The Critique of Pure Reason
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“The subjective experience of time isn't "out there"... it's in here.”
- ~ Kant on having a reason to stroke your chest
The Critique of Pure Reason, also known as "The Bitchslap of Pure Reason", is a famous philosophical postulate put forth by noted German philosopher Immanuel "Smarmy" Kant. Kant was famous for his refusal to put up with what he thought were "insane French ideas" about reality actually being real and so, to combat this, he began his Critique. Kant set out to disprove Pure Reason by use of a logical proof that made no sense, yet conformed to the very rules of Logic, subjectivity, and predicate. In doing so, Kant showed how it was possible that Pure Reason could be anything, including nothingness. This contradiction provides the basis of his renowned Critique.
The Background of Pure Reason
Pure Reason was first formulated in 370 BC by Aristotle, when he asked himself Why? and, after months of pondering and animal sacrificing, came up with the brilliant answer Because!. This was heralded by philosophers far and wide as the crowning achievement of pre-Christian thought. In one fell swoop, all key philosophical issues were neatly erased away.
This idea, called Pure Reason, provided the philosophical underpinning for all subsequent philosophical or religious action. Evidence of Pure Reason's startling influence can be seen even in the work of St. Augustine, who merely re-applied to the theory to Christian Eschatology:
|In response to Aristotle's pre-eminent ontological question, Why?, up until the Revelation of the existence of the Triune deity via Christ, we knew only Because!. Now, Because! is all well and good, but Because! can't save your soul from hell. But, after years of study into the Vulgate, I have taken the grain of truth in Aristotle's answer and have updated it for the modern Christian mind! Why?, you ask, you skeptical bastard you? Because God! Try to argue around that!|
As a lasting note on Pure Reason's influence, it should be noted that all modern Christian apologetic arguments are merely restatements of St. Augustine's modification of Pure Reason.
The Critique, first published in the German Journal for Articles Disproving the Existence of This Journal, ignited a firestorm of controversy in the field of philosophy. Here is its originally published form, translated to English from its native German:
The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
"Pure Reason" is defined as a 3-X philosophical term; that is, 'Pure Reason' is "pure", "reasonable", and "purely reasonable". This is not to say that Pure Reason is "reasonably pure". That's a mere tautology, a play on words, and shall receive no play in this article, my play on words, or any other play, on words or otherwise. Thus:
- 1. All philosophical truths are true in reality. All X terms are philosophical truths, thus they are true in reality. So:
- 2. if X1 is true, then = df. X can perform any metaphysically possible action, plus several other actions to be decided by arbitration at a later date.
- 3. if X2 is true, then = df. X can be any true proposition p, X knows p and is casually acquainted to p's friends.
- 4. if X3 is true, then = df. X does not perform any actions because it's just a bunch of notation on a page.
- 5. thus, since X1 is undefined, yet true, and X2 is related, by proxy, to p(2) through p(infinity), and is thus always true and always not true, and since X3 is just a bunch of words on a page, Pure Reason is contradictory.
- 6. therefore, accepting X1, X2, and X3, Pure Reason is false.
And so, suck it Hume.
Effect on Modern Philosophy
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is seen as the apex of modern philosophy. By critiquing Pure Reason as harshly and effectively as he did, Kant destroyed the work of roughly 2000 years of philosophy without so much as a shred of shame or embarrassment. In fact, the ever-vainglorious Kant called all previous philosophy "a load of Bollocks not fit to disturb the Stones lodged in my Kidneys".
Nevertheless, it is important to realize that, despite his trenchant attitudes and flagrant lack of respect, Immanuel Kant was much smarter than you. Immensely so. In fact, the enormity of his intelligence cannot be comprehended by your feeble brain. He is so many orders of magnitude above you in intelligence that, literally, not enough paper exists to list all the numbers that comprise the exponent. Basically, I'm saying the dude was sharp. Kant laid the groundwork of Hegel's, and thus Marx's, philosophies by creating the concept of "the negation of the negation". Like you even understand what that means.
Alternatives to Pure Reason
Many after Kant could not accept the conclusions; these included, Professor William Lane Craig, who, in the light of all the evidence against him, believes that Jesus is the one true Lord who will defeat Lord Zedd and the forces of Palpatine's empire. Isaac Newton was going to warn the Christians, but his OCD got the better of him when an apple fell on his head and tried to understand what happened, thus forming Classical Mechanics. Newton's failure to inform the world led to the message of Kant being distorted or even ignored in lands as vile and primitive and far away from industrial society as Wigan, England.
In the place of Pure Reason, Kant promoted the use of Impure Reason. Kant reasoned that since Pure Reason led, necessarily, to confusion, Impure Reason must lead, necessarily, to common sense views on matters of ethical concern. His first test of the theory was a logical proof similar to this one:
- 2. Since this logical proof is comprised of phrases, it is to be expected that cuss words will be used, thus
- 3. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Q.E.D. Quod erat demonstrandum. It is demonstrated. I can now state with absolute assurance that Impure Reason, not Pure Reason, is the correct lens for understanding sensory perception. Suck it, Hume.
He began this trend towards Impurity by basing of vulgar jokes on his last name. Hegel eventually expanded on this idea with his theory of Diuretics, to which Marx tacked on the crowning achievement of Impure Reason, Diuretical Necrophilism.
Three hundred years on in history, an obscure British writer and philosopher named Douglas Adams formulated another alternative to Pure Reason. His postulation, colloquially known as Deep Thought, is based upon the backward propagation of prerequisites. In this school of thought, an argument is constructed by first determining the outcome one desires to establish, and subsequently work backwards until a suitable question is reached. A famous proponent of this philosophical dictum is George W. Bush, one of the today's leading philosophical minds. President Bush clearly demonstrated the power of Deep Thought by first deciding the answer is "Invade Iraq", and then working back to formulate a question that would achieve this end. In doing so Bush proved that the question need not have anything to do with the wanted answer, as his query "Where's the beef?" managed to easily goad the American public into war.
In a rather abstract and inaccessible but nonetheless brilliant article first published by the BBC in the May 1978 edition, Mr. Adams demonstrated practical use of this method by choosing a deliberately random number as the answer and working backwards until finally by means of his Deep Thought method arriving at the question "What is the meaning of Life, the Universe and ... Everything?".
General critique on Deep Thought as an alternative to Pure Reason concentrates on these points:
- There is no predetermined set of rules or axioms that lead from the answer to the question, so it is all rather objective, depending on past experience of the individual trying to work backwards and formulate the question.
- It completely ignores the existence of swear words. It is generally accepted that swear words are an entity whose existence can be demonstrated by experimental means - id est: scientifically falsifiable theoretical premises being tested under controlled conditions yielding reproducible outcomes. Thus, ignoring swear words can be seen as a Bad Thing.