14 Sep 2013: The Congee Spill

30 minute workout first thing at 5:15 AM – 150 warmups (no weights) 300 lowrise steps, 150 warmups (with weights)

Overtired later in the day – unsatisfactory to get only 8 hours of sleep – go to sleep not later than 8:30 PM.

Discouraging spill of part of a bowl of congee on laptop – a couple of keys no longer work and as a result the unit is unusable although it boots properly. In fact, at first, I was able to use it and the problem only emerged after a while. Will need to trek to Apple’s center at IFC since my consiglieri has spent entirely too much time in moving my stuff out of my flat and has blown an Achilles tendon in this.

But hopefully the keys will “dry out” (or something) although that is improbable given that they stopped working after a while – after having had the opportunity, perhaps, to dry.

Switched to my “laptop”: one of those big, cheap, well-bound, well-made Chinese notebooks with the red and black cover, and preoccupied myself with reading Johansen (History of Ancient Philosophy) and outlininig the Transcendental Deduction in the Critique.

Kant COPR Challenge Question I, or, I Thought I Saw a Puddy Tat

In the Transcendental Deduction, Kant clearly states that all our perceptions, to be anything more than passive sensations belonging to no-one, like computer input, must be apperceptions starting with “I think”:

“The I think must be able to accompany all my representations.” (COPR B131)

But doesn’t this make Kant an idealist, if we can never just see, hear, feel, but can only say “I think I see the sunrise”. This sounds like we doubt the existence of a real world in a weakened form pf “strong” idealism, the Berkeleyan denial of an external world that scandalized Kant’s contemporaries and Kant himself.

No, because Kant’s “I think” considered as an operator which cannot adjoin the specific sensation report (such as “I see”) provides two forms of certainty, in place of the doubt found in a statement which adjoins “I think” and “I” sensationReport.

Suppose we see something, and we’re drunk. As long as we’re not unconscious, we receive, let’s guess, a confused sensation and we say “I think I see a Jackson Pollock painting”: although a “Jackson Pollock painting” could be considered to be an artistic vision of raw Kantian sensation, as long as we retain a unified consciousness though we’re drunk (where an “alcoholic blackout” may be an interesting example of the absence of a unified consciousness and its unified pain), our report “I think I see …” is idealistic in the sense of admitting doubt:

He thought he saw an Elephant
That practised on a Fife:
He looked again, and saw it was,
A letter from his wife.

– Lewis Carroll, The Mad Gardener’s Sing

Just remove the phrase “I think” from the example and keep “I see”: “I see a Jackson Pollock painting” doesn’t have to be true (our drunk art appreciator could be seeing a Rothko, or a letter from his wife for that matter) but if it is true it is certain (synthetic apriori). And, if it is false it still has Humean certainty because the viewer cannot doubt a sensation report in Hume, or in Kant.

But because it can be wrong even when the art appreciator is sober (he may be looking at a forgery, a clever reproduction, or a Rothko) this means there is an external world after all in which objects make judgements objective. I conclude that “I think” isn’t an idealistic predicate, it has the sole function of establishing a unity of consciousness.


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