Can anyone help me with my Kant-induced headache?
January 29, 2008 4:38 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me translate some Kant into English? I don't want to produce an English translation like the kind available on the net, rather a more literal translation, i.e. one that sticks closely to the text.

The section i'm stuck on is the following:

'Wir stehen unter einer Disziplin der Vernunft und muessen in allen unseren Maximen der Unterwuerfigkeit unter derselben nicht vergessen, ihr nichts zu entziehen, oder dem Ansehen des Gesetzes (ob es gleich unsere eigene Vernunft gibt)....'


the bit in italics is giving me the most grief....

any advice very much appreciated!
posted by farfaraway to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
...all our maxims are beholden to (logic?, sense?), and we should not forget to remove nothing from it, or ...
posted by markovich at 4:57 AM on January 29, 2008


...And we must not forget that we should not remove anything from any of our maxims, which are subject to discipline and reason.
posted by syzygy at 5:09 AM on January 29, 2008


"We are under the reign of reason, and must not forget and not diminish [minimize?] in all our maxims our subordinateness to reason, and, likewise, to laws (although we possess rationality of our own)."

I don't really understand the last part of the sentence, though ("Ansehen"?)
Wow, I'm so happy right now that I don't have to work on Kant. Good luck!
posted by The Toad at 5:12 AM on January 29, 2008


I actually realise I have left off the last part of the sentence:

'Wir stehen unter einer Disziplin der Vernunft und muessen in allen unseren Maximen der Unterwuerfigkeit unter derselben nicht vergessen, ihr nichts zu entziehen, oder dem Ansehen des Gesetzes (ob es gleich unsere eigene Vernunft gibt) durch eigenliebigen Wahn....''

that should make more sense.

You're all being really helpful.
posted by farfaraway at 5:24 AM on January 29, 2008


that should make more sense.

Um, not to me...could you give the complete sentence, it's unclear whether "entziehen" also refers to "Wahn" (which would be a strange construction, but well, it's Kant) or wether there's in fact another verb at the end of the sentence? In which case you could possibly split up the whole sentence and it would become much clearer.
posted by The Toad at 5:45 AM on January 29, 2008


You left out the verb at the end which makes it hard to translate the Ansehen part.
Here's the full sentence
(1) Wir stehen unter einer Disziplin der Vernunft, und müssen in allen unseren Maximen der Unterwürfigkeit unter derselben nicht vergessen, ihr nichts zu entziehen, (2) oder dem Ansehen des Gesetzes (ob es gleich unsere eigene Vernunft gibt) durch eigenliebigen Wahn dadurch etwas abkürzen, (3) daß wir den Bestimmungsgrund unseres Willens, wenn gleich dem Gesetze gemäß, doch worin anders, als im Gesetze selbst, und in der Achtung für dieses Gesetz setzten.

Borrowing from my precedessors:
(1) We are under the reign of reason, and must not forget and not diminish [minimize?] in all our maxims our subordinateness to reason, (2) or to diminish in any way how we view [or 'how we value'] the law (although we have reason ourselves) by selfserving illusion (3) ...

You left out part 3. So I guess you're not interested in the translation of that.
posted by jouke at 5:47 AM on January 29, 2008


Seconding jouke, though I find "illusion" sounds more or less neutral and "Wahn" is quite negative, so I would use "delusion" instead.
posted by The Toad at 5:59 AM on January 29, 2008


The Toad's translation is much better than mine, now that I've reread the original.

I'll give it one more go with the complete quote you provided above. First, somewhat word-for-word:

'Wir stehen unter einer Disziplin der Vernunft und muessen in allen unseren Maximen der Unterwuerfigkeit unter derselben nicht vergessen, ihr nichts zu entziehen, oder dem Ansehen des Gesetzes (ob es gleich unsere eigene Vernunft gibt) durch eigenliebigen Wahn....''

We stand under a discipline of Reason and we must, in all of our maxims, the (our) submissiveness under the same (discipline of reason) not forget, from it (discipline of reason) nothing to revoke, or from the importance of the law (whether it agrees with our reasoning) through self-loving delusion.

Second pass:

We are subjects of reason. We must not forget our submissiveness to reason, and must ensure that none of our maxims contradict or diminish it (due to a self-loving delusion) or the law, even when the law does not agree with our own sense of reason.
posted by syzygy at 6:06 AM on January 29, 2008


I happily bow to a native speaker. But I made a small error

(2) or to diminish in any way how we view [or 'how we value'] the law (although we have reason ourselves) by selfserving delusion (3) ...
posted by jouke at 6:07 AM on January 29, 2008


well this is how I have translated:

We are subject to a discipline of reason, and must keep in mind and not diminish our subordinance in all our rules of subservience, nor diminish the importance of the law (although we possess rationality of our own) through self-loving delusion.

maybe jouke's idea of self-serving is better though...mine is too literal perhaps.

i'm having to translate a lot of this text, so this is just a small part. Part 3 above I'm also translating...
posted by farfaraway at 6:12 AM on January 29, 2008


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