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Kant final paper draft

Kant final paper draft - Kant The Refutation of Idealism...

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Kant: The Refutation of Idealism Scott Michaele Welch April 16, 2007 Kant Senior Seminar Dr. Jeffrey Kinlaw
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Welch INTRODUCTION: The Refutation of Idealism, written by Immanuel Kant, is a piece of philosophy that provides us with answers to many of the problems faced by the Modern Era philosophers. The intent of this paper is to view one of these problems, the term ‘I am’ as theorized by many in Modern philosophy and how Kant dealt with it in the Critique of Pure Reason . I will provide a basic rendition of what ‘I am’ entailed prior to Kant and a short version of his transcendental apperception for clarification. From these two introductory analyses I will advance by breaking down Kant’s Refutation in detail and finish the paper by looking at two fairly recent critiques. This paper should develop a basic understanding of how the term ‘I am’ comes to be and how Kant’s version of ‘I am’ not only gives us the knowledge of ourselves, but also of external objects. MODERN PHILOSOPHY’S ‘I’: Kant believed the modern movement’s view on ‘I am’ was confused and underdeveloped. This can be seen throughout various sections from the Critique, however our focus on the Refutation will be more explicit and critical of the skeptics views. The remainder of this section will be devoted to providing a skeptics view of the term ‘I am’ and how this view progresses within philosophy. The skeptics of modern philosophy may be traced back to Descartes and his work on the Meditations. In this writing, Descartes attempts to give an account for our self-awareness through what has since been dubbed the Cartesian Circle. The actual problem with this Circle is not at issue here, rather the form of the term ‘I’ that Descartes creates for use in it, is. Descartes begins the Meditations with ambition to prove his existence in a purely rational manner. He does this by initially doubting every thing he 2
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Welch knows, from outward experience to his own existence. From this point he begins to question what it is he does have the ability to know. After some debate, he advances the notion that because it is he that is capable of doubting, he must exist. In Descartes own words, “I do not admit that I am anything but mind,” and that, “I am a thinking thing.” (Descartes, Pg. 23) He seems to argue here, that he is capable of discovering this truth of existence in a completely a priori manner. To Descartes this means without any sensual input and/or without any backdrop to which he can apply his knowledge to. From this initial theory, other Modern philosophers advance the path much further than Descartes ever intends. The main problem with Descartes ‘I think’ eventually finds its end with more recent philosophical works by the minds of Berkeley and Hume. His vision of ‘I think’ creates a partition of mind and body, as well as, a barrier to what we can truly know.
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