sterile to afford intellectual progress, something which requires a different mental activity: faithful belief.
====================

Though, in response to this hypothetical, I would stay the course with my argument. I don't care what Kant thought about knowledge versus faithful belief. His conclusion stills stands as wrong, regardless of any "explanation" as to how he arrived at it.

Rand said something about not bothering to examine ALL of the history behind a thinking error, but to first question the consequences of what would stem from it's wide-scale adoption. And I "believe" (please pardon the contextual irony!) that she meant that sentiment to be directed more at Kant's work than anyone else's.

Ed
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 8/03, 4:11am)


Post 10

Friday, August 3, 2007 - 7:50amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Robert, I'm not sure, but you may have misunderstood the sentence you quoted in your post #7. My sentence was: "It [Glaube] can mean belief as when we say that knowledge is a certain constrained type of belief, or it can mean religious belief that contravenes reason." I think you may have understood the clause "as when we say that knowledge is a certain constrained type of belief" as though there were a comma between certain and constrained. The presence or absence of that comma changes the meaning of the clause. With the comma, the object of the clause becomes a type of belief that is certain and constrained. Without the comma, which is what I wrote, the object of the clause is a certain type of constrained belief. The word certain here means particular. The object of the clause is: one unspecified type of constrained belief out of an unspecified range of types of constrained beliefs.

You got thrown over to the other meaning of certain. You then remark something quite correct, I think. You deny that "knowledge is merely belief with certainty." Moderns and ancients widely agree that knowledge is a type of belief, specifically, a justified true belief. But the ancient view that knowledge must be certain to count as knowledge has given way to distinguishing various kinds of knowledge and degrees of certainty in knowledge.

Robert and Ed, in referring to knowledge as a certain constrained type of belief, I meant to speak broadly enough to include knowledge under Rand's definition of it as well as the definitions of knowledge by other moderns. I will show examples below. As you probably know, Rand's definition of knowledge does not explicitly refer to belief as a superordinate of the species. I have argued in another thread that there is no knowledge absent belief.

Ed, I will respond momentarily, in a separate post, to your thoughts on Kant in #9.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some Modern Definitions of Knowledge

1.  Rand writes that knowledge is "a mental grasp of fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation" (ITOE 35).

2.  Philip Kitcher, writing in The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge, defines knowledge in general this way: "X knows that p [that p is the case] if and only if p and X's belief that p was produced by a process which is a warrant for it" (17). The warranting process would be one broad enough to encompass true perceptual judgments and true scientific and mathematical propositions, but narrow enough to exclude mystical revelations and propositions held as exempt from warranting process.

3. Robert Nozick writes that person X knows that p [that p is the case] if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(i) p is true.
(ii) X believes that p.
(iii) If p were not true, X would not believe that p.
(iv) If p were true, X would believe that p.
[The fourth is going beyond the satisfaction of the first two. Compare with the following: Not only was it the case that the bird's landing captured the cat's attention, but if the bird were to land as it did, it would capture the cat's attention as it did.]
(Philosophical Explanations 172-78; see further 179-96)


Post 11

Friday, August 3, 2007 - 9:57amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Stephen,

Please allow me to expand on Rand's (quoted) definition of knowledge -- with [brackets] -- in order to make it adequate for the discussion at hand:

==========================
1. Rand writes that knowledge is "a mental grasp of fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation [THAT something exists] or ...

by a process of reason based on perceptual observation [which effectively reveals the IDENTITY both of that which had been DIRECTLY perceived, as well as the IDENTITY of those things which are SELF-EVIDENTLY entailed by the INTEGRATED perceptual observation of reality]"
==========================

Facts cannot be false (internal contradiction).

Essential characteristics are epistemological, so they cannot be false (they merely grow in response to the observer's integrated background body of knowledge).

And things that are self-evident -- as well as things which are self-evidently entailed cannot be false (internal contradiction).

It follows that genuine knowledge (of reality) cannot be false and, therefore, need not be merely "believed in."

Ed

Post 12

Saturday, August 4, 2007 - 5:32amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Ed, this note is in response to your post #9.

