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Bounds Of Sense An Essay On Kants Critique Of Pure Reason
The Enlightenment was a reaction to the rise and successes of modernscience in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The spectacularachievement of Newton in particular engendered widespread confidenceand optimism about the power of human reason to control nature and toimprove human life. One effect of this new confidence in reason wasthat traditional authorities were increasingly questioned. For whyshould we need political or religious authorities to tell us how tolive or what to believe, if each of us has the capacity to figure thesethings out for ourselves? Kant expresses this Enlightenment commitmentto the sovereignty of reason in the Critique:
One criticism of this epistemological version of the two-aspects theoryis that it avoids the objections to other interpretations byattributing to Kant a more limited project than the text of theCritique warrants. There are passages that support this reading. But there arealso many passages in both editions of the Critique in which Kantdescribes appearances as representations in the mind and in which hisdistinction between appearances and things in themselves is given notonly epistemological but metaphysical significance. It is unclearwhether all of these texts admit of a single, consistentinterpretation.
Bounds critique essay kants pure reason sense
Kant's moral argument for belief in God in the Critique of PracticalReason may be summarized as follows. Kant holds that virtue andhappiness are not just combined but necessarily combined in the idea ofthe highest good, because only possessing virtue makes one worthy ofhappiness — a claim that Kant seems to regard as part of the content ofthe moral law (4:393; 5:110, 124). But we can represent virtue andhappiness as necessarily combined only by representing virtue as theefficient cause of happiness. This means that we must represent thehighest good not simply as a state of affairs in which everyone is bothhappy and virtuous, but rather as one in which everyone is happybecause they are virtuous (5:113–114, 124). However, it is beyond thepower of human beings, both individually and collectively, to guaranteethat happiness results from virtue, and we do not know any law ofnature that guarantees this either. Therefore, we must conclude thatthe highest good is impossible, unless we postulate “the existence of acause of nature, distinct from nature, which contains the ground ofthis connection, namely the exact correspondence of happiness withmorality” (5:125). This cause of nature would have to be God since itmust have both understanding and will. Kant probably does notconceive of God as the efficient cause of a happiness that is rewardedin a future life to those who are virtuous in this one. Rather, hisview is probably that we represent our endless progress towardholiness, beginning with this life and extending into infinity, as theefficient cause of our happiness, which likewise begins in this lifeand extends to a future one, in accordance with teleological laws thatGod authors and causes to harmonize with efficient causes in nature(A809–812/B837–840; 5:127–131, 447–450).
In the previous section we saw that, on Kant's view, the moral law isa purely formal principle that commands us to act only on maxims thathave what he calls lawgiving form, which maxims have only if they canbe willed as universal laws. Moreover, our fundamental reason forchoosing to act on such maxims should be that they have this lawgivingform, rather than that acting on them would achieve some end or goalthat would satisfy a desire (5:27). For example, I should help othersin need not, at bottom, because doing so would make me feel good, evenif it would, but rather because it is right; and it is right (orpermissible) to help others in need because this maxim can be willedas a universal law.
An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
Kant’s discussions of theoretical reason are not obviously connectedto his account of practical reason. His accounts of truth, scientificmethod and the limited insights of theoretical reason are complex, asis his view of practical reason and morality. No one doubts thatknowledge and scientific enquiry, no less than action, are subject todemands of rationality. However, if Kant’s account of reason isbased—as O’Neill above all has argued—in avoidingprinciples of enquiry and of action that others cannot also adopt, itwould be possible to see the underlying unity of these demands. Wewould understand, for example, why Kant so strenuously resists claimsto transcendent insight. To give authority to such claims—thoseof revelation and religious authority, for example—would beirrational insofar as they rest on principles of belief that cannot beadopted by all.
O’Neill (2000) situates the Kantian account of reason against threealternatives, which she labels the instrumental, the communitarian,and the perfectionist. The first remains very widespread: with Hume,it regards instrumental reasoning as fundamental (cf. ; ). The second sees reason as embedded within complextraditions: rationality is what a given tradition or community takesit to consist in (cf. MacIntyre 1988; ). A third option, akin to the forms of rationalism that Kant opposed,is to see reason as an individual capacity to discern or intuitnormative truths (cf. , §3). Arguably, all three accounts fail in providing reasoned justificationto some audiences. The instrumental reasoner is accountable tono-one—in fact, to nothing apart from whatever desires or endshe happens to have. Someone who takes her particular tradition todefine what beliefs and practices count as reasonable can have littleto say to those who stand outside it. And the person who believes hecan intuit what is good or true will be mute—or worse—inthe face of those with different intuitions.
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Kant's Critique of pure reason: ..
Critical realism is a frequently mentioned, but not very well-known, late nineteenth-/early twentieth-century philosophical tradition. Having its roots in Kantian epistemology, critical realism is best characterized as a revisionist approach toward the original Kantian doctrine. Its most outstanding thesis is the idea that Kantian things-in-themselves are knowable. This idea was – at least implicitly – suggested by thinkers such as Alois Riehl, Wilhelm Wundt, and Oswald Külpe. Interestingly enough, the philosophical position of the early Moritz Schlick stands in the critical realist tradition as well. As will be outlined in the course of this paper, both Schlick’s magnum opus General Theory of Knowledge (1918) and his seminal Space and Time in Contemporary Physics (1917) are based on the assumption that the objects of science are relations and that relations have the status of Kantian things-in-themselves. By way of conclusion, I shall point out that this – more or less directly – leads to the current debate over “structural” realism.
Critique of Pure Reason - Wikipedia
Toward the end of the Kant says that his entire philosophical system revolves around three questions. Their profundity is exceeded only by their simplicity: What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope for? The first question was explored in the first critique. The second and third are subjects of (1788; translated as , 1956), and the third is taken up again in (1790; translated as , 1892). In answering the question of what to be, he says that instead of our actions conforming to the facts--the situations in which we find ourselves or the inclinations we happen to have--they should conform to our principles. These principles are derived from reason. A true moral act, he says, depends on the motive of the action, not on the outcome. The only motive that is good in itself, without qualification, is the good will: that is, the desire to act according to duty. Duty is discovered by reason and is the same for everyone at all places and at all times. He formulates the moral law in his famous categorical imperative: "Handle, so da die Maxime deines Willens jederzeit zugleich als Prinzip einer allgemeinen Gesetzgebung gelten könnte" (Act in such a way that the principle of your will could at any time also become the principle of a universal law). In other words, if an action could not be made universal without contradicting itself, that action is immoral.
An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
The last of the major works on which Kant's fame rests is . In the first part he discusses aesthetic judgment, in the second mechanistic and teleological judgment. When we call something--a painting or a sunset, for example--beautiful, it is because the object creates a pleasurable sensation, which derives from the harmonious interplay of the sensate and rational faculties. This condition can arise only if the object is devoid of purpose, transcending any notion of usefulness or gain on the part of the beholder. A sunset cannot be bought, sold, eaten, or traded in on a new model. Beauty is pure "Wohlgefallen ohne Interesse" (disinterested pleasure). Whereas beauty is based on harmony between the rational and the sensate, the sublime is based on their conflict. This conflict occurs when ethical principles collide with and defeat such deterministic forces as fear, inclination, or even self-preservation, as, for example, when we contemplate a violent storm or a raging sea. The victory over these forces evokes in the spectator the pleasurable awareness of the superiority of his reason and the dominion it has over the senses.
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