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Immanuel KantImmanuel Kant is the prototype of the philosophy professor. He is the name thatcomes to our minds when we think about a philosopher. He devoted his life toteaching at University.Kant was born in Königsberg, the capital of Prussia at that time, today in Russia. Henever got out of the city, where he had a structured way of living.He came from a humble family but Immanuel soon found benefactors that allowedhim to continue his higher education. He studied Logics, Metaphysics, NaturalScience, Geography and Theology at Königsberg University. He worked as a tutor insome noble families and then became a librarian. In 1770, he was appointed professorof Logics and Metaphysics. In 1781, he published the “Critique of pure reason.”One of the most controversial subjects in philosophy is that everything we know orthat we are able to know, is perceived through our senses or from something previousthat our senses can perceive. Kant is half-way between the empirists and therationalists. The empirists thought knowledge came to us from experience, whereasthe rationalists thought it came from the use of reason.Critique of pure reasonIn the “Critique of pure reason”, Kant carries out an analysis between what weperceive through our senses and what we really add to that material we perceive.Individuals have a mental organization of their own understanding capacities, whichare modified by the information received through the senses. This information isformed according to our own sense of knowing, which, of course, can not be the onlyone.
Kant is half-way between two main theories of thought, the empirism supported byLocke and Hume, and the rationalism supported by Descartes and Leibniz.Kant thinks we may never know the real thing, reality itself. This is what he callsneumeno. We know things through or senses and the way we organize that material.That is what we can know. We only see what our senses allow us to see.Kant investigated if the mathematical, Physical and metaphysical knowledge waspossible, if such sciences really produced knowledge. He believed that we should notconsider knowing from the objects but the other way round. The perception of anobject is not a passive reception, it is an activity. The object is formed and mouldedby the subject through different perceptions. What is more, Kant makes a differencein what he calls neumeno and phenomenon. Phenomenon is the thing as an object fora subject. Neumeno is the thing considered in itself without any relationship to thesubject. Only what is phenomenon can be scientific knowledge; that is to say, theintellectual relationship between the subject and the object studied.He questioned metaphysics because they study the Soul, the World, God. All theseobjects of study can not be explored by our experience, so it is not a science. But hesays that metaphysics is inherent in men. It is our reason that is always trying tosubordinate every condition to a more general one. We always ask why, looking for aprimary cause, for the origin of things. The primary cause of Metaphysics is God andwhen we ask about its origin we can not say why. It is a transcendental illusion, wewill never be able to really know and grasp the metaphysical objects.Instrumental and dialectical reasoning.Kant distinguished between instrumental and dialectical reasoning. The instrumentalreasoning applies to mathematic and physic knowledge.
The dialectic reasoning is the speculative reasoning. It is the exercise of purereasoning. Kant believed that God, Soul and Universal Cosmos are extrasensoryobjects, created by the pure reasoning, and they try to be thought as real things, asthings we perceive through our senses. This was a great blow to rationalist pretensionsof metaphysics and traditional theologians.MoralityKant wanted to establish a rational and autonomous Ethics, which was based on onlyreasoning without depending on subjective leanings.Kant discovered that there is nothing absolutely good, nothing but a good will. Goodwill is the will that acts according to duty.He believed in individual’s freedom, this freedom did not have to do with theobedience to any law; it was the freedom of the individual itself, the freedom to obeywith conscience the laws of the Universe.Morality is made by imperatives, by orders. Most of them in our lives are conditionalimperatives. We do something in order to get something in return.. Morality cannot bebased on those imperatives, but on the ones that say what we have to do and not whatis convenient to do. Ethics is what we have to do and no other thing.The real moral principle is the one that can be converted into a universal law foreveryone else.Morality inside us is good will. The only thing we can not refuse is to have good willand if we act according to it, nobody can complain about anything or accuse us ofdoing something immoral.The seeds inside menKant believed in the welfare of each person and that it should be considered as an aimof society. In this society, reasoning will force every legislator to create laws that havetheir origins in the peoples’ will.
Kant thought that education was a fundamental element for the formation of men.Education is an art that needs to be enhanced generation after generation.Kant died in his house in Prussia in 1804.