Kantian Journal

2014 Issue №4(50)

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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