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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.
KeywordsPure Reason Critical Philosophy Outer Sense Epistemic Content Mature Metaphysic
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