Rex Allen wrote:
On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 10:09 AM, John Mikes <> 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
I think Kant over generalizes and from "We can't know the ding an sich" to "We can't know anything (about reality)." If there is no connection between what we can observe and Kant's noumena, then his ding is otiose and should be sliced off by Ockham's razor. His noumena is like the deist God as an explanation of the origin of the universe - it adds nothing but mysticism.

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