Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 1

Kant’s theoretical philosophy

Modality as a basis of Kant’s philosophical system and its connection to the language structure

Abstract

This article examines the category of modality through the postulate of empirical thinking in general and in constructing a philosophical system where functions of consciousness are substantial elements. The system comprises ‘faculties of the mind’, as Kant calls them, namely, evaluation, cognition, and practical activity and norms. These forms of activity correlate with the world of possibilities, the actual world, and the world of necessity. Grammatical moods correspond to the modal worlds and the ‘faculties of the mind’. All this means that Kant’s system finds a reflection in the system of language, which is another argument in favour of the organicity of his philosophy. However, the philosophical ideas of Kant’s system can serve as basis for a theory of grammatical moods. Kant’s revolutionary idea of values, knowledge, and norms as three aspects of existential reality lead to a conclusion that modality and moods are not identical, despite being interrelated. The categories of modality do not express the essence of moods but rather the conditions for their functioning. This gives a new perspective on the study of moods and modalities. However, Kant’s system is a cohesive whole and no part of it can be used without considering this fact.

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Aspects of the ‘transcendental’ according to Kant and Husserl: Logos, matheme, metaphor

Abstract

This paper deals with the methodological and ontological significance of transcendentalism. The author advocates the understanding of transcendental philosophy as ontology and presents a critique of the interpretation given by David Carr, who attached a merely methodological significance to the concept of the ‘transcendental’. Within this interpretation, this paper considers the problem of differences between the ontological aspects of Immanuel Kant’s critical philosophy and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, since most interpreters consider these two thinkers the most prominent exponents of transcendental philosophy. The differences in the ontological aspects are interpreted based on the similarities and differences in the epistemological objectives of both philosophers. This corresponds to the principles and programmes of comparative investigations in Kant’s and Husserl’s philosophies, which were proposed by Russian and international philosophers such as Paul Ricoeur, Alexey Chernyakov, William McKenna. The distinctions in the ontological aspects of critical philosophy and phenomenology necessitate an examination of the concept of transcendentalism in a broader historical perspective, which makes it possible to interpret some of the key concepts of critical philosophy and phenomenology as dead metaphors of Ancient Greek philosophy — metaphors that transformed over time into logically preconceived ‘mathemes’. In turn, distinguishing metaphors in the genesis of key univocal terms of critical philosophy and phenomenology provides an opportunity for a more precise description of differences between Kant’s and Husserl’s ideas. The author considers Husserl’s phenomenology as a continuation of and elaboration on Kant’s transcendental thought, which arises in neo-Kantian schools. Overall, transcendental philosophy is part of the genesis of ontological thought, which offers great opportunities for reinterpreting the concept of the transcendental in future.

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Kant’s practical philosophy

I. Kant on religion, faith, god, and church

Abstract

The article analyses the leading concepts and provisions of Kant's philosophy of religion. The findings are based on a comparative analysis of the German philosopher’s major works on the philosophical doctrine of religion, namely Lectures on the philosophical doctrine of religion and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. The authors trace both the evolution of Kant’s ideas on religion and the consistency and systematicity of changes in the philosopher’s views. The published Lectures confirm the fact that Kant never considered the problems of philosophy of religion as minor ones. When comparing the two major works on religion, one cannot but notice the difference between objects constituting the logic of Kant’s reasoning. In the Lectures, this object is theology as a scientific discipline concerned with knowledge of god, whereas, in Religion, it is believers with their predispositions and capacities, generic and individual characteristics. Not unlike Critiques, where Kant moves from the theoretical to the practical, studies on religion proceed from the theoretical significance of the idea of God considered in the Lectures to the practical aspects of this idea addressed in the Religion. The Lectures contain a vast body of speculative evidence of the existence of God, which is completely absent in Religion. Religion places a much stronger emphasis on the need for the moral perfection of human beings than the Lectures do. However, it would be wrong to assume that the Lectures present a position different from the responsibility of human beings for their own moral condition and its development.

