Kant and (a)holism

> I feel like what I’ve been thinking about a big insight these last few days (not really including the previous post).
> It’s basically involves “the observor illusion” — the fragmented and vague ways in which we feel we are able to “do things” — “to do things with things”.
> We know well enough that we respond “naturally”, “subconsciously”, or “programmatically” to things — that’s what I had been dealing with up to now.
> But there is in some sense a more “fundamental” behavior (and fundamental — in what sense? we will ask), which is not how we behave “in the world” but how we behave towards ‘things”.
> Let’s talk about Descartes, and then Kant —  it’s been a good 7 years since I’ve actually read either of these people, so that my understanding is very much an “accepted” understanding, so this is just a vague overview or commentary …
> So the famous Cartesian phrase is, “I think therefore I am”, which assumes, in fact, an ability to observe thinking, to observe myself thinking — ad infinitum?
> “I see myself think, therefore I am”, “I see myself see myself think, therefore I am”, etc.
> Well, not ad infinitum — what we become aware of is this kind of implicit processing, which in fact doesn’t take place physiologically.
> But rather it is fragmented, in many senses — we rely on it, it is “fundamental” in this sense, but it never really occurs in reality, there is the sense that we call upon it when we need it.
> In other words, what power or ability that Descartes is relying on, in order to be able to “observe” or to “reflect”?
> It really isn’t explicit, it is not “fundamental”, it doesn’t “really happen”, but yet, I sense, it is part of our complex relationship to .. things — to memories, images, or something lower? And to be able to work with things.
> Thus, this sense of the “fundamental” is rather interesting, since, denying, as we are, any kind of downwards progression or phyislogical reality, it is really “of the same order of illusion” as everything else we do (eg, our lives “in the world”) but yet we say it is “ordering, fundamental”.
> Let’s move on to Kant — Kant is really proposing — I mean, again, in the received understanding — a “holistic’ understanding of the world.
> In other words, there is no “pipeline” of thinking (even if this pipeline is circular) that we are used to thinking — eg, the pipeline from the world, to perception, to memory, to understanding, and maybe some kind of complex circular interplay.
> Rather, he attempted to deduce holistic statements about the overall form of our understanding, so it seems.
> We find what we are looking for, in a sense.
> The problem we pose would be the same: that Kant relies on an unquestioned understanding of the observor and his relationship to … things.
> In one sense, yes, we are accusing Kant of being blind to the very simple question of — but how do you know — how is Kant able to make the claims he is making?
> There is a sense that Kant has aleady anticipated our question, and that his defenders may simply say that we’re missing the point, and that this questioning itself is naive, or precisely the impasse that Kant is trying to get past in his project.
> Indeed, Kant seems to be mostly interested in preestablished narratives of behavior, and why they work the way they do.
> But actually, this question is undeniable, if we are to read Kant carefully, and consider all the leaps that he is making.
> In other words, if we shift focus from the claimed topic of study — some set of human behavior — to the actual way in which Kant argues.
> There, the observor phenomena seems — undeniable.
> Kant, I suspect, was not oblivious to this question, and in fact, because of what we pointed out about (absence of) ad infinitum and what “fundamental” means in this case, it would not really involve a radical change in method — but rather, simply the shift from holism to (a)holism — the shift from dealing with cultral events that seem well-established to events that are not simply “incomplete” or “in the pipeline”, but rather, complete and yet fragmented.



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