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Block 4 Intro

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   1 BLOCK-4 INTRODUCTION Idealism holds the view that everyday world of things and people are not the world as it really is  but simply as it appears to be. In Idealism, concepts are often viewed as being real. Thus ‘humankind’ is seen to have a reality beyond being just an idea. Perhaps the most influential Idealist was Immanuel Kant. After Kant, Hegel concluded that the finite world is a reflection of the mind, which alone is truly real. Truth is just the coherence between thoughts. Idealism is opposed to many philosophies that stress material outlook, including empiricism, skepticism, atheism, materialism and positivism. Positivism holds that the only authentic knowledge is that which is based on actual sense experience. The positivist perspective, however, has been associated with ‘scientism,’ which is of the view that the methods of the natural sciences may be applied to all areas of investigation, be it philosophical, social, scientific, or otherwise. It has also  been welcomed by ‘technocrats’ who believe in the inevitability of social progress through science and technology. This block consists of 4 units that deal with Kant (I&II), Hegel and  positivism. Unit 1, “Kant-I,” explains that Immanuel Kant, through his masterpiece Critique of Pure Reason , has made an attempt to resolve the issues emerging from the conflict between rationalistic and empiricist approaches by proposing a system that was fundamentally a priori  but without sacrificing the value of the phenomenal reality. According to his approach, the reality that human  beings know is basically the reality constituted or constructed by human beings themselves. In a nutshell, with the help of a set of a priori  forms and the phenomenal data, the world – all sciences and all forms of knowledge – is shaped. Unit 2, “Kant-II,”  aims at exposing Kant’s practical philosophy in the light of his two major ethical works: Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals  ( GM  )   and Critique of Practical Reason ( CPrR ). After a  brief and general introduction to Kant’s practical philosophy, the study presents two kinds of imperatives in Kant’s ethical works: hypothetical and categorical imperatives. The categorical imperative is identified as Kant’s concept of moral law for all empirical rational beings. The exposition proceeds to show that a  priori  moral law poses freedom, God and immortality as postulates of morality. Unit 3, “Hegel,” highlights the philosophical thought of Georg Hegel  who devoted his life wholly to academic pursuit. His science of logic, dialectical reasoning, encyclopaedia of philosophical sciences, Philosophy of Right – all provide an intellectual foundation for modern nationalism. He was an idealist who methodically constructed a comprehensive system of thought. Unit 4 is on “Positivism,” which is one of the important philosophical movements srcinated in the nineteenth century and shaped the thinking of scientists and scholars in the 20 th  century too. The aim of this unit is to make the students acquaint with the background, srcin and development of positivism, especially the contribution of Auguste Comte, its later development and continued relevance for an understanding of natural and social sciences today. As we have seen above, idealism views concepts as real. After the most influential critical idealist, Immanuel Kant, Hegel concluded that the finite world is a reflection of the mind, which alone is truly real. According to Kant, the reality that human beings know is basically the reality   2 constituted or constructed by human beings themselves; such a construction is manifest in their ethical behaviour too, in the   “categorical imperative” identified as Kant’s concept of moral law for all. For Hegel, “the real is the rational and the rational is the real.” Even as he methodically constructed a comprehensive system of thought deductively, positivism, especially the one developed by Auguste Comte in the 19 th  century inductively, influenced the thinking of scientists and scholars.
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