Thursday, February 21, 2008

Countering Kant

Often erroneously classified as part of the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in his mindset is entirely collectivist and subjectivist: in his Second Preface of the first Critique he writes that he found it ...

"necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith," ...

hardly the words of a scientific thinker. Needless to say that his subsequent philosophical findings supported subjectivism. Kant was an austere Lutheran Pietist and a great admirer of Rousseau. The individual to him represented little more than a miserable sinner in need of a strong master, only good as canon-fodder to teach him some morals.

Kant foresees in a teleological progress towards an end-game by means of strive, war and discord. This brings man as a species to a more ethically evolved order. The process will ultimately culminate in a world government, an international and cosmopolitan federation of states, awaiting the coming of the Day of Judgment. This is the Hidden Plan of Nature according to Kant.

The Enlighteners working towards the separation of Church and State, the philosophers based on Rousseau, Kant and Hegel - even the atheists - confusing 'is' with 'ought', reverted to recreating 'paradises' on earth.

The tenets of the Enlightenment were abandoned by the Counter-Enlighteners and replaced by philosophical principles reflecting the faith: realism made way for idea-lism, and individualism for collectivism; intuition and revelation were adopted as sources of knowledge rather than reason and experience, social theories replaced liberal capitalist theory.

Today's postmoderns are adept followers of Rousseau, Kant and Hegel, faithfully subscribing to their most irrational claims. The mind versus body dualism, reflecting the macro and microcosm, tends to identify the mind with the soul, giving rise to visualizing the mind as non-physical pure substance, distinct from the physical organs and brain. Rather then thinking of them as tools to knowledge, this leads us to view the senses and the brain as obstacles, standing in the way between the mind and reality.

Moreover, some sensorial imperfections (colour blindness, for example) in some people, induced Kant to declare the senses unsound tools to knowledge overall. To clarify the Kantian position on the separation of the mind from reality, Objectivist philosopher Stephen Hicks makes a feminist analogy: to support Kant is to state that women are absolutely autonomous and free to do as they please, as long as it is within the confines of the kitchen; Kant imprisons the mind in the skull and isolates it from the real world.

It is ironic that the Counter-Enlighteners, who sought to prevent the godless, spiritless and amoral future that would be the result of reason and individualism, have brought about precisely that by Kant's subjectivism and his imprisonment of the mind. Hicks: "Once reason is in principle severed from reality, one enters a different philosophical universe altogether."

Kant also held that reality conforms to reason, not vice versa. This marks the infamous shift from objectivity to subjectivity, the basis of the postmodern egocentricist pathology of the Master of the Universe syndrom (each individual creates his own personal version of reality: If I die overnight, will the sun still rise tomorrow?).

Anthony Rizzi in "Science before Science: a Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century" laments Kant's now codified idea-lism ..."

... the default declared position in academia and in nearly all other environments. Kant's success is partly explained by his tying his philosphical system to Newtonian physics [... which he wanted to] have a certainty that it did not have. However, Kant thought that one could not know the thing itself (...) Kant and Kantians múst say, "Kant doesn't know anything about anything." Such is always the end of the matter when one forgets that all knowledge in man comes through the senses. We non-Kantians can be simultaneously more accurate and kinder; we can say, "The foundational principles of Kant's philosophical system were wrong, but still he knew a lot of other things."
This enthusiasm is at once tempered by a footnote:

"Many attribute to Kant a developed skill in physics. Physisist and renowned philosopher and historian of science, Fr. Stanley Jaki has shown that Kant's knowledge and ability in physics was minimal (though Kant considered himself another Newton) (...) the book [Universal Natural History] is a storehouse of inaccuracies, contradictions and amateurism and plain fancy."

What else is new in subjectivism?

- Filed on Articles in "The Dystopia of Paradise", cat. Postmodernism -


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Anonymous said...

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