THE ORIGIN OF VALUE IN A TRANSCENDENT FUNCTION

INTRODUCTION

§1 The Nature of This Project

In this section I will introduce the perspective and the program of this dissertation in terms of their ultimate historical antecedents and their broadest conceptual principles. First of all, that will mean a look at Plato and Kant and then a positing and discussion of a number of explicit principles which will be employed, clarified, and developed throughout the text.

The program of this treatise is to set out a theory in answer to certain meta-questions in the theory of value. The meta-questions may be characterized as concerning the epistemology and metaphysics of value. This is a project that goes back to Plato, who remains its first and primary exemplar; and so it is fitting that we should speak of the Platonic meta-questions: how it is that matters of value are known and what sort of existence, if any, objects of value possess in reality.

Plato's answer to his own meta-questions was the theory of knowledge through "recollection" with its ontological presuppositions of the reincarnation of an immortal soul and the vast theory of Forms. While such an epistemology and ontology of value does not provide for any specific content of ethical or political theory, it is noteworthy that the specifics are inevitably colored by the meta-theory. In that respect the shortcomings of this world of Becoming -- that true goodness and justice and beauty are possible in it, if at all, only for the briefest of periods -- cannot fail to have an effect on Plato's ethical, political, and historical expectations. Since the principal expectation is of decay, which is virtually synonymous with change, Plato often presents an incongruous and inappropriate spectacle of preoccupation with how to prevent change in a non-existent ideal state, to the means of whose establishment Plato has correspondingly devoted no theory whatsoever. Thus Plato gratuitously tars himself with an authoritarianism that serves merely to obscure the openness and humanism of the Socratic kernel of his own thought: that each person, merely by accommodating himself to reason, has the same access to knowledge of value as anyone else. This great principle is fully and adequately enshrined, despite the various other shortcomings of the doctrine, in the theory of Forms. A true theory of authoritarianism is to be found more in doctrines where value is based in which is external and actual -- a sphere wherein accidents of birth, education, position, and history are sanctified as the living and tangible exemplars of value.

Thus, through all the chaff, there is in Plato an abiding principle of moral epistemology which has the most profound consequences. This very same principle appears in even greater force, mutatis mutandis, in Kant, where, amid all the typical Kantian clutter, it is simply embodied in Kant's conception of the ontological status and moral epistemological role of reason itself. The categorical imperative is a creation of the faculty of reason which, in its unconditioned employment, according to Kant, demands a universality and limitlessness such as can possibly hold only among things in themselves [2]. Thus the practical employment of reason does what the unconditioned theoretical employment of reason, which only results in antinomies and paradoxes, cannot do. In Kant the dualism between phenomena and things in themselves, or between the conditioned and the unconditioned, serves precisely the same function as Plato's more poetic dualism of Being and Becoming. The connection between the two poles of the dualism is through the lonely consciousness of the individual. At his most poetic Kant puts the matter just right: the starry heavens above and the moral law within [3].

Kant calls his principle that of moral autonomy [4], and no more suitable a term than "self-law" could be found for this notion. In its native land, the mind of Plato, the principle was unfortunately without much honor. Where it is actually absent, where the principle is more one of heteronomy than autonomy, then we will always find some source of authority posited, beyond the reasoning and reckoning of the individual, that will seek to govern, to inculcate, to train, and to control self-determination. For the purpose of this introductory discussion, autonomy is a particularly fitting notion in that it is essentially an epistemological conception of how value is known. Furthermore, Platonic and Kantian autonomy is typically associated with an ontological dualism, which serves to remove value from what is actual, external, and empirical and, preserving its objectivity, to place it where it is privately accessible to each individual. In addition, despite its meta-theoretical character, the concept of autonomy provides an essential framework for the positive content of moral knowledge: certainly Kant believed that the moral law virtually equates wrong with a violating of freely exercised autonomy, i.e. violently, coercively, or fraudulently preventing another from innocently exercising his own choices and preferences. A reasonable expectation of answering the Platonic meta-questions is therefore that the terms of questions of value will thereby be so illuminated that the solution to the actual puzzles of value will be much clearer.

The interconnection between ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics, so well [erratum corrected] illustrated in Plato's Republic, was soon obscured by systematic divisions of philosophy into various disciplines, which has had the effect of leaving ethics detached and isolated. The paradigm for the formal treatment of the question here is the development and progression in Kant's Critical Philosophy from "pure reason" to "practical reason" and finally to "judgment," [5] which represents an ambitious and classic undoing of the historical fragmentation of disciplines. Unfortunately, although the cumulative, interconnected necessity of Kant's system is unavoidable in any kind of complete treatment, the specialist who is accustomed to detaching ethics from epistemology and metaphysics can still simply abstract "practical reason" from its theoretical context and treat the purely ethical issues therein in a familiar dissociated setting. This weakens our awareness of the underlying theory that unites the parts of the system; and while it is not necessarily an error if the concern is simply with the object language of ethics and not any sort of meta-questions, we would be properly sceptical if we happen to think that only minimal progress can be expected in the object language with the meta-questions left unsettled. It is in Kant's more Platonizing successors that the connections between the disciplines are fully appreciated, which is to say in the treatments of Arthur Schopenhauer and the school founded by Jakob Fries [6]. Thus when we come to the Friesian Leonard Nelson in this century, all three Kantian Critiques have been collapsed into one, Nelson's own Critique of Practical Reason, which treats all cross-disciplinary questions in a unified way and which is followed by separate works presenting object language systems of ethics, jurisprudence, politics, and pedagogy [7].

What distinguishes the metaphysics and epistemology of value in Kant and his Platonizing successors will be formulated here as a number of explicit principles. The Platonic meta-questions of value and the principle of autonomy may be taken as two parts of this specification already. The next will be called the principle of epistemological priority. Epistemological priority represents the great Cartesian-Kantian foundation of modern philosophy. It is the thesis that questions of knowing are logically prior to questions of being, in the sense that ontological conclusions must await an analysis or theory of our ability to justifiably draw such conclusions. Little enough in the tradition of modern philosophy has actually obeyed this principle, and it is largely thanks to the successes of scientific method rather than an application of epistemological priority that confident new systems of dogmatic metaphysics, innocent of any critical perspective, have almost entirely ceased to appear. The feeling has tended to become that the in the presence of science and its demonstrable achievements metaphysics is entirely meaningless. In that kind of climate epistemology itself tends to be absorbed into philosophy of science, further and further removed from ethics. Epistemological priority will acquire a much more specific meaning in terms of the principle of the dual nature of representation, below.

