Hat tip to Anita Leirfall – who, we discovered quite randomly, lived just a few doors away from where Sylvia and I lived in Oslo – quite randomly posting a link to a 2021 edition of BBC Radio 4 “In Our Time” on Kant.
Kant’s Copernican Revolution | In Our Time
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Kant’s ideas on how the world depends on us, on the limits of human knowledge and why we are bound to ask questions we cannot answer. https://t.co/kwLgMjCFNQ #Kant #philosophy
— Anita Leirfall (@anitaleirfall) April 14, 2023
I’m going to have to actually read Kant, aren’t I? https://t.co/u3J0XW8QsU
— Ian Glendinning (@psybertron) April 14, 2023
Good luck with that. A genius with ideas crippled by academic over-systematisation and a deadeningly leaden style. Very occasional poetic sentences reward the persistent. The Prolegomena and the Groundwork are easier and (mercifully) shorter ways in than the big works.
— Mark Hammonds (@almalydan) April 15, 2023
Where I couldn’t help but see myself in Mark’s words:
“crippled by academic over-systematisation
and a deadeningly leaden style”
Because of his “notoriously difficult” reputation, I’ve been avoiding Kant for over two decades, despite many intriguing second-hand readings dating as far back as my initial dalliances with Pirsigian philosophers. And since for the past couple of years I’ve been transitioning to the “stop reading and just write something” mode, I’d resigned myself to never having to tackle him, even though I’ve had the sneaking suspicion his ideas probably tally pretty well with mine own. Possibly arrogantly believing I had already made the necessary “Copernican Turn” in my own thinking.
But have you made the Copernican Turn? 🙂
— Anita Leirfall (@anitaleirfall) April 15, 2023
It’s actually an IOT edition I’ve heard before – I listen to practically all of them the day they’re broadcast – but clearly I wasn’t paying attention first time around. See resignation and arrogance 😉
I’ve still not read Kant, but I have properly listened to that podcast.
Right from the off, the simple, clear introduction by John Callanan, I’m hooked. Bang goes another month’s writing whilst I catch-up.
Suffice to say for now, following directly on from my previous “Ways of Knowing” post (which Eddo’s not responded to yet) we get an enormous irony. An irony I realise I probably already had a subconscious impression of, as a fortunately well-travelled person myself, which contributed to my continued ignorance of him. That is: how can a person without experience – never being curious about gaining empirical evidence of the world beyond his home town, for his entire life – critique “pure reason” – to distinguish those parts of knowledge reasonably reasoned (in the mind) and their integration with those necessarily experienced (by participation in the world).
Well some things can be reasoned a priori. Understanding how to integrate these with those that can’t is indeed the trick. Obviously, I’m even more convinced I will find his ideas supporting mine.
And talking of that previous dialogue with Eddo, I discover
“(The fool on the hill) sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head see the world spinning round”
Comes straight from Kant.
I may be some time!
(Only a single passing reference to Kant in McGilchrist?)
(James’ “blooming, buzzing confusion” – too much empirical data.
A much used quote around these parts.
Devil in the details, angels in the abstractions.
Less is more.)
(All his language familiar through second-hand readings.
Analytic / Synthetic, “Ding an sich” and so on.)
(The non-empirically-grounded weirdness of causation.)
(More subtle “detached” ideas on “objectivity” in science, and “political” pressures. Essentially pragmatic.)
(Post Note: I’ve not been ignorant of Kant, just not previously felt the urge to read his Magnum Opus. Here a previous encounter – “Kantian Enlightenment”. And following the comment thread below – I’ve made a passing reference to my continuing with Kant in the closing para of this recent Parmenides post.)