Lessons from Immanuel Kant: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 3

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Immanuel Kant, in the face of the overwhelming forces of science and philosophy in his day, undertook the monumental task of limiting the claims of knowledge to transcendent insight, in order to allow for the possibility of morality, of human freedom. That is, Kant made it clear that while we can think of human beings as determined by natural and social forces, we can also think of them as free, autonomous agents without contradiction. We choose which of these explanations we believe to be true, but we live "as if" we are free agents in the world. Faith, then, is not contrary to reason, but is the very foundation upon which reason operates. Faith, I learn from Kant, is a human universal; it is essential and not accidental to reason, and while not all objects of faith are rationally justified, some are, and against them the ignorance of the critic cannot stand.

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