Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another Objectivist Superstition Regarding Kant

"Immanuel Kant was a defender of religious notions against empirical science."

First of all, Immanuel Kant was a scientist, he wrote about the nature of the solar system and nebular phenomena and made progress in understanding them.

With regard to Kant's criticisms of science, "scientific empiricism" would be better termed "materialism." Materialism is a theory which tends to stifle any idea of autonomous freedom of the will and thus kills morality dead, as dead as a rock. Materialism is a philosophy which treats humans as things.

On the other hand, Kant was also against what he called "spiritism," a theory which neglects the material side of human nature and considers only the spiritual side. For Kant, man is both a material and spiritual being, but he says nothing with regard to the spirit or soul separating from the material body at death. It is rather a synthesis of mind and body here, both elements being given a fair shake within his philosophy.

This is seen in his CI of Humanity, the metaphysical integration which is THE VERY KEY to healing the ancient mind-body dichotomy is found in his practical moral imperative. To repeat, "we should never act in such a way that we treat Humanity, whether in ourselves or in others,
as a means only but always as an end in itself." I would emphasize the word ONLY, because this means that humanity (or yourself) can be treated as a (material) thing, but not ONLY as a thing but also as an end in itself.

What this says is that while we cannot PROVE that man is a synthesis of mind and body (the question remains an unanswerable antinomy for metaphysicians), we can, however, through following the CI of Humanity, actualize the mind-body synthesis in our everyday practical
living by treating the humanity in ourselves and others as both a thing and as an end in itself. In this way, while the mind-body dispute is not resolved theoretically, it is answerable practically
(the practical being traditionally synonymous with the moral). Thus the key to resolving ancient metaphysical disputes lies in the moral realm of reasoning and not in the theoretical. The theoretical side of Kant's philosophy found in the CPR is aimed toward this practical solution.

The CI of Humanity is an effective way of synthesizing (integrating) the mind-body aspects of persons within a single formula. As body, they are usable as things, but NEVER ONLY as things, but also as a thing, a body, with a mind, with reason and will, and thus, always as ends in themselves.

It is this CI of Humanity which has turned many philosophers' minds toward Kant and away from merely materialistic outlooks, of which Objectivism could debatably be deemed only one of many.

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