Re: Perception


Robert Kolker wrote:
> Tim Britt wrote: > >> In 1617, Fludd published the first part of his largest work entitled, Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica Physica Atque Technica Historia. Overall, the work deals with the history of the Macrocosm from the abyss, the first Light, through the separations and diversities, to the Microcosm of man. It depicts the separation between the lower world of elements from the lower heavenly realm which in turn is separated from the celestial realm beyond the stars. It is based on the concept that all was created from the Light of God, and as the light emanated farther and farther into darkness, the more darkness subdues the light. This, however, is not strictly in a linear sense. The outpouring was both outward and inward. In other words, everything is both a macrocosm and microcosm. As man is a microcosm to the greater cosmos, he is also a macrocosm to the cells of the body, and the cells are a macrocosm to another microcosm until all circles are complete. > > > > "When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion." > > An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding > > Bob Kolker > > Yes, that is the case when you are speaking of the multitudes. and of course, I am not completely convinced of any of this. I, like Hume, am a skeptic. I do however love to use Fludd as a point of departure, since he did spend his entire life striving to reconcile spiritualism with science.
My background is architecture with a minor in philosophy. I have always been facinated by science, math and physics...mostly because I couldn't understand them past a certain point. Or if I could, I saw no passion in myself for the study of them past a pragmatic application.
Perhaps you can explain to me "that straight lines just happen to have zero curvature at every point." But can you explain to me why, when the same mathematical systems are applied in different ways in different forms can make a human feel comfort or discomfort? How proportional systems can create tension or balance, depending on how they are applied?
My interest is really to try to understand what is behind the human perception. I believe that terms like balance, or tension, especially when dealing with aesthetics, are relative to perception, and specifically human perception. However, I am sure that the human mind has an incredible capacity to calculate and the most complex of mathematical problems intuitively, or subconsciously, allowing for the recognition of general aesthetics, and these aesthetics are directly related to the scale of the human. The absolute goal is to achieve spaces or which are not only functional, but satisfy the basic needs which tend to be overlooked, rhythm, scale, and order. In short, the human needs interesting spaces.
Of course: "The various feelings of enjoyment or of displeasure rest not so much upon the nature of the external things that arouse them as upon each person's own disposition to be move by these towards pleasure or pain." (Kant- Of the Beautiful and Sublime)
But if the mind actively generates perception, this raises the question whether the result has anything to do with the world, or if so, how much. The answer to the question, unusual, ambiguous, or confusing as it would be, made for endless trouble both in Kant's thought and for a posterity trying to figure him out. To the extent that knowledge depends on the structure of the mind and not on the world, knowledge would have no connection to the world and is not even true representation, just a solipsistic or intersubjective fantasy. Kantianism seems threatened with "psychologism," the doctrine that what we know is our own psychology, not external things. Kant did say, consistent with psychologism, that basically we don't know about "things-in-themselves," objects as they exist apart from perception. But at the same time Kant thought he was vindicating both a scientific realism, where science really knows the world, and a moral realism, where there is objective moral obligation, for both of which a connection to external or objective existence is essential. And there were also terribly important features of things-in-themselves that we do have some notion about and that are of fundamental importance to human life, not just morality but what he called the three "Ideas" of reason: God, freedom, and immortality. Kant always believed that the rational structure of the mind reflected the rational structure of the world, even of things-in-themselves -- that the "operating system" of the processor, by modern analogy, matched the operating system of reality. But Kant had no real argument for this -- the "Ideas" of reason just become "postulates" of morality -- and his system leaves it as something unprovable. The paradoxes of Kant's efforts to reconcile his conflicting approaches and requirements made it very difficult for most later philosophers to take the overall system seriously.
I have a sneaking suspicion that theres more mathematics behind why you picked the square-toed shoes over the round ones than some might think.
tb
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