Reason Suppresses Feelings? Or Moses Mendelssohn’s Influence on Kant’s Project of Three Critiques by Douglas R McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Written version of a paper
presented at Stellenbosch University
in Stellenbosch, South Africa,
24 April 2017
Reason Suppresses Feelings?
Moses Mendelssohn’s Influence on Kant’s Project of Three Critiques
Abstract: A common claim is that the proper functioning of reason requires the suppression of feelings because feelings are a debilitating, merely subjective pathology that cloud and/or distort clear thinking. Frequently, as well, it is claimed that Enlightenment reason’s suppression of feelings is exemplified by Kant. This post argues to the contrary that for Kant’s Critical Idealism feelings, rather than being a pathological hindrance to reason, are positive and ubiquitous to all aspects of reason as they, not by their content but by their function, motivate creativity and the assumption of moral responsibility for the decisions driving, and the actions deriving from, such creativity. Mendelssohn’s Morgenstunden is examined as the source for the reflections that led to the three-element structure to Kant’s project of three Critiques.