The Problem of the Unity of Theoretical and Practical Reason in Kant's Critical Philosophy and Fichte's Early Wissenschaftslehre, and its Relevance to the Contemporary "Rage Against Reason"

Dissertation, University of Kentucky (1996)

Arnold Farr
University of Kentucky
In the late twentieth century, philosophy seems to be in the midst of a crisis from which it may never recover. Many philosophers have announced the end of philosophy. For example: Richard Rorty claims that philosophy is nothing more than "edifying discourse." At the center of the crisis in philosophy is the crisis of reason. Not only has reason's potential for discovering truth been challenged, reason has also been charged with establishing and maintaining oppressive social structures. However, the attack on reason in the twentieth century is not the first crisis that reason has faced. ;In the eighteenth century Immanuel Kant responded to a crisis of reason by providing a critique of pure reason whereby the limits and proper employment of reason could be discovered. Kant's investigation revealed that there are two distinct employments of reason, which although distinct must, nevertheless, form a unity. It was the perceived failure of Kant's attempt to show that unity of theoretical and practical reason that motivated his energetic successor J. G. Fichte. ;In this dissertation I will examine the attempt by Kant and Fichte to show the unity of theoretical and practical reason. I will claim that Fichte's solution overcame many of the shortcomings of Kant's philosophy. It will also be shown that Kant and Fichte both held a view of reason that may contribute substantially to the formulation of a response to the contemporary crisis of reason
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