Blog #4

In the reading this week, Kant’s philosophy resonated with me the most purely because I found it extremely strange that nobody had made the connections he made before he made them. By joining rationalism and empiricism, he appeases everyone who said “well, the empiricists kind of have it right…but so do the rationalists…” The fact is, in my opinion he hit the nail on the head when he recognized that experience shapes the mind and creates schemas within the memory. That’s where the empiricists had it right. Sensory experience and classification is key in understanding the world around us. At the same time, though, we are born with inherent understandings and basic survival instincts. We do not, for example, learn to grab fingers as infants by observing those around us doing it; instead we are born with the biological instinct to do this. The blank slate idea is more like a slate with a few notes on it from the manufacturer. I’m just really amazed that nobody fit those two together before and felt the need to keep everything so wildly polarized. I also feel the same way about the law of causality and Kant’s stance on it. Hume’s idea that we cannot ascertain cause and effect strikes me as absolutely ridiculous and like he was trying to philosophize for the sake of it. Kant’s ideas seem much more logical: we see cause and effect as there because that is how our brains work and how we view the world. This makes much more sense than trying to explain away what is in front of us.

I cannot help but draw a distinct parallel between empiricists, rationalists, and Kant and the French election. You have your polar opposites, and in this case Marine LePen represents one half of a strongly divided France. She represents the very conservative movement within France, and her ideology is staunch in its ways. There is no room for consideration and understanding from the other side. I cannot help but view empiricists and rationalists in the same fashion. They staunchly defend their own ideas, whether it be that we cannot trust out senses due to their easy deception, or that we cannot trust anything but our senses due to the unwritten nature of our conscience. In either case, the philosophers refuse to budge on policy and ideology. Kant, for me, represents the mediation between the two sides. Emmanuel Macron, in the French election, represents this balance too. Rather than adhere to one strict side of the ideological spectrum, he has openly admitted that he represents no individual party and as president will instead take policy ideas from both conservative and liberal stances in order to blend together a universally functional system. Kant does the same in his ideas. He blends the idea that we as humans rely on sensory influence to understand and categorize the world around us, but openly acknowledges that we bring to these senses a background of information and some knowledge born with us in order to create a hybrid of both empiricism and rationalism as the means for human approach and understanding. And in this blogger’s humble opinion, there’s a reason Macron is projected to win…

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