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A deeper exploration of the definition and application of the kantian theory

The Reuters were shoe- and harness-makers; the Kants were harness-makers Riemer, a guild similar to saddlers. The union of Kants and Reuters provided an initial economic, emotional and religious stability for Kant during his early years. His grandfather and father were competent businessmen, initially flourishing and respected in their strata of society.

Immanuel's early childhood seems to have been idyllic. The family was rather well off. The parents got along and loved their son. Johann Kant appears to have been a gentle and hardworking man. Anna Kant, who took care of the family's paperwork, was well educated. Little Immanuel was her constant company, and her influence on him was considerable.

She taught him what she could, of the seasons, the plants and animals, and the sky. Her little son responded eagerly with questions; and the mother encouraged his outdoor curiosity with praise, patience, and more information Wasianski 1804: These details of nature provided a formative background for Kant's interest in natural philosophy, and the child grew up in an encouraging environment for early explorations.

At Kant's time, bears and wolves were common along with other local fauna, but these posed no serious threat to Kant's earliest encounters with nature. Walks, as the ones he enjoyed at the edge of town, were fun and perfectly safe.

For Prussians at the time, excursions into nature also had a spiritual subtext. Like Japanese Shinto, German tradition invests natural places with meaning. The late and superficial conversion of the Baltic lands to Christianity, after the fourteenth century, coupled with the fact that persecution drove pagan faiths temporarily underground instead of eliminating them altogether, allowed the ancient nature-worship to prevail in forms inoffensive to the clergy, as in the guise of outdoor walks.

Thus people used to attend Sunday service—before heading out for their Sonntagsspaziergang. During Kant's earliest years, the local influence of Pietism grew. As Luther's Reformation had been the effort to return Roman Catholicism to a purer faith, Pietism tried to purify Lutheranism, stripping it of dogma and detail. The Protestant Church avoided a schism in Prussia, but at the price of friction between the Lutheran mainstream, orthodoxy, and the Pietist firebrands.

Pietism stressed literal exegesis, quiet humility, and charitable deeds. It allowed believers to practice a spirituality of mystical intensity—but as the purge of Halle University 1723 illustrates, it had a totalitarian streak. The local authorities frowned on the movement, but the Pietists enjoyed protection of King Friedrich Wilhelm I reign 1713—40 and thus persisted.

In 1731, the field chaplain Franz Albert Schulz came to town, rising to become the local leader of the movement. He was appointed to director of the Pietist high school the Collegium Fridericianum and later to professor of theology. One of his early converts was Immanuel's mother, who brought her children to his bible sessions.

Schulz's Pietism straddled the line between Wolffian, rationalistic philosophy and enthusiastic, Halle religious sentiment. It stood for the equality of all to interpret the Bible and a practical faith through charitable acts, while at the same time endorsing the political ambitions of Frederick I.

It was a grassroots movement that the emphasized the personal nature of religion in contrast to establishment orthodoxy; politically, it a deeper exploration of the definition and application of the kantian theory itself with the common citizen over the nobility.

According to Kant's later judgment Wasianski 1804: Kant is said to have claimed, I will never forget my mother, for she implanted and nurtured in me the first germ of goodness; she opened my heart to the impressions of nature; she awakened and furthered my concepts, and her doctrines have had a continual and beneficial influence in my life. His friends chose the dictum from the Critique of Practical Reason 1788 for his tombstone: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: After the death of his maternal grandfather 1729the Kants suffered from a series of events that would eventually ruin the family.

The death left the harness-shop downtown without leadership and Anna's mother without a provider. To compensate, the Kant's moved into the home of Anna's mother on the outskirts of the city, in the Sattlerstrasse, the saddler-street, a less prosperous part of the city. The saddlers, a guild distinct from harness-makers while producing similar goods, did not welcome the competition. Johann Kant became the target of the saddle-makers' hostility, and the business failed to prosper in the new location.

Income steadily declined, and further hardship occurred with the death of Anna Regina 1737. Just thirteen years old, Immanuel must have keenly felt the loss of his first tutor regarding nature and religious sentiment. In 1732, Pastor Schulz, who knew the child through Anna, arranged for Immanuel, now eight, to continue his education at the Collegium Fridericianum.

For a child of working-class parents, such as Kant,this was a fortunate opportunity. Instead of the traditional path, apprenticeship at his father's shop and the eventual inheritance of the workshop, Immanuel was given the opportunity for higher education, under the assumption he would pursue a religious or civil vocation.

Practically speaking, this would raise Kant in the eyes of society and offer him the opportunity to raise himself above the rank and economics into which he was born. One might conjecture that the sensitive and bright Kant would look forward to the possibility of advancement.

Unfortunately, the tutelage he received there was a rather more stringent form of Pietism than the one he found at home under the instruction of his mother. Kant would later judge the time of youth as the hardest years of life, ruled by discipline, loneliness, and lack of freedom Lectures on Pedagogy, w. School, at the Collegium, was held six days a week. Sundays were spent with homework and prayer.

