Kantian Journal

2021 Vol. 40. №1

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Reception of Kant’s Epistemological Ideas in Fyodor Golubinsky’s Metaphysics

Pages
97-123

Abstract

Kant’s views on space and time as well as his doctrine of the categories of understanding attracted the attention of thinkers belonging to the Russian spiritual-academic philosophical tradition of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A prominent representative of these was Fyodor Golubinsky. He was among the first to react to Kant’s “Copernican turn”. He did not merely study the epistemological ideas of Kant but embraced them and modified them in the framework of his own philosophical teaching. To determine why Golubinsky turned to Kant’s ideas, to what extent he shared them and with what he disagreed and why, I propose to reconstruct Kant’s and Golubinsky’s ideas on space and time and to compare their doctrines of the categories of understanding. I come to the conclusion that Golubinsky borrowed some propositions of Kant’s theory of space and time, specifically, the procedure of identifying forms of sensibility — space and time — their a priori character, their being part of sensible intuitions and, finally, their definition as essential properties of sense perception. Golubinsky, unlike Kant, considers space and time to be objective. In his doctrine of the categories of understanding Golubinsky follows Kant in that the foundation of the categories of understanding is the unity of self-consciousness but he attributes the unity of self-consciousness to reason’s idea of the Infinite, whereas Kant sees it in the understanding. With some reservations, it can be said that Golubinsky adopts Kant’s table of categories but changes their order. As for the meaning of the categories, for Golubinsky they are not merely laws of cognising things, but laws of their being. In conclusion, I show that Golubinsky forms his epistemological concept in polemics with Kant, borrowing from him only those propositions which fit his metaphysics or modifying them to that end.

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