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Kant - Essay Example

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The bone of contention between empiricism and rationalism occurs within epistemology that is involved in the limits of knowledge, studying nature and sources. To this end, Kant’s contribution between empiricism and rationalism entails the application of the limits, powers of…
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Does Kant adequately solve the problems evident in the controversy between empiricism and rationalism? The bone of contention between empiricism and rationalism occurs within epistemology that is involved in the limits of knowledge, studying nature and sources. To this end, Kant’s contribution between empiricism and rationalism entails the application of the limits, powers of reason as well as his famous critiques of reason and judgment. Consequently, he offers a synthesis of empiricism and rationalism while disputing the idea that knowledge of the true world is discovered by way of reason or inferred from experience.
Kant believed that despite empiricists and rationalists following different paths, they all arrived at a similar sceptical dead end. Evidently, the rationalists had disregarded perception as utter confused thinking that consequently rendered their theories as mere speculation, impossible of verification or refute. On the other hand, empiricist who theorized that people have access to the actual world in perceptive sense, believed that what people perceive are ideas that manifest in persons through things outside of them. For example, ideas are manifestations of impressions. Consequently, individuals only know their own ideas (Lawhead, pp. 123)
According to Kant, he believes that people have access only to appearances. This does not imply access to illusory appearances. However, Kant believes that appearances provide people with the foundation of knowledge. Moreover, the mind contributes to experience due to understanding and the constituent pure categories. Moreover, an active role is played by the mind as well as its ability to superimpose experience on specific categories that result to knowledge. Kant further argues that people cannot know the ‘thing in itself’. To this end, he goes beyond implying the inaccessibility of ‘reality.’ Over and above this, he implies it is impossible to experience anything beyond the function of the mind.
Moreover, it justifies how people acquire knowledge. The basic difference between ‘extension’ and ‘mind’ contributes the problem as well backtracked to Descartes. The immaterial nature of the mind rouses the challenge of bridging the disconnect between the outside world and inner mind. Hume believes that mind is basically passive while Descartes believes that in aid in intellectual acts.
On the other hand, Kant simulates between empiricism and rationalism. Foremost, he supports Hume by stating that knowledge is impossible without experience. Secondly, he agrees with rationalists by stating that the mind plays a vital part to knowledge. On the contrary, Kant criticizes the rationalists such as Wolff and Leibniz on their illegitimate use of specific metaphysical notions. Kant is highly critical of the pretensions of reason that cannot be proven. He equally criticizes the scepticism evident in Hume’s empiricism. To this end, he rejects Hume’s subservient role of reason (Lawhead, pp. 129)
Kant’s philosophy is not specific to the problem of whether people are aware of things in themselves. However, his philosophy is a haunting memory to all contemporary philosophy that adheres to a stringent mind to body dualism. Kant successfully addresses part of the contentious issues in the empiricism and rationalism debate. However, the contentious issue on how to restore the mind and its immediate and direct connection to the world is not sufficiently addressed up to the point of Husserl’s phenomenology.
Works cited
Lawhead, W.F. The Philosophical Journey: An Interactive Approach, Fifth Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011 Read More
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