Kant In Hong Kong –
Walking, Thinking, And the City
Author: Gray Kochhar-Lindgren
Gray Kochhar-Lindgren is Associate Vice Chancellor For Undergraduate Learning, and Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences with the University of Washington, Bothel. In the summer of 2014 he will be taking a position as Professor and Director of the Common Core at the University of Hong Kong. It is through the lens of this perception that we can understand how this book came to be.
“Kant In Hong Kong” is a lovely web that is woven around Hong Kong, experiencing Hong Kong, and the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant in his time was famous for his walks in his hometown of Konigsberg, so it is not a stretch to walk with him through the ultra-modern city of Hong Kong. The author moves up and down the travelator between Queen’s Road Central and the Mid-Levels, takes the bus to the beach at Shek-O, and visits the Temple of Tin Hau. As readers, we experience Kant and his thoughts in Kowloon, Hung Hom, Sheung Wan, and Admirality … with a few thoughts of Seattle and its lifestyle thrown in for good measure!
Opening this book took me through a time warp that allowed me to feel that I was actually walking along with Immanuel Kant, while at the same time I felt that I was walking the streets of modern-day Hong Kong. We start out at the Stanley Ho Sports Complex, and the question “What forms the whole?” We find Kant sitting at the swimming pool, dressed in his Prussian suit.
I loved the mention of Pacific Coffee Company … primarily because I love everything to do with coffee! It is a cafe on Wellington Street, surrounded by music and activity. Here we read about how the past infuses the present, and the palace of memory. Gentle words that will bring back memories for each and every reader.
Throughout this book we experience Hong Kong through all of our senses. We contemplate Kant and his philosophy, and how it applies to the here and now. Through this little walking tour (although we are not walking all of the time), we experience the past, the present, and the future in myriad ways.
Kochhar-Lindgren says it best, when he says:
“Reading Kant teaches us to do philosophy, to walk the streets of philosophy, a task that we never quite understand but that we nevertheless continue to take on as an act of faith – faith in reading, writing, the senses, thinking, and walking – that, occasionally, is punctuated with a quick pirouette of joy that comes upon us as if from nowhere and lifts us upon the toes of our scuffed shoes. Walking the streets also teaches us to read philosophy in a more fruitful manner, to test its abstractions against the rhythms of the MTR or of Nathan Road. It brings philosophy back into the city, where the whole peculiar story began.”
(c) 2000 – 2014 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.