Tractate 6 : The Error of Kant (continued)
There are an almost infinite variety of systems:
And then there are variations of the sets:
On the other hand, one may say: All three exist independently of the others and thus perhaps there is no system:
And thus the non-system becomes the ultimate extreme of each element existing independently from the other, multiple independent systems:
There are many variations of the above graphic depicting a non-system but one characteristic remains universal between them all: In a non-system metaphysical system, the elements remain independent one from the other. But as much as one would like to call the independence of existence of elements one from the other, a non-system, the fact remains that the very existence of the elements being independent of each other makes them a system. The system a non-system represents is the lack of dependency and orientation of one to the other within the system
The question once again is: Do we need a metaphysical system? The answer: There is no way around the concept of a metaphysical system other than to explain the metaphysical system as having a net sum of zero and even then we have a system which we reduce to zero, but it is a system nevertheless.
Within the field of metaphysics, do we need a system? The answer: Yes we do. Kant understood this and that is why Kant so adamantly held to the concept that all metaphysical concepts, once fully understood, reduce to a system be it the least form of system, a system-less system, or .be it a more substantive form of system, a system.
Should the system be the least form of system, be a system-less system, then the system is foundationless, the system is what Hegel would call an open system, the system is what Aristotle might call a non-Cartesian system.
Should the system be of greater form than the least form of system, be a system, then the system is based upon a foundation, the system is what Kant would call a closed system, the system is what Aristotle might call a Cartesian system.
Kant initiated the concept of the critical philosophy, but Kant could not explain such a concept in terms of a system, or any system for that matter which met the criteria of system historically existing up to and through his own time period. As such Kant, like Zeno (see Tractate 1: Zeno and Seamlessness), was left perplexed, was left holding his new and unique metaphysical perception void a system capable of rationally incorporating his concepts within itself, within a system.
It is this most basic puzzle left unresolved by Kant that this tractate will resolve through the introduction of a new metaphysical perception, the metaphysical perception of a non-Cartesian system, as introduced by Kant, powered by a Cartesian system, as introduced by Aristotle.
The result: The emergence of a dynamic, active metaphysical system as opposed to a static, passive metaphysical system.
The result: A metaphysical system emitting the potentiality of fusion power versus a metaphysical system emitting the potentiality of fossil fuel combustion.
The Missing Foundation:
Kant could not find the 1st principle
Kant was working within the realm of the Aristotelian system. Kant dramatically altered what metaphysics perceived to be the state of observation. Although Kant altered our perception of observation within the system from being a passive form of observation to being an active form of observation. Kant did not alter the system from being perceived as it had always been perceived, being perceived as a closed system.
It was Hegel who eventually modified Kants system from being a closed Cartesian system into being an open Cartesian system.
A closed Cartesian system requires not only a 1st principle but requires a first principle found within the system. Since Kant perceived his system to be closed, Kant looked within to find the foundation for his system, the fundamental upon which his system was to be built.
1st principle found within the system proved to be an elusive concept. The whole of the phenomena, the universe, appeared to exist; the element of the phenomenal, the individual, appeared to exist; the element of the noumenal, the individual, appeared to exist; and the whole of the noumenal, summation of knowing, causation, appeared to exist. Which was the 1st of the principles?
If the physical, the phenomenal, existed as Aristotle suggested, it existed, always existed, always will exist for without it there is nothing and nothing was not a concept the Greeks acknowledged as a logical state of existence:
The whole Greek universe rested upon this pillar. There is no void. (Charles Seife, Zero The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Viking, 2000, p 25)
If Kant was correct, the physical was not passive but active and our very existence within the universe, our noumenal existence existing within phenomenal existence changed the very essence and the very outcome of the phenomenal. Where then did the initial change begin for the phenomenal world, the universe itself?
Did the physical, the phenomenal, the universe, initiate the abstract, the noumenal, or did the abstract initiate the physical? And if the physical initiated the physical what then becomes of the abstract should the physical no longer exist. And should the abstracted, God, have initiated the physical, what then becomes of the physical should the abstract no longer exist?
