Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Thierry de Duve argues in the first volume of Aesthetics at Large, is as relevant to the appreciation of art today as it was to the enjoyment of beautiful nature in 1790. Going against the grain of all aesthetic theories situated in the Hegelian tradition, this provocative thesis, which already guided de Duve’s groundbreaking book Kant After Duchamp (1996), is here pursued in order to demonstrate that far from confining aesthetics to a stifling formalism isolated from all worldly concerns, Kant’s guidance urgently opens the understanding of art onto ethics and politics.
Central to de Duve’s re-reading of the Critique of Judgment is Kant’s idea of sensus communis, ultimately interpreted as the mere yet necessary idea that human beings are capable of living in peace with one another. De Duve pushes Kant’s skepticism to its limits by submitting the idea of sensus communis to various tests leading to questions such as: Do artists speak on behalf of all of us? Is art the transcendental ground of democracy? Or, Was Adorno right when he claimed that no poetry could be written after Auschwitz?
Loaded with de Duve’s trademark blend of wit and erudition and written without jargon, these essays radically renew current approaches to some of the most burning issues raised by modern and contemporary art. They are indispensable reading for anyone with a deep interest in art, art history, or philosophical aesthetics.
In the fall semester of 1772/73 at the Albertus University of Königsberg, Immanuel Kant, metaphysician and professor of logic and metaphysics, began lectures on anthropology, which he continued until 1776, shortly before his retirement from public life. His lecture notes and papers were first published in 1798, eight years after the publication of the Critique of Judgment, the third of his famous Critiques. The present edition of the Anthropology is a translation of the text found in volume 7 of Kants gesammelte Schriften, edited by Oswald Külpe.
Kant describes the Anthropology as a systematic doctrine of the knowledge of humankind. (He does not yet distinguish between the academic discipline of anthropology as we understand it today and the philosophical.) Kant’s lectures stressed the "pragmatic" approach to the subject because he intended to establish pragmatic anthropology as a regular academic discipline. He differentiates the physiological knowledge of the human race—the investigation of "what Nature makes of man"—from the pragmatic—"what man as a free being makes of himself, what he can make of himself, and what he ought to make of himself." Kant believed that anthropology teaches the knowledge of humankind and makes us familiar with what is pragmatic, not speculative, in relation to humanity. He shows us as world citizens within the context of the cosmos.
Summarizing the cloth edition of the Anthropology, Library Journal concludes: "Kant’s allusions to such issues as sensation, imagination, judgment, (aesthetic) taste, emotion, passion, moral character, and the character of the human species in regard to the ideal of a cosmopolitan society make this work an important resource for English readers who seek to grasp the connections among Kant’s metaphysics of nature, metaphysics of morals, and political theory. The notes of the editor and translator, which incorporate material from Ernst Cassirer’s edition and from Kant’s marginalia in the original manuscript, shed considerable light on the text."
A nuanced extrapolation of Hannah Arendt’s theory of judgment through her highly provocative reading of Immanuel Kant
More than a half century after it was first published, Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism rose to the top of best-seller lists as readers grappled with the triumph of Trumpism. Arendt, Kant, and the Enigma of Judgment directs our attention to her later thought, the posthumously published and highly provocative Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Martin Blumenthal-Barby puts this work in dialogue with Arendt’s other writings, including her notes on Kant’s Critique of Judgment, to outline her own theory of judgment for the twentieth century. In an era of post-truths and artificial intelligence, the idea that authentic judgment—for example, the ability to distinguish right from wrong—is incommensurable with abstract, automated processes lies at the center of Arendt’s late work and at the fore of our collective reckoning.
Rather than presenting us with a fixed account, Blumenthal-Barby suggests, Arendt’s drawing and redrawing of conceptual distinctions is itself an enactment of judgment, a process that challenges and complicates what she says at every turn. In so doing, Arendt, in thoroughly Kantian fashion, establishes judgment as a performative category that can never be taught but only demonstrated. As sharp as it is timely, this incisive book reminds us why a shared reality matters in a time of intense political polarization and why the democratic project, vulnerable as it may appear today, crucially depends on it.
The term freedom appears in many contexts in Kant's work, ranging from the cosmological to the moral to the theological. Can the diverse meanings Kant gave to the term be ordered systematically? To ask that question is to test the consistency and coherence of Kant's thought in its entirety.
Widely praised when first published in France, The Coherence of Kant's Doctrine of Freedom articulates and interrelates the disparate senses of freedom in Kant's work. Bernard Carnois organizes all Kant's usages into a logical "grammar," isolating and defining the individual meanings and pointing out their implications and limits. In a first step, he shows how Kant's notion of intelligible character makes possible a synthesis of transcendental freedom, as a problematic concept of theoretical reason, and practical freedom, as a fact demonstrated by experience. He then develops the concept of freedom under the rubric of the will's autonomy in the context of the moral law. And finally, Carnois persistently explores the role of negativity in Kant's idea of freedom. For within the magisterial coherence of the system the imperfection of human finitude is inscribed. This introduces the "history" of our freedom—a freedom which posits itself, but then inevitably denies itself, even while preserving the possibility of its regeneration.
The only work in English to consider in detail all of Kant's writings on freedom, this book also introduces French Kant scholars whose works have often been unavailable to English-speaking readers. As both an interpretation of Kant and a trenchant analysis of the relationship between ethical commitments and metaphysical assumptions, it will be a useful addition to moral, religious, and political philosophy as well as to Kant scholarship.
The text draws on a wide range of Immanuel Kant's writings, including his texts on moral and political philosophy and his lectures on ethics, pedagogy, and anthropology. Though the book is grounded in an analysis of Kant's writing, it also puts forward the novel claim that Kant's theory is centrally concerned with the relationships we have in our day-to-day lives.
Kant’s philosophy is often treated as a closed system, without reference to how it was written or how Kant arrived at its familiar form, the critique. In fact, the style of the critique seems so artless that readers think of it as an unfortunate by-product—a style of stylelessness. In Constituting Critique, Willi Goetschel shows how this apparent gracelessness was deliberately achieved by Kant through a series of writing experiments. By providing an account of the process that culminated in his three Critiques, this book offers a new perspective on Kant’s philosophical thought and practice. Constituting Critique traces the stages in Kant’s development to reveal how he redefined philosophy as a critical task. Following the philosopher through the experiments of his early essays, Goetschel demonstrates how Kant tests, challenges, and transforms the philosophical essay in his pursuit of a new self-reflective literary genre. From these experiments, critique emerges as the philosophical form for the critical project of the Enlightenment. The imperatives of its transcendental style, Goetschel contends, not only constitute and inform the critical moment of Kant’s philosophical praxis, but also have an enduring place in post-Kantian philosophy and literature. By situating the Critiques within the context of Kant’s early essays, this work will redirect the attention of Kant scholars to the origins of their form. It will also encourage contemporary critical theorists to reconsider their own practice through an engagement with its source in Kant.
