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Kant and the Scandal of Philosophy

Kant and the Scandal of Philosophy: The Kantian Critique of Cartesian Scepticism

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Kant and the Scandal of Philosophy
    Book Description:

    InKant and the Scandal of Philosophy, Luigi Caranti corrects this omission, providing a thorough historical analysis of Kant's anti-sceptical arguments from the pre-critical period up to the 'Reflexionen zum Idealismus' (1788-93).

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8448-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    How to respond satisfactorily to Cartesian scepticism has been one of the central problems of philosophy since the first appearance of theMeditations. It is little exaggeration to say that all of the important philosophers since Descartes have found it necessary to deal with the sort of radical scepticism he drew to the attention of the erudite world with his hypothesis of the Evil Genius. The search for a ‘solution’ to Descartes’s problem has resulted in a number of ‘refutations of scepticism’ that are as ingenious as they have turned out to be vulnerable to the replies of sceptics. Recent...

  4. 1 The Problem of Idealism in the Precritical Period
    (pp. 10-35)

    At first glance, Kant’s precritical confrontation with the problem of idealism seems to be characterized by sheer inconsistency. Moments of confidence as to the possibility of countering the sceptical doubt are followed by moments of despair, and vice versa. Kant’s antisceptical arguments are first proposed, then withdrawn, then restored, and again abandoned. When we approach these profound changes in the context of the development of Kant’s philosophy, however, they become less mysterious. Rather, they appear as natural consequences of the different philosophical positions that Kant embraces over time. Thus the primary task of this chapter is to show how the...

  5. 2 The Nature of Transcendental Idealism and Its Foundations
    (pp. 36-79)

    In the preceding chapter we saw how the precritical reflection on the problem of idealism led Kant to reinterpret the distinction between appearances and things in themselves. If in 1770, in the attempt to solve the problem of scepticism, he took appearances as mental entities and things in themselves as the genuine mind-independent objects that cause those mental entities, in the silent decade he began to see that no successful refutation of scepticism could be mounted on this interpretation of the transcendental distinction. Thus he came more and more to assign to appearances the role of those objects whose existence...

  6. 3 The Antisceptical Argument of the Fourth Paralogism
    (pp. 80-113)

    In the preceding chapters we saw that theCritiquein general and the Fourth Paralogism in particular, if read with the appropriate hermeneutical tools, are committed to a kind of idealism that despite appearances can and should be sharply distinguished from phenomenalism. We saw that Kant’s idealism has the resources to rebut standard criticisms regarding its nature and its foundations that aim at threatening its plausibility. In this sense, transcendental idealism can support the weight of being the fundamental premise of the antisceptical argument of the Fourth Paralogism. The present chapter spells out this argument. The key lies in reinterpreting...

  7. 4 The Problem of Idealism between 1781 and 1787
    (pp. 114-125)

    In the preceding chapters we committed ourselves to an interpretation turning on two main theses. On the one hand, we have already seen that in 1781 Kant embraced a form of idealism that is sharply distinguished from phenomenalism, and that even the Fourth Paralogism, despite some tricky passages, vouches for a kind of (transcendental) idealism opposed to any negation of the external world’s independent existence. On the other hand, we have been contending that the Fourth Paralogism, properly interpreted, contains the material for a powerful argument against the sceptic, provided that the truth of transcendental idealism is conceded. The development...

  8. 5 The Refutation of Idealism
    (pp. 126-151)

    In the Second Edition of theCritique, Kant inserts a completely new section entitled ‘Refutation of Idealism.’ In it we find an antisceptical proof that turns on an alleged dependence of the empirical consciousness of our own existence (to whose certainty the Cartesian sceptic is thought to be committed) on the reality of outer experience. The core of the proof is that only outer knowledge contains the permanence necessary for the temporal determination of the succession of mental states, which Kant identifies with the empirical consciousness of our existence. As I have already indicated, Kant thought that with this proof...

  9. 6 The Refutation of Idealism in the Reflexionen
    (pp. 152-172)

    Kant’s confrontation with the problem of idealism does not end with the Second Edition of theCritique. In a series of Reflexionen that Adickes titled ‘Reflexionen zum Idealismus’ and that date from the late 1780s to the early 1790s, Kant came back to the problem that had captured his attention since 1755. The first question posed by these Reflexionen concerns Kant’s reasons for returning to a problem he considered definitively solved in theCritique. As we have seen, Kant thinks that the Refutation of Idealism is capable of turning the game of idealism against itself, which amounts to silencing the...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 173-176)

    In the preceding pages I have offered a reconstruction of the development of Kant’s antisceptical arguments that challenges the mainstream reading on this topic in Kant’s philosophy. I find this reading both incomplete and inaccurate. It is incomplete because scant attention has been paid to Kant’s precritical confrontation with scepticism, even though it is so crucial not only for the completeness of any account of his confrontation with scepticism, but also and more importantly for the avoidance of profound and still widespread mistakes in the interpretation of theCritique of Pure Reasonas a whole. And it isinaccuratebecause...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 177-206)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-214)
  13. Index
    (pp. 215-218)