 

Firstly, let me say that when I composed #6 it was done in the stand-and-deliver mode, without consulting any texts. After addressing the two excerpts from CPR that you had introduced as supporting Rand’s thesis (#9 in your article above), I introduced an additional statement of Kant’s that, on its face, would support Rand’s thesis about Kant’s view. (Yes, I did think it had a better chance of supporting Rand’s contention than the other candidates, which I had rejected.) I misremembered Kant as saying that one result of his CPR enterprise was “to make reason small in order to make room for belief.”

 

You have correctly quoted the statement as “I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith” (B xxx). That was the Kemp Smith translation. Similarly, Pluhar renders this sentence as “I therefore had to annul knowledge in order to make room for faith.”

 

I began studying CPR in a graduate seminar on it which I was able to take my senior year of my first degree (1971). We used the Kemp Smith translation. It was my reference for many years, and I was reluctant to turn away from it and take up one or the other of the two new translations that had finally been completed in the 90’s. One is by Paul Guyer. It is in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. I’m sure it is excellent. The second new translation is by Werner Pluhar. I obtained this one, and it has been my reference the past ten years. It is wonderful, and I urge you to consider buying it for your reference in the years ahead. It translates Kant often more intelligibly than in Kemp Smith, it is full of helpful notes on the translation, and it has a tremendous Index.

 

To the statement of Kant’s just given, Pluhar adds a note on his translation of Glaube as faith.

Glaube. It is knowledge (Wissen), not cognition (Erkenntnis), that is being “annulled” (aufheben). Strictly speaking, what is annulled is the claim to knowledge; Kant is adding a touch of drama. As for Glaube, the term can mean either faith or belief. As the present context makes clear (cf. A 820–31 = B 848–59 incl. br. n. 113), Kant’s Glaube, in the full sense of the term, is incompatible with knowledge (though not with cognition; cf. above, A vii br. n. 6). As these terms are used in English, faith is usually considered incompatible with knowledge, whereas belief normally is not (but is even included in standard definitions of knowledge). Hence Kant’s Glaube, in the full sense of the term, must be rendered as "faith".

 

In addition to Kant’s statement at B xxx, and Pluhar’s note, I should display the following excerpt from Kant.

Assent—or the judgment’s subjective validity—in reference to conviction (which holds [subjectively and] at the same time objectively) has the following three levels: opinion, faith, and knowledge. Opinion is an assent that is consciously insufficient both subjectively and objectively. If the assent is sufficient only subjectively and is at the same time regarded as objectively insufficient, then it is called faith. Finally, assent that is sufficient both subjectively and objectively is called knowledge. (A 822 = B 850, W. S. Pluhar, trans.)

 

In view of Pluhar’s note, I think my idea (in #6) that Kant was trading on an ambiguity to simultaneously satisfy opposing tendencies and parties is incorrect. Everyone understood in single way the notorious statement in B xxx.

 

I should add, also in response to your remarks in #9, that Kant did not consider the knowledge humans were acquiring of the world by so-called unaided reason, scientific knowledge in particular, to be in need of any information or advice from religion. Science and philosophical inquiries such as that in CPR are competent in their own right and should be respected as separate and free from religious dogmas.

 

Now, I’m sure that in the pulpit and in the classes at the Lutheran seminaries it is a pretty quick trip from “I therefore had to annul knowledge in order to make room for faith” to “I can’t prove it, but I feel that it’s true [just like the Bible says it is true].” They would be chewing on the very bone that Kant had tossed to keep the hounds at bay, I would say. But the trip from Kant’s statement to the subjectivist pigsties of Stirner and Nietzsche is a trip probably not nearly so quick and plain.

(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 8/04, 5:50am)


Post 13

Saturday, August 4, 2007 - 3:22pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Stephen,

I really appreciate your advice and marshalled quotes from Pluhar -- his interpretive account of Kant really seems like something desirable to me. As well, I appreciate your distinction of the objective scopes of science, philosophy and religion.

