The Kantian Questions

Avian3

New Member
Kouhai
Well I got this homework to answer these questions:

1. What can I know?

2. What ought I to do?

3. For what may I hope?

4. What is a human being?

At first I thought it was easy
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but it took quite some time to answer these
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so now I wanna know what do you think the answers are?
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nomae

-san
Sempai
Hmm... seems like some quite philosophical questions. I haven't read about Kantian Philosophy? before, but based on how the questions are asked, these'd be my answers:

1. I can know that which I experience with my own senses and that which I am able to logically deduct from other knowledge I posess.

2. I ought to do the things which I believe to be the most beneficial to me, and which best satisfy me and my curiosity of the world.

3. I may hope that through my experiences and actions that at the end of my life I will feel fulfilled, and have nothing left I wish accomplish or experience.

4. A human being is the embodiment of experiences. It is a vessel through which knowledge is gained and understanding of the world applied. It is where the world begins and what defines the world.
 

dchaosblade

- Lord of Chaos
Retired
1) I can know anything I choose to learn.
2) I aught to do what I want to do and what is right.
3) I may hope for anything, but know that hoping does not make it so - that to make a hope or a dream come true, I must do.
4) A human being is a homo-sapien-sapien or any organism who is a genetic mutation tracing an origin to the homo-sapien-sapien line (e.g. anyone who is born from homo-sapien-sapien but has a mutation that changes them is still a 'human being' even if their mutation takes them beyond the margin of error for the genetic bounds). Excuse any misuse of terms, I'm not a biologist nor a geneticist. =P
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
That's an AWESOME homework assignment! I hope my "philosophy" courses this semester end up being as interesting as this.

1. My answer is two-fold. In one sense, "knowledge" is nothing more than a feeling of certainty, and therefore, certainty or not, is nothing more than a feeling, and therefore one can know anything so long as they themselves are sufficiently convinced that it is genuinely true.

In the other sense of the word "knowledge", wherein there is something innate, something inherently true about it, I don't think anyone can truly know anything at all. It's inherent to the human condition. However, using logical (dare I say, "scientific"?) approaches to things, we can gain certainty about an idea, although even these types of methods are still dependent upon basic assumptions. However, given a group of individuals who happen to agree upon a certain set of assumptions, a person truly can "know" something within the confines of those assumptions. (I particularly like this line of thought, because, assuming that only one person agrees upon a certain set of premises, then to him, he "knows" anything he wants to, which is fine. However, this would give his ideas absolutely no weight in the outside world [think of a crazy hermit] UNLESS!!!! Unless this individual can successfully challenge and modify the premises the outside world accepts [think Einstein and his glorious theory of relativity]. I say that I like this, because it's largely the way I approach religious thought.
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).

2. Absolutely nothing. That's not to say I should go into a vegetative state and live the life of the great American couch potato. No, it's that to say someone "ought" to do something implies an inherent authority to the universe, which I not only reject, but even go so far as to contempt. I'll not feel obligated to do anything because of some humanistic projection I have placed upon the great unknown.
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3. Again, I feel this question implies some great, inherent authority to the universe, because of the word "may". I can hope for anything I can imagine, and without the assumption of some greater authority, I can only say that what I "may" hope for is in no way restricted from what I can hope for.

4. I prefer to use the biological, or evolutionary definition. I can understand the desire to define the human being as something distinct from -or perhaps superior to- anything else in existence. I feel, however, that such a discussion far exceeds the scope of the question.



By the way, Avian3, care to share what your answers were?
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Z_man

-chan
Kouhai
1. you can know anything but you can never be certain, unless it is a syntectic aswer.
2.there is nothing that you ought to do, even if something existed would be soming out of compremsion since we are transient beeings that can never fully understand the universe as we current are.
3.you can hope for anything as long as you never know, if you know it is no long hope it is certainty.
4. a human beeng is the current name to our current limits.

Hope i was clear since what i belive is a mixture of dozens of philosofics line.
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (dchaosblade @ Jan 07 2010, 04:20 PM) 1) I can know anything I choose to learn.
In what sense are you talking about? If you wanted to learn about an underground civilization of of mole-people who forge a living by fighting crime an wearing silly hats, could you "know" that they exist, as in more of a personal sense of the word? Or do you mean that for any "truth" out there, you can come to know of it and its truth through hard-work and dedication?


