Kant and Idealism

Kant and Idealism

Tom Rockmore
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 294
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  • Book Info
    Kant and Idealism
    Book Description:

    Distinguished scholar and philosopher Tom Rockmore examines one of the great lacunae of contemporary philosophical discussion-idealism. Addressing the widespread confusion about the meaning and use of the term, he surveys and classifies some of its major forms, giving particular attention to Kant. He argues that Kant provides the all-important link between three main types of idealism: those associated with Plato, the new way of ideas, and German idealism. The author also makes a case for the contemporary relevance of at least one strand in the tangled idealist web, a strand most clearly identified with Kant: constructivism. In terms of the philosophical tradition, Rockmore contends, constructivism offers a lively, interesting, and important approach to knowledge after the decline of metaphysical realism.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13473-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Idealism is routinely considered to be an instance of identification with the dominant class,¹ a huge philosophical mistake,² committed to a contra-intuitive doctrine,³ out of date,⁴ impossible to defend, even perhaps not possible to state clearly,⁵ something that need not be mentioned in discussing even the most important idealist thinkers,⁶ in short the kind of thing one would be better off not being around, and certainly not something one should be espousing.⁷ Two of the main philosophical movements of the past century define their positions through the rejection of idealism. Once Engels had invented Marxism, he and his followers understood...

  4. 1 Idealism, Platonic Idealism, and the New Way of Ideas
    (pp. 17-47)

    Though Kant claims to be a transcendental idealist, both “transcendental idealism” and “idealism” need to be explained.What is “idealism”? It is only through answering this deceptively simple question that we can identify forms of idealism and the idealists who illustrate them. If meaning is determined by use, then the answer to the question of the meaning of ‘‘idealism’’ must be whatever those who claim to be idealists, who write about idealism, or who are thought to fall under the general heading of idealism say it is. There is no general agreement about ‘‘idealism,’’ however, and opinions about it differ widely....

  5. 2 German Idealism, British Idealism, and Later Developments
    (pp. 48-120)

    All forms of representationalism are based on metaphysical realism. Later forms of idealism move progressively away from representationalism and metaphysical realism, but not from realism as such, insofar as they base claims to know on empirical realism, or knowledge of the surrounding empirical world, not as it supposedly is, but rather as it is given in experience. The previous chapter described the old way of ideas, or Platonic idealism, idealism as it appeared in ancient philosophy, and the new way of ideas, or the modern, anti-Platonic recovery of representationalism, as well as Berkeley’s critical reaction to representationalism. This chapter will...

  6. 3 Some Main Criticisms of Idealism
    (pp. 121-200)

    The reaction to philosophical idealism has been highly diverse. Idealism, or views taken as idealist, has been celebrated, ignored, superficially or minutely examined, as well as mildly or strongly criticized. I turn now to selective consideration of some main criticisms of idealist theories. As in the description of ‘‘idealism,’’ it will not be possible to canvass all, or even all the main, criticisms which have been raised, even in outline. At most, one can hope to identify criticisms which currently appear to be significant.

    There are two reasons for rehearsing criticisms raised against idealism in general, including those raised against...

  7. 4 Idealism, Constructivism, and Knowledge
    (pp. 201-236)

    ‘‘Idealism’’ is often misrepresented by its critics as centering on a single, monolithic claim about the existence of the external world. It is better understood as a series of approaches to knowledge related more in name than in specific epistemological doctrine. Types of idealist epistemology can be differentiated with respect to incompatible forms of realism. Metaphysical realism, we have repeatedly noted, is a claim to know the way the world is, more precisely to know the mind-independent world as it is, whereas empirical realism is a claim to know no more than what is given in experience. The three main...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 237-270)
  9. Index
    (pp. 271-286)