44-146-1-PB


CTK

CTK

Con-Textos Kantianos

nº 1

nº 1

Junio 2015

Junio 2015

ISSN 2386-7655

ISSN 2386-7655

International Journal of Philosophy

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. i-iii

ISSN: 2386-7655


http://con-textoskantianos.net/index.php/revista


[email protected]


Equipo editorial / Editorial Team


Editor Principal / Editor-in-chief

Roberto R. Aramayo, Instituto de Filosofía, CSIC, España


Editores Asociados / Associated Editors

Maria Julia Bertomeu, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas / Universidad de La Plata, Argentina

Catalina González, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia Eduardo Molina, Univ. Alberto Hurtado, Chile Efraín Lazos, IIF-UNAM, México


Secretaria de redacción / Executive Secretary

Nuria Sánchez Madrid, UCM, España


Editores de reseñas / Book Reviews Editors

Pablo Muchnik, Emerson College, Estados Unidos Margit Ruffing, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania Ileana Beade, Universidad Nacional del Rosario, Argentina Marceline Morais, Cégep Saint Laurent, Montréal, Canadá Antonino Falduto, Univ. de Halle, Alemania

Cinara Nahra, UFRN, Brasil


Editora de noticias / Newsletter Editor

Ana-Carolina Gutiérrez-Xivillé, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Universidad de Barcelona, España


i


Equipo editor


Consejo Editorial / Editorial Board

Juan Arana, Universidad de Sevilla, España Rodolfo Arango, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia Aylton Barbieri Durao, UFSC, Brasil

Ileana Beade, Universidad Nacional del Rosario, Argentina Alix A. Cohen, Universidad de Edimburgo, Reino Unido Silvia Del Luján Di Sanza, Universidad de San Martín, Argentina Jesús González Fisac, Universidad de Cádiz, España Luca Fonnesu, Universidad de Pavía, Italia

Caroline Guibet-Lafaye, CNRS, Francia Ricardo Gutiérrez Aguilar, Alemania

Ana-Carolina Gutiérrez-Xivillé, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Universidad de Barcelona, España Claudia Jáuregi, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mai Lequan, Universidad de Lyon III, Francia Macarena Marey, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Pablo Muchnik, Emerson College, Estados Unidos Faustino Oncina, Universidad de Valencia, España Pablo Oyarzún, Universidad de Chile, Chile Ricardo Parellada, UCM, España

Alice Pinheiro Walla, Trinity College Dublin, Irlanda Hernán Pringe, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Faviola Rivera, IIF-UNAM, México

Concha Roldán, IFS-CSIC, España Rogelio Rovira, UCM, España

Marcos Thisted, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Manuel Sánchez Rodríguez, Universidad de Granada, España Thomas Sturm, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, España Pedro Jesús Teruel, Universidad de Valencia, España Salví Turró, Universidad de Barcelona, España Astrid Wagner, TU-Berlín, Alemania


Consejo Asesor / Advisory Board

Reinhard Brandt, Universidad de Marburgo, Alemania Juan Adolfo Bonaccini, Universidad Federal de Pernambuco, Brasil Mario Caimi, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Monique Castillo, Universidad de París XII-Créteil, Francia Jesús Conill, Universidad de Valencia, España

Adela Cortina, Universidad de Valencia, España María José Callejo, UCM, España

Robinson dos Santos, Universidad Federal de Pelotas, Brasil Vicente Durán, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, Colombia Bernd Dörflinger, Universidad de Trier, Alemania

Jean Ferrari, Universidad de Bourgogne, Francia Miguel Giusti, PUPC, Perú

Wilson Herrera, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia Luís Eduardo Hoyos, Universidad Nacional, Colombia Claudio La Rocca, Universidad de Genova, Italia Heiner Klemme, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania


ii CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy,

Nº 1, Junio 2015, pp. i-iii

ISSN: 2386-7655

Editorial Team


Salvador Mas, UNED, España Javier Muguerza, UNED, España

Lisímaco Parra, Universidad Nacional, Colombia Antonio Pérez Quintana, Universidad de La Laguna, España Carlos Pereda, UNAM, México

Alessandro Pinzani, UFSC, Brasil Jacinto Rivera de Rosales, UNED, España Pedro Ribas, UAM, España

Begoña Román, Universidad de Barcelona, España Margit Ruffing, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania Pedro Stepanenko, IIF, UNAM, México Sergio Sevilla, Universidad de Valencia, España Ricardo Terra, USP, Brasil

María Jesús Vázquez Lobeiras, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, España Alberto Vanzo, University of Warwick, Reino Unido

José Luís Villacañas, UCM, España


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy Nº 1, Junio 2015, pp. i-iii

ISSN: 2386-7655

iii

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 1-3; ISSN: 2386-7655

http://con-textoskantianos.net/index.php/revista


SUMARIO / TABLE OF CONTENTS


[ES / EN] «Equipo editor» / «Editorial Team»

pp. i-iii


[ES] «Editorial CTK 1», Roberto R. Aramayo (IFS-CSIC, España)

pp. 4-5 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18500


[EN] «Editorial Word CTK 1», Roberto R. Aramayo (IFS-CSIC, Spain)

pp. 6-7 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18501


ENTREVISTAS / INTERVIEWS

[IT] «Intervista con Claudio la Rocca», Nuria Sánchez Madrid (UCM, Spagna)

pp. 8-26 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18502


ARTÍCULOS / ARTICLES

[FR] «La téléologie critique et ses paradigmes scientifiques. Sur la méthode de l’Histoire selon Kant», Gérard Raulet (Université Paris-Sorbonne, France)

pp. 27-45 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18503


[PT] «Sobre o aperfeiçoamento moral como destino da espécie humana», Cinara Nahra (UFRN, Brasil)

pp. 46-56 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18504


[EN] «Kant’s Prudential Theory of Religion: The Necessity of Historical Faith for Moral Empowerment», Stephen Palmquist (Hong Kong Baptist University, China)

pp. 57-76 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18505


[FR] «L’horizon transcendantal du droit selon Kant», Simon Goyard-Fabre (Professeur Émérite des Universités, Francia).

pp. 77-96 / doi : 10.5281/zenodo.18506


[PT] «Normatividade e valor moral: sobre a necessidade do sentimento moral em Kant», Flávia Carvalho Chagas (UFPel, Brasil)

pp. 97-113 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18507


[EN] «The Sublime, Ugliness and Contemporary Art: A Kantian Perspective», Mojca Kuplen (Institute of Philosophy Research Centre for the Humanities / Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungary)

pp. 114-141 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18509



1

Sumario / Table of contents


[EN] «An Interpretation of Rawls’ “Kantian Interpretation», Vadim Chaly (Immanuel Kant Federal Baltic University, Russia)

pp. 142-155 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18510


[EN] «The Systematical Role of Kant’s Opus postumum. “Exhibition” of Concepts and the Defense of Transcendental Philosophy», Paolo Pecere (University of Cassino and Meridional Latium, Italy) pp. 156-177 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18511


NOTAS Y DISCUSIONES / NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS

[EN] «Genealogy and Critique in Kant’s Organic History of Reason», Jennifer Mensch (University of Western Sydney, Australia)

pp. 178-196 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18512


[EN] «Bringing Biology Back In: The Unresolved Issue of “Epigenesis” in Kant», John H. Zammito (Rice University, USA)

pp. 197-216 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18513


[EN] «Metaphor or Method. Jennifer Mensch’s Organicist Kant Interpretation in Context», Günter Zöller (University of Munich / University of Venice, Germany / Italy)

pp. 217-234 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18514


TEXTOS DE KANT / KANT’S TEXTS

[ES] «Sobre la ilusión poética y la poética de la ilusión (Esbozo de un discurso “Sobre las ficciones poéticas”) [AA 15: 22, 903-935]», Immanuel Kant (Nota preliminar, traducción y notas de Salvador Mas (UNED, España)

pp. 235-252 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18515


DOCUMENTOS / DOCUMENTS


[ES] «Uso posible del esquematismo kantiano para una teoría de la percepción», Pierre Lachièze- Rey (Traducción de Natalia Albizu, Universidad Libre de Berlín, Alemania)

pp. 253-258 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18516


CRÍTICA DE LIBROS / BOOK REVIEWS


[ES] «Antropología en sentido pragmático, un fundado tratado práctico para la vida en sociedad», Marilín Gómez (Universidad Nacional de Rosario – CONICET, Argentina). Reseña de Kant, Immanuel, Antropología en sentido pragmático, prólogo de Reinhard Brandt, traducción de Dulce María Granja, Gustavo Leyva, Peter Storandt, notas, tabla de correspondencias y bibliografía de Dulce María Granja, Fondo de Cultura Económica, México D. F., 2014, pp. 749.

pp. 259-262 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18517


[ES] «Kant y el silencio: la génesis de la Deducción transcendental», Luis Carlos Suárez (Univ. de los Andes, Colombia). Reseña de Gonzalo Serrano Escallón (ed.), La deducción trascendental y sus inéditos (1772-78), Bogotá, Univ. Nacional de Colombia, 2014, 324 pp., y de Fernando Moledo, Los años silenciosos de Kant. Aspectos de la génesis de la Deducción trascendental en la década de 1770, Prometeo, Buenos Aires, 2014, 192 pp.

pp. 263-266 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18518



2 CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy, Nº 1, Junio 2015, pp. 1-3; ISSN: 2386-7655

Sumario / Table of contents


[DE] «Die normative Vernunft. Essay über Kant», Gualtiero Lorini (CFUL, Portugal). Reseña de Jean-François Kervégan, La raison des normes. Essai sur Kant, Vrin, Paris 2015, 192 pp.

pp- 267-273 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18519


[EN] «Un’altra Cenerentola nell’opera kantiana? Il destino della psicologia empirica», Paola Rumore (Univ. di Torino, Italia). Reseña de P. Frierson, Kant’s Empirical Psychology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014, 278 pp.

pp. 274-279 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18531


[PT] «Dignidade humana: valor absoluto e intrínseco?», Robinson dos Santos (UFPel, Brasil). Reseña de O. Sensen, Kant on Human Dignity, W. de Gruyter, Berlin/New York, 2013, 230 pp. pp. 280-286 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18532


[ES] «La posibilidad del relativismo metaético», Moisés López Flores (UNAM, México). Reseña de David Velleman, Foundations for Moral Relativism, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, 2013, 108 pp.

pp. 287-296 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18533


[FR] «Théologie et religion chez Kant. Compte-rendu de l’ouvrage Kant Théologie et religion aux éditions Vrin, 2013», Marceline Morais (Cégep de Saint Laurent, Montréal, Canada). Reseña de R. Theis (éd.), Kant: Théologie et religion, Vrin, Paris, 2013, 400 pp.

pp. 297-302 / doi : 10.5281/zenodo.18534


[IT] «Spalding e il lungo cammino della “destinazione dell’uomo” nel dibattito settecentesco tra teologia, morale e prospettiva antropologica. Controversie e soluzioni nel segno della Modernità», Elena Agazzi (Univ. di Bergamo, Italia). Reseña de Laura Anna Macor, Die Bestimmung des Menschen (1748-1800). Eine Begriffsgeschichte, Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, 2013, 432 pp.

pp. 303-308 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18536


[EN] «Grenberg's phenomenological Kant», Paula Satne (Durham University, UK). Reseña de Jeanine Grenberg, Kant's Defense of Common Moral Experience: A Phenomenological Account, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013, 300 pp.

pp. 309-322 / doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18535


[IT] «Una guida critica allo statuto critico della religione nel criticismo», Francesco V. Tommasi (Univ. di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italia). Reseña de G. Michalson (ed.), Kant’s Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: A Critical Guide, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014, 266 pp. 323-328

BOLETÍN INFORMATIVO / NEWSLETTER pp. 329-344

NORMAS EDITORIALES PARA AUTORES / EDITORIAL GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS


pp. 345-350


LISTADO DE EVALUADORES / REVIEWERS LIST


pp. 351


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS. 3

International Journal of Philosophy

Nº 1, Junio 2015, pp. 1-3; ISSN: 2386-7655

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 4-5

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18500

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 4-5

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18500


Editorial CTK 1


Merced a la gentileza de quienes colaboraron en el número cero de Con-Textos Kantianos. International Journal of Philosophy, podemos presentar ahora el número uno de una revista cuyas secciones y contenidos irán quedando cinceladas por sus auténticos protagonistas, que no son otros que quienes publican en sus páginas y sus lectores.

