Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Immanuel Kant- Messenger of the Enlightenment

'The starry heavens above me and the moral law within me'. Such is a pithy maxim of an inquiring mind, the trailblazer at the heart of the zeitgeist of the enlightenment. A revered and esteemed authority, driven by a transcendent ground of reason and intuition while revamping with vigor and passion the very foundations of philosophical thought. His tenets of universality rewrote the approach to ethics and morality while his marriage of rationalism with empiricism turned the tables on epistemic endeavor. Immanuel Kant remains an illustrious specimen of the colourful intellectual saga of the enlightenment, and while the 'starry heavens and the moral law' capture the spirit of such a legacy; the panoply of critical hypotheses and ideas captures its very essence. Most apparent of such an essence is the bipolarity of morality and epistemology, the pole of ethics and pole of knowledge that formed the greater crux of Kant's intellectual repertoire. Kant sought to transcend and revamp and to renovate via The Critique of Pure Reason but poor reception proved adverse to his odyssey of enlightenment. It was the added hurdles of rationalism and empiricism, two standpoint schools of epistemology, and the fiery debates regarding ethics that necessitated a radically new phase to the enlightenment. Kant intervened but his approach was one that refused to reduce humanity to a mechanism of reduction like Hume or Hobbes and one that declined to reduce humanity to an alleged intuition of rationality like Descartes. Kant sought his categorical imperative of maxims as a leverage towards his deontological stance on ethics; the universality of acts, the perception of others as ends rather than means and the assumption of the moral guidance of the universe as a means of equating the ethics and morality. But beside the predominance of ethics and epistemology, the aesthetic pleasure was a preponderant feature of Kant's intellectual repertoire, The Critique of Judgement laid the cornerstone for the aesthetic dimension of reality with Kant arguing the faculty of judgement as the means to experiencing such a reality with sense and purpose, purpose hinting the teleological nature of beauty. It remains conspicuous the multifaceted and cross-disciplinary foresight and insight of Kant, not solely as a result of his philosophical pursuits nor the array of intellectual works under his belt, but rather as a direct outcome of the genius at the nucleus of his dexterity and aptitude that may be ranked considerably among the trailblazers of the enlightenment. And as we continually ponder, with ever new admiration and awe the repercussions of his legacy we realise a simple premise, for as long as 'starry heavens and the moral law' remain intact and erect; what becomes of the 'earthy soil below me'? Kant may have not bequeathed a clarification but it remains the universality and rationality of his postulations that transfigured the philosophical frontier from every approachable angle...

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