Immanuel Kant: ‘The Highest Principle’


Immanuel Kant [1724-1804] Bucknell University Gallery

The idea of Consciousness, its centrality in the minds of the most influential modern thinkers, has never been fully appreciated. Nor their short-stops.

So come with me now to Königsberg, Prussia, circa 1750 CE.

Immanuel Kant from his ‘Critique of Pure Reason’, a volume that helped mark the domain of Academic Philosophy for a subsequent generation:

The ‘I Think’ must accompany all my representations..I call it pure apperception..because it is a is in all acts of Consciousness one and the same and unaccompanied by it no representation can exist for me.

The unity of this apperception I call the Transcendental Unity of Self- Consciousness..and this the highest principle in all human cognition.


Kant, more than most any other philosopher was aware of the Self-Loop. We look at how he dealt with it when we get to his Categories of Knowledge later under Epistemology. He went far but with no Tradition of Inquiry to seek support, he like others stops at the Cliff’s Edge and retreats to sensibility.

Were not done yet. Step into my old Porche Convertible for a long drive south to Hanover, Germany, a 1,000 kilometers and a 100 years away. Let’s go meet Dr. Wilhelm Leibniz.

The Bottomless Pit of Nonsense