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[...] there is less distance between [Kant's and AR's] ideas than some would have us believe.

I started wondering years ago -- back when Rand was still writing major articles -- if it was precisely the nearness of the distance which was what incensed her. It often does happen that people become angriest with those whose views are close to their own. Later, when I learned how little of Kant in the original AR herself had read, the hypothesis of its being the similarity more than the difference which angered her began to look not as plausible to me as before, but I still think that to the extent she understood what Kant wrote, the lack of distance might have contributed to her vehemence.

Also, I think she needed a Satan figure, a colossal supposedly "antipode" antagonist.

Ellen

___

The differences between Critique of Pure Judgment and Romantic Manifesto would make for an awesome course in the philosophy of art. The similarities, in my view, are the scope, depth, and a scientific-like approach (at least compared to many other philosophers.) But, I do think that they come to opposite conclusions about the best/sublime in art.

Michael

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The differences between Critique of Pure Judgment and Romantic Manifest would make for an awesome course in the philosophy of art. The similarities, in my view, are the scope, depth, and a scientific-like approach (at least compared to many other philosophers.) But, I do think, that they come to opposite conclusions about the best/sublime in art.

Michael

Michael -

I would urge you to post links to any content out there on the WWW doing such a comparison, or to sketch it out yourself. If you're willing, this could be a fascinating subject.

Bill P (Alfonso)

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Michael -

I would urge you to post links to any content out there on the WWW doing such a comparison, or to sketch it out yourself. If you're willing, this could be a fascinating subject.

Bill P (Alfonso)

Thanks for your vote of confidence Bill.

Stephen Hicks and I have touched on some of the these issues in lectures, articles, and in Stephen's last chapter in Explaining Postmodernism. If you don't have it is is a great read.

A few years ago The Free Radical published my Pandora's Box series. Part I, Part II, and Part III.

I recall that Pandora's Box Part I was the most read Free Radical/Solo article that year.

There are two versions of the legend of Pandora's Box. One version tells us that the box contained all kinds of misery. When Pandora opened the box a plague dispersed and doomed humanity to suffer ruin, insanity, and despair. She hastily closed the box to stop the plague but, pathetically, only Hope remained inside. In the other version the box held all of humanity's glories. When she opened the box progress, knowledge, and exaltation vanished into oblivion, forever lost to humanity.

There are a few online versions of the series. It's on the Free Radical site, Art Renewal Center, and on my art criticism site. I like the one on my site, there are more pictures to look at. ;)

You will find several Kant references, and see how his aesthetic ideas manifested themselves in postmodern art. The series ends with a constructive contrast with the benevolent, contemporary art of Stewart Mark Feldman.

But, I do like the idea of the college course, but I will leave Stephen Hicks to his own teaching content. For me, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Michael

I thought about not posting this here, hijack of sorts, but it does fit nicely with the thread on the other site.

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>[Kant] is actually fascinating to read once you get into it. [Michael N.]

> And yes, Michael, he is fascinating to read, and instructive. [barbara].

> You find many, many germs of Objectivist thought in his writings... there is less distance between [Rand’s and Kant’s] ideas than some would have us believe. [Roger]

> she needed a Satan figure [Ellen]

> It's easier to misunderstand someone by imputing to them positions they don't hold when you don't know their writings very well. [bill P]

OK, guys and gals, we've now had five or more posts on Kant's positive value (or his being misunderstood or undervalued) with no evidence being offered. Prove your claims, please, instead of merely repeating the assertion over and over:

Some substantial quotes from Kant at the very least (with book and page number so we can judge for ourselves) giving sufficient context so that any of us will have our eyes opened. And be motivated to read further.

> my Pandora's Box series... You will find several Kant references [Michael N]

Sometimes there is a tem'ptation to say ‘go read my entire series’ or ‘go read my many postings’ or 'read my book' and 'go hunt the references down yourself' when one is asked for evidence.

Since few will do that hunting for a single? multiple? reference to the issue in question . . . or may miss it . . . it’s more convincing if you Bring It Here If You Are Going to Argue it Here. Simply clip the paragraphs, summarize, give evidence **here** if you are going to make a controversial claim **here**.

---------

No offense, but I’m going to continue to trust Ayn Rand’s characterizations of major philosophers to “hand-waving”, i.e., anyone who is unwilling to actually post examples and make a clearcut and solid case. (Especially if her or Peikoff's summaries are supported by major philosophy encyclopedias and dictionaries that I've read.)

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Phil,

If you read carefully, Barbara and I imply that Kant is important--but not necessarily good.

Sometimes there is a tem'ptation to say ‘go read my entire series’ or ‘go read my many postings’ or 'read my book' and 'go hunt the references down yourself' when one is asked for evidence.

Sure, getting work published is a lot of work, it is not a lot to ask for someone to go read it. But if you must, you can simply Google Newberry Kant, that should give you some sound bites.

