Jean de Climont
ISBN 9782902425198 © Editions d'Assailly, 1974, 2007
Photo credit of cover:
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisboa, Portugal.
Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação, I.P. / Ministério da Cultura
Fotógrafo: José Pessoa
The experimental world
Night magnifies hazards. When the bow hit a wave and shook the hull and when we can hear at each time some cracking, we are quite far in these moments from thinking that the air of the wind and the water of the sea and the wood of the sailboat have not an existence as accessible as it seems. The wood protects you, the water bears you, the air pushes you. Moreover, would you think that wood, water and air are merely illusions that we create, we would not avoid being sprayed by the waves breaking on the deck and completing their slipping in your feet and being fully awaked by the sprays.
However, what has become the water when only a slight trail of salt remains on our face? The wind has evaporated, you say! The steam can itself be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen. These atoms can be broken in particles. Particles are reduced to corpuscles by hitting other accelerated particles. Where ends the division? What are the parts of the parts?
Some argue that existence is the matter, others energy. Some argue that existence is the set of relations that things have between them, others that it is the objectivity of the phenomena.
Each one adds the assumptions and words that seem most likely to surprise, taking the very same pride as the alpinist who succeeded to climb a few meters off a track already open.
Perhaps should we admire the address of our thinkers in using their esoteric vocabulary. For my part, I see that only as a game.
The existence is not in matter. At least it is impossible to perceive it in the matter. The more we look deeply, the more matter is divided. No doubt, I could not demonstrate that matter may divide indefinitely, but I see that nothing could prevent men to dismantle anything they find in nature, despite the imprescriptible postulates. The ultimate component would have properties. It would have relations with other components assumed to be identical. These relations would involve exchanges. Something should emanate from the ultimate component. It is therefore not ultimate for it could externalise a part of itself.
I have in my mind the unquestionable consciousness that there is no mythological limit to the knowledge of things. I also know that I could not understand anything if I do not suppose the existence of a part where I decide to stop. My mind is limited first. The limit that I put into things is only the measure of consciousness that I have of my own limits.
We know that spray is cold on our face. We also know that water withstands slightly the movement of the sailboat, but we do not know what exists physically in it. We do not know the ultimate component of its division into parts. That is why there is the appearance of wisdom to try limiting the existence of things to the relationships they have between them. There is no more sea in a molecule of water.
Yet the water molecule is the essential part of the existence of the sea. Moreover, each relationship between things always boils down to a relationship between the parts of these things. The relationship is as elusive as the thing. Indeed the movement is a relationship between things, and perhaps the only relationship. If relationship were the existence, the movement would be also what would exist within things. The movement would be the thing itself. We must see there that the movement of which I speak is not a movement of a thing compared to some others. The existence of this thing would be perfectly indefinite. We might find in fact as much movements of this thing as we wish. It is necessary to consider the movement of the thing relative to everything that directly affects it. The action at a distance is only a dream. The action by impact is the only one we found in nature. The other is a mere illusion that we have when we see a dog obey our voice. However, the voice does not act at a distance. It is propagated by air; it affects directly the animal's ears.
Thus, really everything has a movement. But, this movement is unknowable as a whole infinite and continuous. Perhaps the existence is it over there? We can not have any certainty. We can not ensure either that existence is in the number or the idea. We do not have access to infinite and to absolute where only is the proof.
Now existence would it be in the appearance of things? No doubt the appearance is what we perceive from things and phenomena. We need appearance to be conscious of the existence, but our imagination always deceives us about appearances.
We do perceive only appearances. In addition, we imagine always that things are other than they are. Would existence be there? We are convinced that things exist and that they would exist without us as well. The certainty of the existence of things and of our own existence could it come from appearances from which we know only what we want to know?
We were never talked as much of hazard. Our perceptions give us both the idea that Nature depends on the hazard and the idea that Nature depends on the order.
One, who, at the limit of perception of his instruments finds the order, will declare that everything is necessity. One who has improved a little the sensitiveness of the device will see the chaos and write that everything is hazard.
Others will come. How the experiment could decide whether existence is structure or chaos? What will be the last?
The hazard is just an idea. When we take the thirteen cards that have just been distributed, it seems that no action steps in, and that the allocation was made randomly. This is just a way of speaking. If we had observed the order in which they were first, resulting of certain movements of the person who has collected them as well as of the order in which they were laid down, and how they were mixed, we would have seen that they were not mixed at random, but according to the distribution of pressure between them, as well as to the arrangement of edges of each, and probably many other reasons too.
The fact that we can not see all the movements that have made that this card is in those hands does not imply that it is there by chance. It is the ignorance in which we are, which brought this idea of hazard, but nothing of this kind has ever existed outside of our mind. It is only by the limits of our knowledge that the card games are games of chance.
No doubt, we can not stop in the search for causes. It might therefore seem that beyond a certain limit is really hazard. It should be noted that this is an assumption purely mythological, as hazard was hitherto known only as an idea, drawn out of a certain appearance of things, which we do not know.
The order is also an idea. We never saw phenomena that recur identical. We have never found a construction that has not the slightest defect. When we see that the light has a speed that remains so invariable, should we not think that an imprescriptible order shall be responsible for its propagation? We know that behind sound is an indescribable chaos. And, behind this chaos disentangled by statistics, nothing really occurs at random. I submit that the same is true for light.
Yet we are convinced of the existence of wind and water. If we can not really know what this existence, how can we be convinced of the existence? We can be sure because existence is first an idea. We are convinced first of the existence of spirit, mind.
Undoubtedly, we need the coolness of the spray on our faces and the whistling of the wind in our ears to awake in our spirit the idea of existence. But as soon as we are conscious of this idea, it is ingrained in spirit in such a way that the belief that the existence is not in such property of water or air, neither in water nor in air, can not in any way diminish its force.
However, we still look back to the existence in the parties, in relationships, in hazard and in order, i.e. in what we know through our perceptions. We always return to our perceptions, to our illusions finally. It is because what we can say of existence is limited by the words that designate our perceptions. The idea of existence, like all ideas, is independent of perception as soon as we are conscious of it. This is true in the direction of perceptions to ideas as well as conversely in the direction of ideas to perceptions. Ideas, we hold hem. The existence, we know it. However, to express what we hold and what we know we can only come back on what we perceive of things.
We are always deceived by the appearances so that we can not be ascertained to know what exists. Similarly, we are unable to find principles that have no exceptions.
However, the imperfection in the implementation of the phenomena to the principles does not mean that the principles are false or only approximate. The principles are ideas and like ideas no experiment can impair their validity. The principles are not assumptions. Assumptions determine the nature of a thing such as the phlogistic or the photon. The principles determine a relationship between ideas. This is true from Archimedes' to Maupertuis' principles. It does not matter whether the principle is stated for specific things. These things are imperfect representations of ideas. When the principle does not appear to be exactly true for some phenomena, it does not undermine the principle, but its application to phenomena incompletely known. Our perceptions allow us to know only a fraction of the appearances of things, and before we believe that our ideas might be false, we must look very closely if we do not have mingled any hypothesis to our perceptions. The principles are related to the structure of our spirit, our mind. We can only understand things through principles. Thus, science is not the knowledge of things, but the knowledge of our spirit. Our spirit is a certain order of things. So that one should not be surprised that this knowledge by internal principles is closest to things that all assumptions that can be imagined.
As far as things are concerned, I see them always similar. Day still follows night and spring winter. The torrents still go down their valley and the oceans still alternate their tides.
In terms of events, I see them always similar. Wealth still raises jealousy and power revolt. Laughter still mingles with tears and hope still repels fear.
However, we heard unceasingly that progresses in knowledge have changed everything and that it is no more possible to think or to act as before. Yet old time is not older than one century.
I see the
I can see the clouds going over. They are all different, but there are many reasons to believe that the clouds are one of those things that are not changing by their constitution as well as their formation.
Without doubt, silts and salts carried away by the river are not back in the clouds.
Sunrises and sunsets, the comings and goings of the pendulum and the vibrations of atoms, seem to reproduce always the same. However, the sun is already far away from the position that it has the previous day when its comes back, the pendulum has somewhat slowed down in its course; atoms themselves must slightly change between two periods.
The face wrinkles, the arteries harden, but who can say what really has changed other than appearance? That some cells do not reproduce normally in a system worn by time and work, no doubt. This is another appearance, only with a smaller scale. These cells can only be arrangements of atoms, how would it be possible to find something else than a change in these arrangements, i.e. something other than appearance?
Yet it is evident that, despite all appearances, we are always looking for phenomena that recur with the greatest regularity to measure exactly what changes. However, what reproduces always equal to itself is just one of those phenomena that we consider as not changing.
We can see the change only by comparing things to what we believe to be the most regular. And the same behaviour applies to thoughts as to things.
To measure the change, the theories crystallise a portion of the universe. But, what exists is still far away from these ideas fixed by a definition, postulate or dogma. Theories are built on the error. No appearance remains.
Yet it has always been so and we can not imagine that it could be otherwise. What theories enclose in their assumptions, is it not only that is not yet known? How, then changes the unknown? Which movement should it be given?
We must make assumptions. It is as necessary to seek to understand as trying to live. Science is by the way one way to sustain life. Only unconscious men forget that life is not eternal and are convinced that the theories are true.
Theories are at the limit of what we know. How then can we judge what we do not know, and how can we know the movement of what we can only imagine? It is as absurd to seek the path of history or science as to search for the true branch of a tree.
However, we believe that theories may change. This is the movement of the spirit. The paths are quite elusive indeed. But, how can we be aware and, in some way, how can we measure the change if there was not something in our spirit that does not change?
What massif has not its peak call “Unnamed”? What flower of the
We know what we find in Nature through perceptions. Then each perception could have its trace in the brain. But all things, rock, plant or animal, appear to us all different. Moreover, the same thing does not appear twice in the same aspect. We need an infinite number of memories, and an equal number of words for each appearance of things. Without doubt our brains have an amazing ability, but in fact it does not work like that. We express what we know with a very limited number of words with respect to the diversity of things. We can, by I do not know what mechanism of our brain, separate aspects of the things we see, however, gathered into things. We then group these things by their common appearances. We neglect many aspects of things to retain only the qualities we believe that they are best suited to reduce the efforts of our brain. What leads to say that we see only what we want, or that things appear to us only through education that we have received. We must add here that those who question this point do not escape themselves to the charge. They have a point of view. They will be all the more attached to it that they think that their way of seeing is not the result of outside influence, of education, but of their own reflection.
The strongest will is precisely the one that agrees to conform to reason and necessity. Education, received or acquired, does not eliminate the doubt. The development of memory by the passive registration of hypotheses, theories, postulates, dogmas and doctrines of the day, closes the mind to the extent of his freedom. However the systematic doubt is probably also a doctrine. In this sense, the rejection of any intellectual or moral constraint is perhaps the most inscrutable of Pyrrhonisms.
Learning needs effort, but one has also to understand. Who can claim to have understood if he has not only thought that the error is likely in what he learned? If one deny any criticism of current theories of science and philosophy, would it be for fear of discovering some error included in? We are told that it is not well that everyone discusses theories. All men can not be sufficiently knowledgeable in all things. We are told that scientists and philosophers have thought and think for us. The extent of their knowledge would be the guarantee of the reality of their thesis.
