Kantian Journal

2018 Vol. 37. No. 4

ARTICLES

Kant’s Philosophy

Vernunft und Glaube. Zu Kants Deduktion der Gnadenlehre

Abstract

Kant’s deduction of the Christian doctrine of justification, respectively the doctrine of grace, leads to the question in what sense philosophy can deal with God’s grace without falsely replacing it with its own arguments. Kant’s answer (a) is that the imputation of evil without attempt to justify it by means of one’s own resources requires thinking of God as the external judge in the internal court of justice, respectively as one’s conscience. This reference to God implies that one makes oneself susceptive to the principle of the good instead of vainly trying to make it dependent on one’s own deeds and thoughts. The renunciation of the attempt to justify one’s evil disposition, i.e. the moral conversion to a good disposition, is thus enabled by the principle of the good. Thus one can reasonably hope to achieve goodness in one’s moral conduct because of God’s grace. A transcendental deduction (b) has to justify conditions that enable the acquisition of rational claims. The justification of the claim of practical reason that faith is a necessary precondition of one‘s moral conduct has now to be understood as complementary to the result of the transcendental deduction of the categories, namely the restriction of theoretical reason to the sensible world. Faith in God’s grace does not represent objective knowledge. As transcending objective knowledge, however, faith refers to the theoretically inexplicable awareness of moral obligation, and with it the idea of an intelligible world, as a necessary precondition of one’s moral conduct in the sensible world.

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Кant: pro et contra

Is Spinoza’s Ethics Heteronomous in the Kantian Sense of the Term?

Abstract

The prevailing interpretations of Spinoza’s ethical theory view it as an example of heteronomy in the Kantian sense of the term. I make a case for the claim that is not in harmony with such interpretations. In the course of the argument I discuss Kant’s concepts of autonomy and heteronomy showing how they refer to will and to ethics. Then I describe a group of interpretations which portray Spinoza’s moral theory as heteronomous. My critique begins by presenting some textual evidence which vividly contradicts some of the boldest heteronomous renditions of Spinoza’s ethics. Then I move on to argue for the existence of conditions in Spinoza’s thought that make every heteronomous interpretation of his practical philosophy extremely unlikely. These are i) identification of moral value in the quality of an agent’s law-oriented motivation, ii) distinction between human nature as rational and affective, ascribing different sets of laws to each, iii) endowment of reason with moral content, iv) recognition of the non-subjective notion of goodness. Added to this is my discussion of freedom and necessity in Kant and Spinoza in which I show that Spinoza’s overarching determinism is not an impediment for autonomy in the Kantian sense of the term. I end the article by presenting possible explanations of the fact that Spinoza’s ethics is frequently seen as a case of heteronomy.

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Neo-Kantianism

The Notion of Free Will in Sergey Hessen’s Conception of Culture

Abstract

Sergey Hessen builds his philosophy of culture on Heinrich Rickert’s theory of values. Like Rickert, he believes that the individual plays a key role in the formation of culture. The individual exercises freedom only in creative activity and the degree to which he fulfils his creative potential depends not only on the cultural context in which it happens, but also on the regulation of the opportunities for self-actualisation in any given society. Accordingly, Hessen defines society as the sphere of communication among a multitude of individuals whose creative activities serve to continue the process of culture-structuring. Thus the effectiveness of the realisation of values in cultural reality depends directly on ensuring the conditions for the exercise of free will. There is potentially an unlimited number of ways of defining the concept of free will, each imposing certain limitations on the actualisation of the individual in culture. The question arises, how does each individual understand the possibility of creative activities within a concrete culture and what permits him to determine the vectors of self-actualisation? In seeking an answer to this question Hessen resorts to the dialectical method as a universal formal instrument for assessing the development of culture. What enables Hessen to overcome in theory the fragmentation of culture into a multitude of variations of actualisation of free will is the interpretation of the common will as a continuously renewed result of interaction among a multitude of individuals. An individual, according to Hessen, can understand his own past as a continuity only by comparing its component social practices to something that transcends his goals and that is not reduced to a fragment of personal being.

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CONFERENCE REPORTS

Kant and Solovyov: Convergences and Divergences. Report of the International Conference (Kaliningrad, 15-16 November 2018)

Abstract

his review sums up the main ideas presented at the international conference “Kant and Solovyov: Convergences and Divergences” held in Kaliningrad, Russia on 15-16 November 2018. The Conference was organised by the Academia Kantiana, a research unit of the Humanities Institute, Immanuel Kant Baltic University, in conjunction with the Department of the History of Russian Philo­sophy at the Philosophical Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University. The presentations were divided into two thematic blocks. The first was devoted to the perception of the ideas of Kant and Solovyov in the Russian philosophical tradition and the second to the perception and critique of Kant’s practical philosophy by Solovyov. The speakers also paid attention to historical-philosophical problems as well as to various aspects of Kant and Solovyov’s treatment of ethics, aesthetics, politics, law, religion and culture in general. The review sums up the presentations and discussions.

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