Kantian Journal

2014 Issue №4(50)

Message from the editors

Kant’s theoretical philosophy

The problem of antinomy of pure theoretical reason in Kant’s system

Abstract

A thorough analysis of the structure of the treatise constituting the first Critique and its comparison with the analogous structure of the second and third Critiques show that the Critique of Pure Reason lacks such an important element as the antinomy of pure theoretical reason. Of course, it is implied in the text: Kant’s reasoning is based on it and takes it into account. However, it is not explicitly expressed. Instead of this crucial structural element, which would significantly simplify the understanding of such a complicated treatise, the Critique of Pure Reason presents the system of antinomies of the cosmological idea of pure reason. However, these phenomena are not identical — there is a great difference between the antinomy of pure reason and a system of particular antinomies of one of its ideas. The article addresses this complication and the reasons behind it and explicates the antinomy, which is reconstructed based on the entire body of Kant’s works. The authors considers Kant’s resolution of the antinomy.

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Kant’s practical philosophy

Moral inscrutability and self-constitution in Kant (translated from the English by V. Belonogova and D. Khizanishvili, edited by V. Chaly)

Abstract

This article analyses the system of inferences used by Kant in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason to demonstrate the existence of evil disposition (Gesinnung). The author be¬lieves that, in this work, Kant introduces two innovations in respect of the fundamental project presented in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. He emphasises that freedom is not justified and postulates a transcendental structure similar to the unity of transcendental apperception in order to unify all volitions of an agent and make the initial application of freedom possible. The first innovation gives rise to a number of questions as to the justification of maxims, whereas the second leads to the theory of moral self-constitution, which was not completed within Kant’s practical philosophy. Together, they create a voluntaristic image of Kant, which undermines the philosopher’s earlier comparison of freedom with morality (the so called “reciprocity thesis”) — a fact often ignored in secondary sources.

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Immaturity and the objective of a true reform in ways of thinking. Part II

Abstract

The originality of Kant’s answer to the question of the Enlightenment in a 1784 article consisted not in addressing the words of Horace, but in linking it to the revised legal notion of immaturity, which is now interpreted from the philosophical and theological perspective and has become one of key philosophical notions. However, Kant’s view is fraught with certain complications: firstly, it is dominated by negative characteristics; secondly, unlimited use of one’s understanding can lead to logical egoism (and other forms thereof) consisting in denying the necessity of verifying one’s judgements with the help of the understanding of others.In the Critique of Judgement and Anthropology, Kant describes his position in more detail supplementing the negative maxim of independent thinking with a positive maxim of thinking oneself in the position of others and the maxim of consistent and coherent thinking. Moreover, the re¬quirement of independent thinking is limited by the idea of universal human reason, although Kant is not always consistent in distinguishing between reason and understanding in this context. Unstinting support for the French revolution, despite acknowledging the illegitimate nature of social and political revolutions per se, made Kant revise the ideals of enlightenment, which he pursued earlier. It affected even the philosopher’s attitude to his contemporaries. Observing the revolutionary “experiment” with an open heart, Kant refused to notice that the apparent “progress” is the forcible “happy-making” of people in accordance with the idea of happiness promoted by those in power at the moment, whereas the others are reduced to the position of children or the immature, or even the mentally challenged. Such protests were voiced by some of Kant’s contemporaries, who were closer to his ideals of the 1780s than he himself in the mid-1890s.

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Kant between liberalism and conservatism

Abstract

Kant has a reputation of one of the chief proponents of political liberalism. However, some of his important ideas can qualify as conservative. Their consequences are reaching far enough to sug¬gest a reevaluation of Kant as an unconditional liberal. Kant's generally liberal understanding of aims and values of a political process (which is, however, quite remote from the pluralism and individualism of some contemporary theories) is balanced by his reservations concerning the prospects of their realization, based on his «empirical anthropology», which is remarkably close to conservative skepticism. Kant's liberalism lies in the domain that he called «pure» or «metaphysical», whereas his «empirical», «real-world» estimation of the prospects of liberal project is approaching conservatism.

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Receptions of Kant’s philosophy

Kant and medicine

Abstract

Immanuel Kant never considered the problems of medicine as a science in his works, however, his critical philosophy became highly influential in the late 18th century as to the issues of medical theory. The German physician and philosopher Johann Benjamin Erhard was first to address the theoretical status of contemporary medicine based on Kant’s critical foundations of science and arguments for the possibility of a philosophy of nature for the purpose of justifying medicine as a science. After analyzing Kant’s early work “Essay on the Illness of the Head” (Versuch über die Krankheiten des Kopfes, 1764), his remarks on hypochondria in The Conflict of the Faculties, and the discussion of the moral problems of smallpox vaccination available in the archive of the philosopher’s manuscripts, the article focuses on Erhard’s writings. As Erhard emphasizes, medical theory lacks a foundation necessary for a contemporary science. It has neither a clear concept of its object — a human being and their diseases, nor a rationally justified method, nor reliable treatment techniques. With the help of Kant’s theory of teleology in nature and based on the system of medi¬cine developed by the Scottish physician John Brown, Erhard attempted to formulate such foundations of a theory of medicine that might serve the purposes of medical practice. The last section of the paper develops Kant’s argument on the moral status of an embryo, which is relevant to the modern medical and ethical debates.

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A man as a “citizen of two worlds”: The development of Kantian themes by Rosenzweig

Abstract

This article focuses on Rosenzweig’s major work The Star of Redemption. The author attempts to answer the principal question as to whether Rosenzweig’s thought belongs to the tradition of Kantian philosophy.The author addresses the Rosenzweig’s interpretation of Kant’s concept of freedom as a hermeneutical cipher to expose some of his considerations on human nature. Rosenzweig acknowledges Kant’s achievement in attributing a human act to the major fundament, which will save a human from the universal claims of philosophy.The intelligible character of human causation and freedom as a miracle of phenomenal world (as they are called in Rosenzweig’s reception of Kant) make it possible to guarantee an autonomous dimension of a human being that relates to the essence and is understandable for oneself, in other words, resistant to any claims of idealistic philosophy.The author believes that Rosenzweig arrives at the conclusion that nothing can be known about a human just as nothing can be known about god.An analysis of general architectonics of The Star of Redemption emphasises the central position of the theme of revelation. Rosenzweig stresses that the central position of revelation relates to the notion of freedom.The author believes that Rosenzweig is a thinker that occupies a position between old and new philosophy. For the author of The Star of Redemption, the logical and argumentative aspect (of analysis and synthesis) and the hermeneutical aspect of religious experience are necessary elements of the path to understanding the truth, which can be fully reproduced and implemented only in listening to the word of god.

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Neo-Kantianism

Reception of Cohen’s ethics in Russia

Abstract

This article focuses on the perception of the ethical constructions of the founder of the Marburg school of Neo-Kantianism Hermann Cohen by Russian philosophers abroad. The author identifies three approaches, characteristic of this perception: from the perspective of Russian philosophy of law, from that of Russian religious philosophy, and that of Russian followers of the Marburg Neo-Kantianist.The first two approaches are characterized by a non-systemic perception with an emphasis on critique. The key features of the third one are the system nature and the attempt to stress both the progress and the shortcomings of H. Cohen’s ethical constructions.When analyzing Cohen’s ethics, Russian theorists of law focused on the correlation between law and morals. In this connection, the central issue was the legal orientation of the Marburg philosopher’s ethics.The main drawback of H. Cohen’s constructions emphasized by a proponent of V. S. Soloviev’s all-unity concept, E. N. Trubetskoy, is the absolutizing of method.One of the Jewish-Russian followers of H. Cohen, Aaron Steinberg, identifies three main premises of the philosophical constructions of the Margburg Neo-Kantian — the system nature, cultural unity, and finally, Jewishness or “ethical monotheism” (messianic monotheism).Only jurisprudence, another follower of Cohen, Sergey Rubinstein argues, considers a human being as a holder of rights and responsibilities rather than a being affected by emotions and passion as from the psychological perspective or that guided by their own interests as from the economic one.The Russian philosopher also stresses the evident positivity of the definition of ethics in Cohen’s principle of the law of truth that can be correctly perceived only within a combination of the logical and the ethical.

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