Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Here is the publisher's description:
The problem of knowledge in German Idealism has drawn increasing attention in recent years. This is the first attempt at a systematic critique that covers all four major figures, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. In examining the evolution of the German idealist discussion with respect to a broad array of concepts (epistemology, metaphysics, logic, dialectic, contradiction, totality, and several others), the author draws from a wide variety of sources in several languages, employs lucid and engaging language, and offers a fresh, incisive and challenging critique.
Limnatis contrasts Kant’s epistemological assertiveness with his ontological scepticism as a critical issue in the development of the discourse in German Idealism, and argues that Fichte’s phenomenological demarche only amplifies the Kantian impasse, but allows him to launch a path-breaking critique of formal logic, and to press forward the dialectic. Schelling’s later restoration of metaphysics aims exactly at overcoming the Fichtean conflict between epistemological monism and ontological dualism. And it is Hegel who synthesizes the preceding discussion and unambiguously addresses the need for a new philosophical logic, the dialectical logic. Limnatis scrutinizes Hegel’s deduction in the Phenomenology, invokes modern genetic epistemology, and advances a non-metaphysical reading of the Science of Logic as a genetic theory of systematic knowledge and as circular epistemology. Emphasizing the unity between the logical and the historical, the distinction between intellectual (verständlich) and rational (vernünftig) explanation, and the cognitive importance of contradiction, the author argues for the prospect of an evolving totality of reflective reason.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I also want to point out that Paul Redding has some very interesting papers posted on his homepage. At the bottom of his page you will see an "online papers" section, which includes a great paper on the "Idealism" of Russell and Moore called "Idealism: a love (of sophia) that dare not speak its name". There are also papers up on Hegel and recognition, Brandom and McDowell, naturalism etc.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Here is all the info:
Terry Godlove (Hofstra): "The Objectivity of Regulative Principles in Kant's Appendix to the Dialectic".
Address: Stony Brook University-Manhattan, 401 Park Ave. South, 2nd
Floor (between. 27th and 28th St.) Tel.: 646 472 2025
Thomas Teufel (Baruch College) will respond to Terry's paper.
Email me if you plan to come and would like a copy of the paper.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
You will see that I have added a link to this page in the sidebar titled "online resources".
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Here is also a link to a book on Fichte by Robert Adamson (1881). Here is a link to a PDF of the The Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, translated by William Smith. There are 2 volumes of the Popular Works: Vol. 1, Vol. 2. These contain writings on the Wissenschaftslehre, Religion, History and the State. Also, there is a commentary on Fichte's Science of Knowledge by Charles Everett. A very old translation of the System of Ethics.
Fichte's son and early editor, Immanuel Hermann Fichte, wrote a book called Contributions to Mental Philosophy which you can also download as a PDF. This book looks to be a strange one, a mix of "philosophic form" and "scientific outpouring of the heart." Should be interesting. He also wrote an Anthropology which is here in German.
I also found an old translation of Fichte's Vocation of Man which has been translated as The Destination of Man. This edition appeared in a Catholic series of books, and on the title page you will find a portrait of Jesus.
Here is an early translation of Fichte's 1801 Wissenschaftslehre which was translated as New Exposition of the Science of Knowledge.
Finally, here is a commentary by Ellen Talbot on Fichte. I'm sure there is more. Thanks Google Books! All of these links take you to pages where you can download the books as PDFs.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (Wiki)
The bibliography for the Phenomenology is a wiki page, so you can add things that might be missing.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Kant Yearbook practices double-blind review; i.e. the reviewers are not aware of the identity of a manuscript's author, and the author is not aware of the reviewer's identity. Submitted manuscripts must be anonymous. That is, the authors' names and references to their work capable of identifying them are not to appear in the manuscript.
Dietmar H. Heidemann (Hofstra University)
Henry E. Allison (University of California at Davis)
Karl Ameriks (Notre Dame)
Gordon Brittan (Montana State University)
Klaus Düsing (University of Cologne)
Daniel O. Dahlstrom (Boston University)
Kristina Engelhard (University of Cologne)
Brigitte Falkenburg (University of Dortmund)
Hannah Ginsborg (University of California at Berkeley)
Michelle Grier (University of San Diego)
Thomas Grundmann (University of Cologne)
Paul Guyer (University of Pennsylvania)
Robert Hanna (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Georg Mohr (University of Bremen)
Angelica Nuzzo (CUNY)
Robert Stern (Sheffield University)
Dieter Sturma (University of Bonn)
Ken Westphal (University of Kent)
Markus Willaschek (University of Frankfurt)
More info here.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
If you want to participate you must register and submit the title of your presentation by May 15, 2009. Texts for contributions must be received by 30 June 2009 at the latest. Conference email: email@example.com.
