Return to Kant, Immanuel

The philosophy of Kant is a systematic rationalization of every major psychological vice. The metaphysical inferiority of this world (as a “phenomenal” world of mere “appearances”), is a rationalization for the hatred of reality. The notion that reason is unable to perceive reality and deals only with “appearances,” is a rationalization for the hatred of reason; it is also a rationalization for a profound kind of epistemological egalitarianism which reduces reason to equality with the futile puttering of “idealistic” dreamers. The metaphysical superiority of the “noumenal” world, is a rationalization for the supremacy of emotions, which are thus given the power to know the unknowable by ineffable means.

The complaint that man can perceive things only through his own consciousness, not through any other kinds of consciousnesses, is a rationalization for the most profound type of second-handedness ever confessed in print: it is the whine of a man tortured by perpetual concern with what others think and by inability to decide which others he should conform to. The wish to perceive “things in themselves” unprocessed by any consciousness, is a rationalization for the wish to escape the effort and responsibility of cognition—by means of the automatic omniscience a whim-worshiper ascribes to his emotions. The moral imperative of the duty to sacrifice oneself to duty, a sacrifice without beneficiaries, is a gross rationalization for the image (and soul) of an austere, ascetic monk who winks at you with an obscenely sadistic pleasure—the pleasure of breaking man’s spirit, ambition, success, self-esteem, and enjoyment of life on earth. Et cetera. These are just some of the highlights.

Copyright © 1986 by Harry Binswanger. Introduction copyright © 1986 by Leonard Peikoff. All rights reserved. For information address New American Library.


Excerpts from The Ominous Parallels, by Leonard Peikoff. Copyright © 1982 by Leonard Peikoff. Reprinted with permission of Stein and Day Publishers. Excerpts from The Romantic Manifesto, by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 1971, by The Objectivist. Reprinted with permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Excerpts from Atlas Shrugged, copyright © 1957 by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, copyright © 1943 by Ayn Rand, and For the New Intellectual, copyright © 1961 by Ayn Rand. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand. Excerpts from Philosophy: Who Needs It, by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 1982 by Leonard Peikoff, Executor, Estate of Ayn Rand. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand. Excerpts from “The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series. Copyright © 1976 by Leonard Peikoff. Reprinted by permission. Excerpts from Alvin Toffler’s interview with Ayn Rand, which first appeared in Playboy magazine. Copyright © 1964. Reprinted by permission of Alvin Toffler. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.