Immanuel Kant’s CriticismJune 29, 2021
He made a synthesis of rationalism and empiricism in philosophy.
According to Kant, there is no knowledge that precedes the experiment. But this does not mean that all our knowledge comes from experimentation. All our knowledge begins with experiment, but it is not the product of experiment alone. That is, knowledge begins with experiment but does not end with experiment. For knowledge, besides the experiment, another element that will organize the experimental data is necessary, which is the mind. Kant argues that there is a priori knowledge in the human mind. What he says is innate are the categories (forms) of the mind. According to Kant, the mind shapes the raw material that comes from the experience and transforms it into knowledge thanks to these categories. Some information is obtained later as posterior.
In the process of knowledge, human is not passive, but actively classifies the impressions that come through the senses, places them into patterns and interprets them. According to Kant, human knowledge is limited. The human mind cannot know objects and events as they really are. Objects can be known according to the possibilities, structure and forms of the mind. The human mind can know phenomena.
According to Kant, our knowledge has two sources. These are reason and experiment. Experiment gives the raw material, the content of our knowledge of the outside world. The mind, on the other hand, organizes this raw material and puts it into a certain mold. Kant briefly explains this thought with the following words: Concepts are empty without material from experience, and raw material from experience is blind without concepts.
Kant likens the human mind to a factory. A raw material that comes to any factory turns into a material after it has gone through some processes, that is, processed. For example, cotton turns into fabric after processing. According to Kant, we can only know the fabric that leaves the factory. We do not know how it was before it was processed. Here, Kant calls the state of beings before they are processed in our minds as “numen”. The real state of the Numen beings is that we can never know. He calls the state of the beings after going through some processes in our minds as “phenomenon”. Phenomenon is the aspect of beings known to us.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Year 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Year 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook