Law as multidimensional phenomena [Post 5]

Law as culture: methods and epistemological act

The previous post introduced the different objects of study. They may be ideal, natural, cultural and metaphysical. Because of their object of study, scientific disciplines apply a relevant method. More specifically, each kind of object requires a specific methodology for its comprehension and a particular way to articulate the relevant knowledge.

Ideal objects: Deductive rational (method) and intellectual intuition (epistemological act)

Truths concerning ideal objects such as in logic and mathematics are obtained by a deductive rational method. By deducing from one or more general truths these disciplines draw from them a particular truth. The truths of reason are consistent. In other words, they are not just the way they are.  But they cannot stop being like this, being impossible for them to be otherwise. For example, 1 + 1 = 2 and it cannot be otherwise. The truth is in fact assertive. That is to say, it is as it is only because this is how things happen. There is no contradiction, however, in thinking that it could have been different.

The act of consciousness or epistemological act with which the deductive rational method is constituted is called intellectual intuition or intuitive intellection.

There is sensible intuition (through our five senses) and intellectual intuition (through our intellect). When we talk about intuition as a way to apprehend knowledge, there is a direct and immediate contact between consciousness and the object to be known. This is a non-conceptual apprehension of the object so that it occurs not because the subject thinks about it. Rather, it happens because the object is “in front” of the subject. For example, a blind individual at birth cannot be made to know what blue is as such because this is sensible intuition. There is too and intellectual intuition when the object to be known is ideal. The subject apprehends the object not by means of his senses but his intellect. Sensible and intellectual intuition are something personal and, therefore, much incommunicable, not transmittable unlike the concept (meaning) that can be the same for all minds. For example, the concept of “mammal” or “angle” can be the same for all of us but the intuitive verification of that which is mentioned with these concepts has to be apprehended by our senses or intellect.

Natural objects: Inductive empirical (method) and explanation (epistemological act)

Natural objects, as studied by the various sciences of nature, have to do with truths obtained by the inductive empirical method. Induction is to start from the facts and obtain from them by abstraction and generalization a principle that is conceptual and general. This process goes from the particular to the general and from the concrete to the conceptual.  It is based on natural experience as a conformity with experience itself, which is something given and created once and for all, since all the variations and transformations that we observe in phenomena are the appearances of that identity and are known based on an invariable casual constancy.

The epistemological act or act of consciousness with which the medium of the inductive empirical method is constituted is called explanation. Explaining something is “disintegrating” the object in its elements by analysis. It is also referring to something as an effect of something else that is its cause. Explanation is a neutral act. The subject does not go into the object and takes no position about it.

So far, we have:

ObjectExistenceExperienceValuable (axiologically)MethodEpistemological act
IdealNoNoNeutralDeductive rational Intellectual intuition
NaturalYesYesNeutralInductive empiricalExplanation
CulturalYesYesPositive or Negative  
MetaphysicalYesNoPositive or Negative  

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Cultural objects, their methods and epistemological act

Author of:

Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty. International Law and Politics (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020).

Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017).

Tuesday 04th May 2021

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @DrJorge_World

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