PHIL 100 Sections 0203, 0204,0207
TA: Kallfelz, W.
Notes for April 14, 21
Immanuel Kant –Some General Notions
It scarcely requires mentioning how influential Immanuel Kant was, many refer to
him as the greatest Western philosopher that the last several centuries has produced.
Simply “google” his name to see the countless sources and references.
To grasp the subtlety and depth of his arguments in the “Groundwork of the
Metaphysics of Morals” one must have (at least) some kind of overall picture of Kant’s
architecture of thought.
I’ll do my best here to offer what I consider to be the major
aspects of this architectonic, in ‘bite-size’ chunks, so as to convey this picture.
The Transcendental Deduction
Anything you read by Kant, no matter where, is going to have some passage stating
something like: “what[or how] is it like…for
to be possible
(For example, notice,
on p.535: “How is the imperative of
This is the fundamental
argument-form for Kant, and one he uses throughout to build up his philosophy
(which can be thought of as an amalgamation of Rationalism and Empiricism, or at
least an answer to both).
Defn1: (Transcendental Deduction-TD)
Any argument that seeks to answer the
question: “What are the
This is a subtle maneuver which merits some explanation.
” it is meant some
So think of the TD as a way to ‘stepping back,’ so to speak, and looking for
general conditions for the possibility of x
In other words, we’re
in a very particular manner.
Consider the following example:
“In order for love between people to be possible, there must be consciousness.”
“In order for the phenomenon of contact force to occur, there must be causation.”
In both of these two sentences, one is listing
general conditions for the possibility of a
Keep in mind, this is a very general overview.
literally a huge intellectual industry of Kant and
Kantian studies, with their various and sundry camps of Kant scholars.
For a smattering, see, for example,
pp 545-543 of this text, as all the contemporary philosophers are applying some aspect of what they
understand as Kantian ethics