Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The objective validity of 'judgements'

According to Kant, something is only a judgement if it is objectively valid. Otherwise, though it might have the grammatical form of a judgement, it does not classify as a 'judgement'. In the Prolegomena, he makes a distinction between 'judgements of experience' and 'judgements of perceptions'. Only the former properly classify as 'judgements' and it is this sense of the term that he mostly uses in the Critique of Pure Reason. This is the reason why Kant criticises logicians who define a judgement as a representation of a relation between two concepts. (cf. B140-141) Allison, following Prauss, interprets the need of judgements being 'objectively valid' as meaning that they must have a truth-value, not that they must be true. This interpretation seems unacceptable as Kant at several places equates objective validity with truth. For example, at A125 Kant explicitly equates objective validity with truth. Furthermore, in the Prolegomena (Prolegomena, 4:298) Kant states that "the objective validity of the judgement of experience signifies nothing else than its necessary universal validity" and states that this signifies that the "judgement agrees with an object", which is equivalent to the definition of truth given at A57/B82. In addition, Kant's classification does not commit him to the absurd conclusion that "every judgement is true, simply in virtue of being a judgement". (Allison: 2004, p. 88) Allison appears to invert the direction of reasoning - it is not that because it is a judgement that it is true, but that only because it is true that it classifies as a judgement. This implies that there are no false judgements in the sense that nothing that is false will classify as a 'judgement', but this does not bring with it the absurd conclusion that there can be no error.

A similar method of classification can be seen to be at work with respect to the notions of 'experience' and 'imperative'. The way Kant uses the term 'experience' differs from contemporary usage insofar as experience, understood in its modern usage, must be objectively valid in order to classify as 'experience' in Kant's sense. This can be seen when looking at the Transcendental Deduction since it is a strong notion of experience that constitutes the starting point of the Deduction. (cf. Ameriks: 1978) Similarly, every imperative can be expressed as an ought-statement but this does not imply that every ought-statement is an imperative. While all ought-statements are grammatical imperatives, they are not necessarily 'imperatives' in Kant's sense as these are universally valid principles that are necessitating for the will (this includes both hypothetical and categorical imperatives - the former are hypothetically necessitating, whereas the latter are categorically necessitating). Thus, there can be formulations that have the grammatical form of imperatives, such as imperatives of etiquette, without necessitating the will and, accordingly, such statements do not classify as 'imperatives'. We can thus see that Foot's criticisms are misplaced when she says that "[i]t follows that if a hypothetical use of 'should' gave a hypothetical imperative, and a non-hypothetical use of 'should' a categorical imperative, then 'should' statements based on rules of etiquette, or rules of a club would be categorical imperatives." (Foot: 1972, p. 309) No matter what form the should-statement has and no matter how it is used, it only expresses a categorical imperative if it is an objective principle that necessitates the will.

19 Comments:

Blogger Ole Thomassen Hjortland said...

Hi Ralf,

I would like to see the Gallois comments in a post. Any chance of that happening?

9:58 am  
Blogger Bader said...

Hi Ole,

I was planning to keep this blog completely focused on matters directly related to Kant and the occasional identity stuff does not really fit this criterion. Moreover, the paper is not adequate for being posted on a blog since it is rather long and contains lots of diagrams and logical notation. However, if you would like to have a look at it, I would be happy to send a copy to you. (Of course, if you can somehow convince me of a relevant link to Kant's philosophy, then I would be more than happy to try to turn it into a blogable post.)

10:12 am  
Blogger Andreas said...

I don't know if you're interested in this, but the first chapters of Coffa's The Semantic Tradition offer a discussion of how Kant's view were interpreted and, above all, rejected by the fathers of analytic phoilosophy - that is, Bolzano, Frege and Russell.

Especially the first ch. concerns the notion of judgment and analysis, and is only on Kant.

3:17 pm  
Blogger Andrew Roche said...

I have mixed feelings about what you say here. You are, of course, quite correct that Kant occasionally identifies objective validity with truth. You can add to your list A788/B816 (I think there may be other such passages, but I cannot presently find them). But this, in conjunction with Kant’s other uses of “objective validity,” suggests to me that its meaning is equivocal in Kant’s hands. In the Transcendental Deduction, Kant is concerned to establish, among other things, the objective validity of the categories. I think it would be a stretch to suggest that by this he wants to establish their truth. It’s not clear what it could mean for a concept to be true (although cf. A128—but here Kant seems to distinguish the “truth” of the categories from their objective validity).

Also, I wonder whether you read too much into Allison’s “in virtue of.” Isn’t his point just that if all judgments are objectively valid, and if objective validity is truth, then all judgments, for Kant, must be true? This does seem like a bad result. What kind of thing is “All people are doctors” if not a judgment (a false one)? Moreover, there are places, e.g., in the Jäsche Logic, where Kant speaks of false judgments (9:105-06, 116-17).

4:58 pm  
Blogger Bader said...

Thanks a lot for the helpful comment.

