A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Inter-subjectivity in 3 pictures

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on April 30, 2006

I’m having hard-time understanding transcendental inter-subjectivity. I take it for granted that the phenomena/noumena distinction is unreasonable, mostly on the base that if everything that we think of (that can be given to us) must be given through receptivity (hence through phenomenal a priori forms of space and time), and further understood by concepts which fall under phenomenal a priori categories, the noumena becomes empty word, something that doesn’t refer to anything. And of course if there is no noumena, there is not mush sense to have any distinction of noumena/phenomena, neither to have concept of phenomena if its value is to be just what it is against the noumena.

So in yet another attempt to understand it, I invited two models to my studio… Meet Madison and Abigail.

Madison is to the left. She likes drawing, has green dress and red hair; Abigail is to the right, she likes playing a piano, has blue dress and blond hair.

In the Kantian picture, when those two models look at each other (as they do in the above picture), there are in fact two minds with their own and separate from each others phenomenal worlds.

Picture 1:
Madison looks at Abigail in the toy-world              
Picture 2:
Abigail looks at Madison in the toy-world

In this kind of view, everything is duplicated… There is one table in the phenomenal world of Madison, and one separate table in the phenomenal world of Abigail. There is one Madison (self) in the phenomenal world of Madison, and yet another separate Madison in the phenomenal world of Abigail.

But neither Madison, nor Abigail (nor me looking at them) experience the world in such way. In fact, they have experience of being in the same world with each-other. When Madison looks at Abigail, it is THAT Abigail within her experience, that is looking back to her. But in Kantian picture, that isn’t so, in fact Abigail has separate phenomenal world, and she is looking just at Madison.
So, the world as it is given to us, and on which we build our language and semantics, does not agree with Kantian theory. To accept that theory we must throw away the world as it is given in our experience, but if we throw away that, there is nothing left that Kantian theory is supposed to explain. Further then that this kind of Kantian picture goes against the arguments as the one given here and here.

So this transcendental inter-subjectivity, this being in the world with others, seems to be reasonable ground for our experiences, and indeed unavoidable one. But then… don’t we loose the fabulous explanations from Kant for our intuitive knowledge, don’t we loose the ground for approaching the reality with our reason?

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