Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The 306 Greatest Books #128 - Critique of Pure Reason

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.

The Critique of Pure Reason is one of eight books under the "Philosophy" section in the Sybervision Book List. Traditionally, these, along with the Science books, have not fared too well in my opinion since I read these stories mainly for entertainment and judge them under that criterion. The most notable exception being Walden, which I greatly enjoyed. Well, the Critique of Pure Reason also has many of the same flaws as the other Philosophy or Science books. The text is often hard to decipher and the author frequently uses vocabulary words that the reader is more than likely never to encounter again. I stopped reading the chapter and section titles because they were more often than not undecipherable. I read the unabridged version of the text, and I can now understand why they have abridged versions. More than once I found myself thinking that the author takes 10-20 pages to say something that he sums up in one line, and likely could have been left at just that one line. This book would improve greatly with a good abridgment. As I trudged my way through the first half of the book, I thought that the book was essentially nonredeemable, with the author bloviating on about "simple" concepts that should have been wrapped up hundreds of pages earlier. Kant breaks down every possible concept imaginable using strictly a priori (independent of experience) reason. Starting with the second half though, he starts to explore the foundations of God and whether he exists or not using the a priori reasoning. In the end he concludes that no, you can neither prove or disprove the existence of God. I would equate this to one of the most fundamental Agnostic reading materials created and it actually got rather interesting to read (for the majority of the second half). In summary, although the text could use for quite a bit of shortening, I was pleasantly surprised about the topics that were addressed. Even though I would not recommend others to read this, I am glad I did. 

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