Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Immanuel Kant -- Blog Post #1 (Lucy Haston, Section 8)
Immanuel Kant – Blog Post #1 for Final Report
I have decided to write my final report blog posts on Immanuel Kant, a philosopher we recently covered in class, and one who is quite intriguing to me. While reading in our book A Little History of Philosophy, I was struck by the fact that Kant believed one should never lie because it is always morally wrong. I can imagine many situations where one might find it better to lie than to tell the truth because the truth will cause more destruction than the lie. To learn more about Kant’s philosophy and his strict beliefs on lying, I consulted a book called Immanuel Kant: Key Concepts. It’s available as an eBook through Walker Library, so check it out if you are interested.
I figure first I should talk a little bit about Kant’s philosophy in general and some of his works. (You’ll find a more in depth discussion of his stance on lying in part II of this blog post.) The word “critique” is an important word when it comes to Kant’s philosophy, along with the word “reason.” Kant wrote three works pertaining to critiquing reason and judgment. They are Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, and Critique of the Power of Judgment. According to Immanuel Kant: Key Concepts, the three installments were not all planned; they naturally developed as each previous work was written (14). I think it is crucial to note how Kant is using the words “critique” and “reason.” “Critique” is used to mean, “… a detection of prejudice and error in received views but also assumes the more specific sense of a principled assessment of the extent to which claims in general, or claims of a specific kind, may be justified or justifiable” (14). Critiquing is Kant’s way of figuring things out. He critiqued problems in order to come up with a solution. And for reason, Kant uses it to mean, “… the higher mental powers in their entirety, as opposed to the lower mental powers based on the senses” (14). Kant was a major figure of the Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, so reason is an incredibly important aspect of his philosophy, as it was for many other philosophers and writers of the time (think Voltaire, Rousseau, Swift). Enlightenment thinkers such as Kant relied on reason rather than the senses. (If you’re a fan of literature from around this time and later, you’ll know that where reason was seen as the most important human aspect during the Enlightenment period, Romanticism [end of the 18th century] would reject reason and rely on imagination as the most important human aspect.)
Now that I’ve established the important of reason in Kant’s philosophy, the second part of my blog post will be a more in depth discussion of specifics, such as his views on lying, and how I believe such strict views on lying can be problematic. Stay tuned.
P.S. – The straightforward essay format of this blog post is the English major coming out in me. This format is so engrained that I can hardly stray from it… but here are some helpful links you can consult relating to Kant and his philosophy:
http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.mtsu.edu/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/ZTAwMHhuYV9fOTI0MzA4X19BTg2?sid=c2611e22-b11e-46cc-89dc-4896963ed364@sessionmgr102&vid=0&format=EB&rid=1 ß the eBook Immanuel Kant: Key Concepts. It’s a bit dense, but helpful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdpu58vo3PU ß a nice video on his Critique of Pure Reason