Emmanuel Kant, Anthropology from the Pragmatic Point of View (1798)

Topics: Consciousness, René Descartes, Self-awareness Pages: 4 (1501 words) Published: March 6, 2011
Emmanuel Kant, Anthropology from the pragmatic point of view (1798)
This text is an extract from the Antropologie from the pragmatic point of view of Kant is about the importance of the power of saying « I » for the human subject. Indeed, for Kant, this force “raises Man on top of all other living beings”. This power is the founding of the superiority and of the dignity of Man, it is thanks to consciousness that Man becomes a moral being, in other words a being able to think himself and thus to wonder about the nature and the value of his acts. In the first part, from “Que l’Homme” [that Man] (line 1) to “sur la terre” [on earth] (line 2), Kant formulates his thesis while in the second part, from “il est par la” [it is by that] (line 2) to “l’entendement” [the understanding] (line 10), he explains it. Finally, the last part of the text is used for showing the origin of his thesis and for justifying it at the same time.

What does the author want to show by writing this text? Why?
In the first part, two essential questions can be asked. We could initially wonder to what would correspond the “Je” [ I ] in “Que l’homme puisse se disposer du Je dans sa representation” [That man could be able to dispose of « Je » in his representation]. A way of interpreting this would be the capacity that Man has, to think himself, to be at the same time a subject and an object of his thoughts. Kant while implying this “Je” with a “J” capital letter implies self-consciousness, self-awareness. Indeed, the “Je” represents the « me ». What is the “me”? Pascal asked that question. The “Ich” (the “I” in Kant’s language), is the consciousnessthat I am but not of what I am. Kant differentiates oneself that can be aware of his consciousness and self-knowledge.

Kant qualifies Man of way higher than animals. In other words, for Kant, Man deserves to be regarded as a person and the animal is classified with the « things » which man can use. However animal shares with...
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