Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:23 pm





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Ch. 6 - Kant: Reason and Freedom, History and Grace 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 15658
Location: Florida
Thanks: 3203
Thanked: 1207 times in 955 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 6

Post Ch. 6 - Kant: Reason and Freedom, History and Grace
Ch. 6 - Kant: Reason and Freedom, History and Grace

Please use this thread for discussing Chapter 6. :)



Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:59 am
Profile Email WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genius


Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 759
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 13 times in 12 posts
Gender: None specified

Post 
Kant: Reason and Freedom, History and Grace

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) - recognized as the greatest philospher since Plato and Aristotle.

Metphysics and Epistemology;
Theory of Human Nature;
Diagnosis;
Prescription;



Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:21 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5881
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1513
Thanked: 1603 times in 1247 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
I've tried now and then to understand what Kant was all about, but whatever I learned didn't stick. So I'm trying again and appreciate the author's ability to simplify Kant's thinking. I understand it at least a little now.

Plato and Kant both believed in free rational inquiry, but Plato thought that the highest truth could be obtained only through extensive training of the most intelligent members of the population. Kant came of age during the Enlightenment, so he didn't believe in an aristocracy and he saw the new truths of science as being open for anyone to discover.

A difference with Plato regarding our human nature is that we do not possess an immaterial soul or mind that can survive our body. Kant was advanced in believing that even our thoughts depend on a physical process. Neuroscience has now proved this.

He made a great contribution with his theory of our cognitive powers. Instead of the mere receivers of sense impressions from the world that the empiricists believed we are, he showed that an active process in our minds make thought from the impressions we receive. This development came as a great relief to certain thinkers and artists in the late 1800s, who had despaired over the view of the human mind as limited by sense impressions it received. Wordsworth celebrated the mind that "both perceives and half creates," that is, has an active power of its own.

Then there is the age-old problem of free will that was difficult for Kant because he believed that events were determined by previous events to a large degree. Do we have free will, or can we not help acting as we do, in which case we should not be held responsible. The book says that he saw us a free beings but never did explain fully how we escape determinism. When we make a moral choice that is not necessarily in our best, selfish interest, is the main way he thought we showed that we are not slaves of our lower animal instincts. We all recognize moral obligation, he said; it is one of the a priori concepts of our minds. This is encouraging, though in his day maybe still subversive, since it removes God as the hander-down of morality. Kant says we need, at least as a practical matter, to act "as if" we have freedom.

As to why there appears to be so much bad in our nature, why we do not always gravitate to the best action, Kant cannot give a final answer. He says we have a radical evil in us that comes out under the influence of social pressures. He can't decide what remedy to offer, but seems to incline toward a religious solution. He seems to advocate, again, acting "as if" we believe in God and immortality even if we rationally don't. This might seem a strange idea, but I believe if you questioned so-called believers, you would find that a high percentage actually are acting "as if" they believed.

It's interesting that Kant does not believe we can get out of all our jams by the use of reason. Reason, just because it is called reason, is not
immune to our manipulating out of our self-interest.

There is a lot that is important and interesting in this chapter. It's still somewhat hard to grasp for me, though.



Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:16 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genius


Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 759
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 13 times in 12 posts
Gender: None specified

Post 
Will said . . .

A difference with Plato regarding our human nature is that we do not possess an immaterial soul or mind that can survive our body. Kant was advanced in believing that even our thoughts depend on a physical process. Neuroscience has now proved this.

Do you believe that yourself?

Say you lived in the far north where there was nothing but snow all the time. Would you think of warmth and sunshine?

Would reading about tropical animals and people interest you?

It would interest me - I'd think about it, and enjoying hearing about it, reading about it, etc.


---------------------------------------

Will said . . .

We all recognize moral obligation, he said; it is one of the a priori concepts of our minds.

If you were born to a society and environment where there were no teachers, books, television, and your parents didn't think 'moral obligation' was important, would you feel such things as guilt, an urge to be kind, to help someone?

Does kindness come naturally to the mind? Or does somebody have to train a child to be kind?

If a child were raised with brothers and sisters who were all greedy, snatching, grabbing - all mean in their efforts to get what they wanted, wouldn't the child be that way himself.

In that case, I do think that a sense of 'moral obligation' rises from the individual's physical conditions. I don't think it's innate, in that we're born with that sense.



Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:29 am
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5881
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1513
Thanked: 1603 times in 1247 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
WCW,

Sorry, but I don't know what you mean in the first part of your post. Maybe it wasn't clear what I meant, either (always a possibility).

Back in the Confucius chapter, one of the philosophers mentioned also believed that people naturally have this ability to feel the pain of others and will also, without even thinking, want to prevent or relieve the pain. Yes, I do agree with Kant as well. Almost all of us have an innate capacity for moral reasoning or for feeling sympathy with others. When something goes wrong with this basic sense, it is considered pathological, as in anti-social personality disorder. Why it goes wrong could be a combination of both genetics and environment, but this condition is relatively rare anyway.

But I believe as you seem to, too, that upbringing does a lot to strengthen and develop fully the sense of moral obligation.
Will



Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:57 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genius


Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 759
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 13 times in 12 posts
Gender: None specified

Post 
Kindness, empathy with others, sympathy . . . I don't think a person would develop these senses without contact with other human beings.

I don't think it's 'innate'; I don't think it's something we're born with.

Of course, having never known somebody who lived part of their life without the company of other humans - without somebody to tell him 'that's wrong!', I dunno' . . . it's just what I think.

When we're very small - say up to a year old - we tend to grab for what we want; at some point a parent, or other adult says 'you have to share!'