Michael

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I reproduce a summary from George Walsh below. More available at http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/objectivity/walsh1/

Seddon also has some provocative citations from Kant in his book on Ayn Rand, OBjectivists and the History of PHilosophy.

Now, I'm away from my library - now at the office. I should have time to provide some content from Kant sometime this weekend. Hopefully there will be time.

Bill P (Alfonso)

----------------

The main similarities between Rand and Kant consists in the following points:

(1) They both accept the existence of a world whose major constituents they call entities or objects and regard as ordered in a system of space, time and causality and perceived by men generally. This world Kant calls “empirical reality” and Rand calls simply “reality.” In contrast to this world are some illusions and delusions whether individual or collective. These can be detected and corrected by the application of ordinary rules and processes. (But Rand interprets Kant as saying that the whole of what he calls “empirical reality” is itself a “collective delusion,” which is universal in scope.)

(2) They both agree that the proper use of man’s perceptual and conceptual faculties, in other words, his reason, in dealing with this world, results in knowledge.

(3) They both agree that man, by accepting this world as metaphysically given, i.e., “outside the power of any volition” (Rand), can adjust to it, control it and thrive in it.

(4) They both agree that in dealing epistemologically with the universe as a whole, we cannot treat it as an entity in the sense in which we call a table or a chair an entity, and can deal with it only in terms of the most fundamental concepts.

The main differences between Rand and Kant consist in the following points:

(1) Rand maintains that this world of spatiotemporally and causally related entities is exhaustive of all reality and known to be exhaustive, whereas Kant maintains that another reality, teleologically ordered and exempt from space and time and causality is at least thinkable, although not knowable. In this thinkable realm are the universe as a whole, God, the soul, man’s freedom of will, and the order of things providing for his immortality. Rand denies that the unknowable is thinkable.

(2) Kant maintains the thesis that consciousness has two fundamental forms, thought and intuition, each with its a priori laws, but with the a priori laws of thought applying to intuition as well as thought. This position works out to the conclusion that the ways in which the a priori laws of thought organize intuitions into the objects of experience is limited to the twelve categories. Rand, by contrast, although acknowledging a major difference of level between the conceptual and perceptual, derives the former from the latter and holds that both percept and concept conform to three axiomatic concepts—existence, identity, and consciousness—their application to objects being a scientific rather than a philosophical matter.

(3) Kant maintains that we can know with certainty only a small subsection of that which is thinkable. This requires the introduction of a special concept called pure intuition, which guarantees that certainty, and which is the form of all empirical knowledge, or knowledge of empirical reality. But since empirical reality thus necessarily conforms to the mind of man and since the mind of man could not dictate to things in themselves, we must conclude that empirical reality is the only appearance or the mode in which things in themselves appear to us. Rand, by contrast, maintains that the kinds of objects that exist are a matter for science to determine, subject only to the three very general axiomatic concepts. Rand acknowledges that while man’s senses each have forms of perception, these do not narrow the conceptual elaboration of his knowledge.

(4) While Kant holds, in basic agreement with his predecessors, to the analytic-synthetic distinction, Rand denies it for reasons that are beyond the scope of the current paper, but which are systematically set forth by Peikoff (“The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,” in Rand 1990, 88-121). Since she denies the distinction, she denies also the concept of a synthetic a priori judgment, and therewith all the consequences he derives from this, including the conclusion that we have pure a priori intuition that limits knowledge, thereby leading Kant to deny it to make room for faith.

(5) This leads us to Kant’s explanation of what he does after he limits knowledge to metaphysics in its first part and thereby to science. Since Kant has shown to his satisfaction that metaphysics in its second part cannot be verified, he has brushed away not only all proofs of the existence of God, freedom and immortality, but also all disproofs as well. Kant does not opt for agnosticism at this point.

(6) Kant’s limitation of knowledge to what can be known by means of the categories and his further limitation of the categories to appearances means that knowledge of the universe as a whole is forever foreclosed, and therewith knowledge of all other subjects included in metaphysics in its second part. Not foreclosed, however, is application of the laws of valid inference to such noumena, the laws of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle. It is still the case that God either exists or he doesn’t. But for Kant, such a statement is completely empty. Now Rand also believed that the universe is not an entity in the same sense that a table or chair is. Rand’s words, in an Epistemology Workshop meeting, merit attention here:

Actually, do you know what we can ascribe to the universe as such, apart from scientific discovery? Only those fundamentals that we can grasp about existence. Not in the sense of switching contexts and ascribing particular characteristics to the universe, but we can say: since everything possesses identity, the universe possesses identity. Since everything is finite, the universe is finite. But we can’t ascribe space or time or a lot of other things to the universe as a whole.6 (Rand 1990, 273)

We said at an earlier point in this paper that Rand does not recognize Kant’s metaphysics in its second part as a separate field of investigation. We must now modify this by saying that she acknowledges that when metaphysics is exercised in the special context of the universe as a whole, only the most basic concepts may be applied. Here, her thought approaches that of Kant for a moment, then radically diverges from him. For she would maintain that the use of such concepts results in knowledge however broad, knowledge of a fundamental nature, so that she

can say: “I have affirmed that knowledge is unlimited, leaving no room for faith.”