Commentators on the work of Immanuel Kant have long held that his later "critical" writings are a radical rejection of his earlier, less celebrated efforts. In this pathbreaking book, Susan Shell demonstrates not only the developmental unity of Kant's individual writings, but also the unity of his work and life experience.
Shell argues that the central animating issues of Kant's lifework concerned the perplexing relation of spirit to body. Through an exacting analysis of individual writings, Shell maps the philosophical contours of Kant's early intellectual struggles and their relation to his more mature thought. The paradox of mind in matter and the tensions it generates—between freedom and determinacy, independence and community, ideal and real—are shown to inform the whole of his work. Shell's fresh, penetrating analysis of the precritical works will surely catapult them to new prominence in Kant studies.
Shell's critique goes further to consider the context of contemporary intellectual life. She explores the fascinating realm of Kant's sexual and medical idiosyncracies, linking them to the primary concerns of his critical philosophy. She develops a sure-to-be controversial treatment of the connection between Kant's philosophy and his chronic hypochondria, and illuminates previously unforeseen connections in a remarkable convergence of life and thought, with important theoretical and practical implications for modern times.
As a political philosopher, Kant has until recently been
overshadowed by his compatriots Hegel and Marx. With his
strong defense of the rights of the person and his deep
insight into the strengths and weaknesses of modern society
Kant, possibly more than any other political thinker,
anticipated the problems of the late twentieth century.
Kant's political philosophy, wedded as it is to rights,
reform and gradual progress, is emerging from the shadows
cast by Hegelian and Marxist thinking about the state.
In this volume, thirteen distinguished contributors from the
United States, Canada, Britain, and Germany cast light on
important aspects of Kant's liberal thinking. Key topics
covered include Kant's liberal reformism, his relation with
Hegel, his attitude to women, the use of reason, revolution,
Kant's optimism and his moral and legal rigorism.
Howard Williams is a reader in political theory in the
Department of International Politics, University College of
Wales, Aberystwyth. His previous publications include Kant's Political Philosophy, Concepts of Ideology, and Hegel, Heraclitus, and Marx's Dialectic.
Kant’s The Critique of Judgment laid the groundwork of modern aesthetics when it appeared in 1790. Eli Friedlander’s reappraisal emphasizes the internal connection of judgment and meaning, showing how the pleasure in judging is intimately related to our capacity to draw meaning from our encounter with beauty.
In this masterful work, both an illumination of Kant's thought and an important contribution to contemporary legal and political theory, Arthur Ripstein gives a comprehensive yet accessible account of Kant's political philosophy. In addition to providing a clear and coherent statement of the most misunderstood of Kant's ideas, Ripstein also shows that Kant's views remain conceptually powerful and morally appealing today.
Immanuel Kant's claim that the categorical imperative of morality is based in practical reason has long been a source of puzzlement and doubt, even for sympathetic interpreters. In The Form of Practical Knowledge, Stephen Engstrom provides an illuminating new interpretation of the categorical imperative, arguing that we have exaggerated and misconceived Kant's break with tradition. By developing an account of practical knowledge that situates Kant's ethics within his broader epistemology, Engstrom’s work deepens and reshapes our understanding of Kantian ethics.
In Freedom and the End of Reason, Richard L. Velkley offers an influential interpretation of the central issue of Kant’s philosophy and an evaluation of its position within modern philosophy’s larger history. He persuasively argues that the whole of Kantianism—not merely the Second Critique—focuses on a “critique of practical reason” and is a response to a problem that Kant saw as intrinsic to reason itself: the teleological problem of its goodness. Reconstructing the influence of Rousseau on Kant’s thought, Velkley demonstrates that the relationship between speculative philosophy and practical philosophy in Kant is far more intimate than generally has been perceived. By stressing a Rousseau-inspired notion of reason as a provider of practical ends, he is able to offer an unusually complete account of Kant’s idea of moral culture.
In From Kant to Husserl, Charles Parsons examines a wide range of historical opinion on philosophical questions from mathematics to phenomenology. Amplifying his early ideas on Kant’s philosophy of arithmetic, the author then turns to reflections on Frege, Brentano, and Husserl.
In this philosophically sophisticated and historically significant work, John H. Zammito reconstructs Kant's composition of The Critique of Judgment and reveals that it underwent three major transformations before publication. He shows that Kant not only made his "cognitive" turn, expanding the project from a "Critique of Taste" to a Critique of Judgment but he also made an "ethical" turn. This "ethical" turn was provoked by controversies in German philosophical and religious culture, in particular the writings of Johann Herder and the Sturm und Drang movement in art and science, as well as the related pantheism controversy. Such topicality made the Third Critique pivotal in creating a "Kantian" movement in the 1790s, leading directly to German Idealism and Romanticism.
The austerity and grandeur of Kant's philosophical writings sometimes make it hard to recognize them as the products of a historical individual situated in the particular constellation of his time and society. Here Kant emerges as a concrete historical figure struggling to preserve the achievements of cosmopolitan Aufkl-rung against challenges in natural science, religion, and politics in the late 1780s. More specifically Zammito suggests that Kant's Third Critique was animated throughout by a fierce personal rivalry with Herder and by a strong commitment to traditional Christian ideas of God and human moral freedom.
"A work of extraordinary erudition. Zammito's study is both comprehensive and novel, connecting Kant's work with the aesthetic and religious controversies of the late eighteenth century. He seems to have read everything. I know of no comparable historical study of Kant's Third Critique."-Arnulf Zweig, translator and editor of Kant's ;IPhilosophical Correspondence, 1759-1799;X
"An intricate, subtle, and exciting explanation of how Kant's thinking developed and adjusted to new challenges over the decade from the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason to the appearance of the Critique of Judgment."—John W. Burbidge, Review of Metaphysics
"There has been for a long time a serious gap in English commentary on Kant's Critique of Judgment; Zammito's book finally fills it. All students and scholars of Kant will want to consult it."—Frederick Beiser, Times Literary Supplement
The Harmony of Reason is the first book-length critical study of Kant's Critique of Judgement, shedding new light on this often-overlooked work and Kant's other writings on aesthetics. Francis X. J. Coleman's deep analysis of Kant is intended for readers interested in philosophy, fine arts and literary criticism.
A crucial moment came in the developing split between Anglo-American and continental European philosophers when G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell rebelled against the “Hegelianism” of their teachers and inaugurated the tradition of “analytic” philosophy. In this new book, John McDowell builds on his much discussed Mind and World—one of the most highly regarded books in contemporary philosophy. McDowell, who has long commanded attention for his fresh approach to issues in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind, shocked some mainstream analytic philosophers in Mind and World by drawing inspiration not only from analytic philosophers but also from continental philosophers, most notably Hegel.
McDowell argues that the roots of some problems plaguing contemporary philosophy can be found in issues that were first discerned by Kant, and that the best way to get a handle on them is to follow those issues as they are reshaped in the writings of Hegel and Sellars. Having the World in View will be a decisive further step toward healing the divisions in contemporary philosophy, by showing how central methods of the two traditions remain deeply entangled and by revealing how philosophers in both camps might still learn from each other.
