ONLINE FIRST ARTICLES
Articles forthcoming in in this journal are available Online First prior to publication. More details about Online First and how to use and cite these articles can be found HERE
May 4, 2023
Rancière’s American Heritage
Transitory Concepts and Gestural Pragmatism
first published on May 4, 2023
The main aim of the article is to elucidate and trace Jacques Rancière’s American pragmatic heritage. This is exemplified by several (anti)conceptual methods of thinking that the French theorist shares with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, and William James. The article examines their shared notions of the symbolic order, transitoriness of concepts, and subjectivization as a way of democratic empowerment of an individual. These three key ideas are then illustrated in the interpreta-tive praxis with Cy Twombly’s anti-conceptual style of painting and the fluid poetry of Frank O’Hara. The conclusion leads to a synthesis of all of these neo-pragmatic approaches into an innovative way of perceiving art and life—through the minute gestures and movements of thought, which are considered by all these thinkers to be more substantial than the substantive concepts themselves.
February 14, 2023
Tal Meir Giladi
Hegel on International Recognition
first published on February 14, 2023
Scholars have recently argued that Hegel posited international recognition as a necessary feature of international relations. My main effort in this article is to disprove this point. Specifically, I show that since Hegel rejected the notion of an international legal system, he must hold that international recognition depends on the arbitrary will of individual states. To pinpoint Hegel’s position, I offer a close reading of Hegel’s intricate formulations from the final paragraphs of the Philosophy of Right—formulations that are easy to quote out of context just as they are transparent when considered in due context.
January 21, 2023
Positive Aesthetic Pleasure in Early Schopenhauer: Two Kantian Accounts
first published on January 21, 2023
Schopenhauer is widely held to accommodate no positive aesthetic pleasure. While this may be the case in his mature oeuvre overall, where he insists on the negative character of all gratification, I reconstruct two early accounts of such pleasure in his manuscripts, both of which are a direct result of Schopenhauer’s engagement with Kant’s first and third Critiques. To do so, I analyze his so-called metaphysics of the ‘better consciousness’ and his transition from it to the metaphysics of will (roughly 1811–14). The first account turns out to be an almost literal adoption of Kant’s theory of aesthetic experience as revealing the supersensible character of nature and the cognizing subject. Likewise, Schopenhauer’s second account is a version of the CJ theory of the free interplay of cognitive faculties. These accounts have been underappreciated in Schopenhauer scholarship, but recognizing their importance for the development of his philosophy is essential for gaining a fuller picture of his aesthetics.
January 18, 2023
Kant, Schelling, and Hegel on How to Conceive Matter from a Metaphysical Point of View
first published on January 18, 2023
Kant, Schelling, and Hegel research has frequently highlighted differences when considering their three respective concepts of philoso-phy. Especially with regard to natural philosophy, there seems to be little common ground between them. In my paper, however, I want to revise this perspective, picking up on what brings them together. Taking the concept of matter as my primary example, I will argue that neither Kant nor Schelling nor Hegel are interested in conceiving of nature from the viewpoint of empirical observation and as independent of the subject. Rather, their respective philosophical inquiries into nature’s first prin-ciples hinge on critical examinations of reason, providing all three with the conceptual resources to address nature from a metaphysical point of view that is ultimately bound up with rational beings.
November 29, 2022
Two and One-Half Arguments for Idealism
first published on November 29, 2022
John Foster, an Oxford analytical philosopher, and Borden Parker Bowne, the founder of “Boston Personalism” at the turn of the twentieth century both presented unique arguments for idealism that are deeply different from one another. Because neither is now well known, this paper lays out their reasoning as carefully and as clearly as possible, finding Bowne’s case for personalist idealism to be the stronger of the two in terms of ontology. But the inquiry is framed on the problems of the moral affordances of ontology and of the need of moral philosophy for grounding in ontology. Although this is a very large area, a partial conclusion—the “half argument” of the title—is drawn for further development.
July 28, 2022
Martin Heidegger's Transcendental Ontology
The Necessity of a Factical Transcendental Subject
first published on July 28, 2022
Heidegger’s criticism of the transcendental philosophy of Kant and Husserl is primarily leveled at its underlying understanding of the transcendental subject. Heidegger argues that in order to give an adequate account of the intelligibility of the world, the transcendental subject must be factical. By discussing central aspects of Heidegger’s criticism, this paper shows that his notion of a factical transcendental subject is a necessary step out of aporias of transcendental philosophy. I argue that Heidegger’s emphasis on the facticity of the human being must be understood not as an abandonment of the transcendental standpoint, but as a radicalization of its central ideas. Heidegger is thereby transforming transcendental philosophy into a transcendental ontology. I demonstrate that this allows Heidegger to reconceptualize the constitution of the world as social and historical without having to jettison the role of the transcendental subject.
Fichte's Turn from Absolute I to Absolute Knowledge
first published on July 28, 2022
Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre of 1801/2 is considered to be the beginning of his late phase. In this phase he supposedly alters his earlier thinking and, instead of the transcendental unity of the I, conceptualizes a higher transcendent and simple unity; a unity that has been claimed to correspond to Neoplatonism. I refute these two arguments here. First, through a comparison between the Wissenschaftslehre of 1801/2 and that of 1794/5, I show that both versions contain a similar analysis of the supreme unity. Second, I show that in 1801/2 Fichte explicitly dissociates the supreme unity from transcendence and simplicity. His conception of the supreme unity in fact levels a critique upon such concept of unity. Instead of the transcendent One, which is hierarchically prior to multiplicity, Fichte formulates in both 1794/5 and 1801/2 a complicated concept of the supreme unity. On Fichte’s account, this unity “hovers” between multiplicity and unity as simplicity.
July 20, 2022
Joshua M. Hall
Pregnant Materialist Natural Law: Bloch and Spartacus’s Priestess of Dionysus
first published on July 20, 2022
In this article, I explore two neglected works by the twentieth-century Jewish German Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left and Natural Law and Human Dignity. Drawing on previous analyses of leftist Aristotelians and natural law, I blend Bloch’s two texts’ concepts of pregnant matter and maternal law into “pregnant materialist natural law.” More precisely, Aristotelian Left articulates a concept of matter as a dynamic, impersonal agential force, ever pregnant with possible forms delivered by artist-midwives, building Bloch’s mes-sianic utopia. And Natural Law resurrects the Stoics’ concept of natural law as drawing on a prehistoric matriarchal utopia, later channeled by earth goddess cults misconstrued by the nineteenth-century German anthropologist Johann Jakob Bachofen as political matriarchy. I then conclude by linking this pregnant materialist natural law to Dionysus as son of the Great Mother Goddess. Though stigmatized throughout homophobic Western history for his queerness and maternal dependence, Dionysus is also the patron god of Bloch’s hero, the slave revolution-ary Spartacus, paramour of a priestess of Dionysus who prophesied his divine mission of liberation.
May 7, 2022
Juan José Rodríguez
A Dark Nature
Schelling on the World and Freedom in the Years 1806–1810
first published on May 7, 2022
The main aim of this work is to indirectly display, through an analysis of the concepts of world, God, and human freedom, the shift from a harmonious concept of nature to another chaotic, darker, and pre-rational. It is important to relate this transformation, which takes place around 1807, to (I) the change in Schelling’s ideas about the relationship between God and the world to weaken a previous Spinozist monistic standpoint. These changes in turn affect Schelling’s view of the concept of unity. He now modifies the notions of immanence and pantheism in favour of a (II) dualistic doctrine of particular and finite existence that we could relate to Kierkegaard and later existentialists. Finally, (III) we introduce Schelling’s theory of love. Love is a mode of union through free will and personal choice that neutralizes the totalizing metaphysics of identity associated to the systematic construction of idealism from Spinoza to Hegel, and that Schelling criticizes, in his middle and late philosophy, as a resource to a self-transparent and overdetermining Absolute.
March 29, 2022
Which Comes First—Acting or Judging?
