Dan Robinson om Immanuel Kant

Det händer i liberala kretsar, förmodligen eftersom folk läser Ayn Rand, att Immanuel Kant diskrediteras. Alldeles för ofta i onödan. Här följer därför ett citat av professor Dan Robinson, taget ur slutet av den andra föreläsningen i en serie från Oxford om Kants Critique of Pure Reason.

Kant is one of the great philosophical minds in the history of philosophical reflection. It gets tiresome to see the volume of books and articles so selfcontented in establishing how silly Kant was to claim X or Y, how wide of the mark he was with a particular argument, how absolutely self-contradictory he is from page this to that, that you get a picture of Kant, very much like the picture that philosophers of mind give you on Descartes. That he was some ninny who attached himself to some theory or thesis, some theory of the mind, some homunculus theory according to which we have got someone inside looking at what we are looking at in order for us to see it, that any first year philosophy student can do much better at. Silly Descartes, for goodness sake, he makes mistakes that 15-year-olds would find laughable!

I want you to disabuse yourself of that convenience. Descartes was not the class clown. And Kant did not go through two editions of perhaps the greatest metaphysical treaties ever composed while proving how wonderful he was at missing the point and contradicting himself.

So what I am going to presuppose in the lectures is: where the text is problematical there’s a stylistic problem, a translation problem, and to some extent perhaps some problem of comprehension. You want to begin with the assumption that if you don’t get what Kant said, it could be that you’re not getting it. Not necessarily that he is insane. So that’s what I mean when I say that the lectures will be sympathetic. I will always try to think that Kant was thinking for his critique. And there’s a secondary literature out there that you could build a house with, a very large house, that will make clear to you how routinely Kant gets almost everything wrong, and I will end these lectures with Jonathan Bennett declaring the body of Kant’s thought to be dead and gone, and the only remaining task is to see if you could find some semblance of life amidst the litter. Yeah. Sure. See you in a week.

PS. Robinson inleder föreläsningarna med att berätta att han inte är kantian. DS