Hegelians, Kant’s Subjectivism, and The Myth of Realism—A Reply to Paul Giladi

 

DENNIS SCHULTING | On Hegel’s Critique of Kant’s Subjectivism in the Transcendental Deduction‘, in Kant’s Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction | Palgrave Macmillan 2017

 


 

By Dennis Schulting

I thank Paul Giladi for his generous commentary on a chapter of my book Kant’s Radical Subjectivism that deals with Hegel’s critique of Kant and for suggesting a way forward for reading the notoriously controversial relation between the two greatest philosophers of modern times. I also apologise for having him wait so long, too long, for a response to his piece. But—to cut to the chase—for all his acuity in succinctly enumerating the criticisms that Hegel raises against Kant as they are standardly conceived, it seems to me that in his commentary, Giladi keeps perpetuating the Hegelian myth—a myth that originates in Hegel himself, in his less felicitous statements on Kant (Giladi appropriately quotes Encyclopædia, §§ 41z and 42z)[1]—that Kant’s transcendental or formal idealism fatally suffers from a psychological subjectivism, a charge that I explicitly sought to counter in my book. This is the myth that—and this is how Giladi himself puts it—“the structure, order, and unity of empirical reality are all derived from us and that thought and being are fundamentally separate from one another”, and that apparently because the objectively structuring categories are applied by us, they are not, or at least not ipso facto, really instantiated by the things themselves, in being itself so to speak, and thus not truly objectivating, but in the end merely subjective.

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Reply to William Bristow & Sebastian Rand

 

Hegel’s Critique of Kant | Paperback | Sally Sedgwick | Oxford University Press 2014


 

By Sally Sedgwick

I wish to begin by thanking my two critics, who dedicated a significant amount of their precious time to reading and commenting on my book Hegel’s Critique of Kant. I know these projects always turn out to take more time and effort than one initially thinks they will, so I’m grateful to each of them for their generous investment of time. I respond to Bill Bristow’s critique in section I and to that of Sebastian Rand in section II.

I.

I first want to clear something up regarding what I think Hegel has in mind in charging Kant with scepticism. Bristow says that I take Kant’s strategy for saving metaphysics to have three implications that get described in the book as “Kant’s scepticism”: the restriction thesis, the subjectivism thesis, and the contingency thesis.

But I don’t actually identify the “restriction” thesis as what Hegel is worried about when he charges Kant with scepticism. Read more

William Bristow on Sally Sedgwick’s “Hegel’s Critique of Kant”

 

Hegel’s Critique of Kant | Paperback | Sally Sedgwick | Oxford University Press 2014


 

By William Bristow

The style of Sally Sedwick’s book Hegel’s Critique of Kant: From Dichotomy to Identity is careful, meticulous, cautious and circumspect—not at all hyperbolic or overstated. But Sedgwick’s conclusions are dramatic. Sedgwick concludes in the book that the respective positions of Kant and Hegel on the question of the limits of human knowledge are dramatically reversed, relative to common, considered opinion. It is commonly supposed that, while Kant soberly teaches the limits of human knowledge, as expressing human finitude, Hegel claims to realize the potential in human knowledge to be absolute and unlimited. According to Sedgwick’s interpretation, in contrast, Hegel objects fundamentally against Kant’s Critical Philosophy on the ground that it over-steps the bounds of human knowledge, in claiming knowledge that, given our finitude, we can never attain. More specifically, Read more

Sebastian Rand on Sally Sedgwick’s “Hegel’s Critique of Kant”

 

Hegel’s Critique of Kant | Paperback | Sally Sedgwick | Oxford University Press 2014


 

By Sebastian Rand

At the center of Sally Sedgwick’s Hegel’s Critique of Kant is an innovative interpretation of Hegel’s charge that Kantian concepts are “empty”. According to Sedgwick, Hegel takes Kant’s famous dictum that “thoughts without content are empty” to reveal more about the master’s views than the master intended or could himself see. Hegel takes “thoughts” here to mean, first and foremost, concepts, and these he takes to be not only empty in the “official” Kantian sense—according to which they are “discursive” and thus “fulfill their function as forms of knowing […] only when applied to a sense content that is independently given” (p. 138)—but also empty in another, deeper sense: they are, in Sedgwick’s terms, “‘external’, or on the ‘other side’ of content” (p. 138). In other words, concepts are always and everywhere per se “without” intuitions. Sedgwick describes this deeper emptiness as follows: Read more