Names are not images or reflections of things, but only signs. They are symbols of ideas that our perceptions have awakened in our spirit. If the etymology shows that sometimes names consist of representations of qualities of objects perceived, there should be no mistake. These are just some qualities of these things before the diversity of their appearances.
How much aspects a landscape offers to our eyes all along the year. What do I say? All along one single day? We have only to stay a bit stillness in the midst of the bustle of things and men.
If there is not too many difficulties to talk about what we can see, hear and feel, there are some problems to talk about what we can only assume. Thus there are names that do not designate anything, but just an idea that we have of something that is not directly perceptible. We are very often required to see that what we perceive is altered by phenomena that we do not understand, that we do not perceive. However, the name we give to such supposed existence is nothing in itself. We need to define it in words, which were first used to designate what is already perceptible and that we know.
We also designate what is absolutely not perceptible. The naught for example. We are pretty sure that we will never find it at our fingertips. The aim is to designate the absence of what we know. We shall not believe that the name only designates what really exists. The naught does not exist at all. At least, we cannot perceive it. Our spirit will never be convinced of its objective reality.
But where should I put those names that do not remind us of anything, freedom and alienation, justice and injustice, truth and error?
No doubt some acts seem to us to be just, others unjust. Some ideas seem to us to be true others false. However our judgement is based first on our passions, on our habits too, finally on our conscience. What would be these realities that would depend mainly on our judgements?
By the need for us to content ourselves with a few appearances of the things we perceive, we introduce our judgement into things that we would only designate. Our judgement, of course, depends on the necessity, but our knowledge of things is essentially limited, so that we do not talk about things but rather about what we think of things.
If we thought that we express what things are, we would always be led to believe they must have some imperfection, as we always saw some errors in our past thoughts. It is only our knowledge of things which is imperfect and that makes us take our feelings for reality.
The only gesture to show, which is the source of the name, is not itself independent of thinking. It isolates of nature such object, such animal, which have only existence in wind and cold, under the Sun and rain, in all necessities at last. No doubt the gesture and speech are also part of this necessity. I do not try to isolate the things from spirit, but I want to know what I can do with my spirit.
I see here an Austrian black pine. I see a majestic cedar there and an olive tree over there which, without doubt, has not grown behind the Esterel, sheltered from the Mistral, but it is also a tree. I see trees. But what is that "the tree"?
Diogenes thought he could show the movement by walking. He asked to be
shown "the tree". He never showed any movement. The movement was not
inside Diogenes. One only saw the movement of Diogenes compared to a street in
We do not perceive either the idea of tree than the idea of motion. More, there are in nature only things perceived separately, while the idea of tree or the idea of motion are general. The ideas are not either a gathering of things. Things that we see together are designated by a particular name. Thus a forest is a set of trees. This name is another idea than the idea of tree. And this idea is as general as that of tree.
Thus, the idea that I really have in my spirit is neither the picture nor the reflection of anything. On the contrary, the idea, once conscious, has in nature images or reflections more or less suitable.
This does not mean that existence of things results from ideas that we have in our spirit. It means only that ideas are not of the same order that things that we perceive and that ideas have a perfection that can not have things at least what we know by their appearance.
Perhaps ideas could be images of things themselves. But I do not know what things themselves are. I know by my senses only a few appearances about which I am wrong most often. So I can not call ideas the images of these appearances, because ideas seem to me infinitely more precise and clear than the appearances of things.
Many things can be perceived to recall an idea, but ideas do not correspond to any particular thing, or even to any appearance. To be convinced, just think of the naught.
The naught is an idea that we all have. However we have never perceived it. When, at the end of the platform, a sign warns to be careful to void, we know that this void is only the lack of platform, but not the absence of every thing. When we say that a satellite describes its orbit in a vacuum, we must conclude that this vacuum is the lack of atmosphere, not the naught. It is in this sense that things are representations of our ideas. The more the thing we choose as image of our ideas is far from us by distance, size or knowledge, the more this thing seems closer to the idea that we have. But this is only appearance, station platforms fill up much less space than the atmosphere.
Those who claim to know the nature of things may perhaps smile at these difficulties. The materialists and realists do not seem unfounded to say that ideas are reflections of things. They pretend that everything is matter. Thus they claim that they really know the nature of things. The problem is that naught is not at all matter.
Naught is at least one thing they can not know. It is impossible to say that the idea of naught is the image of the thing naught. The naught is really nothing at all. Tiny contradiction. Tiny grain of sand in a huge machine. Who will take care?
No doubt the perception of things is necessary to raise the idea in spirit, but once conscious, the idea is absolutely not depending upon the object that may well disappear. The idea is so independent of the object that this object that was it source, is unable to represent the idea in all its perfection. We must judge by the straight line. This is also what I showed you of the naught.
Moreover, no experience can change an idea. The idea is perfect as soon as conscious. It has no positive content that will enrich and clarify to infinity.
The idea of tree does not change. The discovery of new species can not enrich the idea of tree, nor has the discovery of the laser changed or improved the idea of straight line. We classify things in relation to our ideas but ideas are not determined by things. There is one thing only which is enriched, this is the collection of things that represent an idea. To attach the things to the ideas, we make distinctions between things and not between ideas. This is so true that these distinctions might be arbitrary. Always raises the question of the limit beyond which a thing is no longer relating to an idea, but to another.
Thus there is no boundary between life and matter, although these ideas seem quite distinct.
Having seen the difficulty of classifying things against ideas, some great minds have said that we shall do without ideas. The most adventurous, who are the most admired, argue that ideas have no existence.
It is just as wise to want to live without food as soon as we know that there is always a multitude of microbes inside. The imperfections of our brain, which we are responsible of to the same extent that diseases of the body, can not justify a refusal to think.
Ideas are not just words that can be forgotten, but the result of the structure of the spirit. One can distort memory, but one can not change the structure of the spirit where ideas come to consciousness.
However, we must see that there is nothing in things that can be called just, free or true. The lion eats the gazelle, it is neither just nor unjust, and it is so.
Nevertheless, we have the strong impression that it is not just that the strong always prevails over the weak. We say that the dove is freer in nature than in a cage. We say also that some landscapes look like false.
We must first point out that such ideas never come alone, but always with the opposite idea. Just and unjust, free and alienate, true and false. The first movement of spirit is to assign contrary natures to objects whose appearances oppose. And we judge the opposition by the movement or by the relation. Which is quite equivalent, because the relations are mere movements.
It appears that we can not renounce considering the just and the unjust, the free and the alienated, the true and false. I think that the contraries that we imagine among all things become useless when a better knowledge of these things allows us to see only various movements. But Justice, Freedom and Truth are so remote from us that the reality that we think first these ideas are representing will never be accessible. It is basically because these ideas do not come from reality, I mean from material objects that we can perceive.
No doubt can we think that Justice, Freedom and Truth exist only through
perceptions, because we can finally become conscious of ideas only by the
action of things on our senses. But there is nothing in Nature that is just or
unjust, free or alienated, true or false. These ideas can not either come from
the imperfection of our senses. Which microscope, which telescope could enable
us to ensure that the postulate of
Which physical reality could therefore represent the false and to the naught?
If there is nothing we can not have an idea, thus there are ideas that can not be represented by anything.
I have no doubt that the brain is in Nature. Thought is itself bare by the brain. Determinations are stored in the brain with even a coded image of the perceived thing. Thinking is a process of the brain. It has the ability to gather the determinations; to build statements and to ensure that thought is then expressed. There is not a thinker beyond our brains that would draw the strings like a puppet. All is well there in the brain and in the body itself, in the experimental world.
It is customary to place in the experimental world, in nature, things that are perceptible. Ideas stored in our memory by their determinations have a physical reality in brain cells. The ideas in our memory are things in a way. At least they need no existence outside the brain.
But if all ideas were just things, the naught would be a thing, which is absurd, because naught is really nothing. The existence of naught is absolutely paradoxical. We must also understand that numbers are not perceptible, and finally the existence itself is an absolute idea. It comes to mind by the perception of things. But this perception is a relationship. It can in no circumstances give the knowledge of an absolute. We see by this that the mind has the power to leave his material universe, the cervical structure. By the very fact that we can realise the absolute ideas only through the perception of things, we can only talk with words that we use to designate the first appearance of things. Thus we are convinced of their existence, while the idea of existence itself is meaningful only for what we believe the appearances of things.
We can only say that the existence of ideas belong to a different order than that of things, which tells us nothing of the ideas themselves.
All ideas having first been awakened in the mind by perception, is it any wonder that we have the opportunity to understand the phenomena of Nature?
The confusion stems from the refusal to admit this necessity. Hypotheses, postulates and dogma are not knowledge or understanding. We use words that we used to talk about what we know to talk about what we imagine.
four millennia ago calculated the returns of the equinoxes and solstices. The
modern scientists have calculated the position of
We can not talk about what we do not know with other the words than those we use to describe what we know.
I know that thought emanates from our brain, part of our organism. I know that judgement is an essential process of thought inherent in the cervical structure. I know that things exist, and there is nothing that is not given to know with the proviso that each field of knowledge is embedded in the other fields. So our knowledge will always be suspended in what we still do not know in fields that seem remote. Thus the knowledge of our brain and our body is not independent of our knowledge of physics.
I know that absolute ideas exist, in another sense, but I can not say anything about them.
All that I could say of absolute ideas would need the use of words that I use to talk about appearances of things.
The transcendental world
The world of ideas, the transcendental world, is a strange world. The small is small forever. The large is large forever. The elements of the transcendental world are crystallised. We find there both the movement and the motionless, but the movement does not move. The motionless is also motionless, but it seems quite natural. The slow and the fast are also there, but the slow is never faster than a slow that would be slower. There is no scale for the slow and the fast. The scale is there too. The numbering is ready for use. But it can not be used to place the ideas one relative to another. We find as well the whole with the naught. They are close one another. The transcendental world is the kingdom of the absolute. But what kingdom! Here, we would like to say up there, are the great ideas, Truth, Justice, Freedom, and Equality. Besides, look over there, this is the error, the injustice, the slavery, the inequality. Oh, this one would rather be in the plural, there are always many inequalities. The one and the many do not seem to interfere with each other. That the one stands alone, there is nothing wrong. But the multiple seems to be quite isolated. Over there, the two, the three, the four, the numbers are all there. But it is everyone for itself. That the one is one seems clear, but the two also is one, and the thousand is also one, which is quite amazing.
The perceptions separate. We see three trees. We see three times. The spirit gathers, it thinks once. It thinks the three in one entity that he represents by a single figure on paper. The three can be used as well for three forests that are thousands of trees. Yet it seems that the numbers are few to represent the infinite numeration! Ah! We use addition, multiplication and other operators. Where are they? There, look, in the stronghold of mathematics. Nearby, look, space and time.