Queremos manifestar aquí nuestra gratitud a todos cuantos hicieron posible -con ese número cero- nuestra carta de presentación publicada en noviembre de 2014, entre los que cabría destacar la nutrida representación del excelente y dinámico Grupo de Estudios Kantianos (GEK) de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), fundado por Mario Caimi y coordinado en la actualidad por Hernán Pringe.

En esta empresa colectiva me corresponde agradecer su colaboración en primer lugar a María Julia Bertomeu (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas / Universidad de La Plata, Argentina), que me acompañó desde un principio en el lanzamiento de la revista, e igualmente a Catalina González (Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia), Eduardo Molina (Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Chile) y Efraín Lazos (Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas de la UNAM, México), por haber aceptado oficiar como editores asociados.

Aquí debe consignarse igualmente el nombre de Faviola Rivera (IIF-UNAM) que suscribió las primeras convocatorias para reclutar a los miembros del Consejo Editorial

(29) y del Consejo Asesor (32) en compañía de María Julia Bertomeu y de mí mismo. Resulta ocioso resaltar la extraordinaria dedicación de Nuria Sánchez Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) como Secretaria de Redacción, cuya coordinación en las tareas editoriales, realizada durante su estancia de año sabático en el IFS-CSIC, ha sido vital para la elaboración de los dos primeros números de CTK

Con posterioridad a la formación del amplio equipo editor, algunos miembros del Consejo Editorial han ido asumiendo tareas concretas, como es el caso de la coordinación de la sección “Crítica de libros”, en la que Con-Textos Kantianos cuenta con la inestimable colaboración de Ileana Beade (Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina), Antonino Falduto (Universidad de Halle, Alemania), Marceline Morais (Cépeg Saint Laurent, Montréal, Canada), Pablo Muchnik (Emerson College, Estados Unidos), Cinara Nahra (UFRN, Brasil) y Margit Ruffing (Universidad de Mainz, Alemania). Asimismo, Ana- Carolina Gutiérrez-Xivillé (Philipps-Universität Marburg, Alemania / Universidad de Barcelona, España) será la editora de la Newsletter de la revista.



4

Editorial CTK 1 / Roberto R. Aramayo


Como cabe apreciar, este proyecto va materializándose paulatinamente gracias a una especie de “micromecenazgo” de índole académica y que se traduce en una mancomunada asunción de tareas. Valgan como ejemplos adicionales de esta “microfinanciación colectiva” el logo de nuestra cabecera diseñado por Armando Menéndez, la matriz de maquetación y la cubierta elaboradas por Nuria Roca o el mantenimiento de la página web que sigue realizando Javier Davó.

Las colaboraciones contenidas en este número continúan testimoniando una vocación internacional que atiende a la riqueza lingüística del estudio actual de Kant, sin perder de vista su proyección iberoamericana, dado que en el conjunto de las secciones (Entrevistas, Artículos, Notas y Discusiones, Textos de Kant, Documentos, Crítica de Libros y Newsletter) se recogen textos en alemán, español, francés, inglés, italiano y portugués.

Las secciones de la revista han visto incrementado su número con la denominada “Documentos”, en la que aparecerán textos breves de estudiosos de Kant inéditos o ya agotados en castellano. Asimismo, dejamos abierta la inclusión en futuros números de la sección “Dossier”, en la que tendrán cabida ponencias presentadas en Congresos que cuenten con alguna unidad temática. Como es natural, la presencia en nuestros índices de estas secciones secundarias dependerá de los materiales que los autores tengan a bien hacernos llegar. El próximo número tendrá carácter monográfico, como ocurrirá con todos los números pares, reservando los impares para números misceláneos.

La llamada a la participación en el primer monográfico se encuentra accesible desde el mes de abril en la web (http://con-textoskantianos.net/index.php/revista/index) de Con-Textos Kantianos y ha sido difundida igualmente por distintas sociedades kantianas, como la NAKS, la Società Italiana di Studi Kantiani o la SEKLE, así como por la Red Española de Filosofía. Hemos de agradecer, finalmente, su generosa disponibilidad a todos los colegas que han colaborado con nosotros para poner en marcha el proceso de peer review de los trabajos remitidos a la revista y ya forman parte de nuestro incipiente banco de evaluadores.

Berlín, Junio de 2015 Roberto R. Aramayo Editor Principal de CTK


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS International Journal of Philosophy 5

N.º 1, Junio 2015, 4-5, ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18500

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 6-7

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18501

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 6-7

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18501


Editorial Word CTK 1


Thanks to the gentle collaboration of the authors that took part in issue 0 of Contextos kantianos. International Journal of Philosophy, it is possible to launch now the issue 1 of a journal, whose sections and contents will be shaped by the rightful main characters of the journal: its authors and readers.

I wish to specially thank all the colleagues that allowed introducing this new journal with the issue 0. Among them, CTK editorial ought to highlight the contribution of the excellent and very active Grupo de Estudios Kantianos (GEK) of the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), founded by Mario Caimi and currently coordinated by Hernán Pringe.

I ought to specially thank the always friendly encouragement of María Julia Bertomeu (Scientific Research National Council/University of La Plata, Argentina), one of the associated editors, who supported me from the initial launching of the journal. This special thanks must be sincerely extended to Catalina González (University of Los Andes, Colombia), Eduardo Molina (University Alberto Hurtado, Chile) and Efraín Lazos (UNAM Institute for Philosophical Research, México), who generously accepted to be also Associated Editors of the journal.

I would like to mention also here Faviola Rivera (IIF-UNAM), who signed with María Julia Bertomeu and me the first call for papers for selecting the members of CTK Editorial Board (29) and Advisor Board (32). Last but not least, I would like to specially highlight the impressive enthusiasm of Nuria Sánchez Madrid (University Complutense of Madrid, Spain), CTK Executive Secretary. She coordinates the mailing and the layout tasks of the journal, which she undertook during a sabbatical stay at the IFS-CSIC. Her contribution has been essential for preparing the first two issues of CTK.

After setting up the wide Editorial Team, some members of the Editorial Board began taking over concrete tasks, as the coordination of the journal’s book reviews section. Here Con-Textos Kantianos counts on the outstanding cooperation of a remarkable international group of Kant scholars, composed by Ileana Beade (National University of Rosario, Argentina), Antonino Falduto (University of Halle, Germany), Marceline Morais (Cépeg Saint Laurent, Montréal, Canada), Pablo Muchnik (Emerson College, United States), Cinara Nahra (UFRN, Brasil) and Margit Ruffing (University of Mainz, Germany).


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Editorial Word CTK 1 / Roberto R. Aramayo


I thank all of them for their commitment with the journal. Finally, I thank Ana-Carolina Gutiérrez-Xivillé (Philipps-University Marburg, Germany/University of Barcelona, Spain), the youngest member of the editorial team, for her excellent work for preparing the CTK Newsletter, which will be out with each miscellaneous issue of the journal.

As it is obvious, this publishing project gets coming progressively true thanks to a sort of “academic crowd patronage”, which shaped the above mentioned fruitful distribution of tasks. At the core of our “crowd founding”, I shall mention Armando Menéndez, who designed our logo header, Nuria Roca, who developed the layout womb and cover page, and Javier Davó, who continues being our webmaster.

The contributions of this issue bear witness of the international commitment of the journal, which takes care of the linguistic richness of the current Kant studies, without neglecting its Latin American scope. In fact, the sections of the current issue (Interviews, Articles, Notes and Discussions, Kant’s Texts, Documents, Book Reviews and Newsletter) contain texts in German, Spanish, French, English, Italian and Portuguese.

In this issue appears a new section, called “Documents”, which aims at publishing short texts authored by outstanding Kant scholars, not previously published or not more available in Spanish. Next issues could contain also a new section, called “Dossier”, which will gather different papers focused on a common subject and discussed at Kant-related Congresses or Workshops. Naturally, the appearance in our next tables of contents of all these sections will depend on the contribution of authors. Next issue will be monographic, as all pair issues, while odd issues will be miscellaneous.

The call for papers of the first monographic it is available from April 2015 at Con- textos kantianos website and it was also kindly spread with the help of different international Kant Societies, as the NAKS, the Società Italiana di Studi Kantiani or the SEKLE. Also the Red Española de Filosofía helped us to make the CFP circulate. Finally, I have to thank particularly all the colleagues who collaborated with us from 2014 for launching the peer review process of the papers submitted to the journal. They are already part of our starting valuable evaluators’ bank.

Berlin, June 2015 Roberto R. Aramayo CTK Editor-in-chief



CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS International Journal of Philosophy N.º 1, Junio 2015, 6-7, ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18501

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS International Journal of Philosophy N.º 1, Junio 2015, 6-7, ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18501

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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 8-26

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18502

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 8-26

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18502


Intervista con Claudio La Rocca

(Univ. di Genova; Presidente de la Società Italiana di Studi Kantiani e direttore della rivista Studi Kantiani)

Interview with Claudio La Rocca

(Univ. of Genoa; President of the Società Italiana di Studi Kantiani and Editor of the Journal Studi Kantiani)


NURIA SÁNCHEZ MADRID


Università Complutense di Madrid, Spagna


  1. Caro professore La Rocca, innanzitutto vorrei cominciare questa intervista facendo cenno alla sua ricerca kantiana. Dagli anni ’80 i suoi lavori hanno cercato di delineare i punti di contatto tra l’approccio kantiano all’Aufklärung e alcuni problemi precipui della filosofia nel secolo XXI, come la comprensione di sé e le forme odierne della riflessione. A suo avviso, quale sarebbe il tipo di modello di normatività e razionalità, inspirato dalla proposta critica kantiana, più appropriato per apprendere il nostro tempo con concetti?

