History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Kant, IQ tests, and the ‘transcendental deduction’

August 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment

One of the problems with discussions of morality is the low intelligence of the discussions involved, including the odd way people of high intelligence avoid hard issues for simplistic subjects from scientism. Here Kant pointed the way beyond simplistic scientism, and, like the North Face ascents, it ain’t easy or pretty. Is it possibly the reason for our flounderings?

Kant’s work shows the way ethical debates are too simplistic, and that, jumping into a bit of science fiction, the evolutionary intelligence of man must move to a higher level before discussions of morality can mature. The TD of Kant (it fades in and out of comprehension for me, but I have never really studied it in a school course, the details are all) is very hard, and, I fear, over-analyzed by academic Kantians who see the parts of the elephant, but not…. Anyway they have done wonders in clarification, and it is a reminder of the level of intelligence to which we might aspire for a true evolutionary future. I say this because Kant’s work often made me think of space aliens with superintelligence tossing off a few TD gymnastics for primitive apes, man. What are we missing?
It is NOT a question of IQ, since all the people with the highest IQ’s are floundering in all directions. Almost all the people with the highest IQ’s are stuck in Darwinism. What are we talking about?

Kant’s TD, possibly a red herring as too complicated to discussion so far, but a majestic moment in the history of philosophy, shows that philosopher’s stumbling on an idea of spectacular beauty and subtlety, and then wrestling with it on the borderline of incoherence. you can see the daring and brilliance of the root idea, which is hard to follow in detail without some scholarly exegeis (which can make it more confusing). Ironically we know he was onto something by the way lesser imitations of ‘transcendental arguments’ by many often critical of Kant’s original version. This arguments are a new way of reasoning. The point is that while you can skip the full sequence of Kant’s reasoning leading to the question of morality, the stages of the first critique, tough nuts to master, though not so hard to unravel in pieces, suggest that noone has the correct foundation for any of these discussions of morality, let alone its (unobserved) evolution. People I suspect recoil to simplistic theories that can sustain their passage near the boundaries of their own self-image as smart. This problem haunts the whole of biology muddling, and the degeneration of discourse into substitute complexities that are easy to understand. In a word, it is easier to look smart following the lazy’s man guide to instant results, via Darwin, and natural selection, and other forms of magical thinking.

Anyway, the discussions of morality and evolution are so strangely dominated by smart people trained to slum it through the brands of scientism. In the process they are trained to be stupid. Science is misleading: 90% is purely mechanical reasoning and deduction.

The problem of Kant’s TD is easily solved if you approach the subject via the foothills and perhaps a slow but steady academic course. But the overall question is the issue of ‘transcendental idealism’ which has been thrown away by all the smart people who gravitate to easy subjects. Strange paradox. But the implications of Kant’s TD are stark, and challenge our assumptions about space and time.

In any case, it is worth studying this historical phase of philosophy to see how it briefly exploded into a new dimension of discourse. By the time of Marx the whole thing was thrown away and replaced with Feuebach. Marx is one of the first of the very smart slumming it in scientism.

Note: I actually recommend bypassing the geometrical opener and TD of the first critique for the dialectic section, and its discussion of the antinomies, and metaphysics: that much is enough to start. And note that Schopenhauer, smarter even that Kant, completely ignored the TD.

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