This article presents an overview of the current debate on Kant's doctrine of idealism, focussing on the metaphysical interpretations of Ameriks, Allais, Friebe, Langton, Van Cleve and Westphal, and also on Guyer's recent reassessment of Allison's latest views.
I argue, without offering what Ameriks has called a 'short argument', that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it doesn't follow that by merely thinking we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves. For support, I look to (...) a much overlooked chapter in the Critique, the Transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing-in-itself proper, namely something that is thoroughly determined. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant's view of determinative judgment, we cannot determine a thing-in-itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing-in-itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing's possible determinations. (shrink)
Causal refutations of external-world scepticism start from our ability to make justified judgements about the order of our own experiences, and end with the claim that there must be perceptible external objects, some of whose states can be causally correlated with that order. In a recent paper, I made a series of objections to this broadly Kantian anti-sceptical strategy. Georges Dicker has provided substantive replies on behalf of a version of the causal refutation of idealism. Here I offer a (...) few final remarks about issues at the heart of our disagreement. -/- . (shrink)
A World for Us aims to refute physical realism and establish in its place a form of idealism. Physical realism, in the sense in which John Foster understands it, takes the physical world to be something whose existence is both logically independent of the human mind and metaphysically fundamental. Foster identifies a number of problems for this realist view, but his main objection is that it does not accord the world the requisite empirical immanence. The form of idealism (...) that he tries to establish in its place rejects the realist view in both its aspects. It takes the world to be something whose existence is ultimately constituted by facts about human sensory experience, or by some richer complex of non-physical facts in which such experiential facts centrally feature. Foster calls this phenomenalistic idealism. He tries to establish a specific version of such phenomenalistic idealism, in which the experiential facts that centrally feature in the constitutive creation of the world are ones that concern the organization of human sensory experience. The basic idea of this version is that, in the context of certain other constitutively relevant factors, this sensory organization creates the physical world by disposing things to appear systematically world-wise at the human empirical viewpoint. Chief among these other relevant factors is the role of God as the one who is responsible for the sensory organization and ordains the system of appearance it yields. It is this that gives the idealistically created world its objectivity and allows it to qualify as a real world. (shrink)
This paper defends an idealist form of non-reductivism in the philosophy of mind. I refer to it as a kind of conceptual dualism without substance dualism. I contrast this idealist alternative with the two most widespread forms of non-reductivism: multiple realisability functionalism and anomalous monism. I argue first, that functionalism fails to challenge seriously the claim for methodological unity since it is quite comfortable with the idea that it is possible to articulate a descriptive theory of the mind. Second, that (...) as an attempt to graft conceptual mind-body dualism onto a monistic metaphysics, the idealist alternative bears some similarities to anomalous monism, but that it is superior to it because it is not vulnerable to the charge of epiphenomenalism. I conclude that this idealist alternative should be given serious consideration by those who remain unconvinced that a successful defence of the non-reducibility of the mental is compatible with the pursuit of a naturalistic agenda. (shrink)
While there is good reason to think that Mendelssohn's Morgenstunden targets some of the key claims of Kant’s first Critique, this criticism has yet to be considered in the appropriate context or presented in all of its systematic detail. I show that far from being an isolated assault, Mendelssohn’s attack in the Morgenstunden is a continuation and development of his earlier criticism of Kant’s idealism as presented in the Inaugural Dissertation. I also show that Mendelssohn’s objection was more influential (...) on Kant than has previously been suspected; not only did Kant respond to it in a brief review and a set of remarks published along with a disciple’s examination of Mendelssohn’s text but, as I will suggest, Kant’s Refutation of Idealism is intended (at least in part) to undermine the Cartesian starting-point Mendelssohn had presumed throughout his campaign against Kantian idealism. (shrink)
