Kantian Journal

2015 Issue №2(52)

In memoriam

Kant’s theoretical philosophy

A transcendental analysis of mathematics: The abstract nature of mathematical knowledge

Abstract

Kant’s transcendental philosophy (transcendentalism) focuses on both the human method of cognition in general [CPR, B25] and certain types of cognition aimed at justifying their objective significance. This article aims to explicate Kant’s understanding (resp. justification) of the abstract nature of mathematical knowledge (cognition) as the “construction of concepts in intuition” (see: “to construct a concept means to exhibit a priori the intuition corresponding to it”; [CPR, A713/В 741], which is “thoroughly grounded on definitions, axioms, and demonstrations” [CPR, A726/В 754]. Mathematical objects, unlike specific ‘physical’ objects, are of abstract nature (a-obj¬ects vs. the-objects) and are introduced (defined) within Hume’s principle of abstraction. Based on his doctrine of schematism, Kant develops an original theory of abstraction: Kant’s scheme serve as a means to construct mathematical objects, as an “action of pure thought" [CPR, B81]. The article investigates the ontological status of mathematical objects/abstractions and describes three possible ontologies — the understanding of mathematical objects/abstractions as: 1 complete objects (the ontology of things; "full-blooded Platonism"); 2) a substantivized set of properties (ontology of properties; E. Zalta); 3) relations (the ontology of relations; category theory, structuralism).

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Kant’s practical philosophy

A triune community: Fichte’s family law against the background of Kant’s practical philosophy (I)

Abstract

Based on Fichte’s Foundations of Natural Right, recently published in Russian for the first time, this article investigates the logic and basic statements of Fichte’s theory on family law. The first part of the study is dedicated to Fichte’s ethical and metaphysical “deduction of marriage”, which views the family union as a natural-and-moral community of sexes, which only subsequently assumes a legal form through the principle of law. Fichte’s viewpoint is juxtaposed with Kant’s concept of family law complemented by Kant’s ideas on the metaphysics and ethics of gender and love, as well as Schopenhauer’s doctrine, which can be seen as a naturalistic profanation of Fichtean metaphysics of love. According to Fichte, sexual appeal takes on the shape of a self-sacrificing impulse of love in the soul and in the moral character of a woman; yet, only a man is capable of becoming aware of everything that is morally present in himself and of renouncing, out of his inborn magnanimity, all claims to unlimited dominance. It is the combination of both characters that, according to Fichte, provides the only effective incitement to moral education and exaltation of both parties in a family union.

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The teaching on postulates in Kant’s lectures on philosophical theory of religion

Abstract

“Lectures on Poelitz’s philosophical theory of religion” are one of the four surviving manuscripts of Kant’s lectures on rational theology. The Lectures include an introduction, two parts, and an appendix. The introduction contains an overview of the basic questions and problems of rational theology, namely: the concept of theology, arts of natural theology, the idea of highest essence, possible types of arguments for the existent of God and their limitations etc. The first part is called “Transcendental theology”. It is of limited research interest, since it largely follows contemporary textbooks (first of all, Baumgarten’s Metaphysics). The second part “Moral Theology” is of considerable research interest, since it departs from the textbook material and presents Kant’s own ideas on the subject. This manuscript is dated winter semester 1783/84, i. e. the period between the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason and the Critique of Practical Reason, and shortly before the publication of Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Thus, these lectures are of special important for studying the process of development of the key ideas of Kant’s philosophy. Being an interim variant between The Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reasons, these lectures contain a number of explanations contributing to a better understanding of both Critiques. In particular, this holds true for the postulates of the existence of god and immortality of the soul and their role on Kant’s ethical system.

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Receptions of Kant’s philosophy

I. Kant in the development of N. O. Lossky’s philosophical views: The case of a translation

Abstract

This article considers the development of N. O. Lossky’s concept of intuitivism in the context of the translation of Kant’s works and revision of Kant’s epistemology. The development of Lossky as an independent philosopher required overcoming Kant’s scepticism, which was not consistent with the ideal-realist’s belief in the cognoscibility of transsubjective world given us in the original. The means necessary to overcome it determined the key characteristics of the new system of intuitivism, which emerged in a discussion of Kant’s epistemological system. The author identifies the key themes of transcendental philosophy that drew special attention of Lossky. These include the fundamental logical issues of the essence of logical connection, the nature of judgement and inference, and that of the synthetic and analytic. The article addresses the interpretation of the concept of ‘intuition’ by Lossky and the influence of this interpretation on the translation of Kant’s Anschauung.The author identifies a number of reasons that inspired the intuitivist to translate the CPR. Fol¬lowing Kant’s philosophy, Lossky had sufficient arguments in the game played in the field of his teacher and opponent, the Russian Kantian A. I. Vvedensky; moreover, he proved the inconsistency of Vvedensky’s interpretation of transcendental philosophy. It is shown that the experience of translating CPR and the critical analysis of Kant’s epistemology helped Lossky to overcome the complications that emerged in the history of philosophy and develop his own complete and organic worldview. Moreover, there arose an objective need for a new CPR translation, since some intellectuals were not satisfied with that made by N. M. Sokolov. The article contains excerpts from reviews of Sokolov’s and Lossky’s translations of CPR by G. G. Shpet

