Interview by Richard Marshall
Immanuel Kant is a German philosopher interested in metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics.
3:16: What made you become a philosopher?
Immanuel Kant: I freely admit that the remembrance of David Hume was the very thing that many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave a completely different direction to my researches in the field of speculative philosophy.
3:16: So what is your approach to philosophy now in the light of this wake up call?
IK: The whole interest of my reason, whether speculative or practical, is concentrated in the three following questions: What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope? Philosophical knowledge is knowledge which reason gains from concepts; mathematical knowledge is knowledge which reason gains from the construction of concepts. The greatest and perhaps only utility of all philosophy of pure reason is thus only negative, namely that it does not serve for expansion, as an organon, but rather, as a discipline, serves for the determination of boundaries, and instead of discovering truth it has only the silent merit of guarding against errors.
3:16: You have a reputation for being nothing if not thorough Immanuel.
IK: Well Richard, there is no art in being intelligible if one renounces all thoroughness of insight; but also it produces a disgusting medley of compiled observations and half-reasoned principles. Shallow pates enjoy this because it can be used for everyday chat, but the sagacious find in it only confusion, and being unsatisfied and unable to help themselves, they turn away their eyes, while philosophers, who see quite well through this delusion, are little listened to when they call men off for a time from this pretended popularity in order that they might be rightfully popular after they have attained a definite insight.
3:16: I must say I find it difficult to be philosophically clear.
IK: Well yes Richard, despite the great wealth of words which European languages possess, the thinker finds himself often at a loss for an expression exactly suited to his conception, for want of which he is unable to make himself intelligible either to others or to himself. To coin new words is a pretension to legislation in language which is seldom successful; and, before recourse is taken to so desperate an expedient, it is advisable to examine the dead and learned languages, with the hope and the probability that we may there meet with some adequate expression of the notion we have in our minds. In this case, even if the original meaning of the word has become somewhat uncertain, from carelessness or want of caution on the part of the authors of it, it is always better to adhere to and confirm its proper meaning– even although it may be doubtful whether it was formerly used in exactly this sense– than to make our labour vain by want of sufficient care to render ourselves intelligible.
3:16: Is philosophy a way of life or just a theoretical excercise?
IK: The point is not always to speculate, but also ultimately to think about applying our knowledge. Today, however, he who lives in conformity with what he teaches is taken for a dreamer.
3:16: One of your big questions is whether metaphysics is possible isn’t it? So just what do you mean by metaphysics?
IK: The cognitions after which reason might strive independently of all experience. I was looking to reach a decision about the possibility or impossibility of a metaphysics in general, and the determination of its sources, as well as its extent and boundaries, all, however, from principles Richard. My object is to persuade all those who think metaphysics worth studying that it is absolutely necessary to pause a moment and, disregarding all that has been done, to propose first the preliminary question: Whether such a thing as metaphysics be at all possible? After all, out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. Metaphysics up until now has been a completely isolated and speculative branch of rational knowledge which is raised above all teachings of experience and rests on concepts only (not, like mathematics, on their application to intuition), in which reason therefore is meant to be its own pupil, has hitherto not had the good fortune to enter upon the secure path of a science, although it is older than all other sciences, and would survive even if all the rest were swallowed up in the abyss of an all-destroying barbarism.
3:16: Doesn’t the fact that metaphysicians can’t seem to agree point to it being a bit dodgy?
IK: Reason in metaphysics, even if it tries, as it professes, only to gain a priori insight into those laws which are confirmed by our most common experience, is constantly being brought to a standstill, and we are obliged again and again to retrace our steps, as they do not lead us where we want to go. As to unanimity among its participants, there is so little of it in metaphysics that it has rather become an arena that would seem especially suited for those who wish to exercise themselves in mock fights, where no combatant has as yet succeeded in gaining even an inch of ground that he could call his permanent possession. There cannot be any doubt, therefore, that the method of metaphysics has hitherto consisted in a mere random groping, and, what is worst of all, in groping among mere concepts.
3:16: So you agree that metaphysics can seem preposterous?
IK: Mathematics, natural science, laws, arts, even morality, etc. do not completely fill the soul; there is always a space left over reserved for pure and speculative reason, the emptiness of which prompts us to seek in vagaries, buffooneries, and mysticism for what seems to be employment and entertainment, but what actually is mere pastime undertaken in order to deaden the troublesome voice of reason, which, in accordance with its nature, requires something that can satisfy it and does not merely subserve other ends or the interests of our inclinations.
3:16: So where do you start from?
IK: Two things fill the mind with every new and increasing wonder and awe, the oftener and the more steadily I reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.
3:16: So physics and the moral nature of humanity – and with it your dilemma - you seem to require determinism for physics but freewill for humanity?
IK: I do not merely conjecture them and seek them as if they were obscured in darkness or in the transcendent region beyond my horizon: I see them before me, and I connect them directly with the consciousness of my own existence. The starry heavens begin at the place I occupy in the external world of sense, and they broaden the connection in which I stand into an unbounded magnitude of worlds beyond worlds and systems of systems and into the limitless times of their periodic motion, their beginning and duration. The latter begins at my invisible self, my personality, and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity but which only the understanding can trace - a world in which I recognise myself as existing in a universal and necessary (and not, as in the first case, only contingent) connection, and thereby also in connection with all those visible worlds.
3:16: Is it your view that physics seems to diminish humanity’s importance but morality enhances it?
IK: Physics’s view of a countless multitude of worlds annihilates, as it were, my importance as an 'animal creature' which must give back to the planet (a mere speck in the universe) the matter from which it came, matter which is for a little time endowed with vital force, we know not how. The latter, on the contrary, infinitely raises my worth as that of an 'intelligence' by my being a person in whom the moral law reveals to me a life independent of all animality and even of the whole world of sense, at least so far as it may be inferred from the final destination assigned to my existence by this law, a destination which is not restricted to the conditions and boundaries of this life but reaches into the infinite.
3:16: So with all this in mind, is this where philosophy comes in?
IK: So Richard, it is the duty of philosophy to destroy the illusions which had their origin in misconceptions, whatever darling hopes and valued expectations may be ruined by its explanations. Skepticism is thus a resting-place for human reason, where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings and make survey of the region in which it finds itself, so that for the future it may be able to choose its path with more certainty. But it is no dwelling-place for permanent settlement. Such can be obtained only through perfect certainty in our knowledge, alike of the objects themselves and of the limits within which all our knowledge of objects is enclosed.