This key collection of essays sheds new light on long-debated controversies surrounding Kant’s doctrine of idealism and is the first book in the English language that is exclusively dedicated to the subject. Well-known Kantians Karl Ameriks and Manfred Baum present their considered views on this most topical aspect of Kant's thought. Several essays by acclaimed Kant scholars broach a vastly neglected problem in discussions of Kant's idealism, namely the relation between his conception of logic and idealism: The (...) standard view that Kant's logic and idealism are wholly separable comes under scrutiny in these essays. A further set of articles addresses multiple facets of the notorious notion of the thing in itself, which continues to hold the attention of Kant scholars. The volume also contains an extensive discussion of the often overlooked chapter in the Critique of Pure Reason on the Transcendental Ideal. Together, the essays provide a whole new outlook on Kantian idealism. No one with a serious interest in Kant's idealism can afford to ignore this important book. Papers by Karl Ameriks, Manfred Baum, Ido Geiger, Lucy Allais, Gary Banham, Steven M. Bayne, Marcel Quarfood, Dennis Schulting, Dietmar Heidemann, Christian Onof and Jacco Verburgt. (shrink)
This book is a systematic reconstruction of Heidegger's account of time and temporality in Being and Time. The author locates Heidegger in a tradition of 'temporal idealism' with its sources in Plotinus, Leibniz, and Kant. For Heidegger, time can only be explained in terms of 'originary temporality', a concept integral to his ontology. Blattner sets out not only the foundations of Heidegger's ontology, but also his phenomenology of the experience of time. Focusing on a neglected but central aspect of (...) Being and Time, this book will be of considerable interest to all students of Heidegger both inside and outside philosophy. (shrink)
German Idealism develops its philosophy of history as the theory of becoming absolute and as absolute knowledge. Historism also originates from Hegel's and Schelling's discovery of absolute historicity as it turns against Idealism's philosophy of history by emphasizing the singular and unique in the process of history. German Idealism and Historism can be considered as the central German contribution to the history of ideas. Since Idealism became most influential for modern philosophy and Historism for modern historiography, (...) they are analyzed in this volume in a collaboration of philosophers and historians. German Idealism is presented in Schelling and its critics Schlegel, Baader, and Nietzsche; Historism in Ranke, Droysen, Burckhardt, and Treitschke. The volume further presents the impact of Idealism and Historism on present German approaches to the philosophy of history and outlines the debates on the possibility of a philosophy of history and on the methodology of the historical sciences. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy has become the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world. This book illuminates that tradition through a historical examination of a crucial period in its formation: the rejection of Idealism by Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the subsequent development of Russell's thought in the period before the First World War.
In German Idealism and the Jew , Michael Mack uncovers the deep roots of anti-Semitism in the German philosophical tradition. While many have read German anti-Semitism as a reaction against Enlightenment philosophy, Mack instead contends that the redefinition of the Jews as irrational, oriental Others forms the very cornerstone of German idealism, including Kant's conception of universal reason. Offering the first analytical account of the connection between anti-Semitism and philosophy, Mack begins his exploration by showing how the fundamental (...) thinkers in the German idealist tradition--Kant, Hegel, and, through them, Feuerbach and Wagner--argued that the human world should perform and enact the promises held out by a conception of an otherworldly heaven. But their respective philosophies all ran aground on the belief that the worldly proved incapable of transforming itself into this otherworldly ideal. To reconcile this incommensurability, Mack argues, philosophers created a construction of Jews as symbolic of the "worldliness" that hindered the development of a body politic and that served as a foil to Kantian autonomy and rationality. In the second part, Mack examines how Moses Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine, Franz Rosenzweig, and Freud, among others, grappled with being both German and Jewish. Each thinker accepted the philosophies of Kant and Hegel, in varying degrees, while simultaneously critiquing anti-Semitism in order to develop the modern Jewish notion of what it meant to be enlightened--a concept that differed substantially from that of Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Wagner. By speaking the unspoken in German philosophy, this book profoundly reshapes our understanding of it. (shrink)
Originally published in German in 1995, this collection of essays has been written by the foremost representative of the hermeneutical approach in German philosophy. Offering a novel interpretation of the tradition of German Idealist thought--Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel--RU;diger Bubner insightfully reviews the philosophical innovations in the complex of issues and aspirations which dominated German intellectual life from 1780 to 1830. This collection will be of special interest to students of German philosophy, literary theory and the history of ideas.
