Dualism and the limits of knowledge

Submitted by AndreiP on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 12:07pm.

It usually helps me to write down the ideas I understood at my last session.

R.S questions if there are limits to knowledge --- that means if the process of knowing could be stopped by something. His view of how one comes to know something is called monism. Basically is something discussed in the other chapters as well. A subject comes to perceive something and than for that something he intuits the concept. When he has both in his mind (concept+ precept), he knows for real <\i> that something. At first the perception and the concept were separated for the subject- but by knowing, the subject has united them into just one piece of knowledge (sometimes called by R.S: an individualized concept).

So is quite easy to see that for a monist the limits of knowledge are temporal and spatial or due to physical inabilities. (e.g. I don't have a microscope so I'm unable to come to know the cells of which an onion is composed). But he says that those change as soon as there is a progress of perception or thinking. So there aren't any absolute limits.

Something that struck me, when I was reading this part, was how individual the process of knowledge is. Each and every one of us makes his/her advancements into knowing all their life and most of the time.

R.S comes back than, once again, to the conception of Dualism. First of all - before reading this part, for me dualism meant the dualism of mind and body - a theory about mind, first conceived by Descartes, which says that there's a mind and a body which interact, but the theory failed at saying how they interact. Descartes said there are two substances that actually make the world: res extensa(basically matter) and res cogita (mind), so when Steiner describes dualism as the conception which says there exists 2 substances/worlds totally different from one another, Descartes' conception fitted, for me, perfectly.

But R.S had in mind kantianism, when he was discussing this part.

What are the totally different worlds in kantianism? There's the perception a person has (e.g an apple), and than there's the thing-in-itself (the apple in itself).

I haven't read too much Kant in original, but I knew about this thing-in-itself. For me it was always a mysterious thing, that I really thought it existed. But basically the subject could never reach it - because it is unknowable. Kant was more or less playing a trick with the whole humanity positing something as existing. Something one can't really know - something that actually affects us somehow and through this affectation we come to have a perception. He could as well said that we have perceptions of things because someone keeps our brains in his hand and pours the perceptions in it. And that someone is called Mr Thing-in-itself.

Merry Christmas, POF lovers! :)