The next general principle for this inquiry is that of epistemology as an introspective psychological metalanguage. In teach of its terms, although some modification will be made in their meaning here, this is a peculiarly and distinctively Friesian notion [8], one that is founded on Kant's method in the "Subjective Deduction" of the Critique of Pure Reason [9]. There are two sets of considerations to take into account in explaining the meaning of the principle. First is the more purely Friesian viewpoint of epistemology as a psychological metalanguage. The argument for that conception begins with two observations: 1) that questions of the form "Is knowledge possible?" are unanswerable [10]; and 2) that epistemology, in order to be in fact different from metaphysics or ethics or whatever, cannot be engaged in the proof of propositions in those various systems. These two observations bear on each other and on the nature of epistemological priority in the following way. As we address ourselves to a critique of metaphysics on the principle of epistemological priority, we are of course asking in the first place whether metaphysics is possible at all, whether it does actually or even possibly belong to knowledge. In order for this procedure to avoid circularity, the critique must not itself belong to the object language of metaphysics. If the critique is already part of metaphysics, then we have already supposed that metaphysics is possible just by engaging in the critique. Making epistemology a general metalanguage for the critique of many systems of knowledge is fine, but generalizing epistemology opens the way to a further possible circularity: for if epistemology is to certify that all knowledge is possible, it can only do so by assuming that possibility of its own knowledge, which begs the questions. The situation becomes more acute in terms of Kant's epochal division of propositions into the analytic, and synthetic a posteriori, and the synthetic a priori. While this division will come in for reanalysis later, it can be well taken now that it puts epistemology into a terrible identity problem; for if metaphysics is simply defined as the system of synthetic propositions a priori, then epistemology would have to be either analytic or merely a posteriori and empirical. Neither alternative sounds quite right.

The characteristic Friesian answer to this Kantian division is to say that epistemology (or Kantian critique) is empirical and a posteriori, in particular a part of empirical psychology [11]. Such a move saves epistemology from various kinds of circularity, but at a cost. Here, then, we have the "psychological metalanguage," but now must come the second set of considerations which will make this specifically "introspective"; for the cost of the Friesian move, a cost that grows greater with time, is that psychology, which down to Nelson's time still largely belonged to philosophy, is now an independent experimental science. Consequently, if the spirit of the Friesian answer is to be maintained, the answer itself must be somewhat modified. This may be done simply enough with a recognition of the special status enjoyed by the object of Friesian psychology: it is the entire world taken as a content of consciousness and so as a unique and distinct internal object. Introspective psychology is truly not very conformable to experimental psychology, whose logical extreme is, very properly, behaviorism and neurophysiology. Thus epistemology has a safe empirical field within philosophy, one where the object is in a sense the same as the world but simultaneously so different as to be removed from the realm of direct scientific observation. This also establishes a very strong relationship between epistemology and philosophy of mind.

Introducing this introspective modification, or clarification, into Friesian doctrine is to trade on another fundamental and formative Cartesian-Kantian principle of modern philosophy, which has been called by Robert Paul Wolff the "dual nature of representation" [12]. To hold to such a principle is simply to say that the sum of our immediate conscious contents is all at once and completely both a presentation of the external, intersubjective world and an internal, private, and subjective mental content. That duality is in the same way the basis for Descartes' doubt of the reality of the external world and for Hume's observation that there is nothing in representation to be identified as a substantial soul. In most philosophers there is a powerful tendency to prefer either the internal or the external perspective, taking one pole of the dual nature of representation as real and dismissing the other as an epiphenomenon or an illusion. But there is no overt warrant in consciousness itself for any such preference. Jung incorporates the preference for an internal or external perspective into his typology of personality as the mental orientation of introverts, who prefer the subject, and extroverts, who prefer the object [13]. Here we may go so far as to establish the balance between internal and external as a special principle that will further define our original meaning for the principle of epistemological priority. This may then be called the principle of ontological undecidability, that we are given, as knowledge, the relation between internal and external and so cannot decide, without violence to that given, whether representation is "really" internal in existence or external. Our naive impression is always that it is external, while Cartesian sophistication inevitably reduces it to internal existence, with the connection to what is external in existence left hanging as the "problem of knowledge." Ontological undecidability is rarely encountered in any form in philosophy. In this project an attempt will be made to resolve the paradox it represents, but only after the consequences of the paradox have been fully explored.

The principles I have now set down serve to identify a tradition of philosophic development and an avenue of philosophic thought, well beyond the Platonic paradigm and even beyond the specific principles of Kantian and Friesian traditions, and to indicate the orientation and procedural foundation of this dissertation. In this the precedents of the tradition are not something to be passively revered or minutely dissected and systematized without modification. The tradition is something to be creatively advanced. In an important way that has already happened merely in the identification of the constitute principles of the tradition. On the basis of the (1) Platonic meta-questions of value and the principles of (2) moral autonomy, (3) epistemological priority, (4) the introspective psychological nature of epistemology, (5) the dual nature of representation, and (6) ontological undecidability, I have taken the members of the tradition for the purpose here to be Kant, Fries, Nelson, Rudolf Otto, and C.G. Jung. The novelty of that juxtaposition speaks for itself. Merely to present the thought of any one of these individuals as complete in itself would be to seriously distort the constitute principles. It is especially noteworthy that Jung, who stands last in time and who actually draws together the views of Kant, Schopenhauer, and the Friesian Otto in his considerations, providing the precedent for the identification of this tradition, is usually little interested in casting his thought in purely philosophic form. Very properly as a psychologist, he is more interested in what people happen to believe than in whether those beliefs are true or false. Similarly, Jung's orientation usually does not bring him to a philosophic level of generality. Where Jung's technique becomes important to us is in the sphere of religious beliefs where, like Fries, we will still be left with a residue of Kantian agnosticism: and where, all the same, value will still be accessible to us in terms of the Friesian Ahndung [14], a non-cognitive relation.

