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Kant and Hubbard

Discussion in 'Evaluating and Criticising Scientology' started by Vinaire, Sep 27, 2007.

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  1. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    I shall be quoting from Will Durant's essay "Immanuel Kant and German Idealism" from his book "The Story of Philosophy." I shall be summarizing each paragraph, and then commenting on it comparing the data to LRH's data as and when relevant.


    [Notes following each paragraph below provide a summary of the contents of that paragraph.]

    [Notes following that summary provide comments on the contents of that paragraph.]


    THE ROADS TO KANT

    NEVER has a system of thought so dominated an epoch as the philosophy of Immanuel Kant dominated the thought of the nineteenth century. After almost three-score years of quiet and secluded development, the uncanny Scot of Konigsberg roused the world from its “dogmatic slumber,” in 1781, with his famous Critique of Pure Reason; and from that year to our own the “critical philosophy” has ruled the speculative roost of Europe. The philosophy of Schopenhauer rose to brief power on the romantic wave that broke in 1848; the theory of evolution swept everything before it after 1859; and the exhilarating iconoclasm of Nietzsche won the center of the philosophic stage as the century came to a close. But these were secondary and surface developments; underneath them the strong and steady current of the Kantian movement flowed on, always wider and deeper; until today its essential theorems are the axioms of all mature philosophy. Nietzsche takes Kant for granted, and passes on; Schopenhauer calls the Critique “the most important work in German literature,” and considers any man a child until he has understood Kant; Spencer could not understand Kant, and for precisely that reason, perhaps, fell a little short of the fullest philosophic stature. To adapt Hegel’s phrase about Spinoza: to be a philosopher, one must first have been a Kantian.

    [SUMMARY: Underneath all philosophical developments since 1781 the strong and steady current of the Kantian movement has flowed on, always wider and deeper; until today its essential theorems are the axioms of all mature philosophy.]

    [COMMENT: The twentieth century philosopher, L. Ron Hubbard (1911 – 1986) greatly improved upon the philosophy of Kant by contributing the idea of an immaterial, transcendental source of life to the field of philosophy.]


    Therefore let us become Kantians at once. But it cannot be done at once, apparently; for in philosophy, as in politics, the longest distance between two points is a straight line. Kant is the last person in the world whom we should read on Kant. Our philosopher is like and unlike Jehovah; he speaks through clouds, but without the illumination of the lightning-flash. He disdains examples and the concrete; they would have made his book too long, he argued. (So abbreviated, it contains some 8oo pages). Only professional philosophers were expected to read him; and these would not need illustrations. Yet when Kant gave the MS of the Critique to his friend Herz, a man much versed in speculation, Herz returned it half read, saying he feared insanity if he went on with it. What shall we do with such a philosopher?

    [Kant’s work is very difficult to read.]


    Let us approach him deviously and cautiously, beginning at a safe and respectful distance from him; let us start at various points on the circumference of the subject, and then grope our way towards that subtle centre where the most difficult of all philosophies has its secret and its treasure.

    [Let’s approach Kant on a gradient.]

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  2. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    FROM VOLTAIRE TO KANT

    The road here is from theoretical reason without religious faith, to religious faith without theoretical reason. Voltaire means the Enlightenment, the Encyclopedia, the Age of Reason. The warm enthusiasm of Francis Bacon had inspired all Europe (except Rousseau) with unquestioning confidence in the power of science and logic to solve at last all problems, and illustrate the “infinite perfectibility” of man. Condorcet, in prison, wrote his Historical Tableau of the Progress of the Human Spirit (1793), which spoke the sublime trust of the eighteenth century in knowledge and reason, and asked no other key to Utopia than universal education. Even the steady Germans had their Aufklarung, their rationalist, Christian Wolff, and their hopeful Lessing. And the excitable Parisians of the Revolution dramatized this apotheosis of the intellect by worshipping the “Goddess of Reason,”—Impersonated by a charming lady of the streets.

    [Voltaire means the Enlightenment, the Encyclopedia, the Age of Reason.]

    In Spinoza this faith in reason had begotten a magnificent structure of geometry and logic: the universe was a mathematical system, and could be described a priori, by pure deduction from accepted axioms. In Hobbes the rationalism of Bacon had become an uncompromising atheism and materialism; again nothing was to exist but “atoms and the void.” From Spinoza to Diderot the wrecks of faith lay in the wake of advancing reason: one by one the old dogmas disappeared; the Gothic cathedral of medieval belief, with its delightful details and grotesques, collapsed; the ancient God fell from his throne along with the Bourbons, heaven faded into mere sky, and hell became only an emotional expression. Helvetius and Holbach made atheism so fashionable in the salons of France that even the clergy took it up; and La Mettrie went to peddle it in Germany, under the auspices of Prussia’s king. When, in 1784, Lessing shocked Jacobi by announcing himself a follower of Spinoza, it was a sign that faith had reached its nadir, and that Reason was triumphant.

    [From Spinoza to Diderot the wrecks of faith lay in the wake of advancing reason.]

    David Hume, who played so vigorous a role in the Enlightenment assault on supernatural belief, said that when reason is against a man, he will soon turn against reason. Religious faith and hope, voiced in a hundred thousand steeples rising out of the soil of Europe everywhere, were too deeply rooted in the institutions of society and in the heart of man, to permit their ready
    194 surrender to the hostile verdict of reason; it was inevitable that this faith and this hope, so condemned, would question the competence of the judge, and would call for an examination of reason as well as of religion. What was this intellect that proposed to destroy with a syllogism the beliefs of thousands of years and millions of men? Was it infallible? Or was it one human organ like any other, with strictest limits to its functions and its powers? The time had come to judge this judge, to examine this ruthless Revolutionary Tribunal that was dealing out death so lavishly to every ancient hope. The time had come for a critique of reason.

    [The time had come for a critique of reason itself.]

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  3. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    FROM LOCKE TO KANT

    The way had been prepared for such an examination by the work of Locke, Berkeley and Hume; and yet, apparently, their results too were hostile to religion.

    John Locke (1632—1704) had proposed to apply to psychology the inductive tests and methods of Francis Bacon; in his great Essay on Human Understanding (1689) reason, for the first time in modern thought, had turned in upon itself, and philosophy had begun to scrutinize the instrument which it so long had trusted. This introspective movement in philosophy grew step by step with the introspective novel as developed by Richardson and Rousseau; just as the sentimental and emotional color of Clarissa Harlowe and La Nouvelle Héloise had its counterpart in the philosophic exaltation of instinct and feeling above intellect and reason.

    [Locke proposed to apply to psychology the inductive tests and methods of Francis Bacon, thus, turning reason upon itself.]

    How does knowledge arise? Have we, as some good people suppose, innate ideas, as, for example, of right and wrong, and God,—ideas inherent in the mind from birth, prior to all experience? Anxious theologians, worried lest belief in the Deity should disappear because God had not yet been seen in any telescope, had thought that faith and morals might be strengthened if their central and basic ideas were shown to be inborn in every normal soul. But Locke, good Christian though he was, ready to argue most eloquently for “The Reasonableness of Christianity,” could not accept these suppositions; he announced, quietly, that all our knowledge comes from experience and through our senses—that “there is nothing in the mind except what was first in the senses.” The mind is at birth a clean sheet, a tabula rasa; and sense-experience writes upon it in a thousand ways, until sensation begets memory and memory begets ideas. All of which seemed to lead to the startling conclusion that since only material things can affect our sense, we know nothing but matter, and must accept a materialistic philosophy. If sensations are the stuff of thought, the hasty argued, matter must be the material of mind.

    [Locke announced that all our knowledge comes from experience and through our senses—that there is nothing in the mind except what was first in the senses. The mind is at birth a clean sheet, a tabula rasa; and sense-experience writes upon it in a thousand ways, until sensation begets memory and memory begets ideas.]

    [IMPORTANT: This led to the conclusion that since only material things can affect our sense, we know nothing but matter, and must accept a materialistic philosophy.]

