Immanuel Kant and Salt Lake City’s Deseret News


“The Pillars of Creation,” in the Eagle Nebula



My article for this morning’s Deseret News, on “the starry heavens above . . . and the moral law within.”


It was inspired by Kant.  That’s Kant.  With a k.  Not with a c.



"'The Great and Terrible Judgments of the Lord': Destruction and Disaster in 3 Nephi and the Geology of Mesoamerica"
"The best conference in the world"?
"How to learn 30 languages"
A nice Berlin graffito
  • Stephen Smoot

    I read portions of Kant’s “Kritik der reinen Vernunft” in one of my German courses at BYU. I subsequently went back and looked at his work more carefully, and I must say, his ideas are extremely relevant in the atheist vs. theist debate about “reality”. Before Richard Dawkins goes off on “The Magic of Reality” (as per his new book) he first needs to confront Kant.

    Then again, deep philosophical ideas that urge contemplation, nuance, and thoughtfulness have never stopped Richard Dawkins in the past.

    • danpeterson

      Dawkins is, in many ways, a lightweight.

      • Jason Covell

        Even non-theist philosophers have cut Dawkins to shreds as being philosophically naive and unhelpful at best.

        His response is usually to trumpet the clear superiority of HARD SCIENCE over wiffly-waffly philosophy. Which is, you know, lovely; except it’s a pretty weak kind of epistemology on which to base anything as important as scientific knowledge.

  • TJ

    While it may be true that Dawkins is a lightweight in many respects he unfortunately gets a lot of screen time on tv and publicity in the news and popular articles (at least he does here in the UK).

    His widely publicized “expert” opinions on theology provide the secular leaning masses with just enough of an excuse not to engage their own minds when considering the possibilities of an infinite universe and instead to lean on his ideas.

    The problem isn’t really prominent atheists like Dawkins but the tendency towards intellectual laziness of others who find it more convenient to simply accept whatever is popular rather than think for themselves.

    • Jason Covell

      Yes; I’m reminded of Hugh Nibley’s comment about a kind of superficial appreciation of science: “…for the man in the street and the lazy student, as well as for the people who wrote books for them, it meant the end of all searching and the end of all doubt. Here was the answer to everything, and no open-minded nonsense about it.”

  • Nathan

    Jason Covell, could you point me to any writings or videos of the non-theist philosophers responding to Dawkins (and his responses, if any)? I’d very much like to have a few resources to point people toward when they refer to Dawkins, either espousing his views or being troubled by them.

    • Jason Covell

      I haven’t got a list of resources ready to hand. But a quick review on the Internet reminded me that there is a cottage industry among the humanities devoted to poking holes in Dawkins’ approach.

      This is one good intro from Terry Eagleton (a literary theorist rather than a professional philosopher, but someone who understands the territory of the humanities, including philosophy, much better than Dawkins does):

      I’ll see what else I can find from some more specifically philosophical figures.