Re: [xmca] Re: Kant and the Strange Situation

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Sat Oct 25 2008 - 06:12:21 PDT

That sounds right to me Michael.

Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> Hi all,
> I do think that you are wrestling wind mills. Kant did not write in
> English, so did not use the concepts over which you argue. And what you
> write is not what I read. I pulled of my shelf a definitive publication,
> which sometimes also includes his Latin texts.
> I don't find the German word for reflection, I mean the one that could
> be mistaken for the mirror phenomenon.
> With respect to schema, he writes that it is mediating instant, a third
> thing ("ein Drittes") between the category on the one side and the
> appearance of a thing on the other.
> He writes (B180 A140,141) that the pure sensible concepts do not have
> images (actually, he says "Bilder", pictures) as their foundation but
> schemata. Of the concept ("Begriff") of a triangle, "no image ["Bild"]
> could ever be adequate". He continues, the image could not reach the
> generality of the concept of the triangle. "The schema of a triangl
> cannot ever exist elsewhere than in thought, and as a rule means/refers
> to ("bedeutet") a synthesis of imagination, in the visioning of pure
> gestalts in space.
> Despite his words that appear to point to the parallel between thinking
> and the world, he always EMPHASIZES that categories have no picture like
> quality, that they are very different from pictures / images, and after
> the triangle he uses the concept of a dog and shows why it cannot have
> any image-like quality.
> So much about "reflection" and what is involved in a concept.
> Cheers,
> Michael
> On 24-Oct-08, at 10:30 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> Andy:
> The translation I sent you is exactly the translation that you sent me.
> I just looked up the place in my copy and found the corresponding place
> in the copy you bookmarked on the net, and then copied and pasted it.
> I think the problem is not translation. For some reason, the word
> "reflection" in describing Kant's view of perception makes you
> uncomfortable. I am sorry if I created another cyber-hullaballoo with
> this word, but I don't really see why. The word "reflection" certainly
> does not imply, to me, unmediated perception (whatever that might be).
> It's a word that Kant uses again and again and again and again.
> In fact, the word "schema" DOES mean a reflection, or an outline, or a
> shadow. The idea, which is a perfectly Platonic one, is that the world
> of visible objects is outlined, or shadowed, or reflected for us on the
> senses. The mind then reconstructs these shadows into perceptible objects.
> Kantians in the nineteenth century certainly did not think that
> "reflection" meant unmediated perception of categories such as space or
> time or plurality. But they were extremely fond of the mirror metaphor
> (and so was Kant himself).
> George Eliot uses it, for example, in Adam Bede: "a faithful account of
> men and things as they have mirrored themselves in my mind". Janet is
> the first (as far as I know) to criticize the use of the mirror metaphor
> for perception. (Lenin, rather inadvisedly, continued to use it.)
> Bakhurst uses it too, in describing the Cartesian world view, but he
> points out that it is really more like a screen than a mirror, with you
> on one side of it and objects on the other. (In Sudan we used to watch
> movies projected on bedsheets, and the best seats in the house were
> always right behind the screen instead of in front of it.)
> Of course Chomsky believes that grammatical categories are a priori.
> He's a self-described "Cartesian" linguist, and his fable about the
> triangle is taken, as we've seen, straight from Kant.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Fri, 10/24/08, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
> From: Andy Blunden <>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Kant and the Strange Situation
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
> Date: Friday, October 24, 2008, 9:15 PM
> I stand by what I said David. I don't have the same
> translation as you so I am having trouble following. But do
> you see the table of categories? Things like "plurality" and
> "possibility" and so on. He believes that these are "built
> in" so to speak, like Chomsky's universal grammar.
> Andy
> David Kellogg wrote:
>> It's right here, Andy. First Division, Book II, Chapter 1, the
>> Schematism of the Pure Concepts of Understanding:
>> "For we have there seen that conceptions are quite impossible, and
>> utterly without signification, unless either to them, or at least to the
>> elements of which they consist, an object be given; and that,
>> consequently, they cannot possibly apply to objects as things in
>> themselves without regard to the question whether and how these may be
>> given to us; and, further, that the only manner in which objects can be
>> given to us is by means of the modification of our sensibility; and,
>> finally, that pure /a priori/ conceptions, in addition to the function
>> of the understanding in the category, must contain /a priori/ formal
>> conditions of sensibility (of the internal sense, namely), which again
>> contain the general condition under which alone the category can be
>> applied to any object. This formal and pure condition of sensibility, to
>> which the conception of the understanding is restricted in its
>> employment, we shall name the schema of the conception of the
>> understanding, and the procedure of the understanding with these
>> schemata we shall call the schematism of the pure understanding."
>> Then he gives a laundry list of different schemata.
>> I mean "Critique of Reason" as opposed to the Critique of
> Judgement and
>> the Critique of Practice. Actually, I'm a lot more familiar with the
>> latter two (aesthetics and morals).
>> I'm still struggling with the Logic! Your annotated version is good,
> but
>> I need lots of help.
>> dk
>> --- On *Fri, 10/24/08, Andy Blunden /<>/* wrote:
>> From: Andy Blunden <>
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: the Strange Situation
>> To:
>> Date: Friday, October 24, 2008, 8:26 PM
>> You sound like you know what you're saying David. Can you
>> help me find the text. I have only
>> Is this the same work? I only know Critique of Pure Reason
>> and Critique of Practical Reason. I don't know "Critique of
>> Reason."
>> Andy
>> David Kellogg wrote:
>>> Andy:
>>> Kant does speak of schemata as reflections in the mind "by
>> modification
>>> of our sensibility" of unknowable things in themselves. This
> is where
>> he
>>> brings in the triangle example so beloved by Chomsky,
>>> See "Critique of Reason", Transcendental doctrine of
> judgement,
>> Chapter
>>> 1, section 1. Kant, I (1965) Critique of Pure Reason. New York:
>>> MacMillan.p. 182.
>>> See also: "Transition from Sensory-Motor Schemas to
> Conceptual
>> Schemas"
>>> in Piaget, J. (1961) Play, Imitation and Dreams (Norton), pp.
> 215-244.
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>> --- On *Fri, 10/24/08, Andy Blunden /<>/*
> wrote:
>>> From: Andy Blunden <>
>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: the Strange Situation
>>> To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture,
>> Activity"
>>> <>
>>> Date: Friday, October 24, 2008, 7:16 PM
>>> David, I think you are doing a disservice to Kant here. For
>>> Kant there cannot really be "reflections" of
>>> things-in-themselves. Appearances are constructs.
>>> If Piaget talks about schemata, then he is indeed, like
>>> Chomsky, a Kantian, but as I understand it,
> "schemata"
>>> refers to the categories which Kant presumed were accessible
>>> to a faculty of Reason, which then enabled sensible forms to
>>> be extracted from sense data via the faculty of Intuition.
>>> According to Hegel and Marx and Vygotsky, the categories of
>>> reason are acquired via practical activity with other people.
>>> But the "thing in itself" is, for Kant, beyond
> perception.
>>> Andy
>>> David Kellogg wrote:
>>>> Dear Paula:
>>>> (For whatever reason, I'm afraid the label's
> sticking.
>> "The
>>> Strange Situation" is, like a working class hero,
> something to
>> be. Meaning,
>>> something that is to become.)
>>>> I'm going to try to use Hegel's
> "Logic" to make
>> sense of
>>> the categories we find in your DVD and also in Chapter Five.
> But
>> I've tried
>>> to read the Logic several times myself and failed each time.
>>>> So I'm not actually going to use the
> "Logic"
>> directly, but
>>> instead take a very schematic understanding of it from an
> article on
>> the logic
>>> of 19th century realist novels. (Brown, M. [1981] "The
> Logic of
>> Realism: A
>>> Hegelian Approach", PMLA 96/2, 224-241). This puts me in
> good
>> company; Andy
>>> says that LSV mostly gets his Hegel from other sources too
> (probably
>> the
>>> Philosophical Notebooks of Lenin).
