Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hoodwinked by Kant?

My family recently watched the animated movie Hoodwinked, based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The story is retold from the perspective of each of the major participants: Red, Granny, Wolf, .... I laughed a lot and so I strongly recommend it.

But my dear wife, suggested I blog about the profound philosophical issues it raises. All of the participants interpreted the same series of events in a very different way because they under their own set of assumptions and prior experiences. So it illustrates a point highlighted by Immanuel Kant (and often overplayed by many of his "followers"): we don't have direct access to the noumenon (thing in itself) but only the phenomenon (what we perceive). Hence, we should be wary of the "truth" we construct. However, don't let this hoodwink you into relativism or a social constructivist view of knowledge. Note that in the movie after all the participants shared and compared their perspectives they were able to revise them and agree on the true nature of the events, at least to the extent that enabled them to move forward. This is the way good science proceeds


  1. Actually, isn't it the other way around? We have access to the phenomena, not the noumenon (aka The Thing In Itself).

  2. Yes. You are correct and so I have edited the post to prevent further confusion. Thanks for the helpful feedback.