Snodgrass

-Just as our knowledge of something does not suffice to make it thought about, so too it does not suffice to make the thing exist.

-Existence and subjectivity are two horizons of experience – horizon in the sense of something that makes objects possible while never itself being an object like them.

-Idealism identifies being with essence. Realism, while recognizing this as impossible, is unable to positively conceptualize what makes the difference. This inability is the heart of Kant’s critique of Anselm’s argument.

-Existence is God (since he is existence primo and per se), I see existence, therefore I see God. Pantheism! Absurdity! Not quite: the argument parallels this one – heat is mean molecular motion, I perceive heat, I perceive mean molecular motion; or Truman dropped the bomb, I saw the bomb drop, therefore I saw what Truman did; or again, Suffering is necessary to go to heaven, I want to go to heaven, therefore I want to suffer. We can see something without being cognizant of what the thing is per se and first, or what counts as its necessary condition. As we work our way up towards the ultimate thing we’re looking for, we hang on to what we initially called it (which is the only way we can hope to have a coherent account of it). This is all St. Thomas’s talk of analogy comes to, which is why he never thought to work out a grand theory of it.

-So modern thought begins with the search for absolute certitude. One way to interpret Kant’s answer to this is that certitude follows what owes its existence to us. This is an ancient axiom: Socrates uses it to refute Thrasymachus (If justice is the will of the leader, then the leader cannot make mistakes) St. Thomas uses it to define truth (the perseity of truth follows the intellect on which it depends to exist) and the Copernican turn is just a restatement of this ground of certitude. We cannot be mistaken about what owes its existence to us: This post is called snodgrass.

The search for absolute certitude is fascinating: “to be sure” or certain is said first of one’s footings (hence, a sure-footed mountain goat) and the sense, for clear reasons, carries over into knowledge. But why the desire for an infinitely certain basis, one that could not slip up under any possible scenario? It would be crazy to desire this of our footings or bearings. This is not to say that it is crazy to desire it in thought, though the basis of this desire has to rest on something other than the practical necessity to get on with things.

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