This volume comprises studies written by prominent scholars working in the field of German Idealism. These scholars come from the English speaking philosophical world and Continental Europe. They treat major aspects of the place of religion in Idealism, Romanticism and other schools of thought and culture. They also discuss the tensions and relations between religion and philosophy in terms of the specific form they take in German Idealism, and in terms of the effect they still have on (...) contemporary culture. The authors consider figures such as Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Jacobi. The book will prove very informative to researchers and teachers working in the fields of philosophy, philosophy of religion, and classical German philosophy. (shrink)
This work is a substantial contribution to the history of philosophy. Its subject, the ninth-century philosopher John Scottus Eriugena, developed a form of idealism that owed as much to the Greek Neoplatonic tradition as to the Latin fathers and anticipated the priority of the subject in its modern, most radical statement: German idealism. Moran has written the most comprehensive study yet of Eriugena's philosophy, tracing the sources of his thinking and analyzing his most important text, the (...) Periphyseon. This volume will be of special interest to historians of mediaeval philosophy, history, and theology. (shrink)
This is the most important book on Hegel to have appeared in the past ten years. The author offers a completely new interpretation of Hegel's idealism that focuses on Hegel's appropriation and development of Kant's theoretical project. Hegel is presented neither as a pre-critical metaphysician nor as a social theorist, but as a critical philosopher whose disagreements with Kant, especially on the issue of intuitions, enrich the idealist arguments against empiricism, realism, and naturalism. In the face of the dismissal (...) of absolute idealism as either unintelligible or implausible, Pippin explains and defends an original account of the philosophical basis for Hegel's claims about the historical and social nature of self-consciousness and of knowledge itself. (shrink)
In his Kant and the Claims of Knowledge, Paul Guyer offers an influential reading of Kant’s famous “Refutation of Idealism.” Guyer’s reading has been widely praised as Kantian exegesis but less favorably received as an anti-skeptical line of argument worthy of contemporary interest. In this paper, I focus on defending the general thrust of Guyer’s reading as a response to Cartesian skepticism. The paper falls into two sections. The first section constructs Guyer’s central argument in three steps and gives (...) it a quasi-formal presentation. That presentation reveals the principal obstacle to the argument’s being convincing to a contemporary audience, namely, its apparent reliance on Kant’s prohibition against psychological laws governing mental states. The second section constructs a lemma in defense of Guyer’s general line of attack. In effect, it suggests that that line does not depend on a metaphysical ban on psychological laws, but only on the modest premise that according to the Cartesian’s concept of knowledge such laws cannot justify claims about the temporal order of the self. (shrink)
ELSEWHERE WE HAVE ARGUED that Peirce's later thought manifests a commitment to the thesis that there is a world of physical objects whose existence and properties are neither logically nor causally dependent upon the noetic act of any number of finite minds. 1 In other words, we have argued that Peirce's later thought satisfies the definition of metaphysical realism as classically defined. 2 There are, however, a number of texts which might be cited to support the claim that, for Peirce, (...) the existence and properties of physical objects are causally, and therefore logically, dependent upon the noetic act of the sum of finite minds identified as the community of scientific inquirers. If this latter claim can be substantiated it would seem to follow that either (a) Peirce was fundamentally inconsistent in simultaneously espousing two mutually exclusive doctrines or (b) in his later writings Peirce was not a metaphysical realist at all and that the doctrine on externality can be subsumed into a metaphysical idealism in which the notion of 'external object' does not imply causal or logical independence of the noetic act but rather the experience of duality or otherness. In other words, if the claim that the later Peirce was a metaphysical idealist can be supported, then Peirce was either hopelessly inconsistent or merely trying to account for realistic distinctions within an idealistic framework such as to... (shrink)
The seventeenth century background to the emergence of continental idealism -- Monadological world of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz -- Kant's development from physical to moral monadologist -- Kant and the "Copernican" conception of transcendental philosophy -- The moral framework of metaphysics -- The later Kant as a "post-Kantian" philosopher? -- Jena post-Kantianism: Reinhold and Fichte -- The romanticisms of Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich Schelling -- Hegel's idealist metaphysics of spirit -- Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and the ambiguous end of the idealist tradition (...) -- Postscript: idealism after the end of (its) history. (shrink)
