Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it's as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can't explain his to us, and we can't explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication ... and there is the real illness.
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
And although I have seen nothing but black crows in my life, it doesn't mean that there's no such thing as a white crow. Both for a philosopher and for a scientist it can be important not to reject the possibility of finding a white crow. You might almost say that hunting for 'the white crow' is science's principal task.
Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.
Why is it so difficult for us to think in relative terms? Well, for the good reason that human nature loves absoluteness, and erroneously considers it as a state of higher knowledge.
The best ship, the best culture, the best knowledge, is the one which allows us to go farther, explore more territories or oceans of reality, and have the least damaging leaks possible.
The command of our language is crucial to focusing our thoughts and communicating them with precision to others.
To believe in nothing is as ridiculous as to believe in everything. Reason and factual evidence may convert a belief into knowledge.
Comprehending and knowing better and deeper are the best guarantees we can have to attain ideas and criteria of our own; i.e. to stop depending on what other people say. In summary, to be freer to choose our own path in life.
Truth is not as pompous and romantic as myth ... but it has the immeasurable value of being the Truth.
Besides our eyes, skin and the other senses through which we receive the shadows of the exterior reality, we have a 'mental eye' (intelligence) with which we can perceive reality as it is.
Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy.
After some cogitation, it is difficult not to agree with Herman Bondi (1919 - 2005), who in his book 'Relativity and Common Sense' says:... The surprising thing, surely, is that molecules in a gas behave so much as billiard balls, not that electrons behave so little like billiard balls.
If Relativity Theory kills our deepest convictions, why not start by finding out why we believed in them for millennia?
Without causality in the world, there is no point in educating people, or making any moral or political appeal.
The most perfect and satisfactory knowledge is that of perception but this is limited to the absolutely particular, to the individual. The comprehension of the many and the various into *one* representation is possible only through the *concept*, in other words, by omitting the differences; consequently, the concept is a very imperfect way of representing things. The particular, of course, can also be apprehended immediately as a universal, namely when it is raised to the (Platonic) *Idea*; but in this process, which I have analysed in the third book, the intellect passes beyond the limits of individuality and therefore of time; moreover, this is only an exception.These inner and essential imperfections of the intellect are further increased by a disturbance to some extent external to it but yet inevitable, namely, the influence that the *will* exerts on all its operations, as soon as that will is in any way concerned in their result. Every passion, in fact every inclination or disinclination, tinges the objects of knowledge with its colour. Most common of occurrence is the falsification of knowledge brought about by desire and hope, since they show us the scarcely possible in dazzling colours as probable and well-nigh certain, and render us almost incapable of comprehending what is opposed to it. Fear acts in a similar way; every preconceived opinion, every partiality, and, as I have said, every interest, every emotion, and every predilection of the will act in an analogous manner.Finally, to all these imperfections of the intellect we must also add the fact that it grows old with the brain; in other words, like all physiological functions, it loses its energy in later years; in this way all its imperfections are then greatly increased.”—from_The World as Will and Representation_. Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne in two volumes: volume II, pp. 139-141
Our critique is not opposed to the *dogmatic procedure* of reason in its pure knowledge as science (for science must always be dogmatic, that is, derive its proof from secure *a priori* principles), but only to *dogmatism*, that is, to the presumption that it is possible to make any progress with pure (philosophical) knowledge from concepts according to principles, such as reason has long been in the habit of using, without first inquiring in what way, and by what right, it has come to posses them. Dogmatism is therefore the dogmatic procedure of pure reason, *without a preceding critique of its own powers*; and our opposition to this is not intended to defend that loquacious shallowness which arrogates to itself the name of popularity, much less that skepticism which makes short work of the whole of metaphysics. On the contrary, our critique is meant to form a necessary preparation in support of metaphysics as a thorough science, which must necessarily be carried out dogmatically and strictly systematically, so as to satisfy all the demands, no so much of the public at large, as of the Schools. This is an indispensable demand for it has undertaken to carry out its work entirely *a priori*, and thus to carry it out to the complete satisfaction of speculative reason. In the execution of this plan, as traced out by the critique, that is, in a future system of metaphysics, we shall have to follow the strict method of the celebrated Wolff, the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers. He was the first to give an example (and by his example initiated, in Germany, that spirit of thoroughness which is not yet extinct) of how the secure course of a science could be attained only through the lawful establishment of principles, the clear determination