Science asks no questions about the ontological pedigree or a priori character of a theory, but is content to judge it by its performance; and it is thus that a knowledge of nature, having all the certainty which the senses are competent to inspire, has been attained--a knowledge which maintains a strict neutrality toward all philosophical systems and concerns itself not with the genesis or a priori grounds of ideas.
We no longer see the evolution of the nervous system, but that of a certain individual. The role of the memory is very important but... not as important as we believe. Most of the important things that we do don't depend on memory. To hear, to see, to touch, to feel happiness and pain; these are functions which are independent of memory; it is an a priori thing. Thus, for me, what memory does is to modify that a priori thing, and this it does in a very profound way.
The exact sciences, which would be considered a priori as little adapted to women, for example mathematics, astronomy and physics, are exactly those in which thus far they have most distinguished themselves. This contains a warning against too precipitate conclusions about the intellectual life of woman.
The test of a theory is its ability to cope with all the relevant phenomena, not its a priori 'reasonableness'. The latter would have proved a poor guide in the development of science, which often makes progress by its encounter with the totally unexpected and initially extremely puzzling.
I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel.
The science of constructing a commonwealth, or renovating it, or reforming it, is, like every other experimental science, not to be taught a priori. Nor is it a short experience that can instruct us in that practical science, because the real effects of moral causes are not always immediate.
The a priori method is distinguished for its comfortable conclusions. It is the nature of the process to adopt whatever belief weare inclined to, and there are certain flatteries to the vanity of man which we all believe by nature, until we are awakened from our pleasing dream by rough facts.
Charles Sanders Peirce
If human life is in fact ordered by a beneficent being whose knowledge of our real needs and of the way in which they can be satisfied infinitely exceeds our own, we must expect a priori that his operations will often appear to us far from beneficent and far from wise, and that it will be our highest prudence to give him our confidence in spite of this.
C. S. Lewis
Given the complexity of interpersonal relationships and institutions and the complexity of co-ordination of the actions of many people, it is enormously unlikely that, even if there were one ideal pattern for society, it could be arrived at in an a priori fashion. And even supposing that some great genius did come along with a blueprint, who could have the confidence that it could work
All sentences of the type 'deconstruction is X' or 'deconstruction is not X', a priori miss the point, which is to say that they are at least false. As you know, one of the principal things at stake in what is called in my texts 'deconstruction', is precisely the delimiting of ontology and above all of the third-person present indicative: S is P.
And our ages never bothered her from the very beginning. I was married, but that didn't matter, either. She seemed to consider things like age and family and income to be of the same a priori order as shoe size and vocal pitch and the shape of one's fingernails. The sort of thing that thinking about won't change one bit. And that much said, well, she had a point.
The science of constructing a commonwealth or renovating it, or reforming it, is...not to be taught a priori...That which in the first instance is prejudicial may be excellent in its remoter operation, and its excellence may rise even from the ill effects it produces in the beginning. The reverse also happens; and very plausible schemes, with very pleasing commencements, have often shameful and lamentable conclusions.
The prerequisite of contrapuntal art, more conspicuous in the work of Bach than in that of any other composer, is an ability to conceive a priori of melodic identities which when transposed, inverted, made retrograde, or transformed rhythmically will yet exhibit, in conjunction with the original subject matter, some entirely new but completely harmonious profile.
What I most cherish is the observation of the movement of colors. Only in this have I found the laws of those simultaneous and complementary color contrasts that nourish the actual rhythm of my vision. In this I find the actual essence, an essence which is not born out of an a priori system or theory.
The true function of logic ... as applied to matters of experience ... is analytic rather than constructive; taken a priori, it shows the possibility of hitherto unsuspected alternatives more often than the impossibility of alternatives which seemed prima facie possible. Thus, while it liberates imagination as to what the world may be, it refuses to legislate as to what the world is
People who have various kinds of politics for whom it is congenial for their apriority politics to say yes, things are getting much worse. They are opposed by people who also have a priori politics saying that this is the best of all possible worlds, capitalism is the greatest thing since sliced bread and you're just alarmists and so on and they can massage the data so it fits them.