    La domanda è ampia e complessa, com’è ovvio, ma cerco di rispondere per alcuni aspetti essenziali. Parto dal presupposto, non certo universalmente condiviso, che l’Illuminismo sia un progetto incompiuto, per usare i termini che Habermas riferiva alla Modernità, e meritevole di compimento, una impresa complicata e con molte sfaccettature, rispetto al


    Profesora Contratada Doctor en el Dpto. de Filosofía Teorética de la Facultad de Filosofía de la UCM. E-

    mail de contacto: [email protected]



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    Intervista con Claudio La Rocca


    quale il modello kantiano – storicamente uno fra molti – può offrire un’alternativa a diversi equivoci. Il primo equivoco è l’idea, che risale alla sfortunata (perché troppo fortunata) Dialektik der Aufklärung di Adorno e Horkheimer, secondo cui il portato principale dell’Illuminismo sarebbe la promozione della ragione strumentale, con la sua conseguente logica del dominio sulla natura e sull’uomo. Concepire l’Illuminismo (che è un fenomeno, dicevo, vario e articolato) come il «sole della ratio calcolante, ai cui gelidi raggi matura la messe della nuova barbarie», e farlo anche – e talora soprattutto – in riferimento a Kant, è un grave errore storico e teorico allo stesso tempo, ed è stato un regalo alle stesse forze che i due autori volevano contrastare. Credo si possa mostrare che il modo di concepire l’Illuminismo da parte di Kant contiene una delle critiche più radicali e fondate alla ragione strumentale che siano state formulate, se lo si legge con attenzione e nel contesto della sua visione della ragione. Lo si può far vedere anche partendo da dettagli: ho ricordato in qualche occasione che il sapere aude oraziano che Kant elegge a motto dell’Illuminismo non si riferisce nelle sue intenzioni affatto all’espansione imperiosa della conoscenza, tant’è che in suo appunto postumo Kant lo traduce con le parole “sii saggio”: il sapere vuole rimandare alla sapientia, alla saggezza, che è il riferimento agli scopi essenziali della ragione umana (non la loro “conoscenza”). In altri termini, Kant persegue, nel suo modello di Illuminismo, la ricerca precisamente di una razionalità non strumentale, la cui cifra di fondo è quella di una ragione che sia «pubblica», anzitutto, ossia non subordinata ad altro che al suo libero gioco intersoggettivo, dunque libera da ogni scopo prefissato: una ragione che – per questo motivo – può presentarsi come universale. La chiave di questa razionalità resta in fondo l’istanza di universalità dell’imperativo categorico, che non a caso nella sua cosiddetta “formula dell’umanità” coincide con la sospensione di ogni possibilità di ridurre l’uomo in quanto essere razionale, ossia precisamente in quanto titolare della stessa ragione come possibilità di porre fini, a strumento d’altro. La razionalità è lo spazio in cui ogni commisurazione mezzi-fini può e deve a sua volta essere valutata e acquisire senso, e che dunque non può contenere alcun fine predeterminato. Il carattere formale dell’imperativo garantisce questo e richiede allo stesso tempo che le procedure razionali si traducano in una razionalità concreta e contestuale: la saggezza come qualcosa che sta al di là del sapere (e della stessa dottrina della saggezza) su cui insiste Kant, credo alluda a questo. Questo tipo di razionalità è – contro le accuse di possibile “eurocentrismo” – radicalmente non “autoritaria”, in un senso su cui ha insistito molto bene Onora O’ Neill,



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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


    usando anche formulazioni sinteticamente efficaci: la ragione non è una serie di «algoritmi trascendenti», che ci diano assiomi formali per risolvere problemi. Non riconosce autorità esterne a se stessa, ma neppure “autorità interne” nel senso di punti di partenza assodati, come assiomi. Mantiene, aggiungerei, una natura teleologica in un senso peculiarissimo. Non nel senso di un sistema teleologico chiuso: i fini che Kant in qualche modo fa emergere sono tutti per così dire “fini senza contenuto”. Si pensi a quelli delineati nella Metafisica dei costumi: perfezionamento di sé e felicità altrui – il primo non può non essere individualmente incarnato, il secondo non può non confrontarsi con i progetti altrui di felicità, che già di per sé è per Kant un concetto indeterminabile. Tuttavia, la possibilità del libero dispiegarsi della ragione di ognuno prevede delle condizioni fattuali – il che vuol dire: politiche – molto precise: la fondazione di una bürgerliche Gesellschaft (uno stato di diritto) e di un «tutto cosmopolitico». L’immagine di Kant vecchio pensatore, “guardiano dell’apriori”, che prescrive regole a tutto e a tutti, è un’idea da cui liberarsi se ci si vuol appropriare e riappropriare della sua eredità. Senza neppure la necessità di dirsi kantiani.

    Sono convinto che molte distorsioni nel pensiero del XX secolo e molte derive storiche siano dovute all’incomprensione e dal rifiuto del nucleo del pensiero illuminista, presente in autori anche molto lontani tra di loro, dal nostro Benedetto Croce, a Isaiah Berlin (che parlò dell’«Intelletto che congela e che distorce»), a Martin Heidegger, che pur avendo scritto cose notevoli su Kant non ha mai neanche sfiorato l’idea di critica e il senso dell’imperativo, fino persino ad Hannah Arendt, che ha visto l’«astratta nudità dell’essere nient’altro-che-uomo» come un rischio e un pericolo, invece che come fonte di diritti, che vedeva perdersi nell’«uomo generico». Rileggere davvero Kant può aiutare a dissipare fumi ed ombre che emergono da molti argomenti di critica all’Illuminismo, anche profondi e intelligenti, che però precipitano talvolta in un senso comune fatto di malintesi.

    Più in generale, il progetto critico inteso come analisi della logica peculiare delle diverse forme di discorso, con la distinzione tra discorso scientifico, valutazione etica, giudizio estetico, fede religiosa, e anche tra forme diverse di discorso conoscitivo (fisica e biologia, psicologia, antropologia), che eviti sovrapposizioni ed “imperialismi” di una forma sull’altra, credo resti da perseguire, al di là delle forme in cui è stato svolto, perché molti riduzionismi che restringono la razionalità ad una sua unica forma sono ancora una fonte di equivoci filosofici, ma anche di problemi attuali per così dire di comprensione di



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    aspetti della nostra cultura, con conseguenze sui rapporti tra uomini e modi di vivere. Qualche volta Kant ha insistito sul fatto che in determinati ambiti – sostanzialmente la metafisica nelle sue implicazioni religiose, e dunque la stessa fede – ciò che è decisivo è il cambiamento di “tono” delle nostre asserzioni, ossia della cogenza e del senso che loro attribuiamo, nel contesto di altri discorsi. Che una “proposizione” nel linguaggio religioso non sia una asserzione cognitiva, che una asserzione cognitiva (o un articolo di fede) non possa essere fonte di prescrizione etica, che una legittimazione politica abbia qualche correlazione con il discorso etico ma non ne segua la medesima logica, tutto questo è ancora lontano da essere riconosciuto largamente come sarebbe necessario, eppure Kant ha tentato di farcelo comprendere già molti anni fa. Credo anche che molti discorsi che girano un po’ a vuoto su relativismo e antirelativismo possano giovarsi di simili distinzioni.


  2. Parecchi dei suoi lavori si sono incentrati sull’antropologia, l’etica, la logica e la psicologia di Kant, con speciale attenzione all’arco disegnato, da un lato, dai pregiudizi, i giudizi provvisori, i principi regolativi e l’inconscio e, dall’altro, dalla coscienza morale e i suoi gradi di certezza, la Gesinnung e la convinzione religiosa. L’enumerazione di queste questioni sembra comporre un arcipelago di temi tra i quali si può riscontrare un filo rosso rappresentato dalle forme dell’autocoscienza in Kant. Considera che l’attenzione alla specificità del metodo critico kantiano come esercizio di autoriflessione determinerà lo sviluppo della ricerca sul pensiero kantiano nei prossimi decenni? Quali sarebbero i principali benefici teorici di una tale linea di ricerca?

    Non so se si possano fare previsioni sullo sviluppo delle linee di ricerca del futuro. Sono abbastanza convinto tuttavia del fatto che nella ricerca su Kant possono interagire in modo utile, e lo faranno in futuro, due direttrici: quella inevitabile e probabilmente inesauribile, che riguarda l’interpretazione, lo sviluppo, il ripensamento dei grandi temi del suo pensiero (il trascendentale, la critica della ragione, la fondazione e l’analisi della moralità, le questioni di teoria dell’arte e del bello, ma anche questioni metafilosofiche circa la stessa natura del pensiero filosofico), che comprende naturalmente la discussione circa i suoi esiti (proprio in Italia è emersa la parola d’ordine del Good-bye Kant!); e, allo stesso tempo, un’altra direttrice che può rendere più dettagliato e articolato il quadro delle tematiche che



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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


    sono coinvolte nel pensiero di Kant, ma anche contribuire a modificarne l’immagine, inserendo elementi di “inquietudine” nelle visioni più tradizionali. Paradossalmente, dopo più di due secoli, vi sono aspetti del pensiero di Kant che meritano e aspettano ancora di essere illuminati. Le tematiche cui lei fa riferimento sicuramente convergono nel cercare di disegnare (di ricostruire) una immagine più duttile e meno standardizzata delle forme dell’autocoscienza in Kant, mostrando che non si gioca tutto solo sulla appercezione trascendentale o, in ambito morale, sulla coscienza della legge, ma che queste istanze stesse possono assumere un senso ed un ruolo più precisi. Non si tratta di mettere in luce temi “minori”, ma di leggere i temi di fondo sulla base delle complicazioni e articolazioni di estremo interesse che il contesto teorico reale in cui Kant li pensa contiene. Così, per fare l’esempio dell’attività cognitiva inconscia, di cui mi sono occupato, il sottolinearne presenza, portata e ruolo può condurre a leggere l’“Io penso che deve poter accompagnare tutte le mie rappresentazioni” in un modo meno schematico e più attento alla sua specificità. Il Kant un po’ classico delle certezze e delle fondazioni acquista complessità e presa teorica, senza perdere il suo impianto. Non trascurare ad esempio il fatto che, in ambito morale, la certezza della legge si accompagna alla strutturale opacità e fallibilità del giudizio morale, su cui Kant ha insistito moltissimo, può aiutare a rileggere la Gesinnung in modo diverso, non identificandola con la semplice “intenzione” cosciente del soggetto morale e dunque con i “buoni propositi”. Molte di queste analisi possono far riferimento, con le dovute cautele, ai materiali del Nachlass e alle Vorlesungen, ancora da esplorare, che coprono un arco tematico naturalmente più vasto di quello rappresentato dalla opere a stampa (per Kant, come per molti autori, va fatta una distinzione tra le strategie di pubblicazione e l’effettivo lavoro teorico: questi materiali consentono di precisare l’effettivo orizzonte di quest’ultimo). Per menzionare l’ambito “logico” che lei ricordava, tematiche come i giudizi provvisori o la teoria dei Merkmale, di estremo interesse di per sé, possono anche modificare l’idea, diffusa in autori importantissimi, da Husserl a Eco, di un Kant occupato solo dalla teoria dell’apriori e disinteressato alle dinamiche della conoscenza empirica. La teoria kantiana della conoscenza empirica è assai più articolata, moderna e stimolante di quella dei suoi predecessori empiristi. Molte correzioni storiografiche sono ancora da fare: la tematica dei vorläufige Urteile da sola dimostra che l’idea di Gadamer di una Aufklärung segnata dal «pregiudizio contro i pregiudizi» non ha fondamento; né si può dimenticare che autorevoli kantisti ancora pochi anni fa scrivevano



