Reply to Magrì and Frilli


ALFREDO FERRARIN | Il pensare e l’io. Hegel e la critica di Kant | Carocci Editore 2016


By Alfredo Ferrarin

I am very grateful to Elisa Magrì and Guido Frilli for the time and scrupulous attention they devoted to my essay and for their criticisms. Before I discuss them let me put them into context.


I have recently written two books, one on Kant (Ferrarin 2015) and one on Hegel (the book under discussion here).[1] It was only as I was completing them that I realised something I had not thought out as part of the original plan. By the end of my Kant book, I realised that I was often trying to respond to Hegel’s critique of Kant. The traits of Kant’s idea of reason that surfaced with ever greater necessity in my mind gave voice to what I interpreted as Kant’s possible reply to what I began to identify as Hegel’s onesided reading, if not misunderstanding, of Kant.

As I wrote my Hegel book, while deploring that Hegel never took seriously the Doctrine of Method of the First Critique or even the Dialectic which he was one of the few (and first) to praise, I realised that Hegel tried to solve, or give a very different version of, some problems which I had isolated as internal to the Doctrine of Method itself.

Naturally, the two books are mutually independent and address different issues and audiences. Yet, if taken together, they can be portrayed as one complex and sustained argument on reason in Kant and Hegel. This may be why in their critique of my Hegel book both Elisa Magrì and Guido Frilli start out with the relation between Kant and Hegel.

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Guido Frilli on Alfredo Ferrarin’s “Il pensare e l’io. Hegel e la critica di Kant”


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.

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Elisa Magrì on Alfredo Ferrarin’s “Il pensare e l’io. Hegel e la critica di Kant”


ALFREDO FERRARIN | Il pensare e l’io. Hegel e la critica di Kant | Carocci Editore 2016


By Elisa Magrì

Hegelian readers are familiar with Hegel’s enthusiasm for Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, especially with his letters where he speaks of Kant’s philosophy as foreshadowing a new revolution.[1] Alfredo Ferrarin’s latest book on Hegel, Il pensare e l’io. Hegel e la critica di Kant (Thinking and the I. Hegel and the Critique of Kant) takes very seriously Hegel’s appraisal of Kant and, more than this, Hegel’s own philosophical revolution. Ferrarin clearly shows that Hegel’s project is in many ways indebted to Kant precisely where Hegel did not acknowledge it, and yet Hegel’s philosophical revolution is unprecedented in other respects that call for further attention. Ferrarin explores the problem of thinking and its relation to the ‘I’ starting with questions that apparently have little significance for Hegel: What is thinking? Is thinking the same as having thoughts? Does thought depend on an ‘I’ in order to be objective? Is the ‘I’ in Hegel equivalent to subjectivity?

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Reply to Pickford: On Social Mediation and Its Substrates


FABIAN FREYENHAGEN | Adorno’s Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly | Cambridge University Press 2013


By Fabian Freyenhagen

How can we be deeply historical, but not restricted to just reproduce in thought what unfolds around us? How can we claim that our human potential is being systematically thwarted by our social world, before this potential has ever been realised? How can we restrict knowledge to be only of what is bad for us, without giving up the utopian impulse that this cannot be all there could be? These are central questions for Adorno, and they are the questions to which Henry Pickford’s review of my Adorno’s Practical Philosophy (henceforth ‘APP’) speaks. Before attempting a reply, let me begin by noting that I am very thankful for his engaging so generously and thoughtfully with my book.

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