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Bill, thanks for providing quotes. (They are not quotes from Kant, however, which would be necessary for the parts where there would be disagreement on his actual views.)

After giving a (very slim) list of areas where AR and K might have similarities, in Walsh's listing of differences:

"Kant maintains the thesis that consciousness has two fundamental forms, thought and intuition..." --> Intuition as a 'fundamental form' is a totally non-rational opening for mysticism.

"empirical reality [thus] necessarily conforms to the mind of man...we must conclude that empirical reality is..the mode in which things in themselves appear to us." --> This is the point that Peikoff (and others) have made about Kant: He's saying we can't directly know reality. We can only know 'appearances' or the contents of our own mind.

"Kant holds..to the analytic-synthetic distinction, Rand denies it..[and] the conclusion that we have pure a priori intuition that limits knowledge, thereby leading Kant to deny it to make room for faith." --> Analytic truths are tautologies, empty of direct contact with empirical reality; synthetic truths are contingent-empirical but never certain.

"knowledge of the universe as a whole is forever foreclosed" --> Same as my second point above.

"[Rand] can say: 'I have affirmed that knowledge is unlimited, leaving no room for faith.' --> Exact opposite of Kant's statement (and a clear statement of his objective) that he has denied knowledge in order to make room for faith.

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>[Kant] is actually fascinating to read once you get into it. [Michael N.]

> And yes, Michael, he is fascinating to read, and instructive. [barbara].

> You find many, many germs of Objectivist thought in his writings... there is less distance between [Rand’s and Kant’s] ideas than some would have us believe. [Roger]

> she needed a Satan figure [Ellen]

> It's easier to misunderstand someone by imputing to them positions they don't hold when you don't know their writings very well. [bill P]

Three separate claims are being made above:

1. Kant's views are misstated (presumably by Rand and Peikoff) [bill]

2. Kant's views are close to Rand's and Objectivism in important ways [Roger]

3. One can learn a lot by reading Kant (fascinating, instructive) [Michael, Barbara]

All three -- would require evidence consisting of quotes presented here (not paraphrases or mere assertions by George Walsh or Michael Newberry or Fred Seddon, but from Kant.)

(The third is very non-specific. It's not clear exactly what is being referred to. Presumably the actual statements of Kant will clear that up.)

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>[Kant] is actually fascinating to read once you get into it. [Michael N.]

> And yes, Michael, he is fascinating to read, and instructive. [barbara].

> You find many, many germs of Objectivist thought in his writings... there is less distance between [Rand’s and Kant’s] ideas than some would have us believe. [Roger]

> she needed a Satan figure [Ellen]

> It's easier to misunderstand someone by imputing to them positions they don't hold when you don't know their writings very well. [bill P]

Three separate claims are being made above:

1. Kant's views are misstated (presumably by Rand and Peikoff) [bill]

2. Kant's views are close to Rand's and Objectivism in important ways [Roger]

3. One can learn a lot by reading Kant (fascinating, instructive) [Michael, Barbara]

All three -- would require evidence consisting of quotes presented here (not paraphrases or mere assertions by George Walsh or Michael Newberry or Fred Seddon, but from Kant.)

(The third is very non-specific. It's not clear exactly what is being referred to. Presumably the actual statements of Kant will clear that up.)

Phil, I have been out of town for a week and away from my library, so it's not feasible for me to give you much in the way of quotes now. (And what the heck is wrong with speaking off the top of our heads, without giving quotes right away, if we ~will~ be in a position to do so?)

However, if you had read my essay on Rand's trichotomy that appeared in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2007 issue, you'd have at least two important points of similarity about Rand and Kant that I discussed. For your convenience, since I do not know whether JARS is something you care to read (and why are there so many Objectivists, even non-ARI, who are so stand-offish about this wonderful eclectic journal?), here is the material from one of my footnotes that addresses this point. It relates to Rand's trichotomy and the apparent fact that Kant had all three components of the trichotomy in place, though not identified as a trichotomy by him...

