MARTIN BONDELI, JIŘÍ CHOTAŠ & KLAUS VIEWEG (eds) | Krankheit des Zeitalters oder heilsame Provokation? Skeptizismus in der nachkantischen Philosophie | Wilhelm Fink, 2016
By Joris Spigt
The edited volume under review here consists of 15 essays that cover the topic of scepticism in the works of Kant, Stäudlin, Schulze, Reinhold, Maimon, Fichte, Schlegel, Schelling, Jacobi and Hegel. This collection of essays has both widened and deepened my understanding of scepticism in the wake of Kant’s philosophy. As such, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in what is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and multifaceted topics in classical German philosophy.
One of the central figures in the post-Kantian landscape is the self-avowed sceptic Gottlob Ernst Schulze. Because Schulze figures in 10 of the essays, his thought emerges as one of the guiding threads of the volume. With his criticism of Kant’s and Reinhold’s philosophy in his (anonymously published) Aenesidemus (1792), attacks on philosophy in Kritik der theoretischen Philosophie (1801), parody of Schelling’s and Hegel’s philosophy in ‘Aphorismen über das Absolute’ (1803), and, finally, thoughts on scepticism in ‘Die Hauptmomente der skeptischen Denkart über die menschliche Erkenntniß’ (1805), Schulze was the agent provocateur of his time, as Klaus Vieweg aptly describes him (p. 18). My review essay focuses on the volume’s treatment of different figures’ responses to Schulze’s Aenesidemus. In particular, I shall discuss the essays of Martin Bondeli, Silvan Imhof, and Daniel Breazeale on Reinhold, Maimon, and Fichte, respectively. My reflections on their essays seek to draw out an implicit issue within them: the lack of reflection on the adequacy and significance of the different responses to Schulze’s scepticism. Read more
PAULINE KLEINGELD | Kant and Cosmopolitanism: The Philosophical Ideal of World Citizenship | Cambridge University Press 2012
By Robert Hanna
What is cosmopolitanism? Notoriously, there is no comprehensive, analytic definition of the term as it is used in either ordinary or specialised (say, legal, political, or scholarly) language, covering all actual and possible cases. It is variously taken to refer to globe-trotting sophistication; to nihilistic, rootless, world-wandering libertinism; to the general idea of ‘world citizenship’; to a single world-state with coercive power; to a tight federation of all nation-states, again with coercive power; or to a loose, semi-coercive international federation of nation-states and related global institutions concerned with peace-keeping, criminal justice, human rights, social justice, international money flow and investment, or world-trade, like the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the (plan for a) World Court of Human Rights, the World Bank, or the World Trade Organization.
ALFREDO FERRARIN | Il pensare e l’io. Hegel e la critica di Kant | Carocci Editore 2016
By Guido Frilli
The core theoretical argument of Alfredo Ferrarin’s Il pensare e l’io is that the fundamental divergences between the Hegelian and the Kantian conceptions of reason can be appreciated only by considering an essential and often overlooked continuity. This continuity pertains to the ambivalent relationship between thought and the thinker; or, more properly, between reason as a universal force or transindividual power, and subjective or individual thinking as the sole ground upon which such a power can appear and know itself as such. According to Ferrarin, this continuity is one of shared problems more than of common solutions; but it is critical for grasping both Kant’s and Hegel’s standpoints on reason, as well as making better sense of their essential disagreements. For both, thinking exists only as embodied qua the thinking of an ‘I’, while at the same time it precedes and transcends subjective thinking. Reason is the self-production of truth; it cannot become my reason without corrupting itself. Nonetheless, in order to become self-conscious and at home in its world, reason’s activity must decline itself in the first person. In the biblical terms employed by Hegel, logos becomes flesh; and it becomes flesh as the conscious thinking of an ‘I’. Reason is thus the locus of an unresolved tension between the impersonal and spontaneous force of self-determination, and the activity of a conscious subjectivity this force must embody.