In defense of Kant and his enterprise, I offer the following observations:
- Kant's language is difficult not because of "university seclusion" but because he is attempting to make metaphysics into a scientific discipline. I refer to the Preface to the Second Edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant's masterwork:
Mathematics has been following the secure path of a science since the earliest times to which the history of human reason extends; it did so already among that admirable people, the Greeks... I believe that for a long time... mathematics did no more than grope about, and that its transformation into a science was due to a revolution...
He goes on to illustrate the role of construction in geometry, when the ancient philosopher realized that "what he needed to do was not to investigate what he saw in the figure... and to let that inform him, as it were, of the figure's properties. He found, rather, that he must bring out (by constructing the figure) the properties that the figure had by virtue of what he himself was...".
Kant's goal is to do for metaphysics what this ancient seer did for mathematics. (I say mathematics, and not geometry, because all self-consistent mathematics are reducible to geometry -- corollary of Gödel's Theorem.) So he picks terms in language and gives them VERY specific meanings. This results, naturally, in rather twisted and stilted prose, but it is unavoidable.
- Kant was hardly the first to systematize reason. Diogenes, Plato, and Aristotle all took cracks at it 2000 years before Kant, with similar goals as Saul appears to ascribe to Kant. Why is this a failing of Kant alone?
- Studying metaphysics is a bitch. No one would suggest otherwise. You have to deal with ugly things like semantics, weird meanings for common words, and unthinkable ideas. Is there anything to the last paragraph above other than a taunt of Kant scholars?