1.30.19

-STA’s account of knowledge differs from the Cartesian one by starting with the object. Given that object X is not Y, X perfections exclude Y perfections. Knowledge overcomes this exclusion, so that X and Y become components of one world. When you walk though the woods there are only distant and tenuous causal connections between footfalls and birdsongs, brown dirt and red robins, smells here and smells there, or any of the objects of one sense to another, but in knowledge they are vividly and immediately given as one world. 

-Having discovered the one world though cognitive and not causal connections we cannot turn around and say that it is only subjectively there. To the extent that the subject constitutes the world it isn’t known. Claiming that things are only red or smelly to us is the same as to say they aren’t red or smelly, and what isn’t red can’t be known to be red. 

-The standard “the world isn’t red” argument would appeal to how red is not a universal feature of all ocular experience. Where I see a hunter in an orange suit, the deer sees a vast field of leaf-colored objects. But it doesn’t follow that the orange isn’t there any more than if an idea doesn’t exist if it can be expressed in one language and not another. As objects, things communicate themselves as though by a multiple languages, and whatever one says or does not say he really does say or not say. Likewise, one and the same word can be encouraging to one person and repulsive to another. If it’s announced that Joe and not Moe wins a close boxing match we don’t have to assume the announcement isn’t really disappointing and exciting in different respects. It’s the same way when one and the same object communicates itself to dung beetles and to us.

-Things form one world to ticks and another to cows, but these worlds are emanating whether there are ticks or cows to hear them. Cognition is a sort of awareness and not a sort of mental paint that one hurls into a void, whatever that would mean. Even if we assumed that we constituted a world, the assumption could not explain how we knew it. If I stamp the form “red” on all fire trucks, how do I then detect it? 

-What Plato and Aristotle called form or actuality is a single reality that both gives being and communicates itself in multiple languages, irrespective of whether anyone is listening. As giving being the form exists entitatively, as communicating it exists representationally. In its entitative existence it is in principle restricted to one and only one thing, as communicated it is in principle common to many, but the difference between these two is the difference between the stairs up and the stairs down or the convex and concave. 

Still, one has to refine the last point since the form can both exist without being known and be known without existing. Art is only possible where forms are known before existing. Nature likewise does the same sort of thing as art whenever it brings form about, and any natural change or kinesis involves doing so.

-Epistemology and ontology are different points of departure from the one reality of form. 

-Sensible and intelligible forms differ in that whatever detects with a finite structure cannot detect being as such, but only one modality of its appearance. One could use a lens to detect colors but not scents as scents. What detects being in its opposition to the possible has no finite structure, and anything whose judgments are ranged under the principle of contradiction detects being as being. The finite structure of sentience shares in the contingency of what it detects, so the nose is as contingent as any class of scents it smells. But being as such is and cannot not be. 

-The contingency of sentience is temporal, and the finite structure it has arises out of previous non-sentient finite structures. Noses get built in embryogenesis from parts that were not once noses. Intellection about the sensible world will share in this sort of contingency though intellection even as a particular act of intellection in opposition to others does not arise in history from previous non-intellective reality. Aristotle’s attempt to make intellection arise in this way is the one permanent blight on his system, and the one point of ineliminable value that he should have preserved from Plato.  Ideas are conserved realities even more than matter or energy are. 

-All metaphysics takes its point of departure from physics, and all metaphysics bootstraps to the spiritual world though the different orders of material reality. In the Aristotelian world these different orders were the sublunar and superlunar, but we’ve since replaced them with the macroscopically immediately given world of contingent substances and the would of fundamental realities like energy, light, fundamental particles. To be honest, these serve as better analogues for the spiritual (in some ways they have always been better analogues: think of light). 

-The advance of science has shown the different ways in which the world of immediately given reality (the updated sublunar realm) must rely on the fundamental conserved quantities like energy, light, fundamental particles. Light structures space and time while itself having no value within this domain, particles are in immediate contact with an implicate order where unity is physical while occurring in a way that does not need the local restrictions of physical causality, and energy is a unified source of action for which the activity of the observable is only one manifestation. All this analogizes to the spiritual realm of intellection. The Medieval controversies over the unity of the intellect are failures to understand how the material world analogizes to the spiritual one. 

-As weird as the physical world gets, it will never be as weird as intellection and the intellect. The weirdness of the world and the various incompatible models we use to understand it are only the faint analogue to what has been long known about intellection. 

 

 

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