There is also the idea of heart in the middle maybe. Nothing can make it beat faster or slower. It remains planted there, indifferent to dialectic epics that Hegel wanted to assign to the determinations of categories before they reach the status of ideas. By the way, the hatred is nearby. It does not raise it closed fist. It is there, speechless, immobile, and immutable as well. This entire beautiful world is apparently in the most absolute serenity. And serenity itself camped there, surrounded by agitation, nervousness, and struggle. Who has left to enter it? The same one, perhaps, who opened the door to the alienation. An absolute world? Wait! Is it not the absolute itself which stands proudly on this side? His throne is shared, you say? With what? With the relative. You are sure?
On what are you blowing? There is a lot of dust in this side? No, I do not think so. I see clearly the idea of God. You do not see Him? This idea is seldom used in our latitudes. Besides, this is Satan. You do not see him either? The information is perhaps poorly transmitted to your thoughts. For my part, I see these ideas as clearly as the others. It is possible that the transmission medium for ideas deteriorates when little used. Mitigation could even be total. This is not irreversible. Just come back. Moreover, the transcendental world is filled with a host of other ideas which we have no conscience. They are there. The connection to the thought is missing. They need to be awakened to the conscience, as we do to children.
You have another problem? Yes, the good is there and the evil with him. You see them better than the idea of God, I am really happy for you.
What? Ah! Excuse me! You have a question. Yes, I said the idea of God and not God himself. This is not consistent? You are right. Truth, Freedom, Equality is in the transcendental world. These are ideas. There is no need to assume that they have another existence than being ideas. Why did I say the idea of God and not God Himself? I attribute to God an existence beyond the idea. I think our mind has access to the idea of God but not God Himself. This is the Hegelian separation. God make Him available only in the heart of man. Perhaps, we should adopt a more flexible position and we should identify the idea of God to the God of the philosophers. God would be in the transcendental world. The unique and absolute God of Akhnaton, Socrates and Plato. But this is not the God in Whom I believe. I believe in a God Who has little to do with the ideal qualities that men ascribe to Him. A God beyond all human thought, and yet infinitely closer and more present. Near the heart of man. That is why I did not want to put God Himself in the transcendental world. But you are right, I admit, this is not consistent.
In his Republic, Plato invites us to contemplate the physical world. He shows us what we are seeing: the shadows of reality projected on the wall of the cave where we are condemned to live. The light, the dazzling fact, is coming just behind men. Plato turns. He would have seen the transcendental world. He is wrong. Even a poet would not see anything.
A famous painting shows Virgil and Dante standing in a boat. They cross
In the transcendental world, there is nothing to see, nothing to feel, nothing to hear, nothing to taste, nothing to touch. It does not visit. Not even poets. This world is impossible. It is also impossible to be impossible. Each idea fills up a world of its own. Think about space infinite in all directions and without holes. Think of the time, infinite on both sides. Yes, they are in the transcendental world. This world is also infinity of worlds. To talk about the world of ideas, the transcendental world, it is necessary to take inside it what the mind needs to think. However, the ideas have been awakened to consciousness with the help of perceptions. Use the ideas to speak of the transcendental world, this is impossible, this is absurd. It is also impossible, absurd to say that it is impossible, absurd. The well is bottomless. The wall is vertical, even overhanging, and there are no grips. The words "impossible" and "absurd" refer to beings who are parties of the transcendental world. They can not express what they are themselves. They are transcendental beings. This world, dear reader, is a strange thing!
That is transcendence! That is the human condition! We have everything, but we are empty handed, because we have too much. How it would be more comfortable to have a list of what is good rather than the idea of absolute Justice. A list of what is true rather than the idea of absolute Truth. A list of what is beautiful, rather than the idea of absolute Beauty. We must always make an effort to judge the True, the Beautiful and Good, everything. There are texts, laws, which determine what is just and what is unjust. But the texts, the laws are always unfinished. Ever, we must modify and complete them. There are always gaps that remain. In fact, complying with the texts, the laws, is it really sufficient to achieve Justice, the idea of Justice, so beautiful, so great, so far away from us?
Materialists and Realists remove the transcendent, while recognising the abstractions, which remains somewhat mysterious. The mystery pleases without doubt. Then they put the absolute in nature. They attempt to merge everything, at least in part. They merge the physical world with the transcendental world. The result is always the same. The intrusion of ideas in the physical world leads inevitably to assign absolute inherent properties to things of the experimental world.
The matter that we perceive is always in motion. What is the movement of the sailor? We perceive his position within an instant. Then he has another position in the next instant. These two positions, the only data collected, are they motion? The sailor is holding the mast of his sailboat. The boat is moving. It does not go as we see. The tide rises and there are currents in the area. Compared to us, he moved forward. The water flows and the wind blows. The water that surrounds the sailboat is no longer the same, even less the air. So that, the relative movements quickly becomes elusive. It is only in relation to the shore where we are, that the movement seems simple. Is it the movement? It is important if the tiller is not adjusted, it will hit the reef, which is emerging a little further. Additionally the Earth turns round itself and it revolves around the Sun. Finally we are into a deep confusion about the actual movement of our sailor. How the motion could be inherent in the sailor? Things are moving. We fail always to say that they are moving relative to each other. They can not have any motion within themselves.
I imagine the reaction of Kant in front of my description of the transcendental world. One of my good friends is a lawyer. It has all the rigor of thought, usual for these men but somewhat forgotten by scientists. They are disturbed by the accumulation of the paradoxes of current science. The professions of law are suspended to the case law. It encourages diplomacy. Yet he could not retain in time a remark somewhat derogatory, while entering in the flat of his fiancée: ah! my God, you were robbed? I pretended to show you the transcendental world. A huge bazaar. You could not see anything. The absolute is not accessible.
The state of knowledge of the human brain is rudimentary, so it is the kingdom of nominalism, of assumptions. Our visual and auditory perceptions, for example, are they transmitted to the brain as analogical data, digital data or otherwise? What transformation is made by rods and cones that line the back of eyes? We do not know. The problem I am addressing is how we think of a simple straight line. The image of the straight line, thick and limited, that we see on paper is transmitted to the retina. This image is distributed over several cells of each eye. However, it is thought in his unit. The brain analyses information received by the rods and cones in the retina of each eye, to restore what I call a preliminary notion. It is not a new image as Bergson thought. The process would be endless.
A preliminary notion includes the determinations of the object perceived: its thickness, length, colour and more. At this stage, determinations must be filtered so that only these which are deemed useful in the treatment are kept. In the case of geometry, colour will be forgotten. The analysis of the determinations is conducted on the basis of ideas. These are the ideas that characterise the filters that allow the passage of preliminary notions to the analysed notions. In the case of morals, values constitute the mesh of the filters. These filtered determinations provide access to the analysed notion.
The analysed notion of the straight line has the determinations that come from analysis of the perception and of the filtration. This analysis includes a comparison with the determinations of ideas, needed at least for the selection of the filter. Also as part of an intention of the thought, this analysed notion of straight line is thus associated with the idea of “straight”. We see that I consider only the functions of electronics: converter, filter and comparator, or their equivalent. This notion of straight line is linked to all determinations of the straight line idea: infinitely thin, infinitely long, infinitely continuous, perfectly straight first. You may ask what does mean "straight". I have no answer. The idea is indefinable. The absolute is elusive. The geometer claims: the straight is the shortest distance between two points. How can he know? By the measure. With what? A standard length. What a standard length? A straight line segment. What is a straight line segment? The shortest distance between the ends. His definition contains his definition. What does he know in the end?
Operations that lead from perceptions to filtered notions seem easily conceivable. They are already far beyond the capabilities of current computers. When the meshes of the filter are located in the brain, which must be the case for relative and limited notions, the difficulty is not really insurmountable. Conversely, when the meshes of the filter refer to the absolute, to the moral values in particular, one can only be plunged into an abyss of confusion. The link between the relative and limited world of notions and the world of absolute ideas is inconceivable to the human spirit. The notion of filter itself does not involve in fact correctly the phenomenon of attraction implied by the absolute ideas. We are attracted or pushed, as you want, to ever more, more moral, more perfection.
At the same time, we learned to selfishness, to laziness. This is not the action of a filter. I can not find better in terms for the logic of the presentation. The term "force-idea" proposed by the French philosopher Fouillée does not seem more appropriate. Attracting is not forcing. The attraction allows full freedom. Free will is exercised without restraint. Force kills spirit.
I passed through the problem of the consciousness of the meshes of
filters. I called it the problem of acquisition. We are, without doubt, planned
for that. But we need consciousness, we need an acquisition. We shall discover
the contents of the drawers of the moral values, of the matrices of structures
of Levi-Strauss. This is quite the role of education. Hegel claimed to have
discovered the process of this acquisition with his famous dialectic of
sensitive certainty. I reject mainly the idea that things would only involve
contradictions, worst struggles. It is mythology. I delight in the exploits of
Achilles and Ulysses. I satisfy myself with the iniquities of Greek gods.
One would certainly find much better patterns of these processes. This is not the problem. The notion can in no case be the image of the object perceived. The notion of straight line is a set of determinations that do not resemble in any way to the straight line corresponding to it.
The straight line, infinitely thin, infinitely long, infinitely continuous and first straight can not hold in the brain. The theory of the image is false.
Philosophers want to limit at the level of notions and refuse to admit the necessity of ideas, a word that I reserve for the absolute world, for the transcendental world. In practice, the notions seem to suffice. From the standpoint of the understanding, the problem is the origin of the determinations of the notions. This issue has not received more response than the origin of ideas of the transcendental world.
We can always relate an infinite determination to a quantity as large as we want. But, infinite is infinitely greater than this indeterminate quantity, which can already be huge. The infinite has an order of magnitude infinite compared to this indeterminate quantity. One might likely be satisfied with much less. But, this quantity as large as we want is not really infinite. Even before we become conscious of the idea of order of magnitude, infinite was going to infinite.
We might think that the thought of infinite corresponds to an indefinite quantity, as great as we wants. Then the thought would apply to this indefinite quantity a kind of extension principle. We would have access to a special function that would allow us to expand without limits all the limited notions of the thought. This possibility leads to another problem as intractable as that, which arose first. From where would come this function? It is unlimited and absolute. This excludes that it is itself an indefinite and approximate notion.
The infinite is so far that, after all, you might think that I worry about a thing of no great significance. But, the problem is also there in the line on paper, without even going beyond its ends. If the straight line is not absolutely continuous then it misses a lot of points, it lacks the infinite. The approximate and indefinite notion admits a cut with a length as small as we want, instead of an absolute continuity. This indeterminate continuous leaves gaps in the straight line. As small as are the holes in this imperfect straight line, they always contain an infinite number of points. A multiple infinite number of lines can pass through these holes, in these cuts, so small they are, without cutting the imperfect straight line. There would be, therefore, no more geometry, no more geometric arguments that would have sense. I see some recalcitrant students who are rubbing their hands. Where to vote to suppress the geometry?
The cut should be infinitely short. It does not exist any more without doubt. How to differentiate it from the naught?
We can thus understand how it is futile to try to think about these ideas themselves. The straight line is the naught as well. Of course, the line on the paper shows no cuts and a line perpendicular would come inevitably upset a few molecules of ink used for the drawing. An indefinite notion, not absolutely continuous, may thus be sufficient to thought, but the reference is the idea of perfect straight line, in particular, fully continuous.
