Kant synopsis


Louis, Ben

CSH: My dissertation is about the fact that understanding operates as a combination of discrete elements. It makes utterances that are distinct blobs—the subject-blob and the predicate-blob. Each of these is intended in a different way. The intentions are different. The two blobs are like two substances.

Two questions:

Q1: What effect does this double intention have on the way we drink-in the time continuum?

Q2: What effect does this double intention have on the imagination that stitches together time slices? It turns out that stitching together time slices can be done in different ways.

Louis: What do you mean?

CSH: Imagine that sensible reality can be exhaustive modeled as a series time slices just as a film is a series frames. I can stack the frames together in a sequence so that it looks like each frame is at a point in time, and then I can talk about objects in the film. Objects might be momentary or perduring for a span or perduring for all time. But I can also leave the film aside and talk about the concepts that I’m applying to it.

There are two worlds—sense-objects and concepts. This is Platonic dualism, and it derives from the subject/predicate distinction.

I can talk about things that exist in the film, like sense data. I do this with the grammatical subject. And I can talk about things that are not particular sense data, but abstract universals. I do this with the grammatical predicate. Kant says that in both cases the unity of consciousness is a ranging-over, and that this ranging is just like the unity of an algebraic variable over a continuum.

In the case of the subject, the unity of consciousness is creating a perduring transparency through time. It’s called substance. By asserting its identity as time passes by, consciousness creates a fiction that it then projects into the film as substance.

Louis: Oh neat!

CSH: The predicate is also a unity ranging over a continuum, except in this case it’s a continuum of variance in the making of an image for a concept. For example, there is an infinite number of particulars reds, but if an any instance gets too close to orange or violet, it loses its identity as red. The universal red is a limited span in a continuum. Chocolatey, salty—every first-order predicate is a magnitude.

On the predicate side we have a magnitude of variance. On the subject side, we have a magnitude of time. The copula is that connects them is the most important part. These two heterogeneous continuums are being linked. You’re linking a time continuum to a variability continuum.

Louis: That’s awesome. It sounds very Deleuzian.

CSH: The time continuum of substance (subject-position) is the x-axis, the qualitative variability of property (predicate-position) is the y-axis, and the is that links them together into a world line is causality.

That fact that everything that I just said can be made intelligible only through acts of line-drawing is what Kant’s First Critique is about. Our reliance on line-drawing and geometry and spatial modeling to make our own theorizing intelligible is what the Critique is all about.

Logic is actually the way it is in the realm of subsumptive discrete blobs, and what allows for the creation of a blob hierarchy.

Kant: the finitude of utterance and the nature of the (variable) term

The “term” of judgment inherits the finitude of the continual intentionality of positing that, in the face of sensation’s continual passing, becomes temporal extension. This counter-force of continual intending generates temporal extension. As temporal extension, the product of this act is real—it has the strongest presence of all schemata, which is will. Purely temporal extension is real, but not yet intelligible. The act will not become intelligible until is rendered as spatial extension.

Oppositional nature of awareness

In the end, the experience or cognition of presence of the waking, epistemic kind is an en-counter, an opposition. The ontological subject is present to itself as a power that is ex-pressed in cognition. Sensation arises as an onslaught of which the subject is a passive recipient. The fabrication of objects from this confused stream of sensation begins with an impulse that is outward and against—the utterance.

Utterance as counter inundation

The utterance is an insistence-against sensation by its opposite, which is the self-surpassing drive of will and consciousness. The opposite of sensation is the self-made.

The opposition of self-power to sensation comes from a double awareness. During the act of schematizing a passed content there is awareness, by self-power, that it is self-powering in the act of schematizing. And it is also present to the receptive nature of the original moment of sensation that it is now schematizing. The act of representing is an act that knows that it was not source of the sensation that it now is the source of. The contrast creates, simultaneously, both the spontaneity of the subject and the reality of the sense content. The epistemic subject is what is overrun one moment and then generative the next.

The counter of (real) sensation is the production of (imagined) sensation by the subject. For example, in this moment I am flooded by some red visual content. Now, a moment later, the epistemic urge to own by self-generation wells up and I intend red. (And if while scanning the visual field I pass over the red spot in silence, this means I am familiar with it and do not have to explicitly produce a matching image. Passing recognition means I know that I have the concept that covers that content.)

Thinking, uttering, or otherwise Intending is also an act of positing. It begins from nothing and ends as nothing. Spanning these absences is an existence that rests on will—on the act of uttering, which posits existence forwards against the continually passing of all content. The primordial act which eventually becomes the concept is pure counter-passing, pure insistence.

Unity of concept and finitude of utterance

Uttering “This (S)” is a short-lived time-taking act. It occupies a discrete span of time. It is a bounded segment. The temporal finitude of the act of utterance makes it a real particular. Uttering with intention is a finitely perduring act.

Is it fair to say that the system of grammar is determined by the fact that its elements are all time-taking empirical contents? In physics, the elements of the reduction are volumetric. Smaller entities constitute and determine larger ones, because the latter are just complexes of the former.

Reduction to elements is crucial to determining the coherence of a theory. We should consider the possibility that the “unity” of the concept is related to the sonic finitude of utterance. That utterances are discrete and of finite duration must surely have some impact on the “form” of the concept. It is no accident that symbols are pronounced. The finitude of the term is the finitude of the utterance.

The unity of subsumption: two kinds

The ranging of a variable over a continuum has as its transcendental (necessary enabling) condition the difference between a discrete utterance and an accumulation of magnitude that would be endless. Unit ranges over the countable infinity {unit, unit, unit, unit … unit}. Plurality-in-unity is schematized as the intention: “Utterance unit hereby re-presents the endless series {unit, unit, unit}.

This holds both for spatial (via temporal) unity over extension as well as conceptual (via both the word and the procedural rule, another finite utterance because I must speak it out) unity over extension. I must construct the word in time, and I must construct the sensible referent in time.