Can subjective, individual taste be reconciled with an objective, universal standard? In Homo Aestheticus, Luc Ferry argues that this central problem of aesthetic theory is fundamentally related to the political problem of democratic individualism.
Ferry's treatise begins in the mid-1600s with the simultaneous invention of the notions of taste (the essence of art as subjective pleasure) and modern democracy (the idea of the State as a consensus among individuals). He explores the differences between subjectivity and individuality by examining aesthetic theory as developed first by Kant's predecessors and then by Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and proponents of the avant-garde. Ferry discerns two "moments" of the avant-garde aesthetic: the hyperindividualistic iconoclasm of creating something entirely new, and the hyperrealistic striving to achieve an extraordinary truth. The tension between these two, Ferry argues, preserves an essential element of the Enlightenment concern for reconciling the subjective and the objective—a problem that is at once aesthetic, ethical, and political.
Rejecting postmodern proposals for either a radical break with or return to tradition, Ferry embraces a postmodernism that recasts Enlightenment notions of value as a new intersubjectivity. His original analysis of the growth and decline of the twentieth-century avant-garde movement sheds new light on the connections between aesthetics, ethics, and political theory.
In this illuminating study of Kant's theory of imagination and its role in interpretation, Rudolf A. Makkreel argues against the commonly held notion that Kant's transcendental philosophy is incompatible with hermeneutics. The charge that Kant's foundational philosophy is inadequate to the task of interpretation can be rebutted, explains Makkreel, if we fully understand the role of imagination in his work. In identifying this role, Makkreel also reevaluates the relationship among Kant's discussions of the feeling of life, common sense, and the purposiveness of history.
Andrew Cutrofello's book performs a psychoanalytic inversion of transcendental philosophy, taking Kant's synthetic a prior judgments and reading them in terms of a foreclosed Kantian category—that of the analytic a posteriori. Working primarily out of Freudian and Lacanian problematics, Cutrofello not only subjects Kantian thought to psychoanalytic questioning, but also develops a systematic critique of metapsychology itself, disclosing and assessing its own paralogisms, antinomies, ideal, and ethics. This is a provocative reflection on the tensions between the Enlightenment project of critique and psychoanalytic theory.
Immanuel Kant: The Very Idea of a Critique of Pure Reason is a study of the background, development, exposition, and justification of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Instead of examining Kant's arguments for the transcendental ideality of space and time, his deduction of the pure concepts of the understanding, or his account of the dialectic of human reason, J. Colin McQuillan focuses on Kant's conception of critique. By surveying the different ways the concept of critique was used during the eighteenth century, the relationship between Kant's critique and his pre-critical experiments with different approaches to metaphysics, the varying definitions of a critique of pure reason Kant offers in the prefaces and introductions to the first Critique, and the way Kant responds to objections, McQuillan is able to highlight an aspect of Kant's critical philosophy that is too often overlooked—the reason that philosophy is critical.
A defining work of moral philosophy, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals has been highly influential and famously difficult. Dieter Schönecker and Allen Wood make clear the ways this work forms the basis of our modern moral outlook and how moral law relates to freedom and free will within Kant’s overall philosophy.
The Justice of Mercy
Linda Ross Meyer University of Michigan Press, 2010 Library of Congress K250.M49 2010 | Dewey Decimal 340.11
"The Justice of Mercy is exhilarating reading. Teeming with intelligence and insight, this study immediately establishes itself as the unequaled philosophical and legal exploration of mercy. But Linda Meyer's book reaches beyond mercy to offer reconceptualizations of justice and punishment themselves. Meyer's ambition is to rethink the failed retributivist paradigm of criminal justice and to replace it with an ideal of merciful punishment grounded in a Heideggerian insight into the gift of being-with-others. The readings of criminal law, Heideggerian and Levinasian philosophy, and literature are powerful and provocative. The Justice of Mercy is a radical and rigorous exploration of both punishment and mercy as profoundly human activities."
---Roger Berkowitz, Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Ethical and Political Thinking, Bard College
"This book addresses a question both ancient and urgently timely: how to reconcile the law's call to justice with the heart's call to mercy? Linda Ross Meyer's answer is both philosophical and pragmatic, taking us from the conceptual roots of the supposed conflict between justice and mercy to concrete examples in both fiction and contemporary criminal law. Energetic, eloquent, and moving, this book's defense of mercy will resonate with philosophers, legal scholars, lawyers, and policymakers engaged with criminal justice, and anyone concerned about our current harshly punitive legal system."
---Carol Steiker, Harvard Law School
"Far from being a utopian, soft and ineffectual concept, Meyer shows that mercy already operates within the law in ways that we usually do not recognize. . . . Meyer's piercing insights and careful analysis bring the reader to think of law, justice, and mercy itself in a new and far more profound light."
---James Martel, San Francisco State University
How can granting mercy be just if it gives a criminal less punishment than he "deserves" and treats his case differently from others like it? This ancient question has become central to debates over truth and reconciliation commissions, alternative dispute resolution, and other new forms of restorative justice. The traditional response has been to marginalize mercy and to cast doubt on its ability to coexist with forms of legal justice.
Flipping the relationship between justice and mercy, Linda Ross Meyer argues that our rule-bound and harsh system of punishment is deeply flawed and that mercy should be, not the crazy woman in the attic of the law, but the lady of the house. This book articulates a theory of punishment with mercy and illustrates the implications of that theory with legal examples drawn from criminal law doctrine, pardons, mercy in military justice, and fictional narratives of punishment and mercy.
Linda Ross Meyer is Carmen Tortora Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University School of Law; President of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities; and Associate Editor of Journal of Law, Culture and the Humanities.
Kant and Milton
Sanford Budick Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress B2798.B765 2010 | Dewey Decimal 193
Kant and Milton brings to bear new evidence and long-neglected materials to show the importance of Kant’s encounter with Milton’s poetry to the formation of Kant’s moral and aesthetic thought. Sanford Budick reveals the relation between a poetic vision and a philosophy that theorized what that poetry was doing. As Plato and Aristotle contemplate Homer, so Kant contemplates Milton. In all these cases philosophy and poetry allow us to better understand each other. Milton gave voice to the transformation of human understanding effected by the Protestant Revolt, making poetry of the idea that human reason is created self-sufficient. Kant turned that religiously inflected poetry into the richest modern philosophy. Milton’s bold self-reliance is Kant’s as well.
Using lectures of Kant that have been published only in the past decade, Budick develops an account of Kant based on his lifelong absorption in the poetry of Milton, especially Paradise Lost. By bringing to bear the immense power of his reflections on aesthetic and moral form, Kant produced one of the most penetrating interpretations of Milton’s achievement that has ever been offered and, at the same time, reached new peaks in the development of aesthetics and moral reason.
