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Philosophy - Unit One

- Reason and Experience - Idea Of God

Bob Uncle

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of Philosophy - Unit One

Unit One
Reason and Experience
Idea of God Reason and Experience
Conceptual Schemes Empiricism... What is Empiricism? All Knowledge is obtained via the senses - NOT inherited.

Empiricism is the foundation of scientific study and thus the basis of most our common assumptions about the world. It is totally reliant on the 5 senses (touch, smell, sight, hear and taste). For an Empiricist the ultimate source of knowledge is experience. It would appear to us that the external world exists and exists and impinges on us. Hume's Fork:
statements are divided up into two types: 1) Matter of Fact = statements about the world, these are Synthetic, Contingent and known A posteriori. 2) Relation of Ideas, these are Analytic, Necessary and known A priori. Matters of fact can never be certain due to the fallibility of our senses and the possibility of deception. Any given statement always has the logical possibility of being false. Hume did this to prove that science does not give certainty. Relations of ideas can only be used to prove other relations of ideas, E.G and equilateral triangle has 3 equal lengths. Matters of Fact: A posteriori Synthetic Contingent Necessary Analytic A priori Relations of Ideas: True by Definition Example: "All bachelors are male" Could not be otherwise and would have to be ture under call circumstances. Example: "All triangles have 3 sides" Doesn't require sense experience to know Example: "All dogs are canine" Rationalists Empiricists Can be established through sense experience Example: "Snow is white" Not true by definition - verifying by the use of our senses. Example: "Potassium burns with a lilac flame. A statement which happens to be true. Nothing logically impossable otherwise. Example: "it is sunny out side" What are the implications fo Hume's Fork? Relations of ideas can be proven to a point of certainty, but they can't tell us anything about the world. Relations of ideas therefore cannot be used to prove Matters of fact. Because matters of facts have no certainty , they therefore cannot be used to prove anything because they can't interfere with relations of ideas. "Tabula rasa" This forms the basis of most Empiricists. It argues the human mind is like a "blank slate" at birth, that is, it is not structured. A good way to illustrate this point is a blank piece of paper, that blank paper represents the empty mind at birth, the graph paper represents the structured mind. How does information get on the"tabula rasa? An empiricist such as Hume would say that impressions (sensory and reflective) are "imprinted" onto the "Tabula rasa" as a simple idea (thought memory) E.g the sensory experience of redness becomes the simple idea of red. These simple ideas can be combined to make "complex ideas" such as "red pen" and through this we construct our houses of knowledge. Tabula rasa supports the theory of Empiricists because it proves that sense data is imprinted onto the tabula rasa constitute the building blocks of knowledge as being born blank it must be sense experience that builds up the knowledge. Philosophers John Locke He believed all our knowledge come from sense experience (including maths which Hums acknowledged to be a priori) which imprints it's self onto the mind, our "tabula rasa". He believed everything we knew came to us in our interaction with the world. The senses 'let in' ideas which are copied onto the minds blank slate. we reach concepts through repetition of particular experiences which we name and generalize from to form concepts. Locke distinguished between ideas of sensation and ideas of reflection. A concept to locke is thinking about a sense experience after having it. They are generalized sense experiences, we wouldn't have concepts about sense experience. They allow us to talk about the world as we can know of them even when not experiencing them. David Hume Hume believed that Locke's theory needed refining. Whilst he agreed with Locke, he believed he had failed to distinguish between a sensation and a concept. E.g red is a colour but colour isn't red. For Hume, a sense experience makes us aware of an impression, and an impression is nothing more than an experience. This is not the same as idea. An idea to Hume is something that we reflect upon after an experience, an impression is immediate, an idea however is not. The reason why this theory is different to Lock's is because Lock's Empiricism states that we get our concepts from impressions, although Hume acknowledged that an impression was to be developed into an idea, after which it could be developed into a concept through the combination of many other ideas under a general name. Hume's theory is considered one of how we acquire concepts, particularly complex ones. Hume recognizes two types of impressions:
Impressions of sensation: from the senses.
Impressions of reflection: Emotions ect. Hume differentiates between an idea and an impression: Firstly and Impression is much more immediate and intense when we are having hit. On the other hand an idea is much more faint the grows much more faint the more complex the idea becomes. Hume and Category error:

This to Hume is a concept that cannot be tracked back to an impression that is sensory or reflective. Meaning that any concept that isn't rooted in sensory experience is empty. He emphasized that just because we have a word for something doesn't mean that it exists. Lock proposes that we have simple ideas which combine to make complex ideas Thus explain "unicorns" Hume states that sensations form a copy in the mind. He defends his view by giving the example of the "blind man - sense deficiency". If there has been no sensation there can be no corresponding idea, E.g a blind man can not describe or think about the colour red because he hasn't had the experience. But there are ideas and concepts that we can think of in the mind with out having the corresponding experience. Hume addresses this problem with the example of the "golden mountain". We haven't experience a golden mountain but we still have the idea. By combing the simple idea of "gold" and "mountain" we are then able to form the idea of golden mountain. This is Hume's theory on 'simple' and 'complex' ideas. Hume and Causation:

'Cause and Effect' - Hume denies that we can have knowledge of casual relationships (cause and effect). Rather we experience 'this and then that'.
Two constantly conjoined events which do not resemble each other.
Human beings therefore propose and explanation on this event; but the explanation is open to doubt. It merely satisfies a need to feel secure in a predictable world. Rationalism... Inductive and Deductive reasoning.. An argument compromises of a series of premises leading to a conclusion. For the argument to be valid, it needs to obey the rules of the logical argument... Premise:
Water is wet Premise:
My foot is in water Conclusion:
My foot is wet This argument obeys the laws of logic - the two premises state what is the cause, and the conclusion is drawn based on these premises. This is a sound argument. Premise:
This water is frozen Premise:
It froze at 0 degrees Celsius. Conclusion:
Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius The water needs to freeze at 0 on every occasion. Scientists are prepared to accept the conclusion based on the observation only when it becomes intellectually dishonest to deny the conclusion any further. Example of 'Deductive Reasoning' - it is a sound piece of argument. Example of 'Inductive Reasoning' - It is based on observation. An argument that draws its conclusion from a set of premises. No claims of truth are made, simply of logic. A method of arguing that starts with observations and makes it conclusion 'on the balance of probability'. Problems with Deductive reasoning:
It is difficult to establish premises. with deductive reasoning we are then forced to agree with the conclusion.
E.g P1: Santa is a man P2: Men are real CON: Therefore Santa is real
arguing the conclusion from the premises is often merely stating the obvious - doesn't tell us anything new.
e.g P1: Socrates is a man P2: All men are mortal CON: Therefore Socrates is a mortal man Problem with inductive reasoning...
The problem of finding something 'rationally compelling' about the conclusion being inferred.
Some scientists have argued that the inductive reasoning will not lead to the truth, but it provides the best way to arrive at the truth.
Most of the time it is only biased on assumptions. For example: a dog's tail knocks a glass, the glass falls over. the dog has caused the the water to spill. The water in turn causes the ink on the essay to run, and so on. Every minute and everyday we can witness multiple example of causation. Where does the concept come from? What would an empiricist say? At first it seems obvious, the dog caused the water to spill, then we can see the effect of the water on the ink. We observe one thing causing the other, like anything else causation derives from sensation. Hume says it is not as simple as that. Using his example, consider observing one billiard ball approaching another, striking the second and the second moving off. Here it seems we have a clear case of observing one ball causing the other to move, surely this must be the origin of our concept of causation. However if we look more closely all we have experienced is one ball approaching the other and come into contact with it. We then herd a sound and the second one moved off; we never actually experienced any sense datum corresponding of the cause. Lock also claimed that there are three types of Knowledge... 1. Intuitive; This form of knowledge is the most certain becuase it seems the most obvious to us and the most difficult to doubt. This would be such things as "i have a body" and "black isn't white", but also according to Lock that "God exists". These concepts are so obvious that we accept them intuitively. 2. Demonstrative; When we begin to put simple ideas together to form complex ones, we are demonstrating something. So for example, if i compare heat of the sun with heat of a fire, i am demonstrating that they are both made of similar substances. 3. Sensitive; this form of knowledge is the most uncertain because it relies merely on the evidence of the senses. If i look to see how many chairs there are in the room, i am relying sensitive knowledge, which according to Descartes has shown, can in some cases be mistaken. Hume argues that all our knowledge of cause and effect came through habit. So for instance if we see the sun rising it is not because it corresponds to some eternal and unchangeable law, but because we have seen it rise countless times. Therefore, the more we have experienced things, the more certain they will be. Put more simply if you have a car and is keeps stalling you think something must be cause it to stall. You take it to the garage and the mechanic says he cant find any cause of the stalling. You can't believe that there is not reason so you take it to another garage. Criticisms for Empiricists:
KEY ISSUE: to what extent do the images in our brain correspond to the objects outside of us in the world? Locke's concept of primary and secondary qualities. Firstly let us consider a an object - a table for example. Locke's view is that certain qualities of the table are 'primary qualities' of the object (such as the tables shape and size, but others are produced by powers in the object itself, which act upon our senses to produce 'sensations' and 'impressions'. Things such as colour, taste, temperature and therefore secondary whilst other primary qualities include number ( how many are there) and motion (an objects speed or movement) The main thing Locke was trying to do is to limit knowledge to the things that could be said to be primary qualities. So, as far as the table is concerned, such things as its size, shape and weight are fixed and measurable. It's colour, on the other hand, is a matter of subjective opinion. 1. the problem: we live in the physical world, surrounded by matter. Indeed, we ourselves are made up of matter. But what is the nature of this physical world? we experience it through our senses but there is a gab between our experiences and the object itself, wince we experience the object as an image in our mind. - Objects can appear different to the observers or differently to the same observer under different conditions. A fly for example would receive information about the visual world completely differently from us, Because of its compound. As well as a table can look differently to different people and under different conditions. A modern science now speaks in terms of neutrons and and quarks that can not be observed but are inferred - it seems that this element of reality is hidden from us. Or someone who is coloured blind; the light variation in the room; where you are standing in the room may change the look of the shape of the table. A Greek philosopher called Democritus concluded that the universe consisted of very small particles moving in empty space - atoms. He argued that atoms were different in size but most importantly they lacked Smell, Taste and colour. Descartes' Wax illusion... Descartes would roughly agree with secondary and primary qualities but would argue that by rationalism - the mind - that we really knew the material objects and not by sensations.