QUOTE (dchaosblade @ Jan 07 2010, 04:20 PM)2) I aught to do what I want to do and what is right.
What is right, and why is it right?
 

dchaosblade

- Lord of Chaos
Retired
QUOTE (EggBeast @ Jan 14 2010, 10:59 PM) In what sense are you talking about? If you wanted to learn about an underground civilization of of mole-people who forge a living by fighting crime an wearing silly hats, could you "know" that they exist, as in more of a personal sense of the word? Or do you mean that for any "truth" out there, you can come to know of it and its truth through hard-work and dedication?


What is right, and why is it right?
The latter. I can know anything by choosing to learn it, by dedicating myself to studying, observing, discovering, or whatever else is necessary. The point being there is no true limitation that you as an individual can't know something while someone else can. There are barriers, there are always barriers, but barriers can be overcome with varying degrees of difficulty.
That said, that doesn't mean that you can know something that is not true to be true (you can BELIEVE it to be true, but not know). Another debate, similar to what you stated earlier. Nevertheless, I choose to define 'knowing' as 'possessing knowledge of'. So yes, you could know of a civilization of mole-people etc etc, but not necessarily that they exist. Rather, you know they don't. Or you know it is possible and thus seek to know if it does exist. So on and so forth. It is hard to possess knowledge of something not true while having what could be considered (at least in your own opinion) absolute proof of it's validity. Some aspects of religion are examples - though I would argue that one does not KNOW that God exists but rather has FAITH in the fact that He does. The two are not the same.

As far as something being 'right' - 'right' is defined by the individual; one's personal opinion of what is right and wrong may differ from another. There are general consensuses on some things that are most certainly 'wrong' (murder, for example, is in most all civilizations frowned upon at the least and severely punished as far as torture and/or death at the worst).
If you want to know what I define as 'right' and why I define it to be 'right' then that's a whole other discussion that'd take way too much time and effort at the moment...
 

Z_man

-chan
Kouhai
Basicaly the wrong and right you talk about its what society defines as right?
I couldnt really get it.
you said that it differ from individual to individual, but you example was of a hole society.
 

dchaosblade

- Lord of Chaos
Retired
QUOTE (Z_man @ Jan 15 2010, 12:44 PM)Basicaly the wrong and right you talk about its what society defines as right?
I couldnt really get it.
you said that it differ from individual to individual, but you example was of a hole society.
In the context of the question "What aught I to do", I would say: both.

Each individual defines what is right and wrong themselves, for themselves. Society as a whole has it's own definition as well - a conglomeration of the majority opinion. When asking what one should (or should not) do, they must consider both sides.
It is my opinion that one should never do something that goes against their morals (their one sense of what is 'right' - eg, doing something that is 'wrong') but they should not necessarily always do what they consider 'right' in the case of it being considered 'wrong' by the surrounding society.

Say that in your opinion, eating horses is something that is completely fine and such (many places in Europe, for example) but you are currently in the United States. It would follow that there is a clash between what is 'wrong' in the U.S. - eating a horse - and what isn't for you. Given the circumstances and the two sides, you shouldn't eat the horse.
On the other hand, take something more serious...lets say defending yourself in a fight at a school. It is my judgment that if I am attacked, it is 'right' to defend myself through whatever means necessary until I am satisfied that the threat is no longer present. A school however says it is 'wrong' to fight back even if you are attacked. I would still fight back.

It is a battle between circumstances, society, and yourself. The decision of what you should do should be based upon the three factors together. The final decision changes from person to person even if they are in the same circumstances and society, and they have the same judgment of something be 'right' or not because even with something being 'right' there are varying degrees of how right, how important it is to follow your sense over societies, etc.

I hope that was clear enough...
 

franzoir

-the smooth, the suave, and the shrewd
Sempai
These questions are designed to test where you belong on a philisophical spectrum.

Kant=empiricist/rationalist
Nomae=empiricist
Dchaosblade=rationalist
Eggbeat=empiricist/rationalist
Z_man=empiricist/rationalist
Me=empiricist leaning

There isnt really much difference between the two anyway.

My answers:
QUOTE 1.One can only know the limits of his conditioned environment. However, one may aquire greater knowledge through personal experiences.

2.I ought to embrace the absurdity of reality and life to find personal meaning. If not, i must find religion to give me meaning. If the above fails, i must reside to suicide.

3.One can only hope for enriching experiences in life or meaning in death.

