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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Carl Ginet
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Christine Korsgaard
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
E. H. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
Joseph Fourier
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Stuart Hameroff
Patrick Haggard
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
William Stanley Jevons
Pascual Jordan
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
John von Neumann
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
 
Immanuel Kant
Kant reacted to the Enlightenment, to the Age of Reason, and to Newtonian mechanics (which he probably understood better than any other philosopher), by accepting determinism as a fact in the physical world, which he calls the phenomenal world. Kant's goal was to rescue the physical sciences from the devastating and unanswerable skepticism of David Hume.

Hume criticized the Theory of Ideas of his fellow British empiricists John Locke and George Berkeley. If knowledge is limited to perceptions of sense data, we cannot "know" anything about external objects, even our own bodies. Hume said that we could have a natural belief in the external world and causal laws.

Kant's main change in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason was an attempted refutation of this idealism (B 273). He thought he had a proof of the existence of the external world. Kant thought it a scandal in philosophy that we must accept the existence of things outside ourselves merely as a belief, with no proof.

The only thing which might be called an addition, though in the method of proof only, is the new refutation of psychological idealism, and the strict (and as I believe the only possible) proof of the objective reality of outer intuition on [B] p. 273. However innocent idealism may be considered with respect to the essential purposes of metaphysics (without being so in reality), it remains a scandal to philosophy, and to human reason in general, that we should have to accept the existence of things outside us (from which after all we derive the whole material for our knowledge, even for that of our inner sense) merely on trust, and have no satisfactory proof with which to counter any opponent who chooses to doubt it.
(Preface to Second Edition, Critique of Practical Reason, B XL)
Martin Heidegger commented on Kant's scandal:
The 'scandal of philosophy' is not that this proof has yet to be given, but that such proofs are expected and attempted again and again.
Putting Limits on Reason
Kant put limits on what we can know by pure speculative Reason, in order to make room for belief in a timeless noumenal (or mental) world that includes God, freedom, and immortality.
"I cannot even make the assumption − as the practical interests of morality require − of God, freedom, and immortality, if I do not deprive speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight. For to arrive at these, it must make use of principles which, in fact, extend only to the objects of possible experience, and which cannot be applied to objects beyond this sphere without converting them into phenomena, and thus rendering the practical extension of pure reason impossible. I must therefore, abolish knowledge, to make room for belief."
(Preface to Second Edition, Critique of Practical Reason, B XXX)

Kant's noumenal world is a variation on Plato's concept of Soul, Descartes' mental world, and the Scholastic idea of a world in which all times are present to the eye of God. His idea of free will is a most esoteric form of compatibilism. Our decisions are made in our souls outside of time and only appear determined to our senses, which are governed by our built-in a priori forms of sensible perception, like space and time, and built-in categories of intelligible understanding.

"We then see how it does not involve any contradiction to assert, on the one hand, that the will, in the phenomenal sphere − in visible action − is necessarily obedient to the law of nature, and, in so far, not free; and, on the other hand, that, as belonging to a thing in itself, it is not subject to that law, and, accordingly, is free."
(Preface to Second Edition, Critique of Practical Reason, B XXVIII)

If Kant's Critique of Pure Reason can be seen as a reaction to David Hume's skeptical attitude toward knowledge that depends on sense data, the parallel between Hume and Kant is even stronger in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason.

Hume and Kant both sought a reconciling of freedom and necessity or causality.

Where Hume said we could not reason to knowledge of causality, for example, but could have a natural belief in causality because of our moral sentiments and feelings, so Kant claims that his Practical Reason establishes freedom in a noumenal realm whose grounding principle is morality. Freedom is the condition for the moral law.

"Freedom, however, is the only one of all the ideas of the speculative reason of which we know the possibility a priori (without, however, understanding it), because it is the condition of the moral law which we know."
(Critique of Practical Reason, p.329)

In an early letter to a friend, Kant described the workings of his mind as involving chance, and in terms that sound remarkably like our Cogito model, - "The mind must...lie open to any chance suggestion which may present itself." He described his method...

"In mental labour of so delicate a character nothing is more harmful than preoccupation with extraneous matters. The mind, though not constantly on the stretch, must still, alike in its idle and in its favourable moments, lie uninterruptedly open to any chance suggestion which may present itself. Relaxations and diversions must maintain its powers in freedom and mobility, so that it may be enabled to view the object afresh from every side, and so to enlarge its point of view from a microscopic to a universal outlook that it adopts in turn every conceivable standpoint, verifying the observations of each by means of all the others."1

1. Letter to Marcus Herz, February 21, 1772, Werke, x, p.127
(cited by Norman Kemp Smith, Commentary to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, p. xxii)
Freedom as Following Deterministic Law?
Both empiricist philosophers John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume, as well as rationalists like Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz had great difficulties with the concept of freedom. They were all immensely influenced by the new Newtonian mechanics. The "laws of Nature" had been discovered.

Confusion about freedom may have been implicit in the everyday usage of the word "free." The notion of a "freely falling stone" unconstrained by any forces on it (except that of universal gravitation) produced the concept of a free motion that was actually completely determined physically. Hobbes, for example, said that freedom was simply the absence of external constraints. Freedom of action is enough. Freedom of the will is a contradiction and nonsense, he thought.

Kant's command of Newtonian physics was greater than Hume's admiration of it as a model for his human nature. Kant asked how we could call a man free while he is subject to physical necessity. He thought that ideas could be determined (bestimmt) by psychological forces just as the motion of matter is determined by mechanical forces.

how can a man be called quite free at the same moment, and with respect to the same action in which he is subject to an inevitable physical necessity?
Comparative freedom (cf., the compatibilism of Hobbes and Hume) can be determined by internal causes, as long as there are no external constraints
(freedom of action)
Some try to evade this by saying that the causes that determine his causality are of such a kind as to agree with a comparative notion of freedom. According to this, that is sometimes called a free effect, the determining physical cause of which lies within the acting thing itself, e. g., that which a projectile performs when it is in free motion, in which case we use the word freedom, because while it is in flight it is not urged by anything external; or as we call the motion of a clock a free motion, because it moves its hands itself, which therefore do not require to be pushed by external force; so although the actions of man are necessarily determined by causes which precede in time, we yet call them free, because these causes are ideas produced by our own faculties, whereby desires are evoked on occasion of circumstances, and hence actions are wrought according to our own pleasure.
Locke had warned that the words we use could be a source of confusion. Kant accuses philosophers of juggling words
This is a wretched subterfuge ["miserable substitute" is a better translation of ein elender Behelf, but the English phrase is now famous in philosophy] with which some persons still let themselves be put off, and so think they have solved, with a petty word-jugglery [again, "a little quibbling" is better for einer kleinen Wortklauberei], that difficult problem, at the solution of which centuries have laboured In vain, and which can therefore scarcely be found so completely on the surface.

An internal causal chain is just as deterministic as an external chain
In fact, in the question about the freedom which must be the foundation of all moral laws and the consequent responsibility, it does not matter whether the principles which necessarily determine causality by a physical law reside within the subject or without him, or in the former case whether these principles are instinctive or are conceived by reason, if, as is admitted by these men themselves, these determining ideas have the ground of their existence in time and in the antecedent state, and this again in an antecedent. etc.

Psychological freedom is not free, just because it is not mechanically caused, if there is an internal determining principle, a causal chain of mental events. Transcendental freedom must be independent of the material/empirical.
Then it matters not that these are internal; it matters not that they have a psychological and not a mechanical causality, that is, produce actions by means of ideas and not by bodily movements; they are still determining principles of the causality of a being whose existence is determinable in time, and therefore under the necessitation of conditions of past time, which therefore, when the subject has to act, are no longer in his power. This may imply psychological freedom (if we choose to apply this term to a merely internal chain of ideas in the mind), but it involves physical necessity and, therefore, leaves no room for transcendental freedom, which must be conceived as independence on everything empirical, and, consequently, on nature generally, whether it is an object of the internal sense considered in time only, or of the external in time and space. Without this freedom (in the latter and true sense), which alone is practical a priori, no moral law and no moral imputation are possible. Just for this reason the necessity of events in time, according to the physical law of causality, may be called the mechanism of nature, although we do not mean by this that things which are subject to it must be really material machines. We look here only to the necessity of the connection of events in a time-series as it is developed according to the physical law,
Kant says ideas can be determined by psychological forces (immaterial/spiritual ideas), just as matter is determined by mechanical forces, without some transcendental/absolute free element
whether the subject in which this development takes place is called automaton materiale when the mechanical being is moved by matter, or with Leibnitz spirituale when it is impelled by ideas; and if the freedom of our will were no other than the latter (say the psychological and comparative, not also transcendental, that is, absolute), then it would at bottom be nothing better than the freedom of a turnspit, which, when once it is wound up, accomplishes its motions of itself.
For Descartes, ideas were in a mind that is immaterial and indeterministic, and thus the seat of freedom and liberty. Why did Kant not see this possibility?

Even Hume had his doubts about the assumption of universal causality. He sees clearly it implies no liberty.

if voluntary actions be subjected to the same laws of necessity with the operations of matter, there is a continued chain of necessary causes, pre-ordained and pre-determined, reaching from the original cause of all to every single volition, of every human creature. No contingency anywhere in the universe; no indifference; no liberty. While we act, we are, at the same time, acted upon.

Kant invented the noumenal realm (outside space and time) to make room for belief in God, freedom, and immortality. Even more important, his theory of freedom provided a basis for moral responsibility.

It is sad that Kant did not see (as Descartes saw) that the mind could be the locus of the indeterminism needed to break causal chains.

Intuition and Anschauung
Kant's Critiques are not an easy read.
Statistical Regularities Imply Deterministic Laws
As early as 1784, in his Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent, Kant thought that statistical regularities of social data on births, deaths, and marriages demonstrated a lack of free will in human actions as phenomena. This strange idea, that regularities seen in the distribution of random events implies an underlying deterministic law, would become very strong and influential in the works of Adolphe Quételet and Henry Thomas Buckle in the nineteenth century.
"No matter what conception may form of the freedom of the will in metaphysics, the phenomenal appearances of the will, i.e., human actions, are determined by general laws of nature like any other event of nature. History is concerned with telling about these events. History allows one to hope that when history considers in the large the play of the freedom of human will, it will be possible to discover the regular progressions thereof. Thus (it is to be hoped) that what appears to be complicated and accidental in individuals, may yet be understood as a steady, progressive, though slow, evolution of the original endowments of the entire species. Thus marriages, the consequent births and the deaths, since the free will seems to have such a great influence on them, do not seem to be subject to any law according to which one could calculate their number beforehand. Yet the annual (statistical) tables about them in the major countries show that they occur according to stable natural laws. It is like the erratic weather the occurrence of which cannot be determined in particular instances, although it never fails in maintaining the growth of plants, the flow of streams, and other of nature's arrangements at a uniform, uninterrupted pace. Individual human beings, each pursuing his own ends according to his inclination and often one against another (and even one entire people against another) rarely unintentionally promote, as if it were their guide, an end of nature which is unknown to them. They thus work to promote that which they would care little for if they knew about it.

"Since men in their endeavors do not act like animals merely according to instinct, nor like rational citizens according to an agreed plan, no planned history seems to be possible (as in the case of bees and beavers). It is hard to suppress a certain disgust when contemplating men's action upon the world stage. For one finds, in spite of apparent wisdom in detail that everything, taken as a whole, is interwoven with stupidity, childish vanity, often with childish viciousness and destructiveness. In the end, one does not know what kind of conception one should have of our species which is so conceited about its superior qualities. Since the philosopher must assume that men have a flexible purpose of their own, it is left to him to attempt to discover an end of nature in this senseless march of human events. A history of creatures who proceed without a plan would be possible in keeping with such an end; the history would proceed according to such an end of nature."

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