David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica 28 (3) (1979)
The founders of the Marburger Schule of Neo-Kantianism, Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp, laid an emphasis upon a Platonic understanding of mathematics and logic as the paradigmatic epistemological basis of philosophy. Their successors, namely Ernst Cassirer and Nicolai Hartmann, made obvious, however, that new biological thinking can have a strong influence on ontology as well as on the theory of knowledge. They could show that biology was no longer to be treated as a metaphysical system in that pejorative meaning of metaphysics which Kant had so severely been opposing. Against the anti-realistic approach of the older neo-Kantians who wanted to eliminate Kant's thing-in-itself (Ding an sich), both Cassirer and Hartmann returned to a form of realism by way of Hegel's philosophical results and reflections on his method. This makes clear that their realism is still to be taken as a more of less monistic idealism. However, considering that modern biology as an antimetaphysical force became influential in their system for the first time and that it did so in two different but - on second thoughts - complementary ways, it becomes clear that it was necessary to change the paradigms of any neo-Kantian philosophy. Cassirer proved this by his development as a philosopher with a strong historical impetus while Hartmann as a more systematical philosopher only pointed in that direction.
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