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Kants Language covert judgments

  1. Nov 17, 2006 #1
    Kants Language "covert judgments"

    I wouldn't post this without googling first. But I can't find an answer anywhere. I'm trying to get a sense of what "the covert judgments of common reason" means.
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  3. Nov 17, 2006 #2


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    Well, "covert" means hidden, like a hunter in a blind or a spy. I think this addresses Kant's point, contra Hume, that we use a priori reasoning to categorize things even when we aren't aware of it; that's it's necessary for us even to make basic sense of the world. You can't react to big things and small things without a prior concept of relative size "in the abstract" so to speak.
  4. Nov 18, 2006 #3
    So Hume says the opposite of this?
  5. Nov 19, 2006 #4
    “Common reason” is cause
    “Covert judgement” is effect
    “To get a sense of” is quantum mechanics
    The answer you seek is in the land called Physics
    The land called Physics lies beyond the land called Philosophy.
    Beware of the Mentors, they are always watchful and hungry.
  6. Nov 19, 2006 #5


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    Yes. Hume attributes our sense of causality, for example, to repeated experiences. No "inner sense of order".
  7. Nov 21, 2006 #6


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    As a follow-up, note that for Hume, "habit" and "habituation" becomes core concepts by which he analyzes human actions (for example in the fields of morality or epistemology).

    Whereas for Kant, there exist some "given", or observed, structures of the mind that become the absolute reference frame to analyze from (for example in the fields of morality and epistemology).

    It doesn't however, follow from this that Kant denies that these structures have a history of development behind them in any one particular individual; where Kant and Hume might disagree would be whether the end result would be substantially different under (vastly) different circumstances.

    For Kant, everyone will eventually end up with the same basic mental structure, whereas Hume isn't too sure about that.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2006
  8. Nov 26, 2006 #7
    I think the OP question is answered by Kant with this statement:

    ""The business of philosophy is not to give rules, but to analyze the private judgments of common reason," said Kant. "Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life."

    Note that Kant uses the word "private" in place of "covert" (perhaps due to difference in translation from German ?), but the meaning (and importance to Kant) of the phrase "covert judgments of common reason" seems clear enough--nothing less than the function of philosophy itself.
  9. Nov 26, 2006 #8
    I came across it in Being and Time. Heidegger lists some prejudices against exploring the questions of the meaning of being. One is that "being" is self-evident.

    "If what is 'self-evident' and this alone--'the covert judgments of common reason' (Kant)--is to become and remain the explicit theme of our analysis (as 'the business of philosophers'), then the appeal to self-evidence in the realm of basic philosophical concepts, and indeed with regard to the concept 'being,' is a dubious procedure.
  10. Nov 26, 2006 #9
    "... Ultimately the phenomena to be explicated in the following analysis under the rubric of 'temporality' are precisely those that determine the most covert judgments of 'common reason,' analysis of which Kant calls the 'business of philosophers.' H23
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