Descartes observed a piece of wax. Originally he thought that he knew that the wax was there. He could smell it, feel it and most of all he could see its solid form. How ever all of its qualities perceived changed after the wax had melted.

"the taste exhales, the smell evaporates, the colour changes, its figure is destroyed, its size increases, it becomes liquid, it grows hot, it can hardly be handled and although stuck upon it makes no sound, does the name wax still remain after its change? it must be admitted that it does". Descartes showed by this example that when he judged or inferred the wax was there, it was not based on what he sensed from his senses. The mind was contained the faculty of judgment was the source of his knowledge. He made a judgment that involved the use of concepts that were not drawn from experience. Sensations must be supplemented with judgments that used innate concepts. This illusion demonstrates:
that empiricism is wrong in terms of being foundation of knowledge.
Descartes shows us the role of thinking
that the new scientific approach is consistent with rationalism rather then empiricism since it is the mind that arrives at a sound understanding of the physical world. Philosophers... Chomsky: Innate knowledge of grammer capacity to understand language up to the age of 5. Plato: Innate knowledge of math and geometry. Meno slave boy, able to solve a geometrical question. Descartes: Innate idea of God - Trademark argument - imprint of God in the mind like Nike or Coke and their logo on their products. What is Rationalism?:
The central claim to rationalism is that some knowledge is acquired a priori. By this i mean that some knowledge is acquired 'prior' to experience - before experience. In other worlds, this knowledge can be justified by reason alone. There is no need to find 'empirical' evidence to support it from any of the senses. A priori knowledge is certain knowledge. Reason alone gives us access to certain, necessary and timeless truths - Logically impossible to argue against, 2+2=4 always or all triangles have 3 sides. Having reason gives us structure to the world. The obvious canidate for a priori knowledge is mathematics, including geometry. For example Pythagoras' theorem can be proven using deduction, which establishes it as being knowledge with out the need to go round and measuring all of the sides to a right angle triangle. Strength and problems: Strengths:
It would appear that you have to accept this notion because at least some knowledge can be gained a priori to knowledge For example some have claimed the God's existence could be - but more crucially the fact that 180 degrees are in a triangle can be found through reason alone - it requires no empirical evidence. Strengths:
Descartes was a famous rationalist and followed this view to try and ascertain certain truths about the world such as Cogito. Which was derived from pure reason alone. WAX EXAMPLE!!! Strengths:
The senses have been shown to be wrong, optical illusions for example. so a posteriori knowledge is not certain and knowledge is certain. problems:
You must engage with the world to have knowledge of it.
How could you have the concept of a triangle with out even seeing one.
A rationalist may reply that experience is in part necessary, but the concepts learnt about the triangle are a priori
Kants synthesis - Reason alone can provide no information about the world as it appears; reason alone is empty. On the other hand pure sensory experience of the world make no sense either unless processeb by the tools of reason. This world in its self is unknowable by us, so we can only search for the a priori structures of our experiences.
the contradictory of any fact is always conceivable - experience is needed in order to take this a priori hypothesis to the 'test' in the real world Conclusion:
Rationalism was continental viewpoint, and in part it can be considered true because come concepts we can 'reaon' from the intellect. However, we must be able to test these reasoning empirically also. It would appear that to take a stance as a 'rationalist' or 'empiricist' is too extreme and we must come to some sompromise such as 'Kant's Synthesis' - conceptual schemes???? doubting existence?!!!
since our senses deceive us how can we be truly sure that recollecting memories or visualizing objects around us exists. Descartes claimed that we can have certain knowledge with out the use of our senses... Barrel of Apples...
The mind is like a barrel of apples. You have to see what is inside; is there a rotten apple? - an idea that is prone to doubt - You have to remove all the apples and examine them one by one to be sure that you don't leave any apples in the barrel that will contaminate the rest.

