What, in your opinion, was Kant’s main mistake? Part. II

What do you think about? Are they right? And, in your opinion, what was Kant’s mistake?

Karl Ameriks: My own main regret is that he abbreviated his arguments sometimes, and his language tended to be overconfident . His talk about achieving completeness and certainty may have misled others into thinking it was easy to develop a philosophical system, and it may also have misled some into thinking that since some of the system seemed wrong the whole system had to be replaced.

Maria Borges: The main Kant’s mistake was his account on women. In his Observation on the feeling of the beautiful and sublime, he argues that laborious learning or painful pondering even if a woman should succeed in it destroys the merits that are proper to her sex, because they make of her an object of cold admiration but at the same time they will weaken the charms with which she exercises her great power over the other sex. I think this is a very sexist claim, although I am not sure that it does not apply today to the masculine mind. Since in the 21st century men continue to prefer less intelligent female partners, perhaps Kant was only describing an empirical fact about the masculine nature.

Andrew Brook: By far and away his biggest mistake in the areas in which I work was his claim that all we are aware of directly is our own representations, and the doctrine of the unknowability of anything as it is that flowed from the former.

Douglas Burnham: In the Critique of Judgement, Kant studies the phenomenon of ‘lawfulness without law’, which exhibits properties only analogous to universality, objectivity, necessity – and indeed exhibits these properties only insofar as the phenomenon as problem must eventually be taken up by natural cognition. Here, then, is a new manner in which an experience or judgement can exhibit order and, ultimately, rationality. (The sublime is a mirror-image.)

However, in the Critique of Practical Reason, the moral law is discussed as the mere form of law. As regards its form, he argues, law is law. For me, Kant’s mistake is that he does not pursue this notion thoroughly, but instead relies upon uncritically adopted features taken from the earlier treatment of natural law. There are partial recognitions of this, and attempts to compensate, in Kant’s accounts of moral education or casuistry for example. But it remains the case that the specific mode of the rationality of my moral judgements is insufficiently clarified. Recognising this sets us an urgent task as philosophers.

What, in your opinion, was Kant’s main mistake?

One question, five answers.

And you? want do you think? What was Kant’s main mistake?

Henry Allison: Obviously, there are many things I wish that Kant had never said (for example, some of his statements about women, sexual morality, and the like) and many arguments which leave much to be desired. In addition, there are the areas (such as mathematics) where Kant`s views have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments. But none of these count as “mistakes” in my view. If I have to select one such mistake, I believe that the chief is his regrettable decision to publish his “Ueber ein vermeintes Recht aus Menschenliebe zu luegen.” Not only does Kant here misrepresent his own views on the matter, but it has made it all too easy for critics to attack a distorted picture of his moral theory.

Beatrice Longuenesse: I think Kant’s main mistake lies in the way he thinks about the relation between his theoretical and his practical philosophy. He thinks he can salvage the notion of freedom indispensible to his moral philosophy only by reintroducting as objects of faith the metaphysical truths he had denied as objects of knowledge. I think this is a confusing and unnecessary move, which sends him straight back into the pre-critical, metaphysical age he had wanted to break away from.

Lourdes Flamarique: The “anthropologization of philosophy”: In the Kritik der reinen Vernunft Kant builds metaphysics on the basis of the natural inclinations of reason and the recognition of the limits of the intellect. Accordingly, Kant outlines an ontology with consciousness as the central point.
To put it in Aristotelian terms, I think that Kant’s biggest mistake is his hylemorphic approach to human knowledge. For this amounts to think knowledge in terms of “poiesis” instead of “praxis” (in the Aristotelian sense). This is a huge mistake, whose only justification is Kant’s own interest in explaining the method of physical science against the background of an empirist tradition.

Paul Guyer: In my view, Kant’s chief mistake was to assume that we can have complete certainty about the most fundamental principles of nature, and to base his distinction between appearance and reality on this assumption, which distinction then allowed him to treat freedom of the will as something that automatically exists in the unknowable realm of noumenal reality rather than something that must be painstakingly realized within the limits of nature. One of Kant’s chief worries was that if the freedom of the will could not be demonstrated then people could use determinism as an excuse for the immoral actions they are all too naturally disposed to perform; but transposing freedom of the will from the sensible world of appearances to the supersensible realm of reality could have precisely the same effect. Kant did realize that people must learn to discipline their inclinations in the natural world, but he should have recognized that our freedom and rationality can be achieved only in the natural world and within the limits of nature, and that our chief task is precisely to learn how to do this.

Patricia Kitcher: One major mistake was assuming that scientific problems were amenable to philosophical solution. Despite his careful distinction between method in mathematics and in philosophy, he still offered transcendental idealism as as solution to problems such as the infinite divisibility of lines. Assuming that the problems raised by Newtonian mechanics could never be resolved by science, he again tried to offer philosophical solutions to questions about the nature of space and time.