Anthropology by Immanuel Kant 1798

kantImmanuel Kant gave a series of lectures on anthropology 1772-1773, 1795-1796 at the University of Königsberg, which was founded in 1544. His lectures dealt with recognizing the internal and external in man, cognition, sensuousness, the five senses, as well as the soul and the mind. They were gathered together and published in 1798 and then published in English in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 1867, volumes 9-16. Therefore, several texts will be used for this book. I was able to find sections 1-37 and then section 43, and sections 47-57. It seems that sections 38-42, 44-46 are not available. This is book one of his longer work.


The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, by William Torrey Harris 1835-1909

Part First Anthropological Didactic – Concerning the manner in which to recognize the Internal as well as the External of Man p. 16-27 Section 1-5  Volume IX

Egotism can contain three presumptions, that of the understanding, that of taste, and that of practical interest; that is, it may be of a logical, aesthetical, or practical nature.

Self-attention, in our intercourse with others, is unquestionably necessary; but it must not be observable, for in that case it either embarrasses or makes affected.


Concerning voluntary consciousness, self-observation, and representation – Volume IX p 239-245 Section 6-7 and remarks

The man who has learned nothing of that which must be taught in order to be known is called an ignoramus, if he ought to have known it, and if he lays claim to be a scholar; for, if he does not claim that, he may nevertheless be a great genius. A man who cannot think for himself, though capable of learning much, is called narrow-minded. A man may be a vast scholar — a machine for instructing others — and yet be narrow-minded in regard to the rational use of his historical knowledge. A man whose use of what he has learned betrays the fetters of the school — and hence lack of freedom in self-thinking — when he communicates it to others, is called a pedant, whether he be scholar, soldier, or even a courtier.


Apology for Sensuousness – Volume IX p. 406-416 Sections 8-12

The senses do not govern the understanding. On the contrary, they rather submit themselves to the understanding in order that it may control their services. The fact that they do not want the importance which attaches to them in what is usually called common sense (sensus communis) to pass unrecognized, cannot be charged to them as an assumption to govern the understanding. It is true that there are judgments which are not formally taken before the tribunal of the understanding in order to be passed upon, and which, therefore, seem to have been dictated by the senses.


Concerning the Five Senses  Volume X p. 319-323 Sections 13-18

The senses of taste and smell are both more subjective than objective; the former in that the organs of taste, the tongue, the gums and the throat are touched by the external object; the second in that we inhale along with the air the exhalations of foreign substances, though the exhaling object may be at a distance. They are closely related to each other, and a person who lacks the sense of smell, has also, as a rule, only a coarse taste. We may say that both organs are affected by salts (solid and volatile) the one kind of which must be dissolved in the mouth by a fluid, while the other requires to be dissolved through the air, which fluid or air must penetrate the organ, in order to affect it by the peculiar sensation they create.


Anthropological Didactic – Concerning the external senses Volume XI 1867 Part First –  p. 310-317 Sections 19-23

We can divide the sensations of our external senses into those of mechanical and those of chemical origin. To the former class belong the three higher, to the latter the two lower senses. The former are senses of perception (superficial), the latter are senses of enjoyment (intense appropriation). This is the reason why nausea, an inclination to relieve ourselves of what we have eat or drunk by the shortest way of the esophagus, that is, to vomit, has been given to man as a vital sensation of unusual degree ; since so intense an appropriation might become dangerous to the animal.

 But since there exists also a spiritual enjoyment, which results from the communication of thoughts, and which, when forced upon us and is not healthy for us as spiritual food, but found to be disagreeable — as, for instance, a repetition of the same witty or supposed to be witty sayings — and which may, therefore, also become unwholesome to us on account of that very sameness: we call the instinct of nature to get rid of this spiritual food, also nausea, for the sake of analogy ; although it belongs to the internal sense.