So the ideas and beliefs should be examined to see if they are open to doubt; if any are dubitable you have to get rid of them because their existence would make the other beliefs and ideas prone to doubt as well, as they may be justified by rotten logic and insecure beliefs.

Descartes philosophical method, aim at proving certainty, is to question every area of knowledge one by one (thus breaking them down into small parts), such as knowledge of the external world, knowledge of the self, knowledge of God; if any idea is open to doubt, it is rejected as not the kind of thing we can have knowledge of.

In perusing this method, he leads us into a deep of scepticism. (doubt). Where we doubt almost anything - this is known as 'Global Scepticism'. Then just as we teeter on the brink of accepting the awful 'truth' about humanity - that we can know NOTHING, he leads us back, step by careful logical step, to a position where knowledge of all the areas mentioned above is proven to be 'sure and certain' - indubitable and infallible, by the operation of pure reason. since our senses deceive us how do we KNOW that the eternal world is real... or me, myself is real??? Dream doubt:
"how often, asleep at night, am i convinced of just such familiar events - - - that i am here in my dressing gown, sitting by the fire, when in fact i am lying undressed in bed!!" - According to the 'Dream Hypothesis', i might be wrong about sitting in front of my fireside, for there are no 'sure and certain' sighs that can be distinguished sleep, from awake.
So how do i know whether i am dreaming or not? i can't and thus i might be deceived about the whole of my reality.

Descartes takes it another step further into the twilight zone!... Evil Genius Doubt...
Moreover, on the 'Demon Hypothesis', i am suffering from illusions presented to me by an evil demon, much like the characters in the Matrix are taken in by the real world generated by computers. "...Some malicious demon of the utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me". How could i show that i really do have veritable experience of the external world, rather than simply fantasies of my dream or the congeries of a powerful demon? how can i really KNOW that there is anything outside of my mind? This is a turning point.
Descartes finds his first shiny pure - apple - self- evident truth, and he uses it as a sure & certain foundation upon which to build an Epistemological Superstructure!

