Subject: Re: The Beauty of Kant
Date: 17 Sep 1997 00:00:00 GMT
From: "Dr. Hieronymous Zinn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
References: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Dr. Ginsu responded with courtesy and tact:
> Actually, Dr. Zinn, what I was trying to say was mere blushy
> admiration of Kant. He's quite fragile, in a Montgomery
> Burns kind of way, but his chapters read as if they were
> torn from the pages of The Book of the SubGenius itself.
> You might as well paste Dobbsheads at the beginning of each
> The REASON that I like Kant so much is that he justifies
> many of the excuses that I use to exempt myself from feeling
> bad about my often inept attempts to express myself. I'm
> quite a friendly, easygoing guy, but to try to explain
> myself to people trips me up. So Kant explains to my
> Witless principles the reason why I get so lost in the
> linguistic jungle.
> Mostly this involves Kant's metaphysics. I suppose his
> ethics might actually follow logically from his metaphysics,
> but I prefer to admire the metaphysics for that rather than
> to adopt his ethics as my own. In particular, the
> analytic/synthetic distinction between possible
> propositions, and the supporting mental devices which power
> that machinery. Namely, imagination, judgement, and
> According to Kant, reality IS. However, we cannot arrive at
> a universal definition of exactly WHAT it is due to the fact
> that we are also IT.
> This puts us in a biased position which influences our
> observations of the world. I know this is an issue in
> modern quantum physics, but Kant wrote this in the 1700's!.
> So, according to Kant, knowledge of the world around us is
> limited to a knowledge of our sense perceptions of things
> coupled with our intuitions about the relevance of those
> perceptions to our imagination, judgement and understanding.
> Therefore, again according to Kant, our knowledge of the
> world is limited to what will fit into the parameters that
> our imagination, judgement, and understanding define for us.
> Yes, this is a lot like saying our knowledge is limited to
> what we can understand...
> I like the way it's said.
> However, the implications of this, for me at least, are that
> there exist possibilities in nature which are beyond the ken
> of our mentative faculties: imagination, judgement,
> understanding; yet these possibilities remain an aspect of
> reality. I think that the point that Kant is trying to
> make, and that I was referring to, is that, without
> referring to our imagination or judgement or understanding
> there really is no practical chance of communicating to one
> another anything about the experience of these
> possibilities. Kant makes the case that without the benefit
> of the shared experience of mental machinery to interpret
> the signals we would send to one another in an effort to
> communicate, the signals would be misinterpreted more often
> than not; therefore, communication of these experiences that
> are beyond the range of our mental faculties would be
> impossible. Therefore, our range of communication is
> limited to what we have in common, whether or not there are
> possible experiences beyond the range of our common
> Like I said, I admire Kant's metaphysics in themselves as a
> system which speaks to me...it might be as obvious to you as
> the nose on your face.
> Keep It Up,
> Dr. Ginsu
>> who gives a shit? was correct in his assessment:
Dear Dr. Ginsu,
My point was less meant as a criticism of Kant, than to point
out to you that he does not go far enough. Communication
collapses in so many ways that it is a wonder that we can
communicate at all.
The chasms between people are enormous. Have you ever wondered
why there is a mutual attraction between you and your friends?
A common background?
The same basic Input/Output to stimulus?
(this list can get long, but is a great study)
In any event, you have grown accustomed to the idea that you
can communicate with others frequently, as does everyone else,
where in fact the opposite is true. You know the game where
people pass a message along a line, the message becoming
hopelessly screwed-up enroute? People are just not aware
that it is happening ALL THE TIME.
So, if understanding becomes an individual thing, the only
problem lies in the *presentation* of the information that
will not be communicated anyway.
Always assume you are a minority in your assigned social
group. This is a high probability if you are even *reading*
this newsgroup. Thus you must make an extra effort to
be clear an concise to the inferior earthlings with whom
you must deal. Rest assured, they would be as uncomfortable
in a room full of Yetisiny, or another group of superior
individuals more like yourself.
But in any event, if they do not understand you immediately,
most likely they are incapable of achieving even a basic
understanding of you even with a great expenditure of time,
effort, and energy on both of your parts. So don't worry
A teacher of mine, on the first day of lecture, once said,
"Statistics prove that no matter what I say, about 50% of
you won't learn anything. But statistics also say that
almost 100% of that 50% will be thinking about sex. So
I am happy to lecture, knowing that no matter what I say,
at least half of you will have a good time."