Finding Kant VERY difficult- a humble call for aid

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Agape
 
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 10:40 am
Hey there

I am doing an essay on Kant. Now this is my third year and I am gunning for 1st's across the board but Kant is causing me much headaches. I have two essays of his to do for the year so I want to get them done and off my chest asap. I am much into Existentialism and find metaphysics extremely dry and abstract (obviously http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/phpbb/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif). My main problem is that the concepts unlike Ex. do not seem at all relevant so I have trouble grasping them when they arent either directly or indirectly applicable to some area of my life.

The essay question is DOES KANT SHOW THAT SPACE AND TIME ARE A PRIORI INTUITIONS?

So far I have been reading and reading for 6 hours a day and merely rewriting what the secondary texts say about it. I still feel I am far away from having a 'grasp' on the situation and as such I will barely be scraping 40% at present. Since I have read all the books in my library and non have given me a handle on the situation I have come to a standstill as to how I am to get my head around it and decided to post a plea for aid! I have written many emails and drafts to my tutor which helps a little but it too hasent given me a further handle on the situation.

If someone with MSN and a handle on Kants Transcendental Aesthetic would be kind enough to spare some time to go through it with me I would be very grateful. Or any other means of communicadoe they may wish. I feel that to and froing over the forum may prove a little slow as I want this thing done within the week and feel the waiting on replies may prove a little sluggish. I only need to get a fundamental grapple on what is really going on so that all the terminology (convoluted jargon) becomes clear to me. I am finding it rather frustrating as usually I have my head around things by now and Kant is proving a most elusive foe!

Thanks alot
Jake.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Fri 16 Nov, 2007 05:31 am
@Agape,
I don't understand your problem with Kant. I do not have it. I think you need to get an overview of Kant's ontology. Before we get into that I am really wondering in what way the essay question is ment:

DOES KANT SHOW THAT SPACE AND TIME ARE A PRIORI INTUITIONS?

I fear it is not as easy as that. It depends on the perspective you are taking. If there is a stable theory then depending on your position it takes a different form. In that sense objective truths are definately not the "stable".

Anyway, lets start with how the question was ment and then get to Kant's ontology.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2007 07:14 pm
@Agape,
I'm sure this topic is dead, but I am also studying Kant right now. I have just begun and have many difficulties also. Not so much in understanding what he is saying, but seeing how it is in fact valid (which I think it is).

However, I think Kant's Transcendental Aesthetic was made easier to me by keeping in mind that Kant had to have a Copernican Revolution in order for him to prove that there were a priori truths, space and time included.

For exercise, Kant's revolution was throwing away the dogmatism of metaphysics (if you could call it that). The problem philosophers previously had was they assumed that our minds were shaped by the world around us (or experience). Kant showed that if we shed this assumption and look at it from the perspective that the world around us is shaped by our mind a priori truths are not only possible, but necessary. (I think that is close to a quote from the Preface to the Second Edition of the CPR)

So, if our mind plays an active role in constructing the world, or in knowledge acquisition, there must be a priori elements involved, because in order for this to happen, our minds must have knowledge that is above experience, if it didn't it wouldn't be able to perform it's function of constructing the world.

Kant then goes on to prove the different kinds of a priori knowledge. Space and time are two of these. See, everything we experience in the world must be within space and time. Space and time are the forms of physical experience, the objects of experience are the matter. The matter must conform to the form. There is also something about necessity that must be said. Since it is necessary that all cognitions of experience must be within space and time, it is necessary that our brain is able to organize experience within the realm of space and time. If our brain could not do this, then we would never experience anything. Hume proved that we cannot learn of space and time from experience, all we learn is the habit that events are sequential and that this object is separated from that object. If this was true, Kant says we could never have knowledge of space and time, but we do have knowledge of space and time, for if we didn't, we would not be able to organize our experiences (time) or understand the separation of objects (space).

He goes on to show that causality falls under the same argument.

Any correction or critiques of what I wrote are not only welcome, they are appreciated.

------

One of the biggest problems I have with Kant right now is reconciling how space is only a subjective aspect of my experience. I have read a few secondary sources and they seem to conflict. I don't understand how space and time are only forms of my intuition. They must be properties of the world outside of my experience.

-------

An additional note to agape, I am surprised that you find Kant's metaphysics dull. When I deal with existentialism, it is the metaphysical and epistemological aspects that excite me the most.

I studied a little existentialism before I got into Kant, and I actually see a great deal of similarities. I even think existentialism stems from Kant's advancement of philosophy.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 12:25 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
I'm sure this topic is dead, but I am also studying Kant right now. I have just begun and have many difficulties also. Not so much in understanding what he is saying, but seeing how it is in fact valid (which I think it is).