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    che Kant non poteva avere una teoria di rappresentazioni inconsce; in un recente e ottimo libro di filosofia della mente si legge che «il concetto di inconscio compare negli ultimi decenni dell’Ottocento», e chi va più indietro spesso ricorda solo Leibniz…

    Credo infine che resterà in futuro, in forme ora non prevedibili, l’esigenza del confronto teorico con modelli kantiani: le strade del pensiero filosofico non sono lineari, e la necessità di rileggere assunti kantiani si ripresenta a ondate periodicamente, e questo avverrà anche in futuro. Penso ad esempi come la ripresa di problematiche kantiane in McDowell, la ridiscussione del Kant etico nel costruttivismo, ma anche l’esigenza dell’ermeneutica filosofica di confrontarsi più da vicino con le sue radici fenomenologiche, e quindi anche trascendentali.


  3. Quali sono le linee internazionali di studio kantiano e i ricercatori, italiani e stranieri, che hanno orientato di più i suoi lavori dal periodo della sua formazione filosofica fino al presente?

    Nel periodo della mia formazione ha avuto un ruolo importante la ricerca filosofica e le tradizione di studi kantiani italiana: quella dell’università di Pisa, dove ho studiato, e non solo. La ricerca kantiana italiana è stata tra le prime a mettere l’accento sulle potenzialità che le tematiche della Kritik der Urteilskraft rivestivano per una interpretazione del pensiero critico attenta ai suoi aspetti più stimolanti. A Pisa si possono ricordare due figure, Luigi Scaravelli e Francesco Barone (solo il secondo è stato docente negli anni in cui mi formavo), molto diverse, ma che convergevano nell’attenzione teorica, non “scolastica” o solo storiografica verso Kant, e che, per semplificare, indicavano l’uno aspetti e stimoli non esauriti della terza Critica e l’altro la necessità di non considerare obsoleta e di ripensare la tematica trascendentale. Questi impulsi erano proseguiti e approfonditi da Silvestro Marcucci in particolare per la tematica della teleologia nel suo senso epistemologico, e da Massimo Barale – che è stato mio relatore di tesi (non ancora su Kant) e poi Doktorvater – per la questione del metodo trascendentale e della fondazione del filosofare. A lui devo moltissimi stimoli ma in particolare l’esperienza, ancora prima che l’idea, che Kant possa essere un autore attraverso il quale fare filosofia e non solo da “studiare”. Ma un altro autore che ha contribuito ad un approccio non “antiquario” a Kant,



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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


    attento al presente, e di nuovo ad una rilettura, seppure assai diversa, del trascendentale, era, fuori da Pisa, Emilio Garroni, il quale, muovendo dall’estetica e dal suo ripensamento come filosofia non settoriale, aveva offerto delle interpretazioni della Urteilskraft estremamente stimolanti, con cui era necessario confrontarsi (una discussione epistolare tra lui e Marcucci sul principio del Giudizio del 1979-80 è un importante documento di quanto allora era al centro dell’attenzione). Su questo aveva richiamato la mia attenzione anche un altro, allora più giovane, studioso di Pisa, Leonardo Amoroso, autore di un libro in sostanza convergente con gli esiti di Garroni. Prima di Hogrebe in Germania, Garroni aveva messo l’accento sulla possibilità di una fondazione kantiana della semiotica (un tema su cui mi ero concentrato nel libro sulla Urteilskraft del 1990), e introdotto – prima ad esempio di Hannah Ginsborg – il tema degli aspetti cognitivi dell’estetica in Kant. Quando me ne sono occupato da vicino, non sono mai arrivato a condividere l’idea di fondo di Garroni di un carattere “estetico” (seppure in un senso ampio) del principio della Urteilskraft: per via di questo dissenso di fondo, pur nell’ambito di convergenze importanti, Garroni in una sua intervista parlò simpaticamente di me come di un «un caso» per lui «leggermente, come dire?, angustiante». Ma in genere in Italia, è questo che vorrei sottolineare, si era creato lo spazio (si può pensare ad autori come Mathieu, Morpurgo- Tagliabue) per una lettura di Kant non convenzionale e guidata da interessi teorici, uno spazio nel quale ci si poteva muovere e da cui poi si poteva agevolmente muoversi allargando l’orizzonte di formazione fuori dal nostro paese. Per me sono stati importati gli anni di ricerca in Germania, a Mainz, prima e dopo la tesi di dottorato, con il sostegno del DAAD e della Humboldt-Stiftung, e in quella Università in particolare le figure di Gerhard Funke e Rudolf Malter. Il primo, a lungo presidente della Kant-Gesellschaft e condirettore delle «Kant-Studien», non era mai stato un “kantista” in senso stretto, ma era un fenomenologo interessato a preservare l’eredità kantiana, così come sullo sfondo della prosecuzione della filosofia trascendentale nella fenomenologia si muoveva a Pisa Massimo Barale. Malter, allora direttore delle «Kant-Studien» con Gerhard Funke e Joachim Kopper, era un notevole studioso di Kant, e dai suoi seminari estremamente analitici ho imparato molto riguardo alla lettura dei testi. Seppure in modi diversi, nel mio interesse per la questione del metodo in Kant hanno finito per convergere l’accento dato alla questione da Barale in rapporto alla deduzione trascendentale, la sua particolare valorizzazione della transzendentale Methodenlehre della prima Critica nel libro Kant e il



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    metodo della filosofia da un lato, e il primato teorico del metodo che Funke ritrovava anche in Husserl.

    Questo per quanto riguarda gli anni della mia formazione. Naturalmente la comunità degli studiosi kantiani è così vasta e l’ambito del pensiero kantiano così complesso per chi se ne occupi al lungo che gli impulsi poi non possono che diventare numerosi. Se devo ricordarne altri, sicuramente sono stati importanti i lavori di Dieter Henrich, di cui seguii un seminario a Napoli all’Istituto Italiano degli studi Filosofici, in cui, come diceva allora scherzando, cercava di delineare “la terza edizione della deduzione trascendentale delle categorie”. Henrich, al di là della sua visione dell’autocoscienza che non ho mai condiviso, mostrava come da un lato ci fosse ancora moltissimo da comprendere nell’impianto kantiano, dall’altro come si potesse dialogare filosoficamente con esso senza timore di sentirsi “attardati” – anche la sua opera di confronto e dialogo con la cultura filosofica anglosassone di impianto analitico e la riscoperta che avveniva al suo interno del tema della autoriflessività (con autori come Chisholm, Castañeda, Shoemaker…) è stata importante per il mio interesse per l’autocoscienza. Oggi, dopo il “conceptual turn” e l’esplosione della filosofia della mente, e lo “sdoganamento” di Kant nell’ambito della filosofia analitica (la sua riammissione tra gli autori con i quali è lecito confrontarsi), è forse difficile percepire come ancora negli anni ’80 considerare queste tematiche come degne di approfondimento trovasse ostacoli in un contesto segnato dal dominio del “linguistic turn”, dall’ermeneutica, dal pensiero post-metafisico, da un tradizione analitica che frenava bruscamente dopo Hume: tutte posizioni che convergevano nel ritenere obsolete e fuorvianti le tematiche dell’autoriflessione. Per il versante storico dell’interpretazione di Kant, il lavoro di Norbert Hinske (con forti legami con la tradizioni italiani di studi storici su Kant, a cominciare da Giorgio Tonelli) mi ha sempre più convinto del ruolo illuminante indispensabile del confronto di Kant con i suoi immediati e più vicini predecessori, la Schulphilosophie tedesca. In tempi più recenti, ho trovato molto stimolanti, come ricordavo prima, molte posizioni di Onora O’Neill circa il carattere della razionalità in Kant, una razionalità che non si fondi su princìpi pre-stabiliti, ma su forme procedurali, sul “metodo” di soddisfare condizioni per la costruzione di intersoggettività.


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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


  4. Nel 2013 la rivista Studi Kantiani ha celebrato i suoi primi 25 anni di percorso. Secondo il suo parere, quale sarebbe il bilancio di questo progetto, riconosciuto ormai internazionalmente come luogo di incontro tra gli studiosi di Kant a livello internazionale?

    Credo che il bilancio di «Studi kantiani», il cui merito va anzitutto e principalmente al suo fondatore, Silvestro Marcucci, sia molto positivo. Va ricordato che quando è apparso il primo numero, nel 1988, non esisteva nessun’altra rivista specialistica dedicata a Kant oltre le «Kant-Studien». Mantenere in vita una rivista a stampa in quegli anni non era facile e il circuito di internet non esisteva. Ora il numero di riviste specialistiche kantiane ha raggiunto la decina, ma il fatto che pur nell’ampio e importante contesto anglosassone, un’altra rivista del genere, la «Kantian Review», sia nata soltanto dieci anni dopo la fondazione di «Studi kantiani», nel 1998, dà la misura della portata dell’impegno di allora. Basti questo a far comprendere come il progetto fosse tanto coraggioso quanto lungimirante. L’intento era quello di offrire uno spazio di discussione e di visibilità alla ricerca kantiana italiana, per valorizzarne e concentrarne per così dire gli sforzi, ma anche di porla più decisamente in relazione con quella internazionale. Ricordo che «Studi kantiani» fin dall’inizio ha previsto la pubblicazione di contributi in cinque lingue: oltre che ovviamente l’italiano, il francese, l’inglese, lo spagnolo, il tedesco. La Kant-Forschung aveva e ha ancora la necessità di superare confini nazionali e culturali, e la sua indiscutibile espansione negli ultimi venti anni è il frutto anche di questa sempre maggiore permeabilità di confini che tuttavia va, credo, ancora intensificata. Per «Studi kantiani» questo si manifesta anche nel tentativo di dar conto, nelle recensioni, di lavori che appaiono in più lingue. Con l’espansione della produzione internazionale su Kant questo compito è allo stesso tempo più necessario e più difficile. Nell’Editoriale nel numero 2013 abbiamo cercato di indicare anche ulteriori linee di sviluppo: maggiore spazio a momenti di confronto e discussione, a contributi anche più direttamente teorici (abbiamo pubblicato in quella occasione due interviste a John Searle e Robert Brandom), mantenendo attenzione al lavoro di analisi e discussione che si svolge attraverso le recensioni (la loro possibile ampiezza, per consentire approfondimenti autentici, è una scelta da tempo della Direzione), con un lavoro da un lato più vasto (affiancando recensioni informative più brevi), dall’altro necessariamente più selettivo. Nei numeri in preparazione (2015 e 2016) introduciamo per la prima volta anche fascicoli parzialmente monografici, basati su call for papers: per il



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    2015 su “Kant e la biologia” (una tematica che vuole sottolineare un interesse attuale e ricordare insieme il lavoro su questi temi del fondatore, Silvestro Marcucci), per il 2016, con il contributo di guest editors (Sorin Baiasu e Ruhi Demiray), su “The Ethical and the Juridical in Kant”.


