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The Internal Phenomena

April 11, 2009

Many philosophers over the years have asserted that we humans cannot know the world as it truly is, but only the phenomena that are revealed to us by our senses. Immanuel Kant wrote that we observe a “phenomenal” world, which gave an incomplete representation of the “noumenal world” – the world as it really is. And I believe that these philosophers are right.

But if we cannot know the external world as it truly is, do you think that we can know our own thoughts and feelings as they truly are? Or are we subject to the observation of “internal phenomena” that our minds present to our consciousness in this area also?

I invite my readers, if they exist, to comment.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2009 06:50

    You ask an interesting question with many possible answers; if we recognize the world as we physically experience it is an illusion, then ‘knowing’ is simple because everything is everything (all the same); if Ego is what is imposed on us all to obscure our connection to our true selves, then true understanding of self can not occur until the Ego is subdued; if we believe that Man is flawed and imperfect and blind, then the answer is no….

    As to me- I think that we can see and understand both ourselves and the world (no difference) if we are willing to embrace that we are both ourselves and other and love each equally.

    Oh my. Pass the granola : )

    • ianworthy permalink*
      April 15, 2009 23:11

      No, I certainly don’t think that recognition of the limits of our senses give us an illusion. If that were true then it is unlikely that we would have survived evolution! I just think that these limits preclude us from knowing things as they truly are. We can examine, experiment and research and we will get more of a sense of the nature of things, but we will never get the full picture. It also refutes two related ideas: that “all truth claims must be able to be tested by sense experience” (this is the basis of positivism) and that the “abscence of evidence is evidence of abscence”.

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