A rant about Kant

Neven Sesardic
(Lingnan University, Hong Kong: sesardic@ln.edu.hk)

Among philosophers itís a unique case

that someone lived in just one place.

KŲnigsberg is his town of birth,

and where he was buried into earth.

 

Despite this poor knowledge base

he had strong views on time and space,

on substance, world, and natureís laws,

for which he received much applause.

 

Three books (all called the same)

contributed to his fame.

Which ones? Well, all agree:

the Critique one, and two, and three.

 

Letís start with the Critique one.

Alas, reading it, is not much fun.

The style of writing is very dry.

As for its content, it makes me cry.

 

It claims that knowledge most refined

is only about the human mind.

Itís necessary and a priori

if seen (as it should be) with inner eye.

 

Itís all established with intuitions,

and some pretty atrocious definitions.

He loved long words with Latin flavor,

which later, thank God, fell out of favor.

 

Our sage insisted that space is flat,

Yet science today is rejecting that.

What he declared necessarily true

is in fact contingentóand false, too!

 

Kant spent most time in dogmatic slumber,

wake-up calls reaching a wrong number.

At last awoken by David Hume,

soon he was again snoring in his room.

 

Now to the Critique number two.

Once more, itís not a pretty view.

With a new trick up his sleeve,

pops up categorical imperative.

 

Beside urging us to stand in awe

before the heavens and moral law,

he asserts that ethics norms

directly follow from empty forms.

 

And that the whole system of morality

springs from a rule thatís content-free.

Wow, I just canít see how that could be,

perhaps Kant is not my cup of tea.

 

The third Critique, a tough cookie,

for an expert and for rookie.

In fact, to be quite sincere,

why the old man wrote it, is unclear.

 

No one can agree on what it says,

For most itís all just fog and haze.

I read it few times, with no success,

each time I understood it less and less.

 

Now itís best to end this rant

and sum up the judgment about Kant.

So whatís achieved in his three critiques?

With all due respect: fiddlesticks!