Cognition as reflection and cognition as construction of reality - Philosophy

Cognition as reflection and cognition as construction reality

In any theory, an object is represented by a linguistic sign, a notion that not only points to it, but expresses our thought about this object. In ordinary consciousness and in the epistemological teachings of early philosophers, the naively realistic concept of the object closest to so-called common sense is formed. From the point of view of naive realism, the world confronts the cognizing subject as a universal object that exists before knowledge and is completely independent of it. Human concepts and representations are regarded as simple copies, molds from reality, resulting from the direct impact of the object on the cognizing consciousness - the human soul. Naive realism is based on a deep conviction that our knowledge is knowledge about the object world itself, about the things that we encounter in life. It is these things that act as objects and appear before our consciousness as they are.

The main difficulty faced by a naively realistic concept is that for a significant part of the concepts, it is not possible to find subject referents and the number of such concepts is continuously growing. If, as Democritus said, sensations and thoughts arise from the penetration of images ( eidos ) into our souls, then what are the origins of abstract concepts to which no bodily objects correspond? What is represented in such concepts? The answer to this question involves rejecting a purely receptive concept of cognition and recognizing the subject's ability to interact actively with the cognizable object.

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Ancient thinkers form a new, different from naively realistic, concept of the cognitive attitude as a very widely understood ability to act, or activity. Anyway, Plato quite definitely states that the basic forms of cognition, which he distinguishes as knowledge (episteme ) and opinion ( doxa ), is nothing but manifestations of the specific forms of this universal faculty ( dinameis ). In the broadest sense, this ability to act is an inherent property of all that exists. If a thing had not made changes in its environment by its very presence, how could its existence be found? And could it even be possible to talk about its being, if it had not manifested itself in any way at all? Therefore, we can say that the things are exactly what they produce.

Recognition of the decisive role of the result of the realization of some active ability leads to certain consequences. For the theory of cognition, one of the most important consequences is the existence of a deep internal connection between the ability, of its object and the result of the application of the ability to this object. In other words, the different abilities are aimed at different objects. One ability is one function - one object. In particular, Plato clearly inclines to the fact that no ability can not be deprived of its own object. For example, in the project of its ideal state of each ability there correspond a single function and a single object.

Aristotle also recognizes that for the cognition of things of different kinds, there are different parts of the soul: "... the one with which we contemplate such entities whose beginnings can not be in any way ... the other is the one by which [understand] those [whose origins] can [be such and such and such] & quot ;. Such a close connection between knowledge and its object is expressed in the tendency to regard the cognitive act as a kind of direct contact between the cognizing subject and the object of cognition. The resulting knowledge as a result of such contact is understood as "direct acquaintance" cognitive ability with its object, like direct touch or even grasping it.

Knowledge differs from true opinions, as well as the impression of the eyewitness differs from the impressions compiled from rumors or stories. The knowledge of the ancient gods therefore surpasses the human that, being everlasting, they were present with all events (unlike the omniscience of the Christian God, the creator and "designer" of the world). But the testimony of an eyewitness retains its truth value only on condition that once seen remains unchanged. Thus, the ancient concept of the object of knowledge paradoxically combines two mutually exclusive trends .

► On the one hand, the requirement of the unchanging of the cognizable object assumes that its being must precede the act of cognition and in no way depend on either the conditions or the way of perception. In other words, an object can not be considered as created in the process of perception.

► On the other hand, the idea of ​​cognition as the result of the manifestation of an active ability ( dinameis ), rigidly attached to its object, can direct our thought to the recognition that there is no guarantee that it does not represent us this object in a particular specific perspective or does not create it as a product of its own creative activity.

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In the New European philosophy, the first of the marked tendencies is connected with the idea of ​​the of the given object to the knowing subject; it develops mainly in line with the empirical tradition. The second one is more connected with the recognition of the constructive nature of the object and is manifested, rather, in the traditions of rationalism and criticism.

The empirical tradition considers objects as independent entities that are present independently of any experience. Objects - are fragments of external reality, constituting a solid foundation of experiential knowledge; it is the sensible things, and not the constructs generated by the action of cognitive abilities. All the rest, in particular those hypothetical constructs that are given at the theoretical level, are considered only as some "pseudo-objects" of subjective fictions that do not have referents in reality, although they play a role in cognition.

Objects, concepts about which are introduced in the course of theoretical reasoning, are not recognized as real to the same extent as the objects of our everyday experience: stones, trees, houses, people ... Only what is available to the immediate or indirect instrumental) observation. However, such a situation, when any theoretical construction can be expressed in terms of ordinary language, and for each of its concepts it is possible to easily find a sensually perceived object-referent, is retained only in the early stages of the development of science.

