2 July 2013: Said Immanuel Kant, “do you think you know the Ding an Sich? Well, you … can’t.”

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Edward G. Nilges, “Yay Boogers”, pen on A4 paper, 2 July 2013. Copyright (C) 2013 by Edward G. Nilges.

Workout first thing at 5:30: ten minute walk, rather short rest, one flight of stairs up and down: then, 80 aerobic steps on the lowest riser. Apart from pain that was continuous during the workout and thereafter until the effect of a Fentanyl shot, a more comfortable workout than yesterday’s Great American Disaster.

Looking forward to a solitary “home” leave for one day tomorrow in which I will go to Esslee books (the crazy nuts book superstore in Causeway Bay) and a stationer’s, then get civilized chocs (75%+ cacao) and then return to Grantham.

Will try to stay within 500.00 HK budget for books & chocs which may mean one very good, very “difficult” book, perhaps one with exercises. Of course I have brought my book “Analyzing Sentences” in which one learns by drawing Chomsky syntax drawings. I don’t know these for advanced sentential forms.

Then you commit to the book as I committed to Shakespeare’s Works and Kant’s Critique. I am sliding home with regards to the latter having made a best effort to learn from it by means of accessing additreneional materials including Dan Robinson’s excellent series of lectures at Oxford on the Critique, available free for iTunes university, free software inside iTunes which is free.

One defect I see in a lot of Kant scholarship is the lack of awareness of mathematics and its own philosophy on the part of Kant scholarship. It doesn’t seem, for example, that Peter Strawson was in 1960 aware of the mathematically “intuitionist” claim that we can’t contemplate complete infinities or use them in proofs (normally in the form of argument called “excluded middle”), but can contemplate them as being constructed or visited in a member-wise fashion, proving properties about infinities using recursion (it’s true of member 1, if it’s true of member n then (we’ve shown that) it’s true of member n+1).

Without any awareness of Cantor’s work in the distinction between “denumerable” and “non denumerable” infinities, Kant seems to be wary of infinite undifferentiated substance (a non-denumerable infinity) and reasoning about finished infinities, denumerable or non denumerable. This is a wariness of the northern Continent, producing the Dutch school of mathematical intuitionism of Brouwer and Heyting, whereas English philosophers, strangely, don’t share its wariness of finished infinities, and are like Strawson too wrapped around the axle of their own presumptions to really listen to what Kant is trying to express – the invention of Mathematical Intuitionism before Cantor in Kant’s famously incomprehensible language, incomprehensible due to the fact that Kant was inventing things before they were invented; bootstrapping as it were his way into the concerns of 20th century philosophy.

My attraction to an office supply store, called here a stationer’s, is mysterious yet powerful: my Pop had it too. Basically a genuine need exists to get organized and transit to the sphere of the written as opposed to orality. One seeks the ultimate Packet in which knowledge can exist.

For example, I have a lovely medical file, a large plastic box with medical documents indexed with a number written in their upper left-hand corner. I now know that my reaction to the rather unpleasant (to say the least) prospect of my death, at least at this stage, is to be Frederick the Great with a wasp in his arse, always organizing things. And, the stationer’s allows my organizational imagination free play with its red and black Chinese books and modern file folders that are made of plastic…adding to the Pacific Garbage Gyre to be certain, but which allow you to see what’s in the folder, or to make a big sign visible in the folder saying what it contains for the hard of seeing.

KANT Limericks

There was an old man by a Canal
Who said, you’re all aught but canaille
If you think you’re Transcendental
Then you are most assuredly mental!
Averred that disgusting old man by a canal!

There was a Professor in Holstein
Who said, ach this Kant is a swine!
I have all sorts of honors
Ich haben all zorts of Degreez
But I Kant verstehe undt Ich Kant understand
A thing he is writing. Nor can zee boys in the band.

But that same Privat Dozent of Holstein
Read the Critique seven times seven time
Undt now he gets it: when we think at the edge of the page
We are reduced to ordering the preconditions of thought. That is (das ist) Philiswines may rage
But this is the Way so that privatdozent do say.

There was a student most stud
Ious who said I am “stoomped”
By Herr Doctor Kant who I can’t understand
Because of his style most complex and bland
In his turgid “Magnum Opus”, the Reinen Vernunft!

Kant, a Doctor of Philosophy,
In Konigsberg now Kaliningrad in what was Muscovy
Said, time and space are but the Way
We perceive the Beyond, or so I say:
More we cannot pretend to or else I be a knave most scurvy!

A gracious Lady, attendant on a Talk
On Metaphysics by Kant, did but slightly Balk:
“His word flow over me like the waters of the sea”
“He’s boring yet would I he might make sweet savage love to me”
Averred that gracious and most attentive Lady attendant on a Talk.

Said Immanuel Kant,
Know the ding an sich? Well, you can’t.

A Herr Doktor Professor in Konigsberg
Said unto his assistant, one Mortimer Snerg
You get an Intuition
When you see it’s your sensation
By way of Apperception
Which is when you know there is an “I”
That is having a sensation right on his big round ass
When I with ferrule cruel do smack it with Vim and Dash
And that is all you need to know here endeth today’s class!
Begone you useless lad!
Said that learned Professor of Kaliningrad!

Change Record

3 July 2013 Additional material re Kant’s premature invention of mathematical intuitionism
3 July 2013 Correction to Kant poem
5 July 2013 Correction to various errors: proofreading


6 Responses to “2 July 2013: Said Immanuel Kant, “do you think you know the Ding an Sich? Well, you … can’t.””

  1. A KANT RANT???? 🙂 http://bythemightymumford.wordpress.com/ Mine are not as high brow…but would you like to see them now???

  2. You can’t be done with Kant, can you!?

    • spinoza1111 Says:

      They just let me out of the hospital for a day leave (and don’t believe those rumors, it’s not a mental hospital) and I went to the Eslite book superstore…where I found a Cambridge Guide to the Critique of Pure Reason. I did the proper Kow-Tow as seen in Wayne’s World (“We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy! We’re scum!) and bought the book along with a history of ancient philosophy and a book for a British mate whose helped out considerably.

      That book is The Enchanted Glass by Tom Nairn as to why Britain can’t seem to get rid of its monarchy.

      I also restored dongle access to the cloud from anywhere including my bed at Grantham. The new dongle can be folded up at a right angle to the computer making it less likely to break. But I shall still access the cloud through wireless in the day room during business hours

      But wow talk about tired and slow…”there’s uncle Joe, he’s a movin’ kinda slow, at the junction.” This wash’t supposed to happen!

      I’ll hit the office supply store and then head back to the hospital.

      • spinoza1111 Says:

        I need to go on these expeditions with others and not by myself; it’s farewell, for now, to wandering cities, visiting museums, and Shopping.

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