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UCI EUROST 10 - Euro Studies Class 17

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Professor Smith European Studies Department Europe Studies 10 European History Course Code: 24000 ● What is Enlightenment? ○ Immanuel Kant ○ The Three Critiques ○ “Public” vs “Private” reason ○ The “Public Sphere” in political theory ○ 1784 ■ The publication date of Kant’s essay “what is enlightenment” ○ Foundations laid by the Protestant Reformation, the dawn of the scientific revolution, a new humanist turn to reason, the birth of the nation state, and the rise of capitalism (the bourgeoisie) ● What we will cover and not cover… ○ Not a general overview of the enlightenment as a movement from approx. 1680 to 1800 ■ Included major figures like Leibniz, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Hume ● Associated with the “age of reason” ● Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) ○ Author of the three “critiques” ○ Critique of Pure Reason ○ Critique of Practical Reason ○ Critique of Judgement ○ Kant wrote that he was introducing a kind of “copernican turn” in philosophy ■ In many ways he brought about a “paradigm shift” ● Such that old problems came to be looked at in entirely new ways ● “Critique” ○ Kant did not use this word as we might namely, in the sense of a (negative) evaluation of something ○ Rather, he meant that in each case he was looking at the special nature and limits of particular aspects of our intellects ■ He sees the need to make fundamental distinctions, especially between nature (science), morality, and art ○ The first Critique addressed “epistemology”, i.e., what can we know and how do we know it? Can we have scientific knowledge? ○ The second critique addressed “ethics”, i.e., how ought we to act? (“practical philosophy”) ○ The third critique addressed (mostly) “aesthetics, i.e., what is the unique experience we have of beauty in nature and art” ● The problem Kant needed to address: skepticism (doubt) about knowledge ○ “The sun warms the stone”○ How is such a statement possible? ○ I see the sun and I feel the warmth of the stone ○ But where do I see “causality” ○ David Hume (Scottish Empiricist) said there is no causality, just habitual connections ○ Kant said: we bring the concept of causality to the experience ○ This was his “copernican turn” ● Critique of Pure Reason ○ 1781/1787 ○ Knowledge of nature ○ Role of the “understanding” (“theoretical” reason) in our (scientific) knowledge of nature ○ Whatever can “show up” or “appear” to us as a possible object of experience (=Nature) falls under our “forms of intuition” (space and time) and the “categories of the understanding” (e.g., number, causality) ○ That is, our minds contribute basic forms and concepts to the empirical sense data in order to produce knowledge ○ To go back to our example: “the sun causes the stone to get warm” ○ The concept (“category”) of causality is a necessary condition that we bring to our experience of the world ■ This is called “a priori” in philosophy ● It is not derived from experience (of the sun and stone) but is prior to that experience ○ As well as number (quantity), necessity, possibility…(there are 12 categories) ● That is… ○ It is a precondition of all experience (of nature) that objects are in space and time, and are connected by causality, have a number, etc ○ I can’t say: ■ “I see something but it’s not one or two or three...” or: “I see something and it does not have a cause...” ○ I might not know the specific cause (yet), but if I experience it, it must have a cause ○ Unless i’m the mulder from the x-files ● Kant’s goal here was: ○ To provide a firm foundation for the natural sciences (the mathematical study of nature and basic concepts, esp. causality) ○ But, if everything we experience falls under these categories, how can there be both all pervasive causality and free will ■ And what about god? ○ We just saw that all objects of experience in nature are necessarily subsumed under categories (number, causality, space, time, etc) ○ What about god and our free will? ○ In a crucial sense, for Kant, they are not objects of experience■ If they were, then they would be subsumed under the forms of intuition (space and time) and the categories ● And that would be odd ○ Theoretical reason ■ Nature, what “appears” to us, what can be known under the “categories” (causality, number, etc.) ○ Practical reason ■ God and the free will ● They cannot be known under the categories ○ But they can be “known” in some other way ○ Note: kant therefore rejects all “proofs” for the existence of god - recall descartes ■ Why? ○ Because god can’t be an object of our (theoretical) knowledge like other things ○ If god were, tehn e.g., god would have a cause and would be locatable in space and time ○ But we can “know” god (and justify free will) in another way by means of morality ■ How? ● What about ethics? ● Critique of Practical Reason ○ Knowledge of morality ○ Realm of will/god ○ They are not objects of knowledge but we can “know” them in some other way ■ We can know, using “practical reason”, what we ought to do ○ What I “ought” to do is, by definition, not a part of nature ■ The “is=ought distinction” ○ By definition, what I ought to do is not something present in the world ■ I need to bring it about ○ That is, we have in us a sense of the “moral law” ■ Our conscience (kant was a pietist/lutheran) ○ But not just a “sense” of what is right ■ We can even formulate an absolute moral principle ○ The “categorical imperative” ■ Act according to maxims (rules) that could be made universal law (without contradiction) ● For example… ○ Is it okay to lie (if I can get away with it)? ○ What if I made that a universal law? ○ Then there would be no possibility of distinguishing what is true and so we encounter a contradiction ○ Hence, we may never tell a lie ○ If you make this principle (imperative) the sole reason for your actions, you will act morally ■ You will determine your actions according to what is right, what is your duty● “Deontological” ethics ○ From Greek deon = duty ○ To act ethically is to do what is right because it is right ○ Vs. “consequentialism” ○


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