Appearances and Things in Themselves In the first edition A of the Critique of Pure Reason, published inKant argues for a surprising set of claims about space, time, and objects:
Less well known is the fact that, in order to reinforce his conviction, Kant mentions the old, deplorable but in his view outdated opinion of those who reduce human beings to the deterministic realm of natural mechanical laws.
Considering man as a mere machine — as Kant suggests in these lines — implies at least a misunderstanding, if not a denial, of human value and dignity. It is rather a science of man, of his representations, thoughts and actions: In opposition to machines, which are determined from outside, by 1 SF, AA On a Pure Mysticism in Religion.
Here again the focus is on the two main topics, which Kant had already considered in opposition fifteen years earlier, in the passage we have just quoted, i.
The persistence of such topics confirms once more that towards the end of the 18th century the modern and the early modern mechanical conception of man still surivived as a deep-rooted philosophical common view that — even if Kant means it to be outdated — still deserved refutation.
Problems arise with the shift from the image of the body-machine to the man-machine, i. And with the consequent abandonment of the dualitic perspective in favor of a substance monism that excludes a proper space for the spiritual soul. Frederick to Wilhelmine, In a letter to Voltaire, written in Decemberhe rejects firmly the dualistic idea of human nature: According to the new understanding of animated matter, prevailing among the sensistic fringes of the Berlin Academy of Sciences — and even shared by La Mettrie — Frederick affirms in the same letter his intention to talk about the soul on the ground of experience, and to explain the phenomena of life and thinking by means of physical and mechanical principles: Frederick to Voltaire, 3.
Frederick to Voltaire, 4. On this topic, cf. In general, until that moment materialism represented in Germany a sort of spectrum against which one could react either condemning it, or trying to contain its dangerous potential.
Wolff ; Wolff a; Budde ; Walch ; on the topic, cf.
But already during the so called pre-critical period, in the years of the elaboration of his critical philosophy, Kant could not avoid participating in the struggle against the threat of materialism, which was — as I have pointed out — one of the main items of the German philosophical agenda.
The discussion on that topic engaged even Kant, who dealt with it from the very beginning of his philosophical career up to his late writings. The question as to whether upon an extended, and therefore composed, substance could be entrusted the capacity for thinking was considered a central issue by these authors, who elaborated their reflections within the realm of the Leibnitian metaphysical theory of monads.
Baumgarten faced the problem in a central paragraph of his Metaphysica14, whereas Meier — besides dealing with it in his handbooks of logic and metaphysics — already in the 40s devoted at least two specific writings to the refutation of that metaphysical hypothesis Materialism can be theological, psychological and cosmological.
The first one asserts that God, the infinite substance, is a composite being [ The second one asserts that finite spirits, especially human and animal souls, are composite beings [ The cosmological materialist asserts that there is no simple substance in the world, since every substance is a composite being.
A general materialist is always even a cosmological materialist [ Quicquid cogitare potest, aut est substantia, monas, aut totum, cuius substantia, quae cogitare potest, pars sit.
Ergo omnis anima est substantia, monas. Quicquid intelligere potest, potest cogitare. According to Wolff, the simple substance has in itself the reason of its own modifications; hence, in his view, the latter develop independently from the relation with other external substances.
What this means for the soul, is that the modifications produced by the vis repraesentativa have no causal relation with the modifications occurring in the body.
On the contrary, in this early writing Kant rejects the hypothesis of the capacity of substance to cause its own internal changes by itself: According to this principle, the soul gains its representations in so far it is connected with a body: The statement of an indissoluble nexus between soul and body leads Kant to take precautionary measures against a possible charge of supporting the pernicious opinion of the materialists.
Against this charge, he emphasizes the deep difference between the two substances:Essay on An analysis of the form of ideology of Evil Dead 2 Words | 12 Pages.
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