Versucht man die philosophische Entwicklung von Hermann Cohen zu überblicken, so sticht ins Auge, dass er genuin rationalistischen Überzeugungen immer näher rückt. Welche Bedeutung dabei der Philosophie von Leibniz für die Entwicklung einer rein idealistischen Urteilslogik zukommt, ist bekannt. Ich denke aber darüber hinausgehend, dass Cohens Ansatz im Verlauf der Jahre ganz zentralen erkenntnistheoretischen Grundintuitionen des klassischen Rationalismus immer näher kommt.
This article discusses the question whether or not Cassirer’s philosophical critique of technological use of myth in The Myth of the State implies a revision of his earlier conception and theory of myth as provided by The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. In the first part, Cassirer’s early theory of myth is compared with other approaches of his time. It is claimed that Cassirer’s early approach to myth has to be understood in terms of a transcendental philosophical approach. In consequence, myth (...) is conceived as a form of cultural consciousness which is constituted by specific symbolic processes. In the second part, the theoretical assumptions underlying Cassirer’s criticism of myth are discussed and compared with his earlier theory. It is argued that there is a strong conceptual and theoretical continuity between Cassirer’s early views on myth as a symbolic form and his later critique of technological use of myth. (shrink)
Relying on the assumption that Spinoza makes a double use of the principle of sufficient reason, Michael Della Rocca has defended a reconstruction of Spinoza’s approach as a metaphysical outlook according to which all particulars vanish in the only and one divine substance. This implies nothing less than a radical attempt to suggest a new and completely revisionary form of metaphysics. After a short discussion of Strawson’s distinction between revisionary and descriptive metaphysics and an exposition of the basic principles of (...) Della Rocca’s interpretation, I critically assess his attack of the use of intuitions in analytic philosophy. After discussing the extent to which the first book of Spinoza’s Ethics is appropriately described as a revisionary project, I conclude with an argument for the necessity of both descriptive and revisionary elements in metaphysics. (shrink)
The article reconstructs some of the basic decisions underlying Hermann Cohen′s theoretical philosophy by drawing a line to some claims of Winfrid Sellars′ and to one aspect of Robert Brandom′s philosophy. The first part is concerned with a comparison of the main theses of Cohen′s book Kants Theorie der Erfahrung and Sellars′ early essay entitled Some remarks on Kant′s Theory of Experience, both authors reading the Critique of Pure Reason as the discovery of a new, holistic concept of experience. The (...) second part discusses some of the parallels between Cohen′s and Sellars′ respective critique of the myth of the given, and it is shown how Cohen′s later critique of Kant can be understood against this background. In the third part I suggest interpreting Cohen′s logic along the lines of Robert Brandoms inferentialism. It is the declared intention of both philosophers to explain the origin of the content of epistemic claims without making use of any claim about mental representations. The article ends with a comparison of Cohen′s and Sellars′ visions of the systematic character of philosophy. It is argued that while both assume the compatibility of scientific realism with an irreducibly normative ethics, Cohen′s approach is more ambitious, insofar as it requests ethics to develop its own ethical theory of man, the task of which is to overcome the mythical presuppositions of our common sense views on morals. (shrink)
In ancient as well as in early modern theories of emotion, philosophy is often described as some kind of therapy. However, the assumption that philosophical reflection can influence our emotional life is only plausible, if the following requirements are met. First, one has to defend a realist account of self-knowledge. Second, one must allow for some kind of constructivism in regard to the description of one′s own experience. Finally, one has to maintain a strictly cognitivist conception of emotion. The article (...) discusses these three conditions and shows that, while the idea of a therapeutic influence of philosophical reflection is valid in principle, it is only of a restricted use. (shrink)
In this paper, we reconstruct the development of Spinoza’s theory of judgment against the backdrop of the development of his political views. In this context we also look at the difference between Descartes’ meta-act theory of judgment, which Spinoza criticises, and his own all-inclusive approach. By “meta-act theory” we understand the claim that content and judgment about the truth of the content are metaphysically really distinct mental items. By an “all-inclusive theory” we understand the claim that judgment and content constitute (...) only one mental act. We show further how the core intuitions of this all-inclusive theory are developed by Spinoza in an increasingly radical manner and how the practical implications of his all-inclusive theory come to the fore in the Theological-Political Treatise: given that content and act are not really distinct, it is metaphysically impossible that human subjects can give up their ability to judge, which is why Spinoza can plausibly contend that everybody has an inalienable right to form their own judgment. (shrink)
This chapter suggests a new interpretation of Spinoza’s concept of mind claiming that the goal of the equation of the human mind with the idea of the body is not to solve the mind-body problem, but rather to show how we can, within the framework of Spinoza’s rationalism, conceive of finite minds as irreducibly distinguishable individuals. To support this view, the chapter discusses the passage from E2p11 to E2p13 against the background of three preliminaries, i.e. the notion of a union (...) between mind and body as it appears in Thomas Aquinas’ refutation of Averroism, Spinoza’s views on knowledge of actually existing things in E2p8c, and the phenomenological character of E2a2-4. It argues that while this view on the human mind does not undermine radical rationalism, it does require its amendment by some irreducibly empirical concessions. (shrink)