Metaphysicians have for centuries attempted to clarify the nature of the world and how rational human beings construct their ideas of it. Materialists believed that the world (including its human component) consisted of objective matter, an irreducible substance to which qualities and characteristics could be attributed. Mindthoughts, ideas, and perceptionswas viewed as aMetaphysicians have for centuries attempted to clarify the nature of the world and how rational human beings construct their ideas of it. Materialists believed that the world (including its human component) consisted of objective matter, an irreducible substance to which qualities and characteristics could be attributed. Mindthoughts, ideas, and perceptionswas viewed as a more sophisticated material substance. Idealists, on the other hand, argued that the world acquired its reality from mind, which breathed metaphysical life into substances that had no independent existence of their own.
These two camps seemed deadlocked until Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason endeavored to show that the most accurate theory of reality would be one that combined relevant aspects of each position, yet transcended both to arrive at a more fundamental metaphysical theory. Kant's synthesis sought to disclose how human reason goes about constructing its experience of the world, thus intertwining objective simuli with rational processes that arrive at an orderly view of nature....more
Paperback, 480 pages
May 1st 1990
by Prometheus Books
(first published 1781)
Immanuel Kant is the kind of guy who not only sucks all of the joy out of life; he takes great pleasure in opening the spigot of your happiness-tank and watching it all spill out onto the burn-out lawn and sink into the earth -- seeping toward the planet's molten, pitiless core and, thereupon, toward its irrevocable dissipation.
If he were alive today, I suggest to you that Kant's corporeal manifestation would be that of a paunchy, balding man, eternally sixty years old, who is often seen in hisImmanuel Kant is the kind of guy who not only sucks all of the joy out of life; he takes great pleasure in opening the spigot of your happiness-tank and watching it all spill out onto the burn-out lawn and sink into the earth -- seeping toward the planet's molten, pitiless core and, thereupon, toward its irrevocable dissipation.
If he were alive today, I suggest to you that Kant's corporeal manifestation would be that of a paunchy, balding man, eternally sixty years old, who is often seen in his yard, cleaning out his gutters or basement wells or tending his garden joylessly. He's perhaps wearing a modified pith helmet and too-tight khaki shorts which reveal the topography of his bunchy twill underpants as he crouches to slake the thirst of his prized marigolds. Of course, his plastic eyeglass frames are a mottled brown -- no, not tortoise-shell, but a harsh two-tone pattern reminiscent of the formica customarily surrounding a late 1970s basement wet bar. Additionally, the lenses are several sizes too large to conform to even the most deluded strictures of fashion. His socks (or 'stockings,' as he calls them) are a heavy, nauseous tan, ribbed but slouchy. A stubborn elastic band around the stockings' crown tries to hold them steadily around the mid-calf, but the up-again, down-again athleticism of gardening forbids this vain hold-out against gravity. Consequently, the stockings occasionally puddle around his knobby ankles. But not for long. He grunts, squats, hoists -- grunts, squats, hoists. If the ritual's speed were only increased and set to an uptempo adult contemporary favorite, we might suspect it was a dance. Or else an elaborate tic.
Next we should discuss his legs, shouldn't we? Necessity seems to demand it... Kant's legs -- when both his safari-aspirational shorts and his stockings are performing optimally -- are visible from the mid-thigh to the mid-calf and are fantastically white and nearly hairless. It's the kind of white that shames even the newest-fallen snow, and the kind of hairlessness that visits certain men at an advancing age. It's almost as if the sproutings of those once-masculine hairs had wearied over time and just surrendered the puttering gardener to a pleasant sexual neutrality. His legs, otherwise, are surprisingly bulbous with muscle at the height of the calf: a cleft, spastic musculature, as in the shape of cloven hooves. His sandals are wide and deep brown about the straps (three straps in total, none crossed or set at provocative angles), and vaguely semitic in design -- which is to say, tough as citrus rinds, in order to deflect the cruelties of the Negev.
This is what Immanuel Kant would look like today, probably. If he were your neighbor (a half dozen houses down the street, perhaps) and you were driving to your vinyl-sided ranch or bungalow with a sackful of perishable groceries in the trunk of your Volvo S40, and if you tapped the horn friskily and waved at Mr. Kant as he dug in his garden, he would, I assure you, remain defiantly crouched, folded in upon himself, beholden to some faithless prayer. He would seem as if to have not heard your car or your horn and neither to have suspected your hand were raised in salutation. But of course he is nothing else but an intelligent man, and so he hears and of course he knows, or at least suspects. But he simply straightens his sun-bleached helmet, sinks his fingers more deeply into his yellow suede work gloves, and digs toward an object which will bring him no joy or satisfaction, but rather a steady, textureless hum within and throughout his consciousness which passes in some muddled cultures for the noise of enlightenment....more
Turgid, dogmatic, overrated and well past its sell-by.
As Einstein exasperatedly said: if Kant had only been able to stop pontificating about the nature of time and space, he might actually have discovered something interesting about them. Einstein, with considerable justification, felt that he had refuted Kant, and was surprised to find that philosophers were reluctant to accept his claim. To me, it seems clear-cut. Kant repeatedly tells us that time and space are not things; but EinsThesis
Turgid, dogmatic, overrated and well past its sell-by.
As Einstein exasperatedly said: if Kant had only been able to stop pontificating about the nature of time and space, he might actually have discovered something interesting about them. Einstein, with considerable justification, felt that he had refuted Kant, and was surprised to find that philosophers were reluctant to accept his claim. To me, it seems clear-cut. Kant repeatedly tells us that time and space are not things; but Einstein's insight is that this is wrong. Space-time is, indeed, a thing that we can roughly conceptualize as a kind of invisible fluid in which we have our physical being. Matter acts on space-time to change its shape, and space-time acts on matter to cause it to move. This interplay between space-time and matter is what we experience as gravity.
Einstein has done far more than correct a detail. The most obvious consequence is that the greater part of the Antinomy of Pure Reason - a good hundred pages of Kant's book - is rendered invalid. Kant argues, roughly, that it is not meaningful to inquire about whether the universe is finite or infinite in space and time. The fact that time and space are things radically changes the situation. Contrary to Kant's claims, the whole of space-time is now also a thing. The question of whether it is finite or infinite turns out to be related to its curvature, which is something we can measure. Thus the finiteness of the universe is part of the world of phenomena, and astronomers during the last few decades have done a great deal of practical work investigating these questions.
In the field of literature, Proust was as annoyed as Einstein. The following passage from La prisonnière (presented here with the Scott Moncrief translation) eloquently sums up his feelings:
– J’y vais, Madame, j’y vais », finit par dire Brichot comme le général Deltour s’éloignait. Mais d’abord l’universitaire me prit un instant à part : « Le devoir moral, me dit-il, est moins clairement impératif que ne l’enseignent nos Éthiques. Que les cafés théosophiques et les brasseries kantiennes en prennent leur parti, nous ignorons déplorablement la nature du Bien. Moi-même qui, sans nulle vantardise, ai commenté pour mes élèves, en toute innocence, la philosophie du prénommé Emmanuel Kant, je ne vois aucune indication précise, pour le cas de casuistique mondaine devant lequel je suis placé, dans cette critique de la Raison pratique où le grand défroqué du protestantisme platonisa, à la mode de Germanie, pour une Allemagne préhistoriquement sentimentale et aulique, à toutes fins utiles d’un mysticisme poméranien. C’est encore le « Banquet », mais donné cette fois à Kœnigsberg, à la façon de là-bas, indigeste et assaisonné avec choucroute, et sans gigolos.
["I am going, Madame, I am going," said Brichot, as General Deltour moved away. But first of all the Professor took me aside for a moment: "Moral Duty," he said, "is less clearly imperative than our Ethics teach us. Whatever the Theosophical cafés and the Kantian beer-houses may say, we are deplorably ignorant of the nature of Good. I myself who, without wishing to boast, have lectured to my pupils, in all innocence, upon the philosophy of the said Immanuel Kant, I can see no precise ruling for the case of social casuistry with which I am now confronted in that Critique of Practical Reason in which the great renegade of Protestantism platonised in the German manner for a Germany prehistorically sentimental and aulic, ringing all the changes of a Pomeranian mysticism. It is still the Symposium, but held this time at Kônigsberg, in the local style, indigestible and reeking of sauerkraut, and without any good-looking boys.]
A brilliant and incalculably important book which more or less created modern thought.
The difficulty of reconciling the world of sensations with the world of concepts is perhaps the central problem of philosophy. No one, before or since, has done it better than Kant did in the Critique of Pure Reason.
I do not think it a coincidence that relativity and quantum mechanics, the great breakthroughs in twentieth century physics, were discovered by German-speaking scientists who were thoroughly acquainted with his work. Einstein's special theory of relativity crucially depends on the insight that different observers experience time and space differently. Lorentz had all the pieces of the jigsaw in front of him, but was unable to put them together into the realization that the "Lorentz contraction" cannot be conceptualized as an objective fact, but is rather observer-dependent. If he had been able to grasp this point, he would have gone down in history as the discoverer.
Quantum mechanics is an even clearer case, where the Schrödinger equation is almost a direct translation of Kant's ideas into mathematical form. The unknowable wave-function represents the noumenal world; the world of phenomena is represented by the system of operators which act on it, where the operators themselves are the senses and their eigenvalues are the sense data. Though one point is oddly reversed with respect to Kant. There is the same duality between determinism and free will, but it is the world of noumena that turns out to be deterministic, while the world of phenomena is not!
The mark Kant made on literature is only slightly less telling. As I recently discovered in Gautier-Vignal's Proust connu et inconnu, Proust was fascinated by Kant, and the whole of the Recherche greatly influenced by his ideas. I must reread Le temps retrouvé from this new perspective; I suspect that many things which puzzled me first time round will become clearer....more
This is one of those philosophical summits that offers an incomparably comprehensive prospect, as well as revealing something about what it means to have a perspective at all. In so doing, it transforms the understanding of all other perspectives. Kant does nothing less in this work than introduce a new starting point for thought. And since where we start predetermines the possibilities of where we can end up, a sound, new starting point is an ultimate instrument for thought that reshapes our usThis is one of those philosophical summits that offers an incomparably comprehensive prospect, as well as revealing something about what it means to have a perspective at all. In so doing, it transforms the understanding of all other perspectives. Kant does nothing less in this work than introduce a new starting point for thought. And since where we start predetermines the possibilities of where we can end up, a sound, new starting point is an ultimate instrument for thought that reshapes our use of all others. The metaperspectival stance this work outlines holds a powerful key to all philosophy and intellectual endeavour in general. It also constitutes the core component of any genuinely comprehensive Theory of Everything. If human evolution is largely an “evolution by extension,” as anthropologist Edward T. Hall has argued, then a new instrument of thought that identifies the perspectival parameters from which one can proceed to critique all other instruments of thought constitutes one of the most powerful developments in the history of cultural evolution. Most importantly, it marks the first philosophical breakthrough in placing us where we are, a breakthrough that we can build upon, but never entirely set aside.
