Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: kant
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-03-02 15:15
De schepping van universums
De donkere kant van de zon - Terry Pratchett

Ik heb zo veel van dit boek genoten. Terry Pratchett is sowieso een van mijn favoriete schrijvers, en ik lees hem nog liever als hij science fiction schrijft. Dit verhaal gaat over mensen en buitenaardse wezens die de kracht hebben om sterren en universums te scheppen en te vernietigen - nu ik erover denk, is dat ook de verhaallijn van een ander boek waar ik onlangs ook veel van genoten heb: The House of Suns door Alastair Reynolds. Beide boeken hebben, volgens mij in ieder geval, zowel intelligentie als een warm hart.


Ik heb dit boek gelezen toen mijn Nederlands nog niet zo goed was (het was het tweede boek in het Nederlands dat ik ooit las, na Het Gouden Ei door Tim Krabbé). Ik wil het graag nog een keer lezen.

Like Reblog
review 2017-01-26 00:00
Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals
Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals - Immanuel Kant Never trust what modern writers say about classic works of Philosophy. Kant is not only relevant because of the influence he had on latter day thinkers, but, as with this work, he has something to say which makes mince meat out of most of the present day writers. If this book had been published for the first time last year, most readers would have thought it was the greatest book they had read in the decade (or even in their lifetimes).

There is a little bit of getting used to the special language that Kant uses, but it's really not hard to follow if you are familiar with Kant (I am not a philosopher but I want to learn my purpose and how best to be 'good'). He'll use 'synthetic' and 'analytic', the trick I use is since 'synthetic' starts with 's' think 'senses', and analytic is another word for math so think 'math', for 'a posteriori' and 'a priori' (I put them in this order because 'a posteriori' relates to the senses (synthetic) and is after the fact or after experience, 'a priori' relates to 'analytic' before the fact or from first principles or deductively as in a mathematical system. Two other Kantian words are 'subjective' (think 'self' sense it starts with 's' and 'objective' is an 'object' (or thing) outside of yourself.

Kant is really not hard to follow and this work in particular was clearly written such that any one can really follow it because he obviously wants as wide an audience as possible for what he is going to tell the reader. (Now, I will admit that "Critique of Pure Reason' was hard at first but once I looked up those words in the above paragraph I ended up loving what he had to say and how he said it. With Kant you always get a unique way of looking at something and it's not always as important what he concludes as how he gets there. He even says something like that at the end of CPR, but with this book how he gets there and what he says are both well worth the effort).

The reason he wants such a wide audience is because what he's going to tell the reader is an answer to one of the two great universal truths we all seek: 1) knowledge (justified true beliefs) about the world (Aristotle starts his Metaphysics with this fact), and 2) knowledge of the good (or divine) (Plato's formulation). This book is all about the second truth we all want, and to know about the 'good' one must first understand what the good is. This is what he does within this book.

Kant builds a 'ground' based on reason to get at what our unconditional duties are in which we need to grasp the unconditional practical reason (morality) as maxims (universal laws) or as he says 'categorical imperatives'. Or in other words, he uses the infinite to get at our finite understanding of how we should approach life. His methodology is always a pleasure to behold and will teach anyone (including me) how to think better, and his conclusions are one of the best guides on how to live a moral life that I've encountered. I like the Golden Rule (and parts of the Sermon on the Mount), I like J.S. Mill's utilitarian philosophy, and I just love Kant's Categorical Imperatives. A combination of all three is how I choose to live.

In the end, we earthlings, need to understand what it means to be good. All moral philosophy at its root combines empathy with reciprocity of some kind and call for us to be 'good' in some fashion, but 'what is the good (or divine)' is not obvious except usually in some circular fashion, and this book gives an extraordinarily good account for it. Don't worry about the technical language, because overall it is written to be understood, and is an incredibly good self help book that could easily replace almost all the rest of the current best sellers especially the vile self help books which I walk past in the bookstore.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-05-14 11:13
The Ding an Sich...
The Thing Itself - Adam Roberts

The three star rating is a temporary rating because this book will definitely need some pondering and possibly a reread or two.I have to admit to getting lost in the philosophical discussions and the several threads didn't help the flow of the novel for me personally. Everything tied up neatly at the end (I think) but this wasn't an easy book by any means.

Like Reblog
review 2016-02-18 00:00
Critique of Pure Reason (Dover Philosophical Classics)
Critique of Pure Reason (Dover Philosophical Classics) - Immanuel Kant,J.M.D. Meiklejohn People universally say this book is one of the most difficult (if not most difficult) of the philosophy books, and they love taking pieces out of context to show how Kant is wrong. After having listen to this masterpiece, they are misleading on both points.

First, do not listen to the overview and summary until you have listened to the whole book. Start the book at chapter 18. I made the mistake of listening to the book linearly from the beginning, and got overwhelmed by the overview and summary. I went back and re-listened to them and found them edifying. The exact opposite from how I felt when I heard them before reading the book.

