Kantian Journal

2013 Issue №3(45)

Kant’s theoretical philosophy

Maimon’s critique of I. Kant’s theory of analytic judge-ments

Abstract

The article deals with Maimon’s critical reinterpretation of Kant’s theory of analytic judgments. Maimon contributed to the history of the German Idealism primarily through his criticism of Kant’s theoretical philosophy, which largely predetermined some ideas of Fichte and later exerted a certain influence on the thinkers of some very different schools (from Marburg Neo-Kantianism to Deleuze). Maimon’s attitude toward Kant’s views on the nature of analytic judgments underwent an essential change in the process of his theoretical evolution: while in “Essay on Transcendental Philosophy” (1790) he had generally agreed with the definitions given to them by Kant, in “Essay Towards a New Logic or Theory of Thought” (1794) he already accomplished a detailed criticism of Kant’s differentiation between analytic and synthetic judgments. According to Maimon, the definition given to analytic judgments by Kant deprived these judgments of the status of thinking at all, since it reduced them to the extraction of something, which the thinking had already ins erted in to the concept, from the same concept. Maimon proposed his own formulation of the difference between analytic and synthetic judgments, based on his theory of a real cognition as of a connection of a definable (subject) and a definition (predicate). According to this formulation, he defined analytic judgments as the ones in which thinking proceeded from a given definite to the definable that is contained in it. Therefore in his philosophy analytic judgments became full-fledged cognitive acts, which differed from the synthetic ones only in that they provided cognition not of some new objects, but of the ones which had already been thought of. Thereby Maimon substantially broadened the area of analytic judgments at the cost of the synthetic ones, which ultimately allowed him to reinterpret the relation of the formal and transcendental logic, and also to subject the formal logic itself to a thorough revision.

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Kant's practical philosophy

The foundations of I. Kant’s and V. Solovyov’s moral philosophies

Abstract

The grounds of construction of ethical systems of Kant and Solovjev are comparatively tested in this article. Noting the obvious strenghts of Kant’s ethics, Solovjev finds, that because of its absolute formalism it doesn’t have the complete implementation in the objective world. Solovjev also sees as unsuccessful Kant’s attempt at overcoming subjectivism in the moral sphere. In Solovjev’s opinion, Kant’s postulates of practical reason don’t overcome subjectivism, but bring to the foundation of Kant’s ethic the double meaning and uncertainty. The author notes, that for all his respect to Kant’s ethic, Russian philosopher constructs ethic on his own principles. In the foundation of his moral philosophy Solovjev puts down the idea of Good, characterizing it as lawful, autonomous and all-united (vseedinoje). Solovjev proposes to regard the feelings of shame, pity and reverence as the primary data of human moral, disregarding the warnings of Kant about the unacceptability of natural foundations for our morals. Such distinction in the primary data of human moral of the concerned authors reposes on distinction in appraisal of human primary nature: Kant considers it as evil, Solovjev — as good. Thus, in contrast to I. Kant V. Solovjev affirms the heteronomy of morals and its religiousness, which, however, has little in common with Christianity.

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Kant’s perpetual peace project and the project of the European Union

Abstract

The article examines the following problems: 1) How well-founded is the comparison of the ideas of Kant's treatise «Towards Perpetual Peace», written in late XVIII century, with the implementation of nowadays project of European Union? 2) If such parallels are possible, to what extent the structure of the EU corresponds to Kant's vision? 3) Which Kantian ideas are of the foremost importance to future development of the EU? Basing on the analysis of Kant's treatise and of the current structure of the EU, the author arrives to the conclusion that the two projects can suitably be compared. However, such comparison requires viewing the EU as an intermediate stage in the establishment of global peace union. The comparative analysis of Kant's theory and the European project, the EU in its curent form suits Kant's definition of a federtion of souvereign states, united for the purpose of securing peace, and in some respects went even further. The process of European integration has transformed Europe’s regional build up from the arena of regular war conflicts into the society of peace, prosperity, liberty and right. It is obvious that it its development the EU will undergo difficulties and crises. However, the general direction, chosen by the union of European states, aiming at the development of rights and liberties, at good-will and cooperation between individuals, societies and states perfectly corresponds to the spirit of Kant’s philosophy and should guarantee of success in establishing global peace in the future.