All we know is 'I WANT THAT!'.

The only way we come to realize that snatching, hoarding, hitting people with things, stuff like that - the only way we know it's 'wrong' is by the way other people react to our actions.

My examples are extreme, of course - everybody grows into their life with other people.

But let's just say a child doesn't have other people (like in a fantasy novel). Let's just say the child has only bears to relate to . . . say his first playmates are cubs.

The child snatches food - a cub snatches it back - cuffs the child across the head. Naturally, the child would learn that the way to 'get stuff' is to snatch and cuff others across the head if they try to take it away.

Mother Bear isn't going to step in and say 'that's not right, children'.

The child is not going to learn basic kindness, politeness . . .

The sense of other people's feelings has to be learned - it's not innate.

I'm pretty sure of that - I don't care what the psychologists, the therapists have to say about that. They can write volumes to tell me, as a reader, that this is not so. But I'll still think I'm right - it is NOT innate - it's not 'built in', it has to be 'learned' through association with other people.



Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:26 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genius


Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 759
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 13 times in 12 posts
Gender: None specified

Post 
OK - I'll ask a question . . .

You said . . .

Kant was advanced in believing that even our thoughts depend on a physical process. Neuroscience has now proved this.

I don't know if you were quoting from something or if these are your words. But I'll try to express how I view this by asking this question:

How could science - any kind of science prove that 'even our thoughts depend on a physical process?

I realize that machines (scans, ECG's, stuff like that) can tell if you're 'thinking' or if your brain is doing something . . . but there's nothing created by science that can tell what you are thinking.

So how could neuroscience prove that our thoughts depend on a physical process?

Maybe it's me that doesn't understand the statement. Do enlighten me.



Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:40 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5881
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1513
Thanked: 1603 times in 1247 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
WCW,

First, about the nature vs. nurture question, I wasn't saying that in the absence of all human contact a person would still display common concepts of morality. There wouldn't be anyone to be moral toward, after all! Some abilities that are with us innately still need a certain environment to be activated (at a minimum, human society), and moral concepts might well be of this type.

I'm not a scientist, obviously, but all I was saying is that "mind" is thought by many neuroscientists to be equivalent to "what the brain does," or in other words, our thoughts are made possible by the amazing and still not understood chemical/electrical changes that constantly occur in our brains.

This does not mean that any machine can yet tell what we are thinking, only that we are thinking.
Will



Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:12 am
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genius


Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 759
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 13 times in 12 posts
Gender: None specified

Post 
OK - so that settles that . . . neither of us, nor anyone else, I suppose can actually say for a fact that neuroscience has figured that one out entirely.

And - yes, it's agreed - nothing in the way of social behaviour is in us when we're born.

Thanks for discussing that with me.



Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:04 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Devourer of Words

Silver Contributor

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2901
Location: Round Hill, VA
Thanks: 458
Thanked: 367 times in 278 posts
Gender: Female

Post Jumping in
[quote="WildCityWoman"]Kindness, empathy with others, sympathy . . . I don't think a person would develop these senses without contact with other human beings.

I don't think it's 'innate'; I don't think it's something we're born with.

When we're very small - say up to a year old - we tend to grab for what we want; at some point a parent, or other adult says 'you have to share!'

The sense of other people's feelings has to be learned - it's not innate.
/quote]

WCW,
I hope you don't mind I condensed you post into the few sentence above. Babies and toddlers that do not sense other peoples emotions are consider to be abnormal. In fact, a lack of awareness of other peoples feelings is a symptom of Autism. Haven't you ever experienced or witnessed a very small baby putting it's own food into an adults mouth? I also have to disagree with the underlying assumptions you are making about human nature; that it is essentially made up of negative traits that are basically anti-social and in need of being controlled. You have just made a case for the Judea-Christian version of human nature. In your post, you played with the idea of what a human being would be like if it were possible to raise it outside of society without human contact. I don't really think this is a very useful way to tackle the question of human nature. Humans can't exist outside of society - at least not baby ones and by the time you'd be old enough to chose to live outside of society you'd already be fully socialized -you'd take it with you. So, I would argue that modern humans evolved into what we are because we at our core social. The striking thing about homo sapien sapiens is the size the brain. What caused the brain to evolve so big that it makes birth difficult and offspring totally dependent for years? Language. It is the part of the brain used for language that accounts for the increased size. Language could only have developed in the context of society. Language made higher order and abstract thinking possible. Again tossing the evolutionary dice in favor of increased brain size (the frontal lobes). Language only exists in society and is quintessentially co-operative. I would argue that co-operation is what allowed humans to become what we are today. Evolution has hardwired our brains to be tuned into other humans faces and sounds.
Too much said?



Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:39 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Oddly Attracted to Books

Gold Contributor

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1543
Location: France
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 35 times in 35 posts
Gender: Female
Country: France (fr)

Post 
Hello Saffron,

I'm not going to answer your post, but I'd like to welcome you to Booktalk.

I'm glad you've found us and plunged straight into a discussion,
that's great. :smile:

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself by writing an introduction in the "Introduce Yourself" threads?

See you later!


_________________
Ophelia.


Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:22 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5364
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1897
Thanked: 1821 times in 1382 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Jumping in
Hello Saffron, I agree with your comments, and think they illustrate how Kant, and much philosophy, operates from an inadequate scientific basis. Of course our nature is social, and empathy is wired in to our genes. It takes a toxic culture to remove our innate sense of empathy. Sadly, the modern world is quite toxic and alienated, and this is where I think the Christian concept of the fall is helpful



Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:52 pm
Profile Email WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

BookTalk.org Newsletter 



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book

Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2017. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank