Philosophy Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 3 - Question 1

90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 26-Nov-2018

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26-Nov-2018 - Question 1

Explain the significance of the Kantian dictum. "Understanding makes Nature". How far do you agree that Hegel's Absolutism is the culmination of the Kantian dualism? Discuss. Give reasons in favour of your answers (2018)

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Model Answer

Understanding makes Nature:

Pure concepts of understanding make experience legible, they cannot tell us anything about Things – In – Themselves, so are pure intuitions, they provide only form to the sensations and do not give matter to the sensations. They deal only at the level of appearances and cannot tell us anything about those Things – In – Themselves behind these appearances – vis-à-vis traditional metaphysics.

“We cannot derive pure concepts from experience, rather, we derive experience from these pure concepts” 

Understanding does not derive its laws apriori from nature, but instead prescribes them to nature. In other words, whatever universality we find in experience that comes not from the sensations themselves but from the form given to them by our faculties(both pure intuitions and concepts of understanding).

Kant recognizes that we are not passive recipients of our sensory experience, what we perceive is given its form by faculties that are innate. These faculties do not tell us anything about what the world is really like, but they determine the patterns according to which the world appears to us. 

kant proposes Critical Metaphysics, where he says, As Reason cannot teach us anything about what lies beyond experience or about Things – In – Themselves, but it can help us to categorize and classify various concepts of our faculties of sensibility, understanding and reason. Instead of using reason to look outward, we should turn it inward and direct it toward itself. 

Dualism of Kant: 

Phenomena: That which appears to consciousness, that which is perceived, everything that appears under the form of space and time and in the ways determined by categories of understanding.

Noumena: Things that exist outside experience. Like things-in-themselves that are unknowable realities behind their appearances. In other words, Metaphysics asks questions about the nature of T-IN-T, but we cannot gain definite knowledge of anything outside experience 

“To know the limit is to know what is beyond the limit” – Hegel.

In Kantian philosophy we can see big gap between phenomena and noumena. The statement Understanding makes nature, Kant says, is the fundamental of knowledge in phenomena. But he is agnostic regarding Noumena, where he says Concepts without percepts are empty, as there are no percepts about the noumena, their knowledge cannot be expressed through synthetic apriori judgements and if we put any effort their knowledge in the form of subject predicate statements, i.e., SAJ, the result is Transcenental illusion.

Hegel is not satisfied with this and wanting to fill the gap between phenomena and noumena, he tried to show that the concept of unknowable is self-contradictory. But Hegel in his philosophy has said that he has filled the gap between phenomena and noumena and hence said the Real is Rational and Rational is Real. 

According to Hegel, to be aware of the limit is to go beyond it, because no one could be aware of the end of the edge of a table, without getting aware of an empty space surrounding it. If we know nothing about noumena then how can we say that they exist, no sensations are possible of them and even they are unknowable, because some kind of knowledge is implicit in it.

Hegel contradicts agnosticism, where he says that if you say that I don’t know, you have to know. 

Dualism of phenoma and noumena is being filled by Hegel and made into a Absolutism, Real is Rational and Rational is Real.


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