Identity and distinction in knowledges

1.) Knower and known are distinct in one sense and in another sense unified. How?

2.) As a starting hypothesis, in the knowledge of a central nervous system (CNS) the distinction is a physical separation on the one hand, and a unity of act and potency on the other. The fox and the chicken are here and there, and the one causes a physical change in the sense organ of the other.

3.) Because sensation is a unity of act and potency it is a mix of the objective and subjective and sensation has no ability to tease out which element comes from where, so much so that purely CNS knowledge can make no distinction between one’s own and another’s. The mosquito that flies at me to feed isn’t flying to a conscious mine distinct from a conscious his, even if various mosquito behaviors (seeking self-preservation) are predicated on a distinction between one’s own and another’s.

Maybe in higher non-human animals the rudiments of “mine” and “his” enter more clearly into consciousness, but if they came fully into it we could share property law with non-human animals, or at least argue about it.

4.) So far as intelligence knows in CNS knowledge what is peculiar to CNS will remain, but this will explain nothing about intelligence as such. All the same, intelligence must have knower and known distinct and unified. How?

5.) Intelligence seems to require that some levels of designation involve no physical distinction between knower and known, at least under the idea that a physical distinction is between things in different places. “Cat” is just Garfield less-designated, but at this level the difference between Garfield and Tibbles on the one hand and Garfield and myself on the other is no longer between an object in one place and a subject in another, as it is between CNS knowledge and its object. At the same time, because I can recognize the difference between subject and object the known and knower cannot be related as act to potency.

6.) But saying that the distinction between knower and known is the difference between subject and object only says the same thing twice. Subject and object are just technical terms for knower and known. We know they are relative terms, but what exactly is their unity and difference?

7.) We can know it by negation: knower and known are not as act to potency. It is not a physical union, even if the action is somehow in time and is somehow multiple and so has potency in some sense.

8.) Positively, it seems to be best describable by something like Thomas’s trinitarian theory, where distinct terms of a relation sharing a single act of existence (esse).

9.) The rule in play seems to be that immateriality (i.e. the action that transcends the action of act to potency or act in potency) gives rise to relations that share a common act of existence. At the limit of this immateriality one finds the Intelligible paradigm of Father/logos and the voluntary paradigm of Father-Logos/Spirit.

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