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Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is a German scientist and philosopher. Kant is considered the ancestor of German classical idealism. I. Kant's hometown is Königsberg. Here he studied and subsequently worked. From 1755 to 1770, Kant had the title of associate professor, and in the period from 1770 to 1796 - professor of the university.

Even before 1770, Immanuel Kant created the "nebular" cosmogonic hypothesis. This hypothesis substantiated the origin and evolution of the planetary system in accordance with the principle of the original "nebula". At the same time, the philosopher suggested that there is a Large Universe of galaxies, and it is located outside our Galaxy.

In addition, Kant developed the theory of deceleration, which is the result of tidal friction. The latter takes place as a result of the Earth's daily rotation.

The scientist also reflected on the relativity of rest and motion. All these research works in some way influenced the formation of dialectics. Immanuel Kant is considered the founder of "transcendental" ("critical") idealism. The following works of Kant are devoted to this issue:
• "Criticism of Pure Reason" - 1781;
• "Critique of Practical Reason" - 1788;
• "Criticism of the ability to judge" - 1790, etc.

Immanuel Kant revises the concept of "faith" (which nevertheless remains in his teaching) and fills it with a new philosophical meaning (which differs significantly from theological). According to the philosopher, faith in its old understanding misled people and forced them to submit to superstitions, etc.

Destroying the postulates of religion, Kant nevertheless remains a sincere Christian - he believes in a God who would not restrict human freedom. Immanuel Kant regards man as a moral subject, and ethical issues in the teachings of this philosopher become central.

Immanuel Kant is the founder of "critical" idealism. The transition to such views took place in 1770. Already in 1781, Kant's work "Critique of Pure Reason" was published. This book was followed by Critique of Practical Reason (published 1788) and Critique of Judgment (published 1790). These works contained the essence of the "critical" theory of knowledge, the doctrine of the expediency of nature, as well as reasoning about aesthetics and ethics. The philosopher is trying to substantiate the fact that it is necessary to reveal the boundaries of human cognitive abilities and explore the forms of cognition. Without such preliminary work, it is not possible to build a system of speculative philosophy. The latter concept at the time of Kant was synonymous with the concept of "metaphysics". This kind of research work leads the German scientist to agnosticism. He advocates that our knowledge cannot perceive the nature of things as these things exist by themselves. Moreover, this impossibility, according to Kant, is fundamental. Moreover, human knowledge is applicable only in relation to "phenomena", that is, the way in which human experience allows you to discover these very things. Developing his doctrine, Kant says that only natural science and mathematics contain reliable theoretical knowledge, which, according to the philosopher, is due to the presence in the human mind of "a priori" forms of sensory contemplation. The philosopher believes that initially in the human mind there is a striving for unconditional knowledge, which cannot be eradicated by anything. This feature is associated with higher ethical demands. All this leads to the fact that the human mind is trying to find a solution to issues related to the boundaries of the world, the processes that occur in it, the existence of God, the presence of indivisible elements of the world, etc. Immanuel Kant believed that opposite judgments (such as: atoms exist and there are no indivisible particles, the world is limitless or has limits, etc.) can be substantiated with absolutely equal evidence. From this it follows that reason, as it were, doubles in contradictions, that is, it is antinomic in nature. However, Kant is convinced that such contradictions are only apparent, and the solution to such a riddle consists in limiting knowledge in favor of faith. Thus, the emphasis is placed on distinguishing between "things-in-themselves" and "phenomena." In this case, "things in themselves" should be recognized as unknowable. It turns out that a person at the same time is both free and not free. Free because it is the subject of the unknowable supersensible world. Not free, because in essence he is a being in the world of phenomena.

Immanuel Kant was a sincere Christian. The philosopher was extremely uncompromising about atheism. But Kant is recognized as one of the destroyers and critics of the religious worldview. In the philosophical teaching of this man there is no place for faith, which can replace knowledge, and Kant criticizes all types of faith. He says that faith comes from a person's need to reduce the boundaries of the uncertain in the world around him. Faith is needed in order to neutralize the feeling that a person's life is not guaranteed. Thus, the German philosopher enters into a kind of conflict with theological teaching. However, Immanuel Kant, criticizing many religious postulates, destroyed religion as its sincere adherent (no matter how paradoxical it may sound). He presented moral requirements to the religious consciousness that were beyond its strength, at the same time came out with a passionate defense of God. Such a God, faith in which would not take away moral dignity from a person and would not limit his freedom. Kant draws attention to the fact that faith is mainly a kind of prudence. That is why over the years it led to the blind obedience of the people to the leaders, the existence of various superstitions, the emergence of religious movements, from which we can conclude that the inner conviction of something, in fact, was a cowardly faith in revelation. Despite all of the above, the German philosopher still retains the category of "faith" in the development of his theory. However, in his teaching he advocates a different understanding of faith. He fills this concept with a philosophical and psychological meaning, different from the theological interpretation. In his works, Kant asks certain questions. The Critique of Pure Reason raises the question of what a person can know. The Critique of Practical Reason asks what a person should do. And, finally, "Religion within the limits of reason alone" asks the question of what a person can actually hope for. Thus, the last of the above questions outlines the actual problem of faith in the form in which it was presented within Kant's philosophy. It turns out that this philosopher would have made a consistent (and quite logical in his teaching) step. If only I had completely excluded the concept of "faith", replacing it with another concept - "hope." How is hope different from faith? The main difference is that hope is never an inner animation. It does not determine the choice and does not precede any action. Moreover, hopes are, in principle, excusable. Indeed, in this case, we are often talking about consolation. However, a critical and wary attitude towards oneself is necessary if hope is the motivating force of the act being done.

