16 July 2013

20 min workout at dawn: 200 steps (still painful and difficult), 75 weight moves. 20 mn workout in physio later in the day (rackety row machine: about 700 strokes).

Dreams

Dream #1: one of those frustrating train dreams, where you’re trying to get somewhere and can get nowhere. Took place at the Evanston (Illinois) railway station which in the dream had expanded into an international terminus serving USA and Canada. Kept on getting on the wrong train, typically selecting a north-bound long-distance train when I needed a south-bound local to Chicago to get to work on time.

Dream #2: a box of chocolates with a disembodied hand reaching out to snatch the best ones.

Kant Study

It is overly ambitious to simultaneously and in parallel key in all parts of the Henrich article, so I’ll just keyboard the text first.

Finished a seven times reread of Guyer’s commentary on the Metaphysical Deduction (the Clue) and the Transcendental Deduction. The Metaphysical Deduction only establishes that we judge when we have a perception: its clue is that IF a perception exists (as opposed to a sensation) in which apperception occurs (where we know we’re having the perception) THEN a judgement has occurred of the form “I x y” where “x” could be, by way of example, “see” and y could be, by way of example, “something”, where the perceiver is, let’s say, in the woods at night, and he may see the lights of home.

Even a negative apperception of the form “I don’t see it” involves judgement. You may be able to see it if you use your binoculars.

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

Emily Dickinson

When Wellington judged that he could not categorize distant troops as Prussians or French at Waterloo’s crisis, he passed the telescope to La Haye and said, “your eyes are young”: La Haye took the telescope and said “Prussians: it’s Blucher”. What Kant calls “assertoric” can be negative.

The section on the Transcendental Deduction tries to prove that we judge, using the categories, when we have a perception. The metaphysical deduction is “metaphysical” because it simply declares that we judge our perceptions in some unspecified way, whereas the Transcendental Deduction is much more difficult. It is “transcendental” in that it needs to prove that the ontology proposed provides the only sensible way to speak of experience.

In the Transcendental Deduction Kant wants to show in more detail exactly what happens when a perception has become a full “Intuition” in which we are fully engaged, I(p), the I (Intuition) that p (mechanical perception), is occurring.

An excessively critical spirit delights in the fallacies, of believing that a philosophy is Private Property, and that it must not be set in motion if we can find counter-examples to its claims.

But if a philosophy has truth-content at all, then discovering this truth-content, and not who thought what, is philosophy’s central task. Who thought what and when he or she thought this is strictly a historical matter and not philosophy.

Philosophy is not a history of persons but rather, of ideas.

Also, we do not have to overconcern ourselves with whether we have the “right” categories as applied to experience: Kant’s categories certainly seem out of date. We need some categories, the idea of categories.

So: don’t be afraid of the crude, the visual, the manifold of the evil clown, fire the picture up and see where it leads for a useful first take. Kick the tires and light the fires. Consider Kant’s philosophy as a fuzzy-bounded collection of methods. We know that sensation requires apperception to create an intuition but trivially, we don’t have to use those words. We could say that “perception” (now meaning what a computer does, mere sensation) requires concepts to create an experience; the structure and the numerical difference of three meta-concepts is what matters here.

Change Record

19 July 2013 Added Emily Dickinson note and aside on Wellington to amplify negative perception.

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