THE 18TH CENTURY

    WESTERN
  PHILOSOPHER
Born in 1724 in Konigsberg, the capital of Prussia at that time, today the city
of Kaliningard in Russia.

After learning ...
MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Categorical Imperative

General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens

Critique of Pure Reason
...
• Imperative: expresses
  command or obligation
• Hypothetical imperative: “If
  you are in circumstance C (or
  want D), ...
• Hypothetical imperatives
  are conditional:
• If . . . do . . . .    or
  If . . . don’t . . . .
• depend on circumstanc...
• “Do . . .” or “Don’t . . .”
• Independent of goals,
  desires, circumstances
• Applies universally
• Appropriate to unqu...
• There is only one possible
  categorical imperative:
• “You ought to have a good
  will”
• Good will acts only on
  univ...
General Natural Theory and Theory of Heavens
Kant's most striking early contribution to knowledge, however, was his Genera...
Critique of Pure Reason

The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781,
second edition 1787, is on...
Critique of Practical Reason

The Critique of Practical Reason concentrates on ethics.

It is based only upon things about...
Critique of Judgment

It investigates aesthetics and teleology.

In aesthetic theory, Kant investigates the possibility an...
OBLIGATIONS:                      HE ASKS:
• DEONTOLOGICAL/NONCON       • “WHAT IF EVERYBODY DID
  SEQUENTIALIST BASED ON ...
• The Admirable Side of Acting from Duty
   – The person of duty remains committed, not matter
     how difficult things b...
• The Neglect of Moral Integration
   – The person of duty can have deep and conflicting
     inclinations and this does n...
Overall, after two hundred years, Kant
remains an absolutely central figure in
contemporary moral philosophy, one from
who...
Plaque on a wall in Kaliningrad, in
German and Russian, with the words
taken from the conclusion of Kant's
Critique of Pra...
Immanuel Kant - An 18th Century Western Philosopher
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Immanuel Kant - An 18th Century Western Philosopher

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Immanuel Kant - An 18th Century Western Philosopher

  1. 1. THE 18TH CENTURY WESTERN PHILOSOPHER
  2. 2. Born in 1724 in Konigsberg, the capital of Prussia at that time, today the city of Kaliningard in Russia. After learning Hebrew, he changed his name from ‘Emanuel’ to ‘Immanuel’. His first philosophical work, Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces, was published in 1749. In 1754, he won the Berlin Academy Prize for an astronomical discovery, viz. the Discovery of the Retardation of the Rotation of the Earth. He created a new widespread perspective in philosophy which influenced philosophy through to the 21st Century.
  3. 3. MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS Categorical Imperative General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens Critique of Pure Reason Critique of Practical Reason Critique of Judgment
  4. 4. • Imperative: expresses command or obligation • Hypothetical imperative: “If you are in circumstance C (or want D), then do A.” • Categorical imperative: “Do A.”
  5. 5. • Hypothetical imperatives are conditional: • If . . . do . . . . or If . . . don’t . . . . • depend on circumstances, goals, desires • means to end: qualified goods
  6. 6. • “Do . . .” or “Don’t . . .” • Independent of goals, desires, circumstances • Applies universally • Appropriate to unqualified goods • There is only one unqualified good— • a good will
  7. 7. • There is only one possible categorical imperative: • “You ought to have a good will” • Good will acts only on universal considerations • “You ought to act on universal considerations” • “You ought to act on principle”
  8. 8. General Natural Theory and Theory of Heavens Kant's most striking early contribution to knowledge, however, was his General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755). He had two noteworthy theories in physics and astronomy: Nebular Hypothesis Spiral Nebulae Nebular Hypothesis: He reasoned that diffuse nebulae, dim clouds of dust and gas that were only first being well observed in his lifetime, would collapse under the force of gravity. The theory was given mathematical form by French mathematician ‘Laplace’, as Kant was not himself much of a mathematician. Spiral Nebulae: Kant's idea was that the tiny spiral nebulae were themselves external galaxies, "island universes" independent of the Milky Way. There was really no evidence for this. It was just a guess. But in 1924, Edwin Hubble proved that they were in external galaxies. KANT was right. If we ask who the first person was to conceive the form of the universe as we now see it, filled with "billions and billions" of galaxies, the answer is just: Immanuel Kant, a man who never left East Prussia and who never saw a mountain.
  9. 9. Critique of Pure Reason The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Pure reason concludes that there is a Being who is the most real thing conceivable. Kant called this Supreme Being, or God, the Ideal of Pure Reason because it exists as the highest and most complete condition of the possibility of all objects. The Paralogisms of Pure Reason The Discipline of Pure Reason The Canon of Pure Reason The History of Pure Reason
  10. 10. Critique of Practical Reason The Critique of Practical Reason concentrates on ethics. It is based only upon things about which reason can tell us, and not deriving any principles from experience, to reach conclusions which are able to be applied to the world of experience In this critique, Kant stated the practical necessity for a belief in God. He adds that the idea of God cannot be separated from the relation of happiness with morality as the "ideal of the supreme good." The foundation of this connection is an intelligible moral world, and "is necessary from the practical point of view";[
  11. 11. Critique of Judgment It investigates aesthetics and teleology. In aesthetic theory, Kant investigates the possibility and logical status of “judgment of taste”. The "Critique of Aesthetic Judgment," was the first major division of the Critique of Judgment. A pure judgment of taste is in fact subjective in so far, as it refers to the emotional response of the subject and is based upon nothing but esteem for an object itself. Kant was one of the first philosophers to develop and integrate aesthetic theory into a unified and comprehensive philosophical system.
  12. 12. OBLIGATIONS: HE ASKS: • DEONTOLOGICAL/NONCON • “WHAT IF EVERYBODY DID SEQUENTIALIST BASED ON THAT?” (and he assumes we REASON AND WILL will all get the same answer REQUIRES DISCIPLINE AND if we are disciplined and SELF CONTROL REQUIRES honest) DOING THE RIGHT THING • Proposes an ideal world of FOR THE RIGHT REASON self-directed individuals -- • ETHICS IS NOT CONTINGENT “THE KINGDOM OF ENDS” UPON ONE’S FEELINGS NOR UPON THE CULTURE; RATHER, IT IS ABSOLUTE (CATEGORICAL)
  13. 13. • The Admirable Side of Acting from Duty – The person of duty remains committed, not matter how difficult things become. • The Evenhandedness of Morality – Kantian morality does not play favorites. • Respecting Other Persons – The notion of treating persons as ends in themselves is central to much of modern ethics.
  14. 14. • The Neglect of Moral Integration – The person of duty can have deep and conflicting inclinations and this does not decrease moral worth— indeed, it seems to increase it in Kant’s eyes. • The Role of Emotions – For Kant, the emotions are always suspect because they are fickle and causally determined and passive. • The Place of Consequences in the Moral Life – In order to protect the moral life from the vicissitude of moral luck, Kant held a very strong position that refused to attach moral blame to individuals who were acting with good will, even though some indirect bad consequences could be forseen.
  15. 15. Overall, after two hundred years, Kant remains an absolutely central figure in contemporary moral philosophy, one from whom we can learn much even when we disagree with him.
  16. 16. Plaque on a wall in Kaliningrad, in German and Russian, with the words taken from the conclusion of Kant's Critique of Practical Reason: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: The starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. (The wall is next to where the southwest part of Konigsberg Castle used to be.)

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