Kantian Journal

2018 Vol. 37. No. 2

ARTICLES

Kant’s Philosophy

Kant and the Crusians in the Debate on Optimism

Abstract

n this article, which completes a two-part series on the problem of optimism in Kant’s works, I explore in detail the arguments advanced by the Crusians A. F. Reinhard and D. Weymann against the actual world as the best of all possible worlds and in favour of the actual world as one of the good worlds, Kant’s counterarguments put forward in the mid-1750s drafts and in An Attempt at Some Reflections on Optimism (1759), and further polemical attacks on this topic against Kant by D. Weymann in his works of 1759—1760. I trace the evolution of Kant’s views on optimism from the mid- to the late-1750s, when this concept — once characteristic of the partly unacceptable position that G. W. Leibniz defended in the Theodicy — came to describe Kant’s own views. Leaving aside Voltaire’s resonating works on the Lisbon earthquake, the generic opponent to Kant’s position is an amalgam of Crusians (C. A. Crusius, A. F. Reinhard, D. Weymann, and others), reduced to a caricature with regards to certain theses. I address Weymann’s polemic with Kant to show that, in the pre-critical period, the early Kant advocated beliefs in sphere of practical philosophy that he later radically changed in the critical period, in particular those with regards to freedom and human dignity. The obvious bias of most Kantian scholars against Kant’s opponents prevented researchers from seeing the validity of Weymann’s criticism of Kant for ignoring the problem of freedom. To prove his point, Weymann addressed the difference between the freedom of contradiction (libertas contradictionis) and the freedom of contrariety (libertas contrarietatis). Apparently, Kant himself noticed to a certain degree the validity of Weymann’s criticism, since, after 1759, he abandoned the term “optimism” and, in his later years, distanced himself from his early work An Attempt at Some Reflections on Optimism.

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Kant: pro et contra

Kantian Philosophy and ‘Linguistic Kantianism’

Abstract

The expression “linguistic Kantianism” is widely used to refer to ideas about thought and cognition being determined by language — a conception characteristic of 20th century analytic philosophy. In this article, I conduct a comparative analysis of Kant’s philosophy and views falling under the umbrella expression “linguistic Kantianism.” First, I show that “linguistic Kantianism” usually presupposes a relativistic conception that is alien to Kant’s philosophy (although Kant’s philosophy itself may be perceived as relativistic from a certain point of view). Second, I analyse Kant’s treatment of linguistic determinism and the place of his ideas in the 18th century intellectual milieu and provide an overview of relevant contemporary literature. Third, I show that authentic Kantianism and “linguistic Kantianism” belong to two different types of transcendentalism, to which I respectively refer as the “transcendentalism of the subject” and the “transcendentalism of the medium.” The transcendentalism of the subject assigns a central role to the faculties of the cognising subject (according to Kant, cognition is not the conforming of a subject’s intuitions and understanding to objects, but rather the application of a subject’s cognitive faculties to them). The transcendentalism of the medium assigns the role of an “active” element neither to the external world nor to the faculties of the cognising subject, but to something in between — language, in the case of “linguistic Kantianism.” I conclude that the expression “linguistic Kantianism” can be misleading when it comes to the origins of this theory. It would be more appropriate to refer to this theory by the expression “linguistic transcendentalism,” thus avoiding an incorrect reference to Kant.

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Neo-Kantianism

Legal Consciousness at the Early Stage of Personality Development from the Perspective of Russian Neo-Kantian Philosophy of Pedagogy

Abstract

In this study, I investigate the philosophico-pedagogical concepts developed by German and Russian Neo-Kantians, namely P. Natorp, S. I. Hessen, M. M. Rubinstein. In order to identify the peculiarities of the approaches of the Neo-Kantians to legal consciousness in children, I show that the widely accepted view that Hessen borrowed Natorp’s hierarchical triad of moral development — anomie, heteronomy, and autonomy — lacks a solid ground. Moreover, Natorp generally does not use the concept of anomie to characterise the state of morality and legal consciousness during early childhood, and Rubinstein’s position on this issue is closer to the position of Natorp than to that of Hessen. Furthermore, I examine the differences in the views of the Russian Neo-Kantians on play as an activity crucial for the understanding of human childhood. According to Hessen, play is anomic, whereas Rubinstein sees it as a collaborative activity that can engender respect for other people and their rights, i.e., to legal consciousness. In conclusion, I address Hessen’s and Rubinstein’s understandings of the phenomena of law and legal consciousness, which determined their definitions of legal consciousness in children. Unlike Hessen, who insists that anomie is innate in early childhood, since children of that age are unfamiliar with ethical categories, Rubinstein introduces the concept of “legal psychology,” which contains the germs of legal consciousness.

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ARCHIVE

DISCUSSION

Kants Freiheitsargument. Diskussion von Heiko Puls: Sittliches Bewusstsein und Kategorischer Imperativ in Kants Grundlegung: Ein Kommentar zum dritten Abschnitt. Berlin und Boston: De Gruyter, 2016. 318 S.

Abstract

Heiko Puls’ work Sittliches Bewusstsein und Kategorischer Imperativ in Kants Grundlegung: Ein Kommentar zum dritten Abschnitt, presents an attempt to show that, in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant’s argumentation for the objective value of the categorical imperative is almost based upon the same principle as the one presented in the second Critique. More precisely, Puls claims that, like in the Critique of Practical Reason, the Groundwork operates with some kind of fact of reason-theory, which means that our consciousness of the moral law is the ratio cognoscendi of our freedom of will. Accordingly, there is no conclusion from a kind of non-moral consciousness of freedom to the freedom of will and from here to the objective value of the categorical imperative, as many interpreters assume. Due to the ambitiousness of his main thesis and his detailed and subtle way of arguing, Puls’ work represents an important and innovative contribution to recent research on Kant’s Groundwork. Nevertheless, his interpretations sometimes seem to favour analysis of loose philological relationships over closer looks on the contexts of passages. Or he focuses excessively on isolated textual evidences for his readings without appropriately recognising the various other evidences against it. In what follows, I give examples for this criticism.

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BOOK REVIEWS

ANNOUNCEMENTS

International Scientific Conference “Kant and Solovyov: Convergences and Divergences”

Abstract

November 15—16, 2018
Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University,  Kaliningrad, Russia

The Academia Kantiana at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University organizes a series of conferences on the theme of “Immanuel Kant and Russian Philo­sophers: Convergences and Divergences.” The first conference, co-organized with the Department of the History of Russian Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, is devoted to the reception and criticism of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant by the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov.
The aim of the gathering is to examine diverse aspects of Solovyov’s philosophical works — epistemological, philosophico-political, philosophico-religious, aesthetic, etc. — in which an intellectual influence from Kant is discernible or in which a polemical stance is taken against him. But the prevailing theme of the conference will be the practical philosophy of the German and Russian philosophers: in 2018, 230 years have passed since the publication of Kant’s main ethical work, the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and, in 2019, 120 years will have passed since the publication of Solovyov’s final version of The Justification of the Good (1899). Both of these works are the apexes of two different, yet closely related, traditions of moral philosophy — the German and the Russian.
The conference will be devoted to the study of overlaps and influences between currently relevant aspects of the legacies of Kant and Solovyov. These aspects will also be examined in light of the views of Solovyov’s contemporaries: K. D. Kavelin, L. N. Tolstoy, B. N. Chicherin, the brothers Trubetskoy, L. M. Lopatin, N. I. Grot, N. I. Kareev, and others in connection with their polemics around the philosophy of Kant and Solovyov. We also intend to pay attention to the influence of Solovyov on Russian Neo-Kantianism.

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