General laws are the basis for absolutely all judgments of the natural sciences. These laws are not only general, but also necessary. Kant developed the doctrine of the epistemological conditions of the possibility of natural science. Natural science subjects, of course, differ from each other. However, a person can obtain scientific knowledge about them only if all natural phenomena and objects are thought of by reason only as derivatives of the following three laws. The first is the law of conservation of substance. The second is the law of causality. The third is the law of the interaction of substances. Kant emphasizes the fact that the aforementioned laws belong, rather, to the human mind than to nature. Cognition of a person directly constructs an object. Of course, the point is not that it gives him being (generates an object). Human knowledge gives an object a form of universal and necessary knowledge, that is, exactly the one under which it can be cognized. Thus, the philosopher comes to the conclusion that the things of nature conform to the forms of the mind, and not vice versa. In connection with this circumstance, Immanuel Kant says that things by themselves cannot be cognized, since nothing constitutes their definition. Kant considers the concept of reason in a special way. Reason is the ability to inference - this definition is given by ordinary logic. With the philosophical foundation of reason, Kant considers this ability as something whose immediate result is the emergence of "ideas". An idea is a concept of the unconditioned, therefore its subject cannot be perceived in the course of experience using the senses. After all, everything that a person receives through experience is conditioned. Immanuel Kant identifies three ideas formed by reason. The first idea is the idea of ​​the soul. All conditioned mental phenomena constitute an unconditional totality. The second idea is the idea of ​​the world. There are infinitely many causes of conditioned phenomena. All of them are unconditionally combined and constitute the essence of the idea of ​​the world. The third idea is the idea of ​​God. Its essence is that all conditioned phenomena occur for one unconditional reason. Kant believed that natural sciences are possible only when they talk about conditioned phenomena that occur in the world. At the same time, a philosophical science based on the fact that the world is an unconditional whole is impossible. Thus, the philosopher denied that the existence of God has some theoretical evidence, moreover, he substantiates that the basis of this kind of evidence is a logical error. According to Kant, this is based on the fact that the very concept of God is the basis for the theoretical proof of his existence. The German philosopher says that a concept can in no way serve as proof of what it means. Only by experience can any existence be discovered, at the same time it is necessary to believe in the existence of God. The moral consciousness of man (his "practical" reason) just requires such a faith, moreover, without faith in God, the moral order in the world cannot exist. Immanuel Kant criticizes the "ideas" of reason.

Metaphysics is a theoretical science. Kant rejected this understanding of metaphysics, but believed that it is an important part of philosophy. However, its significance was reduced by Kant to the "criticism" of reason. The need for a transition to practical reason from theoretical reason was emphasized.

Kant's epistemology sets itself the task of transforming metaphysics into a real science. The philosopher talks about the need to find a way of such a transformation. Before that, it is necessary to identify why the old metaphysics failed. Thus, the task of epistemology according to Kant is twofold. There are two criteria - necessity and universality. They are satisfied not only with mathematical conclusions, but also, as Kant believes, with the conclusions of natural science. The philosopher thoroughly studied modern natural science. Kant included in the field of his epistemological research not only intellect, but also sensuality. All this gave his epistemological research a global character. The German philosopher reasoned as follows. Due to the fact that up to a certain point metaphysics developed poorly, then any person, in principle, can doubt the possibilities of this science. The Critique of Pure Reason concretizes the following question: "Is metaphysics possible as a science?" If the answer is yes, then another question arises: "How can metaphysics become a true science?" Kant criticizes the old metaphysics based on the knowledge of God, soul and freedom. At the same time, the philosopher confirms the fact that nature can be cognized.

