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Moreover, this interpretation also seems to imply that things in themselves are spatial and temporal, since appearances have spatial and temporal properties, and on this view appearances are the same objects as things in themselves. But Kant explicitly denies that space and time are properties of things in themselves.

A second version of the two-aspects theory departs more radically from the traditional two-objects interpretation by denying that transcendental idealism is at bottom a metaphysical theory. Instead, it interprets transcendental idealism as a fundamentally epistemological theory that distinguishes between two standpoints on the objects of experience: the human standpoint, from which objects are viewed relative to epistemic conditions that are peculiar to human cognitive faculties namely, the a priori forms of our sensible intuition ; and the standpoint of an intuitive intellect, from which the same objects could be known in themselves and independently of any epistemic conditions Allison Human beings cannot really take up the latter standpoint but can form only an empty concept of things as they exist in themselves by abstracting from all the content of our experience and leaving only the purely formal thought of an object in general.

So transcendental idealism, on this interpretation, is essentially the thesis that we are limited to the human standpoint, and the concept of a thing in itself plays the role of enabling us to chart the boundaries of the human standpoint by stepping beyond them in abstract but empty thought. One criticism of this epistemological version of the two-aspects theory is that it avoids the objections to other interpretations by attributing to Kant a more limited project than the text of the Critique warrants.

There are passages that support this reading. The transcendental deduction is the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason and one of the most complex and difficult texts in the history of philosophy. Given its complexity, there are naturally many different ways of interpreting the deduction. The goal of the transcendental deduction is to show that we have a priori concepts or categories that are objectively valid, or that apply necessarily to all objects in the world that we experience.

To show this, Kant argues that the categories are necessary conditions of experience, or that we could not have experience without the categories. The transcendental deduction of all a priori concepts therefore has a principle toward which the entire investigation must be directed, namely this: that they must be recognized as a priori conditions of the possibility of experiences whether of the intuition that is encountered in them, or of the thinking. Concepts that supply the objective ground of the possibility of experience are necessary just for that reason.

The strategy Kant employs to argue that the categories are conditions of experience is the main source of both the obscurity and the ingenuity of the transcendental deduction. Here Kant claims, against the Lockean view, that self-consciousness arises from combining or synthesizing representations with one another regardless of their content. In short, Kant has a formal conception of self-consciousness rather than a material one. Since no particular content of my experience is invariable, self-consciousness must derive from my experience having an invariable form or structure, and consciousness of the identity of myself through all of my changing experiences must consist in awareness of the formal unity and law-governed regularity of my experience.

The continuous form of my experience is the necessary correlate for my sense of a continuous self. There are at least two possible versions of the formal conception of self-consciousness: a realist and an idealist version. On the realist version, nature itself is law-governed and we become self-conscious by attending to its law-governed regularities, which also makes this an empiricist view of self-consciousness. The idea of an identical self that persists throughout all of our experience, on this view, arises from the law-governed regularity of nature, and our representations exhibit order and regularity because reality itself is ordered and regular.

Immanuel Kant

But Kant rejects this view and embraces a conception of self-consciousness that is both formal and idealist. According to Kant, the formal structure of our experience, its unity and law-governed regularity, is an achievement of our cognitive faculties rather than a property of reality in itself. Our experience has a constant form because our mind constructs experience in a law-governed way.

In other words, even if reality in itself were law-governed, its laws could not simply migrate over to our mind or imprint themselves on us while our mind is entirely passive. We must exercise an active capacity to represent the world as combined or ordered in a law-governed way, because otherwise we could not represent the world as law-governed even if it were law-governed in itself.

Moreover, this capacity to represent the world as law-governed must be a priori because it is a condition of self-consciousness, and we would already have to be self-conscious in order to learn from our experience that there are law-governed regularities in the world. So it is necessary for self-consciousness that we exercise an a priori capacity to represent the world as law-governed.

But this would also be sufficient for self-consciousness if we could exercise our a priori capacity to represent the world as law-governed even if reality in itself were not law-governed. In that case, the realist and empiricist conception of self-consciousness would be false, and the formal idealist view would be true.

Self-consciousness for Kant therefore involves a priori knowledge about the necessary and universal truth expressed in this principle of apperception, and a priori knowledge cannot be based on experience. The next condition is that self-consciousness requires me to represent an objective world distinct from my subjective representations — that is, distinct from my thoughts about and sensations of that objective world.

