Friday, August 28, 2015
The League Term At Defining Impressionist Art Work
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The noumenon (//) is a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the physical senses.The term "noumenon" is generally used in contrast with, or in relation to "phenomenon", which refers to anything that can be apprehended by, or is an object of, the physical senses. In Platonic philosophy, the noumenal realm was equated with the world of ideas known to the philosophical mind, in contrast to the phenomenal realm, which was equated with the reality as perceived via the physical senses, as known to the uneducated mind. Much of modern philosophy has generally been skeptical of the possibility of knowledge independent of the physical senses, and Immanuel Kant gave this point of view its canonical expression: that the noumenal world may exist, but it is completely unknowable to humans. In Kantian philosophy, the unknowable noumenon is often linked to the unknowable "thing-in-itself" (Ding an sich, which could also be rendered as "thing as such" or "thing per se"), although how to characterize the nature of the relationship is a question yet open to some controversy.
The Greek word noumenon (νοούμενoν), plural noumena (νοούμενα), is the middle-passive present participle of νοεῖν (noein), "I think, I mean", which in turn originates from the word "nous" (from νόος, νοῦς, perception, understanding, mind). A rough equivalent in English would be "something that is thought", or "the object of an act of thought".
In ancient Indian philosophy, concepts parallel to noumena and phenomena are found in the distinction between Brahman(cf. noumena) and Māyā (cf. phenomena).
Noumenon came into its modern usage through Immanuel Kant. Its etymology derives from the Greek nooúmenon(thought-of) and ultimately reflects nous (intuition), but not emotion. Noumena is the plural form. Noumenon is distinguished from phenomenon (Erscheinung), the latter being an observable event or physical manifestation capable of being observed by one or more of the physical senses. The two words serve as interrelated technical terms in Kant's philosophy. As expressed in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, human understanding is structured by "concepts of the understanding", or innate categories of understanding that the mind uses in order to make sense of raw unstructured experience.
By Kant's account, when we employ a concept to describe or categorize noumena (the objects of inquiry, investigation or analysis of the workings of the world), we are in fact employing a way of describing or categorizing phenomena (the observable manifestations of those objects of inquiry, investigation or analysis). Kant posited methods by which human beings make sense out of the interrelationships among phenomena: the concepts of the transcendental aesthetic, as well as that of the transcendental analytic, transcendental logic and transcendental deduction. Taken together, Kant's "categories of understanding" are descriptions of the sum of human reasoning that can be brought to bear in attempting to understand the world in which we exist (that is, to understand, or attempt to understand, "things in themselves"). In each instance the word "transcendental" refers to the process that the human mind uses increasingly to understand or grasp the form of, and order among, phenomena. Kant asserts that to "transcend" a direct observation or experience is to use reason and classifications to strive to correlate with the phenomena that are observed. By Kant's view, humans can make sense out of phenomena in these various ways, but can never directly know the noumena, the "things-in-themselves", the actual objects and dynamics of the natural world. In other words, by Kant's Critique, our minds may attempt to correlate in useful ways, perhaps even closely accurate ways, with the structure and order of the various aspects of the universe, but cannot know these "things-in-themselves" (noumena) directly. Rather, we must infer the extent to which thoughts correspond with "things-in-themselves" by our observations of the manifestations of those things that can be perceived via the physical senses, that is, of phenomena.
According to Kant, objects of which we are cognizant via the physical senses are merely representations of unknown somethings—what Kant refers to as the transcendental object—as interpreted through the a priori or categories of the understanding. These unknown somethings are manifested within the noumenon—although we can never know how or why as our perceptions of these unknown somethings via our physical senses are bound by the limitations of the categories of the understanding and we are therefore never able to fully know the "thing-in-itself".
Many accounts of Kant's philosophy treat "noumenon" and "thing-in-itself" as synonymous, and there is textual evidence for this relationship. However, Stephen Palmquist holds that "noumenon" and "thing-in-itself" are only loosely synonymous, inasmuch as they represent the same thing viewed from two different perspectives, and other scholars also argue that they are not identical. Schopenhauer criticised Kant for changing the meaning of "noumenon". Opinion is far from unanimous. Kant's writings show points of difference between noumena and things-in-themselves. For instance, he regards things-in-themselves as existing:
..but is much more doubtful about noumena:
A crucial difference between the noumenon and the thing-in-itself is that to call something a noumenon is to claim a kind of knowledge, whereas Kant insisted that the thing-in-itself is unknowable. Interpreters have debated whether the latter claim makes sense: it seems to imply that we know at least one thing about the thing-in-itself (i.e., that it is unknowable). But Stephen Palmquist explains that this is part of Kant's definition of the term, to the extent that anyone who claims to have found a way of making the thing-in-itself knowable must be adopting a non-Kantian position.
Kant also makes a distinction between positive and negative noumena
The positive noumena, if they existed, would roughly correspond with Plato's Forms or Ideas: immaterial entities that can only be apprehended by a special, non-sensory faculty: "intellectual intuition".
Kant doubts that we have such a faculty, because for him intellectual intuition would mean that thinking of an entity, and its being represented, would be the same. He argues that humans have no way to apprehend the meaning of positive noumena:
Even if noumena are unknowable, they are still needed as a limiting concept, Kant tells us. Without them, there would be only phenomena, and since potentially we have complete knowledge of our phenomena, we would in a sense know everything. In his own words:
Furthermore, for Kant, the existence of a noumenal world limits reason to what he perceives to be its proper bounds, making many questions of traditional metaphysics, such as the existence of God, the soul, and free will unanswerable by reason. Kant derives this from his definition of knowledge as "the determination of given representations to an object". As there are no appearances of these entities in the phenomenal, Kant is able to make the claim that they cannot be known to a mind that works upon "such knowledge that has to do only with appearances". These questions are ultimately the "proper object of faith, but not of reason".
Kantian scholars have long debated two contrasting interpretations of the thing-in-itself. One is the dual object view, according to which the thing-in-itself is an entity distinct from the phenomena to which it gives rise. The other is the dual aspect view, according to which the thing-in-itself and the thing-as-it-appears are two "sides" of the same thing. This view is supported by the textual fact that "Most occurrences of the phrase 'things-in-themselves' are shorthand for the phrase, 'things considered in themselves' (Dinge an sich selbst betrachten)." Although we cannot see things apart from the way we do in fact perceive them via the physical senses, we can think them apart from our mode of sensibility (physical perception); thus making the thing-in-itself a kind of noumenon or object of thought.
Though the term Noumenon did not come into common usage until Kant, the idea that undergirds it, that matter has an absolute existence which causes it to emanate certain phenomena, had historically been subjected to criticism. George Berkeley, who pre-dated Kant, asserted that matter, independent of an observant mind, is metaphysically impossible. Qualities associated with matter, such as shape, color, smell, texture, weight, temperature, and sound are all dependent on minds, which allow only for relative perception, not absolute perception. The complete absence of such minds (and more importantly an omnipotent mind) would render those same qualities unobservable and even unimaginable. Berkeley called this philosophy immaterialism. Essentially there could be no such thing as matter without a mind.
Schopenhauer claimed that Kant used the word "noumenon" incorrectly. He explained in his "Critique of the Kantian philosophy", which first appeared as an appendix to The World as Will and Representation:
The Noumenon's original meaning of "that which is thought" is not compatible with the "thing-in-itself", the latter meaning things as they exist apart from their existence as images in the mind of an observer.