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After the Bolshevik Revolution the majority of prominent Russian thinkers had to migrate abroad. Berdyayev, Georgy Fedotov, and Merezhkovsky continued there the tradition of the philosophy of history based on the idea of unity of Russia and Europe. At the opposite pole, national conservative isolationism found its expression in the works of Pyotr Alexeyev, Pyotr Bicilli, Nikolai Trubetskoy, Pyotr Savitsky, Lev Karsavin, and other representatives of the Eurasian movement.

The liberal and conservative nationalist visions of Russian history are still present in contemporary thought. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's vision of Russian history based on Berdyayev's legacy is moderately conservative, while Alexander Dugin and other neo — Eurasians form the extreme right wing, advocating an isolationist nationalist approach to Russia's past and present. See also: berdyayev, nikolai alexandrovich; chaadayev, peter yakovlevich; decembrist movement and rebellion; enlightenment , impact of; hegel, georg wilhelm friedrich; karamzin, nikolai mikhailovich; lovers of wisdom, the; slavophiles; tolstoy, leo nikolayevich; westernizers.

Berlin , Isaiah. Russian Thinkers. London: Hogarth. Florovsky, Georges. Ways of Russian Theology. Robert L. Belmont, MA: Nordland. Glatzer-Rosenthal, Bernice, ed. Nietzsche in Russia. Kline, George. Religious and Anti-Religious Thought in Russia. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. Lossky, Nicholas. History of Russian Philosophy. New York : International Universities Press. Pipes, Richard, ed. The Russian Intelligentsia. New York : Columbia University Press. Raeff, Marc. Riasanovsky, Nicholas. Walicki, Andrzej. Helen Andrews-Rusiecka. Zenkovsky, Vasilii. A History of Russian Philosophy, 2 vols.

George L. New York: Columbia University Press. In philosophy, idealism designates a variety of historical positions since Plato c. The general characteristics of idealism derive from its historical examples. In metaphysics, idealism stands for a general belief about the nature of reality.

In epistemology, it represents the belief that only a certain kind of reality is intelligible to the human mind. In Plato, whose idealism is influenced by the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides born c. As a result, idealist philosophers assume either a partial or a complete identity between intelligible structures and reality itself.

In the most extreme case — namely, that of the Irish philosopher George Berkeley — — ideas and minds are said to be the only reality there is. Furthermore, all forms of idealism hold that intelligible structures rather than matter or physical bodies constitute the foundation of reality.

In this sense, idealism is opposed to materialism and physicalism in metaphysics or ontology. Idealists also generally hold that what is known or knowable about the world are ideal entities e. In this sense, idealism is opposed to realism in epistemology.


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Scholarship since the S has pointed out that a rivaling realist tendency with dualistic aspects continued to be an ingredient in post-Kantian idealism, as can be seen in the philosophies of the later Fichte and Schelling. These forms of spirit in externality comprise a philosophy of nature, a philosophy of mind soul, consciousness, self-consciousness , a moral and political philosophy, and a philosophy of religion, the arts, and philosophy itself. The categories of the Logic are derived by means of the dialectical method through which concepts are shown to generate an opposite that is nonetheless also their necessary complement e.

Hegel claims that the categories are generated autonomously by thought itself and have objective validity. His Logic is thus an epistemology just as much as it is an ontology. According to Hegel, it replaces traditional metaphysics. Idealism is also used to characterize basic approaches in ethics, aesthetics, social ethics, and political science , where it is referred to as practical idealism.

This seems to contradict the open-endedness of the process of cognition as well as that of history. The future seems either closed or predetermined. Both assumptions contradict our normal intuitions as well as scientific rationality. All cognition becomes self-cognition and reality a self-manifestation of reason.

A charitable reading of idealist philosophies will point out, however, that to the extent that all knowledge is mediated by concepts or acts of interpretation, an ideal element in all cognition remains an irreducible factor. Thus this criticism must be directed primarily at those idealist positions that leave no room for ontological otherness. The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism. Ewing, Alfred Cyril, ed.

Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Hegel, G. Ernst Behler. New York : Continuum. McDowell, John.

Western philosophy

Mind and World. Handbuch Deutscher Idealismus. Stuttgart: J. Vesey, Godfrey, ed. Idealism, Past and Present. Idealism as an ontological or epistemological doctrine holds that reality, or what can count as reality for human beings, is determined by mind. The various ways of specifying the basic role of mind ontologically or epistemologically yield various forms of idealism.

As an ontological doctrine idealism can hold that reality is basically mental in nature; the physical world is an expression of this mental reality. An argument for the position that what one takes to be material is actually spiritual is that what is actual is process or activity, and mind or spirit is the model of activity.

In this sense, metaphysical idealism is contrasted with materialism. An example is the doctrine of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz — that reality consists of active substances, or monads. As an epistemological doctrine, idealism can hold that humans do not have access to a mind-independent reality.

However, an epistemological idealism along this line can easily be transformed into an ontological one to the effect that there is no mind-independent reality. Idealism in this sense is constrasted with realism. The position of George Berkeley — that esse est percipi to be is to be perceived could be read as an example of an epistemological idealism with radical antirealist claims, which amounts to an ontological immaterialism. But Berkeley also argues that sensible things exist independently of human beings in that they exist in the mind of God theistic idealism. An ontological idealism can hold precisely that there is a reality beyond the physical world of sense experience, and this transcendent reality is the basic or true one in that it accords actuality to the relentlessly changing world of sense experience.

Humans have access to the ultimate reality beyond the world of sense experience through higher forms of mind, but the true or divine reality transcends the human mind. This form of metaphysical idealism is thus an ontological realism claiming that reality is independent of the human mind. The classic example of a metaphysical idealism as a transcendent idealism is the doctrine of the world of ideas in Plato — b. Epistemological idealism can be reformulated as transcendental idealism. The critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant — not only attacks dogmatic metaphysical positions that imply that humans have access to things in themselves beyond the world of sense experience, but also Berkeley's subjective idealism as Kant takes it to be , which dissolves reality into what humans experience.

Instead, according to Kant, space and time, and the categories e. However, this opens the problem that reality is on the one hand "reality-for-us," while on the other hand an ultimate reality beyond this reality is postulated. Absolute idealism in Hegel seeks to overcome the Kantian split between the world of sense experience and ultimate reality thing-in-itself without returning to a dogmatic position. Hegel points out that in having an experience, human understanding of the world and human self-understanding can be changed.

This possibility of self-transcendence implied in experience cannot be accounted for if ultimate reality is placed beyond the limits of experience. Hegel's absolute idealism solves the basic task of German Idealism left over by Kant, namely, to account for both freedom inherent in rationality autonomy and the embodiment of that freedom.

While Fichte emphasizes the activity of the human mind as a productive activity, Schelling sets out to overcome this as he called it subjective idealism in Fichte by combining a transcendental philosophy and a philosophy of nature. In Hegel's absolute idealism, mind Geist transcends the divide between freedom and nature by coming to itself through nature and history.

Accordingly, Hegel's idealism is not to be captured by the opposition between idealism and materialism, or between realism and antirealism. As the complex position of Hegel indicates, idealism needs to be reformulated in opposition to its traditional forms. Basically, idealism concerns the problem that human access to reality must tell something about that very reality. From the brief outline above one can extract the insight that in relating to reality human beings are doing something. Thinking is an activity. Humans only relate to reality in interpreting it.

This does not imply, however, that reality is what people interpret it to be or that reality is a mental construction. If mind were basic in this sense, people would not be able to discuss the reality of the mind. Instead the crucial argument could be the following: A comprehensive theory of reality must be able to account for the reality of mind and self-consciousness that it itself presupposes.

Following this line of argument, idealism could be reformulated as a response to reductive forms of naturalism in that it points to the presupposition that human beings as subjects relate to the world, and only as self-interpreting animals are they able to form theories about the world in which they live. The task is to account for both the embodiment of mind and this presupposition of mind. The question of idealism is thus not only the basic question of science concerning the reality of interpretations and models of reality.

Idealism also concerns religious questions about the place of human beings in the world. Religion need not be interpreted along the lines of an idealism that posits a second world beyond the world of sense-experience. A reformulation of idealism as outlined above can instead draw upon the understanding to be found in religion that human consciousness reflects the problem of the embodiment of consciousness itself.

As a philosophical concept, idealism can be employed both in a broad sense and in a much narrower, more specific form. Broadly speaking, idealism encompasses any philosophy that treats ideas — rather than, for example, matter — as primary. Plato 's theory of forms is perhaps the first example of this approach.

When applied more specifically, idealism is the notion that the only things that exist are minds and their contents ideas. This theory was first fully developed by Bishop George Berkeley — Plato drew a clear distinction between the sensory world and the intelligible world, which we can only apprehend through reason. He argued that the objects of the sensory world are mere copies of universal, ideal "forms," that make up the realm of what is intelligible.

Plato's theory was subsequently taken up and developed by the Neoplatonists, especially Plotinus and St. To some extent, Berkeley's idealism built on these earlier theories, but it also drew on and challenged scientific understandings of the world that had been developed during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Berkeley set out his philosophy in his Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge Three years later he published his Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, a more accessible version of the theory, in which Philonous 'lover of mind' convinces and converts Hylas 'matter' to his point of view.

Both works were, in part, a response to John Locke 's — Essay concerning Human Understanding Locke's explanation of the world relied on four key elements, God , matter, ideas, and minds. While Berkeley expressed great respect for Locke, he rejected the doctrine of matter that Locke, along with many others, accepted. According to Berkeley matter in itself is unintelligible; it is impossible for us to either observe or imagine matter alone, devoid of all other qualities or characteristics.

Moreover, Berkeley argued that an adequate explanation of the world could be given on the basis of the other three elements alone, in Berkeley's terminology God, finite spirits, and their ideas. Berkeley defined "ideas" as the objects of perception and "spirits" as the entities that exercise perception. Within this system the existence of an infinite spirit, God, which is both omniscient and omnipresent, is crucial. Berkeley's theory had a mixed reception. The story is that Samuel Johnson — claimed to be able to refute it simply by kicking a stone, but others took it more seriously.

There has been much discussion as to whether and to what extent Berkeley influenced Immanuel Kant — In his Kritik der reinen Vernunft ; Critique of pure reason Kant attacked Berkeley's traditional version of idealism and advocated a combination of "empirical realism" and "transcendental idealism. However, for Berkeley there was nothing beyond or outside of mind, whereas Kant retained the regulative idea of "things-in-themselves" lying behind experience.

Idealism continued to be important beyond the early modern period. During the nineteenth century the ideas of Berkeley and especially of Kant provided a basis for the absolute idealism of Johann Gottlieb Fichte — and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel — Despite a subsequent collapse in the influence of this position, idealism continues to be advocated into the twenty-first century, though usually in forms that are closer to Kant than to Berkeley.

Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues. Edited by Howard Robinson. Oxford and New York , Translated and edited by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Translation of Kritik der reinen Vernunft Urmson, J. Idealism Past and Present. See especially the foreword and the first three chapters. In art idealism is the tendency to represent things as aesthetic sensibility would have them rather than as they are. In ethics it implies a view of life in which the predominant forces are spiritual and the aim is perfection.

In philosophy the term refers to efforts to account for all objects in nature and experience as representations of the mind and sometimes to assign to such representations a higher order of existence. It is opposed to materialism. Plato conceived a world in which eternal ideas constituted reality, of which the ordinary world of experience is a shadow.

In modern times idealism has largely come to refer the source of ideas to man's consciousness, whereas in the earlier period ideas were assigned a reality outside and independent of man's existence. Nevertheless, modern idealism generally proposes suprahuman mental activity of some sort and ascribes independent reality to certain principles, such as creativity, a force for good, or an absolute truth. The subjective idealism of George Berkeley in the 18th cent. Immanuel Kant developed a critical or transcendental idealism in which the phenomenal world, constituted by the human understanding, stands opposed to a world of things-in-themselves.

The post-Kantian German idealism of J. Fichte and Friedrich von Schelling, which culminated in the absolute or objective idealism of G. Hegel, began with a denial of the unknowable thing-in-itself, thereby enabling these philosophers to treat all reality as the creation of mind or spirit.

Green, Victor Cousin , and C. More recent idealists include F. See J. Ewing, ed. Kelly, Idealism, Politics, and History In other words, what idealism asserts ontologically is that society only exists in so far as human beings think that it exists. And what it asserts epistemologically is that the proper way to gain knowledge of society is through the investigation of this thinking. The position set out by Peter Winch in his The idea of a Social Science comes closest to that of pure idealism in contemporary social science , although some versions of discourse analysis are also good approximations.

More commonly, however, sociologists drawn to idealism have followed one of two courses: either they have based themselves on a synthetic ontology which assumes the coexistence of mental and material phenomena in the social world, and have combined this with a largely empiricist epistemology as, some have argued, in the case of Max Weber ; or, they have combined an idealist ontology with an empiricist stress on the epistemological primacy to be accorded to observation as, perhaps, in symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology.

Compare with realism. Often contrasted with realism sense 2. Often contrasted with realism sense 3. It denies the claim within realism that material things exist independently of the mind. Idealism in the West dates from the teachings of Plato. Thus, idealism is opposed to naturalism, that is, to the view that mind and spiritual values have emerged from or are reducible to material things and processes. Philosophical idealism is also opposed to realism and is thus the denial of the commonsense realist view that material things exist independently of being perceived.

Some philosophers who have held the idealist view in its antinaturalist form have not opposed commonsense realism, and thus it is possible to be a metaphysical idealist and an epistemological realist. More often, however, arguments against commonsense realism have been used in order to establish metaphysical idealism. The description "subjective idealism" is sometimes used for idealism based on antirealist epistemological arguments, and the description "objective idealism" for idealism that is antinaturalist without being antirealist. In terms of these definitions, philosophical theism is an idealist view, for according to theism God is a perfect, uncreated spirit who has created everything else and is hence more fundamental in the world than any material things he has created.

Marxist philosophers have therefore held that there are in principle only two main philosophical systems: idealism, according to which mind or spirit is primary in the universe, and materialism, according to which matter is primary in the universe. If "primary" is taken not to mean "earlier in time" but rather to mean "fundamental" or "basic," then these Marxist definitions agree with those given above. The only objection to them is that many philosophers who accept theism would be unwilling to be labeled idealists, since they would take the view that idealists belittle the material world and regard it as illusory by comparison with mind or even as less real than mind, whereas theists do not belittle matter or regard it as in any way less real than mind.

Certainly this is a difference between theism and some forms of idealism, but there is force in the argument that theism and both subjective and objective idealism may be classed together as opposed to materialism. Pantheism may be regarded as a more thoroughly idealist view than theism, since pantheism is the view that nothing exists except God and his modes and attributes, so that the material world must be an aspect or appearance of God.

Theism, in contrast, is the view that God has created a world beyond or outside himself so that the material world, although dependent on him, is not an aspect or appearance of him. What unites idealism both with theism and with pantheism is the rejection of materialism and the assertion of a metaphysic that is favorable to religious belief. The word idealism came to be used as a philosophical term in the eighteenth century.

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Gerhardt, 7 vols. Berlin, — , criticized "those who like Epicurus and [Thomas] Hobbes, believe that the soul is material" and held that in his own system "whatever of good there is in the hypotheses of Epicurus and of Plato, of the greatest materialists and the greatest idealists, is combined here" Vol. IV, pp. In this passage Leibniz clearly means by "idealists" philosophers who uphold an antimaterialist metaphysic like that of Plato and himself.

When, later in the century, George Berkeley 's views came to be discussed, the word idealism was applied, however, to the view that nothing could be known to exist or did exist except the ideas in the mind of the percipient. Berkeley called his own view "immaterialism," not "idealism. Today the word solipsists is applied to what were then called "egoists" or "idealists.

Plato used the word as a technical term of his philosophy to mean a universal such as whiteness in contrast to a particular such as something white or to mean an ideal limit or standard such as absolute Beauty in contrast to the things that approximate or conform to it such as the more or less beautiful things. According to Plato an Idea, or Form, is apprehended by the intellect, does not exist in time, and cannot come into existence or cease to exist as temporal things do and is hence more real than they are. In medieval philosophy Ideas or Forms were regarded as the patterns in accordance with which God conceived of things and created them, and hence they were thought of as existing in the mind of God.

But he also used the word idea for the effects in embodied minds of external objects acting on the sense organs, and hence the word came to stand for changing sense perceptions as well as for unchanging objects of the intellect. Descartes also used the word idea for a shape or form stamped upon a soft material, as when he said in Section XII of his Rules for the Direction of the Mind that "shapes or ideas" are formed in the brain by things outside the body acting upon it.

John Locke , in An Essay concerning Human Understanding London, , used the word idea for perceptions of "sensible qualities" conveyed into the mind by the senses and for "the perception of the operations of our own mind within us, as it is employed about the ideas it has got" Bk. II, Ch. I, Sec. The mind, he held, "stirs not one jot beyond those ideas which sense or reflection have offered for its contemplation" ibid.

Berkeley adopted Locke's terminology and held that by our senses "we have the knowledge only of our sensations , ideas, or those things that are immediately perceived by sense" Principles of Human Knowledge , Dublin, , Sec. Thus, Berkeley here repeats a view already held by Locke. Thus, the word idea was used variously to mean a Form in the Platonic sense, a Form as apprehended in the mind of God or by the human mind, a shape impressed on soft, yielding material, and, apparently by analogy with this last sense, a modification produced in a mind by the influence on it of external things that affect the sense organs.

Neither a Platonic Form nor a shape is a mental entity. Ideas in this last sense would seem to be like mental images, but mental images produced not by imagining but by the operation of external objects. XLI : "a man born blind being made to see, would, at first, have no idea of distance by sight; the sun and stars, the remotest objects as well as the hearer, would all seem to be in his eye, or rather in his mind. The objects intromitted by sight, would seem to him as in truth they are no other than a new set of thoughts or sensations, each whereof is as near to him as the perceptions of pain or pleasure, or the most inward passions of his soul.

Again, he puts "sensations" in apposition with "thoughts," although sensations and thoughts would seem to be as different as pains and concepts. There is also the suggestion that what is near to us is "in the mind," so that if colors and shapes are not, as they seem to be, at a distance from us, they must be in our minds. The passage is an important one for indicating the conflicts and confusions involved in the word idea and carried over into some of the arguments for idealism. Berkeley gave the name "immaterialism" to the central thesis of his philosophy, the thesis that there is no such thing as material substance.

Immaterialism has been prominent in idealist theories just because to prove that there is no material substance would be the most effective and spectacular way of disproving materialism. If there is no material substance, then matter cannot be the basis of what is or all that there is. Immaterialism has been supported by two main lines of argument.

Along one line it has been argued that it is impossible that matter could be independently real. The arguments to this effect may be called the metaphysical arguments for immaterialism. Along the other line it has been argued that the colors, shapes, and sounds that are naturally taken to belong to independently existing material objects are in fact sensible qualities that cannot exist apart from being perceived. The arguments to establish this may be called the epistemological arguments for immaterialism.

Although he did not call himself an immaterialist, Leibniz, on the evidence of the passage we have quoted, would have regarded himself as an idealist, and his arguments were metaphysical rather than epistemological. Berkeley, of course, is best known for his epistemological arguments, even though his argument that the very notion of something existing totally unperceived is self-contradictory may be classed as metaphysical. Arthur Collier, in his Clavis Universalis London, , used both epistemological and metaphysical arguments; the subtitle of his book, "a Demonstration of the Non-existence or Impossibility of an External World," allowed for both types of approach.

Leibniz's metaphysical idealism consisted of two main theses: 1 that matter is necessarily composite and hence cannot be substantially or independently real, and 2 that simple that is, noncomposite substances must be perceiving and appetitive beings even though they are not necessarily conscious or self-conscious. He gave the name "monad" to these independently real and essentially active substances, and he argued that space and time cannot be real containers in which substances exist but must be the order in which monads are related to one another.

Thus, he held that space and time are not absolute existences but relations of coexistence and succession among created monads. He did not conclude from this, however, that space and time and material objects are mere illusions or delusions; delusions and dreams, he held, are by their very nature inconsistent and unpredictable, whereas the material world in space and time is regular and in part predictable.

Leibniz was not quite explicit on the matter, but he seems to have believed that space and time were a sort of mental construction or ens rationis and that material things are regular appearances rather than real substances. Sometimes, however, he used the expression phenomena bene fundata for space and time. However this may be, Leibniz argued for an idealist system in which there is a series of realms of being with God as the supreme, uncreated spiritual substance. In the realm of created substances all the members are active and immaterial and some are self-conscious substances created in God's image.

In the realm of appearances the elements are "well-founded" in the substantial realities, and in consequence they show a rational order even though, like the rainbow, they disappear when closely examined. Finally, there are isolated realms of mere illusion and delusion that, however, have their place in the total scheme of things.

Leibniz believed that this metaphysical system could be proved by reason. He held, too, that sense experience is not an independent source of knowledge but is reason in a state of obscurity and indistinctness. Thus, he held that "we use the external senses as … a blind man does a stick" and that the world is revealed as it is by means of reason, not by means of the senses Letter to Queen Charlotte of Prussia , Thus, he denied not only the substantial reality of matter but also the efficacy and even the possibility of mere sense experience. This is a theme that many later idealists have developed.

It runs counter, however, to the empiricist immaterialism of Berkeley. Berkeley is the best-known exponent of immaterialism on epistemological grounds. Thus, the left Hegelians such as Strauss and Feuerbach were correct in their opposition to the theistic reading of Hegel. The main argument here is that, from a Hegelian perspective, everything which is not a natural object is a product of reason—including human beings. Human beings, qua knowing subjects, exist in the realm of reason only in as much as they mutually recognize themselves as existing Redding At this point, one might object that, beyond the crude anthropological reading, Feuerbach and the other left Hegelians were correct, because if Hegel does not attribute to God any existence external to reason, he can, after all, be considered an atheist.

In this reading, the claim that the kenotic sacrifice is the model for expounding what recognition entails should, for instance, be regarded as meaning that it is merely a symbolic representation, or even a metaphor, of a content that is better and more clearly presented in conceptual terms within philosophy. This interpretation can be applied to all religious notions and beliefs. Again, interpreting Hegel as a post-Kantian philosopher can shed light on this misunderstanding. That is, the categorical imperative should be regarded as a duty toward God. Some recent interpretations of Hegel seem to suggest that Hegel too should be regarded as employing a similar strategy.

