Kantian Journal

2016 Issue №3(57)

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



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.


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