3:16: That’s a big project Immanuel. Was this prompted by the Enlightenment context you found yourself in?
IK: Our age is the age of criticism, to which everything must submit. Religion through its holiness and legislation through its majesty commonly seek to exempt themselves from it. But in this way they excite a just suspicion against themselves, and cannot lay claim to that unfeigned respect that reason grants only to that which has been able to withstand its free and public examination. A culture of enlightenment is almost inevitable if there is freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters.
3:16: And science is a key to this?
IK: Science can be divided into an infinite number of disciplines, and the amount of knowledge that can be pursued in each discipline is limitless. The most critical piece of knowledge, then, is the knowledge of what is essential to learn and what isn’t. A huge amount of knowledge is accumulated at present. Soon our abilities will be too weak, and our lives too short, to study this knowledge. We have vast treasures of knowledge at our disposal but after we study them, we often do not use them at all. It would be better not to have this burden, this unnecessary knowledge, which we do not really need.
3:16: So metaphysics for you is this place of critique?
IK: Indeed. It is the inventory of all we possess through pure reason, ordered systematically. It will be seen how there can be the idea of a special science, the critique of pure reason as it may be called. For reason is the faculty which supplies the principles of a priori knowledge. Pure reason therefore is that which contains the principles of knowing something entirely a priori. An organon of pure reason would be the sum total of the principles by which all pure a priori knowledge can be acquired and actually established. Exhaustive application of such an organon would give us a system of pure reason. But as this would be a difficult task, and as at present it is still doubtful whether indeed an expansion of our knowledge is possible here at all, we may regard a science that merely judges pure reason, its sources and limits, as the propaedeutic to the system of pure reason.
3:16: So you’re not proposing a doctrine of reason?
IK: In general, it would have to be called only a critique, not a doctrine of pure reason. Its utility, in regard to speculation, would only be negative, for it would serve only to purge rather than to expand our reason, and, which after all is a considerable gain, would guard reason against errors.
3:16: Is this where we get you idea of transcendental knowledge from?
IK: Well Richard, I call all knowledge transcendental which deals not so much with objects as with our manner of knowing objects insofar as this manner is to be possible a priori. A system of such concepts would be called transcendental philosophy. But this is still, as a beginning, too great an undertaking. For since such a science must contain completely both analytic and synthetic a priori knowledge, it is, as far as our present purpose is concerned, much too comprehensive. We will be satisfied to carry the analysis only so far as is indispensably necessary in order to understand in their whole range the principles of a priori synthesis, with which alone we are concerned. This investigation, which, like I said, properly speaking should be called only a transcendental critique but not a doctrine, is all we are dealing with at present. It is not meant to expand our knowledge but only to correct it, and to become the touchstone of the value, or lack of value, of all a priori knowledge.
3:16: So your critique is just preparing the ground, so to speak?
IK: Exactly. Such a critique is the preparation, as far as possible, for a new organon, or, if this should turn out not to be possible, for a canon at least, according to which, thereafter, the complete system of a philosophy of pure reason, whether it serve as an expansion or merely as a limitation of its knowledge, may be carried out both analytically and synthetically. That such a system is possible, indeed that it need not be so comprehensive as to cut us off from the hope of completing it, may already be gathered from the fact that it would have to deal not with the nature of things, which is inexhaustible, but with the understanding which makes judgments about the nature of things, and with this understanding again only as far as its a priori knowledge is concerned. The supply of this a priori knowledge cannot be hidden from us, as we need not look for it outside the understanding, and we may suppose this supply to prove sufficiently small for us to record completely, judge as to its value or lack of value and appraise correctly. Still less ought we to expect here a critique of books and systems of pure reason, but only the critique of the faculty of pure reason itself.
3:16: Why's this important?
IK: Only once we are in possession of this critique do we have a reliable touchstone for estimating the philosophical value of old and new works on this subject. Otherwise, an unqualified historian and judge does nothing but pass judgments upon the groundless assertions of others by means of his own, which are equally groundless.
3:16: Now you started this not too long after Newton had published and you took his physics to be true of the physical world. What changed?
IK: In my dissertation I was content to explain the nature of intellectual representations in a merely negative way, namely, to state that they were not modifications of the soul brought about by the object. However, I silently passed over the further question of how a representation that refers to an object without being in any way affected by it can be possible. By what means are these intellectual representations given to us, if not by the way in which they affect us? And if such intellectual representations depend on our inner activity, whence comes the agreement that they are supposed to have with objects – objects that are nevertheless not possibly produced thereby? As to how my understanding may form for itself concepts of things completely a priori, with which concepts the things must necessarily agree, and as to how my understanding may formulate real principles concerning the possibility of such concepts, with which principles experience must be in exact agreement and which nevertheless are independent of experience – this question, of how the faculty of understanding achieves this conformity with the things themselves, is still left in a state of obscurity.
3:16: So you started thinking about the role of reason itself in all this?
IK: You see Richard, at the beginning of modern science, a light dawned on all those who study nature. They comprehended that reason has insight only into what it itself produces according to its own design; that it must take the lead with principles for its judgments according to constant laws and compel nature to answer its questions, rather than letting nature guide its movements by keeping reason, as it were, in leading-strings; for otherwise accidental observations, made according to no previously designed plan, can never connect up into a necessary law, which is yet what reason seeks and requires. Reason, in order to be taught by nature, must approach nature with its principles in one hand, according to which alone the agreement among appearances can count as laws, and, in the other hand, the experiments thought in accordance with these principles - yet in order to be instructed by nature not like a pupil, who has recited to him whatever the teacher wants to say, but like an appointed judge who compels witnesses to answer the questions he puts to them. Thus even physics owes the advantageous revolution in its way of thinking to the inspiration that what reason would not be able to know of itself and has to learn from nature, it has to seek in the latter (though not merely ascribe to it) in accordance with what reason itself puts into nature. This is how natural science was first brought to the secure course of a science after groping about for so many centuries.
3:16: So you were looking for the foundations that made Newtonian physics possible?
IK: I guess what I was doing, Richard, was asking what, then, is the reason that this secure scientific course has not yet been found? Is this, perhaps, impossible? Why, in that case, should nature have afflicted our reason with the restless aspiration to look for it, and have made it one of its most important concerns? What is more, how little should we be justified in trusting our reason, with regard to one of the most important objects of which we desire knowledge, it not only abandons us, but lures us on by delusions, and in the end betrays us! Or, if hitherto we have only failed to meet with the right path, what indications are there to make us hope that, should we renew our search, we shall be more successful than others before us?
