Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ideological Archeology: Countering Kant (III)

Continued from Part II: " Rousseau's Ravages" 

Often erroneously classified as part of the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in his mindset is entirely antithetical to the values of that movement: he is a collectivist and is the inventor of subjectivism. His is not the mind of a scientist, but of a religionist.

The revered Kant is also a wee bit intellectually dishonest. His 'trick' was to stretch reason beyond the limits of what is reasonable and then used the outcome to discredit it. It culminated in his critique of "Pure Reason". Postmodernism has made it its own, and applies it in every argument. 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." ...
These are hardly the words of a scientific thinker. 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 some morals.

The Second Coming
Kant foresees in a teleological progress towards an end-game by means of strive, war and discord. This supposedly 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. But he was so honest to admit that this might as well lead to the greatest tyranny imaginable.

You think?! Progressivism and the new world order, anyone? While the Enlighteners worked towards the separation of Church and State, the philosophers based on Rousseau, Kant and Hegel - even the atheists - confusing 'is' with 'ought' (Hume's Law), reverted to recreating 'paradises' on earth, now synonymous with collectivist distopias.

The tenets of the Enlightenment were abandoned and replaced by philosophical principles reflecting reliigion: 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.

The Incarcerated Mind
While today's postmodernists are mostly virulent atheists, they are at root adept followers of Rousseau, Kant and Hegel, faithfully subscribing to their most irrational tenets. Plato's mind versus body dualism, reflecting the macro and microcosm of heaven and earth, male and female, the sacred and the mundane, yin versus yang, 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 led to a view that the senses and the brain as obstacles to knowledge, standing in the way between the mind and reality.

Moreover, some sensorial imperfections (color 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 in "Explaining Postmodernism" makes a feminist analogy: to support Kant is to say 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 reality.

It is ironic that the Counter-Enlighteners, who sought to prevent the Godless, spiritless and amoral future that was supposed to 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." According to postmodernists 'the' truth - as 'a thing in itself' (according to Kant) does no longer exist - a statement whose first victim is the notion of good versus evil, in fact, morality.

Thought creates reality
Kant also held that reality conforms to reason, not vice versa: as by magick, thought has become the source of reality instead of reality providing the mind with information. This marks the infamous shift from objectivism to subjectivism, the basis of the postmodern egocentricist pathology of the Master of the Universe syndrome (each individual creates his own personal version of reality, a so called 'narrative'.

N.B. According to this particular 'truth', science is but a grand, Western 'narrative'.

It beggars the question, if I die overnight, will the sun rise tomorrow? It sparked Einstein asking the question: "Do you really believe that the universe does not exist when you are not watching it?

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?

Up next: from Part IV: "Heckling Hegel": "Hegel's theme was the state. Freedom is not God-given as the followers of the Enlightenment held, but granted by the state".

Related dossiers

- "Postmodern Ravages"


James Higham said...

Defining one's own reality is the first downward step. Rationalizing it is the second.

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