Kant uses this connection between self-consciousness and objectivity to insert the categories into his argument. In order to be self-conscious, I cannot be wholly absorbed in the contents of my perceptions but must distinguish myself from the rest of the world.

Critique of Pure Reason Background

But if self-consciousness is an achievement of the mind, then how does the mind achieve this sense that there is a distinction between the I that perceives and the contents of its perceptions? According to Kant, the mind achieves this by distinguishing representations that necessarily belong together from representations that are not necessarily connected but are merely associated in a contingent way.

Imagine a house that is too large to fit into your visual field from your vantage point near its front door. Now imagine that you walk around the house, successively perceiving each of its sides. Eventually you perceive the entire house, but not all at once, and you judge that each of your representations of the sides of the house necessarily belong together as sides of one house and that anyone who denied this would be mistaken.

But now imagine that you grew up in this house and associate a feeling of nostalgia with it. You would not judge that representations of this house are necessarily connected with feelings of nostalgia. That is, you would not think that other people seeing the house for the first time would be mistaken if they denied that it is connected with nostalgia, because you recognize that this house is connected with nostalgia for you but not necessarily for everyone.

The point here is not that we must successfully identify which representations necessarily belong together and which are merely associated contingently, but rather that to be self-conscious we must at least make this general distinction between objective and merely subjective connections of representations. That is the aim of the copula is in them: to distinguish the objective unity of given representations from the subjective. Kant is speaking here about the mental act of judging that results in the formation of a judgment. We must represent an objective world in order to distinguish ourselves from it, and we represent an objective world by judging that some representations necessarily belong together.

Moreover, recall from 4. It follows that objective connections in the world cannot simply imprint themselves on our mind. The understanding constructs experience by providing the a priori rules, or the framework of necessary laws, in accordance with which we judge representations to be objective. These rules are the pure concepts of the understanding or categories, which are therefore conditions of self-consciousness, since they are rules for judging about an objective world, and self-consciousness requires that we distinguish ourselves from an objective world.

Kant identifies the categories in what he calls the metaphysical deduction, which precedes the transcendental deduction. But since categories are not mere logical functions but instead are rules for making judgments about objects or an objective world, Kant arrives at his table of categories by considering how each logical function would structure judgments about objects within our spatio-temporal forms of intuition.

For example, he claims that categorical judgments express a logical relation between subject and predicate that corresponds to the ontological relation between substance and accident; and the logical form of a hypothetical judgment expresses a relation that corresponds to cause and effect.

Taken together with this argument, then, the transcendental deduction argues that we become self-conscious by representing an objective world of substances that interact according to causal laws. The final condition of self-consciousness that Kant adds to the preceding conditions is that our understanding must cooperate with sensibility to construct one, unbounded, and unified space-time to which all of our representations may be related. To see why this further condition is required, consider that so far we have seen why Kant holds that we must represent an objective world in order to be self-conscious, but we could represent an objective world even if it were not possible to relate all of our representations to this objective world.

For all that has been said so far, we might still have unruly representations that we cannot relate in any way to the objective framework of our experience. So I must be able to relate any given representation to an objective world in order for it to count as mine. On the other hand, self-consciousness would also be impossible if I represented multiple objective worlds, even if I could relate all of my representations to some objective world or other.

In that case, I could not become conscious of an identical self that has, say, representation 1 in space-time A and representation 2 in space-time B. It may be possible to imagine disjointed spaces and times, but it is not possible to represent them as objectively real.

So self-consciousness requires that I can relate all of my representations to a single objective world. The reason why I must represent this one objective world by means of a unified and unbounded space-time is that, as Kant argued in the Transcendental Aesthetic, space and time are the pure forms of human intuition. If we had different forms of intuition, then our experience would still have to constitute a unified whole in order for us to be self-conscious, but this would not be a spatio-temporal whole.

So Kant distinguishes between space and time as pure forms of intuition, which belong solely to sensibility; and the formal intuitions of space and time or space-time , which are unified by the understanding B— These formal intuitions are the spatio-temporal whole within which our understanding constructs experience in accordance with the categories.

So Kant concludes on this basis that the understanding is the true law-giver of nature. Our understanding does not provide the matter or content of our experience, but it does provide the basic formal structure within which we experience any matter received through our senses.

