Philosophical Legacies

Philosophical Legacies: Essays on the Thought of Kant, Hegel, and Their Contemporaries (Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, Volume 50)

Daniel O. Dahlstrom
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Philosophical Legacies
    Book Description:

    The essays trace carefully the histories of the influences of earlier thinkers and their legacies upon later thinkers.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1851-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations for Editions Cited
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    (pp. 1-16)

    Apart from the trivial senses of having been written by the same individual, in the same language, and with the same general style and structure, at the same place (Königsberg) and during roughly the same period (the Enlightenment), there is considerable controversy as to the extent to which some sort of underlying unity may be ascribed to the doctrines elaborated in Kant’s three critiques. There are those who, like the great German idealists and materialists (I am thinking of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and Marx, respectively) seem certain that they have found the key to such a unity, but at the...

    (pp. 17-32)

    A central purpose of Kant’s discussion of schematism in the Critique of Pure Reason is to teach us how the power of judgment applies pure concepts of the understanding to appearances.¹ This aim has struck more than one critic as pretty absurd, since it seems to suppose an illegitimate distinction between possessing and being able to apply a concept in the proper way. What can it mean, it is argued, to say that I have a concept if I am not able to use it and, indeed, use it properly?²

    Agreeing on its superfluousness but for a different reason, other...

    (pp. 33-42)

    Despite significant changes promulgated in the Tax Reform Act of 1976, death has implied taxation in the United States, at least by the federal government, since 1916. More specifically, transfers of wealth, including inheritance and estates, have been taxed both to reduce inequality and to capture revenue for the state. In recent years, however, economists have expressed doubts about the sagacity of taxing what you cannot take with you. Because the taxation of wealth transfers diminishes the incentive to accumulate capital to pass on to heirs, it is argued, such taxation lowers a nation’s productive capacity.¹

    These arguments are indeed...

  9. Chapter 4 JACOBI AND KANT
    (pp. 43-66)

    F. H. Jacobi’s intellectual career is punctuated by his encounters and critical engagement with Kant’s philosophy. He recounts how, already at the age of twenty, he found “nothing more adequate” than the suggestions and explanations in Kant’s Untersuchungen über die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze der natürlichen Theologie und Moral and how, a short time later, he was delighted to discover in Kant’s Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund des Daseyns Gottes a corroboration of his own misgivings with the “Cartesian proof.”¹ Some twenty years later in the opening salvos of his dispute with Mendelssohn over Lessing’s sympathies for Spinoza he appeals at key...

  10. Chapter 5 THE LEGACY OF AESTHETIC HOLISM: Hamann, Herder, and Schiller
    (pp. 67-92)

    Johann Georg Hamann (1730–88), Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803), and Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) are among a handful of thinkers most responsible for creating a legacy of holistic thinking in Germany in the second half of the eighteenth century. If this era is generally associated with the end of the Enlightenment, the writings of Hamann, Herder, and Schiller represent the German “Counter-Enlightenment,” dedicated to the premise that the genuine meanings of things derive from their interactive functions in a dynamic, self-determining whole, albeit one that humans succeed in grasping merely in a fragmentary way. Hamann and Herder, both sons...

  11. Chapter 6 THE ETHICAL AND POLITICAL LEGACY OF AESTHETICS: Friedrich Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Mankind
    (pp. 93-102)

    Before Friedrich Schiller, there were ample testimonies to the impact of art, for good and for ill, on moral and political sentiments, just as surely as there were other voices placing art at arm’s length from morality and politics, in effect, liberating it from the pulpit and the marketplace. Schiller’s singular achievement in his work The Aesthetic Education of Mankind in a Series of Letters is his elaboration of a conception of art and aesthetics that sets out to reconcile these seemingly contradictory voices. In the process Schiller articulates the promise of aesthetics for politics. At the crossroads of diagnosis...

  12. Chapter 7 HEGEL’S SCIENCE OF LOGIC AND IDEA OF TRUTH: Countering the Skeptical Legacy of Formalism in Philosophy
    (pp. 103-119)

    To criticize a philosopher’s views properly a primary requirement is an accurate understanding of the questions he raises, the problems he acknowledges, and the procedures he follows. In the following study I attempt to identify the specific question of truth which Hegel addresses, the basis of the sort of skepticism posing a serious threat to its resolution, and finally a strategy he adopts in attempting to answer the question. The specific question of truth is the question of the objectivity of thought, a question that Hegel understands, for reasons discussed below, as a metaphysical question. The sort of skepticism Hegel...

  13. Chapter 8 MUTUAL NEED AND FRUSTRATION: Hegel on the Religious Legacy of Modern Philosophy
    (pp. 120-140)

    Hegel’s conception of philosophy is often looked upon as an important, if not always welcome, catalyst of philosophy’s modern development. Depending upon one’s own philosophical predilections, Hegel’s philosophy retarded or advanced philosophical reflection, but always in the course of being rejected itself.¹ For some the pretentious compass and rigidity of an encyclopedic system present the greatest difficulties. For others the arguments for the integrity of a spirituality that encompasses nature, history, and/or society are particularly unconvincing, resembling thinly veiled apologetics if they deserve to be called arguments at all.

    Whatever the particular misgivings with Hegel’s philosophy, however, a majority of...

  14. Chapter 9 THE SEXUAL BASIS OF ETHICAL LIFE: Hegel’s Reading of Antigone in the Phenomenology of Spirit
    (pp. 141-151)

    Only about halfway through his Phenomenology of Spirit does Hegel’s discussion explicitly turn to spirit. His account of spirit, the “absolute, real essence,” directly follows the chapter on reason, and to understand that account it is helpful, as always when dealing with this work, to look first to what it directly supersedes. For Hegel presents spirit as a stage of consciousness that builds upon what reason or, better, a stage of consciousness defined by “reason” supposedly achieves and fails to achieve.

    In the chapter on reason Hegel recounts how, in the observation of nature, reasonable activity consists in looking for...

    (pp. 152-162)

    Hegel’s account of conscience at the conclusion to the chapter on morality in the Philosophy of Right has had more than its share of detractors. Theunissen tries to explain why the account is “so meager,” Findlay deems it “thoroughly scandalous,” and Tugendhat goes so far as to label it the pinnacle of a “no longer merely conceptual, but rather moral perversion.”¹ Even commentators committed to rescuing Hegel’s discussion of conscience from such extreme reproaches agree that it is “one-sided” and “problematic.”² The source of this widespread conclusion about Hegel’s political incorrectness is not difficult to discern. In the wake of...

  16. Chapter 11 HEGEL’S APPROPRIATION OF KANT’S ACCOUNT OF PURPOSIVENESS IN NATURE: Evolution and the Teleological Legacy in Biology
    (pp. 163-178)

    “One of Kant’s great services to philosophy,” Hegel observes in the chapter on teleology in the Science of Logic, “consists in the distinction which he sets up between relative or external and internal purposiveness; in the latter he opened up the concept of life, the Idea.”¹ Kant’s account of natural purposes, based upon the notion of internal purposiveness, gives expression, Hegel continues, to nothing less than “the concrete universal,” incorporating both particularity and externality.² At the same time, however, Hegel finds Kant’s elaboration of this teleological principle essentially “unsatisfactory” and he lambasts Kant for not simply “confusing,” but even “ruining,”...

    (pp. 179-193)

    Marx Wartofsky has made the question of ideology the focus of a recent study of Feuerbach’s philosophical development.¹ As an exercise in what Wartofsky calls “historical epistemology,” this study of Feuerbach is admirable for at least three reasons. First, Marxist and non-Marxist ideologies alike have too often relegated the integrity of Feuerbach’s philosophical arguments to a way station on some march of dialectic from Hegel to Marx. Secondly, as Wartofsky ably demonstrates, Feuerbach’s own trenchant self-criticism (or personal dialectic) and serious study of the problems of ideology and concept formation led to the critiques of Hegel’s philosophy and of religion....

    (pp. 194-206)

    The very existence of the United States in the world at the present time, Alexandre Kojève observed in 1968, prefigures the future, the eternal present of humanity as a whole. The American way of life is, in his words, the genre of life proper to “the post-historical period” signaling nothing less than the end of history as we know it: the consummation of the human, all-too-human struggle for recognition, on the one hand, and a return to the world of animals, on the other.¹ In his book, The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama takes pains to...

  19. Chapter 14 THE RELIGION OF ART
    (pp. 207-227)

    Whatever one might think of Feyerabend’s philosophy of science, there is certainly much to be said for his claim that science today has in large measure finally fulfilled its Enlightenment mission and replaced religion as the accepted authority, source, and guardian of the truth. The rites of scientific method yield reliable, visible wonders even as they define new mysteries of force fields, neutrinos, and quarks. Legal, political, and economic decisions are considered recklessly irresponsible, indeed punitively liable, if they are not made under suitable consultation, not with clergymen, but with scientists. Research institutes are the bastions of a twentieth-century monasticism;...

    (pp. 228-248)

    From “legatus” and “legare,” the English term “legacy” once signified the function of representing some authority or, more often, the message or group sent to do so, a significance that survives in the uses of “delegate.” A delegation is, of course, not the same as the authority itself or its power and therein lies a source of myriad possibilities of slippage, confusion, and intrigue. The tensions of this obsolete meaning reverberate in the current use of the term “legacy” to designate “anything handed down by an ancestor or predecessor” (OED). Dead ancestors cannot literally “hand” down anything and yet a...

  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 249-260)
  22. Index
    (pp. 261-267)