Archive for Kant

11 Sep 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 10, 2013 by spinoza1111

30 minutes, 300 lowrise steps, 250 movements with weights and 100 without first thing at 5:15 AM. No physio today: have to go to chemo and cancer followup.

Rested, the usual pain, a sort of tug deep within the butt as if a malignant dwarf is ringing changes inside my leg for my funeral Mass. Prospero says in the Tempest, i’th’old play,

And thence retire me to my Milan, where
Every third thought shall be my grave.

The nice thing about pain is that you don’t have to dress in black, and pray all the time, and pull a long face and rebuke the children for farting around, there is the pain to make every third thought to be of your grave.

Study? No progress. But see where Mr Sitdown tragedies realizes as I have the utility of diagramming:

If only Kant were an artist, he says. But his diagram doesn’t explain the formation of multi-level concepts.

cf also my comment at his site. Abstract expressionist painting the representation of pure sensation?

The chorus of soft screaming, the singing, the “ay-yahs” erupt as we awake to pain.

3 Sep 2013: Review of Strawson’s Book “The Bounds of Sense”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 3, 2013 by spinoza1111

A review (submitted to Amazon 3 Sep 2013) of PF Strawson’s book on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, “The Bounds of Sense”. Routledge 2002.

Strawson is overly creative in his reading of Kant, for it’s axiomatic (well, it is to me) that doing the history of philosophy including monographs on individual philosophers is itself philosophical whence the popular illusion that philosophers cannot stop arguing and make no progress. They stop arguing when they are dead, like natural scientists in Steven Kuhn’s account in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn 2012). And, they make progress, especially in the sense that each philosopher reads many of her predecessors, except for Ayn Rand, about whom the less said, the better.

Strawson’s Kant is a straw man.

Strawson’s review is dismissive and savage, filled with what seems to be a postwar hatred of German philosophers. A “fallacy of numbing grossness” is memorable and perhaps drew laffs down at Oxford, but Kant doesn’t do anything of numbing grossness. What was numbingly gross was Strawson’s apparent ignorance, that could have been rectified in minutes, of the fact that there are two editions of the Critique. It’s as numbingly gross an error as some Tea Partier here in America confusing the Articles of Confederation (circa 1781, the year of the first edition of the Critique) with our Constitution (1789, the year of the second edition of the Critique).

Dieter Henrich made a significant post-Strawson contribution to the forward progress of philosophy in Henrich 1969. Simply by including the 1787 edition in his analysis, Henrich created the neo-realist understanding of Kant, replacing the oversimplified idealist understanding in effect almost from 1781 to 1969.

Strawson creates an idealist strawman out of Kant whom we need not read (or read because we care about Strawson not about Kant), because at the time of his writing Bounds of Sense, Strawson was more interested in crafting his own analytic metaphysics…as were many philosophers of the 1960s.

Metaphysics was back in fashion because the anti-metaphysical, logical positivist generation of the 1930s was realizing something Kant recognized early, in reading Hume: denialist or reductionist metaphysics is still metaphysics. To deny castles in the air is precisely the same sort of activity as creating castles in the air.

[For more on this, cf. Bergmann 1978. The title is elegant: “The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism”. ]

Strawson bases his account of Kant on the 1781 edition of the Critique and altho this was a common error (Heidegger also did this), Henrich and a bit later Paul Guyer, now the leading Kant scholar in the world (Guyer 2010), based their neo-realist reading on the 1787 edition and a close reading of the most difficult part of a difficult work, the Transcendental Deduction.

The preceding chapter, the “Clue” or “Metaphysical Deduction” is reasonably accessible:

An intuition of sense is a judgement:

We don’t think “red” as a noun like a computer (would if a computer could “think” which it cannot):

We think the sentence “I see red” and we could be wrong: this is a *judgement* because (1) it is a complete sentence and (2) it could be false, we may not see “red”, we may be color-blind and not know it.