I especially enjoyed your eloquence of expression in your concluding remarks!:

===================
Now, I’m sure that in the pulpit and in the classes at the Lutheran seminaries it is a pretty quick trip from “I therefore had to annul knowledge in order to make room for faith” to “I can’t prove it, but I feel that it’s true [just like the Bible says it is true].” They would be chewing on the very bone that Kant had tossed to keep the hounds at bay, I would say. But the trip from Kant’s statement to the subjectivist pigsties of Stirner and Nietzsche is a trip probably not nearly so quick and plain.
===================

That was enjoyable to read. Perhaps someone (me, you, or others) will embark on that "trip probably not nearly so quick and plain." (!)

:-)

Ed

Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 14

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - 7:44amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Kant from A to Bxxx

 

This note will be rather long, but examination this close is required to dispose of its specific issue. This note completes up to 1787 the treatment of one of the Kant issues in #6 and #12. I will use curly braces {. . .} for insertions from me into quoted material. I will use square brackets [. . .] for insertions or footnotes from the translators.

 

I have arrived at an explanation of why Kant writes in the Preface to the second edition (1787) of CPR “I therefore had to annul knowledge in order to make room for faith” (Bxxx). Unfolding the background of this statement will also elucidate its meaning.

 

This statement was not in the Preface to the first edition (1781) of CPR. It is, however, perfectly consistent with Kant’s presentation of the critical philosophy in the first edition, where he writes:

“Putting the investigating as well as the examining reason in a state of complete freedom—so that it can attend unhindered to its own interest—is always and without any doubt beneficial. Reason furthers this interest just as much by setting limits to its insights as it does by expanding them; and this interest always suffers when outside hands intervene to lead reason—against its natural course—in accordance with forced aims” (A744 B772).

A wholly rational dispute over, for example, the existence of God, “cultivates reason by making it contemplate its objects from two sides, and the dispute corrects reason’s judgment by limiting it {e.g., by showing reason cannot prove the existence or nonexistence of God} . . . You are still left with sufficient basis to speak the language—justified before the keenest reason—of a firm faith, even though you have had to give up the language of knowledge” (A744–45 B772–73).

 

Between the first and second editions are three works of Kant that I will notice here. The first is Kant’s 1783 treatise in which he summarizes the critical philosophy. That is Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics that Will Be Able to Come Forward as Science. Kant writes in this work:

“In metaphysics, as a speculative science of pure reason, one can never appeal to ordinary common sense, but one can very well do so if one is forced to abandon metaphysics and to renounce all pure speculative cognition, which must always be knowledge [ein Wissen], hence to renounce metaphysics itself and its teaching (on certain matters), and if a reasonable belief [vernünftiger Glaube] is alone deemed possible for us, as well as sufficient for our needs (perhaps more wholesome indeed than knowledge itself)” (4:371).

“Through critique our judgment is afforded a standard by which knowledge can be distinguished with certainty from pseudo-knowledge; and, as a result of being brought fully into play in metaphysics, critique establishes a mode of thinking that subsequently extends its wholesome influence to every other use of reason, and for the first time excites the true philosophical spirit. Moreover, the service it renders to theology, by making it independent of the judgment of dogmatic speculation and in that way securing it against all attacks from such opponents, is certainly not to be underrated” (4:383).

 

In 1785 in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant writes:

“The idea of a pure intelligible world as a whole of all intelligences to which we ourselves belong as rational beings (though on the other side we are at the same time members of the world of sense) is always a useful and permissible idea for the purpose of a rational faith. This is so even though all knowledge terminates at its boundary . . .”(462).

 

Frederick the Great reigned from 1740 to his death in 1786. Under that sovereign, religious freethinking had been allowed and the German Enlightenment (Aufklärung) had flourished. The successor to the throne, Frederick William II, was already well-known to be a religious fanatic prior to getting the reins of full power in 1786. Kant knew what sort of rollback of freethinking and of the Aufklärung would now be attempted by the new administration in Berlin.

 

F. H. Jacobi was a religious mystic opposed to the Aufklärung. He opposed the authority of reason, supported the authority of inspired faith. When I was a young man, there was a saying: “It’s easy to knock a tall man down.” That was Jacobi’s approach to arguing against the power of reason and philosophy. He would argue that all rationalist Aufklärung philosophies lead inexorably beyond theism, beyond deism, to the pantheism and total necessitarianism one finds in Spinoza (who was widely regarded as really an atheist). The antidote to philosophy, according to Jacobi, is the great leap of faith (salto mortale).

