Dreams of a Spirit-Seer and Kant’s Critical Method: Comments on Stephen R. Palmquist’s Kant and Mysticism

Kantian Review 26 (1):113-117 (2021)

Abstract

In his new book, Kant and Mysticism, Stephen Palmquist argues that Kant had already formulated his critical method by the mid-1760s and that it emerged from his reflections on Swedenborg’s mystical visions. In order to evaluate these claims, I consider Kant’s correspondence with Charlotte von Knobloch and Moses Mendelssohn before and after the publication of Dreams of a Spirit-Seer; the context in which Kant published Dreams; and the method he employs when he discusses Swedenborg’s visions in that work. I conclude that Kant’s critical method was not well-formed during the 1760s and did not emerge from Kant’s reflections on Swedenborg.

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Colin McQuillan
St. Mary's University, Texas

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