Kant and Phenomenology
Tom Rockmore University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress BD161.R594 2011 | Dewey Decimal 121
Phenomenology, together with Marxism, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy, dominated philosophy in the twentieth century—and Edmund Husserl is usually thought to have been the first to develop the concept. His views influenced a variety of important later thinkers, such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, who eventually turned phenomenology away from questions of knowledge. But here Tom Rockmore argues for a return to phenomenology’s origins in epistemology, and he does so by locating its roots in the work of Immanuel Kant.
Kant and Phenomenology traces the formulation of Kant’s phenomenological approach back to the second edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In response to various criticisms of the first edition, Kant more forcefully put forth a constructivist theory of knowledge. This shift in Kant’s thinking challenged the representational approach to epistemology, and it is this turn, Rockmore contends, that makes Kant the first great phenomenologist. He then follows this phenomenological line through the work of Kant’s idealist successors, Fichte and Hegel. Steeped in the sources and literature it examines, Kant and Phenomenology persuasively reshapes our conception of both of its main subjects.
Autonomy for Kant is not just a synonym for the capacity to choose, whether simple or deliberative. It is what the word literally implies: the imposition of a law on one’s own authority and out of one’s own rational resources. In Kant and the Limits of Autonomy, Shell explores the limits of Kantian autonomy—both the force of its claims and the complications to which they give rise. Through a careful examination of major and minor works, Shell argues for the importance of attending to the difficulty inherent in autonomy and to the related resistance that in Kant’s view autonomy necessarily provokes in us. Such attention yields new access to Kant’s famous, and famously puzzling, Groundlaying of the Metaphysics of Morals. It also provides for a richer and more unified account of Kant’s later political and moral works; and it highlights the pertinence of some significant but neglected early writings, including the recently published Lectures on Anthropology.
Kant and the Limits of Autonomy is both a rigorous, philosophically and historically informed study of Kantian autonomy and an extended meditation on the foundation and limits of modern liberalism.
Kant scholars since the early nineteenth century have disaxadgreed about how to interpret his theory of moral motivation. Kant tells us that the feeling of respect is the incentive to moral action, but he is notoriously ambiguous on the question of what exactly this means. In Kant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral Action, Iain Morrisson offers a new view on Kant’s theory of moral action.
In a clear, straightforward style, Morrisson responds to the ongoing interpretive stalemate by taking an original approach to the problem. Whereas previous commentators have attempted to understand Kant’s feeling of respect by studying the relevant textual evidence in isolation, Morrisson illuminates this evidence by determining what Kant’s more general theory of action commits him to regarding moral action. After looking at how Kant’s treatment of desire and feeling can be reconciled with his famous account of free maxim-based action, Morrisson argues that respect moves us to moral action in a way that is structurally parallel to the way in which nonmoral pleasure motivates nonmoral action.
In reconstructing a unified theory of action in Kant, Morrisson integrates a number of distinct elements in his practical philosophy. Kant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral Action is part of a new wave of interest in Kant’s anthropological (that is, psychological) works.
If Kant had never made the "critical turn" of 1773, would he be worth more than a paragraph in the history of philosophy? Most scholars think not. But in this pioneering book, John H. Zammito challenges that view by revealing a precritical Kant who was immensely more influential than the one philosophers think they know. Zammito also reveals Kant's former student and latter-day rival, Johann Herder, to be a much more philosophically interesting thinker than is usually assumed and, in many important respects, historically as influential as Kant.
Relying on previously unexamined sources, Zammito traces Kant's friendship with Herder as well as the personal tensions that destroyed their relationship. From this he shows how two very different philosophers emerged from the same beginnings and how, because of Herder's reformulation of Kant, anthropology was born out of philosophy.
Shedding light on an overlooked period of philosophical development, this book is a major contribution to the history of philosophy and the social sciences, and especially to the history of anthropology.
Kant on Causality, Freedom, and Objectivity was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Kant's account of causation is central to his views on objective truth and freedom. The Second Analogy of Experience, in the Critique of Pure Reason,where he provides his defense of the causal principle, has long been the focus of intense philosophical research. In the past twenty years, there have been two major periods of interest in Kantian themes, The first coincided with a general turn away from positivism by analytic philosophers, and resulted in a fruitful interchange between Kant scholars and those who applied Kantian ideas to contemporary philosophical problems. In recent years, a new surge of interest in Kant's work occurred along with the developing controversy over realism generated by the work of Dummett and Putnam. Scholars now appreciate the extent to which the Kantian causal principle is illuminated by the philosopher's argument that his transcendental idealism supports an empirical realism. And in turn, Kant's views on objectivity, causation, and freedom are especially relevant to the philosophical concerns raised by the new debate over realism.
The eight papers in this book are drawn from two conferences that honored Lewis White Beck, an influential Kant scholar. Together with the introductory essay by the editors, they show the continuing relevance of Kant's analysis for the present-day philosophy of causation.
While Immanuel Kant’s account of human reason is well known and celebrated, his account of human animality (Thierheit) is virtually unknown. Animality and reason, as pillars of Kant’s vision of human nature, are original and ineradicable. And yet, the relation between them is fraught: at times tense and violent, at other times complementary, even harmonious. Kant on the Human Animal offers the first systematic analysis of this central but neglected dimension of Kant’s philosophy.
David Baumeister tracks four decades of Kant’s intellectual development, surveying works published in Kant’s lifetime along with posthumously published notes and student lecture transcripts. They show the crucial role that animality plays in many previously unconnected areas of Kant’s thought, such as his account of the human’s originally quadrupedal posture, his theory of early childhood development, and his conception of the process of human racial differentiation. Beginning with a delineation of Kant’s understanding of the commonalities and differences between humans and other animals, Baumeister focuses on the contribution of animality to Kant’s views of ethics, anthropology, human nature, and race.
Placing divergent features of Kant’s thought within a unified interpretive framework, Kant on the Human Animal reveals how, for Kant, becoming human requires that animality not be eclipsed and overcome but rather disciplined and developed. What emerges is a new appreciation of Kant’s human being as the human animal it is.
Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.”
Miller outlines the terms of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought.
Currently fashionable among critics of enlightenment thought is the charge that Kant's ethics fails to provide an adequate account of character and its formation in moral and political life. G. Felicitas Munzel challenges this reading of Kant's thought, claiming not only that Kant has a very rich notion of moral character, but also that it is a conception of systematic importance for his thought, linking the formal moral with the critical, aesthetic, anthropological, and biological aspects of his philosophy.
The first book to focus on character formation in Kant's moral philosophy, it builds on important recent work on Kant's aesthetics and anthropology, and brings these to bear on moral issues. Munzel traces Kant's multifaceted definition of character through the broad range of his writings, and then explores the structure of character, its actual exercise in the world, and its cultivation.
An outstanding work of original textual analysis and interpretation, Kant's Conception of Moral Character is a major contribution to Kant studies and moral philosophy in general.
Although Kant was involved in the education debates of his time, it is widely held that in his mature philosophical writings he remained silent on the subject. In her groundbreaking Kant’s Conception of Pedagogy, G. Felicitas Munzel finds extant in Kant’s writings the so-called missing critical treatise on education. It appears in the Doctrines of Method with which he concludes each of his major works.
