Critique of Pure Reason

Are you still a believer in the 5 elements theory?

There’s been plenty of discoveries, but more importantly philosophy isn’t just about a base idea that once understood solves every problem, it’s about the details of different situations that appear in life. For example pre Christian philosophy can frame how to approach Christianity but would offer little on how to discuss the details of the story, or how they impact cultures 2000 years later. You would need to have read the book and have experience the future culture to have that discussion.

But yeah, much of philosophy is intellectual self indulgence. Which is exactly why I don’t know if It’s worth reading. There are a limited number of days in my life and reading this just to say I read it isn’t that interesting to me. I want to read it and get something out of it that I can’t just get out of a summary which seems unlikely.

Yeah I listened to audio recordings of it while at work and I quickly realized it’s not something you can read while doing other things. Yeah I read somewhere that you need a notepad to get through it. Sounds more like math. I already have math stuff to do though so I don’t know if I have the attention span for even more of that.

Perfect. Exactly what I wanted.

Hah, well, I just got done reading Marcus Aurelius and the “Don’t worry about anything, you’ll be dead soon anyway.” approach to life resonated pretty strongly. I would like to be an effective part of society but, I have few practical skills to further human industriousness or well being, so I’m left with the pious modest approach of dying quickly to make space for others.

Is Heidegger bad because he’s dry or because he’s wrong?

Yeah I was looking at Hume. I worked through a few enlightenment writers and he’s still on my list. I will go with him next.

Do you have a philosophy education or did you just read these for fun?

I hear one ought to be familiar with hume’s empirical epistemology before/when reading kant, since kant is responding to hume a lotta the time.

The point of philosophy is the development of ideas; which means also the development of subjectivity, of that which is made of, for and by ideas and which also makes and uses ideas. An “idea” is only a quantum of reality reflected cognitively-emotively within a consciousness-subjectivity. Even bad or false ideas have roots in reality and truth.

If the point is to progress one’s psyche and understanding or “consciousness” as far as possible toward the depths and the heights, toward truth and the most comprehensive and accurate view, and this is the point of it, then there is no use disregarding someone like Kant simply because his work is dense, he invents his own terms and he is concerned with the development of concepts as such and for their own sake— this is proper philosophical work. Refusing such work only means one is a scientist and not a philosopher, i.e. is concerned with limited-concrete measurables and not with truth as such.

So called “self-indulgent” philosophy can be either better or worse, and is not categorically erroneous or without value. You should read in Kant someone trying to push to the highest possible purview in his mind, to push ideation and understanding to their peak. This is what a real philosopher does, e.g. Nietzsche or Deleuze, and the effort can only be judged circumstantially and ethically in the moment embedded to that effort and act itself. Which would require first and also that the one doing the evaluating also be of the same ethos and capable of the sincere effort and act, which is philosophy; but sadly many/most philosophers and thinkers aren’t at that point, and merely circle around between their own psychological-pathological illusions and the small games of the empiricists, positivists and moralists.

You smoking crack?

If you believe a bad or false idea has roots in reality and truth then you should admit that they are just as useless as the hypothetical bad or false idea rooted in untruths and fantasy.

We have a limited number of years on this earth. Even if the purpose is to progress one’s psyche and understanding as far as possible, reading frivolous and unproductive texts would do less towards that goal than reading something useful and true.

Philosophers used to be scientists. They are trying to carve out a niche outside of science because they’ve failed to keep up. When science answers everything philosophy will be a toy or an art piece people use to impress friends with and interpret using tradition rather than direct emotions. It’ll be a Jackson Pollock painting that most people see as paint splatter but everyone pretentiously interprets as a study on color and composition, or rebellion against tradition. This is a lot like Nietzsche who appeared more interested in padding his books with self congratulations than actually making points. Not to say that Nietzsche doesn’t have his place but I’m interested in jamming as much useful shit into my head as possible so I can do as many useful things as possible. If I can get Kant in my head in 30 minutes instead of 30 hours I would prefer that for the same reason Nietzsche’s self praise is boring / annoying, and for the same reason learning to paint like Pollock won’t open the doors to be able to paint like Michelangelo.

Glad to confirm neither of you has any idea what you’re talking about.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a fan of Nietzsche can’t explain themselves without the teenage angst or self congratulations. But I’ll be diplomatic. Oh please enlighten us wise one.

I got this one onlyhumean.

Let’s keep it civil gentlemen or I’ll move this thread to off topic and/or issue several temporary bannings faster than you can spell antidisestablishmentarianism.

It’s already off topic. My question was already answered. Ban it, move it, lock it up. Save me some time. Thanks.

Unfortunately, Schopenhauer’s not much more readable, and Hegel’s even denser. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s why you need Aristotle - it’s never too late to cultivate virtue :wink:

I think it’s because he doesn’t care whether he’s either.

False dichotomy :wink: These days I read philosophy for myself, not for exam boards.




Kant understood, as few do, that reason is motivated by and composed of relations to facts. Facts are a-temporal and a-spatial, therefore that being which possesses what we call reason becomes to some degree free of typical empirical causality, and legislates itself as an active combining of empirical and non-empirical causes.

Reasoning being is able to not only respond to “things” (perceptions, appearances) but also to respond to the fact of things, which means that reason is that which succeeds at making pure object of beings, or is therefore potentially able to make pure objects in this way. The complex intersections of empirical and non-empirical, so called, is what we call our ego. Or rather, ego is the form of reconciliation of these opposite poles of being.

Kant was right in almost all aspects (except some ethical aspects): his cosmological hypotheis, his theory about the emergence of the solar system, his theory about life, his theory about human beings, his anthropology and other philosophical or scientifical theories are true.

In order to know what is behind or beyond nature we need philosophy, especially metaphysics, but philosophy and its metaphysics are embedded in human culture which is embedded in nature. So this is a dilemma of human knowledge (cognition and so on) and simultaneously the reason why humans are not capable of knowing everything.

Naturally brains are made for survival, and culture is embedded in nature. So first of all there is a natural reason why a brain exists. The cultural reason merely follows. It is a followup reason, thus not the natural reaosn as the original reason. So cultural phenomenons like philosophy and science are not the primary reason why a brain exists. In other words: Our brains were not primarily but merely secondarily made for philosophy or science or other cultural phenomenons, and philosophy or science or other cultural phenomenons are no organs of our body but merely cultural phenomenons.

Yes, however it’s even more complex because the cultural reason as you call it out of which philosophy and science evolve is basically the collected history of thought and work within a civilization, and builds over time. The reason some civilizations or cultures develop more and better philosophy and science over other cultures/civilizations is due to two things: the values and political/subjective models dominant within that culture or civilization, and the total recorded history at any given moment. The more there is a value of learning and the more there are instantiated to a culture or people the conditions by which knowledge could be developed and added to over time, the more of that recorded history is going to be the case… And it is that recorded history that works in the present moment values and subjective possibilities to produce continued growth in philosophy, science etc.

So we can’t just reduce progress in philosophy and science to “cultural reason”, we need to ask from where cultural reason comes. It comes from several different conditions that make cultural reason’s different forms possible; one such condition is the value attached to free thinking (being able and willing to think beyond the range of given status quo) and how much that sort of free thinking is valued by society (by other people and by governing institutions). The cultural reason can uplift only when the conditions for that uplift are there, so there is a feedback loop because those conditions being there also depend on the larger cultural reason-- society and it’s conditions loop into each other and become self-reinforcing while admitting always some exteriority space or ‘remainders’ by which those loops are kept perpetually open to some degree. Because the loop is fundamentally open-ended at least a little bit you always have the case that some small progress in the conditions of sociality and cultural reaso is possible.

It is an exponential growth curve in the sense it starts out growing very slowly and eventually picks up steam. Evolution is like that, slow gradual accumulation of potential trigger conditions until enough of them get together and suddenly actualize; said differently, quantitative differences accumulate over time until they catalyze producing pure qualitative differences.

There is actually a philosophy and science to how that works, and to why any specific or general growth in knowledge, learning and subjective possibility will or may occur; what this means is that even the conditions of philosophy and science, which are as you say the cultural reason, are themselves conditioned by “philosophy and science”, namely by more fundamental conditions and reasons. Even the most ignorant, stupid, low quality cultures or people still represent philosophies and sciences, but simply at very low stages. Even thinking the sun is a God and will grant you luck if you sing and dance to it represents a philosophy and a science, just a very shitty one. Or rather, idiotic beliefs like sun worship indicate that certain anthropological and psychological conditions exist such that real philosophy and real science remain only pure negatives, manifest only in the sense of how their absence compels low forms of thought, feeling and behavior.

In other words even sun worship reveals that humans are able to respond in terms of the facts of things in addition to only of things themselves, and indicate that humans are able to posit hypotheticals and form deductive logic based on those hypotheses (i.e. the abstract connection between the sun and the plants that I grow (my survival) is intuited at a basic level by connecting the “sun’s favor” to the growing seasons, and positing a logical deduction that favor from the sun god is going to lead to beneficial results… That is a stupid thing to believe, but no other animal is capable even if that low form of reasoning… The low form of reasoning is still an indication of the existence of the basic conditions for philosophy and science, which are otherwise totally absent from the non-human animals).

How then was Kant able make that leap from the “relations of facts” that transcend historical and cultural contexts in order to arrive at the actual existential implications embedded in the idea that we can know our moral obligation with respect to any particular set of facts “out in the world”.

Of course: by presuming the existence of a transcending font. Which most call God. No God and we are confronted with the reality of mere mortals arriving at a definitive conclusion regarding the facts pertaining to conflicting value judgments.

And that’s the part that I see as far more pertinent to dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

Right, Kant needed an idea by which to reify his understanding of what reason is and how it works, into an ethical-moral principle: for Kant that idea was simply the universality of honesty, the idea of rational consistency and self-consistency.

Kant correctly intuits that consistency and self-consistency are integral aspects of reason, but he incorrectly extends that fact to how reason relates to the world outside of itself. Probably because he poses the phenomenological divide between reality and mind such that his dualism is a form of representationalism rather than the kind of sophisticated direct realism (non-representationalism) of someone like Husserl. Kant basically needed a way for reason to relate to existence that could justify the fact that humans aren’t obviously delusional and mistaken about our perception and cognitions by default, but his dualism prevents that; so a moral principle is inserted in order to save the gap.

Namely, with the idea that consciousness “ought to be” consistent in its judgments and actions to the principle that whatever you do could be willed absolutely and not suppose any kind of contradiction. But that isn’t really a philosophically interesting idea, it’s just a misapplication of a certain conditionality of reason to the gap that confronts non-realist dualism.

And yes obviously Husserl, then to some degree Heidegger do a better job than Kant did when it came to trying to formulate a truly existential/moral and phenomenological ground out of the various structural and categorical aspects of “what is reason and why does it do what it does?” Nietzsche’s contributions should not be ignored either.

Well, with regard to that which most interests me here – the relationship between “moral obligation” and God – I speculated on this earlier here at ILP:

Here is how Christine M. Korsgaard encompassed this in, Creating the Kingdom of Ends:

[b][i]The threat posed by the impossibility of achieving the Highest Good is best understood by considering the way the moral motive functions. You view yourself as a member of the intelligble world and so as a possible legislator of the Kingdom of Ends. You are among the world’s first causes. But there are other first causes: other persons, and whatever else is responsible for the way things appear to us and so of the material content of the laws of nature. In the phenomonal world the results of our actions are determined not just by our intentions, but by the forces of nature and the actions of other persons. Our attempts to realize the good are often diverted by these other forces. It is this that gives rise to the antinomy. Kant’s description of the problem in Critique of Judgment is better:

‘He [a righteous man] desires no advantage to himself from following the moral law, either in this or in another world; he wishes, rather, disinterestedly to establish the good to which the holy law directs all of his powers. But his effort is bounded; and from nature…he can never expect a regular harmony…with the purpose which yet he feels himself obligated and impelled to accomplish. Deceit, violence and envy will always surround him, although he himself is honest, peaceable and kindly; and the righteous men with whom he meets will, notwithstanding their worthiness of happiness, be yet subjected by nature which regards not this, to all the evils of want, disease and ultimately death, just like the beast of the earth…The purpose then which this well-intentioned person has and ought to have before him in his pusuit of moral laws, he must certainly give up as impossible’