However, the next chapter or “Transcendental Deduction” is even post-Henrich still not fully understood and can drive you nuts. It is unlikely that Kant himself fully understood what Kant was talking about, and this was no vice, it was “to boldly go where no man has gone before”.

I have pointed out elsethread ( that part of the reason for Kant’s infamous prolixity, verbosity and obfuscation is that (as in a little noticed sentence of *150 German words* on p. 712 of the 1787 edition: on p. 613 of Kant 1998: I call this sentence “the whopper”) Kant lacks a language, a language that was created post-Kant based on his own “boldly going”. This I call the “tragedy of Kant’s tools”.

Kant, in the “whopper” sentence, is struggling to parse the distinction Kant himself discovered but could not express: between a Platonic infinity specified as complete (often using the excluded middle), and an “intuitionist” infinity specified by a stepwise rule, usually recursive. At the time Kant wrote, this distinction didn’t exist. It wasn’t made until the twentieth century by the “mathematical intuitionists” Brouwer and Heyting…who based their distinction on Kant’s work! (Korner 1986).

In addition, the Logical Positivists, notably Rudolf Carnap, were heavily influenced by Kant who on the Continent was part of the philosophical, and, France, sociological, curriculum. Kant could have done with some symbolism to render his arguments less prolix but the use of symbolism was unknown in philosophy (outside Leibniz) until Boole. Again, Kant’s descendants developed tools that Kant himself would have used.

The Transcendental Deduction mess of 1781 was partly cleaned up in the Prolegomena and completely, as far as it was possible given the tragedy of Kant’s tools; but both Strawson and Heidegger lacked sufficient intellectual humility to see that since doing the history of philosophy is philosophy, the same rigor applies to both activities.

The bottom line? Don’t read The Bounds of Sense if you’re into Kant, read it if you’re into Strawson, an important metaphysician in his own right. And a word to professors: don’t adopt this book for a class on Kant or the Critique. University students pay too much for textbooks as it is.

More generally, since doing philosophical history including monographs is itself doing philosophy, use primary sources and RTFM, read the f*g primary source. This means the Critique itself preferably in German or a literal translation such as has been provided by Paul Guyer et al. (Kant 1998).

You won’t understand it on the first, perhaps on the tenth, reading. But instead of buying books sold by profit-seeking publishers, who have in this book’s case mislabeled The Bounds of Sense as a book about Kant, take a look at Dell Adams’ excellent Amazon review of the Critique, “How to Get Your Money’s Worth from this Book” (Adams 2001). The only book outside Kant that Dell recommends is Kant 2010, “The Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics”, which Kant wrote in 1782 when it appeared that many people were misreading the Critique as a crudely Berkeleyan denial of the reality of an external world. Kant was wounded by this accusation and the Prolegomena was his initial reply. The Prolegomena is Kant at his finest, urbane and elegant especially as compared to the Critique itself.

But beyond this there’s only sitzfleisch, that is enough Germanic butt fat (or a nice pillow) to sit down and understand Kant. Consider yourself fortunate, if you’re reading the Critique as part of a class, to be able to do so as opposed to working for some bonehead to pay school loans. If you’re doing so at Brown University under Prof. Paul Guyer, consider yourself blessed. But Strawson is not a good teacher when it comes to Kant.


Adams 2001: Dell Adams, “How to get your money’s worth from this book”, Amazon review,

Bergmann 1978: Gustav Bergmann, The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism. Praeger.

Guyer 2010: Paul Guyer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

Henrich 1969: Dieter Henrich, “The Proof Structure of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction”, Review of Metaphysics

Kant 1998: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood, tr.: Cambridge University Press.

Kant 2010: Immanuel Kant, “Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics”:

Korner 1986. Stephan Korner, “The Philosophy of Mathematics: an Introductory Essay”. Dover.

Kuhn 2012: Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: University of Chicago Press.

Nilges 2013: Edward G. Nilges, “Home of the Whopper”.