Ethics is at the center of Immanuel Kant's reflections. As mentioned earlier, this German philosopher separated the questions of practical reason from questions of the theoretical, with practical reason being a broader concept. Practical reasoning questions involve figuring out what a person should do. Problems of ethics are highlighted in such important works of Kant as "Metaphysics of Morals", "Foundations of Metaphysics of Morals", "Critique of Practical Reason", etc. Each person is capable of moral actions. At the same time, he performs his duty on a voluntary basis. This fact confirms the reality of freedom, so if you find a law that denotes it, then on its basis it is possible to build a metaphysics of a new type. And the German philosopher finds the required law. This is a categorical imperative. Its essence lies in the fact that the actions of any person should be reduced to the fact that his will could be the basis of universal legislation. Thus, Kant expresses a law that can be applied to every intelligent being. This circumstance testifies to the breadth of practical reason. According to Kant, the law of the categorical imperative acquires this connotation. A person should not be a means, but an end (like humanity as a whole). Having received such a formulation of this law, the German philosopher declares that a person believes in God because he is a moral being, and is not a moral being because he believes in God. Kant says that it is inappropriate to talk about human obligations to God. Likewise, one should not deduce the religious principles of building a state.

Morality in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant is a way to achieve the required result. This is not true. In this understanding, morality is nothing more than a pragmatic task, the ability to achieve a designated goal effectively. It cannot be argued that such principles cannot be separated from human life; in this regard, the German philosopher calls them conditional imperatives. However, such rules do not address the problem of direct determination of the goal, but only state the availability of means for its implementation. Moreover, not every goal is inherently moral, and to achieve a good goal, immoral means can also be used (even if they are effective). Morality does not always coincide with expediency at the same time; it is morality that condemns some goals and recognizes others.

The absolute limit of each person, according to Kant, is set by moral laws. They define the border, after crossing which a person can lose his dignity. Kant understands that often everything on earth does not happen according to these very moral laws. In this regard, the philosopher discusses two questions. The first concerns directly the laws of morality. The second is based on how these principles are implemented in human life (in experience). Thus, the philosophy of morality is divided into two aspects - the a priori and the empirical parts. The first is morality itself. Kant calls it the metaphysics of morality. The second part is practical anthropology or empirical ethics. The metaphysics of morality, according to Kant, precedes practical anthropology.To determine the moral law, it is necessary to identify the absolute law, since it is the absolute necessity that is inherent in the moral law. Immanuel Kant, answering the question about the choice of the absolute principle, says that such is goodwill. We are talking about pure and unconditional will, which is characterized by practical necessity and there are no outside influences. If there is no pure goodwill behind health, courage, etc., then it is by no means possible to declare that these qualities (like many others) have an unconditional value. For example, self-control can develop into composure if there is no goodwill behind it, which is not influenced by any external motives.

Only a rational being is characterized by the possession of will. Will is practical reason. The German philosopher believes that the purpose of reason is to control the human will. The mind interferes to some extent with the state of serene contentment. The experience of unreasonable creatures (that is, animals) indicates that instinct does a good job of such a task as, for example, self-preservation. Moreover, the skeptics of ancient times took reason as the basis of all human suffering. It is difficult to contradict the German scientist in the sense that ordinary people (who succumb to the action of natural instinct) are much more likely to enjoy life and feel happy. In simpler terms: the one who lives easier lives happier. Thus, it is unlikely that reason is given to a person only in order to identify the means for happiness, rather, it is necessary for the search for direct goodwill. The existence of pure goodwill in the absence of reason is impossible. This is due to the fact that it does not include any empirical elements in its concept. From all of the above, we can conclude that the central place in the philosophy of I. Kant belongs to the identification of goodwill and reason.

The path of transforming the world is associated with the actions of subjects. According to Kant, the basis for the implementation of these actions is morality and freedom. The history of human actions form the history of all mankind. Social problems can be solved through moral aspects. Relations between people should be built according to the law of a categorical imperative, which is the main moral law. The social action of the subject is the essence of Kant's practical philosophy. Will becomes a law for a person under the influence of freedom. The will, which is formed according to the laws of morality, and free will for the German philosopher seem to be identical concepts.

The concepts of "laws" and "maxims" occupy an important place in the moral teaching of Immanuel Kant. The law reflects the expression of importance for each person. Maxims are principles of will that are subjective, that is, they are applicable to some single person or group of persons. Kant divides imperatives into hypothetical and categorical. The former are executed only under specific conditions. The latter are always required. When it comes to morality, only one higher law should be characteristic of it - this is the categorical imperative.


Watch the video: Beginners Guide to Kants Metaphysics u0026 Epistemology. Philosophy Tube (March 2021).