Perhaps the endless avalanche of interpretations this work has generated is itself a proof of its immense generative power for thought. The critical-transcendental POV that Kant identified seems to constitute a nodal point for thought from which one can endlessly regenerate philosophy, either through the generation of new systems, or through the critique of historical ones through referencing them to architectonic, formal fundamentals of human cognition.
Kant's formal analysis is the ultimate generator of methodologies. It made possible, for one, the "perspectivist" turn that lies at the heart of modern artistic practice: in the visual arts, starting at least with the Impressionists, and on to the present moment and traceable through the diverse proliferation of mediums during the last century; in literature, the self-reflexivity we cherish in the modern novel (most clearly manifest in Proust, Joyce, Woolf). It is ironic that the supposedly austere and unimaginative Kant should become the begetter of artists and of whole artistic lineages.
In the sciences, The Critique also made possible the paradigmatic basis for a crucial methodological principle of modern physics, ie, the now necessary reference to the position of the observer in any formulation of physical law. When Heisenberg states that “What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning,” he is merely summarizing Kant's first critique.
Kant is also the conceptual architect for what would later become the human, esp cognitive, sciences. It is in his critical turn that these methodologies find their ultimate, rational justification. It is only because Kant's arguments -showed- that the understanding of our cognitive, formal biases is essential in order to secure progress towards an ultimate cosmological Theory Of Everything that these metholodogies exist. And it is only because of these pre-existing arguments and formal analyses that the data they yield can be interpreted as proof regarding the relationship between mind and reality. Despite Kant's arguments over two centuries ago, a naive, pre-critical view of science is still the norm, as is perhaps to be expected in a philosophically illiterate culture which believes that technical thinking can entirely supplant philosophical thinking in ensuring critical rigour. Thus, we still tend to think of data as free-standing, self-interpreting and self-justifying. We forget Kant's point that data only becomes proof once it's positioned within and grafted onto an overarching theory that gives its rational sense.
His most important contribution to philosophy itself lies, perhaps, in paving the foundations for phenomenology which, to this day, IMO, constitutes the most sound starting point for philosophy. Where once there was metaphysics, we now have phenomenology, in its various forms, as the ultimate locus of all that is unique about philosophy as a mode of our being. Husserl pays his dues to Descartes' Meditations, but the real seeds are planted by the critical turn that made it possible to recast ontology in terms of both phenomenology and human cognition. Thus, ontological universals become relativized to phenomenological and cognitive universals. After Kant, perspective becomes an indispensable ontological and methodological principle. It presents a new way of answering the Delphic god's indictment to "Know Thyself": Kant makes defining and locating the inquirer himself the first step to ontological understanding. In this, he reverses the traditional Aristotelian formula of seeking understanding by locating the self in a realm of objects. Kant's genius lies in deconstructing past “cosmic orders” and showing them, to be, at bottom, merely reified, projected cognitive artifacts. Incidentally, this same Kantian deconstructive analysis can be applied towards showing that many of our most cherished cosmological and ontological notions are also reified, projected cognitive artifacts: think of the metaphors behind mechanistic ontologies or informational cosmologies. We got rid of anthropomorphic deities just to replace them with pictures that reduce the irreducible continuity of the universe to analyses that are fundamentally based on metaphors derived from the latest human artifact (nowadays, the computer, tomorrow, whatever other gadget colonizes the imagination of the day).
It might be useful to picture Kant at one end of the continuum of phenomenological description, with Proust and Merleau-Ponty at the other. At one end one gains a perspective of formal a prioricity, at the other, of the embodiment of form in meaning in our attempts to make sense of lived experience. At one end, we have the universals of logic, mathematics, and the formal, synthetic a priori principles that ground the various disciplines of reason and unite them into a coherent map of human knowledge, and at the other, an attempt to maximize the pliancy of cognitive form to its maximum capacity through art, and thus increase its “adequacy to experience” (in James' terms).
What is the real crux of philosophy, the fundamental problem that underlies all others? The answer stems for Kant, as it did, for every philosopher before him, from the Delphic oracle's injunction: “Know Thyself.” What is the defining essence of a philosophical anthropology? Man is reason, goes the traditional answer, since at least Socrates, but formalized by Aristotle in the definition of man as the “rational animal.” And what is reason? Reason is Logos (or its producer and/or detector), which is traditionally ambiguously conceived as situated both within the world and within the mind. Kant's critical turn flips tradition upside down by showing that the reason for this appearance is the phenomenological primacy of Logos. Only this phenomenological primacy leads to its ontological primacy, for us. And what is Logos? Logos is Form, and it is this fundamental mystery of form that, Kant points out, lies at the heart of the human condition. Our capacity and preference for certain formal arrangements defines our ultimate limit as knowers. These formal limits thus pre-define the limits of possible development for both ontology and cosmology. This fundamental problem of the nature and grounding of form, Kant shows, is the real, fundamental problem of philosophy. Kant's philosophical task thus becomes a cartography of these formal limits from within, from the POV of what David Chalmers called “the first person POV” of consciousness.
(As an aside, you can see how this relativizing of form to perspective blends well with evolutionary pictures of the organismic nature of the knower. Every species prefers certain arrangements that are conducive to its survival, and “abstracts” its world according to these species-specific preferences. Our capacity and preference for form is our signature as a species, and not a fact about the world. There is only a step from here to Nietzsche's paradoxical absolute relativism of Will to Power, with Form as a power-imposition by the species onto the world, and not as revelation of some pre-existing cosmic order. The seeds for a more radical questioning of reason are planted by Kant).
So the critical determination that splits all post-Kantian thought in philosophy and beyond is here, in the question of the relative stability of the grounding of our formal principles. Can you find formal universals at least here, in the mind? Or is this last vestige of universality further deconstructible? If you answer yes to the former, what you're left with is a cognitively-grounded realism. If you answer yes to the latter, you're left in the rather dark cul-de-sac of nominalism, for good. And if you ignore Kant's critique altogether, as positivism tries, you risk chasing the shadow of your cognitive biases across the cosmos, forever (Kuhn's critique is a radical proof of this point), and mistaking these for fundamental ontological principles. Only a critical realism can bypass this latter pitfall.
The perspectival realism branch leaves us with the task of completing Kant's “formal science.” The key to this formal science is the controversial idea of the synthetic a priori principles, which I understand as Kant's way of supplementing and enriching linear, formal logic (which leads thought down the line of formal reductionism) with logical principles that tend in the opposite, constructive, unifying direction. If such formal principles can be discovered through pure phenomenological reflection, a comprehensive map of knowledge becomes possible, and within what is currently a blinkered disarray of specialism, one can once again discern a unity of thought. Disciplines can become coordinated parts of a working whole, of a culture of knowledge that can be unified only by such philosophical meta-principles. This, at least, is the insanely ambitious and enticing promise Kant's critical project opens up for us... but does not complete, despite his belief that he did.
The nominalist crew seems to be winning, as one by one, Kant's universals have been deconstructed and relativized. Instead of “transcendental critique,” all critique starts to be construed in relativistic, contextualizing, historical terms as Kant's phenomenological starting point is placed under corrosive analysis again and again. Historicist analysis points out that Kant's candidates for the a priori structures turned out to be static projections of what were mere features of a Western-specific, culturally-determined cognitive mode, and therefore were not the universal, absolute and necessary constituents of mind that he sought. An example of this would be how Kant imports and transposes Aristotle's key categories of form/material into transcendental analysis, thereby bringing traditional bias into the whole project of identifying the a priori. A further example would be his reliance on the Newtonian paradigm for his formulation of the so-called transcendental form of space and time, which now must be grasped relativistically. Whitehead's radical reformulation of fundamental ontological form in process terms is both a better fit with modern physics, and shows there is nothing necessary in Kant's candidates for a prioricity. This brings up a serious problem with the so-called transcendental basis of the critical methodology: can we ever come to identify the a priori on more than a historical basis? We seem to rely, as Kant did, on the thought and science of the day to provide the material for transcendental analysis. Is there any way of filtering out the historical factor and boiling phenomenological analysis down to the real fundamentals?
Perhaps the problem isn't as refractory as it seems. After all, we implicitly trust that math and logic (as we've formalized it thus far) represent formal principles that are decidedly immune from historical and cultural relativity. This trust we harbour for these formal systems is the basis for progress in the natural sciences. Could it be that Kant's project, although not completed (by him) due to a lack of theoretical and possibly empirical (I will return to this issue below) tools, can, in principle, still be completed? Why should formal logic be the final formulation of reason? It leaves out so much, and is ill-applied to much of the content that characterizes our experience of the world. It also provides a poor basis (if any) for constructive acts of reason, such as those that elaborate the internal logical framework of disciplines and situate these together into a larger conceptual framework. Perhaps, with further work on his synthetic a priori, we can hit upon the kind of enriched logic that he hoped for and that can escape the historicist critique as well as the nominalist dead-end.
Another strand of critique of the notion of “formal science” as Kant conceives it comes from the empirical findings of embodied mind theorists. It turns out that, if you actually look at it, the mind is embodied (culturally, situationally, historically, as well as within an ecologically-situated psycho-physiological organismic whole). Critiques of the “a priori approach to philosophy” include Merleau-Ponty's embodied phenomenology, and in cognitive science, Lakoff's Philosophy in the Flesh. The latter states that the phenomenological, transcendental, and formal approach to cognitive structure of someone like Kant is fundamentally illusion-prone and limited in its capacity for self-knowledge. This is because, Lakoff argues, the a priori approach lacks the empirical tools required in order to discern the phenomenologically inaccessible yet causally efficacious structure of the cognitive unconscious mechanisms, which are the true determinants of thought. He goes on to argue that the transcendental picture of reason is refuted by the fact that higher reasoning processes of the brain import inference patterns from sensorimotor systems, making reason inherently embodied and organismic. Further salient critiques would be Lakoff's deconstruction of the philosophical misconstrual of mental categories as container-like, monolithic forms that are definable in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. Lakoff argues that categories are radial, and that abstract concepts (eg space, time, self) such as those Kant relied on, are at bottom metaphorical, cross-domain mappings. All these facts about human cognition lead theorists such as Lakoff to claim that there is a fundamental incompleteness in the philosophical method for self-understanding, and that this can only be redressed if philosophy reformulates its problems and concept-systems, from the ground up, by using empirical insights about the nature of cognition as their ultimate reference point.
The question now is the proper relationship between philosophy and science (esp the cognitive sciences), as well as the relative priority of each. My two cents' is that cognitive science, and related disciplines, can only be a boon to philosophy. As I pointed out above, cognitive science is in fact an offspring of philosophical thought in search for richer self-understanding. Why limit our reserves for insight in advance? That being said, while cooperation and unification of pictures from the two disciplines must be aimed for, this can only happen at the far end of development along the lines of a methodological dualism based on Chalmers' distinction between description at the level of the first person POV (phenomenological, formal, “transcendental”) and the second person POV (empirical, cognitive science perspective). I would argue that, just as mathematics and logic contain principles that are not reducible to cognitive principles (consider the difference between proving a mathematical theorem and describing how mathematics is “done” in the brain), so can the picture of reason not be completed without the kind of formal critique Kant initiated. The comprehensive picture of human nature, and of the architectonic principles of cognition that can ground and unify the various special disciplines, cannot be found, IMO, by reducing either discipline to the other any more than it can by refusing their cooperation.