 

Moses Mendelssohn was a distinguished philosopher who, like Kant, was an Aufklärer. Unlike Kant, Mendelssohn remained in the rationalist, Wolffian school. By 1785 Jacobi and Mendelssohn were sparring in open, published exchanges. This was the famous Pantheism Controversy. It was a fight to the death between what Mendelssohn called "the flag of reason” (Aufklärung) and "the party of faith” (Sturm und Drang).

 

“Both sides to the dispute saw Kant as their ally, and both did their best to cajole him into fighting for their cause. Hamman and Jacobi were especially eager to gain Kant for their ‘party of faith’” (Beiser 1987, 113–14). They were disappointed. Kant came down, as always, for the Aufklärung. He argued against the speculative metaphysics maintained by philosophers such as Mendelssohn, but he came out against the irrationalists such as Jacobi and against the repression surely on its way from the new political regime.

 

This Kant did in his October 1786 essay “What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?” Anticipating Bxxx of the second edition of CPR, Kant writes:

“{Mendelssohn} retains the merit of insisting that the final touchstone of the reliability of judgment is to be sought in reason alone . . . . {Rather than its usual name,} pronouncement of healthy reason,  . . . {it is better} to give this source of judging another name, and none is more suitable than rational belief or {rational} faith. . . . A rational belief or faith is one grounded on no data other than those contained in pure reason. All believing is a holding true which is subjectively sufficient, but consciously regarded as objectively insufficient; thus it is contrasted with knowing” (8:140–41).

“Yet in the controversy between Jacobi and Mendelssohn, everything appears to overturn reason in just this way; I do not know whether it is directed only against rational insight and knowledge (through supposed strength of speculation) or also against rational faith, so as to set up in opposition to it another faith which everyone can make up for himself as he likes. One would almost infer the latter intention when it is proposed that the Spinozist concept of God is the only one in agreement with all the principles of reason . . .” (8:143).

 

The denial that reason has its own needs in its drive for cognition, “the maxim of reason’s independence of its own need (of doing without rational faith), is unbelief.” This is “an unbelief of reason [Vernunftunglaube], . . . which first takes from moral laws all their force as incentives to the heart, and over time all their authority, and occasions . . . the principle of recognizing no duty at all. At this point, the authorities get mixed up in the game . . .” (8:146).

 

It is very understandable, then, why Kant should be writing in his Preface for the second edition (1787) of CPR:

“A critique that restricts speculative reason is, to that extent, indeed negative. But because, by doing so, the critique also removes an obstacle that restricts—or even threatens to annihilate—the practical use of reason, its benefit is in fact positive and very important. We see this as soon as we become convinced that there is a use of pure reason which is practical and absolutely necessary (viz., its moral use)” (Bxxv).

“Now let us suppose that morality necessarily presupposes freedom (in the strictest sense) as a property of our will . . . . But then suppose that speculative reason had proved that freedom cannot be thought at all [viz., as ruled out by the necessary mechanism of nature] . . . . {Then} freedom, and with it morality, would have to give way to the mechanism of nature. But in fact the situation is different. All I need for morality is that freedom does not contradict itself and hence can at least be thought; I do not need to have any further insight into it” (Bxxviii–xxix).

“I cannot even assume . . . freedom . . . [as I must] for the sake of the necessary practical use of my reason, if I do not at the same time deprive speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight. . . . I therefore had to annul knowledge in order to make room for faith. And the true source of all lack of faith which conflicts with morality—and is always highly dogmatic—is dogmatism in metaphysics, i.e., the prejudice according to which we can make progress in metaphysics without a [prior] critique of pure reason” (Bxxx).

 

Fred Seddon’s account of Bxxx in his 2005 essay “Kant on Faith” in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (V7N1) is shown to be incorrect by the present note.

 

 

References

 

Beiser, Frederick 1987. The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte.

Harvard.

Kant, Immanuel 1781, 1787. Critique of Pure Reason. Werner Pluhar, trans. Hackett.

