The aim of this article is twofold. First, it is argued that while the principle of ‘ought implies can’ is certainly plausible in some form, it is tempting to misconstrue it, and that this has happened in the way it has been taken up in some of the current literature. Second, Kant's understanding of the principle is considered. Here it is argued that these problematic conceptions put the principle to work in a way that Kant does not, so that there (...) is an important divergence here which can easily be overlooked. (shrink)
Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather how we can justify our beliefs.
In many histories of modern ethics, Kant is supposed to have ushered in an anti-realist or constructivist turn by holding that unless we ourselves 'author' or lay down moral norms and values for ourselves, our autonomy as agents will be threatened. In this book, Robert Stern challenges the cogency of this 'argument from autonomy', and claims that Kant never subscribed to it. Rather, it is not value realism but the apparent obligatoriness of morality that really poses a challenge to our (...) autonomy: how can this be accounted for without taking away our freedom? The debate the book focuses on therefore concerns whether this obligatoriness should be located in ourselves, in others or in God. Stern traces the historical dialectic that drove the development of these respective theories, and clearly and sympathetically considers their merits and disadvantages; he concludes by arguing that the choice between them remains open. (shrink)
Fourteen new essays by a distinguished team of authors offer a broad and stimulating re-examination of transcendental arguments. This is the philosophical method of arguing that what is doubted or denied by the opponent must be the case, as a condition for the possibility of experience, language, or thought.The line-up of contributors features leading figures in the field from both sides of the Atlantic; they discuss the nature of transcendental arguments, and consider their role and value. In particular, they consider (...) how successful such arguments are as a response to sceptical problems. The editor's introduction provides historical context and philosophical orientation for the discussions. This is the first major appraisal of transcendental arguments since the 1970s; they have continued to play a significant role in philosophy, and recent developments in epistemology and metaphysics have raised new questions and challenges for them. Transcendental Arguments will be essential reading for anyone interested in this area of philosophy, and the starting-point for future work. (shrink)
[INTRODUCTION] Like the terms 'dialectic', 'Aufhebung' (or 'sublation'), and 'Geist', the term 'concrete universal' has a distinctively Hegelian ring to it. But unlike these others, it is particularly associated with the British strand in Hegel's reception history, as having been brought to prominence by some of the central British Idealists. It is therefore perhaps inevitable that, as their star has waned, so too has any use of the term, while an appreciation of the problematic that lay behind it has seemingly (...) vanished: if the British Idealists get any sort of mention in a contemporary metaphysics book (which is rarely), it will be Bradley's view of relations or truth that is discussed, not their theory of universals, so that the term has a rather antique air, buried in the dusty volumes of Mind from the turn of the nineteenth century. This is not surprising: the episode known as British Idealism can appear to be a period that is lost to us, in its language, points of historical reference (Lotze, Sigwart, Jevons), and central preoccupations (the Absolute). Even while interest in Hegel continues to grow, interest in his Logic has grown more slowly than in the rest of his work, with Book III of the Logic remaining as the daunting peak of that challenging text - while it is here that the British Idealists focussed their attention and claimed to have uncovered that 'exotic' but 'vanished specimen', the concrete universal. Finally, as the trend of reading Hegel pushes ever further in a non-metaphysical direction, it might be thought that the future of the concrete universal is hardly likely to be brighter than its recent past - for it may seem hard to imagine how a conception championed by the British Idealists, who were apparently shameless in their metaphysical commitments, can find favour in these more austere and responsible times. In this paper, however, I want to make a case for holding that there is something enlightening to be found in how some of the British Idealists approached the 'concrete universal', both interpretatively and philosophically. At the interpretative level, I will argue that while not everything these Idealists are taken to mean by the term is properly to be found in Hegel, their work nonetheless relates to a crucial and genuine strand in Hegel's position, so that their discussion of this issue is an important moment in the reception history of his thought. At a philosophical level, I think that the question that concerned Hegel and these British Idealists retains much of its interest, as does their shared approach to it: namely, how far does our thought involve a mere abstraction from reality, and what are the metaphysical and epistemological implications if it turns out it does not? As such, I will suggest, taking seriously what these British Idealists have to say about the concrete universal can help us both in our understanding of Hegel, and in our appreciation of the contribution Hegel's position can make to our thinking on the issues that surround this topic. (shrink)
A modest transcendental argument is one that sets out merely to establish how things need to appear to us or how we need to believe them to be, rather than how things are. Stroud's claim to have established that all transcendental arguments must be modest in this way is criticised and rejected. However, a different case for why we should abandon ambitious transcendental arguments is presented: namely, that when it comes to establishing claims about how things are, there is no (...) reason to prefer transcendental arguments to arguments that rely on the evidence of the senses, making the former redundant in a way that modest transcendental arguments, which have a different kind of sceptical target, are not. (shrink)
This volume presents a selection of Robert Stern's work on the theme of Kantian ethics. It begins by focusing on the relation between Kant's account of obligation and his view of autonomy, arguing that this leaves room for Kant to be a realist about value. Stern then considers where this places Kant in relation to the question of moral scepticism, and in relation to the principle of 'ought implies can', and examines this principle in its own right. The papers then (...) move beyond Kant himself to his wider influence and to critics of his work, and the volume concludes with a consideration of a broadly Kantian critique of divine command ethics offered by Stephen Darwall. General themes considered in this volume include value, perfectionism, agency, autonomy, moral motivation, moral scepticism, and obligation, as well as the historical place of Kant's ethics and its influence on thinkers up to the present day. (shrink)
In this article, I want to argue that scepticism for Kant must be seen in ancient and not just modern terms, and that if we take this into account we will need to take a different view of Kant's response to Hume from the one that is standardly presented in the literature. This standard view has been put forward recently by Paul Guyer, and it is therefore his view that I want to look at in some detail, and to try (...) to correct. (shrink)
This paper considers the prospects for the current revival of interest in Hegel, and the direction it might take. Looking back to Richard J. Bernstein's paper from 1977, on ‘Why Hegel Now?’, it contrasts his optimistic assessment of a rapprochement between Hegel and analytic philosophy with Sebastian Gardner's more pessimistic view, where Gardner argues that Hegel's idealist account of value makes any such rapprochement impossible. The paper explores Hegel's account of value further, arguing for a middle way between these extremes (...) of optimism and pessimism, proposing an Aristotelian reading which is more metaphysical than Bernstein recognizes, but not as at odds with thinking in current analytic philosophy as Gardner suggests, as it finds a counterpart in the work of Philippa Foot, Michael Thompson, Rosalind Hursthouse and others. (shrink)
_The Phenomenology of Spirit_ is Hegel's most important and famous work. It is essential to understanding Hegel's philosophical system and why he remains a major figure in Western Philosophy. This _GuideBook_ introduces and assesses: * Hegel's life and the background to the _Phenomenology of Spirit_ * the ideas and the text of the _Phenomenology of Spirit_ * the continuing importance of Hegel's work to philosophy.
This paper draws out from Kierkegaard’s work a distinctive critical perspective on an influential contemporary approach in moral philosophy: namely, Christine Korsgaard’s transcendental argument for the value of humanity. From Kierkegaard’s perspective, we argue, Korsgaard argument goes too far, in attributing absolute value to humanity – but also that she is required to make this claim if her transcendental argument is to work. From a Kierkegaardian perspective, to place this sort of value in humanity is problematic since it threatens to (...) make the relation between individuals too claustrophobic. Finally, we explore the possibility of a rival approach, in which we should view others as ethically significant because they too are related to the kind of ‘third’ which Kierkegaard argues is needed to bring stability to the structure of the self. In this way, we claim, a different and more successful transcendental argument to the value of humanity can be found in the work of Kierkegaard. (shrink)
This paper examines college athletes’ perceived support for concussion reporting from coaches and teammates and its variation by year-in-school, finding significant differences in perceived coach support. It also examines the effects of perceived coach support on concussion reporting behaviors, finding that greater perceived coach support is associated with fewer undiagnosed concussions and returning to play while symptomatic less frequently in the two weeks preceding the survey. Coaches play a critical role in athlete concussion reporting.