Therefore I think that revisiting and updating Kant will be the key to moving beyond the postmodern condition of general intellectual disarray. The fundamental incompleteness in his method can be corrected by supplementing the quest for transcendental logic with insights from the cognitive sciences, on the one hand, and with a comparative, cross-cultural analysis of paradigmatic systems. Without the latter, we can never factor out the cultural-relativity element. Thus, we may need to add extra dimensions to Kant's particular formulations of the a priori, and even at times reduce some of the concepts he identifies as primary to more fundamental notions. Even if the a priori formal universals exist, our understanding of them is historically evolving. Perhaps, the minimum we can hope for is that the search for the a priori must function more as a guiding lodestar for inquiry than as a project we can expect to culminate in some shiny, ultimate, all-enclosing, end-historical System. This is because both our creative reserves for meaning-making in the arts and our capacity for knowledge in science outgrow our capacity to foresee in advance the form they might take. Eventually we'll hit our walls, but not before we do.
Necessary future modifications aside, Kant was right in perceiving that the future of thought is bound up with finding a coherent (and, one could add, more globally-informed) picture of human nature, and that furthermore, such a science of human nature alone can provide the necessary foundation for the other disciplines and allow us to understand how the principles of each relate to all. Only after such a step would be satisfied could our heap of facts be said to constitute knowledge, for knowledge is a matter of structural integration, and not merely of information storage (Kant would in this respect be the soundest critic of our “information” epistemologies). Furthermore, he was right when he identified the “transcendental logic” as the key to such a science.
The starting point for philosophy cannot be the same after Kant's critiques. Critique becomes the indispensable preparatory work for an adequate cosmology and metaphysics. After him, any TOE systematizer must pass through the anteroom of philosophical anthropology. It would behoove us to figure out what the limiting conditions for our cognitive apparatus are, as well as their range of applicability, before we presume to describe domains beyond their purview (laws of nature deemed absolute, or time-, space- and matter in-themselves), unless of course we are willing to risk chasing our anthropomorphic projections across the cosmos," only in ever more insidious, artifactual forms.
After we have discovered the limits of rational form, who knows what direction our explorations might take? Perhaps such discovery can free us of these formal constraints, and enable us to take charge of our intellectual evolution by pressing beyond their limits to new formal domains.
It should be clear by now why Kant's Critique, far from representing a hoary collection of sterile abstractions, constitutes, above all, an indispensable guide to self-knowledge. Perhaps, what we can take from it most of all is that we know nature most intimately not in our sensuous experiences of a landscape, say, or through our primal impulses, as psychology claims, but through the sense of form that we experience through reason, "the light of nature" within us....more
Seriously though... why does so much Western philosophy remind me of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I swear, these gentlemen had their panties wrapped so tightly I don't know how they ever took a proper dump.
The problem with Kant (aside from how much he enjoyed listening to the sound of his own voice droning on and on) is that he was irretrievably mired in a Christian world-view, separated from nature, and cursed with the precision of having bI just Kant stand him.
Seriously though... why does so much Western philosophy remind me of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I swear, these gentlemen had their panties wrapped so tightly I don't know how they ever took a proper dump.
The problem with Kant (aside from how much he enjoyed listening to the sound of his own voice droning on and on) is that he was irretrievably mired in a Christian world-view, separated from nature, and cursed with the precision of having been brought up German. Poor fellow... he badly needed to run naked through the woods and eat a freshly killed goat around a fire, followed by a proper shag by a woman with enormous tracts of land....more
When I was about seven, my favorite movie was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mom was dating this philosophy professor who was writing a book on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. One day, I asked him what it was about, and he told me it was just like Chitty. It was a kind of magic car that - I can still remember his words - "was able to drive on the roads of sensation, float on the water of concepts, and even fly above the sea of transcendental illusion". And then he told me the whole story of ChittyWhen I was about seven, my favorite movie was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mom was dating this philosophy professor who was writing a book on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. One day, I asked him what it was about, and he told me it was just like Chitty. It was a kind of magic car that - I can still remember his words - "was able to drive on the roads of sensation, float on the water of concepts, and even fly above the sea of transcendental illusion". And then he told me the whole story of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with Kant replacing Caractacus Potts and the Critique replacing Chitty. Truly Scrumptious was Modern Science, and Baron Bomburst was some philosopher I'd never heard of who didn't like metaphysics. We all sang the title song together with Mom's boyfriend's words, it started like this:
Pure Reason, Critique of Pure Reason Pure Reason, Critique of Pure Reason Pure Reason, Critique of Pure Reason
Oh, you, Critique of Pure Reason Critique of Pure Reason we love you And, in, Critique of Pure Reason what we'll do...
I can't remember the rest.
We all had a great time, and I decided that Kant was my second-favorite philosopher, after Mom's boyfriend. I was sure they were going to get married. And then a week later they had a big fight about synthetic a priori propositions and yelled at each other a lot, and he drove off and we never saw him again. I was very sad about it and told Mom not to be so serious about philosophy in future.
immanuel kant is by farrrrr the world's most precise philosopher... EVER! haha.. this text, like many philosophical texts out there... was really dry.. and um.. long. but there's definitely a reason why this one's regarded as one of the greatest philosophical pieces out there. so the book's premise in a nutshell... noone can argue FOR or AGAINST an afterlife/God. he also digs into the idea that our understanding of the world and our ideas are based not only on experience, but on a priori conceptimmanuel kant is by farrrrr the world's most precise philosopher... EVER! haha.. this text, like many philosophical texts out there... was really dry.. and um.. long. but there's definitely a reason why this one's regarded as one of the greatest philosophical pieces out there. so the book's premise in a nutshell... noone can argue FOR or AGAINST an afterlife/God. he also digs into the idea that our understanding of the world and our ideas are based not only on experience, but on a priori concept... it's worth a read, esp if you are the soul searching type.....more
It is done. I have finally scaled the sheer surface of this work. It involved continual toil, sweat, and suffering—falling down and picking myself up again. But, when you reach the end, when your eyes finally hit the bottom of that final paragraph, the feeling is momentous. You can stand and look down at the steep drop you managed to climb, and reflect with satisfaction that this mountain is one of the tallest. This is an Everest of a book.
That was melodramatic, but only a little. The Critique oIt is done. I have finally scaled the sheer surface of this work. It involved continual toil, sweat, and suffering—falling down and picking myself up again. But, when you reach the end, when your eyes finally hit the bottom of that final paragraph, the feeling is momentous. You can stand and look down at the steep drop you managed to climb, and reflect with satisfaction that this mountain is one of the tallest. This is an Everest of a book.
That was melodramatic, but only a little. The Critique of Pure Reason is tough, and requires some serious effort to get through. Before attempting it, I would highly recommend first reading Kant’s much shorter Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysic, in which he summarizes the essential points that are elaborated and ‘proved’ (in his opinion) in this longer work. Additionally, I would recommend any potential readers to acquaint themselves with the philosophy of David Hume (The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding) and Rene Descartes (Meditations on First Philosophy). Thankfully, both writers are more stylish and succinct than Kant.
Nevertheless, I think overcoming a book’s reputation for difficulty can often be as challenging as the book itself. It’s sort of like the movie Jaws—you hear the rumors, you see its fin surfacing in the distance, but you never get a good look at the beast until you get down in the water. Thankfully, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason has not been known to eat people or destroy nautical vessels.
I’m not sure how Kant got his reputation as a horrible writer. Certainly, he is far more turgid than Rousseau, Hume, Descartes, Nietzsche, or even Locke. But, unlike more modern prose disasters like Heidegger, he’s far from unreadable. Roughly on a par with Aristotle, I would say. Above all, the reader must pay close attention to his terminology. Kant is systematic—his goal is a perfect, self-contained whole that comprises every aspect of the universe. Bearing that in mind, one would expect his philosophy to be more dense and verbose than his predecessors.
Another way that Kant is unlike some of his forerunners is that he is not a skeptic. He does not begin his investigations by doubting everything he can, but firmly believes in the possibility of human knowledge. Interestingly enough, before writing his three Critiques (which he started in his late fifties), Kant had done some work in the natural sciences, and was quite familiar with Newtonian physics. Being the perceptive man that he was, when Kant read David Hume (who, as Kant says in the Prolegomena, caused him to “awake from his dogmatic slumber”), he realized that Hume’s findings threw the entire scientific endeavor into severe doubt. So at least part of his goal in this work is to save the findings of science.
One more tension Kant is trying to resolve is that between scientific explanations and free will. If the world is governed by immutable physical laws that can be described by equations (as Kant believed), how can free will exist? And, finally, what can we know about the universe? If we follow in Newton’s footsteps, can humans figure everything out? And, if so, what would be the consequences for religion?
After reading Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (which I would also recommend), Kant perceptively realized that, as human knowledge increases, God will seem less and less likely as an explanation for the natural world. Being a pious Christian, he reacts by attempting to set a firm limit to the reach of human knowledge. This effort, paradoxically, leads Kant to conclude that all metaphysical and logical ‘proofs’ of God’s existence are insufficient, and that humans will never be able to know for sure if there is a God. The upshot of this is that humans will also never by able to disprove God’s existence, leaving room for faith.
When I first read this book, I was very taken by his thinking, and found Kant to be a profound genius. Well, I still think he's a profound genius; but now, however, after reading more philosophy and reflecting on Kant’s system, I am somewhat less convinced, and think there are some fatal errors in his reasoning. That being said, nobody can deny that Kant is a superlative philosopher—scrupulous, methodical, fantastically ambitious—and deserves to be read, and read, and read again. After all, one doesn’t read philosophers in order to agree with them. Precisely the reverse. ...more
Both frightfully obscure and logically scrupulous, Kant functions sort of like a philosophical litmus test. Many a metaphysical charlatan (Lacan, Žižek, et. al.) has aped his mystifying prose-style without any attempt to match his rigour. And meanwhile, the most provincial of the analytic camp, unduly equating "abstruseness" with "bullshit," write him off as a mere historical oddity.
But the truth of the matter is that the Critique—Kant's magnum opus—constitutes one of the most inventive, meticulBoth frightfully obscure and logically scrupulous, Kant functions sort of like a philosophical litmus test. Many a metaphysical charlatan (Lacan, Žižek, et. al.) has aped his mystifying prose-style without any attempt to match his rigour. And meanwhile, the most provincial of the analytic camp, unduly equating "abstruseness" with "bullshit," write him off as a mere historical oddity.
But the truth of the matter is that the Critique—Kant's magnum opus—constitutes one of the most inventive, meticulous and edifying works of philosophical mind-fuckery ever to be writ.
In a nutshell, the Critique finds Kant arguing for the doctrine of transcendental idealism, which asserts that our knowledge of the world only extends to the phenomenal (how things appear to us), rather than the noumenal (how things exist irrespective of us). Indeed, mustn't all possible knowledge and experience first pass through the lens of our own subjectivity? (Not that everyone will agree with this claim.)
