Saturday, June 03, 2006

The depository of the unexplainable

I often wonder to what extent the noumenal world can be used as a depository of the unexplainable, thereby enabling us to indirectly explain that which cannot be explained. When we cannot make sense of something, when there is something that we cannot account for, such as freedom, we can simply save it by placing it in the noumenal world. Here we must make a distinction between different types of unexplainable things. On the one hand, there are those that are inherently unexplainable, i.e. those that lie beyond our cognitive and experiential capacities. On the other hand, there are those that we are unable to explain because even though there is in principle an explanation that we can find, we have not yet managed to find it. Only the former type belongs to the noumenal world. As Kant says in the final section of Groundwork III, we must be able to make intelligible to us the unintelligibility of the thing in question - only in this way are we justified in locating it in the noumenal world.


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