The final principle is always the open-endedness of the project. The constant truth of introspective awareness is that belief and desire inevitably overrun knowledge and reasonable expectations. The inevitable errors of our own understanding, while cause for occasional mortification, should be seen more as an opportunity for better understanding in the future. However persuasive our own philosophic system, it is death to be too satisfied with it.

§2 Non-Intuitive Immediate Knowledge

At this point it will be helpful and appropriate to take up one of the most pivotal doctrines of the Friesian tradition. This is more in the way of historical background than an organic part of the theory here; but the notion of non-intuitive immediate knowledge is presupposed by everything, and its profoundly paradoxical nature, which is at variance with contemporary notions of immediate knowledge and intuition, warrants that special notice and treatment be devoted to it. Because of the shortcomings of the Friesian theory, principally in that it is negatively formulated, i.e. non-intuitive immediate knowledge is not this and not that, this discussion best belong to the introduction, to be set down and then usefully compared with the positive theory presented later. In the text I will be more concerned with answers, both to Kantian problems, which are matters of general knowledge, and to the Friesian problems, which are not.

Non-intuitive immediate knowledge is the category to which Fries and Nelson assign the knowledge that belongs to the object language systems of metaphysics and ethics, as opposed to the empirical category to which they see epistemology itself belonging [15]. Here "intuition" is used for the German Anschauung as used by Kant and the Friesians, and it does not mean "intuition" either in the ordinary sense of a spontaneous belief or in the similar philosophic sense. In Kant the notion of intuition originally seems to be the equivalent of perception and perceptual knowledge [16]. The conception becomes confused, however, when Kant himself appears to conclude that perception cannot be knowledge, or even perception, without the mental activity of synthesis. The conclusion would reduce "intuition" to no more than a pre-conscious receptivity of the senses. Intuition as "immediate" knowledge would also thus become impossible, since knowledge would require the mediation of the intellect to become knowledge. Friesian theory accepts Kant's earlier notion of intuition as being immediate knowledge, albeit not conceptually articulated in any way. Nelson's point in that regard [17] is that not all knowledge can be mediate, or conceptual, because all conceptual propositions, except tautologies and contradictions, are essentially arbitrary and must, for their truth or falsity to be determine, be referred to some external ground. The "external ground" then for perceptual knowledge is immediate knowledge in perceptual intuition, which as such cannot be any kind of belief or thought. In this respect the Friesian theory of truth [18] is a combination of traditional correspondence and coherence theories [19]: coherence in that the conceptual expression and the immediate knowledge both belong to consciousness, and must merely be made to conform to one another; and correspondence because immediate knowledge is a representation of the external world and so, on the principle of the dual nature of representation, the external world itself, requiring that the purely mental entity, the belief or the propositional representation, corresponding to the world, must be mediately constructed. By the principles of the dual nature of representation and of ontological undecidability we may consider the Friesian doctrine of truth to be the equivalent of the strongest traditional correspondence theory, that there is an isomorphism between truth in internal representation and states of affairs in the external world.

The difference between intuition and immediate knowledge is that the concept of intuition contains the added feature of immediate awareness -- that the intuitive ground is explicitly present to consciousness. The intuition that we have is perception, and the objects of perception are empirical objects. Since we are ordinarily strongly inclined to believe that knowledge implies awareness of knowledge, it is a very powerful tendency to equate our intuition with our immediate knowledge as such. That gives rise to what Nelson calls [20] a "dogmatic disjunction" in the attempt to formulate the nature of the ground of metaphysical knowledge: that any knowledge is either from intuition or from reflection. This is to say that any case of knowledge is either mediate, involving concepts and thought, where through reflection new knowledge can be generated, or immediate, where all immediate knowledge is intuitive.

Given the "dogmatic disjunction" as the starting point, Nelson sets out a simple axiomatic system to demonstrate the various epistemological approaches to metaphysics [21]. If one accepts (1) the disjunction and also accepts (2) that metaphysical knowledge is possible and that (3) our intuition is empirical, then the only possible conclusion is that the source of metaphysical knowledge is in reflection. For Nelson that is the nature of the traditional system of "dogmatic" or speculative metaphysics. Those systems may be relatively naive, relying on Euclidean sorts of proofs and "self-evident" premises whose self-evidence remains an unexamined claim, or they may be relatively sophisticated with peculiar doctrines of logic (as with Hegel) to account for the manner in which thought generates new knowledge. Dogmatic metaphysics is untenable, however, once it is realized that reflection cannot generate knowledge that is not already implicit in its datum. Logical derivations and analytic truths are no more than rearrangements of what is given. The speculative generation of scientific hypotheses escapes the failing of dogmatic metaphysics because scientific method looks to the empirical verification or falsification of the hypotheses. That way is not open, by definition, to metaphysics.

With a new premise that reflection is essentially empty of any new ground or source of knowledge, we cannot accept all of the original three premises of dogmatic metaphysics. Rejecting premise (2) that metaphysical knowledge is possible results in the conclusion of empiricism that all synthetic knowledge is ultimately grounded in empirical intuition. Rejecting premise (3) that all our intuition is empirical results in the conclusion of mysticism that metaphysical knowledge is possible because we possess, or can possess, a special intuitive ground for it. That final alternative, which Nelson calls "Criticism," is to reject premise (1), that "dogmatic disjunction," and conclude that there is a third source of knowledge besides intuition and reflection. Since a division into mediate and immediate is logically exhaustive and we already accept that mediate knowledge, or reflection is empty, then there must be immediate knowledge which is not intuitive. This must actually mean that we are unconscious of the non-intuitive immediate ground. The knowledge itself is neither believed nor thought, as such, and it is not explicitly present to us as the table or chair is perceptually.

The "Critical" conclusion tells us nothing positive or definite about what non-intuitive immediate knowledge must be. Even to be legitimately forced to a conclusion that some immediate knowledge is not intuitive obviously does not tell us what it is, and so I characterize this as a merely "negative" theory which must remain inadequate for that reason -- as we are left to wonder what kind of knowledge we could possibly possess without being aware of it. The conception is by no means new, however, for it corresponds to one of the most characteristic and important doctrines of Plato: namely that what we think we know is only opinion and what we really know we actually don't know that we know. Plato's explanation for that condition was also characteristic, and paradoxical, not fitting precisely into either the dogmatic or the mystical categories of Nelson's analysis; for Plato held that our metaphysical knowledge is a momentarily forgotten memory of a prenatal intuition. This is ultimately an appeal to intuition, but in present time it is only an appeal to memory. In his own way Plato thus approximates, with a positive doctrine, the conditions of non-intuitive immediate knowledge: that it is known but not a[t] first known consciously.