>>>> Early on in Thinking and Speech, LSV pours scorn on
> Piaget's
>>> declaration of independence from philosophy and says
> "the lack of
>> a
>>> philosophy is itself a very definite philosophy". But
>> Piaget's
>>> non-philosophical philosophy is not simply raw empiricism;
> it's a
>> form of
>>> neo-Kantianism.
>>>> That's why LSV is careful to highlight wherever
> Piaget talks
>> about
>>> "schemata", Kantian reflections of unknowable
> "things
>> in
>>> themselves". It's also why he uses the image of
> social
>> thinking simply
>>> "squeezing out" the egocentric thinking of the
> child; LSV is
>> rejecting
>>> the neo-Kantian idea that there are separate faculties of
> reason and
>> judgement.
>>>> So what's the alternative to Kantian reflections of
> things in
>>> themselves? Hegel gives us three distinct stages in the
> unfolding of
>> an idea:
>>> "for itself", "for others", and "for
>> oneself". But
>>> in some ways the ways in which these stages are linked are
> more
>> important than
>>> the way they are distinct.
>>>> First of all, there is "contingency", which he
>> subtitles:
>>> "formal reality, possibility, necessity". Now, in
> this stage
>> stuff has
>>> no "necessary" existence; it just appears as random
> things,
>> or heaps.
>>> That's why Hegel says it has the "form" of
> reality,
>> rather than
>>> its truth.
>>>> But even here, as Hegel says, "everything is
> through its
>> other what
>>> it is itself". There is a contrast between the object
> and the
>> environment,
>>> and that contrast is something made by the child as the child
> takes
>> objects and
>>> puts them into heaps. The criterion of selection is a
> non-criterion;
>> the child
>>> selects "for (the object) itself".
>>>> Now suppose the child takes this same logic, the logic
> of the
>> heap, and
>>> applies it to the individual object. By this logic, the
> object appears
>> as a
>>> "heap" of traits, facets, or aspects, each one
> utterly
>> unconnected
>>> with the others. An object is a random heap of qualities.
>>>> But the independence of one quality from another is
> actually a
>> kind of
>>> relationship, although a negative one. If a block is part of
> this
>> heap, then it
>>> is not part of that one. and if an object is yellow, then it
> is not
>> blue. The
>>> point is that reality is something that is directed outwards;
> the
>> reality of a
>>> heap is directed towards other heaps, the reality of an
> object is
>> something
>>> directed towards other objects, and the reality of a facet is
> directed
>> towards
>>> other facets.
>>>> Because the reality of a facet is directed towards other
> facets,
>> it can be
>>> contrasted, and even chained, according to likeness, or
> according to
>> partial
>>> similarity, or according to cause and effect. That's what
> creates
>> the
>>> various types of complexes, including the chain complex.
>>>> Of course, identifying relationships (resemblance,
> causality,
>>> complementarity, even adversativity) is also a way of
> isolating them.
>> And
>>> isolating relationships always involves not only an element
> of
>> relativeness but
>>> even an element of arbitrariness. We see a lot of this in our
> data.
>>>> But we also see that as the relationships are isolated,
> the
>> arbitrary
>>> elements and irrelevant decisions are gradually eliminated.
> Hegel says
>> that in
>>> the third stage of the unfolding of the idea, all the
> randomness is
>> absorbed and
>>> objects are now fully determinate.
>>>> LSV takes Piaget to task for not considering causality
> to be
>> objective;
>>> for asserting that the causality of science is as egocentric
> and
>> relative as
>>> that of the child. For LSV, this is really a type of
> complexive
>> thinking.
>>> Thinking of "real reality", that is, the reality of
> groups
>> and chains,
>>> and complexes, is not the final stage any more than thinking
> of heaps
>> was.
>>>> Scientific causality is, for LSV, a higher form of
> causality; it
>>> corresponds to absolute necessity, where there is no longer
>> heterogeneity or
>>> randomness in the relation or in the object. I think this is
> where he
>> sees
>>> concepts--true concepts--coming into existence.
>>>> David Kellogg
>>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> xmca mailing list
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> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435
>>> Skype andy.blunden
>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>> --
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>> Skype andy.blunden
>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:

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