Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason: Noumena?

2 Sep

Again I write something about Kant’s awesome Critique of Pure Reason, because it is simply awesome, and I should stop saying/writing the word awesome. Awesome. This part of the book is the Transcendental Doctrine of Faculty and Judgement aka Analytic of Principles in the third chapter. This chapter makes the distinction between phenomena and noumena. Phenomena is a wide known thing that is justified to exist, but noumena however can be claimed by epistemologists and other philosophers as to be nonexistent.  It is noumena that I wish to take up for discussion, and claim that it does in fact exist regardless of a philosophical principle’s qualification to have logic within it. I do, however, have some logic to put within it however.

First, I want to describe and discuss phenomena so that I can contrast it with the main topic of discussion in noumena.  Phenomena defined by Kant is this: “…objects of a possible experience…” (Kant).  Phenomena has sense data and has all properties of something that we see. Phenomena is justified by epistemologists and philosophers to exist because of its sense data and of its analytic nature. We can perceive it and not have to go through any thought process to know that it exists and to understand its nature. Noumena is just the opposite.

Noumena is defined by Kant as the following: “….of a thing which must be cogitated not as an object of sense, but as a thing in itself (solely through the pure understanding), is not self-contradictory, for we are not entitled to maintain that sensibility is the only possible mode of intuition” and “by the term noumenon, we understand a thing so far as it is not an object of our sensuous intuition, thus making abstraction of our mode of intuiting it..” (Kant).  So in essence noumena (noumenon in the singular sense) is the exact opposite of phenomena in that phenomena is intuited by sense, while noumena is not. Epistemologists discredit noumena right there because it cannot be perceived of the senses. One thing I also find amazing is that Kant is so bold as to state that we arent entitled to state that senses are our only way of intuiting things. Things that count as noumena are intuited based on pure understanding.

When I think of noumena as having faith that a certain thing that we cannot sense exists. Now, I do  not want to make this writing into a transition into telling everyone that you have to believe in God, even though that you do. I do not want this writing to go that way because about 50% of my other writings do just that. First, I want to talk about noumena in the sense Kant talked about  it in that sense does not have to be the only means that we intuit something. I also want to map out a few things that reside within noumena. Also, I want to discuss why philosophers of the epistemological variety state noumena to be a jibberish philosophical term.

What resides as a part of the noumena  are things that are vague and ambiguous but there are things that we can know by analytic deduction to exist just by pure understanding as Kant said it. I want to discuss God in this nature, however I want to loosely discuss Him as a higher power even if I think He is more than just a higher power. We can for sure know that  a higher power exists within this world even if one is not perceived. We do perceive with sense data the world and processes around us, and with all the great things this is, our pure understanding leads us to a source for all this, and that source is a higher power. A higher power is within the noumena because we cannot perceive with sense data this power, but we have enough pure understanding even with observation to have an intuition for His existence. Even if some people deny this purely understood intuition, we all have it, and that puts the higher power in the noumena. I will go into further the means that we have this pure understanding and why we put so much into it. The higher power is the most thing disputed to exist, and to be a part of the noumena, but a plethora of other things exist that are within the noumena. One smaller example would be that there is a molten core in the center of the earth. Has anyone gone inside the earth to see this core? No. That makes this core noumena because we have not perceived it with sense data. However with pure understanding and with other phenomena, we have justified for sure that this core exists. Basically anything that we have not perceived as phenomena, yet claim to existence is noumena and other examples could be elaborated upon, but  I believe I have exemplified this mystical noumena.