―――. 1783. Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics. Gary Hatfield, trans.

In Theoretical Philosophy after 1781. Cambridge.

―――. 1785. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Lewis White Beck, trans.

Bobbs-Merrill.

―――. 1786. “What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?” Allen Wood, trans.

In Religion and Rational Theology. Cambridge.


Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 15

Monday, June 23, 2008 - 7:10amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

In Objectivity are these resources:

 

John Dewey

V1N3 67–68, V1N6 73, 76, 81–82, V2N4 118, V2N5 68, V2N4 118, V2N5 68

 

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

V1N3 98, V1N4 42–43, V1N5 3, 109–15, 118, V1N6 97, V2N3 120, V2N4 2

 

David Hume

Causality V1N3 17–33, V2N1 100–101, V2N5 100; Ideas V1N1 24–26, V1N2 9–10, V1N3 16, 18, 27, V1N6 42–43, V2N6 57–59; Implicit Rationalism V1N3 3, 16–18, 37; Induction V1N3 1, 17–18, 20–24, 30–32, 36–43, V1N5 138; Mathematics V1N2 9–10, V1N3 16; Morality V2N5 68; Rationality V1N3 1, 36–37, 60–61, V1N6 43; Self V1N6 15; Skepticism V1N3 18–22, V1N6 42, V2N4 2; Time V1N3 18–20; Will V2N3 83–84

 

William James

V1N1 19, V1N5 46, V1N6 12, 25–26, 73, 76, 79–83, 85, 116, 133, V2N1 74, 115, 120, V2N3 96, 101–2, 109,

V2N5 68, V2N6 41

 

Immanuel Kant

Causality V1N3 30, 35, V1N4 24, V2N1 133–34, V2N2 75–77, V2N4 102, V2N5 21–24; Compatibilism V2N3 84–85; Concepts V1N1 13, V1N3 62, V1N4 24, V2N1 132–34, V2N2 73, 75–77; Cosmology V2N3 61, V2N5 7, 27–29; Esthetics V1N3 65–66, 69–70; Idealism V1N2 13, V1N3 41, 45, 62–65, 81, V1N4 24, V2N2 75–78, V2N3 84–85, V2N5 17–19; Knowledge V1N1 11, V1N2 10–13, V1N3 61–65, 70, 80, V1N4 22–25, V1N5 119, V1N6 60–61, 77, 94, V2N1 116, 132–35, V2N2 3–6, 73–81, 97–99, V2N4 2, 102–3, 195–96, V2N5 9–11, 13–14, 16, 18–21, V2N6 149, 162–63; Mathematics V1N1 11, V1N2 10–13, 16, 28, V1N3 63–64, V1N6 60–61, V2N2 4, 80, V2N4 102–3, V2N5 9–10, 14–16, 19–21; Metaphysics V2N5 1–3, 5–6, 12–13, 18–25; Morals V2N5 96, 98, 113, 115, 131, 133, 137; Physics V2N5 1–3, 5–12, 18–29; Space V1N2 10–13, V1N3 64, V1N4 24, V2N1 133, V2N2 75–77, V2N4 102–3, V2N5 1–3, 6–20, 26–29, V2N6 162–63

 

Plato

Astronomy V2N4 23; Aviary of Mind V1N5 45, V2N1 123–24; Dialectic V2N4 51–53 Difference and Sameness V1N4 49, V2N4 35, 50, V2N6 43–44; Elements V1N6 42; Forms V1N2 1-2, V1N3 58, V1N5 109, V1N6 14, 60, 97, V2N1 106, V2N2 59–63, 96, V2N4 2, 6, 10, 29, 31–32, 35, 50, 109, V2N6 43–44, 47; Goodness V2N3 2, 5–6, 12, 35–36, V2N4 46, V2N5 96, 105, 126; Imagination V1N3 58; Perception V1N2 1, V2N1 124, 135, V2N2 60–61, 96; Politics V2N4 4; Refutation by Incoherence V1N4 45; Truth V1N4 2, V1N6 87; Virtue V2N3 2

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Others of likely interest:

 