The first questions about non-intuitive immediate knowledge would be how it comes to be consciously known, having been unconsciously known, and then how we know that it is what we think it is. In Kant's classic terms those are the questions of the quid facti and the quid juris [22]. The quid facti, the conscious possession of the non-intuitive knowledge, is obtained by reflection, specifically by taking our ordinary native acts of judgment as objects and then by abstracting from them the forms or presuppositions they had unconsciously employed [23]. Since the presence and focus of consciousness is in its object, the forms or rules by which the object is known, or generated, are themselves not perceived; but taking consciousness itself as an object can easily bring those presupposed forms into the objective focus, making possible their entry as such into consciousness.

One of the nicest examples, from outside philosophy, of the quid facti is the recognition of grammatical rules of language -- a case that will be discussed in more detail in the theory of consciousness. Language as an elaboration of consciousness by which objects are conceptually articulated contains many forms that are not intuitively known; and there is no more conspicuous a contrast than in a child between the fearful complexity of rules that are so easily manipulated with respect to their objects yet so securely hidden in themselves. Another sort of conspicuous contrast is when a language teacher insists on the correctness of palpable grammatical archaisms yet usually entirely fails to employ them in ordinary speech. Obtaining the quid facti is simple in principle, but in practice reflection is never as easy as it seems it should be.

The quid juris is a much larger question and naturally draws in again the discussion above concerning epistemology. One thing that we expect of epistemology is that it will describe the ground of the justification of propositions. In Friesian theory a proposition can be grounded or justified in one of three ways [24]: 1) Proof, which is justification by logical derivation. Tautologies, analytic propositions, can be proven, given the rules of logic, by themselves; all other proofs require premises, which outside of logical are ultimately going to be synthetic. 2) Demonstration, which is justification by the display of an intuitive ground. In daily life this is the most conspicuous means (apart from arguments from authority), not just of the justification of belief, but of the origin of ordinary knowledge. And 3) Deduction (in Kant's legalistic sense [25]), which is justification by means of a description of the non-intuitive ground of the belief or proposition. "Deduction" is the peculiar Kantian vehicle for dealing with non-intuitive immediate knowledge, and it is the theoretical heart of Friesian introspective empirical epistemology. "Proof," "demonstration," and "deduction" are terms that all traditionally mean proof; but Demonstration and Deduction in these new Friesian sense are in no way logical derivations in the object language. Demonstration is merely a showing of the obvious. Where the obvious is no longer present or escapes the nature of our perceptions, then other considerations come into play. Deduction is a showing of the unobvious, but still importantly a showing. Deduction cannot logically prove the propositions in question [erratum corrected] any more than the demonstration of an intuitive ground can. But the cognitive force of each is the same.

Nelson's conception of Deduction seems to be that it is sufficient to show that the ground of the object language propositions must be non-intuitive [26]. That would seem to be only half the answer, however, having said what the ground is not while leaving the question unanswered what the ground is, providing no general theory of the ontology of the non-intuitive ground of various object languages. A consequence of that is that the various object languages, once identified as such, remain isolated from each other, each a solitary universe of thought maintained solely by Nelson's "self-confidence of reason" [27]. The ontological ground of the difference, for the Friesians, seems to be lost in the unknown qualities of things in themselves.

In this dissertation the emphasis is very different from Nelson's; for the concern here is a positive and constructive theory of the interconnected system of non-intuitive grounds, in particular what it is that distinguishes theoretical from practical consciousness or what it is that supplies the peculiar force of "ought" to moral commands. In Friesian theory such things must be shelved as inexplicable givens. Of course explanation can never mean replacing the immediate, practical force of moral value with some sort of theoretical understanding that will have the same effect. Explanation is descriptive, especially explanation in this case as Kantian Deduction, and it will be only descriptive of a certain ontological articulation that in the end will be crystallized in the various modes of theoretical and practical necessity. This may result in more metaphysics than Kant might have liked, but it will by no means eliminate the limitations of our rational knowledge.

§3 The Argument and Division of the Subject

The argument of the dissertation represents a logical progression that may be characterized, for want to a better term, as "dialectical." This should be taken first of all in an Aristotelian sense as meaning that the argument is neither a deductive geometrica demonstratio nor an inductive generalization [28]. It may be further taken in a limited Hegelian sense as involving a theoretical progression of thought independent of modern scientific hypothesis and experimentation. One of the most distinctive theses of the argument, moreover, is that propositions of fact and propositions of value belong to axiomatically independent systems, and this makes it obviously and immediately of essential concern how any such argument, without special principles of logic after the manner of Hegel's dialectic, is to progress, as good Aristotelian science should, from the more evident truths of matters of fact to the less evident truths of matters of value.

The simple, elegant, and powerful answer to the dilemma, derived from Jakob Fries, [29] is that the dialectical argument is a metalanguage, independent from both the object languages of empirical fact and the object languages of value. The connection between the axiomatically independent object languages of fact and value becomes the objective connection between their respective ontological cognitive grounds. A simple metaphor for this is that, as we walk around a building, describing its various aspects, we have a sense that there is a unity and coherence to our account, not because of any deductive or other internal connection between our statements, but because of the unity and independent coherence in the object. Furthermore, while it may be an obviously arbitrary matter, from a logical standpoint, where the description of the building begins, we may also say that there is a certain priority of coherence in any procedure of description: that the front of the building should be described before the sides, or that the outside should be described before the inside. That kind of priority also depends on the special nature of the structure of the object. In this the terms of Friesian theory must be kept in mind. The object language systems are givens and cannot be proven in the metalanguage; and although this is a Kantian-like argument and is similar to Kant's argument from the "principle of the possibility of experience," it is not an inference dependent on the truth of the object languages, as Kant's argument can be construed to be [30]. Instead, as an introspective psychological metalanguage, the dialectical argument has its own special object, the world as mental content, and that is its primary datum independent of the content of all object languages.