However, we should also be careful not to allow the problematic traditional “mind-independent” usage of “objective,” adopted in response to Kant’s thought, obscure the fascinating respects in which Kant’s actual discussion parallels Rand’s IOS. As Pols (1992) notes, Kant’s doctrine of the thing in itself was a kind of “minimal realism” (114), an acknowledgement that though “we cannot know these objects as things in themselves, we must yet be in position at least to think them as things in themselves; otherwise we should be landed in the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears” (Kant, 27). He claims to have shown that there is a necessary distinction “between things as objects of experience and those same things as things in themselves” (27), “that the object is to be taken in a twofold sense, namely as appearance and as thing in itself” (28). This neatly parallels Rand’s trichotomy meanings of “objective” and “intrinsic.” Further, Kant distinguished experience in general (“outer sense” or perception and “inner experience” or introspection) from imagination, dreams, etc., saying that only the former “depends upon something permanent which is not in me, and consequently can be only in something outside me, to which I must regard myself as standing in relation” (35-6). Here we have the equivalent of Rand’s distinction between the “objective” and the “subjective.” As an anonymous reviewer succinctly put it, “On the issue of the trichotomy, Kant is arguably the closest forerunner of Rand, as much as it would pain her to think so.” Unlike Rand’s trichotomy, however, the proto-trichotomy we see in Kant’s system rests on epistemic quicksand, as a consequence of the fundamental flaw in his philosophy, his argument “that the structure of the mind determines the content of knowledge” (Sciabarra 2000, 57).

The quotes of Kant are from: Kant, Immanuel. 1781/1791/1929. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. N. K. Smith. London: Macmillan.

In addition, I'd like to suggest that anyone interested in Kant's aesthetics start near the back of The Critique of Judgment and read backward section by section. You will find charming examples of his sense of humor, evidence of his clueless, basically Humean understand of music, as well as suggestive passages where he seems to have the gist of Rand's "re-creation of reality" concept of art. I don't mention this as an example of how close they are in toto, because there are obvious differences, but of how ~interesting~, even ~fascinating~, Kant is to read -- not just brain-crackingly difficult as some have alleged. And also as an example of something that what I call the "barking dogs of Objectivism" have tried to scare us away from reading. (Kant being evil, you know, so you should only read him to find evidence of the evil.)

REB

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[...] I do not know whether JARS is something you care to read (and why are there so many Objectivists, even non-ARI, who are so stand-offish about this wonderful eclectic journal?) [...]

For some of us, it's not at all that we don't "care to read" it. It's just that subscriptions are too damned expensive. I've bought a few back issues on eBay, but those were several years old.

I got my alma mater to order a subscription, which I could access for reading with my alumni card — but I'm now 2,000 miles from its library, not 3 miles, as I once was. And as is true (understandably so) with nearly all such academic journals, the price for a library's subscription is far higher yet.

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I reproduce a summary from George Walsh below. More available at http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/objectivity/walsh1/

Seddon also has some provocative citations from Kant in his book on Ayn Rand, OBjectivists and the History of PHilosophy.

Now, I'm away from my library - now at the office. I should have time to provide some content from Kant sometime this weekend. Hopefully there will be time.

Bill P (Alfonso)

Hey Bill,

The Walsh comments were interesting to read. BTW, the first time I met George Walsh he was naked as a jail bird walking on Blacks Beach in La Jolla with David Kelley, who was dressed. I don't remember what state I was in. ;)

I have had some interchanges with Seddon, both in real time and online, about Kant's aesthetics, but he admitted that he didn't have a expert knowledge of the arts, which I found to badly color his opinions on the subject. On the other hand, I don't have any general knowledge of philosophy, I only concentrated on what many philosophers have written about aesthetics and art. Right now, one of the philosophers thoroughly versed in Postmodern philosophy, Objectivism, and the philosophy of art is Stephen Hicks--He is lecturing, teaching, writing, and producing DVD's on the subject.

The conference the Stephen Boydstun threaded here looks like it will be interesting. I hope that Harry Binswanger has learned more since when he thought that realistic paintings in highly detailed, brilliant Flemish still lives but with black backgrounds were "malevolent." This was from about 26/7 years ago when I had a session with him discussing how to identify the themes of an art work, which is, btw, one of J's preoccupations. Anyway, Binswanger's simplistic take on the subject ended any hope I had from gaining aesthetic knowledge from him.

Gotta run out the door now.

Cheers,

Michael

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Sorry all, but I've been far too busy this weekend to do anything on getting some specific Kant text up here for examination.

As a poor substitute, I offer the following link to a Kant etext library:

http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/K2texts.html

This has most of the major works, and several of the famous minor writings.

Bill P (Alfonso)

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> And what the heck is wrong with speaking off the top of our heads, without giving quotes right away, if we ~will~ be in a position to do so? [Roger]

1. Nothing, if one eventually is able to do so. (Particularly on an issue like this quotes offered as evidence are required, for the reasons I gave above.)

2. See the 'Kant quotes' thread for examples of Kant's frequent? typical? jargon and incomprehensibility. Another reason I ask people to "put up or shut up" about Manny the K.

