Who is Immanuel Kant?June 25, 2021
Immanuel Kant was a famous German philosopher who lived from April 22, 1724 to February 12, 1804. Immanuel Kant became one of the founding names of German philosophy and had a decisive influence on the next period in the history of philosophy.
Immanuel Kant is considered the father of the philosophical system called critical philosophy.
Although Immanuel Kant lived a quiet, calm and orderly life, he enjoyed being with people very much. He hardly traveled, and earned a legendary reputation for being always on time. It is said that people who see Kant walking in front of their windows early in the morning can adjust their clocks accordingly.
Immanuel Kant was born and has always lived in the East Prussian town of Königsberg (Kaliningrad). He gave private lessons to students for several years during his university education. He was influenced by Leibniz and Wolff during his education. After receiving his associate professor degree in 1755, he started to give lectures in various social sciences at the university.
Kant initially wrote in the fields of physics and astronomy. In 1755 he wrote the work “Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens”. He was appointed to the chair of logic and metaphysics in Königsberg in 1770, and after 1770 he developed his critical philosophy under the influence of Hume and Rousseau.
Kant, who brought epistemology to the fore in accordance with the development course of modern philosophy, was primarily influenced by Hume. In his own words, Hume was the philosopher who awakened him from his dogmatic slumber and reshaped his research in speculative philosophy.
On the other hand, he determined that Descartes’ rationality also contained some positive aspects, and was fascinated by the way our minds worked when dealing with mathematics. Kant was further influenced by science, especially physics, which made spectacular advances in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
For Kant, science is a universal discipline whose premises are precise and whose methods can only be questioned when a philosophical skepticism like Hume’s is adopted.
According to Kant, a scientist, on the one hand, accepts the conclusions of his predecessors; Again, when a scientist undertakes new research in addition to these accepted results, he uses experimental methods. Science is unbiased and objective.
On the other hand, the method of science, especially modern physics developed by Newton, which had very successful results, developed by surpassing both rationalism and empiricism, according to Kant. In other words, the science of physics continues its development by falsifying both the results of rationalism and the results of empiricism.
Accordingly, rationalism, which takes mathematics, which is considered to be the most robust model of knowledge, as an example, reaches a priori conclusions about the things themselves by merely connecting thoughts, without turning to the things themselves, without making contact with the things themselves.
However, physics, using mathematics, turns to the things themselves and successfully establishes the contact with the things themselves, which cannot be established by rationalism.
According to Kant, the empiricism of the English philosopher Hume adopted a skeptical attitude regarding causality, arguing that we can never know with certainty that the same effect will always follow from a given cause. However, the science of physics, which has achieved very successful results, is almost entirely based on the principle of causality.
In this context, Kant thought that his task was to ground the science, especially physical science, which could not be explained and justified by both rationalism and empiricism, and to find out how the human mind works when he thinks scientifically.
In other words, he believed that his first and fundamental mission in philosophy was to ground science and then to defend the rationality of morality and religion.
However, this is no easy task, as science and religion have been in a fierce struggle against each other for centuries, and science is on its way to an absolute victory over the authority of religion. This victory, according to Kant, is good and positive from the point of view of science, but a disaster from the point of view of morality and religion.
Immanuel Kant is known for his duty ethic.
It is undoubtedly a good thing that science gains autonomy in the face of religion’s interventions, but the victory of science is a real disaster for humanity, from the point of view of religion, if this means the grounding and meaninglessness of all non-scientific beliefs, religion and morality.
Kant, then, not only had to ground religion, science, and morality, but he had to show what it meant to be a rational being.
In order to achieve this aim, he took the elements that he deems important from both Descartes’ rationalism and Hume’s empiricism, using transcendental epistemological