Here are the workshop themes and topics:
4) Philosophy of Religion
5) Late Philosophy in Comparison
6) Experience of the Groundless and the Irrational
7) Political and Social Conceptions
8) Freedom in Philosophy
9) Fichte and Schelling and Contemporary Philosophy
You will of course find more details at this website about possible topics and how to register and submit. Thanks to David Wood for the heads up.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Kantian Ethics is an important and challenging book. The position that it presents is original and its argument is supported by an exceptional knowledge of Kant’s thought, of the Kantian literature and of ethical theory more broadly. It is not, however, a particularly attractive one to read. The tone in which Wood criticizes those with whom he disagrees is hectoring and dyspeptic. They show “a deplorable tendency to think in terms of entrenched prejudices”; they commit “whoppers”, have a “tin ear” for Kant, say things that are “strangely arbitrary and nonsensically extreme”, and so on. Philosophical texts are exceedingly complex, and to enter into their world is not easy. When someone feels that they have grasped what others have missed it is perhaps understandable that they should come to think that, as Wood puts it, “what Kant is trying to say is not making it past the censorship of their philosophical prejudices”. I can appreciate this, not least because I found myself thinking similarly about Wood himself. It seemed to me that his grave-robber’s passion for using Kant to support his own moral convictions had sometimes led him to overlook dimensions of Kant’s theory to which, as an archaeologist, he should have given greater weight. But this thought does not diminish the admiration I feel for the seriousness and erudition with which he sets about his task.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Angelica Nuzzo offers a comprehensive reconstruction of Kant's theory of sensibility in his three Critiques. By introducing the notion of "transcendental embodiment," Nuzzo proposes a new understanding of Kant's views on science, nature, morality, and art. She shows that the issue of human embodiment is coherently addressed and key to comprehending vexing issues in Kant's work as a whole. In this penetrating book, Nuzzo enters new terrain and takes on questions Kant struggled with: How does a body that feels pleasure and pain, desire, anger, and fear understand and experience reason and strive toward knowledge? What grounds the body's experience of art and beauty? What kind of feeling is the feeling of being alive? As she comes to grips with answers, Nuzzo goes beyond Kant to revise our view of embodiment and the essential conditions that make human experience possible.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Here is a description from the publisher:
On Mechanism in Hegel's Social and Political Philosophy examines the role of the concept of mechanism in Hegel’s thinking about political and social institutions. It counters as overly simplistic the notion that Hegel has an ‘organic concept of society’. It examines the thought of Hegel’s peers and predecessors who critique modern political intuitions as ‘machine-like’, focusing on J.G. Herder, Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis. From here it examines the early writings of Hegel, in which Hegel makes a break with the Romantic way of thinking about ethical community. Ross argues that in this period, Hegel devises a new way of thinking about the integration of mechanistic and organic features within an organizational whole. This allows Hegel to offer an innovative theory of modern civil society as a component in ethical life. The second half of the book examines how Hegel develops this thought in his later works. It offers an in depth commentary on the chapter on mechanism in the Science of Logic, and it demonstrates the role of these thoughts in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. On Mechanism in Hegel's Social and Political Philosophy offers a critical response to debates over communitarianism by arguing against one of the central figures used by scholars to associate Hegel with communitarian thought, namely the notion that society is organic. In addition, it argues that Hegel political theory is deeply informed by his formal ontology, as developed in the Science of Logic.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
This fresh and original book argues that the central questions in Hegel's practical philosophy are the central questions in modern accounts of freedom: What is freedom, or what would it be to act freely? Is it possible so to act? And how important is leading a free life? Robert Pippin argues that the core of Hegel's answers is a social theory of agency, the view that agency is not exclusively a matter of the self-relation and self-determination of an individual but requires the right sort of engagement with and recognition by others. Using a detailed analysis of key Hegelian texts, he develops this interpretation to reveal the bearing of Hegel's claims on many contemporary issues, including much-discussed core problems in the liberal democratic tradition. His important study will be valuable for all readers who are interested in Hegel's philosophy and in the modern problems of agency and freedom.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
You can see how important it is not to confuse society as such with that particular, empirically conditioned type of society which we call 'the state.' Desire what a very great man has said [Kant], life in the state is not one of man's absolute aims. The state is, instead, only a means for establishing a perfect society, a means which exists only under specific circumstances. Like all those human institutions which are mere means, the state aims at abolishing itself. The goal of all government is to make government superfluous. Though the time has certainly not yet come, nor do I know how many myriads or myriads of myriads of years it may take...there will certainly be a point in the a priori foreordained career of the human species when all civic bonds will become superfluous. This is hat point when reason, rather than strength or cunning, will be universally recognized as the highest court of appeal. I say "be recognized" because even then men will still make mistakes and injure their fellowmen thereby. All they will then require is the goodwill to allow themselves to be convinced that they erred and, when they are convinced of this, to recant their errors and make amends for the damages. Until we have reached this point we are, speaking quite generally, not even true men .
