• Robert E. Butts
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 24)


Early in 1790, Kant’s student and first biographer, Ludwig Ernst Borowski, queried Immanuel Kant about the causes and possible cure of a certain irrational fanaticism (Schwärmerei) that was then thought to be infecting the European mentality. Kant replied in a letter written between March 6 and 22, 1790 (the year of the publication of his Critique of Judgement). Kant compares this intellectual distress with “what the Viennese call ‘Russian catarrh’”, a kind of influenza that had recently reached epidemic proportions [Zweig (1967) pp. 159–61]. The disease cleared up by itself. Both physicians of the body and those of the soul have better success in describing sicknesses than in effecting cures; in both cases the best course is to prescribe placebos, and otherwise to let nature take her course.


Pure Reason Critical Philosophy Outer Sense Epistemic Content Mature Metaphysic 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Butts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of Western OntarioCanada

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