Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 3

Kant’s philosophy

Kant’s appearance as an objective-objectual [gegenständlich] representation

Abstract

This article analyses the features of Kant’s [transcendental] philosophy, which Kant himself described as transcendental idealism. On the one hand, Kant’s transcendentalism rests on the distinction between things-in-themselves and appearances. On the other hand, our method of cognition is representative in that is based on representations — subjective and objective (objectual) ones. A synthesis of the above considerations suggests that Kant’s transcendentalism rests on the [conceptual] triad — ‘[objective] object (thing-in-itself; Ding an sich) —appearance (Erscheinung) — and [mental] representation (Vorstellung)’. Kant’s transcendental philosophy is impossible without the concept (‘premise’) of appearance (a paraphrase of Friedrich Jacobi’s maxim). It is the third complete entity, which has an intermediate ontological and epistemological status. Appearance can be correlated with objective (objective-objectual ‘gegenstänslich’) representation. It would be unwise to identify appearance with thing-in-itself, which was characteristic of pre- Kantian philosophy (naïve realism), or appearance with representation, which was the case in phenomenalist interpretations of transcendentalism à la Berkley (interpretation of two objects). Kant’s appearance, as emphasised in BXXVII of his Critique, is an appearance of an object (thing-initself), which — although implicitly — suggests a semantic relationship of reference. Appearance (as a sign) is impossible without what appears in it (the referent of a sign). This article puts forward a number of arguments in favour of the objective/objective-objectual status of Kant’s concept of appearance.

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Kant’s family ethics and philosophy of love. Part 2. Critique of Judgement

Abstract

This paper deals with the forms of satisfaction in the Critique of Judgement — disinterested affection for a beautiful form in a pure feeling, vital love for something sensorily pleasant, rational respect for unconditioned good, and non-self-regarding love for humanity. A synthetic union of the above gives the conceptual key to the critical philosophy of love, which was never fully articulated in Kant’s lectures or published works. Moral love and legal awareness prevent the encroachment of vital love, as the maxims of ‘barbarian taste’ are being overcome. Aesthetic love — which dwells in the element of sophisticated taste as a capacity to judge with pleasure in matters of beauty, free from any interest, and without the mediation of concepts — appears to be the paramount condition for the possibility of a relationship between the sexes that is ‘compatible with morality’. This is not a restricting, but rather a liberating and affirming kind of satisfaction. Only the capability to see one another in the element of humanly beautiful, the capability to rejoice in one another in the beauty which gives birth to the culture of all faculties of human beings, is, according to Kant, the condition for possibility of the only kind of relationship worthy of humanity and compatible with morality. This condition is discovered by Kant beyond the borders of ethics. Therefore, it is not discussed within those borders any more. The crucial significance of love based on aesthetic taste to Kantian anthropology evokes some superficial Kantian objections but proves to be justified by the philosophy of the culture of free personality as striving towards the integral self, as it was formulated later in German idealism.

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Kant: pro et contra

Kant, Gödel, and the problem of synthetic a priori judgements

Abstract

Debates over Kant’s famous postulate about the existence of synthetic a priori judgements in mathematics, formulated in the Critique of Pure Reason, have been raging for over two centuries. On the one hand, it was fiercely criticised by neo-positivists in the early 20th century. On the other hand, Kant’s ideas on constructive nature of mathematics served as a philosophical framework for LEJ Brouwer’s programme of intuitionism in the foundations of mathematics. Of interest are the ideas of the great logician and mathematician Kurt Gödel about the analytical nature of mathematics, put forward in a number of his works on philosophy of mathematics. Although he never mentions synthetic a priori judgements, the course of his reasoning about analytical judgements is close to that employed by Kant. As early as the mid-20th century, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and the works of Church and Turing constituted arguments in favour of the existence of synthetic a priori judgements. The American logician Irving Copi was the first to use Gödel’s first incompleteness theory to that end. While his small work went almost unnoticed, such ideas were expressed by at least two other mathematicians. In modern mathematics, particularly, Martin-Löf type theory, the existence of synthetic a priori truths, is considered justified. Although it is based on different grounds than those mentioned above, it is nevertheless compatible with Gödel’s results. Analysing proofs of existence of synthetic a priori judgements helps demonstrate that a solution to this problem is determined by the implicitly or explicitly accepted image of logic, whose key parameter is the object of logic or, in other worlds, the ideas about the nature of the logical and, therefore, the ideas about the boundaries of logic and mathematics.

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I. Kant’s and E. Husserl’s practical philosophy

Abstract

This article focuses on the problem of reconciling a priori and empirical dimensions of freedom, will, and action as the crucial point for understanding the relationship between theoretical and practical reason in Kant’s and Husserl’s practical philosophy. Relying on the explanation of the relationship between transcendental and practical freedom given in Kant's practical philosophy, the author problematizes Kant’s thesis about the primacy of practical reason. This is the starting point and leitmotif in analysing the nature of revision of Kant’s ideas, premises, and problems in the first draft of Husserl’s practical philosophy (scientific ethics). Comparative analysis reveals terminological and conceptual similarities and differences between Kant’s and Husserl’s practical philosophies. Another important result is identifying the principles and departure point ideas for both thinkers. These are a shared understanding of the relationship between theoretical and practical reason, the principle of the ‘purity’ of moral motives and compulsoriness of the a priori, the idea of parallelism between logic and ethics, the interaction between will and mind, and the determining role of the categorical imperative. The author stresses that an adequate understanding of the thinkers’ positions requires distinguishing between Kant’s transcendentalist perspective and Husserl’s phenomenological descriptive perspective, between the a priori of pure reason and the material a priori, between good will as a duty and the thetic acts of will, and between the absolute and relative compulsoriness of the categorical imperative. At the same time, the possibility of reconciling the obligatory and a priori greatest good with a concrete, practical situation of choice remains an open question.

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