At the point of doubting that knowledge was possible of anything, he reasons thus, that while i am doubting i am thinking; the argument simplified... "I think therefore i am" But, if i am doubting, i am an imperfect human being As an imperfect human being,i have an idea of perfection. This idea of perfect must come from God Therefore God exists. As God exists, he would not deceive me about the external world - thus i can gain indubitable knowledge of the external world, including other minds (other people). So this crosses out 'solipsism'. As he would not deceive me about the nature of the external world, shich is physical, then matter exists, and minds exists (Dualist claim - two sorts of stuff in the universe). Plato and "The Cave" The people walking on the bridge (road way) is being reflected from the fire creating a shadow is beeing seen by the slaves sense experience. The human beings passively receive sound hand opinions, we don't think for our selves we just rely on our sence experience. This end is "intelligible realm"
(rationalist) through reason we
can get the truth and more
reliable knowledge Justice - Beauty -
The form of the greater good. This is the "Visible Realm" =
Empiricism Hierarchy of forms...
from lower forms to higher forms, then the original form of the greater good. The mind adjusts to simple forms to more complex ones. We had knowledge of the forms at birth, they are hidden from us. Exploring our intellect through reason we will be enlightened.
We were all once in the Intelligible realm but when born forgot it and now through deep thinking you will remember - 'Travel of intelligence' Inside 'The Cave' is the Matrix (visible realm)
and outside is the 'realm world' (intelligible
realm) Theory on Anamnesis... Anamnesis means "recollection, reminiscence", literally "loss of forgetfulness". This term was first used by Plato. He expresses the term Anamnesis in the epistemological theory that his dialogues 'Meno'. "How are you going to search for the nature of virtue when you don't know at all what it is". In other words if you don't know anything of the attributes or properties that help signify what something is (physical or otherwise) you won't recognize it, even if you come across it. Socrates developed this theory of "anamnesis". He suggested that the soul is immortal and repeatedly incarnated. Knowledge is actually in the soul for eternity, each time the soul in incarnated its knowledge is forgotten through the shock of birth. therefore for what one thinks to be learning but is actually the recovery of what one has forgotten. Because of this the two philosophers Plato and Socrates don't see them selves as teachers but midwifes, aiding the birth of knowledge that was already there in the student. Plato's Analogy of the divide line... Mental States Intelligence
Knowledge Thinking Belief Imagining Images Visible Things Mathematical Objects Forms The Good Objects World of Apperances Intelligible Realm Plato has Socrates explain the literary device of a Divide Line to teach basic philosophers ideas about the four levels of existence and the corresponding ways we come to knowledge what exists, or come to mere opinions about what exists. Philosopher Wittgenstein believes scepticism not to be false but to be empty...
By this he means that knowledge of the external world is one of the fundamental conditions of existence that it makes no sense to doubt, as material objects form the scaffolding of our world. How do i gain concepts such as "red" and "coffee" directly through sensory experience?
If my concept of res is a combination of the different shads of red that i have seen, then its self should have a shade. it should look like the same thing.
A particular image of a colour cannot itself be many colours, wo what does my concept look like?
ALSO how can i recognise new reds was these wouldn't be included as part of my concept because i havn't experienced them before.
All this implies that something else is going on when i form a concept than simply directs copies of sense experiences being combined...
Think also of all the concepts we form of things that we have never seen, touched ect, like justice freedom ect. Conceptual Schemes. What is the nature of the human mind? Humans experience sensation, from ideas and justify them as knowledge, but what kind of operation of the mind enables this? There are Basically two responses to this inquiry. The first would argue that we acquire the ability to be able to classify ideas a posteriori, though our experiences, for example through being apart of a Language User Group - Sapir-Wholf. This second response, would argue that the human mind is unirversal, innate ability to classify thoughts; we are born with a Conceptual Scheme - Kant. Tabula rasa Revisited...
Lets think again about the empirical claim to knowledge. The claim that the mind is a 'tabula rasa' at birth...

This theory was illustrated though "Condillac's Statue" - This theory was in support of the view that the mind was blank at birth or - tabula rasa - "Imagine a statue that is organised like a human on the side but devoid of any sensations. The statue experiences a series of sensations and is brought from having no ideas to all to forming conceptions acquiring beliefs about itself and the world around it. Criticisms:
The whole approach is doomed. The statue would just received a flow of interpreted sensations: noises, shapes, colours and tastes.
This account doesn't explain how we form conceptions from these sensations alone. Surely to begin to form conceptions the statue would have to at the very last, recognise two sensations as similar; how can it do this without a priori concept similarity.
In order to compare and contrast, we need common features, such as size or quantity or speed, with which to compare the different sensations. But these concepts cant arise in the first place if we have no prior way of categorising and storing information.
The statue wouldn't even be able to recall its ideas if some form of classification had not taken place. Example: An office with out Storage system.
To explore the inadequacy of Condillac's statue, consider this analogy with an office with out a storage system. Image a flow of e-mails, faxes, letters coming into the office, and there is no way of sorting it, it would be impossible to retrieve a letter. This is how Condillacs's mind will be like. If the statue receives raw data, how is it going to recognize and store these this dats with out having some sort of a priori classification in place? How could the statue use the concepts it has acquired through experience to think without there beings system for organizing them, or without any common classification of the sensations to think about? THUS the mind is not a "tabula rasa". Rather that the mind at birth is at least partially formed and has a structure or architecture that enables it to makesense of the raw sense data it receives. Conceptual Scheme - The alternative to the view that the mind is a tabula rasa. The task of the empiricist is to show how we can generate language to organize experiences out of that very experience. If i don't already posses a conceptual scheme with which to organize my experiences, then the data of our senses will remain confused.

