Sunday, August 21, 2016

Very Brief Notes Concerning Kant’s “Synthetic, Analytic A Priori Reasons"

                                                            * * *

1. Experience does not consist of the 5 sense impressions only. There is the experience of the 6th mental consciousness ( Buddhist 
mano-vijñāna), namely the consciousness/mind/knowing faculty

2. Example : 2-3 y/o boy is  hit by a ball thrown secretly by his father, mostly from the back, to play with him and see the boy's reaction. Sometimes the action causes some very soft “pain/discomfort”. After about 4,5 times every other day for 2 weeks, boy starts to "wonder what happens"

   2a) This example is very primordial, more than any of Kant’s &others’ examples which involve more adult-like persons, who have more experience and entanglement. Therefore the "traces" in the toddler's consciousness are simpler, purer to "observe", "analyze".

    2b) When he starts realizing he’s bothered by the ball hits, he wants to find out what happens
    2c) Then later ( we do not know how long,  a week, 2 wks, 1 month, 2 months, depending on how often he is hit and how uncomfortable he feels) he wants to know "why". This wanting to know why can be said as part of his nature ( human’s nature).

    2d) And this wanting to know "why" has its roots from the experience of getting hit, feeling uncomfortable. This can be said as the cause of the effect wanting to know why
   2e) Speaking in term of Kant’s example “ Every alteration must have a cause” then:
a)      Cause : getting hit and feeling the discomfort
b)     Alteration: starting to wonder what happens and asking why

3. Feeling uncomfortable and starting to ask "why" :
   3a) Feeling uncomfortable is sense experience, starting to ask "why" in the mind/consciousness is what ? Not experience ? A purely “creation” of analytic reason, in a “deductive” train of thoughts, process ? And are they separate ?
   Reminder: Pavlov’s dog experiment

4. Knowledge of Alaya Consciousness and its associations with 7 other consciousnesses; biological psychology; scientific research on neural communication etc. will help understand better the problems of “the analytic”, “a priori” elements (concepts) , how they could be interconnected, inter-been ( meaning their interbeing formed) , frequently very haphazardly, suddenly and unpredictably

5. I doubt very much the usefulness, or qualification of the distinction on the content, range, domain etc. of the idea, concept, definition of “EXPERIENCE” in Kant and others’ similar delimitation to divide, separate analytic a priori 'experience' [ I would still classify what Kant said of that which is a priori knowledge, and independent of experience as "experience of a different category"], or components of pure reason, the type which happens only inside the mind and through analytic (deductive) reasoning  with all their creation,  connection, relation to be defined as “ a priori” elements, components of the a priori knowledge  and the experience which is given by the association between the mind and objects , even objects of abstract expression , content, outside the mind. Especially if they are said to have no relation, connection, interconnection with Experience , even sense experience. The inference and examination, explanation, interpretation from Psychology & “Philosophy” ( or here, can be extracted to call Reason) of the phenomena involving Pavlov’s dog reaction to bell, can serve as evidences for this seemingly inseparable between two types of experiences: namely, one of the 5 senses and 6th consciousness, or knowing mind.

6. By the way, in some sense of connection: The logic, pure logic definitions, elements, categories, propositions, rules in Husserl’s “Logical Investigations”, have no primordial contents , meanings , functions, or applicability. They came into being, were worked out, developed,  after advances had been made from the development of the modern sciences, mathematics, philosophy, in advanced stage. Husserl’s “logical investigations” and its expression, meaning could be more sophisticated , compared to the meaning of the Greek philosophers in Aristotle’s time, and could find more applicability in some subjects of higher mathematics and physics, but for other studies in the sciences, and even the philosophies, the applicability of Aristotle’s logic , or symbolic logic, formal logic from the 19th century are much much wider

7. Here is another example. This year our yard has a different  yield of persimmons. At the bottom of the fruits, many have some black spots about 1-2 sq inches, which did not appear in the persimmons of last year. I have some experience with planting, pruning, gardening for the last 6-8 seasons and basically know how some trees nurture themselves, live, grow and the effect of sun, wind, water, fertilizers, different types of soil condition etc. to the health of the trees, but do not possess the knowledge of an professional experienced planter of 20 years. I am also a person who frequents himself with reading, thinking in philosophy, science. And this is what happened in my mind when trying to look for the solution to my persimmons’ problem.