Slight change of subjects now: I, like most of you, have been spending too much time following the present political and financial crisis in the US. I have nothing interesting to say about it, and there are plenty of good blogs covering the issue, but this Thomas Friedman line in a recent column at The New York Times did make me laugh:
I've always believed that America's government was a unique political system--one designed by geniuses so that it could be run by idiots. I was wrong. No system can be smart enough to survive this level of incompetence and recklessness by the people charged to run it.----
 ibid., 139.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I've wondered what form Brandom's book would take. Many works on Hegel's Phenomenology are fairly straight forward commentaries. H. S. Harris's Hegel's Ladder goes far beyond any of the many commentaries in terms of its detail and comprehensiveness. Pinkard's is an interesting Sellarsian take (with some serious Barndomian influences). But I could not imagine Brandom taking the time or interest in this kind of scholarly and reconstructive work. Now after seeing what he's done with Kant and Hegel in his Woodbridge Lectures, it became clearer there was no chance of this. But how does one write on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit without getting caught in commentary mode. One option is the general Heideggerian approach: by writing about a historical figure you write a commentary on yourself. Well, after a brief perusal through Chapter 8 of Brandom's A Spirit of Trust, the title of what apparently is the long-awaited Hegel book, it seems to be somewhere between the traditional commentary and the Heideggerian approach (though this is a fairly speculative comment). There are lots of long quotations interpreted through Brandom's philosophical framework.
The chapter is itself long (256 pages in Word), so, as SOH-Dan points out, this will likely rival Maxing it Explicit in size, but I wonder to what extent it will influence how people understand Hegel. My bet is that Brandom's own philosophical work on inferentialism, semantics and normativity will have a greater influence on Idealism studies than his own commentaries on Hegel or Kant. There is some historical precedence for this. Look at the influence Sellars has had on Kant studies or even McDowell. Strawson's work on Kant might be an exception but the debate over transcendental arguments, one of his greatest legacies, stems originally from Individuals and not the Bounds of Sense. But maybe I'm overstating things in the case of Strawson, he did after all make it permissible, along with Bennett, for Anglo-American philosophers to take Kant seriously. Anyway, these are just some cursory half-thoughts.
You should checkout Brandom's very funny "Untimely Review of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit." Brandom's so-called review can be found here on his webpage, and his chapter along with other Hegel papers here.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
CALL FOR PAPERS:
HEGEL AND GERMAN IDEALISM
Graduate Student Conference
University of Notre Dame
March 6-8, 2009
Deadline for Submission: December 15, 2008
Robert Brandom, University of Pittsburgh
Paul Franks, University of Toronto
Graduate students of the Notre Dame philosophy department invite papers relating to the philosophy of Hegel and the tradition of German Idealism. This conference, sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, is designed to provide graduate students in philosophy and all areas of the humanities the opportunity to present research on issues related to the philosophical and historical roots, development, and impact of Hegel's philosophy and German Idealism.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• The philosophical origins of German Idealism (in Kant, the post-Kantians, the Romantics, etc…).
• 19th century critiques of Hegel and German Idealism.
• Influence of Hegel/ German Idealism on 19th and/or 20th century political developments.
• The impact of Hegel/ German Idealism on contemporary philosophy.
• The revival of interest in Hegel and German Idealism in contemporary analytic philosophy.