I did not intend to say that Kant always identifies objective validity with truth. As regards the objective validity of the categories, I agree that he is not talking about truth. It is the objective validity of judgements that I think Kant equates with truth. (I probably should have made this more explicit in the post.) In the passages I mentioned, he mostly qualifies his discussion of 'objective validity' by restricting its application to judgements, knowledge or experience. For example, at A 125 he is concerned with the objective validity of empirical knowledge and seems to equate objective validity with truth. At 4:298 he refers to the objective validity of judgements of experience. The passage that you mentioned in your comment, namely A 788/B 816, is rather strange. Here he says that "the event, in being represented, has objective validity, that is, truth, only in so far as an object is determined for the concept by means of the law of causality." Here he somehow seems to be saying that the event has truth. I am not quite sure about this passage and will have to look at it in more detail.

My post was mainly concerned with Kant's usage of 'judgement', rather than with his usage of 'objective validity'. The aim of the post was to point out that Kant sometimes uses certain terms like 'judgement', 'experience', 'freedom', 'Gegenstand' and 'imperative' in a strongly honorific sense and that one should always be careful in checking whether one can in fact equate his usage with our current usage. As I mentioned, in the Prolegomena Kant distinguishes between judgements of experience and judgements of perception. It is the former that I was particularly concerned with. However, I agree with you that sometimes it is not clear which of them Kant had in mind and that his usage can be equivocal. As regards your example of "All people are doctors", I would say that it is not a judgement in the honorific sense since it is not true, but that it can nonetheless be called a 'judgement', loosely speaking. One might want to say that it is a failed attempt at a proper judgement, that it tries to be true but fails. For Kant, the truth of the judgement is already included in the notion of a judgement. That is why Kant criticises logicians who define a judgement as a representation of a relation between two concepts. (cf. B140-141) They only look at the structure of the constituents of the judgements. For them something is a judgement if the constituents are adequately related. But Kant, at least sometimes, seems to think that when we are talking about judgements we should take into account whether the 'judgement' is successful and thus deserves the honorific title of being a judgement properly understood. Our current usage, on the other hand, is neutral as to whether or not a judgement needs to succeed in doing what it is supposed to do, i.e. whether or not the judgement is true, if it is to classify as a 'judgement'. Similarly, with respect to experience, our usage is neutral as to whether or not the experience needs to be successful, i.e. whether it must be an experience of reality or whether it must manage to represent reality (or whatever relation one wants). In the case of imperatives, our usage is often neutral as to whether the imperative has to succeed in necessitating the will. Thus, current usage looks at the grammatical form of sentences, at the way the constituents are related, rather than assessing whether they are successful. Kant, on the other hand, often used certain terms in an honorific sense so that candidates were only classified as being instances of these terms if they succeeded in achieving their aims.

I agree that in the Logik, Kant uses the term 'judgement' in a slightly different way. Here, he is more concerned with the structure of judgements, rather than with whether or not the "given modes of knowledge are brought to the objective unity of apperception." (B 141) It seems a bit ironic that Kant criticises logicians in the Critique, while committing the same mistakes that he attributes to them in his own treatment of logic. (I should probably qualify this claim by saying that I am not very familiar with the Logik.)

6:59 pm  
Blogger Ole Thomassen Hjortland said...

Hi Ralf,

(i) Yes, do send me a copy. I'm sure I can find a plausible connection with Kant. After all, it's connected, since everything is.

(ii) I hope you enjoyed your party on Friday. I'm leaving now, but I'm looking forward to seeing you again after the summer. Meanwhile, work hard!

7:21 pm  
Blogger Andrew Roche said...

I did not intend to say that Kant always identifies objective validity with truth. … It is the objective validity of judgements that I think Kant equates with truth.

Fair enough. This is still a bold claim, however. In support of it, you turn to those passages elsewhere in Kant’s corpus in which he seems to identify objective validity with truth. But some of these passages are controversial (e.g., Kant’s discussion of judgments of perception and of experience, in which 4:298 is found); and they are consistent with the suggestion that Kant uses “objective validity” equivocally. More importantly, there is the prima facie weird result that, for Kant, all genuine judgments would be true. Your position would be more compelling, I think, if where Kant says that judgments are objectively valid—most importantly, in §19 of the B-Deduction—you had a rationale for why he would want to identify a “judgment” in this honorific sense and then claim that such a thing is essentially true. But perhaps that is asking for a lot in a blog comment…. :)

Also, what do you make of the passage at A73-4/B98-9, where Kant claims that the constituents of hypothetical and disjunctive judgments are themselves judgments? Thus, his example of a hypothetical judgment is, “If there is perfect justice, then obstinate evil will be punished.” The antecedent is false. I take it that here you would claim that Kant is here using “judgment” loosely?

For Kant, the truth of the judgement is already included in the notion of a judgement. That is why Kant criticises logicians who define a judgement as a representation of a relation between two concepts. (cf. B140-141) They only look at the structure of the constituents of the judgements. For them something is a judgement if the constituents are adequately related. But Kant, at least sometimes, seems to think that when we are talking about judgements we should take into account whether the 'judgement' is successful and thus deserves the honorific title of being a judgement properly understood.

This explanation of what Kant finds wanting in the analysis of judgment provided by “the logicians” is intriguing, and I’d be willing to be convinced of it. But I’m not presently sure what supports it. Besides for focusing exclusively on categorical judgments, Kant criticizes the logicians for failing to determine “wherein this relation [Verhältnis] [between concepts] consists.” Kant then suggests that “a judgment is nothing other than the way to bring given cognitions to the objective unity of apperception.” But this seems somewhat short of saying that judgments necessarily “agree with objects.”

Kant, on the other hand, often used certain terms in an honorific sense so that candidates were only classified as being instances of these terms if they succeeded in achieving their aims.

I’ve mostly aired worries about your post. But here I completely agree. “Experience” is a good example of what is, for Kant, a success word (and many philosophers—although perhaps not, e.g., naïve realists—would agree that today we tend not to use the word this way). I would argue that Kant uses “cognition” and “concept” in both “success” ways and in (if I may) “non-committal” ways. Anyway, this point seems a sound piece of interpretive methodology.

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Ding said...

I´m too lazy to do the research now, but it seems to me that there is a distinction between transcendental and material truth. Material truth is ordinary truth, like when you say that it is true that the car is blue, for instance. Transcendental truth is more like the conditions making possible material truth. I think this is what Allison meant.

7:39 pm  
Blogger Bader said...

Dear Andrew,

Many thanks for another very thoughtful comment.

But some of these passages are controversial (e.g., Kant’s discussion of judgments of perception and of experience, in which 4:298 is found); and they are consistent with the suggestion that Kant uses “objective validity” equivocally.

I have not really looked much at Kant's use of the notion of 'objective validity'. My main interest has been on the other notions I mentioned, i.e. experience, judgement, freedom, Gegenstand and imperative. Now, as regards judgements understood in the honorific sense, I do believe that they should be understood as being judgements that are true. I think that this is supported by Kant's claim that judgements are objectively valid and the claim that judgements relate concepts to the objective unity of apperception (I elaborate on the latter point below). You say that the passages are consistent with the suggestion that Kant uses 'objective validity' equivocally. This may well be so and I have not looked into this in sufficient detail. However, I do think that a strong case can be made for identifying the objective validity of judgements with the truth of judgements. While it is very plausible that Kant uses the notion of 'objective validity' equivocally, I think that this is less plausible once the notion has been qualified in its application to judgements. I do not think that it is weird that objectively valid judgements are true judgements. What is weird is that every 'judgement' is a true judgement. The problem seems to result from the use of the notion of 'judgement', rather than from the notion of 'objective validity'. Alternative interpretations of 'objective validity', e.g. that of Allison and Prauss that equate the objective validity of judgements not with the truth of the judgements but with the possession of a truth-value, seem to be motivated by considerations regarding Kant's use of the notion of 'judgement', not by his use of the notion of 'objective validity'.

More importantly, there is the prima facie weird result that, for Kant, all genuine judgments would be true.

I agree that the result is prima facie weird, but I would like to emphasise that this really is only a prima facie weirdness that should disappear once things have been clarified. His classification does conflict with the way we usually tend to use certain notions. However, if we were to provide adequate definitions and clearly identify which notions are at play in each instance, then the weirdness should go away.

Your position would be more compelling, I think, if where Kant says that judgments are objectively valid—most importantly, in §19 of the B-Deduction—you had a rationale for why he would want to identify a “judgment” in this honorific sense and then claim that such a thing is essentially true. But perhaps that is asking for a lot in a blog comment…. :)

I am not sure to what extent we can find a rationale for Kant's emphasis on using terms in a strongly honorific sense since this really is just a classificatory and terminological point. His criticism of logicians based on the claim that they do not specify what the relation between concepts consists in is a start for giving a rationale. However, the question then arises why this attempt at relating the concepts to the unity of apperception has to be successful. It is at this point that I do not see the possibility of an adequate rationale, but simply think that it is Kant's convention that we have to take into consideration when trying to interpret his arguments.

I take it that here you would claim that Kant is here using “judgment” loosely?

I would be inclined to say this.

But this seems somewhat short of saying that judgments necessarily “agree with objects.”

According to Kant, the copula 'is' is "employed to distinguish the objective unity of given representations from the subjective." (B 142) When the concepts are related to the objective unity of apperception, then we are talking about judgements in the honorific sense. These judgements are objectively and universally valid. They are valid for consciousness in general and not just for my consciousness. It is not just the case that the given representations form a unity in my apperception, i.e. it is not the case that the unity is merely subjective, but that the representations form a unity in apperception in general, i.e. it is the case that the unity is objective. Now, if representations form an objective unity, then this is to say that they do "agree with objects" since objects are nothing but logical constructs out of representations (assuming some form of deflationary or phenomenalist account of phenomenal objects). That is, in a judgement I bring together representations and attempt to relate them to the objective unity of apperception. If I succeed, then my judgement does classify as a 'judgement' in the honorific sense since it is a true judgement. This is because the representations or concepts are brought together in the way in which they objectively belong together, that is, the way in which they relate to the objective unity of apperception. Accordingly, they agree with the objects and are thus true.

