Nov 25, 2012

HOW THE UNDERSTANDING "ACTS UPON" THE MATERIAL OF SENSIBLE EXPERIENCE
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By Marsigit, Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia

Email: marsigitina@yahoo.com
Bowman, C., 2001, maintained that it was not fundamental principles, but pure, that sensible intuition that are space and time, was the first datum that made a priori knowledge possible, though only of objects of the senses; according to Kant, synthetical principles could not be derived from mere concepts without intuition; on the contrary, they could only exist with reference to this intuition, and therefore to objects of possible experience, since it is the concepts of the understanding, united with this intuition, which alone make that knowledge possible which we call experience. Beyond objects of experience, and therefore with regard to things as noumena, all positive knowledge was rightly disclaimed for speculative reason; this reason, however, went so far as to establish with certainty the concept of noumena.

Bowman, C., 2001, insisted that the moral law, gives us a fact absolutely inexplicable from any data of the sensible world, and the whole compass of our theoretical use of reason, a fact which points to a pure world of the understanding and enables us to know a law.   This law gives to the world of sense, which is a sensible system of nature, the form of a world of the understanding, that is, of a supersensible system of nature. A system of nature is the existence of things under laws.  The sensible nature of rational beings in general is their existence under laws empirically conditioned.  The supersensible nature of the same beings is their existence according to laws which are independent of every empirical condition and belong to the autonomy of pure reason. And,  since the laws by which the existence of things depends on cognition are practical, supersensible nature, so far as we can form any notion of it, is nothing else than a system of nature under the autonomy of pure practical reason. Now,  the law of this autonomy is the moral law, which, therefore, is the fundamental law of a supersensible nature, and of a pure world of understanding. For the moral law, in fact, transfers us ideally into a system in which pure reason would produce the summum bonum, and it determines our will to give the sensible world the form of a system of rational beings.

Bowman, C., 2001, propounded that reason must cognize causality with respect to the actions of the will in the sensible world in a definite manner; otherwise, practical reason could not really produce any action.  But as to the notion which it forms of its own causality as noumenon, it need not determine it theoretically with a view to the cognition of its supersensible existence, so as to give it significance in this way.  For it acquires significance apart from this, though only for practical use, namely, through the moral law.  Theoretically viewed, it remains always a pure a priori concept of the understanding, which can be applied to objects whether they have been given sensibly or not, although in the latter case it has no definite theoretical significance or application, but is only a formal, though essential, conception of the understanding relating to an object in general.  The significance which reason gives it through the moral law is merely practical, inasmuch as the idea of the idea of the law of causality has self causality, or is its determining principle. Bowman specified that our entire cognitive faculty is, therefore, presented with an unbounded, but, also, inaccessible field-the field of the supersensible-in which we seek in vain for a territory, and on which, therefore, we can have no realm for theoretical cognition, be it for concepts of understanding or of reason.  This field we must indeed occupy with ideas in the interest as well of the theoretical as the practical employment of reason, but, in connection with the laws arising from the concept of freedom, we cannot procure for these ideas any but practical reality, which, accordingly, fails to advance our theoretical cognition one step towards the supersensible.

While, Makkreel, R.A., 2003, persisted that all of the general epistemic claims of the Aesthetic and the Analytic concern cognition. Space and time as the forms of intuition and the categories of the understanding are claimed to make our cognition of the objects of nature possible.  They are the a priori conditions that we bring to experience on the basis of our cognitive faculties and they explicate what it means to be an object of our experience.  The categories are not merely logical concepts that can relate representations to each other within consciousness. They are transcendental concepts because they relate a subject's representations to some object that can appear to it. Transcendental concepts are concepts that anticipate the possible meaning that the phenomenal objects of nature can have.  Kant said that the schemata of the concepts of pure understanding are the true and sole conditions for providing them with a relation to objects, thus with meaning; they merely serve to subject appearances to general rules of synthesis and thereby to make them fit for a thoroughgoing connection in one experience.  Kant claimed that what the categories legislate to the phenomena of our experience is merely formal and relational; causal relations as Kant conceives them are purely external, and phenomenal objects can only be determined from without, therefore we cannot understand the inner nature of things.

Kant, I., 1790, insisted that for the faculty of cognition understanding alone is legislative, if this faculty is referred to nature, in respect of which alone as phenomenon it is possible for us to prescribe laws by means of a priori concepts of nature, which are properly pure concepts of understanding. Kant  claimed that as universal laws of nature have their ground in our understanding, which prescribes them to nature, particular empirical laws must be regarded, in respect of that which is left undetermined in them by these universal laws, according to a unity such as they would have if an understanding had supplied them for the benefit of our cognitive faculties, so as to render possible a system of experience according to particular natural laws. Kant marked that the principle of judgement, is the finality of nature in its multiplicity and by this concept, nature is represented as if an understanding contained the ground of the unity of the manifold of its empirical laws.

