QUESTION 1 (15%)
In Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Kant achieves a fusion between the competing customs of both empiricism and rationalism. From philosophy, Kant draws the thought, that knowledge is fundamentally a knowledge, gained from the experiences but simultaneously, dumps the idea from Humes conclusion which is that we can infer no necessary and also universal truths from our experiences.In Kant's view, knowledge is inseparable from the power of demonstrating the truth or falsity of an idea. This authority is limited to the domain of sensibility, also known as empirical knowledge. Kant also draws ideas from rationalism; these ideas are that pure reason is capable of significant knowledge but rejects the thought that pure reason can tell us anything about things-in-themselves. As a result of these ideas, Kant ends up avoiding the metaphysical speculations of the rationalist, which any definite proof seems unattainable but also maintains the rationalists determined plan that tries to give some answers to the questions that repeatedly come up when we think of philosophy. By finding the answers to metaphysical questions not in the external world but a critique of human reason, Immanuel Kant gives us clear limitations for metaphysical speculation and also maintains a reasonable, empirical approach to our information of the external world.
As said in the readings provided in the course, in Kantian ethics, reason not only is the source of morality, its also considered the measure of the moral worth of an action. Kant recognizes that us humans and that our status as moral beings comes from our status as rational beings. It means our judgments and actions can be considered immoral or moral to the length that they are reasoned. Conversely saying that sound decisions are always open to moral judgment, we don't have any grounds that we could judge them. Many ethical theorists before Kant have attempted many times to ground moral judgment in the law of God or a monarch. Immanuel Kant recognizes that grounding morality in an externally imposed law compromises the autonomy of the will: in this case, it means, we as humans act under a feeling of compulsion to a will that isnt our own; thus, we are not entirely responsible for our actions. We, as humans act freely as if in an accordance with a law that is dictated by our reason. While earlier philosophers recognize that rationality is the source of morality, Kant is the first to argue that logic also provides the standard by which we make moral evaluations.
In Kant's Critique of Practical Reason, reason is not only the source of morality; it is also the measure of the moral worth of an action. Like many of the ancestors before Kant's time, Kant understands and recognized that status as moral beings follow from our status as rational beings. What this means to say is that our actions can be either characterized as moral or immoral to the extent that they are reasoned. However, when saying that rational decisions are open to moral judgment, there hasn't been a ground that determining where we should judge them. Kant recognized that grounding morality in an externally imposed law compromises the autonomy of the will, many of the theorists of Kant's time attempted to ground moral judgment in the legislation of God or of a sovereign monarch. Kant recognized that we act under a feeling of obligation to a will that is not our own, and so we are not entirely accountable for our actions. We tend to work independently, but this act only occurs when we act by a law that is created and dictated by our reason. Many earlier philosophers felt that rationality is the source of morality; however, Kant is the first to stand by the argument that reason also provides the standard by which we make moral evaluations.
Kant's ethics rely on a universal idea of reason and morality that was the characteristic of the Enlightenment age. Kant had made clear that his standards applied equally to all people, and there was no discrimination involved with the way his ethics words. We can only consider an action moral if we could that it applies as a universal law to everyone in which everyone is both author and subject to the moral laws dictated by reason. This formation of morality was first questioned by Hegel, who argued that morality varies depending on cultural and historical circumstances, and moral relativism has become a foundation stone of the postmodern worldview. Kantian ethics are based on a shared humanity that applies to all people. Indeed, we adopt different practical identities, such that we might hold different values depending on whether we identify ourselves as a Canadian, a teacher, or a student. Kantian ethics are based not on particular practical identities but on our shared identity as rational beings, which we cannot invalidate without invalidating our humanity.
