A sliver of givens

What gives my thinking its unusual tone, which some might correctly recognize as religious, is a conviction at the root of my meta-understanding of understanding: We are able to experience, intuit and know only a small sliver of reality, because we lack the subjective capacity to receive any but a small sliver of givens.

Wherever we lack capacity for a given, we are oblivious.

I have termed enception any capacity to take as given some particular category of given.

Because I live in a practical world, in which I get things done with others, I have adopted a safe-for-work term for enception: sensibility.

We have five senses that allow us to perceptively intuit realities in our environment, and we have a great many more sensibilities that allow us to conceptively intuit many more realities of inter-connection among our experiences, memories, anticipations, beliefs and inchoate gists.

To put it in Kantian language, an enception is any transcendental faculty for intuiting some specific kind of reality.

It is important to note that the percepts and concepts we intuit are quite different from the connections we make manually in argument or causal explanation. Constructed/contrued truth is not the same as intuited truth. Intuition and construction complement each other. We need perception, conception and construction. Based on which enceptions we activate and cultivate and which we neglect or suppress, different realities will be intuited directly or construed indirectly.

Perceptive designers might recognize this distinction in their design work. Designers make tradeoffs between what elements in an artifact a user will wordlessly recognize and interact with, which elements require some degree of figuring out, and which elements will become focal objects of the experience.

The reason I keep insisting that philosophy can and ought to be regarded as a design discipline is once a thinker recognizes the role enceptions play in everyday understanding — in what stands out as self-evident and relevant — one realizes this is the deepest realm of personal responsibility.

If we do not take this responsibility and simply prescribe to what those around us prescribe to, we risk becoming participants in collective sociopathy.

The reason I read philosophy is to cultivate new enceptions.

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