6.28.2012

Direct Knowledge is only of Universals


A consequence of our definition of the proper object of human knowledge -- the abstracted quiddity of the sensible as represented in the phantasy – is that the human intellect cannot obtain direct knowledge of material things. Direct knowledge is opposed to reflex knowledge, which is a way of knowing that requires the intellect to turn back upon either itself, meaning its own act, or upon another cognitive act.
The argument for this consequence is as follows:

1. The proper object of the human intellect is the abstracted quiddity of the sensible as represented in the phantasy.

2. The abstracted quiddity is a universal.

3. Therefore the proper object of the human intellect is the universal.

The thrust of the argument is that something is known by the intellect only inasmuch as it is intelligible, and that a material object can only be rendered intelligible by abstracting it from the very conditions which make it a material object.  

6.07.2012

Materiality as a Condition for Knowledge


If we say that the proper object of the human intellect is the abstracted quiddity of the sensible as represented in the phantasy, then we are affirming that human knowledge as it operates within the union of body and soul essentially depends upon materiality. This is why the last portion of the proper object’s definition – represented in the phantasy – must be equally emphasized when discussing human cognition. Noticing that brain injuries, intoxication, sleep, etc. disrupt or prevent human learning does not constitute an argument against the immateriality of the intellect. In fact, according to the proper object’s definition, this is exactly what we should expect.