3:16: So you began to wonder how a priori knowledge of a sensible world could happen? How could we know anything about the outer world except through our senses, and if that’s the case then how could we know that what the senses gave us was actually the world and not figments of their weird imagination?
IK: Exactly. What we got would depend on our inner activity. He who would know the world must first manufacture it. Reason should take on anew the most difficult of all its tasks, namely, that of self-knowledge, and to institute a court of justice, by which reason may secure its rightful claims while dismissing all its groundless pretensions, and this not by mere decrees but according to its own eternal and unchangeable laws; and this court is none other than the critique of pure reason itself.
3:16: So this is where you did your Copernicus thing and turned everything inside out?
IK: Right. Up to then it had been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but all attempts to find out something about them a priori through concepts that would extend our cognition have, on this presupposition, come to nothing. Hence I said let us once try whether we do not get farther with the problems of metaphysics by assuming that the objects must conform to our cognition, which would agree better with the requested possibility of an a priori cognition of them, which is to establish something about objects before they are given to us. As you say, this would be just like the first thoughts of Copernicus, who, when he did not make good progress in the explanation of the celestial motions if he assumed that the entire celestial host revolves around the observer, tried to see if he might not have greater success if he made the observer revolve and left the stars at rest.
3:16: Very cool Immanuel. So what did this mean for metaphysics?
IK: Well I thought in metaphysics we can try in a similar way regarding the intuition of objects. If intuition has to conform to the constitution of the objects, then I do not see how we can know anything of them a priori; but if the object (as an object of the senses) conforms to the constitution of our faculty of intuition, then I can very well represent this possibility to myself. Yet because I cannot stop with these intuitions, if they are to become cognitions, but must refer them as representations to something as their object and determine this object through them, I can assume either that the concepts through which I bring about this determination also conform to the objects, and then I am once again in the same difficulty about how I could know anything about them a priori, or else I assume that the objects, or what is the same thing, the experience in which alone they can be cognized (as given objects) conforms to those concepts, in which case I immediately see an easier way out of the difficulty, since experience itself is a kind of cognition requiring the understanding, whose rule I have to presuppose in myself before any object is given to me, hence a priori, which rule is expressed in concepts a priori, to which all objects of experience must therefore necessarily conform, and with which they must agree.
3:16: That’s a pretty brilliant twist Immanuel. So now we can have a priori knowledge of the basic laws of modern science because those laws reflect the human mind’s contribution to structuring experience. But doesn’t that mean that actually what we thought was knowledge of the world is actually only knowledge of the inner workings of our minds? Don’t we lose the world and get locked in to our selves?
IK: If we can cognize of things a priori only what we ourselves have put into them then yes from this deduction of our faculty of cognizing a priori there emerges a very strange result, namely that with this faculty we can never get beyond the boundaries of possible experience, that such cognition reaches appearances only, leaving the thing in itself as something actual for itself but uncognized by us.
3:16: So physics doesn’t tell us about an objective world and that’s how morals are possible?
IK: I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. For if phenomena are things by themselves, freedom cannot be saved. Nature in that case is the complete and sufficient cause determining every event, and its condition is always contained in that series of phenomena only which, together with their effect, are necessary under the law of nature.It follows incontestably, that pure concepts of the understanding never admit of a transcendental, but only of an empirical use, and that the principles of the pure understanding can only be referred, as general conditions of a possible experience, to objects of the senses, never to things in themselves.Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. The understanding can intuit nothing, the senses can think nothing. Only through their unison can knowledge arise.
3:16: So this is what you call transcendental idealism. Can you summarise the position?
IK: All our intuition is nothing but the representation of appearance; that the things that we intuit are not in themselves what we intuit them to be, nor are their relations so constituted in themselves as they appear to us; and that if we remove our own subject or even only the subjective constitution of the senses in general, then all constitution, all relations of objects in space and time, indeed space and time themselves would disappear, and as appearances they cannot exist in themselves, but only in us.
3:16: So we can’t know things in themselves? We only know how creatures like us see the world. Different creatures presumably might perceive things differently then?
IK: Exactly, Richard. What may be the case with objects in themselves and abstracted from all this receptivity of our sensibility remains entirely unknown to us. We are acquainted with nothing except our way of perceiving them, which is peculiar to us, and which therefore does not necessarily pertain to every being, though to be sure it pertains to every human being. We are concerned solely with this.
3:16: So what are space and time?
IK: Space and time are its pure forms, sensation in general its matter. We can cognize only the former a priori, that is, prior to all actual perception, and they are therefore called pure intuition; the latter, however, is that in our cognition that is responsible for its being called a posteriori cognition, that is, empirical intuition. The former adheres to our sensibility absolutely necessarily, whatever sort of sensations we may have; the latter can be very different. Every beginning is in time, and every limit of extension in space. Space and time, however, exist in the world of sense only. Hence phenomena are only limited in the world conditionally, the world itself, however, is limited neither conditionally nor unconditionally.
3:16: So what is metaphysics in this new approach?
IK: Well, like I said before, metaphysics is nothing but the inventory of all we possess through pure reason, ordered systematically. Nothing here can escape us, because what reason brings forth entirely out of itself cannot be hidden, but is brought to light by reason itself as soon as reason's common principle has been discovered. The perfect unity of this kind of cognition, and the fact that it arises solely out of pure concepts without any influence that would extend or increase it from experience or even particular intuition, which would lead to a determinate experience, make this unconditioned completeness not only feasible but also necessary.
3:16: Sounds like Carnap and Chalmers. You do some transcendental deductions to get this don’t you? These seem very hard to understand. So can you explain what these transcendental deductions do?
IK: The objective validity of the categories, as a priori concepts, rests on the fact that through them alone is experience possible (as far as the form of thinking is concerned). For they then are related necessarily and a priori to objects of experience, since only by means of them can any object of experience be thought at all.The transcendental deduction of all a priori concepts therefore has a principle toward which the entire investigation must be directed, namely this: that they must be recognized as a priori conditions of the possibility of experiences - whether of the intuition that is encountered in them, or of the thinking. Concepts that supply the objective ground of the possibility of experience are necessary just for that reason.
3:16: But don’t you also say that all our knowledge starts with experience – so why doesn’t that lead to empiricism?
