[hist-analytic] Frrom AUNE: Analytic and A Priori

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Mon Mar 23 10:03:59 EDT 2009




I'll withhold judgment on "inter-subjectively testable singular existential" because I don't  
know what you want to do with it. Ok, you've given us a definition (but of what?). Now to  
what use are you putting it? 


"you are merely reaffirming the Kantian proposition that I am denying." 


Yes, Kant invented the terms "synthetic a priori"; I think his position suffers 
 from ambiguity, but I see no actual argument, so far, that your position is  
better than Kant's. Not sure, precisely in what your alterntive consists. Similarly  
when you remark that "I am  rehabilitating the notion of intellectual intuition - but  
only as a fallible intuition. This seems to me unavoidable,"  I don't see where  
you, actually, do this. Indeed, I'm not sure of what you are "rehabilitating." For  
example, I have no idea what you mean by an "intellectual intuition." First, we  
need to get clear on 'intuition'. What is your theory of intuition and how does it 
 relate, for example, to "inter-subjectively testable singular existentials"? Or,  
are they different. Is there a connection, etc.? 


"Whether sensation figures in perception seems to me terminological" 


Without a sensation of red, I'm not so sure I can perceive a red ball. You  
need to explain this a bit.  Maybe, an alternative theory of perception to  
the "usual," which relies on sensation. You go on: 


"Similarly, I can know that I am trying to do something (or 'willing') , and I  
can know it independently of knowing the truth or falsity of any inter-subjectively  
testable singular existential. Hence I can know it a priori." 


I don't quite see this. That is, I am not convinced that I can know I'm trying without 
 relying on some experience. How, on your view, DO I know that I am trying to put  
my coat on or open a window? Knowledge that my action is intentional may not  
be observational, as Anscombe alleges, but I don't think she would say it is  
knowledge a priori, like the truths of elementary arithmetic. You must be working  
not only with a different sense of 'intuition' but a different sense of 'a priori'. So what  
is your theory of being a priori and how does this related to intuitions, and, again,  
how does this related to 'synthetic a priori', particularly in connection with self knowledge? 
My impression is that you conceive of their being this "entity" (a trying) and 
there is this relation to this entity (compare Quine's "sakes") of a priori knowing. 
More needs to be said about what trying amounts to being. Arguably I know 
a priori that anything red has a shape, but this is not to say that I know *that* 
shape independently of experience. If I say "I married Miss. Joan" and this 
may carry the entailment of some intention, but can I say "When I tried to  
Mary Miss Jones the lights went out, but I wasn't aware that this was what I was 
trying to do although I knew, a priori, what I was trying to do." The operant expression 
 is 'aware'. You seem to be suggesting  a priori awareness; this, of course, would be  
a problem. Some clarification  is needed. Remember, a priori indicates  
knowledge that is universal. No so sure knowledge of *my* trying to marry Miss 
Jones is universal. This is another reason for believing that in addition to this 
other non-Kantian machinery you'll have to modify 'a priori'. By the way, 
Schopenhaur has a take on a priori that is unique; perhaps the discussion 
will evolve in that direction. 


I think you have a big job on your hands. Anyway, while awaiting clarification I'll  
hold on to  a Kantian view. Also, I'm not, exactly, clear on the direction you are taking. 
 We seem to  be going in five directions at once. could you clarify matters a little more? 


Regards 


STeve ----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Danny Frederick" <danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk> 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.com 
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 7:41:18 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: RE: Frrom AUNE: Analytic and A Priori 

Hi Steve, 

An inter-subjectively testable singular existential is a statement of the 
form 

(Ex)(Fx & Gx & Ix) 

where 'F' and 'G' are observable predicates, and 'I' specifies a particular 
region of space-time (and is true of x if and only if x is in that region). 
'Observable' is to be taken in an everyday sense and is related to what 
people can generally agree upon; thus it is largely pragmatic. All of this 
comes from Popper's 'Logic of Scientific Discovery,' particularly Chapter V. 
No attempt is made to relate 'observable' to features of sensory experiences 
(which are not observable in the required sense, being private). 

When you say that awareness entails intuition and intuition puts it in the 
Sensibility not the Understanding, you are merely reaffirming the Kantian 
proposition that I am denying. I can put the point this way: I am 
rehabilitating the notion of intellectual intuition - but only as a fallible 
intuition. This seems to me unavoidable. How else are we to know logical 
axioms or rules of inference? Surely not by sensory intuition. (And not by 
convention, as Quine showed.) 

I do not know what the objects of sensory experiences are. And nor does 
anyone else. We ordinarily take them to be physical objects in space and 
time; but we may be deluded. 

I cannot offer a definition of 'sensory.' But I can explain that it covers 
our senses of sight, touch, smell, etc. I need not put a limit on it: there 
may be sensory experiences that do not belong in the usual categories. Who 
knows? 

Whether sensation figures in perception seems to me terminological. I would 
want to distinguish sensations like pain from perceptions (which have 
intentional content). 

As I have explained before, I can know that I think, and I can know it 
independently of knowing the truth or falsity of any inter-subjectively 
testable singular existential. Hence I can know it a priori. 

Similarly, I can know that I am trying to do something (or 'willing') , and 
I can know it independently of knowing the truth or falsity of any 
inter-subjectively testable singular existential. Hence I can know it a 
priori. 

These two examples of a priori knowledge are contingent. But neither figures 
in what we normally regard as knowledge, which is mostly the universal 
theories of the sciences or the particular but publicly observable facts of 
geography or history. (The facts of history are, of course, no longer 
observable; but they once were and lots of the evidence for them still is.) 
Thus contingent a priori knowledge is peripheral, but its existence is not 
to be denied. 

Cheers. 

Danny 
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