That being said, Kant's view has more than its fair share of problems. For instance, the "Transcendental Aesthetic," in which he argues that all (human) experience is spatially and temporally conditioned, seems rather problematic—especially in the face of modern scientific conceptions of space and time. Even so, it would still need to be determined which of Kant's subsequent claims suffer as a result.
But perhaps the largest issue facing transcendental idealism is exegetical in nature.
Upon its initial publication, many readers of the Critique took it to express a particularly sophisticated version of Berkeley's so-called "mystic idealism," which led Kant to include a rather pointed rebuttal in subsequent pressings. And even though Kant takes obvious plains to differentiate logic from psychology (the Critique proceeds along the former grounds), some modern scientists have read Kant's categories as anticipating certain neurological circuits.
However, one of the most important debates in Kantian scholarship has been between the dual object and dual aspect interpretations of the Critique. According to the former, Kant believed noumena and phenomena to be two related but ultimately separate types of entity, whereas the latter holds that phenomena simply constitute the perceptible "aspect" of noumena.
Thus, it's not even clear what Kant's view truly is—at least in its particulars. So perhaps it'd be best to withhold any judgment regarding its ultimate truth or falsity...
Yet if the Critique is so difficult, and its arguments so terribly obscure, why should we even bother with it in the first place? Whilst perusing this book—a process which took up the better part of two years—I assembled a list of reasons for why Critique deserves its elevated position within the history of Western philosophy. Here's what I came up with:
(1) For taking the "negative" empiricism of Hume, which is as frightening as it is cogent, and combining it with an explanation for why the world still seems to make at least an iota of sense—i.e., finding a middle road between empiricism and rationalism.
(2) For constructing a devastating critique of speculative metaphysics. (Sorry, Leibnitz.)
(3) For replacing metaphysical arguments from speculative reason with metaphysical arguments from practical reason. That is, even if a metaphysical proposition is impossible to prove, it doesn't follow that we should not believe in it.
(3.1) For instance, either (a) free will exists or (b) we live in a thoroughly deterministic universe. Let's say we live in a thoroughly deterministic universe, in which case all of our beliefs will be accordingly determined, and hence we would simply and inexorably believe one of these propositions or the other. But now suppose that we truly enjoy the power of choice. If we have free will but fail to recognize this fact, we'll likely also fail to take responsibility for our actions. Therefore, we should—according to the dictates of practical reason—believe in the existence of free will, even if we can't come up with any airtight theoretical proof.
(4) For recognizing that all possible experience necessarily conforms to certain cognitive categories.
(5) For inventing the transcendental argument, in which the existence of some entity is deduced according to the preconditions for possible experience.
(6) For developing the doctrine of transcendental idealism.
(7) For formulating some pretty ingenious arguments against the then prominent theological proofs; and on the way, possibly laying the groundwork for second-order logic.
(8) For offering a (metalogical) account for why logic seems to be such a useful tool of inquiry, philosophical or otherwise.
A word of warning to the potential reader: this behemoth requires quite a lot of background knowledge—the empiricism of Locke, Berkeley and especially Hume; the rationalism of Leibniz; and even a dash of Newton (à propos the absolutist conception of space) and Aristotle (à propos the search for ontological categories) thrown in for good measure. But for those serious about philosophy, the Critique—Guyer and Wood's top-notch translation in particular—makes for an indispensable read....more
Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason marks what is more or less a beginning of philosophy. It is no longer possible to go back behind his Copernican revolution, as if one could do philosophy without taking into account the subject or consciousness. This turn toward subjectivity is only tightened with the Wittgensteinian and Heideggarian turns toward language. Both naive empiricism (Hume, Locke, etc) and strict rationalism (Leibniz, Wolff, etc) are thoroughly overcome, synthesized if you will. Of coursKant’s Critique of Pure Reason marks what is more or less a beginning of philosophy. It is no longer possible to go back behind his Copernican revolution, as if one could do philosophy without taking into account the subject or consciousness. This turn toward subjectivity is only tightened with the Wittgensteinian and Heideggarian turns toward language. Both naive empiricism (Hume, Locke, etc) and strict rationalism (Leibniz, Wolff, etc) are thoroughly overcome, synthesized if you will. Of course there remain Plato and Aristotle whom we will never be without, but they belong in a sense to an earlier dispensation of thought. And despite advances in the natural sciences, the world in which we live and have our being is Kantian, which is to say, still Euclidian and Newtonian. It is only from this subjective position that we embark upon scientific investigations into nature in general.
But of course we will always go back and read and philosophize with those greatest minds. Back to Leibniz and Spinoza (but not Wolff), Locke and Hume, Descartes and his crowd, Aquinas and Augustine along with those countless assembled together as ‘medieval’, without fail to Plato and Aristotle, to Parmenides and Heraclitus. And we will travel to China and India and discover there this same spirit of thought. But in so far as we understand philosophical progress, in so far as we understand philosophical thinking in its historical dimension, something happened with Kant’s critique which cannot be undone. Insofar as all systematic thinking endeavors to overcome a presupposed dualism (viz Descartes’ two substances), it is with Kant that we first see an opening, that “the conditions of the possibility of experience in general are at the same time conditions of the possibility of the objects of experience.”
However one fails to say it, one cannot overemphasize the determinative role of Kant in the history of philosophy, and in the very possibility of philosophy, of thinking. Yes, there is something inadequate in Kant’s methodology. Hegel clears up some of this. Another beginning is made later with Husserl. But the overcoming of alienated thought begins here; the turn toward the thinking subject, which is the heart of philosophy, begins with Kant. As does its grounding as science, as knowledge.
But too a word about his ‘difficulty.‘ Thinking is difficult. Philosophy is difficult. Knowing is difficult. What we novice thinkers have to gain here -- and we must put aside this silly quip about how Kant can’t write -- is a mode of real thinking. As Marguerite Young said, Style is thinking. And Kant’s tortuous syntax reflects not only teaching philosophy to speak German (which Hegel was still endeavoring to accomplish) but because also the nature of Kant’s matter, the Sache, is difficult and does not give itself lightly. Alone Kant wrote and published four different versions of the transcendental deduction of the categories, not because he didn’t know how to express himself, but because the matter itself had never previously been attempted. And here too I find it advantageous, in so far as one lends oneself to learn to think, to follow a translation which most closely mirrors the mode of thought within the German language. There is at least some nugget of truth to Heidegger’s quip that Being speaks only German and Greek.
There is no easy first avenue into Kant’s work except that one has already accomplished his Copernican revolution. And to do so on one’s own is perhaps comparable to learning the calculus or elementary particle physics on one’s own. Philosophy is available to all, but it is also so easy to miss, to misrecognize philosophy as mere wisdom or opinion. But to take philosophy as real cognition, thought, knowledge, to find one’s way behind both the methods and results of religion and the natural sciences, is a real accomplishment. To find one’s way to fundamental principles from which all experience springs is no simple task. ...more
With adolescence came nihilistic thoughts of suicide. The reasoning was simple. The public schools and an early interest in the sciences had led me to believe that we are part of an ordered universe, the parts of which are finite, the rules of which are determinable. Like an eighteenth century philosophe, I believed the hypothesis of a creative entity outside of the system, a deity, to be unnecessary. In principle, everything was determined, the past seminally containing all of the future. In prWith adolescence came nihilistic thoughts of suicide. The reasoning was simple. The public schools and an early interest in the sciences had led me to believe that we are part of an ordered universe, the parts of which are finite, the rules of which are determinable. Like an eighteenth century philosophe, I believed the hypothesis of a creative entity outside of the system, a deity, to be unnecessary. In principle, everything was determined, the past seminally containing all of the future. In principle, a perfect description would be possible given enough time. Basically, without knowing it, I was a logical atomist. Reading Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus would have been deadly at this time.
The intellectual problem which arose from this belief system had an emotional basis, viz. I was unhappy with the way things were. Entering high school at age fifteen, I was 4'11", pimply and myopic. I had a temporary false tooth until such time as my head finished growing. I had a scar near the navel from a messy surgery in infancy. I was, if one looked closely, ugly. No girl would ever have me on the basis of appearances. Having no real friends, my family having moved four years previous, the only hope of love was to develop virtues of character by trying to be good and by studying very hard so as to be knowledgeable.
Becoming knowledgeable was a clear enough project, but being good was increasingly uncertain. I understood a bunch of ways that people talked about ethical goodness and found some of them preferable to others. I liked Gandhi's kind of goodness, "The Sermon on the Mount", the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, but, obviously, a lot of other people hadn't or didn't. Living in a town which had just been swept by Goldwater's campaign, I had enough arguments about rights and wrongs to suspect that the moral sense was like the sense of taste, individual, based on genetic nature and social nurture. I didn't have irrefutable arguments to compel others to my sense of the good--nor did they have such arguments to compel me.
Topping off the despair was the abiding belief that everything was determined, that anything I might accomplish was foreordained. It was a fact that I was, by prevailing standards, unattractive. Well, I had little control of that. It might become a fact that I would be very knowledgeable and even approbatively seen as a very "good" person by adjusting to conventional ethical standards. But that wouldn't have made me worthy of love if it were just the outcome of a concatenation determined events, if my sense of free agency were but an illusion. So, why bother?
I didn't know it at the time, I didn't even have the word for it, but my beliefs about the universe were metaphysical. The beliefs that there is (a) a universe that is (b) finite and (c) completely ordered were not based on evidence. They were heuristic assumptions conducive to drawing pictures of an ordered cosmos, assumptions which had tended to confirm themselves by their application in the sciences.
Kant convinced me of that. It was a conversion experience which followed upon a great deal of study, not only of his work, but also of the works of others such as Aristotle and Hume upon which his own thinking was substantially based. I'd been exposed to this basically simple idea before through such writers as Nietzsche, but not compellingly.
Now, a much wiser person, I no longer think nihilistically that suicide is consequent upon enlightenment. Now I just think about good reasons for killing myself. The rest of you should get to reading Kant or preparing to do so....more
how to review CPR? there are various ways of reviewing books, according to the dogmatic method of review our writings deal to the book exactly as it is, that Kant calls dogmatic method when one claims that he fully explored every component of book and has absolute knowledge of it. tradition of dogmatic reviews is dominated in western tradition, there is also a sceptical claims such David Hume's, who denied every possibility of knowing book, that method of writing is so dangerous because it deniedhow to review CPR? there are various ways of reviewing books, according to the dogmatic method of review our writings deal to the book exactly as it is, that Kant calls dogmatic method when one claims that he fully explored every component of book and has absolute knowledge of it. tradition of dogmatic reviews is dominated in western tradition, there is also a sceptical claims such David Hume's, who denied every possibility of knowing book, that method of writing is so dangerous because it denied of every possible knowledge about books. instead of this two radical school of writing there is critical assessment, which claims that knowing books is always determined, each cease of readers cognitive faculties and his pure understating of text.that means that we know book as phenomena as it is presented to us and it always correspond of our general abilities of judging and evaluating it, and that the book as it is itself is noumenal. so this reading always deals to readers phenomenal world his cognitive capacities, categories of pure understanding and logic. reviewing/reading goes like this - we have first steps of pure intuition are reading words and sentences, they aren't empirical forms of our understanding as lock holds it, but minds way of knowing texts. following intuition there is logic, what is to say mind has pure options of judging and asserting.so each reading deals to phenomena of understanding books by reading from his point of view, since pure intuition gives us contents by words and sentences, logic of pure judging deals that words and sentences. categories of judging is twelve and they make full explore of our knowledge, categories are good excellent not bad and not as it presented in Goodreads stars.in this method of reviewing there aren't place for metaphysical question, such as CPR is the greatest book in philosophy,there are not any mistakes in CPR, and CPR has greatest values for us.we have no ability to answer that questions,either or, all similar assertions are logic of illusion in which each statement either it is greatest book or it isn't are equally valid. example: thesis CPR is the greatest book, it has most complicated structure of studying our reasoning and principles of it's working so that make the books most cool. antithesis CPR is dull book Kant was living before three centuries ago, so we no longer need it. synthesis: CPR is great, but a little bit boring book....more
Parts and pieces of this master work intrigued and enlightened me, but Kant's overall proposal escapes my grasp. After reading through it, I can see why no univocal interpretation of the text can ever be possible.
