Busy preparing for yet another presentation and thought Ill share here few segments from the passages that I usually exploit as references to get across complex points on human consciousness.
The first is from Principles of New Evaluation- Fredrich Nietzsche, what my friend referred to as the incisive gem of human zenith.
''Knowledge is judgment!" But judgment is a belief that something is thus and thus! And not knowledge! "All knowledge consists of synthetic judgments" of universal validity (the case is thus and not otherwise in every case), of necessary validity (the opposite of the assertion can never occur).
The legitimacy of belief in knowledge is always presupposed: just as the legitimacy of the feelings of conscience judgments is presupposed. Here moral ontology is the dominant prejudice.
The conclusion is therefore:
1. There are assertions that we consider universally valid and necessary;
2. Necessity and universal validity cannot be derived from experience;
3. Consequently they must be founded, not upon experience, but upon something else, and derive from another source of knowledge!
(Kant infers (1) there are assertions which are valid only under a certain condition; (2) this condition is that they derive, not from experience, but from pure reason.)
Therefore: the question is, whence do we derive our reasons for believing in the truth of such assertions?
No, how our belief is caused!
But the origin of a belief, of a strong conviction, is a psychological problem: and a very narrow and limited experience often produces such a belief! It already presupposes that there is not "data a posteriori" but also data a priori, "preceding experience."
Necessity and universal validity could never be given to us by experience: why does that mean that they are present without any experience at all?
There are no isolated judgments!
An isolated judgment is never "true," never knowledge; only in the connection and relation of many judgments is there any surety.
What distinguishes the true from the false belief? What is knowledge? He "knows" it, that is heavenly!
Necessity and universality can never be given by experience! Thus they are independent of experience, prior to all experience! That insight that occurs a priori, therefore independently of all experience, out of sheer reason, is "a pure form of knowledge"!
"The basic laws of logic, the law of identity and the law of contradiction,are forms of pure knowledge because they precede all experience.''--But these are not forms of knowledge at all!they are regulative articles of belief.
To establish the a priori character (the pure rationality) of the judgments of mathematics, space must be conceived as a form of pure reason.
Hume had declared: "There are no synthetic a priori judgments." Kant says: But there are! Those of mathematics! And if there are such judgments, perhaps there is also metaphysics, a knowledge of things by pure reason!
Mathematics is possible under conditions under which metaphysics is never possible. All human knowlege is either experience or mathematics.
A judgment is synthetic; i.e., it connects different ideas.
It is a priori; i.e., every connection is a universally valid and necessary one, which can never be given by sense perception but only through pure reason.
If there are to be synthetic a priori judgments, then reason must be in a position to make connections: connection is a form. Reason must possess the capacity of giving form.
(Cant help but worship)
The second is Calvino's lovely ride through prose poetry and metaphysics.
POLO:… Perhaps the terraces of this garden overlook only the lake of our mind. . .
KUBLAI: . . . and however far our troubled enterprises as warriors and merchants may take us, we both harbor within ourselves this silent shade, this conversation of pauses, this evening that is always the same.
POLO: Unless the opposite hypothesis is correct: that those who strive in camps and ports exist only because we two think of them, here, enclosed among these bamboo hedges, motionless since time began.
KUBLAI: Unless toil, shouts, sores, stink do not exist; and only this azalea bush.
POLO: Unless porters, stonecutters, rubbish collectors, cooks cleaning the lights of chicken, washerwoman bent over stones, mothers stirring rice as they nurse their infants, exist only because we think of them.
KUBLAI: To tell the truth, I never think them.
POLO: Then they do not exist.
KUBLAI: To me this conjecture does not seem to suit our purposes. Without them we could never remain here swaying, cocooned in our hammocks.
POLO: Then the hypothesis must be rejected. So the other hypothesis is true: they exist and we do not.
KUBLAI: We have proved that if we were here, we would not be.
POLO: And here, in fact, we are.
And there are those genius of passages from the one and only Doestoevesky. Notes from the Underground especially.
As I typed out the second am just pondering how it reflects so much on the Internet. Blogging in particular.