Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 1

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



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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