These were the very questions facing Kant. These were the questions Kant was unable to answer through the implementation of his metaphysical system.
1st principle became as illusive to Kant as it did to Aristotle. The issue of 1st principle was no closer to being resolved by Kant than by Aristotle.
As we discussed in Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesianism, it became obvious that neither Kant nor Aristotle had the answer but rather each had a portion of the answer. The puzzle pieces were being created rather than the puzzle pieces being assembled.
But two pieces of the puzzle remained to be created: The function of nothingness within a metaphysical system and the function of infinity within a metaphysical system.
Aristotle had elucidated region #1: The universe as a region is infinite in terms of time and space
Kant had elucidated region #2: The region within the individual incorporates a perception of the functionality of the concepts of time and space.
And now with this tractate, region #3: The region beyond the universe incorporates no universal fabric of space and time but rather incorporates the perceptions of the functionality of time and space as perceived by elements of multiplicity, individuality, found within itself.
But how is it the three regions exist and how is it the three regions depend one upon the other?
Like Zeno, Kant had a sense that there were two existences, the physical and the abstract, but Kant was unable to resolve how two regions, let alone three, could exist simultaneously and yet independently one from the other. This led to the issue of just what is the foundation of the system. It would take Hegel to re-open the system before a new metaphysical system could evolve which would lead to a potential resolution to Kants dilemma.
Just as quickly as Hegels metaphysical model led to a logical resolution regarding the dilemmas Kants metaphysical model produced, Hegels metaphysical system led to its own unique dilemmas. As we shall see in Tractate 7: Hegel, Hegel would set the stage for the entrance of nothingness and infinity to emerge as critical elements of a metaphysical system while at the same time introducing the notion that the metaphysical concept of systems themselves were dead.
With the on vent of Hegel, we have the potential to compare nothingness to the infinite, to compare nothingness to 0 / , to compare nothingness to / 0. These strange concepts emerge as the last pieces of the puzzle necessary for a new metaphysical system which addresses the historical paradoxical issues which so long avoided resolution by philosophy.
But we are not yet to the point of examining Hegels metaphysical model for it is Kants dilemma we must address before approaching Hegels paradoxical dilemma.
Kant suggested the very action of observing the universe affected the universe itself. This perception suggested we mold, influence, what the universe becomes. As such the universe evolves not only in a passive sense but in an active sense.
We examined the four states of action in Tractate 4: Boethius and Free Will. Within this tractate we found action to be divided as follows:
Four forms of action:
1. Action as a state of being:
The passive action of being is action in the form of the primal state of existence as opposed to other forms of action emerging from the primal state of existence
2. Actions bound by the laws of nature
Actions bound by the laws of nature are passive actions taken by inanimate objects as well as actions that simulate the action of inanimate objects a rock falls, you fall, a rock exists, you exist
3. Free will
Active actions of free will are actions taken by a knowing object, action which could go various ways and whose action was directed by the knowing object of its own accord.
Active actions of free will taken by a knowing object whose intended actions have been overridden by actions of free will generated by a dominating second knowing object
These four forms of action now gain deeper meaning through Kants development of active observation. The concept of throwing our Aristotles passive observation, however, was not the intent of Kant. Although Kant believed in the existence of the noumenal, Kant also believed in the concept of the existence of the phenomenal, the universe:
Kant believed that what happens within this world is governed entirely by scientific law. (Bryan Magee, Confessions of a Philosopher, Random House, 1997, P 151)
Kant came up against the wall of Aristotelian thought, which had closed the metaphysical system, see Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesianism. As such, Kant literally found himself bounded by the limits closed system imposes upon any metaphysical thinker. Being confined by limits a closed metaphysical system placed upon his own metaphysical system left Kant with apparently irresolvable contradictions of the before mentioned Active and Passive actions.
To begin to resolve Kants dilemma through an alternate means as suggested by Hegel, one must begin by examining Kants dilemma.