Kant wants to establish absolute knowledge as real. Up to his point in time (1781), there was a dichotomy regarding knowledge, empirical v. rational (Hume v Locke). Kant does his best to bridge that gap. He'll get detailed in developing categories that we use for our conceptions (quality, quantity, relations, and modal (real v. imaginary) and he'll cross that with unity, plurality, and totality). This is an area where it got difficult to follow since he was definitely referring to tables that I had to keep recreating in my head. He's doing all this because he want's to show that concepts (ideas) can come about and will be true. Oh yeah, he's going to give us the pure category of space and time which reside within our brains. My point of saying all of this, is to just show that he is not that hard to follow.

A little more context, our perceptions give reality (i.e. the thing in itself must be constructed by our senses). Or in other words, there is the immediate v. the mediate. The thing in itself verse the filter of the brain. The thing we perceive v. reality. But, Kant is setting the reader up for his tearing down of most of philosophy. I would strongly recommend listening (or watching) the Dan Robinson 8 hour lecture series he gave at Oxford for a general audience of students and guest freely available through Itunes or on Open Culture.

After Kant lays the ground work he starts dismantling of the standard proofs for the existence of God, and the immortal soul, and the immaterial soul. He uses the standard theistic proofs: Ontological (i.e. Saint Anslem's 'since you can think of a perfect being there must be a perfect being'), Teleological (i.e. by design, he calls it 'physical theology'), and the Cosmological argument (i.e. first cause). He does finer arguments for the atheist cause than I have read in any modern atheist handbook. In the end, he 'proves' God by appealing to practical reason (contrasted with pure reason) and the certainty of man's (and woman's) morality toward well being in general.

A big part of why he wrote the book lies elsewhere. He'll say that the nature of science is to use the inductive method, to go from the particular to the general, and from the general to create a set of principals. These principals are what he calls 'apoditic' (i.e., beyond dispute). That is what gives us our necessary (and certain) truths. Truths are not contingent (and probable) but become necessary (and certain). He'll say that our understanding come about through our intuitions (both empirical and non-empirical) which determine events and lead to our concepts.

Don't be so fast to dismiss what he has to say. He's writing at the very end of the Age of Enlightenment, and Newton and his Principia are believed to be absolutely true and necessary truths. Newton says "I will feign no hypothesis'. He says that in reference to not being able to say what gravity really is, but he also believes he made no other hypotheses and statements not completely backed by data. I have many times argued with Physicist that truth is not absolute, and they will always come back "oh yeah, what about force equals mass times acceleration", and I will respond, "yes, but Einstein came up with the relativistic correction, and so that is not true", and if I haven't completely bored them I will go on to explain how F=ma is a tautology, and if they haven't yet left me due to disinterest like most people who will read this review, I will even show how in mathematics no one can define what a set is with out being circular (i.e., tautological, a word that Kant uses frequently in this book. So know that it just means the conclusion is included in the premise).

Kant will divide knowledge into synthetic and analytical. Synthetic (and the trick I used, since it begins with 'S' think senses) requires empirical knowledge gathered from the senses. Analytical, think mathematical truths. At its heart math is the study of changeless relations. Relations, are one of the four concepts that make up the twelve categories. Kant believes that mathematics is entwined with the real world. A triangle only makes sense since it can be visualized. He needs that in order to fully bridge his gap between the rational and the empirical. As for the truth regarding the nature of a triangle, your guess is as good as mine.

The reason I like this book so much I can state by paraphrasing something Kant said. He talks about Hume at length and does show him the utmost respect (I would even think that Hume would have liked this book), and says "that it's not so much that I can win the argument by reason, but that my reason I have employed is useful and the same methods can be used by others". Kant is up front by criticizing dogmatic arguments as boorish and self serving. He'll say that the loudest is not necessarily the most right, and the problem with the ignorant is they never know they are ignorant.

There are many pearls of wisdom with in this shell and it only has to be opened up and read in order to profit from it.
Like Reblog
review 2015-11-06 00:00
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason - Dan Rob... Kant's Critique of Pure Reason - Dan Robinson I really enjoyed this freely available lecture on Kant and his Critique of Pure Reason. It's given at the 30000 ft level for a general audience at Oxford University. It reminded me of a Great Course Lecture series, but only better because it doesn't have the inherent phoniness that the Great Course people foist in to their recordings.

The grave yard is full of Philosophers who say Kant is dead. The lecturer does a great job of realizing this while giving Kant his proper place in the pantheon of great minds.

As for me, I have the urge to read Kant, but first I wanted to listen to a lecture at an overview level, next listen to a real course on the Critique, and finally read the book.

This lecture is available on Open Culture or Itunes University in either audio or video.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?