Kant synopsis: object-making power of grammatical intentionality


Grammatical intentionality forces the imagination to draw lines. The imagination houses space—the same space that contains all sensible content of reality. Imaginary connections are thus superimposed on top of given sensations.

  • This makes the unifying form of these objects intelligible (present-to-consciousness); but strictly speaking, we only access our tracings-over, and not the sensations that are traced over. Because the core of epistemic subject is act, everything given must be re-made in the stuff of act in order to be present to trans-sense-consciousness.
  • We treat our projections or tracings as if they are really in the objects.
  • This is surely clear: that there is no inner object for us, except for the imaginary guts that we ourselves posit and then combine.

CSH: Everything we synthesize we have to draw a line through—including qualities. Kant calls quality intensive magnitude.

So space, time, substance, and property are all quantities. Because the epistemic subject is a persisting “I think …” that is self-identical and everything around it is either in motion or passing away. Everything arrives dispersed, and melts immediately.

In order for me to bring the universe into myself I have to drag my wand through it, while accessing the identity of my act, which means the identity of my deepest self. I draw a line all the while knowing that I am I, that I am I at every location in space and at every time throughout the movement of my sweeping wand.

By doing that, I connect everything with the unity of epistemic and apperceptive (“I”-detaching) subject. What I have done is moved through a way of separation with my identity.

Now, that’s a weird product. These are all products of self-identity.

Self-identity is the original and archetypal identity. Unity of epistemic consciousness is the original and archetypal unity. Combination by subjective intent and act is the original and archetypal combination.

So the universe is a fiction from self-identity. Not just any self-identity, the self-identity of the epistemic subject, which is the tip of the cone of passing pixels that are combined into the high-point of the copula in This (S) is P.

The tip is both original and derivative. It is the source of the act that touches all objective experience, and which illuminates sense-consciousnesses. It is the source of unity and identity. But as such it is empty. It is blind to itself. It is not only empty of empirical content, but also even of being a subject that can be referred to by “I.” This grammatically objectifiable “I” only arises during the acts that make it an epistemic “I.” It is the dynamical acting of knowing that generates the “I.” The “I” truly lives in the house of language—it arises as judgment, and reflects via judgment. The illuminated subject arises only when it is facing an “S is P”-structured panorama. If it cannot utter this, it cannot be a topic of reflection.

The “I think” sits atop of a cone of synthesis whose tip is the copula.

World-making and I-budding synthesis is not simple, but is intelligible, multipart, and mechanical. Its structure is This (S) is P—and also the rules of logic that allow propositions to interlink inferentially. Propositions are nodes in a web of logical inference, and the “logical forms” that govern inference a priori act as regulative powers on the acts of synthesis.

The cone converges, not into simple unity, but into the unity with the particular shape: This (S) is P. This is interesting and informative. Sensible synthesis must meet or accommodate logical forms.

So Kant says that we can derive Newton from Aristotle.

The imaginary connections we forge between passing pixels are done on the behalf of the highest level of unity, that of reason (logical inference). In the middle is the level of understanding, which brings sense-consciousnesses into homogeneity with judgment. At the bottom is the swarm of isolated sense-consciousnesses.

The S–is–P world makes the substance–is–property world. And it makes the world mathematical, a priori. The world of mathematical physics is what happens when S and P push themselves on sensation. Intending This (S) is P at the swarm of passing pixels forces the imagination to carry out various acts of combination, all of which are species of line-drawing. The grammatical subject expects spatial extension and temporal perdurance. The grammatical predicate expects a content that can varies as a value on a continuum. The combination of the two expects that this variation is determined by causal law.

The substance–is–property above is shorthand for a group of eight key concepts that are always applicable to physical experience. These are space, time, substance, body, property, quality, quantity, and causality. I use substance—is—property because, as Aristotle showed, the derivation of substance and property from grammatical subject and grammatical predicate is obvious. That these other concepts are also contained in the conditions of ostensive judgment are not obvious, and Kant spends the greater part of his positive program show how and why they are so contained.

Space and time are necessary concepts but not categories because they are neither kinds nor possible predicates.

Can we reduce the whole of mathematical-physical nature to an essential formalism? For Kant this formalism is that of analytic geometry. The essential relation is the mathematical determination of every objective observable as a function of time. This relation, Kant says, is contained in the very relation of ostensive judgment. The subject, being substance, is time itself. The predicate, being property, is a value on a continuum of higher type (quality), and the relation between them is condition–conditioned.

The world of mathematical physics is what happens when S and P push themselves on sensation. There is a grammatical intentionality at work in the act of assertion. The motivation of assertion is wish fulfillment.

This is where Thelemites should embed Love is the law, love under will as a metaphysical principle:

To us, every phenomenon is an Act of Love, every experience is necessary, is a Sacrament, is a means of Growth. Hence, “...existence is pure joy;...” (AL II, 9) “A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture! A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight!” (AL II, 42-43).

Of the Black Brothers, o my Son, I will write these Things following. I have told thee already concerning Change, how it is the Law, because every Change is an Act of Love under Will.

Every impression is an act of love.

To us, however, this matter is not one for regret; it is (like every phenomenon) an Act of Love. And the very definition of such Act is the Passing Beyond of two Events into a Third, and their withdrawal into Silence or Nothingness by simultaneous reaction. In this sense it may be said that the Universe is a constant issue into Trance; and in fact the proper understanding of any Event by means of the suitable Contemplation should produce the type of Trance appropriate to the complex Event-Individual in the case.

The pushing by the grammatical intensions S and P forces the imagination to carry out two subtle acts of line-drawing. There is a line-drawing for S and a line-drawing for P. The line for S is time; that for P, quality. Causality is the determination of property from time, which acts as independent variable. This determination relation can be expressed by making the lines orthogonal to each other and constructing a graph of particular property-values for particular times. This employment of analytic geometry for schematizing the history of an objective observable as a function of time is the archetypal formalism of Newtonian physics.

This formalism of understanding reality, the formalism of Newtonian physics, is Kant’s transcendental logic. Kant ties the making of physics an exact mathematical science to the very grammatico-synthetic forces that bring the world of sensation into conformity with the analytic touch, logical containment, and the web of inferential knowledge.

The key step here, and what separates it from the already existing sciences of algebra and geometry, is the identification of time with quantity. When time becomes number, time becomes amenable to construction and prediction. We already have a priori knowledge in math and geometry. Now, we have a priori knowledge about physics, or mechanics—which is just geometry applied to time. We are gods over arithmetic and geometry. With the spatialization and quantification of time, we are gods again—gods over time.

This can happen because time is a line, that I construct when I draw it. So it is ontologically generate by my power, which makes it transparent to me. And not just any drawing power, but spatial drawing power, which is the only one that allow synopsis.

Also, spatial knowledge is the best we have. Leibniz said it was number but Kant would say [or does say] space. Nothing is more transparent to understanding than a posited spatial image—that, say, a triangle, or two dots (meant to be an image of two). The most certainty you can ever have, the most intimate relationship you can with knowledge, is the knowledge had in looking at objects constructed (drawn) in imaginary space.

And lo—physics is that. Physics is the transparency of geometry, where time is a line, calculable among others.