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POP QUIZ

Not to allow this to replace the need since four days ago for evidentiary Kant quotes (Michael, Roger, Barbara, Bill), but here's a pop quiz on the reason -why- they are needed:

Can anyone give the reason (two reasons actually!) why (i) if one claims the diameter of Mars or the distance of Mercury from the sun is such-and-such one would normally not have to offer an evidentiary quote, but (ii) if one claims Kant had Objectivist insights, by logic and the rules of discussion, one would normally need to do so?

Extra credit if you can offer -both- reasons! :) And if you can give each in a short, anglo-saxon, non-kantian sentence.

(Hint: the reasons are fairly simple and straightforward.)

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POP QUIZ

Not to allow this to replace the need since four days ago for evidentiary Kant quotes (Michael, Roger, Barbara, Bill), but here's a pop quiz on the reason -why- they are needed:

It is perhaps best not to forget that people have work commitments, and can't always supply quotes on demand.

Now, as I begin with the occasional quote, I want to stress that I am NOT a "fan" of Kant. My point is that made in my earlier posts on the subject, instead.

In this first one, I think you will find both some things to like, and some to not like.

Bill P (Alfonso)

IMMANUEL KANT

An Answer to the Question:

What is Enlightenment? (1784)

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! [dare to know] "Have courage to use your own understanding!"--that is the motto of enlightenment.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance (natura-liter maiorennes), nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.

Thus, it is difficult for any individual man to work himself out of the immaturity that has all but become his nature. He has even become fond of this state and for the time being is actually incapable of using his own understanding, for no one has ever allowed him to attempt it. Rules and formulas, those mechanical aids to the rational use, or rather misuse, of his natural gifts, are the shackles of a permanent immaturity. Whoever threw them off would still make only an uncertain leap over the smallest ditch, since he is unaccustomed to this kind of free movement. Consequently, only a few have succeeded, by cultivating their own minds, in freeing themselves from immaturity and pursuing a secure course.

But that the public should enlighten itself is more likely; indeed, if it is only allowed freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable. For even among the entrenched guardians of the great masses a few will always think for themselves, a few who, after having themselves thrown off the yoke of immaturity, will spread the spirit of a rational appreciation for both their own worth and for each person's calling to think for himself. But it should be particularly noted that if a public that was first placed in this yoke by the guardians is suitably aroused by some of those who are altogether incapable of enlightenment, it may force the guardians themselves to remain under the yoke--so pernicious is it to instill prejudices, for they finally take revenge upon their originators, or on their descendants. Thus a public can only attain enlightenment slowly. Perhaps a revolution can overthrow autocratic despotism and profiteering or power-grabbing oppression, but it can never truly reform a manner of thinking; instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones they replace, will serve as a leash for the great unthinking mass.

Nothing is required for this enlightenment, however, except freedom; and the freedom in question is the least harmful of all, namely, the freedom to use reason publicly in all matters. But on all sides I hear: "Do not argue!" The officer says, "Do not argue, drill!" The tax man says, "Do not argue, pay!" The pastor says, "Do not argue, believe!" (Only one ruler in the World says, "Argue as much as you want and about what you want, but obey!") In this we have examples of pervasive restrictions on freedom. But which restriction hinders enlightenment and which does not, but instead actually advances it? I reply: The public use of one's reason must always be free, and it alone can bring about enlightenment among mankind; the private use of reason may, however, often be very narrowly restricted, without otherwise hindering the progress of enlightenment. By the public use of one's own reason I understand the use that anyone as a scholar makes of reason before the entire literate world. I call the private use of reason that which a person may make in a civic post or office that has been entrusted to him. Now in many affairs conducted in the interests of a community, a certain mechanism is required by means of which some of its members must conduct themselves in an entirely passive manner so that through an artificial unanimity the government may guide them toward public ends, or at least prevent them from destroying such ends. Here one certainly must not argue, instead one must obey. However, insofar as this part of the machine also regards himself as a member of the community as a whole, or even of the world community, and as a consequence addresses the public in the role of a scholar, in the proper sense of that term, he can most certainly argue, without thereby harming the affairs for which as a passive member he is partly responsible. Thus it would be disastrous if an officer on duty who was given a command by his superior were to question the appropriateness or utility of the order. He must obey. But as a scholar he cannot be justly constrained from making comments about errors in military service, or from placing them before the public for its judgment. The citizen cannot refuse to pay the taxes imposed on him; indeed, impertinent criticism of such levies, when they should be paid by him, can be punished as a scandal (since it can lead to widespread insubordination). But the same person does not act contrary to civic duty when, as a scholar, he publicly expresses his thoughts regarding the impropriety or even injustice of such taxes. Likewise a pastor is bound to instruct his catecumens and congregation in accordance with the symbol of the church he serves, for he was appointed on that condition. But as a scholar he has complete freedom, indeed even the calling, to impart to the public all of his carefully considered and well-intentioned thoughts concerning mistaken aspects of that symbol, as well as his suggestions for the better arrangement of religious and church matters. Nothing in this can weigh on his conscience. What he teaches in consequence of his office as a servant of the church he sets out as something with regard to which he has no discretion to teach in accord with his own lights; rather, he offers it under the direction and in the name of another. He will say, "Our church teaches this or that and these are the demonstrations it uses." He thereby extracts for his congregation all practical uses from precepts to which he would not himself subscribe with complete conviction, but whose presentation he can nonetheless undertake, since it is not entirely impossible that truth lies hidden in them, and, in any case, nothing contrary to the very nature of religion is to be found in them. If he believed he could find anything of the latter sort in them, he could not in good conscience serve in his position; he would have to resign. Thus an appointed teacher's use of his reason for the sake of his congregation is merely private, because, however large the congregation is, this use is always only domestic; in this regard, as a priest, he is not free and cannot be such because he is acting under instructions from someone else. By contrast, the cleric--as a scholar who speaks through his writings to the public as such, i.e., the world--enjoys in this public use of reason an unrestricted freedom to use his own rational capacities and to speak his own mind. For that the (spiritual) guardians of a people should themselves be immature is an absurdity that would insure the perpetuation of absurdities.

