Kantian Journal

2020 Vol. 39. №4

The Place of Hermann Cohen’s Ideas in the Philosophy of Dialogue

Abstract

My aim is to prove that Hermann Cohen was not only a philosopher of dialogue but has played an exceedingly important role in the history of that current of thought. His books Ethics of Pure Will (1904) and Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism (1919) offer a detailed analysis of the relationships between I and Thou, I and It, I and We. In the first book these relationships are considered from the ethical-legal point of view and in the second from the viewpoint of religious anthropology. However, Cohen considers the problem of inter-personal relationships not in isolation, but as an important component of his entire philosophical system. Deduction of the concept of personality in Ethics of Pure Will is based on Cohen’s logic of the origin expounded in the first part of his system in The Logic of Pure Cognition. Cohen explains that the origin of the self-consciousness of I as a personality is not the external world, but another person, i.e. Thou. In turn, the partnership relationships between I and Thou create the community We which forms the basis of the law-governed state. The process of artistic creation in the framework of inter-personal relationship is explored in Aesthetics of Pure Feeling. Finally, Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism formulates the conception of religion as the most complete realisation of inter-personal relationship. Thus, dialogism became an important dimension of Cohen’s entire philosophical system, a fact noted by Martin Buber. Franz Rosenzweig, in unfolding dialogical thinking, expressly appeals to all the elements of Cohen’s system. There are signs of his influence on Bakhtin’s doctrine. Thus, examining Cohen’s doctrine as part of the philosophy of dialogue gives insights into this entire trend as a coherent whole.

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The Emergence of Onto-Gnoseology among Russian Intuitivists as Criticism of Neo-Kantianism

Abstract

At the beginning of the twentieth century in the Russian-speaking philosophical space philosophical projects emerged which brought ontology and gnoseology closer together. One can observe this process, for example, in the philosophical doctrines of the Russian intuitivists Nikolay Lossky and Semyon Frank. I demonstrate that the emergence of these doctrines and the development of their onto-gnoseological categorial apparatus were mainly connected with the criticism of the Neo-Kantian theory of cognition and the possibility of transcendent knowledge as such. The main sources of my study are The Intuitive Basis of Knowledge and The World as an Organic Whole by N. O. Lossky and The Object of Knowledge and The Unknowable by S. L. Frank. My investigation makes it possible to treat Lossky’s categorial framework as the representation of a system of levels of the universe each of which is characterised by two aspects: the ontological, i.e. it is part of the unity of the world, and the gnoseological, i.e. it has an independent cognitive significance. Frank considers categories to be an organic part of the ontological proof of intuitivism. A common trend in the construction of categorial schemes by Lossky and Frank is their striving to combine gnoseological and ontological descriptions of categories. The key difference is the way an onto-gnoseological system as a whole is justified. In revealing the contradictions in Lossky’s conception, I proceed from the critical remarks of S. A. Askoldov (Alexeyev), pointing out that these contradictions stem from an absolutisation of intuition in cognition, the renunciation of the idea of gnoseological transcendence, incompleteness of the theory of immanence and discordance between onto-gnoseological categories. Askoldov’s critical comments clarify the substantive features of Lossky’s theory and the essence of the transformations carried out in Frank’s absolute ideal-realism.

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