To the dialectical argument, the cognitive ground of propositions of fact and value is in the real objects of the world, the Aristotelian pr˙octai ous˙iaai, "primary substances." The fundamental distinction between the cognitive ground of fact and value corresponds, after the manner of Plato or Kant, to an ontological distinction, namely the Kantian one between (1) objects in so far as they appear to us with a dependent and relative reality and (2) objects in so far as their appearance represents an independent existence separate from our own. In these terms it is helpful to formulate an explicit ontological "principle of separability," for the most important and distinctive difference between attribute and substance or, in the Kant analogue, between phenomena and things in themselves, is that the former cannot be separated from and exist independently of the latter, while substances or things in themselves are fully independent and separable from each other. Thus, phenomena as the relative reality of external objects in perception are wholly dependent on the substantial existence of the perceiver, while objects in their own right can be removed from the perception or presence of the perceiver yet retain their own characteristic reality. The paradox of the principle of ontological undecidability is precisely that we must regard phenomenal objects as both separable and inseparable, independent and dependent.

As in the case of approaching the outside and the front of a building to begin its description, the ontological description, with more compelling reason, begins with what is concrete, evident, and intuitive: the immanent reality of phenomenal matters of fact in consciousness -- where "immanent" and "phenomenal" are virtually synonymous. There, in the most familiar context, the ontological and epistemological issues that determine the nature of the theory of value are introduced, debated, and given their characteristic answers. There the dialectical argument comes to depend already on one fundamental observation: that the sensible material content of experience may with equal force and equal justice be attributed either to external objects as the content of their real character or to the internal self as the content of a perceptual mental state. This is just another aspect of the principle of ontological undecidability, and in it ontological and epistemological issues come together. The ontological distinction between external and internal is purely formal; and it may be identified as the primitive instance of the form of intentionality as described by Brentano, Husserl, and other Phenomenologists [31]. Thus internal means the existence of, or the dependence on the existence of, the subject, as the external is the existence of, or the dependence on the existence of, the objects that appear in perception. The formality of this distinction is to be contrasted with the materiality of the sensations, forming the material content of perception, which may be attributed to either the internal or the external. A sensation as such is unavailable to us, for even something as minimal as a "patch of blue" must be perceived or conceived in relation to a subject and an object. The difference that must be posited here with Phenomenological intentionality is that for us the form is not taken to be subjective in immediate knowledge: the matter is stated as the principle of the dual nature of representation or that of ontological undecidability, that we are primitively given the relation of knowledge between external and internal, or between subject and object, and that there is not sufficient reason to assign priority to one pole of the relation or the other.

The relation of intentionality is not, indeed, entirely symmetrical. In our naive and intuitive relation to the world it is the external pole of the form that is given. The internal pole waits to be appreciated through reflection. The external relation -- the attribution of the material contents of perception to external objects -- is compelling in its immediacy, and every sense of naive realism or assurance in the existence of the external world rests on the intuitive force of that relation. Similarly, once the internal perspective is appreciated fully, as it was in Descartes, then we are ever in danger of becoming trapped by the logic of solipsism -- even when we persist in rejecting the conclusion. In the history of modern philosophy it has been a continual struggle to decide which competing claim will be acknowledged or, what is worse, how the one claim to priority being conceded the other can be sustained thereafter in any credible way. And if, at the logical extremes, our choice is merely between solipsism and materialism, then the inner perspective has really already lost the practical contest. But in fact neither claim can be given exclusive legitimacy, and to do so is inevitably to lose half the significance of reality.

The pernicious dilemma of the "problem of knowledge" in Descartes may be said to follow from two simple, and reasonable, errors. First, he believed that because the material content of consciousness, namely sensation as it constitutes perception, depends for its existence on the existence of the subject (it has internal existence) and is only causally related to external objects, then internal existence must be known as external existence is not. The soft version of that is doubt about the character of external objects; the hard version is doubt about the reality of external existence. It was not until Hume that recognition came that the existence of the subject, internal existence, actually offers no more for our inspection than does external existence, so that doubt about one should logically become doubt about the other also. The problem that everyone has stumbled over may be well enough understood by taking to heart Husserl's definition of consciousness (and intentionality) as being consciousness of [32]. Thus we should say that whatever is in consciousness does not intend consciousness but instead refers those contents of consciousness to something else. Thus we are bound to admit that the existence of consciousness is not itself known when all of its cognitive contents are referred elsewhere. When consciousness is referred to by itself, it can only do so by constructing a similitude of an external object -- a process which Descartes mistook for an immediate and intuitive self-certain perception. The essential feature of the situation, then, is the material unity of the contents of consciousness, which is an epiphenomenon that is shared by perceptual external existence and reflective internal existence.

Descartes' second error, related to the first, was that internal existence, which he presumed to be immediately known by the contents of consciousness, is a separate, distinct, and radically different substance from external existence. Thus external existence meant material substance, an extended plenum; and since, on reflection, he did not find any internal space analogous to external space, he characterized the soul as an unextended, conscious substance. Descartes is led into this sort of dualism because he has hastily stated the matter in traditional ontological terms (although refined to the crisp opposition of substances by his own insights, and hasty only in terms of his own self-professed caution and scepticism) and has dropped out the relation which is the epistemological given, the relation of intentionality without which subject and object could not be distinguished and so without which there would be no possible ground for drawing the sort of ontological conclusions that seem to make the relation itself impossible.

Given the indifference with which the sensible material content of experience may be ascribed to either pole of the relation of intentionality, we are then left with the poles themselves as such as no more than empty abstractions. This emptiness is significant, for it stands as the place-holder for the transcendence over consciousness or the existence which external objects and the internal self possess. This leads to a distinction that may be borrowed from Heidegger, [33] that the material content of experience gives us the whatness, the positive predicates, of the ˙oanta, the beings, of the world, while the empty dual poles of intentionality give us the pure existence, the eînai or Being, the thatness, of the objects that exist. This distinction gives the first two major divisions of the dialectical argument and of the dissertation, between the theory of immanence or consciousness and the theory of negative transcendence or existence. Here "negative transcendence" signifies the negative fashion in which transcendence has been defined, as no more than a privative term, the non-immanent or non-phenomenal. The privation, indeed, is of the material content that ontological undecidability removes from both internal and external existence. This privation will mean two things to us, however, first as a permanent presence of emptiness, like the void of the Atomists, and second as no more than as a logical receptacle that we expect to fill as soon as the paradox of ontological undecidability is resolved. The privative term, therefore, has a positive meaning as an ontological emptiness and a negative meaning as no more than a placeholder for something else.