  5. La ricerca kantiana svolta in lingua italiana è difficilmente scindibile dalla figura del professore e grande studioso delle varie dimensioni della teleologia e del metodo scientifico di Kant, Silvestro Marcucci. Quali sono i principali progetti accademici e le iniziative intraprese dalla Fondazione “Silvestro Marcucci”, con sede a Lucca, come il “Premio ‘Silvestro Marcucci’ per Tesi di Dottorato” concesso in collaborazione con l’Accademia Lucchese di Scienze, Lettere e Arti?

    Ho appena ricordato il ruolo di Marcucci per la rivista, è notissimo anche quello di fondatore della Società Italiana di Studi Kantiani. La Fondazione è attiva su scala locale, con iniziative culturali di tipo diverso, non solo filosofico, e su scala internazionale, con altre iniziative tra le quali vanno ricordate oltre appunto al premio internazionale per tesi di Dottorato di tema kantiano, la partecipazione insieme alla Kant-Gesellschaft al Kant- Nachwuchspreis, conferito in coincidenza con le edizioni dell’Internationaler Kant- Kongress (con questa formula di collaborazione per la prima volta a Pisa – con cerimonia di premiazione a Lucca, città di Marcucci – nel 2010) e la cura della collana di studi filosofici “Zetetica”, presso le Edizioni ETS, nella quale è apparsa recentemente, tra l’altro, l’edizione italiana di The Sources of Normativity di Christine Korsgaard. Naturalmente la filosofia e la tradizione kantiana rappresentano un aspetto importante degli interessi della Fondazione, che però si è data come si diceva uno scopo più ampio di promozione culturale e ha già agito in campi diversi. E’ da ricordare anche la Biblioteca della Fondazione, nella bellissima villa di Quiesa/Massarosa, il cui catalogo è ora accessibile online, e che contiene in primo luogo, ma non solo, il lascito di libri e altri documenti scientifici di Marcucci.


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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid

    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


  6. Con la prospettiva che concedono i quattro anni trascorsi dalla celebrazione del XI. Internationaler Kant-Kongress di Pisa, sotto il titolo di “Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht”, quali ritiene che sarebbero i principali contributi che questo incontro internazionale ha donato alla ricerca kantiana in lingua italiana e internazionale, i cui Atti sono stati pubblicati recentemente dalla casa editrice Walter de Gruyter?

    Il contributo principale è stato quello consueto, ma diventato sempre più centrale, di consentire l’incontro di una comunità di ricerca di ampiezza e di qualità ormai impressionanti: credo siano rari, nell’ambito delle scienze umane, congressi di queste dimensioni, con quasi quattrocento relatori, che abbiano un focus tematico così definito, riferito ad un unico autore. Il vicino Kant-Kongress di Vienna di quest’anno ne darà certamente un altro esempio. Questa ampiezza e ciò che essa comporta è un dato ormai evidente, ma credo non sia inopportuno sottolinearlo, perché non mancano tuttora studiosi e colleghi che ritengono e sostengono che su Kant “sia stato detto tutto” e scoraggiano perfino progetti di ricerca di giovani in questo campo: bastano i fatti, appunto, a smentire questa idea, per altro curiosa. Al di là degli aspetti quantitativi, ormai credo irreversibili (per il congresso di Pisa ci siamo trovati con quasi 700 contributi da selezionare), i contenuti del congresso hanno mostrato un momento di particolare vivacità delle più diverse forme di studio e “uso” del pensiero kantiano. Credo che l’ambito in cui si registra la maggiore ripresa di interesse teorico e di conseguenza anche di lavoro esegetico su Kant sia negli ultimi anni quello morale, e anche qui il dato quantitativo (il numero di contributi su tematiche etiche nel Congresso è stato il maggiore rispetto ad altre prospettive) è semplicemente la spia di un interesse di fondo e più radicato. Ma un dato culturale di base è, credo, il fatto che nei confronti del pensiero kantiano siano cadute barriere pregiudiziali, come accennavo anche prima, che in decenni passati ne ostacolavano la circolazione in alcuni contesti filosofici. Naturalmente siamo lontani da formule che sarebbero oggi poco significative e utili come lo «zurück zu Kant!» – semplicemente Kant è tornato ad essere un serbatoio di modelli di pensiero con cui è inevitabile confrontarsi, per la sua duttilità e ampiezza, indipendentemente dagli esiti della riflessione filosofica di ognuno. Nel Congresso pisano si è fatto anche il tentativo di riportare l’attenzione, da un lato, sul Weltbegriff kantiano di filosofia, che, per uno dei paradossi della storia del pensiero, nonostante l’enfasi di Kant su di esso, era rimasto fuori dallo sguardo di molti; dall’altro,



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    di portare l’attenzione sulla tematica metafilosofica in quanto tale, ossia sulla questione circa la natura del pensiero filosofico, circa il suo ruolo e i suoi compiti, che quel concetto kantiano della filosofia come ciò che «interessa necessariamente ognuno» può contribuire a riproporre, in un momento storico dove la filosofia ha assunto connotati molto specialistici, spesso giustificati, e allo stesso tempo si trova di nuovo sfidata dal riproporsi di prospettive scientiste, non nuove, anzi ricorrenti, ma rinvigorite da successi veri e apparenti delle neuroscienze, che ne mettono in questione radicalmente il senso. Questo aspetto – per il quale si era tentato di coinvolgere non solo studiosi di Kant – mi sembra almeno parzialmente riuscito nel lavoro testimoniato dagli Atti: non è facile condurre studiosi diversi su riflessioni comuni, ma mi sembra che i Plenarvorträge abbiano sviluppato in un certa misura un lavoro convergente sul concetto di filosofia in e oltre Kant, e che la sezione tematica su Kants Begriff der Philosophie, dedicata al Leitmotiv del Congresso, con quasi trenta contributi, abbia offerto approfondimenti importanti. Per il resto, quasi cinquemila pagine di atti testimoniano che su Kant c’è da dire ancora molto e probabilmente l’estensione anche geografica della ricerca, coinvolgendo più culture filosofiche, non potrà che rinforzare questo percorso. Non ho statistiche precise per questo congresso e i passati, ma il numero di nazionalità coinvolte è stato notevolissimo.


  7. Da alcuni anni la comunità scientifica dell’America latina —specie nel Brasile, nell’Argentina, nella Colombia e nel Cile— ha mostrato un’eccezionale capacità di ricerca, riguardante tanto la produzione scientifica come l’organizzazione di eventi accademici incentrati sul pensiero di Kant. Anche in Asia sono riscontrabili importanti contributi agli studi kantiani. Steven Palmquist (Hong Kong Baptist University) organizzò nel 2009 un congresso internazionale e pubblicó nel 2010 il volume Cultivating Personhood: Kant and Asian Philosophy (W. De Gruyter). Per un altro canto, il gruppo di ricerca Kant in Turkey, coordinato da Lucas Thorpe, svolge un importante ruolo per lo sviluppo dello studio di Kant in quel paese. Per ultimo, paesi dell’Europa dell’Est come la Polonia e la Russia mostrano una dinamicità crescente che ha allargato significativamente le coordinate dei centri rilevanti negli studi kantiani. A suo avviso, come influisce questo ampliamento dei


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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


    centri di attività kantiana sul lavoro svolto nell’Europa? Assistiamo a una vera a propria globalizzazione dei Kantian Studies?

    Questa domanda si ricollega a quanto dicevamo a proposito del Kant-Kongress del 2010. Tutte le iniziative che lei ricorda e altre – non posso non ricordare esplicitamente il lavoro della SEKLE, l’associazione kantiana con maggiore respiro internazionale già per sua “struttura genetica”, per così dire, che mi sembra svolga e svolgerà un ruolo importantissimo, ma anche il grande lavoro della Sociedade Kant Brasileira – sono utili e benvenute. Credo sia necessario che ci si liberi di un certo “provincialismo” europeo- statunitense. Non è ovviamente una questione solo di estensione territoriale, e di ampliamento quantitativo. C’è già ora, da un lato, un problema di “eccesso” di produzione scientifica che deriva anzitutto dall’estendersi dell’interesse e semplicemente del numero di persone ed enti dedicati a questo tipo di ricerca; dall’altro, però, vi sono più cose … non tra il cielo e la terra, ma sulla Terra di quante la nostra filosofia sospetti, e sicuramente un certo tipo di ricerca e di tradizione filosofica non è ancora presente in ogni parte e cultura del mondo, nonostante la “globalizzazione” anche degli studi kantiani cui lei accenna. Credo che noi vediamo le cose ancora con prospettive legate alla cultura “occidentale”, ma penso alle tematiche di cui parlavamo all’inizio dell’intervista, e a quanto è connesso profondamente con il pensiero di Kant, ossia la questione dell’Illuminismo, o lo stesso cosmopolitismo politico, che per molte aree del mondo non rappresentano una tematica culturalmente “neutrale” e secondaria. Come accennavo, penso che il modello kantiano di Illuminismo sia particolarmente duttile e assai poco etnocentrico, insomma difficilmente piegabile ad imperialismi culturali, ma mi chiedo che prospettive ci sono per una diffusione di tematiche del pensiero kantiano che non riguardi solo una cerchia di specialisti e che forme questo potrà prendere. Che peso potrà assumere in certi contesti in futuro un pensatore per il quale religione e autorità politica possono «rivendicare rispetto sincero» soltanto se loro concesso da una ragione che riconosce «ciò che ha saputo resistere al suo esame libero e pubblico»? Che ruolo potrà avere un pensatore che riteneva che sulla libertà di critica «si basa addirittura l’esistenza della ragione», ragione il cui decreto «altro non è che l’accordo di liberi cittadini»? Non sono parole disperse in qualche scritto marginale, ma che stanno al centro della Critica della ragion pura. I secoli passati non cancellano il loro effetto dirompente, se usciamo dalla prospettiva di una cultura “occidentale”. Una vera globalizzazione degli studi kantiani non può non connettersi, in



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    modo difficile da prevedere, con un processo culturale non accademico e che non coinvolga solo studiosi – e in questo senso un vero processo globale è lontano dal realizzarsi e coinvolgerà anche cose più grandi di quelle che riguardano noi kantisti. Questo non significa che ogni iniziativa di disseminazione e approfondimento del lavoro filosofico su e intorno a Kant non sia utile e significativa. Penso anzi, ritornando al nostro ambito più ristretto di studiosi, che sia assolutamente da favorire, e su questo non si è stati forse ancora abbastanza attivi. Chissà quando avremo un Internationaler Kant-Kongress in Asia o in Africa. Ma prima o poi dovrà essere possibile, e quando avverrà sarà un buon segno. D’altra parte, c’è e ci sarà da imparare da prospettive più globali e molteplici. In modo analogo a quanto avviene, ad esempio, in scritti di Amartya Sen (penso al recente L’idea di giustizia), nei quali la tradizione europea viene intrecciata con portati del pensiero indiano o “orientale”.


