Transcendental idealism is heating up in Russia under Vladimir Putin. Two years ago an argument over the theories of 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant ended in a man being shot in a grocery store in southern Russia. And now the violence is moving on from pure to practical reason.
Russian police say they are still looking for the philosophers who painted “Kant is a moron” along with a flower and heart on the philosopher’s home outside Kaliningrad.
Rumors abound that the graffiti-philosophes belonged to the Situationist movement. Still others claim to have seen a couple of Polish-speaking youths causing trouble, but in the Russian context this is probably nothing more than habit of mind. At least two people claim that it was the ghost of Heinrich von Kleist but both of them immediately engaged in an ontological argument.
Equally likely though, given the tensions throughout Russia at the moment, is that the graffiti-philosophes are government dupes–from which side no one knows–who object to Kant’s notion of perpetual peace, in particular his exhortation that “No state shall by force interfere with the constitution or government of another state”–a statement clearly applicable to the situation in Crimea.
Just how Kant came to be such a heated topic of discussion in recent Russian debates is not known a priori. Also debatable is the reality of the house itself. Before he took up the post of professor at the university, Kant taught in towns around the Königsberg. The original house was likely demolished in the 19th Century and a new one built on top of its groundwork of metaphysics, but no one knows if this be true or false.
Police are still searching for any leads, and believe that it is imperative to solve the case in a timely fashion.