In respect to religion, the claim that the idea of God has no existence external to reason should be taken as meaning that it exclusively has a social function. Pinkard reads the entire history of German Idealism as a history of attempts at responding to this paradox and finding a solution to it. Here, I want to focus more closely on the status that should be assigned to the idea of God from the point of view of the Hegelian approach and on the implications that this idea has in the domain of metaphysics.

The object of his analysis is not God and its existence external to reason; Hegel is neither committed to affirming its independent existence right Hegelians nor its non-existence left Hegelians simply because it would not make any sense to claim anything about the independent existence of an object of reason the idea of God , which for its very nature is dependent on human reason.

Prima facie, this distinction might appear to some extent puzzling. If human reason is called to say something about God, its object is inevitably the idea of God qua product of human reason. Considering the idea of God as having no existence external to reason makes Hegel neither a theist nor an atheist concerning God at least not in the traditional sense.

On one hand, the existence of God beyond the realm of reason might be regarded as a faith belief, but it is a false problem from the point of view of philosophy. On the other hand, regarding the idea of God as indissolubly interconnected with human recognitive activity does not make God a merely fictional character, it rather makes its metaphysical reality its existence as an object of reason bounded to the way that idea has been historically and culturally thought. Consider, for example, the notion of the resurrection of Christ: Hegel is equally resistant to those critical approaches that regarded it as a cultural-fictional product, and to those interpretative standpoints that considered it as it were a natural fact.

This issue is crucial, I think, for contemporary interpretative approaches to Hegel, but is also too complex to be more than alluded to here. If the idea of God plays a crucial normative role in the realm of reason to which it belongs , it follows that its content is significant for the lives of individuals subjective spirits insofar as it is not only regulative of their interactions, but even constitutive of their identities — at least insofar as, in Hegelian terms, no identity can be formed without participation into that realm of reason which is unified by the idea of God.

What is the peculiar content of the Christian idea of God? Kant suggested considering the idea of God as a representation of the systematic unity of knowledge toward which we aspire—as if there were a single unified body of knowledge. Jaeschke These narratives constitute religion. Conceived in this way, religious narratives and notions regulate the interaction of subjects, and they contribute to those core commitments that are constitutive of moral identity — especially freedom. Metaphysics, as the realm of reason and hence the human and cultural world , is interdependent with the ongoing, constitutive process of formation of identities through mutual recognition, the paradigmatic model of which is the kenotic sacrifice expressed in the Incarnation.

In this context, the notion of kenotic sacrifice plays a hidden and yet fundamental role. Expressed by the incarnation and the death of Christ, the kenotic sacrifice significantly shapes both modern moral identity and modern post-Kantian metaphysics. This will has a significant impact on the development of a post-Kantian and idealist philosophy.

Helpful comments from conference participants are gratefully acknowledged. More recently, a version of the paper closer to the present one was presented at the Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association Chicago, 17 February : I thank Mark Alznauer for his stimulating response. I also extend my gratitude to Damion Buterin, Stephen Houlgate, Dalia Nassar, and Maurizio Pagano for their many helpful suggestions and comments on earlier versions.

Finally, I thank the anonymous reviewers of the most recent version of this paper, who provided detailed reports that helped to produce the final article. Translated by T. Geraets et al.

What Is Kant's Transcendental Idealism

Translated by Robert F. The Lectures of Edited by P. Hodgson, translated by. Brown et al. Hodgson, translated by R. Translated by J. Translated by S. W Dyde. Translated by A. Translated by W. Miller, revisions M. Hamburg: Meiner Verlag, Altizer, T. The Gospel of Christian Atheism. London: Collins. Bataille, G. Deucalion, 5, The Accursed Share. Translated by R. New York: Zone Books. Brandom, R. Tales of the Mighty Dead. Bubbio, P. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 20 2 , — Deranty, J.

Parrhesia 11, Derrida, J. Writing and Difference. Fackenheim E. Hodgson, P. Houlgate, S. Desmond, E. Onnasch and P. Cruysberghs Eds. Dordrecht: Springer. Jaeschke, W. Stewart and P. Berkeley: University of California Press. Translated by D. As a contemporary commentator remarks, according to Losev "the newly evolving 'materialism' elaborated its own 'kingdom of ideas,' its own mythology and dogmatics Socialist mythology One can surmise that this ambivalence was inherent not only in Losev's work, but in the entire tradition of Russian philosophy, which aspired to the Christian modification of Platonism, but actually slipped into its pagan version, the ideology of state socialism and, accordingly, the totalitarian system of state slavery.

The question is: Now that Platonism, in its Marxist guise, has been overcome by Russian thought, is it still possible to find inspiration in Platonism as such, in its most sublime idealistic and religious interpretations? Or does the experience of Russian history convincingly argue that Platonism has exhausted itself as a spiritual resource for humanity and that all attempts to Christianize it are just wishful illusions?


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SOCRATES: The ideal society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers. Plato, The Republic, trans. Lee, C That kings should become philosophers, or philosophers kings, is not likely to happen; nor would it be desirable, since the possession of power invariably debases the free judgment of reason.

It is, however, indispensable that a king—or a kingly, i. On Eternal Peace. Second Supplement, trans. Karl Popper [23]. Academic scholarship in the West tends to be suspicious of the very phenomenon of Russian philosophy. At best, it is categorized as "ideology" or "social thought. There is no simple and universal definition, and many thinkers consider it impossible to formulate one.

