Thursday, September 23, 2010

Necessity, Tautology, and the Empirical

The consequent that seems to be entailed by love, or low self-esteem, or the incomplete work of the painter, is not a predicate distinct from the subject and necessitated by it, but part of the subject itself. To feel gratitude when praised by others, for example, is part of the meaning of low self-esteem. The judgment is analytic.

But an analytic judgment is one in which the predicate forms part of the subject concept, part of the subject as thought of.

"A circle is round." 

is analytic, if to think of a circle is to think of a round figure.

"A circle is that plane figure which encloses the largest area with the smallest perimeter."
is not analytic, because even though it's as necessary as the previous statement, the predicate does not have to be a part of the buejct concept. I can think of a circle without thinking of this property of it. To say that a judgment is still analytic when the predicate is part of the subject, not as thought of, but as existent in rerum natura, would make the drawing of the ddistinction impossible in most of our judgments.

The feeling of gratitude is not part of what we mean by low self-esteem. I can think about low self-esteem without any reference to gratitude, and yet see when it is pointed out to me that there is more than an accidental connection between them.

To call such statements necessary is to take them as prior, and to take them as prior is to say that they are not dependent on experience, and to say that all statements about special types of emotion and desire are not dependent on experience is absurd.

But the mark of prior connections is not our ability to conceive them before they are presented in fact, but simply their necessity. And necessary connections are just as truly presented through the given as any other connections.

That whatever is read is extended is learned through experience, although this does not involve saying that like the statement

"Red coals burn."

it's a mere empirical connection.

But necessity holds only among formal characteristics, such as those studied in arithmetic and geometry, not among such qualitative characters as love, hate, and desire.
That's mere superstition. The statements

"What is read is extended."

"Pleasure is a good."
are just as prior as

"2 + 2 = 4"

I'm not suggesting that in the instances mentioned about mental causality the factors connected and the connections between them can be isolated as they can in these simpler instances. The causal relation is complex, and the relation of necessity is merely one of its strands.

And when we speak of low self-esteem producing gratitude, those two terms are so vague and complex, that if they were fully analyzed, we would see that we had included something in each which was not intimately connected with the other, and omitted from each something that was connected in that way.

But that only proves that in these cases no necessary nexus has been analyzed out yet. The failure to discern connections has been used too frequently to decide against the conviction that we do have insight into why the result occurs in these cases.


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