of concepts, the attempt at strictness of proof and avoidance of taking bold leaps in our inferences. He was therefore most eminently qualified to give metaphysics the dignity of a science, if it had only occurred to him to prepare his field in advance by criticism of the organ, that is, of pure reason itself―an omission due not so much to himself as to the dogmatic mentality of his age, about which the philosophers of his own, as well as of all previous times, have no right to reproach one another. Those who reject both the method of Wolff and the procedure of the critique of pure reason can have no other aim but to shake off the fetters of *science* altogether, and thus to change work into play, certainty into opinion and philosophy into philodoxy. ―from_Critique of Pure Reason_. Preface to the Second Edition. Translated, edited, and with an Introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Müller, pp. 28-29
Metaphysics, a completely isolated and speculative branch of rational knowledge which is raised above all teachings of experience and rests on concepts only (not, like mathematics, on their application to intuition), in which reason therefore is meant to be its own pupil, has hitherto not had the good fortune to enter upon the secure path of a science, although it is older than all other sciences, and would survive even if all the rest were swallowed up in the abyss of an all-destroying barbarism. Reason in metaphysics, even if it tries, as it professes, only to gain *a priori* insight into those laws which are confirmed by our most common experience, is constantly being brought to a standstill, and we are obliged again and again to retrace our steps, as they do not lead us where we want to go. As to unanimity among its participants, there is so little of it in metaphysics that it has rather become an arena that would seem especially suited for those who wish to exercise themselves in mock fights, where no combatant has as yet succeeded in gaining even an inch of ground that he could call his permanent possession. There cannot be any doubt, therefore, that the method of metaphysics has hitherto consisted in a mere random groping, and, what is worst of all, in groping among mere concepts.What, then, is the reason that this secure scientific course has not yet been found? Is this, perhaps, impossible? Why, in that case, should nature have afflicted our reason with the restless aspiration to look for it, and have made it one of its most important concerns? What is more, how little should we be justified in trusting our reason, with regard to one of the most important objects of which we desire knowledge, it not only abandons us, but lures us on by delusions, and in the end betrays us! Or, if hitherto we have only failed to meet with the right path, what indications are there to make us hope that, should we renew our search, we shall be more successful than others before us?―from_Critique of Pure Reason_. Preface to the Second Edition. Translated, edited, and with an Introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Müller, p. 17
A similar experiment may be tried in metaphysics as regards the *intuition* of objects. If the intuition had to conform to the constitution of objects, I would not understand how we could know anything of them *a priori*; but if the object (as object of the senses) conformed to the constitution of our faculty of intuition, I could very well conceive such a possibility. As, however, I cannot rest in these intuitions if they are to become knowledge, but have to refer them as representations, to something as their object, and must determine this object through them, I can assume either that the *concepts* through which I arrive at this determination also conform to the object, and I would again be as perplexed about how I can know anything about it *a priori*; or else that the objects, or what is the same thing, the *experience* in which alone they are known (as objects that are given to us), conform to those concepts. In the latter case, I recognize an easier solution because experience itself is a kind of knowledge that requires understanding; and this understanding has its rules which I must presuppose as existing within me even before objects are given to me, and hence *a priori*. These rules are expressed in *a priori* concepts to which all objects of experience must necessarily conform, and with which they must agree. With regard to objects, insofar as they are thought merely through reason and thought indeed as necessary, and which can never, at least not in the way in which reason thinks them, be given in experience, the attempts at thinking them (for they must admit of being thought) will subsequently furnish an excellent touchstone of what we are adopting as our new method of thought, namely, that we know of things *a priori* only that which we ourselves put into them.―from_Critique of Pure Reason_. Preface to the Second Edition. Translated, edited, and with an Introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Müller, pp. 18-19
The purpose of this critique of pure speculative reason consists in the attempt to change the old procedure of metaphysics, and to bring about a complete revolution after the example set by geometers and investigators of nature. This critique is a treatise on the method, not a system of the science itself; but nevertheless it marks out the whole plan of this science, both with regard to its limits and with regard to its inner organization. For it is peculiar to pure speculative reason that it is able, indeed bound, to measure its own powers according to the different ways in which it chooses its objects for thought, and to enumerate exhaustively the different ways of choosing its problems, thus tracing a complete outline of a system of metaphysics. This is due to the fact that, with regard to the first point, nothing can be attributed to objects in *a priori* knowledge, except what the thinking subject takes from within itself; while, with regard to the second point, pure reason, as