HCJ – Lecture two
Immanuel Kant was the last influential philosopher in the theory of knowledge, following on from people we have covered such as Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Kant was a liberal thinker and his ideas on noumenal objects were supportive of those same ideas that Hume and Berkeley had. Kant believed that when you looked away from an object, or stopped perceiving it, it stayed there, but was not the same; when you begin perceiving the object it becomes phenomena. So if you was in a room with no windows and no doors, then Kant would have believed that anything outside of that room was different to what it would be if it were being perceived through a window. Berkeley had a similar notion in that he believed when you do not perceive something it does not exist, or that it flashes in and out of existence, Berkeley believed that God was to blame for this. This would have been because at the times of his philosophy, anything un-explainable was considered an act of God. Hume, however believed that there is no causation in nature, only in our minds the objects are there; anything that you can see is in one’s eyes only.
In Kant’s opinion something is only good if it can be legislated as a universal law. This was in opposition to utilitarianism, which is the greatest good for the greatest number. Kant would believe that making all the money would bring all the pleasure. However, utilitarianism would reject this notion as not everyone can be rich. The morality by which Kant lived by also included the theory that any kind of lie is bad, and that the whole World ending would be better than someone telling a lie. So telling an axe murderer where your friends are so he can kill them would be better than lying to save them. Regardless of the outcome, the intent one has is most important. Kant believed that if you were doing something morally right in order to gain respect than it was wrong, but if you were doing something morally right, just because you know it is morally right than it is a good thing.