Terça-feira, 2 de Outubro de 2007
The Russell 's Misunderstanding of Kant ´s gnosiology

Bertrand Russell did not understand the essential of Kant´ s ontognosiology. It is amazing that partial frauds as the interpretation of kantism by Russell can survive within the universities – including Cambridge and Oxford – during decades or centuries and in books universally diffused, in the absence of a rational critic to destroy those erroneous views.

 «There is here, as throughout Kant ´s theory of the subjectivity of space and time, a difficulty which he seems to have never felt. What induces me to arrange objects of perception as I do rather than otherwise? Why, for instance, do I always see people´ s eyes above their mouths and not bellow them? According to Kant, the eyes and the mouth exist as things in themselves, and cause my separate percepts, but nothing in them corresponds to the spatial arrangement that exists in my perception.» (Russell, History of Western Philosophy, Routledge, page 648; the bold is put by us).

 Russell interprets Kant as if this one was a radical critical realist – that postulates that there is a material world invisible for me, the world I percept is an illusion representative of the unknown reality- and not an idealist as Kant, in fact, was. Kant never wrote that objects of perception, as mouth eyes or trees or horses, exist in themselves: he sustained exactly the contrary, the mouth exist in us , -in our exterior mind -, as phemonenons.

 So, according to Russell:

1)      Kant would sustain that we can ´t know the real mouth and the real trees, they are «noumena», unknowable. We only know the sensations, which do not correspond to the noumenical objects but distort these ones.

 Our Critic to Russell is the following: a tree, a mouth, an human body, the Earth or the sky cannot be a noumena because they have space and time incorporated in them and noumenon are real things outside of space and time. Objects of experience (tables, animals, houses, etc) cannot be noumena, nor even his essence. Russell was so tied to empiricism oriented to a realistic ontology that was unable to “empty” the exterior reality from material objects with determinate forms. But noumenon have not any form and are not composed by matter. Russell did not realize, as almost all cathedratic teachers, that the kantism supposes two levels of human mind, the interior – where is sensation, time, perception – and the exterior mind – where is the visible world, space, the whole of phenomenon, trees, sky, rivers, animals, etc.

 According to Kant:

1)      We can know the mouth, (the apparently real mouth because there is not another beyond that) and the trees, apparently real trees, real in the measure that they are created by our mind which is inside and outside our body. Certainly, the reality – noumena - is behind the phenomenons, that is to say, behind the houses, physical persons, sea, streets, sun, clouds, sky, stars, etc. But there is not a noumenical tree, nor a noumenical mouth (as Russell supposed).

 Let´s  see how Kant distinguishes two levels of externality of the objects – the real externality of the noumenon and the pseudo externality of the phenomenon, only extern concerning the subject´ s body – distinction that Bertrand Russell, Simon Blackburn and thousand other cathedratic were unable to realize due to their misunderstanding of Kantism:

 «Because, meanwhile, the expression outside of us brings in itself an unavoidable equivoques, meaning whether something that exists as a thing in itself, distinct from us, or something that simply belongs to the external phenomenon, to put out of uncertainty this concept taken in this last sense, that is the one in which is considered the psychological question concerning the reality of our external intuition, we distinguish the objects empirically external from those which could be called that way, naming them things which are in the space.» (Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Fourth Paralogism of  Transcendental Psychology, page 352 of Portuguese Edition, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation).

 So all phenomenon (mouths, trees, landscapes) are inside our enormous soul, containing the physical universe inside, and not outside it as Russell supposed.

Russell supposed wrongly that the theory of Kant sustains the existence of two spaces:

«Let us know try to consider the questions raised by Kant as regards space in a more general way.(…) Similarly there must be a correlation between space as an ingredient in percepts and space as an ingredient in the system of unperceived causes of percepts. »

(Russell, History of Western Philosophy, pag 649-650).

 There is the error! Kant never postulates two spaces but only one inside of our representation, but Russell adulterates Kant ´s thought.

 «Simply the own space, with all his phenomenon as representations, only exist in me; but, on that space, however, is given the real or the matter of all objects of intuitions, truly and independently from all fiction; and it is impossible too that, in that space, be given anything external to us (on transcendental sense) because the own space is nothing outside of our sensibility.» (Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Fourth Paralogism of  Transcendental Psychology, page 352 of Portuguese Edition, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation pag 354; the bold is put by us).

Even the role carried on by forms in the Theory of Sensibility of Kant was not correctly conceived by Russell:

«What appears to us in perception, which we call a phenomenon, consists of two parts: that due to the object, which we call the sensation, and that due to our subjective apparatus, which, he says, causes the manifold to be ordered in certain relations. This latter part he calls the form of the phenomenon. This part is no itiself sensation, and therefore no dependent upon the accident of environment; it is alaways the same, since we carry it about with us, and it is a priori in the sense that it is not dependent upon experience. » (Russell, ibid, pag 646).

How can Russell separate the sensation from the manifold?  The chaos of sensations produced indirectly by noumena inside the sensibility is manifold. The forms are also manifold and, quite the contrary Russell said, are not always the same, but vary: certainly, primitive forms as triangles, circles, squares, etc, are a priori and do not change but the forms of trees, apples, montains, sea waves, human bodies are a posteriori, depend under experience, and change.

Note: How is it possible that us, an obscure teacher of Philosophy at a Secondary School in Portugal, a simple licentiate– with a clear reasoning, at the moment.. – may know and interpret Kant´ s theory better than a famous philosopher as Bertrand Russell and their epigonous as Simon Blackburn and many others? The reason is that Philosophical ability does not depend on occupying cathedras, publishing noted books or intervening in television and great newspapers, magazines or imparting conferences. These are all external facts concerning the philosophical quality of each person…



© (Direitos de autor para Francisco Limpo de Faria Queiroz


publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 22:27
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