Kant 1

When I look up at Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars set in their place by Thee, what is man, that Thou shouldst remember him, mortal man that Thou shouldst care for him? Yet Thou hast made him little less than a god, crowning him with glory and honour. (Psalm VIII)


The background: an outline of Kant’s philosophy2

It is often said that the three greatest philosophers of all time were Plato, Aristotle, and Kant. The third of these now makes his mark on our enquiry.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was born in Königsberg in Prussia and lived there all his life. Much of his philosophy was devoted to taking rival systems of thought and rooting out the inveterate assumptions common to them. On the one hand this enabled him to show that some of the fundamental points of controversy between them were ill-conceived. On the other hand it enabled him to salvage and to reconcile some of their apparently irreconcilable insights. The latter was something that he sought to do above all in the case of the conflict between traditional Christian morality and Newton’s (by now) well-established mechanics. Christian morality seemed to make no sense without human freedom, but there was no room for human freedom, it seemed, in Newton’s world of inexorable mechanical laws. In attempting a reconciliation here, Kant developed a philosophical system of breathtaking depth and power. Indeed it enabled him at the same time and in much the same way to arbitrate between the rationalists and the empiricists. Since they have just been the focus of our attention, let us broach Kant’s system in those terms.

Kant wanted to accept, with the rationalists, that we had substantial a priori knowledge. Yet, in line with the empiricists, he did not see how we could know anything substantial about what was out there, independent of us, without letting it impinge on us through experience. He resolved the apparent conflict here by arguing that the a priori knowledge in question was not after all knowledge about what was out there, independent of us.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Infinite


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 268

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?