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Kant do it right

2007-12-10 19:46:35.52164+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

I hope Ziffle appreciates this one as much as I do: Immanuel Kant: Wrong for America (via).

[ related topics: Ziffle Philosophy ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-10 20:21:26.945195+00 by: ziffle

Well yes. I wish everyone understood how much his philosophical views have affected how people today see things, for the worse. Quantum Mechanics; Perception as Reality; each person has his own truth; Schroeders Cat; and the like.

It has held back progress in the physical and philosophical sciences.

Now I suppose everyone can tell me I am wrong; that will be an example of what I am saying.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-10 20:55:43.806837+00 by: Larry Burton

Don't worry, Ziffle. You aren't wrong until observed to be so and by that time you might be observed to be right.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-10 22:27:59.733217+00 by: ziffle

I have noticed that if I eat fattening foods it does not become bad unless someone sees me doing it :)

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-11 01:31:32.695085+00 by: meuon

It's only bad if you believe it to be bad for you.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-11 15:19:16.60225+00 by: fizzle

ziffle: you're wrong - and I know that to be a fact!

And it's Schroedinger's Cat (actually, the oe is an o-umlaut on which Dan's parser chokes). Schroeder is that kid from Charles Schultz's Peanuts who plays the piano:

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-11 15:39:18.352609+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]


You can still do the funky characters as ASCII encoded HTML entities, just not as UTF-8.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-11 19:40:07.95545+00 by: spc476

No, Schrödinger.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-12 17:48:22.122365+00 by: Dan Lyke

I stand corrected.

On Kant himself, there's a stage of development where a 2 year old or so will cover their eyes and say "you can't see me". How old was Kant when he wrote "A Critique of Pure Reason"? Because most of his conclusions are based on understanding perception at that level of cognitive development.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-12 18:18:16.310108+00 by: ebradway

This is all really funny. My research (i.e, directed effort that advances a well-framed body of knowledge), focuses on encoding better semantics for cartographic representation in computer databases. Human cartographers are particularly good at representing a geographic phenomenon through symbology in a way that conveys meaning to the map reader. Computers, on the other hand, suck at this. Boulder Weekly recently had an article about James Niehues who draws ski resort maps. His comment on this:

"This is terrible," said Niehues, looking at the new satellite map for the first time. "It's too crowded in spots, not clear ... It's just better to do it in your head. The mind is such an amazing thing. Computers get better, but they still can't do what we can do."

But that also depends on the map-user's perspective. Niehues' maps convey incorrect information for my colleagues who study Pine Beetle infestations. To bring this back to this conversation, as Fizzle commented, Ziffle is obviously wrong but to someone familiar with the history of epistemology, "Schroeder's Cat" conveys the same meaning as "Schroedinger's Cat".

And more important to me, "Schroedinger's Cat" can convey the same meaning as "Schrödinger's Cat". However, there is a cultural meaning that is lost in "Schroedinger's Cat". This loss of meaning is core to the arguments about the cultural homogenization of the web. Just as Microsoft used it's marketplace to mold a de facto HTML and JavaScript standard (if it works in IE, it must be right), by creating barriers to using non-English characters, the web becomes homogenized around English. Ideas that are more easily conveyed in other languages get remapped into English. It's kind of like banning oil paints. What would visual art be like if everything were in water color?

But what does this have to do with Kant? Kant's real contribution wasn't in swaying philosophy towards an "unknowable reality". Instead, Kant lead to a richer set of ways reality is known and that set of paradigms is extended into "reality is unknowable" because there are semantics that only work within that framework.