  8. L’Italia è uno dei paesi con una maggiore dispersione di ricercatori in tutto il mondo. Molti studiosi italiani attivi all’estero confermano l’ottima preparazione accademica offerta dall’Italia e sono un esempio di mobilità internazionale, ma sono anche il sintomo di una mancanza progressiva di opportunità negli atenei nazionali. Potrebbe tentare di elaborare un’analisi delle cause di questo fenomeno, specialmente caratteristico della ricerca in Italia?

    Al di là del fatto positivo che molti ricercatori italiani cercano e trovano apprezzamento e lavoro all’estero, il problema è che in troppi casi si tratta di una scelta obbligata. La mancanza di opportunità in Italia è un fenomeno triste che meriterebbe un discorso lungo. Ma forse si può ridurre a pochi elementi essenziali. L’Italia spende da sempre pochissimo per l’istruzione e nello specifico per l’Università: i dati OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in Italia la chiamiamo OCSE) del 2013 indicavano una spessa in rapporto al PIL (prodotto interno lordo) inferiore del 63% rispetto alla media europea, e tra le peggiori d’Europa (di meno solo Ungheria e Repubblica Slovacca). In questo quadro già drammatico si è scelto di ridurre il reclutamento di nuovi docenti universitari in modo significativo. La crisi economica mondiale non c’entra nulla: i dati OECD mostrano che dal 2008 (inizio della crisi economica mondiale) al 2010 su 30 paesi l’Italia è la seconda nazione, dopo l’Ungheria, per la riduzione delle spese per l’Università,



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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid

    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


    mentre alcune nazioni, nonostante la crisi, la spesa per istruzione e ricerca l’hanno aumentata. Né ha senso parlare di un eccesso di docenti: il rapporto studenti/docenti è ampiamente inferiore alla media OECD e siamo per questo fattore tra i peggiori dei paesi appartenenti a tale organizzazione. Eppure ecco cosa è successo: nel 2008 c’è stata una legge che prevedeva il blocco del turn over (l’impossibilità di assumere docenti per sostituirne altri che andavano in pensione) fino al 2012 per la gran pare delle università (poche potevano assumere per un 50%); tuttora vige una legge che limita fortissimamente fino al 2018 la possibilità di utilizzare risorse liberate per nuove assunzioni. Senza entrare in dettagli, si può sottolineare che dal 2008 ad oggi il numero dei docenti attivi nelle università italiane è diminuito di quasi 10.000 unità; ma quel che è peggio le normative vigenti rendono assai difficile seguire per le assunzioni criteri didattici o culturali, poiché le possibilità di reclutamento sono legate a complicate variabili finanziarie che coinvolgono intere università, rette da una governance sempre più verticistica. In questo contesto, di generale riduzione dei finanziamenti e di difficoltà di reclutamento, la filosofia resta spesso schiacciata: non ha un ruolo forte nei contesti accademici e soprattutto non lo ha in una università sempre più condizionata da visioni aziendaliste, dove ciò che conta è ciò che si può contare: non soltanto ciò che è misurabile in termini quantitativi, ma ciò che sembra poter dare un risultato direttamente economico. Questo è un secondo aspetto, che si unisce a quello della costante riduzione di fondi che si è avuto in Italia, ed è un aspetto che non riguarda solo l’Italia: l’asservimento dell’Università ad una distorta concezione di accountability, che viaggia su meccanismi di evaluation. Si dice che il mondo accademico deve “rendere conto” all’esterno delle sue attività, e a chi lo finanzia: ma coloro cui si rende effettivamente conto, attraverso indicatori numerici che servono a “decisori” per decidere su cose di cui non capiscono nulla, non sono i cittadini o gli studenti, ma le lobby economiche e i governi che le incarnano. In Italia abbiamo una classe politica purtroppo tra le peggiori d’Europa, e non solo, che ha sviluppato un progetto di appropriazione dell’Università nello stesso momento in cui la metteva sempre di più in difficoltà, aiutata da vere e proprie campagne di denigrazione nei mass media. L’Italia è (ancora una volta) in fondo alle classifiche europee per numero di laureati, ma si legge sulla stampa che ne abbiamo troppi, e che laurearsi è inutile. Se si guardano i dati sul numero di pubblicazioni, sul numero di pubblicazioni per ricercatore, sul loro numero in rapporto alle risorse impiegate, sulle citazioni (dati che se hanno senso lo hanno per grandi aggregazioni)



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    l’Italia rivaleggia con i primi 6-7 paesi del mondo; eppure il nostro giovane Presidente del Consiglio ha detto recentemente in televisione che “sono venti anni che ci diciamo che l’Università fa schifo”. Insomma, è triste dirlo, ma abbiamo in Italia una commistione tra una tendenza che è internazionale alla aziendalizzazione dell’Università (ricordo l’importante appello “They have chosen ignorance” che sottolinea le politiche distruttive della ricerca a livello europeo) e la colpevole e spesso voluta disattenzione della classe politica italiana verso istruzione e università, che è diventata una sciagurata caratteristica di questo paese.

    In questo contesto, come dicevo, la filosofia (come in gran parte le “humanities”) è particolarmente debole, accademicamente e culturalmente, perché strutturalmente lontana dalla possibilità di essere immediatamente monetizzabile. Cito spesso una bella frase dello studioso di Cambridge Stefan Collini, secondo cui «there is obviously something wrong in our public discourse if the only acceptable justification for spending money is that it contributes to making more money». Che qualcosa “serva” per il pensiero critico, per il progresso civile, per favorire anche la discussione pubblica, per promuovere diritti, giustizia, sembra stia diventando un dettaglio.

    I giovani (e ormai anche non giovanissimi) ricercatori italiani sono vittima di questa situazione, e fra questi i filosofi sono in particolare difficoltà. Si deve dare loro forzatamente il consiglio di guardare oltre l’orizzonte nazionale, e anche oltre quello europeo, ed è quello che molti stanno facendo. Ma non è per tutti una scelta facile, e soprattutto non è più una scelta quando diventa una strada quasi obbligata, che va al di là della necessità e dell’interesse di svolgere esperienze di ricerca e insegnamento all’estero. Di questo la ricerca e la società italiana pagherà – in termini culturali, di progresso civile, ma alla fine non solo – il conto. C’è una frase molto citata, alla quale credo si ispiri anche l’Open letter “They have chosen ignorance” che ricordavo prima, pronunciata dall’ex- rettore di Harvard Derek Bok: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. Bene, la classe politica italiana questo esperimento lo sta facendo, sistematicamente, da tempo, e credo che i risultati si vedano già e sempre più si vedranno. E’ un peccato che nel tessuto sociale e anche nel mondo accademico le resistenze contro di ciò siano tutto sommato molto poche.


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    Nuria Sánchez Madrid

    Nuria Sánchez Madrid


  9. Negli ultimi anni sono aumentate le riviste internazionali di studi kantiani fondate in aree come la latinoamericana, sia di lingua portoghese che spagnola, tra le quali la più recente è Con-textos kantianos. Quali obiettivi ritiene che periodici simili dovrebbero prefiggersi?

    Nell’Editoriale del numero 2013 di «Studi kantiani» ricordavamo le riviste kantiane esistenti, e mi permetto di ricordarle di nuovo con le loro date di nascita: oltre «Kant- Studien» (1896) e «Studi kantiani» (1988), la «Kantian Review», gli «Studia Kantiana» brasiliani (entrambe 1988), la rivista giapponese «Nihon Kantkenkyu» (2000); «Kant E- prints», online, edita in Brasile (2002), il «Kant Yearbook» (Lussemburgo/Germania) (2009); «Kant Studies Online» (2011), e appunto «Estudos Kantianos», Marília, Brasile (2013) e infine il vostro «Con-Textos Kantianos (International Journal of Philosophy)». Sono dieci, e per chi pensa che una rivista sia solo un contenitore sarebbero troppe. In questa logica, che è quella dei ranking e dei rating, delle classifiche, degli indicatori – dispiace ritornare sul tema, ma il tema è invasivo – bastano poche riviste, “internazionali”, possibilmente in inglese, indicizzate, magari anche (perché no?) solo una. Io credo che una rivista sia un luogo di aggregazione, di proposta culturale, legata ad un contesto, la cui sola presenza cambia un ambiente di ricerca, senza che ciò ne limiti la portata internazionale. Alcune idee di “internazionalizzazione” sono paradossali, perché conducono alla scomparsa delle realtà nazionali e dunque anche dell’ “inter-”. Premetto questo perché credo che il proliferare di riviste specialistiche su Kant, oltre che rispecchiare quella notevolissima espansione e “globalizzazione” della ricerca che si diceva, non possa che essere un fattore positivo. Nello specifico, le riviste di lingua portoghese e questa di lingua spagnola riflettono un dato di fatto, testimoniato dalla notevolissima attività della ricerca brasiliana e lusitana (ricordo il Kant-Kongress del 2005, il Trilaterale a Lisbona del 2009) e quella sudamericana ed europea in lingua spagnola (ricordo i congressi SEKLE di Bogotà e Madrid). Trovo importante anche che l’internazionalità significhi plurilinguismo e non monolinguismo, e il fatto che «Con-Textos Kantianos» intenda pubblicare in spagnolo, portoghese, tedesco, francese, inglese e italiano è assolutamente da salutare. Se si tiene conto poi che lo spagnolo è la lingua più parlata al mondo dopo il cinese, e del livello davvero notevole della ricerca in questa lingua (il congresso SEKLE di Bogotà mi ha definitivamente convinto di questo), credo che la mancanza di una rivista che facesse riferimento a quest’area linguistico-culturale fosse davvero un paradosso. Penso che la



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    funzione principale delle riviste in lingua portoghese e spagnola sia di far uscire la ricerca kantiana da un paradossale provincialismo anglo-tedesco: naturalmente la lingua inglese è indispensabile, quella tedesca è la lingua di Kant, e il livello degli studi tedeschi e anglosassoni resta altissimo; ma l’attenzione nell’universo del kantismo è ancora asimmetrica, e con il tempo le cose possono cambiare. Naturalmente non si tratta però di favorire soltanto il dialogo tra aree linguistico-culturali, ma anche di creare spazi di ricerca specifici, motivazioni, occasioni, anche “interne”, e le potenzialità dell’ambito linguistico spagnolo sono, ripeto, a mio avviso, enormi.


