Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trying to understand the world

Dear Hans,

On the one hand, one should avoid careless stereotyping/cliché mis-tropes and such; and furthermore ad-hominem falacy is remarkably easy to fall into; nevertheless:

There are some … odd … stories … about Immanuel Kant. Such that, I really have to wonder: was the poor fellow autistic? On the one hand, clearly a prodigious and productive thinker, notably instigating Laplace's consideration of gravitational collapse of dust clouds into stellar-planetary sytems, as well as proposing that some of the fuzzy oval bright spots one could discern in a telescopic view of the night sky were hugely far away and composed of many stars, analogous to the bright band of nearer stars composing the Milky Way (in old Greek, γαλαξίας κύκλος); in which it turns out he was quite right, and for which reason these “oval nebulae” are now known as Galaxies.

And yet. For instance, his fixation on sameness: it is said he was more reliable than a clock in taking his walks. (Admittedly, the development of reliable precision clockwork was still a nascent project at the time). Dr. Marshner tells us he built a device to consistenly set the vertical extension of his stockings. The Categorical Imperative might well itself be an expansion of the criterion of sameness to a moral doctrine.

Small wonder it would be, being praeternaturally inclined to introspection, that one should be suspicious of the verity of external reality.

And he tore down the world of Western Philosophy. One has to be ever so careful in reading the thought of an unhealthy mind!

Well, I suppose we must nonetheless hope, and pray for the poor souls.

a student of pure reason


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