Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Kantian Bridge Between the Enlightenment and Romanticism

Immanuel Kant is a transitional figure between the Enlightenment and German Romanticism; with his philosophy, he completed the Enlightenment, but he also served as an inspiration for the German Romantics, who undermined the Enlightenment by rejecting the rationalism and scientism of the Enlightenment philosophers. In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant is aiming to investigate why reason, which is a success in science and mathematics, has brought skepticism and disagreements on the questions of metaphysics, religion, and ethics. He notes that reason is successful in science and mathematics because these subjects deal with things as they appear to us (realm of appearances), not the way they really are (things in “themselves” which exist in the noumenal realm inaccessible by our senses). Science and mathematics study a world on which our mind imposes certain forms and categories to make sense experience possible. Metaphysics, on the other hand, is beyond the bounds of reason because it deals with the noumenal world of things as they really are. The notion of the noumenal realm of things in themselves is critical for Kant’s thought in metaphysics, ethics, and religion and it inspired the German Romantic movement which was counter-Enlightenment.

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