But would a society of pastors, perhaps a church assembly or venerable presbytery (as those among the Dutch call themselves), not be justified in binding itself by oath to a certain unalterable symbol in order to secure a constant guardianship over each of its members and through them over the people, and this for all time: I say that this is wholly impossible. Such a contract, whose intention is to preclude forever all further enlightenment of the human race, is absolutely null and void, even if it should be ratified by the supreme power, by parliaments, and by the most solemn peace treaties. One age cannot bind itself, and thus conspire, to place a succeeding one in a condition whereby it would be impossible for the later age to expand its knowledge (particularly where it is so very important), to rid itself of errors,and generally to increase its enlightenment. That would be a crime against human nature, whose essential destiny lies precisely in such progress; subsequent generations are thus completely justified in dismissing such agreements as unauthorized and criminal. The criterion of everything that can be agreed upon as a law by a people lies in this question: Can a people impose such a law on itself? Now it might be possible, in anticipation of a better state of affairs, to introduce a provisional order for a specific, short time, all the while giving all citizens, especially clergy, in their role as scholars, the freedom to comment publicly, i.e., in writing, on the present institution's shortcomings. The provisional order might last until insight into the nature of these matters had become so widespread and obvious that the combined (if not unanimous) voices of the populace could propose to the crown that it take under its protection those congregations that, in accord with their newly gained insight, had organized themselves under altered religious institutions, but without interfering with those wishing to allow matters to remain as before. However, it is absolutely forbidden that they unite into a religious organization that nobody may for the duration of a man's lifetime publicly question, for so do-ing would deny, render fruitless, and make detrimental to succeeding generations an era in man's progress toward improvement. A man may put off enlightenment with regard to what he ought to know, though only for a short time and for his own person; but to renounce it for himself, or, even more, for subsequent generations, is to violate and trample man's divine rights underfoot. And what a people may not decree for itself may still less be imposed on it by a monarch, for his lawgiving authority rests on his unification of the people's collective will in his own. If he only sees to it that all genuine or purported improvement is consonant with civil order, he can allow his subjects to do what they find necessary to their spiritual well-being, which is not his affair. However, he must prevent anyone from forcibly interfering with another's working as best he can to determine and promote his well-being. It detracts from his own majesty when he interferes in these matters, since the writings in which his subjects attempt to clarify their insights lend value to his conception of governance. This holds whether he acts from his own highest insight--whereby he calls upon himself the reproach, "Caesar non eat supra grammaticos."'--as well as, indeed even more, when he despoils his highest authority by supporting the spiritual despotism of some tyrants in his state over his other subjects.

If it is now asked, "Do we presently live in an enlightened age?" the answer is, "No, but we do live in an age of enlightenment." As matters now stand, a great deal is still lacking in order for men as a whole to be, or even to put themselves into a position to be able without external guidance to apply understanding confidently to religious issues. But we do have clear indications that the way is now being opened for men to proceed freely in this direction and that the obstacles to general enlightenment--to their release from their self-imposed immaturity--are gradually diminishing. In this regard, this age is the age of enlightenment, the century of Frederick.

A prince who does not find it beneath him to say that he takes it to be his duty to prescribe nothing, but rather to allow men complete freedom in religious matters--who thereby renounces the arrogant title of tolerance--is himself enlightened and deserves to be praised by a grateful present and by posterity as the first, at least where the government is concerned, to release the human race from immaturity and to leave everyone free to use his own reason in all matters of conscience. Under his rule, venerable pastors, in their role as scholars and without prejudice to their official duties, may freely and openly set out for the world's scrutiny their judgments and views, even where these occasionally differ from the accepted symbol. Still greater freedom is afforded to those who are not restricted by an official post. This spirit of freedom is expanding even where it must struggle against the external obstacles of governments that misunderstand their own function. Such governments are illuminated by the example that the existence of freedom need not give cause for the least concern regarding public order and harmony in the commonwealth. If only they refrain from inventing artifices to keep themselves in it, men will gradually raise themselves from barbarism.

