Richard Fincham - Refuting Fichte with "Common Sense": FriedrichImmanuelNiethammer's Reception of the Wissenschaftslehre 1794/5 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 43:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 43.3 301-324 Refuting Fichte with "Common Sense": FriedrichImmanuelNiethammer's Reception of the Wissenschaftslehre 1794/5 Richard Fincham Even a cursory comparison of Fichte's first published version of the Wissenschaftslehre of 1794/5 with Kant's critical works reveals a striking methodological difference. For, whereas Kant begins with (...) the conditioned and ascends to the subjective foundations of its conditioning, Fichte immediately begins—in Hegel's words, "like a shot from a pistol" —from an unconditioned subjective foundation. It may thus be said that Kant's method is "analytic," whereas Fichte's is "synthetic." For, in the Wolffian terminology of the time, the analytic method names a movement "from... consequences to their grounds," whereas the synthetic method names a movement "from grounds to their consequences." Kant himself employs these terms to describe the same distinction. However, he clearly believes that the analytic method is the correct procedure of all philosophy, whereas the synthetic method describes the correct procedure of mathematics. Therefore, it appears that Fichte's method is not only different from Kant's, but is also one that Kant would not sanction. It therefore seems fruitful to consider both why... (shrink)
In this paper, I investigate the relation of Kant's theory of biology to epigenetic accounts of organic generation and development. In the literature, a dispute about similarities between Blumenbach's epigenetic account and Kant dominated the debate for many years (see Lenoir 1980, 1981, and 1982, 17–34, Richards 2000; 2002, 207–37; Look 2006, and van den Berg 2009). Some more recent interpreters claim that Wolff's, more than Blumenbach's account plays the pivotal role in the development of a vitalistic conception of epigenesis (...) in Kant (see Dupont 2007 and Huneman 2007). Although I myself hold the view that Kant's position contains preformistic and epigenetic characteristics, in the current paper I focus solely on an investigation of epigenetic elements in Kant's account and compare them to the corresponding epigenetic elements in Wolff's theory. Section I of the paper is devoted to an analysis of Wolff's most important epigenetic theorems: the notion of the essential power (vis essentialis) and the conception of the part-whole composition of organized matter. Although Wolff describes the essential power vitalisticly, as a principle of life, he understands it as the cause of mechanical motions explaining the generation, nourishment, and the growth of an organism. Wolff's model of the part-whole composition of organic matter is subtle, but committed to fundamental mechanistic assumptions, such as that the organism as a whole is composed of inorganic parts. In section II, I analyze the corresponding elements in Kant's theory: the notion of the formative power and the conception of the whole-part composition of organized materials. Kant describes the formative power as a principle that causes the purposive form of an organized being such that matter and mechanism are the means to the purpose of the being as their end. The purpose of the whole is a functional unit which is in principle superior to the form and matter of the subordinate parts. The parts are combined into such a whole in being mutually cause and effect of each other and in being related to the superior whole. In section III, I respond to the debate in the literature. Against Dupont (2007) and Huneman (2007) I argue that, according to Wolff, the vis essentialis accounts for mechanic effects in matter, whereas, according to Kant, the formative power explains the intentional order (form, end, purpose) of an individual organized being, its parts, and its species. Since this view is closer to Blumenbach than to Wolff, the ongoing comparison between Kant and Blumenbach in the literature is justified. However, the emphasis on the specific part-whole composition that Kant considers to be the determining feature of an organized being can be found only in Wolff and not in Blumenbach—though Wolff and Kant describe it in opposing ways. This increases the systematic importance of Wolff for Kant. Thus, a fresh look on the historical debate is required. (shrink)
This paper considers three general dilemmas that tend to undermine successful configurations of unity: the either/or dilemma, the synthesis dilemma and the relativism dilemma. It argues that, in his aesthetic writings, Schiller’s critique of Kantian dualisms leads him to an adualistic conception of unity that operates with a different, more inclusive approach to opposition and unification. In order to clarify Schiller’s innovative and often misunderstood position, the paper draws on the disjunctive logic recently developed by Friedrich Kümmel.