F. H. Jacobi’s and Hegel’s Foundations of a Metaphysical Pragmatism of Freedom
first published on March 29, 2022
It is one of the crucial insights of pragmatism that our judging is itself a discursive practice. Our judgments are normatively determined performances for which we are responsible. Therefore, judgments are a species of action. For in both actions and judgments, we subject ourselves and others to justifiable norms. Since these insights can already be found in Hegel, Hegel is now often interpreted as a champion of pragmatism. Hegel’s logic is thereby mainly understood as the continuation of the Kantian project of transcendental philosophy. Based upon this pragmatist interpretation of Hegel, the paper reads F. H. Jacobi’s philosophy as an alternative pragmatism which is explicitly founded on our life praxis rather than our practice of judgment.
March 24, 2022
Transcendental Phenomenology and the Possibility of Intersubjectivity
first published on March 24, 2022
Husserl’s theory of types is most often associated with his account of perception. Here, types operate as pre-predicative frames of experience that guide the perception of objects. In this paper, I will argue that Husserl’s theory of types is also central to his account of intersubjectivity. More specifically, I will show that a foundational kind of typical subjectivity is entailed by his discussion of the sphere of ownness. It is by way of this type that even a solitary subject can tacitly anticipate the possibility of other subjects. It is also this type that is enriched through interactions between actual subjects.
March 23, 2022
Alternativelessness: On the Beginning Problem of Hegel's Logic
first published on March 23, 2022
Recent discussions concerning the beginning problem of Hegel’s Logic have reached the agreement that any promised interpretation of the beginning of the Logic must reject opposition between the immediacy and mediation and embrace their unity instead. It is how this unity is understood that divides interpreters. Either the mediation precedes the immediacy and justifies it first, or a somewhat one-sided immediacy occurs first and waits to be mediated later in a circular justification. However, both concepts are confronted with their own difficulties. To avoid these difficulties, I propose that the pure immediacy or pure being is justified to be the Logic’s beginning in virtue of its alternativelessness. Only it can measure up to the rigorous requirement implied by the nature of the beginning.
February 22, 2022
Naomi Fisher, Kevin Mager
Schelling Responds to Kant
The Bruno Critique of One-Sided Idealism
first published on February 22, 2022
In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant criticizes his predecessors, specifically Locke and Leibniz, in their one-sided reductions of representation to a single faculty. In his 1802 dialogue Bruno, Schelling develops this discussion into a criticism of Kant’s own one-sided idealism. Focusing on these developments makes clear the manner in which Schelling sees himself as advancing beyond both pre-Critical realisms and Kant’s transcendental idealism. He subsumes realism and Kantian idealism within his own absolute standpoint, providing a ground and rationale for both types of philosophical system as independent approaches, and he asserts that the ultimate foundation and unity of these systems of philosophy is in the absolute which is beyond conceptual thought.
January 22, 2022
From Cosmogenesis to Naturphilosophie
Tracing a Path between Kant’s Allgemeine Naturgeschichte and Schelling’s Erster Entwurf
first published on January 22, 2022
Whilst Kant’s work has been important for understanding the orbit of Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, this is often considered only in relation to the Critical philosophy. The aim of this paper is to suggest a connection between the pre-Critical Kant and Schelling’s Naturphilosophie. Whilst on the surface this may seem like a futile task, in this paper I hope to show that Schelling was engaged with Kant’s early work and that he even offers a critique of it, opening the path to an until now understated area of scholarship on the relationship between the two thinkers. I analyse one section (the Siebentes Hauptstück) from Kant’s 1755 work, Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels followed by an analysis of one section (the Zweiter Hauptabschnitt) from Schelling’s 1799 work, Erster Entwurf eines Systems der Naturphilosophie.
October 28, 2021
How to Appropriate a Text: Paul Ricoeur on Narrative Unity
first published on October 28, 2021
One of the core principles of Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is that interpretation culminates in application, or appropriation. But what exactly is an appropriation, and what makes some appropriations better than others? I try to shed light on these difficult matters by examining Ricoeur’s own appropriation of Alasdair MacIntyre’s notion of the narrative unity of a life, and by contrasting it with Richard Rorty’s appropriation of the same notion. I argue that Ricoeur’s appropriation is more successful than Rorty’s, and that the best explanation of its success is that it respects a distinctive norm that governs the activity of appropriation. I conclude by describing this norm, which I call the principle of ultimate compatibility.
Elements of Völkerpsychologie in Hermann Cohen’s Mature Ethical Idealism
first published on October 28, 2021
This paper challenges the hitherto common distinction between Hermann Cohen’s early phase of Völkerpsychologie and his later phase as a critical idealist. Recently, it has been claimed that Cohen’s turn was not a rapid conversion but a development that was already inherent to his early view. This paper argues that even in Cohen’s mature critical idealism, a thin basis of Völkerpsychologie continues to exist. Cohen’s critical programme is presented as having a twofold aim: On the one hand, it strives to give an account of pure, formal, and logical laws that regulate critical thinking; on the other hand, it offers a reading of Kant’s dualism between matter and form that allows critical thinking to be seen as inevitably embedded in causal laws of psychology, history, and physiology. Concerning the latter, the paper argues that Cohen remained in the tradition of Völkerpsychologie in his mature ethical thought.
September 3, 2021
Justifying the Self-Evident
The Law of Identity and the Beginning of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre
first published on September 3, 2021
In Fichte’s early views of the basic laws of traditional formal logic, primarily the law of identity, there is a tension that has gone surprisingly unexplored: While Fichte holds the statements of these laws to be self-evidently true and absolutely certain, he nevertheless claims that they remain to be justified by his “Science of Knowledge.” The aim of this article is to make sense of this tension and to explore how it translates into the dialectical structure and methodology of Fichte’s first Jena Wissenschaftslehre. This is done by, first, conjecturing—in a somewhat ahistorical, yet Fichte-based, fashion—a reason for Fichte’s justificatory demand. It is argued that the validity of the law of identity can be questioned because our belief in its absolute generality appears to be self-refuting in that it involves an antinomy akin to Grelling’s semantic antinomy of the heterological. This antinomy, when, secondly, related to Fichte’s purported justification of the law of identity, serves as a key to understanding why there is an antinomic conflict between Fichte’s supreme principle—namely, the self-positing pure I—and its adversary, the not-I, in the first place. Tracing their contradiction (whose synthetic resolution is the main goal of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre) back to that semantic antinomy inherent in our formal-logical certainties opens up a new way of seeing Fichte as radicalizing Kant’s critical philosophy, understood as the project of the self-preservation of reason against reason’s own antinomies.
June 25, 2021
Hegelian Heritage and Anti-Racist Horizons
Exegesis and Rewritings of Dialectical Thought
first published on June 25, 2021
The task of confronting Hegel with the conflicts of our present proves to be indispensable to keep alive the critical scope of dialectics. In a context marked by a new wave of movements that challenge the racist structures that inform our societies, the question of the contribution of Hegelianism to an anti-racist thought takes a significant relevance.The hypothesis of this article argues that it is possible to distinguish two different operations that shape an anti-racist critique with the resources of Hegelian dialectical thought. The first one is constituted by the exegetical practice aiming to identify, within Hegel’s own discourse, a speculative core that allows the definitive overcoming of all ethno-racial particularisms through the postulation of a normative universal horizon. Such interpretative perspective, shared by numerous scholars, seeks the absorption of Hegel’s racist and Eurocentric assertions in the larger and global scope of his system. Once the limitation of this option is shown, we will examine an alternative operation, namely, the rewritings of the dialectical thought in certain philosophical reflections arising from the concreteness of anti-racist movements. To that extent, we will revisit the proposals of W.E.B Du Bois and Frantz Fanon as peripheral enunciations of the dialectic that enable a new understanding on the subjectivation processes and liberation horizons of racialized communities.
