History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Self and space-time

September 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Arnhart comment on Essentialism and Self

Larry Arnhart said,
September 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm ·
So the human self is beyond “the space-time framework”?
I have no idea what you are talking about.
Could you please explain how something is real although it does not exist in time or space?

Larry, if I could answer that question I would be the world’s greatest philosopher, able to resolve Plationic ideas and the rest of it.

The statement is a variant of a Kantian idea: if the mind constructs space/time, then the mind must (at some level, not totally) be beyond space and time.
It is a classic Kantian issue, with respect to phenomena and noumena. Note that the distinction of phenomena and noumena is not the same as material/spiritual and/or existence/non-existence.
As a trained philsopher you should be less surprised that this issue haunts darwinism. You can be a philosopher or a Darwin propagandist. The latter expresses shock at challenges to scientism. The former knows better and sees the plight of science here.
I, for myself, have often considered the Indian Samkhya here: then the answer to your question might be that some aspects of the self (not the self as such) is material in some sense, yet perhaps beyond space and time. Universal materialism by definition, in that framework can have some kind of ‘existence’, whose status we do not understand.

In any case there are plenty of things that are real, but not in space and time: the abstraction of an isoceles triangle: where and when is that in space and time, apart from its realizations as drawn figures?
These issues are not so simple, as you should know. Most regrettably, scientists are trained to be stupid about such classic questions, and trained to do precisely the metaphysical blunders Kant warned against. What a misfortune.
But in general these are the hard questions Kant warns us are not easy to deal with, intractable, and dialectically unstable.

Tags: Kant · Philosophy · Science

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