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Kant and Enlightenment

Kant, Nietzsche, and the Enlightenment: A comparative analysis

Abstract

This article provides a comparative analysis of I. Kant’s and F. Nietzsche’s critical approaches, which is carried out in the context of the thinkers’ attitudes to the problem of the Enlightenment. In spite of a rather peculiar understanding of the Enlightenment, which differed significantly from that of their contemporaries, Kant and Nietzsche have remarkably similar ideas. The author reconstructs the essence and purpose of the Enlightenment, as well as the difficulties faced by philosophers on the way to enlightenment. Another focus is the functional status of the ‘guardian’ and the new interpretation of the ideas of maturity and freedom in Nietzsche’s understanding of the Enlightenment. This becomes possible after Nietzsche’s renunciation of Romanticism and experience of the death of God. Nietzsche extends Kant’s list of possible problems in achieving enlightenment — egoism, guardianship, sloth, and cowardice. For Nietzsche, the central problem is the dominant role of reason in the Enlightenment. Nevertheless, reason is not denied but rather it is limited and supplemented with the integrating power of myth, which is considered by Nietzsche not as a prejudice but as the origin of thought correlating with life. Moreover, confidence in culture disappears. The ‘warped wood’ is replaced by the ‘rope over an abyss’ and the immature majority by masses. Inasmuch a person should never be treated as a means, the thinkers avoid the gap between enlightenment and the current process of realisation of the Enlightenment by a person. Similarly to Kant’s idea that enlightenment eludes realisation becoming a benchmark or a regulative idea, Nietzsche’s works do not distinguish between the source and the end and persons overcoming themselves become the only meaning of existence.

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Neo-Kantianism

The significance of the critique of A. I. Vvedensky’s ‘new psychophysiological law’ for Russian philosophy

Abstract

This article analyses the historical and philosophical critique of A. I. Vvedensky’s ‘new psychophysiological’ law. The author examines the most substantial commentaries, namely, those by P. E. Astafyev, N. Y. Grot, L. M. Lopatin, E. L. Radlov, and S. N. Trubetskoy. At the end of the 19th century, these authors contributed to an active discussion in the pages of scientific journals. The discussion focused on the ideas expressed in the work On the Limits and Characteristics of Becoming Conscious, which was published in the form of theses in book 16 book of the journal Problems of Philosophy and Psychology. Trough formulating the law of the absence of objective evidence of becoming consciousness, Vvedensky did not only raise issues relating to philosophy of mind but also pointed to the growing contradictions in Russian philosophy caused by the development of scientific knowledge amid the dominance of religious philosophy. Using the tools of criticism, the Russian philosopher identified the metaphysical origins in scientific knowledge in order to eliminate them, although preserving the particular critical field of metaphysics dealing with issues transcending the available rational knowledge. Such an approach to the role of metaphysics, as well as demarcation of the border between philosophy and psychology amid the need for coherent knowledge provoked sharp criticism. The author describes Vvednesky’s position, which can be traced in all of his later works. Its central elements is the need to create a coherent understanding of the world providing answers to all the phenomena of human existence, including those traditionally interpreted as objects of nonscientific knowledge. In the conclusion, the author focuses on the characteristics of Vvedensky’s oeuvre and its role in the development of Russian critical philosophy. It is postulated that an analysis of the discussion not only is interesting as a fact in the history of Russian philosophical though but it also gives a new perspective on the problems arising with attempts to create a means for attaining objective and reliable knowledge in philosophy and science, which potentially unites them within research. It is proven that Vvedensky’s philosophical ideas can be classed as Neo-Kantian, which emphasises their unique features and relevance for further historical and philosophical analysis.

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Around the “social pedagogy” of Paul Natorp: Vladimir Dinze in the debates on national upbringing. Part 2

Abstract

Many scholars and practitioners in the sphere of the public education and upbringing in Russia addressed themselves to the philosophical-pedagogical ideas of German philosopher of Neo- Kantian movement Paul Natorp. These ideas were formulated mainly in his fundamental work “Social Pedagogy”. Vladimir Dinze relies on Natorp’s thesis of the national school as the way of accustoming “the all people to the national culture”, actualizes the heritage of Russian and Western pedagogues and philosophers and formulates newly the problem of the national upbringing that is after hundred years in tune with the times as before. The papers of Dinze himself and the translation of Natorp’s “Social Pedagogy” which was organized by him turned out to be the catalysts in the debates on the national education and upbringing. The debates took place in Russian in 1913— 1916, and the outstanding philosophers and pedagogues like M. Rubinstein, P. Blonskiy, V. Soroka- Rosinskiy, S. Zolotarev, P. Devin, S. Rusova and others participated in these debates. As result there worked out the principles of the general and equally accessible national education for all social groups and the harmonious and humane patriotic upbringing, which had to be open to the best achievements of the world culture. The letters of Russian scholars V. Dinze and A. Grombach to P. Natorp and one letter of Natorp to Dinze will be published as a supplement to the article. These letters show not only the process of the translation of “Social Pedagogy” into Russian, but also disclose the peculiarities of the organization of translations of the contemporary scientific literature in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. They were the personal initiative, enthusiasm, the responsibility before the future reader, the scope and intensity of the translators’ and publishers’ activity and the constant lack of adequate financing of this activity.

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