Thursday, January 11, 2018

Donald Trump: Kantian Superman

"Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation -- anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those 19th century ideas about the laws of Nature.  We make the laws of Nature."

-- O'Brien, 1984

How much do I love you guys?

So much that I'm going to give you a 300-level philosophy class for free.

Ready?  Here you go...
According to Kant, objects of which we are cognizant via the physical senses are merely representations of unknown somethings -- what Kant refers to as the transcendental object -- as interpreted through the a priori or categories of the understanding. These unknown somethings are manifested within the noumenon -- although we can never know how or why as our perceptions of these unknown somethings via our physical senses are bound by the limitations of the categories of the understanding and we are therefore never able to fully know the "thing-in-itself".
You're* welcome!

Now, like almost every other philosophy student who ever walked the quad, eventually (usually around the time your first student loan payment comes due) you are going to begin to ask yourself what exactly this high-falutin' knowledge is good for here in the grubby phenomenal universe?  I mean, if you're going a'courtin' and want to wow the man or woman of your dreams with your big brain, sure, some book learnin' makes sense --

-- but other than that how can you put your hard-won expertise to work here and now?

Perhaps you can begin by helping others to understand how "no layoffs" could now suddenly mean "layoffs".(from Newsweek):
How a wall is suddenly --
-- not a wall.

How No Medicaid Cuts --

-- are suddenly cuts to Medicaid.
How facts are no longer facts and truth is no longer true. 

Maybe you can help others to understand why, under the maladministration of President Stupid, such clear and concrete things such as "jobs" and "walls" and "health care" and "facts" and "truth" are no longer clear and concrete things.  Why they no longer have meaning or reality in-and-of themselves.  Instead, thanks to the hard work of generations of Conservative con men, demagogues, traitors, and hobgoblins, such things now exist only as free-floating abstract concepts.  And since the entire Republican Party has ceded its powers of perception and categorization to the moment-to-moment whims of a demented racist Republican con man, for them, President Stupid as literally becomes the measure of all things.  And so, for them, these sudden and radical reversals of the size, shape, and definition of "jobs" and "walls" and "health care" and "facts" and "truth" are literally imperceptible.  

For extra course credit, see "How the Party of Lincoln is now the Party of Jefferson Davis." from 12 goddamn years ago.

*Ha!  Thanks for the catch.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


trgahan said...

One is free to think about whether they can fully know a freight train headed towards them for only so long.

That moment is coming for 63 million meat bags when confronted with the reality that "people with disabilities, the medically frail, and people who can't find jobs" are their friends and family and not those imaginary lazy, shiftless, brown people and their liberals enablers Der Furher promised to punish....and the extra $200 in tax cuts doesn't make up the difference.

In the end, I blame the media for letting the Orange Shit Gibbon run a High School No Homework and Free Ice Cream Class President-style campaign and now administration.

jim said...

Oh, dour old Kant & his fucking Ding an sich... I autodidacted him up real good circa '87. One of my least favorite philosophers but still less of a full-bore historical skid-mark than Aristotle or Calvin. Whenever one of those smarty-pants sacred philosocows tells us what we CAN'T perceive/conceive, it's every good girl & boy's civic duty to prove them full of it.

As per the dubious market value of high-falutinology: rest assured that the option to go back to worshiping lightning, eating your young & crafting jauntily festive skull-fetishes whilst being systematically consumed by parasites will still be on the table next (& every) year. Might we keep seeing how much more we can find out &/or use to make things suck less in the meantime? That tends to go well.

Neo Tuxedo said...

the entire Republican Party has ceded its powers of perception and categorization to the moment-to-moment whims of a demented racist Republican con man

"Every authoritarian structure can be visualized as a pyramid with an eye on the top. This is the typical flow-chart of any government, any corporation, any Army, any bureaucracy, any mammalian pack. On each rung, participants bear a burden of nescience in relation to those above them. That is, they must be very, very careful that the natural sensory activities of being conscious organisms -- the acts of seeing, hearing, smelling, drawing inferences from perception, etc. -- are in accord with the reality-tunnel of those above them....
"But this leads to an equal and opposite burden of omniscience upon those at the top, in the eye of the pyramid. All that is forbidden to those at the bottom -- the conscious activities of perception and evaluation -- is demanded of the Power Elite, the master class. They must attempt to do the seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. and all the thinking and evaluating for the whole pyramid.
"But a man with a gun (the power to punish) is told only what the target thinks will not cause him to pull the trigger (write the pink slip, order the court-martial). The elite, with their burden of omniscience, face the underlings, with their burden of nescience, and receive only the feedback consistent with their own preconceived notions and reality-tunnels. The burden of omniscience becomes, over time, another and more complex burden of nescience. Nobody really knows anything anymore, or if they do, they are careful to hide the fact."
-- Robert Anton Wilson, Prometheus Rising, Chapter 16, "The SNAFU Principle"

John said...

Actually, if you know Greek and German, these philosophical concepts are a lot less mystifying. In Greek and German, the images tend to be fairly concrete metaphors.

Check out Deutsher's "Unfolding of Language" on metaphors.

The Kraken said...

That moment of reckoning came and went in Wisconsin with Scott Walker and his merry band of republican vandals. Tiny tax cut for the majority of meat bags, huge cut to services up and down but republican meat bags were confronted with the same choice of “woman vs. the guy who promised to take those librul teachers down and put those Milwaukee people in their place” and made their choice. The freight train hit them again and again, but the reason my schools and roads are falling apart is libruls, not dear leader.

Fritz Strand said...

You have obviously been mislead by your reference to the 'automatic Kant'. To really understand him to have to go with the 'Manuel Kant. I'll send you a link to 'Critique of Pure Reason' to get you started.

But, as per normal with folks going after Kant, they tend to it back asswards - If we don't recognize the (epistemic) subjective limits of our knowledge we end up pulling rabbits out of a hat (or one's ass).

Wittgenstein: 'If a lion could speak, we could not understand him'

Yastreblyansky said...

I think Hegel tried the everything turning into its opposite number, but I didn't stay long enough to be sure. Or was he the original bothsiderist?

Buttermilk Sky said...

I'm going to give you a fourth-grade English lesson for free: It's "You're welcome."