IK: Try and keep up Richard. There’s a difference between Pure and Empirical knowledge. That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. For how is it possible that the faculty of cognition should be awakened into exercise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our senses, and partly of themselves produce representations, partly rouse our powers of understanding into activity, to compare, to connect, or to separate these, and so to convert the raw material of our sensuous impressions into a knowledge of objects, which is called experience? In respect of time, therefore, no knowledge of ours is antecedent to experience, but begins with it. But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means follows that all arises out of experience. For, on the contrary, it is quite possible that our empirical knowledge is a compound of that which we receive through impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition supplies from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occasion), an addition which we cannot distinguish from the original element given by sense, till long practice has made us attentive to, and skilful in separating it. It is, therefore, a question which requires close investigation, and not to be answered at first sight, whether there exists a knowledge altogether independent of experience, and even of all sensuous impressions. Knowledge of this kind is called a priori, in contradistinction to empirical knowledge, which has its sources a posteriori, that is, in experience.
3:16: Is this where the apperception stuff comes in? You’re thinking about how a self remains the same even though it changes all the time aren’t you? You’re disagreeing with Locke about this aren’t you?
IK: Self-consciousness does not yet come about by my accompanying each representation with consciousness, but rather by my adding one representation to the other and being conscious of their synthesis. Therefore it is only because I can combine a manifold of given representations in one consciousness that it is possible for me to represent the identity of the consciousness in these representations.
3:16: Can’t I just find out about myself by introspection?
IK: No. A man shouldn’t claim to know even himself as he really is by knowing himself through inner sensation—that is by introspection. For since he doesn’t produce himself - so to speak- or get his concept of himself a priori but only empirically, it is natural that he gets his knowledge of himself through inner sense and consequently only through how his nature appears and how his consciousness is affected. But beyond the character of his own subject, which is made up out of these mere appearances, he necessarily assumes something else underlying it, namely his I as it is in itself. Thus in respect to mere perception and receptivity to sensations he must count himself as belonging to the sensible world; but in respect to whatever pure activity there may be in himself - which reaches his consciousness directly and not by affecting the inner or outer senses- he must count himself as belonging to the intellectual world—though he doesn’t know anything more about it.
3:16: So it’s the formal structure of the experiences that make my self-consciousness, not the content itself? Is this an idealist or realist formalism? Sounds a bit Buddhist too!
IK: Idealist, Richard. This unity of consciousness would be impossible if in the cognition of the manifold the mind could not become conscious of the identity of the function by means of which this manifold is synthetically combined into one cognition.
3:16: Sorry, what?
IK: We can represent nothing as combined in the object without having previously combined it ourselves.
3:16: So empiricism can’t explain this? This is your argument against Locke’s and Hume’s account of the continuous self?
IK: It’s all about the apperception Richard, think: ‘apperception’. The thoroughgoing identity of the apperception of a manifold that is given in intuition contains a synthesis of representations, and is possible only through the consciousness of this synthesis. For the empirical consciousness which accompanies different representations is itself dispersed and without reference to the identity of the subject. Such a reference comes about, not simply through my accompanying every representation with consciousness, but through my adding one representation to another and being conscious of the synthesis of them.
3:16: So in a sense it’s through being able to unify the sensations that I come about? And you think Hume and Locke’s accounts miss this?
IK: Quite. Only because I am able to combine a manifold of given representations in one consciousness is it possible for me to represent to myself the identity of the consciousness in these representations, that is, only under the presupposition of some synthetic unity of apperception is the analytic unity of apperception possible.
3:16: Woa! The what?
IK: The thought that the representations given in intuition belong one and all to me, is therefore the same as the thought that I unite them in one self-consciousness, or can at least do so; and although that thought itself is not yet the consciousness of the synthesis of representations, it nevertheless presupposes the possibility of this synthesis. In other words, it is only because I am able to comprehend the manifold of representations in one consciousness that I call them one and all my representations. For otherwise I should have as many-coloured and varied a self as I have representations of which I am conscious.
3:16: And this is how I get my self identity?
IK: Yes. This synthetic unity of the manifold of intuitions, as given a priori, is thus the ground of the identity of apperception itself, which precedes a priori all my determinate thought. Combination, however, does not lie in the objects, and cannot be borrowed from them by perception and thus first be taken into the understanding. It is, rather, solely an act of the understanding, which itself is nothing but the faculty of combining a priori and of bringing the manifold of given representations under the unity of apperception; and the principle of this unity is, in fact, the supreme principle of all human knowledge.
3:16: So we must have an ‘I think’ with thoughts – you can’t have just thoughts alone?
IK: The ‘I think’ must be able to accompany all my representations; for otherwise something would be represented in me that could not be thought at all, which is as much as to say that the representation would either be impossible or else at least would be nothing for me.
3:16: Ok. We need to be able to have a distinction between subjective and objective experiences don’t we? How do we get this? Is it through making judgments?
IK: Yes. A judgment is nothing other than the way to bring given cognitions to the objective unity of apperception. That is the aim of the copula is in them: to distinguish the objective unity of given representations from the subjective. For this word designates the relation of the representations to the original apperception and its necessary unity. Judging is an act of synthesis - the action of putting different representations together with each other and comprehending their manifoldness in one cognition.
3:16: Do judgments always carry a truth value because they’re always making a claim to being objectively valid?
IK: Yes. By contrast if I say ‘If I carry a body, I feel a pressure of weight,’ or that ‘if I see this house, I feel nostalgia,’ I am not making a judgment about the object (the body or the house) but rather I am expressing a subjective association that may apply only to me.
3:16: So judgment is what you call the necessary unity of apperception and this is how the mind gains self-consciousness. So we must distinguish the world from ourselves and we judge the world by judging that some objects have to be together. Remind me again, Immanuel, why do we have to have an a priori capacity to see the world as law governed?
IK: Because we can represent nothing as combined or connected in the object without having previously combined it ourselves. This principle of the necessary unity of apperception is itself an identical and therefore an analytic proposition; but it shows, nevertheless, the necessity of a synthesis of the manifold given in an intuition, a synthesis without which it would be impossible to think the thoroughgoing identity of self-consciousness. For through the I, as a simple representation, nothing manifold is given; only in intuition, which is distinct from this representation, can a manifold be given, and then, through combination, be thought in one consciousness. An understanding in which through self-consciousness all the manifold would be given at the same time would be one that intuits; our understanding can do nothing but think, and must seek intuition in the senses. I am conscious, therefore, of the identical self with respect to the manifold of the representations that are given to me in an intuition, because I call them one and all my representations, as constituting one intuition. This means that I am conscious a priori of a necessary synthesis of them, which is called the original synthetic unity of apperception, and under which all representations given to me must stand, but under which they must also be brought by means of a synthesis.
