HCJ Revision, Keats and Kant

May 24, 2010

Compare the epistemological stance of Keats in the Ode on a Grecian Urn to that of Kant in The Critique of Pure Reason.

Epistemology means philosophy of knowledge, how can we be sure of what we know? –Both Keats and Kant asked this question.


Keats was a Romantic, as were Shelley, Byron and Wordsworth (The poem Daffodils by Wordsworth, a noumenal poem, shows the theme of romanticism; looking at nature to question life’s purpose and meaning).
Keats was especially interested in the Noumenal world. The crucial line in Keats Poem Grecian Urn ‘beauty is truth and truth is beauty’ shows that beauty and truth are the same thing, and is the only thing we need to know. Keats believed the aesthetic response someone gets to an object (which is subjective) is a connection to the noumenal world, which proves it exists.

Kant’s critique of reason explains how there is a division of the worlds, the Noumenal and Phenomenal. A thing itself, when it is not being perceived is Nounemal. When it is not being perceived, it is Phenomenal.

Noumenal: parallel worlds that could exist outside our own perception, read Plato’s allegory of the Cave to understand this further: http://charlotteaclarke.blogspot.com/2009/09/plato-forms-and-caves.html

Phenomenal: An object is phenomenal when it is being perceived (looked at) by someone. –This raises the possibility that objects could have a different nature when not being observed.

For more information: http://charlotteaclarke.blogspot.com/2010/03/kant-was-last-influential-philosopher.html