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  4. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    Not at all, said Bishop George Berkeley (1684—1753); this Lockian analysis of knowledge proves rather that matter does not exist except as a form of mind. It was a brilliant idea—to refute materialism by the simple expedient of showing that we know of no such thing as matter; in all Europe only a Gaelic imagination could have conceived this metaphysical magic. But see how obvious it is, said the Bishop: has not Locke told us that all our knowledge is derived from sensation? Therefore all our knowledge of anything is merely our sensations of it, and the ideas derived from these sensations. A “thing” is merely a bundle of perceptions—i. e., classified and interpreted sensations. You protest that your breakfast is much more substantial than a bundle of perceptions; and that a hammer that teaches you carpentry through your thumb has a most magnificent materiality. But your breakfast is at first nothing but a congeries of sensations of sight and smell and touch; and then of taste; and then of internal comfort and warmth. Likewise, the hammer is a bundle of sensations of color, size, shape, weight, touch, etc.; its reality for you is not in its materiality, but in the sensations that come from your thumb. If you had no senses, the hammer would not exist for you at all; it might strike your dead thumb forever and yet win from you not the slightest attention. It is only a bundle of sensations, or a bundle of memories; it is a condition of the mind. All matter, so far as we know it, is a mental condition; and the only reality that we know directly is mind, So much for materialism.

    [Not at all, said Bishop George Berkeley; this Lockian analysis of knowledge proves rather that matter does not exist except as a form of mind. All matter, so far as we know it, is a mental condition; and the only reality that we know directly is mind.]

    But the Irish Bishop had reckoned without the Scotch sceptic. David Hume (1711—1776) at the age of twenty-six shocked all Christendom with his highly heretical Treatise on Human Nature,—one of the classics and marvels of modern philosophy. We know the mind, said Hume, only as we know matter: by perception, though it be in this case internal. Never do we perceive any such entity as the “mind”; we perceive merely separate ideas, memories, feelings, etc. The mind is not a substance, an organ that has ideas; it is only an abstract name for the series of ideas; the perceptions, memories and feelings are the mind; there is no observable “soul” behind the processes of thought. The result appeared to be that Hume had as effectually destroyed mind as Berkeley had destroyed matter. Nothing was left; and philosophy found itself in the midst of ruins of its own making. No wonder that a wit advised the abandonment of the controversy, saying: “No matter, never mind.”

    [But David Hume then destroyed the idea of mind too by observing that we know the mind only as we know matter---by perception. Mind is only an abstract name for perceptions, memories and feelings. There is no observable “soul” behind the processes of thought.]

    [COMMENT: The denial of “matter” and “mind” does not automatically lead to a denial of the “soul.” If we know matter and mind only through perception then what is perception, and who or what perceives.]

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  5. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    But Hume was not content to destroy orthodox religion by dissipating the concept of soul; he proposed also to destroy science by dissolving the concept of law. Science and philosophy alike, since Bruno and Galileo, had been making much of natural law, of “necessity” in the sequence of effect upon cause; Spinoza had reared his majestic metaphysics upon this proud conception. But observe, said Hume, that we never perceive causes, or laws; we perceive events and sequences, and infer causation and necessity; a law is not an eternal and necessary decree to which events are subjected, but merely a mental summary and shorthand of our kaleidoscopic experience; we have no guarantee that the sequences hitherto observed will re-appear unaltered in future experience. “Law” is an observed custom in the sequence of events; but there is no “necessity” in custom.

    [DEFINITION: Here “necessity” means “the quality of following inevitably from logical, physical, or moral laws.”]

    [Hume asserted that we never perceive causes, or laws; we perceive events and sequences, and infer causation and necessity; a law is not an eternal and necessary decree to which events are subjected, but merely a mental summary and shorthand of our kaleidoscopic experience.]

    [COMMENT: Hume is assuming sensation to precede all knowledge. The question does not even occur to him, “Where does sensation come from?” He seems to be taking the presence of sensation for granted just like the presence of the physical universe is taken for granted. Western philosophers seem to have left such questions for religion to handle.]

