Immanuel Kant and the critique of reason

18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant single handedly put Germany on the map as an intellectual power (and lent it the pedantic tone for which it soon became notorious). British philosopher the late Sir Geoffrey Warnock gives us a glimpse into the mind and manner of the man who made sweeping revisions in nearly all branches of philosophy, thereby inspiring other philosophers to stop bickering among themselves and get serious about thinking again. Certainly effected what Kant called a “second Copernican revolution”: The origin of the world as we know it, he insisted, is the human mind itself, which, far from being tabula rasa (“a clean slate”), has an inherent structure through which we filter all experience and which imposes its own order on the world of phenomena (though not on the real/ideal world of “things-in-themselves -- German Dinge-an-sich,” which is unknowable). Likewise, humans have an innate awareness of moral law, in the form of the categorical (i.e., unconditional) imperative (i.e., command), a sort of bottom-line ethical “ought.” In attempting to make the world safe for both god and science, Kant managed to restore some dignity to the idea of the human mind; also to destroy the credibility of traditional metaphysics (since we can’t “know” any external reality that isn’t colored by our own “knowing”), to make modern philosophy more subjective than objective (and to prefigure such radically man-centered movements as existentialism), and to widen the rift between philosophy and the physical sciences.

Geoffrey Warnock on Kant: Section 1

Part 1

Geoffrey Warnock on Kant: Section 2

Part 2

Geoffrey Warnock on Kant: Section 3

Part 3

Geoffrey Warnock on Kant: Section 4

Part 4

Geoffrey Warnock on Kant: Section 5

Part 5

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8 Comments on "Immanuel Kant and the critique of reason"

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Jermaine J

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.” all this is history…we live in ages in ‘unreason’.


The Categorical Imperative.


I heard that kant isolated himself from society when he was writing his magnum opus. i guess he had to remove himself from man(woman) to understand man(woman) better. I don’t consider his ideas crazy, I have always wondered what effect this social isolation had on his philosophy.


why oh why is he such a hard philosopher to understand. :(

Jeracoo L

I’m attempting to read Critique of pure reason by Kant and I’ve been struggling to work through the dense text. I find the run-on sentences particularly difficult to work my way through. Need help to muscle through the dense text!

Jeffery Carlson

thinking out loud

What I’m saying is that… people try to to attack God [not christian, per se] with man-made logic… and then disprove him, for themselves.. so they, with the same logic could falsely disprove the processes in the universe (if unseen).. like anomality of water, etc.. and anything else… which we don’t know…
perhaps the logic which we have for ourselves is deeply flawed…


Kant’s Argument: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”, to me, makes ample sense


Our professor wants us to discuss Kant in an essay but I don’t seem to understand his philosophy very well. This has been a help!