William James : such an undifferentiated steam of sensation would be a "blooming buzzing confusion"

The human mind must have some sort of CS in place in order for any data received by the body to be classed as an experience of some kind. SO the very possibility of having experiences at all depends upon us possessing some conceptual apparatus INNATELY. BUT not all of our concepts can be diverted from sense experience as some must have existed in order for anything to count as an experience in the first place... "Thoughts without content are empty; intuition without concepts are blind" - Kant
(intuition = impressions) Kant argued that having a concept in place is a precondition of any experience. This is a transcendental argument as it seeks to suggest that something is necessary for the possibility of something else. Kant argues that there are fundamental categories that are applied to the raw data we receive and these combine to give us our sense experience of the world. This peocess is carried out automatically by the mind and must happen for any mind to have an experience of the world. These categories are apriori as they are not derived from experience. Indeed they are the precondition of any experience happening in the first place. Kant and the 12 categorizes by which the mind organizes the raw data and so makes experiences possible:

a) Categories of Quantity: Unity, Plurality, Totality.
b) Categories of Quality: Reality, Negation, Limitation
c) Categories of Relation: Substance and Accident, Causality and Dependence, Community and Interaction.
d) Categories of Modality: Possibility - Impossibility, Existence - Nonexistence, Necessity - Contingency.
in addition, Kant also claimed that there are two futher more important features that the mind adds through raw data in order to make an experience;
Time and Space
Time: time is the form of ALL impressions, both inner and outer. Events we experience in the mind i.e happiness, occur in time but not in space.
Space: Is the form of our outer impressions; everything we wxperience of the physical world is automatically in space. (events in the mind i.e happiness are not spatial.) Two main Conceptual Schemes...
Kant's Conceptual Scheme - Apriori
Sapir-Wholf's Conceptual Scheme - Aposteriori These Apriori categories that combine to give us our sense experience of the world... Categories- Hume on Causation:
Hume pointed out that we don't derive our concepts of any specific experience. We just experience tow things which do not resemble each other, a "this and then that" type of experience. In other words, Hume suggested that the idea of cause is not derived from any particular impression. But because we are used to experiencing these two things 'constantly conjoined', our idea of cause is brought about, by a habit of the mind through experience, and so is developed aposteriori. Categories - Kant on Causation:
Kant agrees with Hume that the idea of cause is not derived from any particular impression. However, he argues that causation is one of the categories by which raw data from the world are turned into an intelligible experience in the mind. Causation is one of the 'a priori' concepts needed for any experience to occur. Because of this we can not help view the world as a sequence of causes and effects rather then a series unconnected events. We experience the world as casual because the data from the world has been categorized using concept of cause. The conception of cause is necessary part of our conceptual schemes and with out it would our experiences of the world would be unintelligible; it would not form part of a coherent structure. Categories - Kant on Matter:
It is also suggested that the concept of matter is not derived directly from our experiences. We experience colours, textures ect but do not actually perceive the matter itself. Matter is what is assumed to be lurking behind the these impressions. To illustrate this point, we can refer to the brain in the vat though experiments, which suggests that our experiences might not be caused by matter its self. (another example is the MATRIX, where experiences are caused by a computer.)
So for empiricists such as Condillac it would always be problematic to explain the origin of our concept of matter as distinct from our sense impressions.
Kant agrees that the concept of matter is not directly derived from undeniably perceived that world has been filled with material objects, and, as with causation, Kant argues that this is because our mind categorizes the raw data with the concept of substance. Without this experience of the world would be unintelligible. Categories - Kant on Unity:
(Unity - the idea that there are discrete entities separate from other entities).
