Kantian Journal

2015 Special Issue

In memoriam

Kant’s theoretical philosophy

Intellektuelle Anschauung und philosophische Schwärmerei. Kant und die Aufklärung des philosophierenden Subjekts

Abstract

The article broaches the issue of Kant’s claim of the enlightenment of the philosophizing subject by tracing his criticism of philosophical enthusiasm (“Schwärmerei”). For Kant intellectual intuition (“intellektuelle Anschauung”) serves in case of philosophical enthusiasm as a reason for the justification of philosophical knowledge. This determination is a threat for his project of enlightenment, because it entices the philosophizing subject to contradict the maxim of self-thinking. In order to show the link between Kant’s criticism of the concept of intellectual intuition and his claim of the enlightenment of the philosophizing subject, the article gives an analysis of Kant’s usage of the concepts ‘intellectual intuition’ and ‘enthusiasm’ in his critical works. Subsequently Kant’s criticism of the philosophical enthusiasm is rendered more precisely in the context of his criticism of the philosophers of intuition (“Philosophen der Anschauung”) and his criticism of rationalistic metaphysics. Both positions refer — explicitly or implicitly — to intellectual intuition in order to justify philosophical knowledge. As the concept of intellectual intuition is invalid for Kant but central for enthusiastic philosophical positions, philosophical enthusiasm is not merely a threat for his project of enlightenment — it is the ‘death of all philosophy’ (“Tod aller Philosophie”).

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The Green Meadow. Kant´s new Definition of the Modal Concept of Existence in the First Moment of the “Analytic of the Beautiful”

Abstract

Contrary to the standard view in the Kant literature, I argue that the concept of “existence” is the real focus of Kant’s investigation in the “First Moment” of the “Analytic of the Beautiful” in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. That is, “existence” is not a secondary or subordinate part of a more general discourse concerning the “disinterestedness of aesthetic judgment”. Rather, the whole characterization of the judgment of taste as a “judgment of an object grounded on a delight in it which is without any interest” shall be considered here as a means to constructing a new definition of the modal concept of “existence”. More generally, the four moments of the “Analytic of the Beautiful” contain preliminary work on the modal concepts of existence, possibility, necessity — and, of course, contingency, which is very important because it is required for the definition of the very special modal status of the “maxims of judgment”.

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Kant’s practical philosophy

Kants Begriff der Verbindlichkeit und die neuzeitliche Naturrechtslehre

Abstract

My article is devoted to one of the main concepts of early modern natural law, i. e. the concept of obligation. Starting with Pufendorf's concept of obligation, it will be demonstrated that the natural law is grounded on the will of God. In contrast, the concept of obligation in Christian Wolff's Philosophia practica universalis has no need to found the validity of obligation of natural law in God's will. Instead he developed a concept which was based on the idea of a free self-binding moral subject. Therefore, Wolff's Philosophy has a great impact on Kant's own moral philosophy and especially on his concept of obligation. I will conclude by showing to what extent Kant was going beyond the early modern concept of the natural law tradition.

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Arguments against Redistributive Justice based on Kant’s Doctrine of Private Right

Abstract

According to Kant, “right in a state of nature is called private right” (MS, AA VI, S. 242). It is my claim that there is no room for a right to enforce the offer of benefits in the private right. Firstly, I will show how the concept of an innate right to freedom provides no conceptual foundation for a right to enforcement of alleged duties of cooperation. Since my argument is much more conceptual than hermeneutical, Isaiah Berlin’s analysis of negative liberty in “Two Concepts of Liberty” will be helpful here. Secondly, I will argue that the concepts of original acquisition and voluntary transfers are also at odds with the idea of a redistributive justice. At this point, it will be very useful to notice that the first two principles of justice in holdings of Robert Nozick roughly corresponds to the first two sections of Kant’s theory of acquisition of external things in the private right. Finally, I will sketch an objection against political uses of a principle of historical rectification of acquisitions. The principle of rectification is the third and last principle of Nozick’s entitlement theory of justice in distribution, and it should be of concern to Kantians too, since it is a mere principle of rectification of the two first principles. Due to the points I am going to make, I conclude that, if somewhere, redistributivism should make its case in Kant’s doctrine of public right, as a right of a State.

