Bob Bailey

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Immanuel Kant – the Conflict of the Facilities (1798)

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This is a philosophy conference paper by Professor Stephen Palmquist. Describing conflict as a necessary concept where its purpose is to create peace by working with it and in opposition. The paper sees the University as a site of “peaceful conflict” that is ideally placed to “encourage our governments to adopt policies of engagement that promote balance and mutual respect between different nations.” Hostilities and war should be resolved peacefully by a laid out a framework of principles (dependant on if both parties want to work with them); many are not adhered to.

Does God exist? AmI free? Will I somehow continue to exist after my body dies? We can never fully become what we believe God want us to be. These seem to me to be quite controversial statements for an address at Conference in Tehran in 2015 especially as from a philosopher. Considering that the writings of Kant had a major influence in the foundations of the United Nations. Written 5 years after the regicide of Louis XVI and his wife it was a fine time to question authority’s hold over it’s 18th Century State run Universities. Prussian teaching consisted of 4 faculties: Law, Medicine, Theology (all training the professionals) and Philosophy (to educate and examine the other faculties in their reasoning). So Philosophy engaged in creative conflict with the other 3 ‘higher’ faculties. As the 3 higher faculties trained and had influence on the populace their teachings were regulated by the State, answer to it, and therefore cannot be concerned with ‘Reason’; not so with Philosophy thereby providing checks and balances from within. The freedom of thought that philosophy enjoys comes could belie its irrelevancy – Philosophy is a Judge without any practical Jurisdiction. The State has no authority over it because it has no practical interest in mere Reason itself is there still a conflict?

Theology versus Philosophy… surely God can’t be questioned; the word of God can only be interpreted.

Palmquist’s introduction of terrorism into the pot suggests that Philosophers are not living up to Kant’s findings; that they are responsible for balancing the natural framework that Society lives within (and under) but are not loud enough. They are today’s peace keepers that should be promoting the re-balance between authorities representing different cultures.

Philosophy? Let’s call it Faculty of The Arts where everything that the other Faculties do can be debated, questioned, stolen, manipulated all to its own benefit. Is this too basic an assumption? It does, though, encourage independent thought before action.

This was not an easy read for me. I understand the principals but have a feeling of being left shortchanged or empty-handed by it. It does, in context with Whitehead and Aoun give me an understanding of how far we have travelled in terms of reasoning, communication, imagination and critical theory – so it’s been useful but not easy !

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