Every idea can be made into an idealism, but can every idea be extended and function as a true idealism? Throughout history, philosophers have been inventing various idealisms to define their supposedly unique stances: transcendental, absolute, critical, material, and others. However, if we start branching philosophy into mere idealisms, we can get easily lost. I’ve proposed a different way to categorize philosophies that differentiates taking an idea as primary (position) or secondary (direction), and, following this, I’ve already categorized more than 100 individuals!
As you can see in one of earlier posts, there are sleepers who are not fully aware of the category of their philosophies. For example, Baruch Spinoza and John Locke were involved in the philosophical conflict of rationalism and empiricism, but their philosophies had potential keys that transcended that conflict and yet remained unrealized by them. Building on the nature of this unnecessary conflict, Kant conquered the scene, providing what he termed to be the philosophy of rationalism and empiricism, but it ultimately resulted in a philosophy that could not make everyone aware of its own category, limited rather than universal as it was conceived.
Not only the categories of empiricism and rationalism were deceiving, clumping together philosophers of quite different standings, such as George Berkley with David Hume and Rene Descartes with Spinoza, but actually its primary subject, namely whether minds were tabula rasa or had innate ideas a priori, was a secondary conflict, not dealing with the cores of those philosophies but rather only concentrating on mind or reason alone. That made it much easier, especially with the dualistic philosophers such as Descartes and Leibniz, to rip through this confusion and cut out a piece that they all shared: mind or reason. Hence, starting with incorrectly termed philosophical categories, accepting the confusion spilled over into a much greater confusion, namely that of Kant’s philosophy.
To transcend Kant and all of our history affected by him, we need to resolve the rationalist-empiricist conflict through categories of the Diagram, which do not involve synthetic-analytic distinctions. Instead, the categories that I accept involve distinguishing philosophical positions from their directions. Hereby I shall outline the problem, a working hypothesis, and the thesis but shall hold off from actually providing an adequate solution, since this is currently beyond my grasp. Those of you, who are philosophers out there, be my guests to see whether what I am suggesting actually proves true.
The problem (redefined here)
I think Kant’s problem is much deeper, namely, his philosophy is based on an incorrect categorization by the use of the terms “rationalism” and “empiricism” and therefore is involved in an artificial conflict between them during the Enlightenment. Kant, as apparently known, “integrated” rationalism with empiricism, thus resolving the greatest conflict in philosophy and overturned (or turned on its head) the whole philosophical tradition with his “revolution.” Here are the main figures of the “conflict” with their categorizations of philosophical types from the Diagram:
- Rene Descartes (categorized as idealist/materialist),
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (categorized as idealist/materialist),
- Baruch Spinoza (categorized as integrator).
- Francis Bacon (categorized as integrator),
- John Locke (categorized as integrator),
- George Berkley (categorized as idealist),
- David Hume (categorized as materialist).
Rationalism, by definition, is based on reason and knowledge. On the other hand, empiricism bases knowledge on sense-experience outside of reason (i.e., in the real world). Kant proposed that reason shapes experience (coming from somewhere else), so both philosophical bases are required. However, Kant did this by setting the “synthetic” (rather than “analytic”) faculty of mind or reason and its metaphysical knowledge as being controlling but including sense-experience, which is internally represented as phenomenal appearances. Although this is the only viable way to combine both philosophies within a philosophy of mind, this perspective ignores everything that comes outside of mind by dismissing it as unknowable and thus also subjugating it under mind. Kant followed this inversive reductionist formula: make the outer world into both the non-world (noumenon) and the inner world (phenomenon) by reducing it through categories of thought. This Kantian inversion of outer into inner (and dismissing the rest) is Kant’s greatest blunder, but it was required by him in order to convince philosophers that he sufficiently generalized his theory in order to cover everything known at the time.
