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Immanuel Kant's Notion of Knowledge (Essay Sample)

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Running Head: IMMANUEL KANT'S NOTION OF KNOWLEDGE
Immanuel Kant's Notion of Knowledge
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Immanuel Kant's Notion of Knowledge
Immanuel Kant was a great German philosopher and a professor of metaphysics and logic. One of his greatest masterpieces, “The Critique of Pure Reason”, became available in 1781 and influenced many people regarding human knowledge. In the work, Kant wanted to offer an answer to Descartes skepticism and views about knowledge. He also wanted to make philosophy a scientific aspect through the masterpiece. However, the most outstanding thing is that Kant presented his ‘notion of knowledge’ in the work. Kant argued that human knowledge was derived solely from experience; however, it is possible for human beings to have knowledge of some objects in advance or before the experience (Cahn, 2007). This discussion and argument is what forms Kant’s notion of knowledge.
Years before the birth of Immanuel Kant, people and philosophers of the time believed strongly that whatever kind of knowledge possessed by human beings was a priori. This knowledge was therefore believed to be a nature of presenting analytical judgment. This was to say that whatever was stated in the ‘predicate’ was already present in the idea or object and was therefore independent of any form of experience. For example, it was believed that ‘an intelligent person was intelligent, period (Cahn, 2007).’ That being the case, it was observable that the kind of judgment was analytic because it was arrived at offering an analytical approach to the ‘subject’ only instead of ‘the process.’ Long before Kant, philosophers and scholars strongly argued that all forms of judgment were based on contradiction. In that case, Kant refuted this idea and presented a valid explanation regarding how human knowledge occurs.
Human knowledge begins with his experience. This means that our faculties of knowledge cannot be awakened into a given action if the objects inducing the senses do not arouse any form of understanding or activity. This means that these objects and representations form the raw materials through which one begins to experience knowledge. Basically, man cannot possess even the slightest knowledge if there is no experience. With experience, man’s knowledge begins. However, although all knowledge starts from experience, it is not all knowledge that comes from a certain type of experience (Cahn, 2007). This kind of knowledge that does spring from an experience is called ‘empirical knowledge.’ The knowledge is therefore composed of what man receives through certain impressions, or what is supplied from our own faculties or sensible impressions.
What happens is that an individual may not distinguish the knowledge added by his faculties unless there is a long attention and practice. That being the case, Kant argued that there was the need to re-examine this question deeper and discuss when knowledge can be independent of human experience. According to Kant, there is knowledge not obtained from impressions of human senses or experience (Cahn, 2007). This knowledge is known as a priori. Kant, though, believes that the adoption of the ‘priori’ fails to indicate the exact meaning of the question here. For the empirical knowledge, we usually do not derive it exactly at the time when we experience the situation. This is to say that we may not completely understand everything from a ‘priori.’ What follows, according to the philosopher, is that man will always understand by a priori, and not knowledge which is entirely independent of an experience, but knowledge which is absolutely independent of any form of experience (Cahn, 2007). The proposition here is that every form of ‘alteration’ is derived from a given cause, and thus a priori proposition cannot be regarded as a pure proposition. This is because alteration is a strong concept only derived from our own experiences.
From Kant’s argument, man can only know what comes to them from a given experience. This is because any form of knowledge and understanding is derived from a priori. As well, Kant says that, even our common understanding is based on a priori knowledge (Cahn, 2007). Human beings are in possession of specific modes or what the philosopher refers to as ‘a priori knowledge.’ People require a kind of approach or criterion by which they can clearly distinguish empirical knowledge and pure knowledge. It is through experience that we are taught how a given thing is.
Kant examined his work and proposed that human knowledge only springs from two major sources: understanding and sensibility. He therefore suggested that the manner in which man perceives, reflects and identifies certain objects can have a structure or form which in one way would contribute to our human experience (Cahn, 2007). This means that we can only know things depending on our experience or understanding, or through sensibility. Without these two sources human beings cannot know anything or possess any given kind of knowledge.
Having explained how man can know things through the above procedures, Kant went ahead to say that all our human understanding and senses are what contribute to knowledge. This is however preconditioned by time and space. When w...
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