Kantian Journal

2023 Vol. 42. №1

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Angiolini vs Kant: Philosophical Endeavour at the Polotsk Jesuit Academy



The movement for the revival of the Scholastic tradition (Neo-Scholasticism) was a reaction to devastating criticism by the representatives of Enlightenment which led to the destruction of traditional metaphysics and of epistemological optimism, the two pillars of European religious philosophy. Reception of Kantian ideas in Neo-Scholasticism varied from total rejection to its use in renewing the philosophical foundation of religious philosophy. In this regard the legacy of the Polotsk Jesuit Academy was one of the first attempts to interpret Kant’s ideas and confront them in the framework of the Scholastic tradition. It is therefore not irrelevant to look at how Kant’s programmatic ideas were perceived at the Polotsk Jesuit Academy, one of the few centres of Jesuit philosophy that survived in the territory of the Russian Empire in the early nineteenth century. The object of this study is the attempt at a critical analysis of Kant made in the Philosophical Instructions for Students at the Polotsk Academy by the Academy’s professor, Giuseppe Angiolini. Angiolini constantly refers to Kant in his reasoning and sees him as his main ideological rival. The ideas articulated in the Philosophical Instructions influenced the philosophical positions of the Academy’s graduates who in turn made a tangible contribution to the development of the Belarusian intellectual tradition. The relationship between Kant’s ideas and the ideas Angiolini drew from the Scholastic tradition is analysed through the use of the concepts that are common to both trends, such as the transcendental, the empirical and the sensible, self-evident truths and common sense.


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