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Kantian ethos in J. Rawls’s political philosophy

Abstract

This article examines the relation between J. Rawls’s philosophical and political conceptions and I. Kant’s ideas and the intellectual and political tradition of the Enlightenment in general. The author defends Rawls’s approach to Kant’s works interpreting it as “discipleship”, the assimilation and intrinsic reconceptualization of Kantian ideas preserving the essence of the assimilated. Rawls justifies his own re-description of Kantian philosophy by using Kant's ideas. Transforming Kant’s ideas, the he implements Kantian ethos (spirit), which can be understood as the free use of reason. Using Rawlsian approach, the author attempts to defend Rawls from the accusation that he fundamentally misunderstands Kant. This defense is based on that the most important element of Kant’s philosophical legacy is the critical attitude (or ethos) rather than a specific concept (for instance, the categorical imperative). This article identifies the intersections between Rawls’s and Kant’s ideas, as well as their differences. Kant and Rawls have much in common. Rawls agrees with Kant that moral philosophy has to depart from commonplace human reason; the content of "political justice" can be an object of construction; construction presupposes the use of practical rather than pure reason; moral philosophy requires a complex concept of a person; the function of moral philosophy is the rational defense of reasonable faith. The main differences between Kant’s and Rawls’s include the understanding of practical reason; the concept of a person based on fundamental ideas originating from different sources (political culture in Rawls’s works and transcendental idealism in Kant’s); the understanding of rational faith.

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Logic and argumentorics

Dilemmas of logical hylomorphism

Abstract

Logical hylomorphism considers logic as a theory of formal relations. However, it is difficult to give a precise definition of these relations due to a multitude of interpretations of formality in logic. This paper acknowledges the dichotomy of the substantial and dynamic models of formality. Firstly, the author suggests revising certain interpretations of Aristotelian syllogistics and attempts to answer the question as to why Aristotle did not become the founder of logical hylomorphism. It is argued that, as a metatheory, Aristotelian syllogistics addresses formal relations between the perfect and imperfect rules of inference rather than the canonical structures of categorical statements. The absence of a strict distinction between logical syntax and semantics in Aristotelian syllogistics and his reductive approach to the patterns of inferences (i. e. the syllogistic moods in the three figures) shifts focus from the schematic to dynamic model of formality. Secondly, the author assesses the logical hylomorphism of Alexander of Aphrodisias, who connected it with metaphysical form vs. matter dichotomy. Thirdly, it is argued that Kant’s transcendental logic is a logic in the formal sense. Whereas general logic is concerned merely with constitutive rules of inference, transcendental logic is concerned with regulative rules aimed at better reasoning

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Publications

On Kant’s Remarks on Ludwig Heinrich Jakob's Examination of Men-delssohn's Morgenstunden (preface to the publication)

Abstract

This article considers the circumstances of the appearance of Kant’s remarks on the last book of M. Mendelssohn Morgenstunden… in relation to its analysis in L. G. von Jakob’s work. It is explained why Kant had to participate in debates with his opponents, despite the resolution to avoid them and concentrate on constructing a consistent and thus solid and effective system of philosophy. The significance of Kant’s small polemic works lies in that they explain the key elements of his system. Due to the objection to Mendelssohn’s reduction of philosophical debates to linguistic misunderstandings, i. e. discussions of words, it becomes clear that, from the perspective of the Königsberg philosopher, philosophy cannot exist as a linguistic theory. Therefore, similar attempts made after Kant are as futile as those made during his lifetime. Kant does not only discover mistakes in the works of his opponents, but also demonstrates their logical nature.

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Research. Archives. Documents

Kant, Königsberg, and the Albertina. Excerpts from the letters of a Polish student

Abstract

By the end of the 19th century, after three partitions of Rzeczpospolita by the neighbouring powers, about half of its territory became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. These geopolitical changes had significant social implications for the Polish population.Jan Swiecicki was one of many Polish students to be sent to German-speaking gymnasia. Some of them continued their education at the oldest Prussian university, the Albertina. Selected pas¬sages from letters dated 1802—1806 give an idea of the organisation of education and living conditions of Königsberg students originating from different parts of Eastern and Central Europe.At the Albertina, as in today’s German universities, students had an opportunity to choose courses from the list announced at the beginning of each semester. Swiecicki was enrolled in the Faculty of Law and he put a lot of effort to receive the degree. However, he was much more enthusiastic about subjects taught at the Faculty of Philosophy.Immanuel Kant was no longer teaching at the university by that time. However, Swiecicki regularly attended Christian Jacob Kraus’s lectures on moral philosophy based on Kant’s “Tugendlehre”, political economy, general encyclopedia, and natural law. The professor of poetry Karl Ludwig Poersсhke, former Kant’s student, was another of his favourite teachers.Swiecicki’s surviving correspondence is kept in the library of the Poznan Society of Friends of Learning. All cited letters were addressed to Franciszek Malinowski (the father of the Polish linguist Franciszek Ksawery Malinowski). The letter of March 3, 1804 informing about Kant’s funeral is published in full. It is the only eyewitness account of the ceremony ever found in Polish sources.

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