Moreover, there is a problem for people who do not want to identify the objective validity of judgements with the truth of judgements. For Kant, a judgement is "a relation that is objectively valid, and so can be adequately distinguished from a relation of the same representations that would have only subjective validity" (B 142). If we understand the objective validity of judgements as their possession of a truth-value, then how should we characterise the relation of representations that only has subjective validity? Should we say that this kind of judgement, understood in the non-honorific sense, lacks a truth-value, that we have a failure of bivalence? This does not seem plausible to me and I prefer to say that these judgements are only subjectively true. That is, this kind of judgement has a truth-value, though it is not objectively true. The representations are in fact adequately related in my consciousness, even though they are not related in consciousness in general. These judgements do agree with the object, but here the subject is the object. They are subjectively true because they are claims about the subject and about the way the representations are related in his consciousness. Allison might say that objectively valid judgements have an objective truth-value, whereas subjectively valid judgements have a subjective truth-value. But what if we want to say that something is subjectively true, but objectively false (if this makes any sense)? Should we say that the judgement is subjectively valid and objectively valid but subjectively true and objectively false. That sounds rather strange and is not much better than the weirdness of having all 'judgements' turn out true.

I would argue that Kant uses “cognition” and “concept” in both “success” ways and in (if I may) “non-committal” ways.

I would be grateful if you could elaborate a bit on this comment. I am inclined to agree with you about 'cognition', but I am not so sure about what it would be for 'concept' to be used in a success way (though I have to think more about it). In particular, in light of Kant's claims in the footnote to Bxxvi I am inclined to think that the term 'concept' is used in quite a neutral way, i.e. there he allows for concepts that do lack objective validity, that do not have real possibility, but are simply non-contradictory thoughts that are logically possible. On the other hand, when appealing to his classification of concepts as representations of representations, then it would seem that here he can more readily be interpreted as using it in a success way. Could you also please elaborate on what exactly you mean by "non-committal".


To sum up, it seems to me that there two issues that are at stake:
(1) Are objectively valid judgements true? - I think that the answer is a clear yes.
(2) Does Kant sometimes use the notion 'judgement' in an honorific sense such that something only classifies as a 'judgement' if it is objectively valid? - I am a bit more sceptical about this issue, though I think that Kant often uses certain notions in honorific ways, including the notion 'judgement', and that it is a good idea when trying to interpret Kant to keep this in mind.

Cheers.

2:02 pm  
Blogger Andrew Roche said...

I do not think that it is weird that objectively valid judgements are true judgements. What is weird is that every 'judgement' is a true judgement.

Right. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. But Kant claims in §19 of the B-Deduction that judgments are essentially objectively valid, which I took to be partial support for your position that “judgments” (properly understood) are essentially true.

I agree that the result is prima facie weird, but I would like to emphasise that this really is only a prima facie weirdness that should disappear once things have been clarified.

Well, yes and no. Yes, in that we are to understand that “judgment” is being used in a stipulative sense; and philosophers are free to stipulate the meanings of the words that they use. But no, in that this sense is non-standard. As a rule—not unexceptional!—philosophers try to use familiar words and familiar ways. So when you say,

I am not sure to what extent we can find a rationale for Kant's emphasis on using terms in a strongly honorific sense since this really is just a classificatory and terminological point.

I’m not quite convinced. This is a very odd sense of “judgment,” and one would expect Kant to be more careful about how he employs it. I do not suggest that this is a reductio of your reading; but it does seem to fall under the “con” column (although I should say that you actually provide most of what I was suggesting that it would be good for you to provide, viz., an analysis of §19; my request was not so much that you defend Kant’s choice of terminology, but that you provide some context so that this choice fits in with his argument).

According to Kant, the copula 'is' is "employed to distinguish the objective unity of given representations from the subjective." (B 142) When the concepts are related to the objective unity of apperception, then we are talking about judgements in the honorific sense. These judgements are objectively and universally valid. They are valid for consciousness in general and not just for my consciousness.

Kant says such things in the Prolegomena about judgments of experience. But these passages are open to interpretation. Another way to go is to say that such judgments ask of all others for their assent. By contrast, with some judgments, e.g., “This orange is delicious,” we do not expect that anyone else assent. Thus,

All of our judgments are at first mere judgments of perception; they hold only for us, i.e., for our subject, and only afterwards do we give them a new relation, namely to an object, and intend that the judgment should also be valid at all times for us and for everyone else…. (4:298; my emphasis).

I realize that this suggestion is controversial, and I wouldn’t expect you to accept it. I do not think that my gloss does justice to Kant’s remarks on judgments of perception and of experience. I just wanted to motivate that it is not obvious that the claim that “these judgments are objectively and universally valid” amounts to saying that they are true.

Now, if representations form an objective unity, then this is to say that they do "agree with objects" since objects are nothing but logical constructs out of representations (assuming some form of deflationary or phenomenalist account of phenomenal objects).

Good. But this point clearly rests on a particular understanding of “phenomenal object.” Not everyone embraces it.

If we understand the objective validity of judgements as their possession of a truth-value, then how should we characterise the relation of representations that only has subjective validity?

Fair point. I think that Kant’s remarks in §19 of the B-Deduction are a mess. Given a reasonable principle of charity, this is at least a point in your favor. My own feeling is that a subjective relation of representations is no judgment at all and that Kant misleadingly suggests that it is with the example “If I carry a body, I feel a pressure of weight.” This certainly seems like a judgment (although note that he does not quite say that this is a subjective relation of representations).

