Two cheers for post-kantianism: A response to Karl Ameriks

Inquiry 46 (2):239 – 259 (2003)
Karl Ameriks has recently devoted an entire volume to defending what he calls "orthodox" Kantianism against what he judges to be the "errors" of such post-Kantian idealists as K. L. Reinhold and J. G. Fichte and to exposing what he claims is the frequently unnoticed but always deleterious influence of post-Kantianism upon certain prominent strands of contemporary philosophy. In response, this paper challenges Ameriks' interpretation of Kantianism itself and of the "post-Kantian project", as well as his construal of transcendental idealism. This is followed by some remarks concerning Reinhold's and Fichte's actual "arguments" for transcendental idealism and a rejection of Ameriks' characterizations of the same. Ameriks' interpretation of "the primacy of the practical" within Fichte's philosophy is also analyzed and criticized, as are his unsubstantiated claims concerning the powerful "indirect" influence of the writings of Reinhold and Fichte upon contemporary philosophy.
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