10: Kant's Revolution

Objectives

  • Read and analyze a description of philosophical thought
  • Articulate key conceptual distinctions between rationalism and empiricism
  • Articulate key conceptual distinctions between noumenal and phenomenal and analytic and synthetic truths
  • Demonstrate knowledge of Kantian Unity of Consciousness, Transcendental Idealism, and Deontology.


Kant

Key Terms

Transcendental Idealism
Analytic Truths
Synthetic Truths
Phenomenal world
Noumenal world
Unity of Consciousness
Deontology

I. Kant on Knowledge

  • A. Transcendental Idealism
    • Theory in response to the debate about rationalism and empiricism
    • Counters Hume's Skepticism
    • We can have true knowledge through both reason and experience
    • Pure a priori knowledge is possible because knowledge can come without direct experience
  • B. Analytic vs. Synthetic Truths
    • Analytic Truth - true by virtue of the meaning of the words
      • All bachelors are unmarried males.
      • Do not add to our knowledge
      • Based on reason, not experience
    • Synthetic Truth - true based on our experiences
      • Add to our knowledge
      • Based on knowledge synthesized from experience
    • This approach justifies and reconciles rationalism and empiricism
  • C. Kantian Metaphysics
    • We see the world in two ways: phenomena and noumena
    • Phenomenal world
      • What we see, touch, etc. 
      • How we experience the world as constructed by the mind
    • Noumenal World
      • The way the world is in itself, when no one is looking at it. 
      • The world beyond our perception
      • We cannot know the noumenal world
    • The mind takes in raw unorganized noumena and organizes it into phenomena (our experiences)
    • The mind, therefore, has both components, sensing and understanding


II. Kant on the Self

  • A. How do we know about the self?
    • Experiences and Reason
  • B. What is the nature of the self?
    • We construct the self
    • Unity of Consciousness
    • The self transcends the senses and unifies our experiences
    • The self is the transcendental unifying subject, an organizing consciousness that makes intelligible experience possible


III. Kant on Ethics

  • A. Basic Argument
    • To ensure one’s duty is fulfilled
    • Consequences are irrelevant
    • Follow moral rules, which Kant calls maxims
    • Ethical system must be based on objective, universal ethics
    • Contemplation alone is required to determine moral actions
  • B. Hypothetical Imperatives
    • if, then statements
    • Means to an end
  • C. Categorical Imperatives
    • Actions that are intrinsically good
    • Maxims (moral laws) prescribed by reason that everyone should follow
    • Kant's Categorical Imperative is not the same as the Golden Rule
  • D. Objections to Deontology
    • The right action may lead to a bad consequences
    • Maxims can be taken to extreme


Logic Week 10: Meaningless Jargon & Weasel Words