A working hypothesis
Do you see the chaos of the categories mixed in these two “positions” and their inversive reductionism by Kant? If my problem with Kant (categorized as materialist) is difficult to accept by academic philosophers, here are problems much greater, considering that we must reject the terminology of the Enlightenment and thus their core “conflict.” Nonetheless, I hypothesize that it is still possible to integrate these philosophies in the spirit of the Enlightenment: in other words, without relying on any modern philosophies affected by or in the Kantian tradition.
Thesis and advice beyond
Both given belief systems misintegrate, disintegrate, and integrate through their various proponents. Kant showed how both systems disintegrate mind, thereby reconciling them by mind alone. My thesis to counter Kantian philosophy is that rationalism and empiricism can be reconciled through Spinoza and Bacon or Locke, and proving this would end the true problem that yet has not been solved. Without this possible solution, we should remain living in the mess caused by philosophers along the side of Kant. This is, of course, a call to integrators out there. I wish that now some of you would become completely aware of the important philosophies and the worldly issues generated by them.
What’s inspiring in this lofty quest, however, is that Kant mentioned and critiqued in general (and only, as far as I remember) Descartes, Leibniz, Berkley, and Hume, so his “integration” is evidently incomplete as well. These philosophers were his main and explicit instigators in limiting the conception of mind to disintegration (e.g., into categories cut off from reality by Kant). And seeing who those philosophers were, it’s not surprising, since none of them were integrators, and their incorrectly composed arguments only slumped into Kant’s disintegration.
This seems so simple now! Already under their faulty influence, Kant incorrectly envisioned the integrative philosophies of Aristotle and Newton, whose work helped him much with formulating his main concepts (such as categories as the metaphysics for science) and whom he used (although rarely and seemingly hesitantly mentioned) in his arguments, placing himself in the leading role and even redefining the meaning of “categories,” “science,” “noumenon,” and “phenomenon,” which as classical understandings existed a long time prior to the era of Enlightenment.
You see, Kant never truly invented or discovered anything (we are speaking here of Kant the philosopher, not Kant the sleeping scientist). His epistemology is basically Democritean, and his ethics is basically Christian sans God. Kant only served as a fulcrum to precisely clash some ideas of integrators who weren’t involved in the conflict with arguments of conflicting mis- and disintegrators at the time. As a result of the Enlightenment we have three traditions: rationalism, empiricism, and Kantianism, which “united” them. But to think offhand of rationalism as idealism and empiricism as materialism is improper because then we would have Kant as a real integrator!
Some more advice for newer generations
If idealists want to do something about the subversion of idealism started by Kant, they need to face their inadequacies, such as their conceptions of God. I’ve found that many religious people (true idealists) do not have a visual conception of God. To them God is unknown and can ever be unknown and hence is reduced by those like Kant (e.g., atheist-priests) to mere words, “symbols” or “metaphors” taken on faith with no potential for integrating knowledge from them. Without a promise of knowledge, it is a dreary premise for human race. While older readers may reject what I am about to say out of hand, younger and more flexible generations can still be reached by my ideas. So, I suggest you to be more creative and unlimited toward the concept of God and visualize (i.e., subjectively conceive) it in your own individual image and not the image that other people impose upon you. God must be free, as His love that makes you free. This should not be difficult to see, since religion is already considered a subjective matter, so I will show those of you who are interested how you can be even more and truly subjective about “God” in the next post.
 Leonard Peikoff also rejects Kant’s synthetic-analytic distinction in “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,” which can be found in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1990).
 The issue is not to take mind/reason and include everything under it, as Kant had done, and it is also not to take the best from only the empiricist side (i.e., Bacon, Locke, and Newton), as Thomas Jefferson had done. Instead, we need to avoid Kantian inversive reduction and to extend Jefferson’s excellent, yet one-sided (or British-sided, if you like) and hence incomplete integration of level 7. Taking this merely as a suggestion, perhaps there is a way to integrate Jefferson with Spinoza. Some may think that Emerson had done this, but I think otherwise, since Emerson is a Hegelian misintegrator.