Rather than seeking the transcendental world economy, I put within this world the ideas I need to recognise the notions. In this arbitrary context there is an idea of straight line. The notion of plane might be inferred from the notion of straight line. The plan is the surface generated by a line sliding on two lines, preferably parallel. This is what the mason does with planks to make a slab. If the lines are not parallel, student with an active brain will go to the meeting point and fun to shift the generating line, destroying the plane.
We might think that the plane need not be an idea; since infinity is given by the straight line idea and that the notion of indefinite plane is sufficient. I prefer to put the idea of plane in the transcendental world with all its absolute determinations. Thus, they can be directly used to generate a notion of plane.
His work completed the mason stand up. He is like a vertical line, the image of the third dimension. Again, let me put space itself in ideas with its infinite determinations. We have the thought of space. And space has three dimensions. According to Poincaré, we could have decided that the universe has only two dimensions. The objects could describe circles in this surface or turn round themselves. This rotation implies an angular moment oriented in a direction perpendicular to these two dimensions, thus imposing a third dimension. Perhaps the universe has four dimensions? Then, any rotation in planes including the fourth dimension would have consequences in the other two dimensions as a result of the angular moment and gyroscopic effects. Not such effects were observed. No rotation in a plane with the fourth dimension has ever been identified. Moreover, a rotation in our three dimensions could have acceleration effects in the fourth dimension. These accelerations would inevitably disturb some rotations in our three-dimensional space. This has never happened. Rivers do not flow in four dimensions. There have no detours in addition to those due to mountains found in our three dimensions. If there were a fourth dimension, matter should not move in relation to it. Phantasmagorias about worlds with more than three dimensions result in a total ignorance of the problem of angular momentum. Making time a fourth dimension is a different story. This temporal dimension is independent of the other three and no projection effect can occur.
Time is another idea. It belongs to the transcendental world. Movement, such as that of our mason, makes conscious the idea of time from childhood, but we can not say that the idea of time results from the experiment. No experiment, no measurement, could highlight the continuous nature of time. Moreover, neither the time nor the space exist or are perceived as the slab of the mason. However, I have already shown the difficulty of conceiving the existence itself and the movement. Remember the sailor that we left handling is sailboat to return to port, avoiding the pitfalls.
I could continue for pages and pages to show you the paradoxes of the transcendental world. I have now another objective.
The spirit thinks to the absolute, the infinite. Conversely, the notions that thought draws from perceptions can in no way be absolute or infinite. A fortiori, perceptions are not absolute and the things that we perceive can not be absolute.
In the approximate point of view of Materialists and Realists, the totality of the representations misses "the whole". It is perhaps as total as one wants. Its distance to the whole is always total. One might think that what is lacking to the whole is negligible. One will not fail, of course, to include in the whole all the things that we can think and that we can imagine. The approximation is an interesting process for limiting the intellectual effort, but it is opened to bias. The objective of philosophy is far beyond the contingency. The purpose is the logic. The logic is not approximate.
It is forbidden to forbid. The slogan of the sixties destroys itself as soon as pronounced. Among the prohibitions there is necessarily forbidding forbidding forbidding. So that, one can forbid. The converse statement: it is compelled to compel, does not, apparently, involves the same contradiction. In fact, it does. If this statement is also taken in an absolute sense, whether it is compelled to compel everything, then there would be, among the obligations the obligation to forbid. It would be particularly compelled to forbid and, in particular, forbidden to compel. One falls on the same paradox. Nevertheless, there is no symmetry between these two statements. The contradiction appears at an additional level in the obligation. Moreover, it is necessary to introduce the interdiction, in the chain of obligations. Conversely, the prohibitions contradict themselves. I have already used this kind of skewed to show the arbitrary nature of the research of opposites in the concepts, as well as in their determinations. Here, it is intended to show the impossibility of an absolute affirmation. Any statement is consistent only at a level, to a degree that we must accept on pain of not being able to say anything. The approximate Cartesian approaches of the absolute and of limited infinite are justified by this reasoning. It is necessary to lay down, to postulate so to speak, a beginning and a limit to thinking. Otherwise, we can not even speak. The two examples of the interdiction and the obligation show unambiguously how much it is evident. At the same time, the very single fact to postulate a beginning and a limit implies the possibility to refuse this beginning and this limit. It could be assumed a farther beginning and a farther limit. It only remains an approximate view, as I called it. The spirit has the power to shake even this beginning and this end without limit or boundary. The inconsistency where leads the absence of boundaries in the two statements of the interdiction and the obligation is not evidence of any impossibility of the world of ideas. On the contrary, it confirms the position of Kant related to both the existence and the nature of the concepts of the transcendental world.
Sensitive perception and restitution are always relative to one level, to one degree. It is never recall because it is clear that we see only limited things and we only expresses approximate thoughts. The consciousness of these limitations and approximations shows in itself that the mind is able to conceive the absolute and the infinite. While showing the inconsistency, the absurdity, of a sentence pushed to the absolute I show by the way, that I have access to these ideas of absolute and infinite.
It is the absurd idea of the straight line defined as the shortest distance between two points. The idea of straight line would be experimental. It would be associated with one of the most sensitive experiments: the measurement of length. The most severe is that this definition of the straight line contains implicitly the straight line. The standard of measurement, as well as the act of measuring a length, are inseparable from the straight line.
The ideas are inaccessible. They are absolute. We are conscious of their absolute nature. They draw us towards ever more, ever more precision and accuracy, to stay within the scope of science. We can not build anything on the ideas themselves. I also wrote that perceptions could not in any way allow us to find the absolute in Nature. This is the problem of the measure and it is accepted without trouble. Then I wrote that assuming the existence of the absolute in nature is relevant to axiomatic. Of course, I repeat, the axiomatic is inevitable. We must never forget that it is a choice: the choice to stop at a defined level of knowledge, but not a definitive choice. There is no end of science. No end of knowledge.
The philosopher rejects the endpoint. It brings it back to its being and its essence: the naught and he ignores. There are no absolutes in nature. We could notice without effort that it seems that I am going a new step forward. Stating that the absolute is not perceptible or measurable, one can easily agree. This statement does not imply that there is no absolute in nature.
This is another step in appearance. One turns around the problem, as the hero of the Magic Mountain of Thomas Mann, lost in a snowstorm. He comes back to the shelter of the shepherd. The absolute is an idea. Only an idea. No experience allowed us to taste, smell, touch, hear or see absolute. Neither the infinite nor the continuous. By projecting these ideas in nature, we return to the Sophist dialog of Plato: things would be only images of ideas.
I am, in turn, caught in the storm. I turn around the refuge. I first separate the ideas from the perceptions then the perceptions from the things. You can not be surprised if I fall back on my feet. By asserting that the absolute is an idea that can not be found anywhere in nature, I have proven nothing.
As soon as the absolute appears, one turns in circles. The reader has
understood that, certainly. He slowly falls asleep in front of this amazing
circular motion. But, he opens one eye, puzzled. What does he think? What do I
wrote that awakes him from the sweet torpor faced to lines already read? The refuge? What about the refuge? It was not long ago the
mere shelter of the shepherd of Hans Castorp. Next
time it will be a palace of the
No, the refuge, as the shelter, was really images. Actually, I was only thinking of the climbers lost in the snowstorm, following its own circular track, as in the cartoon of Samivel. I have no trap in sight. He should not have any concern. There is no palace for the spirit, there is no refuge for the spirit and there is no shelter for the spirit! I see the other eye opening! Both eyes seem to be gripped by terror. Not even a shelter? No, not even a shelter! There is nothing to concede. One must be recognised the nature of the spirit of man "incapable of seeing the naught from which it is drawn and the infinite where it is swallowed", should I be allowed to push this idea of Pascal a little further than he intents, to the absolute. I am only speaking of absolute.
At the coronation, the king receives the attributes of power: the crown and the sceptre. Space and time bears the attributes of ideas. They are absolute and inaccessible.
The ideas are absolute. We can not say they exist. We can not say either they do not exist. You would like to be sure. You want to return for a moment, a moment only, in the transcendental world. The ancient Greeks put gods everywhere, even among the deaths. All these gods have something of the man. The spear of Diomène wounded Aphrodite. The gods do not speak human languages, but Homer has unveiled the mystery. Only words differ. The Olympian gods have no more access to absolute ideas than men do. They were our only hope. You will not find a guide. And me, you say, could I not come with you again? Ah! You thought I would have shown you the world of ideas, like Plato has returned in the cave? Potemkin showed Catherine the Great happy villages. Freshly repainted facades and crowd dressed warmly. I did not even showed up facades, only words!
Ideas have not becoming either. There is no future of the straight line or of the circle. There is not either becoming of the idea of God. The representations, the images of God that men found in nature have a becoming. This does not change the idea of absolute perfection and infinite in all respects. I dare not say that the idea of God is absolute perfection and infinite in all respects. This would be trying to think about ideas. Kant is here behind me looking after. At least, that is somehow the direction. The evolution, the becoming of the representations of the idea of God is unquestionable. Just visit the Egyptian temples, read Homer and Plato. Men used the stars and objects of nature, animals, and humans finally. Is this the final image, as the materialists pretend? Not, here is Teilhard de Chardin. He proposes an image even greater: the human society reaching the point , the perfection. This image is it the ultimate idea of God?
Many kinds of wheels were manufactured, from the smallest to the largest. This one equips wheel excavators of open pits. It is higher than a six-storey building. That one is etched in silicon by a photochemical process. We can see it only with a powerful microscope. From the fastest to the slowest. This one is the last of the clock, it passed the years. That one draws high-speed train more than five hundred kilometres an hour. There is even faster in the hydrogen turbopump of space rockets. This is probably the most expensive. The plastic wheel of a toy is definitely the cheapest. They could be classified as biologists do, by broad categories, and one could seek their origin. Thus, one traces back the hydrogen turbopump to the centrifugal pump. This is the daughter of impeller mills who get lost in the mists of time. For the wheel of the fast train, it goes back to the wheels of pharaoh' chariots. Beyond that, should we think that the first wheel was a tree trunk sawn or cut? Archaeology may still bring surprises.
Multiple is the wheel. But the circle? Has it seen any progress since it awoke for the first time in the spirit of man? Has it suffered any alteration? The circle is it ageing? Is it better known after the progress of science? Should we think otherwise the circle? It only exists in the spirit. Who will find in nature a set of points in a plane exactly equidistant from another point called the centre? That is a mathematical model of the wheel. It can not match any perceptible reality.
The multiple forms of wheels have awakes in our spirit the idea of a circle. Like all ideas, it exists before the experiment in the transcendental world. The fact is that the perfect circle can not exist physically. Even so it would exist, we could not in any case be sure that what we see is a circle. We do not have access to infinite precision which would be proof. Moreover, nature is seen essentially quantified, i.e. composed of separate elements. This separation is a condition of perception. The continuous is not perceptible. Reality can only contain coarse images of the circle. This is only at the infinite that the circle could correspond to the idea. When we want to think at this level, we falls into unfathomable paradoxes. The points that form the circle are infinitely small. They have no size. The naught.
