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Kantianism

From Academic Kids

Kantianism is the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

In epistemology, it is the view that what is knowable has distinct limits that need to be traced for us to be aware of the true nature of our cognitive access to things. What are capable of being known are described as phenomena whilst noumena are what are beyond the limits of knowledge. The phenomenal world consists of objects of the senses, as grasped by the categories. The judgments by which we can capture what is necessary in the world are termed by Kant synthetic a priori. The nature of Kant's investigations of cognition revolve around the notion of transcendental psychology, an area often assimilated to cognitive science but having significantly different range.

In metaphysics, this view states that we are not able to prove either the existence or non-existence of God, that the freedom of the will cannot be demonstrated to be impossible, that we can make no claims concerning simples and that we can make no meaningful claims concerning the beginning of the world. The revolution brought about in this area by Kant has been one of the most lasting effecting all the major movements of philosophy since his time from analytic philosophy to phenomenology.

In ethics Kant wrote works that both described the nature of universal principles and also sought to demonstrate the procedure of their application. In recent years attention has begun to turn away from the formulations of the categorical imperative towards investigations of its application in more and more detail. This has led a number of recent thinkers to reject the assimilation of his ethics to the position of deontology and to argue for teleological and perfectionist interpretations instead. The Kantian view of radical evil has also been important in recent years with increasing attention being focused on the nature of his moral psychology.

In aesthetics the argument for purposive judgments that are disinterested led to a non-cognitivist conception of beauty but more recently the accounts offered by Kant of the sublime have been more influential. The distinction between pure judgments of taste, which concentrate primarily on natural beauty and judgments concerning artistic objects which always embody some purpose was of central importance to Kant but has often been obscured in criticism, particularly in the work of Clement Greenberg. The assessment of the enduring nature of his legacy in aesthetics and artistic criticism has been subjected to essential new interpretations in recent years.

In teleology Kant's positions were for many years neglected due to their assimilation in the minds of many scientists to vitalist views of evolution. Their gradual rehabilitation recently has been marked with positions such as teleonomy bearing a number of features of description of organisms that are reminiscent of the Kantian conception of final causes as essentially recursive in nature.

In political philosophy Kant has had wide and increasing influence with the major political philosopher of the late twentieth century, John Rawls drawing heavily on his inspiration in setting out the basis for a liberal view of political institutions. The nature of Rawls' use of Kant has been productive of serious controversy but has demonstrated the vitality of Kantian considerations across a wider range of questions than was once thought plausible.

Bibliography

  • Thomas Auxter (1982) Kant's Moral Teleology (Mercer University Press)
  • Lewis White Beck (1960) A Commentary on Kant's Critique of Practical Reason (University of Chicago Press)
  • R. Beiner and W.J. Booth (eds.) (1993) Kant and Political Philosophy (Yale University Press)
  • Gary Banham (2000) Kant and the Ends of Aesthetics (Macmillan)
  • Gary Banham (2000) "Teleology, Transcendental Reflection and Artificial Life" Tekhnehma: Journal of Philosophy and Technology Number 6.
  • Gary Banham (2003) Kant's Practical Philosophy: From Critique to Doctrine (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Howard Caygill (1989) Art of Judgment (Blackwell)
  • Howard Caygill (1995) A Kant Dictionary (Blackwell)
  • Mary Gregor (1963) Laws of Freedom: A Study of Kant's Method of Applying the Categorical Imperative in the Metaphysik Der Sitten (Basil Blackwell)
  • John Rawls (2000) Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy (Harvard University Press)

See also

de:Kantianismus

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