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The communication of persons: Kant’s theory of marriage law held captive by pagan anthropology

Abstract

The paper analyzes Kant’s philosophy of matrimonial law. It focuses on the idea of this law as “possession of a person as a thing and its use as a person”: Kant conceives marriage as an interpersonal relation in an external form of real possession, in the aspect of the objective and subjective goal of such relation, but primarily in the aspect of its legal and ethical possibility. Given the naturalistic interpretation of the constitutive act for this kind of law, the legal deduction of marriage comes in a desperate contradiction with Kant’s ethics of personal dignity, because it seems to lead to a mutual instrumentalization of persons; as a matter of fact, Kant's deduction of marriage rules out the possibility of mutual personal obligations of family members. The naturalistic premise of Kant's family law, provenient from the ancient Roman property law, is as follows: marriage is mutual possession of the other's person as a thing and the use of it as a person for mutual pleasure; it seems to predetermine a necessary connection between legal use and legal posession of a person, the latter presupposing primary acquisition. This premise causes in Kantian family law an antinomy of private law and personalist ethics, which can hardly be eliminated by the own theoretical means of Kant's legal philiosophy. According to the essentials of Kant's ethics, the dignity of the other person, which is (allegedly) acquisited in matrimony, allows no possible equivalent, and its loss cannot be compensated at all events by the fact of mere mutuality of the instrumentalizing relation. The doubtfulness of this naturalistic premise of Kant's family theory means in terms of legal philosophy the doubtfulness of the premise which states the title-establishing status of primary acquisition in the field of personal law. References to the ethical idea of the absolute unity of personality, as well as the accent on “pleasure” as the necessary subjective goal of marital union, which leads the moralist an the philosopher of law upon a false trail, cannot provide a real solution of the problem. The naturalistic premise, in consequence of which the meaning of love is conceived in terms of pleasure, perpetuates the Roman contractualism in matrimonial law by understanding marriage as an external relation of persons, and prepares the soil for the seeds of a nihilistic philosophy of marriage and family. Kant's opinions about the reasons of inacceptability of false and, as a matter of fact, contractually based forms of matrimonial unions, proceed in undermining still more the basics of his positive philosophy of family, and supply additional arguments for a reform of Kantian philosophy of matrimonial law. In the expositions of Kant’s philosophy of marriage, when purified from this naturalistic premise, there can be traced some more integral notion of family union, seen as a moral unity of persons as such, in regard to which the marriage as external union of physical persons is a mere consequence and legal form. The personal union in matrimonial communication creates a relation in which there are two physical persons, but only one moral personality of the family and one legal person; not only a personal and at the same time property-related union, but a personaltranspersonal union. The specific person as an absolute monadical unity is here absolved by the personality of the family, as the absolute unity of active... between persons, which has no other goal besides of and out of this union itself. When seen that way, it doesn't seem necessary any more to identify the “real-right form” of legal matrimonial union with the essence of the personal union itself, and therefore a merely contractual vision of family law can be overcome. The personalist philosophy of family retains the fruitful contents of Kant's matrimonial law theory: the notion that the matrimonial union is necessary “due to the law of humanity”, and not due to mere natural necessity; the notion of matrimonial acquisition as one accomplished neither factually, nor contractually, but “according to a law”, as a consequence of an obligation to enter a family unity. And yet, just as in Kant’s theory of law there is no ethically enriched concept of this genuine kind of union, in the individual ethics of Kant’s later years there is no ethical notion of family as a personality. Its elaboration became a task for German classical idealism.

