I have just listened to the tapes of the lectures of Bernstein (bernsteintapes.com) on Kant that are available on the internet. Bernstein attempts a regressive or minimal reading of Kant and he supports in that reading the idea that Kant thought he had given us a direct connection to reality. The Cartesian view has as it did in early Husserl (Cartesian Meditations) has the problem of solipsism. Husserl confronted this problem and solved it by moving from Bracketing to the seeing of objects on a world horizon. Heidegger took advantage of this in Being and Time according to Walton who has been studying the later works of Husserl and sees the innovations of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty are in some sense just the exploitation of Husserls later generative phenomenology. But according to Bernstein in his lectures the innovation of Husserl is merely a return to the real meaning of Kant’s philosophy under the regressive reading. It is very difficult to see whether Bernsteins reading is an anachronism or whether that was the true meaning of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason from the beginning. The regressive reason makes this case that Kant was really a phenomenologist at heart.
The basic idea is that we only know about anything real through perception and consciousness. So what ever reality IS is filtered though that medium and nothing escapes the filter, and so there is nothing to compare our appearances to to see them as purely epiphenomenalism. This means that realism that posits a transcendental object is just as idealistic as the positing of the transcendental subject who is the source of our A priori syntheses. So in a sense, Kant is just saying that Transcendental Idealism is precisely the same as Transcendental Subjectivity (Idealism), i.e. merely a nihilistic dualism. And because of that identity ultimately they are antinomies that cancel out and so all that is left is the epiphenomenon of appearances, in which we discern reality by the involuntary simultaneity of the time streams of objects as opposed to the the serial voluntary ways of apprehension. If the transcendental structure cancels out, then we need another way of thinking about the world that is immanent and that is what Heidegger tries to develop in Being and Time based on the insights of the Later Husserl and his generative phenomenology, i.e. the phenomenology of time.
I have just finished listening to the tapes of Bernstein on Kant’s Critique of Pure reason. (See www.bernsteintapes.com). So I feel like I am in a better position to answer this question now than I might have been earlier when I thought I knew something about Kant but had read it so long ago that it was hazy in my memory.
What Bernstein says is that for Kant Ontology is basically Epistemology. In other words the essence of the Copernican turn of Kant was to transform ontological questions into epidemiological ones about the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience. That makes all ontological experiences filtered though the lens of the Transcendental Subject, i.e. the one who produces the Apriori Syntheses that the empirical ego experiences, and that the Analytical philosophers analyze after the fact. Bernstein does a regressive reading of Kant, i.e. does not over inflate the claims about what Kant is trying to achieve. So he is giving us a minimalist Kantian interpretation, so that gives us a criteria by which to judge the progressive readings, i.e. the readings that see Kant as claiming too much compared to what he can deliver.
What is strange is that there are almost as many commentaries on Kant as there are on Plato, yet the Kantian commentaries are extremely weird for the most part because they all try to put their own philosophies in the mouth of Kant, my favorite example is that of Heidegger, which Bernstein dismisses but which I still find enlightening. But I searched and searched for a commentary on Kant that I could understand and which did the minimal permissible projection onto Kant of strange ideas. And the only one that I found that fit this bill back in the 1970s was that of Patton. Bernstein mentions Patton in a positive light, but points to other more recent commentaries that he likes, which I hope to read someday. Bernstein says that Kant is Transcendental Idealist who believes that you can only be a Transcendental Realist through Transcendental Idealism. And of course this is because we only experience the world via our consciousness and so what ever the world might be out there, we cannot escape our filtering it by our consciousness and need to take that into account. Basically this means that there are Apriori syntheses produced by our unconscious that appear to us in consciousness as if effortlessly generated, and so we do not notice the fact that these experiences are generated by our complex biological structures because they appear as given immediately and spontaneously. In a way we can see Kant’s breakthrough as the first glimmers of our understanding of the role of the unconscious as the part of the iceberg below the surface of consciousness which is merely a very thin veneer on the top of some very complex and incomprehensible processing of information that gives us our world and allows us to act seemingly effortlessly within it, for the most part. There were many subtleties of the arguments of Kant that I did not appreciate prior to listening to Bernstein’s lectures.But one thing that I can say to answer the question at hand is that ontology is completely mixed up with if not identical to epistemology in Kant. His stance is much closer to Husserlian Phenomenology than I imagined, and I thought that they were almost identical to begin with. Kant still has a dogmatic streak in him, and so he states his critique of dogma dogmatically. Husserl instead says this is a territory to be explored and opens it up to exploration and interpretation, and thus carries on the spirit of the critique further than Kant was able to do, as he was still dogmatic in his break with dogma in philosophy, i.e. positing final statements about the status of objects of experience rather than delving deeper into the phenomenology of those experiences themselves. I really listened to Bernstein in order to reset my understanding of Kant so I could connect it to the deflationary reading of Hegel that he presents in his other lectures. Kant represents a point of sophistication in philosophy that we may never achieve again. All philosophy after Kant is moving in his orbit. He thought he could show that Epistemology IS Ontology. And his arguments are pretty deep even if ultimately they fail even in the regressive reading of Bernstein.
