On 23 Oct 2012, at 14:04, Roger Clough wrote:

Kant's Refutation of (Problematic) Idealism

Problematic Idealism (Berkeley's idealism, not that of Leibniz) is the thesis that we cannot prove that objects outside us exist. This results directly from Descartes' proposition
that the only thing I cannot doubt is that I exist (solipsism).


Descartes was not solipsist. The 1p is solipsist from the 1p view, but this does not enforce it to be solipsist, as we can believe or guess in some thing which we cannot prove.




If solipsism is true, it seems to raise the problem that we cannot prove that objects outside
us exist .

Even if solipisism is false, we cannot prove that something exists "outside us". But we can guess it. Assume it, and then we can prove it in the theory which assumes it, by a one line proof.




But Kant refutes this thesis by his observation that we cannot observe the passing of time (in itself inextended or nonphysical) unless there is some fixed inextended substrate on which to observe the change in time. Thus there must exist a fixed (only necessarily over a small duration of time) nonphysical substrate to reality. A similar conclusion can be made regarding
space.

No problem with this, if we want to believe in some notion of time.



Here is an alternate account of that argument:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-transcendental/#RefIde

"Dicker provides a compelling initial representation of Kant's argument (Dicker 2004, 2008):

1) I am conscious of my own existence in time; that is, I am aware, and can be aware, that I have experiences that occur in a specific temporal order. (premise)

2) can be aware of having experiences that occur in a specific temporal order only if I perceive something permanent by reference to which I can determine their temporal order. (premise)

3) No conscious state of my own can serve as the permanent entity by reference to which
    I can determine the temporal order of my experiences. (premise)

4) Time itself cannot serve as this permanent entity by reference to which I can
    determine the temporal order of my experiences. (premise)

(5) If (2), (3), and (4), are true, then I can be aware of having experiences that occur in a specific temporal order only if I perceive persisting objects in space outside me by reference to which I can determine the temporal order of my experiences. (premise)

(6) Therefore, I perceive persisting objects in space outside me by reference to which
    I can determine the temporal order of my experiences. (1�5)"

That is not rigorous, and contradicted by comp, as we know that if comp is correct, time and space are construct of the mind. The argument is locally correct, but does not bear on what is ontological, only epistemological. As such it makes some sense.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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