An excellent Thomist critique of Immanuel Kant over at the Just Thomism blog. You can find it here.
For those new to Kant, it’s likely a bit dense. But don’t be discouraged, everything about Kant is a bit dense. I confess I find him to be a lot dense and feel he could have written his ideas much clearer. But as my friend Tom Peeler says, “If you’re trying to deny the obvious, your writing has to be obscure.”
All this philosophy is not just empty words. Kant was extremely intelligent, a borderline genius. His influence is immense and continues to this day. Kant is the reason why many today feel faith is separated from logic and reason. Kant also re-defined ideas such as mathematics and other areas of western thought, such as morals and ethics.
A super-high level background summary is this:
1. Kant rejects all metaphysics, which is the study being (how things exist). On the other side, Thomists start with studying how things exist (how they be). This influences what we claim we can know and what we cannot know, which is the study of epistemology.
2. Kant held that we can’t (kan’t) know things beyond our minds, and tried to show this using “antinomies” which are statements about two things that we know both to be true, but where both things contradict each other. He held that because we can know contradictory things, we’re forced into not being able to know things outside of our minds.
3. Kant introduced the terms “analytic” and “synthetic” statements. Analytic are those like “all husbands are male” where “husband” already means “male.” Synthetic statements are like “green means go” where nothing inherent in “green” automatically means “go.” Such a distinction in Kant’s writings are a central part of his ideas, and have been the subject of much debate.