The absolute nature of mathematics beings such as the straight line, the circle, numbers, is not doubtful. They are perfect beings, which still remain to be acceded, as Justice, Truth, Freedom, and Equality. You can not say anything about the straight line but that it is straight, infinite and continuous. You can not say anything about the number two but that it is two. Nothing is two in reality. Two leaves of ginko-biloba do not make the number two. The number two is a single concept, while the senses perceive two separate leaves. Each leaf has two lobes, more or less marked. A leaf is not two. Lobes are seen separated. However, the numbers are accessed concepts and they might be subject to operations as the straight line might be subject to reasoning. The spirit can manipulate these concepts. If this manipulation takes place in the brain, then it is necessary that absolute ideas have been replaced by notions that are not absolute. We can reason about the drawings of these notions drawn on paper and the solution might even appear on paper.
One might think that many ideas have no place with the absolute. The idea of a tree and the idea of a home should they be at the highest level, with the main ideas of Justice, Truth, Freedom, Equality?
We must leave them at the level of notions or concepts. This solution is to add an intermediate level between the perceptions and ideas, between the experimental world and the transcendental world. Dualism would become a triadisme, in a sense very different from the triad of Plotinus: the One, the soul and intelligence. The One can not correspond to the absolute world of ideas, since the multiple is also an absolute idea. We must place the soul, and faith, therefore, outside the field of philosophy. It remains intelligence, spirit, which seems to represent the intermediate world.
The notions, low-grade ideas, would be in the intermediate world between the perceptible experimental world and the absolute transcendental world. We would have some difficulties to accept that transcendental ideas can appear and disappear. In the world of low-grade ideas, of notions, the difficulty might be less dramatic. Thus, the idea of home is partly contingent. For millions of years, humans lived in caves. Then, nomadic, they sheltered in huts or tents, and, most recently, they built houses. The idea of home should first exist and then be enriched by the determinations as soon as the use is spreading. So that why should we not cancel the idea of house and create a notion in the intermediary world of ideas. It could remain as an archive, if men had to accommodate otherwise in the future.
Another solution would be to divide the transcendental world into two subgroups. The subgroup of relative concepts learned from perceptions and the subgroup of absolute concepts such as the ideas of Truth, Justice and the mathematical concepts. This subgroup is sometimes called metaphysics.
The “Good” would keep its place in the metaphysics part of the world transcendental. The Moral, which is the search for the Good, would be at its side, with its absolute determination that pushes us without limits. The other part of the transcendental world would contain a reflection of the absolute, a limited image of moral, the ethics. Ethics is the set of codes, rules, standards, laws that are imposed practically in life. Ethics is a kind of minimum required to go toward the Good. It establishes the penalty on those who venture to fail. Ethics is learned. It evolves with time. It depends on the country. Moral leads us to perfection. It is not enforced by itself. It is an individual choice. Free will is related to moral, not to ethics. Ethics is relating to the moral, exactly like the wheel is relating to the circle, should you leave me using this formulation of engineer. Abide by the ethics is enforced in the social framework in which we live. Moral is internal. It affects our own behaviour with respect to others and to ourselves. It induces the rules of our consciousness. These rules are the criteria of judgement that our conscience passes on ourselves. They do not allow us in any way to judge others.
Another of the most beautiful metaphysical ideas is the idea of Freedom. Driven by this absolute idea, men do not want to limit freedom. In practice, I admitted that relative determinations, as perfect as required, could suffice. For the straight line, the spirit can be satisfied with a length as long as necessary to the use we make of it practically. The thought might pursue its original objective with this indefinite notion. The use of absolute determinations of ideas might not always be necessary.
Thought is first judgement. Any judgement involves three elements: the judge, the object and the criteria. There are criteria for each kind of object to be judged. But, if for one kind of object, the criteria depend on the object to be judged, where is the justice? This is the relativistic system. If the criteria depend upon the judge, there is no justice. This is the totalitarian system: the accused is guilty because he is judged.
If the spirit knows only through the perceptions, then it judges the perceptions in relation to themselves. Where is the thought?
The thought shall judge the perceptions on criteria that do not depend on it. The criteria of thought are the ideas and concepts.
The Materialists, the Realists, the Physicalists and other Existentialists believe that ideas are derived from perceptions. The human mind would undertake a conceptualisation of perceptions. The accumulation of such perceptions would provide ideas, the criteria, an accurate and sufficient independence. They believe that a group of experts acquires, due to the group, a capacity for independence that each individual member can not claim. In technological fields, the group has real superiority. It accumulates experience. The risks of errors are minimised. But, experts are unfortunately influenced by their common technological knowledge. The group limits the errors. It has only a relative independence. The situation is improved by the addition of experts in independent fields. It comes to a judgement humanly acceptable. The absolute independence is an unattainable idea, like all ideas. One shall deal with reality. The absolute idea is not denied by this relativism. It is recognised for what it is: an absolute, which draws us towards ever greater perfection.
Thus, the accumulation of perceptions gives a relative value to the criteria of the judgement. In practice, the mind is satisfied with this relative value. This is not acceptable in mathematics. The mathematical criterion shall not have any contingency. It is unacceptable to the philosopher as well. Justice is it just the accumulation of jurisprudence? Spirit asks always for more justice, beyond the laws and jurisprudence! Spirit always wants more freedom, beyond the attainments and traditions! Perceptions will never bring that eternal tendency towards the best.
Thought shall judge the perceptions on criteria independent of the perceptions themselves. It shall also be itself independent from the criteria. But, the sensitive perceptions are linked to thought by nature. The sensitive perceptions are never wrong. But, they are subject to several phases during the acquisition. Even before the judgement, thinking might be misled by an impression. We thought of something and it equates perception to that thing prior thought. One transforms the perception by inattention. The accident happens often. It is not irretrievable. The most severe is the force of habit. For two centuries, we have seen the electric current deviating the compass. The perception is so obvious that no one imagines the error. However, the electrical current would have two reasons to deviate the compass: the translation of electrons and their magnetic moment. This is too much. The effect is twofold. The accumulation of experiments proves nothing. Thought is conditioned by the appearance.
If the experimental accumulation may be sufficient in most cases to obtain the independence of the criteria, it can not be the proof of anything. But, the worst is that the spirit can in no way be independent from perceptions. It is imperative that the criteria of the judgement have a source other than experience.
An internal perception of the criteria is necessary and it shall be not sensitive. These are the ideas of the transcendental world.
The Sophist resumes his famous criticism here. The transcendental world would double the experimental world. It would be just as reasonable that the duplication of the causes of magnetism of electric currents in current science.
Kant's response is that the transcendental world is not subject to reason. It is not subject to the judgement of thought. The judgement "reasonable" concerns a relationship between elements of the experimental world and the thought based on the ideas, the criteria of the transcendental world. Judging the idea with the idea is impossibility. The hammer drives the nail. The madman can try to drive a hammer into a wall by tapping on it with another hammer. This madman would judge idea by idea.
There is another answer. This duplication is annoying. The Realists suppress the transcendental world. The ideas are then drawn from the facts by the sensible perception. Thus, the idea of straight line is the conceptualisation of the line on the blackboard. But, it is as well the conceptualisation of a wire, of a rule or of a laser beam. There are multitudes of objects that contain the straight line idea that the spirit could withdraw by the perception.
Conversely, there is no object that contains the idea of quantity. We will always see two separate trees, two separate tables. We will never see the two in its unit. However, the spirit conceives the number two as unity, also represented by a single symbol: the number two.
Alternatively, there are multiple origins of an idea, or there are none! We are far from the Platonic duplication! The Realist follows the path of Aristotle. He proudly decomposes the origins of ideas in simple and multiple. What to do with the ideas without origin? They should belong to a separate category, since categories are required.
One might think that it is equivalent to give the spirit a transcendental function enabling it to conceptualise the external sensitive perceptions or to provide it an access, an internal perception, to the transcendental world. Yet the conceptualisation of perceptions leads to a cascade of problems. The senses are limited and discrete sensors that can not let pass the continuous and the infinite, the absolute generally speaking. The continuous, the infinite, the absolute would be included in the things perceived, but nothing like this can go through the perceptions. We need then conceptualisation functions for each kind of perception. We shall transform determinations discrete and finite into continuous, infinite, absolute ideas. These functions have something of the transcendence that the Realists deny. We would need to have a kind of internal perception that would allow us to acquire them. These functions can not come from the perception.
How Materialists, Realists, Physicalists and other Existentialists can deny access of the spirit to transcendence, to absolute, and accept the presence of absolute in the experimental world? Even if we accept this inconsistency, how sensitive perceptions relative by nature, could have access to this absolute? This is equivalent to the famous problem of the "third man" from the standpoint of the experimental world. If the absolute was in the experimental world, the senses should have a transcendental dimension to perceive it and the brain should have a transcendental part to accommodate the perceived absolute. They think to be able to get out of the cave by the conceptualisation. It would be a transcendental function, transforming the perceptions into absolute, since it is the absolute that we have to think.
Thinking that reality exists independently of our representations is a thought, a representation. Our spirit is structured so that we must accept that reality exists. The existence of reality is a fact of our consciousness. Existence is an absolute concept, which can not be defined or demonstrated. Speak of the existence of reality is a tautology. Reality is what exists. Being has being: that is the summary of all responses to the question of the existence of reality. The idea of existence is transcendental. It is indefinable.
Facing these difficulties, the internal perception of the transcendental world seems to be of extreme simplicity. It is not. This internal perception can not result only from a molecular arrangement except if absolute is in nature. We fall back on the previous problem. This is the paradox of man. But there is only one paradox instead of a chain of paradoxes.
The problem of time allows for understanding why. If time is existing within in the experimental world, the past and the future should be, one way or another, perceptible. They should mainly exist. However, the past no longer exists and the future does not exist. The perceptions are in this present, always present but always new.
In the transcendental perspective, the problem does not arise. The past and the future surround the present to form the time. Time is an absolute idea that is not present in the experimental world. The idea accessed by thought remains in the transcendental world. Experimental facts are ranked according to the absolute idea. The past contains the memory of things perceived. The future contains our dreams, our intentions and our projections. We judge the facts in relation to the ideas we used to classify them. The facts are present perceptions stored and accumulated. There are neither facts perceived in the past, nor facts perceived in the future.
Thought is judgement. Judgement shall be based on a referential. The referential of concepts can not be within things and facts of the experimental world.
In Aristotle's system, the concepts are enforced by the authority. Where the power of this authority is coming from? There is no answer in the Aristotelian vision. In contrast, the ideas of Plato, as the concepts of Kant, are the data of the transcendental world. Their value is given a priori and they reach to the absolute and the infinite as well. The experimental world can not give to the perceptions the infinite that yet we believe.
The historical, economic, social and legal data are represented by statements. The experimental results of the natural sciences are statements. The definitions of the nominalists, the categories of the rationalists, the antinomies the dialecticians, the phenomena of the existentialists were all statements.
The hermeneutic considers these statements as a whole. The decomposition of the statements in words is the first step of understanding. This decomposition is carried out not only by words, but also for each word in its determinations. The understanding judges each determination on the basis of the concepts of the transcendental world. However, the analysis of concepts does allow for understanding the statement. A statement is a whole, which does not depend solely on the recognition of its members. The statement has a meaning of its own.