So, here we are, mere mortals cast out of the Garden…out of Paradise and forced to make our way through the days groping as best we can to understand what it means to “do good” and, in turn, incessantly bumping into all of these “phenomenological” obstacles that impede our progress. How are we to know Right from Wrong and, once having taken our leap, how are we to intertwine our choices with others in a “natural world” that brings us one calamity [man-made and otherwise] after the next? And why should we “do good” anyway when all paths lead to oblivion? It certainly does seem, as Kant suggests, it would be best to give up the task “as impossible”, right?

Watch, then, how Kant resolves this:


The solution to this and every antinomy is to appeal to the noumenal/phenomoenal distinction. In the world of the sense, there is no causual connection between a virtuous disposition and happiness, but there could be a connection between one’s noumenal disposition and one’s happiness in the world of sense. But this connection would be indirect: it would be mediated by an Author of Nature who had designed the laws of nature so that the connection holds [C2 114-15]. In order to play the role envisaged, this Author would have to be omnipotent [to design the laws of nature], omniscient [to look into the hearts ofrational beings and know their moral dispositions] and perfectly good. [/b][/i]

But Kant has, as noted, already deconstructed this metaphysical font so we can’t fall back on the guy with the big white beard. Instead, we need a neo-metaphysical construct to take his place.

[b][i]More Korsgaard:

The Author of Nature would have the attributes traditionally ascribed to God. If there were a God, then, the Highest Good would be possible, and morality would not direct us to impossible ends. Since we must obey the moral law, and therefore must adopt the Highest Good as our end, we need to believe that end is possible. So we need to believe in what will make it possible. This is not a contingent need, based on an arbitray desire, but ‘a need of pure reason’. this provides a pure practical reason for belief in God. [C2 142-43]
But what is this really? Isn’t it whatever Kant’s “rational mind” deduces it to be. It is, for all intents and purposes, merely human psychology at its most self-deceptive. We want to live in a world that is Good; and we want always to be able to Do Good in it. Yet we know that, out in the phenomonal world, this is often very, very, difficult to actualize. Not only because the incessantly slippery and sliding circumstantial contexts are bursting at the seams with complex and convoluted contingencies, ambiguites and, uncertainies…but also because we need some sort of “extra-phenomonological” incentive to Do Good when, in so doing, we get dumped on by reality over and over and over again.

[b][i]More from Korsgaard:

A faith in God and in immortality of the soul thus based on practical reason—our practical faith—is not just wishful thinking, because it springs from a rational demand. As Kant strikingly puts it:

‘Granted that the pure moral law inexorably binds every man as a command [not as a rule of prudence], the righteous man may say: I will that there be a God, that my existence in this world be also an existence in a pure world of the understanding, and finally that my duratiom be endless [C2 143]’
But isn’t this really just Christianty in another guise? It matters not how cleverly the Kantians manipulate the abstract words in the abstract metaethical concepts, it’s the same thing. Therefore, in my view, they are only deluding themselves when they suggest this a priori mental construction is establishing something really different.

[b][i]Finally from Korsgaard:

Our beliefs in God, immortality and freedom…are ‘postulates of practical reason’. A postulate of practical reason is theorethical in form, asserting something about what is the case, yet it cannot be shown theoretically to be either true or false. But we have an interest springing from the needs of morality in believing it. Since practical reason supports belief in the postulates, its power is more extensive than that of theoretical reason. In establishing the postulates, practical reason takes up the metaphysical tasks that theoretical reason had to abandon. For if there is a God, who made the world in order to achieve the Highest Good, then the world does have an unconditionally good purpose. A teleological account of the sort that the metaphysian seeks—one according to which everything is made for the best in the Best of All Possible Worlds—would be true.

[/i][/b]This is less philosophical speculation, in my view, than a human all too human psychological reaction to imagining a world without God. If God does not exist, in other words, we have to invent Him. A priori, as it were.