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1. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Nicholas Rescher The Idealistic Metaphysics of Abstract Objects
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It is maintained that abstract objects are literally entia rationis: their being lies in being conceived and their nature is inextricably entangled with the operation of minds.
2. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Martin Donougho Hegel’s Bathetic Sublime
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Little attention has been paid to Hegel’s version of the sublime. I argue that the sublime plays a very marginal role in the Berlin lectures on aesthetics and on religion; in particular, Hegel ignores the “Romantic” sublime popular among his contemporaries. The sublime he locates in Persian poetry and more properly in Biblical Psalmody. After surveying his various articulations of the sublime, I turn to Hegel’s careful analysis of how the Psalms achieve their peculiar effects and note his focus on the “individual.” Paradoxically, while close to Romantic “subreption” (Kant’s term for subjective projection on objective world or word), their complex play with voice—and Hegel’s explication—both keep a safe distance, I contend. Turning finally to the question of anachronism and the sublime as a historical category, I suggest in a brief postscript how effects analogous to the Psalms’ rhetoric may nevertheless be detected in Terry Malick films.
3. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Kelly M. S. Swope Education as "Absolute Transition" in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
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G. W. F. Hegel’s Elements of Philosophy of Right analogizes the unfolding of a people’s political self-consciousness to the unfolding of an education. Yet Hegel is somewhat unsystematic in accounting for how the process of political education unfolds in its differentiated moments. This paper pieces together a more systematic account of political education from Hegel’s scattered remarks on the subject in Philosophy of Right. I argue that, once we understand how political education fits into the holistic picture of Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie, we see that it exercises both a fortifying and a threatening influence on the state: fortifying the state insofar as it habituates individuality to universality in the form of ethical dispositions such as patriotism, threatening the state insofar as it represents a destabilizing tendency toward democratic judgment in the emergence of public opinion. I conclude by raising the possibility that political education poses an entropic, “democratic” threat to the modern state.
4. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Antón Barba-Kay The Aesthetics of Agency in Kant and Schiller
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One of the lasting influences of German Idealism has been the transformation of aesthetics into a central philosophical concern. My aim here is to show how and why Kant’s and Schiller’s formulations of the problems of moral agency, in particular, constitute an important episode of this development. I argue, first, that it is in the context of Kant’s view of moral agency that aesthetics gains larger purchase than it formerly had (as a response to the problem of the identification of an agent with his external action); second, that Schiller expands the role of aesthetics (in response to Kant’s formulation of it) by intensifying a demand for aesthetic abandon in the agent as a bulwark against the threat of its possible “theatricalization.” It is these heightened demands on the first-personal content of agency that thus began the process of transforming the question of moral agency into an aesthetic one.
5. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Tsarina Doyle Reconciling the Phenomenology and Metaphysics of Value
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This paper aims to reconcile the phenomenology and metaphysics of value by proposing a cognitivist and metaphysically committed account of evaluation and value inspired, in part, by the phenomenological arguments of J. N. Findlay in relation to value. By the phenomenology of value I mean the affective—commendatory—character of evaluations such as when I describe something as good or bad, worthwhile or not worthwhile. Whilst this—subjective—aspect of evaluation is largely uncontested, there is much disagreement about the cognitive and metaphysical status of our evaluations. The disagreement centers round two problems, which I call the intentionality problem and the metaphysical problem, respectively. These problems address whether evaluative feelings refer beyond themselves to objects and, if they do, about the character of the object to which they are directed. By drawing on and reconstructing an argument by Findlay, I argue that the affective character of evaluative experience has an intentional structure that takes the form of a judgement that is merited, or not, by its object. However, unlike Findlay, I offer a metaphysically-laden account of the distinction between evaluation and value by arguing that value properties are mind-independent dispositions that are realized in human cognitively-structured affectivity.
6. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Karen E. Davis Playing with Others: A Gadamerian Ethics of Non-Differentiation
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Scholars of hermeneutics have recently taken up the task of elucidating Gadamer’s ethics by studying his work on the structure of understanding and human experience. This article seeks to contribute to that scholarship through an examination of Gadamer’s aesthetics. I suggest that Gadamer’s notions of play and aesthetic non-differentiation provide further resources for understanding Gadamer’s hermeneutic ethics as an ethics of non-differentiation, i.e., a unification of theory and practice (understanding and application). For Gadamer, an understanding of the good is its enactment in the context of the dialogical play we find ourselves engaged in with others. Furthermore, Gadamer’s identification of aesthetic non-differentiation with play reveals that his ethics aims not only to unify theory and practice but also to unite participants in the ethical play as intersubjective elements of a shared experience. Retrieving the ethical import of Gadamer’s aesthetics also helps to unfold Gadamer’s suggestion that hermeneutics itself is an ethical enterprise.
7. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Sami J. Pihlström Death and the Transcendental Subject
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This paper discusses the philosophy of death and mortality from a transcendental perspective. I first criticize the metaphysically realistic background assumptions of mainstream analytic approaches to the philosophy of death. Secondly, I defend a transcendentally idealistic approach, drawing attention to how the topic of death can be illuminated by means of the notion of the transcendental subject. Thirdly, I identify a problem in this approach: the transcendental subject needs to recognize its own mortality. Fourthly, I propose a pragmatist way out of this problem. This, however, is no way out of the general issue that mortality as a structural element of the human condition provides us with. Rather, pragmatism (joining forces with transcendental philosophy) can show us a way of living with this condition.
8. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 3
Volume 46 Index
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9. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Igor Hanzel McDowell and Hegel: A Comparison
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I shall compare John McDowell’s Mind and World with Hegel’s later philosophy in the Science of Logic and the Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences in Outline. I begin by presenting McDowell’s epistemology. I then delineate the most important aspects of Hegel’s epistemology and, because McDowell claims that he draws on Kant’s views on the relation between receptivity and spontaneity, their relation to Kant’s epistemology. Here, I suggest that even if Hegel’s epistemology displays idealistic features which determine the construction of the category-clusters in the Science of Logic and Encyclopedia, these clusters can make a valuable contribution to epistemology once subjected to a realistic reinterpretation. Next I compare Hegel’s epistemology with that of McDowell and show that under this reinterpretation Hegel’s epistemology can be used to overcome the limitations of the epistemology presented by McDowell. Finally I propose a return to the reconstruction of categories as the direction towards which the future development of epistemology should go.
10. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Jennifer Marra The Phenomenological Function of Humor
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In this paper, I seek to explore the increasing popular claim that the performance of philosophy and the performance of humor share similar features. I argue that the explanation lies in the function of humor—a function which can be a catalyst for philosophy. Following Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms and utilizing insights from various philosophical and scientific perspectives on the nature and origins of humor, I argue that the function of humor is to reveal faulty belief or error in judgment. Once such errors are revealed the mind demands resolution, and this is the work of philosophy. But philosophy cannot solve a problem unless it recognizes that there is a problem to solve. That is, the move from ignorance to philosophy requires a mediating step. Humor can act as that step, and, as such, humor can serve as a catalyst for philosophy while being necessarily distinct from it.
11. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Richard McDonough A Gestalt-Model of Zettel 608
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Most scholars understand para. 608 of Zettel (Z608) to suggest that language and thought might arise from chaos at the neural centre. However, this contradicts Wittgenstein’s signature view that the philosopher must not advance theories. The paper proposes an alternative model of Z608 based on the Austrian Gestalt-movement that influenced Wittgenstein. Z608 does not suggest that language and thought might arise from chaos in the brain but that they may arise in a different non-causal sense from the “chaos” of activities in forms of human life on analogy with the way a Gestalt-image “arises” from a “chaos” of perceptions. The concepts of chaos and the centre in Z608 are not neurophysiological concepts but refer to aspects of forms of human life. The Gestalt-interpretation also clarifies why Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is quite different from “ordinary language philosophy.” Finally, the Gestalt-interpretation clarifies why Wittgenstein is not, as is often believed, making an attack on legitimate empirical psychological investigations.
12. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Seung-Ug Park Mathematical Conception of Husserl’s Phenomenology
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In this paper, I have attempted to make the role of mathematical thinking clear in Husserl’s theory of sciences. Husserl believed that phenomenology could afford to provide a safe foundation for individual sciences. Hence, the first task of the project was reorganizing the system of sciences and to show the possibility of apodictic knowledge regarding the world. Husserl was inspired by the progress of mathematics at that time because mathematics is the most logical discipline and deals with abstract objects. It was the most suitable model for Husserl’s project. In fact, we can find structural similarities between his project and F. Klein’s Erlangen Program; further, the procedure of the essence intuition can be explained by a mathematical induction. Mathematics is certainly a new path for understanding Husserl’s phenomenology. In order to clarify the relation between Husserl’s theory of sciences and mathematics, this study focused on the problem of classification. Lastly, another implication of Husserl’s phenomenology as a theory of sciences is that his work is still meaningful for today’s dynamic reality of sciences.
13. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Nahum Brown Aristotle and Heidegger: Potentiality in Excess of Actuality
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Aristotle claims in book 9 of the Metaphysics that potentiality is distinct from actuality yet also that potentiality exists only for the sake of actuality. This essay presents the relationship between potentiality’s existence and actuality’s priority as an aporia, where potentiality remains distinct from and exists in excess of actuality, even though it exists only as actuality. I claim that this aporia helps the early Heidegger of Being and Time to conclude, contrary to Aristotle, that potentiality stands higher than actuality.
14. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Nicholas Rescher On Kinds of Things and Cognitive Idealism
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Whatever we can appropriately claim about reality has to be presented via a construct built from materials provided by our minds—our thought and deliberation—rather than something mandated unilaterally by reality itself. Our epistemic situation is such that neither reality alone and therefore rigorous realism nor yet our view of it (and therefore unfettered idealism) has the entire story to itself. Their entanglement is such that in the end there has to be a negotiation that acknowledges their inseparable interlinkage in the constitution of our knowledge.
15. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Tereza Matějčková Hegel and Arendt on a Key Term of Modernity: The Creativity and Destructiveness of Labor
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Since the early modern age, labor has gained centrality in both the social order and the conception of man. This study undertakes an attempt to evaluate this ascent by comparing the concept of labor in Hegel’s thought, as presented mainly in the Phenomenology of Spirit, with the conception of labor in the thought of Hannah Arendt. While Hegel linked labor closely to spirituality, Arendt argued that in the process of labor assimilating all human activities, man in fact forfeits spirituality. The peculiar destructiveness of labor seemed to be confirmed by twentieth-century totalitarian regimes elevating labor to a unique source of values. In addition to comparing Hegel and Arendt’s conceptions, the aim of this study is to ask whether Hegel’s concept of labor is susceptible to the dangers inherent in the ideological conceptions of totalitarian regimes.
16. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Martin Sticker Experiments in Ethics?: Kant on Chemistry and Practical Philosophy
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I discuss two puzzling and neglected passages in the Critique of Practical Reason, namely, V:92 and V:163. In these passages Kant claims that practical philosophers should follow the paradigm of the chemist and conduct experiments on common human reason. I explain Kant’s conception of the chemical experiment, provide a detailed interpretation of the two passages in question, and conclude by applying the structure of the chemical experiment to the Analytic of the Critique of Practical Reason. Chemical experiments as a model of ethics should be understood as a method of confirming that a philosophical theory systematizes and defends ideas that ordinary rational agents are already committed to.
17. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Gerard Kuperus The Self as a Becoming Work of Art in Early Romantic Thought
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For the Jena Romantics the idea of a self is always in a process, never fully completed. It develops itself as an acting I that interacts with the world, an ongoing interchange between what I am and what I am not. In order to grasp how the self develops and is educated, this paper compares this idea of the self to Schlegel’s account of irony. Both irony and the I exist as an ongoing process. In this comparison the self is found to be a work of art, which is never what it is since its identity always still has to become completed.
18. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Joseph Carew Describing The Rationality of Human Experience: The Anthropological Task of Hegel’s Logic
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I argue that Hegel’s logic is an anthropology. Appealing to the fact that we, as the kind of beings we are, search for meaning in our sensory encounter with things and in our actions, it articulates the rationality that guides this search and explains the fundamental shape of human experience. This has three implications for his logic. First, since this rationality is first and foremost an instinctive activity, it is an elaboration of our unconscious knowledge of the rules of thinking. Second, it is an account of the universe of meaning that we create in order to make sense of what is around us and our lives, a theory of the discourses through which we engage in the project of world-interpretation. Third, I contend that it is a work of human self-knowledge and cannot be understood in isolation from the rational form of life whose basic normative structure it distills.
19. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
David J. Zoller Moral Theory and Moral Motivation in Dilthey’s Critique of Historical Reason
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Dilthey’s moral writings have received scant attention over the years, perhaps due to his apparent tendency toward relativism. This essay offers a unified look at Dilthey’s moral writings in the context of his Kantian-styled “Critique of Historical Reason.” I present the Dilthey of the moral writings as an observer of reason in the spirit of Kant, watching practical reason devolve into error when it applies itself beyond the bounds of possible experience. Drawing on moral writings from across Dilthey’s corpus, I retrace Dilthey’s argument that moral theories from Kantianism and utilitarianism to natural law theory suffer significant motivational problems because of the way they transcend the “synthesis” of moral perception. Dilthey’s argument suggests that abstract moral theory is always bound to seem unmotivating and unreal from the standpoint of lived experience, and perhaps that, to avoid this, moral philosophy should confine itself to more situated, case-specific judgments.