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articles
1. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 3
S. F. Kislev The Individual as System: British Hegelianism and the Theory of Concrete Universality
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In British Hegelianism we find, forgotten, a weighty theory of individuality. This theory remains one of the most sustained attempts in the history of philosophy to analyze the individual, not in the social or psychological sense, but as a logical-metaphysical category. The Idealist conceptualization of the individual is bound with their unconventional theory of universals, for they argued that any individual is a “concrete universal,” and vice versa. This article reconstructs the British Idealist theory of individuality, highlighting its key insights: (a) the individual is not a simple unit, but a small system with interrelated parts; (b) the individual is not simply given, but is mediated by thought; (c) the individual is the conceptual glue holding the parts together and assigning them their respective places; (d) the conceptualization of the individual lies at the intersection of logic, aesthetics and systems theory.
2. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 3
Luke Wadhams Boredom and Wonder in the Work of Arthur Schopenhauer
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This article examines Arthur Schopenhauer’s theory of boredom. In traditional interpretations of this theory, boredom is understood to be a form of suffering and a key component in Schopenhauer’s argument for the claim that all life is suffering. While such interpretations are correct, I argue that they only capture a single feature of the experience that Schopenhauer describes. Schopenhauer also understands boredom to occasion a unique insight into the nature of reality, and boredom should thereby additionally be thought of as an epistemically significant emotion. To elucidate this epistemic quality, I interpret Schopenhauer’s concept of boredom as revealing the miserable condition of the world, where such revelation compels one to wonder about the nature of this condition, thereby founding a philosophical attitude. Through an evaluation of Schopenhauer’s conceptions of boredom and wonder, I demonstrate that Schopenhauer ultimately conceives boredom as crucial for the development of a philosophical attitude toward existence.
3. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 3
Shuchen Xiang Organic Harmony and Ernst Cassirer’s Pluralism
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This article argues that Cassirer’s thinking about the relationship between the different symbolic forms is best elucidated via the paradigm of “organic harmony.” Although Cassirer did not use the term himself, the harmonious cooperation between the parts found in the organic world provided him with a welcome alternative to traditional accounts of order (i.e., identity or hierarchy). This article gives three examples of “organic harmony” from which Cassirer drew inspiration: Goethe’s idealistic morphology, Wilhelm von Humboldt’s account of language, and Herder’s account of history. Through “organic harmony” we can make better sense of and better articulate the pluralism of Cassirer’s PSF. Finally, this article shows how the motif of organic harmony is the normative moment in Cassirer’s own challenge to twentieth-century fascism and argues that the Cassirerian emphasis on finding a coherence which does justice to the uniqueness of particulars—harmony—is an ethical injunction relevant for our times.
book review
4. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 3
Robert Seymour Saitya Brata Das, The Political Theology of Schelling
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5. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 2
Michael P. Berman The Natural Complexes of Encounters
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The totalizing and absolutizing tendencies of metaphysics can undermine our essential ethical relationality. Is there a metaphysics that is robust enough and conducive to preserving this intuition? In answer, this paper will draw upon Martin Buber and Justus Buchler. Buber’s seminal work, I and Thou (1923), explores the nature of the ethical encounter. Buchler’s Metaphysics of Natural Complexes (1966) develops a general ontology, which can be described as an ordinal metaphysics. Encounters are thoroughly relational for Buber. Buchler’s metaphysics is also thoroughly relational. A phenomenological approach to relationality establishes the medium for this dialogue and provides a common ground for these texts. Not only is there a way to account for Buber’s encounter, but there is also an inherent moral understanding in Buchler’s metaphysics that preserves and is conducive to ethical relationality. Buchler’s metaphysics avoids the totalizing and absolutizing tendencies derided by Buber, while simultaneously promotes a version of the encounter.
6. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 2
Fiacha D. Heneghan Are the Frühromantiker Platonists?
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How to classify the artistic and philosophical movement of Early German Romanticism (die Frühromantik) remains a topic of ongoing disagreement. I consider the views of two of the leading interpreters—Frederick Beiser and Manfred Frank—and argue that the latter’s are closer to the truth. Beiser, however, has noticed a lacuna in the literature surrounding the metaphysics and epistemology of the Romantics, namely their debt to an ascendant Plato during their intellectual development. This is right, but Beiser’s idealist reading of the Romantics leans heavily on Platonic sources that are fundamentally incompatible with a consistent anti-foundationalist strain in Romantic thought. I argue that it is unlikely that Plato influenced the Romantics in the way Beiser suggests.
7. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 2
Miles Hentrup Hegel's Logic as Presuppositionless Science
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In this article, I offer a critical interpretation of Hegel’s claims regarding the presuppositionless status of the Logic. Commentators have been divided as to whether the Logic actually achieves the status of presuppositionless science, disagreeing as to whether the Logic succeeds in making an unmediated beginning. I argue, however, that this understanding of presuppositionless science is misguided, as it reflects a spurious conception of immediacy that Hegel criticizes as false. Contextualizing Hegel’s remarks in light of his broader approach to the problem of beginning, I contend that Hegel’s Logic is presuppositionless not in the sense that it satisfies a formal epistemological demand to begin free from all mediation, but in that its self-mediating structure facilitates an immanent deduction of the categories.
8. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 2
Daniel Rueda Garrido Krause, Spanish Krausism, and Philosophy of Action
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Krausists followed a dialectical method in all their activities. It is an action plan in which theory and practice are established on a continuum. Since it summarizes all human activity, this dialectic implies a philosophy of action. The originality of this article lies precisely in offering an account of the philosophy of action implicit in the work of Krause, which has never before been made explicit. Therefore, the goal of this article is, on the one hand, to isolate this dialectic in the texts of the Spanish Krausists, and, on the other hand, to demonstrate the traditional affirmation about the practical meaning of Krause’s philosophy, as shown in its Spanish version. This practical orientation of his thought was channelled through several disciplines and, especially, through the modern pedagogy known as active education. Throughout the article, I also show how to relate Krause’s philosophy to contemporary philosophical debates.
9. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 2
Dylan Shaul Adorno on Kierkegaard on Love for the Dead: Mourning and Melancholia
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This article employs Freud’s distinction between mourning and melancholia to clarify Adorno’s reading of Kierkegaard. Adorno finds in Kierkegaard’s view of love for the dead both the consummate reified fetish of our instrumentalizing exchange society, and the only unmutilated relation left to us in our otherwise thoroughly damaged lives. Adorno’s negative dialectics emerges as the melancholy science resulting from a disfigured mourning’s present impossibility, upholding a material moral motive rooted in the unmournability of historical catastrophe. Yet this very melancholia also proves to be the last unlikely refuge of hope—in a Kierkegaardian sense—for a future redemption.
10. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1
Christopher P. Noble Immaterial Mechanism in the Mature Leibniz
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Leibniz standardly associates “mechanism” with extended material bodies and their aggregates. In this paper, I identify and analyze a further distinct sense of “mechanism” in Leibniz that extends, by analogy, beyond the domain of material bodies and applies to the operations of immaterial substances such as the monads that serve, for Leibniz, as the metaphysical foundations of physical reality. I argue that in this sense, Leibniz understands “mechanism” as an intelligible process that is capable of providing a sufficient reason for a series of changes. I then apply these findings to enrich our understanding of Leibniz’s well-known mill argument in Monadology ¶17: although material machines and mechanisms cannot produce perceptions, the perceptual activity of immaterial monads is to be understood as “mechanical” according to this analogical sense.
11. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1
José María Sánchez de León Serrano, Noa Shein The Coincidence of the Finite and the Infinite in Spinoza and Hegel
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This paper proposes a reassessment of Hegel’s critical reading of Spinoza and of the charge of acosmism, for which this reading is known. We argue that this charge is actually the consequence of a more fundamental criticism, namely Spinoza’s presumable inability to conceive the unity of the finite and the infinite. According to Hegel, the infinite and the finite remain two poles apart in Spinoza’s metaphysics, which thus fails to be a true monism, insofar as it contains an irreducible duality. Against this reading, we argue that Spinoza’s conception of the causal co-determination of finite modes entails the acknowledgment of their essentially infinite nature. The study of this particular instance of coincidentia oppositorum enables to counter some of Hegel’s criticisms as well as to illuminate a fairly unexplored aspect of Spinoza’s substance monism.
12. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1
Marco Stango Wittgenstein, Peirce, and Death
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The paper presents a Peircean criticism of Wittgenstein’s views on death. By exploring the notion of ‘limit’ central to both Wittgenstein and Peirce, the paper claims that a Peircean pragmatic notion of death can retain the advantages of Wittgenstein’s ‘limit’ notion of death without incurring the shortcomings of the latter, which I identify with semantic and metaphysical externality. I conclude by sketching out some consequences of the Peircean view for a metaphysics of death.
13. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1
Ahmet Süner Frames, World-Pictures and Representations: Heidegger’s Critique of the Picture
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This essay analyzes key aspects of Heidegger’s critique of the picture (Bild) based on an objection to world-pictures as well as a negative understanding of two other related concepts: Gestell and Vorstellen (representation). The restrictive frames of world-pictures, Heidegger claims, must be opposed by instances of thinking and language use associated with poiesis. For him, the revelation of the world in poiesis results in a subject-less experience of things and words, akin to the experience of art and literature, and presumably outside the representational hold of pictures. I argue against Heidegger’s repudiation of the picture by underscoring the inescapability of Vorstellen. Heidegger’s world may be seen as a world-picture as well as a particular system of representation that we associate with affective uses of language, i.e., a literary system similar to the one discussed by Wolgang Iser.
14. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1
Norman Whitman The Reality of Modes in Spinoza’s Philosophy
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In the history of philosophy, two standard critiques of the reality of modes in Spinoza’s philosophy come from Pierre Bayle and Georg Wilhelm Hegel. Both philosophers in some way assume that attributes and relations among modes constitute a shared reality in which modes participate. As a result, they assert that Spinoza’s monism leads either to an over-identification of God with contingent modes or to a limited God. In this paper, I will show how attributes and relations among modes in Spinoza’s work simply explain an active modal reality; modes do not depend upon or participate in ideal relations and attributes for their existence. The result is that in Spinoza’s philosophy attributes must be seen as unreal and modal reality must be understood as primary.
articles
15. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 48 > Issue: 3
Christopher Buckman Political Ramifications of Formal Ugliness in Kant’s Aesthetics
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Kant’s theory of taste supports his political theory by providing the judgment of beauty as a symbol of the good and example of teleological experience, allowing us to imagine the otherwise obscure movement of nature and history toward the ideal human community. If interpreters are correct in believing that Kant should make room for pure judgments of ugliness in his theory of taste, we will have to consider the implications of such judgments for Kant’s political theory. It is here proposed that pure, formal ugliness symbolizes regressive, counter-teleological trends in nature and history. Kant’s paradoxical stance on the right to rebellion, both condemning and supporting the French Revolution, is interpreted as failing to take into account negative social forces signified by ugliness, and therefore neglecting the role of moral agency in social change.
16. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 48 > Issue: 3
Andrew Jussaume Schelling’s Metaphysics of Love
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This paper argues that Schelling’s understanding of love more readily captures his notion of unground as a contradictory-producing a priori. Love is a more appropriate term for unground insofar as it conveys the juxtaposition of feelings which motivate the eternal beginning. Self-expression, for Schelling, is born from the tension between God’s longing to be and his freedom. While this antithesis entails that God’s decision to be is only subjectively intelligible, it also implies the element of risk in the decision insofar as it suggests the groundlessness—and, thus, ambiguity—of God’s wanting to be. Indeed, for Schelling, God must decide whether to relinquish his perfection for the sake of an uncertain future. This essay offers a fresh interpretation God’s decision insofar as it introduces love as a means of understanding the attractiveness of God’s risk-taking, while also affirming his freedom to decide if the risk is worthwhile.
17. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 48 > Issue: 3
Toby J. Svoboda A Place for Kant's Schematism in Glauben und Wissen
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In Glauben und Wissen, Hegel criticizes Kant for drawing a deep division between sensibility and understanding. Hegel suggests that Kant’s faculty of productive imagination is a step toward uniting intuition and concept in an original unity out of which the two arise, but this requires him to treat the productive imagination in ways Kant would not approve. I argue that Kant’s doctrine of the schematism offers an advance on the productive imagination when it comes to solving the intuition/concept dualism Hegel critiques, although there remain serious problems with which Hegel would take issue. Although the schematism might answer some of the criticisms Hegel aims at the intuition/concept dualism, it does not solve the related problem Hegel finds in Kant, namely the dualism of cognition and thing-in-itself.
18. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 48 > Issue: 3
Fiorella Tomassini Kant’s Reformulation of the Concept of Ius Naturae
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Like previous theorists of natural law, Kant believes in the possibility (and necessity) of a rational theory of ius, but also claims that the very concept of ius naturae and the method of investigation of its principles must be thoroughly reformulated. I will maintain that Kant solves the methodological problem of natural law theories by stating that a rational doctrine of Right concerns pure rational knowledge. Right must be conceived as a metaphysical doctrine in which its principles and laws are determined a priori. By conceiving the idea of a “metaphysics of morals” and linking Right with it, he finds a way both to conserve the notion of ius naturae (i.e., rational and “immutable principles for any giving of positive law” (RL, AA 06: 229)) and to purify it from any empirical or anthropological element.
book review
19. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 48 > Issue: 3
Martin Krahn Wes Furlotte, The Problem of Nature in Hegel’s Final System
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20. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 48 > Issue: 2
Farshid Baghai Why Is There a Doctrine of Method in Critique of Pure Reason?
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Kant characterizes Critique of Pure Reason as “a treatise on the method” (KrV B xxii). But he does not clearly work out the Doctrine of Method of the Critique. Most interpreters of the Critique do not work out the Doctrine of Method either. This paper outlines the systematic place and significance of the Doctrine of Method within the structure of the Critique. It suggests that the Doctrine of Method supplies the methodological conditions, or systematic laws, of possible cognitions of reason. In other words, the Doctrine of Method is the primary locus of critique or reason’s self-cognition, i.e., reason’s cognition of the laws that make its possible cognitions systematic.