Recent years have witnessed a rehabilitation of early German Romanticism in philosophy, including a renewed interest in Romantic ethics. Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829) is acknowledged as a key figure in this movement. While significant work has been done on some aspects of his thought, his views on ethics have been surprisingly overlooked. This essay aims to redress this shortcoming in the literature by examining the core themes of Schlegel’s ethics during the early phase of his career (1793–1801). I argue that (...) Schlegel’s position stands out against both the dominant Kantianism of his era, as well as against some of fellow Romantics. I show how Schlegel anticipates contemporary philosophers such as Bernard Williams, Harry Frankfurt, John McDowell, and Stanley Cavell in both his criticisms of traditional moral theory and in his attempts to develop a positive position. (shrink)
Lecture on Nietzsche's relativism and perspectivism given at a conference on the 'crisis of reason' in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, October 26, 1991. Nietzsche claims that truth does not exist and knowledge is not possible, because knowledge serves life and is bound to an organic position. In fact, this is a paradox that refutes itself. Knowledge has evolved precisely because organisms must have limited, perspectivistic knowledge of their environment from a subjective point of view. In science, subjectivity can even be transcended (...) to some extent by making models that take into account the effects of our subjective experience of the world. The fact that theories are ‘just models’, ‘just interpretations’ does not mean that knowledge is impossible, because models and interpretations can be improved, corrected and be more or less adequate. In fact, Nietzsche relativism is incompatible with his metaphysical, psychological and ethical claims which implicitly claim a kind of philosophical or scientific progress. (shrink)
In Die idealistische Kritik des Willens [German Idealism’s Critique of the Will] Dorschel defends an understanding of freedom as choice against Immanuel Kant’s and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s ethical animadversions. He objects both to Kant’s claim that „a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same thing“ („ein freier Wille und ein Wille unter sittlichen Gesetzen einerlei“) (Immanuel Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten AB 98) and to Hegel’s doctrine that „freedom of (...) the will is rendered real as law“ („die Freiheit des Willens als Gesetz verwirklicht“) (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte, ed. Georg Lasson. Felix Meiner, Leipzig 1923ff., p. 368). What renders freedom of the will real, Dorschel argues, is rather to exercise choice sensibly. (shrink)
Many contemporaries criticized him for smashing the Age of Reason. Goethe, however, remarked that reading a page of Immanuel Kant was like entering a bright and well-lighted room: The great eighteenth-century philosopher illuminated everything he ever pondered. The twelve essays in this volume reveal Kant's towering importance as an ethical and social thinker as well as his enduring influence on the shape of philosophy. Included are excerpts from Dreams of a Visionary, Prolegomena to Every Future Metaphysics, Metaphysical Foundations of (...) Morals, Critique of Judgement , and Eternal Peace . As Professor Friedrich writes in his introduction to this volume: "The problem of freedom, the freedom of the human personality to unfold and fulfill its higher destiny, is the central issue of all of Kant's philosophizing.". (shrink)
Author: Kaśkiewicz Kinga Title: IMMANUEL KANT AND FRIEDRICH SCHILLER ON THE BEAUTY OF HUMAN BODY (Immanuel Kant i Fryderyk Schiller o pięknie ludzkiego ciała) Source: Filo-Sofija year: 2005, vol:.5, number: 2005/1, pages: 105-123 Keywords: KANT, SCHILLER, BEAUTY OF HUMAN BODY, KANTIAN AESTHETIC Discipline: PHILOSOPHY Language: POLISH Document type: ARTICLE Publication order reference (Primary author’s office address): E-mail: www:The essay deals with the question of the beauty of the bodily form, the notion of perfection of the human species (...) and its moral expression as well as with other problems connected with this aspect of aesthetic experience. In the XVIII century the problems were undertaken particularly by Friedrich Schiller, who on the grounds of Kantian aesthetics tried to show the difference between the free and dependant beauty, and between the natural beauty and fine arts, which led him to establish the notions of grace and of dignity as the aesthetic expression of human spirit. The essay is based chiefly on the following works: Schiller’s On Grace and Dignity and Critic of Judgment and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime by Kant. (shrink)
