Michael Rielly 17
Gold 4 World Lit Honors
April 3, 2014
The Nature of Existence, and the Existence of Nature
The modern idea of reason helps man understand why and not just what? This concept stemmed mainly from philosophers during the Enlightenment. Learning something for the first time that is accepted to be true, for example mathematics and various proofs, usually ends with us adding that to our plethora of knowledge to ace the next test. However, before the Enlightenment many people believed that through learning, or experience, something comes to exist. Immanuel Kant ended up to be the most influential philosopher of the 17th and 18th centuries. He and Rousseau were the first to disagree with the commonplace ideas of skepticism and dogmatism. Alongside his analytical theories, Kant wrote of what is now labeled the Categorical Imperative. His writings in A Critique of Pure Reason carry principles found hidden in the subterfuge of today's society, making Kant one of the most advanced human beings during the Enlightenment. Europe's Enlightenment era happened to run its course at the same approximate time as the American Revolution, which largely explains why Kant and Rousseau's philosophies are so commonplace today, especially in our country. Immanuel Kant's philosophies rivaled that of the typical social structure of the world in the 17th and 18th centuries. His revolutionary ways of thinking are primarily seen in modern day American and European rights and codes, especially the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, of America.
Immanuel Kant was born on April 22, 1974 to a fundamentalist Pietist family, born fourth of nine children. Growing up in Konisburg, he spoke German and lived in a town known to be a commercial capital of its time, being near the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Kant enjoyed a fairly wealthy family growing up; his parents both educated artisans. As a young child Kant excelled in reading and school as a whole, being a straight-A student and studying at the University of Konisburg by the age of 16. However, he acted out against the Pietist ways of teaching in school and refused to be a part of classes he felt were unimportant or violated his ideals. Specifically Latin class, which was a central aspect of his school, was refused by Kant because the teachings were centralized around emotion rather than reason. He studied the philosophies of Christian Wolff and Gottfried Leibniz. His professor, Martin Knutzen, taught him of the traditional way of thinking. He initially introduced Kant to the works of Isaac Newton, whose influence is found in Kant's early works, focusing on the measure of force and the dispute between Leibnizians and Newtonians. (Rohlf 1.1) After college, Kant began his career by becoming a volunteer lecturer. This meant he made his living by relying on his attendees to donate, and subsequently it became normal to pay for Kant's educational lectures. These lectures included topics such as...