Kantian Journal

Current issue

ARTICLES

Kant’s Philosophy

Transzendentalphilosophie als kritische Bestimmung des Stand­punkts. Eine wissenschaftstheoretische Annäherung

Abstract

Both the categories and principles of understanding as well as the ideas and principles of reason build transcendental elements to conceive transcendental philosophy as a philosophical system. Accordingly, in addition to the “Transcendental Analytic”, Kant develops in the “Transcendental Dialectic” an expanded concept of the transcendental. The transcendental ideas do not denote object-constitutive principles but, in a weaker sense, conditions of the possibility of experience. The relation between Division One and Division Two of the “Doctrine of Elements” can be demonstrated exemplarily with regard to Kant’s references to astronomy. Based on the constitutive principles of understanding, which are directed towards the field of possible experience and provide a connection of cognition through reasons and consequences, as well as the regulative principles of reason, which form maxims of research, astronomy is a proper and rational natural science. The analysis of the case studies of astronomy shows that Kant uses the term transcendental within the framework of the “Transcendental Logic” of the Critique of Pure Reason to denote conditions that are constitutive for the possibility of an object in general and for describing necessary regulative conditions of experience. With these reflections, Kant places his transcendental philosophy in a long tradition of philosophical thought in which the celestial bodies are the preferred subject.

Download an article

Kantian Approaches to Human Reproduction: Both Favourable and Unfavourable

Abstract

Recent years have seen a surge of interest in the question of whether humans should reproduce. Some say human life is too punishing and cruel to impose upon an innocent. Others hold that such harms do not undermine the great and possibly unique value of human life. Tracing these outlooks historically in the debate has barely begun. What might philosophers have said, or what did they say, about human life itself and its value to merit reproduction? Herein it is useful to look to Kant, who wrote much on whether, by reproducing, humans do wrong or right morally. Two main arguments are put forward and assessed: one examining whether perfect or imperfect duties condone reproduction, the other whether Kant’s teleological or, in the opposite sense, his eschatological outlooks can salvage reproduction. These two arguments are essential for building the entire argument. I find that, although Kant’s arguments against reproducing are strong, some of his writing seems to support reproduction as a good. Yet, must we assume an author, even one who strove for systematicity, is consistent over an entire life’s work on every issue, especially if it is not handled directly in a single work? I conclude that Kant does not sufficiently, systematically support anti-natalism as more moral than pro-natalism. It is best for the current debate to grapple with the very dilemma that daunted Kant.

Download an article

Kant: pro et contra

Reception of Kant’s Epistemological Ideas in Fyodor Golubinsky’s Metaphysics

Abstract

Kant’s views on space and time as well as his doctrine of the categories of understanding attracted the attention of thinkers belonging to the Russian spiritual-academic philosophical tradition of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A prominent representative of these was Fyodor Golubinsky. He was among the first to react to Kant’s “Copernican turn”. He did not merely study the epistemological ideas of Kant but embraced them and modified them in the framework of his own philosophical teaching. To determine why Golubinsky turned to Kant’s ideas, to what extent he shared them and with what he disagreed and why, I propose to reconstruct Kant’s and Golubinsky’s ideas on space and time and to compare their doctrines of the categories of understanding. I come to the conclusion that Golubinsky borrowed some propositions of Kant’s theory of space and time, specifically, the procedure of identifying forms of sensibility — space and time — their a priori character, their being part of sensible intuitions and, finally, their definition as essential properties of sense perception. Golubinsky, unlike Kant, considers space and time to be objective. In his doctrine of the categories of understanding Golubinsky follows Kant in that the foundation of the categories of understanding is the unity of self-consciousness but he attributes the unity of self-consciousness to reason’s idea of the Infinite, whereas Kant sees it in the understanding. With some reservations, it can be said that Golubinsky adopts Kant’s table of categories but changes their order. As for the meaning of the categories, for Golubinsky they are not merely laws of cognising things, but laws of their being. In conclusion, I show that Golubinsky forms his epistemological concept in polemics with Kant, borrowing from him only those propositions which fit his metaphysics or modifying them to that end.

Download an article

BOOK REVIEWS

Die Einbildungskraft als Gegenstand fachübergreifender Diskurse im 18. Jahrhundert (Rev.: R. Meer, G. Motta und G. Stiening, Hg., Konzepte der Einbildungskraft in der Philosophie, den Wissenschaften und den Künsten des 18. Jahrhunderts: Festschrift zum 65

Abstract

Das vorliegende Buch greift mit dem Vermögen der Einbildungskraft ein Thema auf, das in eine lebhafte Forschungsdiskussion eingebettet ist (vgl. zuletzt etwa Schäfer, 2019; Fliethmann, 2019; Mühlbacher, 2019; Moeller und Whitehead, 2019; Horstmann, 2018; Costelloe, 2018; Altschuler, 2018; Sommadossi, 2018). Dem Band gelingt es, namhafte Forscherinnen und Forscher aus verschiedenen Disziplinen — der Philosophie, der Wissenschaftsgeschichte und den Kunstwissenschaften — zu diesem Thema zu versammeln. Aus diesem Grund ist das Buch für Aufklärungsforscherinnen und Aufklärungsforscher unterschiedlicher Richtungen von großem Interesse.

Download an article