# Synthetic A Priori?

1. Philosophy Forum
2. » Logic
3. » Synthetic A Priori?

Sat 13 Dec, 2008 12:34 pm
I'm currently reading "Man is the Measure" by Reuben Abel, a book on epistemology and metaphysics.

There is a chapter on analytic and synthetic propositions. For anyone who doesn't know, analytic propositions are statements that are considered 'true by virtue of the meanings of their terms'
Some examples: All black cats are cats; A triangle has three sides; Every wife has a spouse.
All of these are true based on the definition of those words.

Synthetic propositions, however, are falsifiable. They require experience outside of the statement to consider whether or not they are true.

There are, however propositions that many Rationalists, and others, consider to be both synthetic and a priori.

1. The whole is equal to the sum of all its parts.
2. Whatever is colored must be extended.
3. Whatever has shape has size.
4. Every sound has a pitch and volume.
5. I see with my eyes.
6. A man must be some age or other.
7. Everything that exists might have been different from what it is.
8. Every cube has 12 edges.
9. If A comes before B, and B comes before C, then A comes before C.
10. Nothing is both red and green all over and at the same time.
11. Pink is more like red than black.

What do you think of these propositions? Are they certainly true? Are they even synthetic?

Also, I can't grasp the concept being presented in number 2, so if someone who does could elaborate on it, I would be grateful.

de Silentio

Sat 13 Dec, 2008 02:07 pm
@lakeshoredrive,
With regards to #2, the predicate "extension" is not contained within the subject "color", this makes the judgment synthetic. However, it is necessary that anything with color is extended, this makes it a priori.

Now, that this judgment is synthetic a priori depends on more than what I just stated, because Hume would argue that "extension" is not connected with "color" necessarily, the two are just always constantly conjoined.

What is required is that our minds connect "color" and "extension" necessarily when the judgment is made. If this done necessarily, then it is always done in the same manner. It is universally valid that anything with color must have extension, because all conscious minds will make the judgment equally the same. This is due to the fact that our minds use certain universal rules to connect "color" and "extension".

nameless

Sat 13 Dec, 2008 04:45 pm
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive;37814 wrote:

1. The whole is equal to the sum of all its parts.
2. Whatever is colored must be extended.
3. Whatever has shape has size.
4. Every sound has a pitch and volume.
5. I see with my eyes.
6. A man must be some age or other.
7. Everything that exists might have been different from what it is.
8. Every cube has 12 edges.
9. If A comes before B, and B comes before C, then A comes before C.
10. Nothing is both red and green all over and at the same time.
11. Pink is more like red than black.

What do you think of these propositions? Are they certainly true? Are they even synthetic?

They are all certainly far from absolutely omniversally true. There are so many exceptions...
Some might be well true, at a spectific time, in a specific place, to/by/as a specific Perspective...

Example;
1) If the whole is equal to the sum of its parts; while one person can do the labor of one, why can two do the labor of three?
2) (meaningless in present form, to me, obviously.) But there are no 'colors' outside of your mind/concepts.
3) In what 'shape' is your emotional health? When your thoughts 'shape' a concept, of what size is that concept? Imagine a red 'ball' against a white background. How large is the ball?
4) Every sound has a pitch and volume differently perceived by different Perspectives. All sound is in the mind of the beholder, uniquely experienced.
5) Some of us are synesthetes. Some of us can 'see' colors by 'touch'! Etc..
6) A man must be some age or other. Only in appearances and by consensus if all moments of existence are synchronous. Actually, we are all 'timeless' in the moment.
7) Everything is different, moment by moment. Nothing ever changes.
8) A tesseract is a 'cube', how many sides/edges does it have?
9) Only from a linear Perspective....

I think that you get my drift by now..
Peace

Kielicious

Sun 14 Dec, 2008 03:00 am
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive wrote:
1. The whole is equal to the sum of all its parts.

lakeshoredrive wrote:
5. I see with my eyes.

I could contend both of these as not being entirely true.

nameless wrote:
5) Some of us are synesthetes. Some of us can 'see' colors by 'touch? Etc..

and taste shapes...:shocked: crazy...

nameless

Sun 14 Dec, 2008 06:41 am
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;37910 wrote:
nameless wrote:

5) Some of us are synesthetes. Some of us can 'see' colors by 'touch? Etc..

and taste shapes...:shocked: crazy...

