Western philosophy didn’t really start grappling with such concepts until another German philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), came on the scene. Schopenhauer’s work took up where Kant left off. He reinforced some of Kant’s ideas, and weakened others.
Kant’s ideas, those of Kanada, and Chapter 1 (page 3) of David Levy’s book point to the “fact” that pure objectivity can’t exist. Levy starts out by quoting Rhoda Kesler Unger (1983) as follows: “Description is always from someone’s point of view.” Certainly, the thoughtful reader (who else would still be reading here)?
Before moving on, let’s take a look at constructs. Constructs may appear similar in some ways to concrete objects. They may be visible. A bank is a construct. So are the Supreme Court and the city of Chicago. But like events, their significance lies elsewhere. In general, the things that matter about constructs can’t be readily measured, and if they are, the measurements may distract from the features that matter rather than highlighting what’s important.
We can look at a bank building, and measure its height and the square meters of area it covers. But does that tell us anything about how many small businesses it has helped to try to enter a market? Does it tell us anything about how many people a big business has been able to hire to create a new product? Do these same aspects of the Supreme Court building convey the effects of the decisions of the judges who work inside it?
The height of a roller coaster (a concrete object) might give a more direct idea of the strength of the thrill provided to the riders. The City of Chicago may be seen from the air, but of course we probably won’t know just from looking where the city ends and the suburbs start. The borders of most nation states appear completely arbitrary from an airplane. Certainly, the extent of the land associated with the name of a country do not tell us anything about the culture, language, history or personality tendencies of the inhabitants.
More next time.