The development of scientific and theoretical knowledge required the development of a set of idealizations, ie. Such assumptions and assumptions, which in principle do not correspond (and sometimes even contradict) to ordinary experience. Introduction to the context of scientific knowledge of such conceptual constructs as, for example, "material point", "incompressible fluid", "absolutely black body", very sharply posed the problem of the objectivity of knowledge, since such constructs do not have obvious referents. At first, they tried not to notice this problem. Naturalists XVII, XVIII and even partly XIX century it seemed certain that the concepts of classical mechanics represent an exact copy, " picture real world. However, the number of such idealized pseudoobjects in the composition of scientific theories has constantly increased, and all attempts to reduce them to the totality of sensually perceived referents proved to be untenable. As a result, on the one hand, recognition is becoming increasingly widespread that cognate objects are constructions theoretic thinking, and on the other hand, within the materialistic tradition itself, a more complex conception of the methods of "givenness" is formed. object to the cognizing consciousness.

The Marxist theory of knowledge preserves the idea of ​​independence of the object from the knowing subject, but at the same time recognizes that "consciousness does not immediately and not simply coincide with nature". The subject matter of human cognition is not identical with a natural object that is not "given" the subject as such, but is recreated in the system of knowledge, displayed in it in the characteristics of the actions performed with it. The relation of the subject to the object is always mediated by the structure of that practical activity into which it is included as its object. The activity of consciousness with respect to the object is manifested in the accent, concentrating attention precisely on this fragment of reality. Therefore, although the immanent characteristics of real things lie at the basis of cognition, the choice of which of them will be in the focus of cognitive interest remains for the subject. Human thinking is not in a position to fully control the object: it fixes, first of all, those of its parties that are associated with the specific purpose of the subject. When the goal is changed, the object itself does not change, but the focus is on its other sides; as its other characteristics are considered essential. So the various goals of the subject do not create the characteristics of the object, but only contribute to the identification of the various aspects inherent in it. The more varied are the roles in which object, the more fully its diverse characteristics are presented in the system of knowledge about it.

The subject of research appears as a kind of modification of the cognizable object, representing its projection, which within the framework of this research has a relatively independent character. Just as a thing illuminated from different sides casts different shadows that remain nonetheless mappings of the same thing, the objects of research formed in the light of various subjective goals are representations of the same object that in this case acts as an invariant transform the subject of research. All cognitive operations are carried out with precisely such idealized objects, which change in the process of cognition, approaching an adequate display of the real object. At the same time, intermediate constructions, which at a certain stage of the development of scientific knowledge were supposed to be mappings of real objects (, ether , etc.), can later be completely fictitious, however this does not affect the reality of the objects themselves.

Beginning with Kant, in European philosophy, the understanding of the object, connected with the idea of ​​ construction by its cognitive consciousness, prevails more and more. Arguing about the object, Kant recognizes the given of all our sensory contemplations. But in order for these contemplations to really become knowledge, they must necessarily be linked to a certain unity, otherwise they would just be a chaotic conglomeration of impressions. But if the given has an external origin, then connectedness is the subject's business. The object, in Kant's understanding, appears as a result of the uniting and ordering by the subject of sensory impressions: The Object is that in the concept of which is combined the manifold encompassed by this contemplation. Such a union is the construction of the object, carried out by the knowing subject. Knowledge of the world, Kant believes, arises only in the process of cognition. But then knowledge of being can not be the basis of knowledge itself, for in this case we fall into a vicious circle. To solve this problem, philosophy must shift attention from the object to the subject and make it the central point of the theory of knowledge precisely as the constructor of the object.

Everything that we find in a cognizable object is pre-inserted by the cognizing subject in advance as a result of the inherent abilities inherent in it to realize cognitive activity. Consequently, all the characteristics of an object are nothing but representations of a subject. However, it does not follow from this that, when we construct an object, we completely control all its manifestations. For example, such a mathematical object as a natural number of numbers is a theoretical construction, but this does not mean that the "constructor" knows all the elements of this series. Therefore, the recognition that the cognizable object is constructed by the subject does not lead to the rejection of the understanding of cognition as the discovery in it of previously unknown properties and relationships.

However, here there is another problem. If an object is viewed as a reality existing independently of consciousness, its independence itself acts as a guarantee of continuity of subjective experience. Despite the fact that the experience of an individual person is finite and limited, in the historical perspective, individual differences are commensurate, and objective truth is attainable. Kant believes that an object is a construction created by the subject. However, the continuity of experience in his theory of knowledge is still preserved, although in a different way. The guarantor of continuity now becomes the transcendence of the subject, representing not a historically limited person or a concrete community of people, but a kind of innate complex of cognitive abilities. If in the theory of knowledge the understanding of an object as of construction is connected with the idea of ​​a historically limited subject, the subjective experience loses its universal character and becomes torn apart, incommensurable, for each subject gets the "right" to create your own object world.

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