If we are not simply to resolve ontological undecidability by choosing one of the traditional alternatives -- ending up back where we started -- then a certain revolution in perspective is required to fill the receptacle of negative transcendence. This change may be described as a continuation of Kant's "Copernican Revolution," whereby the theory of positive transcendence reexamines sensation, first of all, as itself the content of existence, the Parmenidean plenum of Being, and comes to consider the form of intentionality and its abstract poles as belonging properly to the immanent in the place of sensation -- hence the Copernican transposition, so that the Cartesian substances vanish as no more than perspectives within positive transcendence. The dialectical argument thus breaks into halves, first immanence and negative transcendence, second positive transcendence, which we shall see is the theory of value proper.

The principal task of the theory of immanence is as a theory of knowledge according to which value may later be easily subsumed as an object of knowledge. At the same time related ontological and psychological problems can be dealt with. As a general theory of knowledge, the range of issues is of course potentially very extensive, and it will be necessary both to treat the matter summarily, to avoid the extensive and interesting but essential tangential digressions, and to indicate firmly the points of divergence with more familiar and accepted forms of contemporary epistemology. The psychological aspect of Friesian theory of knowledge is especially prominent in the first project of the theory, a clarification of the meaning of understanding. In the theory of understanding it is argued that in general conscious judgment or the possibly arbitrary decisions inherent in explicit linguistic expression are actually secondary displays in consciousness, subordinate to the understanding which belongs more to the (Freudian) preconscious [34] than to consciousness. Knowledge of value shares these very same characteristics and differs from understanding only in being immediate, i.e. lacking the presence of belief and the power of mediate expression. The theory of understanding thus removes us from the deceptive presence of judgment and statement, where propositions of value are formally identical to propositions of fact, to the inarticulate source underlying consciousness, where in the distinctions of existence value and fact are radically different.

The second major project of the theory of consciousness is the sense in which necessity belongs to all knowledge properly so called. This is a Platonic thesis and is of course closely related to Kant's concern with synthetic necessary truth a priori. In the dialectical argument, there are various modes of necessity, of fact and value, distinguished according to their ontological ground. The modes of necessity amount to eight in the end (with an additional special non-cognitive mode, numinosity), but for the theory of consciousness only three are germane. In the argument for those three, however, the major barrier must be overcome of the nearly overpowering sense, derived from logic, that there is only one mode of necessity, the analytic. The second mode of necessity, then, is similar to Kant's synthetic necessity, while the third is the result of a renewed consideration of the problem of future contingency in Aristotle's On Interpretation. The net effect, therefore, is to provide for the possibility of the necessary grounds for knowledge of value in the theory of positive transcendence and to indicate how such grounds may be articulated.

Where the main task of the theory of immanence was to establish the epistemological conditions for a theory of value, that of the theory of negative transcendence bears more on the ontological problems. This ontological concern, in turn, and with a clear increase in Realism with respect to Kant, falls under two divisions, the questions of space and of time. Theoretical knowledge presents a static picture of the world, even when it describes change -- which is to say, it presents a series of states of reality, which it supplements with rules to account for the transition of one to the other. In the theory of negative transcendence, the first issue, the nature of space, is basically one of state and so continues the theoretical perspective from the theory of consciousness. There are two major perspectives in the theory of space. First there is the positive ontological argument of space as the presence of Being in the full Eleatic sense. This, in turn, in the theory of positive transcendence, will correspond to the real presence of value together with the phenomenal and factual attributes of objects. Eleatic space is also still the principium individuationis of Schopenhauer, [35] and the salient meaning of that is as the embodiment of the previous principle of the separability of substance, such that space is the real nexus of separation between real things, which is no more than how we ordinarily envision the matter. The reality of individuation, which Schopenhauer considered to be an illusion, then becomes the ontological basis for the articulation of the various modes of value in the theory of positive transcendence.

The second perspective in the theory of space is that the abstract emptiness of negative transcendence is in fact a concrete presence also: that the emptiness of space is a reality of experience, as it is the nemesis of theories of space from the Eleatic-Atomist dialectic [36] to the ether-curved-space theories in modern physics. This perspective serves to keep in place the more traditional and Eleatic first perspective on space; for negative transcendence remains a paradoxical duality, a genuine presence of emptiness and a placeholding receptacle for positive transcendence.

The theory of time begins to open the practical field of value. The theory of time is the theory of change, and change expresses itself in the dual necessities of causal change and purposive change. In this the sense of the dynamic and the practical takes over from that of the static and theoretical, while the transcendent ceases to be something that is a removed abstraction or a receptive emptiness and becomes the powerful presence of the future pressing down on the immanent states of the present. In the theory of negative transcendence itself, both theories of change, causal and purposive, have something of an Ideal existence in Kant's sense, as necessities of thought whose material ground is not available for our inspection [37]. This limitation is resolved for the problems of purpose and free will in the theory of positive transcendence. For causal change, however, the external ground of the necessity of natural law never becomes available for our inspection. It is evident, however, that by the technique of hypothesis and experiment the character of this ground can be inferred. The success of such inference is manifest in the modern technological sense of "practicality" that signifies the manipulation and control of the forces of nature -- the Pragmatic justification that "It works" derives its character both from the hiddenness of the real ground and from our practical success at approximating it.

In the theory of time, the fundamental distinction between cause and purpose is that the occasion of change, the immediate conditions and circumstances that initiate it, is given by the contents of past and future, respectively. In this, purpose temporarily retains a wholly Ideal character in that the future remains for negative transcendence as empty and characterless as space, while cause finds its theoretical culmination in the circumstance that the material contents of the immanent serve as the causal occasion of change. The content of the past (or, more properly, the perfect aspect, after the evaluation of the problem of future contingency mentioned above) is at once the occasion for present change and shares the character of the hidden ground of causal necessity in that the occasions of the past become matters of inference -- whose character, unlike the ground of necessity, may become entirely and permanently lost even to inference.