The most credible attempt seems to be a nominalistic reference: philosophy is what Plato and Aristotle, Kant and Hegel were occupied with. Perhaps, the best-known and most widely cited—if slightly eccentric—definition belongs to A. Whitehead: European philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. I believe that knowledge should not be limited to the high-priests of science and scholarship, who stuff themselves to overflowing with it, but should enter into the life of the whole people That is why virtually the same relationship that we notice between the two philosophers of antiquity [Aristotle and Plato] existed between the philosophy of the Latin world as it was elaborated in scholasticism, and the spiritual philosophy that we find in the writers of the Eastern Church, the philosophy that was especially clearly expressed by the Holy Fathers who lived after the defection of [Catholic] Rome.

This Platonic tendency to integrate philosophical and religious teachings and to implement them politically culminated in 20 th century Russia. During this stage, the project of ideocracy came to a complete realization and exhausted itself. In a certain sense, Russian philosophy both summarizes and punctuates more than two thousand years of the Platonic tradition and points the way for a return to foundations that are not susceptible to idealistic and ideological perversions.

Religious and personalist philosophy, structuralism and culturology, the philosophy of national spirit—all of these were attempts to de-ideologize social life and let it take root in some authentic reality. Ultimately, Russian philosophy, in the transition to its post-Soviet stage, came to be characterized by conceptualism, a style of thought that ironically reproduces and exaggerates the world of abstract ideas to demonstrate their artificial and chimerical nature. What was the role of Marxism in the Platonic drama of Russian philosophy? Marxism, which deduces all ideas from the economic basis of society, would seem to be diametrically opposed to Platonism.

But let us remember that Marxism is nothing other than a reversal of Hegelian idealism, the final moment in the self-development of the Absolute Idea. What is principally new in Hegel, as compared with Plato, is the progressive historical development of the Idea, but the end of this process is postulated as the universal State, presumably conceived on the model of the Prussian monarchy, which embraces the totality of the self-cognizant mind. Both Platonic and Hegelian idealism culminate with the concept of the ideal State.

Although Marx removed this ideal from the causality of the historical process, it remains in his system as a teleological motive and grows into a vision of a future communist society. Plato, Hegel, and Marx represent three stages in the development of idealism in its progressive symbiosis with social engineering: 1 the supernatural world of ideas, 2 the manifestation of Absolute Idea in history, and 3 the transformation of history by the force of ideas.

For Plato, ideas are abstracted to a transcendental realm. For Hegel, the Idea is already ingrained as the alpha and omega of the historical process: it generates, and at the same time consummates, history in the course of its progressive self-awareness. Marx abolishes the idea as the alpha of history in order to emphasize the omega-point: the prospect of a historical culmination of unified humanity in the transparent kingdom of ideas, the self-government of collective reason.

Moreover, Marxism potentially proves more staunchly idealistic than even Platonism. According to the Greek philosopher, the world of ideas exists in and of itself, without necessarily demanding historical embodiment. For Marx, ideas are inseparable from the material process and are greedy for realization and implementation. Whereas in Plato and Hegel ideas still soared in the clouds, constituting a separate sphere of Supreme Mind or Absolute Spirit, in Soviet Marxism they were grounded in the foundation of material life, from heavy industry to everyday reality, and from the rituals of party purges to ceremonial cleansings of neighborhoods.

The ruling ideology would not forgive the slightest flaw or deviation from the purity of ideas; because they had descended into the substance of Being, they demanded the complete submission of every person at every moment of his or her life. Soviet materialism proved to be an instrument of militant idealism, craving ever newer sacrifices for the altar of sacred ideas.

For these reasons, the dominant intellectual movement of the Soviet epoch should be identified not just as Marxism, but as Marxist Platonism, an idealism that asserts itself as the regulative principle of material life. If Plato, proceeding from idealist assumptions, deduced the system of the communist State, then Marx, proceeding from communist assumptions, deduced a system of severe ideocracy that was realized through the efforts of his most consistent and determined Russian followers. Therefore, Platonism is the underside of Marxism, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet ideocratic State could be viewed as a death sentence for both of them.

The development of Russian thought from the s to the s unequivocally testified against materialist ideology and communist ideocracy. However, the years following the collapse of the Soviet system witnessed a resurgence of the Platonic type of ideocratic discourse, which expresses even more radical tendencies than did Russian philosophy of the early twentieth century.

We use here the term "radicalism" in the same sense that allowed Karl Popper to apply it equally to Plato and Marx: " Barabanov observes: " Again the 'Russian idea'! Again the 'special way,' again 'originality,' again doctrinal preaching instead of the pupil's desk. Indeed, if we attempt to summarize the most recent developments in Russian thought the early s , we discover a general tendency for the radicalization of its metaphysical ambitions.

This tendency may be identified in such diverse movements as Marxism, with the eschatological communism of Sergei Kurginyan; nationalism, with the radical traditionalism of Aleksandr Dugin; religious philosophy, with the increasing popularity of Nikolai Fedorov's Cosmism and Daniil Andreev's "interreligious" teaching of The Rose of the World. Even the movements that would seem to be the most resistant to metaphysical assumptions, such as Structuralism, culturology and conceptualism, reveal a growing propensity for universalist claims. For example, the later works of Yury Lotman and Vasily Nalimov are rife with a metaphysics of chance, contiguity, indeterminism.

Georgy Gachev builds much more ambitious cosmosophical constructions than did his predecessors in culturology, Bakhtin and Likhachev. The conceptualist group "Medical Hermeneutics" is much more concerned with metaphysical generalizations than were the conceptualists of the s and 80s. Is it a coincidence that this proliferation of new, radical metaphysical discourses has arisen with the degradation and collapse of the ideocratic system of Soviet power? I must reiterate that the Soviet system was not merely a political and legislative entity but was founded on a metaphysical, even eschatological, vision, officially called Marxism but stemming also from the prophetic philosophizing of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Traditionally in Russia , political platforms have been constructed on a framework of the most general, "filosofical" ideas; in the early s, competing metaphysical theories were rushing in to fill the demolished and excavated site with a foundation for a new political architecture. The death of one "big" totalitarianism gave birth to a number of smaller ones. Many politicians, of both leftist and rightist orientation, such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Aleksandr Rutskoi, and even the new communist leader Gennady Zyuganov more or less consistently wielded metaphysical ideas to justify their ambitions for intellectual leadership.