One argument put forward by Christine Korsgaard in favour of her constructivist appeal to the nature of agency, is that it does better than moral realism in answering moral scepticism. However, realists have replied by pressing on her the worry raised by H. A. Prichard, that any attempt to answer the moral sceptic only succeeds in basing moral actions in non-moral ends, and so is self-defeating. I spell out these issues in more detail, and suggest that both sides can learn (...) something by seeing how the sceptical problematic arises in Kant. Doing so, I argue, shows how Korsgaard might raise the issue of scepticism against the realist whilst avoiding the Prichardian response.1. (shrink)
Philosophers working within the pragmatist tradition have pictured their relation to Kant and Kantianism in very diverse terms: some have presented their work as an appropriation and development of Kantian ideas, some have argued that pragmatism is an approach in complete opposition to Kant. This collection investigates the relationship between pragmatism, Kant, and current Kantian approaches to transcendental arguments in a detailed and original way. Chapters highlight pragmatist aspects of Kant’s thought and trace the influence of Kant on the work (...) of pragmatists and neo-pragmatists, engaging with the work of Peirce, James, Lewis, Sellars, Rorty, and Brandom, among others. They also consider to what extent contemporary approaches to transcendental arguments are compatible with a pragmatist standpoint. The book includes contributions from renowned authors working on Kant, pragmatism and contemporary Kantian approaches to philosophy, and provides an authoritative and original perspective on the relationship between pragmatism and Kantianism. (shrink)
This is an introduction to a special issue of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, on the relation between idealism and pragmatism. It sets out the way in which the two traditions can be related, and then outlines the papers contained in the special issue.
In this paper, which is the second in a series, I continue to consider the relation between the American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce and the German idealist G. W. F. Hegel. This article focuses on their views of epistemology and inquiry, and their accounts of the relation between language and thought. As with the earlier paper, it is argued that fruitful similarities between their positions on these issues can be found.
The Kant-Hegel relation has a continuing fascination for commentators on Hegel, and understandably so: for, taking this route into the Hegelian jungle can promise many advantages. First, it can set Hegel’s thought against a background with which we are fairly familiar, and in a way that makes its relevance clearly apparent; second, it can help us locate Hegel in the broader philosophical tradition, making us see that the traditional ‘analytic’ jump from Kant to Frege leaves out a crucial period in (...) post-Kantian thought; third, it can show Hegel in a progressive light, as attempting to take that tradition further forward; fourth, it can help us locate familiar philosophical issues in Hegelian thought that otherwise can appear wholly sui generis; and finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, focusing on this relation can help raise and crystalise some of the fascinating ambiguities concerning Hegel’s outlook, regarding whether Hegel’s response to Kant shows him to have been a reactionary, Romantic, pre-critical thinker, who sought to turn the philosophical clock back to a time before Kant had written, or a modernist, Enlightened and essentially critical one, who remained true to the spirit if not the letter of Kant’s philosophy. (shrink)
This article considers Christine Korsgaard's argument for the value of humanity, and the role that her transcendental argument plays in this, to the effect that an agent must value her own humanity. Two forms of that argument are considered, and the second is defended. The analysis of her position is also put in the context of debates about transcendental arguments more generally.
This review article is a discussion of Charles Larmore's book The Autonomy of Morality. After presenting an outline of Larmore's position, it focuses on three critical issues: whether Larmore is right to see Kant as an anti-realist; whether he deals adequately with the threat to autonomy posed by the apparent obligatoriness of morality; and whether he establishes that the constructivist idea of practical reason as self-legislating must really be as unconstrained and empty as he suggests.
My aim in this paper is to consider a particular line of criticism that has been used by constructivists to argue against moral realism, which is to claim that if moral realism were true, this would then threaten or undermine our autonomy as agents. I call this the argument from autonomy. I argue that the best way to understand the argument from autonomy is to relate it to the issue of obligatoriness; but that there are a variety of strategies to (...) be explored concerning obligation before it is clear that the right response to this issue is a constructivist one, or that the realist is hereby compelled to surrender their position. (shrink)
This article puts forward a revisionary reading of Hegel's reception in Britain at the turn of the nineteenth century, in suggesting that the stance of the British Hegelians is very close to the sort of non-metaphysical or category theory interpretations that have been in vogue amongst contemporary commentators. It is shown that the British Hegelians arrived at this position as a way of responding to the hostile existentialist reaction to Hegel begun by Schelling in the 1840s, which led them to (...) abandon the standard Neoplatonic reading of his idealism, and arrive at the sort of non- metaphysical account which is most fully developed by J M E McTaggart in his interpretation of Hegel's Logic. (shrink)