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  6. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    Only mathematical formulas have necessity—they alone are inherently and unchangeably true; and this merely because such formulae are tautological—the predicate is already contained in the subject; “3 x 3 = 9” is an eternal and necessary truth only because “3 x 3” and “9” are one and the same thing differently expressed; the predicate adds nothing to the subject. Science, then, must limit itself strictly to mathematics and direct experiment; it cannot trust to unverified deduction from “laws.” “When we run though libraries, persuaded of these principles,” writes our uncanny sceptic, “what havoc must we make! If we take in our hands any volume of school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, ‘Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number?’ No. ‘Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence?’ No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”

    [Hume asserts that sensation has no inherent necessity. We perceive necessity as a summary of our experience. The exception is mathematics and direct experiment where no deductions are involved, and only tautology exists.]

    [COMMENT: Hume seems to be saying that reality is essentially tautological. This sounds similar to Hubbard’s, “We perceive what we put there.” But then Hume does not grant any causativeness to the individual. Hubbard has brought clarity to this subject by determining that all cause, ultimately, rests in the individual.]

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  7. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    Imagine how the ears of the orthodox tingled at these words. Here the epistemological tradition—the inquiry into the nature, sources, and validity of knowledge—had ceased to be a support to religion; the sword with which Bishop Berkeley had slain the dragon of materialism had turned against the immaterial mind and the immortal soul; and in the turmoil science itself had suffered severe injury. No wonder that when Immanuel Kant, in 1775, read a German translation of the works of David Hume, he was shocked by these results, and was roused, as he said, from the “dogmatic slumber” in which he had assumed without question the essentials of religion and the bases of science. Were both science and faith to be surrendered to the sceptic? What could be done to save them?

    [The sword with which Bishop Berkeley had slain the dragon of materialism had turned against the immaterial mind and the immortal soul; and in the turmoil science itself had suffered severe injury.]

    [COMMENT: Kant must have felt the erroneous stretch in Hume’s arguments immediately. But it was a matter of working out the details in a credible manner to the rest of the world.]

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  8. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    FROM ROUSSEAU TO KANT

    To the argument of the Enlightenment, that reason makes for materialism, Berkeley had essayed the answer that matter does not exist. But this had led, in Hume, to the retort that by the same token mind does not exist either. Another answer was possible—that reason is no final test. There are some theoretical conclusions against which our whole being rebels; we have no right to presume that these demands of our nature must be stifled at the dictates of a logic which is after all but the recent construction of a frail and deceptive part of us. How often our instincts and feelings push aside the little syllogisms which would like us to behave like geometrical figures, and make love with mathematical precision! Sometimes, no doubt,—and particularly in the novel complexities and artificialities of urban life,—reason is the better guide; but in the great crises of life, and in the great problems of conduct and belief, we trust to our feelings rather than to our diagrams. If reason is against religion, so much the worse for reason!

    [To the argument of the Enlightenment, that reason makes for materialism, Berkeley had essayed the answer that matter does not exist. But this had led, in Hume, to the retort that by the same token mind does not exist either. Another answer was possible—that reason is no final test.]

    [COMMENT: Reason depends on fixed associations at the most fundamental level. What is ignored is how such associations come to be in the first place. “Is there an element of self-determinism somewhere?”]

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  9. Nec_V20

    Nec_V20 Patron Meritorious

    From the Rolling Stones

    "I Kant get no Sartresfaction"

    From The Tams:

    Hegel don't bother me
     
  10. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    Such, in effect, was the argument of Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712— 1778), who almost alone, in France, fought the materialism and atheism of the Enlightenment. What a fate for a delicate and neurotic nature, to have been cast amidst the robust rationalism and the almost brutal hedonism of the Encyclopedists! Rousseau had been a sickly youth, driven into brooding and introversion by his physical weakness and the unsympathetic attitude of his parents and teachers; he had escaped from the stings of reality into a hothouse world of dreams, where the victories denied him in life and love could be had for the imagining. His Confessions reveal an unreconciled complex of the most refined sentimentality with an obtuse sense of decency and honor; and through it all an unsullied conviction of his moral superiority.

    [Rousseau was a dreamer. He was self-determined.]

    [COMMENT: Rousseau questioned the process of reasoning itself, which everyone was taking for granted as being superior method for discovering any truth. He was self-determined in the sense that he went against the prevailing group agreement. His thoughts were determined by him and were not due to some conditioning. His writings inspired Kant.]

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  11. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    In 1749 the Academy of Dijon offered a prize for an essay on the question, “Has the Progress of the Sciences and the Arts Contributed to Corrupt, or to Purify, Morals?” Rousseau’s essay won the prize. Culture is much more of an evil than a good, he argued—with all the intensity and sincerity of one who, finding culture out of his reach, proposed to prove it worthless. Consider the frightful disorders which printing has produced in Europe. Wherever philosophy arises, the moral health of the nation decays. “It was even a saying among the philosophers themselves that since learned men had appeared, honest men were nowhere to be found.” “I venture to declare that a state of reflection is contrary to nature; and that a thinking man” (an “intellectual,” as we would now say) “is a depraved animal.” It would be better to abandon our over-rapid development of the intellect, and to aim rather at training the heart and the affections. Education does not make a man good; it only makes him clever—usually for mischief. Instinct and feeling are more trustworthy than reason.

    [Rousseau asserted that instinct and feeling are more trustworthy than reason.]

    [COMMENT: Reason cannot be the most basic element. Reason must align itself around some self-determined goal, which then directs it. That self-determined goal would be more basic and intimate than any possible reason.]

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  12. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    In his famous novel, La Nouvelle Héloise (1761), Rousseau illustrated at great length the superiority of feeling to intellect; sentimentality became the fashion among the ladies of the aristocracy, and among some of the men; France was for a century watered with literary, and then with actual, tears; and the great movement of the European intellect in the eighteenth century gave way to the romantic emotional literature of 1789—1848. The current carried with it a strong revival of religious feeling; the ecstasies of Chateaubriand’s Ge’nie du Christianisme (1802) were merely an echo of the “Confession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar” which Rousseau included in his epochal essay on education—Emile (1762). The argument of the “Confession” was briefly this: that though reason might be against belief in God and immortality, feeling was overwhelmingly in their favor; why should we not trust in instinct here, rather than yield to the despair of an arid scepticism?

    [ROUSSEAU: Though reason might be against belief in God and immortality, feeling was overwhelmingly in their favor; why should we not trust in instinct here, rather than yield to the despair of an arid scepticism?]

    [COMMENT: “God” essentially symbolizes the inevitability of self-determinism in the equation of life.]

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  13. Alanzo

    Alanzo Bardo Tulpa

    Is this a philosophical treatise for Truthiness?

    Why yes, I think it is!

    "If it feels true, it really is true!"

    From Truthiness on Wikipedia

    "Truthiness is a satirical term created by television comedian Stephen Colbert to describe things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts.[1] Colbert created this definition of the word during the inaugural episode (October 17, 2005) of his satirical television program The Colbert Report, as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd". It was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society and for 2006 by Merriam-Webster.[2][3] By using the term as part of his satirical routine, Colbert sought to criticize the use of "truthiness" as an appeal to emotion and tool of rhetoric in contemporary socio-political discourse.[4] He particularly applied it to U.S. President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and decision to invade Iraq in 2003.[5]"
     
  14. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    Looks like Colbert simply gave form to an ancient idea.

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  15. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    When Kant read Emile he omitted his daily walk under the linden trees, in order to finish the book at once. It was an event in his life to find here another man who was groping his way out of the darkness of atheism, and who boldly affirmed the priority of feeling over theoretical reason in these supra-sensual concerns. Here at last was the second half of the answer to irreligion; now finally all the scoffers and doubters would be scattered. To put these threads of argument together, to unite the ideas of Berkeley and Hume with the feelings of Rousseau, to save religion from reason, and yet at the same time to save science from scepticism— this was the mission of Immanuel Kant.