30 Aug 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 30, 2013 by spinoza1111

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 2.48.29 PM

20 minute workout at 6:35 AM: 200 lowrise steps, with only one hand for balance to see if balance has improved: 250 supine weight gestures.

A beneficial side effect of mastering a very difficult text such as the Critique of Pure Reason is that less difficult texts are pleasantly more readable. Johansen’s History of Ancient Philosophy, for example, which was originally written in the relatively minor language Danish and translated to English by way of a grant from Denmark’s queen, is a real treat after the Transcendental Deduction of Kant’s Critique as is a daily newspaper. Even the “Transcendental Aesthetic” chapter of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is easier to read because Kant is applying later methods of logic.

Started to take the Open Courseware (OCW) class in Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy as taught by David O’Connor of the University of Notre Dame to accompany my reading of Johansen and get my money’s worth of my purchase of this expensive book. Started re-reading Plato’s Republic in the required Jowett translation posted as part of the OCW materials.

Philosophy contrary to jejune opinion does make progress. This is indicated by my example of Kant’s Whopper (cf. p 613 of the Cambridge University Press Critique), in which Kant takes 150 (German) words to explain in one sentence something that would take far fewer words, in one or more sentences, to explain had Kant only had a clear idea of the distinction between constructive and non-constructive infinity, which Brouwer and Heyting based on their studies of…Kant. Clearly, the replacement of poor Kant’s confused Scholastic logic by modern logic (with preservation of the best of the old tradition such as the classification of syllogisms) was real progress.

Likewise, Kant’s invention of the taxonomy of synthetic apriori, analytic aPriori, and synthetic aPosteriori proved to be useful for later generations.

Philosophy makes progress, however, chiefly in the way each philosopher must engage the past, at a minimum to find out if she’s “reinventing the wheel”…altho there’s not the total ban on wheel reinvention in philosophy as there is in engineering.

Two twentieth century philosophers who seem to have ignored tradition and who risked reinvention of the wheel are GE Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Moore simply wanted to think things through as his brilliant essay The Refutation of Idealism shows. Without the gibbering ghosts of former idealists such as Berkeley, or philosophers seduced by idealistic talk such as Descartes, Moore came up with a strikingly original thesis: that the results of philosophy could not contradict common sense, indeed, common sense was the empirical data for the philosopher as physical reality is for the scientist; common sense can falsify the most beautiful philosophical theories.

This point is remote from Kant yet anticipated in Kant.

Although Moore (like Wittgenstein) fails to credit older thinkers, in Moore’s case Kant, whose distinction between what I call “metaphysics” (the creation of nonsense entities) and how I use “ontology” (the analysis of experience into constituent immanent thingamawhats) really authorized Moore to want to discard elaborate idealistic theories about really real reality as opposed to the rag and bone shop of our experience. This inspired in turn the Moorean “Oxford” school of “ordinary language” philosophy which eschewed references to the philosophical tradition in favor of pub bore discussion of matters best left to scientific linguists, dictionary writers and other harmless drudges.

Even more so than Moore, Wittgenstein, who was educated as an aeronautical engineer and who then renounced his share of the considerable Wittgenstein financial legacy, meaning that he had to work for a living, which he did, was the real Noble Savage of 20th century British and Austrian philosophy. When Bertie Russell heard Wittgenstein defend his philosophy for a formal credential, Russell basically overrode the rules (as a Lord Russell could do in that era) to give Wittgenstein his credentials.

Yet even less so than in Moore, and ordinary language philosophy, do we find references to an older philosopher in Wittgenstein. Of course, Wittgenstein based the calculus of the Tractatus on Gottlob Frege’s Begriffschrift (conceptual notation), but this is a mere technical calculus, of the sort Wittgenstein must have taken-to.