Kimberly Ann Harris
Du Bois and Hegelian Idealism
first published on June 25, 2021
In a crossed-out section in his Fisk University commencement address on Otto von Bismarck, W. E. B. Du Bois mentions that Hegel was one of the figures that influenced him early on in his intellectual development. I argue that although Du Bois uses Hegelian language and employs a Hegelian conception of history in his address “The Conservation of Races,” he abandons both in his essay “Sociology Hesitant.” He became critical of the teleological conception of history because it rests on determinism, which in his view denies the possibility for social change. With what I call his “mystical holism,” Du Bois is at odds with Hegel’s methodological holism, a distinguishing characteristic of absolute idealism. Du Bois’s dynamic idealism, which grows out of opposition to Hegelian idealism, leaves us with hope for a world without racism or at the very least in a better position to develop idealism as an anti-racist system of philosophical thought.
June 24, 2021
Ryan J. Johnson, Nathan Jones
Notes of a Wayward Son
Hegel, Baldwin, and Antiracist Idealism
first published on June 24, 2021
This paper transforms elements of Hegel’s thought into antiracism through the work of James Baldwin in three Acts. Act One offers a Hegelian Account of Honesty that is structurally inspired by “conscience” from his Phenomenology of Spirit. Honesty has two, seemingly paradoxical, dimensions. To address the unacknowledged whiteness in Hegel, we turn to Baldwin in Act Two. Baldwin deepens and problematizes Hegelian Honesty through a conceptual diagnosis of “double misrecognition”: the first is the misrecognition of Blackness as inferior, the second is the misrecognition of whiteness as superior. Act Three articulates how the structure of whiteness forecloses Schuld and shame by connecting this dual foreclosure to the two dimensions of Hegelian honesty and Baldwin’s diagnosis of double misrecognition. We conclude by formulating a sketch of “antiracist idealism” as version of what the Germans call Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, that is, doing the hard, uncomfortable labor of comprehending how the present is not separate from but completely composed of old scars, wounds, violence, and atrocities. Antiracist idealism enables us to both learn from yet also challenge canonical idealism through contemporary forms of antiracism.
May 1, 2021
Nikolaj Pilgaard Petersen
Countering the Decombination Problem
first published on May 1, 2021
Due to the difficulties of providing an adequate physicalist solution to the problem of consciousness, recent years have seen explorations of different avenues. Among these is the thesis of cosmopsychism, the view that the cosmos as a whole possesses consciousness. However, constitutive cosmopsychism is faced with the difficult problem of decombination: how to consistently maintain the claim that individual subjects are grounded in one absolute consciousness. This paper suggests a solution by outlining a theoretical model of a broadly idealistic and quantitative substance-monistic character. The key idea here is a triadic rather than monistic or dualistic conception of the subject. This conception allows us to affirm that the individual subject exists while simultaneously holding that its substance component is part of the one, undivided substance. This substance is in turn the substantive component of an all-encompassing, absolute subject. Notably, this model avoids the problem of decombination.
March 25, 2021
The Self as Activity
Beyond Reductionist and Non-Reductionist Theories of Selfhood
first published on March 25, 2021
This paper aims to defend a dialectical account of selfhood in the context of the contemporary debates on personal identity in Anglo-American philosophy. I interpret Reductionism and Non-Reductionism—the two dominant positions in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy—as forming something analogous to an antinomy. Reductionists argue that the self is merely an identity that is reducible to a set of facts, while Non-Reductionists argue that the self is a separate entity beyond any set of facts. I argue that a comprehensive view of the self requires aspects from both of these positions. The self, then, should be understood as an ongoing activity that relates the various features of one’s identity together.
March 16, 2021
Luis Fellipe Garcia
Nature at the Core of Idealism
The Birth of Two Strands of Post-Kantian Philosophy
first published on March 16, 2021
This paper claims that the inner drive of the discussion leading to the philosophical rupture between Fichte and Schelling is the problem of the independence of nature. I argue that the otherwise rich literature on the subject, by not engaging with this problem, has led to a false dichotomy between two equally unsatisfactory possibilities of interpretation: (a) Schelling’s misunderstanding of Kant’s transcendental method or (b) his overcoming of it. On my account, once one engages with Schelling’s philosophy of nature, it becomes clear that he, just as Fichte, is exploring the inner tensions of Kant’s philosophy, even though he does it in a different and original direction.
January 6, 2021
Affectivity in Moral Epistemology
Edith Stein and Dietrich von Hildebrand
first published on January 6, 2021
Recent epistemology and value theory have become more open to the role played by affectivity in the constitution of human knowledge of value. In this paper, two figures important to the phenomenological and personalistic traditions are retrieved as precedents for this contemporary development: Edith Stein and Dietrich von Hildebrand. In the first part of the paper, Stein’s phenomenology of affective acts is adapted as an account of the structure of “value-grasping acts.” The second part of the paper identifies two difficulties that arise on the basis of Stein’s account: (1) how do we know that an emotion constitutes a response to intrinsic value, and (2) how do we know an emotional response to value is most attuned to its object? The remainder of the paper responds to these difficulties, thereby legitimating the account as a viable moral epistemology. These responses draw inspiration from von Hildebrand’s phenomenological accounts of value-response and freedom.
November 26, 2020
Hugo E. Herrera
Knowledge of the Whole in Friedrich Hölderlin’s “Being Judgement Possibility”
Dieter Henrich and Manfred Frank’s Interpretations
first published on November 26, 2020
In “Being Judgement Possibility,” Hölderlin posits that the division between subject and object produced in conscious knowledge requires admitting a being as the ground of that knowledge’s unity. Commentators argue over the way to access such being according to Hölderlin. For Dieter Henrich, being is a presupposition recognized reflexively. Manfred Frank, by contrast, maintains that Hölderlin grants direct access to it in an “intellectual intuition.” This article addresses the respective interpretations of both authors. It shows that Frank’s interpretation is closer to the textual evidence than Henrich’s interpretation. Frank’s interpretation also allows one to explain better the way in which the division between subject and object avoids leading to dispersal. Finally, this article considers the insufficiency of Frank’s interpretation so as to clarify an issue that he himself advances in the course of his argument: how the I manages to distinguish itself in the sphere of intuitable objects.
November 10, 2020
Timothy J. Nulty
Predication, Intentionality and Relative Essentialism
first published on November 10, 2020
Relative essentialism is the novel metaphysical theory that there can be multiple objects occupying the same space at the same time each with its own de re modal truths. Relative essentialism is motivated by Davidson’s semantics and his denial that nature itself is divided into a privileged domain of objects. Relative essentialism was first presented by Samuel C. Wheeler. I argue that Wheeler’s approach to the Davidsonian program needs to be elaborated in terms of various types of preconceptual intentional relations. This elaboration is already largely implicit in Davidson’s own later work and in Wheeler’s relaunching of Davidsonian metaphysics. More specifically, I argue that relative essentialism is ultimately founded not on predication narrowly construed but on intentionality broadly construed. Following Wheeler’s suggestion, comparisons are made between relative essentialism and work within the phenomenological tradition.
Kant on Concepts, Intuitions, and the Continuity of Space
first published on November 10, 2020
This paper engages with Kant‘s account of space as a continuum. The stage is set by looking at how the question of spatial continuity comes up in a debate from the 1920s between Ernst Cassirer and logical empiricist thinkers about Kant‘s conception of spatial representation as a pure intuition. While granting that concrete features of space can only be known empirically, Cassirer attempted to save Kant‘s conception by restricting it to the core commitment of space as a continuous coexistent manifold. Cassirer did not however come up with a transcendental argument for spatial continuity. The paper presents such an argument by providing a reading of Kant‘s from which it transpires that Kant does not simply rely on supposed into the continuity of space. It is by way ofinstead that we can know space to be continuous and Kant’s distinction between intuitions and concepts does hinge on such knowledge.
Bradley and Moore on Common Sense
first published on November 10, 2020
It is well appreciated that Moore, in the final years of the nineteenth century, emphatically rejected the monistic idealism of F. H. Bradley. It has, however, been less widely noticed that Moore’s concern to defeat monism remained with him well into the 1920s. In the following discussion I describe the role that Moore’s adoption of a ‘common sense’ orientation played in his criticisms of Bradley’s monism. I begin by outlining certain distinctive features of Bradley’s sceptical methodology, before describing the contrasting approach of Moore as it appears in 1910-11 and 1925. I bring these methodological differences into relief by assessing the status of common sense claims in the work of each figure. I show that Moore’s common sense methodology was employed against Bradley’s monistic conclusions, and that it was adopted with Bradley squarely in mind.
