PHIL100Apr14b - PHIL 100 Sections 0203 0204,0207 Notes for...

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1 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. 1 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 X to be possible ?” (For example, notice, on p.535: “How is the imperative of morality possible?”) 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 conditions P to make x possible ?” This is a subtle maneuver which merits some explanation. By “ x ” it is meant some case at hand . 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 abstracting away from a particular case x 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.” etc. . In both of these two sentences, one is listing general conditions for the possibility of a particular case . 1 Keep in mind, this is a very general overview. There is 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
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2 The Basic Metaphysical and Epistemological Picture for Kant Kant wrote three Critiques ( Critique of Pure Reason – CPR, Critique of Practical Reason –CPrR, Critique of Judgement – CJ ), as well as many pamphlets and smaller papers, in which he sought to give grounding for his epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, respectively. Without giving the lengthy story of how he uses the TD to construct his first two critiques, one could think of the Kantian metaphysical and epistemological picture in the following simple terms: PPR: “Pure Practical Reason”: the faculty of judging PR: “Pure reason:” the faculty of cognizing In the Epistemological Picture we have Pure Practical Reason
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2010 for the course PHIL 100 taught by Professor ? during the Fall '07 term at Maryland.

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PHIL100Apr14b - PHIL 100 Sections 0203 0204,0207 Notes for...

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