Thursday, October 27, 2016

Skepticism of Skepticism

Ah, yes, the Total Explanation. I always have to check where we left off in order to begin anew. But this morning we don't have much time, let alone to explain everything. Then again, no amount of time would be sufficient to explain the timeless, so there's that.

In addition to being entitled to a Total Explanation, I also believe it should be accessible to Pure Thought (via the quasi-divine Intellect). I suppose that's why I am so drawn to Schuon: he comes closer than anyone to a Total Explanation via Pure Intellect.

Frankly, this used to be the whole point of philosophy. Then Kant came along and said that there can be no Total Explanation, because all we are really explaining is ourselves. This is said to be a great advance in the progress of philosophy, when in actuality it is just giving up. It is an a priori surrender. Like anyone could know that you can't know it all!

Which sounds like a joke, but it isn't. I remember Peter Kreeft expressing this view in his Socrates Meets Kant. That is, unlike all previous philosophers (although Descartes no doubt -- or dubiously, rather -- paved the way), Kant presumes to begin in epistemology rather than being.

In the words Kreeft puts into his mouth, Kant claims that being "conforms to our knowledge rather than our knowledge conforming to being," such that "in knowing, the known object conforms to the knowing subject rather than vice versa."

Therefore, we don't really know being -- or the world -- at all. Rather, "the form, or intelligible content, of our knowledge comes from us rather than the world."

There you have it: a Total Explanation that explains precisely nothing!

Nice trick. The left has been dining out on it ever since, with the rest of us picking up the bill. For here is where Perception is elevated to Reality -- to the point that one's own mental troubles are conflated with Micro-aggressors everywhere:

"Reason's job [is] not to mirror the nature of things but to construct the nature of things, as an artist constructs his art: not to discover the form in the matter and abstract into universal principles, but to put the form in the matter, to impose the form on the matter as a sculptor imposes shape on marble, or a musician imposes melody on sound."

Kant presumed to critique the efficacy of pure reason. Fair enough. But Socrates-Kreeft turns the tables on him by similarly critiquing the Critique: now who's the more critical, Kant or Coon?

Here is how Socrates picks Kant apart using nothing more than the everyday power of pure thought:

"If Aristotle is wrong about knowledge mirroring reality and you are right about reality mirroring knowledge, it seems that you still have to assume his old notion of truth when you say that your new notion of truth is true, or the way things really are."

Kant: wha? (I'm paraphrasing.)

The point is, if Kant is correct, then it necessarily leads to what I said yesterday about man's stupidity being total and ineradicable:

"We must give up the whole of the task of philosophy as it was so nobly conceived by two thousand years of philosophers before you. We must cease claiming to know truth..." In short, if truth cannot be known, how can Kant's critique be true?

Kreeft-Socrates tosses in a nice gag by Wittgenstein, that "to limit thought you must think both sides of the limit."

Heh. Out of time.

6 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Kant: wha? (I'm paraphrasing.)

Made me laugh :)

10/27/2016 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Frankly, this used to be the whole point of philosophy. Then Kant came along and said that there can be no Total Explanation, because all we are really explaining is ourselves. This is said to be a great advance in the progress of philosophy, when in actuality it is just giving up. It is an a priori surrender. Like anyone could know that you can't know it all!"

Made me happy :-)

10/27/2016 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Nice trick. The left has been dining out on it ever since, with the rest of us picking up the bill. For here is where Perception is elevated to Reality -- to the point that one's own mental troubles are conflated with Micro-aggressors everywhere:"

Made me ecstatic.!. but I don't know the smiley for that, soOo... I'll just read to the end now.

Carry on.

10/27/2016 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

In short, if truth cannot be known, how can Kant's critique be true?

You kant be serious.

10/27/2016 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

What a Kant.

10/28/2016 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That reminds me. When I was a kid, we frequently had a substitute teacher with the unfortunate name "Mrs. Kent."

10/28/2016 09:44:00 AM  

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