January 29, 2006

A note on metaphysics

I interpret Kant's work in the first Critique as an extremely strong metaphysical agnosticism: not only the objects of sensuous experience, but also the objects of thought, are conditioned by the cognitive constitution of the subject in question. That is, not just the forms of space and time, but also the pure categories, serve as restrictions on our ability to 'do metaphysics'. The smartass way to put this is that all we know is that we cannot know.

The practical philosophy -- the Groundwork, second Critique, and Metaphysics of Morals -- and, a century later, Brouwer's Intuitionism, improve things a little. In ethics and mathematics, the object of knowledge is not given, but rather the spontaneous creation of an autonomous subject, so knowledge is possible here, unlike (pre-Critical) metaphysics.

This post was apropos nothing.

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