    [MISSION OF KANT: To unite the ideas of Berkeley and Hume with the feelings of Rousseau… to save religion from reason, and yet at the same time to save science from skepticism.]

    [HUBBARD: Reason is essential but is must be guided by self-determinism. The individual loses when reason becomes mechanical.]

    But who was Immanuel Kant?

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  16. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    KANT HIMSELF

    He was born at Konigsberg, Prussia, in 1724. Except for a short period of tutoring in a nearby village, this quiet little professor, who loved so much to lecture on the geography and ethnology of distant lands, never left his native city. He came of a poor family, which had left Scotland some hundred years before Immanuel’s birth. His mother was a Pietist,— i. e., a member of a religious sect which, like the Methodists of England, insisted on the full strictness and rigor of religious practice and belief. Our philosopher was so immersed in religion from morning to night that on the one hand he experienced a reaction which led him to stay away from church all through his adult life; and on the other hand he kept to the end the sombre stamp of the German Puritan, and felt, as he grew old, a great longing to preserve for himself and the world the essentials, at least, of the faith so deeply inculcated in him by his mother.

    [Kant felt a great longing to preserve for himself, and the world, the essentials of the faith so deeply inculcated in him by his mother.]

    But a young man growing up in the age of Frederick and Voltaire could not insulate himself from the sceptical current of the time. Kant was profoundly influenced even by the men whom later he aimed to refute, and perhaps most of all by his favorite enemy, Hume; we shall see later the remarkable phenomenon of a philosopher transcending the conservatism of his maturity and returning in almost his last work, and at almost the age of seventy, to a virile liberalism that would have brought him martyrdom had not his age and his fame protected him. Even in the midst of his work of religious restoration we hear, with surprising frequency, the tones of another Kant whom we might almost mistake for a Voltaire. Schopenhauer thought it “not the least merit of Frederick the Great, that under his government Kant could develop himself, and dared to publish his Critique of Pure Reason. Hardly under any other government would a salaried professor” (therefore, in Germany, a government employee) “have ventured such a thing. Kant was obliged to promise the immediate successor of the great King that he would write no more.” It was in appreciation of this freedom that Kant dedicated the Critique to Zedlitz, Frederick’s far-sighted and progressive Minister of Education.

    [Kant was profoundly influenced even by the men whom later he aimed to refute. Quite daringly he transcended the conservatism of his maturity and returned in his later years to a virile liberalism.]

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  17. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    In 1755 Kant began his work as private lecturer at the University of Konigsberg. For fifteen years he was left in this lowly post; twice his applications for a professorship were refused. At last, in1770, he was made professor of logic and metaphysics. After many years of experience as a teacher, he wrote a textbook of pedagogy, of which he used to say that it contained many excellent precepts, none of which he had ever applied. Yet he was perhaps a better teacher than writer; and two generations of students learned to love him. One of his practical principles was to attend most to those pupils who were of middle ability; the dunces, he said, were beyond all help, and the geniuses would help themselves.

    [Kant was perhaps a better teacher than writer; and two generations of students learned to love him.]

    Nobody expected him to startle the world with a new metaphysical system; to startle anybody seemed the very last crime that this timid and modest professor would commit. He himself had no expectations in that line; at the age of forty-two he wrote: “I have the fortune to be a lover of metaphysics; but my mistress has shown me few favors as yet.” He spoke in those days of the “bottomless abyss of metaphysics,” and of metaphysics as “a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse,” strewn with many a philosophic wreck. He could even attack the metaphysicians as those who dwelt on the high towers of speculation, “where there is usually a great deal of wind.” He did not foresee that the greatest of all metaphysical tempests was to be of his own blowing.

    [Nobody expected Kant to startle the world with a new metaphysical system; to startle anybody seemed the very last crime that this timid and modest professor would commit.]