Aristotle

Actions V1N3 93–94, V1N4 49, V2N3 6; Art V1N2 69, V2N5 47–49; Causality V1N3 23, 25, V2N1 31, 100, V2N3 2, 6, 8, 35, 84, 97, V2N4 219–20, V2N5 109; Conscious Faculties V1N2 52, V1N3 58–59, V2N2 62–63, V2N3 42, V2N4 28–30, 194; Definition V1N6 97, V2N6 45–47; Difference and Sameness V1N4 48–49, V2N6 44–45, 61, 63; Friends V1N2 67–68; Goodness V1N5 7, V1N6 138, V2N3 5–6, 32, 100, 102, V2N4 109–10, 218–23, V2N5 67–68, 96–97, 107, 110, 120–21, 126, 132, 135, 139–40; Happiness V1N6 138–39, 169, V2N4 220; Induction V1N2 36, V1N3 26, V2N6 45; Knowledge V2N4 28–34, 47, 50–51, V2N6 46–47, 74; Life V1N2 69, V1N5 7, V1N6 148, V2N2 138, V2N3 35; Mathematics V1N2 4–8, V2N4 30; Matter and Form V1N1 26–27, V1N2 5, V1N3 45, V1N6 97, V2N4 6, 10, 223, V2N5 109; Non-Contradiction V1N2 33, V1N3 3, V1N4 26, 31, 33, 45–50, V2N2 1, 3–4, V2N2 63–64, V2N3 1; Physics V1N3 28–29, V2N2 63–64, 67, V2N3 35, V2N4 22–23, 175, V2N5 6, 47; Poetry V2N3 43; Politics V1N6 142, V2N3 2, 119, V2N5 105; Propositions V1N4 41; Speech V1N4 47–50; Substance V1N1 26–27, V1N3 9, 45, V1N4 41, V2N2 63–64; Syllogism V1N4 45, V2N4 14, 30; Truth V1N4 1–3, 8, 45, V1N5 119, 122–23, 126, V1N6 84, 87, 97, 100, V2N2 115–16, V2N4 194; Wisdom V1N3 93–94, V2N3 2, 14–15

 

Epicurus
V1N5 70, V2N3 3–42, 77, 103, V2N4 15–28, 49–50, 54, 205–10, 213–25, V2N5 110

René Descartes

Animal Automata V1N2 51, 60; Cogito V1N2 35, V1N4 35, V1N6 13, V2N1 135; Dualism V1N2 51, V1N6 8–9, 29, V2N1 93, 106, V2N2 17, V2N3 83, 93; Error V2N1 127–30, V2N4 196; Free Will V2N1 127–30; God V2N1 127–29, V2N2 17, 23, 72, V2N4 2; Knowledge V1N4 35, V1N6 60, 78–79, 81, V2N1 127–30, V2N2 72; Numbers V1N1 4–5; Physics V1N3 29, V2N2 17–24, 26–28, V2N3 50–51, 63, 66, V2N5 4; Prior Certainty of Consciousness V1N2 60, V1N4 35, V1N6 13; Skepticism V1N2 35, V1N4 38–39; Space V2N2 17–21; Universals V1N6 16

 

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Logic V1N2 8–9, 15, V1N4 15–16, V2N2 66–67; Mathematics V1N1 4; V1N2 8–9, 15, 34, V1N4 16–17, V1N6 69, V2N2 107–9, V2N6 56–57; Metaphysics V1N2 8–9, 34–35, V1N4 15, 17, 63, 66–67, 73, V2N1 119, V2N2 65–68, 73, 76, 105–17, V2N3 63–69, 184–86, V2N5 1–3; Phenomena V1N4 15–16, V2N2 73, V2N3 63–64, 70, V2N5 1; Physics V2N2 22, 27, 107, V2N3 69–72, V2N5 4, 10; Psychology V1N2 55, V1N4 15; Reason V1N2 8, 34–35, V1N4 14–17, V1N6 76, 100, V2N2 72–73, V2N3 64–66, 68, V2N4 195, V2N6 55–56, 65; Space V2N3 63–72

 

