The irony of the Enlightenment: Immanuel Kant, the late 18th century thinker, was indisputably the greatest philosopher of Enlightenment. But it is also interesting to note that his critical philosophy project resulted in a devastating blow to the foundation of Enlightenment itself- our trust in reason. The faculty of reason is essentially an impulse for the unconditioned condition, and constantly urges our understanding on. Kant made it clear that man will never know the true nature of reality, and is limited to mere appearances. Despite being championed as the great icon of Enlightenment, with his transcendentalism he set the ball rolling down the mountain of truth and shattered the ideals of the gilded age at the bottom, in the gulch of the 20th century.
We are picking among the remnants for whatever remains salvageable. The consequences of such absurd praise of reason or rationalism in Enlightenment resulted in two great wars in the 20th century, which were committed at the source of naturalistic humanism. Reason and rationalism, secular reasoning especially never achieved its vast promise of transforming a superstitious culture into a rational utopia. At least some of us realize that within this massive failure, liberation is never of the human, but always and only in a negatory manner: from the human. Where does that leave us? The ghost of a lost innocence haunts the age in the form of postmodernist reflections.
This brief piece explains why all ethical judgments are essentially nonsense. Since ethical judgments are based on absolute standards, which themselves are independent of all other standards, they are neither rational nor irrational. Therefore ethics as the philosophy of morality is a useless passion, and does not have anything to do with truth or falsehood. Continue reading Why ethical judgments are nonsensical
The significance of the death of God has many aspects, but the most important one is the painful realization that metaphysical foundations have become empty, irrelevant, and consequently, romantic. But it is human weaknesses that keeps those foundations circulating under the pretense of necessity, due to shame, cowardice masquerading as arrogance, and self-indulgent nostalgia. Continue reading On the Genealogy of Deicide
“My philosophy aims at an ordering of rank, not at an individualistic morality” Will to Power, 287
Nietzsche’s political thinking remains a source of confusion as well as embarrassment for most scholars seeking to appropriate conceptual tools, largely because they tend to be incongruous with the standard liberal ways of thinking about politics, which have prevailed for the past 200 years. In political thought, Nietzsche departs from liberalism in a number of ways:
He does not regard the human being as inviolable, that human life is sacrosanct.
Neither does he believe that all persons should be treated with equal respect as moral beings.
Much like liberalism, Nietzsche’s conception of politics is instrumental, but it differs radically from the liberal in his valuation of human life. Whereas for liberalism politics is a means towards peaceful coexistence of individual agents, for Fritz it is a means for human greatness. Fritz is committed to ‘perpetual self overcoming’ and the ‘enhancement of man.’ This enhancement does not consist of improving of the conditions of life for the majority of people, but in the generation of few striking superlatively vital ‘highest exemplars’ of the human species. The production of magnificent specimens is possible only in a society politically organized along strict hierarchical lines.
Questions that are framed by the word “what” are formally essentialist, because they presuppose the possibility of an essence that satisfies the question. Ergo, asking questions like “what is art” predisposes the subject matter of art into an essentialist framework. Continue reading Aesthetic of Art