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Duty and Coercion in Kant’s Republican Cosmopolitanism

Abstract

This paper argues whether Kant’s cosmopolitanism entails a specific theory of coercion. I will especially tackle Kant’s account of international political order. First, I claim that Kant attributes a systematic role to the cosmopolitan right, what justifies considering this part of the doctrine of law as a necessary rational conclusion of the legal system, although its institutional embodiment differs from that required by the rights of states. I highlight that according to Kant states may not behave as individual citizens do, since they do not recognize any higher authority than themselves. Second, cosmopolitan law shows that coercion is not an insurmountable condition to fulfill legal obligations, since the cosmopolitan order depends on the moral equality among states, far from involving a hierarchy over governmental structure. Third, I will discuss that the only reason to perform an active role in the political sphere according to Kant stems from the statehood, so that to help other needy and less developed peoples and societies in order to boost that they achieve their autonomy as a state would not belong to the duties that a republic should abide to. Thus, the transformation of a human society into a republican civil union means according to Kant’s account of right the greatest contribution that a state could offer to enhance the cosmopolitan order.

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Kant’s Perpetual Peace Project and the Project of the European Union

Abstract

The article examines the following problems: 1) How well-founded is the comparison of the ideas of Kant’s essay «Towards Perpetual Peace», written in late XVIII century, with the implementation of nowadays project of European Union 2) If such parallels are possible, to what extent the structure of the EU corresponds to Kant’s vision? 3) Which Kantian ideas are of the foremost importance to future development of the EU? Basing on the analysis of Kant’s treatise and of the current structure of the EU, the author arrives to the conclusion that the two projects can suitably be compared. However, such comparison requires viewing the EU as an intermediate stage in the establishment of global peace union. The comparative analysis of Kant’s theory and the European project, the EU in its current form suits Kant’s definition of a federation of sovereign states, united for the purpose of securing peace, and in some respects went even further. The process of European integration has transformed Europe’s regional buildup from the arena of regular war conflicts into the society of peace, prosperity, liberty and right. It is obvious that it its development the EU will undergo difficulties and crises. However, the general direction, chosen by the union of European states, aiming at the development of rights and liberties, at good-will and cooperation between individuals, societies and states perfectly corresponds to the spirit of Kant’s philosophy and should guarantee of success in establishing global peace in the future.

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Neo-Kantianism

Hermann Cohens Konzept der Anthropodizee in der Sicht Jacob Gordins

Abstract

The paper focuses on the problem of anthropodicy in the philosophical system of Hermann Cohen and its interpretation by Jacob Gordin (1896—1947). Gordin was one of the last followers of Cohen in Russia. He developes his interpretation in the lecture “Anthropodicy”, which was given in the Philosophical Circle at the Petrograd University in December 1921. For the study of the problem of anthropodicy he was apparently inspired by the discussions at the Free Philosophical Association in 1919—1921. Gordin places Cohen’s concept of man in the wide intellectual context given by the ideas of the Russian religious philosophy, German classical philosophy, Neo-Kantianism, and the West European and Jewish mysticism (cabbala). Gordin compares Cohen’s anthropodicy with Vladimir Soloviev’s one and shows that there is a similarity in their approaches. Both philosophers point out that the justification of man is possible only in form of the justification of humanity and not as for Berdyaiev in form of the justification of personality. But Gordin uses Soloviev’s concept of all-unity and Berdyaiev’s concept of creativity in order to “improve” Cohen’s conception and to reveal the contribution of a person to the justification of humanity. Stronger as Cohen Gordin connects the programm of anthropodicy with individuality and underlines the participation of the individual in creating culture.

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Research. Archives. Documents

Königsberger Kant-Forschung: Allgemeine Aufgaben und Popularisierung

Abstract

The first part of the article describes general development of Kant studies in Königsberg as a local movement (not a school) with some special traits, which has significantly contributed to the culture of the town. Core activities were formed by the Society of Kant’s Friends, as well as by archival studies, i. e. collecting, annotating and publishing Kant’s manuscripts, correspondence, and lecture notes. In view of primary and secondary sources we would suggest to structure this movement in four lines: popularization; biographical research; collection and publication of manuscripts, letters and lecture notes; interpretation and reception of Kant's ideas. A more detailed description is given for the first line — an activity of persons of different occupations, which was more or less popularizing. It began during Kant’s lifetime and concluded with the last echoes of Königsberg culture while the town was no more part of Germany. It was an important part of the whole philosophical culture of East Prussia, and, in some sense, even a factor of self-identification. This process, with a large variety of tasks and solutions in its interlacing and intermittent threads, has played an important role at the beginnings and development of other lines of the local Kant studies. Successes and failures are shown not only in our description, but also lively and emotional from the own standpoint of heroes of this history. Prospects for in-depth research are also outlined.

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