Papers should be suitable for 20-minute presentation (10-12 pages) and should be submitted in blind review format. Deadline for submission is
Please see website for more details:
Sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the University of Notre Dame Graduate School.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This book is the first comprehensive study of Rousseau's rich and complex theory of the type of self-love (amour proper ) that, for him, marks the central difference between humans and the beasts. Amour proper is the passion that drives human individuals to seek the esteem, approval, admiration, or love--the recognition --of their fellow beings. Neuhouser reconstructs Rousseau's understanding of what the drive for recognition is, why it is so problematic, and how its presence opens up far-reaching developmental possibilities for creatures that possess it. One of Rousseau's central theses is that amour proper in its corrupted, manifestations--pride or vanity--is the principal source of an array of evils so widespread that they can easily appear to be necessary features of the human condition: enslavement, conflict, vice, misery, and self-estrangement. Yet Rousseau also argues that solving these problems depends not on suppressing or overcoming the drive for recognition but on cultivating it so that it contributes positively to the achievement of freedom, peace, virtue, happiness, and unalienated selfhood. Indeed, Rousseau goes so far as to claim that, despite its many dangers, the need for recognition is a condition of nearly everything that makes human life valuable and that elevates it above mere animal existence: rationality, morality, freedom--subjectivity itself--would be impossible for humans if it were not for amour properand the relations to others it impels us to establish.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
James Conant on on "John McDowell's Kant", a recording of a lecture given at the University of Bergen.
A new Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on "Kant's Account of Reason."
A review of Paul Guyer's new book Knowledge, Reason, and Taste: Kant's Response to Hume.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Kristina Engelhard (University of Cologne) will deliver a paper titled “Hegel on/in Contradiction” and Angelica Nuzzo (Brooklyn College) will respond.
The workshop will be at the New School for Social Research, 65 5th Ave, Machinist Conference Room (Mezzanine level), 4:30 pm. Please email me if you plan to attend and would like a copy of the paper.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Novalis's Romantic Encyclopaedia is much more than a critique of Fichte or an investigation of the Critical Philosophy--it is in the words of Kneller "an important set of short essays, aphorisms, fragments and musings on the sciences and the nature of systematic knowledge. In true early romantic fashion it is wide-ranging in content and style, touching on topics from art to experimental method in the sciences, from philosophy and religion to butter softening, colic, gout, fever and the symbolism of human dress."
Both of these works are significant and essential to understanding Novalis's thought. Frank spends little time writing about Novalis's more poetic and wide ranging fragments like those found in the Encyclopaedia, which is unfortunate and to some extent might limit his understanding of the Fichte-Studies. As far as I can tell, the two projects continue a similar like of investigation that is focused on understanding the limits of science and systematization. Maybe they should be even read together, as a single project. In that case, the question of which is more important or more mature looses some of its allure.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Below is a call for papers for what looks to be an exciting conference on Hamann. The conference is being organized by Lisa Marie Anderson who, I should point out, recently published Hegel on Hamann, a translation of Hegel's review of Hamman's writings and life.
CALL FOR PAPERS
An International Conference
to be held at Hunter College (CUNY)
New York, NY
March 20-21, 2009
Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of scholarly interest in the work of Johann Georg Hamann, an interest which is spreading among scholars of world literature, European history, philosophy, theology, and religious studies. New translations of work by and about Hamann are appearing, as are a number of books and articles on Hamann’s aesthetics, theories of language and sexuality, and unique place in Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment thought. As such, the time has come to reexamine, in light of recent work, the legacy of Hamann’s writings, which have influenced such diverse thinkers as J.G. von Herder, F.H. Jacobi, J.W. von Goethe, G.W.F. Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, and Walter Benjamin, to name only an obvious few.
We invite papers which investigate or problematize in new ways any underappreciated aspect of Hamann’s impact across the centuries, be it upon a thinker or work, a historical tradition, or even an entire branch of knowledge. Especially welcome are papers which promote dialogue among the diverse disciplines to which Hamann’s work speaks. All conference papers should be delivered in English.