In it, Kant identifies the fundamental principles for the cultivation of reason’s judgment when it comes to cognition, beauty, nature, and the exercise of morality while subject to the passions and inclinations that characterize the human experience.
From her analysis, Munzel extrapolates principles for a cosmopolitan education that parallels the structure of Kant’s republican constitution for perpetual peace. With the formal principles in place, the argument concludes with a query of the material principles that would fulfill the formal conditions required for an education for freedom.
Why does Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) consistently invoke God and Providence in his most prominent texts relating to international politics? In this wide-ranging study, Seán Molloy proposes that texts such as Idea for a Universal History with Cosmopolitan Intent and Toward Perpetual Peace cannot be fully understood without reference to Kant’s wider philosophical projects, and in particular the role that belief in God plays within critical philosophy and Kant’s inquiries into anthropology, politics, and theology. Molloy’s broader view reveals the political-theological dimensions of Kant’s thought as directly related to his attempts to find a new basis for metaphysics in the sacrifice of knowledge to make room for faith.This book is certain to generate controversy. Kant is hailed as “the greatest of all theorists” in the field of International Relations (IR); in particular, he has been acknowledged as the forefather of Cosmopolitanism and Democratic Peace Theory. Yet, Molloy charges that this understanding of Kant is based on misinterpretation, neglect of particular texts, and failure to recognize Kant’s ambivalences and ambiguities. Molloy’s return to Kant’s texts forces devotees of Cosmopolitanism and other ‘Kantian’ schools of thought in IR to critically assess their relationship with their supposed forebear: ultimately, they will be compelled to seek different philosophical origins or to find some way to accommodate the complexity and the decisively nonsecular aspects of Kant’s ideas.
Kant’s revolution in methodology limited metaphysics to the conditions of possible experience. Since, following Hume, analysis—the “method of discovery” in early modern physics—could no longer ground itself in sense or in God’s constituting reason a new arché, “origin” and “principle,” was required, which Kant found in the synthesis of the productive imagination, the common root of sensibility and understanding. Charles Bigger argues that this imaginative “between” recapitulates the ancient Gaia myth which, as used by Plato in the Timaeus, offers a way into this originary arché. Since it depends on myth and the “likely story” rather than on a self-certain apprehension of Being, this facilitates an imaginative approach to the natural sciences which, through its synthetic a priori formations, can claim to be Kantian.
Bigger explores Kant’s ethics as an alternative to metaphysics that holds open the prospect of a Good beyond Being—and phenomenology—whose traces nevertheless appear in original synthesis. Though wary of its reductive implications, Bigger uses Derrida’s difference, a medial, feminine arché, as a way into this creative and procreative metaxu (between). As Emmanuel Levinas suggests, this is Plato’s gap [chaos] between being and becoming, whose possibility, beyond both, lies in chora and the Good. This Open also presents the possibility for a new, yet still Kantian, understanding of the formal and material conditions for the natural sciences.
Kant’s Nonideal Theory of Politics argues that Kant’s political thought must be understood by reference to his philosophy of history, cultural anthropology, and geography. The central thesis of the book is that Kant’s assessment of the politically salient features of history, culture, and geography generates a nonideal theory of politics, which supplements his well-known ideal theory of cosmopolitanism.
This novel analysis thus challenges the common assumption that an ideal theory of cosmopolitanism constitutes Kant’s sole political legacy. Dilek Huseyinzadegan demonstrates that Kant employs a teleological worldview throughout his political writings as a means of grappling with the pressing issues of multiplicity, diversity, and plurality—issues that confront us to this day.
Kant’s Nonideal Theory of Politics is the first book-length treatment of Kant’s political thought that gives full attention to the role that history, anthropology, and geography play in his mainstream political writings. Interweaving close textual analyses of Kant’s writings with more contemporary political frameworks, this book also makes Kant accessible and responsive to fields other than philosophy. As such, it will be of interest to students and scholars working at the intersections of political theory, feminism, critical race theory, and post- and decolonial thought.
Because it laid the foundation for nearly all subsequent epistemologies, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason has overshadowed his other interests in natural history and the life sciences, which scholars have long considered as separate from his rigorous theoretical philosophy—until now. In Kant’s Organicism, Jennifer Mensch draws a crucial link between these spheres by showing how the concept of epigenesis—a radical theory of biological formation—lies at the heart of Kant’s conception of reason.
As Mensch argues, epigenesis was not simply a metaphor for Kant but centrally guided his critical philosophy, especially the relationship between reason and the categories of the understanding. Offsetting a study of Kant’s highly technical theory of cognition with a mixture of intellectual history and biography, she situates the epigenesis of reason within broader investigations into theories of generation, genealogy, and classification, and against later writers and thinkers such as Goethe and Darwin. Distilling vast amounts of research on the scientific literature of the time into a concise and readable book, Mensch offers one of the most refreshing looks not only at Kant’s famous first Critique but at the history of philosophy and the life sciences as well.
In Kant’s Worldview: How Judgment Shapes Human Comprehension, Rudolf A. Makkreel offers a new interpretation of Immanuel Kant’s theory of judgment that clarifies Kant’s well-known suggestion that a genuine philosophy is guided by a world‑concept (Weltbegriff). Makkreel shows that Kant increasingly expands the role of judgment from its logical and epistemic tasks to its reflective capacity to evaluate objects and contextualize them in worldly terms. And Makkreel shows that this final orientational power of judgment supplements the cognition of the understanding with the comprehension originally assigned to reason.
To comprehend, according to Kant, is to possess sufficient insight into situations so as to also achieve some purpose. This requires that reason be applied with the discernment that reflective judgment makes possible. Comprehension, practical as well as theoretical, can fill in Kant’s world concept and his sublime evocation of a Weltanschauung with a more down-to-earth worldview.
Scholars have recently stressed Kant’s impure ethics, his nonideal politics, and his pragmatism. Makkreel complements these efforts by using Kant’s ethical, sociopolitical, religious, and anthropological writings to provide a more encompassing account of the role of human beings in the world. The result is a major contribution to our understanding of Kant and the history of European philosophy.
Hannah Arendt's last philosophical work was an intended three-part project entitled The Life of the Mind. Unfortunately, Arendt lived to complete only the first two parts, Thinking and Willing. Of the third, Judging, only the title page, with epigraphs from Cato and Goethe, was found after her death. As the titles suggest, Arendt conceived of her work as roughly parallel to the three Critiques of Immanuel Kant. In fact, while she began work on The Life of the Mind, Arendt lectured on "Kant's Political Philosophy," using the Critique of Judgment as her main text. The present volume brings Arendt's notes for these lectures together with other of her texts on the topic of judging and provides important clues to the likely direction of Arendt's thinking in this area.
Among modern philosophers, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) has few rivals for his influence over the development of contemporary philosophy as a whole. While the issue of language has become a key fulcrum of continental philosophy since the twentieth century, Kant has been overlooked as a thinker whose breadth of insight has helped to spearhead this advance.