The boundary between the problems of space and time in the theory of negative transcendence is the major watershed between the overall foci of matters of fact and matters of value. Once in the theory of positive transcendence, the Cartesian paradox of the cognitive connection between internal and external is resolved by the dissolution of the dualism of negative transcendence into the unity of positive transcendence, mirror-imaging the unity of the immanent relation. The extension of Kant's "Copernican Revolution" is that the very thing that constitutes the immanence of the immanent relation -- the material content of sensation -- and which remains in Kant as the special contribution of the object (after the forms of objectivity have been removed from the object and given to the synthetic power of the subject) is the proper solution to the notion of the thing in itself in Kant and Schopenhauer. Where before the sensible content was the characteristic of the immanent while the empty poles of the relation of internal and external were characteristic of the transcendent, now, in the mirror-image, the sensible content is the reality of existence within which the form of intentionality establishes a relation.

Sensation assumes a dual character: on the one hand as a causal product in the immanent context, subjective and abstracted from any external object; on the other hand as the plenum of positive transcendence, the very way that we naively take colors, texture, and solidity as belonging to all the objects of our experience. Sensation also assumed an additional dual character: just the same as the distinction between static and dynamic, theoretical and practical, fact and value. In that dichotomy the first treatment of value is as sensation in its immanent causal context: pleasure and pain are divorced from their objects (i.e. causes), causally determined, and overwhelmingly immediate and intuitive. The category of pleasure and pain occurs because, even though positive transcendence means that the transcendent content of all objects of experience is available to us, it is only our own existence and transcendence that are present to us identically and inseparably. Thus we do not suffer the pains or experience the joys of other objects, even though we may derive pleasure from their presence or their beauty. Despite the minor place that pleasure and pain find in the whole theory, the arguments of hedonism may be well taken in the sense that pleasure is the good in so far as we exist ourselves and are not merely disembodied spectators on objective, purposive value -- though of course the meaning of "good" is ontologically more fundamental than this, and we must not think that "good" can be defined as pleasure when the general meaning is so greatly restricted by the specified limitation. As the natural and causative reflex of positive transcendence, pleasure as the good does not merit the distrust or outright rejection with which it has been regarded by Plato and various subsequent traditions of ascetic and world-denying philosophy and religion. Pleasure is clearly vulnerable to the causes of the world in ways that often seem to hopelessly couple it to inevitable pain and suffering, but evil in thought and spirit is no less strongly coupled to its corresponding goods, as religions at their best tend to recognize. In the end, the theory of positive transcendence must hold that innocent pleasure, of any type, is as fully worthy a mode of value as any degree of ethical goodness or spiritual beauty.

Since Aristotle very little serious creative thought seems to have been given to the meaning of purpose -- at first because the Aristotelian treatment seemed adequate, later because the task at hand was to rid empirical science of anthropomorphic purposiveness. When psychological behaviorists then turn around and attempt to rid psychological analysis of purposiveness, it should be evident that a very peculiar failure of theory has taken place. The scientific preference for causal explanation, while appropriate in its context, is on a broader perspective a serious distortion of reality, equivalent and conformable to a preference for one or the other of the internal and external perspectives that are equated by the principle of epistemological priority. In the theory of positive transcendence, purposive change is the inversion of causal change, meaning that where the occasion of causal change is a specific state of external conditions, immanent and factual, the occasion of purposive change is dynamic and transcendent: to be variously characterized as will, reflecting a pure and empty potential as negative transcendence, or as value, signifying the plenum of positive transcendence as a hidden but suddenly uncovered reality of the Platonic Forms, Kantian thing in itself, or Ideas of Schopenhauer.

The conception of value is reminiscent of the apparent doctrines of Nietzsche and some Existentialists whereby value is created by acts of will, or again of Heidegger where periodic uncoverings of Being dispense new versions of truth [38]. Each of these, however, comes down with force on the side of value as essentially arbitrary and subjective -- a doctrine which, however transparently supportive and comforting to beliefs we may have concerning individual responsibility, self-determination, and cosmic freedom (which is the appeal I take it to have in this era), becomes virtually meaningless on the meta-level of denying to forces contrary to our ideals their right to carry out their various intolerant programs. I take the subjectivist views to be equivalent to the relativism of Protagoras, which I take to have been decisively refuted by the "turning the tables" argument in Plato's Theaetetus [39].

The question for the dialectical argument is still the Socratic one: that true knowledge of value seems to exist both without being explicitly known and together with various conscious opinions that may contradict it. The Platonic program of philosophy is thus always to seek to discover if and how such a situation could be true and if so then how value enters into conscious action and how it may be brought to light from that context. An act of will is thus to be taken always to embody an implicit purpose which is an act of non-intuitive immediate knowledge of value, an occasion of positive transcendence. To reflect on our own acts is consequently the essence of Socratic ethics: as we form grammatical sentences in the natural languages we speak with only the dimmest awareness of the many rules we employ governing well formed and intelligible statements, so do we usually pay little attention to the rules of value that our deeds reflect. And, as in the language again, the profound inquiry is not into the transient rules of time, place, and culture, but into the "universal grammar" [40] which governs discourse, governs indeed the formation of specific linguistic rules, whatever the terms or conditions.

There is a great variety in the articulation of purposive value. As "purpose," the point of view on value is always from the ego and the personal will. In those terms, the formative distinctions concern whether the will acts upon what are merely objects, what are actually other conscious selves, or some combination of these. In this the critical ontological state is clearly the occurrence of internal existence -- the object languages of value are differentiated according to the possible relationships between internal and external existence. There is also the condition that, while value is in general that which occupies or engages the will, this occupation need not result in any over act. An important aspect of the theory of value thus covers the inner occasion where change does not occur, in the same way that physical theory must cover conditions of equilibrium. The equilibrium of will is here identified as aesthetic value. This is to use "aesthetic" first of all in its sense as "perception," and the relation to the object of the self as a passive one. In the category of aesthetic value, the object is taken as good or evil in itself, with an inner integrity and independence of value, so that the value is coupled to the substantial and separate existence of the object. This may be called, in terms of a convenient token label, the category of the beautiful and the ugly, though for the purposes of the dialectical argument, it need not be specified whether beauty is actually coextensive with the good-in-itself or only a subset.

