Kieliszek Zdzisław
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48(2012)1 - Current controversies about soul

Zdzisław Kieliszek

Man - an entity in his own right, who never truly dies. What did Immanuel Kant overlook?

  • language: Polish


In the presented paper the author puts forward the notion, fundamental to the problem of the immortality of the human soul in the philosophy of I. Kant – that on the basis of empirical observation of the human being we can’t say anything about the immortality of man. The paper has four parts.

In the first part we have the presentation of Kant’s idea of human immortality. I. Kant maintains that our mind can’t learn anything about immortality on the basis of sense-data. This attitude is the consequence of his conception of the relationship between noumenon and phenomenon.

The second part comprises an analysis of Kant’s conviction, that we cannot get to know noumenon, because phenomena are only available for our intellect. This position seems to be false. According to the author, existence of the noumenon and his features we can recognize in the phenomenon, because they are connected.

In the third part we have the attempt of the definition of the man as noumenon on the basis of the human mode of being (phenomenon). Man seems to be an entity – the human self – which is both connected to and separated from nature.

In the fourth part, the author presents conclusions from the human mode of being as noumenon with a specific spiritual and corporal structure. Man is a being, relatively separated from bodily reality and living in a dimension lacking time. For this reason death isn’t the absolute end of human existence. So Kant is wrong when he states that on the basis of empirical observation of the human being we cannot reach conclusions relating to our immortality.