The hermeneutic questions the understanding of texts. A text is a set of sentences. A statement is the part of a text referring to an object defined and delineated.
The problem is to understand. Understand is basically to be in a position to rephrase the text so that it can be understood. Understanding each member of a statement is an irreducible necessity. This is the first step. But, it is far from being sufficient. The history of science is replete with examples of statements rejected, although they were expressed in words that are perfectly understandable.
The definition of phlogistic is, in this regard, typical. But, there is an example even more characteristic. This is the famous statement of Aristotle that may read as follows: Nature abhors vacuum. Each member of this statement has a meaning accessible to everyone. One discussed indefinitely the extent of this horror of vacuum. One knew that it is limited to a height of approximately 11 m of water. More precisely, one questioned the meaning of the word horror. One applies it to nature so that nature has been given human feelings until the seventeenth century. Nobody found anything to say against that. Pascal himself did not immediately understand the implication of the new statement of Torricelli: "The air has weight." By combining the words horror and Nature, one has already entered the hermeneutic problem: the meaning of the statements.
The examples are many in the history. All the statements of historical materialism are false. Yet each word of these statements has a clear meaning.
I chose a statement of
There is only one linguistics. The same conclusion applies to hermeneutics. The statements of science have no apodictic value. I think we can even think the opposite. The statements of experiments can be much less confident that most of the social or economic events, apart precisely of their scientist approach. The experiments are heavily dependent of the assumptions and postulates that make their usefulness. The level of validity of the statements does not depend in any way of the intellectual domain.
There is no category in the system of Kant at the level of the statements. The value of the statements is, indeed, a small problem compared to the issue of the pictures in its literal sense. This is the issue of aesthetics. Kant falls into incredible intellectual contortions to discover, in the context of the artwork, concepts that may be linked to the transcendental world, but the work itself has entirely escaped to his Critic of the power of judging. There are no images of "the beautiful". Similarly, the moral precept is more than a word. It is a statement. How the concepts of pure reason, of the transcendental world, could they reflect the value of the statement? They play a part in understanding the statement, but what are the criteria of the statements themselves? One may well agree on the meaning of each word of the statement, but the statement has a content entirely beyond words. If words go beyond their own content, it is not by their sole fact: it is the result of their belonging to statements. They give them a new dimension. The word overloaded by a statement can not first be separated from the statement. The added meaning completes the word determinations. Thus the meaning of words gradually overloaded requires knowledge of the context. This is the problem of languages that have relatively few words such as English and Arabic.
The same problem arises in the sciences of spirit and sciences of nature. It arises for the statements of experiments. It arises for the statements of assumptions and postulates. The statements make links between concepts known and accepted by everybody within a purely subjective group. These concepts are undoubtedly objective. Neither the assumption nor the postulates are facts. The value of science is jeopardised by the value of hypotheses and postulates, so that their apodictic value and their superiority over the sciences of spirit is a pure fiction. The great rational illusion arose from the use of mathematics in the sciences of nature. But, this use is coming after the statement of hypothesises or postulates. Of course, the assumed apodictic value of the science of Nature is based also on the conformity of the results of the mathematical approach to the experiments. This compliance can in no way be a proof. It is a necessary condition. Its sufficiency could never be demonstrated. That is the question of the proof.
We do not all have the same thoughts on the same objects perceived. This is linked to the issue of objectivity of witnesses. There is only one set of facts. However, the magistrate is quickly plunged into the deepest perplexities. Testimonies get entangled and contradict. Nobody seems to have seen the same facts.
Sentences, statements, can be memorised, we know well. The problem of hermeneutics is their meaning. Memorising is equivalent of understanding for proponents of nominalism only.
The statements can only be enforced by the authority.
The language has evolved since Montesquieu. The first visible sign of authority lies in what he called the Powers. Today we talk of Authorities. The legislative, executive and judicial Authorities. We speak of the authority of res judicata. Other signs include the powers. Since the dawn of human history, the first of powers is money. The power of public opinion is often the power of lobbyists who manipulate opinion. The power of the street, under the thumb of the weakening power of unions, is coming before the power of the media, the famous fourth power. One wanted to make it a fourth authority, but this power is, in fact, embedded in the three powers of money, opinion and street.
Other forms of authority are religions. This is the Book for the Jewish and Muslim religions, the Torah and the Koran. The various Protestant confessions ascribe an equivalent value to the Book. But, they leave the believer free to interpret it. The judge is a party, so to speak. One can not talk about Protestant referential, outside the founding texts of the various confessions. For Catholics, the Councils and dogmatic texts are the referential of the faith. They give the Catholic interpretation of the Bible. Nevertheless, the respect of the referential is just necessary. The statements of ethics, the body of laws, jurisprudence and rules of human societies, have a social authority. Councils and dogmatic texts include in addition moral statements. They are a call for personal responsibility, for thoughtful authority. They do not preclude ethics. They go beyond ethics. They push it further.
I read that Eastern religions do not have referential of statements. At least, I understood, at the outset. I can say that Confucius has prescribed a large number of moral statements, which goes far beyond ethics, i.e. statements imposed by the laws and professional ethics. The moral is relative to the individual conscience. Ethics is social in nature. To use a language quite outdated, I would say that ethics is to the moral what the wheel is to the circle.
Another level of statements groups the fields of ethics that are below laws. These are the rules of professional deontology and humanitarian and environmental requirements set by international agreements.
It is worth mentioning the rules of education. Assimilated to bourgeois values, these statements were the first victims of their eradication during the sixties.
If you happen one day be taken by one of these summer thunders in the narrow valley of Chabourneou in the Alps, you will not fail to admire that, by a just order of things, first you are dazzled by lightning before the thunder of the explosion seems to break over your head, the huge black mass of the Sirac. For the appalling roar of thunder, magnified by the echo as the breath is amplified by the horn, you would shake with fear if it were not announced.
The ear is not too reasonable. We do not like darkness where our most faithful sense can not be use. But the view does not suppress the fear. If we ignored the link of the lightning with the thunder could we not be surprised? We may become worried by lightning when it is no forecast.
Thus it is not the view that eliminates the fear, but the reason warned.
Were not you somehow warned of the thunder by thick clouds obscuring the peaks suddenly? Also by some heavy air saturated with water vapour? If you are more knowledgeable, you would not think that the clouds and vapour are there by chance. You are after the thunder when the Sun brings up the vapour from the grasses of the valley. And the sun and the heat take you further into the causes. If you stop on one of them and think it the first, you are very ignorant, because the first cause is only a sentence.
This is choosing axiomatic. I do not say, however, that we should not stop. We shall remember that it is first by will. Indeed, it may as well be ignorance. The difference that I found is only in consciousness. I see a huge step between knowing that we ignore and just ignore. This is rejecting the mythology, the dream, the unconscious or the subconscious, all words with the same meaning.
Besides, logic is not only limited by the inability to reach the infinite, but also through each step. Because between the vapour and the Sun, between the cloud and the lightning, how many movements ignored, how many actions imagined?
Thus, it appears that the logical reasoning should be continuous and not a result of statements linked only by intuition. Only the continuity can ensure of deductions.
However, we use words that express our ideas. Thus, we are doomed to deductive reasoning using causes separated. So the truth escapes, but the truth of things only because I am only speaking of perceptions. Despite the soothsayer relativist measuring time and space, we perceive only the appearance of things. However, the numbers, the straight line, the circle, the ideas ultimately that we draw from the perceptions are they things? No doubt we would have divided the matter to infinite, then the ideas of point and straight line would be the proper object. How can we not see here a simple pun? After all, the infinite is not at all accessible, and in the continuous, there is no distinction, thus no perception.
So the question of whether these things have a certain order, or whether the sequence of events occurs following the logic, does not arise. Because this order, because this logic, is not accessible. I am not saying that the things and their movements and that the phenomena are imperfect, but their perfection can only be understood in the absolute and total knowledge of everything. But we only know a tiny part of the universe. As soon as we try to combine some things or describe some things, we shall first believe that we are wrong. Always escape an infinite number of links. In all, we know only a few appearances.
The logic is not in the succession of lightning and thunder, but in the succession of the ideas that these phenomena represent. The phenomena following one another in certain conditions may well be without any relation in others conditions. However, we shall make no mistake, neither the idea nor the phenomenon, by its appearances are concerned, but only the relationship of the idea with the appearances, which is changed by the observation of phenomena ignored before.
This relationship between the idea and the appearance is itself one of these phenomena. And we do only know a few appearances.
However, if the logic related to nature, is quite inaccessible in its infinite continuity, conversely the Logic of ideas is well known, precisely because it is the functioning of our brain. It is only by the spirit, by the ideas that we can have certainty.
Because the idea, once it is conscious, is complete and perfect. No experiment can change it. The idea that we have of the straight line is no different from that Thalès had.
Logic belongs to understanding. It can not be conditioned by experiment. It is, rather, by logic that the experiment is judged. The Realists only see logic as a process of the experimental world. Logic would be a conceptualisation of the sequence of natural phenomena. However, this conceptualisation, like the ideas, is subject to improvement. What causes this need for improvement if the logic belongs to the experimental world? No Realist could answer, nor for the values of the moral.
This need for improvement is the very nature of ideas. They are absolute. Any attempt of explanation is illusory. They are inaccessible in all their determinations. The consciousness of the ideas, of the concepts of the transcendental world, shall first be acquired through education. This gives the impression that the spirit is first the clean slate of Aristotle.
The acquisition of ideas is only the first step. Then the conscious reflection gradually enriches the content existing, but always remaining to be discovered. This reflection is based necessarily on the perceptions. That is the paradox of man. The mystic revelation passes through the heart of man, but also through the perceptions. That is the mystery of man.
The idea is absolute. It is the perfection of the cube, of the straight line first. The straight line is infinite, it is continuous and it is especially straight. Nobody has ever been able to say more. It is an absolute idea. One of the ideas of Plato, one of the beings of Kant's transcendental world. How could such an absolute being be perceived? The infinite? God, it is far! The continuous? God, it is small? Straight? What is this? An idea, an absolute. The absolute can in no way exist in the experimental world.
The first determination of concepts and logic is their absolute nature. The second determination is to always ask for improvement. This content of the ideas may look quite poor. It is already too much. We do not want to admit it. Never, perhaps, the experimental world has been adorned with so many absolutes, while everyone wants to think on its own criteria, to have his own logic. Along with the intrusion of the absolute in the experimental world, the relativism conquered the transcendental world, the world of spirit. This is the philosophy of experts' statements, the postulates of oracles.
The paradox of the transcendence and the mystery of man as well, do not give any answer. I mean no logical, rational answer. Logic is the process of thought. Concepts are the criteria for thought. The concept of a cube is the criterion that allows the spirit to judge that the perceptions of the object are those of a cube. This, moreover, does not mean that the object is necessarily a cube. In any event, the object will never be the perfect cube as known by the concept.
Everything has a cause and, under the same conditions, the same causes produce the same effects. The first statement appears to assert the uniqueness of the cause: one cause. Things are not so simple. According to Aristotle, "the same fact can have many causes, but not the issues specifically identical." The causal uniqueness is restricted to the specificity. The fact shall be unique and indivisible.
