Skip to main content

Random Quote from Kant

Image result for Kant

Critique of Pure Reason.

"In the applications of the pure conceptions of the understanding to possible experience, the use of their synthesis is either mathematical or dynamical; for it is directed partly merely to the intuition, and partly to the existence of a phenomenon in general. But the conditions a priori of the intuitions are, in respect to a possible experience, absolutely necessarily; those of the existence of the objects of a possible empirical intuition are only in themselves contingent. Hence the principles of mathematical use are ... absolutely necessary; that is, they strike apodictically; whilst those of dynamic use will also carry with them the character of a necessity a priori, but only under the condition of the empirical thinking in an experience...."

I'm not sure I grasp this fully. The premise behind it is the old distinction between contingent and necessary truths. It is a contingent truth that Smith owns a Hewlett-Packard laptop. It is a necessary truth that the owner of a Hewlett-Packard laptop owns at least one laptop.

But Kant is making another distinction within the "necessary" component of that distinction. There are mathematical necessities and dynamical necessities. I'm not clear why this distinction is important to him.

2+2 is four is a mathematical necessity.

The above example, though, the proposition that the "owner of a Hewlett-Packard laptop owns at least one laptop" may qualify as a dynamic necessity. There is a "condition of the empirical thinking" at work here, t hat is, that the world contains laptops of different brands, that H-P is one of them, etc, Our statement "carries with it" necessity, but only after such empirical facts are understood.

At least I think that's what he's saying. Readers should feel free to correct me.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…