Archive for April 12th, 2012

April 12th, 2012

Immanuel Kant and the Human Moral Situation Part 1

by Max Andrews

The human moral situation, according to Kant, is one of a generally evil nature.  By and large man possesses a propensity to act in a way that is evil, as opposed to possessing a propensity to act in a way that is good.  Only if the propensity can be considered as belonging universally to mankind can it then be called a natural propensity to evil.  This natural propensity to evil is exemplified in three degrees: human “frailty,” “impurity”, and “wickedness.”  To say that one is evil, according to Kant, is to say that one is “conscious of the moral law but has nevertheless adopted into his maxim the (occasional) deviation therefrom.”  In summation, an evil man is one who is aware of how to act in accordance with the moral law, yet chooses to act otherwise.  This is the human moral situation.

The human moral situation should be much different.  Rather than knowing what act is good and choosing otherwise, man instead should act in accordance with the moral law.  Mankind should be committed to strict adherence and obedience to the Categorical Imperative.

April 12th, 2012

Immanuel Kant’s Phenomenal-Noumenal Split

by Max Andrews

Kant’s reckoning with the true elements of knowledge ushered in a “Copernican Revolution”.  Kant focuses on his study of knowledge by distinguishing between the material and the form of sensation. The content of our sense knowledge comes from experience. The form, however, is not derived through the senses, but is imposed on the material by the mind in order to provide the material universal and necessary. The form is, therefore, a priori; it is independent of experience.  Kant called this content or stimulation input, intuitions as it comes from the senses. He also contended that there are innate categories of the mind which condition, mold and give form to these incoming sensual stimuli.  The mind possesses logically, but not chronologically categories such as sequence, size, causality, substance and modality. Time and space are considered pure intuitions which condition all knowledge gained through the senses.  The mind shapes the received information through these a priori categories.  These true elements of knowledge paved the way for Kant’s understanding of certain realms of knowledge; the phenomenal and noumenal realm.

April 12th, 2012

Having That ‘Academic Aesthetic’ – The Sententias Store

by Max Andrews

I have recently added a new feature to the website, Academic Alley, the store here at Sententias.  I’ll be developing and adding more stuff later on but I have a partnership with Amazon, which allows me to do this.  There will be two major sections to the store: the academic aesthetics and books.  The academic aesthetics has items similar to what I have and use that add to the picturesque academic persona and atmosphere.  For instance, in me office at home I have a desk surrounded by bookshelves with my personal library.  Some decor I have in the office is some large canvas paintings (say, 5′ x 4′), two different types of globes (I’ll keep one in the office and the other one elsewhere in the house), a recliner off to the side with a lamp for some casual reading, a love-seat and coffee table for a comfortable atmosphere, my wife’s desk, and seven tobacco pipes on a pipe rack.  The pipes simply add to the atmosphere and actually keep that rich smell in the air.

April 12th, 2012

The Historical Development of Subjectivism

by Max Andrews

Subjectivism begins with personal experience. One might actually regard philosophical subjectivism as doing philosophy from the inside-out (which can eventually lead to critical-realism/non-realism). Both René Descartes (1596-1650) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) attempted to construct philosophical systems from this starting point (although in the end both were realists). In the modern world subjectivist philosophies have become very popular as they challenge the notion of absolute Truth which allows people to democratize truths. This means truths become relative to each person. As a result, a society built on subjectivist principles is believed to be tolerant and willing to allow people to live and let live (providing they do not harm others – which, ironically, is not a subjective, and therefore relative, statement).

April 12th, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Austin

by Max Andrews

I was born to Christian parents and I was raised by memorizing Bible verses and being taken to church three times a week. If anyone should have been a Christian by default, it was me. I was homeschooled through a Christian curriculum, and we had meetings with other Christian families quite often.

I was also a people-pleaser, and I knew that my parents wanted me to be a Christian, like them, more than anything, so I did what I could to make them happy and I said the “prayer of salvation” when I was five years old. I thought that was enough. Even as I grew up and matured, I continually ignored any misgivings I might have had about the state of my soul. I dismissed them as an “attack from Satan,” as my pastor would have called it. Eventually, however, these doubts became strong enough that I realized I could no longer ignore them. Then I realized I didn’t care. 

April 12th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)

General summary of his theology: For Hegel, his major emphasis was upon the dialectical process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.  This process leading toward actualization of one’s spirit or geist extends down to humans but only because it first applies to God as the Absolute Idea.  Within Hegel’s thought, the universe is in a constant process of development.  In this process, God (thesis) interacts with nature (antithesis), which results in the synthesis of human development.

One must keep in mind the fact that God is first engaged in the process of actualization, all other actualization occurs as a result of God’s increasing toward actualization.  God ultimately is that being working its way in and through the whole of history so on traces out God by tracing out history wherein God is actualizing himself dialectically.  Thus, within the natural realm, humans in history too are in the process of increasing in actualization.  Human actualization therefore is in a sense to be viewed “on God’s coattails,” a trinitarian process.  There is also a sense in which God IS history and the process whereby history is progressing upwards dialectically is a work of the divine Spirit working toward actualization wherein God himself is working toward actualization.