As we delve deeper into Kant’s Metaphysics we begin to get a comprehension of how Kant believes that knowledge of the world can be possible. In this essay, I hope to explain clearly the way Kant believes that to be able to understand the world, humans’ project certain rules and regulation that objects must conform to so that they can be understood. I also intend to explain that it is through these rules and regulations that we will see two forms of human understanding that will appear with three categories, and these will filter all our experiences so that we are able to understand them.
Finally, we will continue to xplore Kant’s argument against traditional metaphysics. At first, we will look at Kant’s Copernican revolution of the understanding. In the traditional knowledge that mind would perceive an object through the eyes and the mind would then need to conform to that object for complete understanding. In other words, the object had properties that were outside of the mind and the mind had to take in these properties in order to understand the object being perceived.
Kant then came along and flipped this mode of understanding on its head by reversing the mode and saying that when an object is perceived by the ind through the eyes, the mind projects properties that the object must conform to in order to be understood. Kant believes that is we passively submit to the world by conforming our minds to the objects of the world then we can only have a provisional knowledge. But, knowledge is universal and necessary with no acceptations, so it is only when the mind dictates the rules of perception do we receive a universally clear and certain understanding.
An example of this would be a 3D movie, if you have been to a 3D movie at any time in the last ninety years you were given special glasses in which you would atch the movie. These glasses would permit you to have a clear and unclouded picture. Although without these glasses the picture was very clouded and very hard to make out, therefore the glasses were needed to have a full understanding of the movie. In the same way, Kant is describing the perception of the world, but instead of glasses being the filter, it is our mind that projects rules that are hard-wired in us and makes clear perception available to us for our complete understanding.
Next, Kant argues that there are two contributing sources to human understanding and they are: the pure forms of intuition nd understanding. As for the pure forms of intuition, Kant says that this intuition is beyond mere concept, but something that is real and experienced. To intuit something is to see it and this seeing is the knowledge that relates the object to the mind. For example, how do we experience mathematics? Let’s take the concept 7+5=12, how can we experience this concept?
The numbers 7, 5, and 12 cannot be experienced but the concept of addition tells us that the 7 and 5 need to be combined and the concept of equals tells us that 12 is the outcome of the combination. But the experience of this mathematical problem s our fingers, as we count from 7 up 5 and we end at 12 the concept of the problem is made real. The experience of mathematics is our counting and the objects we use to count. Kant then breaks up intuition into two types. The first type is original intuition and this is the intuition of the divine. The other intuition is derived intuition and this is the intuition of the non- divine or finite.
Divine intuition is the intuition of the creator of the objects and the creator (God) has complete and intimate knowledge of the object as it is in itself. The non-divine intuition s our intuition, which is a limited intuition because we don’t have an intimate knowledge and instead we are just passing by and see the object from the outside. Kant argues that for humans to just pass by and observe an object there needs to be a horizon that we open up and this horizon becomes the play space that the objects will show up and be observable to us.
This play space is the boundary of our reason, it is the limitation of reason, and it is the filter in which all experience must be conformed to before it can be known. This boundary is space and time, and the filter that we project to the world is space and ime. This means that everything that we intuit, everything that we experience resides in space and time. Therefore, traditional metaphysics would reside beyond the boundary of space and time. The second contributing source to human understanding is understanding. Understanding is a manifold that ties everything together in an orderly network.
Both the intuition and understanding are stems that grow from the same root. This root could be considered the soul and from the soul, both stems grow, but the soul is buried deeply within us and only the divine intuition (God) is able to see it. If we view the world hrough our hardwired glasses of space and time, then we know that this knowledge of nature is a priori, it is guaranteed, but not nature itself, nature as experienced. This nature as experienced is the understanding that goes beyond the simple intuition of objects and brings the objects into human intelligibility.
This intelligibility builds the knowledge into a systematized body that we can use for future reference. Kant further argues that nature is not just a posteriori, that nature can be a certain way according to our concepts but is also a priori because we are able to experience substances that persist through time and hat all events in nature have causes. Now this only refers to nature as experienced and not to the hyperphysical or metaphysical realms that go beyond the boundaries that were previously set by space and time (Kant, 48.
