Kant in Hand! (Visual Sociology #005)

KANT in HAND (Photo: Hanno Depner)

“Kant in Hand”: a Cut-and-Paste Critique of Pure Reason, Project by Hanno Depner (2011)

Today’s visual sociology article is not just visual, but also spatial. It is a fascinating project for the visualisation and embodied learning of one of the classic philosophy works: Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason”.

Kant in Hand

by Hanno Depner, Rostock/Berlin

Kant in Hand – make it, grasp it” is a book including building kit which can be transformed into a 3D infographic on Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason”, one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. The introductory book/building kit by philosopher-designer Hanno Depner was published in German language (as “Kant für die Hand”) by Knaus publishing house in 2011. This is how it works:

(1) Build the main parts of the “Critique of Pure Reason”, using the cut-out sheets, and glue.

(2) Read the explanatory captions, starting with “Kant’s Life and Work” up to the “Transcendental Doctrine of Method” to gain insight into Kant’s vocabulary, arguments and composition of his “Critique”.

(3) Put together all parts, forming …

(4) … the “Kant Cube”.

(5) To start knowledge process, pull strap “Transcendental Doctrine of Elements” (which is the first part of the “Critique of Pure Reason”). The three Faculties of Knowledge (as described in the sections Aesthetic, Analytic and Dialectic) unfold. A black line marks the way of knowledge, starting from the “thing in itself”, becoming perceptions and then propositions …

(6) … if put into the right drawers, or categories …

(7) … and finally conclusions, which are ordered in direction of the three “ideas” (Soul, World, God) and get undissolvably entangled: Metaphysics is not possible (if reason is used theoretically).

(8) If reason is used practically, metaphysics becomes possible – as outlined by the 4 final chapters – forming …

(9) … the base of all future philosophy.

In this video (in German), the author explains and shows the process:


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Hanno Depner (hannodepner@hotmail.com) studied Comparative Literature and Philosophy in Berlin and Norwich (UK). He worked as editor of the International Literature Festival in Berlin and wrote for cultural institutions, as well as for print and online media. He was awarded first prize in the Berlin Science Slam for the presentation of his book/building kit “Kant in Hand” in May 2011.
Hanno is a member of the advisory board of DenkWelten Philosophy Museum. Currently he is doing research on the design of philosophy and knowledge as orientation at the Interdisciplinary Department of Rostock University (here is his personal webpage). In April 2013 he organised a conference on “Visual Philosophie” which will be followed by a book containing all contributions.

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