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  18. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    During these quiet years his interests were rather physical than metaphysical. He wrote on planets, earthquakes, fire, winds, ether, volcanoes, geography, ethnology, and a hundred other things of that sort, not usually confounded with metaphysics. His Theory of the Heavens (1755) proposed something very similar to the nebular hypothesis of Laplace, and attempted a mechanical explanation of all sidereal motion and development. All the planets, Kant thought, have been or will be inhabited; and those that are farthest from the sun, having had the longest period of growth, have probably a higher species of intelligent organisms than any yet produced on our planet. His Anthropology (put together in 1798 from the lectures of a life-time) suggested the possibility of the animal origin of man. Kant argued that if the human infant, in early ages when man was still largely at the mercy of wild animals, had cried as loudly upon entering the world as it does now, it would have been found out and devoured by beasts of prey; that in all probability, therefore, man was very different at first from what he had become under civilization. And then Kant went on, subtly: “How nature brought about such a development, and by what causes it was aided, we know not. This remark carries us a long way. It suggests the thought whether the present period of history, on the occasion of some great physical revolution, may not be followed by a third, when an orang-outang or a chimpanzee would develop the organs which serve for walking, touching, speaking, into the articulated structure of a human being, with a central organ for the use of understanding, and gradually advance under the training of social institutions.” Was this use of the future tense Kant’s cautiously indirect way of putting forth his view of how man had really developed from the beast?

    [During these quiet years his interests were rather physical than metaphysical. He wrote on planets, earthquakes, fire, winds, ether, volcanoes, geography, ethnology, and a hundred other things of that sort, not usually confounded with metaphysics.]

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  19. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    So we see the slow growth of this simple little man, hardly five feet tall, modest, shrinking, and yet containing in his head, or generating there, the most far-reaching revolution in modern philosophy. Kant’s life, says one biographer, passed like the most regular of regular verbs. “Rising, coffee-drinking, writing, lecturing, dining, walking,” says Heine,—”each had its set time. And when Immanuel Kant, in his gray coat, cane in hand, appeared at the door of his house, and strolled towards the small avenue of linden trees which is still called ‘The Philosopher’s Walk,’ the neighbors knew it was exactly half-past-three by the clock. So he promenaded up and down, during all seasons; and when the weather was gloomy, or the gray clouds threatened rain, his old servant Lampe was seen plodding anxiously after, with a large umbrella under his arm, like a symbol of Prudence.”

    [So we see the slow growth of this simple little man, hardly five feet tall, modest, shrinking, and yet containing in his head, or generating there, the most far-reaching revolution in modern philosophy.]

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  20. Vinaire

    Vinaire Sponsor

    He was so frail in physique that he had to take severe measures to regimen himself; he thought it safer to do this without a doctor; so he lived to the age of eighty. At seventy he wrote an essay “On the Power of the Mind to Master the Feeling of Illness by Force of Resolution.” One of his favorite principles was to breathe only through the nose, especially when out-doors; hence, in autumn, winter and spring, he would permit no one to talk to him on his daily walks; better silence than a cold. He applied philosophy even to holding up his stockings—by bands passing up into his trousers’ pockets, where they ended in springs contained in small boxes.’ He thought everything out carefully before acting; and therefore remained a bachelor all his life long. Twice he thought of offering his hand to a lady; but he reflected so long that in one case the lady married a bolder man, and in the other the lady removed from Konigsberg before the philosopher could make up his mind. Perhaps he felt, like Nietzsche, that marriage would hamper him in the honest pursuit of truth; “a married man,” Talleyrand used to say, “will do anything for money.” And Kant had written, at twenty-two, with all the fine enthusiasm of omnipotent youth: “I have already fixed upon the line which I am resolved to keep. I will enter on my course, and nothing shall prevent me from pursuing it.”

    [Kant thought everything out carefully before acting; and therefore remained a bachelor all his life.]

    And so he persevered, through poverty and obscurity, sketching and writing and rewriting his magnum opus for almost fifteen years; finishing it only in 1781, when he was fifty-seven years old. Never did a man mature so slowly; and then again, never did a book so startle and upset the philosophic world.

    [Kant persevered, through poverty and obscurity, sketching and writing and rewriting his magnum opus for almost fifteen years; finishing it only in 1781, when he was fifty-seven years old.]

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