… I prefer to say that these judgements are only subjectively true. That is, this kind of judgement has a truth-value, though it is not objectively true. The representations are in fact adequately related in my consciousness, even though they are not related in consciousness in general. These judgements do agree with the object, but here the subject is the object.

Now I’m a little confused. I thought that for you there are judgments “loosely-speaking,” a subset of which are genuine (=true) judgments. Here you carve things differently, with respect to whether “judgments” are or are not about the subject “judging.” Is your suggestion that genuine (=true) judgments come in two types: object- and subject-related? Or perhaps your point is that genuine judgments are both true and object-related?

I would be grateful if you could elaborate a bit on this comment. I am inclined to agree with you about 'cognition', but I am not so sure about what it would be for 'concept' to be used in a success way (though I have to think more about it).

I see that I wrote this remark carelessly. I would not say that “concept” is used in a “success” way and in a “non-success” way. I would say that “concept” is used in a philosophically-loaded way and in a more familiar way. For instance, Kant introduces an “idea” as a “concept of reason” in the Dialectic. I think that this makes perfectly good sense (e.g., the idea of God as a concept). But compare this to A327-28/B384, where Kant uses “concept” in this way and also in an “honorific” sense. Here, ideas don’t seem to “measure up” to concepts, despite that (as just noted) elsewhere Kant bills ideas as a species of concept.

P.S. Do you prefer to go by “Ralph” or “Bader”?

7:42 pm  
Blogger Bader said...

Right. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. But Kant claims in §19 of the B-Deduction that judgments are essentially objectively valid, which I took to be partial support for your position that “judgments” (properly understood) are essentially true.

My argument was indeed that Kant says that judgements are essentially objectively valid and hence true. I think that the problem is with respect to the weirdness, not with respect to my interpretation of objective validity, i.e. the claim that objectively valid judgements are true is or should be uncontentious. Accordingly, I only need to explain (away) the weirdness of judgements being objectively valid, rather than defending my understanding of 'objective validity'.

Well, yes and no. Yes, in that we are to understand that “judgment” is being used in a stipulative sense; and philosophers are free to stipulate the meanings of the words that they use. But no, in that this sense is non-standard. As a rule—not unexceptional!—philosophers try to use familiar words and familiar ways.

Unfortunately, I am not sufficiently familiar with the writings of Kant's predecessors and contemporaries to evaluate to what extent his reasonably widespread usage of concepts in their honorific sense diverges from common philosophical practice in Germany at that time. Would you be willing to make the same criticism of Kant's usage of other honorific concepts, e.g. experience, Gegenstand, freedom and imperative, or is there something special about judgements to which you object?

(although I should say that you actually provide most of what I was suggesting that it would be good for you to provide, viz., an analysis of §19; my request was not so much that you defend Kant’s choice of terminology, but that you provide some context so that this choice fits in with his argument).

Ok, that makes sense.

Another way to go is to say that such judgments ask of all others for their assent.

I agree that this is a viable strategy, though I do not accept it (cf. below).

I just wanted to motivate that it is not obvious that the claim that “these judgments are objectively and universally valid” amounts to saying that they are true.

I think that the claim "these judgements are objectively and universally valid" does indeed amount to saying that they are true. In my opinion, viable alternative interpretations should not reinterpret the notions of 'objective validity' and 'universal validity' but argue that Kant in this case meant to say something along the lines of "these judgements make a claim to being objectively and universally valid", i.e. they make a claim to being true. Similarly, they would have to reinterpret Kant as saying at B 142 not that a judgement is a relation that is objectively valid, but that it is a relation that is intended to be objectively valid, i.e. true. One of the aims of my post and comments was to show that Allison's strategy of reinterpreting 'objective validity' is not viable. I think that reinterpreting his claims so that judgements try to be true, rather than having to be true, is a viable strategy. However, I do not endorse it for two reasons. Firstly, quite a bit of reinterpreting has to be done and what often seems like a straightforward claim by Kant has to be qualified in ways that are not directly suggested by the sentence (though in some cases, such as the Prolegomena passage that you mentioned, this can be done more easily). Secondly, I think that Kant's general tendency to use terms in an honorific sense supports the claim that he sometimes did the same for the concept 'judgement'.

Good. But this point clearly rests on a particular understanding of “phenomenal object.” Not everyone embraces it.

I am definitely aware of this and would be happy to defend my interpretation of the noumena/phenomena distinction. Moreover, I think that even though the relation is particularly clear within a deflationary or phenomenalist interpretation, it should be possible to provide a reasonably straightforward connection that would hold for other readings. The precise details would depend on the understanding of truth and the relation between representations and objects that proponents of such readings defend.

I think that Kant’s remarks in §19 of the B-Deduction are a mess.

Maybe you are right and Kant's remarks are too confused. However, I am hoping that it should be possible to find a consistent reading of his remarks. Moreover, given his general tendency of using concepts in an honorific sense, it would seem reasonable to expect him to do something similar when it comes to 'judgements'.

