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Kant and the Dunyain posted 21 February 2006 in Author Q & AKant and the Dunyain by Peter, Auditor

Yeah, my original attempt at posting included a more thorough account of the simialrities, then somehow before I managed to post it the window shut down and I lost it. Then the second time I tried it failed again, so the third time I thought I would keep it short and write more later if anyone showed any interest.

Basically the whole Dunyain philosophy seems to revolve around a duality. On the one hand there is the world which is determined by what comes before (the Empirical Priority Principle) and on the other there is reason which is meant formally, but not ontologically, to lie outside the circle of the world (the Rationality Priority Principle). The Dunyain believe that in developing their Logos to a great enough extent they can overcome the Empirical Priority Principle and become self-moving objects.

This sounds very much Like Kant's account of Freedom. When we move through the phenomenal world only, listen only to those phenomenal urges we have then we are acting heteronomously (i.e. acting for reasons given to us from outside ourselves). Rather Kant thinks that we must view our actions as being free (try thinking about a choice you must make such that you think that what you end up doing is not causally linked to what you choose, if you can't then you must at least see yourself as acting freely), but that free action must be governed by some law (after all if we are to see our choices as related to our actions there must be at least some apparent lawlike relation between the two). When we act according to this law, for Kant it is the Moral Law, we act autonomously and are therefore free.

The similarity here is that both Kant and the Dunyain recognise the world as being determined, but both also have an account of freedom which can be attained through rationality. They differ in that Kant thinks that this use of reason is inherently moral, whilst the Dunyain think it is merely instrumental. The other similarity here is that both place freedom apart from this world. In recognising reason as formally outside this world, the Dunyain seem to be calling upon a notion very similar to Kant's noumenal world, which is most cogently understood as the world viewed from a different point of view (a point of view which humans can never occupy however).

Finally it might be thought that the Empirical Priority principle might play a regulative role in the Dunyain philosophy. It may be that it is the lens through which they claim to understand the world, which would be similar to Kant's claim that space, time, number, causality etc. are features of our point of view on the world, not of the world itself. This last point I admit is a little stretched.

So to recap the similarities to me seem to be that both allow for freedom through reason and both seem to have this dualistic view of the world and possibly the notion of regulative principles as well. Hmmmm, there was more in the original lost posts, when TTT was fresher in my mind... dammit. Well this may not seem as much as I had hoped for, but reading the book I was repeatedly struck by what seemed to me to be Kantian elements and I can't get it out of my mind. view post


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