Re: virus: A taste of Kant

Nathaniel Hall (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 21:43:14 -0600

KMO wrote:
> I've read much of Kant and his supposed denegration of reason on the
> list over the past couple of days, and I suspect that some of the images
> of Kant which form key elements in the postions of the participants in
> this discussion were formed primarily on the basis of reading Kant's
> detractors rather than as a direct response to first-hand exposure and
> subsequent reflection on Kant's actual writing. I could be wrong, but
> that's the impression I've gotten, so I thought I'd treat you all to a
> hit of the unadulterated dope. As Ice-T said it, "I can't put any cut
> on the product. I just can't live like that."
> So here is the first paragraph of "Groundwork of the Metaphysic of
> Morals," by Immanuel Kant (translated by H.J. Paton):
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out
> of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good
> will. Intelligence, wit, judgement, and any other talents of the mind we
> may care to name, or courage, resolution, and constancy of purpose, as
> qualities of temperament, are without doubt good and desirable in many
> respects; but they can also be extremely bad and hurtful when the will
> is not good which has to make use of these gifts of nature, and which
> for this reason has the term 'character' applied to its peculiar
> quality. It is exactly the same with gifts of fortune. Power, wealth,
> honour, even health and that complete well-being and contentment with
> one's state which goes by the name of 'happiness', produce boldness, and
> as a consequence often over-boldness as well, unless a good will is
> present by which their influence on the mind - and so too the whole
> principle of action -- may be corrected and adjusted to universal ends:
> not to mention that a rational and impartial spectator can never feel
> approval in contemplating the uninterrupted prosperity of a being graced
> by no touch of a pure and good will, and that consequently a good will
> seems to constitute the indispensable condition of our very worthiness
> to be happy.
Good will is not necessarily the way to the good. If your action while
good intentioned is based on bad information it leads to bad results.
The good comes about from acting on good information and good will.

> Make of that what you will. In response to the Objectivist claim that
> Hegal was a communist, I'd like to simply present the historical note
> that Karl Marx was 13 years old when Hegal died in 1831. You may argue
> that Hegal was a communist, but such an argument would have much the
> same character as an argument in support of the claim that Nietzsche was
> a Nazi or that Spinoza was a New Ager.
> Take care.
> -KMO
Hegel was a favorite of the communists. He provided the poisoned water
from which they choose to drink.