The modern scientific view of the world is of a huge mass of energy constantly shifting and changing; but we perceive an ordered world with objects made of matter that cause events. Part of this order is because out minds impose the category of unity on our perceptions. Without it we would not be able to perceive objects as separate; this is something humans do automatically, but computers have a great difficulty in doing. The computer does not 'perceive' the picture, for example, as a series of distinct letters on a background of scratches. This shows that a conceptual scheme is required for the way we experience our sense impressions. Our perception is altered because we have the concept of a letter is 'empirical', as it is derived from experience, but Kant's point is even more fundamental; the concept of a letter can only be formed in the first place because we already 'innately posses the category of unity', which is the idea that there are discrete entities separate from other entities. Without this idea, our experiences of the world would be unintelligible. Further support can be offered from the idea that we have 5 very different senses, but only conscious unified experience. We have five different senses but yet we are able to merge all these into a single conscious experience of the world. This must be made possible because of the 'unity' of the consciousness, which is made possible by these 'a priori categories'. The five senses are linked via the common concepts of substance, unity, causation and so on, and by the forms of space and time. It is these concepts that provide the glue that enables the different senses of the world to stick together and form a single unified experience. "Are ways of organising experiences, they are systems of categories that give from to the data sensation" - Davison Position one: Kant's Synthesis The Kantian Categories of Space and time, Causality and number. The Kantian Categories are necessary forms of experiences, which make having any experience possible: e.g it is impossible to think of any experience without thinking of it in time and space. Ideas of Time and Space are 'a priori' and 'synthetic' But, if space and time are necessary for experience, the ideas of space and time can't be derived from experience. Our ideas of space and time, then a priori, because they are not derived from experience.
The a priori 'truth' that objects must be experienced in space and time is not an analytic truth; instead, what justifies our judgment that objects must be experienced in space and time is the apriori knowledge that this is how we must experience objects. knowledge of space and time is therefore also synthetic.
SO kant's categories are therefore SYNTHETIC A PRIORI KNOWLEDGE. Kant's Three Characteristics Powers of the mind:
SENSIBILITY: - The mind has the power to be recerptive to particular objects and events in experience - which he calls 'intuitions'.
UNDERSTANDING: - The mind has the power to think, imagine and judge (so it has concepts)
REASON: - The mind has the power to make logical inferences. Kant's powers can't work in isolation from experience, thus further combining rationalism with empiricism = conceptual schemes.
Unless these powers have something to work on ( i.e raw sensations via the senses) they are idle.
If these powers are not activated raw sensation remains unprocessed and unintelligible.
Both aspects are necessary aspects for knowledge, RATIONALISM and EMPIRICISM. These powers form a unified experience.
According to Kant, we have a body of a priori rules for synthesising experience into an integrated whole.
The powers function within this structure or rules, and the senses input the raw sensation. Kant reconciles empiricism and rationalism; and objects must conform to our knowledge. Empiricism was right to insist the ideas must be somehow grounded in sense experience, otherwise they are empty.
Rationalism was right to the insist that a priori knowledge is possible, but what they were revealing a priori was not the structure of things, the knitting of the bones, and the anatomy of the world itself (noumenon - the real world) but the structure their experience of things must have (phenomenon - world as we perceive it) Criticism for Kant's Conceptual Scheme:
Duck and Rabbit...
The only thing that has changed is the idea or schema - either duck or rabbit. We cannot see the drawing without seeing it as something. So ideas or schema are active in experience. It is the idea that determines the way we interpret the world. SO there must be a schema organizing the content. Clearly though, the schema can be different (either duck or rabbit.) To clarify, the reason why Kant's CS has a flaw to it is because Kant argues that the a priori structure of the CS is universal, so everyone has it, the same CS. So the image of the duck rabbit shows that if Kant's CS was universal we would all see the same thing, but this isn't the case. We all see either duck or rabbit changing back and forth but not just duck or just rabbit. What this illustration is trying to show that everyone has their own thoughts and opinions and someones mind it very different from the next. If we use the "office" analogy then my point will be made clearer...
as we have already discussed the emprical claim of gaining knowledge was doomed as we expressed through 'Condillact's statue". No organized structure to the brain lead to a heap of e-mails, faxes and letters. if you wanted to go and search for something in this office it would be impossible.
Kant's Synthesis had then changed this, but combining both Empiricist and Rationalist claims has a secretary and everything is organized from the categories and memories and ideas can be recollected as there is some sort of structure. BUT in every CS according to Kant as it is universal the secretary is always the same...
The opposing claim to this is the Sapir-Whorf CS. Instead of an a priori structure there is an a posteriori structure further meaning that peoples CS are different and diverse. Coming back to the Office analogy the secretary is therefore different in everyone's CS. Thus meaning that we all have different opinions ideas and this CS shows that everyone's mind is different and not the same i.e not universally the same.
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