“The world is what is the case” taken together with “The world is the totality of facts, not of things” echo Hume’s final conclusion and I’ve no doubt that Wittgenstein read Hume, who’s engaging and easy to read (altho too tiresomely bouncy at times), but Wittgenstein, like most Kantian scholars until very recently, doesn’t seem to have comprehended the central part of Kant, that is the 1787 Books I and II of the Transcendental Doctrine of Elements.

An additional tribulation of the reader of Kant, beyond the confusion of translations and the lousy bindings of the best edition in terms of translation and thorough research (Guyer and Moore, Cambridge 1998) is the chaotic layout of the Critique.

Basically, the central and most difficult part of Kant is where he leaves off boring you on *Raum undt Zeit* (the “transcendental aesthetic” of time *undt* space) and where starts up boring you on the “analytic of principles” (the Kantian attempt to ground Newtonian mechanics, which impressed Kant as much as relativity and quantum physics impressed the Logical Positivists): two really hard chapters which reward the seven read-through Kant wonk only with further confusion in most cases, and to which, one bids a hearty “farewell” at the end, only to find that the reading has changed your life.

The two “books” (numbered I and II but only in relationship to their containing material) must be comprehended by the serious Kant scholar or anyone aspiring to teach a class on Kant. And in their own atonal way, these two “books” present the reader with an alpine challenge of living in a world without the usual handwaving and excuses of life at sea-level one in which we have to understand when we cannot understand, and where we have to keep on climbing when we cannot, a sort of Everest littered as Everest is today with the bodies of philosophers who didn’t get it.

I make the above claim about Wittgenstein (and beg the reader’s forgiveness for digressing so on Kant: I am still snow-blind and dazzled by my intensive reading of Kant) only because Wittgenstein like most 20th century logicians, doesn’t seem to see the need for a “transcendental” logic setting for the preconditions for a philosophical dialog. But there was a move in this direction in the Philosophical Investigations.

However, as in the Tractatus, there’s what literary theorists call “the anxiety of influence” in Wittgenstein, the Freudian fear that the father might show up and spoil the fun. The strings “Kant”, and “Spinoza” do not appear in the Investigations. Instead, we can do Fun projects based on the Investigations.

More later…too sleepy to write coherently.

Edward G Nilges, Grantham Hospital, Hong Kong, 30 August 2013

14 August 2013: So foul and fair a day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 14, 2013 by spinoza1111

Big ass typhoon seems to be missing us, but the city (o City city) has shut down nonetheless. These typhoons were a serious matter even before global warming.

First thing (6 AM) workout included 75 lowrise steps, supine weights, cycling and air conducting for a 20 minute total workout. Will try a standup free dance (if I can find my iPod) or walk with weights tomorrow morning.

However, I got nauseated while eating my congee, surprisingly enough. Was able to finish the Egg later and now am drinking an Ensure, the milk of the gods and of cancer sufferers. I am bored to tears, and sometimes to nausea, by the constant sameness of the food here. I long for dim sum, pizza, steak…anything but chicken, veggies and rice every day.

Kant Study

Finished the Cambridge Companion to the Critique with very interesting articles on the neo-Kantians and the use of Kant by analytic philosophers including Clarence Irving Lewis, the Strawson at least of The Bounds of Sense and Wilfred Sellars. Not going to finish my copy of the Bounds of Sense since according to more than one authority (including the author of the Kant/analytic philosophy essay, Kenneth R Westphal), the Strawson book is overrated and out of date.

This means that except for one essay taken from an Open Courseware class on Kant, and my essay on the complexity of Kant’s style, I have completed this self-administered beating, I mean, class on Kant’s Critique. It certainly confirms that the best of Kant is not his ontology or metaphysics, it is his work on ethics and aesthetics in which he applies the metaphysics to real problems.

But within ontology, Kant is good on the healthy-minded distinction between Object and Concept. I am familiar with a syndrome in programming where an idea is overgeneralized. Let’s make the existence of this [software object] a property, create all POSSIBLE objects and then, before using the possibly nonexistent object, test its existence property. Essentially, you’re doing work the system can do for you as well as crafting a recipe for trouble.

