Monday, December 15, 2008

I Kant Feel My Feet

By understanding the sources and limits of human knowledge we can ask fruitful metaphysical questions. If an object can be known to have certain properties prior to the experience of that object. All objects that the mind can think about must conform to its manner of thought. Therefore if the mind can think only in terms of causality (it does) then we can know prior to experiencing them that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect. However, it follows from this that it is possible that there are objects of such a nature that the mind cannot think of them, and so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside of experience: hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause. And so the grand questions of speculative metaphysics are off limits, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind.


In one of my earlier epistemology classes in college we were learning about Cartesian Doubt. Rene Descartes (famous for "Cogito Ergo Sum" or "I think therefore I am") postulated that because we cannot tell the difference between dreams or hallucinations versus real empirical experience, we cannot trust sensory experience. A student disagreed with the idea that we can't tell the difference between dreams and reality. The professor asked how she can tell if she's dreaming or not, and she replied with "I can feel my feet!"

And I distinctly remember thinking "Great, centuries of philosophy and critical thought down the drain because this chick can feel her fucking feet!"

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