29 Aug 2014

Kant’s Humanität

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Kant

From Erwin Panowsky, The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline, 1940:

Nine days before his death Immanuel Kant was visited by his physician. Old, ill, and nearly blind, he rose from his chair and stood trembling and muttering unintelligible words. Finally his faithful companion realized that he would not sit down until the visitor had taken a seat. This he did, and Kant then permitted himself to be helped to his chair, and after he had regained some of his strength, said ‘Das Gefühl für Humanität hat mich noch nicht verlassen’ — ‘The sense of Humanity has not yet left me.’ The two men were moved almost to tears. For though the word Humanität had come, in the eighteenth century, to mean little more than politeness and civility, it had, for Kant, a much deeper significance, which the circumstances of the moment served to emphasize: man’s proud and tragic consciousness of self-imposed principles, contrasting with his utter subjugation to illness, decay, and all that is implied in the word ‘mortality.’

Via du vide.

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