When Philosophers Tell Jokes

Suppose that someone tells the following story: An Indian at an Englishman’s table in Surat saw a bottle of ale opened, and all the beer turned into froth and flowing out. The repeated exclamations of the Indian showed great astonishment. ‘Well, what is so wonderful in that?’ asked the Englishman. ‘Oh, I’m not surprised myself,’ said the Indian, ‘at its getting out, but at how you ever managed to get it all in.’

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, tran. James Creed Meredith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 161.

Kant 101

“The celebrated Locke, for want of due reflection on these points, and because he met with pure conceptions of understanding in experience, sought also to deduce them from experience, and yet proceeded so inconsequently as to attempt, with their aid, to arrive at cognitions which lie far beyond the limits of all experience. David Hume perceived that, to render this possible, it was necessary that the conceptions should have a priori origin. But as he could not explain how it was possible that conceptions which are not connected with each other in the understanding, must nevertheless be thought as necessarily connected in the object–and it never occurred to him that the understanding itself might, perhaps, by means of these conceptions, be the author of the experience in which its objects were presented to it.”

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Reason (New York: Barnes and Nobel, 2004), 59.