4.An ultimately pointless and trivial existence in which a defintion is unncessary.

As for right and wrong and all that jazz. These are constructions by human beings reified over time. You can tell it is constructed by the shifting definitions. In a western society piligamy is wrong, in some islamic society it is right.

I dont believe you can know what you want to know. For example, you are born a man and devote your life to studying the intricacies of being a woman. However, your studies are limited simply because you are not a woman. Therefore, your perspective is largely limited and subjective in which there are clear limits to what you can know unless you are all things.

It is just best to remember that most things in the world are constructed. Therefore should not be taken seriously in a discourse such as this.
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (franzoir @ Jan 15 2010, 07:18 PM) These questions are designed to test where you belong on a philisophical spectrum.
Franzoir! You freakin' philosophical stud! I think my brain is in love with your brain.
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I've always like thinking about these kinds of philosophical questions, although I've never personally done any reading or research on any of the well known philosophies/philosophers out there. (Plus, I'm usually the type to shy away from labeling ideas [not modes of thought, though
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] ) Though admittedly, this could change, since I'm officially taking my first philosophy courses this semester.

I always enjoy looking at things (or asking the same questions) from different perspectives, so hopefully I'll find a few I haven't already thought about!


QUOTE 4.An ultimately pointless and trivial existence in which a defintion is unncessary.
Dang, I agree that there is no inherent meaning or purpose to existence, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call it trivial though. I prefer thinking of human existence as dark and mysterious.
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I guess it's just a different "flavor" of the same idea though.
 

franzoir

-the smooth, the suave, and the shrewd
Sempai
QUOTE I've always like thinking about these kinds of philosophical questions, although I've never personally done any reading or research on any of the well known philosophies/philosophers out there. (Plus, I'm usually the type to shy away from labeling ideas [not modes of thought, though wink.gif ] ) Though admittedly, this could change, since I'm officially taking my first philosophy courses this semester.


Like you im just naturally inquisitive about this kinda stuff. My friends get annoyed because if we are out drinking i have a tendency to drag conversations to what is the meaning of life? When we should just be out for lighthearted fun.

Enjoy your semester, it should be engaging. But sometimes studying different theories and perspective can give you a massive headache. I will be studying political philosophy this semester. Should be good fun.


QUOTE Dang, I agree that there is no inherent meaning or purpose to existence, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call it trivial though. I prefer thinking of human existence as dark and mysterious. ph34r.gif I guess it's just a different "flavor" of the same idea though.

I am very pessimitic about the nature of life but im not advocating mass destruction. I believe our emotional capacity makes life worth living despite its pointless nature. Which is why i argue for enriching experiences.


QUOTE not quite: it would probably be empirist/absurdist

No arrogance intended. I just arbitrarily handed out labels so that people could question whether it suits them or not. But also if it does maybe might be curious to what the otherside of the spectrum is offering.
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (franzoir @ Jan 16 2010, 05:24 AM) I am very pessimitic about the nature of life but im not advocating mass destruction. I believe our emotional capacity makes life worth living despite its pointless nature. Which is why i argue for enriching experiences.
I tend to get pretty pessimistic myself from time to time, though on the whole, I think life is an amazing thing. I mean, you look at some of the basic "laws" we use to explain the nature of matter (physics, baby), and then some of the popular theories out there as to the origin and/or demise of the universe, I just get amazed. And then to think that on at least one small planet, some basic chemical compounds joined together that could grow, divide, and compete with each other, and over billions of years slowly changed into this huge diversity of life we see around us today. And then to think that we, of all creatures, have the capacity to (at some degree) understand this process, to consider our place in it all. I think it's pretty amazing stuff.

Sure, those ~3 billion years of evolution did leave us with some weird artifacts, although human emotion isn't really pointless, at least from an evolutionary perspective, as it plays a key role for maintaining a social species such as ours. Although yeah, there's still nothing "inherently meaningful" about it, or anything else for that matter.