September 19, 2020
Jacinto Páez Bonifaci
History as the Organon of Philosophy
A Link Between the Critical Method and the Philosophy of History
first published on September 19, 2020
In recent years, the Neo-Kantian movement has received wide acknowledgment as the hidden origin of several contemporary philosophical discussions. This paper focuses on one specific Neo-Kantian topic; namely, the idea of history put forward by Wilhelm Windelband (1848-1915). Even though this topic could be seen as one of the better-known Neo-Kantianism themes, there are certain unnoticed elements in Windelband’s treatment of history that merit further discussion. While the texts in which Windelband deals with the logical problems of the historical sciences have been studied at length, other texts, those in which history is studied in connection with the problem of the philosophical method, have not. This paper argues that, for Windelband, history is not merely an object of epistemological reflection but rather a key component of transcendental philosophy.
September 15, 2020
Juan Felipe Guevara-Aristizabal
Experimenting on the Margins of Philosophy
Kant, Copernicus and the Unsettled Analogy
first published on September 15, 2020
Kant’s Copernican turn has been the subject of intense philosophical debate because of the central role it plays in his transcendental philosophy. The analogy that Kant depicts between his own proposal and Copernicus’s has received many and varied interpretations that focus either on Copernicus’s heliocentrism and scientific procedure or on the experimental character of Kant’s endeavor. In this paper, I gather and review some of these interpretations, especially those that have appeared since the beginning of the twentieth century, to show the many disparate and often contradictory stances that the Copernican turn has elicited. Despite the controversies between the different interpretations, they all are follow ups and reinventions of the single philosophical event named the Copernican turn. This common origin allows me to advance a narrative that portrays that event as an experiment, following Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s philosophy of experimentation. My position does not entail that an experiment such as Kant’s conforms to what a scientific experiment is, although their histories could be narrated using a similar conceptual framework. In the end, my argument advances an experimental reading of the history of philosophy.
September 13, 2020
Unification or Differentiation?
Merleau-Ponty and Intertwining
first published on September 13, 2020
In this article, I argue that Merleau-Ponty underpins an idea of differentiation without ultimate unification through intertwining. I trace this idea of intertwining to Phenomenology of Perception. I argue that what perception marks is already differentiation prior to any identification. For this purpose, firstly, I will introduce Merleau-Ponty’s depiction of intertwining; secondly, I will elaborate perception in Phenomenology of Perception; finally, I will discuss flesh as intertwining in The Visible and The Invisible.
August 27, 2020
On the Ethical Significance of Fichte’s Theology
first published on August 27, 2020
This article shows that Fichte’s ethics and theology in the Jena period are conceived in intimate connection with each other. It explores what Fichte’s theology, as it is promulgated in the “Divine Governance” essay of 1798, might tell us about his account of the ethical law’s material content, as it is expounded in the System of Ethics of the same year. It does so with the aim of defending the standard interpretation of Fichte as a staunch advocate of deontology. From the theological vantage point, a plan for the realization of the final end is laid out in and through the moral world-order. The material of our duty is signified by the place we are assigned in and through the order. On account of our lack of insight into the “higher law” through which our place in the order is determined, no abstract, discursive criterion for what we ought to do here and now is forthcoming. While Fichte characterizes ethically right actions in terms of their tendency to produce the final end, he regards them as being so in an ideal, intelligible world rather than the real, empirical one.
August 22, 2020
From Autonomy to Heautonomy
Reinhold and Schiller on Practical Self-Determination
first published on August 22, 2020
In this paper, I will shed light on Karl Leonhard Reinhold’s and Friedrich Schiller’s conceptions of practical self-determination after Kant. First, I outline Kant’s conception of freedom as autonomy. I then explain the so-called “Reinhold’s dilemma,” which concerns the problem of moral imputability in the case of immoral actions, which arises from Kant’s theory of autonomy. I then show how Reinhold and Schiller tried to escape this dilemma by developing an elaborated theory of individual freedom. I will argue that Reinhold’s and Schiller’s symmetrical account of freedom to act according and against the moral law is not to be confused with freedom of indifference but can be reconstructed in terms of practical self-determination on the basis of first-order desires and second-order volitions.
Merleau-Ponty’s Account of Appearance
first published on August 22, 2020
Merleau-Ponty’s account of phenomena, or appearances, and their relation to things themselves, is obviously central to his project as a Phenomenologist. And yet there is no agreed upon interpretation of the account of appearance that he gives in the Phenomenology of Perception: many commentators suggest that that work is ultimately either Idealist or Realist, or even that his account of appearance there is simply inconsistent. In this article, I argue that Merleau-Ponty does, in fact, offer a coherent alternative to Realism and Idealism about appearances in the Phenomenology, and I examine some key features of the account that often give rise to the suspicion of inconsistency. I show that these features only appear inconsistent if we adopt certain assumptions about appearance that Merleau-Ponty would reject, and that we have good reason to question as well.
June 10, 2020
Metaphysics’ Accountability Gap
Hegel and Schelling on Reason’s Authority
first published on June 10, 2020
This article suggests a frame for thinking together Hegel and Schelling’s competing mature approaches to metaphysics. It argues that both reject modern metaphysics’ belief that there exists such a thing as the “world’s ontology.” In their mature philosophies, Hegel and Schelling develop metaphysical approaches based on what I call the “accountability gap.” For Hegel, reason is a matter of thinking under conceptual presuppositions we come to know and evaluate in hindsight. Hegel gives up on the modern rationalist idea that reason can in principle account for what the world is like without introducing assumptions. In the Logic, he concludes that metaphysics should be reconsidered along the lines of normative authority by freeing it of the commitment to thorough accountability. I describe a similar process in Schelling’s post-1809 metaphysics. In his middle period, Schelling describes traditional metaphysics as unable to account for reason’s creative basis. Reason gets its bearings creatively in a way systematic thinking cannot account for from within. Schelling concludes that reason’s authority arises from “creative storytelling” and not from laying out the world’s ontology. This paper argues for an accountability gap as a helpful construct to draw out the stakes of Hegel and Schelling’s metaphysics.
June 5, 2020
Experience and the Absolute in the Light of Idealism
first published on June 5, 2020
The question of whether the true character of reality is monistic or pluralistic spans almost the entire history of metaphysics. Though little discussed in recent decades, it presents problems that are nowadays considered of the utmost importance. Think, for instance, of the ultimate nature of elements such as matter, elemental particles or physical fields. Are they self-sufficient? Do they depend on a higher reality? A major discussion regarding the metaphysical grounds of such questions took place in Britain during the late nineteenth century. It saw Francis Herbert Bradley (1846–1924) and James Ward (1843–1925) trying to understand the nature of experience. By recalling that specific discussion, this article seeks to show why the monistic character of reality prevails.
June 3, 2020
Schelling’s Volitional Compatibilism
first published on June 3, 2020
The aim of this paper is to analyze Schelling’s compatibilist account of freedom of the will particularly in his Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom (1809). I shall argue that against Kant’s transcendental compatibilism Schelling proposes a “volitional compatibilism,” according to which the free will emerges out of nature and is not identical to practical reason as Kant claims. Finally, I will relate Schelling’s volitional compatibilism to more recent accounts of free will in order to better understand what he means by his concept of a “higher necessity.”
March 14, 2020
The Voyage of Human Reason in and beyond Kant's The Critique of Pure Reason
first published on March 14, 2020
The Copernican Revolution had meant for modern Europe surer navigation, bolder voyages and wilder discoveries. With the declaration of independence of America in 1781 and the publication of The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant in the same year, the age of Enlightenment defined itself as an age of coming of age and of daring to know. This essay tries to draw out the peculiar enlightenment ethos of a youth against youth through Kant’s depiction of the voyage of human reason in the First Critique. It will do so by examining the four-fold sense of objects, the island of truth surrounded by illusion, amphibolic insularity, the mirror of schema and the “No Further!” of the Pillars of Hercules. Interrogating the dual sense of “limit” as both infinitizing, transgressively de-territorializing and yet at the same time self-delimiting, self-critiquingly re-territorializing, this essay argues for a hermeneutic vantage point to comprehend Kant as the unwilling mariner who by way of the transcendental as-if attempted to gain a certain spectatorship, a particular possibility of seeing - at a shore already and increasingly lost to the European and global humanity of centuries to come.
March 12, 2020
The Ontological Nature of Intuition in Schelling
first published on March 12, 2020
In this paper, I focus on the concept of intuition (Anschauung) in Schelling’s philosophy. More specifically, I show how Schelling attributes to intuition an ontological value by essentially relating it to freedom and primal Being (Ursein). Indeed, for Schelling intuition is both the main instrument of philosophy and the highest product of freedom, by which we attain the so-called “God’s-eye point of view” and concretely grasp things in their immediate existence. That is, through intuition it is possible to grasp the absolute and original unity of the principles, namely of being and thought, subject and object and freedom and necessity. Accordingly, I argue that Schelling’s conception of intuition, rather being a merely theoretical speculation, is aimed at demonstrating the immanent nature of Being, which is one of the key points in Schelling’s philosophy.
February 25, 2020
Boredom and Wonder in the Work of Arthur Schopenhauer
first published on February 25, 2020
This article examines Arthur Schopenhauer’s theory of boredom. In traditional interpretations of this theory, boredom is understood to be a form of suffering and a key component in Schopenhauer’s argument for the claim that all life is suffering. While such interpretations are correct, I argue that they only capture a single feature of the experience that Schopenhauer describes. Schopenhauer also understands boredom to occasion a unique insight into the nature of reality, and boredom should thereby additionally be thought of as an epistemically significant emotion. To elucidate this epistemic quality, I interpret Schopenhauer’s concept of boredom as revealing the miserable condition of the world, where such revelation compels one to wonder about the nature of this condition, thereby founding a philosophical attitude. Through an evaluation of Schopenhauer’s conceptions of boredom and wonder, I demonstrate that Schopenhauer ultimately conceives boredom as crucial for the development of a philosophical attitude toward existence.
January 16, 2020
S. F. Kislev
The Individual as System
British Hegelianism and the Theory of Concrete Universality
first published on January 16, 2020
In British Hegelianism we find, forgotten, a weighty theory of individuality. This theory remains one of the most sustained attempts in the history of philosophy to analyze the individual, not in the social or psychological sense, but as a logical-metaphysical category. The Idealist conceptualization of the individual is bound with their unconventional theory of universals, for they argued that any individual is a “concrete universal,” and vice versa. This article reconstructs the British Idealist theory of individuality, highlighting its key insights: (a) the individual is not a simple unit, but a small system with interrelated parts; (b) the individual is not simply given, but is mediated by thought; (c) the individual is the conceptual glue holding the parts together and assigning them their respective places; (d) the conceptualization of the individual lies at the intersection of logic, aesthetics and systems theory.
November 7, 2019
Hegel's Logic as Presuppositionless Science
first published on November 7, 2019
In this article, I offer a critical interpretation of Hegel’s claims regarding the presuppositionless status of the Logic. Commentators have been divided as to whether the Logic actually achieves the status of presuppositionless science, disagreeing as to whether the Logic succeeds in making an unmediated beginning. I argue, however, that this understanding of presuppositionless science is misguided, as it reflects a spurious conception of immediacy that Hegel criticizes as false. Contextualizing Hegel’s remarks in light of his broader approach to the problem of beginning, I contend that Hegel’s Logic is presuppositionless not in the sense that it satisfies a formal epistemological demand to begin free from all mediation, but in that its self-mediating structure facilitates an immanent deduction of the categories.
Michael P. Berman
The Natural Complexes of Encounters
first published on November 7, 2019
The totalizing and absolutizing tendencies of metaphysics can undermine our essential ethical relationality. Is there a metaphysics that is robust enough and conducive to preserving this intuition? In answer, this paper will draw upon Martin Buber and Justus Buchler. Buber’s seminal work, I and Thou (1923), explores the nature of the ethical encounter. Buchler’s Metaphysics of Natural Complexes (1966) develops a general ontology, which can be described as an ordinal metaphysics. Encounters are thoroughly relational for Buber. Buchler’s metaphysics is also thoroughly relational. A phenomenological approach to relationality establishes the medium for this dialogue and provides a common ground for these texts. Not only is there a way to account for Buber’s encounter, but there is also an inherent moral understanding in Buchler’s metaphysics that preserves and is conducive to ethical relationality. Buchler’s metaphysics avoids the totalizing and absolutizing tendencies derided by Buber, while simultaneously promotes a version of the encounter.
October 26, 2019
Organic Harmony and Ernst Cassirer’s Pluralism
first published on October 26, 2019
This article argues that Cassirer’s thinking about the relationship between the different symbolic forms is best elucidated via the paradigm of “organic harmony.” Although Cassirer did not use the term himself, the harmonious cooperation between the parts found in the organic world provided him with a welcome alternative to traditional accounts of order (i.e., identity or hierarchy). This article gives three examples of “organic harmony” from which Cassirer drew inspiration: Goethe’s idealistic morphology, Wilhelm von Humboldt’s account of language, and Herder’s account of history. Through “organic harmony” we can make better sense of and better articulate the pluralism of Cassirer’s PSF. Finally, this article shows how the motif of organic harmony is the normative moment in Cassirer’s own challenge to twentieth-century fascism and argues that the Cassirerian emphasis on finding a coherence which does justice to the uniqueness of particulars—harmony—is an ethical injunction relevant for our times.
October 22, 2019
Fiacha D. Heneghan
Are the Frühromantiker Platonists?
first published on October 22, 2019
How to classify the artistic and philosophical movement of Early German Romanticism (die Frühromantik) remains a topic of ongoing disagreement. I consider the views of two of the leading interpreters—Frederick Beiser and Manfred Frank—and argue that the latter’s are closer to the truth. Beiser, however, has noticed a lacuna in the literature surrounding the metaphysics and epistemology of the Romantics, namely their debt to an ascendant Plato during their intellectual development. This is right, but Beiser’s idealist reading of the Romantics leans heavily on Platonic sources that are fundamentally incompatible with a consistent anti-foundationalist strain in Romantic thought. I argue that it is unlikely that Plato influenced the Romantics in the way Beiser suggests.
October 18, 2019
Daniel Rueda Garrido
Krause, Spanish Krausism, and Philosophy of Action
first published on October 18, 2019
Krausists followed a dialectical method in all their activities. It is an action plan in which theory and practice are established on a continuum. Since it summarizes all human activity, this dialectic implies a philosophy of action. The originality of this article lies precisely in offering an account of the philosophy of action implicit in the work of Krause, which has never before been made explicit. Therefore, the goal of this article is, on the one hand, to isolate this dialectic in the texts of the Spanish Krausists, and, on the other hand, to demonstrate the traditional affirmation about the practical meaning of Krause’s philosophy, as shown in its Spanish version. This practical orientation of his thought was channelled through several disciplines and, especially, through the modern pedagogy known as active education. Throughout the article, I also show how to relate Krause’s philosophy to contemporary philosophical debates.
August 22, 2019
Adorno on Kierkegaard on Love for the Dead
first published on August 22, 2019
This article employs Freud’s distinction between mourning and melancholia to clarify Adorno’s reading of Kierkegaard. Adorno finds in Kierkegaard’s view of love for the dead both the consummate reified fetish of our instrumentalizing exchange society, and the only unmutilated relation left to us in our otherwise thoroughly damaged lives. Adorno’s negative dialectics emerges as the melancholy science resulting from a disfigured mourning’s present impossibility, upholding a material moral motive rooted in the unmournability of historical catastrophe. Yet this very melancholia also proves to be the last unlikely refuge of hope—in a Kierkegaardian sense—for a future redemption.
August 21, 2019
The Reality of Modes in Spinoza’s Philosophy
first published on August 21, 2019
In the history of philosophy, two standard critiques of the reality of modes in Spinoza’s philosophy come from Pierre Bayle and Georg Wilhelm Hegel. Both philosophers in some way assume that attributes and relations among modes constitute a shared reality in which modes participate. As a result, they assert that Spinoza’s monism leads either to an over-identification of God with contingent modes or to a limited God. In this paper, I will show how attributes and relations among modes in Spinoza’s work simply explain an active modal reality; modes do not depend upon or participate in ideal relations and attributes for their existence. The result is that in Spinoza’s philosophy attributes must be seen as unreal and modal reality must be understood as primary.
August 14, 2019
José María Sánchez de León Serrano, Noa Shein
The Coincidence of the Finite and the Infinite in Spinoza and Hegel
first published on August 14, 2019
This paper proposes a reassessment of Hegel’s critical reading of Spinoza and of the charge of acosmism, for which this reading is known. We argue that this charge is actually the consequence of a more fundamental criticism, namely Spinoza’s presumable inability to conceive the unity of the finite and the infinite. According to Hegel, the infinite and the finite remain two poles apart in Spinoza’s metaphysics, which thus fails to be a true monism, insofar as it contains an irreducible duality. Against this reading, we argue that Spinoza’s conception of the causal co-determination of finite modes entails the acknowledgment of their essentially infinite nature. The study of this particular instance of coincidentia oppositorum enables to counter some of Hegel’s criticisms as well as to illuminate a fairly unexplored aspect of Spinoza’s substance monism.
August 8, 2019
Wittgenstein, Peirce, and Death
first published on August 8, 2019
The paper presents a Peircean criticism of Wittgenstein’s views on death. By exploring the notion of ‘limit’ central to both Wittgenstein and Peirce, the paper claims that a Peircean pragmatic notion of death can retain the advantages of Wittgenstein’s ‘limit’ notion of death without incurring the shortcomings of the latter, which I identify with semantic and metaphysical externality. I conclude by sketching out some consequences of the Peircean view for a metaphysics of death.
July 25, 2019
Immaterial Mechanism in the Mature Leibniz
first published on July 25, 2019
Leibniz standardly associates “mechanism” with extended material bodies and their aggregates. In this paper, I identify and analyze a further distinct sense of “mechanism” in Leibniz that extends, by analogy, beyond the domain of material bodies and applies to the operations of immaterial substances such as the monads that serve, for Leibniz, as the metaphysical foundations of physical reality. I argue that in this sense, Leibniz understands “mechanism” as an intelligible process that is capable of providing a sufficient reason for a series of changes. I then apply these findings to enrich our understanding of Leibniz’s well-known mill argument in Monadology ¶17: although material machines and mechanisms cannot produce perceptions, the perceptual activity of immaterial monads is to be understood as “mechanical” according to this analogical sense.
July 23, 2019
Frames, World-Pictures and Representations
Heidegger’s Critique of the Picture
first published on July 23, 2019
This essay analyzes key aspects of Heidegger’s critique of the picture (Bild) based on an objection to world-pictures as well as a negative understanding of two other related concepts: Gestell and Vorstellen (representation). The restrictive frames of world-pictures, Heidegger claims, must be opposed by instances of thinking and language use associated with poiesis. For him, the revelation of the world in poiesis results in a subject-less experience of things and words, akin to the experience of art and literature, and presumably outside the representational hold of pictures. I argue against Heidegger’s repudiation of the picture by underscoring the inescapability of Vorstellen. Heidegger’s world may be seen as a world-picture as well as a particular system of representation that we associate with affective uses of language, i.e., a literary system similar to the one discussed by Wolgang Iser.
July 4, 2019
Toby J. Svoboda
A Place for Kant's Schematism in Glauben und Wissen
first published on July 4, 2019
In Glauben und Wissen, Hegel criticizes Kant for drawing a deep division between sensibility and understanding. Hegel suggests that Kant’s faculty of productive imagination is a step toward uniting intuition and concept in an original unity out of which the two arise, but this requires him to treat the productive imagination in ways Kant would not approve. I argue that Kant’s doctrine of the schematism offers an advance on the productive imagination when it comes to solving the intuition/concept dualism Hegel critiques, although there remain serious problems with which Hegel would take issue. Although the schematism might answer some of the criticisms Hegel aims at the intuition/concept dualism, it does not solve the related problem Hegel finds in Kant, namely the dualism of cognition and thing-in-itself.
Schelling’s Metaphysics of Love
first published on July 4, 2019
This paper argues that Schelling’s understanding of love more readily captures his notion of unground as a contradictory-producing a priori. Love is a more appropriate term for unground insofar as it conveys the juxtaposition of feelings which motivate the eternal beginning. Self-expression, for Schelling, is born from the tension between God’s longing to be and his freedom. While this antithesis entails that God’s decision to be is only subjectively intelligible, it also implies the element of risk in the decision insofar as it suggests the groundlessness—and, thus, ambiguity—of God’s wanting to be. Indeed, for Schelling, God must decide whether to relinquish his perfection for the sake of an uncertain future. This essay offers a fresh interpretation God’s decision insofar as it introduces love as a means of understanding the attractiveness of God’s risk-taking, while also affirming his freedom to decide if the risk is worthwhile.
May 29, 2019
Political Ramifications of Formal Ugliness in Kant’s Aesthetics
first published on May 29, 2019
Kant’s theory of taste supports his political theory by providing the judgment of beauty as a symbol of the good and example of teleological experience, allowing us to imagine the otherwise obscure movement of nature and history toward the ideal human community. If interpreters are correct in believing that Kant should make room for pure judgments of ugliness in his theory of taste, we will have to consider the implications of such judgments for Kant’s political theory. It is here proposed that pure, formal ugliness symbolizes regressive, counter-teleological trends in nature and history. Kant’s paradoxical stance on the right to rebellion, both condemning and supporting the French Revolution, is interpreted as failing to take into account negative social forces signified by ugliness, and therefore neglecting the role of moral agency in social change.
May 25, 2019
Kant’s Reformulation of the Concept of Ius Naturae
first published on May 25, 2019
Like previous theorists of natural law, Kant believes in the possibility (and necessity) of a rational theory of ius, but also claims that the very concept of ius naturae and the method of investigation of its principles must be thoroughly reformulated. I will maintain that Kant solves the methodological problem of natural law theories by stating that a rational doctrine of Right concerns pure rational knowledge. Right must be conceived as a metaphysical doctrine in which its principles and laws are determined a priori. By conceiving the idea of a “metaphysics of morals” and linking Right with it, he finds a way both to conserve the notion of ius naturae (i.e., rational and “immutable principles for any giving of positive law” (RL, AA 06: 229)) and to purify it from any empirical or anthropological element.
April 18, 2019
Why Is There a Doctrine of Method in Critique of Pure Reason?
first published on April 18, 2019
Kant characterizes Critique of Pure Reason as “a treatise on the method” (KrV B xxii). But he does not clearly work out the Doctrine of Method of the Critique. Most interpreters of the Critique do not work out the Doctrine of Method either. This paper outlines the systematic place and significance of the Doctrine of Method within the structure of the Critique. It suggests that the Doctrine of Method supplies the methodological conditions, or systematic laws, of possible cognitions of reason. In other words, the Doctrine of Method is the primary locus of critique or reason’s self-cognition, i.e., reason’s cognition of the laws that make its possible cognitions systematic.
April 17, 2019
Freedom and Culture
The Cassirerian and Confucian Account of Symbolic Formation
first published on April 17, 2019
Through a key passage (Xici 2.2) from the Book of Changes, this paper shows that Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms shares similarities with the canonical account of symbolic formation in the Chinese tradition: the genesis of xiang (象), often translated as image or symbol. xiang became identified with the origins of culture/civilisation itself. In both cases, the world is understood as primordially (phenomenologically) meaningful; the expressiveness of the world requires a human subject to consummate it in a symbol, whilst the symbol in turn gives us access to higher orders of meaning. It is the self-conscious creation of the symbol that then allows for the higher forms of culture. For both the Xici and Cassirer, symbols and the symbolic consciousness that comes with it is the pre-condition for the freedom, ethics and the cultivation of agency. As for both the Xici and Cassirer, it is human agency that creates these symbols, it will be argued that the Xici is making a Cassirerian argument about the (ethical) relationship between human agency, symbols and ethics/freedom.