Concerning the Stoppage, Weakening, and Total Loss of our Sensuous Faculty – Volume XI 1867  353 – 363 Sections 24-27

The power of imagination is either imagining (productive) or merely recalling (reproductive). This does not mean, however, that the productive power of imagination is on that account creative and that it has the power to produce a sensuous representation (perception) which was never previously given to our sensuous faculty. On the contrary, we can always find out and show up the material of which it has made use. We can never make a person who has never seen amongst the seven colors the red one, comprehend the sensation of redness; and to a person born blind we can never make understood the sensation of any color, even though it were a middle color, produced by the mixture of two other colors; as, for instance, green; yellow and blue mixed together, form the color of green; but the power of imagination would never have the least representation of this color, if it had never seen it mixed.


Concerning the Sensuous Power of Productive Imagination According to Its Different Kinds – Volume XIII 1867 Section 28-31 p. 281- 289

The law of association is this: that empirical representations, which follow each other, effect a habit in the mind of connecting the last one with the one preceding it. It is in vain to seek for a physiological explanation of this phenomenon, whatsoever hypothesis one chooses (which hypothesis is, after all, again a fiction) — as, for instance, that of Descartes, with his so-called material ideas in the brain. At any rate, none of these explanations are pragmatically that is, they cannot be used for any practical purpose, since we have no knowledge of the brain, and the places therein, in which we might discover the traces of representative impressions sympathetically harmonized by contact with each other, as it were, at least mediately.


Concerning the manner in which to recognize the Internal as well as the External of Man p. 154-169 Section 32-37 and Appendix  Volume XIV 1867 Part I

Empirical prevision is the expectation of similar occurrences (expectatio casuum similium), and requires no intellectual knowledge of causes and effects, but merely a memory of observed occurrences as they usually follow each other, and repeated experience in these matters produces an aptness in this memorizing.

Presentiments are generally of the painful kind; a feeling of dread, which arises from physical causes, precedes, with an uncertainty as to the cause of the dread. But there are also presentiments of a joyful and bold kind, indulged in by enthusiasts, who scent the approaching unveiling of a mystery, for which man nevertheless has no receptive sense, and who believe that they see with their eyes, just newly uncovered, the presentiment of that which they, as seers, expect in mystic contemplation. The second sight of the Scottish Highlanders — with which some of them believe they see a person hung up on the shipmast, of whose death they then, as soon as their ship reaches shore, pretend to have been just advised — belongs to the same class of enchantments.


Concerning the Weaknesses and Diseases of the Soul in regard to its Faculty of Cognition Section p. 62-66 Section 43- Volume XV 1867

Simpletons, stupids, numskulls, blockheads, and fools are distinguished from deranged people not only in regard to degree, but also in regard to the different qualities of their moods; and the former are not yet qualified for the insane asylum, which is a place where men must be kept in order, by another’s reason, in spite of the maturity and strength of their own age, in view of their inability to attend to themselves to the smallest affairs of life.

The mildest of all manners of overstepping the limits of sound reason is the riding of a hobby-horse; a disposition to employ one’s self purposely with pet objects of the imagination, which the understanding merely plays with for its occupation, as with a real business, and thus, as it were, a busied idleness


Mental Diversion– p. 47- 52 Volume XVI Section 45-47

One of the weaknesses of the human mind is this: to be nailed to some representation or another to which we have applied great or permanent attention, and from which we are now not able to relieve ourselves – that is, not able to again make our power of imagination free.

The reading of novels has – among many other disturbances of the mind – also this result: that it makes a habit of mental diversion.


Concerning the Diseases of the Mind to  Sagacity and Genius  – Volume XVI Sections 48-57- p. 395-413

Profound pondering (melancholia) may also be a mere imagination of misery, which the darkly pondering self-tormentor creates for himself.

If some one has purposely caused a disaster, and it is questionable whether he is at all, or in what degree he is to be, blamed for it, and whether or not he was insane at the time of the commission of the deed, the court should not refer him to the medical facility-the court itself being incompetent to decide upon such a case-but to the philosophical faculty.

To invent something is quite different from discovering something. This talent for invention is called genius.


descartes to Schleiermacher - Copy

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