Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kant's Definition


      Necessary for mental health to regularly digress from those things that dominate the day to day routine, and to do so, defining 'idea' is one of many valuable exercises.  Traditional definition gives a meaning to 'idea' that offers it up as a mental activity, and generally the definition promotes words like 'product' or 'concept' so as to suggest that 'Idea' contains a constructive element, or at least a potential for usefulness.  And there is that area of debate which suggests that all things are 'idea' because that's as close as we can ever get to a thing.  Which means, that try as I might I can never actually be a table or a bucket of ice cream, even if through some error of judgment, I might believe the 'idea' that I am a table or a bucket of ice cream.

       In the political arena, 'idea' can quickly become dogma, or its uglier cousin idealism.  Which is to say that I can call a table a bucket of ice cream, and as long as I do it loudly enough, and as long as I can persuade others, a table will become a bucket of ice cream.  Then time comes for ice cream consumption, a moment that should have a precision of qualities that might include a spoon as well as a table, but which certainly includes memory of previous encounters with similar qualities whatever name they might collectively have been known by.  Or as Kant would have it, 'idea' is no more than an object of reason that makes some sort of sense but isn't necessarily fact.  And how much better I might understand others, if I believed him, instead of daily being made speechless by rage.


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