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1. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Walter Wright The Shadow of Spinoza In Fichte’s WL 1804
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Spinoza exerted a strong pull on many of the German idealists. This paper explores the evidence of Spinoza's influence on Fichte in the latter's 1804 lectures on his Wissenschaftslehre (the second series). Fichte explicitly mentions Spinoza's names only three times, and each of these references is critical of Spinoza. However, there are other important resonances connecting the thinking of these two philosophers, each of whom faced charges of atheism. These include the priority each grants to practical reason, the accounts each gives of what is genuinely ultimate, and their views about how human beings come into relation with the ultimate.
2. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Yirmiyahu Yovel Spinoza, the First Anti-Cartesian
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Despite their apparent proximity, Spinoza and Descartes are crucially separated on the most important issues. This paper analyzes Spinoza's major anti-Cartesian positions under four headings: the nature of being; the universe and its laws; the human being; and the method and tasks of philosophy. Issues in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, the philosophical endeavor etc. are analyzed both in themselves and in their implications for the wider culture and the individual's sense of life. The analysis also brings out (as a target of Spinoza's critique) some of the theology implicit in Descartes' doctrines of substance, the will, the mind, the natural light, and the ethical way.
3. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Idit Dobbs-Weinstein Whose History? Spinoza’s Critique of Religion As an Other Modernity
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This paper discusses Spinoza's critique of religion as a visible moment of a radically occluded materialist Judeo-Arabic Aristotelian philosophical tradition. While the prevailing (Christo-Platonic) tradition begins with the familiar gesture to metaphysics as first philosophy, Spinoza's thought (and thus, this Other Tradition) takes politics as its point of departure with its concrete emphasis on a critique of dogma. This paper will show-by way of differing readings of Spinoza-how this materialist tradition becomes occluded by the prevailing tradition, even in the work of such careful materialist Spinoza commentators as Etienne Balibar.
4. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Joseph P. Lawrence Spinoza in Schelling: Appropriation through Critique
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This paper explores Schelling's life-long fascination with Spinoza. Through moments of ambivalence and enthusiasm, one aspect of the latter's thought remains central for Schelling: the intellectual intuition of God/Nature. While he consistently emphasizes the non-objectifiable nature of the intuition (as constituting the ground of freedom), the influence of Spinoza is still apparent in what Schelling calls the Ullvordellklichkeit des Seills. Freedom is a response to an ungroundable necessity that consciousness lives out of, but behind which it can never penetrate. This insight provokes a reading of Spinoza that departs from the conventional rationalist interpretation and gestures to an a-theological, yet mystical, understanding, which awakens a feeling not only for the sublime in nature, but for the sublime that lies at "the heart of what is." In the ensuing silence of the self, substance reveals itself as living spirit. Through this interpretation, the Neoplatonic truth of Spinoza becomes visible.
5. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Errata
6. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Willi Goetschel Heine’s Spinoza
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A key moment in Spinoza reception, Heine's writing gains sharper theoretical contours when read with careful attention to the way in which he appropriates Spinoza. Heine's portrayal of Spinoza in his On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany does not only represent a critical intervention in the project of intellectual history writing that argues for Spinoza's thought to be constitutive for modernity, but Spinoza's presence can also be traced in his poetry and fiction. Heine's original appropriation of Spinoza stages a new way to read Spinoza in the conjunction of Jewish emancipation and German idealism that allows him to advance the claim for both Spinoza's radical critical role in modernity and to legitimate his own poetic project.
7. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Julie R. Klein Dreaming with Open Eyes: Cartesian Dreams, Spinozan Analyses
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"Dreaming with open eyes" is a tagline for Spinoza's critique of Descartes; the dreams in question are principally those of volition and the active imagination. In this article, I compare the Cartesian theory of imagination as an active, but not fully rational, power of the mind and the Cartesian account of the volitional self to Spinoza's views. Descartes's own dreams and theories of dreaming are the focus of the first part of the article. Thereafter I examine Spinoza's critique of Descartes and his alternative account of imagination. Finally, I argue that there is a positive sense of dreaming with open eyes to be recuperated in Spinoza's thought. Construed positively, to dream with open eyes is to understand dreams and imagination as natural phenomena and so to be able to respond constructively to them in ethical and political, as well as epistemological, life.
8. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2/3
Heidi M. Ravven Hegel’s Epistemic Turn—Or Spinoza’s?
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This paper takes issue with Slavoj Zizek's constructed opposition between Spinoza and Hegel. Where Zizek views Hegel's non-dualistic relational epistemology as a substantial improvement over Spinoza's purported dogmatic account of a reality which is external to the perceiver, I argue that Hegel inherited such an epistemology from Spinoza. Ultimately, it is Spinoza who provides Hegel with the conceptual tools for knowledge of the "transphenomenal" within the context of human finitude.
9. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey Reid The Fiery Crucible, Yorick’s Skull, and Leprosy In the Sky: Hegel and the Otherness of Nature
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This paper deals with the problematic relationship between thought and nature in Hegel. This entails looking at the philosophy of nature and discovering to what extent it claims to incorporate natural otherness or contingency and how it does so. I briefly summarize other approaches to this question (Maker, Winfield, Braun, Wandschneider, Hoffheimer . . .) while putting forward my own solution. This is expressed in an argument articulated around the three Hegelian images (and their texts) in the paper’s title. We discover how the relation between philosophy and nature is a dynamic one, mediated by the actual content of the positive natural sciences. In other words, thought and nature are mediated by the human activity of scientific knowing, within the systematic project of knowing all of nature. This raises the possibility of conceiving Hegel’s system as open to the future.
10. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Antoon Braeckman The “Individual Universal”: The Socio-Political Meaning of the Work of Art In Schelling
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This article explores Schelling’s view concerning the eventual reconciliation of modern individuality and society. It is argued that in Schelling’s speculations on this subject, aesthetic models play a prominent role: on the level of society by expressing the need for a new mythology; on the level of the individual by formulating a normative ideal in which the individual is modelled after the work of artand its creator: the artistic genius. This normative view on modern individuality is quite ambivalent. It summons the individual to abandon its individuality and to have it determined by universality. But, since Schelling wants the individual to be a real individuality, his position comes down to the quest for an “individual universal.” Relying on a close-reading of Schelling’s System des transzendentalenIdealismus, the Philosophie der Kunst, and the Stuttgarter Privatvorlesungen, the paradigm of this extraordinary position is shown to be the work of art.
11. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
A. Kim Shades of Truth: Phenomenological Perspectives on the Allegory of the Cave
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Plato’s allegory of the cave tells of the soul’s advance from ignorance to knowledge, leaving open the question of what this knowledge is and what its objects are. Heidegger’s 1947 analysis of the allegory is of course just one of many. However, as I argue in this paper, if we read that analysis in the context of Husserlian phenomenology, we find a remarkable congruence between the latter’s process of “eidetic reduction” and the ascent out of the cave. In §1, I lay out the phenomenological concepts relevant to my interpretation of Heidegger’s text. In §2, I apply these to the allegory itself. In §3, I examine Heidegger’s critique of eidetic “truth” in the allegory, arguing that it equally applies to Husserl’s phenomenology. My paper shows both the utility and limits of a “phenomenological” approach toreading Plato’s theory of forms.
12. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Thora Ilin Bayer History As Symbolic Form: Cassirer and Vico
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Cassirer counts history as a symbolic form in his list that includes myth, religion, language, art, and science, but his discussion of history is confined to a chapter in An Essay on Man. A more complete understanding requires attention to a year-long seminar he taught at Yale on “The Philosophy of History” in 1941–1942. The partially unpublished texts of this seminar are the most extended exposition of Cassirer’s conception of history as a symbolic form. The key source for Cassirer’s philosophy of history is Vico. Cassirer holds that “historical consciousness” is a very late product of human civilization not found before the Greeks and even with the Greeks history is not analyzed as a particular form of thought. Cassirer claims that such analysis did not appear until the eighteenth century in the work of Vico and Herder.
13. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Wei Xiao Ping Consciousness, Historical Materialism, and China’s Economic Reform
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It is perhaps too early in the long history of humanity to draw definitive conclusions concerning the historical trajectories of traditional socialist countries. It is well known that major changes have been occurring in these countries, with most even turning away from socialism altogether. Many explanations have been propounded for this phenomenon. Some observers explain the turn away fromsocialism as a result of the backward stage of the development of productive forces. Everyone knows that most socialist countries were set up during times of poor economic conditions. Certainly, it is difficult to say how advanced the productive forces need to be in order to set up a durable and practical socialist system. In discussing the problem, I will be re-examining the practice of so-called traditionalsocialism in concentrating mostly on China, a country which has been and still is guided by its understanding of Marx’s theory of historical materialism.
14. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Sebastian Luft Cassirer’s Philosophy of Symbolic Forms: Between Reason and Relativism; a Critical Appraisal
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This paper pursues the double task of (a) presenting Cassirer’s Philosophy of Symbolic Forms as a systematic critique of culture and (b) assessing this systematic approach with regards to the question of reason vs. relativism. First, it reconstructs the development of his theory to its mature presentation in his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. Cassirer here presents a critique of culture as fulfilling Kant’s critical work by insisting on the plurality of reason as spirit, manifesting itself in symbolic forms. In the second part, the consequences of this approach will be drawn by considering the systematics Cassirer intended with this theory. As can be reconstructed from his metaphilosophical reflections, the strength of Cassirer’s philosophy is that it accounts for the plurality of rational-spiritual activity while at the same time not succumbing to a relativism. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms steers a middle course between a rational fundamentalism and a postmodern relativism.
15. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 1
Orrin F. Summerell The Theory of the Imagination In Schelling’s Philosophy of Identity
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This essay explores how Schelling’s Philosophy of Art promotes a theory of the imagination (Einbildungskraft) correlative to that reason informing his Philosophy of Identity. Against the background of Kant’s and Fichte’s transcendental-philosophical notion of the imagination, it shows how Schelling conceives the absolute identity of the ideal and the real in terms of its expression in and asthe imagination. As a name for the self-constitution of absolute identity, the term “Einbildungskraft” denotes for Schelling not merely the formative activity of picturing, but instead the generative dynamic of imprinting, and this as the singular operation of unification in the sense of genuinely making the disparate—the finite and the infinite—into one. How this theory involves a view of artistic symbols as instantiating pure unity is discussed with reference to Schelling’s theory of tragedy as well as Hegel’s criticism of this conception.
16. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Jennifer Mensch Orcid-ID Kant on Truth
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This essay discusses Kant’s account of truth, arguing that he offers us a weak coherence theory: weak for his insistence on an independent, sensuous content for intuition, coherentist for the transcendental apparatus supporting experience. While Kant is free to use the language of correspondence within experience, “empirical truth” will always be limited by the formative requirements setby “transcendental truth.” The difficulty, for Kant, is the role played by sensuous content since the sameness of this content in intersubjective experience seems to point outside the conditions of synthesis to a transcendentally real object. While the consequence of this would seem to leave Kant in a contradiction—denying transcendental realism at the same time that he must affirm it—we must read Kant’s insistence on a merely negative use of noumena as evidence that he adopts the role of the skeptic as a means for maintaining his epistemic goals.
17. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Bernstein Dialectics of Enlightenment: Understanding Contemporary Materialist Receptions of German Idealism
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This article explores the recent reception of the German Idealist tradition within the English-speaking philosophical world. Texts by four authors—Fredrick Beiser, Richard Velkley, Dennis Schmidt, and Gregg Horowitz—are examined as to their respective participation in what I call a materialist appropriation of German Idealism. In this article, I explore (1) what the term ‘materialism’ means in this context and (2) the reasons for such a new interpretation. I hold that this interpretation is utilized as a response to the Enlightenment priority of universalizing abstraction. Further, I hold that such an interpretation amounts to a reclaiming of German Idealism from previous interpretations which viewed it as supporting this priority.
18. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Kelly Coble Should Freedom Be the Ground of Morality?: Evaluating Hermann Cohen’s Account of the Foundation of Kantian Ethics
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Hermann Cohen’s early interpretation of Kant’s theory of freedom anticipates contemporary interpretations in denying that freedom signifies a literal metaphysical power. Cohen would have been critical, however, of the view popular among contemporary Kantians that the concept of autonomy can be justified by a direct appeal to the standpoint of the one who exercises and evaluates conscious moral choices. Cohen rejects Kant’s own strategy of appealing to the moral law as a “revelation” of freedom, undertaking a strictly transcendental derivation of both freedom and morality. Cohen’s own attempt to ground freedom and morality in a set of purely transcendental refl ections is a failure, but understanding the reasons for this failure enables us to draw important conclusions about the alleged priority of the value of autonomy in the normative domain, and hence about the contemporary viability of Kantian positions in the field of ethics.
19. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Corey W. Dyck Spirit Without Lines: Kant’s Attempt to Reconcile the Genius and Society
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In the Anthropology, Kant wonders whether the genius or the individual possessing perfected judgment has contributed more to the advance of culture. In the KU, Kant answers this question definitively on the side of those with perfected judgment. Nevertheless, occurring as it does in §50 of the KU, immediately after Kant’s celebration of the genius in §49, this only raises more questions. Kantrejects the genius in favour of the individual of taste as an advancer of culture, yet under what conditions could the genius contribute? And, what threat does the genius really pose to this advance, other than that of penning simple nonsense? My essay attempts to answer these questions, using key texts and overlooked Reflexionen, all of which nest Kant’s concern for the genius in the associated risks of fanaticism. I conclude that, given certain conditions, the genius can contribute in a unique manner to the advance of culture.
20. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Dalia Nassar Heroes and Fanatics: Discernment and Critique In Hegel’s Political Philosophy
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The possibility of positing critiques of the contemporary from within Hegel’s political philosophy is by no means evident. In fact, Hegel’s political philosophy has been plagued with accusations of quietism and conservatism and Hegel himself claims that the philosophical task is retrospective and descriptive. Yet, in spite of this claim, Hegel posits a critique of his contemporaries, the Jacobins. I attempt to answer the question, is Hegel’s critique of the Jacobins consistent with his political philosophy as a whole? Or, is this critique a mere inconsistency in Hegel’s system? In essence, is Hegel justified, on his own grounds, to criticize the Jacobins? In order to answer this question, I identify what Hegel means by the “genuinely philosophical viewpoint,” which he equates with the “world-historical perspective,” and show that this perspective is not limited to historical description, but does in fact allow and even call for political discernment and critique.