Immanuel Kant is a complex philosopher to interpret. In his famous work Critique of Pure Reason, he seeks to answer the question of how to approach the act of learning through your senses. Kant likes to make his own words such as “apperception” to describe self-consciousness. He writes that “presentation that can be given prior to all thought is called intuition” (B132). Apperception according to Kant produces self-consciousness by recognizing the individual as a person who can make decisions. This is similar to Rene Descartes’s famous quote “I think, therefore I am” due to their assumptions that a thinking person is alive and is self-conscious of their existence.
Kant also touches on the topic of how the human body obtains knowledge and gains information about the world. He says that “our understanding can only think, and must seek intuition in the senses” (B135). This means that in our brain capacity we can process and interpret information but we get that information through our senses. This makes sense because we first need a source of information (the taste, smell, feel, look, and sounds of our environment) before we can process that information and gain ideas about the environment.
Kant is a difficult philosopher to read, as the introduction warned us. His use of philosophical jargon is difficult to decipher sometimes as it seems like he is making up a new term every line. He critiques pure reason by asking about epistemology (where and how do we obtain knowledge) and recognizes that our senses provide the first way of learning about the world. If our senses are wrong, it would be difficult to provide a proper interpretation of the world that everyone agrees on.
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