Kant’s critique of the Ontological Proof as found in Anselm and Descartes is a pattern repeated throughout the Critique notably in the Transcendental Aesthetic, where Kant intuitively recognizes that there’s an ontological similarity (in difference) between time and space, and an ontological difference (in similarity) between space and the things in space and time, and the events in time.

Space, and spatial relations, are not properties of objects, for example. Objects are not properties of space. This all sounds to me like a properly “factored” design in object-oriented software.

Owing to tiredness, possible delayed effects of chemotherapy which doctor says are unlikely, I deal with Kant in a fug, I read him in a fog. But the very act of reading and rereading, reacquaintance with concepts I have visited before, awakens me and sharpens me up a bit.

I’d love a strong coffee, and the lovely staff in the day centre make a lovely powerful cup. So I struggled out of bed and to the day centre only to find that because of the level 8 typhoon warning, the staff hasn’t shown up. I am fatalistic. I have plenty of green tea which relieves my pain.

No matter how much sleep I get I am sleepy during the day, just one more artifact of the chemo or now, so long (2+ weeks) after chemo, the cancer. I slip into micronaps and dream fragments. I will be thinking of Kant’s distinctions only to be, for a microsecond, a crew of a boat in time and space with ethical duties in excess of job duties…you get the picture.

This could be frightening if it is death but if it is death it is foretold. I am dying, if I am dying, alone (if you don’t count my friends which I do) but not in pain (because of Fentanyl). Things could therefore be worse.

But then as an hart my healthy thigh leaps because I want to dance and to walk, not just “go gently”. The pain drops away and I wiggle, feeling high, because the pain’s gone away. It returns but the left hip pain has been an old friend since April 2012.

“Let me be your father”, said the pain,
“Let me be your big brother”
“And all this will be just a bovver,”
“A smallish sacrifice on the floor.”

12 Aug 2013 Full many a glorious morning I have seen

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 12, 2013 by spinoza1111

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 33)

First-thing workout at 3:30 AM: 20 mn. Only 25 lowrise steps owing to yesterday’s nausea. Remainder was supine aerobics: air conducting and weights.

No physio. Feel light-headed and get easily nauseated when I walk. During morning hours before a long midday nap, was constantly falling asleep. Hospital is doing blood testing.

Beautiful glorious morning and beautiful glorious day flushed down the toilet by my condition.

Kant Study

The difficulty in understanding Kant far more prevalent that many philosophers are willing to admit. One of the Neo-Kantians, a gentleman named Schröter who’s not in Wikipedia, wrote:

“[that] it has never come into my mind to copy again what Kant has written or to know what Kant was after with his philosophy but only what according to my understanding he had to be after if his philosophy was to be coherent.”

I really need to track down this quote, and when I do, I’ll update this essay.

Call this character “Schröter’s” method of Kantian hermeneutics KH1: let KH0 be what we assume a Kantian interpreter is after by default, that is, when she doesn’t specify her hermeneutic; KH0 describes what Kant means. KH1 has to be specified when in use but the only other Kantian authority to do so is Adorno. The problem with KH1 is that it assumes that Kant was coherent. Altho he probably was, there is an element of question begging in adoption of KH1; perhaps Kant is incoherent all the way down.

It also assumes that Kant is coherent in only one way; but if we don’t have a single renarration of Kant’s thought on which we could construct fair tests on Kant in a class on Kant, and we don’t in my belief, this means Kant is incoherent in possibly more than one way. Our tests have to measure the student’s understanding of the teacher’s {mis)understanding.

Therefore KH1 is not a usable hermeneutic. Instead we do ontology using Kant’s tools and approaches to see if anything coherent and true pops out. The scandal is that basically, no one seems to understand vast tracts of Kant, notably the Deduction of the Categories, and Kantian hermeneutics is less a part of the history of philosophy than, say, describing Leibniz’ thought. Kantian hermeneutics is more original philosophy using Kant’s language. It is difficult, in my view, because Kant was trying to do (original) philosophy without tools he needed such as the distinction between constructed and constructible infinity that the mathematical intuitionists pioneered basing their thought on Kant’s insight.

To begin again, then. Again, as was the case earlier, when we produced an unworkable interpretation we cheerfully said, no problem, and continued to rock the Kantian Juggernaut back and forth in the mud to see if we could get it to work, all the while becoming more familiar with its dizzying array of tools.

7 31 2013: Sucks to be Me…sometimes…new complication in Cancer’s Journey

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 31, 2013 by spinoza1111

First thing supine workout with weights: about 300 moves (variable in time and intensity as in the dance, because I was listening to Ravi Shankar perform Raga Mishra Pilloo) for 20 minutes.

Chemo therapy day, at centre, weight is now 155 pounds: 70.5 kg! Yay!

Now need to stabilize weight gain so that it stops between 155 and 175. One MAD CHOC FREAKOUT on Sunday night and when I do chemo and can visit 7-11 at Queen Mary.

OK, here’s today’s bad news. PSA has shot up to 169, an unprecedented value since the start of this year. We need to retest 21 Aug no matter, and Dr at the Cancer Center, a fully qualified oncologist really urges the “jab” for hormone therapy, Leucoprolein. This is pricey in Hong Kong because the alternative is getting your balls cut off and leaving Mister Penis floating haplessly between two empty Tea Bags. Dreadful.

So I have to ponder staying exclusively on chem, or adding the best hormone therapy, either a wallet Hoover or else a dickstock, Dick, I mean a Dick chop for free.

Sucks to be me at times.

Rereading critical passages in Kant’s Critique.

B221-266 (second ed. pp221-266) concern impossibiity of ontological proof, which most phil majors will explain, correctly, as using “existence” as a “property”. But what’s fascinating is the way a GENIUS like Kant “kan” with such apparent facility (apparent in relation to the size of the problem) GENERALIZE a theorem.

Dig this, now:

The Genius hero computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra discovered in the 1970s that the so-called Pythagorean Theorem is actually implied by a far more powerful theorem. The Pythagorean Theorem only applies to right angled “right triangles”, and as Dijkstra pointed out a generalization allows you to calculate the values of any part of any triangle from small (<-2) sets of values.

Likewise, Kant's disproof of the Ontological proof is a specialization of a more widely effective thought-tool.

Kant's Refutation of Idealism follows from a generalization of the logic of the refutation of the Ontological proof.

In any Idealist argument, including not only the Ontological proof (for Kant regards Descartes, and not William of Ockham, as his primary source on the Onto proof, but also Descartes, one finds at least one type-confused "predicate" that allows the Idealist, whether William of Ockham, Descartes or Otto the Crazed Monk to transgress a type boundary. It's almost as if Kant was intuiting Bertrand Russell's intuition of a type boundary!

But unlike Russell, Kant had no precise road map that was for Frege developed by Peano…several years of new codification of what a set or a number might be. Kant had objects and concepts. Having been taught that they were different, Kant (like a spirited student in computer science who asks why "Kant" she calculate with a string-valued object or the contents in the form of specific machine language bytes both very good questions) showed how a thingamabob could be both but like many creative thinkers then came to grief when a transcendant property such as existence could not be an object. As far as I can tell Kant then set himself the task of learning which properties could act like empirical objects and which were transcend-ANT and how and why.

And now for something completely different

And now for something completely different. My PSA score has leaped up to 169 after steadily declining after chemotherapy was started. Doctor suggests we wait until a new measurement is made 21 August and that I get the (plus cost) leukocyte injection, against which the Grantham doctors who are, now l learn, primarily doctors and not specialist oncologists, STRONGLY counsel and advise. I shall get the injection however after a heart to heart with my trusted financial *vizier*, the BAZ and an opinion from Sasha Alexandrovitch.