3:16: So why must our understanding marry with our sensibility?
IK: So I can relate all my representations to a single objective world. Try and understand Richard. Nature regarded materially is the sum total of all appearance. We ourselves bring into the appearances that order and regularity that we call nature, and moreover we would not be able to find it there if we, or the nature of our mind, had not originally put it there.
3:16: So understanding creates the world?
IK: The understanding is thus not merely a faculty for making rules through the comparison of the appearances: it is itself the legislation for nature, that is, without understanding there would not be any nature at all.
3:16: So at the end of your first critique you establish what speculative reason can establish in metaphysics?
IK: Yes Richard. I think it succeeds as hoped and promises a metaphysics, in its first part, which deals with those a priori concepts to which the corresponding objects may be given in experience, the secure course of a science. For by thus changing our point of view, the possibility of a priori knowledge can well be explained, and, what is still more, the laws which a priori lie at the foundation of nature, as the sum total of the objects of experience, may be supplied with satisfactory proofs, neither of which was possible within the procedure hitherto adopted. But there arises from this deduction of our faculty of knowing a priori, as given in the first part of metaphysics, a somewhat startling result, apparently most detrimental to that purpose of metaphysics which has to be treated in its second part, namely the impossibly of using this faculty to transcend the limits of possible experience, which is precisely the most essential concern of the science of metaphysics. But here we have exactly the experiment which, by disproving the opposite, establishes the truth of the first estimate of our a priori rational knowledge, namely, that it is directed only at appearances and must leave the thing in itself as real for itself but unknown to us.
3:16: Being unconditioned is the key to this isn't it?
IK: Quite Richard. For that which necessarily impels us to go beyond the limits of experience and of all appearances is the unconditioned, which reason rightfully and necessarily demands, aside from everything conditioned, in all things in themselves, so that the series of conditions be completed. If, then, we find that, under the supposition that our empirical knowledge conforms to objects as things in themselves, the unconditioned cannot be thought without contradiction, while under the supposition that our representation of things as they are given to us does not conform to them as things in themselves, but, on the contrary, that these objects as appearance conform to our mode of representation, then the contradiction vanishes; and if we find, therefore, that the unconditioned cannot be encountered in things insofar as we are acquainted with them - insofar as they are given to us-, but only in things insofar as we are not acquainted with them, that is, insofar as they are things in themselves; then it becomes apparent that what we at first assumed only for the sake of experiment is well founded.
3:16: But you do think reason might find useful practical knowledge don't you?
IK: I do. With speculative reason unable to make progress in the field of the supersensible, it is still open to us to investigate whether in reason's practical knowledge data may not be found which would enable us to determine that transcendent rational concept of the unconditioned, so as to allow us, in accordance with the wish of metaphysics, to get beyond the limits of all possible experience with our a priori knowledge, which is possible in practical matters only. Within such a procedure, speculative reason has always at least created a space for such an expansion, even if it has to leave it empty; none the less we are at liberty, indeed we are summoned, to fill it, if we are able to do so, with practical data of reason.
3:16: As you’ve said, you’ve changed the approach to metaphysics with your Copernican revolution. Your new method gives the formal constraints on any scientific knowledge doesn’t it?
IK: The purpose of this critique of pure speculative reason consists in the attempt to change the old procedure of metaphysics, and to bring about a complete revolution after the example set by geometers and investigators of nature. This critique is a treatise on the method, not a system of the science itself; but nevertheless it marks out the whole plan of this science, both with regard to its limits and with regard to its inner organization. For it is peculiar to pure speculative reason that it is able, indeed bound, to measure its own powers according to the different ways in which it chooses its objects for thought, and to enumerate exhaustively the different ways of choosing its problems, thus tracing a complete outline of a system of metaphysics. This is due to the fact that, with regard to the first point, nothing can be attributed to objects in a priori knowledge, except what the thinking subject takes from within itself; while, with regard to the second point, pure reason, as far as its principles of knowledge are concerned, forms a separate and independent unity, in which, as in an organized body, every member exists for the sake of all the others, and all the others exist for the sake of the one, so that no principle can be safely applied in one relation unless it has been carefully examined in all its relations to the whole use of pure reason.
Hence, too, metaphysics has this singular advantage, an advantage which cannot be shared by any other rational science which has to deal with objects (for logic deals only with the form of thought in general), that if by means of this critique it has been set upon the secure course of a science, it can exhaustively grasp the entire field of knowledge pertaining to it, and can thus finish its work and leave it to posterity as a capital that can never be added to, because it has to deal only with principles and with the limitations of their use, as determined by these principles themselves. And this completeness becomes indeed an obligation if metaphysics is to be a fundamental science, of which we must be able to say, nil actum reputants, si quid superesset agendum - to think that nothing was done for as long as something remained to be done!
3:16: So now you’ve been awoken from dogmatic slumbers is all dogmatism out for you?
IK: Richard, let’s be clear, Our critique is not opposed to the dogmatic procedure of reason in its pure knowledge as science, for science must always be dogmatic, that is, derive its proof from secure a priori principles, but only to dogmatism, that is, to the presumption that it is possible to make any progress with pure (philosophical) knowledge from concepts according to principles, such as reason has long been in the habit of using, without first inquiring in what way, and by what right, it has come to posses them.
Dogmatism is therefore the dogmatic procedure of pure reason, without a preceding critique of its own powers; and our opposition to this is not intended to defend that loquacious shallowness which arrogates to itself the name of popularity, much less that skepticism which makes short work of the whole of metaphysics. On the contrary, our critique is meant to form a necessary preparation in support of metaphysics as a thorough science, which must necessarily be carried out dogmatically and strictly systematically, so as to satisfy all the demands, not so much of the public at large, as of the Schools. This is an indispensable demand for it has undertaken to carry out its work entirely a priori, and thus to carry it out to the complete satisfaction of speculative reason.
3:16: In your general approach to putting science on a secure footing you’re a Wolffian aren’t you?
IK: In the execution of this plan, as traced out by the critique, that is, in a future system of metaphysics, I have followed the strict method of the celebrated Wolff, the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers. He was the first to give an example - and by his example initiated, in Germany, that spirit of thoroughness which is not yet extinct - of how the secure course of a science could be attained only through the lawful establishment of principles, the clear determination of concepts, the attempt at strictness of proof and avoidance of taking bold leaps in our inferences. He was therefore most eminently qualified to give metaphysics the dignity of a science, if it had only occurred to him to prepare his field in advance by criticism of the organ, that is, of pure reason itself― an omission due not so much to himself as to the dogmatic mentality of his age, about which the philosophers of his own, as well as of all previous times, have no right to reproach one another. Those who reject both the method of Wolff and the procedure of the critique of pure reason can have no other aim but to shake off the fetters of science altogether, and thus to change work into play, certainty into opinion and philosophy into philodoxy.
3:16: Yes, I can tell you like a good system Immanuel. So let’s turn to your second big Critique – this is where you turn from the starry heavens above to the moral law within isn’t it?
IK: Well Richard, among all the ideas of speculative reason freedom is the only one the possibility of which we know a priori, though without having any insight into it, because it is the condition of the moral law, which we do know. Were there no freedom, the moral law would not be encountered at all in ourselves. The moral law ‘proves’ the objective, though only practical, undoubted reality of freedom.
3:16: So how can it constrain us?
IK: The fact of reason Richard. Moral consciousness is undeniable, a priori, and unavoidable. Moral duty cannot and does not need to be justified or proved by any deduction.
3:16: Really? So you’re just kind of defending what you think is common sense here. So do you think ought implies can?
IK: Imagine someone threatened by his prince with immediate execution unless he gives false testimony against an honorable man whom the prince would like to destroy under a plausible pretext. He would perhaps not venture to assert whether he would do it or not, but he must admit without hesitation that it would be possible for him. He judges, therefore, that he can do something because he is aware that he ought to do it and cognizes freedom within him, which, without the moral law, would have remained unknown to him.
3:16: So that’s a yes then? Your big idea is that morality and freedom reciprocally imply one another. Maxims are important to you aren’t they because you think we always act aiming to fulfil one or another of them whether or not we know them explicitly. For you the moral law is only followed if we act freely in the full sense of acting autonomously, and the way to do this is to act on formal principles or what you call the categorical Imperative. So what’s this then?
IK: As soon as we draw up maxims of the will for ourselves we become immediately conscious of the moral law. Imagine I have, for example, made it my maxim to increase my wealth by every safe means. Now I have a deposit in my hands, the owner of which has died and left no record of it. This is, naturally, a case for my maxim. Now I want only to know whether that maxim could also hold as a universal practical law. I therefore apply the maxim to the present case and ask whether it could indeed take the form of a law, and consequently whether I could through my maxim at the same time give such a law as this: that everyone may deny a deposit which no one can prove has been made. I at once become aware that such a principle, as a law, would annihilate itself since it would bring it about that there would be no deposits at all.
3:16: So if I follow a maxim for selfish reasons, is the reason actually contradicting itself?
IK: This principle of self-love or of one's own advantage may perhaps be consistent with my whole future welfare; but the question now is, Is it right? I change then the suggestion of self-love into a universal law, and state the question thus: How would it be if my maxim were a universal law? Then I see at once that it could never hold as a universal law of nature, but would necessarily contradict itself. For supposing it to be a universal law that everyone when he thinks himself in a difficulty should be able to promise whatever he pleases, with the purpose of not keeping his promise, the promise itself would become impossible, as well as the end that one might have in view in it, since no one would consider that anything was promised to him, but would ridicule all such statements as vain pretenses.
3:16: So a maxim is only morally permissible if it can be universalized?
IK: Quite. In this way freedom and unconditional practical law reciprocally imply each another. What, you may ask Richard, justifies virtue or the morally good disposition, in making such lofty claims? It is nothing less than the privilege it secures to the rational being of participating in the giving of universal laws, by which it qualifies him to be a member of a possible kingdom of ends, a privilege to which he was already destined by his own nature as being an end in himself, and on that account legislating in the kingdom of ends; free as regards all laws of physical nature, and obeying those only which he himself gives, and by which his maxims can belong to a system of universal law, to which at the same time he submits himself. For nothing has any worth except what the law assigns it.If justice perishes, then it is no longer worthwhile for men to live upon the earth.
3:16: So the highest good is nothing to do with making me feel good but rather because following a maxim is right and it is only right if it can be universally willed as a universal law?
IK: Yes, it is the practical manifestation of reason’s general demand for what I call ‘the unconditioned’. For what is it which justifies virtue or the morally good disposition? It is nothing less than the privilege it secures to the rational being of participating in the giving of universal laws, by which it qualifies him to be a member of a possible kingdom of ends, a privilege to which he was already destined by his own nature as being an end in himself, and on that account legislating in the kingdom of ends; free as regards all laws of physical nature, and obeying those only which he himself gives, and by which his maxims can belong to a system of universal law, to which at the same time he submits himself. For nothing has any worth except what the law assigns it.
Rational beings are called persons, because their very nature points them out as ends in themselves, that is, as something which must not be used merely as means, and so far therefore restricts freedom of action and is an object of respect.
3:16: So is a perfectly moral world the highest good, the best of all possible worlds so to speak?
IK: No, it couldn’t be a whole and complete good even in the judgment of an impartial reason because it is human nature also to need happiness. Virtue and happiness together constitute possession of the highest good in a person, and happiness distributed in exact proportion to morality (as the worth of a person and his worthiness to be happy) constitutes the highest good of a possible world. Our duty to the highest good does not increase the number of morality’s duties but rather provides these with a special point of reference for the unification of all ends.
3:16: To go for this highest good thing you say we need to believe in immortality of the soul and God’s existence.
IK: Sadly, Richard, it is impossible for a rational being of the sensible world to exhibit complete conformity of dispositions with the moral law. The concept of happiness is not one which man abstracts more or less from his instincts and so derives from his animal nature. It is, on the contrary, a mere idea of a state, and one to which he seeks to make his actual state of being adequate under purely empirical conditions--an impossible task.
3:16: So what must he do?
IK: He projects this idea himself, and, thanks to his intellect, and its complicated relations with imagination and sense, projects it in such different ways, and even alters his concept so often, that were nature a complete slave to his elective will, it would nevertheless be utterly unable to adopt any definite, universal and fixed law by which to accommodate itself to this fluctuating concept and so bring itself into accord with the end that each individual arbitrarily sets before himself. But even if we sought to reduce this concept to the level of the true wants of nature in which our species is in complete and fundamental accord, or, trying the other alternative, sought to increase to the highest level man's skill in reaching his imagined ends, nevertheless what man means by happiness, and what in fact constitutes his peculiar ultimate physical end, as opposed to the end of freedom, would never be attained by him. For his own nature is not so constituted as to rest or be satisfied in any possession or enjoyment whatever.