What led to Kant's Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone were the Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason. As stated in the notes, since natural religion belongs to practical reason, Kant asserts the unity of all faiths, universal ethical values. In the Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, Kant says that God in Christ is a manifestation of moral idea but, All have an ideal of a morally perfect being. He also mentions Ideal of moral perfection is an archetype of moral life, this means that Jesus Christ is one example of moral perfection compared to the Buddhist ideal of Bodhisattva. In religion, Kant explores the validity of religious experience. He argues that organized religion often gets in the way of genuine religious experience, thereby threatening the moral development of humanity. Being that natural religion belongs to the pure practical reason, Kant stresses that unity of all religions. He wanted to popularize the idea of one true religion, however, many different faiths. True religion consists of the ideals of practical reason, ethics, and morality. Kant has four major arguments:
1. Whether human nature is inherently evil or inherently good
2. Possibility of humans becoming morally right by following the example of Jesus Christ
3. Possibility of creating a society that nurtures moral behavior
4. Criticizes certain aspects of organization religion
In explanation for the first point Kant believes that no matter how right or moral we try to be, it is our human nature to be bent towards evil and immoral behavior. The second point outlines that Jesus Christ resisted temptations and immoral behavior, so by following an excellent example of him, humans can become morally right. The third aspect Kant tried to say that rituals and professions of faith are in need for the establishment of a potentially healthy religion community. It is the duty of oneself to observe moral law without the help of miracles or common prayer practices. Lastly, to go in depth with the fourth point, Kant emphasizes that organized religions do not help people improve their moral standing behavior; activities such as participation in worship services cannot transform the being from immoral to moral. The being has to have faith in him/herself and work towards improving their moral standing.
QUESTION 2 (15%)
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 August 25, 1900) was a 19th-century philosopher widely known for his book Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche was also a poet, philologist, and a composer. Throughout his life, he wrote many texts on religion, morality, philosophy and science, and had a liking towards irony, metaphors, and aphorism. He challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality and was also interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Nietzsche identifies self-assertion, imagination, danger, originality and the creation of values as qualities of genuine philosophers Nietzsche takes aim at some of the world's great philosophers, who ground their outlooks wholeheartedly upon concepts such as self-consciousness, free will, and either/or bipolar thinking.
Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical interpretations; There were a lot of misinterpretations of Nietzsche and his work which resulted in people believing that he was anti-Semitic, or that he was against Christian beliefs. In his work Nietzsche himself condemns Anti-Semitism, and later says that he does not believe in some Judeo-Christian beliefs. One of the most famous quotes that Nietzsche was known for was his God is dead quote. Which Nietzsche would then say meant the dismissal of God,' in other words God does not exist. Nietzsche would then go farther with his beliefs and also reject any metaphysical postulations of a true world of being, Soul, and things-in-themselves and call them ontological fictions. The death of God is like saying that humans are no longer able to believe in any such cosmic order since they no longer recognize it.
QUESTION 3 (10%)
Aurobindo Ghose got English education. Thus, he had knowledge of Western thought, philosophy, and science. He had known for western theories of evolution such as Darwins The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, from his studies in England. Ghose was well aware of central concepts of Western evolutionary theories such as:
1. Natural Selection
2. Survival of the Fittest
3. Evolution is a process of development from simple to more complex forms that are better able to adapt to the conditions of their environment
From such theories, Aurobindo gained the opinion that such evolution theories were materialistic, they were forms of matter that had to ascent to higher, more complicated forms. He was also aware of the traditional Hindu theory of evolution, also known as Samsara. Aurobindo felt that both approaches, the Western Evolutionary Theory and the Hindu Tradition Theory of Samara were flawed. In the case, he combined both of the theories creating a new method. This theory was the understanding of evolution, which is there is no beginning and no end to the process of evolving, it isnt a cycle but more so a spiral. According to the notes, the evolution theory implied an involution of Brahman spirit into matter (Shakti), the mind of Brahman in case drives the issue (Shakti) to upper her more complication forms. Therefore, the evolution is a spiritual development as it a constant process to get higher and higher forms of consciousness.
The main point of Aurobindo Ghose's vision is the development of human life into the divine, in other words, Brahman. One of his most known quotes is Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth evolution. It is inevitable because it is at one the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of natures process. In this quote, Ghose tries to explain that evolution is a spiritual process of development from simple forms of consciousness to more complex forms of knowledge. Consciousness is present in all things, such as plants, animals, humans and even suprahuman. Ghose also believed to rise to higher levels of being the individual must practice integral yoga, the three forms of yoga being which are
1. Karma yoga
2. Bhakti yoga
3. Raja yoga.
Through meditation, we are all at the level of mind, which is the 7th stage in the levels of being, and then we can reach the higher levels and ultimately attain absolute oneness. Aurobindo Ghose believed to achieve Oneness of Ultimate Reality; the human must ascend the nine levels of being, and reaching the top level, the last one which is BRAHMAN.
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