Comment on Kant & Question on Baby

A reader bold enough to use his own good and manly name, our own Mr. Gudeman, makes the following observation on the writings of Emmanuel Kant:

“He was, in fact, trying to save the modern science of Bacon and Descartes from the devastating epistemological critiques of Berkeley and Hume.”

In my humble opinion, the attempt was largely successful, but at the price of introducing confusions and errors that led to the madness and meaninglessness of modern and postmodern philosophy.

Kant, if I may be so bold, was a like a man trying to do theology without God.

The lack of a central principle that otherwise tied the phenomenal world of the senses with the noumenal world beyond the senses undermined the concept of objectivity.

How does one tie the noumenal world, about which, by definition, we can known nothing via empiricism, into the phenomenal world, about which we can know nothing except by empiricism?

The only noumenal thing we can know from the inside so to speak is  in the internal reality of our own being — our willpower, in other words, or whatever thoughts we know via introspection. Empirical knowledge hence allows us only partial and non-universal glimpses that we categorize with innate mental tools we only discover we have when we use them, such as logic. But these tools and categories are themselves a priori, that is, known before empirical knowledge.

This creates endless difficulties for a theory of universal empirical principles. The distinction between phenomenal and noumenal undermines the concept of objectivity, especially objectivity in morality.

Kant thus leaves later generations either to say that reality is fundamentally phenomenal — an error that led to Marxism and materialism — or to say that reality is fundamentally noumenal; and since the only noumenal object a man can know is himself, fundamentally an expression of his thoughts and willpower. This error leads to Nietzsche, and to all modern nihilism. It leads to the thought that destroys thought, which is, namely, to doubt the power of thought to discover truth.

Philosophy without theology cannot bridge this divide between phenomena and noumena, mind and body, determinism and free will, the one and the many. The unifying principle and unmoved mover and first cause before all causes that is the single answer to the various paradoxes and opposite conclusions of mere moral reason is absent, and there is nothing to bridge them.

However, in a universe created and ruled by God, knowledge of things otherwise beyond knowledge can be implanted as if by instinct directly into the human soul by the creator of that soul for the express purpose of granting knowledge of those things we cannot NOT know.

Modern philosophy, starting with Descartes, is built on the supposition that nothing is beyond doubt. And yet a moment’s reflection shows this is not so: how can I doubt I am doubting? How can I doubt my own existence–for if I am a figment of my own imagination, then who is entertaining the doubt? How can I doubt the process of logic by which I ask and answer the question about the processes of logic? How can I doubt that truth is true? For if I discover no truth is true, that is a truth I have discovered. How can I honestly ask whether I can honestly ask anything unless I am honest when I ask?

I submit that there are indeed some things it is impossible not to know.

I ask a question to any willing to attempt an answer: it is clear that babies know their mothers love them. This knowledge is theirs before they learn to speak, and hence it is pre-rational knowledge.

The knowledge is also certain, unshakable and needed for the survival of the species. (I assume even a cynic will allow that babies who do not love and are not loved by their mothers despair and die.)

Neither is this empirical knowledge. Love is not a property that has mass, length, extension, duration, volume, and so on, even if some outward signs and symbols of love, such as laughter and smiles, do have such properties.

But unless the baby knows his mother loves him, he cannot know that smile is a symbol of that love. Indeed, babies, and adults who retain the mental conditions of babies, cannot distinguish symbols from the reality the symbol represents. He knows the love before he knows it is possible to show false outward signs of love.

So if this is neither empirical knowledge nor rational knowledge, what kind of knowledge is it?

How does baby know his mother loves him?