Please send a one-page abstract by October 1, 2008 to the conference organizer:
Lisa Marie Anderson, Assistant Professor
Department of German, Hunter College
Oswald Bayer, Systematic Theology, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Author of Vernunft ist Sprache: Hamanns Metakritik Kants; Johann Georg Hamann: Der hellste Kopf seiner Zeit; Zeitgenosse im Widerspruch: Johann Georg Hamann als Radikaler Aufklärer
John Betz, After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J.G. Hamann
Gwen Griffith-Dickson, Johann Georg Hamann’s Relational Metacriticism
Kenneth Haynes, Hamann: Writings on Philosophy and Language
Manfred Kuehn, Immanuel Kant: A Biography; Scottish Common Sense in Germany 1768-1800
Johannes von Lüpke, Director, Internationales Hamann-Kolloquium
Katie Terezakis, The Immanent Word: The Turn to Language in German Philosophy 1759-1801
We gratefully acknowledge the support of:
The Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences, Hunter College (CUNY)
The Max Kade Foundation
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
For those of you not familiar with Hamann and his reputation should check out this SEP article by Gwen Griffith-Dickson, who also has written an excellent commentary on the Socratic Memorabilia called Johann Georg Hamann's Relational Metacriticism (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995). I'm not sure what the best general introduction is to Hamman's work, but Isaiah Berlin's The Magus of the North. J. G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism (London: John Murray) is probably the most famous, although I think considering Hamann an irrationalist is quite contentious. Frederick Beiser's essay in his well know book The Fate of Reason is a very good and fair introduction to Hamann's thought and life.
Hamann I think played an important role in the emergence of German Idealism. Here are some reason that come immediately to mind: 1) he had a significant influence on Jacobi; 2) Hamann continually stressed the importance of Hume's skepticism; 3) he also stressed the importance of language in understanding the nature of reason and culture; 4) Hamann developed what is perhaps the first critique of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, which circled amongst his friends, and was carefully studied by Herder. As the story goes, Hamann was friends with the publisher of the Critique and he had access to it as the pages were rolling of the press. 5) Hegel was familiar with Hamann, and even wrote a lengthy review on his thought. The extent to which Schelling and Fichte were interested in Hamann is not clear to me, though I suspect Fichte had read or was at least familar with Hamann's thoughts on language when he worte his essay "On the Linguistic Capacity and the Origin of Language" in 1795.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The character of rationality consists in the fact that that which act and that which is acted upon are one and the same; and with this description, the sphere of reason as such is exhausted. -For those who are capable of grasping it (i.e. for those who are capable of abstracting from their own I), linguistic usage has come to denote this exalted concept by the word: I; thus reason has been characterized as "I-hood" [p. 3].I keep trying to abstract from my I, but Memorial Day sun and fun is holding me back. When reading and writing about Fichte sometimes I feel like his students who are described by Henrik Steffens, an actual student of Fichte:
[Fichte] made every effort to provide proofs for everything he said; but his speech still seemed commanding, as if he wanted to dispel any possible doubts by means of an unconditional order. 'Gentlemen,' he would say, 'collect your thoughts and enter into yourselves. We are not at all concerned now with anything external, but only with ourselves.' And, just as he requested, his listeners really seemed to be concentrating upon themselves. Some of them shifted their position and sat up straight, while others slumped with downcast eyes. But it was obvious that they were all waiting with great suspense for what was supposed to come next. Then Fichte would continue: 'Gentlemen, think about the wall.' And as I saw, they really did think about the wall, and everyone seemed able to do so with success. 'Have you thought about the wall?' Fichte would ask. 'Now, gentlemen, think about whoever it was that thought about the wall.' The obvious confusion and embarrassment provoked by this request was extraordinary. [Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo, trans. Daniel Breazeale, Ithaca: Cornell, 1992, p. 111, n. 11.]Such is life.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Argument for I/not-I distinction:
AP: I am a self-conscious individual.
NC1: A necessary condition of self-consciousness is that the I is self-active.
NC2: A necessary condition of being a self-conscious individual is finite activity.
NC3: A necessary condition of being a finite being is that one can only know, reflect upon, and be aware of something limited.
NC4: A necessary condition of being finite is that there is something opposed to you.
NC5: A necessary condition of being finite is that what is intuited is something beyond one’s own self-activity.
C1: What is beyond self-activity is not-I.
C2: A necessary condition of self-consciousness is an I (self-activity)/not-I distinction
The pure I is the self-positing I that we assert as involved in all acts of judging or thinking. The pure I is the form of I that Kant does not deduce, but which the Wissenschaftslehre deduces, though it is assumed by Kant. As I see it, the pure I is a description of self-consciousness as an ideal structure. An abstract not-I must oppose the pure I in order doe the pure I to be determined as an I. The I/not-I relation specifies a feature that pertains to the structure of the pure I.
