Kant is a philosopher known for his contribution in psychological fields; aesthetics, ethics, sociology, psychology, religion, culture among others. He has had many followers whom he has impacted in their works and is reflected through many psychological ideas his followers put across. Focusing on Ivan, his basic principles in psychology seem to have roots opposing Kantian’s philosophy. As much as Kant would argue Ivan’s ideas being logical but contradicting, Ivan argues that Kant’ ideas are morally flawed. Notably, Ivan does not oppose Kant’s philosophy, but still, he does not uphold the “moral evil” as Kant does (Michalson 22).
On the aspect of human antagonism, Kant argues that it is as a result of the environment a human being is brought up in, especially under social antagonism environment. He further argues that, as a result of this environment, it brings forth the human sufferings. Arguably, Ivan puts himself in the same position as Kant but rebels this idea. Kant argues that it is only human beings who have the capacity to reason exclusively, which makes them different from other creatures. In his works, he praises human rationality based on social antagonism and argues that it is this antagonism that drives humanly to do certain activities according to their own will (**). In his context, this explains conflict and the opposition of a person by society, which ends up inspiring an individual to develop his/her own capacities o develop what they want and desire most.
Positively, Kant describes social antagonism as a way to resolve conflicts, in that it is the only way people can identify differences and try to solve them. He further argues that this leads to society constitution that aims to establish “laws” in the society, which composes; social order, culture and art of mankind. With the establishment of such constitution, it explains the reason as to why there are powerful people in the society and the reason behind the human manifestation to achieve the highest progress in the society. He further praises the forces of nature that makes the humans explore their potential that would, otherwise, gone unexplored and would be “sleeping”. Basically, he encourages human antagonism because t these struggles encourages the humans to go forth and exploit their potential for the need of making them better in accordance with their own power. Thus, this can only be achieved through conflict.
Contrary, Ivan does not see the point of antagonism to exist in order for humans to progress and Kant’s point of view is what leads him to opposition.as much as he resembles Kant in many ways, he still uses social antagonism in explaining his points and the existence of human conflict will even eventually lead to “human paradise”. In his light, he says that he would choose to remain in a conflict level, rather, than exist human antagonism that its results are always uncouth (Jones 107). He recognizes the antagonism, but according to him, the results are not worth, of which, he rejects the Kantian type of the social system but at the same time h does not see his worth. In one of his interviews, Ivan argued that he does not oppose the force of nature, the works of God, rather; he returns the ticket to Him respectfully (Wolf 240). He strongly rejects the antagonistic idea saying that he would rather live in a conflict with people and stay unsatisfied, rather than try to solve something that will not have any benefits, now or in the future. He does not see the sense that Kant puts across, but he only insists on a “”unified” society although he does not show how. He does not oppose Kantian system; only its worthiness is what hinders him from supporting Kantian’s society system.
The fact that Ivan agrees the fact that Kantian’s system of society exit does not make him his follower. Ivan cannot be said to be Kantian, since he does not support the actual implementation of hi policy and does not see the need of the Kantian’s eventual solution. As a matter of fact. Ivan places his interests thoroughly on opposing the ideas brought forth by Kant, and he advocates society that does not intend to “explore its potential”.
However, in my opinion, Ivan is a Kantian, in that he generally does not reject Kant’s ideas. He bases his arguments on Kantian’s society and goes ahead wishing that when a society reaches a state of perfection, as Kant did put across, he would wish to rise again if he would be dead. Thus, it is clear that Ivan is one of the “negative opinioned followers”, but he actually expresses the work of Kant in a different perspective. The fact that he goes ahead supporting Kant ideas and later own not seeing the need does not stop him from accepting the principles Kant laid, which he even wishes to see the state that Kant advocated. Thus, he can be said to be Kantian.
Jones, Malcolm. Dostoevsky and the dynamics of religious experience. Anthem Press, 2005.
Michalson, Gordon E. Fallen freedom: Kant on radical evil and moral regeneration. Cambridge
Wolf, Peter McGuire. Dostoevsky's Conception of Man: It’s Impact on Philosophical
Anthropology. Universal-Publishers, 1997.