The problem of synthetic judgements touches on the question of whether philosophy can draw independent statements about reality in the first place. For Kant, the synthetic judgements a priori formulate the conditions of the possibility for objectively valid knowledge. Despite the principle fallibility of its statements, modern science aims for objective knowledge. This gives the topic of synthetic a priori unbroken currency. This paper aims to show that a modernized version of transcendental philosophy, if it is to be feasible at (...) all, must “bid farewell” to the concept of being “free of empiricism” or the “purity” of the a priori. Approaches to this end can already been found in Kant’s reflections on non-pure synthetic knowledge. Moreover, the a priori validity of knowledge does not exclude the possibility that it can be discovered empirically. In keeping with Kant, Fries and Nelson anticipated this separation (usually first attributed to Reichenbach) between the validity and discovery context of knowledge and pointed out that the a priori could be discovered empirically, but never proven. There are currently still good reasons why transcendental philosophical concepts are of fundamental importance for modern science, although it must not be overlooked that even within the framework of a modernized transcendental philosophy, several unsolved problems remain or are raised. For example, the irredeemability of the universal validity and necessary claims of the a priori, the problem of a clear demarcation between the phenomenal and noumenal world. Moreover, the “beautiful structure” or the Kantian system, which constituted its persuasive power, is lost. (shrink)
This paper explores the reception of Kant's understanding of consciousness by both Romantics and Idealists from 1785 to 1799, and traces its impact on the theory of religion. I first look at Kant's understanding of consciousness as developed in the first Critique, and then looks at how figures such as Fichte, Jacobi, Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schleiermacher received this theory of consciousness and its implications for their understanding of religion.
Kevin Hill presents a highly original study of Nietzsche's thought, the first book to examine in detail his debt to the work of Kant. Hill argues that Nietzsche is a systematic philosopher who knew Kant far better than is commonly thought, and that he can only be properly understood in relation to him. Nietzsche's Critiques will be of great value to scholars and students with interests in either of these philosophical giants, or in the history of ideas generally.
Die Debatte um die Differenz von „Verantwortung“ und „Pflicht“ ist kein bloßer Streit um Wörter, geht es doch um Begriffe, für die der Anspruch erhoben wird, sie seien konstitutiv für moralische Normativität oder gar für Normativität per se. Doch welchen Unterschied macht es, die besondere Bindungskraft von Normativität über Verantwortung oder über Pflicht zu explizieren? Die Genealogie der philosophischen Reflexionen auf Verantwortung lokalisiert die Differenz zwischen Pflicht und Verantwortung in den jeweiligen Selbstverhältnissen, die mit diesen Begriffen verbunden werden. Die Analyse (...) der Struktur dieser Selbstverhältnisse erklärt sowohl, warum Verantwortung häufig als moderner Ersatzbegriff für Pflicht gedacht wird, als auch, welchen Unterschied die Explikation der Bindungskraft von Normativität über Verantwortung oder Pflicht macht: Je nachdem, mit welchem Begriff normative Kraft erläutert wird, wandert das entsprechende Selbstverhältnis in die Verfasstheit von Normativität ein. (shrink)
The topic of the sublime is making a return to contemporary discourse on aesthetics and cognition. In Sublime Understanding, Kirk Pillow makes sublimity the center of an alternative conception of aesthetic response and interpretation. He draws an aesthetics of sublimity from Kant's Critique of Judgment, bolsters it with help from Hegel, and establishes its place in a broadened conception of human understanding. He argues that sublime reflection provides a model for an interpretive response to the uncanny Other outside our conceptual (...) grasp; it advances our sense-making pursuits but eschews unified, conceptual determination. Thus "sublime understanding" is the always partial, indeterminate grasping of contextual wholes through which we make sense of the uncanny particular in both art and the lived world.The book is divided into three parts. In the first two parts, Pillow presents insightful reinterpretations of Kant's and Hegel's aesthetics. In the third part he develops his own model of an aestheticized understanding, which illuminates contemporary discussions of metaphor and interpretation, while bridging Anglo-American and continental treatments of these issues. The presentation is a model of clear and well-crafted exposition, exemplifying the practice of aesthetically reflective sublime understanding that it articulates. (shrink)