One feels in need not only the BAZ. I could use a 400 pound Samoan Attorney as did Hunter Thompson in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and a 500 pound Fijian fitness guru whose client list included Manny Pacquaio.

I already GOT the lovely, talented and learned Doctor Susan Jamieson who puts one in mind of Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well, who’s treated Mick Jagger, Elton John and GaGa.

Change Record

6 Aug 2013: Added this change record along with minor changes

26 July 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 26, 2013 by spinoza1111

Another attack of severe pain last night but at 5:30 AM I awoke to do 5 minutes lowrise step (100 steps), 10 minutes walking, 3 minutes step on the stairs (50 steps) and about 7 minutes prone weight movements for a 25 minute exercise session. Pain after the workout caused me to cancel a subsequent physio session. Tonight shall sleep on a flat bed to see if this helps.

Kant Study

Includes significant updates added 28 Feb 2028

Finished Michelle Grier on “The Ideal of Pure Reason”, primarily a discussion of the ontological proof method in general. Although Kant famously rejected the equivocation on properties and “existence” and other prerequisites to having properties he did believe that objects in the world could have a perfection as it were of properties and tried in the Ideal to make use of this.

To determine (or describe) a thing completely would seem to require that we know all possible positive predicates of that thing and have a list, say (A…Z, A0…Z0, … Az…Zz) of applicable predicates handy. Each NEGATIVE predicate (where, for example, “bad” is ~good or “male” is ~female in the sort of taxonomy we’d look for at this point) can be removed.

Of course, Kant’s optimism on this is rather touching. We can discover new predicates and in other cases we can find predicates meaningless as applied to certain objects. But proceeding as if these wrinkles were ironed-over…

…there exists a perfect being PB such that A(PB) & B(PB) & C(PB) & … Zz(PB) qed.

For example, if we can in such a facile manner prove the existence of the perfect being we also can prove using the same method, the existence of the Perfect Being’s “foil”, PBF, let’s say the Devil, simply by writing (~A(PBF) & ~B(PBF) & … & ~Zz(PBF).

And, if God doesn’t exist, and the same set of properties applies to God and the Devil in reverse, then the Devil doesn’t exist. “Imagine there’s no heaven”.

At this point, we’ve been reduced to conjuror’s tricks which assume almost that beings can be brought into existence by writing or saying certain Kabbalah-like things but that is nonsense. What we’ve done is shown the backward-looking nature of Kant’s thought in addition to its forward looking nature. Kant’s thought is the ground of the very developments in modern logic which he would probably have found most useful, but which defy him here, including the very idea that our ordinary language including the ordinary mathematical notation we use in the spot (without fear that our calculus has occult, Kabbalistic power).

Both traditional and modern logic can treat properties as things and thereby making lists of properties including the excellencies of a Perfect Being. But modern logic can discover contradictory and nonsense properties that much better.

In a sort of “hack” of symbolic logic notation I can “say” things that look meaningful such as this paraphrase of “some properties are excellencies but not all”.

(Ex)[isProperty(x) && isAnExcellency(x)] && (Ey)[isProperty(x) && ~isAnExcellency(x)]

These amusing parlor games raise issues. For example, the above implies that the world has two objects, one of which is an ordinary object and the other a property.

Now, suppose we have implemented the above notation as a “programming language” (which I ask you not to do). If its world data base contains fewer than two objects then we crash, or at best “there is a bug”. If the And operator is not implemented lazily such that in A && B, the “lazy” evaluator does NOT evaluate B when A implies that such evaluation may be a problem, then we crash.

But because my painkiller base dosage on the patch has been increased by the Sunday resident, and owing to my four requests Fentanyl jungle jump joy juice earlier today, I am getting quite fuzzy and unequal to digital philosophy.

Change Record

28 July 2013 Correction to spelling error (“primary”=>”primarily”)
28 July 2013 Significant additions to the Kant Study section