At one time, many philosophers held that faultless "laws of thought" were somehow inherent, a priori, in the very nature of mind. This belief was twice shaken in the past century; first when Russell and his successors showed how the logic men employ can be defective, and later when Freud and Piaget started to reveal the tortuous ways in which our minds actually develop.
Yes, gentlemen, give me the map of any country, its configuration, its climate, its waters, its winds, and the whole of its physical geography; give me its natural productions, its flora, its zoology, &c., and I pledge myself to tell you, a priori, what will be the quality of man in history:-not accidentally, but necessarily; not at any particular epoch, but in all; in short, -what idea he is called to represent.
What the scientists have always found by physical experiment was an a priori orderliness of nature, or Universe always operating at an elegance level that made the discovering scientist's working hypotheses seem crude by comparison. The discovered reality made the scientists exploratory work seem relatively disorderly.
R. Buckminster Fuller
It was Darwin's chief contribution, not only to Biology but to the whole of natural science, to have brought to light a process by which contingencies a priori improbable are given, in the process of time, an increasing probability, until it is their non-occurrence, rather than their occurrence, which becomes highly improbable.
High towers, and metaphysically-great men resembling them, round both of which there is commonly much wind, are not for me. My place is the fruitful bathos, the bottom-land, of experience; and the word transcendental, does not signify something passing beyond all experience, but something that indeed precedes it a priori, but that is intended simply to make cognition of experience possible.
Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account for such experience in a manner independent of individual subjective judgement and therefore objective in the sense that it can be unambiguously communicated in ordinary human language.
The underground press serves as the only effective counter to a growing power, and more sophisticated techniques used by establishment mass media to falsify, misrepresent, misquote, rule out of consideration as a priori ridiculous, or simply ignore and blot out of existence: data, books, discoveries that they consider prejudicial to establishment interest...
William S. Burroughs
No episode is a priori condemned to remain an episode forever, for every event, no matter how trivial, conceals within itself the possibility of sooner or later becoming the cause of other events and thus changing into a story or an adventure. Episodes are like land mines. The majority of them never explode, but the most unremarkable of them may someday turn into a story that will prove fateful to you.
Science has been effective at furthering our understanding of nature because the scientific ethos is based on three key principles: (1) follow the evidence wherever it leads; (2) if one has a theory, one needs to be willing to try to prove it wrong as much as one tries to prove that it is right; (3) the ultimate arbiter of truth is experiment, not the comfort one derives from one's a priori beliefs, nor the beauty or elegance one ascribes to one's theoretical models.
Lawrence M. Krauss
People wonder why there seems to be no meaning in life. Meaning does not exist a priori. There is no meaning existing in life; one has to create it. Only if you create it will you discover it. It has to be invented first. It is not lying there like a rock, it has to be created like a song. It is not a thing, it is significance that you bring through your consciousness.
The only 'realistic' prospect is to ground a new political universality by opting for the impossible, fully assuming the place of the exception, with no taboos, no a priori norms ('human rights,' 'democracy'), respect for which would prevent us from 'resignifying' terror, the ruthless exercise of power, the spirit of sacrifice ... if this radical choice is decried by some bleeding-heart liberals as Linksfaschismus, so be it!
In the first place a philosophical proposition must be general. It must not deal specially with things on the surface of the earth, or within the solar system, or with any other portion of space and time. . . . This brings us to a second characteristic of philosophical propositions, namely that they must be a priori. A philosophical proposition must be such as can neither be proved nor disproved by empirical evidence. . . . Philosophy, if what has been said is correct, becomes indistinguishable from logic as that word has now come to be used.
My position is a naturalistic one; I see philosophy not as an a priori propaedeutic or groundwork for science, but as continuous with science. I see philosophy and science as in the same boat--a boat which, to revert to Neurath's figure as I so often do, we can rebuild only at sea while staying afloat in it. There is no external vantage point, no first philosophy.
