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Michael Oberst
Humboldt-University, Berlin (PhD)
  1.  62
    The Transcendental Object, Experience, and the Thing in Itself.Michael Oberst - manuscript
    Kant’s doctrine of the “transcendental object” has always puzzled interpreters. On the one hand, he says that the transcendental object is the object to which we relate our representations. On the other hand, he declares the transcendental object to be unknowable and identifies it with the thing in itself. I argue that this poses a problem that Kant only in the B edition of the Critique solves in a satisfactory manner. According to this solution, we ascribe sensible predicates to things (...)
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  2.  60
    Kant on Essence and Nature.Michael Oberst - manuscript
    This paper investigates Kant’s account of “real essence” and of a thing’s “nature”. Notwithstanding their wide negligence in the literature, these concepts belong to the central ones of Kant’s metaphysics. I argue that, on the one hand, Kant is in continuity with the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition of essence. But, on the other hand, he also follows Locke in distinguishing between “logical” and “real” essence. Contrary to recent attempts of aligning real essence with contemporary approaches to essence, I will defend the thesis (...)
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  3.  41
    Kant’s Account of Real Possibility and the German Philosophical Tradition.Michael Oberst - manuscript
    Kant’s postulate of possibility states that possible is whatever agrees with the formal conditions of experience. As has often been noted, this is a definition of real possibility. However, little attention has been paid to the relation of Kantian real possibility to the German philosophical tradition before him. I discuss three kinds of possibility present in this tradition – internal, external, and (Crusian) real possibility – and argue that Kant endorses internal and external possibility. Furthermore, I show, specifically with respect (...)
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  4.  36
    God, Powers, and Possibility in Kant’s Beweisgrund.Michael Oberst - manuscript
    This paper proposes a novel reading of Kant’s account of the dependence of possibility on God in the pre-Critical Beweisgrund. I argue that Kant has a broadly Aristotelian conception of possibility, according to which grounds of possibility are potential grounds of actuality. Since Kant also thinks that the order of the world requires an intelligent being as its originator, he holds that God grounds possibility by his understanding and will. Furthermore, I explore the significance of the distinction between internal and (...)
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  5.  9
    The Possibility Proof is Not What Remains From Kant's Beweisgrund.Michael Oberst - 2020 - Kantian Review 25 (2):219-242.
    The so-called ‘possibility proof’ in Kant's pre-Critical Beweisgrund has been widely discussed in the literature, and it is a common view that he never really abandoned it. As I shall argue, this reading is mistaken. I aim to show that the natural illusion in the Critique of Pure Reason, which is usually taken to be the possibility proof turned into a transcendental illusion, has both a different conclusion and a different argument than the possibility proof. Rather, what remains from Beweisgrund (...)
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  6.  18
    Kant on Contradiction, Conceptual Content, and the Ens Realissimum.Michael Oberst - 2018 - Kant Yearbook 10 (1):85-103.
    Kant assents to Leibniz’s claim that purely positive concepts cannot contradict each other. Albeit counter-intuitive, this claim is well-grounded in Kant’s views on contradiction and conceptual content. First, according to Kant, a contradiction only occurs if a predicate is affirmed and negated; second, all concepts except of those that pertain to God covertly contain negative marks. Although I shall argue that Kant’s account fails, it is still interesting in that it tackles an overlooked problem, namely how implicit contradictions are possible.
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  7. Two Worlds and Two Aspects: On Kant’s Distinction Between Things in Themselves and Appearances.Michael Oberst - 2015 - Kantian Review 20 (1):53-75.
    In the interpretation of Kant’s transcendental idealism, a textual stalemate between two camps has evolved: two-world interpretations regard things in themselves and appearances as two numerically distinct entities, whereas two-aspect interpretations take this distinction as one between two aspects of the same thing. I try to develop an account which can overcome this dispute. On the one hand, things in themselves are numerically distinct from appearances, but on the other hand, things in themselves can be regarded as they exist in (...)
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  8.  4
    Kant on Universals.Michael Oberst - 2015 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 32 (4):335-352.
    Considering the large extent to which Kant deals with other metaphysical topics such as substances, causes, forces, and the like, he says surprisingly little about universals. By "universals," I am referring to the contemporary conception of universals, according to which...
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  9.  41
    Kant and Crusius on Causal Chains.Michael Oberst - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (1):107-128.
    There are two rival models on how to interpret causal chains in Kant. Traditional event-event models take it that events are causes of events, which are in turn causes of other events. Watkins’s causal powers interpretation, on the contrary, has it that substances have unchangeable grounds, and the series of events is only a series within the effect. By comparing Kant to Crusius, I argue that, to some extent, both approaches can be combined. For the powers of substances are made (...)
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  10.  22
    Lucy Allais, Manifest Reality: Kant’s Idealism and His Realism Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015 Pp. Xi + 320 ISBN 9780198747130. [REVIEW]Michael Oberst - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (1):157-161.
  11. Three Objections Against Phenomenalist Interpretations of Kant Defeated.Michael Oberst - 2018 - Studi Kantiani 31:119-136.
    Many passages in Kant’s texts suggest that he is a phenomenalist about appearances, i.e., that appearances are only part of our mental content and do not exist outside our mind. In recent years, however, phenomenalist readings of Kant’s idealism have been of ill repute. Without wanting to make a positive case for phenomenalism, this paper attempts to rebut three particularly popular objections to any phenomenalist reading. In slogan form, they are 1) «There is only prima facie evidence», 2) «Kant is (...)
     
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  12.  22
    Kant, Epistemic Phenomenalism, and the Refutation of Idealism.Michael Oberst - 2018 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 100 (2):172-201.
    This paper takes issue with the widespread view that Kant rejects epistemic phenomenalism. According to epistemic phenomenalism, only cognition of states of one’s own mind can be certain, while cognition of outer objects is necessarily uncertain. I argue that Kant does not reject this view, but accepts a modified version of it. For, in contrast to traditional skeptics, he distinguishes between two kinds of outer objects and holds that we have direct access to outer appearances in our mind; but he (...)
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  13.  19
    Kant über Substanzen in der Erscheinung.Michael Oberst - 2017 - Kant-Studien 108 (1):1-18.
    There is a disagreement in Kant scholarship concerning the question whether phenomenal substance contains a substantial that is the first subject of all accidents and relations. I would like to argue in this paper that the disagreement stems from the overlooking of a development of Kant’s views. Having abandoned his Physical Monadology, Kant first rejected the substantiality of matter because of its infinite divisibility. But in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science his view is that matter is substance and at (...)
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  14. Analytische Erkenntnis der Dinge an sich: das Beispiel der einfachen Teile.Michael Oberst - 2019 - In Margit Ruffing und David Wagner Violetta L. Waibel (ed.), Natur und Freiheit: Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. Berlin, Deutschland: pp. 1331-1339.
    Dinge an sich sind unerkennbar. So lernen wir es in den Proseminaren; und dieser Eindruck ist auch beinahe unvermeidbar,wenn man die Kritik der reinen Vernunft zum ersten Mal liest. Doch bei einem genaueren Blick drängen sich Zweifel auf: Sind Dinge an sich wirklich absolut unerkennbar? Denn Kant macht darüber hinaus auch Aussagen über Eigenschaften von Dingen an sich, die ihnen...
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  15. Analytische Erkenntnis der Dinge an sich – das Beispiel der einfachen Teile.Michael Oberst - 2018 - In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur Und Freiheit. Akten des Xii. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. De Gruyter. pp. 1331-1340.
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  16.  30
    Kants formaler Idealismus: eine phänomenalistische Interpretation.Michael Oberst - 2013 - Dissertation, Humboldt-University, Berlin
    This publication defends a phenomenalist interpretation of Kant’s idealism, which, however, deviates from usual phenomenalist interpretations in several respects. According to my reading, appearances are the content of representations, but not the true object of cognition. The object to which our cognition refers is rather the thing itself as the transcendental object. Nonetheless, we only cognize them as they appear and not as they are in themselves. Thus the unknowability of things as they are in themselves is retained. In the (...)
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