  10. Le Società accademiche dedite allo sviluppo dello studio e espansione della conoscenza del pensiero e delle opere di Kant si sono moltiplicate negli ultimi anni. Tutte mantengono un rapporto stretto con la Kant-Gesellschaft che presiede attualmente il prof. Bernd Dörflinger (Università di Trier), ma forse sarebbe anche utile incoraggiare la celebrazione di incontri federali tra di esse, per dirla così, attuando così il progetto di un “congresso di società” integrato da esse. Cosa ne pensa sulla proposta di intensificare i rapporti tra questi spazi di ricerca, ispirata dai principi del diritto cosmopolitico kantiano?

In effetti un incontro tra le varie Società kantiane non si è mai svolto, nonostante tanti rapporti bidirezionali e multidirezionali. Potrebbe essere una buona idea promuovere un incontro tra i rappresentanti di tutte le società kantiane esistenti, magari anche con l’obiettivo di cercare un qualche coordinamento. Vi sono esperienze di collaborazione a più voci, come i congressi multilaterali che si sono andati sviluppando dal “trilaterale” italo-lusitano-brasiliano iniziato a Verona-Padova e proseguito a Lisbona, e poi diventato multilaterale con il coinvolgimento della Kant-Gesellschaft, della ricerca spagnola e ibero- americana, e recentemente della North American Kant Society. Devo dire che per quanto riguarda i congressi la situazione dell’espansione della ricerca kantiana può creare, a differenza delle riviste, un eccesso o un sovraffollamento. Se vi è spazio per una moltiplicazione di lavori e di studiosi che si occupano di Kant, il tempo invece impone dei limiti. Forse una strada in questo ambito è andare verso una sempre maggiore specializzazione tematica, non pensando solo a convegni che abbraccino molteplici aspetti, ma ad incontri con un focus molto preciso. Al contempo, si potrebbe allargare, appunto,



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Nuria Sánchez Madrid

Nuria Sánchez Madrid


l’intreccio tra ambiti nazionali e società, ma perseguendo anche questa impostazione. Resterebbero i grandi momenti di incontro collettivo e ad ampio spettro come l’Internationaler Kant-Kongress, ma si potrebbe avviare un lavoro di collaborazione al contempo più trasversale (tra più paesi) e più “microscopico” – con possibilità forse di discussioni anche più fruttuose.


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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 27-45

ISSN: 2386-7655

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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 27-45

ISSN: 2386-7655

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18503


La téléologie critique et ses paradigmes scientifiques.

Sur la méthode de l’Histoire selon Kant


The Critical Teleology and Its Scientific Paradigms.

On Kant’s Historical Method


GÉRARD RAULET*

Université Paris-Sorbonne, France


Résumé


Les textes de Kant sur l’histoire sont souvent traités comme secondaires par les philosophes qui travaillent sur les systèmes de pensée, tandis que certains interprètes les qualifient de « quatrième critique ». La thèse défendue ici est que l’intervention de la critique kantienne dans le champ des pratiques et des réflexions historiques constitue un tournant décisif. Au moment où l’idée de progrès s’affirme contre les deux paradigmes dominants de l’histoire locale et de la théodicée chrétienne, était nécessaire un traitement critique de la notion même de progrès qui soit à la hauteur du défi scientifique : établir la légitimité d’une science historique, pour autant qu’elle soit possible. Trois modèles de sciences constituent l’horizon de scientificité que l’histoire doit viser même si elle ne doit jamais l’atteindre : l’astronomie, la physique et la biologie. La téléologie est au cœur de cette entreprise, elle en est l’instrument. Elle est au cœur de l’entreprise parce qu’elle est par ailleurs aussi la science de la vie interne des organismes. C’est donc à partir de la téléologie, de l’opposition entre son usage « dogmatique » dans les sciences naturelles, « critique » dans la science historique, que nous entreprenons ici de cerner la question de la « science de l’histoire » chez Kant.

Mots clés


Philosophie de l’histoire; Sciences ; Astronomie ; Physique ; Biologie ; Téléologie


* Professeur de l’Université de Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV ; UFR Études Germaniques). E-mail de contact : [email protected]


[Recibido: 3 de Febrero de 2015/ 27

Aceptado: 25 de Mayo de 2015]


Gérard Raulet

Gérard Raulet


Abstract


Kant’s texts on history are often considered as minor or subsidiary by the interpreters concerned with philosophical systems whereas some of them qualify these writings as a “fourth critique”. The present paper defends the thesis that Kant’s critical intervention on the field of the historical

th

reflections and practices of the 18 Century represents a decisive scientific turn. Whilst the idea of

progress asserts itself against the two dominant paradigms of local history and Christian theodicy a critique of the notion of progress itself was necessary in order to establish the legitimacy of a science of history, provided that this would be possible. The scientific ideal which history had to aim at was constituted by three established models: astronomy, physics, and biology. The core and the instrument of this enterprise is the teleology. It is in the middle of the challenge because it is also the science of the living organisms. The difference between its “dogmatic” use in the natural sciences and the “critical” use in the historical science is therefore the anchor from which we can try to define Kant’s understanding of science in historical matters.


Keywords


Philosophy of history; Sciences; Astronomy; Physics; Biology; Teleology


1

La « forme historique », dit Kant, « n’a aucun fondement dans la raison » ; c’est bien

pourquoi on ne peut tirer aucune vérité rationnelle de la simple observation des faits

2

historiques. Les connaissances historiques sont donc accumulées « sans système ».

L’impression de désordre et d’irrationalité qu’offre le monde tient au fait que notre entendement est impuissant à opérer la « liaison de la diversité selon des concepts » qui est

3

selon la Logique le fondement d’une connaissance scientifique.

Kant dira dans la neuvième proposition de l’essai Idée d’une histoire universelle

d’un point de vue cosmopolitique qu’il ne s’agit certes pas de supprimer l’étude empirique de l’histoire et qu’une « tête philosophique doit au demeurant posséder une grande

4

érudition historique ». Pourtant, une telle connaissance ne saurait orienter notre pratique

dans l’histoire à venir et à faire, ni même nous permettre de porter un jugement général sur le cours de l’histoire passée. Quant à fonder l’idée de progrès sur l’observation du spectacle du monde, c’est se condamner à y trouver, du fait de la folie humaine, une

« réfutation constante » de cette quête.



1 Logik-Nachlaß, AA 16, Nr. 2225.

2 Ibid., Nr. 2229.

3 Ibid., Nr. 2708.

4 « Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht », in: W, IX, 50.


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La téléologie critique et ses paradigmes scientifiques


La tentative qu’entreprend Kant pour fonder une philosophie de l’histoire fait encore écho en 1784 au traumatisme de la dévastation de l’Europe par la Guerre de Trente Ans. Elle a donc pour enjeu de surmonter la vision baroque du monde qui en découle. Il est frappant qu’en 1793 encore, au début du Traité Pour une paix perpétuelle Kant rappelle – de façon plaisante – cet arrière-plan historique en évoquant l’enseigne d’une auberge située en face d’un cimetière et dénommée « Zum ewigen Frieden ». La blague a valeur d’archétype ; on la retrouve au fronton de tous les bistrots qui font face à un cimetière ou à une prison : « Ici c’est mieux qu’en face. » Il établit ainsi une relation entre le chaos de la Guerre de Trente Ans et les interminables guerres de coalition qui dévastent l’Europe après la Révolution française. Ce n’est toutefois pas à proprement parler sous cet aspect historique que nous voulons ici aborder les textes de Kant sur l’histoire, mais sous l’aspect

de la rupture épistémologique qu’ils veulent justement affirmer avec ce qu’on peut appeler

5

l’Ancien régime philosophique .


1.

e

Kant, incontestablement, rompt avec le courant dominant du 18 siècle, tel que l’exprime

Montesquieu. L’historiographie philosophique, par l’étude en quelque sorte « empirique » des civilisations, doit selon Montesquieu dégager l’histoire et la politique de l’emprise de

la théologie et de la morale religieuse. « Cet ouvrage », dit-il de l’Esprit des Lois, « a pour

6

objet les lois, les coutumes et les divers usages de tous les peuples de la terre . »

Montesquieu voulait ainsi « faire de la politique une science », fonder une véritable physique sociale en accord avec l’esprit de la physique nouvelle en partant des faits et en

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dégageant des lois . La religion ne peut tenir lieu de science à l’histoire, la morale non

plus ; ainsi la vertu « n’est point une vertu morale, ni une vertu chrétienne, c’est la vertu

8

politique ». Montesquieu se refuse expressément à juger de ce qui est par ce qui doit être,

c’est-à-dire, selon ses propres termes, à tirer ses principes de ses préjugés et non « de la


5 Sur la signification proprement politique de cette appellation voir mon livre (1996; réed. 2003), et des articles complémentaires (1996a ; 1996b et 1998).


6 Montesquieu (1951, p. 1137, Défense de l’Esprit des lois, Seconde partie, Idée générale).

7 Cf. Althusser (1969, p. 14sq.).

8 Montesquieu (1951, p. 227, Avertissement).


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Gérard Raulet


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nature des choses ». Montesquieu, dit Althusser, « fut le premier à proposer un principe

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positif d’explication universelle de l’histoire ».

Comme le rappelle Cassirer,


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«en physique, la connaissance avait déjà franchi depuis la Renaissance le pas décisif, la nuova scienza de Galilée avait réclamé et obtenu sa dignité propre et son indépendance comme pensée scientifique. Comme Kant, toute la philosophie des Lumières pouvait donc considérer la physique mathématique comme un ‘fait’ dont on pouvait évidemment débattre des conditions de possibilité mais dont la réalité s’imposait sans conteste ni réserve. Pour l’histoire en revanche, il restait encore tout un travail à accomplir; il n’était pas question de s’appuyer sur l’existence de facto d’une science comparable, par son degré de certitude et la fermeté de ses raisons, à la physique mathématique. Il fallait au contraire, en un seul et même mouvement de pensée, conquérir le monde de l’histoire et le fonder, l’assurer en cours de conquête».


