Beauty, systematicity, and the highest good: Eckart förster's Kant's final synthesis

Inquiry 46 (2):195 – 214 (2003)
Contrary to Eckart Förster, I argue that the Opus postumum represents more of an evolution than a revolution in Kant's thought. Among other points, I argue that Kant's Selbstsetzungslehre, or theory of self-positing, according to which we cannot have knowledge of the spatio-temporal world except through recognition of the changes we initiate in it by our own bodies, does not constitute a radicalization of Kant's transcendental idealism, but is a development of the realist line of argument introduced by the "Refutation of Idealism" of 1787-90; and I argue that Kant's concept of the highest good, which according to Förster was only revised to connect virtue to collective rather than individual happiness in 1790-93 and was then in any case withdrawn in the Opus postumum, was uninterruptedly focused on collective happiness from the first edition of the first Critique, and that there is no reason to believe that ever Kant retracted it.
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