If people only know that which is in the outside world, then how do we know the mind?

“If people only know that which is in the outside world, then how do we know the mind?”

For instance, it is said that our minds are designed to see the essence of things which exist out of our minds. But if that be true, then how do we understand our minds, since the whole purpose of the mind is to understand that-which-is-outside-it only? And further it calls into question how “subjective” our “subjective” states are; for instance, if all we experience is strictly objective (outside the mind), then is embarrassment something that can exist without being embarrassed; can one be embarrassed w/o knowing it?

:eek:

Are you inadvertently thinking extroversion vs introversion?

Eh?
I’ve never heard that idea … that our minds are designed to see the essence of things which exist outside of our minds.
But I’ve never taken a philosophy course either. (Unless I took a forgettable one 30-odd years ago when I was studying religions perhaps.)
I don’t know about your mind, but mine loves to look at itself.
Can you clarify that concept of what our minds are designed to do for us dummies?
Thanks, Reg.

It is a false assumption that people only know that which is in the outside world because we infer its existence from our perceptions. Our primary data are our inner experiences. :slight_smile:

Well what I’m trying to say is that everything has a purpose and an end which is other than itself (except God who is good in himself). So the mind’s end is outside of itself and this end is to connect with the extra-mental reality of things, substances. If that is true, then how do we know our own minds since minds, in my interpretation, are not inherently suited to knowing themselves.

Secondly, if knowledge is gathered from the outside world essentially, then per se all knowledge is about something extra-mental so again how do we know the mind? If we know our minds first, then knowledge as empiricism is destroyed per se, and it can only be empirical per accidents.

We know essences by powers (or potencies), powers by acts, acts by objects, and objects by ends.

Our knowledge, so to speak, begins with sensory cognition of the world (except for first principles). But from the ‘extramental’ sensitive and intelligible forms of things we abstract to their natures, eg, we abstract not ‘this’ or ‘that’ human but the essence that all humans share in common. We also form concepts corresponding to these natures, which can be mentally manipulated (for lack of a better phrase!). This is an all-too-simple summary of the ‘via antiqua’.

In the case of knowledge about things which do not have sensory features (like our minds), we still work backwards from empirical observations. In particular, we know that we have the power of abstraction – the power to recognize universal forms – and so we say that this power belongs to the intellect. Does that help?

Incidentally, one other important thing: It does not follow that, because the perfection of our intellect is to know the essences of things, our intellect knowing itself is precluded. Nor more generally does it follow that the intellect can only know material things. In fact in the beatific vision the intellect will be ‘adequated’ to God (all analogical reservations in force). So the intellect can know anything in principle.

We are told to love others** as** we love ourselves. So we should regard ourselves as ends. (Kant referred to “a kingdom of ends” in which everyone should be treated as an end and not as a means.)

So the mind’s end is outside of itself and this end is to connect with the extra-mental reality of things, substances. If that is true, then how do we know our own minds since minds, in my interpretation, are not inherently suited to knowing themselves.

We know ourselves more intimately than we know anything or anyone else but that doesn’t mean we always understand ourselves! :slight_smile:

Secondly, if knowledge is gathered from the outside world essentially, then per se all knowledge is about something extra-mental so again how do we know the mind?

Our primary knowledge is “intra-mental” - on which all other knowledge is based.

If we know our minds first, then knowledge as empiricism is destroyed per se, and it can only be empirical per accidents.

Empiricism is not destroyed but subordinate to self-knowledge.

To Tonyray: “We are told to love others as we love ourselves. So we should regard ourselves as ends. (Kant referred to “a kingdom of ends” in which everyone should be treated as an end and not as a means.)”

Well, we should regard ourselves as ends that are subordinate to other ends -half means and half ends, or else humans could never sacrifice themselves for an end (which they do, in warfare or martyrdom or when one becomes a religious).

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