He holds that there is a single fundamental principle of morality, on which all specific moral duties are based. He calls this moral law as it is manifested to us the categorical imperative see 5. The moral law is a product of reason, for Kant, while the basic laws of nature are products of our understanding. There are important differences between the senses in which we are autonomous in constructing our experience and in morality.

The moral law does not depend on any qualities that are peculiar to human nature but only on the nature of reason as such, although its manifestation to us as a categorical imperative as a law of duty reflects the fact that the human will is not necessarily determined by pure reason but is also influenced by other incentives rooted in our needs and inclinations; and our specific duties deriving from the categorical imperative do reflect human nature and the contingencies of human life. Despite these differences, however, Kant holds that we give the moral law to ourselves, just as we also give the general laws of nature to ourselves, though in a different sense.

Moreover, we each necessarily give the same moral law to ourselves, just as we each construct our experience in accordance with the same categories. To summarize:. In theoretical philosophy, we use our categories and forms of intuition to construct a world of experience or nature. In practical philosophy, we use the moral law to construct the idea of a moral world or a realm of ends that guides our conduct , and ultimately to transform the natural world into the highest good. Theoretical philosophy deals with appearances, to which our knowledge is strictly limited; and practical philosophy deals with things in themselves, although it does not give us knowledge about things in themselves but only provides rational justification for certain beliefs about them for practical purposes.

The three traditional topics of Leibniz-Wolffian special metaphysics were rational psychology, rational cosmology, and rational theology, which dealt, respectively, with the human soul, the world-whole, and God. In the part of the Critique of Pure Reason called the Transcendental Dialectic, Kant argues against the Leibniz-Wolffian view that human beings are capable of a priori knowledge in each of these domains, and he claims that the errors of Leibniz-Wolffian metaphysics are due to an illusion that has its seat in the nature of human reason itself.

According to Kant, human reason necessarily produces ideas of the soul, the world-whole, and God; and these ideas unavoidably produce the illusion that we have a priori knowledge about transcendent objects corresponding to them. This is an illusion, however, because in fact we are not capable of a priori knowledge about any such transcendent objects.

Nevertheless, Kant attempts to show that these illusory ideas have a positive, practical use. He thus reframes Leibniz-Wolffian special metaphysics as a practical science that he calls the metaphysics of morals. The most important belief about things in themselves that Kant thinks only practical philosophy can justify concerns human freedom. If this was not within his control at the time, then, while it may be useful to punish him in order to shape his behavior or to influence others, it nevertheless would not be correct to say that his action was morally wrong.

Moral rightness and wrongness apply only to free agents who control their actions and have it in their power, at the time of their actions, either to act rightly or not. According to Kant, this is just common sense. On the compatibilist view, as Kant understands it, I am free whenever the cause of my action is within me. If we distinguish between involuntary convulsions and voluntary bodily movements, then on this view free actions are just voluntary bodily movements. The proximate causes of these movements are internal to the turnspit, the projectile, and the clock at the time of the movement.

This cannot be sufficient for moral responsibility. Why not? The reason, Kant says, is ultimately that the causes of these movements occur in time. Return to the theft example. The thief decided to commit the theft, and his action flowed from this decision. If that cause too was an event occurring in time, then it must also have a cause beginning in a still earlier time, etc. All natural events occur in time and are thoroughly determined by causal chains that stretch backwards into the distant past.

So there is no room for freedom in nature, which is deterministic in a strong sense. The root of the problem, for Kant, is time. But the past is out of his control now, in the present. Even if he could control those past events in the past, he cannot control them now. But in fact past events were not in his control in the past either if they too were determined by events in the more distant past, because eventually the causal antecedents of his action stretch back before his birth, and obviously events that occurred before his birth were not in his control.

In that case, it would be a mistake to hold him morally responsible for it. Compatibilism, as Kant understands it, therefore locates the issue in the wrong place. Even if the cause of my action is internal to me, if it is in the past — for example, if my action today is determined by a decision I made yesterday, or from the character I developed in childhood — then it is not within my control now. The real issue is not whether the cause of my action is internal or external to me, but whether it is in my control now.

For Kant, however, the cause of my action can be within my control now only if it is not in time. This is why Kant thinks that transcendental idealism is the only way to make sense of the kind of freedom that morality requires. For transcendental idealism allows that the cause of my action may be a thing in itself outside of time: namely, my noumenal self, which is free because it is not part of nature. My noumenal self is an uncaused cause outside of time, which therefore is not subject to the deterministic laws of nature in accordance with which our understanding constructs experience.

