16 June 2013

Missed a day: feel I owe La Mysterieuse qui lit l’histoire du Lanzelot du Lac a daily update for reasons beyond tears. Internet wi-fi here was down, had no backup. Very productive day, spent in drawing and in reading.

First thing (5:30 AM): 150 supine pullups, 150 steps, two stories stairs. Tried running in place: impossible. Tried some dance moves: OK, but the running attempt and probably the dance moves caused considerable pain later on this morning. Therefore running and perhaps dance are out, and step aerobics and swimming are the future. I may be able to do Badass Billy’s Taebo which I was doing just before La Debacle; this stayed on the ground.

La Debacle is a novel by Zola about France’s humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. To my knowledge it hasn’t been translated to English. Since I can just barely and with strain read French, I have downloaded La Debacle as one more difficult read to keep the old brain engaged in a way that light reading doesn’t.

I call my March 2012 cancer onset La Debacle.

My father introduced me to the phrase “la Debacle” even tho to the best my knowledge he didn’t read French. Wir sagt, maybe he did. I do know that Dad liked French authors in translation: Dumas, Zola, etc.

Rereading the most difficult part of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason to make sure I understand it. I have read the Critique through Kant’s presentation of the amphibolies of pure reason, or the paradoxes that result when we allow ourselves to speculate metaphysically.

These passages are easy in comparison to the “transcendental analytic”: 67 pages of densely argued material which form the basis for Kant’s entire philosophy. Therefore I am reading pp 201-266 of Guyer/Wood’s literal translation from German three more times, along with Strawson’s incisive commentary.

I get more and more convinced that just as Kant’s refutation of the possibility of metaphysics has the same structure as Godel’s refutation of the possibility that a mathematical system can be simultaneously proven consistent and complete, Kant’s realism means that our consciousness is structured like a Turing machine…with certain fascinating enhancements. More on this soon. I need to draft a paper offline on this in addition to the paper “required” by my self-administered seminar on the Critique.

Although not quite as difficult as the Transcendental Analytic, the refutation of the possibility of a speculative metaphysic which goes “from Tinker to Evans to Chance” and back to Tinker: from “the world has no temporal beginning” to “it does” back to “the world has no beginning in time”. Likewise for the world being bounded. Turns out that “the world” IS all time and all space. Cosmological speculation therefore leads to a looping paradox like the “Paradox of the Liar”: the Liar always lies, therefore when that bastard says “I always lie” is he telling the truth or a lie?

In Kant, the novelty of his ideas in the late 18th century made them hard to express and the actual Guyer/Wood text forks into two paths when Kant describes the antimonies of pure reason.

For undergraduates in philosophy, perhaps high school seniors in the International Baccalaureate program and other programs in critical thinking, “Kant” should probably be mentioned as one who found we “Kant” speculate about God, freedom and immortality without getting our trousers in a tangle. In highly religious communities and states like Texas where the boys are trying to legislate “critical thinking” away, you can actually use the Bible to support Kant’s critical metaphysics, for St Paul did say this (1 Corinthians 2:9): “eyes have not seen…”.

Undergraduates can read Kant’s Prologomena to Any Future Metaphysics, published by Kant because of the complexity of the Critique, which Kant confesses, in the introduction, is for professional philosophers only. A reading of the Critique should be a graduate seminar conducted without mercy, a real slog. I don’t see the merit, finally, of not reading the entire Critique. It’s too interconnected to be of much use to the reader who dips into it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: