“Kantian Hurly-Burly” (William James)

Well, Kant’s way of describing the facts is mythological.  The notion of our thought being this sort of an elaborate internal machine-shop stands condemned by all we said in favor of its simplicity…Our Thought is not composed of parts, however so composed its objects may be.  There is no chaotic manifold in it to be reduced to order.  There is something almost shocking in the notion of so chaste a function carrying this Kantian hurly-burly in her womb…The Ego is simply nothing; as ineffectual and windy an abortion as Philosophy can show.  It would indeed be one of Reason’s tragedies if the good Kant, with all his honesty and strenuous pains, should have deemed this conception an important outbirth of his thought.  (Principles I, pp. 363-365.)

William can extend his metaphor–for good or ill.

 

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