Kantian Journal

2016 Issue №2(56)

Kant’s and Fichte’s ethics as sources of Schopenhauer’s philosophy

Abstract

This article aims to demonstrate the centrality of Kant’s and Fichte’s ethics to the development of Schopenhauer’s ideas of 1811—1813. The author proves the following theses based on the philosopher’s manuscripts and the first edition of his dissertation. Firstly, for a long time, Kant’s ‘moral law’ was a major element of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, whereas the regulatory power of ethics supported its claim as a means to cognise the supersensible. Secondly, the dichotomy between the noumenal and the phenomenal encouraged him to develop a dualistic ontology. Thirdly, the emergence of the central concept of his early works — the ‘better consciousness’ — was strongly influenced by Fichte’s lectures attended by Schopenhauer. Fourthly, Schopenhauer’s doctrine of liberating the better consciousness from all the individual and earthly is also rooted in Fichte’s practical philosophy. Fifthly, Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals and Fichte’s System of Ethnics contributed to Schopenhauer’s understanding of will as the primary essence of all things and the idea of its absolute and unconditional nature and its primacy over cognition. Sixthly, some of the key aspects of Schopenhauer’s pessimism are rooted in Fichte’s philosophy. Seventhly, in the first edition of his dissertation, Schopenhauer advocated Kant’s ethics and formulated the supremacy of the better consciousness over the empirical as noumenal freedom and truly moral behavior and defined the category of negation as its opposite. Later, these ideas, altered and expanded u

Download an article

Kant’s aesthetic theory in the light of H. G. Gadamer’s hermeneutic project

Abstract

This article considers H.-G. Gadamer’s hermeneutics in the context of Kant’s aesthetic theory laid down in the Critique of Judgement. Kant facilitated the development of aesthetics as an independent science, for the first time addressing the problem of the cognising and perceiving subject. Gadamer, a prominent 20th century philosopher, builds his aesthetic concept based on Kant’s theory. However, their theories differ in some aspects. This article is an attempt to establish the connection between the two systems. Special attention is paid to the fundamental differences between the theories and their common principles. Unlike Gadamer, Kant focuses on general aesthetic categories and aesthetic perception rather than artistic phenomena. Kant’s thesis about ‘disinterested liking’ and the correlation between Kant’s definitions of art and cognition are considered. Kant distinguishes between aesthetic judgment and cognition, whereas Gadamer defines art as a method of cognition, an event that can become genuine under the condition of maximum of understanding. The author analyses the key categories of aesthetics — taste, play, and the beautiful. It is concluded that Kant understands the category of play from the perspective of the subject, whereas Gadamer interprets it as an instance of movement, independent from the observer. The correlation between Kant’s aesthetic theory and the ensuing romantic concepts of is established. In the conclusion, the authors stresses the influence of Kant’s theory on the development of hermeneutics, which has been aimed at avoiding pseudo-understanding since German Romanticism.

Download an article