The Linguistic Dimension of Kant’s Thought remedies this historical gap by gathering new essays by distinguished Kant scholars. The chapters examine the many ways that Kant’s philosophy addresses the nature of language. Although language as a formal structure of thought and expression has always been part of the philosophical tradition, the “linguistic dimension” of these essays speaks to language more broadly as a practice including communication, exchange, and dialogue.
The Moment of Racial Sight overturns the most familiar form of racial analysis in contemporary culture: the idea that race is constructed, that it operates by attaching visible marks of difference to arbitrary meanings and associations. Searching for the history of the constructed racial sign, Irene Tucker argues that if people instantly perceive racial differences despite knowing better, then the underlying function of race is to produce this immediate knowledge. Racial perception, then, is not just a mark of acculturation, but a part of how people know one another.
Tucker begins her investigation in the Enlightenment, at the moment when skin first came to be used as the primary mark of racial difference. Through Kant and his writing on the relation of philosophy and medicine, she describes how racialized skin was created as a mechanism to enable us to perceive the likeness of individuals in a moment. From there, Tucker tells the story of instantaneous racial seeing across centuries—from the fictive bodies described but not seen in Wilkie Collins’s realism to the medium of common public opinion in John Stuart Mill, from the invention of the notion of a constructed racial sign in Darwin’s late work to the institutionalizing of racial sight on display in the HBO series The Wire. Rich with perceptive readings of unexpected texts, this ambitious book is an important intervention in the study of race.
Barbara Herman Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress BJ21.H47 2007 | Dewey Decimal 170
A distinguished moral philosopher and a leading interpreter of Kant's ethics, Barbara Herman draws on Kant to address timeless issues in ethical theory as well as ones arising from current moral problems, such as obligations to distant need, the history of slavery as it bears on affirmative action, and the moral costs of reparative justice.
Challenging various Kantian orthodoxies, Herman offers a view of moral competency as a complex achievement, governed by rational norms and dependent on supportive social conditions. She argues that the objectivity of duties and obligations does not rule out the possibility of or need for moral invention. Her goal is not to revise Kant but to explore the issues and ask the questions that he did not consider.
Some of the essays involve explicit interpretation of Kant, and others are prompted by ground-level questions. For example, how should we think about moral character given what we know about the fault lines in normal development? If ordinary moral life is saturated by the content of local institutions, how should our accounts of moral obligation and judgment accommodate this?
A Moral Military
Sidney Axinn Temple University Press, 2008 Library of Congress U22.A95 2009 | Dewey Decimal 172.42
In this new edition of the classic book on the moral conduct of war, Sidney Axinn provides a full-length treatment of the military conventions from a philosophical point of view. Axinn considers these basic ethical questions within the context of the laws of warfare: Should a good soldier ever disobey a direct military order? Are there restrictions on how we fight a war? What is meant by “military honor,” and does it really affect the contemporary soldier? Is human dignity possible under battlefield conditions?
Axinn answers “yes” to these questions. His objective in A Moral Military is to establish a basic framework for moral military action and to assist in analyzing military professional ethics. He argues for the seriousness of the concept of military honor but limits honorable military activity by a strict interpretation of the notion of war crime.
With revisions and expansions throughout, including a new chapter on torture, A Moral Military is an essential guide on the nature of war during a time when the limits of acceptable behavior are being stretched in new directions.
A Moral Military
Sidney Axinn Temple University Press, 1990 Library of Congress U22.A95 1989 | Dewey Decimal 172.42
"Sidney Axinn addresses the hardest questions raised by the experience of war and argues his way to clear and forthright answers. His book is a virtuoso display of intellectual energy and moral courage."
--Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study
Should a good soldier ever disobey a direct military order? Are there restrictions on how we fight a war? What is meant by "military honor," and does it really affect the contemporary soldier? Is human dignity possible under battlefield conditions? Sidney Axinn considers these basic ethical questions within the context of the laws of warfare and answers "yes" to each of these questions. In this study of the conduct of war, he examines actions that are honorable or dishonorable and provides the first full-length treatment of the military conventions from a philosophical point of view.
Axinn gives a philosophical analysis of the "Laws of Warfare" as found in the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which have been agreed to by almost every nation in the world. The aims of his study are to establish a basic twentieth-century framework for moral military action and to assist military personnel in analyzing their won professional ethic. Stating that moral reasoning is required by people in military uniform in a wide variety of situations, the author examines the question of the limits of military obedience.
Axinn argues for the seriousness of the concept of military honor but limits honorable military activity by a strict interpretation of the notion of war crime. Major chapters deal with military honor, prisoners of war, spying, war crimes, the dirty-hands theory of command, nuclear weapons, terrorism, and covert operations.
This philosophical study of the line between honorable and dishonorable military action cautions that in compliance with the war conventions professional military personnel and knowledgeable civilians must not lose their moral nerve nor abandon honor to satisfy immoral political requests.
"This is an excellent and long-overdue text on the ethics of the profession of arms. It will be welcomed by both students and instructors due to its straightforward yet entertaining approach to this complex subject. I recommend it highly for both the professional soldier and the citizen concerned with the way his or her country conducts its defense."
--LTC John Nugent, USA
"In order to make warfare more humane, the [Geneva and the Hague] Conventions require nations to teach their provisions to their entire military and civilian populations. This book is written to promote and achieve that end, to defend the rules of war and to explain the reasons for them. â€¦it goes a long way toward teaching the basic Conventions of war and showing strong reasons for following them."
"An interesting read. If war is immoral, can a war be fought morally? According to Axinn, yes."
--Reference and Research Book News
Kurt Mosser argues that reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as an argument for such a logic of experience makes more defensible many of Kant's most controversial claims, and makes more accessible Kant's notoriously difficult text.
What if Immanuel Kant floated down from his transcendental heights, straight through Alice’s rabbit hole, and into the fabulous world of Lewis Carroll? For Ben-Ami Scharfstein this is a wonderfully instructive scenario and the perfect way to begin this wide-ranging collection of decades of startlingly synthesized thought. Combining a deep knowledge of psychology, cultural anthropology, art history, and the history of religions—not to mention philosophy—he demonstrates again and again the unpredictability of writing and thought and how they can teach us about our experiences.
Scharfstein begins with essays on the nature of philosophy itself, moving from an autobiographical account of the trials of being a comparativist to philosophy’s function in the outside world to the fear of death in Kant and Hume. From there he explores an impressive array of art: from China and Japan to India and the West; from an essay on sadistic and masochistic body art to one on the epistemology of the deaf and the blind. He then returns to philosophy, writing on Machiavelli and political ruthlessness, then on the ineffable, and closes with a review of Walter Kaufmann’s multivolume look at the essence of humanity, Discovering the Mind. Altogether, these essays are a testament to adventurous thought, the kind that leaps to the furthest reaches of the possible.
