Between the Bounds of experience and divine intuition: Kant's epistemic limits and Hegel's ambitions

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):306 – 334 (2007)
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Abstract

Hegel seeks to overturn Kant's conclusion that our knowledge is restricted, or that we cannot have knowledge of things as they are in themselves. Understanding this Hegelian ambition requires distinguishing two Kantian characterizations of our epistemic limits: First, we can have knowledge only within the "bounds of experience". Second, we cannot have knowledge of objects that would be accessible only to a divine intellectual intuition, even though the faculty of reason requires us to conceive of such objects. Hegel aims to drive a wedge between these two characterizations, showing that we can have knowledge beyond Kant's bounds of experience, yet without need of divine intuition. And attention to such knowledge is supposed to show that we have no legitimate need to even conceive of divine intuition and its objects - and no need to conclude that our own knowledge is restricted by comparison, or that we cannot know things as they are in themselves. I focus here on the initial case Hegel uses to introduce this extended argument strategy: we can have more knowledge of natural kinds and laws than would be allowed by Kant's bounds of experience.

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James Kreines
Claremont McKenna College

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What is a Law of Nature?David Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

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