The Regulative and the Constitutive In Kant’s and Hegel’s Theories of History

Idealistic Studies 32 (2):121-142 (2002)
I show one reason why Hegel’s theory of history is an improvement over Kant’s. There is an ambiguity in Kant’s theory of history. He wants, on the one hand, to distinguish empirical history (and, by extension, other empirical sciences which constitute experience) from reason’s a priori regulative role in theory. On the other hand, his view of the nature of sciences and the role of reason precludes such a separation. I trace this problem to different roles assigned the faculties of understanding and reason in our experience. In Hegel’s theory of history, both reason and understanding together constitute the sciences, and thus experience. Hegel argues that history is a unified field employing both understanding and reason. I conclude that the more consistent theory of history for idealists is Hegel’s, and that this consistency partially explains the movement in German Idealism from Kantian to Hegelian thought
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541  
DOI 10.5840/idstudies20023229
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