Husserl attempted to solve some of these problems by looking in a more detailed way into the structures and processes of consciousness itself. But ultimately he came up against the same wall, i.e. the noumena, i.e. bracketing. Bernstein says for Kant appearances were the reality, but he still reserved the noumena which he believed had no remainder. But most interpreters believe that there is a remainder, that is there even though we cannot know it. What I did not realize that Bernstein emphasizes is that that Kant only brought up the term in order to define it so he could say there was no remainder. Bracketing takes that remainder what ever it is that we can never know out of play. But that same bracketing produces solipsism and the problem of intersubjectivity (i.e. the social). But according to Walton, Husserl in his later work discovered the idea of replacing bracketing with the horizon of the world, which Heidegger used with great effect in Being and Time stealing some of Husserl’s thunder. Bernstein said that Heidegger basically misunderstood Kant’s philosophy of time. But the philosophy of time that Heidegger took from Husserl is that of Internal Time Consciousness which was the one book that Heidegger edited of Husserl’s. In fact Bernstein’s final critique of Kant is that he thought Kant applied too monolithic a notion of time to phenomena. And Husserl’s internal time consciousness diagram is precisely an expansion of our notion of time beyond “Objective Time”. Kant’s argument about time hinges on the difference between serial and parallel time. Objective time for Kant is simultaneity of the systematization of objects. This difference revolves around the distinction between Freedom and Causality, and that revolves around the reversibility or irreversibility of our own action (house verses river boat analogies). Husserl instead uses a sedimentation analogy that hearkens back to the Orlog (cf Well and Tree by Bauschatz) of Indo-European fame. It is a model in which time has depth and so there is an extra dimension to resolve the problem that exists in the schematization of objects in time that Kant’s argument in the analogies runs into and which Bernstein criticizes. It is a better answer than the one that Bernstein answers which is evolutionary time, because Internal time Consciousness is a subjective time, rather than an objective time that encompasses the species. So this suggests that Heidegger was not far wrong by emphasizing the analysis of time in Being and Time, and seeing the equiprimodiality of the moments of time as the place to start, but instead of emphasizing memory as Husserl had done, Heidegger emphasizes the future instead.
At any rate I recommend listening to Bernstein’s lectures on tape for a more complete answer to this question, and a far more authoritative one than I can give.
There is a mathematical reason that codons are four. The alphabet this code produces has 64 permutations. 64 is a special number, the lowest number which is 4^3 or 2^6 which means that it can be transformed from two dimensional to three dimensional and not lose any information. This is the minimum number for which this is true. Thus it is a mathematically singular point in the number series of information transformation efficiency.
In comments I have been asked to elaborate.
4x4x4 is a cube. (2x2x2)x(2x2x2)=8×8 is a flat matrix with 64 squares like a chess board.
4 codons ^ 3 places in the DNA string = 64 information units.
But the real secret here is the fact that this structure is reversible and substitutable without change and that is why there are 20 codons. If you reverse the codon sequences of three of if you substitute the two pairs of bases for each other then it does not change the fact that there are 20 sources 8×2 and 12×4. You get this by substituting yin for yang and reversing the hexagrams. This leads to 20 groups of hexagrams that are impervious to these changes. This makes DNA a code impervious to change based on direction and substitution and explains why there are exactly 20 amino acids. But because it is a code it has start and stop codons and so the mapping is not perfect between the reversable/substitutable case and the actual assignment of codons to amino acids but it is close. There are several codon mappings to the Amino Acids and to the start and stop codons and they have an interesting pattern and development. See the following for some of the most interesting research on Amino Acid to Codon mappings which finds that the mappings are not random as they have been previously portrayed.
1) Petoukhov S.V. & He M. Symmetrical Analysis Techniques for Genetic Systems and
Bioinformatics: Advanced Patterns and Applications. 2010, Hershey, USA: IGI Global. 271 p. (this book has a special section about I Ching and the genetic code!).
2) He M., Petoukhov S.V. Mathematics of bioinformatics: theory, practice, and applications. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 295 p. (I attach the cover of this book with symbols from I Ching!).
Articles on the site http://arxiv.org/ :
1. Petoukhov S.V. (2008b) The degeneracy of the genetic code and Hadamard matrices. 1-8. Retrieved February 22, 2008, from http://arXiv:0802.3366
2. Petoukhov S.V. (2008c) Matrix genetics, part 1: permutations of positions in triplets and
symmetries of genetic matrices. 1-12. Retrieved March 06, 2008, from http://arXiv:0803.0888. (версия 2 послана 29 марта 2010 года и находится на http://arxiv.org/abs/0803.0888v2 )
3. Petoukhov, S.V. (2008d). Matrix genetics, part 2: the degeneracy of the genetic code and the octave algebra with two quasi-real units (the “Yin-Yang octave algebra”). 1-23. Retrieved March 23, 2008, from http://arXiv:0803.3330.
