I think I Kant

September 26, 2007

I don’t know why I do this to myself. My reading plan has brought me around once again to readings in philosophy. I am sitting here trying to plough my way through Kant’s Prolegomena to every Future Metaphysics that may be Presented as a Science. This is the entry-level version of his terrifying tome Critique of Pure Reason, a version written especially for the slothful and dim-witted. Nonetheless, I am undone. This passage will serve as well as many others:

The solution of the problem [something to do with the relationship of reason and intellect] is as follows: Pure reason does not have particular objects in view which lie outside the field of experience, but has in view objects denoted by its ideas. Pure reason requires completeness in the use of the intellect in dealing with experience. This completeness can only be a completeness of principles, not one of images and objects. But in order to be able to present such principles as definite, reason conceives of them as the knowledge of an object. Such knowledge is completely determined in regard to those principles. But, this object is only an idea designed to bring the knowledge of the intellect as near as possible to the completeness indicated by that idea.

I’ve tried. If anyone can explain what it means, please help.

2 Responses to “I think I Kant”

  1. Jim Says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your reply re: Benedict. I’m putting together a conference paper using his work to examine responses to secularism, but hadn’t gotten to the Seewald book yet. Having now picked it up, it is most informative.

    On the Kant side of things, I too am deeply confused. His work that they give dull-witted political scientists to read, and which is rather more accessible, is the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. Here, he examines the intersection between reason and morality. It includes a useful discussion of what he takes reason to be that might be helpful pointers into the extended discussion you’re working through.

    Of course, M. Seibert or D. Bader would have more learned input. I fear, however, their responses would lack the ‘huh??’ factor most of us encounter when reading German philosophers.


  2. cburrell Says:

    Jim, your paper sounds interesting, and perhaps I’ll have the chance to peruse it someday.

    I’m grateful for companions in misery, and relieved to hear that the Groundwork is less taxing than the terrain I am presently traversing; I am planning to read it next.

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