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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Immanuel Kant: What is reason?


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was an influential philosopher and best known for his analysis of reason and ethics. Philosopher Friedrich Paulsen (1846-1908) says,


"Kant's view of the nature of what is 'actually real' remained unaltered throughout his life. Reality is in itself a system of existing thought-essences brought into a unity by teleological relations that are intuitively thought by the Divine intellect, and by this very act of thought posited as real." (Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine, 1902)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Kant.


Reason and knowledge


"Reason in a creature is a faculty of widening the rules and purposes of the use of all its powers far beyond natural instinct; it acknowledges no limits to its projects. Reason itself does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order gradually to progress from one level of insight to another." (Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View, 1784)


"Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. The understanding can intuit nothing, the senses can think of nothing. Only through their unison can knowledge arise." (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781)


"[Does] there exists a knowledge altogether independent of experience, and even of all sensuous impressions? Knowledge of this kind is called a priori, in contradistinction to empirical knowledge which has its sources a posteriori, that is, in experience." (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781)


"Human reason is by nature architectonic." (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781)


Impossible questions


"Human reason has this peculiar fate that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer." (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781)


"It is precisely in knowing its limits that philosophy consists." (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781)