Kant, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysic

These constitute a logical system the concepts that

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Unformatted text preview: ion 23 ŸJudgments can be seen as ways of unifying representations in a consciousness. Looked at in this way, they are Ÿrules. When they represent the perceptions as necessarily united, they are a priori rules; and when they stand on their own feet, not being derived from something more fundamental, they can be called ‘principles’. The broad kinds of judgment that serve to bring intuitions under pure concepts of the understanding are not derived from anything; they do stand on their own feet. So they are the a priori principles of possible experience. -----------------------------------4 But how does this proposition that Judgments of experience require that perceptions be brought together necessarily square with my often-made statement that Experience as a posteriori knowledge can only provide contingent judgments? When I say that experience teaches me something, I mean only that I learn something from the perception that lies in experience - for example, that Heat always follows the shining of the sun on a stone - and to that extent the proposition of experience is always accidental ·or contingent·. The proposition that This heat necessarily follows the shining of the sun is indeed contained in the judgment of experience (by means of the concept of cause), but it is not a fact learned from experience. On the contrary, this addition of the concept of cause to perception is what creates experience in the first place. 34 Now the Ÿprinciples of possible experience are at the same time Ÿuniversal laws of nature, which can be known a priori. This solves the problem raised by our second question, ‘How is pure natural science possible?’ Here is how. Logic offers us only one set of basic kinds of judgment (and thus one set of basic rules); no other is possible. These constitute a logical system. The concepts that emerge from it, which make synthetic necessary judgments possible, constitute a transcendental system. [By that Kant means, roughly, a system that has to do with grounds for a priori knowledge.] And, lastly, the principles according to which these concepts are applied to all appearances constitute a physical system, that is, a system of nature. This system precedes all empirical knowledge of nature, and is what first makes such knowledge possible; so it can properly be called universal and pure natural science. Section 24 Of the physical principles listed in section 21, the first brings all phenomena, as intuitions in space and time, under the concept of quantity, which makes it a principle governing the application of mathematics to experience. The second principle takes up the genuinely empirical element, namely sensation, which signifies what is real in intuitions. It does not bring sensation directly under the concept of quantity, because sensation is not an intuition that contains either space or time, though it places the sensed object in both space and time. But still there is a quantifiable difference between sense-representation and a total absence of intuition in time, the difference between reality and zero. For we can conceive of intermediate degrees - as small as you like - separating any given degree of Ÿlight from darkness, any degree of Ÿheat from absolute cold, any degree of Ÿweight from absolute lightness, any degree of Ÿ fullness of space from total vacuum; just as there are intermediate degrees - as small as you like - separating Ÿconsciousness from total unconsciousness (psychological darkness). So there is no perception that can prove an absolute absence; for instance, there is no psychological darkness that can’t be considered as a kind of consciousness, which is merely relatively dark, by comparison with some other stronger consciousness - and so it is in all cases of sensation. Sensation is what gives each empirical representation (each appearance) its own particular flavour. ·It might be thought to be all content, with no form, and so not to be something that the understanding could say anything about in advance·. But the account I have been giving shows how the understanding can Ÿanticipate even sensations - ·i.e. Ÿsay something about them in advance of their actually occurring· - by means of the principle Every sensation has a degree, from which it follows that what is real in all phenomena has a degree. This is the second application of mathematics to natural science. ·In discussing those two (sets of) principles of natural science, I have been implicitly discussing the corresponding (sets of) concepts, listed just before the list of principles in section 21. In the next section I shall take up the other two sets of concepts, and their associated principles·. Section 25 In the table of the concepts of the understanding, one of the headings is Relation. This refers not to mathematical relations, but rather to dynamic ones (relations having to do 35 with how things exist in time). ·Firstly·, appearances must be brought under the concept of substance; this is the concept of a thing, and any judgment about what e...
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This note was uploaded on 03/12/2013 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Mendetta during the Spring '13 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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