Epistemology claims that one has great evidence for the existence of a thing based on what sense data is perceived. If there is no sense data or sensory impressions, there is little evidence for its existence. These kind of philosophers put great faith in the phenomena because of the sense data these things set forth. The noumena however as stated by Kant is greatly discredited by these  (especially positivist) philosophers because it has no evidence for existence, and the justification for its existence is pure jibberish.  The positivists created a system of  justifying the truth  of certain things, Rudolf Carnap being one of them. Noumena does not pass the qualifications for the following test system but I am coming to a circumvention of this test system:

Positivist Verification Conditions

Justification conditions  =  Meaning conditions = Truth conditions

=

Verification conditions

If you can justify the truth of something (in its existence or of another truth) you are able to have evidence for it. Carnap and the positivists held great bearing in evidence for the truth of things, and evidence ultimately leading to justification. The equal signs mean that if you have this, then you have this , then you have this.  Meaning conditions include if what you say mean something within what the rest of the world, or things immediately around it are. If it means something, it can be branched out the the other condition categories. Normally this test goes left to right, because if you have either justification with evidence, or meaning in what you discuss, you have truth but only if they all cohesively work together. If you just have meaning or justification and you cannot branch to the other 2 condition categories, something is wrong and you have to go see if what you have is really truth or if you have to revise something. If you can cohesively get one then 2 and 3 of these things, you have verification of truth of what you discuss.  I present Carnap and the positivists ( mostly Carnap)  verification conditions because this is a counterargument against metaphysical noumena, and why it cannot be surely stated to exist. The epistemologists have had a long train of thinkers against jibberish metaphysics (I however do not think that metahpysics is jibberish) has gone for a long run including Wittgenstein (not to mention him again) and the Vienna Circle where Moritz Schlick and other scientists got together to talk philosophy against the metaphyisicians.  I am strongly against this antimetaphysical train of thought.

My counterargument against these anti metaphysical is that there are 2 ways that we can justify the existence of the noumena. First, phenomena that occur intermittently around us point towards certain things that we cannot see with sense data within our perceptions. For one example, like my example before, we know that there is a core in the earth because of massive magnetic polar charges on the poles of the earth, volcanoes and earthquakes, seismic waves, and because of certain minerals that are not normal on the crust. All of these things point to a different material on the inside of the earth that is in fact molten, and must lie inside the earth. All of these phenomena were not us perceiving the sense data of the core, but they were phenomena that were random and intermittent that all when tested together point toward this molten core. Going back to the higher power, we see the sun, a baby born, the earth processes, eclipses, the other planets, a cell enduring mitosis, and many other things that can not have been caused by chance. All of these phenomena point toward noumena. The simultaneous phenomena around us when collectively observed are often studied together to point towards another hypothesis and even a theory about the collective cause for these things, even when the cause of all these things are not perceived with sense data. Basically phenomena can often point toward undiscovered noumena.

Second often because phenomena point toward noumena, we have faith. Kant stated that noumena is understood with pure understanding, and that we must have another method for intuition than sensory impressions. Seeing does not always have to be believing.  With all of the phenomena that point toward noumena, we have faith in the noumena being there because we have assurance in it. God does not appear before us to help us in life, but intermittent things happen that help us out, and that can be related toward God’s presence. Faith is a self described term, and noumena are the things we must have faith in after observing surrounding noumena and making a purely understanding decision about it.

The above 2 things sort of go into each other. They both fit into Kant’s statement that we must have a different way to intuit things than sense. I totally agree with his recognizing noumena, and we must rely on senses less and pure understanding more.

Thanks for the support, and I hope I was understanding enough for you to rethink a few things.

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One Response to “Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason: Noumena?”

  1. Lupa January 2, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    ” One thing I also find amazing is that Kant is so bold as to state that we arent entitled to state that senses are our only way of intuiting things. Things that count as noumena are intuited based on pure understanding.”

    There is no “pure understanding” without a percept as its most fundamental basis. To understand presupposes to understand/to know/to perceive something, an object, in the first place. In my opinion, Kant is too bold to assert that; he isn’t entitled to claim knowledge by “pure understanding,” especially without objective evidence, and to postulate the existence of a really real reality as some floating abstraction, as he has done with the noumena/phenomena dichotemy.

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