Many puzzles arise on this picture that Kant does not resolve. For example, if my understanding constructs all appearances in my experience of nature, not only appearances of my own actions, then why am I responsible only for my own actions but not for everything that happens in the natural world? Moreover, if I am not alone in the world but there are many noumenal selves acting freely and incorporating their free actions into the experience they construct, then how do multiple transcendentally free agents interact?

How do you integrate my free actions into the experience that your understanding constructs? Finally, since Kant invokes transcendental idealism to make sense of freedom, interpreting his thinking about freedom leads us back to disputes between the two-objects and two-aspects interpretations of transcendental idealism.

But applying the two-objects interpretation to freedom raises problems of its own, since it involves making a distinction between noumenal and phenomenal selves that does not arise on the two-aspects view. If only my noumenal self is free, and freedom is required for moral responsibility, then my phenomenal self is not morally responsible. But how are my noumenal and phenomenal selves related, and why is punishment inflicted on phenomenal selves?

Can we know that we are free in this transcendental sense? We do not have theoretical knowledge that we are free or about anything beyond the limits of possible experience, but we are morally justified in believing that we are free in this sense. On the other hand, Kant also uses stronger language than this when discussing freedom. Our practical knowledge of freedom is based instead on the moral law.

So, on his view, the fact of reason is the practical basis for our belief or practical knowledge that we are free. Every human being has a conscience, a common sense grasp of morality, and a firm conviction that he or she is morally accountable.

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We may arrive at different conclusions about what morality requires in specific situations. And we may violate our own sense of duty. But we all have a conscience, and an unshakeable belief that morality applies to us. It is just a ground-level fact about human beings that we hold ourselves morally accountable. But Kant is making a normative claim here as well: it is also a fact, which cannot and does not need to be justified, that we are morally accountable, that morality does have authority over us. Kant holds that philosophy should be in the business of defending this common sense moral belief, and that in any case it could never prove or disprove it Kant may hold that the fact of reason, or our consciousness of moral obligation, implies that we are free on the grounds that ought implies can.

In other words, Kant may believe that it follows from the fact that we ought morally to do something that we can or are able to do it. This is a hypothetical example of an action not yet carried out. In both the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant also gives a more detailed argument for the conclusion that morality and freedom reciprocally imply one another, which is sometimes called the reciprocity thesis Allison On this view, to act morally is to exercise freedom, and the only way to fully exercise freedom is to act morally.

First, it follows from the basic idea of having a will that to act at all is to act on some principle, or what Kant calls a maxim. A maxim is a subjective rule or policy of action: it says what you are doing and why. We may be unaware of our maxims, we may not act consistently on the same maxims, and our maxims may not be consistent with one another. But Kant holds that since we are rational beings our actions always aim at some sort of end or goal, which our maxim expresses.

The goal of an action may be something as basic as gratifying a desire, or it may be something more complex such as becoming a doctor or a lawyer. If I act to gratify some desire, then I choose to act on a maxim that specifies the gratification of that desire as the goal of my action. For example, if I desire some coffee, then I may act on the maxim to go to a cafe and buy some coffee in order to gratify that desire.

Second, Kant distinguishes between two basic kinds of principles or rules that we can act on: what he calls material and formal principles. To act in order to satisfy some desire, as when I act on the maxim to go for coffee at a cafe, is to act on a material principle ff. Here the desire for coffee fixes the goal, which Kant calls the object or matter of the action, and the principle says how to achieve that goal go to a cafe. A hypothetical imperative is a principle of rationality that says that I should act in a certain way if I choose to satisfy some desire. If maxims in general are rules that describe how one does act, then imperatives in general prescribe how one should act.

An imperative is hypothetical if it says how I should act only if I choose to pursue some goal in order to gratify a desire This, for example, is a hypothetical imperative: if you want coffee, then go to the cafe. This hypothetical imperative applies to you only if you desire coffee and choose to gratify that desire. In contrast to material principles, formal principles describe how one acts without making reference to any desires.