This overall tendency, characteristic of the Russian mentality in general but aggravated in the early s by increasing political instability, can be called "metaphysical radicalism. At the same time, any politics with pretensions to radically transforming the world cannot limit itself to the social, economic, and legislative dimensions, but must entail metaphysical assumptions. In the contemporary West, politics usually pursues less expansive goals of partially improving existing systems, and therefore, it is divorced from metaphysical considerations, or at least pretends to be.

Since Russia 's historical dynamics are not evolutionary but disruptive and catastrophic, each break in political continuity necessitates renewed metaphysical speculation and indoctrination designed to justify the entirely new social order. It is the privilege of metaphysics to address the world as a whole, as it is the objective of political radicalism to transform this whole completely.

Western philosophy | bafeqysaga.gq

Thus metaphysical and political radicalism are mutually dependent, as the totalitarian experiments of the 20th century have shown: both communist and fascist radicalism advanced strong metaphysical claims and implications. Russian philosophy, which during the ss had resisted the stranglehold of Soviet ideocracy, may now be preparing the foundation for a new type of ideocracy, potentially based on the ideas of Cosmism, universal theocracy, radical traditionalism or eschatological communism.

The options are varied. Metaphysical radicalism is a specific type of philosophical discourse that ignores the Kantian critique of metaphysics and claims to "transcend" the epistemological limits imposed on human cognitive capacities. It relies on 'revealed', 'self-evident' or 'generally accepted' truth or values that are directly accessible for human mind. However, this philosophical mode cannot be identified with the naive metaphysics that Kant criticized; it aspires not to adequate knowledge but to the practical transformation of the world, not to truth but to power.

For metaphysical radicalism, epistemological limits remain effective, but irrelevant, since they can be transcended politically, volitionally, as the projection of a different world is implemented by the forces of social, national and technological revolution. This is not a pre-critical, descriptive but a post-critical, prescriptive metaphysics, one that draws on suppressed desires and taps the collective unconscious. Western intellectuals are familiar with this type of fiery speculation through the works of New Left thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse, but the principal distinction of the majority of contemporary Russian "New Right" thinkers is their appeal to the absolute past, to the resurrection of ancestors or the restoration of Tradition.

It is known that sentences in the imperative mood cannot be subjected to the criteria of verification. As Roman Jakobson puts it, "The imperative sentences cardinally differ from declarative sentences: the latter are and the former are not liable to a truth test. The alliance between metaphysics and politics has benefits for both of them: as practice , it concentrates on one goal, on one direction of change; as philosophy , it posits itself beyond truth and falsehood. There are strong tensions , originating from diverse ideological sources, among the representative trends of metaphysical radicalism.

Neo-fascist ideologists of Zhirinovsky's camp condemn radical traditionalists for their romantic alienation from the contemporary scene and their obsession with the past. Fedorov, the founder of Russian Cosmism, wrote: " The formula for the political implications of this metaphysical radicalism can be found in Nietzsche's prophecy: "The time of the struggle for domination of the globe is upon us; it will be undertaken in the name of basic philosophical teachings. The ideological incompatibility among Marxist, nationalist and religious discourses, which sharply divided them in the Soviet period, now becomes more and more irrelevant as these positions merge in the overarching type of radical discourse.

It contains many fundamental features vitally important for civilization, features of a new world religion with its own saints and martyrs, apostles and creed. She found this in communism. This example of the discourse of "metaphysical radicalism" reduces or even erases any difference among communist, nationalist and religious rhetoric.

Another major strategy that shares the contemporary intellectual scene with metaphysical radicalism is conceptualism. Conceptualism exposes the "realistic fallacy" of all "master discourses," discloses the contingency of all concepts and refuses to ground itself in any reality. As Ilya Kabakov, the leading representative of Russian conceptualism in art and theory, put s it, "Precisely because of its self-referentiality and the lack of windows or a way out to something else, it [the concept] is like something that hangs in the air, a self-reliant thing, like a fantastic construction, connected to nothing, with its roots in nothing.

Initially, the name "conceptualism" was borrowed from the international aesthetic school founded in late s by the American artist Joseph Kosuth. Conceptual art from the very beginning was connected with philosophy and even claimed to be more intrinsically philosophical than academic philosophy itself. Kosuth insists that, "The twentieth century brought in a time which could be called 'the end of philosophy and the beginning of art. Two lines of argument intersect in this statement. On the one hand, it implies that 20th century art is no longer limited to the creation of material forms but begins to question the very nature of art and to redefine it with each specific work.

Art, therefore, becomes an articulation of ideas about art. These two processes, the conceptualization of art and the aesthetization of philosophy, contribute to a mutual rapprochement and the redefinition of conceptual art as a concrete philosophy that objectifies and relativizes its own ideas. Another source of the term "conceptualism," less evident but perhaps more decisive for the fate of this movement in Russia , is the medieval philosophical school of the same name.

Among the European scholastics of the 13th and 14th centuries, conceptualism functioned as a moderate version of nominalism, which asserted that all universals have their being not in reality itself but in the sphere of purely mental concepts. As such, this school was opposed to realism, which posited one continuum of physical and conceptual reality, insisting on the ontological being of such universals as love, soul, beauty, goodness and other general concepts. Strange as it may seem, an analogous confrontation of two intellectual trends occurred in the late Soviet period, with Marxism insisting on the historical reality of such general ideas as "class," "the people," "collectivism," "equality," "history," and "progress," while conceptualism argued for the purely nominative and mental basis of these ideological constructions.