The turn of the nineteenth century marked a rich and exciting explosion of philosophical energy and talent. The enormity of the revolution set off in philosophy by Immanuel Kant was comparable, in Kant's own estimation, with the Copernican Revolution that ended the Middle Ages. The movement he set in motion, the fast-moving and often cantankerous dialectic of "German Idealism," inspired some of the most creative philosophers in modern times: including G. W. F. Hegel and Arthur Schopenhauer as well as (...) those who reacted against Kant--Marx and Kierkegaard, for example. This volume traces the emergence of German Idealism from Kant and his predecessors through the first half of the nineteenth century, ending with the irrationalism of Kierkegaard. It provides a broad, scholarly introduction to this period for students of philosophy and related disciplines, as well as some original interpretations of these authors. Also included is a glossary of technical terms as well as a chronological table of philosophical, scientific and other important cultural events. (shrink)
Anthony Brueckner argues that Berkeleyan idealism lacks anti-sceptical force because of the way Berkeley draws the appearance/reality distinction. But Brueckner's case rests on a misunderstanding of Berkeley's view. Properly understood, Berkeleyan idealism does indeed have anti-sceptical force.
'Modernity' has come to refer both to a contested historical category and to an even more contested philosophical and civilisational ideal. In this important collection of essays Robert Pippin takes issue with some prominent assessments of what is or is not philosophically at stake in the idea of a modern revolution in Western civilisation, and presents an alternative view. Professor Pippin disputes many traditional characterisations of the distinctiveness of modern philosophy. In their place he defends claims about agency, freedom, ethical (...) life and modernity itself, all of which are central to the German idealist philosophical tradition, and in particular, to the writings of Hegel. Having considered the Hegelian version of these issues the author explores other accounts as found in Habermas, Strauss, Blumenberg, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. (shrink)
In this book-the first large-scale survey of the complex relationship between Hegel's idealism and Anglo-American analytic philosophy-Tom Rockmore argues that analytic philosophy has consistently misread and misappropriated Hegel. According to Rockmore, the first generation of British analytic philosophers to engage Hegel possessed a limited understanding of his philosophy and of idealism. Succeeding generations continued to misinterpret him, and recent analytic thinkers have turned Hegel into a pragmatist by ignoring his idealism. Rockmore explains why this has happened, defends (...) Hegel's idealism, and points out the ways that Hegel is a key figure for analytic concerns, focusing in particular on the fact that he and analytic philosophers both share an interest in the problem of knowledge. (shrink)
This article provides a critical introduction to an issue fo Ratio Juris concerend with two contrasting schools of legal idealism: the so-called Sheffield School (Beyleveld, Brownsword and colleagues) and the “discourse ethics” school of Habermas and Alexy. The article focusses on four issues: (1) whether a "claim to correctness" is a necessary feature of law, (2) the connection between correctness and validity, (3) Alexy's argument for a "qualifying connection" between law and morality, and its counterpart in the Sheffield School's (...) approach, and (4) Alexy's case for the "Radbruch formula": that "extreme injustice is not law”. While rejecting both versions of the case for legal idealism, I argue that both schools offer vaulable, and broadly similar, insights into what makes a legal system morally legitimate. (shrink)
Idealist philosophers have traditionally tried to defend their views by appealing to the claim that nonmental reality is inconceivable. A standard response to this inconceivability claim is to try to show that it is only plausible if one blurs the fundamental distinction between consciousness and its object. I try to rehabilitate the idealistic argument by presenting an alternative formulation of the idealist’s basic inconceivability claim. Rather than suggesting that all objects are inconceivable apart from consciousness, I suggest that it is (...) impossible to conceive of any such object as genuinely existent. This thesis is lent credence by the fact that only in reflective self-consciousness is existence a phenomenological datum. Not only is it the case that we are not ever aware of an object as existing, we do not have a clear understanding of what it would be like to have such an awareness. If this is true, then we have reason to believe that while consciousness exists, the objects of consciousness cannot exist. (shrink)