This is easiest to understand through the corresponding kind of imperative, which Kant calls a categorical imperative. A categorical imperative commands unconditionally that I should act in some way. So while hypothetical imperatives apply to me only on the condition that I have and set the goal of satisfying the desires that they tell me how to satisfy, categorical imperatives apply to me no matter what my goals and desires may be. Kant regards moral laws as categorical imperatives, which apply to everyone unconditionally. For example, the moral requirement to help others in need does not apply to me only if I desire to help others in need, and the duty not to steal is not suspended if I have some desire that I could satisfy by stealing.

Moral laws do not have such conditions but rather apply unconditionally. That is why they apply to everyone in the same way. Third, insofar as I act only on material principles or hypothetical imperatives, I do not act freely, but rather I act only to satisfy some desire s that I have, and what I desire is not ultimately within my control. To some limited extent we are capable of rationally shaping our desires, but insofar as we choose to act in order to satisfy desires we are choosing to let nature govern us rather than governing ourselves We are always free in the sense that we always have the capacity to govern ourselves rationally instead of letting our desires set our ends for us.

But we may freely fail to exercise that capacity. Moreover, since Kant holds that desires never cause us to act, but rather we always choose to act on a maxim even when that maxim specifies the satisfaction of a desire as the goal of our action, it also follows that we are always free in the sense that we freely choose our maxims. Nevertheless, our actions are not free in the sense of being autonomous if we choose to act only on material principles, because in that case we do not give the law to ourselves, but instead we choose to allow nature in us our desires to determine the law for our actions.

Finally, the only way to act freely in the full sense of exercising autonomy is therefore to act on formal principles or categorical imperatives, which is also to act morally. Kant does not mean that acting autonomously requires that we take no account of our desires, because that would be impossible , This immediate consciousness of the moral law takes the following form:. In other words, to assess the moral permissibility of my maxim, I ask whether everyone could act on it, or whether it could be willed as a universal law.

The issue is not whether it would be good if everyone acted on my maxim, or whether I would like it, but only whether it would be possible for my maxim to be willed as a universal law. This gets at the form, not the matter or content, of the maxim. A maxim has morally permissible form, for Kant, only if it could be willed as a universal law. If my maxim fails this test, as this one does, then it is morally impermissible for me to act on it.

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  • If my maxim passes the universal law test, then it is morally permissible for me to act on it, but I fully exercise my autonomy only if my fundamental reason for acting on this maxim is that it is morally permissible or required that I do so. Imagine that I am moved by a feeling of sympathy to formulate the maxim to help someone in need. In this case, my original reason for formulating this maxim is that a certain feeling moved me. Such feelings are not entirely within my control and may not be present when someone actually needs my help.

    So it would not be wrong to act on this maxim when the feeling of sympathy so moves me. But helping others in need would not fully exercise my autonomy unless my fundamental reason for doing so is not that I have some feeling or desire, but rather that it would be right or at least permissible to do so. Only when such a purely formal principle supplies the fundamental motive for my action do I act autonomously. Even when my maxims are originally suggested by my feelings and desires, if I act only on morally permissible or required maxims because they are morally permissible or required , then my actions will be autonomous.

    And the reverse is true as well: for Kant this is the only way to act autonomously.

    James O'Shea, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: An Introduction - PhilPapers

    Kant holds that reason unavoidably produces not only consciousness of the moral law but also the idea of a world in which there is both complete virtue and complete happiness, which he calls the highest good. Furthermore, we can believe that the highest good is possible only if we also believe in the immortality of the soul and the existence of God, according to Kant. On this basis, he claims that it is morally necessary to believe in the immortality of the soul and the existence of God, which he calls postulates of pure practical reason.

    Moreover, our fundamental reason for choosing to act on such maxims should be that they have this lawgiving form, rather than that acting on them would achieve some end or goal that would satisfy a desire For example, I should help others in need not, at bottom, because doing so would make me feel good, even if it would, but rather because it is right; and it is right or permissible to help others in need because this maxim can be willed as a universal law. But although Kant holds that the morality of an action depends on the form of its maxim rather than its end or goal, he nevertheless claims both that every human action has an end and that we are unavoidably concerned with the consequences of our actions ; ; —7, This is not a moral requirement but simply part of what it means to be a rational being.

    Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason - Summary and Analysis of the Transcendental Aesthetic

    Moreover, Kant also holds the stronger view that it is an unavoidable feature of human reason that we form ideas not only about the immediate and near-term consequences of our actions, but also about ultimate consequences. But neither of these ideas by itself expresses our unconditionally complete end, as human reason demands in its practical use. And happiness by itself would not be unconditionally good, because moral virtue is a condition of worthiness to be happy So our unconditionally complete end must combine both virtue and happiness.