Originally published in 1966, this pivotal work of Mikel Dufrenne revises Kant’s notion of a priori, a concept previously given insufficient attention by philosophers, to realize a rich understanding that finally does justice to one of Kant’s most troubling cruxes. Following the Husserlian analytics of phenomenology, Dufrenne postulates a dualistic conception of the a priori as a structure that expresses itself outside the human subject, but also as a virtual knowledge that points to a philosophy of immediate apprehension or feeling. A friend of Paul Ricoeur, with whom he was detained as a prisoner of war during World War II, Dufrenne’s work until now has been sorely overlooked by American philosophers.
In this remarkable blend of sophisticated philosophical analysis and close reading of literary texts, Richard Eldridge presents a convincing argument that literature is the most important and richest source of insights in favor of a historicized Kantian moral philosophy. He effectively demonstrates that only through the interpretation of narratives can we test our capacities as persons for acknowledging the moral laws as a formula of value and for acting according to it.
Eldridge presents an extensive new interpretation of Kantian ethics that is deeply informed by Kant's aesthetics. He defends a revised version of Kantian universalism and a Kantian conception of the content of morality. Eldridge then turns to literature armed not with any a priori theory but with an interpretive stance inspired by Hegel's phenomenology of self-understanding, more or less naturalized, and by Wittgenstein's work on self-understanding as ongoing narrative-interpretive activity, a stance that yields Kantian results about the universal demands our nature places on itself.
Eldridge goes on to present readings of novels by Conrad and Austen and poetry by Wordsworth and Coleridge. In each text protagonists are seen to be struggling with moral conflicts and for self-understanding as moral persons. The route toward partial resolution of their conflicts is seen to involve multiple and ongoing activities of reading and interpreting. The result of this kind of interpretation is that such literature—literature that portrays protagonists as themselves readers and interpreters of human capacities for morality—is a primary source for the development of morally significant self-understanding. We see in the careers of these protagonists that there can be genuine and fruitful moral deliberation and valuable action, while also seeing how situated and partial any understanding and achievement of value must remain.
On Moral Personhood at once delineates the moral nature of persons; shows various conditions of the ongoing, contextualized, partial acknowledgment of that nature and of the exercise of the capacities that define it; and enacts an important way of reading literature in relation to moral problems. Eldridge's work will be important reading for moral philosophers (especially those concerned with Kant, Hegel, and issues dividing moral particularists from moral universalists), literary theorists (especially those concerned with the value of literature and its relation to philosophy and to moral problems), and readers and critics of Conrad, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Austen.
The Origins of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms marks the culmination of Donald Phillip Verene’s work on Ernst Cassirer and heralds a major step forward in the critical work on the twentieth-century philosopher. Verene argues that Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms cannot be understood apart from a dialectic between the Kantian and Hegelian philosophy that lies within it.
Verene takes as his departure point that Cassirer never wishes to argue Kant over Hegel. Instead he takes from each what he needs, realizing that philosophical idealism itself did not stop with Kant but developed to Hegel, and that much of what remains problematic in Kantian philosophy finds particular solutions in Hegel’s philosophy. Cassirer never replaces transcendental reflection with dialectical speculation, but he does transfer dialectic from a logic of illusion, that is, the form of thinking beyond experience as Kant conceives it in the Critique of Pure Reason, to a logic of consciousness as Hegel employs it in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Cassirer rejects Kant’s thing-in-itself but he also rejects Hegel’s Absolute as well as Hegel’s conception of Aufhebung. Kant and Hegel remain the two main characters on his stage, but they are accompanied by a large secondary cast, with Goethe in the foreground. Cassirer not only contributes to Goethe scholarship, but in Goethe he finds crucial language to communicate his assertions. Verene introduces us to the originality of Cassirer’s philosophy so that we may find access to the riches it contains.
Drawn from the Prussian Academy edition of Kant's collected works, these letters make it possible to trace the development of Kant's thought from his earliest worries about the topics discussed in the Critique of Pure Reason to his attempts in later life to meet the objections of his critics and erstwhile disciples. "Perhaps the major value of these writings is their demonstration of Kant's own attitude towards his philosophical works."—Paul Arthur Schilpp, Saturday Review
The Critique of Pure Reason—Kant’s First Critique—is one of the most studied texts in intellectual history, but as Alfredo Ferrarin points out in this radically original book, most of that study has focused only on very select parts. Likewise, Kant’s oeuvre as a whole has been compartmentalized, the three Critiques held in rigid isolation from one another. Working against the standard reading of Kant that such compartmentalization has produced, The Powers of Pure Reason explores forgotten parts of the First Critique in order to find an exciting, new, and ultimately central set of concerns by which to read all of Kant’s works.
Ferrarin blows the dust off of two egregiously overlooked sections of the First Critique—the Transcendental Dialectic and the Doctrine of Method. There he discovers what he argues is the Critique’s greatest achievement: a conception of the unity of reason and an exploration of the powers it has to reach beyond itself and legislate over the world. With this in mind, Ferrarin dismantles the common vision of Kant as a philosopher writing separately on epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics and natural teleology, showing that the three Critiques are united by this underlying theme: the autonomy and teleology of reason, its power and ends. The result is a refreshing new view of Kant, and of reason itself.
Questions of Form was first published in 1989. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In Questions on Form, Joelle Proust traces the concept of the analytic proposition from Kant's development of the notion down to its place in the work of Rudolf Carnap, a founder of logical empiricism and a key figure in contemporary analytic philosophy. Using a method known in France as topique comparative,she provides a rigorous exposition of analyticity, situating it within four major philosophical systems—those of Kant, Bolzano, Frege, and Carnap—and clearly delineating its development from one system to the next.
Proust takes as her point of departure Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments. Though she makes clear that Kant drew on Locke, Hume, and Leibniz, she argues that his notion of analyticity was innovative, not simply an elaboration of something already found in their work. She shows that the analytic proposition unexpectedly (given its modest status in Kant) came to play an important part in efforts to convert problems considered "transcendental" into questions of belonging to formal logic.
Ultimately, her comparison of their systems reveals that the concept of the analytic, however specific its rile in each, remains linked to a foundationalist strategy—in effect, to the transcendentalist questions Kant used when he reinterpreted the findings of his empiricist predecessors. Hence, this book's provocative claim: today's so-called logical empiricism owes much more to Kant's notion of science than to Hume's.
“My interest in [Max] Scheler’s critique of Kant runs back nearly a decade…. The more I read of Scheler, the more I began to see the value of a project dealing with his critique of Kant in Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die Materiale Wetethik, which would possess the virtue of focusing in a single project three important strands of philosophical interest: phenomenology, Kantianism, and ethics….
“The study is divided into six chapters and two appendices. Each of the chapters constituting the body of the work contains a brief analysis of the Kantian position or discussion of the basic questions at issue in it, an exposition of Scheler’s critique of the Kantian position and its presuppositions, and a detailed appraisal of Scheler’s critique.”—from the introduction by the author
Immanuel Kant is one of the greatest philosophers in history. As Peter Kreeft here notes, Kant is really two philosophers – a philosopher concerned with how we know things (epistemology) and a philosopher of right and wrong (ethics). If he had written only on either topic, he would still be the most important and influential of the modern philosophers. The combination of the two, though, makes for a formidable thinker, one it would take a figure such as Socrates to confront.