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant introduced both transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments into philosophy. Transcendental arguments in general aim to establish conditions necessary for our having self-conscious experience at all. Transcendental idealism holds that such conditions do not hold independently of human subjects; those conditions obtain or are satisfied because they are generated or fulfilled by the structure or functioning of the subject’s cognitive capacities. Is transcendental idealism the only possible explanation of such conditions? I (...) pursue this question by exploring a widely neglected issue, the transcendental affinity of the manifold of intuition. I argue the following: (1) This issue remains vital to the second edition of the Critique, even though many passages on the topic were omitted from that edition. (2) Kant’s link between transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments is substantive, not methodological. (3) Kant’s views on transcendental affinity show that there are non-subjective, transcendental material conditions for the possibility of unified self-conscious experience. (4) These conditions and Kant’s arguments for them directly undermine Kant’s own arguments for transcendental idealism. This criticism of Kant’s arguments for transcendental idealism is entirely internal to the first Critique. (5) These points reveal some serious flaws in Henry Allison’s defense of Kant’s idealism. (6) Realists, naturalists, and pragmatists have much to learn and to borrow from Kant’s transcendental analysis of the conditions of unified self-conscious experience. (shrink)
In the paper there is presented the semantic interpretation of idealism/ realism controversy which is one of the most essential issues in Ingarden’s phenomenological project of ontology. The procedure of semantic paraphrase which is contemporary developed by Wolen´ ski, is the main interpretative tool. In the central part of the paper, there is formulated the formal theory of the semantic framework underlying idealism/realism discourse. Finally, there are formulated some notes showing that intentional conception of negation may be used (...) for defending various idealistic positions. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to show and document the husserlian concern to validate a position of ontological realism, and the inappropriateness of his method to this task. It is precisley the scientific charachter of his philosophy that drew Husserl to idealism and solipsism, despite his original intentions and motivations.
Hopkins' Idealism provides a thorough re-examination of the nineteenth-century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), whose early writings on philosophy have to date received little critical attention. It is the first full-length study of Hopkins' largely unpublished Oxford undergraduate essays and notes on philosophy and mechanics. The volume also offers radical new readings of some of Hopkins' best-known poems.
The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism offers a comprehensive, penetrating, and informative guide to what is regarded as the classical period of German philosophy. Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Schelling are all discussed in detail, together with a number of their contemporaries, such as Hölderlin and Schleiermacher, whose influence was considerable but whose work is less well known in the English-speaking world. The essays in the volume trace and explore the unifying themes of German Idealism, and discuss their relationship (...) to Romanticism, the Enlightenment, and the culture of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. The result is an illuminating overview of a rich and complex philosophical movement, and will appeal to a wide range of readers in philosophy, German studies, theology, literature, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
Idealism became the dominant philosphical school of thought in late nineteenth-century Britain. In this original and stimulating study, Sandra den Otter examines its roots in Greek and German thinking and locates it among the prevalent methodologies and theories of the period: empiricism and positivism, naturalism, evolution, and utilitarianism. In particular, she sets it in the context of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century debate about a science of society and the contemporary preoccupation with `community'.
Wittgenstein's Copernican Revolution explores the relation between language and reality without embracing Linguistic Realism and without courting any form of Linguistic Idealism either. It argues that this is precisely what Wittgenstein does. This book also examines some well known contemporary philosophers who have been concerned with this same question.
Art, dialogue, and historical knowledge : appropriating Kant's Critique of judgment -- Beyond the third Critique : epistemological skepticism and aesthetic consciousness -- Overcoming the problems of modern philosophy : art, truth, and the turn to ontology -- History, reflection, and self-determination : critiquing the Enlightenment and Hegel -- Schleiermacher's critical theory of interpretation -- Normativity, critique, and reflection : the hermeneutic legacy of German Idealism.
This book offers an important reappraisal of Schelling's philosophy and his relationship to German Idealism. Focusing on Schelling's self-critique in early identity philosophy the author rejects those criticisms of Schelling made by both Hegel and Heidegger. This work significantly redraws the boundaries of metaphysical thinking, arguing for a dialogue between rational philosophy, mythology and cosmology.
