First, it follows from the basic idea of having a will that to act atall is to act on some principle, or what Kant calls a maxim. A maximis a subjective rule or policy of action: it says what you are doingand why. Kant gives as examples the maxims “to let noinsult pass unavenged” and “to increase my wealth by everysafe means” (5:19, 27). We may be unaware of our maxims, we maynot act consistently on the same maxims, and our maxims may not beconsistent with one another. But Kant holds that since we are rationalbeings our actions always aim at some sort of end or goal, which ourmaxim expresses. The goal of an action may be something as basic asgratifying a desire, or it may be something more complex such asbecoming a doctor or a lawyer. In any case, the causes of our actionsare never our desires or impulses, on Kant's view. If I act to gratifysome desire, then I choose to act on a maxim that specifies thegratification of that desire as the goal of my action. For example, ifI desire some coffee, then I may act on the maxim to go to a cafe andbuy some coffee in order to gratify that desire.
The Two Dogmas of Empiricism, Willard Van Orman Quine.
Difficulty level: medium
Who to read first: Kant, Wittgenstein
Quine assumes some familiarity with previous conceptions of epistemology, such as Kant and the logical positivists. Quine attempts to dispel the idea that there is a clear split between analytic and synthetic knowledge, and that all knowledge is reducible. If you don't have a good idea what the analytic/synthetic split is, you probably shouldn't read this book yet.
What does Kant mean by good without"1.
Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche.
Difficulty level: hard
Who to read first: Kant, secondary sources on Nietzsche
Nietzsche is generally working off the background of Kant and other Enlightenment thinkers, but I think this is probably the most context-free of Nietzsche's works. Nietzsche is often misinterpreted, especially by beginners, so go through some summaries of him first to get an idea of what to look for in the text, and get a sense of how experts view him.
Kant answers in his 1784 essay “What is ..
The Enlightenment was a reaction to the rise and successes of modernscience in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The spectacularachievement of Newton in particular engendered widespread confidenceand optimism about the power of human reason to control nature and toimprove human life. One effect of this new confidence in reason wasthat traditional authorities were increasingly questioned. For whyshould we need political or religious authorities to tell us how tolive or what to believe, if each of us has the capacity to figure thesethings out for ourselves? Kant expresses this Enlightenment commitmentto the sovereignty of reason in the Critique:
Kant. What is Enlightenment - Columbia University
After 1770 Kant never surrendered the views that sensibility andunderstanding are distinct powers of cognition, that space and time aresubjective forms of human sensibility, and that moral judgments arebased on pure understanding (or reason) alone. But his embrace ofPlatonism in the Inaugural Dissertation was short-lived. He soon deniedthat our understanding is capable of insight into an intelligibleworld, which cleared the path toward his mature position in theCritique of Pure Reason (1781), according to which the understanding(like sensibility) supplies forms that structure our experience of thesensible world, to which human knowledge is limited, while theintelligible (or noumenal) world is strictly unknowable to us. Kantspent a decade working on the Critique of Pure Reason and publishednothing else of significance between 1770 and 1781. But its publicationmarked the beginning of another burst of activity that produced Kant'smost important and enduring works. Because early reviews of theCritique of Pure Reason were few and (in Kant's judgment)uncomprehending, he tried to clarify its main points in the muchshorter Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to ComeForward as a Science (1783). Among the major books that rapidlyfollowed are the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), Kant'smain work on the fundamental principle of morality; the MetaphysicalFoundations of Natural Science (1786), his main work on naturalphilosophy in what scholars call his critical period (1781–1798); thesecond and substantially revised edition of the Critique of Pure Reason(1787); the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), a fuller discussion oftopics in moral philosophy that builds on (and in some ways revises)the Groundwork; and the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790), whichdeals with aesthetics and teleology. Kant also published a number ofimportant essays in this period, including Idea for a Universal HistoryWith a Cosmopolitan Aim (1784) and Conjectural Beginning of HumanHistory (1786), his main contributions to the philosophy of history; AnAnswer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? (1784), which broachessome of the key ideas of his later political essays; and What Does itMean to Orient Oneself in Thinking? (1786), Kant's intervention in thepantheism controversy that raged in German intellectual circles afterF. H. Jacobi (1743–1819) accused the recently deceased G. E. Lessing(1729–1781) of Spinozism.
What is Enlightenment? – Immanuel Kant : the art of …
Here Kant entertains doubts about how a priori knowledge of anintelligible world would be possible. The position of the InauguralDissertation is that the intelligible world is independent of the humanunderstanding and of the sensible world, both of which (in differentways) conform to the intelligible world. But, leaving aside questionsabout what it means for the sensible world to conform to anintelligible world, how is it possible for the human understanding toconform to or grasp an intelligible world? If the intelligible world isindependent of our understanding, then it seems that we could grasp itonly if we are passively affected by it in some way. But for Kantsensibility is our passive or receptive capacity to be affected byobjects that are independent of us (2:392, A51/B75). So the only way wecould grasp an intelligible world that is independent of us is throughsensibility, which means that our knowledge of it could not be apriori. The pure understanding alone could at best enable us to formrepresentations of an intelligible world. But since these intellectualrepresentations would entirely “depend on our inner activity,” as Kantsays to Herz, we have no good reason to believe that they conform to anindependent intelligible world. Such a priori intellectualrepresentations could well be figments of the brain that do notcorrespond to anything independent of the human mind. In any case, itis completely mysterious how there might come to be a correspondencebetween purely intellectual representations and an independentintelligible world.