Kant Philosophy Summary

Kant’s Philosophy: Metaphysic, Aesthetic and Ethics

Immanuel Kant, German philosopher, has written a very abundant philosophy, among:

– Critique of Pure Reason (first edition 1781, 2nd edition, 1787)

– Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics  (1783)

– Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)

– Critique of Practical Reason (1788)

– Critique of Judgement (1790)

– Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view (1798)

Kant‘s philosophical  project can be summarized as following : taking man out its wild nature

His metaphysical nature: Kant has restored limits to reason, but at the same time ennobled human reason.

His moral nature: the man pulling his primary passions (selfishness and special interest)

His aesthetic nature: freeing the senses, man must acquire the ability to judge beauty.

His political nature: exit states from their state of nature that would bring them to the mutual annihilation to build a project of perpetual peace.

Kant asked three questions, which his entire work has sought to answer:

– What do I know?

– What should I do?

– What am I allowed to hope?

1. Kant and Knowledge: A critique of reason

What do I know? To answer this question, Kant operates a critical examination of reason, determining what it can do and what it is incapable of doing.

Reason, in the broadest sense, refers to Kant, all that in mind, is a priori and not from experience.

– It is theoretical (pure reason) or when related to speculative knowledge.

– She is practical (practical reason) when considered as containing the rule of morality (this reason, in the broadest sense, is distinguished, in Kant, reason, in the narrow sense, as the human faculty to higher unit).

Kant here makes a critique of speculative reason: it is not a critical skeptic, but a review of the use, scope and limits of reason.

Practicing this approach, Kant notes that mathematics and physics went into the safe route of science on the day they ceased to be empirical to recognize the primacy of rational demonstration.

– Metaphysics should build on this method so fruitful.

– Here takes place the famous notion of Copernican revolution: just as Copernicus assumed that the Earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa, as Kant admits that it is our right to know who holds the knowledge, not objects that determine it.

2. Kant, Space, Time and Categories

This means that we can apprehend the world through the a priori elements.

– The term “a priori” means, here, which is independent of experience.

– Thus, space and time are they past experience: they are a priori forms of sensibility, that is to say structures from the subject and intuitive for ordering objects out of us and in us.

But this is not everything and, to a second level of organization, concept this time, the objects must be designed, organized by intellectually understanding, linking faculty sensations through the categories or pure concepts, instruments to unify the material:

– Unity, Plurality, Totality (categories of quantity)

– Reality, Negation, Limitation (categories of quality)

– Substance and accident, Causality and Dependence, Community (Relationship types)

– Possibility, Impossibility, Existence, Non-existence, Necessity and Contingency (categories of modality.

3. Kant: A transcendental point of view

This analysis is conducted of a transcendental point of view: it is not on the objects themselves, but on how to find and seize them, on a priori elements and concepts that constitute the experience .

Time, space and categories are in fact the a priori conditions of knowledge and understanding of the user objects. Without them, no knowledge is possible.

Distinguish here the transcendental aesthetic, which means, in Kant, the study of a priori forms of sensibility that are space and time, and transcendental logic, study of the forms of the understanding, as they are a priori.

– The logic itself is divided into a summary, which sets the table of pure concepts and principles, and a dialectic.

4. Kant: Phenomena and noumena

The consequences of these tests are decisive: if the only possible point of view is transcendental, it deals with the a priori conditions of knowledge, it follows that the way things are in themselves, ie, ie independently of the knowledge that we have, can not be apprehended.

What can I, indeed, seize?

– What awaits my perceptual field in the pure forms of sensibility (space and time e) and under the categories: the field of phenomena.

– The concept of phenomenon means, in effect, for Kant, all objects of possible experience, that is to say that stupid things for us, regarding our mode of knowledge, as opposed to the noumenon, the thing so that the mind can certainly think of, but not know.

– So God is a noumenon, a possible reality, but we can not achieve.

5. Kant: The ideas of reason

The man, far from being satisfied with access to the phenomena to the categories of the understanding, develops the ideas of reason (understood here in the narrow sense, as requiring the highest power unit).

These ideas of reason are concepts which no corresponding object given by the senses as the Idea of ​​the Soul or God.

– If the idea of ​​reason has a regulative use, and to unify our experience, however, it is unknowable and can only be grasped intuitively.

Kant explores the ideas of reason (soul, God, freedom) in a large part of the Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Dialectic named party: it means a critical revealing the misleading appearance of the pretensions of reason when it tries to leave the field experience to address the realm of pure thought, wrongly believing domain independent phenomenal and empirical.

Kant, moral actions and obligations:

We must now answer the question: “What should I do? ”

– The answer to Kant is here unequivocally: the only duty is duty.

– What is meant by this term, the duty?

► To understand the meaning, let us turn first to the concept of goodwill.

► In the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant makes, in fact, an analysis of the common conscience and notes that, of all that is conceivable in this world there is nothing that can be viewed without restriction, as absolutely correct, except goodwill, that is to say an intention absolutely pure and good without restriction.

– What is it and what exactly is she back?

► A pure will, good in itself, means a willingness to do good, not tilt sensitive, but by duty.

The goodwill we refer to the idea of ​​duty, the categorical imperative, not hypothetical.

– A hypothetical imperative is when command statement is subject to an assumption or a condition (eg if you want success, work!)

– He is categorical when he orders unconditionally is when, in itself, independently of any assumptions and any condition (eg works!).

– In the first case, the action is a way for a result. In the second, the action is good in itself: this is a duty.

What is the fundamental formula of duty?

– It sets the universality of the law.

– It simply asserts a universal law, a precept of obligatory character and commanding to all without restriction.

► “Act only according to the maxim that you might want at the same time it becomes a universal law.”

► The second formula relates the duty, in turn, respect the person, to be reasonable, having an end in itself absolute.

► While things are means, people are ends in themselves.

► In its second aspect, the practical imperative is defined by respect for the person, the human subject, which shall in no case be treated as means.

Obeying the will of the duty is, finally, an autonomous will, finding itself in its law.

– That is, in Kant, the principle of autonomy, the latter property has to give itself its own law.

– While heteronomy means obedience to a law not emanating from the will, autonomy is the fact of obeying its own law.

We can now give a more complete and synthetic duty: it means the autonomous moral obligation, the necessity to perform an action out of respect for universal law, without ordering the imperative condition – This is the concept of duty, central in the philosophy of Kant.

Kant and the religious hope:

It remains now to answer the third question: “What can I expect? ”

– And this issue concerns the religious hope.

– However, Kant said here that God, freedom and immortality, far from being demonstrable are postulates, assumptions required by practical reason.

– For Kant, the hope of another life after death and a God judge, relates, in fact, a practical requirement. I postulate God, freedom and immortality: These are beliefs rationally based, asked by an act of faith.

– I need these assumptions to act morally.

Kant and the Aesthetic: An Analysis of the Judgement of Taste:

The first criticism of Kant is about knowledge, the second on morality, the third on aesthetics.

Beauty is here analyzed in its relationship to the human subject.

What taste?

– The ability to judge an object or a representation by a clear appreciation of any interest (“is beautiful, what pleases universally without a concept”)

– While we pleasant charm, beauty takes us away from empirical inclination.

– The universality of beauty can distinguish basically what pleases the senses in the sense of beauty as such.

– Kant also distinguished the beautiful from the sublime: beauty can be apprehended, while the sublime refers to what is beyond us, which is infinite.

In all areas, Kant refers to the autonomy and human freedom. The man, about knowledge, is also autonomous moral agent and author of a Judgement of Taste disinterested and universal.

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