Beginning with the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and extending through to Hegel’s death, the period known as German Idealism signaled the end of an epoch of rationalism, empiricism, and enlightenment—and the beginning of a new “critical” period of philosophy. The most comprehensive anthology of this vital tradition to date, German Idealism brings together an expansive selection of readings from the tradition’s major figures like Kant, Hegel, Fichte, and Schelling. Arranged thematically into sections on topics such (...) as the relationships between self and knowledge, freedom and morality, law and state, and nature and science, to name a few, German Idealism discloses many of the contrasts that helped to differentiate each of the tradition’s key thinkers. Each expertly translated text comes with an editorial introduction to guide readers through many of the problems the texts specifically deal with, as well as their historical context. The most accessible and expansive introduction to German Idealism ever, this anthology will be hailed by instructors and scholars as the most dependable guide to the tradition for years to come. (shrink)
The paper is a limited defence of one of P. F. Strawson's least popular declarations about the nature of Kant's transcendental idealism. An attempt is made to relate Strawson's reading to an interpretative controversy that emerged in the years immediately following the publication of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. Johann Christian Gottlob Schaumann, an otherwise unremarkable figure, is considered as an early defender of the thoroughly idealistic interpretation in the distinctive form articulated by (...) Strawson. (shrink)
In his paper "Wittgenstein and Idealism" Professor Williams proposed a 'model' for reading Wittgenstein's later philosophy which he claimed exposed its transcendental idealist character. By this he roughly meant that Wittgenstein's later position was idealistic to the extent that it disallowed the possibility of there being any independent reality that was not contaminated by our view things. And he thought it was transcendental in the sense that 'our view of things' is not something that we can explain or can (...) locate in the world. I argue that even if we accept Williams' interpretation of Wittgenstein it does not follow that the latter sponsored any form of transcendental idealism. I make this case in several stages and on two different platforms. Firstly, I give a brief description of the underlying basis of Williams' interpretation. Secondly, I defend the general thrust of it against a critique which issued from Malcolm. Finally, I argue that the views ascribed to Wittgenstein by Williams do not make him into a transcendental idealist. On the one hand, this case is made by showing that there is a non-trivial resemblance between Williams' Wittgenstein and Donald Davidson who is a self-styled realist. On the other hand, I set out exegetical reasons for thinking that if the continuity that Williams sees between the Tractatus and the later writings actually exists then it provides reason in itself not to regard Wittgenstein as an idealist. (shrink)
Usually, analytic philosophy is thought of as standing firmly within the tradition of empiricism, but recently attention has been drawn to the strongly Kantian features that have characterized this philosophical movement throughout a considerable part of its history.1 Those charting the history of early analytic philosophy sometimes point to a more Kantian stream of thought feeding it from both Frege and Wittgenstein, and as countering a quite different stream flowing from the early Russell and Moore.2 In line with this general (...) assessment, Michael Friedman has pointed to the specifically Kantian features of the approach of Carnap and other members of the Vienna Circle.3 For Friedman, the positivists should be seen as having emerged from the tradition of late nineteenth-century neo-Kantianism. Although they had explicitly rejected Kant’s analysis of geometric truth and his key concept of the “synthetic a priori” because of dramatic changes within science itself, this move should not be seen as any simple abandonment of Kantianism.4 Rather, the positivists had redefined the nature of the Kantian a priori, by axiomatizing, relativizing and historicizing it, so as to fit with the results of the contemporary sciences. (shrink)
