Notes on Kant

-If reasoning is about those concepts that we can dominate, then we cannot reason about reality, what exists, or even about most of what we think. Kant would be right that we never reason about things in themselves, and that there was no science of metaphysics.

-I can experience, while reasoning about something, that the world of immediate experience goes inert, and that the problem works itself out on a sort of invisible, living blackboard space. This seems much like constituting the things about which we reason.

-Kant: “we must say there is a world in itself, since if we don’t then there is an appearance without anything appearing”. Would he have written that line today? However one responds, their whole epistemology hangs in the balance. Kant is, in effect, proving a world of objects about which we can be certain that they are even if we cannot know what they are.

-Kant makes reason dependent on sense intuition. But what is this sensation? Kant does not seem interested in sensation as a physical cognitive power, but formally as a power that does not attain the being or innermost nature of things. The two are not the same. For those of us (read: me) who see the real object as neither universal nor particular, but as transcending both, and which is intuited by a man as particular though his sense and universal through his intellect, it is possible to have a veritable intellectual intuition in the field of what would count as a sense intuition for Kant.

-The fatal flaw of all Empiricisms is to muddle the division between the particular opposed to the universal with the particular which exists. The first is a mode of knowing proper to animals, the second is the ontological finitude (or, alternatively, the division) of one being from another. The error is idealism in Heidegger’s sense: the constituting of a real being out of a mode of knowing it; just as it is the error that Aristotle rightly critiqued in Plato, only to fall into it himself: to confuse the mode of knowing with the mode of being. For all his insight into the process of knowing, Kant falls into it too with his account of sense intuition.

-We need to take the division of reasoning and intuition more seriously. Intuition cannot be merely a power that feeds reasoning – as though it has nothing to do but throw out a starter premise before going into hibernation. Push the idea of intuition – of nous or intellectus – to the limit: nous is irrational reason – that is, while it is utterly set apart from reasoning, so much so that it can validly and reasonably do what is, for reason, (say) the affirming of a consequent, it nevertheless provides reasoning with its soul: a connection to reality. Reason is derivative of a vision of the real and set apart from it, but nevertheless only has value in the measure that it illuminates the real.

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