The category of good and evil, namely good-for-some-end apart from or in addition to any good-in-itself, represents the ends of willing for the ego, with the will actively engaged, where other selves may or may not be relevant to specific ends. Here is "purpose" in its fullest sense, namely the intentional realization of objects in time through the agency of will. Given the relation of the ego to others selves, regardless of ends, the category of moral value, conveniently labeled that of "right and wrong," comes into consideration. That is the field of deontological value, and it is restrictive, as a necessary condition, on any acts that pursue any ends. Here the fundamental insight is the limitation of the will in the acknowledgement of the existence of other selves; and from this conceptions of individual rights and dignity, distributive justice, and retributive justice all come into consideration.

The sense of the object language of the good is that various ends are worthy of being realized. The sense of the object language of the right, on the other hand, is that while various goods may, in general, be worth realizing, there are cases where they must not be because some individual other than the ego will suffer evil instead of good. Morality is the protection of the individual, and it takes precedence over the mere requirements of the good end. Ethical systems can be characterized according to whether the two object languages are kept separate or confused, and if confused whether one is merely absorbed into the other and its requirements subordinated to it. Thus Kant can be taken to assimilate everything to the formality and strict obligation of morality, while G.E. Moore seems to erase the special qualities of morality by defining it in terms of merely willing the greatest good [41]. Similarly, the basic thesis of Utilitarianism is properly disturbing because the good end of pleasure and numbers does not reserve any special dignity, value, or rights for the individual. Here the axiomatic independence of the object languages is recognized, which is to say that the synthetic first principles, or axioms, of each object language are not only logically independent of each other but are also cognitively distinct according to their ontological grounds, with a different quality or force of value thereby expressed. Thus, while morality is strictly and absolutely incumbent upon the will, the object language of the good, as such, is directed to objects that are morally supererogatory. Another cause for confusion in this, however, is that morality is itself a good and so can, without losing its peculiar force, be subsumed under the more general category. Indeed, with the Greeks we can call all these things good and beautiful and subsume all the categories of value under the most general and morally weakest, the aesthetic.

The final category of value concerns the ego itself, whose character in positive transcendence is the inner assent to either good or evil, corresponding to the Kantian good will or lack of it. The convenient label for this category is that of love or hate, meaning, not the active emotions, [42] but whether the inner readiness of the ego is positive and constructive towards the world and others or negative and destructive. In this way Zoroastrianism saw life as determined by an inner choice between the good religion (i.e. Zoroastrianism) and the evil religion, which was equivalent to a choice between life and death, to nurture life and live or to cause death and die [43]. Where beauty and its opposite is the most concrete and, in a sense, the weakest category of value, since beauty can never be more than morally accidental or a happy addition to goodness, good will is the most abstractly general category and the most powerfully obligatory mode of value. As it expresses the strongest necessity, good will comes first in the course of the exposition below.

The progress of the dialectical argument is a step by step unpacking of reality. As Plato postulated a sort of ultimate object, the Good, at the ontological summit of his inquiries, responsible for all of fact and value, the dialectic, in its own descriptive way, culminates with a certain order of value -- as coextensive with sensation as the others -- the numinous. This does not represent any unique or separate object but a quality that occurs with any other kind of value or phenomenal object. As Rudolf Otto's term [44] for the special quality of holiness or power that religious objects or experiences possess, the "numinous" refers to an aspect of reality, an ultimate aspect, towards which all matters of fact and value tend and from which they emanate. Because of that religions tend to assimilate all modes of value to the numinous, giving to it a cognitive content it does not justifiably have and obscuring the rational contents of morality, etc., with a cloud of dogmatic authority.

The ontological ground for numinous value is different from that of the previous categories of value, and the effect is different. In the Copernican Revolution of positive transcendence and the resolution of the paradox of ontological undecidability, we were free to say that Being belongs equally and indifferently either to both subject and object or to neither subject nor object. In the categories of purposive value, which exist relative to phenomenal reality, we naturally take positive transcendence to belong to both subject and object. When we imagine the ego in relation to its own non-existence, however, we imagine the transcendent absolutely, without either subject or object. This has a very definite meaning phenomenologically since we are aware that our self comes to be at a definite, or within a definite range of, time, that it passes away wholly or largely for extended periods of sleep every day, and that we face the prospect of its annihilation with death. Birth and death raise for most people the most profound questions about the value and meaning of our existence, the implications of the duality between good and evil, and the ends, if any, that the world and its history of suffering serve. Thus, although "absolute transcendence" cannot, by definition, be experienced and there is no, strictly speaking, cognitive content to be associated with it, it means something very definite and of profound importance to us.

The quality of numinosity attaches itself to immanent objects, experiences, or to special doctrines that may or may not concern phenomenal reality, and these are the contents of religion. By an examination of the internal inconsistencies and external contradictions between religious doctrines and religions, we become aware both of the impossibility of producing a body of transcendent knowledge of the numinous and of the kinds of concerns and problems that religion has always sought to answer. High on the list of concerns is the problem of evil, and this may even be considered independently of the more characteristic objects of numinosity since it can be formulated merely with reference to the polarity of value. While the final treatment deals with the open-ended problems peculiar to religion, concerning the soul, gods or God, immortality, miracles, etc., the treatment of the problem good and evil is the place of the final and most fundamental conclusions about value, namely that value and existence are at root identical and that they differ for us only because of the curious dissociation of being that our personal existence as intentional consciousness creates.

In the end, the impression and the suggestion of the dialectical argument is that religion, while it may contain doctrines about a separate transcendent reality or beings, is most importantly about immanent and phenomenal events, specifically the progress and triumph of the good, knowledge, and life, as expressed in the apocalyptic doctrines of many religions. The sense of these is the overcoming of the dissociation of being in which our personal existence is embodied and an elimination of the threat of death and suffering, the threat that we will be carried back to the oblivion and nothingness which, while the original and fundamental being of all things, have become for us, in our intentional distinction between subject and object, the full meaning of not-being. It is the essential, but unprovable, hope at the heart of numinous feeling that the tragic dilemma of our existence, caught between life and death, will in time be resolved to the best end.

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