Thursday, November 24, 2011

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): Space and Time.

Kant certainly deserves great praise for his ability in choosing profound sounding section headings. One that I am looking at is entitled "Transcendental Exposition of the Conception of Space". What could be more profound than that?

A bit earlier Kant writes:

"From this investigation it will be found that there are two pure forms of sensuous intuition, as principles of knowledge a priori, namely, space and time." - The Critique of Pure Reason

To this I must complain that space and time are not known a priori, but rather from experience.  The reasons for this are many, but my professional experience of using n-dimensions and non-Euclidean spaces is partially the reason, while the fact that a computer must be explicitly programmed with things to represent space and time in the same manner as any other quantity has destroyed any hope of me thinking this way.  Einstein is under a bit of pressure recently due to the famous neutrino experiments, but his conception of space and time is radically different from the one of Kant.  At the sub-atomic particle level, new dimensions are apparently required for the experiments.  As such the concept of space and time is ambiguous, being subject to a variety of conflicting representations with Kant's preferred a priori one being known to have many deficiencies.  Thus, I conclude that our conceptions of space and time were derived from our experience as children just as we learned of color, smell, texture and other properties.  Finally, my Christian viewpoint says that time and space are created entities, thus, it is impossible to conceive that they could be a priori realities.

As a further note, the handling of space and time in the Metaphysics does seem to me to be a bit removed from this so that it admits to more than one way of defining space and time.  Rather than space, for example, Aristotle chooses extension, while time is replaced with a sequence of causes.

No comments: