Immanuel Kant

immanuel_kant

Immanuel Kant is my favorite philosopher. He is the author of Critique of Pure Reason, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone and many others. He is the founder of Categorical imperative, Transcendental Idealism, Synthetic a priori, Noumenon, Sapere aude, Nebular hypothesis.  Here are my favorite quotes of him:

  • “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
  • “The death of dogma is the birth of morality”
  • “Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.”
  • “So act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.”
  • “All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”
  • “In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”
  • “Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.”
  • “Morality is not really the doctrine of how to make ourselves happy but of how we are to be worthy of happiness”
  • “Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands.”

What is your favorite philosopher? and why?

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7 thoughts on “Immanuel Kant

  1. This makes me remember my Philosophy teacher (who’s remained a friend and mentor) way back in my college days….I think you’ll agree with me when he said in class “Kant is like cocaine, you get addicted to the words he said.”

  2. Peter

    My favourite philosophers are those from the realistic school, beginning with Aristotle, maybe up to St. Thomas Aquinas with his masterpiece “Summa Theologica”. I like them, because they emphasize being in touch with reality.

    In other words: being comes first, then comes thought.

    If you believe in the primacy of thought, like the idealistic school founded by Plato and his followers you always end up in virtual reality.

    Unfortunately, the realistic philosophy is rarely taught at the universities nowadays. Probably that’s the reason we keep engaging in more and more Utopias.

    Kant, just like Karl Marx makes you easy addicted. His impact on the modern world is enormous. I don’t like his philosophy, because it has disastrous effects in the long run.

    For example: “So act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.”

    This statement ignores the fact that there is a real world, and you read laws (also moral laws) from this world by your intellect, because the world, as God’s creation, has a purpose. It all goes in the real world, not in the realm of thought.

    Also, it binds morality with law. So, it paves the way to the omnipotent state which defines laws and calls you immoral if you don’t obey them. It’s the philosophical justification for totalitarian state, and totally constructivist approaches, like communism.

    “Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands.”

    Your duties, as arbitrary defined, for example, by the state, are now of divine origin… in such case the state can make everything with its citizens, and it will be “unlawful” and “immoral” to disobey…

    “All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”

    There is a kind of knowledge you earn by using your intellect, not senses. That’s metaphysics. You can’t sense God, law, maternity, consciousness, numbers etc., yet they exist, and you know it by reason. Not to mention that the properties of the spirit (reason is just one of them) render soul superior than just reason.

    Kant is essentially the founder of modern atheism, agnosticism and self-worship, the disease of modern West. This disease may not be so obvious in the US, but Europe is literally dying out.

  3. Chiara

    Kant is not my favourite although I have had some exposure to him because of his dominance in bioethics.

    I find him too prescriptive, or rather others, Kantians, have used him that way.

    My favourites are the 20th century Continental philosophers, particularly the existentialists, and hermeneuticians, and particularly the French schools. Gabriel Marcel is a Catholic existentialist who was one of the rare existentialists to include religion in their philosophy. Martin Buber is a famous Jewish existentialist, and if anyone can inform me of a Muslim one I would be greatful.

    Tariq Ramadan comes to mind, correct me if I am wrong.

  4. sabiwabi

    Chiara, I’d recommend the writings of Imam Al Ghazali. There is also Ibn Rushud (Averroes) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna). So far, I have only read Ghazali, so I cannot really compare the three of them together.

  5. Chiara

    Sabiwabi–thanks for the recommendations! The last 2 I have other professional motivations to read, and I’ll be sure to find one for Al Ghazali too! LOL 🙂 Thanks again.

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