John Locke

Action V2N1 130; Ideas V1N1 24, V1N4 9–13, 15, V1N5 119, V1N6 16, 29, V2N1 39, V2N2 72–73, V2N6 52–55, 68, 115–16; Knowledge V1N4 12–13, V1N6 60, V2N1 130, V2N4 2, V2N5 82, V2N6 54–55, 64; Realism V2N6 52–55, 64; Self V1N6 13, 16, 29, V2N3 99; Substance V1N4 12, V2N6 54

 

Charles Sanders Pierce

V1N6 73–79, 80–82, V2N1 42–43, V2N2 117, V2N4 108, V2N5 68

 

Ayn Rand

Art V1N2 68–71, V1N5 23, V1N6 108, 154, 157, 168, V2N3 117–18, 135–43, V2N5 34, 40, 50–62, 87, V2N6 200–204; Concepts V1N1 16, 23, 24–25, 28–29, 31, 33–34, V1N2 22–23, 36, 43, 56–57, 68, 95–97, 102, V1N3 79–81, V1N4 32–38, 51–54, V1N5 132, 146, V1N6 14, 16–19, 58, 62, 85, 96–99, 107–9, 117–18, 134, 156, V2N1 97, 103–4, 106, V2N2 4–6, 13, 76, V2N3 22, 61, V2N4 139–40, V2N5 37–38, 41–43, 45–46, 57, V2N6 6, 63–70, 91–92, 98; Consciousness V1N2 53, 55, 60–61, 63, V1N4 34–39, 59–61, V1N5 29–30, 35, 42, 132, V1N6 12, 19, 85, 103, 107–9, 117, 157–58, 161, V2N1 64, 97–98, 118–21, V2N3 20–23, 99–102, V2N4 195–96, V2N5 134, V2N6 3–4, 32, 38; Language V1N1 16, 29, 36, V1N2 57, V1N3 81, V1N6 29, 64, 109, 117–18, V2N5 40, 63, V2N6 6, 69; Metaphysics V1N1 11–12, V1N2 23, 33–35, 97, V1N3 45–46, V1N4 31–37, 43–45, 52–53, 59–61, V1N5 3, 13, 30, 35, 69, V1N6 18, 96–99, 103, 108, 113, 143, 151, 169, V2N1 125, V2N2 4, 7–8, 10–12, 76, 101, 107, 115–16, 131–35, V2N3 17–19, 35, 40–41, 61, 64, V2N4 184–85, 224, V2N5 56, 61, V2N6 3, 208; Psychology V1N2 60, 67–74, V1N3 78–81, V1N5 34, 42–44, 49–51, 54, 69, 83, V1N6 10–14, 27, 29–31, 103–9, 112, 115–16, 119–20, 126–27, 133–34, 146, 159–64, 176, V2N1 70, 74, 115, 120–21, V2N2 42, V2N3 20–30, 43, 101–2, 117–18, 147, V2N4 139–40, 175, V2N5 81–83, 85–88, V2N6 12, 194–97, 203–4; Similarity V1N1 28–29, 31–32, V1N6 17–19, 156, V2N2 5, V2N6 64–68, 71–73, 91 Value V1N4 85, V1N5 4–7, 23–24, 41, V1N6 108–9, 137–69, 176, V2N1 106, V2N2 37, V2N3 1–4, 17–33, 34–35, 42–44, 99–102, V2N4 205–10, 213, 216–24, V2N5 45–46, 61, 67–91, 110, 131–32, 134–35, V2N6 194, 203, 205–6, 208, 210, 215–16, 219–26, 229–32

 

Baruch Spinoza

V1N4 17–22, V2N1 110, 127, 130–32, 135, V2N2 105, 184, V2N5 121



Post 16

Saturday, June 27, 2009 - 12:58pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Ed, in (7) you have Rand’s assignment to William James of the credit for spawning the common saying “It may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.”

It should be noticed that a very close kin to that view is at least as old as the Sophists. Still, in America, particularly as a rationale for adhering to nonviolence between parties with opposing religious views, James may be an important root of the saying.