April 13, 2019
E. Eugene Kleist
Phenomenology’s Constitutive Paradox
Meillassoux on Husserl and Merleau-Ponty on Schelling
first published on April 13, 2019
I provide a phenomenological response to Quentin Meillassoux’s “realist” criticism of phenomenology and I explore the resources and limits of phenomenology in its own attempt to grapple with the paradox Meillassoux believes sinks it: subjectivity has priority over the physical reality it constitutes despite the anteriority and posteriority of that physical reality to subjectivity. I first offer a corrective to Meillassoux’s interpretation of Husserl. Then, I turn to Merleau-Ponty’s lectures on the philosophy of nature, where he addresses the paradox by interpreting Husserl in the light of Schelling. I argue throughout that the correct understanding of Husserl’s concept of constitution, and particularly, passive constitution, defangs this realist criticism of phenomenology and suggests phenomenology to be capable of a Naturphilosophie intimating pre-reflective being. The prime instance of this pre-reflective being is subjectivity’s entanglement with a reality that encompasses it.
April 11, 2019
Parallelism and the Idea of God in Spinoza's System
first published on April 11, 2019
In this paper, I begin by showing that for Spinoza, it is unclear how the human mind can have a true idea of God. I first provide an explanation of Spinoza’s theory of parallelism of the mind and the body, followed by showing how this doctrine seems to undermine the mind’s ability to have an adequate idea of God. From there, I show that the idea of God presents a problem for Spinoza’s theory of the parallelism of the attributes in general. To resolve the tension, I argue that Spinoza’s theory of parallelism does not entail a one-to-one correspondence between the modes of different attributes. From here, I show that the human mind can have an adequate idea of God, because the mind can have an idea of its own formal essences and the idea of a formal essence is itself an idea of God.
March 9, 2019
Systematic Needs of the Doctrine of Elements in Critique of Pure Reason
first published on March 9, 2019
Most interpretations of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason focus on its Doctrine of Elements, and ignore that the Doctrine of Elements needs to be grounded systematically in the Doctrine of Method. As a step toward remedying such neglect, this paper outlines the relation between the Doctrine of Elements and the Doctrine of Method within the Critique. It lays out the three systematic needs implied in the Doctrine of Elements, and shows that, in Kant’s account, these needs can be satisfied only in the Doctrine of Method. In doing so, the paper reveals the systematic dependence of the elements of cognitions on the method of cognition from pure reason.
January 29, 2019
Jane F. McDonnell
first published on January 29, 2019
This paper is about the relationship between actuality and potentiality. Two paradigms are considered: (1) Leibnizian possible worlds, which is rooted in classical physics; and (2) the consistent histories quantum theory of Griffiths, Gell-Mann, Hartle, and Omnès. I explore an interesting connection between these two paradigms. The analysis goes beyond a comparison of classical and quantum physics to consider how modern physics might be integrated into a more comprehensive view of the world, in the spirit of Leibniz’s own philosophy.
Dennis Vanden Auweele
The Later Schelling on Philosophical Religion and Christianity
first published on January 29, 2019
Schelling’s later philosophy (1820 onwards) was historically received as a disappointment: the once brazen Romantic and pantheist becomes a pious Christian in his old age. Indeed, Schelling’s Berlin lectures on revelation and mythology culminate in a suspicious level of Christian orthodoxy. In the last few years, a number of scholars have offered a different reading of Schelling’s Spätphilosophie, particularly by pointing out his rethinking of nature, revelation, and Christianity. In this paper, I offer a systematic reading of Schelling’s later philosophy so as to show that his views of a philosophical religion fit within the trajectory of his thought. Nevertheless, Schelling does recourse overtly hasty in (Christian) religion.
J. Colin McQuillan
Kant on Scholarship and the Public Use of Reason
first published on January 29, 2019
In “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?,” Kant defines the public use of reason as “that use which someone makes of it as a scholar before the entire public of the world of readers.” Commentators rarely note Kant’s reference to “scholarship” in this passage and, when they do, they often disagree about its meaning and significance. This paper addresses those disagreements by exploring discussions of scholarship in Kant’s logic lectures as well as in later works like The Conflict of the Faculties. These sources suggest that Kant defends a rigorous conception of scholarship, which may not be consistent with liberal and egalitarian interpretations of the public use of reason. The paper concludes that Kant’s account of the public use of reason provides only a limited defense of freedoms of speech and of the press, which is neither as liberal nor as egalitarian as other commentators have suggested.
January 16, 2019
Hegel on Truth and Absolute Spirit
first published on January 16, 2019
The notion of absolute spirit, while undeniably central to Hegel’s philosophy, has been somewhat neglected in the literature. Two main lines of interpretation can be identified: a traditional metaphysical reading, according to which “absolute spirit” refers to an infinite spiritual substance, and a non-metaphysical reading, according to which it refers to activities in which human beings articulate their understanding of the principles that guide their communal life. Both types of reading are problematic exegetically as well as philosophically. This article develops an epistemological reading instead. Accordingly, “absolute spirit” refers to a kind of (self-)knowledge, which is distinct from empirical and practical knowledge. Hegel conceives of art, religion, and philosophy as species of such knowledge. While this view might seem astonishing, it can be justified by showing that it is by recourse to paradigmatic instances of artistic, religious, and philosophical activity that the otherwise indefinable notion of truth is fixed.
Systematicity in Kant’s Third Critique
first published on January 16, 2019
Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment is often interpreted in light of its initial reception. Conventionally, this reception is examined in the work of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, who found in Kant’s third Critique a new task for philosophy: the construction of an absolute, self-grounding system. This paper identifies an alternative line of reception in the work of physiologists and medical practitioners during the 1790s and early 1800s, including Kielmeyer, Reil, Girtanner and Oken. It argues that these naturalists called on Kant’s third Critique to solidify an experimental natural history that classifies organic form within a system of laws. Kant held both kinds of system in tension, which is why the third Critique remains a singular and provocative text.
January 11, 2019
Héctor Oscar Arrese Igor
The Family Right from the Background of the Fichtean Natural Right
first published on January 11, 2019
The Fichtean theory of self-consciousness and recognition, published in 1796 and 1797, must be understood in terms of the mutual formation of subjects insofar as they are rational and free beings. It is for this reason that this paper criticizes Stephen Darwall´s interpretation from the second person´s perspective. It also reconstructs the Fichtean theory of family, suggesting evidence of the relationships of recognition that structure it. In this way there are analogies between the original situation of summons and the formative relationships at the core of the family community.
December 29, 2018
Kant's Argument for the Formula of the End in Itself
A Logical Pluralism Interpretation
first published on December 29, 2018
One approach to Kant’s argument for the Formula of the End in Itself (FEI) takes Kant to ground FEI as a possible categorical imperative with a regressive argument that rests on a non-moral conception of rational nature. This paper presents a new, logical pluralism version of this approach. In conjunction with three other steps of argument, the logical pluralism version of the regressive argument grounds FEI by showing that an agent is rationally required to adopt a self-affirming plural standpoint, and thus to take it to have absolute worth. A logical pluralism version of the regressive argument thereby avoids three objectionable claims relied on by other versions: that (1) a rational agent must take their end to be objectively good; that (2) if an agent values their own rational nature, then they must also value others’ rational nature; and that (3) any source of value must itself be of unconditional value.
November 30, 2018
Dustin N. Atlas
Mendelssohn’s Aesthetics of Critical Tolerance
Against Unity and Political Theology
first published on November 30, 2018
This paper revisits Moses Mendelssohn’s political theology through his early aesthetic writings, and in conjunction with his later writing on politics and religion, unearths a model of religious toleration that can respond to many contemporary critiques of tolerance, especially those which draw from Jacobi and Schmitt’s decisionist political theology.