I think it is fair to compare how Fichte conceives of the pure I to how Husserl thinks of the ideal structure of intentionality as an act/object structure. When describing the necessary role of the object in intentionality, we do not need to specify any determinate object. We can say the same thing about the I/not-I structure. When describing the role of the not-I when we are reflecting on the structural components of the pure I, we do not need to specify the not-I as a determinate not-I. That means we are not required to say the not-I is a general object, a determinate object like a table, or a rational being.
If the pure I is a description of self-consciousness then what is it conscious of? As a self-conscious I, the pure I is conscious of its own activity. We might say that its consciousness of its own activity is an empty form of consciousness, since the activity is not instantiated in any particular I. The self-activity is not a determinate self-activity that belongs to an actual subject. Instead, the self-activity at the level of the pure I is merely a necessary structural feature designated in our descriptions. As I understand it, the pure I is an ideal description of the structural features of the I of the individual. We as philosophers gain access to the pure I through reflecting on the necessary actions of the I. Each necessary action of the I (e.g. making the I/not-I distinction and self-reverting) becomes designated, or even posited, in our descriptions. When we show that these features are necessary conditions of the I, we have deduced them. What we are interested in doing in the FNR is deducing the necessary conditions of the finite individual I. In doing so, we are now operating at a different level of analysis. We might say that we are in some way filling in the content of the I. Where at the level of the pure I we need not specify the content of the not-I, at the level of the individual I, the content of the not-I becomes determinate; that is, the not-I is both the sensible world and other self-conscious individual Is or, more simply, rational beings. We are now, as I understand it, licensed to posit a concrete I/not-I distinction as necessary for individual self-consciousness.
Argument for the concrete I/not-I distinction:
AP: I am a self-conscious individual.
NC1: A necessary condition of self-consciousness is that the I is self-active.
NC2: A necessary condition of self-activity is the I/not-I distinction (C1 of Part 1).
P1: The I/not-I distinction can be either abstract or concrete.
P2: An abstract I/not-I distinction is formal and empty.
P3: One cannot determine individuality with an empty opposition.
C1: The I/not-I distinction must be concrete.
NC3: A necessary condition of the I/not-I distinction being concrete is that the not-I is sensible/material world.
C2: We must posit a sensible and material world.
The argument for the concrete I/not-I distinction does not distinguish between the sensible world qua nature and the sensible world qua rational human subjects. The next step in the argument is to show why the concrete I/not-I distinction involves designating or positing a rational being as a necessary condition of self-consciousness, if what is individuated and determined is individual self-consciousness. I'll try to do that in the next few days.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Whatever my views may be, whether true philosophy or enthusiasim and nonsense, it affects me personally not at all, if I have honestly sought the truth. I should no more think my personal merits enhanced by the luck of having discovered the true philosophy than I should consider them diminished by the misfortune of having piled new errors on the errors of the past. For my personal position I have no regard whatever: but I am hot for truth [für die Wahrheit bin ich entflammt], and whatever I think true, I shall continue to proclaim with all the force and decision at my command (emphasis mine, Science of Knowledge [Cambridge, 1982] p. 90).I am hot for Fichte.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
10-11 July 2008
University of Manchester
Call for papers
Deadline for submission of papers: May 10th 2008.
The 5th UK Kant Society Graduate Conference will take place on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th July 2008 at The University of Manchester.
We are pleased to announce that our guest speakers this year are Professor Robert Pippin (University of Chicago) and Dr Jens Timmermann (University of St. Andrews).
We invite papers from postgraduate students and from those who have recently completed their PhD to be considered for presentation at the 2008 UK Kant Society Graduate Conference. The conference will consider papers related to any aspect of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy from 1781 onwards.
Please submit papers of no more than 5000 words that are suitable for a presentation of around 35 minutes, allowing 20 minutes for discussion. All papers should be suitable for blind review. Please include a cover page consisting of the paper’s title and abstract, as well as personal contact details including an email address.
Submissions should be sent by email no later than 10th May 2008 to firstname.lastname@example.org marking the subject line ‘2008 UKKS Graduate Conference Submission’. Further details will be publicised nearer the date of the conference.