The troubling aspect of Critique is its complexity. No explanatory system should demand an exegesis so convoluted, using so much idiosyncratic language, and terminating in so many loose ends and vagaries. Intended to explain the world of experience, among other things, this book insteadParts and pieces of this master work intrigued and enlightened me, but Kant's overall proposal escapes my grasp. After reading through it, I can see why no univocal interpretation of the text can ever be possible.
The troubling aspect of Critique is its complexity. No explanatory system should demand an exegesis so convoluted, using so much idiosyncratic language, and terminating in so many loose ends and vagaries. Intended to explain the world of experience, among other things, this book instead elicits confusion. Its most notable outcome lies in establishing as apparent fact that an ever more complex system-building was the solution to the challenges of the day.
Such entanglement in itself casts doubt on whether Kant succeeded in the task he set himself. Parsimony eschews needless complexity in order to avoid claiming more than is necessary and overdetermining an explantion. Galileo's predecessors, for instance, had kept adding epicyles upon epicyles to tottering hypotheses, never pausing to think what all that tinkering meant. So should it not have struck Kant at some point -- perhaps after the thirtieth clause-juggling, neuron-frizzing, eye-popping parenthetical remark -- that just maybe a better answer to Hume's smouldering skepticism could be found than by throwing gasoline on the embers?
The insights gleaned from this book are many, but the pieces do not build up to a functional explanation of the world. Trying to work through Being and Nothingness, for example, is tough, but at least the whole of it falls within the scope of human understanding. The same cannot be said for Critique of Pure Reason....more
Sometimes I think I have just understood a passage of Kant only to discover that I have actually just been having my own thoughts pertaining to something or other in the content of the passage, and this is sometimes rewarding, but it is nevertheless not exactly what I intended to accomplish.
Say Kant is writing about perception or being, and say I misunderstand Kant-- what exactly happens when I misunderstand Kant, and by misunderstanding him, discovI'm trying to decide whether or not I get it.
Sometimes I think I have just understood a passage of Kant only to discover that I have actually just been having my own thoughts pertaining to something or other in the content of the passage, and this is sometimes rewarding, but it is nevertheless not exactly what I intended to accomplish.
Say Kant is writing about perception or being, and say I misunderstand Kant-- what exactly happens when I misunderstand Kant, and by misunderstanding him, discover something I believe to be true about perception or being? How different is this from understanding Kant properly? Isn't Kant himself some kind of Ding-an-sich, whom I can not understand directly but only through my own understanding of him?
My poor Kant is frustrated for having been read in the manner I have been reading him....more
Un renard affamé, voyant des grappes de raisin pendre à une treille, voulut les attraper ; mais ne pouvant y parvenir, il s’éloigna en se disant à lui-même : « ils sont trop verts ». Pareillement, certains hommes, ne pouvant mener à bien leurs affaires en raison de leurs capacités en accusent les circonstances.
J’ai été longtemps comme le renard d’Esope, vis-à-vis de la Critique de la Raison Pure de Kant, principalement rebuté par l’obscurité du texte lorsqu’il m’arrivait de le feuilleter.
En effUn renard affamé, voyant des grappes de raisin pendre à une treille, voulut les attraper ; mais ne pouvant y parvenir, il s’éloigna en se disant à lui-même : « ils sont trop verts ». Pareillement, certains hommes, ne pouvant mener à bien leurs affaires en raison de leurs capacités en accusent les circonstances.
J’ai été longtemps comme le renard d’Esope, vis-à-vis de la Critique de la Raison Pure de Kant, principalement rebuté par l’obscurité du texte lorsqu’il m’arrivait de le feuilleter.
En effet, la lecture de Kant est difficile et exigeante pour le lecteur : à l’inverse des philosophes anglais qui mettent tout en œuvre pour rendre clair et évidentes leurs idées, en recourant au définitions, au langage commun et aux exemples, Kant évite les définitions, utilise un jargon particulier, et a très peu recours aux exemples : c’est un parti pris annoncé dès l’introduction, de vouloir rebuter le vulgaire et forcer le lecteur à la réflexion. D’un côté, je regrette ce parti pris, car il rend l’auteur suspect de vouloir couvrir de fumée des sophismes, de flatter ce qui serait une élite de lecteurs qui aurait fait l’effort de le suivre (et on aime mieux ce qui nous a couté de la peine), mais d’un autre côté, force est d’admettre que Kant ne choisis son vocabulaire qu’avec de bonnes raisons, en se rapprochant du grec et du latin. Par exemple, en grec, le verbe moyen αἰσθάνομαι signifie percevoir par les sens, mais aussi comprendre et apprendre : il a donné l’adjectif esthétique en français (und ästhetik auf Deutsch), qui est associé à l’idée de beauté. Pour Kant, qui se rapproche du sens grec original, il désigne les formes qui permettent « a priori » de percevoir les sensations : l’espace et le temps. L’étude des langues mortes et le goût de l’étymologie a été d’un grand secours. Un autre avantage que j’ai tiré de cette lecture est qu’elle m’a forcé à combler mes lacunes, en allant chercher systématiquement chercher dans les auteurs cités si leurs idées n’étaient pas trahies ou présentées de manière partielles : j’ai donc relu le Thééthète de Platon (je me suis amusé à retrouver des arguments, comme le "7+5=12". Synthétique? Non, analytique, comme tous les jugements mathématiques, qui par analyse, réduit les propositions à des identités), des passages de Locke et de Hume, le Prosologion de Anselme de Cantorbery, et découvert Victor Cousin, Leibniz et ses nouveaux essais sur l’entendement humain, et surtout Berkeley. Tout ceci a allongé ma lecture sur presque plus de neuf mois.
A l’origine, après avoir lu l’Essai sur l’Entendement Humain de Locke, et avoir été très favorablement impressionné, je n’ai pas résisté à la volonté d'éprouver au feu de la critique les vues que cet auteur m’avait fait embrasser. Comme son prédécesseur Anglais, le but de Kant dans cet ouvrage est de déterminer les limites de l’étendue des connaissances à laquelle la raison peut prétendre. D’emblée, ils diffèrent radicalement sur un point central : le rôle que joue la sensation dans l’acquisition du savoir.
Le premier point abordé par Locke est la critique des idées innées, qu’il réfute, et qui lui sert de fondement pour ne donner à l’ensemble de nos connaissances qu’une origine sensible, reprenant d’Aristote l’image de la « page blanche ». Ces sensations ne sont pas limités pour Locke à nos cinq sens naturels, mais comprennent également tout ce qu’en fait notre sens interne, toutes les combinaisons des phénomènes (du grec φαίνω, faire briller, paraître) que peuvent créer les facultés de notre entendement à partir de ces perceptions: l’attention, la mémoire, l’imagination, les passions, la vivacité, l’intelligence (Kant parle de jugements synthétiques), le discernement (Kant parle de jugements analytiques), la volonté pour citer les principales. Cette position permet à Locke de se libérer des querelles scolastiques, de rejeter les principes prétendument innés, et surtout de résoudre très élégamment la question du libre arbitre, en montrant que la proposition «la volonté est libre » n’a pas plus de sens que d’affirmer que la vertu est bleue ou carrée : le libre-arbitre n'est en rien incompatible avec le déterminisme, au contraire. Il rejette également toute la métaphysique hors du champ d’investigation possible de la raison.
Kant réfute le fait que les sensations soient l’unique source des objets qui intéressent la raison, en introduisant une distinction particulière : ce qui est « a priori » ou « pur » ou « transcendant » qualifie pour lui l’ensemble des concepts (il parle d'intuitions) que la raison renferme sans que les sensations en soient à l’origine, et « a posteriori », « non pur » et « immanent », ce qui au contraire est issu des sens. C’est le sujet de l’esthétique transcendantale. Sans conteste, c’est la partie qu’il m’a été la plus difficile à admettre, car en effet il donne pour exemple de forme « a priori » de la sensibilité, l’espace, le temps et les mathématiques. Pour ces trois exemples, il m’est impossible d’accorder à Kant qu’ils ne tirent origine de la sensibilité, mais il est tellement difficile d’abstraire tout ce que nous avons reçu par les sens (par exemple, d’où vient l’instinct ?), que l’on pourrait admettre théoriquement qu’il pourrait y avoir de tels concepts : cela ne gêne pas pour suivre la suite de son raisonnement, car comme un coup de théâtre, il établit finalement que cette esthétique transcendantale ne nous est d'aucune aide pour comprendre le monde, sans l'aide des phénomènes, tout en étant indispensable. Mince !
Kant introduit ensuite ce que Locke nommait relations, un effet de l’intelligence, faculté de lier les concepts. Les nommant catégories pures, il les rejette hors des notions déduites de l’expérience sensible dans partie traitant de l’analytique transcendantale. J’aurais tendance à considérer ces catégories comme inhérentes à la faculté de l’entendement nommée intelligence (capacité à lier des concepts par des relations/catégories), mais ce n’est peut-être qu’une querelle de mot, et il n’empêche pas de suivre Kant dans le chemin qu’il trace. Il semble que tout ceci a été établi pour résoudre les conséquences apparemment inacceptables pour Kant du scepticisme de Hume, qu'il juge issu de l'empirisme de Locke. (note 1 p.106). Pour objection, les jugements mathématiques sont analytiques, et non synthétiques, et les théories scientifiques physiques évoluent régulièrement : ce n'est pas un drame. Il construit néanmoins une belle théorie pour résoudre cette difficulté.
J'ai été touché par l'idéal de Kant de liberté, de tolérance qui professe à l'égard des différentes théories que l'esprit peut conjecturer, pour expliquer ce qui ne peut l'être, dans ses Antinomies. Quelle autre attitude adopter ? Ceux qui ne se rallient pas à nos opinions blessent notre amour-propre, mais ce dernier est soulagé si au fond, nous nous considérons comme aussi ignorant qu'eux. J'ai aussi aimé son agnosticisme raisonnable, et son ingénieux recours au pragmatisme pour décider d'adopter tel ou tel doctrine. Une belle idée, qui veut établir la paix entre les écoles, mais il s'en faut de beaucoup qu'il soit entendu et suivi.