Like its medieval counterpart, conceptualism attempts to expose the realistic fallacy that attributes objective existence to general or abstract ideas. Whereas the Soviet system gave the status of historical reality to its own ideological pronouncements, conceptualism attempted to expose the contingent nature of these concepts by unmasking them as constructions proceeding from the human mind or generated by linguistic practices. The origins of Russian conceptualist discourse can be traced to the works of the philosopher, writer, and literary critic Andrei Siniavsky, particularly to his treatise "On Socialist Realism" Instead of either praising socialist realism as the "truthful reflection of life" in the words of official Soviet criticism or condemning it as a "distortion of reality and poor propagandistic art" in the words of dissident or liberal Western criticism , Siniavsky suggested the artistic utilization of the signs and images of socialist realism, while maintaining a playful distance from their ideological content.

Conceptualism may be viewed as a Russian version of postmodern and poststructuralist discursive strategy which undermines the credibility of any system of thought by exposing it as a self-enclosed chain of significations with no outlet to reality. That is why conceptualism, as a philosophy, is so closely connected with art: the idea is used in its aesthetic capacity, as a playful and self-sufficient verbal statement or visual projection whose practical or political application are revealed as delusions.

With conceptualism, any fact, gesture, object, or work of art is exposed as a "concept," i. Thus the field of philosophical reflection expands infinitely, subsuming all kinds of concrete objects and facts and treating them as mental constructions, as general concepts, in such a way that these concepts claim their existential and material status and simultaneously expose the counterfeit behind these claims. When considering more properly philosophical ideas, conceptualism playfully paraphrases metaphysical discourse using Hegelian, or Kantian, or Marxist rhetorical models for the description of such trivial objects as flies or garbage.

This is not merely an attempt at the ironic deconstruction of traditional philosophy--it is also a project for the proliferation of new, multiple metaphysics, each of which consciously demonstrates the contingency of its central concept, be it Absolute Spirit in Hegel's work or a fly in Kabakov's treatise "The Fly as a Subject and Basis for Philosophical Discourse. In contrast to radical metaphysics "in the imperative mood," conceptualist simulative systems of thought could be called "metaphysics in the subjunctive mood," which also serves to distinguish it from pre-Kantian dogmatism, or "metaphysics in the indicative mood," with its claims of adequately describing reality as such.

Kabakov argues that any object, however ordinary and trivial, can rightfully be placed in the center of a philosophical discourse, becoming its master concept, the universal "first principle": "The work presented here, the treatise 'The Fly with Wings' almost visually demonstrates the nature of all philosophical discourse--at its base may lie a simple, uncomplicated and even nonsensical object--an ordinary fly, for example.

But yet the very quality of the discourse does not suffer in the least as a result of this. In this very way it is proven and illustrated that the idea of philosophizing and its goal consists not at all in the revelation of the original supposition if this can turn out to be an ordinary fly , but rather in the very process of discourse, in the verbal frivolity itself, in the mutual suppositions of the beginnings and ends, in the flow of connections and representations of that very thing.

In addition to demonstrating the contingency of metaphysical systems, Kabakov accomplishes two other closely related philosophical tasks. By contrasting the superficiality of the topic with the gravity of his chosen genre, Kabakov not only deconstructs the methodology of serious philosophy, but elevates the trivial to the status of a topic worthy of philosophical meditation. The same device that allows him to deconstruct traditional philosophy, also serves to construct a new range of philosophies that can assimilate the words and concepts of ordinary language in all its infinite richness.

This pan-philosophical approach can also be applied to such concepts as "chair" or "table" or "wall," identifying them as potential universals that may provide a more vivid elucidation of the world than such traditional and almost empty concepts as Spirit or Life or Being. The proliferation of metaphysical systems within conceptualism is conceived as a way to overcome the metaphysical dimension of discourse, not by the means of serious analytical criticism as in Wittgenstein or Derrida , but through the self-ironic, self-parodic construction of systems that deliberately disclose their own contingency.

Conceptualism, as postmodernism on the whole, is sometimes criticized for its aesthetic snobbery and moral indifference consider Solzhenitsyn's invectives against "spiritually impotent" postmodernism in the early s. Russian culture proved to be a fertile ground for the application of conceptualist theory, owing to the prevalence of ideological schemes and stereotypes throughout its history, especially during the Soviet period. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the official ideology lay in ruins, the critical sharpness and topicality of conceptualism diminished for a while, but conceptualists did not remain jobless for long: other ideologies religious fundamentalism, national messianism, etc.

If in the ss conceptualism was neatly opposed to more academic and serious types of humanistic discourses, such as neo-rationalist or culturological, the s have witnessed a strong tendency for their consolidation. Just as Marxism, nationalism and religious fundamentalism have begun to gravitate toward a unified discursive strategy of metaphysical radicalism, so do structuralism, culturology and conceptualism, which were clearly divided in the ss, tend to comprise a unity in opposition to metaphysical radicalism.

This unity is based, first and foremost, on the poststructuralist notion of the cultural relativity and contingency of all discourses--the theoretical tenet that was not alien to structuralism and culturology but was most consistently and convincingly articulated in conceptualism. Thus, in the mids, one can see a sharp polarization of radical and post-structuralist or conceptualist, in the broadest sense types of discourses with simultaneous neutralization of the internal ideological differences within both of them. One can compare the relationship between Russian conceptualists and metaphysical radicals with the division of "ironists" and "metaphysicians" among Western intellectuals, as described by Richard Rorty.

The metaphysician is someone who takes the question 'what is the intrinsic nature of e. She thinks nothing has an intrinsic value, a real essence. However meaningful, this parallel with Western intellectual types needs certain corrections.