Kantian Journal

2016 Issue №3(57)

Kant’s theoretical philosophy

Systematicity of the Critique of Pure Reason and Kant’s system (IV)

Abstract

This article concludes the analysis of systematicity of the Critique of Pure Reason — the work that underlies the entire system created by the great Königsberg philosopher. The author considers the role of transcendental dialectic (it accounts for more than half of the book) in Kant’s methodology of science and the system of criticism. In the context of traditional epistemological theories, it was an entirely new instalment supplementing these theories and understanding knowledge as a continuous process undergoing scientific revolutions. Constructing synthetic a priori judgements requires leaving the extant knowledge for the realm of possible experience, where reason is faced with antinomies. The author provides a critical examination of Karl Jaspers’ ideas about the cognising abilities of transcendental dialectical reason. It is stressed that transcendental dialectic ensures the system integrity of Kant’s philosophy, making it possible to construct a transcendental philosophy going beyond both vulgar mechanistic empiricism and transcendental dogmatism.

Download an article

Kant’s practical philosophy

Kant and Hegel, an alleged right and the ‘inverted world’

Abstract

The category of power is one of ontological predicates discussed by Kant in lectures on metaphysics. This concept expresses relation of substance to its attributes and plays an important role in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Law is a simple form of unity incorporating an idea of the play of powers, whereas power is a category that makes it possible to understand the supersensible as a realm of laws. This interpretation is inherent in the system of not only theoretical but also practical reason. Freedom is the ‘substance’ of human existence. The unity of freedom is an idea, whose unity is presented in the diversity of actions in the sensible world. A condition for cognising freedom is the categorical imperative. Apparently, applying the moral law formula may lead to contradictions. One of these contradictions is contained in the famous question regarding the alleged right to lie out of love of humanity. Kant's theory of impossibility of total delusion makes it possible, on the one hand, to prove that Kant is right to insist on inadmissibility of lying. On the other, in controversial situations, polemics focus on the necessity to conceal information to save a human life rather than lies proper. The idea of ‘inverted world’ is not a formal abstraction but the principle behind the movement of historical life. A phenomenological analysis of the polemic between Kant and Constant shows that the problem of alleged right to lie out of love of humanity is a result of an incorrectly posed question.

Download an article

Knowing humanity without knowing the human being: The structure of polemic in Kant’s political argumentation

Abstract

Kant’s treatises on political problems form a loosely structured text corpus. However, due to its passionate polemic, it can be rewritten in the form of dialogues. The most dramatic instalment is the authoritative treatise Toward Perpetual Peace, which is full of memorable phrases that used to excite the very first readers. Kant’s opponents are both concrete authors — either living or dead contemporaries (Garve, Mendesohn, Frederick the Great) — and generalised characters representing entire classes. The two opposing parties are Kant and his favourite philosophers (Saint-Pierre and Rousseau) against the ‘government’ and ‘lawyers’. Kant’s philosophy of law, which is believed to rest on a metaphysical foundation, is constructed using a minimum of anthropological premises, which is often viewed as a virtue. However, Kant’s political teaching is closely connected with moral anthropology, which is considered as another virtue. Justifying their actions with empirical observations, politicians violate legal rules. Thus, they are subject to the same propensities that they find so frightening in the population. The philosopher, although agreeing with the grim opinion of human nature, tries to dissuade politicians and instil moderate optimism in them. The article collates and systemises politicians’ and lawyers’ ideas of humans, the world, and politics. According to Kant’s philosophy of law, the model of an ideal society can be pictured as a mechanism. However, his philosophy of history and politics claims the opposite, inclining towards organicism. The methodological framework for argumentation analysis is V. Bryushinkin’s ‘cognitive approach’. The author identifies the historical and ideational sources of decision-making criteria, which Kant assigns to his opponents. The article summarises relevant findings reported by H. Williams, G. Cavallar, R. Brandt, and others.

Download an article

Receptions of Kant’s philosophy

Playing with spectres

Abstract

This article analyses the science of spectres addressed in J. Derrida’s book Spectres of Marx. The methodological approach employed is Julia Kristeva’s ‘semiological adventure’, which is based on considering language as a heterogeneous structure in the realm of interactions between the ‘semiotic’ understood as a pre-linguistic condition of instinctive drives and the ‘symbolic’ manifested in socially oriented identification and discursive practices. The problem of play at the interface of its interactions is examined in the context of a danger of an ‘offensive of spectres’ against the reality, which can turn the latter in a ‘simulated hyperreality’. The author stresses Kant’s moral rigour in the context of game theory, which is interpreted as an indirect warning against ‘chimeras of imagination’ capable of transporting ‘spectres’ into actual ontology. It is stated that such transportation is reflected in the characteristics of artistic imagination and its poetic keys opening the ‘doors of perception’ that are closed to the other forms of social consciousness/unconsciousness. The article analyses E. T. A. Hoffmann’s novel The Sandman, which is interpreted as a romantic warning against symbolic plays with spectres generated by the mechanisation of thinking and being.

Download an article

Neo-Kantianism

On the role of religion in N. N. Alekseev’s axiological model of law

Abstract

This paper is devoted to investigation of destination of religion in the process of forming of the concept of law in determined cultural circumstances. This study is actualizes the essential link between comprehension of content of domain of law and concept of subjectivity. Nikolay Alexeev overcomes concept of subjectivity represented in philosophy of early modern period of European history, (primarily in the rationalistic tradition of Rene Descartes). The crucial significant in his concept of law is got neo-kantian axiology of Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert. Following to neo-kantian thinkers Alexeev indicates, that genesis of culture is measured because a priori values are exist. Therefore individual is not a creator of these values per se. Value became the basis of Alexeev’s philosophy of law. Furthermore he elaborated axiological model of law onto religious foundation. Religion — is a tool for initiating condition of values and there setting in political domain. Paper argued how religion conducts genesis of law. In that sense religion evaluated like a link between morality and law. Essential item of philosophy of law of Nikolay Alexeev — is a superiority of Christianity in the midst of couple of religions in solution of problem in development of law. Author shows the historical role of Christianity in revealing of the idea of law per se.

Download an article

Publication

Feyerabend’s Natural Law Notes and their significance for Kant studies. Preface

Abstract

Natural Law Notes of Feyerabend is one of the most important sources by the research of ethical and juridical views of Kant. Dating back to 1784 they distinctly demonstrate that the basic principles of Kant’s philosophy of right are not a late production of the philosopher, but they have been formed already in the middle of 80’s of 18th century. Therewith we can use this lectures notes for the studies of Kant’s moral philosophy too, because of their closeness to the Foundations of Metaphysics of Morals, what can help us to understand some not clear aspects of Kant’s ethical thought. One of such questions is the question of moral motivation, and namely how we can not only know, what we have to do according to the moral law, but also actually want do it? As in his published writings Kant concludes in the Introduction of Natural Law Notes that human will itself can not be in complete agreement with the moral law, because objective motive (that is the moral law alone) for this will isn’t identical with subjective ones (that are maxims of action). That is why it must be forced to follow the moral law and its commandments are for it imperatives. But in order not to distort autonomy of will, this force should come from the will itself. Such a force according to Kant is possible, if the will would force itself to action with an idea of an complete good will (what means such a will which is always in accordance with the moral law), which is inherent in God alone. With the article is enclosed the translation of a small fragment of Introduction to the Natural Law Feyerabend.

Download an article

Reviews

Conferences