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Moon in sky over sunset behind island.

Wonder Within and Without

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and reverence, the more often and more steadily one reflects on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me...I see them before me and connect them immediately with the consciousness of my existence.

Immanuel Kant (1788)


For Kant the starry night sky induced wonder Ranges of hills away into the distance.
For more on wonder.

as it surely does for so many of us. For the photographer Shafts of light on the landscape north of Sa Pa in Vietnam. Photographers' encounters with wonder.

there is daily wonder as the sun reaches the horizon: that constant symbol Lotus buds rising above muddy water. The work of symbols in our understandings.

of interaction between known and unknown. Sunsetting over the Southern Uplands north of Moffat in Scotland. A number of other pages take up this theme of the horizon and the liminal. Kant’s medium was language Man with beard sitting on bench, knees clasped, by water. The interplay of language and photographs.

wherein his prowess is unsurpassed. While affirming Plato and Aristotle’s idea that philosophy springs from wonder, he does not rest there, rather he sees wonder not just as the source, but as the motivation and drive for both understanding and morality. Logically our understandings cannot penetrate beyond the phenomena Bust of Peter Scott at the WWT reserve in southern Scotland. A whole page devoted to that about which we can say absolutely nothing
- Kant's Noumenon.
we meet, but it is our wonder at what lies behind phenomena that sustains our mental explorations, and it is our wonder at our internal moral directions, our conscience, Mother, son, and health worker posing for photograph.
A tentative step into the minefield of the entangled ideas of conscience and consciousness.
that Kant holds to be core to our ethics. These seem strikingly humane thoughts for a man famous for his, sometimes inaccessible, rationality. Pagoda on pillar in pool.
The place of rationality in language.

The quote is from the Werner Pluhar translation of the Critique of Practical Reason, page 161 published by Hackett Publishing Company, Indiana. Plato makes the point in the Theaetetus at 155d, and Aristotle at the beginning of the Metaphysics at 982b. The argument that Kant saw wonder as fundamental is from Patrick Frierson in his essay Kant and the End of Wonder in Philosophy Begins in Wonder (2010) Ed. Michael Deckard and Peter Losonczi published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, Oregon.

This moon heralded the starry heavens (visible in larger versions of the photograph) at Carrick shore, in south west Scotland, as the sun set on the evening of the autumn equinox in 2012.

Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 25th June 2022

Murphy on duty to this site