How does the intellect differ from the senses? Is it merely a difference of degree—a relatively hyperfunctional neurological processing that enables us to supersede the cognitive capacities of non-human animals? Am “I” really nothing more than the firing of synapses in the brain, the concatenation of neurochemical exchanges? Or is human knowledge something—different? Unique? Irreducible to the material organs through which it operates? Are there profound differences in objects which require correlative differences in faculties? In other words: when we say that we have intellectual knowledge of something, is this knowledge really and truly different from the kind of cognition we have of other things, through other faculties?
In the presentation concerning this article, the first of question one, “on knowledge”, belonging to the first Continuum quaestiones de quodlibet, I will examine these questions in a summary fashion: looking at the relevant objections received and giving my response. I welcome further discussion of anything I say herein, and if you find this content to be worth your investment of time, please consider supporting me on Patreon, where you will receive bonus content as well (including a summary of the responses to the objections). Alternatively, I accept other kinds of donations which can be accessed on the right side of the page.
Among the most deeply-rooted and unexamined foundations of belief in our present time are those concerning the natures of knowledge and understanding themselves. The Western mind has been imbued, that is, with a largely-unconscious appropriation of Enlightenment “epistemology”, a hodgepodge of theories concerning “ideas” and “sensation”, “empiricism” and “reason”, all of which presuppose, often without explicitly acknowledging it, an unbridgeable chasm between the self and the world fostered by the nominalist disbelief in the reality of the universal—or, we might say, the disbelief in the reality of the extramental relation. Uprooting such foundations poses a more serious challenge, however, than the fallacious presupposition itself offers: for the edifice built upon this foundation is often mortared with strong desires. One habit founds another, and two together doubly-found a third.