    It is this ideal world combining complete virtue with complete happiness that Kant normally has in mind when he discusses the highest good. Kant says that we have a duty to promote the highest good, taken in this sense He does not mean, however, to be identifying some new duty that is not derived from the moral law, in addition to all the particular duties we have that are derived from the moral law. Rather, as we have seen, Kant holds that it is an unavoidable feature of human reasoning, instead of a moral requirement, that we represent all particular duties as leading toward the promotion of the highest good.

    Nor does Kant mean that anyone has a duty to realize or actually bring about the highest good through their own power, although his language sometimes suggests this , Finally, according to Kant we must conceive of the highest good as a possible state of affairs in order to fulfill our duty to promote it.

    Here Kant does not mean that we unavoidably represent the highest good as possible, since his view is that we must represent it as possible only if we are to do our duty of promoting it, and yet we may fail at doing our duty. Rather, we have a choice about whether to conceive of the highest good as possible, to regard it as impossible, or to remain noncommittal — But we can fulfill our duty of promoting the highest good only by choosing to conceive of the highest good as possible, because we cannot promote any end without believing that it is possible to achieve that end Kant argues that we can comply with our duty to promote the highest good only if we believe in the immortality of the soul and the existence of God.

    This is because to comply with that duty we must believe that the highest good is possible, and yet to believe that the highest good is possible we must believe that the soul is immortal and that God exists, according to Kant. The highest good, as we have seen, would be a world of complete morality and happiness. This does not mean that we can substitute endless progress toward complete conformity with the moral law for holiness in the concept of the highest good, but rather that we must represent that complete conformity as an infinite progress toward the limit of holiness.

    Rather, his view is that we must represent holiness as continual progress toward complete conformity of our dispositions with the moral law that begins in this life and extends into infinity. Kant holds that virtue and happiness are not just combined but necessarily combined in the idea of the highest good, because only possessing virtue makes one worthy of happiness — a claim that Kant seems to regard as part of the content of the moral law ; , But we can represent virtue and happiness as necessarily combined only by representing virtue as the efficient cause of happiness.

    This means that we must represent the highest good not simply as a state of affairs in which everyone is both happy and virtuous, but rather as one in which everyone is happy because they are virtuous —, However, it is beyond the power of human beings, both individually and collectively, to guarantee that happiness results from virtue, and we do not know any law of nature that guarantees this either.

    This cause of nature would have to be God since it must have both understanding and will. Kant probably does not conceive of God as the efficient cause of a happiness that is rewarded in a future life to those who are virtuous in this one. Both of these arguments are subjective in the sense that, rather than attempting to show how the world must be constituted objectively in order for the highest good to be possible, they purport to show only how we must conceive of the highest good in order to be subjectively capable both of representing it as possible and of fulfilling our duty to promote it.

    So while it is not, strictly speaking, a duty to believe in God or immortality, we must believe both in order to fulfill our duty to promote the highest good, given the subjective character of human reason. To see why, consider what would happen if we did not believe in God or immortality, according to Kant. But Kant later rejects this view His mature view is that our reason would be in conflict with itself if we did not believe in God and immortality, because pure practical reason would represent the moral law as authoritative for us and so present us with an incentive that is sufficient to determine our will; but pure theoretical i.

    This final section briefly discusses how Kant attempts to unify the theoretical and practical parts of his philosophical system in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Reason legislates a priori for freedom and its own causality, as the supersensible in the subject, for an unconditioned practical cognition. One way to understand the problem Kant is articulating here is to consider it once again in terms of the crisis of the Enlightenment.

    But the transcendental idealist framework within which Kant develops this response seems to purchase the consistency of these interests at the price of sacrificing a unified view of the world and our place in it. It is important to Kant that a third faculty independent of both understanding and reason provides this mediating perspective, because he holds that we do not have adequate theoretical grounds for attributing objective teleology to nature itself, and yet regarding nature as teleological solely on moral grounds would only heighten the disconnect between our scientific and moral ways of viewing the world.

    That is why his theoretical philosophy licenses us only in attributing mechanical causation to nature itself. In this respect, Kant is sympathetic to the dominant strain in modern philosophy that banishes final causes from nature and instead treats nature as nothing but matter in motion, which can be fully described mathematically. But Kant wants somehow to reconcile this mechanistic view of nature with a conception of human agency that is essentially teleological.