Also external nature is far from having made a particular favorite of man or from having preferred him to all other animals as the object of its beneficence. For we see that in its destructive operations--plague, famine, flood, cold, attacks from animals great and small, and all such things--it has as little spared him as any other animal. But, besides all this, the discord of inner natural tendencies betrays man into further misfortunes of his own invention, and reduces other members of his species, through the oppression of lordly power, the barbarism of wars, and the like, to such misery, while he himself does all he can to work ruin to his race, that, even with the utmost goodwill on the part of external nature, its end, supposing it were directed to the happiness of our species, would never be attained in a system of terrestrial nature, because our own nature is not capable of it. Man, therefore, is ever but a link in the chain of nature's ends.
3:16: And that’s why we need your metaphysics?
IK: Yes. We have seen that I am not allowed even to assume, for the sake of the necessary practical use of my reason God, freedom, immortality, unless at the same time I deprive speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insights. Reason, namely, in order to arrive at these, must employ principles which extend only to objects of possible experience, and which, if in spite of this they are applied also to what cannot be an object of experience, actually always change this into an appearance, thus rendering all practical expansion of pure reason impossible. Hence I had to suspend knowledge in order to make room for belief. For the dogmatism of metaphysics without a preceding critique of pure reason, is the source of all that disbelief which opposes morality and which is always very dogmatic.
3:16: So what’s holiness and why don’t notions of obligation and duty apply to someone with a holy will?
IK: A will whose maxims necessarily coincide with the laws of autonomy is a holy will, good absolutely. The dependence of a will not absolutely good on the principle of autonomy - moral necessitation- is obligation. This, then, cannot be applied to a holy being. The objective necessity of actions from obligation is called duty. From what has just been said, it is easy to see how it happens that, although the conception of duty implies subjection to the law, we yet ascribe a certain dignity and sublimity to the person who fulfills all his duties. There is not, indeed, any sublimity in him, so far as he is subject to the moral law; but inasmuch as in regard to that very law he is likewise a legislator, and on that account alone subject to it, he has sublimity. We have also shown above that neither fear nor inclination, but simply respect for the law, is the spring which can give actions a moral worth.
3:16: Well that’s interesting – I do tend to prioritise inclinations over duties.
IK: That makes you radically evil Richard.
3:16: That’s a bit strong Immanuel but I see where you’re coming from. So we’re to strive towards holiness?
IK: Yes, but this endless progress is, however, possible only on the presupposition of the existence and personality of the same rational being continuing endlessly (which is called the immortality of the soul). Hence the highest good is practically possible only on the presupposition of the immortality of the soul, so that this, as inseparable with the moral law, is a postulate of pure practical reason. We can’t have the highest good unless we postulate the existence of a cause of nature, distinct from nature, which contains the ground of this connection, namely the exact correspondence of happiness with morality.
3:16: So without immortality and God the valid moral law would still be possible but we wouldn’t be capable of acting rationally?
IK: Exactly, because it is a condition of having reason at all that its principles and affirmations must not contradict one another. Speculative and practical must be in that relation of equality in which reason in general can be used purposively and the way to do that is give pure practical reason primacy over speculative reason. Speculative reason does not extend to establishing certain propositions affirmatively, although they do not contradict it, as soon as these same propositions belong inseparably to the practical interest of pure reason it must accept them, being mindful, however, that these are not its insights but are yet extensions of its use from another, namely a practical perspective.
3:16: Can you summarise for us what difference it makes to us to think of ourselves as free rather than as just necessitarian parts of nature?
IK: When we conceive ourselves as free we transfer ourselves into the world of understanding as members of it, and recognise the autonomy of the will with its consequence, morality; whereas, if we conceive ourselves as under obligation we consider ourselves as belonging to the world of sense, and at the same time to the world of understanding.
3:16: For you Immanuel, what’s the worst we can do? Suicide?
IK: All crimina carnis contra naturam debase the human condition below that of the animal, and make man unworthy of his humanity; he then no longer deserves to be a person, and such conduct is the most ignoble and degraded that a man can engage in, with regard to the duties he has towards himself. Suicide is certainly the most dreadful thing that a man can do to himself, but is not so base and ignoble as these crimina carnis contra naturam which are the most contemptible acts a man can commit.
3:16: Hmm, that’s a bit harsh. I go for the contra nature stuff to be honest. I guess that just adds to my radical evil. Anyway, do you think that the sovereignty of Enlightenment’s Reason is based on having this awareness of immortality and God, and freedom?
IK: I do.
3:16: Now your third Critique is of Judgment . Is this the bit where you try and bridge the gap between the Critique of Reason and that of Practical Judgment?
IK: Yes. It aims to bring the entire critical enterprise to an end Richard. The understanding legislates a priori for nature, as object of the senses, for a theoretical cognition of it in a possible experience. Reason legislates a priori for freedom and its own causality, as the supersensible in the subject, for an unconditioned practical cognition. The domain of the concept of nature under the one legislation and that of the concept of freedom under the other are entirely barred from any mutual influence that they could have on each other by themselves (each in accordance with its fundamental laws) by the great chasm that separates the supersensible from the appearances.
3:16: Yes, this chasm, as you call it, seems unbridgeable.
IK: It must be freely admitted that there is a sort of circle here from which it seems impossible to escape. In the order of efficient causes we assume ourselves free, in order that in the order of ends we may conceive ourselves as subject to these laws because we have attributed to ourselves freedom of will; for freedom and self-legislation of will are both autonomy.The real morality of actions—their merit or demerit, and even that of our own conduct, is completely unknown to us. Our estimates can relate only to their empirical character. How much is the result of the action of free will, how much is to be ascribed to nature and to blameless error, or to a happy constitution of temperament (merito fortunae), no one can discover, nor, for this reason, determine with perfect justice.
3:16: Is this a way of answering the crisis of the Enlightenment, the thought that Newton’s science undermined traditional religious and moral beliefs? You’ve had a go already, but ended up with two worlds, as you said just then, with a chasm between them. Science is just knowledge of the world of appearances. Religion and morality is in another world, or another aspect, the noumenal, the supersensible. So how does ‘reflective judgment’ help?
IK: Reflective judgment is a third faculty we have. It allows us to experience everything as if it has purpose.
3:16: And with this ‘as if’ teleology we experience beauty and the sublime, and so the aesthetic sense is the answer to bridging the chasm, if you like?
IK: Beauty presents an indeterminate concept of Understanding, the sublime an indeterminate concept of Reason.
