Lessons from Kant: On Knowledge, Morality, and Beauty

Webpage for an essay by Oded Goldreich


Kant's work contains numerous inspiring ideas regarding knowledge, morality, and beauty, and I will attempt to present some of them in this short essay. Following are very brief summaries of the main lessons that I suggest to take home.

Knowledge is a synthesis of concepts and sensory data; it is never obtained by sheer accumulation of data (or facts); it is obtained by the organization of meaningful data, where the meaning is assigned by our prior conceptual frameworks. This implies that all that we learn and know is filtered by our conceptual frameworks and is never independent of them.

Morality is based on freedom, which combined with reason forbids treating humans as merely means to some other end. This is a categorical imperative.

Our experience of beauty refers to our own sensation and requires a free play of our imagination. It cannot be reduced to concepts nor can it be determined by interests or perceived purposes.

Material available on-line

Back to either Oded's page of essays and opinions or to Oded's homepage.