Kreeft’s Socrates reflects what the historical philosopher would likely have made of Kant’s ideas, while also recognizing the greatness, genius, and insightfulness of Kant. The result is a helpful, highly readable, even amusing book. Kant’s philosopher of knowing truly is a “Copernican revolution in philosophy,” as he himself dubbed it. His ethics intended to set out the rational grounds for morality. Did he achieve his goals? What would Socrates say about the matter?
By applying the tools of deconstruction to crucial texts of German Idealism, John Sallis reveals the suppressed but essential role of imagination in even the most ambitious attempts to represent pure reason.
Sallis focuses on certain operations of "spacing" in metaphysics—textual lapses and leaps in which reason is displaced or suspended or abridged. In the project of establishing priority of reason, such operations can appear only in disguise, and Sallis reveals the play of imagination and metaphor that masks them. Concentrating on what has been called the closure of metaphysics, he examines texts in which the suppression of spacing would be carried out most rigorously, texts in which even metaphysics itself is seen as only an errant roaming, a spacing that must still be secured, to be replaced by a pure space of truth. And yet, in these very texts Sallis identifies outbreaks of spacing that would disrupt the tranquil space of reason. Rather than closure, he finds an opening of reason to imagination.
Sallis's reading of a metaphorical system in the Critique of Pure Reason reveals a fissuring and historicizing of what would otherwise be called pure reason. Next he traces in Fichte's major work as well as in several lesser-known texts a decentering from reason to imagination, which he characterizes as a power of hovering between opposites and beyond being. Sallis then returns to the Critique of Pure Reason to expose, in relation to the famous question of the common root of reason and sensibility, a certain eccentricity of reason. Proceeding to the Critique of Judgment, he traces a divergence of sublime nature away from that supersensible space of reason to which Kant would otherwise assimilate it—a withdrawal toward an abyss. Finally, Sallis turns to Hegel's Encyclopedia, supplementing his reading with previously unknown notes from Hegel's lectures on those sections dealing with imagination; his reading of those sections serves to expose, within the most rigorous reduction of spacing in the history of metaphysics, an irrepressible and disseminative play of imagination.
In this meticulous study, Wouter Hanegraaff examines the structure, themes, and development of Emanuel Swedenborg's massive work Secrets of Heaven (Arcana Coelestia), published between 1749 and 1756. Written as a work of biblical exegesis (of Genesis and Exodus), Swedenborg also interpolated material on his visionary experiences, which have long fascinated readers.
In the second part of the study, Dr. Hanegraaff examines the contemporary reception of the multi-volume work, particularly the critical reactions of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Christoph Oetinger. He finds that Swedenborg's biblical exegesis, so important in his divine calling, was largely ignored in favor of the mystical experiences.
In the space of barely more than five years, with the publication of four pathbreaking books, Slavoj Žižek has earned the reputation of being one of the most arresting, insightful, and scandalous thinkers in recent memory. Perhaps more than any other single author, his writings have constituted the most compelling evidence available for recognizing Jacques Lacan as the preemient philosopher of our time.
In Tarrying with the Negative, Žižek challenges the contemporary critique of ideology, and in doing so opens the way for a new understanding of social conflict, particularly the recent outbursts of nationalism and ethnic struggle. Are we, Žižek asks, confined to a postmodern universe in which truth is reduced to the contingent effect of various discursive practices and where our subjectivity is dispersed through a multitude of ideological positions? No is his answer, and the way out is a return to philosophy. This revisit to German Idealism allows Žižek to recast the critique of ideology as a tool for disclosing the dynamic of our society, a crucial aspect of which is the debate over nationalism, particularly as it has developed in the Balkans—Žižek's home. He brings the debate over nationalism into the sphere of contemporary cultural politics, breaking the impasse centered on nationalisms simultaneously fascistic and anticolonial aspirations. Provocatively, Žižek argues that what drives nationalistic and ethnic antagonism is a collectively driven refusal of our own enjoyment.
Using examples from popular culture and high theory to illuminate each other—opera, film noir, capitalist universalism, religious and ethnic fundamentalism—this work testifies to the fact that, far more radically than the postmodern sophists, Kant and Hegel are our contemporaries.
What is the relation between thinking and the I that thinks? And what is the relation between thought and reality? The ordinary view shared by modern philosophers from Descartes to Kant, as well as by common sense, is that there is only thought when someone thinks something, and thoughts and concepts are mental acts that refer to objects outside us.
In Thinking and the I: Hegel and the Critique of Kant, Alfredo Ferrarin shows that Hegel’s philosophy entails a radical criticism of this ordinary conception of thinking. Breaking with the habitual presuppositions of both modern philosophy and common sense, Ferrarin explains that thought, negation, truth, reflection, and dialectic for Hegel are not properties of an I and cannot be reduced to the subjective activity of a self-conscious subject. Rather, he elucidates, thought is objective for Hegel in different senses. Reality as a whole is animated by a movement of thought and an unconscious logic as a spontaneity that reifies itself in determinate forms. Ferrarin concludes the book with a comprehensive comparison of Hegel’s and Kant’s concepts of reason.
While it mainly focuses on Hegel’s Phenomenology, Science of Logic, and Encyclopaedia, this ambitious book covers all aspects of Hegel’s philosophy. Its originality and strength lie in its recovery of the original core of Hegel’s dialectic over and above its currently predominant transcendental, neopragmatist, or realist appropriations. It will be essential reading for all students of Hegel, Kant, and German idealism in general for years to come.
Michel Chaouli invites novice and expert alike to set out on the path of thinking, with help from Kant’s Critique of Judgment, about the force of aesthetic experience, the essence of art, and the relationship of beauty and meaning. Each chapter unfolds the significance of a key concept for Kant’s thought and our own ideas.
In Transculturality and German Discourse in the Age of European Colonialism, Chunjie Zhang examines the South Pacific travel writings of George Forster and Adelbert von Chamisso, literary works by August von Kotzebue and Johann Joachim Campe, Herder’s philosophy of history, and Kant’s theory of geography from the perspective of non-European impact during the age of Europe’s colonial expansion. She explores what these texts show about German and European superiority, the critique of the slave trade, European moral debauchery, acknowledgments of non-European cultural achievements, and sympathy with colonized peoples. Moving beyond the question of empire versus enlightenment, Zhang’s book diligently detects global connections, offering much to scholars of literature, culture, and intellectual history.
Kant declared that philosophy began in 1781 with his Critique of Pure Reason. In 1806 Hegel announced that it had been completed. Förster assesses the steps that led from Kant’s “beginning” to Hegel’s “end” and concludes that both Kant and Hegel were indeed right. His study reveals Goethe’s significant contribution to post-Kantian thinking.