C’est Victor Cousin, fondateur de l’enseignement philosophique en France, et d’un courant nommé éclectisme qui a popularisé la pensée de Kant. Son cours reprend l’histoire de philosophie de Kant : idéalisme, empirisme, scepticisme, auquel il adjoint le mysticisme comme dernier moment d’un cycle qui se répète dans toutes les civilisations : un peu comme le cycle des gouvernements exposé par Hérodote dans son Enquête : Aristocratie, Démocratie, Royauté. Je suis un peu gêné par cette approche qui conduit, selon mon sentiment, à un relativisme spécieux, et à relire les productions philosophiques passées de manière à les distribuer systématiquement dans des « cases ». Autorise-t-elle à attribuer à telle ou telle doctrine le qualificatif infamant pour les philosophes de "dogmatique" ? Lequel ne l'est pas ? Il faut bien adopter des hypothèses, affirmer quelque chose ou bien se taire.
Au final, Kant propose une théorie ingénieuse, qui quoique reposant sur des principes fort discutables, possède une grande cohérence. La hauteur de ses vues, sa rigueur, son acribie, son honnête probité, la beauté de ses objectifs, la masse de travail intellectuelle accomplie force le respect et même l'admiration, quoique je regrette son parti pris de trop serrer ses raisonnements au point de les rendre souvent obscurs. Sa lecture est très stimulante; elle requiert de l'attention et force le lecteur à penser, chercher les sources citées, vérifier le sens et l'étymologie des mots (substance, concept, idée, jugement, etc...), juger, et c'est un passe temps très agréable de stimuler son esprit en sa compagnie. ...more
My advice for anyone beginning the K.d.r.V. is to maintain your independence of judgment. Don't get buried in the terminology, the secondary literature or your own obsessions or reasons for approaching the book. Try to think through what Kant is saying and bring before your mind all of the possibilities for what he could mean, then eliminate them one by one, until you have arrived at your reading of the Kritik. I would encourage doing Leibniz and the Pre-Critical writings first, otherwise you wiMy advice for anyone beginning the K.d.r.V. is to maintain your independence of judgment. Don't get buried in the terminology, the secondary literature or your own obsessions or reasons for approaching the book. Try to think through what Kant is saying and bring before your mind all of the possibilities for what he could mean, then eliminate them one by one, until you have arrived at your reading of the Kritik. I would encourage doing Leibniz and the Pre-Critical writings first, otherwise you will not understand where Kant is coming from, or what he took to be the central problems of philosophy. I would also not approach this with an axe to grind, nor through Kant worship and dogmatic immersion in Kantianese. Having worked hard on this book, I can only say that I think I know what it means, I think some of it is profoundly right and some of it is profoundly wrong, but every time I teach it I still discover something new, or something I had overlooked. I am still learning from it. That is the definition of a classic....more
This is a great work. Nearly all philosophy after has been a reaction to it or an outgrowth from it. One cannot tell if this is because Kant was truly so influential or because he saw with such depth and unity the fruitful course philosophy would take.
The language can be daunting and exhausting. It is, however, precise and if one can follow the concepts in it, it works almost like a dry poetry that seems to lay bare the foundations of knowledge and experience. It is such a chore to wade throughThis is a great work. Nearly all philosophy after has been a reaction to it or an outgrowth from it. One cannot tell if this is because Kant was truly so influential or because he saw with such depth and unity the fruitful course philosophy would take.
The language can be daunting and exhausting. It is, however, precise and if one can follow the concepts in it, it works almost like a dry poetry that seems to lay bare the foundations of knowledge and experience. It is such a chore to wade through though, one ought to use a companion book that explains the text to stay on course.
If understanding truth and knowledge is important to you, the concepts, in their original form, as well as Kant's language and thought is well worth the considerable work it takes to experience. It will provide a basis for understanding much of the context of modern philosophy in its analytic, cognitive, and continental forms. I know of no other work that is true of.
Though it was prescient in the footing it found for philosophy, don't expect it to compare to more modern thought in terms of thoroughness and precision. It is perhaps the greatest and most relevant work of philosophy that sought to create an all-encompassing system. Such ambitions have properly been abandoned for greater, deeper and more precise understanding. Yet, for that very reason, it can serve as a solid foundation to appreciate modern thought as more than vague abstraction or nitpicking chatter....more
Finally! No... I have not 'actually' finished it. I finished 'Transcendental Doctrine of Elements,' which is what we generally talk about, when we talk about Critique of Pure Reason. Well, this book is extraordinary. During the last 4 months it has been constantly impacting my mind, even in a very personal and daily levels. I would say this book is the most influential text I have ever read in my. But it doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with all presuppositions and conclusions of it. There a Finally! No... I have not 'actually' finished it. I finished 'Transcendental Doctrine of Elements,' which is what we generally talk about, when we talk about Critique of Pure Reason. Well, this book is extraordinary. During the last 4 months it has been constantly impacting my mind, even in a very personal and daily levels. I would say this book is the most influential text I have ever read in my. But it doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with all presuppositions and conclusions of it. There are some fundamental problems which I don't think I should discuss them here (since they are purely philosophical and Good Reads is not a philosophy forum). However there is a minor problem with this book which can be quite crucial to mention here. Critique of Pure Reason is not only difficult and even obscure in its purest philosophical form, but also is a dreadful peace of literature. It is really difficult to understand every single sentence; I had to read every page at least three times to get a vague picture of what Kant tries to say and I don't think it is a translation problem. I have tried different translations and I've found Guyer & Wood the best. The problem is the way Kant wrote the book. It is almost impossible to understand this text without secondary literature. I was lucky to read it with an infamous Kantian philosopher in my university. What I can recommend is to read this book alongside with Norman Kemp Smith's commentary or the Routledge Guide book by Sebastian Gardner. ...more
Au lieu de commencer à philosopher en lisant les auteurs de notre siècle afin d'obtenir du succès en faisant de beaux papiers à la mode, Karl Jaspers, dans son Introduction à la philosophie, conseillait aux néophytes d’aller d’abord lire Platon et Kant. Bien que la lecture de Kant sera grandement facilité par celle de Leibniz et de Hume, mais aussi d'Aristote, de Descartes, de Spinoza, de Berkeley et de Locke, je souscris assez bien à l'opinion de Jaspers. Et, de fait, tous les philosophes vraimAu lieu de commencer à philosopher en lisant les auteurs de notre siècle afin d'obtenir du succès en faisant de beaux papiers à la mode, Karl Jaspers, dans son Introduction à la philosophie, conseillait aux néophytes d’aller d’abord lire Platon et Kant. Bien que la lecture de Kant sera grandement facilité par celle de Leibniz et de Hume, mais aussi d'Aristote, de Descartes, de Spinoza, de Berkeley et de Locke, je souscris assez bien à l'opinion de Jaspers. Et, de fait, tous les philosophes vraiment marquants se réfèrent inévitablement à Platon et à Kant. Après avoir tout lu Platon, je me suis donc lancé dans Kant en commençant avec sa Critique de la raison pure. Depuis, je l'ai lue trois fois, d'un couvert à l'autre, en plus de plusieurs lectures partielles pour divers travaux, sans compter que j'ai à peu près tout lu les autres livres qu'il a écrits. Il n'y a que l'Opus postumum et la Métaphysique des moeurs que je n'ai pas encore trouvé l'occasion de lire parmi ses oeuvres principales. Bref, j'ai lu beaucoup Kant, beaucoup sur Kant et je suis loin d'avoir d'en avoir fini avec lui. C’est pour moi un des plus grand philosophes de tous les temps et surtout le philosophe par excellence de la moralité. La Critique de la raison pure ne se donne pas gratuitement. Elle exige, pour être compréhensible par son lecteur, que ce dernier dispose d’une actualité existentielle morale ainsi que de la capacité corollaire d’abstraction philosophique. Il pourra alors se prêter à une véritable expérience philosophique d’orientation de l’éclairement des clôtures et ouvertures de l’esprit humain. La position critique qu’il nous présente ici me semble toujours être la position par excellence pour philosopher, mais aussi pour vivre sa foi (quelle soit politique, artistique, morale ou religieuse) et pour évoluer dans le monde de la science, tout en demeurant sur le terrain d’une possible communication ouverte avec l’autre. Le passage qui m’a donné le plus de mal, c’est le saut qu’il nous faut faire lorsque se présente, brusquement, sa table des catégories. Kant ne tente même pas d'en faire la déduction. Ce ne sont toutefois pas des dogmes pour autant, mais des concepts hypothétiques dont il faut évaluer l’utilité et l’exhaustivité afin d’évaluer si l'on peut trouver mieux avant de les rejeter. Comme toujours avec les concepts métaphysiques, chez Kant, ce sont des noumènes au sens négatifs, c’est-à-dire des postulats et non des réalités ontologiques. Je ne vais pas aborder chaque détail pour ne pas abuser de la patience des lecteurs et lectrices de ce commentaire, mais pour aider quiconque aimerait s’y initier, je conseille fortement de commencer par lire la partie sur les Antinomies de la raison pure. Il s’agit de la première section que Kant a écrite et tous les problèmes qu’il aborde dans les sections précédentes et subséquentes cherchent à expliquer comment il a trouvé ces solutions aux Antinomies et ce qui en découle. ...more
I'd recommend this book to anyone who takes thinking seriously. If you don't have enough time, just read the 1. and 3. part, the Transcendental Aesthetic and the Transcendental Dialectic.
The writing is horrible, sentences usually have 100+ words, but the ideas are phenomenal! (...and noumenal? heh!)
You'll see how this man PROVED arguing about the existance of God, soul or anything of the like is pointless and how you can say and prove anything you want about such thing, and however convincing yoI'd recommend this book to anyone who takes thinking seriously. If you don't have enough time, just read the 1. and 3. part, the Transcendental Aesthetic and the Transcendental Dialectic.
The writing is horrible, sentences usually have 100+ words, but the ideas are phenomenal! (...and noumenal? heh!)
You'll see how this man PROVED arguing about the existance of God, soul or anything of the like is pointless and how you can say and prove anything you want about such thing, and however convincing your arguments for or against something turn up to be, it's wholly immaterial and irrelevant. In the 18th century. Yeah.
So go ahead! It isn't a page turner, and if you'd like to read it in one sitting you'll have to be glued to the chair for a week or so, but it's worth it....more
لفترة طويلة من حياتي كنت معجبا بالعقلانية و ميالا لها حتي قرأت هذا الكتاب من اول سطر و كانط بلغة رائعة و منطق بسيط جدا يدخل مباشرة في الموضوع و يناقش محدودية العقل من اوجه مختلفة اوضح الكتاب نقاط الضعف في العقلانية و فندها ووضع الفلسفة وقتها في مأزق فبعد ان ادعت الفلسفة وقتها (نهاية الاسئلة) و الادراك التام اعادها نقد كانط مرة اخري الي حيرة التساؤل عن الاسئلة الاساسية
I think that there should be a philosophy book on everyone's favorite book shelf and Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" is mine. Poetic, prophetic and achingly, simply complex. I had a professor once that would say "universal" every time we discussed this book the same way that some people say "God". That's what it's like.
