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1. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Robert Piercey How to Appropriate a Text: Paul Ricoeur on Narrative Unity
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One of the core principles of Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is that interpretation culminates in application, or appropriation. But what exactly is an appropriation, and what makes some appropriations better than others? I try to shed light on these difficult matters by examining Ricoeur’s own appropriation of Alasdair MacIntyre’s notion of the narrative unity of a life, and by contrasting it with Richard Rorty’s appropriation of the same notion. I argue that Ricoeur’s appropriation is more successful than Rorty’s, and that the best explanation of its success is that it respects a distinctive norm that governs the activity of appropriation. I conclude by describing this norm, which I call the principle of ultimate compatibility.
2. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
David Scott C. A. Campbell and the Reprise of Cartesian Subjectivity
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In his Meditations Descartes advances an argument that contains the essentials of the so-called “hard problem” of explaining consciousness. I show how this Cartesian argument was taken up in the twentieth century by C. A. Campbell, the moral libertarian and student of idealist Henry Jones. Campbell can be regarded as the model of what John Passmore and Simon Glendinning have respectively dubbed a “recalcitrant metaphysician” or “honorary Continental” philosopher—labels that attach largely to metaphysically-minded, mainly British thinkers who, with varying degrees of affiliation to idealism, resisted the twentieth-century trends of logical behaviorism and the “revolutionary” linguistic method. In the course of this paper, I situate Campbell’s version of Descartes’ argument within the broader history of the development of the hard problem.
3. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Mike Stange Justifying the Self-Evident: The Law of Identity and the Beginning of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre
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In Fichte’s early views of the basic laws of traditional formal logic, primarily the law of identity, there is a tension that has gone surprisingly unexplored: While Fichte holds the statements of these laws to be self-evidently true and absolutely certain, he nevertheless claims that they remain to be justified by his “Science of Knowledge.” The aim of this article is to make sense of this tension and to explore how it translates into the dialectical structure and methodology of Fichte’s first Jena Wissenschaftslehre. This is done by, first, conjecturing—in a somewhat ahistorical, yet Fichte-based, fashion—a reason for Fichte’s justificatory demand. It is argued that the validity of the law of identity can be questioned because our belief in its absolute generality appears to be self-refuting in that it involves an antinomy akin to Grelling’s semantic antinomy of the heterological. This antinomy, when, secondly, related to Fichte’s purported justification of the law of identity, serves as a key to understanding why there is an antinomic conflict between Fichte’s supreme principle—namely, the self-positing pure I—and its adversary, the not-I, in the first place. Tracing their contradiction (whose synthetic resolution is the main goal of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre) back to that semantic antinomy inherent in our formal-logical certainties opens up a new way of seeing Fichte as radicalizing Kant’s critical philosophy, understood as the project of the self-preservation of reason against reason’s own antinomies.
4. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Elisabeth Widmer Elements of Völkerpsychologie in Hermann Cohen’s Mature Ethical Idealism
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This paper challenges the hitherto common distinction between Hermann Cohen’s early phase of Völkerpsychologie and his later phase as a critical idealist. Recently, it has been claimed that Cohen’s turn was not a rapid conversion but a development that was already inherent to his early view. This paper argues that even in Cohen’s mature critical idealism, a thin basis of Völkerpsychologie continues to exist. Cohen’s critical programme is presented as having a twofold aim: On the one hand, it strives to give an account of pure, formal, and logical laws that regulate critical thinking; on the other hand, it offers a reading of Kant’s dualism between matter and form that allows critical thinking to be seen as inevitably embedded in causal laws of psychology, history, and physiology. Concerning the latter, the paper argues that Cohen remained in the tradition of Völkerpsychologie in his mature ethical thought.
book review
5. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Rolf Ahlers Jacobis Philosophie. Über den Widerspruch zwischen System und Freiheit, by Birgit Sandkaulen; David Hume über den Glauben oder Idealismus und Realismus, by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
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6. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 2
Ryan J. Johnson, Nathan Jones Notes of a Wayward Son: Hegel, Baldwin, and Antiracist Idealism
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This paper transforms elements of Hegel’s thought into antiracism through the work of James Baldwin in three Acts. Act One offers a Hegelian Account of Honesty that is structurally inspired by “conscience” from his Phenomenology of Spirit. Honesty has two, seemingly paradoxical, dimensions. To address the unacknowledged whiteness in Hegel, we turn to Baldwin in Act Two. Baldwin deepens and problematizes Hegelian Honesty through a conceptual diagnosis of “double misrecognition”: the first is the misrecognition of Blackness as inferior, the second is the misrecognition of whiteness as superior. Act Three articulates how the structure of whiteness forecloses Schuld and shame by connecting this dual foreclosure to the two dimensions of Hegelian honesty and Baldwin’s diagnosis of double misrecognition. We conclude by formulating a sketch of “antiracist idealism” as version of what the Germans call Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, that is, doing the hard, uncomfortable labor of comprehending how the present is not separate from but completely composed of old scars, wounds, violence, and atrocities. Antiracist idealism enables us to both learn from yet also challenge canonical idealism through contemporary forms of antiracism.
7. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 2
Manuel Tangorra Hegelian Heritage and Anti-Racist Horizons: Exegesis and Rewritings of Dialectical Thought
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The task of confronting Hegel with the conflicts of our present proves to be indispensable to keep alive the critical scope of dialectics. In a context marked by a new wave of movements that challenge the racist structures that inform our societies, the question of the contribution of Hegelianism to an anti-racist thought takes a significant relevance.The hypothesis of this article argues that it is possible to distinguish two different operations that shape an anti-racist critique with the resources of Hegelian dialectical thought. The first one is constituted by the exegetical practice aiming to identify, within Hegel’s own discourse, a speculative core that allows the definitive overcoming of all ethno-racial particularisms through the postulation of a normative universal horizon. Such interpretative perspective, shared by numerous scholars, seeks the absorption of Hegel’s racist and Eurocentric assertions in the larger and global scope of his system. Once the limitation of this option is shown, we will examine an alternative operation, namely, the rewritings of the dialectical thought in certain philosophical reflections arising from the concreteness of anti-racist movements. To that extent, we will revisit the proposals of W.E.B Du Bois and Frantz Fanon as peripheral enunciations of the dialectic that enable a new understanding on the subjectivation processes and liberation horizons of racialized communities.
invited article
8. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 2
Kimberly Ann Harris Du Bois and Hegelian Idealism
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In a crossed-out section in his Fisk University commencement address on Otto von Bismarck, W. E. B. Du Bois mentions that Hegel was one of the figures that influenced him early on in his intellectual development. I argue that although Du Bois uses Hegelian language and employs a Hegelian conception of history in his address “The Conservation of Races,” he abandons both in his essay “Sociology Hesitant.” He became critical of the teleological conception of history because it rests on determinism, which in his view denies the possibility for social change. With what I call his “mystical holism,” Du Bois is at odds with Hegel’s methodological holism, a distinguishing characteristic of absolute idealism. Du Bois’s dynamic idealism, which grows out of opposition to Hegelian idealism, leaves us with hope for a world without racism or at the very least in a better position to develop idealism as an anti-racist system of philosophical thought.
book review
9. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 2
Dwight K. Lewis Jr. Anton Wilhelm Amo’s Philosophical Dissertations on Mind and Body, by S. Menn and J. E. H. Smith
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10. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 1
Jennifer A. Bates Editor's Note
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11. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 1
Joseph Gamache Affectivity in Moral Epistemology: Edith Stein and Dietrich von Hildebrand
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Recent epistemology and value theory have become more open to the role played by affectivity in the constitution of human knowledge of value. In this paper, two figures important to the phenomenological and personalistic traditions are retrieved as precedents for this contemporary development: Edith Stein and Dietrich von Hildebrand. In the first part of the paper, Stein’s phenomenology of affective acts is adapted as an account of the structure of “value-grasping acts.” The second part of the paper identifies two difficulties that arise on the basis of Stein’s account: (1) how do we know that an emotion constitutes a response to intrinsic value, and (2) how do we know an emotional response to value is most attuned to its object? The remainder of the paper responds to these difficulties, thereby legitimating the account as a viable moral epistemology. These responses draw inspiration from von Hildebrand’s phenomenological accounts of value-response and freedom.
12. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 1
Luis Fellipe Garcia Nature at the Core of Idealism: The Birth of Two Strands of Post-Kantian Philosophy
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This paper claims that the inner drive of the discussion leading to the philosophical rupture between Fichte and Schelling is the problem of the independence of nature. I argue that the otherwise rich literature on the subject, by not engaging with this problem, has led to a false dichotomy between two equally unsatisfactory possibilities of interpretation: (a) Schelling’s misunderstanding of Kant’s transcendental method or (b) his overcoming of it. On my account, once one engages with Schelling’s philosophy of nature, it becomes clear that he, just as Fichte, is exploring the inner tensions of Kant’s philosophy, even though he does it in a different and original direction.
13. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 1
Austin Lawrence The Self as Activity: Beyond Reductionist and Non-Reductionist Theories of Selfhood
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This paper aims to defend a dialectical account of selfhood in the context of the contemporary debates on personal identity in Anglo-American philosophy. I interpret Reductionism and Non-Reductionism—the two dominant positions in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy—as forming something analogous to an antinomy. Reductionists argue that the self is merely an identity that is reducible to a set of facts, while Non-Reductionists argue that the self is a separate entity beyond any set of facts. I argue that a comprehensive view of the self requires aspects from both of these positions. The self, then, should be understood as an ongoing activity that relates the various features of one’s identity together.
14. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 1
Nikolaj Pilgaard Petersen Non-Constitutive Cosmopsychism: Countering the Decombination Problem
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Due to the difficulties of providing an adequate physicalist solution to the problem of consciousness, recent years have seen explora­tions of different avenues. Among these is the thesis of cosmopsychism, the view that the cosmos as a whole possesses consciousness. However, constitutive cosmopsychism is faced with the difficult problem of de­combination: how to consistently maintain the claim that individual subjects are grounded in one absolute consciousness. This paper sug­gests a solution by outlining a theoretical model of a broadly idealistic and quantitative substance-monistic character. The key idea here is a triadic rather than monistic or dualistic conception of the subject. This conception allows us to affirm that the individual subject exists while simultaneously holding that its substance component is part of the one, undivided substance. This substance is in turn the substantive component of an all-encompassing, absolute subject. Notably, this model avoids the problem of decombination.
book review
15. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 1
Berker Basmaci Karen Ng, Hegel's Concept of Life: Self-Consciousness, Freedom, Logic
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16. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 3
Hugo E. Herrera Knowledge of the Whole in Friedrich Hölderlin’s “Being Judgement Possibility”: Dieter Henrich and Manfred Frank’s Interpretations
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In “Being Judgement Possibility,” Hölderlin posits that the division between subject and object produced in conscious knowledge requires admitting a being as the ground of that knowledge’s unity. Commentators argue over the way to access such being according to Hölderlin. For Dieter Henrich, being is a presupposition recognized reflexively. Manfred Frank, by contrast, maintains that Hölderlin grants direct access to it in an “intellectual intuition.” This article addresses the respective interpretations of both authors. It shows that Frank’s interpretation is closer to the textual evidence than Henrich’s interpretation. Frank’s interpretation also allows one to explain better the way in which the division between subject and object avoids leading to dispersal. Finally, this article considers the insufficiency of Frank’s interpretation so as to clarify an issue that he himself advances in the course of his argument: how the I manages to distinguish itself in the sphere of intuitable objects.
17. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 3
Christian Martin Kant on Concepts, Intuitions, and the Continuity of Space
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This paper engages with Kant‘s account of space as a continuum. The stage is set by looking at how the question of spatial continuity comes up in a debate from the 1920s between Ernst Cassirer and logical empiricist thinkers about Kant‘s conception of spatial representation as a pure intuition. While granting that concrete features of space can only be known empirically, Cassirer attempted to save Kant‘s conception by restricting it to the core commitment of space as a continuous coexistent manifold. Cassirer did not however come up with a transcendental argument for spatial continuity. The paper presents such an argument by providing a reading of Kant‘s from which it transpires that Kant does not simply rely on supposed into the continuity of space. It is by way ofinstead that we can know space to be continuous and Kant’s distinction between intuitions and concepts does hinge on such knowledge.
18. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 3
Jörg Noller From Autonomy to Heautonomy: Reinhold and Schiller on Practical Self-Determination
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In this paper, I will shed light on Karl Leonhard Reinhold’s and Friedrich Schiller’s conceptions of practical self-determination after Kant. First, I outline Kant’s conception of freedom as autonomy. I then explain the so-called “Reinhold’s dilemma,” which concerns the problem of moral imputability in the case of immoral actions, which arises from Kant’s theory of autonomy. I then show how Reinhold and Schiller tried to escape this dilemma by developing an elaborated theory of individual freedom. I will argue that Reinhold’s and Schiller’s symmetrical account of freedom to act according and against the moral law is not to be confused with freedom of indifference but can be reconstructed in terms of practical self-determination on the basis of first-order desires and second-order volitions.
19. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 3
Timothy J. Nulty Predication, Intentionality and Relative Essentialism
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Relative essentialism is the novel metaphysical theory that there can be multiple objects occupying the same space at the same time each with its own de re modal truths. Relative essentialism is motivated by Davidson’s semantics and his denial that nature itself is divided into a privileged domain of objects. Relative essentialism was first presented by Samuel C. Wheeler. I argue that Wheeler’s approach to the Davidsonian program needs to be elaborated in terms of various types of preconceptual intentional relations. This elaboration is already largely implicit in Davidson’s own later work and in Wheeler’s relaunching of Davidsonian metaphysics. More specifically, I argue that relative essentialism is ultimately founded not on predication narrowly construed but on intentionality broadly construed. Following Wheeler’s suggestion, comparisons are made between relative essentialism and work within the phenomenological tradition.
20. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 3
Oliver Thomas Spinney Bradley and Moore on Common Sense
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It is well appreciated that Moore, in the final years of the nineteenth century, emphatically rejected the monistic idealism of F. H. Bradley. It has, however, been less widely noticed that Moore’s concern to defeat monism remained with him well into the 1920s. In the following discussion I describe the role that Moore’s adoption of a ‘common sense’ orientation played in his criticisms of Bradley’s monism. I begin by outlining certain distinctive features of Bradley’s sceptical methodology, before describing the contrasting approach of Moore as it appears in 1910-11 and 1925. I bring these methodological differences into relief by assessing the status of common sense claims in the work of each figure. I show that Moore’s common sense methodology was employed against Bradley’s monistic conclusions, and that it was adopted with Bradley squarely in mind.