Peirce remarks on several occasions in the 1790s on affinities between his evolutionary metaphysics and Schelling's Idealism, behind which, he avers, lies ‘the monstrous mysticism of the East’. What are these affinities? Why are they affinities with Schelling rather than with Hegel? And what is the mysticism in question? I argue that Schelling, like Peirce but unlike Hegel, is committed to evolution, not only across species boundaries, but also across the boundary between the inorganic and the organic. Moreover, Schelling, like (...) Peirce but unlike Hegel, embeds this account of evolution in an account of the evolution of God through love. The monstrous mysticism of the East, I argue, is Lurianic kabbalah, to which Schelling is demonstrably indebted, and which is committed to an evolutionary theism on which is based, if not an account of natural evolution, an account of reincarnation as a mechanism by which life-forms progress from inorganic to organic bodies as they develop their consciousness. Publicized by.. (shrink)
[Sebastian Gardner] German idealism has been pictured as an unwarranted deviation from the central epistemological orientation of modern philosophy, and its close historical association with German romanticism is adduced in support of this verdict. This paper proposes an interpretation of German idealism which seeks to grant key importance to its connection with romanticism without thereby undermining its philosophical rationality. I suggest that the fundamental motivation of German idealism is axiological, and that its augment of Kant's idealism is intelligible in terms (...) of its combined aim of consolidating the transcendental turn and legitimating the kind of relation to value articulated in German romanticism. /// [Paul Franks] German idealists regard Spinozism as both the realism that outflanks Kant's idealism and the source of the conception of systematicity with which to fortify idealism. But they offer little argument for this view. To fill the gap, I reconstruct arguments that could underlie Jacobi's and Pistorius's tentative but influential suggestions that Kant is or should be a Spinozist. Kant is indeed a monist about phenomena, but, unlike Spinoza, a pluralist about noumena. Nevertheless, it is arguable that the Third Antinomy can be solved by a more thoroughgoing Spinozistic monism. The resulting Spinozism outflanks Kant by acknowledging Jacobi's charge that philosophy annihilates immediacy and individuality, whereas Kant's commitment to things in themselves can seem a half-hearted attempt to avoid the charge. However, the German idealist contention is that only a synthesis of such a Spinozism with Kantian idealism can retrieve immediacy and individuality, thus overcoming nihilism. (shrink)
Why are Kant and Hegel so notoriously hard to understand? It has hitherto gone unnoticed that Kant and Hegel account for philosophy's necessary obscurity by recasting what they think is an ancient tradition of philosophical esotericism. Reconstructing these accounts generates new interpretations of Kant's deduction of freedom and Hegel's deduction of the concept of science . Both deductions aim to make philosophy universally accessible. Each raises, but fails to settle, the question of philosophy's exclusions. ;Following a procedure of Cavell's, I (...) offer a thematics of esotericism, permitting a wide variety of esotericisms. Recent discussion knows only one: elitist obfuscation. I trace several eighteenth century controversies, showing that elitist obfuscation was rejected by Kant and others, but that other esotericisms remained available. I argue against the interpretation of Kant as a secret obfuscatory elitist. ;I then characterize the shift in Kant's thinking leading to his deduction of freedom and his account of esotericism. Building upon work by Allison and Henrich, I interpret the fact of reason as a practical deduction, consisting in an actualization of the capacity for freedom. The first-personal character of the deduction underlies Kant's explicit recasting of esotericism in his response to Schlosser's Seventh Letter esotericism . Kant's metaphysics of morals is esoteric because it is accessible only through the fact of reason: the first-personal actualization of the capacity for freedom shared by all human beings. Kant locates philosophy's "true secret", which Plato grasped only obscurely, in this esoteric, yet universally accessible, practical metaphysics. ;Finally, I interpret Hegel's Phenomenology as a practical deduction whose first-personal character is expressed by the Hegelian "we". This avoids the circularity problem facing interpretations based upon Kant's theoretical deduction of the categories, and enables the reconstruction of Hegel's account of the esotericism of determinate negation. I argue that Fichte's and Schelling's accounts of esotericism endanger Kant's commitment to universal accessibility and that Hegel seeks to preserve Kant's commitment without abandoning their insights. However, neither Kant nor Hegel accounts sufficiently for the resistance their work encounters. (shrink)
The first part of this book provides the best short overview of the German Enlightenment available in English. Although, as the author says, she “sheds no new light on the German Enlightenment but follows current views”, those views are largely unavailable in English. With admirable lucidity, Roehr covers topics such as the nature of enlightenment, theology, Freemasonry, responses to the French revolution, and moral philosophy.
Two essential Kantian insights are the significance for rationality of the capacity for criticism and the limits of cognition, discovered when criticism is pursued methodically, that are due to the perspectival character of the human standpoint. After a period of disparagement, these Kantian insights have been sympathetically construed and are now discussed within contemporary analytic philosophy. However, if Kant’s assumption of a single, immutable, human framework is jettisoned, then the rationality of historical succession is called into question. Moreover, if the (...) revolutionary character of framework transitions is acknowledged, then reason is historicized and even its character as reason is threatened. I argue that Menachem Fisch’s approach to criticism and rationality offers an escape from this post-Kantian predicament that acknowledges revolutionary framework transitions and that draws upon the dialogical traditions of Jewish thought, and I also argue that Fisch’s approach should be seen as thematizing, to use the terms of Kant’s aesthetics and of Fichte’s account of natural right, the reflecting rather than determining status of critical judgement, which involves second-personal address. (shrink)
O, who hath done this deed?nobody; I myself."Yea, I am the atheist and the godless one, who, against the will that wills nothing, will tell lies, just as Desdemona did when she lay dying.” 1 There is a distinctively Nietzschean ring to this sentence, which is taken from Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi’s open letter to Fichte in 1799, the text in which the term “nihilism” seems to have been used in a philosophically significant way for the first time. There is, in (...) particular, an unmistakable resonance between the sentence quoted from Jacobi and the thought that begins and ends the Third Essay of GM: the thought that “man … prefers to will nothingness than not will” (GM III:1; KSA 5:339) 2 along with the idea that our .. (shrink)