Kantian Journal

2023 Vol. 42. №2

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Some Remarks about the Difference between Überzeugung and Überredung



According to several passages in the available sources, Kant developed some ideas about the difference between being persuaded and being convinced which have antecedents in the German tradition, but with regard to which he developed ideas of his own. It is my intention to examine precisely some of these passages. I will explain how the philosopher understood this difference, what its relevance is and why the figure of the other is necessary to determine it. For this purpose, texts published in the critical period and students’ lecture notes from the same period are considered. Furthermore, I will compare the treatment of the subject in these sources and in the textbooks used by Kant in his courses. In the conclusions, the link between this issue and Kantian arguments in defending freedom of thought and expression is also suggested. In order to do so, I first explain the notion of holding to be true and its difference from the notion of being true. Secondly, I examine what it means to be convinced and what it means to be persuaded. Finally, I analyse the relevance of alterity for the identification of this difference and consider the importance of freedom of expression.


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