far as its principles of knowledge are concerned, forms a separate and independent unity, in which, as in an organized body, every member exists for the sake of all the others, and all the others exist for the sake of the one, so that no principle can be safely applied in *one* relation unless it has been carefully examined in *all* its relations to the whole use of pure reason. Hence, too, metaphysics has this singular advantage, an advantage which cannot be shared by any other rational science which has to deal with objects (for *logic* deals only with the form of thought in general), that if by means of this critique it has been set upon the secure course of a science, it can exhaustively grasp the entire field of knowledge pertaining to it, and can thus finish its work and leave it to posterity as a capital that can never be added to, because it has to deal only with principles and with the limitations of their use, as determined by these principles themselves. And this completeness becomes indeed an obligation if metaphysics is to be a fundamental science, of which we must be able to say, *nil actum reputants, si quid superesset agendum* [to think that nothing was done for as long as something remained to be done]. ―from_Critique of Pure Reason_. Preface to the Second Edition. Translated, edited, and with an Introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Müller, pp. 21-22
We have seen, therefore, that I am not allowed even to *assume*, for the sake of the necessary practical use of my reason *God, freedom, immortality*, unless at the same time *I deprive* speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insights. Reason, namely, in order to arrive at these, must employ principles which extend only to objects of possible experience, and which, if in spite of this they are applied also to what cannot be an object of experience, actually always change this into an appearance, thus rendering all practical *expansion* of pure reason impossible. Hence I had to suspend *knowledge* in order to make room for *belief*. For the dogmatism of metaphysics without a preceding critique of pure reason, is the source of all that disbelief which opposes morality and which is always very dogmatic. ―from_Critique of Pure Reason_. Preface to the Second Edition. Translated, edited, and with an Introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Müller, pp. 25-26
What is gained by the transcendence of the object is the identifiability of the object in a plurality of acts and the identifiability of what is thought by several individuals. This identifiability is not restricted to ideal objects, which are generated according to a definite operational law and are therefore producible by everyone out of the same material of intuition which is given prior to any particular sense-experience. The identifiability obtains in precisely the same way for objects of myth and folklore, of belief and artistic fantasy. Goethe’s Faust, Apollo, and Little Red Riding Hood can be identified by several individuals and are the objects of common, universally valid statements. Indeed, exact identity of the nature of the object in question and evidential knowledge of this identity can occur *only* in the case of ideal objects. Our certainty that we all think the same number 3 in the strictest identity of its nature is much more evident than that we all think the same real object, a tree, for instance. In the case of real objects we can actually prove that it is impossible for the momentary content in which the object is represented and thought to be exactly the same in a plurality of acts and for many individuals. The only other contribution made by the fact of the consciousness of transcendence, so long overlooked in recent philosophy, to the problem of reality is this: the acts in which this consciousness is present can bring the givenness of reality, of which we shall speak later, into “objective” form, and can therefore elevate that which is given in this way as real to the status of a real “object.” But with this, the contribution of the consciousness of transcendence to the problem of reality is at an end. Although N. Hartmann made the same point with respect to Paul Linke’s otherwise shrewd and pertinent comments on his doctrine of reality, still we should emphasize that the transcendence of the object does not *exclude* the reality of the object, not even of the *same* object in the strict sense of “same.” ―from_Idealism and Realism_
It will be seen how there can be the idea of a special science, the *critique of pure reason* as it may be called. For reason is the faculty which supplies the *principles* of *a priori* knowledge. Pure reason therefore is that which contains the principles of knowing something entirely *a priori*. An *organon* of pure reason would be the sum total of the principles by which all pure *a priori* knowledge can be acquired and actually established. Exhaustive application of such an organon would give us a system of pure reason. But as this would be a difficult task, and as at present it is still doubtful whether indeed an expansion of our knowledge is possible here at all, we may regard a science that merely judges pure reason, its sources and limits, as the *propaedeutic* to the system of pure reason. In general, it would have to be called only a *critique*, not a *doctrine* of pure reason. Its utility, in regard to speculation, would only be negative, for it would serve only to purge rather than to expand our reason, and, which after all is a considerable gain, would guard reason against errors. I call all knowledge *transcendental* which deals not so much with objects as with our manner of knowing objects insofar as this manner is to be possible *a priori*. A system of such concepts would be called *transcendental philosophy*. But this is still, as a beginning, too great an undertaking. For since such a science must contain completely both analytic and synthetic *a priori* knowledge, it is, as far as our present purpose is concerned, much too