I have focused on religious matters in setting out my main point concerning enlightenment, i.e., man's emergence from self-imposed immaturity, first because our rulers have no interest in assuming the role of their subjects' guardians with respect to the arts and sciences, and secondly because that form of immaturity is both the most pernicious and disgraceful of all. But the manner of thinking of a head of state who favors religious enlightenment goes even further, for he realizes that there is no danger to his legislation in allowing his subjects to use reason publicly and to set before the world their thoughts concerning better formulations of his laws, even if this involves frank criticism of legislation currently in effect. We have before us a shining example, with respect to which no monarch surpasses the one whom we honor.

But only a ruler who is himself enlightened and has no dread of shadows, yet who likewise has a well-disciplined, numerous army to guarantee public peace, can say what no republic may dare, namely: "Argue as much as you want and about what you want, but obey!" Here as elsewhere, when things are considered in broad perspective, a strange, unexpected pattern in human affairs reveals itself, one in which almost everything is paradoxical. A greater degree of civil freedom seems advantageous to a people's spiritual freedom; yet the former established impassable boundaries for the latter; conversely, a lesser degree of civil freedom provides enough room for all fully to expand their abilities. Thus, once nature has removed the hard shell from this kernel for which she has most fondly cared, namely, the inclination to and vocation for free thinking, the kernel gradually reacts on a people's mentality (whereby they become increasingly able to act freely), and it finally even influences the principles of government, which finds that it can profit by treating men, who are now more than machines, in accord with their dignity. I. Kant

Konigsberg in Prussia, 30 September 1784

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> It is perhaps best not to forget that people have work commitments, and can't always supply quotes on demand.

I understand.

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POP QUIZ

Not to allow this to replace the need since four days ago for evidentiary Kant quotes (Michael, Roger, Barbara, Bill), but here's a pop quiz on the reason -why- they are needed:

Can anyone give the reason (two reasons actually!) why (i) if one claims the diameter of Mars or the distance of Mercury from the sun is such-and-such one would normally not have to offer an evidentiary quote, but (ii) if one claims Kant had Objectivist insights, by logic and the rules of discussion, one would normally need to do so?

Extra credit if you can offer -both- reasons! :) And if you can give each in a short, anglo-saxon, non-kantian sentence.

(Hint: the reasons are fairly simple and straightforward.)

The first is science, the second philosophy. In any case, no one could have had "Objectivist insights" before Objectivism.

--Brant

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Barbara, not enough to be self-evident, which is why I would seek quotes and an indication which of his many works - and where in them - lies value.

I'm not saying it doesn't and can't exist, simply asking for some specificity/details.

Especially since he wrote so much...and so much of it (categorical imperative, noumenal vs. phenomenal, inability to penetrate to real reality, intuitions as a -fundamental- tool to supplement reason) is invalid. Other people than myself also would need more data...Having read some Kant, his interest and value were hardly self-evident to me.

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One that comes to mind is part 3 of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, wherein, almost 200 years avant la lettre, he gives us the Objectivist argument as to the self-refutingness of determinism. Epicurus had it even longer ago than that.

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I just read Phil's post in another thread (about quotes from Kant), and he claims that no one else than Bill P. has provided Kant-quotes to back up the claim of value and significance in Kant's writings. Well, I beg to differ! What about the quoted material in the middle of this post, which I made with some effort, despite being on vacation, several days ago? Phil, you even quoted non-relevant material from this post. Did you not read the Kant-quotes, too?

Also, I reiterate: get out your Kant, you lazy people, and start reading The Critique of Judgment from the back section forward and see for yourselves. He is ~not~ exclusively brain-cracking jargon and syntax. There is a lot of charming, interesting stuff in his writing, too, not to mention (IMO) the precursor of Rand's concept of "art." Do I have to do ~all~ the work for you people? (Mainly, Phil, I mean you and the guys making up fake Kant quotes to "prove" how awful he is.

REB

P.S. -- If I don't start seeing some evidence of willingness to do your homework, Phil, I will start FLOODING Objectivist Living with interesting, relevant, valuable Kant material. You are forewarned. This "intellectual immune-response" syndrome is very tiring.

>[Kant] is actually fascinating to read once you get into it. [Michael N.]

> And yes, Michael, he is fascinating to read, and instructive. [barbara].

