The Philosopher, Immanuel Kant posits that rather than arrival at discovery of the objective and normative structure, which subsists in the world or universe, that the mind imposes structure on the experienced world.
If this theory holds true, there really is not any objective truth, and any truth that subsists — received truth — is outcome of power games, that is, aggregate numbers of minds, and/or resources, which subscribe to exactly the same views on structure of the world.
Truth be told, there is some modicum of historical truth to Kant’s theory. This is evident in the reality that an honest perusal of history reveals scientific works that were not contemporaneously recognized, that were done by scientists who were turned into pariahs, but which subsequently have been recognized to be brilliant, useful work. In presence of such evidence, clearly, it is not always the case that a better truth triumphs, but rather that whatever becomes the received truth may be no more than evidence for the group that was more numerous in number, or that had more resources at it’s disposal.
Sometimes the received truth reflects no more than whims of the group in society that is more numerous in number, or that has more resources at it’s disposal.
Regardless of the modicum of truth that can be induced from Kant’s theory, it is normative scientific fact that feasibility of deviation from truth does not imply absence of truth.
In this respect, the fact that the received truth has, at times, been outcome of power games does not itself imply absence of understanding of what is true. This is evident as follows.
If Group A attempts to silence Agent B via flexing of it’s muscles, it necessarily must be the case that Group A considers Agent B a threat, with outcome it immediately is deducible that Agent B speaks a truth that has intellectual merit. In the recognition that Agent B’s theory has intellectual merit, Group A implicitly asserts that it understands essence of superiority of Agent B’s theory.
Suppose otherwise, then while Agent B speaks intellectual nonsense that can be easily discredited in context of intellectual discourse — an effort costing virtually nothing — Group A expends energy, resources, and time for ensuring that Agent B’s words are not available to a wider audience.
In presence of a zero cost alternative that enhances Group A’s intellectual stature, any decision to act in the shadows for discrediting or limiting of Agent A must be deemed an exercise in irrationality. If we impose the assumption that each of Agent B and Group A are rational, we again arrive at the conclusion that Group A flexes it’s power in the shadows, only because it understands essence of superiority of Agent B’s theory.
Evidence of power games for arrival at received truth contain in themselves then the implicit evidence that those who exercise power recognize arrival of a superior truth. This inference, of necessity, destroys the notion that man lacks capacity for deduction of objective truth, or better yet, new formulations of truth that move mankind progressively closer to objective realizations of truth.
We arrive then at an internal contradiction that is inherent in Kant’s theory, which is, in presence of imposition of the mind on reality (in context of power games), simultaneously, there is arrival at recognition of existence of a more objective truth.
Intellectually speaking, Kant’s theory is inherently and internally self contradictory. Embedded in power games over competing theories is acknowledgement of existence of a physical reality that is distinct from the mind of man.
In addition to the intellectual flaw in Kant’s theory, there exists also a metaphysical flaw.
Let us suppose that the mind imposes structure on the experienced world, with outcome reality is created in the mind, as such lacks separate existence.
The first normative that we arrive at is the reality that there are lots of ‘mind-imposed’ truths that man holds in common.
Whether or not a person believes that the U.S. landed astronauts on the moon, all men agree that the sun and moon and stars exist. All men are able to distinguish cars from boats, boats from trains, trains from airplanes. All men know the difference between a door and a window, can distinguish a house from a tree.
In light of the foregoing, it is statement of fact that man holds lots of truths in common, meaning there either is some objective reality that is distinct from the mind of man, or there exists some mind at back of all minds, which superimposes commonality of interpretation of physical phenomena on each and every mind. In this respect, note that man does not distinguish a cat from a donkey, because they have different names, rather that it is the case cats and donkeys have different names, because man recognizes that their forms and capabilities inherently are different.
If the difference between a cat and a donkey is not objective reality, well then, let us attempt loading some sacks of rice on a cat.
Metaphysically speaking, the notion that all reality is created in the mind can be shown to be a patently false argument.
Suppose, however, that we proceed with, however, illogical the bent on Kant’s theory that necessity of a donkey was itself created by our mind, with outcome all reality with which we interact are projections of our minds.
In presence of such an assumption, we conclude that there exists some mind at back of all minds, which superimposes commonality of generation and interpretation of physical phenomena on each and every mind. This is evident in the fact that, all over the world, there are not different permutations of the mind in respect of bearing of loads by animals. All over the world, donkeys and mules, and to a lesser extent, horses are the animals that are applied to bearing of loads, and they all are different permutations of exactly the same form.
If load bearing animals are projections of the mind — entities brought into existence by force of the human mind — there exists a mind behind all minds, which dictates that load bearing animals — mules, donkeys, and horses — all have exactly the same general form.
The only other alternative? Existence of an objective truth in respect of desired form for load bearing animals. But then, this takes us away from our current premise that Kant is right.
When it comes to the realm of the metaphysical, the mind that must exist at back of every mind imposes structure of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, Agnosticism, and Pantheism on different minds for arrival, not at diversity, but at conflict and confusion. Simultaneously, this same mind convinces all that race, ethnicity, and nationalism are objective truths, resulting again in conflict, chaos, and confusion.
We arrive then at the following logical progression of Kant’s theory, which is, the mind behind all minds delights in conflict, chaos, and confusion. Well, if this mind is rational, it cannot simultaneously encourage sacrificial love, sacrificial giving, and love that is unconditional.
If a mind that delights in chaos, conflict, and confusion simultaneously is source of noble character, clearly such a mind is irrational, meaning it cannot simultaneously be source of a physical world that operates on laws of science, on laws that are evidence for rationality of functioning of space and time. Clearly, we arrive at an irreducible, irredeemable paradox.
A mind that itself is irrational cannot be deemed capable of producing physical reality that is observable, and that functions on observable, calculable, and replicable laws, as such functions on principle of rationality.
Kant’s theory fails at exactly the intersection where it ought to succeed, that is, at the intersection of the metaphysical, and demonstrated rationality of the physical world.
If Kant is right, given the mind behind all minds is irreducibly and irredeemably irrational, life is pointless. So then, the nihilists are right, we all might as well commit ‘hara kiri’ and end it all.
If Kant is wrong, and I have shown how exactly this can be seen to be true, both intellectually and metaphysically, there exists objective reality. Within this context, in the willingness to proceed from received truth to new formulations of truth that move us closer to objective truth, man demonstrates willingness and interest in improvements of circumstances of life on earth.
If man simply will replace an inferior theory with a superior theory, regardless of absence of knowledge of what exactly is objective truth, there is progression towards truth that is more beneficial for society.
There exists yet another criticism of Kant’s theory. If the value of a theory cannot be dissociated from it’s effects on the human psyche, even if Kant’s theory were to be true, the theory is fatalistic, says nothing about how exactly man can transition from generating reality in his mind, to interacting with objective reality. We find then that Kant’s theory is puerile, lifeless, does not itself present any actionable paths for arrival at improvements to either of man’s cognition, or circumstances of man’s existence on earth.
The alternate competing theory? In presence of cognitive limitations, man’s received truth can deviate significantly from objective truth. In the willingness, however, to proceed from one equilibrium of truth to yet another equilibrium that is shown to be better, man has opportunity for proceeding from less worthy perceptions of reality, to more worthy perceptions of reality. Clearly, this view of man’s interrelations with reality has power for transformation, not only of essence of man, but also circumstances of mankind. Let us refer to this alternate theory as the Progressive Truth theory.
If you had a chance to choose between living in context of Kant’s theory, or in context of the Progressive Truth theory, which exactly would you find ‘more appealing’?