comprehensive. We will be satisfied to carry the analysis only so far as is indispensably necessary in order to understand in their whole range the principles of *a priori* synthesis, with which alone we are concerned. This investigation, which properly speaking should be called only a transcendental critique but not a doctrine, is all we are dealing with at present. It is not meant to expand our knowledge but only to correct it, and to become the touchstone of the value, or lack of value, of all *a priori* knowledge. Such a critique is therefore the preparation, as far as possible, for a new organon, or, if this should turn out not to be possible, for a canon at least, according to which, thereafter, the complete system of a philosophy of pure reason, whether it serve as an expansion or merely as a limitation of its knowledge, may be carried out both analytically and synthetically. That such a system is possible, indeed that it need not be so comprehensive as to cut us off from the hope of completing it, may already be gathered from the fact that it would have to deal not with the nature of things, which is inexhaustible, but with the understanding which makes judgments about the nature of things, and with this understanding again only as far as its *a priori* knowledge is concerned. The supply of this *a priori* knowledge cannot be hidden from us, as we need not look for it outside the understanding, and we may suppose this supply to prove sufficiently small for us to record completely, judge as to its value or lack of value and appraise correctly. Still less ought we to expect here a critique of books and systems of pure reason, but only the critique of the faculty of pure reason itself. Only once we are in possession of this critique do we have a reliable touchstone for estimating the philosophical value of old and new works on this subject. Otherwise, an unqualified historian and judge does nothing but pass judgments upon the groundless assertions of others by means of his own, which are equally groundless.
It is precisely because the principle of the transcendence of the object is completely independent of the existential status of the objects themselves and, thus, independent of the question whether they are produced by us or subsist on their own―whether they are fictions or real beings―that the fact of the consciousness of transcendence is not even remotely qualified to solve the problem of reality. This has been misunderstood equally by W. Freytag, Edith Landmann, P. Linke, and even by Husserl himself. Indeed, people have wanted to speak of an intentional realism (E. Landmann) in contrast to Critical Realism and to all other forms of realism. N. Hartmann was quite correct in emphasizing, in opposition to this, that the projection [*Hinausragen*] of the intentional object beyond the content of consciousness and its act cannot make the least contribution to solving the problem of realism. If something is an intentional object, we cannot recognize from this fact alone, whether it is real or not. If the perceived cherry, the conceived triangle, a friend’s visit anticipated in a dream, Little Red Riding Hood, a freely planned project, or a felt value, have entirely different characteristics and predicates than do the mental processes and the actual contents in which these objects appear, then the distinction between intentional and mental holds equally of both the real and the irreal. *Thus, the problem of what is real is not touched by the fact of the transcendence of the object*, and *percipi est esse*, in Berkeley’s psychologistic sense, is laid to rest. This also frustrates attempts, such as Hume’s in his *Treatise*, to derive being-an-object in general―an object as distinguished from an idea―from a psychogenetic process in which the very ideas through which this psychogenetic process is supposed to be accomplished are themselves reified [*verdinglicht*].―from_Idealism and Realism_
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will and honesty of my best and oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives. The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton…As to why God doesn't make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn't be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona's innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia's love when it was proved: but that was too late. 'His praise is lost who stays till all commend.' The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us. But supposing one believed and was wrong after all? Why, then you would have paid the universe a compliment it doesn't deserve. Your error would even so be more interesting and important than the reality. And yet how could that be? How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself?
Science is often misrepresented as ‘the body of knowledge acquired by performing replicated controlled experiments in the laboratory.’ Actually, science is something broader: the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world.
In mysticism, knowledge cannot be separated from a certain way of life which becomes its living manifestation. To acquire mystical knowledge means to undergo a transformation; one could even say that the knowledge is the transformation. Scientific knowledge, on the other hand, can often stay abstract and theoretical. Thus most of today’s physicists do not seem to realize the philosophical, cultural and spiritual implications of their theories.
Knowledge is a social construct, a consensus among the members of a community of knowledgeable peers.
We’re starting to behave as if we’ve reached the end of human knowledge. And while that notion is undoubtedly false, the sensation of certitude it generates is paralyzing.
This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought—our thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography—breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that.
Falsity consists in the privation of knowledge, which inadequate, fragmentary, or confused ideas involve.