Within much contemporary epistemology, Kant’s response to skepticism has come to be epitomized by an appeal to transcendental arguments. This form of argument is said to provide a distinctively Kantian way of dealing with the skeptic, by showing that what the skeptic questions is in fact a condition for her being able to raise that question in the first place, if she is to have language, thoughts, or experiences at all. In this way, it is hoped, the game played by (...) the skeptic can be turned against herself.1 At the same time, however, this appeal to transcendental arguments is also widely felt to show what is wrong with Kant’s response to skepticism: for, it is suggested, such arguments can only be made to work against the background of his transcendental idealism. As we shall see, what this doctrine amounts to is much disputed; but as with any form of idealism, the worry is that it means compromising the very realism and objectivity we want to defend against skepticism in the first place, so that the price for adopting this Kantian strategy appears too high—the cure of using transcendental arguments in conjunction with transcendental idealism is almost as bad as the disease.2 Faced with this difficulty, two kinds of response have been canvassed. On the first, it is accepted that transcendental arguments do require a commitment to the wider philosophical framework of transcendental idealism, but it is claimed that this framework can and should be defended against the suggestion that it is itself ‘‘quasi-skeptical.’’ On the second, transcendental idealism is indeed abandoned as wrongheaded, but it is held that Kant’s transcendental arguments can be made to.. (shrink)
This paper considers the relation between the American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce and the German idealist G. W. F. Hegel . While Peirce engaged with Hegel’s thought quite extensively, his often critical comments on the latter have made it hard to see any genuine common ground between the two; recent ways of reading Hegel, however, suggest how this might be possible, where the connections between their respective metaphysical positions and views of the categories are explored here. Issues relating to their (...) epistemology and philosophies of languages are considered in a companion article. (shrink)
This paper considers whether Hegel's master/slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit should be considered as a refutation of solipsism. It focuses on a recent and detailed attempt to argue for this sort of reading that has been proposed by Frederick Beiser ? but it argues that this reading is unconvincing, both in the historical motivations given for it in the work of Jacobi and Fichte, and as an interpretation of the text itself. An alternative reading of the dialectic is (...) proposed, where it is argued that the central problem Hegel is concerned with is not solipsism, but the sociality of freedom. (shrink)
: This paper offers a distinctive interpretation of Hegel's Doppelsatz from the Preface to the Philosophy of Right: 'What is rational is actual; and what is actual is rational'. This has usually been interpreted either conservatively (as claiming that everything that is, is right or good) or progressively (that if the world were actual, it would be right or good, but that there is a distinction that can be drawn between existence and actuality). My aim in this paper is to (...) argue against both interpretations, so that the position I offer is neutral between the two. My claim is that when Hegel identifies what is actual with what is rational in the Doppelsatz, his intention is not to offer a normative assessment of what is actual; rather, it is to suggest that genuine philosophy must be committed to reason in its methods of inquiry, if it is to properly undertake an investigation into the "spiritual universe" as well as the "natural" one. The Doppelsatz is thus a defence of philosophical rationalism, rather than a normative claim about "was ist wirklich". (shrink)
This paper focuses on one of C. S. Peirce's criticisms of G. W. F. Hegel: namely, that Hegel neglected to give sufficient weight to what Peirce calls "Secondness", in a way that put his philosophical system out of touch with reality. The nature of this criticism is explored, together with its relevant philosophical background. It is argued that while the issues Peirce raises go deep, in some respects Hegel's position is closer to his own than he may have realised, whilst (...) in others that criticism can be resisted by the Hegelian. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to criticize Thomas Baldwin's claim, that in developing an identity theory of truth, F H Bradley was following Hegel. It is argued that Baldwin has incorrectly understood certain passages from Hegel which he cites in defense of this view, and that Hegel's conception of truth was primarily material, not propositional.
This paper considers Stephen Darwall’s recent attempt to overturn Elizabeth Anscombe’s claim that moral obligation only really makes sense in terms of a divine command account, where he argues that in fact this account must give way to a more secularized and humanistic position if it is to avoid incoherence. It is suggested that Darwall’s attempt to establish this is flawed, and thus that his internal critique of divine command ethics fails.
The nature of Hegel’s idealism has been much disputed, and this chapter offers an account of it that is distinctive. Against recent commentators such as Robert Pippin, it is argued that Hegel was not a Kantian or transcendental idealist; it is also argued that Hegel was not a mentalistic idealist, offering a kind of ‘spirit monism’ that reduced the world to mind. It is argued instead that Hegel understood idealism to be the view that ‘the finite has no veritable being’, (...) where this leads to a position according to which thought cannot grasp what truly exists through experience but only through a kind of rationalist theorizing, and that this in turn requires us to accept a form of realism about concepts. It is therefore argued that this conceptual realism makes up the core of Hegel’s idealism, understood as the anti-nominalist doctrine that reality is structured by concepts that render it accessible to thought. (shrink)