    For as we saw in the previous section, Kant holds that every human action has an end and that the sum of all moral duties is to promote the highest good. This harmony can be orchestrated only from an independent standpoint, from which we do not judge how nature is constituted objectively that is the job of understanding or how the world ought to be the job of reason , but from which we merely regulate or reflect on our cognition in a way that enables us to regard it as systematically unified. In the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant discusses four main ways in which reflecting judgment leads us to regard nature as purposive: first, it leads us to regard nature as governed by a system of empirical laws; second, it enables us to make aesthetic judgments; third, it leads us to think of organisms as objectively purposive; and, fourth, it ultimately leads us to think about the final end of nature as a whole.

    First, reflecting judgment enables us to discover empirical laws of nature by leading us to regard nature as if it were the product of intelligent design — We do not need reflecting judgment to grasp the a priori laws of nature based on our categories, such as that every event has a cause. But in addition to these a priori laws nature is also governed by particular, empirical laws, such as that fire causes smoke, which we cannot know without consulting experience.

    To discover these laws, we must form hypotheses and devise experiments on the assumption that nature is governed by empirical laws that we can grasp Bxiii—xiv. Reflecting judgment makes this assumption through its principle to regard nature as purposive for our understanding, which leads us to treat nature as if its empirical laws were designed to be understood by us — Since this principle only regulates our cognition but is not constitutive of nature itself, this does not amount to assuming that nature really is the product of intelligent design, which according to Kant we are not justified in believing on theoretical grounds.

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    Rather, it amounts only to approaching nature in the practice of science as if it were designed to be understood by us. We are justified in doing this because it enables us to discover empirical laws of nature. But it is only a regulative principle of reflecting judgment, not genuine theoretical knowledge, that nature is purposive in this way. Second, Kant thinks that aesthetic judgments about both beauty and sublimity involve a kind of purposiveness, and that the beauty of nature in particular suggests to us that nature is hospitable to our ends.

    So beauty is not a property of objects, but a relation between their form and the way our cognitive faculties work. Yet we make aesthetic judgments that claim intersubjective validity because we assume that there is a common sense that enables all human beings to communicate aesthetic feeling —, — Beautiful art is intentionally created to stimulate this universally communicable aesthetic pleasure, although it is effective only when it seems unintentional — Natural beauty, however, is unintentional: landscapes do not know how to stimulate the free play of our cognitive faculties, and they do not have the goal of giving us aesthetic pleasure.

    In both cases, then, beautiful objects appear purposive to us because they give us aesthetic pleasure in the free play of our faculties, but they also do not appear purposive because they either do not or do not seem to do this intentionally. Although it is only subjective, the purposiveness exhibited by natural beauty in particular may be interpreted as a sign that nature is hospitable to our moral interests Moreover, Kant also interprets the experience of sublimity in nature as involving purposiveness. Third, Kant argues that reflecting judgment enables us to regard living organisms as objectively purposive, but only as a regulative principle that compensates for our inability to understand them mechanistically, which reflects the limitations of our cognitive faculties rather than any intrinsic teleology in nature.

    The parts of a watch are also possible only through their relation to the whole, but that is because the watch is designed and produced by some rational being. An organism, by contrast, produces and sustains itself, which is inexplicable to us unless we attribute to organisms purposes by analogy with human art — Specifically, we cannot understand how a whole can be the cause of its own parts because we depend on sensible intuition for the content of our thoughts and therefore must think the particular intuition first by subsuming it under the general a concept.

    To see that this is just a limitation of the human, discursive intellect, imagine a being with an intuitive understanding whose thought does not depend, as ours does, on receiving sensory information passively, but rather creates the content of its thought in the act of thinking it. Such a divine being could understand how a whole can be the cause of its parts, since it could grasp a whole immediately without first thinking particulars and then combining them into a whole — Therefore, since we have a discursive intellect and cannot know how things would appear to a being with an intuitive intellect, and yet we can only think of organisms teleologically, which excludes mechanism, Kant now says that we must think of both mechanism and teleology only as regulative principles that we need to explain nature, rather than as constitutive principles that describe how nature is intrinsically constituted ff.