November 29, 2018
Pierre Klossowski’s Hamann
The Transition from Epistemology to Speech in Twentieth-Century French Philosophy
first published on November 29, 2018
This paper elucidates Pierre Klossowski’s relationship to the post-Kantian tradition, specifically as a part of the shift in twentieth-century French philosophy from a neo-Kantian epistemological approach to the emphasis on the primacy of language in the human subject and his place in society. In response to a variety of events (the reception of Hegelianism through the lenses of Kojève and Wahl, the Marxist critique of capitalism and the rise of European fascism) Klossowski develops a peculiar interest in the works of Johann Georg Hamann, who can be considered to be either the first post-Kantian or the direct antecedent of post-Kantianism (given the fact that he influenced both Kant and many post-Kantians). As this paper argues, Klossowski published a collection of texts by Hamann as a direct response to the philosophical deadlock between conceptuality and immediate life that the French reception of Hegel emphasized.
November 10, 2018
The Place of Truth
With Heidegger and Schelling Toward a Poetics of Truth
first published on November 10, 2018
In this essay, I argue for a poetics of truth locatable in the thinking of Heidegger and Schelling. Truth is taken to be an event; the poetics of truth then developed is offered as a way of realizing a rethinking of truth which takes a phenomenological point of departure. Truth, as an event, takes place; this taking place opens a space to take place in and the work of art is offered as an example of just that. The overall argument for a poetics of truth follows Schelling in his assertion that the highest purpose of science is to return to the ocean of poetry; this return, I argue, can be routed through Heidegger’s philosophy of dwelling.
November 6, 2018
Making Sense of "Needs" in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
first published on November 6, 2018
This paper unpacks the often made but rarely fleshed out distinction between a ‘need’ and a ‘want.’ The usual conception of a need is that it is something that is teleologically necessary for the achievement of a certain end, with the end being somehow essential to human wellbeing. A want, on the other hand, is understood to be an arbitrary desire, and, as such, without the moral weight of a need. However, both concepts have at least a weak sense of teleology embedded in them, because everything we want fulfills at least some minimal purpose. In order to clear up the confusion between a want and a need this paper turns to the ‘System of Needs’ section in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.
The Ethical Significance of Kant's Sensus Communis
From Aesthetic to Ethical Community
first published on November 6, 2018
The paper defends an interpretation of Kant’s notion of the sensus communis as the normative ideal of a universal aesthetic community. It further proposes that this understanding is the key to illuminating his account of our moral interest in cultivating taste. A sensus communis is morally necessary because it is an essential means to the creation of the kingdom of ends, which it promotes through its sustaining of a shared symbolic network for the sake of ethical community. The moral advancement of any historical ethical community depends upon an artistic culture that promotes social communication and unity, and mitigates the vices to which the extreme ends of the class hierarchy are vulnerable. In pursuit of the cosmopolitan ideal, agents should attempt to widen their immediate artistic culture in the service of a world culture and eventual universal ethical community.
November 3, 2018
Gregory Morgan Swer
Oswald Spengler and Martin Heidegger on Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics
first published on November 3, 2018
This paper argues that Oswald Spengler has an innovative philosophical position on the nature and interrelation of mathematics and science. It further argues that his position in many ways parallels that of Martin Heidegger. Both held that an appreciation of the mathematical nature of contemporary science was critical to a proper appreciation of science, technology and modernity. Both also held that the fundamental feature of modern science is its mathematical nature, and that the mathematical operates as a projection that establishes in advance the manner in which an object will present itself. They also assert that modern science, mathematics and metaphysics all have their roots in the ‘mathematical’, whose essence is itself nothing numerical.
October 30, 2018
John V. Garner
Thinking Beyond Identity
Numbers and the Identity of Indiscernibles in Plato and Proclus
first published on October 30, 2018
In his Euclid commentary, Proclus states that mathematical objects have a status in between Platonic forms and sensible things. Proclus uses geometrical examples liberally to illustrate his theory but says little about arithmetic. However, by examining Proclus’s scattered statements on number and the traditional sources that influenced him (esp. the Philebus), I argue that he maintains an analogy between geometry and arithmetic such that the arithmetical thinker projects a “field of units” to serve as the bearers of number forms. I argue that this conception of a “multitude,” wherein each unit differs in no way from the others, implies that Platonists need not recognize unqualifiedly what would become the principle of the identity of indiscernibles. I argue that Cratylus 432c in particular provides support for a reading of Plato as consistently thinking beyond the principle of identity. I conclude by drawing out an important epistemological and ethical lesson from this reading.
October 9, 2018
Liesbet De Kock
Being and the Body
Embodiment in J. G. Fichte’s Transcendental Analysis of Consciousness
first published on October 9, 2018
The aim of this paper is to present an in-depth inquiry into one of the most disregarded dimensions of Fichte’s philosophy, i.e., the systematic place of embodiment in his transcendental epistemology. Highlighting the necessarily embodied nature of the constitution of the notion of thinghood or being in Fichte’s philosophy could not only help pave the way for a more elegant understanding of the relation between idealism’s and phenomenology’s subject views, it likewise enables a more comprehensive insight into Fichte’s much debated theory of subjectivity. Furthermore, Fichte’s transcendental account of the body provides one with a new vantage point from which to consider some classical interpretive issues, most notably those pertaining to Fichte’s peculiar methodology, his Ideal-Realism, and his take on the problem of explanatory circularity in trying to tackle the problem of the genesis of (bodily) self-consciousness.
August 25, 2018
Sami J. Pihlstrom
Death and the Transcendental Subject
first published on August 25, 2018
This paper discusses the philosophy of death and mortality from a transcendental perspective. I first criticize the metaphysically realistic background assumptions of mainstream analytic approaches to the philosophy of death. Secondly, I defend a transcendentally idealistic approach, drawing attention to how the topic of death can be illuminated by means of the notion of the transcendental subject. Thirdly, I identify a problem in this approach: the transcendental subject needs to recognize its own mortality. Fourthly, I propose a pragmatist way out of this problem. This, however, is no way out of the general issue that mortality as a structural element of the human condition provides us with. Rather, pragmatism (joining forces with transcendental philosophy) can show us a way of living with this condition.
Karen E. Davis
Playing with Others
A Gadamerian Ethics of Non-Differentiation
first published on August 25, 2018
Scholars of hermeneutics have recently taken up the task of elucidating Gadamer’s ethics by studying his work on the structure of understanding and human experience. This article seeks to contribute to that scholarship through an examination of Gadamer’s aesthetics. I suggest that Gadamer’s notions of play and aesthetic non-differentiation provide further resources for understanding Gadamer’s hermeneutic ethics as an ethics of non-differentiation, i.e., a unification of theory and practice (understanding and application). For Gadamer, an understanding of the good is its enactment in the context of the dialogical play we find ourselves engaged in with others. Furthermore, Gadamer’s identification of aesthetic non-differentiation with play reveals that his ethics aims not only to unify theory and practice but also to unite participants in the ethical play as intersubjective elements of a shared experience. Retrieving the ethical import of Gadamer’s aesthetics also helps to unfold Gadamer’s suggestion that hermeneutics itself is an ethical enterprise.
The Aesthetics of Agency in Kant and Schiller
first published on August 25, 2018
One of the lasting influences of German Idealism has been the transformation of aesthetics into a central philosophical concern. My aim here is to show how and why Kant’s and Schiller’s formulations of the problems of moral agency, in particular, constitute an important episode of this development. I argue, first, that it is in the context of Kant’s view of moral agency that aesthetics gains larger purchase than it formerly had (as a response to the problem of the identification of an agent with his external action); second, that Schiller expands the role of aesthetics (in response to Kant’s formulation of it) by intensifying a demand for aesthetic abandon in the agent as a bulwark against the threat of its possible “theatricalization.” It is these heightened demands on the first-personal content of agency that thus began the process of transforming the question of moral agency into an aesthetic one.