German theologian F. D. E. Schleiermacher's doctrine of God-the first to be developed in the post-Kantian era-fundamentally changed the course of Christian theology. The degree to which his doctrine of God was influenced by the philosophy of Benedict de Spinoza remains in dispute, however. This study examines the ways in which Schleiermacher actively adopted elements of Spinoza's thought in the development of his own theological doctrine of God. Julia Lamm's analysis of little-known but seminal essays by Schleiermacher reveals his young (...) creative genius in daring to go beyond the neo-Spinozism of Herder and the post-Kantianism of Fichte by developing his own post-Kantian Spinozism. Schleiermacher's unique simultaneous appropriation of Kant and Spinoza is characterized by four themes: an organic monism, an ethical determinism, a critical realism, and a nonanthropomorphic view of God, which Lamm traces through his two major theological works, On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers and The Christian Faith. Ultimately, Lamm finds that Schleiermacher departs from Spinoza in significant ways. Most notably, he talks about "the living God" who is best expressed through the divine attributes of love and wisdom. This living God is what Schleiermacher refers to as the "third alternative" to, on the one hand, the anthropomorphized God of orthodox Protestantism and, on the other hand, Spinoza's natura naturans. (shrink)
NOTHING APPEARS LESS PROBLEMATIC than self-consciousness. Without it, no inquiry seems possible, for how can one seek knowledge unless one is aware of undertaking that quest? Moreover, consciousness of anything other than the self is always plagued with knowing something whose existence cannot lie in the consciousness of it. As Descartes observed, whenever one represents an object different from one’s consciousness, it is always doubtful whether that object exists or corresponds with its representation. By contrast, insofar as consciousness of one’s (...) self-consciousness is the very being of self-consciousness, the gap between object and representation here seems uniquely absent. Not only is my representation of myself as self-conscious constitutive of my being self-conscious, but nothing prevents that representation from corresponding to what it is about. (shrink)
Despite the rapid growth of interest in Hegel among English-speaking philosophers, surprisingly little has been directed at Hegel's relationship toward Kant. This collection of essays by eleven eminent philosophers meets this deficiency by critically examining Hegel's attitude to Kant over a wide range of issues: the nature of space and time; the possibility of metaphysics, categories, and things-in-themselves; dialectic and the self; moral and political philosophy; aesthetics; the philosophy of history, and teleology. All the essays provide channels to a fuller (...) understanding of the forks of theoretical deviation between Hegel and Kant. (shrink)
Last year, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” celebrated the 25 th anniversary. This article confines to this very special event and analyzes three important anthropological studies that deal with moral components of human being. The research directions have been formed at the Department since its establishment in 1992. The first part of the article focuses mainly on the Kantian studies. According to Kant’s anthropology, human nature should be explored on two levels: empirical and intelligible. Empirical (...) level deals with general causality and considers the human being as the one entirely determined by nature. The second level considers the man from the perspective of freedom, moral activity, capacity to create aims and legislation. The research primarily gives a general scale of Kantian intelligible anthropology, which appears as a two-dimensional framework and consists of moral anthropological perspective and the one which Kant calls anthroponymy. Only the combination of these two aspects can allow us to comprehend the human nature as a whole. The second section of this article will shed a light on the Nietzschean anthropological theory. The paper elucidates three basic dimensions of Nietzschean critical anthropology. First of all, of the author comments on Nietzsche’s critique of Christian morality. Next, he articulates the Nietzschean idea of self-overcoming. Finally, the author identifies the main features of his genealogy of morality. All those components bound together can provide a wide horizon of Nietzschean opinion on the ethical dimension of human being. The last part of this article considers modern techno-anthropology in a broad sense. The problem of human and technology relation is considered in an ethical dimension, which unites all the three research directions. In this section, the author discusses the main components of technological mediation and non-neutrality. Using these two concepts, he proves that human nature is not an autonomous and independent actor but the one that is deeply connected with the world and others through technology. (shrink)
Interpreters are less univocal than one might think in assessing Søren Kierkegaard's attitude toward eudaimonism. Through an analysis of several key texts from across Kierkegaard's authorship, I argue that existing interpretations do not convincingly address the relationship between Kierkegaard's critique of eudaimonism and his mid-nineteenth-century context, which was dominated by post-Kantian idealists. While I am sympathetic to aspects of deontological and aretaic interpretations, a contextual reading shows that his critique centers on what he diagnoses as the enclosure of the modern (...) self. This puts his critique of eudaimonism in the purview of his moral psychology and in continuity with his critique of romanticism. (shrink)