Now I’m a little confused. I thought that for you there are judgments “loosely-speaking,” a subset of which are genuine (=true) judgments. Here you carve things differently, with respect to whether “judgments” are or are not about the subject “judging.” Is your suggestion that genuine (=true) judgments come in two types: object- and subject-related? Or perhaps your point is that genuine judgments are both true and object-related?

Genuine judgements, judgements in the honorific sense are judgements that are objectively valid, that are objectively true. They are both true and object-related. Judgements loosely speaking are either false, or if true then only subjectively true, i.e. true but subject-related. So, when I was talking about judgements that are subjectively true, I meant to say that these are judgements loosely speaking. I was trying to point out that people like Allison who want to reinterpret 'objective validity' have problems in accounting for judgements loosely understood that are subjectively valid.

I would say that “concept” is used in a philosophically-loaded way and in a more familiar way.

I definitely agree with this.

P.S. Do you prefer to go by “Ralph” or “Bader”?

Most people call me 'Ralf', though 'Bader' is quite common as well. I have no preference in this regard.

Many thanks.

2:09 pm  
Blogger Andrew Roche said...

Would you be willing to make the same criticism of Kant's usage of other honorific concepts, e.g. experience, Gegenstand, freedom and imperative, or is there something special about judgements to which you object?

There is something special about construing “judgment” as something essentially true to which I object. I’m on board with your suggestion that Kant uses some terms in an “honorific” sense. But I also think—no doubt you do, too—that we should not be too quick to suppose that Kant is using certain words in non-standard ways. I’m less likely to accept doing this (1) the less clear the evidence is that we should and (2) the less standard the usage becomes.

“Experience” is a good example of the opposite. There is good evidence that Kant thinks of “experience” as a success word. Moreover, while I think many of us use “experience” in a way that does not imply success, this is far from unexceptional. It would not be at all strange for someone to say, “I thought I experienced it, but I only imagined it.”

When it comes to “judgment,” however, the evidence for its honorific use isn’t—to my mind—compelling; and more clearly, construing a judgment as essentially true is very non-standard. Indeed, it seems non-standard for Kant. For as you admit, there are a number of places in which he clearly does not use the word in this honorific sense.

I think that the claim "these judgements are objectively and universally valid" does indeed amount to saying that they are true. In my opinion, viable alternative interpretations should not reinterpret the notions of 'objective validity' and 'universal validity' but argue that Kant in this case meant to say something along the lines of "these judgements make a claim to being objectively and universally valid", i.e. they make a claim to being true. Similarly, they would have to reinterpret Kant as saying at B 142 not that a judgement is a relation that is objectively valid, but that it is a relation that is intended to be objectively valid, i.e. true.

Why do you find it more plausible for your opponent to take “objective validity” to amount to “truth” and then claim that judgments try to be objectively valid rather than to take “objective validity” to amount to “having a truth value” and then claim that judgments are objectively valid?

11:08 pm  
Blogger Bader said...

When it comes to “judgment,” however, the evidence for its honorific use isn’t—to my mind—compelling; and more clearly, construing a judgment as essentially true is very non-standard. Indeed, it seems non-standard for Kant. For as you admit, there are a number of places in which he clearly does not use the word in this honorific sense.

Why do you find it more plausible for your opponent to take “objective validity” to amount to “truth” and then claim that judgments try to be objectively valid rather than to take “objective validity” to amount to “having a truth value” and then claim that judgments are objectively valid?


Do you want to deny that he ever uses judgement in an honorific sense, i.e. as being essentially true? I think that though this usage is by far not as common as the honorific usage of 'experience', in certain places, like §19, it is reasonably clear. The question then arises how we should interpret the passages that do suggest the honorific use. There seem to be three options: either (i) accept that sometimes Kant uses 'judgement' in an honorific sense, or (ii) reinterpret the passages so that judgements are seen to make a claim to objective validity without actually having to be objectively valid, or (iii) reinterpret some other notion, such as 'objective validity'.

I accept (i). The honorific usage of 'judgement' is slightly weird, but in my opinion not very problematic. One of the advantages of option (i) is that it requires the least amount of revision and reinterpretation to be done; it takes Kant's words at their face-value. I think that for someone who rejects (i), the most feasible alternative is option (ii). We should thus reject (iii).

While I agree that the notion of a 'judgement' in the honorific sense is weird, I think that it is more weird to deny that the objective validity of judgements amounts to truth. The identification between the objective validity and truth of judgements just seems so clear in a number of passages. Moreover, by reinterpreting 'objective validity' we would be saying that Kant would be using a concept in a non-success way even though that concept is usually understood in a success way. This would make it not only weird but also conflict with his reasonably common tendency to use concepts in honorific ways, whereas the honorific notion of judgements would actually fit into his general tendency. Additionally, option (iii) would involve the reinterpreting of other notions as well since the claim that judgements are essentially true is also explained in other terms. We cannot just restrict our reinterpretation to 'objective validity', but must also reinterpret notions such as 'relating concepts to the objective unity of apperception'. Option (ii), on the other hand, would provide a unified strategy of reinterpretation. Nonetheless, as I mentioned in my previous comment, I reject option (ii) for two reasons. Firstly, quite a bit of reinterpreting has to be done and what often seems like a straightforward claim by Kant has to be qualified in ways that are not directly suggested by the sentence (though in some cases this can be done more easily). Secondly, I think that Kant's general tendency to use terms in an honorific sense supports the claim that he sometimes did the same for the concept 'judgement'.