The principle of specific causal uniqueness is only valid for absolute objects. As soon as the value of these objects is relative, you can always assign them several causes resulting from the multiplicity of their determinations. It is impossible to assign a specific cause for each determination. The complexity of the objects makes intractable the assigning of causes.
The principle of the specific causal uniqueness can only be applied with certainty in the field of concepts. Mathematics for example. This is the immediate reason to state that an assumption of geometry is demonstrated in absolute terms. The validity of the hypothesis is not only relying on the absence of contrary results. The objects of the hypothesis shall be absolute. If the objects of the hypothesis are only relative, neither the proof of the validity nor the proof of the error can be made. There is possible evidence only when the objects of the assumption are specific.
The various assumptions of non-Euclidean geometries, laid as axiom
instead of the postulate of
The straight line is defined as the shortest distance between two points. This definition gives the straight line an experimental value. The straight line would we known through a measure. The measure is a relationship. This axiomatic straight line is only a relative concept. This definition ruins any possibility of specificity and therefore any absolute value to the axioms of non-Euclidean geometries.
Moreover, the measure uses the same definition as the object measured. The measure is the counting of occurrences of the standard in the subject to be measured. But, the standard here is the shortest distance between two fixed points. The standard has no characteristics of absolute. It is purely experimental. The measure is also, of course, purely experimental. The tragedy is that the definition of the object contains the object. The definition of the straight lines contains the definition of the straight line. One might have been first surprised that this definition does not in any way includes the absolute determinations of infinite and continuous.
The straight line is a being of the understanding, infinite, continuous and straight. One would like to define the "straight". One can in no way define the concepts. The straight lines of non-Euclidean geometries are straight lines within the meaning of this definition, but they are not straight line in the sense of the understanding. Poincaré thought to prove the absolute validity of non-Euclidean geometries. His presentation is a claim to the Euclidean geometry extended to four dimensions. Perhaps, but it refers to an Euclidean geometry, which would define the straight as the shortest path between two points. His statements have only a relative value. At worst, they are petitions of principle.
Descartes thought the mind has access neither to the infinite, nor to the absolute. He imagined the undefined. It was a return to Aristotle.
Aristotle placed the absolute within things. This was their essence. The perceptions would relate to both the existence and the essence. But perceptions have not transcendental double that could capture the essence. The relative nature of perception excludes the transition from the essence to the spirit in a form absolute, infinite or continuous as well. The essence of Aristotle becomes relative. This is the very foundation of his system of the world. The straight line would be the essence of what we think is straight. But this realistic straight line can in no way involve absolute determinations such as the infinite, the continuous or the straight. The realistic systems give to the ideas a relative value. These ideas degraded and undefined in the language of Descartes, can not in any way presume on the specificity.
Thought is judgement. Spirit judges the perception on the basis of the ideas that Epicure called the criteria of thought. What means judging if the idea is only the image of the thing? The realists leave the thought judging the perception by the perception. If the criterion depends on the thing to be judged, or if the criterion depends on the judge, what is the value of the judgement?
The criterion of Plato is the idea. The ideas form the transcendental world and they illuminate the mind. The mind judges the perceptions of the experimental world according to the ideas of the transcendental world. These are the concepts of Kant.
The concept can not be defined. Kant has not ceased to assert it in his triptych of the system of thought, his Critics of the pure reason, of the practical reason and of the power of judgement: the search for truth, the search for good, the search for beautiful. The "straight" has no definition.
The absolute is the essential determination of the specificity for the implementation of the specific causal uniqueness principle of Aristotle. The philosophical system of Aristotle would not permit such restrictions. In his system, the absolute belongs to experimental world, object of the perceptions. Thus, this absolute is undefined in the sense of Descartes.
The specific causal uniqueness principle is the only principle of formal logic. It applies only to concepts. The statements introduce relations between the concepts that form them. The statements can therefore in no way be proven absolutely. The absolute is necessary for the implementation of the specific causal uniqueness principle.
The process of logic is the syllogism. The syllogisms are sequences of statements. The premises are statements. They have never an absolute determination. The syllogism is only a probability of validity of the conclusion statement.
Wittgenstein's remarks and those of Anscombe are perfectly justified. But they have only a relative value. They are based on cases of failure of the syllogism. This is not the syllogism that is questionable; it is the lack of specificity of the statements. They are never absolute.
This indicates that the logical theses of the American school of philosophy, the analytic philosophy, have the same value as the remarks of Wittgenstein and Anscombe. It is really impossible to demonstrate the validity of a theory, whatever the number of experiments. The reason is more the lack of specificity of the objects than the possibility, always open, to discover facts contrary. The logic can not rely on the experiment always imbued with a relative value.
However, we shall go a step further. Heart-breaking, no doubt. It is impossible to show that a theory is false. The specificity required for the uniqueness specific causal principle exists only for the absolute beings, as in mathematics. One contradictory finding allows ruining an assumption of geometry provided that its objects are absolute.
The objects and the statements of science, of physics, are never specific. They can not be absolute. They are relative in essence, if I may say so, relative in nature, as objects of measurement, the nature of science. The theories are not subject to proof. One experimental contrary fact does not therefore reduce a theory, contrary to the assertion of Professor Allais, and despite all the admiration that I have with respect to its bold approach.
From a practical viewpoint, one can always, as we well know, adjourn the judgement by invoking the lack of means, or reject the judgement by lack of competence, i.e. here invocation of causes independent of the object of theory.
More rigorously, to deny a theory is, in terms of logic, put a theory. A single experiment can not in any way prove this new theory, as short as it could be. We therefore can not reject a theory on the basis of a single contrary experience.
Speaking of phenomenon rather than fact is particularly unsuited to the causal uniqueness: a phenomenon involves multiple facts. It can only involve relation of things between them, relationship between a fact and its cause. Any form of absolute is excluded. The absolute can not have a relationship.
The causal uniqueness is apparently less questionable in physics that in sociology and in economics. However, one can not ignore specificity. Thus, no one would be disturbed if there were several types of masses that may fill the defect in 90% of the mass of galaxies. There may be a plurality of contributors. This is not a contradiction to the causal uniqueness. Each contributor is the unique cause of its part. But it is impossible that all the missing mass is covered by several contributors which would make more than 90% of this mass. The specificity of the causal uniqueness is a delicate, but essential. If there is a new explanation for a fact, we shall reduce the previous explanation, if it exists.
The specificity of the causal uniqueness is a concept. It is never known in advance as a whole. The appearances push us to believe that facts could escape from the causal uniqueness. We shall constantly improve the limitations of the concept. The improvement is required by the deepening our knowledge of things by perceptions.
The constant intervention of the experimental world in the process of understanding has led many philosophers to deny the transcendental world. Aristotle saw in the Plato's ideas a redundancy opposite to simplicity. He could not demonstrate that it would be contrary to the causal uniqueness principle. Specificity is impossible here. We understand the concern of Aristotle. Plato was himself conscious of the problem. He made his own criticism in the Sophist dialog. But the consequence of the denial of the transcendental world is that the straight line and the circle are projected in the experimental world. Therefore, these ideas can not be absolute. The straight line would be limited. It can not be continuous. What about the "straight"? One comes out with a definition: the straight line is the shortest distance between two points. This is the extreme case of the absurd where the definition contains the definition. Could one do better, one would inevitably fall in the syndrome of the dictionary. One shall begin with a number of words, ideas, concepts that are not defined: it is the gateway to the system of Kant, to transcendence. One can, like Husserl, multiply the compound names and invent compounds of compounds. One pushes the limit. The fly comes always back bumping against the glass. The trap closes. This is the paradox of thought. The reasonable approach is to try to limit access to the concepts of the transcendental world, to limit the number of ideas. These are the categories of Aristotle and Kant in particular. The effort has never been convincing, perhaps through lack of time: there have always been more serious problems to solve. I would say that today there are only problems. I am not sad. I could still think tomorrow!
The principles of Plato of identity and exclusion, or contradiction, are theorems that result from the specific causal uniqueness principle of Aristotle provided they are limited to formal logic. The absolutes are identical to themselves and they are mutually exclusive. The absence of absolute concepts for Aristotle explained that he had to take these two principles as separate, which is consistent with their current use. In these conditions, these principles are only probabilistic.
Finally the principle of simplicity, the famous razor of Ockham is not a principle of formal logic, but a principle of aesthetics. Poincaré used it to justify the use of a three-dimensional universe. He did not claim giving a proof.
Deduction and induction are processes of second order of logic. They relate to the syllogism. The deduction is a syllogism without minor premise. In general, minors are implicit, it is a syllogism. The examples are easy to find. Summer is here. Gregory the Great wrote, in the year 600, that the climate is out of order. Ah! There are no more seasons! Assuming the statement "the sun shines." I infer from this statement "I am going bronzing. The minor is implicit. There are even two minors at least. First "the skin bronze to the sun." But the additional minor statement is also needed: "I expose myself to the Sun." I doubt that there are deductions without implicit minors. The deduction has no added value. The deduction goes directly from the major to the conclusion because the minors are obvious.
Induction is a possibility. It is a syllogism, or a series of syllogisms non-referrals. The concepts used have a relative nature. This is the case of statements of sciences of the nature and of the sciences of the spirit. I would gladly take the example of the planetary electron. The major states: "the law of attraction power is the same as that of gravity in relation to the distance." It was directly inferred the following conclusion: "electrons orbit the nucleus like planets around the Sun." You can make the same remarks as for the deduction. It is a syllogism whose minors are implicit.
Deduction and induction differ only by the level of probability. The induction has a high chance to be false. The mathematical deduction is true if the concepts are really absolute. We have seen that this is not the case of non-Euclidean geometries. Induction is used in mathematics when we assume the problem resolved to facilitate the demonstration. Induction may fail.
The mystical world
We might think that the Cartesian approach should not focus on limiting access of the spirit to the absolute and the infinite, but on a limitation of these ideas. Descartes's argument rests on the idea that only God could be qualified as absolute and infinite. We men, we would be reduced to be only conscious of ideas as perfect and as large as we want. We would not have access to the absolute and infinite ideas. This approach contradicts itself. We have the idea of an absolute and infinite God. Thus, we can think absolute and infinite, even though these thoughts can not relate to the sensitive perception. The approximate approach of Descartes is possible only if one confuses the idea of God and the existence of God Himself. On this point, Descartes is consistent with its doctrine of existence merged with extent, with space. Moreover, the Cartesian proofs of God's existence are just as possible as part of this identity between the idea we have of God and God Himself. This would require that all the ideas have their counterpart in the existence. The straight line, the counterpart of the idea of "straight" would so exist. If this existence belongs to our universe, then one falls back on the system of the Sophist of Plato. Things are copies of ideas. We are referred to Protagoras. However, Socrates makes impossible this world. If it is of another nature, how could we know it? Through another mode of perception, also attached to the world of ideas? There is only one field of thought where such a universe can find its place: religion. The mode of perception of the mystical world is the revelation. And, according to the old image, the revelation appeals to the heart of man.