However, I think Kant's Transcendental Aesthetic was made easier to me by keeping in mind that Kant had to have a Copernican Revolution in order for him to prove that there were a priori truths, space and time included.

For exercise, Kant's revolution was throwing away the dogmatism of metaphysics (if you could call it that). The problem philosophers previously had was they assumed that our minds were shaped by the world around us (or experience). Kant showed that if we shed this assumption and look at it from the perspective that the world around us is shaped by our mind a priori truths are not only possible, but necessary. (I think that is close to a quote from the Preface to the Second Edition of the CPR)

So, if our mind plays an active role in constructing the world, or in knowledge acquisition, there must be a priori elements involved, because in order for this to happen, our minds must have knowledge that is above experience, if it didn't it wouldn't be able to perform it's function of constructing the world.

Kant then goes on to prove the different kinds of a priori knowledge. Space and time are two of these. See, everything we experience in the world must be within space and time. Space and time are the forms of physical experience, the objects of experience are the matter. The matter must conform to the form. There is also something about necessity that must be said. Since it is necessary that all cognitions of experience must be within space and time, it is necessary that our brain is able to organize experience within the realm of space and time. If our brain could not do this, then we would never experience anything. Hume proved that we cannot learn of space and time from experience, all we learn is the habit that events are sequential and that this object is separated from that object. If this was true, Kant says we could never have knowledge of space and time, but we do have knowledge of space and time, for if we didn't, we would not be able to organize our experiences (time) or understand the separation of objects (space).

He goes on to show that causality falls under the same argument.

Any correction or critiques of what I wrote are not only welcome, they are appreciated.



de Silentio, thanks for that philosophically fascinating and clear post!Smile
 
Agape
 
Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 01:07 pm
@Pythagorean,
de Silentio,

I think I see what you are saying about Existntialism being derived from Kant. The more I got to thinking about it the more it made sense. They espouse subjective reality which Kant originally coined or if not popularised with the CPR. It makes sense, thanks for giving me that little thought experiment. Smile
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 11:08 pm
@Agape,
Quote:
I think Kant's Transcendental Aesthetic was made easier to me by keeping in mind that Kant had to have a Copernican Revolution in order for him to prove that there were a priori truths, space and time included.


Ortega went on to develop a "Copernican revolution" of his own, going beyond Kant's idealism to a Jamesian realism that postulated "life", that is "human life", as the radical reality.

For references to Ortega's philosophy go here: http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/philosophers/twentieth-century-philosophers/jos-ortega-y-gasset/3571-ortega-y-gasset-works-about-english.html[/COLOR]

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Shostakovich phil
 
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 06:36 pm
@Agape,
Try reading Kant's "Prolegomena" -here's a quote from [282-283] pg 30 'Library of Liberal Arts' edition. In the section 'First Part of the Main Transcendental Problem ... How is Pure Mathematics Possible?'

Now, the intuitions which pure mathematics lays at the foundation of all its cognitions and judgments which appear at once apodictic and necessary are space and time. For mathematics must first present all its concepts in intuition, and pure mathematics is pure intuition; that is, it must construct them. It if proceeded in any other way, it would be impossible to take a single step; for mathematics proceeds, not analytically by dissection of concepts, but synthetically, and if pure intuition be wanting there is nothing in which the matter for synthetical judgments a priori can be given. Geometry is based upon the pure intuition of space. Arithmetic achieves its concept of number by the successive addition of units in time, and pure mechanics cannot attain its concepts of motion without employing the representation of time. Both representations, however, are only intuitions; for if we omit from the emirical intuitions of bodies and their alterations (motion) everything empirical, that is, belonging to sensation, space and time still remain, which are therefore pure intuitions that lie a priori at the basis of the empirical. Hence they can never be omitted; but at the same time, by their being pure intuitions a priori, they prove that they are mere forms of our sensibility, which must precede all empirical intuition, that is, perception of actual objects, and conformably to which objects can be known a piriori, but only as they appear to us."

end quote:

What Kant is saying is no more than this: Space and time are pure, universal concepts of the understanding and without them there is no possibility of anything (no sense experience ... no empirical sense of any kind ... no grounds for anything that we know or experience). They must precede everything else for everything else to exist. Consequently, they must be a priori and they do in fact form the a priori grounds for our possible experience of reality.

Whether or not you agree with Kant is another matter. Personally, I do happen to agree with him. And he's not all that difficult, heck ... after reading him for the last 30 damn years.

Hope this helps.
 
 

 
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