If two forms of action, active and passive, existed simultaneously within the confinement of infinite time and space then four possibilities of active passive existences emerged which needed addressing by Kant:
- Passive passive
- Passive active
- Active - passive
- Active active
Kant began by accepting the Aristotelian limits to a metaphysical system,
and then proceeded to modify the system:
Having modified Aristotles metaphysical system, Kant began looking for a, the, 1st principle, the foundation for his closed Cartesian system.
With the conversion of the Aristotelian closed passive system into a Kantian closed active system came the dilemma regarding which of the four forms of active passive interrelationships was the most probable?
The most minimal act found within the active passive interrelationship is the simple act of existing without observing.
As one views the graphics one must keep in mind that the act of observing a process is the most minimalist action one can impose upon the action reaction process, upon the cause and effect process. The
Possibility 2 was the Aristotelian system.
The universe existed. The universe abided by physical laws.
Our presence as well as our observing the universe did not change the dynamics of the physical laws, did not change the net result of the universe of which we were an element.
This was the Aristotelian system becoming the Kantian system due to Kant simply making the assumption through observation.
The universe existed. The universe abided by physical laws.
Our observing, our presence within the universe changed the dynamics of the physical laws. Our observing, our presence within the universe somehow changed, in both the phenomenal sense and in the nominal sense, the net result of the universe of which we were an element.
Kant had difficulties finding a foundation to his metaphysical system. Although Kant perceived the noumenal and the phenomenal to be at different levels one to the other and thus separate one from the other, Kant did not perceive the two to be separate entities one from the other.
In other words, Kant retained the Aristotelian concept of the physical and the abstract being separate but bounded within the same confines as each other. Kant retained the same bounds to his metaphysical system:
A metaphysical system utilizing a common boundary of singularity creates the fourth possibility.
In essence this demonstrates Boethius metaphysical system, which we addressed in detail within Tractate 3: Boethius and Free Will. Such a system represents the end product of free will being known to a higher order Being through the process of divine foreknowledge.
Possibility 4 reinforces Boethius concept regarding the simultaneous existence of free will and divine foreknowledge. Possibility 4 reinforces the concept that all potential end results either do exist or at the very least, are known products.
An abstraction knowing not only all that is but all that could be is a form of knowing incapable of creating unknown results, incapable of creating unknown knowledge. Acknowledging the omission of such a scenario leads us to Possibility 5:
Possibility 5 suggests: The universe was always this way; we just didnt understand it to be such. As we shall see, such a scenario is what emerges from the new metaphysical system of being being Being. Such a scenario evolves through the process of merging the Aristotelian closed Cartesian system and the Kantian closed non-Cartesian system which Hegel converted into an open non-Cartesian system. In essence Possibility 5 fuses the Cartesian with the non-Cartesian into a single system of multiplicity which provides for the unique individuality of the two rather than choosing one over the other or fusing the two in a manner which compromises the uniqueness of each system.
The scenario from which five possible forms of existence arise exemplify the metaphysical dilemma facing Kant. Kant yearned to find the foundation to his system but the foundation Kant so longed to find proved to be illusive. Other scenarios create similarly perplexing dilemmas. The concept of Cartesianism versus non-Cartesianism is another example.
Although we examined the concept of Cartesianism in detail in Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesianism, it may well behoove us to refresh our memory by briefly re-examining the concept of Cartesianism.
We have already noted that Descartes links the concepts of system and foundation. For Descartes and for those who follow him on this path, there is no science without system, and no system without a foundation. To put the same point differently, in the Cartesian perspective the concept of system is the cornerstone of the entire affair, the condition sine Qua non of philosophy a science and , hence, of knowledge of any kind. The entire Cartesian edifice is sustained by the foundation that subtends it. (Tom Rockmore, Before and After Hegel, University of California Press, 1993, p 30.)
The question then becomes: What is the foundation of the system? Is it the universe? Is it myself? Is it you? Or is it the creator of the beginning? Each creates contradictions and thus Kant could not resolve which was 1st truth.