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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 7, 2000

Modern Philosophy

Sidney Axinn
Pages 79-87

Kant on Possible Hope
The Critique of Pure Hope

According to Kant, there are limits to possible hope. For example, hope for a contradiction is obviously not a logically possible hope. However, Kant goes much further and restricts possible hope to what can be possibly experienced. The line between what can and cannot be constructed as an image in space and time limits what can be thought rather than what can be merely mentioned. The apparently modern distinction between use and mention (generally attributed to Frege) is used by Kant to distinguish phenomena and noumena as well as real and fictitious concepts. I propose a definition of hope that is consistent with Kant’s concept of reasonable and unreasonable hopes. I then consider some applications of this definition to Kant’s view of world peace, grace, and miracles. Despite notions of secondorder hope and transcendental hope, all possible hope lies within the limits of possible experience.

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