    Fourth, Kant concludes the Critique of the Power of Judgment with a long appendix arguing that reflecting judgment supports morality by leading us to think about the final end of nature, which we can only understand in moral terms, and that conversely morality reinforces a teleological conception of nature.

    Once it is granted on theoretical grounds that we must understand certain parts of nature organisms teleologically, although only as a regulative principle of reflecting judgment, Kant says we may go further and regard the whole of nature as a teleological system — But we can regard the whole of nature as a teleological system only by employing the idea of God, again only regulatively, as its intelligent designer. This would be to attribute what Kant calls external purposiveness to nature — that is, to attribute purposes to God in creating nature According to Kant, the final end of nature must be human beings, but only as moral beings , — This is because only human beings use reason to set and pursue ends, using the rest of nature as means to their ends — Moreover, Kant claims that human happiness cannot be the final end of nature, because as we have seen he holds that happiness is not unconditionally valuable — Rather, human life has value not because of what we passively enjoy, but only because of what we actively do We can be fully active and autonomous, however, only by acting morally, which implies that God created the world so that human beings could exercise moral autonomy.

    Since we also need happiness, this too may be admitted as a conditioned and consequent end, so that reflecting judgment eventually leads us to the highest good Thus Kant argues that although theoretical and practical philosophy proceed from separate and irreducible starting points — self-consciousness as the highest principle for our cognition of nature, and the moral law as the basis for our knowledge of freedom — reflecting judgment unifies them into a single, teleological worldview that assigns preeminent value to human autonomy.

    Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 21, Edward Moran rated it it was amazing Shelves: heidegger , heidegger-on-analytic-of-principles. Discusses times priority over space as a formal intuition, and the priority of intuition over the understanding and the categories. Also, the common root of intuition and understanding in imagination. Apr 10, Nathan rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. This is an excellent lecture course by Heidegger. It was the lecture course that eventually became the famous "Kantbuch" Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics ".


    Heidegger does two critical things: first he attempts to demonstrate that Kant's first Critique is a work which focuses on the transcendental grounds for the possibility of Ontological knowledge, rather than being a work of epistemology - in contrast to popular conception. Secondly, he shows that the categories are inextricably tied up w This is an excellent lecture course by Heidegger. Secondly, he shows that the categories are inextricably tied up with the pure a priori forms of sensibility namely, time through the transcendental synthesis, and that it is time and imagination which are integral to ontological knowledge.

    He turns apprehension, imagination, and apperception into present, past, and future - and are all cohesive and unified and are the grounds for the 'now' and our temporal horizon. It is an incredible work, and very underrated. I spent the Summer of '14 carefully navigating through this text, underlining almost every line and putting a sticky on almost every page.


    It was the first major Heidegger work that I read cover to cover; and it had a tremendous impact on my philosophical development. Almost all commentaries on Heidegger's work around this period and after say something like "The ideas presented here crucial to understanding BT" or "This is a major work which preceded BT" - while BT is obviously a crucial work of Heidegger, I think the heart of his thinking, and the key to understanding his project, are found in his lecture courses.

    This is one of them. Try not to associate every single Heidegger work with BT, but see them on their own terms and really try to see what Heidegger is actually trying to do: philosophy. Jay X rated it it was amazing Oct 05, Hubert rated it it was amazing Nov 26, Gpdimonderose giacintho rated it it was amazing May 07, Little rated it it was amazing Sep 27, Cory Plikuhn rated it it was ok Dec 20, John Ervin rated it it was amazing Aug 26, Joseph rated it it was amazing Feb 19, Finja rated it liked it Dec 19, Dana rated it it was amazing Apr 30, Josh rated it it was amazing May 27, Kevin Holden rated it really liked it Jan 18, Adarsh rated it it was amazing Nov 30, Dhananjay Shukla rated it really liked it May 26, Marija rated it it was amazing Sep 01, Michael Roth rated it it was amazing Aug 02, Paul rated it liked it May 23, Ellie Kalimera rated it it was amazing Apr 12, Ed Stroupe rated it it was amazing Jun 19, Paul Vittay rated it it was amazing Feb 02, Frank Scalambrino rated it really liked it Jul 26, Justin rated it it was amazing Aug 16, Pmar rated it it was amazing Jul 27, Fatima rated it it was amazing Nov 21, Jared Colley rated it liked it Mar 29, Ageel Ali rated it really liked it Nov 08, A Anders rated it it was amazing Mar 29,