Saturday, March 05, 2005

Cassirer on Kant on Rousseau and Independence

Ernst Cassirer, Rousseau, Kant and Goethe (Harper Torchbooks, 1963, p. 17):

What always reconciled Kant again to Rousseau, with all his paradoxical and enthusiastic qualities, was the fearlessness, the independence of thought and feeling, the will to the "unconditioned" he there encountered. For Kant himself, though far from any rebellion against the constituted authorities, was inspired with the strongest sense of independence. Much that surprises us in his way of life and may at times seem strange or eccentric, is explained by this trait of his character: by the desire to preserve his inner and outer independence in every moment of life and under all circumstances.