Sheer genius alone is why this book deserves five stars, from all readers. I mean seriously, look at the giant noggin on the cover of the book. It's comparable only to Lenin.
That said, in a letter to a friend, Kant confessed that this book was the culmination of twelve years of deep thought, and only five to six months of rapid writing with “no concern” for the readers’ leisure. I don’t think it’s too presumptuous to state, that the deeper one delves into the book, the murkier the writing becomeSheer genius alone is why this book deserves five stars, from all readers. I mean seriously, look at the giant noggin on the cover of the book. It's comparable only to Lenin.
That said, in a letter to a friend, Kant confessed that this book was the culmination of twelve years of deep thought, and only five to six months of rapid writing with “no concern” for the readers’ leisure. I don’t think it’s too presumptuous to state, that the deeper one delves into the book, the murkier the writing becomes.
Kant marks the culmination of the return to the subject in philosophy, and he also marks the break between analytic and continental thought. After the Catholic Church ruined philosophy, from Aristotle to Descartes (around 2,000 years!), Descartes was bold enough to attempt to erect a philosophical theory of knowledge contingent upon the certainties of the subject (the cogito). Descartes’ attempts were fairly messy after the cogito, and the empiricist (Locke and Hume) pounced on him. None of these thinkers were capable of erecting a sturdy foundation for epistemology, let alone metaphysics, ontology, ethics, etc. As Kant informs us in this book, Hume awoke him from his slumber, and he attempted a task comparable only to Plato, Marx, and Hegel. He attempted to erect an entire systemic philosophy.*
The Critique of Pure Reason is Kant’s epistemological and metaphysical work. Well, more of a critique of metaphysics, in hopes to put the train back on the rails. A train that – when reading Leibniz – is clearly loose, on fire, and heading for a village of small children. In order to reorient our entire frame of thought, Kant conducts what he calls the philosophical Copernican revolution. Instead of worrying about how external objects impact our senses, and how they are shaped in our mind, he inverts centuries of philosophy in what is a rather facile, but ingenious move. Let us instead delve into the question of how the subjects mind is preformed to impose forms upon the objective world. He conducts this revolutionary twist in the Transcendental Analytic (which is the most exciting chapter in the text). Instead of seeing space and time as things we perceive, Kant views space and time as “forms of intuition,” that is, forms we impose upon the outer world.
What I’ve just said is basically Kant 101, the first thing you’ll learn about Kant on Wikipedia, an intro book, or any basic philosophy course. Reason being, the rest of the book gets really hairy, really confusing, and really jumbled, really fast. As Kant begins to deduce the categories of our mind, and the schematic relationship between our reason, and judgment, to the objects as perceived in intuition, he leaves himself open to many critiques, and interpretations. These contentions are not modern; Kant had to publish a whole other book (The Prolegomena), a summarized version of his work, just to clarify the most important aspects of The Critique of Pure Reason.
At the end of this book, the reader is left with a problem that begins in Kant, and has yet to end. Do I go on to read the rest of his works, and explore his entire system, as a system, or do I go on to read something else, and pick out bits and pieces from this book that I fine useful, and discard others (albeit they may be accounted for in the larger system)? Generally, the analytic thinker will do the latter and the continental thinker the former. Of course, the horror begins once we remain true to Kant’s system. The continental thinker now realizes we must understand all subsequent replies, and rebuttals, to Kant, in their entire system too. Thus marks the period of German Idealism, through Marxism, to various schools of French Philosophy. We must erect whole systems of knowledge. Or, we can take the analytic approach, and blast away like a rabid hobo with a shot gun, seeing wisdom in whatever hits a mark, and ignoring all the debris, blood (imperialism), and wasted shells.
I want to make one last trivial point. The Penguin edition biography of Kant, found in the introduction, is worth the price of the book alone. Kant was notoriously known for being a boring man, and so consistent, that someone could set their watch by his walking schedule. This is true, but Christ, this biography will have any reader in tears of laughter.
* Something only Marx succeeded in, yeah I said it, and if you’ve been following my reviews, you knew I’d say it too! ...more
My dissertation project investigates the contradictory perceptions of temporality on the construction site of a renewable energy plant in Abu Dhabi. I am mainly interested in understanding how an apocalyptic environmental time becomes woven together with capitalist time, a time of continuous progress, rationalization and exact knowledge. I explore how architects, engineers and researchers imagine a technologically enhanced space that does not yet fully exist, within aSchema/Synthesis/Imagination
My dissertation project investigates the contradictory perceptions of temporality on the construction site of a renewable energy plant in Abu Dhabi. I am mainly interested in understanding how an apocalyptic environmental time becomes woven together with capitalist time, a time of continuous progress, rationalization and exact knowledge. I explore how architects, engineers and researchers imagine a technologically enhanced space that does not yet fully exist, within a temporal frame that is constantly shifting from infinity to imminent destruction.
Before proceeding further, let me clarify the type(s) of imagination at work within the construction site. Kant identifies two main operations of the imagination, “synthesis” and “schematism,” through which intuitions and otherwise heterogeneous concepts become juxtaposed. Synthesis occurs at the moment when one perceives an object X, and recognizes the object X as a concept. It facilitates the production of generalizations through which objects accrue transcendental meanings. As such, I see a tree, and re-cognize it as a tree, thereby conjoining the object I perceive with a range of objects that I have sensed before, and I will continue to sense hereafter. On the other hand, a schema, Kant argues, is “a monogram of the pure a priori imagination through which, and according to which, images become possible in the first place” (CPR, A-142). Etymologically, the word monogram means single letter, and yet is used to refer to a character formed of several letters in one design. Accordingly, the resulting mono-gram that Kant refers to here (the schema) is a product of multiple letters (pure a priori imaginations), and yet when it is acted out in space and time, it appears to be a single letter. This single letter determines the relationship that a priori imaginations have, or will have, with each other and with space and time. Hence, a schema realizes the mediation of intuitions and concepts, applying a priori concepts to the spatial and temporal conditions of intuition. The critical difference between synthesis and schematism, as Deleuze (1978) identifies, is the order of questions. In synthesis, the tree is available to the subject, and the subject needs to recognize the tree as such. However, a schema is not a rule of recognition. It is a rule of production, which occurs through producing an experience in space and time, in conformity with one’s own concepts (Deleuze 1978). A construction site, then, is the ultimate schema, in which developers, researchers, architects, engineers and construction workers slowly achieve the spatio-temporal projections of their multiple a priori concepts. It is a mono-gram of the manifold pure a priori imaginations that constitute the site.
It is important to stress here that according to Kant, I, the ethnographer, can only know myself as a subject. Everything else that I perceive appears to me as an object only, and I am incapable of experiencing the subjectivities of others whom I attempt to investigate. The gap between us is irreconcilable. Thus in this case, what I perceive is a collection of human objects, creating a schema of their contradicting thoughts, and I rely on their verbal and physical declarations in order to develop a sense of their subjectivities. I synthesize the objects that I perceive and try to build a concept out of my sensory experience. Contrary to what Deleuze (1978) argues, my first responsibility may be to create a record of this sensory information. Then, I try to develop concepts that match the processes that I have witnessed. Indeed, I have prior knowledge that shapes the way that I attend to the process of production. There are certain elements of production that are of interest to me, and others that I cannot be receptive towards. This selection process in fact implies that synthesis does not operate by itself; an active process of schematism, through which I select the objects that fit former knowledge, interests and indeed concepts, assists synthesis. Thus although I wish to be open to cognize all objects, the schematism inherent to my thought process disables such neutrality. Every thought I develop, then, is a double movement of synthesis and schematism. I legislate reality as such.
However, regardless of the kind of imagination at work, let us return to the very moment where I watch the set of human objects and their diverse prostheses building a schema of their concepts. Observing this process of producing the schema I can infer judgments about the various concepts that may be shaping the object that is under construction. My project, then, carries the inherent assumption that the process of putting together the schema is the process that reveals something about the a priori concepts that give direction to this production, as what interests me is not the schema itself, but the a priori concepts that instigate this schema. How does one use the rule of production in order to achieve a priori concepts? Kant argues here, “the concept must contain something which is represented in the object that is to be subsumed under it. This means that the concept must in some way be influenced by the material to be perceived” (CPR, A-137). Thus Kant also points to a double movement: I may wish to develop pure concepts of thought and try to apply them on the world around me, but I develop these concepts via relying on the world around me. Thus, unfortunately, my imagination is somehow limited by the intuitions that I may cognize. As Adorno suggests, “this is the non-subjective element within subjectivity.” It points to the priority of the object over knowledge. He (1959: 137) succinctly argues: “As knowing subjects we only know ourselves. In this sense we are never able to get outside ourselves; we are imprisoned within ourselves. This, too, has its profound truth in Kantian philosophy because it means that the world in which we are captive is in fact a self-made world: it is the world of exchange, the world of commodities, the world of reified human relations that confront us, presenting us with a façade of objectivity, a second nature.” What exactly is it that I may know by observing a construction site? Adorno would suggest that I develop a sense of the-thing-in-itself by analyzing its social production. I trace the conditions that lead to the emergence of this thing as such, while mapping the multiple imaginations of the objects responsible for its constitution.
Is it a legitimate task to explore different understandings of time within the construction site? According to Kant, mutable objects transform in time, but time itself endures. It is a pure form, like space, because it structures and precedes all experience, both of outer objects and inner states. How could time have a qualifier? The only qualifier that time would accept is “empty,” where empty time is the time in which one is not. However, Adorno (1959: 228) challenges the idea of a pure form by suggesting that “the relation of form to content is not that of an empty form into which a content flows, as generally appears to be in the case of Kant, but here, too, the situation is one of reciprocity. That is to say, this form only exists if it has a content, because it is form only as the form of a content, just as, on the other hand – as Kant correctly perceived – a content can only exist if these forms can actually be said to exist.” Does this imply that the content gives shape to the form as well? The time-form, as experienced in the construction site in multiple ways, inheres different types of social content, which eventually drag subjects in opposing directions, although enabling them to build this one renewable energy plant. The observation that temporality is experienced in multiple ways, such as capitalist time or environmentalist time, does not mean that I am itemizing time. I am merely suggesting that there are different cognitions of time within and towards the same time-form, which shape the time-form itself. Finally, the social content of time creates and re-creates the inward meanings of time as such.
In this short essay, I tried to briefly touch upon the ways in which Kant’s thought relates to my research questions. Indeed, this is not a comprehensive analysis, but it sheds some light on the ways in which Kantian theory could provide guidance. Benefiting from the cognitive framework of my preliminary ethnographic research, I concluded that the processes of schematism and synthesis cannot be separated, especially because they both produce limits for each other. Finally, I attempted to think through the possibility of an engagement with temporal experience, from a Kantian perspective, thereby understanding that the time form is inevitably shaped by socially mediated time content.