Not crazy, synesthetic! *__-
Well documented. Well witnessed. I think that we all have the 'possibility' of manifesting synesthetic features, depending on context.
Yeah, life's a kick! Always something!!

lakeshoredrive

Sun 14 Dec, 2008 11:33 am
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
Not crazy, synesthetic! *__-
Well documented. Well witnessed. I think that we all have the 'possibility' of manifesting synesthetic features, depending on context.
Yeah, life's a kick! Always something!!

Indeed we do. There are a number of tools available to aid humans in experiencing synesthesia.

Kielicious wrote:
I could contend both of these as not being entirely true.

How would you falsify number 1?

nameless

Sun 14 Dec, 2008 03:04 pm
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive;37946 wrote:
Indeed we do. There are a number of tools available to aid humans in experiencing synesthesia.

Woah!! It never ocurred to me that there might be 'mechanical' means of manifesting it. Like electrical stimulation (or killing) of certain areas of the brain? Hmmm..
My only experiencess have been 'natural' ocurrences. Mostly happening randomly, but the last time that it happened, i was talking about it to Boopsy. She didn't understand so I told her to blindfold me. She did. I told her to hand me something. She did. I told her 'purple'. It was an amethyst. I 'felt' it. I 'knew' it. I can't particularly say that it was a 'finger' thing, an actual 'tactile' thing, but thats what they call synesthesia... Perhaps, the place that all 'senses' coincide, Mind?

Kielicious

Sun 14 Dec, 2008 03:44 pm
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive wrote:
How would you falsify number 1?

Well, I am an anti reductionist at heart but I understand the importants of knowing the parts of the whole. Reductionism doesnt fully explain reality but it is very informative.

There are a few things that are problamatic about reductionism.

First: the infinite regression problem.

Second: the ontological hijacking of properties.

Third: reductionism doesnt actually explain.

The first and third are realized when you look at how we explain phenomena all together. The explanations go through different "levels" of scientific understanding. As Chalmers puts it, "If all goes well, biological phenomena may be explainable in terms of cellular phenomena, which are explainable in terms of biochemical phenomena, which are explainable in terms of chemical phenomena, which are explainable in terms of physical phenomena." Do you see a pattern?

Each "level" is supposed to explain its above phenomena, but, as you can see, there is a level for each level. So a full explanation is never given but instead goes through the different levels until...? And Im sure the infinite regression is self explanatory.

One can easily realize how unsatisfying reductionism is when you look at increasing fields of science such as emergence and complexity. Also, simple questions like, Does C-fibers fully explain pain? Does the excitation of molecules fully explain heat? whose answers are a nonreduction style. You cant find feelings, sensations, qualia, etc. under a microscope. There is a sensation phenomenon of feeling pain that cannot be expained to someone who hasnt experienced it. No matter how much they look at C-fibers. I would go on but Im late for lunch, see ya.

lakeshoredrive

Sun 14 Dec, 2008 10:36 pm
@Kielicious,
Ah, thank you Kielicious. I now have something to read about tonight: holism!

nameless wrote:
Woah!! It never ocurred to me that there might be 'mechanical' means of manifesting it. Like electrical stimulation (or killing) of certain areas of the brain? Hmmm..
My only experiencess have been 'natural' ocurrences. Mostly happening randomly, but the last time that it happened, i was talking about it to Boopsy. She didn't understand so I told her to blindfold me. She did. I told her to hand me something. She did. I told her 'purple'. It was an amethyst. I 'felt' it. I 'knew' it. I can't particularly say that it was a 'finger' thing, an actual 'tactile' thing, but thats what they call synesthesia... Perhaps, the place that all 'senses' coincide, Mind?

Yes, and not only mechanical. There are also quite a few drugs that have been reported to aid users in experiencing synesthesia, including LSD, mescaline, DMT, and psilocybin.

nameless

Mon 15 Dec, 2008 01:13 am
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive;38047 wrote:
Yes, and not only mechanical. There are also quite a few drugs that have been reported to aid users in experiencing synesthesia, including LSD, mescaline, DMT, and psilocybin.

Ahhh yes! Of course! Anything that opens the 'reducing valve' through which we receive information (Huxley; 'Doors of Perception'). Also 'spiritual' techniques/practices seem to 'provide' an appropriate context for synesthesia, a common feature of meditational practice, for instance.

1. Philosophy Forum
2. » Logic
3. » Synthetic A Priori?