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Kant on Reason and Reality
Submitted by seddon on Mon, 2011-09-26 13:32
It is a commonplace in Objectivism that Kant severed reason from reality. I would like to examine this notion.
A counter position follows by denying thesis (1). There are those philosophers who assert that consciousness has an identity, e.g., Rand and Kant. But this is no big deal for Rand because she doesn’t “assume that our sense organs should have nothing to do with our awareness of reality.” (37) And here is the big difference, claims Hicks, between Kant and Rand. Kant assumes, as I quoted above, that “the knowing subject’s having an identity is an obstacle to cognition.” (37) I think Hicks gets Kant exactly 180° wrong. I maintain that Kant holds the strict objectivist position on this issue, to wit; that consciousness has an identity and it is BECAUSE of that they we can have an awareness of reality. Why do I say this?
In the last paragraph of section 5 of the PROLEGOMENA Kant asks several question, the first two of which are important for the issue of diaphanousness. These two questions are, “How is pure mathematics possible? How is pure natural science [physics] possible? He answers these questions in the last paragraph of section 10 when he writes, “Geometry is based on the pure intuition of space. Arithmetic accomplishes its concept of number by the successive additions of units in time; and pure mechanics especially cannot obtain its concept of motion without employing the representation of time.” Both space and time, as forms of intuition, are part of the identity of consciousness. It is because we have these forms of intuition that we can have the knowledge we have in geometry, arithmetic and physics. Hence we can see how Kant thought that the identity of consciousness is not a BARRIER to an awareness of reality, but rather the MEANS to such an awareness of reality.
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