Jesse's Reviews > Critique of Pure Reason

Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
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's review
May 01, 2011

it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read May 1, 2011 to May 21, 2011.

Kant, with this book, attempted to do what Locke had done: examine how philosophy should be conducted based on if it can be conducted at all. Locke's method ended in the so-called "graveyard of Hume", where knowledge became prejudice, and prejudice, or sentiment, our one and only guiding thread to reality (one can see how this particularized irrational guidance, when generalized, becomes Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand"). To this, Kant put on his cape, and with the resilience and fortitude of a stoic, erected a most peculiar philosophical edifice. Time and space were deemed unreal, mere formalities of our human ability to perceive and cognize. When these forms dealt with perception, our inferences could be considered true, but when they dealt with cognition, they could only be "dialectical illusions". Kant very brilliantly concludes that we are never satisfied with this because our concepts are often too large for our objects (the drive to religion), and our objects too large for our concepts (the drive to science). But there is a unity for the two, since our sensory experience makes knowledge possible and vice versa. It is not as the empiricists claimed, that science was discovering the object of nature, no more than what the rationalists claimed, that religion was discovering the object of God. In fact, Kant means to say, we were only learning about ourselves. We may have mapped the human genome, but, to Kant, this is not what the human genome really is. The human genome is really a we know not what, an "= x", as Kant puts it, of which we can say what it is, but not why it is, this being unknowable. Part and parcel, then, to the system, is the allowance of an unknowable generative essence, which imputes that we will always mix with disaster if we try and get at it (GMO's are a case in point). A society, in other words, that intends upon producing geniuses will invariably end up producing dullards, since the noumena must by definition retract from the phenomenal knower who knows neither what lies behind consciousness nor beyond it, and so Kant is the point where West concedes to the East some very important philosophical points, which were articulated very long ago in Taoist thought, which were soon to be brushed aside by the Christian optimism of the system of Hegel, and affirmed by the Buddhist pessimism of Schopenhauer.
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Quotes Jesse Liked

Immanuel Kant
“For if we regard space and time as properties that must, as regards their possibility, be found in things in themselves, [...] then we really cannot blame the good Bishop Berkeley for degrading bodies to mere illusion. Nay, even our own existence, which would thus be made dependent on the self-subsistent reality of a non-entity such as time, would, along with this time, be changed into mere illusion - an absurdity of which hitherto no one has been guilty.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
“The great mass of people are worthy of our respect.”
Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason

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message 1: by C (new) - rated it 5 stars

C Slow up just a bit, I'll begin this with you soon!

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