The main thesis of Michael Della Rocca’s outstanding Spinoza book (Della Rocca 2008a) is that at the very center of Spinoza’s philosophy stands the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR): the stipulation that everything must be explainable or, in other words, the rejection of any brute facts. Della Rocca rightly ascribes to Spinoza a strong version of the PSR. It is not only that the actual existence and features of all things must be explicable, but even the inexistence – as well (...) as the absence of any feature of any thing – demands an explanation. Della Rocca does not stop here, however. He feeds his PSR monster with some more powerful steroids and suggests that Spinoza advocates what he terms “the twofold use of the PSR.” It is not only that everything must be explained and made intelligible, but it must ultimately be explained in terms of explainability or intelligibility itself. This twofold use of the PSR is the key to the entire book. Della Roca’s strategy throughout the book is to argue that any key feature of Spinoza’s system – be it causality, inherence, essence, consciousness, existence, rejection of teleology, goodness or political right – must be explained, and ultimately it must be explained in terms of intelligibility. “Spinoza single-mindedly digs and digs until we find that the phenomenon in question is nothing but some form of intelligibility itself, of explicability itself” (Della Rocca 2008a: 2). Della Rocca’s book came out together with a cluster of articles in which he develops in detail his new reading of Spinoza. In one of these articles, he warns the reader: “Don’t let me start” (Dell Rocca 2010: 1). The train that is about to embark leads to very bizarre terrain, and thus one should think twice before embarking on the “PSR Express.” In this paper I argue that the train was hijacked. This was a perfect crime: without anyone noticing it, the engine driver diverted the train to a new route, and as with other perfect crimes, it is none but the criminal himself who is capable of, and indeed will, bring about his own demise. As I will later argue, Della Rocca’s “PSR-on-steroids” will eventually cripple reason itself. But let us not run too fast, and start at the very beginning. I happily – or at least, so I think - board the “PSR Express.” I believe Spinoza is strongly committed to the PSR and makes very significant use of this principle, but, unlike Della Rocca, I do not think the PSR is the key to all mysteries Spinozist, nor do I believe Spinoza was committed to the reductionist program of explaining all things through intelligibility (i.e., the second use of the PSR). (shrink)
In the Transcendental Ideal Kant discusses the principle of complete determination: for every object and every predicate A, the object is either determinately A or not-A. He claims this principle is synthetic, but it appears to follow from the principle of excluded middle, which is analytic. He also makes a puzzling claim in support of its syntheticity: that it represents individual objects as deriving their possibility from the whole of possibility. This raises a puzzle about why Kant regarded it as (...) synthetic, and what his explanatory claim means. I argue that the principle of complete determination does not follow from the principle of excluded middle because the externally negated or ‘negative’ judgment ‘Not (S is P)’ does not entail the internally negated or ‘infinite’ judgment ‘S is not-P.’ Kant’s puzzling explanatory claim means that empirical objects are determined by the content of the totality of experience. This entails that empirical objects are completely determinate if and only if the totality of experience has a completely determinate content. I argue that it is not a priori whether experience has such a completely determinate content and thus not analytic that objects obey the principle of complete determination. (shrink)
Hegel and the myth of reason -- Hegel's phenomenology as a systematic fragment -- The architectonic of Hegel's Phenomenology of spirit -- Points of contact in the philosophy of religion of Hegel and Schopenhauer -- Kierkegaard's criticism of the absence of ethics in Hegel's system -- Kierkegaard's criticism of abstraction and his proposed solution : appropriation -- Kierkegaard's recurring criticism of Hegel's The good and conscience-- Hegel and Nietzsche on the death of tragedy and Greek ethical life -- Existentialist ethics (...) -- Merleau-Ponty's criticisms of Sartre's theory of freedom -- Sartre and Merleau-Ponty on consciousness and bad faith. (shrink)
It is generally acknowledged that the British Idealism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had a significant influence in the philosophy, politics, and culture of that country. In this study, I argue that it also had a considerable impact throughout much of the English-speaking world, and beyond -- in Canada, Australia, the United States, South Africa, India, and even East Asia. This idealism engaged 'local' philosophical traditions and culture, contributed to them, and sometimes led to 'new' (...) philosophies or traditions, and so may be described as a 'migrating tradition.' While the character and extent of this influence varied according to where and how it migrated, British Idealism can, nevertheless and in amodestway, be said to have had an 'empire'. This study, then, addresses both a historical issue and the broader philosophical question of why British Idealism was successful in this diaspora, and it identifies a number of features of this Idealism which may explain this. (shrink)