On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 10:09 AM, John Mikes <jami...@gmail.com> wrote: > Dear Brent, just a tiny (but fundamental?) question. You wrote (never mind > 'on' what): > > "One can look at them that way, but ARE they that way?" > > the BIG question: are we in any position to identify 'real existence' > (are) vs. our assumptions - what we like to call here 'descriptions'? There > are so many as/pre/sumed thought experimental descriptions floating around > that it takes a superhuman mind to scroll back ALL with ALL consequences > included and arrive at a "pristine primitive" - if at all possible. Even in > such case: OUR judgement is completely blurred by the interpretations our > mind(set) formulates anything into, based on its limited computing (we call > it 'tissue-work?' with genetically differential origination?) plus the > previously absorbed experience (memory etc.) subjected to a 'human'(?) logic > what we cannot surpass (our mind?). > > So how do we distinguish "What - I S - ?" >
Let me just through this passage about Kant out there, to see if it gets any traction with you: “According to Kant, it is vital always to distinguish between the distinct realms of phenomena and noumena. Phenomena are the appearances, which constitute the our experience; noumena are the (presumed) things themselves, which constitute reality. All of our synthetic a priori judgments apply only to the phenomenal realm, not the noumenal. (It is only at this level, with respect to what we can experience, that we are justified in imposing the structure of our concepts onto the objects of our knowledge.) Since the thing in itself (Ding an sich) would by definition be entirely independent of our experience of it, we are utterly ignorant of the noumenal realm. Thus, on Kant’s view, the most fundamental laws of nature, like the truths of mathematics, are knowable precisely because they make no effort to describe the world as it really is but rather prescribe the structure of the world as we experience it. By applying the pure forms of sensible intuition and the pure concepts of the understanding, we achieve a systematic view of the phenomenal realm but learn nothing of the noumenal realm. Math and science are certainly true of the phenomena; only metaphysics claims to instruct us about the noumena. By the nature of reason itself, we are required to suppose our own existence as substantial beings and the possibility of our free action in a world of causal regularity. The absence of any formal justification for these notions makes it impossible for us to claim that we know them to be true, but it can in no way diminish the depth of our belief that they are.” -- Rex
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