“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some more Kant remembered

Thanks to a very nice tweet (@hungryghost) I recalled a whole bunch more of the missing part of that class. It's nice for me, because there were some important things there. It's a strange feature of mp3 recorders that when they encounter significant silence, they just switch off...

Kant argues that you can't derive beauty from any specific feature of an object. If you could, you could then isolate that feature and reproduce it, bottle it. Maybe you could make a pill that recreates the precise cognitive state. It wouldn't be beauty then. Beauty for Kant is beyond concept. It's unspeakable.

Philosophy should be about unspeakable things, things that are very hard to put into words. Otherwise why do it?

The unspeakability is why Kant's beauty provides the conditions for Humean taste, and not the other way around. It seems as if nice colors and smells and sounds are the condition for beauty, but really the profound freedom glimpsed in beauty is ontologically prior to those things. Why would we even care about those things if it were not for this freedom?

This freedom is profoundly impersonal and thus it's “object-like,” if only we can separate “object” from “hard plastic ball” or whatever. It means beyond your ego. You can see why Schopenhauer went from Kant to Buddhism.

You think that when you have no ego you won't be able to brush your teeth. But according to this argument, you brush your teeth all the time without an ego. That's happening already. It's perfectly possible to have a non-ego experience. You are having one now. Now people find this very hard to believe, because they do so much conceptual cognizing with their mind. But it doesn't mean it's not real.

Since beauty doesn't depend on ego, it has to be incredibly default to our cognition. OOO argues that this default-ness is present in any interaction between any objects, not just humans and other things.

No comments: