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Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was an influential German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment.

In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, Kant argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; “things-in-themselves” exist, but their nature is unknowable. In his view, the mind shapes and structures experience, with all human experience sharing certain structural features.

In one of Kant’s major works, the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), he attempted to explain the relationship between reason and human experience and to move beyond the failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics. Kant wanted to put an end to an era of futile and speculative theories of human experience, while resisting the skepticism of thinkers such as David Hume. Kant regarded himself as showing the way past the impasse between rationalists and empiricists, and is widely held to have synthesized both traditions in his thought.

Kant saw that the mind could not function as an empty container that simply receives data from outside. Something must be giving order to the incoming data. Images of external objects must be kept in the same sequence in which they were received. This ordering occurs through the mind’s intuition of time. The same considerations apply to the mind’s function of constituting space for ordering mappings of visual and tactile signals arriving via the already described chains of physical causation.

Kant drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposition that worldly objects can be intuited a priori (‘beforehand’), and that intuition is therefore independent from objective reality. Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant’s views continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of epistemology, ethics, political theory, and post-modern aesthetics.



The Essential Dialectic of Kantian Philosophy is:

{Speculative-Reason ⇆ Pure-Reason ⇅ Practical-Reason} ↻ Judgment

The Essential Dialectic of Kantian Philosophy is Speculative-Reason, Pure-Reason, Practical-Reason, Judgment Dialectic because …

Kant posited methods by which human understanding makes sense of and thus intuits phenomena that appear to the mind: the concepts of the transcendental aesthetic, as well as that of the transcendental analytic, transcendental logic and transcendental deduction.

Taken together, Kant’s “categories of understanding” are the principles of the human mind which necessarily are brought to bear in attempting to understand the world in which we exist (that is, to understand, or attempt to understand, “things in themselves”). In each instance the word “transcendental” refers to the process that the human mind must exercise to understand or grasp the form of, and order among, phenomena. Kant asserts that to “transcend” a direct observation or experience is to use reason and classifications to strive to correlate with the phenomena that are observed.



The Intermediary Dialectic of Kantian Philosophy is:

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The Complete Dialectic of Kantian Philosophy is:

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All metaphysicians are therefore solemnly and legally suspended from their occupations till they shall have adequately answered the question, ‘How are synthetic cognitions a priori possible. For the answer contains the only credentials which they must show when they have anything to offer us in the name of pure reason. But if they do not possess these credentials, they can expect nothing else of reasonable people, who have been deceived so often, than to be dismissed without further inquiry.
– Immanuel Kant Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics pg 25

“I call all cognition transcendental that is occupied not so much with objects but rather with our mode of [receptivity to and] cognition of objects insofar as this is to be possible a priori. A system of such concepts would be called transcendental philosophy.”
– Critique of Pure Reason pg 149

“Now from all this there results the idea of a special science, which can be called critique of pure reason. For reason is the faculty that provides the principles of cognition a priori. Hence pure reason is that which contains principles for cognizing something absolutely a priori. An organon of pure reason would be a sum of all those principles in accordance with which all pure a priori cognitions can be acquired and actually brought about. The exhaustive application of such an organon would create a system of pure reason.”
– Critique of Pure Reason pg 149

“The pure, original, unchanging consciousness I will now name transcendental apperception. That it deserves this name is already obvious from this, that even the purest objective unity, namely that of the a priori concepts (space and time) is possible only through the relation of intuitions to it. The numerical unity of his apperception therefore grounds all concepts a priori, just as the manifoldness of space and time grounds the intuitions of sensibility.”
– Critique of Pure Reason pg 232-233

According to Kant, insanity is a categorical disorder, the rebellious data of sense having overcome the categories which made a unified experience possible. Kant postulated three specific modes of insanity corresponding to the principles of each of the major divisions of the Critique of Pure Reason.

Breakdowns in the operation of the transcendental aesthetic, transcendental analytic, and transcendental dialectic each define a corresponding type of insanity. Kant thus distinguishes between three types of insanitytumultuous, methodic, and systematic.

The tumultuous insanity, as Kant (1798) explains it, includes that which most clearly exhibit’s the breakdown of the most basic connections necessary for experience: “Craziness [amentia] is the incapacity to put our representations even into that connection which is necessary for the mere possibility of experience. In the insane asylums the female sex is, by reason of its talkativeness, especially subject to this disease; that is, to intersperse with their narration so many productions of their lively imaginations that nobody can understand what they really wish to say. This first class of insanity is tumultuous.” Then there are those suffering from a fragmentary methodical insanity in which the power of judgment is disordered. The imagination of such persons “causes a play of the connection of dissimilar things”; they can be “very jolly, rave absurdly, and please themselves in the enjoyment of so extensive a relation of conceptions which, in their opinion, rhyme together.” Less deep-seated a disorder, according to Kant, is methodic insanity (dementia) which includes, for instance, those persons afflicted by persecution complexes, “who imagine that they have everywhere enemies.” In such cases, everything which the afflicted person says is “conformable to the formal laws of thinking necessary for the possibility of experience.” Last, there is systematic insanity in which the patient “flies beyond the whole ladder of experience…and believes that thus he comprehends the incomprehensible”; he can square the circle, and knows the trinity. The last is evidently the metaphysical mode of insanity.
-Charles Hanly and Morris Lazerowitz Psychoanalysis and Philosophy p.91-92