One of the James quotations you offered in line with the common saying was:
“Concepts . . . being thin extracts from perception, are always insufficient representatives thereof; and although they yield wide information, must never be treated after the rationalistic fashion, as if they gave a deeper quality of truth. The deeper features of reality are found only in perceptual experience.” —Some Problems of Philosophy, Works, VII, p.54

I do not see how this would support the saying “it may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Were you thinking that—at least in James’ view—perception has less in common between different people than has conception? Or were you perhaps thinking that—at least in James’ view—truth applies only to conceptions (and propositions), not also to perceptions (and actions upon them)?

I have posted results of a study I did several years ago on the topic
“James on Perception and Conception” here.

Similarly, “Dewey on Perception and Conception” here (and here).

(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 6/27, 4:46pm)


Post 17

Sunday, June 28, 2009 - 7:57pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Stephen,
One of the James quotations you offered in line with the common saying was:
"Concepts . . . being thin extracts from perception, are always insufficient representatives thereof; and although they yield wide information, must never be treated after the rationalistic fashion, as if they gave a deeper quality of truth. The deeper features of reality are found only in perceptual experience." Some Problems of Philosophy, Works, VII, p.54

I do not see how this would support the saying "it may be true for you, but its not true for me." Were you thinking that at least in James' view perception has less in common between different people than has conception? ...
No, but something close to the opposite of this.

I'm actually thinking that, for James, percepts are deeper and more real and that concepts are merely subjective "internal representations" of reality. That concepts are that which we know, rather than that by which we know. That they are the very material of knowledge rather than the tool by which knowledge is gained. This is a version of conceptualism which assumes that we "perceive" the concepts in our heads. I wrote at length about this here some years ago (reference upon request).

James may be correctly arguing against the vulgar rationalism of idealists, but he goes too far in his criticism -- throwing the objectivity of concepts out in the process.

... Or were you perhaps thinking that at least in James view truth applies only to conceptions (and propositions), not also to perceptions (and actions upon them)?
Again, no, but something close to the opposite. If, while focusing on this first quote, you also look at this quote:
******************
"... that which produces effects within another reality must be termed a reality itself, ..."--The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, p. 515
******************
... it is logical to assume that James is referring to an inside (mental) and outside (extra-mental) reality -- and that he does so because he sees the inside reality as a (subjective) reality of its own, only merely representing the outside (as viewed by the individual). Let me elaborate.

The outside reality is the world out there, which pushes and pulls on you and activates your sensory apparatus in consistent and orderly or even "automatic" ways. Everyone here probably agrees on that. Where James parts ways with Objectivism is when he goes on to allude that perception captures the real, while concepts are but thin extracts (so thin that they don't).

The inside reality, i.e., your individual impressions and conceptions of the world, is not -- according to James -- such a consistent and orderly thing (I left "automatic" out on purpose). Rather, your individualized conceptions of the world are a conglomeration of those very individual thoughts, feelings, etc. which make you as a person unique.

That's why James thinks perceptual awareness affords a "deeper" view of external or outside reality than does conceptual awareness. It's basically a denial of the objectivity of concepts.

Ed


Post 18

Monday, June 29, 2009 - 7:05amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Further on this note:

(1) Hardline rationalists (e.g. Plato) discount the importance of perception. They say that "concepts" (Platonic forms, innate ideas, etc) are "where it's at." Percepts may contain errors due to individual differences in folks.

*****************************

(2) Hardline empiricists (e.g. James) discount the importance of concepts. They say that perception is "where it's at." Concepts may contain errors due to individual differences in folks. Their motto could be:

"What's really real is what you feel."

*****************************

(3) Hardline Objectivists (e.g. Ed Thompson) stack concepts on top of percepts in a kind of marriage of powers (of awareness). On this view, nothing (no knowledge nor certainty) is lost when you correctly integrate percepts into concepts, nothing. Concepts correspond to reality just as much as percepts do.

*****************************

Ed


Post 19

Friday, January 22, 2010 - 10:17amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Steve wrote:

Fred Seddon’s account of Bxxx in his 2005 essay “Kant on Faith” in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (V7N1) is shown to be incorrect by the present note.

I am now reading Seddon's essay for the first time. I see that Seddon is considering the context of the Bxxx quote. You have not.

All you have done in your "note" amounts to taking one quote out of context and backing it up with more quotes out of context.

Post to this threadPage 0Page 1Page 2Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.