Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reducing a knowledge claim to an epistemological framework seems fine to me

One Response to “Analogies Elucidating Correlationism Alexei Says: February 22, 2009 at 1:19 am Hi Levi
In fact, within a Kantian correlationist framework this is not what is said at all. In fact, were Alexei correct, then it would spell the ruin of the entire second half of the first Critique. Here Alexei is trading on an ambiguity in the term “experience”. Within a Kantian framework, experience has a very precise meaning. Kant’s claim is that experience consists of the synthesis of concepts and intuitions organized by reason

See, in my view, this gets Kant totally, unhelpfully backward. Your reading implies that the order of explanation in Kant’s work runs like this: there’s first a subject, and then there’s the application of a transcendental framework to something, and then there’s an empirical experience. But that makes the transcendental subject — which is ideal (i.e. only explanatory), along with the transcendental object — into a metaphysically real one (That would be Fichte). It’s only if you ontologize Kant that you can assert the things you do. But Kant is no metaphysician. With respect to Kant, that’s totally backward.

In fact, I think you fail to see Kant’s work as metatheoretical — he accepts the universality of al the sciences, and simply wants to delineate philosophy’s contributions to it; he’s a handmaid to science, as the positivists would say — and hence seem to conflate yourself the actual order of explanation in his work.

Take, for instance, your remark concerning concepts and inuitions, Without going into the details, the relationship between intuitions and concepts is far from straightforward (and no interpreter is particularly happy with Kant’s remarks about it); the consensus, however, is that intuitions are ‘proleptic concepts’ — that is, the synthetic unity of intuitions and concepts in a judgment isn’t structurally different than the synthetic unity of phenomena themselves (That’s why Kant distinguishes between intuition, appearance and phenomena). You can’t talk about intuition independently of concepts, or concepts independently of intuitions precisely because their ‘fitness’ is derived from phenomena (and not, as you keep saying, applied to them).

Nor am I trading on any ambiguity of the word ‘experience.’ If anything, I think the fact that Kant distinguishes between empirical and transcendental forms of experiences (i.e. the various forms of a posteriori experience verses a priori) is quite in line with what I’ve said. Moreover, Kant just happens to have a rather stratified sense of experience, and I don’t think you’re doing it justice.

All this said, we can disagree over how to read Kant. That’s fine. But, for the sake of clarity, maybe we should mark this feature. For at least here, a fair bit seems to depend on the interpretation. If I, for instance, reject your interpretation of Kant, which I do, everything following ceases to have any bite. Insofar as it follows from the Kant-example, it too is false. However that may be, I don’t actually think it actually answers my intial question. Assuming that thee’s a difference between the epsitemic and the epistemological, how does that effect your claims concerning the epistemic fallacy (for surely reducing ontology to a knowledge claim doesn’t sound right; but reducing a knowledge claim to an epistemological framework seems fine to me)

So, if an epistemic fallacy = the reduction of ontological questions to epistemological ones, then how could Kant be guilty of it? If he reduces empirical experience to the conditions of possible experience — i.e. he reduces epistemic claims to epistemological ones, leaving ontology totally undetermined, how does he reduce ontology to epistemology. I’m not saying there’s no such thing as an epistemic fallacy. I’m just not sure anyone has ever committed it (save for the logical Positivists). [...]

I acknowledge, for instance, that there may be a difference between an object and the effect of an object. My point was simply that an intuitiable effect is a sufficient condition for claiming that a cause exists. Moreover, given enough intuitable data, we can in fact characterize an unintuitable object. Now, to draw the conclusion: the only way to (responsibly) discuss an object is via what is intuitable. Otherwise, I might as well start invoking the 108 gods of voodoo every time I want to do ontology.

Responses to “Brassier’s Meets an Ethnographer jerry the anthropologist Says: February 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I would agree that on its face Husserl’s quote is nonsense, that is until we take Husserl (my variable or term for phenomenology as it enters psychology and anthropology where I assure you it has been helpful because knowledge, even false knowledge, has conditions as well) to be talking about the conditions of knowing and Nature as myth; I’ve not read alot of Husserl and I’m not a philosopher, so nothing in my argument depends upon extensive exegesis of Husserl as such or in the problems facing western (continental?)philosophy as such.

I’m not claiming thta there isn’t more in heaven and earth than is encompassed in my philosophy (if I even engage in philosophy), but in my discipline and those related to it we have had to try to take the circumstances of the thinker (human or otherwise, individually and collective) rather more seriously that Bashkar appears to me to do. Indeed I seem to think (ah, Bali and the distinction between niskala and sekal which I mentioned in an earlier comment) that any time a thinker arises so will correlationsism as a phenom,enological event, if I understand you correctly. As to the last point you make

(1) all thinkers find themselves at the center in that they have points of view from which they look out even if they are not at some mystical center, but please unless one wants to enter into lengthy attempts to understand centuries of Asian capitalism spare me getting over this myth of subjective interiority as Bhaskar puts it as a way of getting over capitalism

(2) any trauma depends, it seems to me, upon some notion of special creation (and yes you and I live at the buckle of the Bible Belt where such notions are prevalent) but this (special creation) is not a universally human form of common sense, so

(3) any comment about a policing mechanism refers to a provincial event, meaning of a time and place and not of the human condition (whatever the fullness of that may be) or the structure of ordinary lived experience (whatever the fullness of that may be) more generally.

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