3:16: What’s the difference between them?
IK: The Beautiful in nature is connected with the form of the object, which consists in having boundaries. The Sublime, on the other hand, is to be found in a formless object, so far as in it or by occasion of it boundlessness is represented, and yet its totality is also present to thought. Thus the Beautiful seems to be regarded as the presentation of an indefinite concept of Understanding; the Sublime as that of a like concept of Reason. Therefore the satisfaction in the one case is bound up with the representation of quality, in the other with that of quantity.
3:16: So with this third kind of judgment we get our finer feelings that bridge the gap between the sensible and the noumenal worlds?
IK: Yes, we have the feeling of the sublime and that of the beautiful. The stirring of each is pleasant, but in different ways.
3:16: How different?
IK: The sight of a mountain whose snow-covered peak rises above the clouds, the description of a raging storm, or Milton's portrayal of the infernal kingdom, arouse enjoyment but with horror; on the other hand, the sight of flower strewn meadows, valleys with winding brooks and covered with grazing flocks, the description of Elysium, or Homer's portrayal of the girdle of Venus, also occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling. In order that the former impression could occur to us in due strength, we must have a feeling of the sublime, and, in order to enjoy the latter well, a feeling of the beautiful. Tall oaks and lonely shadows in a sacred grove are sublime; flower beds, low hedges and trees trimmed in figures are beautiful. Night is sublime; day is beautiful. Temperaments that possess a feeling for the sublime are drawn gradually, by the quiet stillness of a summer evening as the shimmering light of the stars breaks through the brown shadows of night and the lonely moon rises into view, into high feelings of friendship, of disdain for the world, of eternity. The shining day stimulates busy fervor and a feeling of gaiety. The sublime moves, the beautiful charms.
3:16: Is nature beautiful only when it looks like art?
IK: Yes. Nature is beautiful because it looks like Art; and Art can only be called beautiful if we are conscious of it as Art while yet it looks like Nature.All false art, all vain wisdom, lasts its time but finally destroys itself, and its highest culture is also the epoch of its decay.Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.
3:16: And this is because art encapsulates this third judgment?
IK: Yes. Simply put, art is purposiveness without purpose.
3:16: Brilliant! But how is an art judgment more than just subjective?
IK: It is an empirical judgment to say that I perceive and judge an object with pleasure. But it is an a priori judgment to say that I find it beautiful, that is, I attribute this satisfaction necessarily to every one.
3:16: Neat! Ok, finally let’s look at your politics. Is there a conflict between politics and morality?
IK: In theory there is utterly no conflict between morality and politics. But subjectively - in the self-seeking inclinations of men, which, because they are not based on maxims of reason, must not be called the sphere of Praxis - this conflict will always remain, as well it should; for it serves as the whetstone of virtue, whose true courage in the present case consists not so much in resolutely standing up to the evils and sacrifices that must be taken on; rather, it consists in detecting, squarely facing, and conquering the deceit of the evil principle in ourselves, which is the more dangerously devious and treacherous because it excuses all our transgressions with an appeal to human nature’s frailty. If, of course, there is neither freedom nor any moral law based on freedom, but only a state in which everything that happens or can happen simply obeys the mechanical workings of nature, politics would mean the art of utilising nature for the government of men, and this would constitute the whole of practical wisdom; the concept of right would then be only an empty idea.
But if we consider it absolutely necessary to couple the concept of right with politics, or even to make it a limiting condition of politics, it must be conceded that the two are compatible. And I can indeed imagine a moral politician, i.e. someone who conceives of the principles of political expediency in such a way that they can co-exist with morality, but I cannot imagine a political moralist, that is, one who fashions his morality to suit his own advantage as a statesman.
3:16: Hmm, that sounds like PM Johnson! So, are the rights of man important?
IK: The rights of men must be held sacred, however great the cost of sacrifice may be to those in power. Here one cannot go halfway, cooking up hybrid, pragmatically-conditioned rights which are somewhere between the right and the expedient ; instead, all politics must bend its knee before morality.
3:16: Is Rousseau important to your republicanism?
IK: The first impression of the writings of Mr. J.J. Rousseau received by a knowledgeable reader, who is reading for something more than vanity or to kill time, is that he is encountering a lucidity of mind, a noble impulse of genius and a sensitive soul of such a high level that perhaps never an author of whatever epoch or of whatever people has been able to possess in combination.The impression that immediately follows is bewilderment over the strange and contradictory opinions, which so oppose those which are in general circulation that one can easily come to the suspicion that the author, by virtue of his extraordinary talent, wishes to show off only the force of his bewitching wit and through the magic of rhetoric make himself something apart who through captivating novelties stands out among all rivals at wit.
3:16: You think it’s become too easy to go to war don’t you and have thought about how we might establish perpetual peace. Is political republicanism part of the answer?
IK: Under a nonrepublican constitution, where subjects are not citizens, the easiest thing in the world to do is to declare war. Here the ruler is not a fellow citizen, but the nation's owner, and war does not affect his table, his hunt, his places of pleasure, his court festivals, and so on. Thus, he can decide to go to war for the most meaningless of reasons, as if it were a kind of pleasure party.
3:16: And raising credit’s an issue here isn’t it?
IK: This expedient of seeking aid within or without the state is above suspicion when the purpose is domestic economy, for example, the improvement of roads, new settlements, establishment of stores against unfruitful years, etc.. But as an opposing machine in the antagonism of powers, a credit system which grows beyond sight and which is yet a safe debt for the present requirements — because all the creditors do not require payment at one time — constitutes a dangerous money power. This ingenious invention of a commercial people – England - in this century is dangerous because it is a war treasure which exceeds the treasures of all other states; it cannot be exhausted except by default of taxes (which is inevitable), though it can be long delayed by the stimulus to trade which occurs through the reaction of credit on industry and commerce. This facility in making war, together with the inclination to do so on the part of rulers—an inclination which seems inborn in human nature — is thus a great hindrance to perpetual peace. Therefore, to forbid this credit system must be a preliminary article of perpetual peace all the more because it must eventually entangle many innocent states in the inevitable bankruptcy and openly harm them. They are therefore justified in allying themselves against such a state and its measures.
3:16: And finally are there 5 books you can recommend for the readers here at 3:16?
GW Leibniz: Discourse on Metaphysics
John Locke: Essay Concerning Human Understanding
David Hume: Treatise of Human Nature
Isaac Newton : The Principia
Christian Wolff: Logic
About the Author
Richard Marshall is still biding his time.