[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?
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
An inter-subjectively testable singular existential is a statement of the
(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
Whether sensation figures in perception seems to me terminological. I would
want to distinguish sensations like pain from perceptions (which have
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
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.
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