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The justification of legal punishment in Kant’s philosophy

Abstract

The subject matter of the article is the problem of justification of punishment within Kant’s practical philosophy. Modern interpretations tend to reduce this problem to the issue of “retributivism”: To what extent is Kant’s theory of punishment to be regarded as retributivist? While acknowledging the significance of this question the author stresses a more fundamental one lying behind it: Is a non-contradictory theory of punishment conceivable at all within Kant’s philosophy? It is demonstrated that a solution of this question largely determines a justification of the doctrine of right as such as well as a solution of the problem of relation between right and ethics in Kantian philosophy. Some recent interpretations of Kant’s theory of punishment are examined, particularly those by O. Hoeffe and B. Byrd. It is demonstrated that neither is actually compatible with Kant’s statement that punishment is a categorical imperative. Futhermore, it is shown that this statement is crucial and necessary for Kant’s universalist project of justification of right. At the same time, it is shown that it is the universalism of Kant’s practical philosophy that leads to a kind of paradox of punishment: the categorical imperative of punishment might well demand those very actions which the categorical imperative as we know it from the “Groundwork” seems to forbid. It is proposed to see this paradox as another antinomy of practical reason. The hypothesis is offered that the separation of the principles of virtue directed to an individual will and right covering the public sphere can be considered as an attempt to solve this very antinomy.

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The receptions of Kant’s philosophy

Schopenhauer and I. Kant in A. Fet’s philosophical and poe¬tical worldview (continuation)

Abstract

This article offers an analysis of the influence of Kant’s and Schopenhauer's philosophical ideas on Fet’s worldview. The author demonstrates that the poet was not a strict follower of A. Schopenhauer, since he interpreted the German pessimist’s doctrine cum grano salis. The influence of Kant’s ideas on A. Fet was, at least, not less significant.

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Logic and argumentorics

On the logical inconsistency of Kant’s critique of the cosmological argument

Abstract

The paper shows that the Kantian critique of cosmological argument does not take into account the existential presuppositions of Aristotelian syllogistic, so it is logically untenable. The basic idea of Kant is that the cosmological proof does not rely on the empirical premise (i.e. the existence of the world). Instead, it resorts covertly to the ontological proof. This is the second stage of the proof, when fr om the notion of a necessary being (ens necessarium) they move to the concept of a most real being (ens realissimum), i.e. God. According to Kant, this transition is logically equivalent to the reverse transition from ens realissimum to ens necessarium, which is the essence of the ontological argument. Demonstrating this equivalence, Kant resorts to conversion by lim itation, or per accidens. Such a conversion is possible in the Aristotelian syllogistic, because of its existential presuppositions, i.e. provided that the notion of ens necessarium is not empty. But this means that the conclusion still uses empirical premise of the cosmological proof. Consequently, Kant's argument is logically untenable.

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Publications

On Hartmann’s transcendental realism

Abstract

This text is a compilation of fragments from A. I. Ognev’s 1910 PhD thesis, which was awarded a gold medal. The personal archive of Father Savva (Mikhalevich) held two versions of the thesis – the hand-written (132 pages) and typed (141 pages) ones; the latter contains the author’s corrections. Some pages of the manuscript are missing. The front page of the typed version has L.M. Lopatin’s inscription: “The work of A.I. Ognev is most satisfactory. Professor Lev Lopatin”. The text is published according to the typed version by the kind permission of Father Savva. In doubtful cases (omission, mismatched word endings, etc.), the text was checked against and corrected according to the manuscript. All page-by-page notes are made by the publisher. The offered fragments are thematically linked to E. von Hartmann’s theory of cognition of Kant and Neo-Kantianism. A.I. Ognev’s photograph apparently dating back to 1906 – the year he was enrolled at the Philosophical Department of the Historical-Philological Faculty of Moscow University – is published for the first time (Moscow Central Historical Archive. Fund 418, Inventory 317, Case 784, Page 7 (narrow)/Page 8 (wide)).

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Research. Archives. Documents

The wasted years. Another take on the achievements, problems, and shortcomings of the academic collection of Kant’s works

Abstract

The possibilities for improvement of the first volumes of the Academic edition of Kant’s works are discussed. The collegiality and deliberativeness of the researchers and institutions, involved in Kantian studies, which allowed for the high quality of early volumes, is absent today. The responsible institutions and publishers do not react to information regarding even the most obvious shortcomings and mistakes that could be easily corrected, while the plans for future reprints are based predominantly on commercial interests. The problems of unification of orthography, correction of mistakes in recent reprints, incorrect abbreviations of names, differences in printed editions are discussed in detail.

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