Kant, I., 1781, defined understanding as the faculty of thinking the object of sensuous intuition. Without the sensuous faculty no object would be given to us, and without the understanding no object would be thought; understanding cannot intuite, and the sensuous faculty cannot think in no other way than from the united operation of both, can knowledge arise. Kant  specified that the science of the laws of sensibility is aesthetic, and the science of the laws of the understanding, is logic; the first contains the absolutely necessary laws of thought, without which no use whatsoever of the understanding is possible, and gives laws therefore to the understanding, without regard to the difference of objects on which it may be employed. Kant  further stated that the logic of the particular use of the understanding contains the laws of correct thinking upon a particular class of objects; aesthetic may be called elemental logic and the logic is an organon of this or that particular science. According to Kant,  general logic is either pure or applied; and in aesthetic we abstract all the empirical conditions under which the understanding is exercised; the cognition of every understanding is a cognition through conceptions- not intuitive, but discursive and the understanding cannot make any other use of these conceptions than to judge by means of them and all the functions of the understanding therefore can be discovered, when we can completely exhibit the functions of unity in judgements.

Ziniewicz, G.L., 1996 elaborated that sensibility by itself is not knowledge; knowledge requires a further processing of the material of sensation; for Kant, knowledge means science; science is the interpretation of experience according to categories or rules. The laws of physics are the result of judgments based on experience and what categorizes or classifies or "objectifies" the data of perception is the understanding. Kant  claimed that the understanding judges or "categorizes" what is perceived according to twelve basic concepts or "rules."; these concepts are not "things in themselves" any more than space and time are things in themselves; they are forms for organizing experience; and these concepts or categories are meant to be applied to objects of experience. Noted from Kant, Ziniewicz then explained that we do not merely experience objects as next to one another and before and after, but we experience objects as acting upon one another in cause and effect relation- ships; while scientific judgment interprets what is experienced out there and what is experienced in here as belonging to an unbroken chain of causes and effects.

Further, Ziniewicz, G.L., 1996, clarified that the understanding orders experience under the category of causality; however, "cause" is not a thing in itself; it is an organizing principle. Therefore, the subject who examines objects of nature finds that they conform to laws of nature that they act predictably or causally upon one another. Moreover, based on Kant, Ziniewics elaborated that the subject who examines his own inner psychological states discovers the same sort of cause and effect relation; one's psychological life, as interpreted by understanding, appears to be completely determined by pre-existing conditions. Accordingly, we find causality in experience because understanding puts it there; cause and effect are the way we understand and interpret their relation to one another. Further he emphasized that for knowledge requires that theories be verified by sensible experience, knowledge is always tied to perception and it combines both understanding and sensibility. Furthermore, an object of knowledge is always at the same time an object that can be tied to a sensible intuition that is a perception of what is sensed. Ziniewics noted Kant that all seeing is sensible; the mind does not see apart from the senses; it only makes sense of, categorizes, and interprets what is given through the senses; the mere putting together of concepts is idle speculation or mere thinking.

Ziniewicz, G.L., 1996 concerned that just as sensibility reveals the polarity of perceiver and perceived, so judgment or knowledge reveals the polarity of subject and object in which human beings as things in themselves are not simply thinking things; the subject is but one polarity of the interpretation structure of knowledge; in that sense, it is part of the interpretation. Further, Ziniewicz noted Kant that reason attempts to unify all objects of knowledge and judgments of experience under general principles or simple ideas; it aims at complete knowledge; it runs far ahead of understanding working slowly with sensible intuitions; it anticipates perfect knowledge and envisions a coherent and orderly whole. Accordingly, the purpose of reason is to assist understanding and perception, by giving them unity such as projecting and anticipating ideal conditions; however, reason can know nothing by itself; it merely brings unity to experience.

Note:

  Bowman, C., 2001,  Kant and the Project of Enlightenment, University of Pennsylvania’ Department of  
   Philosophy
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Makkreel, R.A., 2003, The cognition–knowledge distinction in Kant and Dilthey and the implications for 
    psychology and self-understanding, Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part A , Volume 34,   Issue 1 Pages 149-164, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=journalURL&_cdi
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Kant, I., 1790, The Critic of Judgment, translated by James Creed Meredith
  Kant, I., 1781, Critic of Pure Reason, Translatedby J.M.D. Meiklejohn
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ziniewicz, G.L., 1996 Kant: How Do We Know That We Know What We Know:
     http://www.fred.net/tzaka/phil.htm

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