Primary subjects of instruction were Latin and religion. Only male pupils were admitted; there was no way to meet girls or socialize, and, as the son of a harness-maker, Kant was already at a significant social disadvantage. The later stages of his primary education what we would call high school definitely changed his life for the worse.

Immanuel was to attend high school until 1740, when he was sixteen. Moreover, the education was not even of great quality. Only rather elementary math was offered, and natural philosophy biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and astronomy was not taught at all. Pupils were groomed for administrative and clerical careers, so science was considered a luxury not to be indulged.

The sciences were also suspect from the theological perspectives of his instructors. Pietist indifference to inquiry and fundamentalist denial of facts resulted in contemptuous hostility toward science. As late as the 1750s, the clergy rejected the heliocentric system and frowned on Newton's celestial mechanics as fiction. The later Pietist thinker Christian August Crusius 1715—75 essentially concurred. Mathematics was useful a deeper exploration of the definition and application of the kantian theory bookkeeping but worthless for describing reality.

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Physics was acceptable as long as its findings did not undermine the Bible. As independent research programs, however, the sciences were deemed wellsprings of heresy. Although the school did offer a variety of topics: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, logic, history both church and philosophy and geography, the primary use of this instruction was in preparation for further theological study at the university. Education at the Collegium was always in the service of the Pietist programmatic, conversion and salvation of souls.

Under Schulz's guidance, ideological fervor was reined in by the need for flexibility when making converts. With his earliest education at the Collegium, Kant was to suffer from the more severe form of pedagogical ideals. During his university years, he would enjoy more moderate educational ideals, as Kant's later university teacher, Martin Knutzen 1713—51illustrates.

During high school this moderation was not felt. The instructors at the Collegium were stern. Pietist schooling involved a rigorous schedule, strict adherence to religious dogma, and instruction by repetitive drills. Strict adherence to regimen, dogma and practical applications were essential to these two goals. In contrast to Catholicism where sins are forgiven in confessionProtestant salvation depends on grace. The faithful cannot rely on a ritual for exoneration; non-Catholic Christians steadily collect sins.

They can only do their best and better their odds for deliverance by remorseful introspection. Pietism honed remorse into a fine art. God's grace will wipe the slate clean, but grace is neither predictable nor verifiable. The only measure, if there is any, is the intensity of shame—the stronger the cultivated feelings of guilt, the better the chances for salvation.

  • Purpose is not imposed by a supernatural God, but, instead, woven into the natural fabric;
  • The Living Forces appeared too late to make any difference, and Kant was unaware of d'Alembert's and Euler's research;
  • Anyone intrigued by force would want to study these phenomena;
  • In 1746, he buried his father, wrote the bulk of his first work, submitted it to the censor, and secured a publisher;
  • He tried to determine force without even mentioning the second law of motion that defines it as the product of mass and acceleration.

The education at the Collegium institutionalized this guilt and sought to properly instruct its charges with a contrite spirit and sense of conservative propriety.

One should feel an enthusiastic guilt and sense of turpitude in an effort to become a better citizen, both spiritually and practically. With the exception of a certain Heydenreich, a friendly Latinist who introduced Kant to Lucretius's De rerum natura Borowski 1804: He excelled at Latin, an emphasis at the school, and Greek, but struggled with theology and arithmetic. He appears to have enjoyed classic authors under the guidance of Heydenreich and many thought he would take up classics at university.

The lack of scientific training would hamper his later explorations of nature. He tried to make up for it at the university in 1740, but his mathematics instructor, Privatdozent Christian Ammon 1696—1742 was ignorant of the calculus Kuehn 2001b: Kant's quantitative skills were to remain substandard; when he calculated, the results usually came out all wrong Adickes 1924a: This lack in mathematical training played into his belated comprehension of Newton's work, yet did not harm Kant's appreciation for him.

Kant's Philosophical Development

Such a substandard education in arithmetic, philosophy and the sciences were the norm at the Collegium Fridericianum, and Kant would have to continually work to make up for this early deficit. Hence Kant's later contributions to natural science would have to remain of a conceptual sort. High school may have also affected the development of Kant's ethics. In the absence of data, this effect is conjectural. Still, common sense suggests that his later interest in dignity and the value of autonomy might have been influenced by the treatment he suffered and witnessed in school.

Moreover, these experiences may also explain Kant's exclusion of emotion from ethics; a curious exclusion, given his emphasis of the importance of the good will Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals 1785; 4: Anna Kant died in 1737, when Immanuel was thirteen.

This may be due, in part, to the daily exposure to the guilt associated with the doctrines of morality to which Immanuel was exposed at the Collegium. And without a mother as an affectionate and sane counterweight, the oppressiveness and negative associations of guilt and morality must have taken its toll.

He suffered the pious whim of teachers, eager to instill feelings of guilt for the sake of salvation.