More information about the UK Kant Society can be found at:
Paula Satne Jones (conference organiser)
Arthur Lewis Building
The University of Manchester
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I found the etymological point interesting, especially since I don't remember coming across it before. After a quick glance at Caygill's entry on 'reason' in the Kant Dictionary I found no mention of this point. I thought I would check the OED for any similar connections in English. Granted, the phrases we use like 'He just doesn't listen to reason' make a similar point. This phrase appears to go as far back as 1225, "I heard nu reisuns" and in 1440 we have "new resones speke." Reasons are also seen: 1740 J. Clarke, "I never yet saw reason...to believe."
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Subtle Bodies: Embodiment in Fichte’s Theory of Self-Consciousness
The work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte is widely recognized as attempting to develop a theory of self-consciousness that grounds in a first principle Kant’s theory of knowledge and cognition. Fichte’s work is often taken to focus on issues in practical philosophy and issues in epistemology. In my work on Fichte I have been developing a mind reading that shows that Fichte has an intersubjective theory of the mind that is conditional for his moral and epistemological principles. In this paper I will argue that Fichte’s theory of the mind articulates a view of the mind as embodied.
In his Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte develops a transcendental argument or deduction that shows how we must conceive of the body as a necessary condition of self-conscious agency. The body, insofar as it is a necessary condition of self-consciousness, must be more than just a material body. For Fichte, while the body is a material body [Körper], it is also a human body [Lieb]. What is the difference between a material body and a human body? The first important difference is that the human body is the embodiment of the will or the ability to form concepts of an end and bring to fruition the end according to a particular conceptualization. However, this kind of concept formation and action is not reflective, but a conceptual pre-reflective activity. A second difference, which follows from the first, is that the human body is subtle or non-objective in that it is saturated with social commitments and is that locus of intentional expressions. In other words, the body as a human body is expressive of rational contents and plays an essential role in the education of the subject into the stance rational self-conscious agents must take.
My reading of Fichte on the body attempts to show that the body is a minded body that is intersubjectively constituted. I also argue that the body is expressive. Its expressivity plays a necessary role in the education of self-consciousness and the constitution of a rational social order.
Monday, March 3, 2008
One idea I have is that on the mind reading what Fichte has to say about intersubjectivity bears not only on how we should think of self-knowledge, but also on how we should think about the mind and its conditions of possibility. I think, and this is where Fichte scholars will most likely get upset, commentators have mostly advanced epistemological readings that elaborate on Fichte's Kantian influences, his epistemic "foundationalism" (I put that in quotes since it's not clear, at least not to me, whether he is a foundationalist of some sort), the role self-positing plays in terms of establishing a theory of knowledge. Beisier's work, Wayne Martin's and even Paul Frank's challenging work seem to take such a line of thinking for granted. How to characterize Neuhouser's book in terms of this epistemology/mind distinction is more difficult.
I think scholars have failed to adequately understand the role of intersubjectivity in Fichte’s theory of self-consciousness because they have predominantly approached Fichte as concerned with how knowledge is possible. When these scholars move from a concern with how knowledge is possible to a concern with the role of intersubjective relations in Fichte’s thought, they analyze intersubjectivity at the level of knowledge. The result is that intersubjective relations become conditional for how one conceives oneself in terms of personal identity, political identity, or social identity. In other words, intersubjective relations are necessary for self-knowledge or forming a self-conception. But, any self-conception already presupposes that a subject is a self-conscious agent that references itself as an I.
If we can make a distinction between self-conceiving agents and self-conscious agents, I think we can understand the role of intersubjectivity differently. This distinction is important because it demarcates two levels of self-consciousness, one level in which self-conscious agents are conscious of themselves as an I, and one level in which agents are conscious of their unique social identities and commitments. I think this distinction maps on to a distinction between self-consciousness and self-knowledge respectively. With such a distinction operative, I think it is possible to locate the level at which intersubjectivity enters (e.g., Is it at the level of self-knowledge or self-consciousness?), and what implications this has for a theory of the mind and self-consciousness. The upshot is obvious for a theory of mind. If intersubjectivity enters at the level in which we are specifying the conditions necessary for having mental life, the the mind is intersubjectively constituted. I think there might be other implications too that have to do with externalism about the mind or mental content as well. I also think such a reading, call it the mind reading of Fichte, involves showing that the mind is mental activity, but not merely a kind of mental activity internal to the skull, but an embodied activity.