4. Petoukhov, S.V. (2008e). Matrix genetics, part 3: the evolution of the genetic code from the
viewpoint of the genetic octave Yin-Yang-algebra. 1-22. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from http:// arXiv:0805.4692
5. Petoukhov, S.V. (2008f). Matrix genetics, part 4: cyclic changes of the genetic 8-dimensional Yin-Yang-algebras and the algebraic models of physiological cycles. 1-22. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from http://arXiv:0809.2714
6. S.Petoukhov (2010). Matrix genetics, part 5: genetic projection operators and direct sums. May 18, 2010, from http://arXiv:1005.5101v1
One way to think about this is through the game of Chess. I believe that the Game of Chess is right at this boundary where there is efficient information transformation between dimensions. A Chess board is two dimensional with 64 squares 8×8. When I analyze the pieces in chess I get the same amount of information in the pieces that exist in the chess board. Thus each side contains differentiated forms of embodied information that completely map to the chess board. This is why there is conflict, both sides are complete mappings of the territory under contention.I will leave it as an exercise to the student to prove or disprove this claim. I don’t have my analysis anymore and so I would have to do it all over to prove that what I am saying is correct, and I don’t have time to do that right now. But if it is true as I claim, then a lot flows form this. The game gets is perfect form from its being right on the boundary between two and three dimensions and embodying the transform between them in the board and pieces. Because of this efficiency of transformation the minds of the two players when immersed in the game are interacting right at this threshold of efficiency and effectiveness of information transformation, and are thus able to communicate semiotic-ally within the game very effectively. This combination of efficiency and effectiveness I call efficacious. Chess is an extremely efficacious symbolic communication system.
Now the DNA and RNA of the cell is taking advantage of exactly the same mathematical singularity where there is transformation between dimensions without data loss. This is one of the reasons that replication in life is so efficient. In this case we are going from the coded strand to the three dimensional molecule via the copying mechanism in RNA. But the fact this dimensional transformation of the information can be done at this singularity of perfect transformation means that there is no re coding involved. We can see this in magic squares and cubes of order 64. The magic square to cube mapping by the numbers allows us to see how all the numbers are distributed in each with no gaps or re-categorization necessary
Another example of this structure at the social level is the I Ching and its place in Ancient China as a core text by which all changes were seen as part of a per-mutational system exactly at this threshold. It is fascinating to think that both the west and the east had cultural artifacts poised at this threshold of efficient communication. In one civilization it was a game and in the other an oracular system given philosophical significance.
Differance is Differing and Deferring, i.e. the relation of the supplement in writing to the work itself, like in the Preface to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit/Ghost/Mind where the preface written at the end changes the meaning of the whole work. Differance I call Hyper Being. It is the Third Meta-level of Being after Pure Being (Parmenides, Stasis) and Process Being (Heraclitus, Dynamism, Becoming) and prior to the fourth kind of Being which Merleau-Ponty calls Wild Being in The Visible and the Invisible. In that unfinished work Merleau-Ponty calls Hyper Being the Hyper-Dialectic between Heidegger’s Monolithic combination of Pure and Process Being which are seen as equiprimoridal and Sartre’s Nothingness which is the antimony. We see differance in the Paul Simon song where he sings about slip-sliding away. Differance is always sliding away from us so we cannot hold it in mind as something determinate, either in space or time, dynamism or stasis, or in any other dualism. Hyper Being is the difference that makes a difference between Pure Being and Process Being, the differences between kinds of Being must also be a different kind of Being. If Pure Being is present-at-hand being-in-the-world and Process Being is ready-to-hand being-in-the-world, then Hyper Being is the “in-hand” the expansion of being-in-the-world that comes from bearing new affordances. Where Pure Being has the modality of pointing according to Merleau-Ponty, and Process Being has the modality of grasping, then we take it that Levinas’ bearing which is Beyond monolithic Being is the modality of Hyper Being. Best example of the meta-levels of Being are the meta-levels of learning in Bateson’s Steps to the Ecology of Mind.
It is an important concept because it is a distinction that Plato makes in the Timaeus where he calls it the third kind of being. We forgot that in our tradition until Heidegger rediscovered it by accident, and Derrida took it up to make something interesting of Heidegger’s discovery. Heidegger did not follow up on the idea of -B-e-i-n-g- (crossed out). See John Sallis Chorology for more details about the role the third kind of Being plays in the Timaeus.
Differance = Differing and Deferring = Plato’s Third Kind of Being in the Timaeus. We just forgot it was there in the Western tradition until it was rediscovered by Heidegger as -B-e-i-n-g- (crossed out). See John Sallis Chorology.