As to the former, all substances are in time and remain in time. As to the latter, all events have an empirical cause. For example, in the statement, the sun warms the stone, we are only making an observation by our opinion, but in the statement, the sun causes the stone to be warm, we are making an empirical observation and assigning a cause and effect on the situation. These synthetic a priori udgments are possible because they are subjective conditions that bring us to the possibility of experience while at the same time these possibilities are the conditions for actual objects.
Another way of saying this would be that the subject must contribute to the structural framework of experience for the objects or there would be no objects. This circles us back to the filters that our minds project onto the world, the world conforms to these projections, and the rules for the subjective construction of experience are the same as the rules for the experiences of nature. So is can be noted that the subjected tructure is the base by with the objective structure is given. Therefore, the synthetic a priori judgments regarding nature are possible.
Next, Kant introduces his pure categories of the understanding and focuses on three. In the group of categorical judgments we find the category of substance, in the group of hypothetical judgments there is the category of causation and in the group of disjunctive judgments, the category of community is found. First is the category of substance, Kant says that we are all hardwired with the ability to examine the world and conclude that things/objects do exist. We experience things because our mind schemes the world in a way that substances have things that cling to them and through human understanding we introduce thinghood to the world.
We must also recognize that all substances exist in time and occupy space. Second is the category of causation, because we now know that substances exist in the world we begin to conceptualize these substances and the way that one substance behaves has a causal effect on another substance. Again, we must consider that causation happens over time and that substances that are affected by such causation occupies space, o the causation is also occurring in space. Lastly, we come to the category of community, this is the mutual effects that two substances have on each other.
As one substance effects another, the affected substance will have a reciprocal effect on the causing substance. This category is the same as the other two as is resides in space and time. Both substances are at the same time and the substances occupy space, so both causes are occurring in space. We know that first all of our experiences need to be filtered through our projected horizon of space and time, but the further filters that occur in space and time are hese three categories.
These categories are needed if something is going to show up, the categories are rules that we impose onto the world after we project the filters of space and time, and the world must conform. It must be remembered that if we attempt to apply the filters of the categories beyond our boundary of space and time the categories cease to have any meaning and become useless to us. Kant says the metaphysics tries to do this and utterly fails because the rules are only for this world, it would be like taking the rules of chess and applying them in life, they would not work and would be meaningless.
These rules of the categories are necessary for our understanding of our experiences and they are also the laws of nature. Because the rules of the categories are also the laws of nature there is a harmonious connection between human experience and the world. We now have knowledge of our experience and the world, and thus Kant’s notion of the categories of the understanding overturns Hume’s skepticism regarding knowledge. At the same time that Kant is dismantling Hume’s argument, he delimits the understanding to appearances (phenomena) and makes the claim that we cannot now things as they are in themselves.
Kant believes that we can have certain knowledge about the world, but it must be grounded by experiences limited to the boundaries of space and time. He says that unlike empiricism, which is an extreme skepticism, we can have insight into the world. On the other hand, unlike rationalism, which is a universal knowledge that we can know, we cannot know anything beyond this world. Kant says we do have a priori absolute knowledge, but only in relation to experience. The phenomena, or how things happen to appear to us, is exactly what the categories are imposed pon and they do not apply to the noumena, how things are in themselves (Kant, 66.
This reminds us that we do not have the divine intuition, but are only passing by the objects with no intimate knowledge of the thing in itself This creates the experience, the phenomena that have been filtered in space and time with the imposed categories. Without the categories of the understanding, we become blind and cannot experience anything. This brings us to the point that we can never know what a thing is in itself, but only how it appears to us through space, time and the categories that are projected and imposed by us.
In conclusion, we have explored Kant’s Copernican revolution which reverses the tradition mode of experience of mind conforming to object to his mode of an object conforming to mind. We looked at how the mind does that by projecting a field of experience that limits experience to space and til was also discussed that synthetic a priori judgments in nature are possible because nature persists through time and has causation. We delved into the 3 major categories that are rules we impose on all objects that are in space and time so that they will appear to us in experience or else we are blind to them.
Finally, we discussed that the categories can only apply to the phenomena and not to the noumena because we can only know things as they appear to us. And so the categories are restricted in space and time because if they were not it would be like trying to take the rules of chess and apply them to the real world, they are not in the realm where they make sense. Kant’s project shows us that we cannot know that is beyond our filter of space and time and thus traditional metaphysics is not possible.