The philosopher is here speechless. The divine universe, the mystic universe takes all and the human thought first. God is the Being without the naught, the Eternal without the time, the Infinite without the space. He is also Presence. He is the Good without the evil, the True without the false. He is the Life without the death. He is the Inexpressible first. All these words Being, One, Eternal, Infinite, Absolute are words of men. They express the thoughts of men.
A disciple of Bacon and Hume will accept, perhaps, not to reject immediately this divine or mystical world. He may wish to consider. He is first surprised that God could have created our universe, abyss of drama, valley of tears, although He should have had to hand His perfect world, which, precisely, the human dream of. He admitted that the ways of the Lord are unfathomable. He will accept that the old women and simple minded can console themselves for the miseries of this world by imagining they will access a hypothetical paradise. For him, and he stays there, the mystic universe is not relevant of any experiment. It has only a historical interest or, at best, speculative.
This disciple of Bacon and Hume now strangles himself when he hears of resurrection and miracles accessory. If even this was just in mind! Pure speculation, of course! The Resuscitated is bones and flesh. The bread multiplied satisfies hunger. Senseless! The reason opposes with the full force of the principles of physics, chemistry, biology to such an eventuality. One Resuscitated would be a bottomless paradox; billion resuscitated is a boundless folly. The miracle is a collective illusion. As for feeding with this bread, it would be parapsychology. The Science says no.
But faith does not ask anything to science. Even though one might be assured of the validity of scientific theories, multiple, variable and sometimes contradictory, if not inconsistent, they do not bring anything outside of their purpose. Their purpose is the knowledge of the relations between things.
The philosopher, now do not want to admit this mixture of things with ideas and soul. That is the meaning of resurrection and miracle. He laughs again, in himself, of the famous Sartre's sentence "naught bears being in its heart." Things are perceived in this world. The ideas belong to the transcendental world. The souls depend on the mystical world. If everything shall mingle, then what become reason and thought?
But faith does not ask anything to the philosopher. Even if philosophy, with its separate worlds, would be the truth, it does not bring anything outside of its purpose. Its purpose is the human thought. Speaking of mystic or divine world is a thought of man only. As, indeed, talk about the world of ideas and talk about our universe. The existence of God can only be an act of faith that shall be constantly renewed to keep it. We shall make, at every moment, the bet of Pascal. This is no longer a bet. Pascal requires an act of reason, a kind of calculation. This is only a question for the heart.
One makes fun of the philosopher who has asserted his faith in God. God is an invention of men, it is well known. The logic here is really wonderful! Besides, the logic would be no more useful. We are told that experiment would show that the principles of logic have no more place. Bow down, ignorant, it is the Science that goes!
Attempts were made to streamline education by eradicating all forms of religious education. The marxist doctrine rushed into the vacuum thus created, as the raging sea through the polder dikes broken by the storm. A body, long isolated from any contamination, dies at first contact with nature. The secular education was strangled in the interlacing of dialectical materialism.
The principle of secularity of the State education should preserve the freedom of everyone: freedom to not believe or believe in God; freedom to choose one's religion; respect the beliefs of others. But what happened? The marxist doctrine has been taught in every institutions of the State. Blinded by the new faith, light path of dialectic materialism, the marxists have tried to forge, to force the spirits to their vision, within the structures of nations.
Marxist education is it Secular? What hypocrisy! One plays with words! One makes fun of people and crushes it as well. On behalf of a just freedom to choose, one left the marxists distort many minds to the absurd dialectic and to the materialist illusion. We see everywhere the disaster, the horror that the marxist left behind them. One still not recognised, in the comfort, progress, speed that surround us, the moral and intellectual naught they leave in our minds!
The secularity of the State is not a bad thing. Quite the contrary. We shall judge the secularity as fundamental. But by wanting to ignore the mystic fact, one exposes the State to the entryism of the inevitable doctrinaires. Besides, I do not have the recipe for protecting against doctrinaires. This is the eternal history of safe and thief. The thief will always open the safe. The means available to the thief progress at the same pace as security of the safes. Similarly, the law always ends up being misused. This does not a reason to renounce to improve laws.
What says the philosopher? There is no civilisation without beliefs. Man can not live without faith. There have never been atheist’s centuries, and others which would be mystics. There is only one question: show us your golden calf!
The eighteenth century worshiped the reason. The nineteenth century worshiped the progress. The twentieth century worshiped the science, and in first place, the scientific marxism and its prophets Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Lenin and Mao.
This is not your case, I know! What is your faith? You have not? You really believe? Skepticism and relativism are beliefs very prevalent nowadays! Socrates listens to us. He smiles. Refusing to believe, it is also believing. I play with words?
Ah! This is not what bothers you. What have I written that disturbs you?
The material world, the transcendental world and the mystical world are separated from the point of view of philosophy. This is what I called the Hegelian separation. But the divine world takes all. The first topic of theology, the first object of the mystical world, is Creation. The divine world, mystic, includes everything. Ah! I see the reason of your trouble. The naught, the time, the space and the truth belong to the transcendental world. These are ideas. The idea of naught is confound with the naught, the idea of time with the time, the idea of space with space, the idea of true with the truth. There is no reality behind these ideas, other than the content of these ideas. If the transcendental world is swept away by the mystical world then the naught, the time, the space, the evil, the truth belong to this overall universe that contains the material world, the transcendental world and the mystical world.
It is true, it is not logical. I have an answer. It is very bad, maybe. When writing that the mystical world includes everything, I place myself above this universe. I assign it a quality. This is an absurd claim. The separation of the mystical world, the transcendental world and the experimental worlds is a necessity for human thought. The acquisition modes are unique to each: the revelation goes to the heart, the conscience to the spirit and the sensitive perception to the brain. The human spirit can not by himself define the transcendence and the divine.
If it is not by "himself", how could it? Because, a thing impossible for human thought is not absolutely impossible. I do not answer the question? That is true. I spoke of the good, of moral. I never said where the famous values are coming from? You did not ask then. I am speaking about philosophy. The philosopher stops there. The climber has reached the summit. He sketched a few grains of raisins. He drinks a few sips of coffee without sugar. "Having driven the desire to drink and eat," it lifts the gaze for a moment. The time is prolonged. He is seized with admiration at the vastness of the landscape. He already knows yet.
If the system I have outlined may seem a bit complex, It is because I added what I think about the mode of acquisition of concepts. The mystic field should not be considered as part of this system. It is not philosophy. However, it is with human language, with a human mind, with our reason that we are talking about religion. Moreover, a part of the values of the moral is given precisely by the revelation, by religion. The mystical world is a universe of the heart. The moral values are existing as ideas; even for a man who has no faith. Faith strengthens and complements the natural moral values, if I may say so.
The law of retaliation, for example, has been historically, i.e. at a time in human history, rejected by the Christian faith. Before, it was a basic value. It still is for many.
One may here assign me a diabolical skill and accuse me of having built a system to integrate the logical evolution of values. This logic is only appearance. I do not limit my faith to the logical, to the human logic. I also believe that the last hour worker will receive the same amount and more as well, as the worker of the sunrise, although he had worked an hour when the last worked twelve hours. How to replace the moral values relating to justice and equality by such a provision? No experience, no example, will never afford such a rule. It is in absolute contradiction with the great ideas of justice and equality. It violates the very idea of charity. It appears first as a deep contempt for those who are, by circumstances, our employees. Even the most helpless is in this situation when buying his bread. The baker works for anyone who brings his coin.
The parable does not, as we know, relate to relationships between men. God alone can speak us in such a way. It concerns the relationship between God and every man with his conscience. This relationship is not that of human logic. This relationship is an absolute, so to speak. It is the divine mystery. This parable is a paradox for human thought. The image of the mystery of the mystical world in the transcendental world is the absolute thought by man. One can say that the mystery is paradoxical like the absolute. While it is futile to try to legislate in the world of ideas, in absolute terms, a fortiori it is absurd to try to reason about the thoughts of God. We shall listen and believe.
Far from thinking that I could have shown you how the values come to mind, I am convinced that the law of retaliation is not an absolute moral value. It was a rule of ethics, a human law. This rule was a practical and approximate rule. It remains an unanswered question. How this law, taken from a contingent viewpoint, and therefore approximate, could it be drawn from the perceptions? It could, of course, come only from education, in which case where the teacher would have learned it from? From tradition? Where the tradition is coming from? It shall be a beginning. We would be programmed that way. Programming is related to computer technology, which now appears to be inadequate to represent the functioning of the brain. We can extend it and give it a more general sense.
The man in the hunt, the woman at the cave. Although we face setbacks. We discovered today that they are the females who hunt and not the lion. However, the approach is appealing and I think it fairly valid. The necessity that has imposed over the millennia, conditions certainly some of our acts and some of our perceptions.
That is only valid for the acquisition of limited and relative concepts. We can talk in this sense of innate values. And yet, these are only undefined values in the sense of Descartes. This is not the trend to the absolute that characterises the ideas. Where is the beginning of the absolute? It can not get out of perceptions, at first thought, perception is judged. You see! We are trapped! How can we place the infinitely large and infinitely small as well, in a space as small or as large as the human brain? It is conceivable that programming of living beings includes the relative values of ethics. These basic values are then modified, improved under the pressure of consciousness. Legislation and jurisprudence derived from this approach. It leaves the whole problem of the origin of the ethical values. One should show the program or, if you want, the programmer. There is no more issue than for the causality. So where comes from the pressure of conscience? What about the origin of moral values, absolute by essence? How to enter the absolute in the program? The infinite? The continuous?
A zealous student of Socrates notice that the Christian law, being made a law like any other, could be simply added to the ethical rules. This would only be another law. Yes, but what law? It would be easier for the geometer to reach the ends of his straight line than for the holy man to glimpse the sovereign good, end of the moral law. This law is unknowable in its fullness; it is even beyond the absolute. Nobody can claim to respect absolutely the Christian law. The Christian law is primarily a moral law. The content of the part of this law, which leads us to perfection, without limitations, can not be written. However, there is another answer: the Christian expectation is of a different nature that the only tension of the idea of transcendental moral world. One needs also a content of the laws of the moral. They are relevant to what the Hegelian separation leads to call the heart as a means of perception of revelation. The theologian will explain that the revelation reaches the heart and spirit finally through perceptions: this is the mystery of man. As the moral values, the free will can not in any way result only from sensitive perceptions of a nature chained here by an apparent necessity, but over there unleashed in an apparent stochastic indeterminacy. The free will can not be auto suggested by a reason returning back on itself, which would raise the principle of Freedom from a confrontation between good and evil, between determinism and probabilistic. They are the foundation of the Hegel dialectic of opposites. We shall judge, choose, i.e. it is already having that freedom! This is the paradox of man. Hegel shakes its contrary as puppets. He pulls the strings, he chooses for you! Like the moral values, the free will can only come from the mystical world and be discovered, by the revelation in the heart of man. This is the mystery of man.
Table of contents
Chapter 1 The experimental world
Chapter 2 The appearance
Chapter 3 The names
Chapter 4 The ideas
Chapter 5 The transcendental world
Chapter 6 The absolute
Chapter 7 The concepts
Chapter 8 The understanding
Chapter 9 The statements
Chapter 10 The logic
Chapter 11 The mystic world