12:01 pm  
Blogger Andrew Roche said...

Hi, Ralf.

Do you want to deny that he ever uses judgement in an honorific sense, i.e. as being essentially true?

Well, were I to say that I deny this, that might suggest that I have combed through Kant’s texts with this issue in mind and have come to the negative conclusion. My opinion is not so well researched. But so far I’m not convinced that he ever uses “judgment” this way.

I think that though this usage is by far not as common as the honorific usage of 'experience', in certain places, like §19, it is reasonably clear.

Understood. I dispute this, however. Kant does not say in §19 that judgments are essentially true. He says that they are objectively valid. And at a minimum, I don’t think it is obvious that “objective validity,” even when applied only to judgments, always or even usually amounts to “truth.” I also would not grant characterizing, e.g., Allison’s interpretation, as a “reinterpretation,” for this suggests that your analysis is what the text pretty clearly indicates and that someone like Allison must read this away. This is also part of what is in dispute.

In fact, Kant only occasionally identifies objective validity with truth. One passage in which he does this (A125) is cut from the B-Critique. I would not place too much emphasis on its being cut; but it is not irrelevant that prior to §19 of the B-Deduction, there is no (or at least, I am aware of no) place in which Kant identifies objective validity with truth such that he could reasonably expect his reader to take his claim that judgments are objectively valid to be the claim that judgments are (essentially) true.

This leaves what else Kant says in §19. I can see only one piece of evidence that prima facie supports your position that Kant is using “judgment” in some honorific sense, viz., his examples of objectively and subjectively valid relations of representations. It is not unreasonable to think that one is a judgment only “loosely-speaking” and the other has some honorific status. But first, granting this, it leaves open what exactly the honorific status is of objectively valid relations. You seem to suggest it is being (i) true and (ii) about objects. But perhaps its status consists simply in being (ii) object-related? Second, personally, I wonder whether Kant is being rather sloppy, suggesting, when he should not, that an example of a subjectively valid relation of representations is “If I carry a body, I feel a pressure of weight.” This certainly seems like a judgment. And this suggests—as I believe is your opinion—that Kant is countenancing two kinds of judgment here. But I wonder whether he is distinguishing judgment from an association of representations that really doesn’t amount to a judgment (loosely-speaking or otherwise).

We cannot just restrict our reinterpretation to 'objective validity', but must also reinterpret notions such as 'relating concepts to the objective unity of apperception'.

But I can’t imagine why you think that this expression shouts “true judgment” such that those who have an alternative reading are “reinterpreting” it.

I mean none of this as dismissal of your interpretation. You can and should appeal to what else Kant says elsewhere in the B-Deduction and in the Critique, and all told, perhaps this would force us to your position. But the thrust of §19 is less clear, I think, than you suggest.

7:29 pm  
Blogger Bader said...

Understood. I dispute this, however. Kant does not say in §19 that judgments are essentially true. He says that they are objectively valid. And at a minimum, I don’t think it is obvious that “objective validity,” even when applied only to judgments, always or even usually amounts to “truth.” I also would not grant characterizing, e.g., Allison’s interpretation, as a “reinterpretation,” for this suggests that your analysis is what the text pretty clearly indicates and that someone like Allison must read this away. This is also part of what is in dispute.

The dialectic seems to me to be as follows: The natural reading of a judgement being objectively valid is that it is a true judgement. I think that Allison accepts this. He then says that we should not accept this natural reading because it would have the absurd consequence that something is true simply in virtue of being a judgement. To this I reply that once we understand Kant's claims about judgements being (essentially) objectively valid as claims about 'judgements' in an honorific sense, then the absurd consequence no longer follows. Something only classifies as a judgement in the honorific sense if it is true, rather than it being true as a result of being a judgement. Once this is granted, it does seem to follow that we are talking about reinterpretation, about rejecting the natural reading in order to avoid certain consequences to which the natural reading supposedly commits us. Moreover, once it is accepted that the absurd consequence does not actually follow from the natural reading, the motivation for the reinterpretation disappears. All that we are left with is the slightly weird classificatory convention, but as far as I can see Allison is not objecting to this but instead to the absurd consequence.

Then my argument continues as follows: though this stipulation or convention may seem slightly weird to us, it is nonetheless in line with Kant's general tendency to use terms in an honorific sense. Moreover, it may well be that this kind of honorific usage was more common in Kant's days. (As I mentioned before, I lack the historical knowledge to assess the extent to which this classification would really be seen as weird by Kant's contemporaries.) Finally, if it is nothing but a weird stipulation, then I do not see any difficulties arising from it. The advantages of reading Kant in this way are that we can take his words at their face-value and that we can make sense of his claims regarding relations of representations that are subjectively valid and his distinction between judgements of experience and judgements of perception that he makes in the Prolegomena. No reinterpretation needs to be done; we only need to specify in particular cases whether or not Kant is using 'judgement' in an honorific sense or not.

You may, of course, take a different position than Allison and deny that the natural reading of a judgement being objectively valid is that it is a true judgement. If so, some other account of 'objective validity' must be given. I have argued that the suggestion of not being true but having a truth-value is not very helpful since it runs into difficulties with the subjective validity of relations of representations (judgements in the loose sense). Additionally, the suggestion that the objective validity of judgements amounts to their possession of a truth-value is definitely not a natural reading. You say that Kant only occasionally identifies the objective validity of judgements with the truth of judgements and this may be seen as a support for arguing that my reading is not the natural reading. But maybe Kant did not explicitly equate the objectively validity of judgements with their truth very often precisely because he thought the connection was so natural. I just cannot see what else he could have meant by the objective validity of judgements. The possession of truth-values is the closest I can see, but this is neither a natural reading nor very satisfactory for different reasons.

I wonder whether Kant is being rather sloppy, suggesting, when he should not, that an example of a subjectively valid relation of representations is “If I carry a body, I feel a pressure of weight.” This certainly seems like a judgment.

I do not think that Kant is being sloppy here. He is using the same strategy in the Prolegomena where the example is again one of a relation of representations that are only subjectively valid and do not qualify as judgements in the honorific sense (in the Prolegomena terminology they are judgements of perception, rather than judgements of experience).

But I can’t imagine why you think that this expression shouts “true judgment” such that those who have an alternative reading are “reinterpreting” it.

I agree that this expression does not immediately suggest "true judgement" and did not intend to suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, given what he says elsewhere, especially in the Prolegomena, it seems to me to amount to this claim. The point I was trying to make is that there might be some consequences following from interpreting or reinterpreting this expression as not amounting to truth, i.e. we might have to reinterpret our understanding of an "objective unity" or of the "unity of apperception" more generally. That is, he expresses the claim in different ways and any alternative reading must account for all of them.

10:26 am  
Blogger Andrew Roche said...

Ralf, at this point I suppose I have little novel to add. To my mind, a lesson to be learned here is that this is the kind of issue that will ultimately be decided not by specific pieces of textual evidence or counterevidence, but by the overall elegance and plausibility of a reading of Kant’s work in which the claim that, for Kant, judgments (strictly so-called) are necessarily true is embedded. Thus if you have an account that makes Kant’s remarks on judgments of perception and experience seem reasonable and in accord with his claims in the Critique, then this will be far more important than the weirdness of suggesting that Kant thought that all judgments, strictly-speaking, are true.

For all that we’ve discussed, I’m not yet convinced. But I won’t rehash my concerns (although a short note further below).

Instead, I’d like make a point in support of your proposal. One way in which Allison really does have to “reinterpret” the text of the B-Deduction is with Kant’s claim in §17 that “the unity of consciousness is that which alone constitutes the relation [Beziehung] of representations to an object, thus their objective validity….” (B137). This passage has bothered a lot of commentators, not just Allison (see Kant’s Transcendental Idealism, 2nd edition, 174). It bothers me, too. But I suspect that it’s grist for your mill.

Finally: I’m in the middle of rereading the Prolegomena. What do you make of this passage?:

Now since, with respect to the possibility of all experience, if merely the form of thinking is considered in the experience, no conditions on judgments of experience are above those that bring the appearance (according to the varying form of their intuition) under pure concepts of the understanding (which make the empirical judgment objectively valid), these conditions are therefore the a priori principles of possible experience (4:305-06; my emphasis).

I have in mind in particular the phrase that I have emphasized. Given what you’ve said, it seems like you must take this to mean that the application of the categories makes a judgment true. But that doesn’t sound right. It sounds pretty magical that the application of the categories would have this effect. Or so I think.

5:52 pm  
Blogger Bader said...

Hi Andrew,

Instead, I’d like make a point in support of your proposal. One way in which Allison really does have to “reinterpret” the text of the B-Deduction is with Kant’s claim in §17 that “the unity of consciousness is that which alone constitutes the relation [Beziehung] of representations to an object, thus their objective validity….” (B137). This passage has bothered a lot of commentators, not just Allison (see Kant’s Transcendental Idealism, 2nd edition, 174). It bothers me, too. But I suspect that it’s grist for your mill.

Thanks!

Given what you’ve said, it seems like you must take this to mean that the application of the categories makes a judgment true. But that doesn’t sound right. It sounds pretty magical that the application of the categories would have this effect. Or so I think.

My short answer is that this claim has to be understood in light of Kant's discussion at 300-301 where he is concerned with how we can transform judgements of perception into judgements of experience. We achieve this transformation by means of the application of the categories. However, this does not mean that we magically get truth from nowhere since the application of the categories must be warranted. Thus, the claim is not problematic since it is not the case that if we randomly apply the categories to something, then it becomes true. (cf. 299 footnote) Rather, the application of the categories is warranted if the representations are related in such a way that they conform to objects. The application of the categories then ensures that the representations are related to the objects. Before the application, the representations were related in the way that the object is constituted, but they were not related to the object. Since they are in conformity with the object, the judgement is objectively valid and true once the representations are related to the object.

7:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

10:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

12:37 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home