> You find many, many germs of Objectivist thought in his writings... there is less distance between [Rand’s and Kant’s] ideas than some would have us believe. [Roger]

> she needed a Satan figure [Ellen]

> It's easier to misunderstand someone by imputing to them positions they don't hold when you don't know their writings very well. [bill P]

Three separate claims are being made above:

1. Kant's views are misstated (presumably by Rand and Peikoff) [bill]

2. Kant's views are close to Rand's and Objectivism in important ways [Roger]

3. One can learn a lot by reading Kant (fascinating, instructive) [Michael, Barbara]

All three -- would require evidence consisting of quotes presented here (not paraphrases or mere assertions by George Walsh or Michael Newberry or Fred Seddon, but from Kant.)

(The third is very non-specific. It's not clear exactly what is being referred to. Presumably the actual statements of Kant will clear that up.)

Phil, I have been out of town for a week and away from my library, so it's not feasible for me to give you much in the way of quotes now. (And what the heck is wrong with speaking off the top of our heads, without giving quotes right away, if we ~will~ be in a position to do so?)

However, if you had read my essay on Rand's trichotomy that appeared in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2007 issue, you'd have at least two important points of similarity about Rand and Kant that I discussed. For your convenience, since I do not know whether JARS is something you care to read (and why are there so many Objectivists, even non-ARI, who are so stand-offish about this wonderful eclectic journal?), here is the material from one of my footnotes that addresses this point. It relates to Rand's trichotomy and the apparent fact that Kant had all three components of the trichotomy in place, though not identified as a trichotomy by him...

However, we should also be careful not to allow the problematic traditional “mind-independent” usage of “objective,” adopted in response to Kant’s thought, obscure the fascinating respects in which Kant’s actual discussion parallels Rand’s IOS. As Pols (1992) notes, Kant’s doctrine of the thing in itself was a kind of “minimal realism” (114), an acknowledgement that though “we cannot know these objects as things in themselves, we must yet be in position at least to think them as things in themselves; otherwise we should be landed in the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears” (Kant, 27). He claims to have shown that there is a necessary distinction “between things as objects of experience and those same things as things in themselves” (27), “that the object is to be taken in a twofold sense, namely as appearance and as thing in itself” (28). This neatly parallels Rand’s trichotomy meanings of “objective” and “intrinsic.” Further, Kant distinguished experience in general (“outer sense” or perception and “inner experience” or introspection) from imagination, dreams, etc., saying that only the former “depends upon something permanent which is not in me, and consequently can be only in something outside me, to which I must regard myself as standing in relation” (35-6). Here we have the equivalent of Rand’s distinction between the “objective” and the “subjective.” As an anonymous reviewer succinctly put it, “On the issue of the trichotomy, Kant is arguably the closest forerunner of Rand, as much as it would pain her to think so.” Unlike Rand’s trichotomy, however, the proto-trichotomy we see in Kant’s system rests on epistemic quicksand, as a consequence of the fundamental flaw in his philosophy, his argument “that the structure of the mind determines the content of knowledge” (Sciabarra 2000, 57).

The quotes of Kant are from: Kant, Immanuel. 1781/1791/1929. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. N. K. Smith. London: Macmillan.

In addition, I'd like to suggest that anyone interested in Kant's aesthetics start near the back of The Critique of Judgment and read backward section by section. You will find charming examples of his sense of humor, evidence of his clueless, basically Humean understand of music, as well as suggestive passages where he seems to have the gist of Rand's "re-creation of reality" concept of art. I don't mention this as an example of how close they are in toto, because there are obvious differences, but of how ~interesting~, even ~fascinating~, Kant is to read -- not just brain-crackingly difficult as some have alleged. And also as an example of something that what I call the "barking dogs of Objectivism" have tried to scare us away from reading. (Kant being evil, you know, so you should only read him to find evidence of the evil.)

REB

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Bill, thanks for providing the detailed quote above. It is illuminating and shows that in some respects Kant was a defender of thinking for oneself and freedom of speech.

I had heard it said that Kant was an enlightenment figure in these respects, and that this is in contradistinction to his better known formal and invalid epistemology and metaphysics. But your quote is the first example I've seen of this.

Those who have written a lot, have a huge body of work, can have areas of value along with areas of mistake.

Your quote certainly doesn't fit with Rand's ridiculous "most evil man in history" claim - another example of having an area (or claims) of mistake alongside the values.

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> What about the quoted material in the middle of this post...

Roger, I don't see that either of these two (very thin and cryptic) quotes:

“that the object is to be taken in a twofold sense, namely as appearance and as thing in itself” & Kant distinguished experience in general (“outer sense” or perception and “inner experience” or introspection) from imagination, dreams, etc., saying that only the former “depends upon something permanent which is not in me, and consequently can be only in something outside me, to which I must regard myself as standing in relation”

constitute a version or anticipation or a close parallel to the intrinsic-subjective-objective trichotomy as precisely described in Objectivism.

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