I don't know how many people other than professors of philosophy have actually read this book in toto, but I'm one of them. It seems a little bit like the work of a crackpot who can't stop talking about his System that Explains Everything, but lodged in among the impenetrable verbiage are some startling and original ideas. His notion that reality is not necessarily anything like our wired-in way of perceiving it was amazingly confirmed by quantum physics. He also concludes that human reason justI don't know how many people other than professors of philosophy have actually read this book in toto, but I'm one of them. It seems a little bit like the work of a crackpot who can't stop talking about his System that Explains Everything, but lodged in among the impenetrable verbiage are some startling and original ideas. His notion that reality is not necessarily anything like our wired-in way of perceiving it was amazingly confirmed by quantum physics. He also concludes that human reason just cannot be expected to resolve problems that go beyond human experience, like whether the Universe had a beginning or is eternal. Maybe he's right, but I doubt he should be so sure he's right. The book should be about one-third its length, and he should define his terms better....more
ما قرأت هو نقض العقل المحض ترجمة موسى وهبي في الحقيقة إن الكتاب يبرز جهدا كبيرا قام به المؤلف أعني كانط إلا أن المشروع الذي توخى تشييده فيه انهار قبل أن تبنى أركانه وذلك لوقوع كانط وبشكل واضح أسيرا لإشكالات ديفيد هيوم المشاغبية ولخلطه بين التعقل والتخيل بنحو فاضح ولسيطرة حالة القلق من الوقوع بمثالية باركلي التي وقع فيها وإن بشكل مختلف في الحقيقة إن كانط رجل مفكر وله أفكار جديرة بالتأمل ولكن لا يرقى لأن يكون فيلسوفا فضلا أن يعد في مصاف أرسطو حاله حال ديكارت الذي اعلي شأنه زورا ككثير من المتفلسفةما قرأت هو نقض العقل المحض ترجمة موسى وهبي في الحقيقة إن الكتاب يبرز جهدا كبيرا قام به المؤلف أعني كانط إلا أن المشروع الذي توخى تشييده فيه انهار قبل أن تبنى أركانه وذلك لوقوع كانط وبشكل واضح أسيرا لإشكالات ديفيد هيوم المشاغبية ولخلطه بين التعقل والتخيل بنحو فاضح ولسيطرة حالة القلق من الوقوع بمثالية باركلي التي وقع فيها وإن بشكل مختلف في الحقيقة إن كانط رجل مفكر وله أفكار جديرة بالتأمل ولكن لا يرقى لأن يكون فيلسوفا فضلا أن يعد في مصاف أرسطو حاله حال ديكارت الذي اعلي شأنه زورا ككثير من المتفلسفة وقولي هذا وإن كان غريبا على أسماع كثيرين ولكنه هو ما أوصلتني إليه القراءة والدراسة المتجردة الموضوعية المحمولة على بساط السعي الدؤوب لمعرفة الحق والحقيقة ...more
Well shitballs. Manny's frequent tantalizing updates, pretty much Nathan's entire existence on this site, and Žižek's constant referring back to it have convinced me that this is an unavoidable book. So a copy is now in my hands.
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click here.Kant begins with the simple statement that all knowledge is based upon experience. It is the last easily understood sentence in the book. Philosophy had established two types of knowledge: analytical and synthetic. A valid analytical statement is always absolutely true, thus is "known". The statement "The sum of two right angles in the Euclidian system is equal to a straight line" is an analytical statement. It is "true" in that the statement is derived from Euclidian propositions and agrees witKant begins with the simple statement that all knowledge is based upon experience. It is the last easily understood sentence in the book. Philosophy had established two types of knowledge: analytical and synthetic. A valid analytical statement is always absolutely true, thus is "known". The statement "The sum of two right angles in the Euclidian system is equal to a straight line" is an analytical statement. It is "true" in that the statement is derived from Euclidian propositions and agrees with the propositions from which it is derived. It says nothing about the actual nature of the world. The statement "The cat is on the table" is a synthetic statement. The word synthetic used means a synthesis of known and knower. The synthetic statement is open to dispute. It may be the product of deception, imagination or any number of other factors which make it beyond absolute knowledge. Kant's book is an attempt to establish that there is or is not some connection in some manner in which any synthetic knowledge can be known with the certainty that an analytical statement can be "known". Synthetic statements include all scientific knowledge, such as the second law of thermodynamics. The second law necessitates existencce of physical material which obeys it. In order to be "knowable" the knowledge must be a priori as a necessary condition. The closest that Kant comes to establishing this connection is via the type of knowledge called synthetic a priori, which is to say a joining of the known and knower without experience of the known by the knower. The closest he comes to establishing that this type of knowledge is real is the knowledge of TIME, which he asserts is not itself experienced but whose reality can be asserted via the experience of events which have sequence. A.N. Whitehead uses the example of space as synthetic a priori, in that space known within a given distance can be known a prior that it extends far beyond possible experience. A priori is necessary for certainty, but not sufficient. Neither TIME nor SPACE establishes that anything synthetic can be known with the total certainty that an analytical statement can be "known". As he puts it, "Existence is not a true predicate." It should be obvious that Kant considers any knowledge which is not absolutely certain to be something less than knowledge. It is interesting that the later German philosopher Schopenhauer would consider no-one a man who had not read and understood the "Critique of Pure Reason". It was on my high school reading list, and I tried to read it then, but interested people who are not advanced students of logic and philosophy would doubtless be better off reading an abridged version.
"The Critique" is a continuation of the tradition of attempts to prove the existence of God, which was seen by some as being "necessary" and therefore true in a sense that the existence of the natural world is not "necessary". That view was followed up by Descartes' famous assertion "I think, therefore I am." Kant rejected both these views with his famous assertion "Existance is not a true predicate." Later, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell modified Descartes' statement to "There is thought, therefore there is existance." Russell lived after Kant, so Kant's reaction is unknown. Kant uses logic to come to oppposite conclusions, contradictions. In "A Brief History of Time" Steven Hawking shows that some of these contrary statements are in fact identical statements because Kant was using the classical view that time is constant, while the contradictions can be explained by Einstein's thory that time is actually a dependent function, passing at different rates from different viewpoints depending upon velocity. Perhaps some of the theory of relativity could have been extrapolated from the "Critique of Pure Reason", but Kant did not make the connection. Perhaps it influenced some scientists around the turn of the 20th century before the Michaelson-Morley experiment or even before Maxwell. Who knows. Today Kant's influence is principally through his ethical thought, which shows up in some Jewish commentaries on the Bible as well as in the larger community. His conclusions that synthetic propositions cannot be known with the certainty that analytical propositions can be "known" is simply taken as an everyday part of life today. ...more
في كتابه نقد العقل الخالص , يحاول ايمانويل كانت أن يحسم الصراع الفلسفي المطروح في نظرية الابستيمولوجيا عن مصدر المدركات _من خلال البرهنة على مدى تكامل الحدوس الحسيّة والأفاهيم العقلية المحضة في عملية البناء المعرفي , متجاوزًا كل التفسيرات الدوغمائية السابقة عند العقلانيين أو الحسيين على حد سواء وإذا كان ايمانويل كانت يبرهن على العلاقة التفاعلية بين الملكتين الحسية الامبيرية والافاهيم الفاهمية المحضة , فإنه يجيبنا عن الإشكال : كيف نصل إلى المعرفة؟ ليتجاوزه إلى تساؤل جوهري آخر يحتاج إلى الحسم في إفي كتابه نقد العقل الخالص , يحاول ايمانويل كانت أن يحسم الصراع الفلسفي المطروح في نظرية الابستيمولوجيا عن مصدر المدركات _من خلال البرهنة على مدى تكامل الحدوس الحسيّة والأفاهيم العقلية المحضة في عملية البناء المعرفي , متجاوزًا كل التفسيرات الدوغمائية السابقة عند العقلانيين أو الحسيين على حد سواء وإذا كان ايمانويل كانت يبرهن على العلاقة التفاعلية بين الملكتين الحسية الامبيرية والافاهيم الفاهمية المحضة , فإنه يجيبنا عن الإشكال : كيف نصل إلى المعرفة؟ ليتجاوزه إلى تساؤل جوهري آخر يحتاج إلى الحسم في إشكالاته هو : ماذا يمكننا أن نعرف ؟ أو ماهي حدود معارفنا ؟ فإذا كانت معرفة ظاهرات الأشياء_فينومينا_ ممكنة , فإن العقل المحض في مقابل ذلك عاجز عن ادراك كنهها_نومينا nauméne _أي الشيء في ذاته ,
وهذا التسليم بحدود معيّنة للعقل للخالص يعجز في النهاية عن تجاوزها , هو في ذات الوقت خطوة أساسية في اتجاه ميتافيزيقيا قادرة على أن تقوم كعلم! _على حد تعبير كانت_, من خلال تقويض المزاعم التي تدّعي بثقة أن في إمكانها إثبات قضايا ميتافيزيقية أنطولوجية هي في الواقع تتجاوز حدود العقل , ومن ثم غير ممكنة الإثبات أو النفي مادامت تركن إلى حجج عقلية محضة _خارج حقل التجربة
"يمكن عدّ نقد العقل المحض بمثابة المحكمة الحقيقية لكل نزاعاته , لأنه ليس معنيّا في النزاعات من حيث تدور على الموضوعات مباشرة بل أنه مهيأ لتعيين حقوق العقل بعامة ..وهكذا ترغمنا نزاعات العقل التي لا تنتهي على أن نبحث أخيرا عن السكينة والطمأنينة في نقدٍ للعقل نفسه" ...more
Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He's regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe & of the late Enlightenment. His most important work is The Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation of reason itself. It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics & epistemology, & highlights his owImmanuel Kant was an 18th-century philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He's regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe & of the late Enlightenment. His most important work is The Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation of reason itself. It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics & epistemology, & highlights his own contribution to these areas. Other main works of his maturity are The Critique of Practical Reason, which is about ethics, & The Critique of Judgment, which is about esthetics & teleology. Pursuing metaphysics involves asking questions about the ultimate nature of reality. Kant suggested that metaphysics can be reformed thru epistemology. He suggested that by understanding the sources & limits of human knowledge we can ask fruitful metaphysical questions. He asked if an object can be known to have certain properties prior to the experience of that object. He concluded that all objects that the mind can think about must conform to its manner of thought. Therefore if the mind can think only in terms of causality–which he concluded that it does–then we can know prior to experiencing them that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect. However, it follows from this that it's possible that there are objects of such a nature that the mind cannot think of them, & so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside experience: hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause. So the grand questions of speculative metaphysics are off limits, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind. Kant believed himself to be creating a compromise between the empiricists & the rationalists. The empiricists believed that knowledge is acquired thru experience alone, but the rationalists maintained that such knowledge is open to Cartesian doubt & that reason alone provides us with knowledge. Kant argues, however, that using reason without applying it to experience will only lead to illusions, while experience will be purely subjective without 1st being subsumed under pure reason. Kant’s thought was very influential in Germany during his lifetime, moving philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists & empiricists. The philosophers Fichte, Schelling, Hegel & Schopenhauer saw themselves as correcting & expanding Kant's system, thus bringing about various forms of German Idealism. Kant continues to be a major influence on philosophy to this day, influencing both Analytic & Continental philosophy....more
“I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.”
“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt”