KARL JASPERS FORUM
Response 24 (to S Patlavskiy, C61, and W Adams, C64)
ON BLACK CATS
by Herbert FJ Müller
15 October 2009, posted 24 October 2009
I apologize for the lateness and brevity of this response.
SP writes (C61<7>) that by ‘reality’ he means ‘noumenal reality and phenomenal reality’. Noumenal reality is metaphysical reality which is defined, since the time of Parmenides, as real but unknowable, and outside the subject. It is, he says, ‘thought about’, despite the fact that it cannot be known. My point is that if it is thought about it is evidently in the mind and not mind-independent, which is the reason why I suggest ‘metaphysics-ontology’ needs to be replaced by ‘reality-design’, which is always in the mind as a guideline, known, and open to revisison. Reality-design transcends present (‘phenomenal’) mental structures and this is needed, as SP says, for progress : how can reality be in case we do such and such ? But traditional ‘noumena’ are the proverbial non-existent black cats which metaphysicians often manage to find in a room without light.
WA writes (C64<1>) that the difference between structuring and creating implies ‘that that there are things that do not depend for their existence on human mentality’, in other words that ontology is needed. What WA calls <4> the ‘psychological projection of ontology’ is more easily grasped, it seems to me, as ‘subject(s)-inclusive reality-design’. <5> The ‘grounds for asserting that a thing exists’ : we do say so when our mental structures are thought to be reliable. <6> Objective assertions are helpful, but they are ontology, and go beyond what is needed for ‘reality’. <7> Ontology-metaphysics has caused many problems, and can be replaced by reality-design, which is not assumed to be mind-independent. The moon is our structure, but not our personal free creation as a song is : it is a communal structure <2-3> and thus less open to individual fancy.
Herbert FJ Müller
e-mail <herbert.muller (at) mcgill.ca>