Willard Van Orman Quine
It is well known that geometry presupposes not only the concept of space but also the first fundamental notions for constructions in space as given in advance. It only gives nominal definitions for them, while the essential means of determining them appear in the form of axioms. The relationship of these presumptions is left in the dark; one sees neither whether and in how far their connection is necessary, nor a priori whether it is possible. From Euclid to Legendre, to name the most renowned of modern writers on geometry, this darkness has been lifted neither by the mathematicians nor the philosophers who have laboured upon it.
Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil. ... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it.
Nothing can better express the feelings of the scientist towards the great unity of the laws of nature than in Immanuel Kant's words: "Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing awe: the stars above me and the moral law within me."... Would he, who did not yet know of the evolution of the world of organisms, be shocked that we consider the moral law within us not as something given, a priori, but as something which has arisen by natural evolution, just like the laws of the heavens?
If time is treated in modern physics as a dimension on a par with the dimensions of space, why should we a priori exclude the possibility that we are pulled as well as pushed along its axis? The future has, after all, as much or as little reality as the past, and there is nothing logically inconceivable in introducing, as a working hypothesis, an element of finality, supplementary to the element of causality, into our equations. It betrays a great lack of imagination to believe that the concept of "purpose" must necessarily be associated with some anthropomorphic deity.
The term "self" seems a suitable one for the unconscious substrate whose actual exponent in consciousness is the ego. The ego stands to the self as the moved to the mover, or as object to subject, because the determining factors that radiate outward from the self surround the ego on all sides and are therefore supraordinate to it. The self, like the unconscious, as an a priori existent out of which the ego evolves. It is, so to speak, an unconscious prefiguration of the ego. It is not I who create myself; rather, I happen to myself.
The very hope of experimental philosophy, its expectation of constructing the sciences into a true philosophy of nature, is basedon induction, or, if you please, the a priori presumption, that physical causation is universal; that the constitution of nature is written in its actual manifestations, and needs only to be deciphered by experimental and inductive research; that it is not a latent invisible writing, to be brought out by the magic of mental anticipation or metaphysical mediation.
So long as mathematicians can impose up-and-down semantics upon students while trafficking personally in the non-up-and-down advantages of their concise statements, they can impose upon theignorance of man a monopoly of access to accurate processing of information and can fool even themselves by thought habits governing the becoming behavior of professional specialists, bydisclaiming the necessity of, or responsibility for, comprehensive adjustment of the a priori thought to total reality of universal principles.
R. Buckminster Fuller
Tormented by conflicting feelings, I appealed to reason ; and it is reason which, amid so many dogmatic contradictions, now forces the hypothesis upon me. A priori dogmatism, applying itself to God, has proved fruitless: who knows whither the hypothesis, in its turn, will lead us? I will explain therefore how, studying in the silence of my heart, and far from every human consideration, the mystery of social revolutions, God, the great unknown, has become for me an hypothesis, I mean a necessary dialectical tool.
The ethical aspect of the Law of Thelema is simple enough theoretically. "Do what thou wilt" does not mean "do what you please"; though this degree of emancipation is implied, that we can no longer say e¡ priori that any given course of action is "wrong". Every man and and every woman has an absolute right to do his or her true will. At the same time, to quote The Book of the Law, "... thou hast no right but to do thy will". So then, the new Law really announces a stricter bondage than any previous law and this in accordance with biological teaching. An organism progresses by self-imposed inhibitions.
The pleasure a man gets from a landscape would [not] last long if he were convinced a priori that the forms and colors he sees are just forms and colors, that all structures in which they play a role are purely subjective and have no relation whatsoever to any meaningful order or totality, that they simply and necessarily express nothing....No walk through the landscape is necessary any longer; and thus the very concept of landscape as experienced by a pedestrian becomes meaningless and arbitrary. Landscape deteriorates altogether into landscaping.
Evolutionists ... have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door
No viven junte¡s las gentes sin me¡s ni me¡s y porque se; esa cohesion a priori solo existe en la familia. Los grupos que integran un Estado viven juntos para algo: son una comunidad de propositos, de anhelos, de grandes utilidades. No conviven por estar juntos, sino para hacer juntos algo.
Jose Ortega y Gasset
Man feels the urge to run up against the limits of language. Think for example of the astonishment that anything at all exists. This astonishment cannot be expressed in the form of a question, and there is also no answer whatsoever. Anything we might say is a priori bound to be nonsense. Nevertheless we do run up against the limits of language. Kierkegaard too saw that there is this running up against something, and he referred to it in a fairly similar way (as running up against paradox). This running up against the limits of language is ethics.
Science and religion both make claims about the fundamental workings of the universe. Although these claims are not a priori incompatible (we could imagine being brought to religious belief through scientific investigation), I will argue that in practice they diverge. If we believe that the methods of science can be used to discriminate between fundamental pictures of reality, we are led to a strictly materialist conception of the universe. While the details of modern cosmology are not a necessary part of this argument, they provide interesting clues as to how an ultimate picture may be constructed.
Praxeology is a theoretical and systematic, not a historical, science. Its scope is human action as such, irrespective of all environmental, accidental, and individual circumstances of the concrete acts. Its cognition is purely formal and general without reference to the material content and the particular features of the actual case. It aims at knowledge valid for all instances in which the conditions exactly correspond to those implied in its assumptions and inferences. Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience. They are, like those of logic and mathematics, a priori. They are not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts.
Ludwig von Mises
Was nicht ein Gegenstand der Erfahrung sein kann, dessen ErkenntnieŸ we¤re hyperphysisch, und mit dergleichen haben wir hier gar nicht zu thun, sondern mit der NaturerkenntnieŸ, deren Realite¤t durch Erfahrung beste¤tigt werden kann, on sie gleich a priori me¶glich ist und vor aller Erfahrung hervorgeht.
The existentialist, on the contrary, finds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven. There can no longer be any good a priori, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. It is nowhere written that 'the good' exists, that one must be honest or must not lie, since we are now upon the plane where there are only men. Dostoevsky once wrote: 'If God did not exist, everything would be permitted'; and that, for existentialism, is the starting point. Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself. He discovers forthwith, that he is without excuse.
Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it... The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game. Is it surprising that, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we should feel strange and a little unreal?
In the final analysis, what is it that we call popular, democratic power? Beyond the expressed will of the people, as it is supposedly formulated, there is no appeal; here we meet the absolute, the universal, the indivisible, and the immovable. There is nothing a priori, nothing anterior to democratic power; no ideas of truth, no notions of good or bad, can bind the Popular Will. This 'will' is free in the sense that it stands above all notions of value. It is egalitarian because it is reared on arithmetic equality..It is not open to any appeal, it listens to no demand for grace, no plea for compassion. Like the Sphinx, the Popular Will is immovable in its enigmatic silence.
As Mr. R. U. Sayee has well said: 'It should be clear a priori that fairy lore must have developed as a result of modifications and accretions received in different countries and at many periods, though we must not overlook the part played by tradition in providing a mould that to some extent determines the nature of later additions.' It must also be self-evident that a great deal of confusion has been caused by the assumption that some spirit-types were fairies which in a more definite sense are certainly not of elfin provenance. In some epochs, indeed, Faerie appears to have been regarded as a species of limbo to which all 'pagan' spirits - to say nothing of defeated gods, monsters, and demons - could be banished, along with the personnel of Olympus and the rout of witchcraft. Such types, however, are usually fairly easy of detection.
L'existentialiste, au contraire, pense qu'il est tre¨s geªnant que Dieu n'existe pas, car avec lui disparae®t toute possibilite de trouver des valeurs dans un ciel intelligible; il ne peut plus y avoir de bien a priori, puisqu'il n'y a pas de conscience infinie et parfaite pour le penser; il n'est ecrit nulle part que le bien existe, qu'il faut eªtre honneªte, qu'il ne faut pas mentir, puisque precisement nous sommes sur un plan oe¹ il y a seulement des hommes.
My unlucky star had destined me to be born when there was much talk about morality and, at the same time, more murders than in any other period. There is, undoubtedly, some connection between these phenomena. I sometime ask myself whether the connection was a priori, since these babblers are cannibals from the start - or a connection a posteriori, since they inflate themselves with their moralizing to a height which becomes dangerous for others. However that may be, I was always happy to meet a person who owed his touch of common sense and good manners to his parents and who didn't need big principles. I do not claim more for myself, and I am a man who for an entire lifetime has been moralized at to the right and the left - by teachers and superiors, by policemen and journalists, by Jews and Gentiles, by inhabitants of the Alps, of islands, and the plains, by cut-throats and aristocrats - all of whom looked as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.
So what? Why should an a priori proof of the libertarian property theory make any difference? Why not engage in aggression anyway?' Why indeed?! But then, why should the proof that 1+1=2 make any difference? One certainly can still act on the belief that 1+1=3. The obvious answer is 'because a propositional justification exists for doing one thing, but not for doing another.' But why should we be reasonable, is the next come-back. Again, the answer is obvious. For one, because it would be impossible to argue against it; and further, because the proponent raising this question would already affirm the use of reason in his act of questioning it. This still might not suffice and everyone knows that it would not, for even if the libertarian ethic and argumentative reasoning must be regarded as ultimately justified, this still does not preclude that people will act on the basis of unjustified beliefs either because they don't know, they don't care, or they prefer not to know. I fail to see why this should be surprising or make the proof somehow defective.
The fundamental basis by which the court's decision might be made is, in itself, imperfect and subject to contradictions. There is very little consideration given to a priori knowledge regarding the circumstances being presented and as a result, arguments must be made empirically, under the assumption that assumptions themselves are, in fact, likely to give way to specious reasoning... Decisions must be made meticulously and according to specific, yet immeasurable criteria that can only be further manipulated by any cunning lawyer with the ability to make emotional pleas based on a requisite amount of inconsequential evidence to affect a decision beneficial to his clients. And so, in this respect, the law is capable of proving nothing except that its absurd attention to detail is really a kind of a fae§ade meant to cover up the fact that a truly logical and just way to deal with such matters has not yet been devised. And the absence of adequate definition to its principles has given way to a kind of apathy among the men employed by the courts, who want nothing more now than to make a living for themselves and their families and not work themselves into too much of a frenzy about how little can be changed through their own initiative. Thus things aren't likely to.
Dalin must have whiffed the anarch in me, a man with no ties to state or society. Still, he was unable to sense an autonomy that puts up with these forces as objective facts but without recognizing them. What he lacked was a grounding in history. Opposition is collaboration; this was something from which Dalin, without realizing it, could not stay free. Basically, he damaged order less than he confirmed it. The emergence of the anarchic nihilist is like a goad that convinces society of its unity. The anarch, in contrast, not only recognizes society a priori as imperfect, he actually acknowledges it with that limitation. He is more or less repulsed by state and society, yet there are times and places in which the invisible harmony shimmers through the visible harmony. This is obviously chiefly in the work of art. In that case, one serves joyfully. But the anarchic nihilist thinks the exact opposite. The Temple of Artemis, to cite an example, would inspire him to commit arson. The anarch, however, would have no qualms about entering the temple in order to meditate and to participate with an offering. This is possible in any temple worthy of the name.
[L'art sacre est le Ciel descendu sur terre, plute´t que la terre tendue vers le Ciel.] Dans le cadre de l'art chretien, la seconde image peut neanmoins s'appliquer d'une manie¨re relative, et sans abolir la premie¨re, e l'art gothique flamboyant. Faisons remarquer e cette occasion que le crite¨re spirituel que constitue la beaute, ne saurait concerner l'art neopaien qui empoisonna l'Europe au XVIe¨ sie¨cle et qui exprime le fatal mariage entre religion et civilisationnisme humaniste. Sans doute, ni le gigantisme froid et anthropole¢trique de la Renaissance ni la morbide boursouflure du baroque ne prouvent rien contre le Catholicisme lui-meªme, mais ce qu'ils prouvent certainement, c'est d'une part qu'une religion qui supporte ce langage et s'exprime par lui ne saurait avoir le monopole de la Verite absolue et exclusive, et d'autre part que le Catholicisme, par cet amalgame, s'est expose e en eªtre finalement la victime ; non d'une fae§on totale, ce qui est exclu d'avance, mais neanmoins d'une fae§on gravissime. L'humanisation de l'art - a priori divin - a prefigure celle de la religion, du moins de la religion officielle.