QUOTE (franzoir @ Jan 16 2010, 05:24 AM)I just arbitrarily handed out labels so that people could question whether it suits them or not.
Really? If I had to use one word to describe my approach to thinking about things, I'd say it was Mathematical. In math, you have as few axioms as possible (assumptions you take for granted), definitions (words used to describe simple or complex ideas), and theorems (truths with always hold true, so long as you assume your axioms to hold true). After hundreds, thousands of years of carefully selecting axioms, of deriving full-proof theorems, we've turned mathematics into something both elegant and infinitely useful, even though in the end, it's simply based off of a few axioms we have no way of proving. Same way with life. You start off knowing nothing about the universe. You need to make some assumptions. Sure, you usually base them off of what others around tell you along with your own personal experiences, but those things are far from being solid evidence. Anyways, we make some useful assumptions about the nature of things, and from there we can derive all manner of truths, which (at best) can be considered absolute so long as the assumptions you're making are also taken as absolute truths. This approach works great for scientific endeavors. For other aspects of life, whether they be social, artistic, spiritual, or what have you, whatever assumptions you choose to accept really come down to personal preference, though I personally recommend things which are useful, elegant, beautiful, or all three.

I'm going to leave you alone now.
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*jumps out window*
 

franzoir

-the smooth, the suave, and the shrewd
Sempai
QUOTE (EggBeast @ Jan 16 2010, 04:09 PM)Really? If I had to use one word to describe my approach to thinking about things, I'd say it was Mathematical. In math, you have as few axioms as possible (assumptions you take for granted), definitions (words used to describe simple or complex ideas), and theorems (truths with always hold true, so long as you assume your axioms to hold true). After hundreds, thousands of years of carefully selecting axioms, of deriving full-proof theorems, we've turned mathematics into something both elegant and infinitely useful, even though in the end, it's simply based off of a few axioms we have no way of proving. Same way with life. You start off knowing nothing about the universe. You need to make some assumptions. Sure, you usually base them off of what others around tell you along with your own personal experiences, but those things are far from being solid evidence. Anyways, we make some useful assumptions about the nature of things, and from there we can derive all manner of truths, which (at best) can be considered absolute so long as the assumptions you're making are also taken as absolute truths. This approach works great for scientific endeavors. For other aspects of life, whether they be social, artistic, spiritual, or what have you, whatever assumptions you choose to accept really come down to personal preference, though I personally recommend things which are useful, elegant, beautiful, or all three.

This is where scientist/rationalists would largely look down on empiricist/social scientists. Rationalism advocates that through intellect and deduction you can decipher anything. As you highlight, this has made great strides within the world and is largely accepted. However, there are things in this world that are not bound by concrete laws such as physics or mathematical equations.

For example if we are looking at discourses such as the emergence of nations and nationalism, identities etc. Scientists would quickly find themselves in a conundrum since you are essentially looking at a void history. We do not have the luxury of dismissing such discourses down to personal preference since these issues are at the heart of most world conflicts today. Therefore empiricists largely work within a frameless world, in which there are no scientific laws to use as a guide. The best an empiricist can hope for is to arbitrarily frame his own theory in which others may scrutinise or improve upon. I would highlight the american philisopher John Rawl's treatise on A Theory of Justice. Though it borrows ideas from Kants, Rousseau etc it is such a comprehensive theory that when talking about justice, one must use his theory or explain why they do not do so. This is how empircism progresses. Through a long processes of scrutinising arbitrary ideas to begin with, we reach a pinnacle to loosely accomodate the human condition. I think this approach is more useful than a scientific methods which is constrained by structuralised laws to prove or disprove things. Therefore it cannot utilise the idiosyncratic importance of shared memories, ancestry, language like an empiricists can. And these are things that been have proven to be largely persuasive to the human condition.
 

Gustav1976

-sama
Retired
I'm going to go for the cliches here because at least for some of the questions I sorta agree.
1) One can only truly know ones self, this is because there is no possible way to be 100% sure of any single fact as we have imperfect perceptions of our own reality, however knowing ones self is the first step on the path to knowing what is and what is not
2) I personally believe there is no set thing a person ought to do, there are things they have no choice over and others they do, in the end it is more a matter of choosing what to do when you aware that the choice is their to be made and not an automatic action.
3) Again what you hope is largely up to you, it is allowable and possible for a person to have as many or as few hopes as they have or have not, I would recommend hoping for positive outcomes though whenever possible
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4) hmm..if a person could answer what a human is it would take more time and space than any of us have lol on one level the answer to the question is very very simple but when examined more closely the answer can be much much more complicated and leads to questions like "why?".
The nature of philosophy was originially to discuss ideas like these and even though we may never know the answers the journey we go through trying to find them is possibly just as important as the answers themselves or maybe more.
 
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