Enlightenment on iTunes: The Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

KantFor those who dug our recent piece on UC Berke­ley’s 59 cours­es avail­able on iTunes, here’s anoth­er lit­tle item for you. Susan Stu­art, a lec­tur­er at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Glas­gow, recent­ly taught a course on the epis­te­mol­o­gy (or the­o­ry of knowl­edge) of the great Ger­man philoso­pher, Immanuel Kant. And fig­ur­ing that it might help her stu­dents if she record­ed these lec­tures, she put on a lapel mic and did her thing. Then, as fate would have it, her lec­tures were loaded onto iTunes (iTunesrss feedweb site) and, not unlike Lars Brown­worth’s lec­tures on the Byzan­tine World, they went viral and became iTunes’ #1 edu­ca­tion­al pod­cast for a while. The record­ings have a home­grown feel to them. But they get the job done if you’re up for grap­pling with Kan­t’s dif­fi­cult but foun­da­tion­al phi­los­o­phy.

If you want more infor­ma­tion on these pod­casts, here’s the writ­ten pref­ace that comes along with the taped course.

“Kant wrote exten­sive­ly on all major top­ics of intel­lec­tu­al inter­est. In terms of the pub­li­ca­tion of major texts his most pro­lif­ic peri­od was 1781 to 1790. In the domains of epis­te­mol­o­gy and meta­physics he pub­lished the Cri­tique of Pure Rea­son in 1781, with a sec­ond edi­tion in 1787. In the domain of ethics he pub­lished the Ground­work of the Meta­physics of Morals in 1785 and the Cri­tique of Prac­ti­cal Rea­son in 1788. In the domain of asthet­ics he pre­sent­ed his the­o­ry in 1790 in the form of the Cri­tique of Judg­ment. As a form of short­hand the three Cri­tiques are known as the First, Sec­ond, and Third, respec­tive­ly. In the first Cri­tique Kant deals with how we come to under­stand our world; in the sec­ond Cri­tique he deals with prac­ti­cal rea­son and how we act in our world; and in the third Cri­tique he attempts to show a sys­tem­at­ic con­nec­tion between the first two. So, the first deals with how we think about our sen­si­ble world, the sec­ond deals with how we act in it, and the third sup­plies a link between the two in terms of felt judge­ment. In the first he draws togeth­er our inner expe­ri­ence with our nec­es­sary per­cep­tion of an exter­nal world. He com­bines per­cep­tion and under­stand­ing through the appli­ca­tion of the pro­duc­tive imag­i­na­tion in such a way as to make judge­ments pos­si­ble. He links the First and the Third Cri­tiques by argu­ing that aes­thet­ic judg­ments, that is, judge­ments about what is beau­ti­ful or sub­lime, derive from our deter­mi­na­tion to impose order on our sen­so­ry expe­ri­ence. Thus, aes­thet­ics is just like math­e­mat­ics: it attempts to find uni­ty in expe­ri­ence. So, each of the Cri­tiques is con­cerned with judge­ment, judge­ments of rea­son, moral judge­ments, and aes­thet­ic judge­ments.”

See our com­plete list of uni­ver­si­ty pod­casts here, and our larg­er pod­cast col­lec­tion here.


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  • Mike says:

    Any­one who says that the Cri­tique of Pure Rea­son was an epis­te­mo­log­i­cal work does­n’t under­stand it. Nor, as she says, was it a way to under­stand our world, nor how we think about our world. Ms. Stu­art sim­ply dis­plays her igno­rance on the mat­ter.

  • kan some 1 tell me what thiz man did i have a project on him due 2 mor­row and i have been break­ing my neck 2 fig­ure out exact­ly what IMMANUEL DID. <HELP ME<

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