With averagely satisfactory skill of amateur experience in planting, gardening the best causes I can come up are heat/light or water. We may have excess water, because in general that’s how it will turn the leaves brown in their edges and give black spots to the bottom of the fruit [ but again, how can the browning problem around the edges happen only to the right hand side, not the left where the leaves receive more heat/light, which may balance out the “cooler/colder effect of excessive water? I don’t know the answer, yet.] Anyway, the point is, with 6-8 years of planting experience, all I could come up were the effect of heat/light and amount of water used in watering. I felt like I was thrown into a situation, with my 6-8 years experience, where my ability to use reason , the reason of Kant’s : synthetic a priori, is so limited, so poor. I felt like I was lost, and had a very blurred vision on the road to find the true answer to my tree’s problem. The other reasons which I were reminded of , or given information on were the possibilities that the tree is having a disease, or it is lacking some nutrients like Manganese, or Zinc. Again those reasons appeared only after I had consulted the Internet for the possible causes. So in Kant’s view : it belongs to the synthetic a posteriori type of reason. The only analytic or deductive a priori reason I can observe is in the following :
        The black spots on the persimmons of this years, which did not occur to the persimmons last year, can only be caused by the change of conditions. That observation and reason is almost obvious and readily available. Just almost like, if you have enough understanding of the physics of motion,  the reason in Newton’s second law of motion: Particle will accelerate/decelerate if there is a change of force acting on it, otherwise it will stay at rest, or move with constant speed.

And we do have a problem with excessive water for the persimmon tree in watering because the sprinkler malfunctions.

8. Experience can be thought of as a great well, full of immense potential and information to nurture, feed, support the activities of what logic defines as deductive reasoning, or, broader in Kant's term : analytic a priori reason. Whether inside the brain, or through continuous, further interaction with the outside world, without experience, without its showing clarity , clear way, "pure" reason, will be like a man with blurred vision trying to find his way around. This means, without information, data, "communication" from experience (in the widest sense), through thousands , or millions of pieces of information , data, etc. working behind many, many layers and interconnections,  "pure" reason can not function. It is a monumental, fundamental source on which the empirical sciences and philosophies are built. But it is very bothersome, one-sided, and consequentially lacking to see the experience of 6th consciousness, knowing mind being left out in a definition like this :

" Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.[1] 

Also in the same article, but sounding better in "reasoning":

One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of empirical evidence in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or tradition ;[2] empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.[3] " 

9. This is what John S. Mill thinks and I paraphrase him: You can only know, or arrive at the truths of things— whether it is the taste of an apple, the color of the sky; or the validity of the proof of a mathematics, physics  problem, the soundness of an argument— in two ways, and none of it from analytic ( a priori) reasoning, like Kant thinks.

Truths are known to us in two ways—
*directly, by themselves,
*and through the medium of other truths. 
The former are the subject of intuition or consciousness; the latter are the subject of inference. The truths known by intuition are the basic premises from which everything else is inferred. Our assent to a conclusion is based on the truth of the premises; so we could never acquire knowledge by reasoning unless something could be known in advance of all reasoning. ( J.S. Mill- System of Logic )

10. And this is what D. W. Hamlin wrote on what he thought on Mill’s position:

[Mill] claimed that mathematical truths were merely very highly confirmed generalizations from experience; mathematical inference, generally conceived as deductive [and a priori] in nature, Mill set down as founded on induction. Thus, in Mill's philosophy there was no real place for knowledge based on relations of ideas. In his view logical and mathematical necessity is psychological; we are merely unable to conceive any other possibilities than those that logical and mathematical propositions assert. This is perhaps the most extreme version of empiricism known, but it has not found many defenders.[20]

11. Gottlob Frege’s analyticity of transitivity, negation, opposite, symmetry extends the Kant’s concept of analytic a priori reason to where it finds applicability. Meanwhile the synthetic a priori— especially the combination of both synthetic a posteriori and a priori reasons— still holds strong for many other mathematical, scientific truths. Both of Frege’s and Kant’s notions, I believe, can not count off their relations with experience, or a posteriori propositions and truths.

12. The only source of knowledge is experience- Albert Einstein. The "experience" here can be said of as a general, common  meaning of experience, but it will hold as valid with the sharp, detailed analysis of philosophy, analytic philosophy included.



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