La question sera donc d’abord de savoir si l’histoire est une science au sens rigoureux que Kant réserve à ce terme, c’est-à-dire une science sur le modèle de la physique. A cette question Kant répond par la négative. Or, si elle n’est pas une science, elle relève, selon la préface à la seconde édition de la Critique de la raison pure, de la métaphysique et, selon la formule célèbre, là où on limite le savoir, c’est pour faire place à la foi. S’il en est ainsi le philosophe peut remettre le Conflit des facultés dans sa poche et la faculté de philosophie n’a plus qu’à se soumettre à la domination sans partage de la faculté de

théologie. Le problème est d’autant plus aigu que, comme le rappelle également Cassirer,

e e

c’est la théologie qui a su aux 17 et 18 siècles prendre en compte l’histoire. D’un côté,

l’exégèse s’est affranchie du dogme de l’inspiration verbale et lancée dans l’histoire critique des livres bibliques, interrogeant le contenu de vérité de la Bible. De l’autre Bossuet propose dans son Discours sur l’histoire universelle une interprétation religieuse universelle de l’histoire. De plus l’idée de progrès est elle-même d’origine religieuse, judéo-chrétienne ; elle est étrangère à la pensée antique, notamment grecque, qui est dominée par une conception cyclique du temps (sauf par certains aspects chez les Sophistes et les Epicuriens). Dans la tradition judéo-chrétienne elle fonde l’histoire du Salut et la conception d’un destin unique de l’individu ou de l’Humanité. Fonder l’histoire


9 Montesquieu (1951, p. 229, Préface).

10 Althusser (1969, p. 52).

11 Cassirer (1966, p. 209).


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La téléologie critique et ses paradigmes scientifiques

impliquait donc la sécularisation de l’histoire du Salut. Certes, il faut s’entendre ici sur le terme de sécularisation ; car Kant refuse tout autant le « chiliasme théologique » que sa

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simple transcription en un « chiliasme philosophique » . Le cadre d’interprétation

religieux peut tout au plus être hérité comme « Idée ». Par Idée il faut entendre que l’histoire universelle, son but ultime et l’idée même de progrès relèvent de ce qui est pensable, mais non connaissable.

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«Tout factum est objet dans le phénomène (des sens); en revanche ce qui ne peut être représenté que par la raison pure, ce qui doit être compté au nombre des Idées, auxquelles nul objet ne peut être donné dans l’expérience comme adéquat, ainsi une constitution juridique parfaite entre les hommes, c’est la chose en soi elle-même».


L’Idée d’une constitution civile parfaite qui prend la relève de la Civitas Dei est donc une chose en soi ou une Idée transcendantale. Kant est sur ce point d’accord avec Rousseau, le scepticisme et le désabusement mis à part : l’histoire relève du domaine moral-pratique et non physique, du devoir-être et non de l’être :

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14

«Le droit politique est encore à naître, et il est à présumer qu’il ne naîtra jamais. [...] Le seul moderne en état de créer cette grande et inutile science eût été l’illustre Montesquieu. Mais il n’eût garde de traiter de principes du droit politique; il se contente de traiter du droit positif des gouvernements établis; et rien au monde n’est plus différent que ces deux études. Celui pourtant qui veut juger sainement des gouvernements tels qu’ils existent est obligé de les réunir toutes deux: il faut savoir ce qui doit être pour bien juger de ce qui est».


Toute la question consiste dès lors à déterminer comment, et sous quelle forme, le devoir-être intervient dans la connaissance de l’être, en l’occurrence l’histoire effective. La façon dont s’articule ici l’ordre de la raison pure et celui des phénomènes est différent de la connaissance physique.

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«La raison pure contient donc, non pas, à la vérité, dans son usage spéculatif, mais dans un certain usage pratique, c’est-à-dire dans l’usage moral, des principes de la possibilité de l’expérience, à savoir d’actions qui, conformément aux principes moraux, pourraient être trouvées dans l’histoire de l’homme».


12 Cf. Crampe-Casnabet (1996, p. 136).

13 Metaphysik der Sitten. Rechtslehre (Métaphysique des moeurs, Doctrine du droit), W, VII, 497.

14 Rousseau (1966, Livre V, p. 600).

15 „Die reine Vernunft enthält also, zwar nicht in ihrem spekulativen, aber doch in einem gewissen praktischen, nämlich dem moralischen Gebrauche, Prinzipien der Möglichkeit der Erfahrung, nämlich


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Dans ce « pourraient » réside toute la différence, qui fait que la relation des principes et du donné ne peut être constitutive, comme en physique. Connaissance de la nature et philosophie pratique sont l’une et l’autre fondées sur des principes a priori ; mais dans la connaissance de la nature la philosophie « théorique » est « complétée » par des données physiques, tandis que la philosophie pratique est tirée uniquement de principes a priori. La raison morale ne peut donc en tant que telle fonder une connaissance de l’histoire16.

Au début du Conflit Kant ironise d’ailleurs sur l’« histoire a priori »:

«Comment est possible une histoire a priori? – Réponse : Si le devin fait et organise lui-

17

même les événements qu’à l’avance il prédit».

La raison morale-pratique peut seulement, en tant qu’impératif catégorique, orienter l’action des hommes; mais elle ne saurait constituer ni l’histoire, ni sa connaissance. Pour que ce soit le cas il faudrait que les hommes soient capables de comprendre et de suivre la loi morale. Il faudrait aussi que le simple respect de la loi suffise à transformer le monde en

un monde rationnel et moral. Or, l’homme est fait d’un bois si noueux (Idée d’une histoire

e

universelle d’un point de vue cosmopolitique, 6 proposition) – une image qui vient de

saint Augustin et de Luther et que Kant reprendra dans La religion dans les limites de la simple raison – qu’on ne peut guère attendre d’effet en droite ligne de la loi morale, d’effet

qui fonde le droit sur la droiture. L’homme, comme Herder l’avait déjà souligné, n’est ni

18

totalement bon, ni totalement méchant; il est un mélange de bien et de mal . Le progrès,

comme Herder l’avait aussi bien vu, n’est pas linéaire et sa connaissance n’est jamais univoque. L’histoire offre plutôt le spectacle du désordre, voire du chaos. Pour Herder, seule la foi permet de garantir une unité supérieure.

Kant prend donc le parti d’admettre que la théorie ne coïncide jamais complètement avec l’expérience, même dans les sciences exactes ou physiques – ce qui lui permet de


solcher Handlungen, die den sittlichen Vorschriften gemäß in der Geschichte des Menschen anzutreffen sein könnten.“ (Critique de la Raison pure, Théorie transcendantale de la méthode, Chap. II, section 4 : « De l’idéal du Souverain bien », A 807, W IV, 678 ; trad. fr. par A. Tremesaygues et B. Pacaud, Paris, PUF 1971, p. 544).


16 C'est pourquoi Riedel a raison de dire: « Le paradoxe méthodologique de la philosophie kantienne de l’histoire réside en ce que pour sa fondation elle ne fait aucun usage direct du principe moral de la raison pratique », « Einleitung », in Riedel (1985, p. 12).


17 « Wie ist aber eine Geschichte a priori möglich? - Antwort: Wenn der Wahrsager die Begebenheiten selber macht und veranstaltet, die er zum Voraus verkündigt. » (Der Streit der Fakultäten, W IX, 351; trad. fr. par J. Gibelin: Le Conflit des facultés, Paris, Vrin 1955, p. 94).


18 Cf. Conflit des facultés, 2e section, IV, W IX, 356 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 99.


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contester qu’il faille en tirer des conséquences catastrophistes. Ainsi l’écart entre une théorie mathématique et une expérience déterminée prouve que la théorie est insuffisante,

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mais par défaut et non par excès, c’est-à-dire « qu’il n’y a pas assez de théorie ».

Raisonner autrement conduit selon lui à abandonner le canon de la raison, c’est-à-dire à renoncer à la logique transcendantale, donc à se priver de toute perspective systématique, à accepter le morcellement et le désordre de l’expérience et à réduire les diverses disciplines scientifiques à de simples collections de faits dont il n’est guère possible de tirer, dans le meilleur des cas, que des recettes pragmatiques.

Vis-à-vis de l’historiographie Kant ne laisse d’en souligner les limites – qu’il connaît d’autant mieux qu’il se place, comme on l’a dit, d’emblée au point de vue scientifique de son époque (et on a tort à cet égard de souligner toujours la pensée morale de Kant en négligeant la somme de données scientifiques sur lesquelles il s’appuie). Sa conclusion, telle qu’il la rappelle dans la deuxième section du Conflit des facultés (IV), est

sans appel: « On ne peut immédiatement résoudre le problème du progrès par

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l’expérience. »

Vis-à-vis de la théologie Kant « joue le jeu » ; au début des Conjectures sur les débuts de l’histoire humaine il argumente sur le même terrain que Herder dans Une autre philosophie de l’histoire et dans les Idées, c’est-à-dire sur le terrain de la véracité de la tradition biblique. Mais s’il le fait, c’est pour conférer à cette dernière un autre statut que chez Herder, pour qui elle restait la référence en dernier recours. Kant en fait une reconstruction idéale, une « Idée » comme « fil directeur », un pur instrument méthodique de la téléologie, qu’il qualifie même de « voyage d’agrément » se servant de la Bible comme boussole (une métaphore scientifique peut-être pas si innocente qu’il peut paraître, sans parler bien entendu de la désinvolture délibérée avec laquelle est traité le texte biblique).

Ce fonctionnement heuristique de l’Idée constitue l’originalité de la théorie kantienne de l’histoire. Il articule l’histoire selon la morale et l’histoire factuelle sans faire de la téléologie, héritière de la théologie, le fondement de la théorie de l’histoire, comme c’est le cas chez Herder. Kant en renverse le statut et la définit au contraire dans la Critique


19 « daß nicht genug Theorie da war » (Über den Gemeinspruch: Das mag in der Theorie richtig sein, taugt aber nicht für die Praxis, W IX 127) ; cf. Philonenko (1968, p. 23).


20 W IX, 355 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 98.


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21

de la faculté de juger comme la propédeutique de la théologie . De la sorte va pouvoir être

accomplie jusqu’à un certain point la liaison du rationnel et du donné qui, selon le modèle de la physique, rend seule possible la connaissance de l’expérience. Cette liaison va être de nature particulière.


2.


La quête de Kant n’est pas foncièrement différente de celle de Herder. Comme lui il souligne l’importance de l’histoire empirique mais aussi la nécessité de la dépasser pour (re)fonder l’idée d’un progrès général. Comme chez Herder la téléologie se voit confier la tâche de surmonter la coupure entre théorie et pratique – mais une téléologie indépendante de la théologie. Elle va assumer la fonction législatrice qui est celle du jugement dans tous

les ordres dans lesquels il s’exerce – fonction médiatrice entre les concepts et l’intuition

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dans la connaissance physique, entre la théorie et la pratique dans l’ordre pratique . Dans

cet ordre le jugement téléologique va prendre en charge la mission suprême de la

philosophie en mettant en relation les faits et les fins ultimes de la raison humaine (teleologia rationis humanae – telle est en effet la définition de la philosophie dans

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l’Architectonique de la Raison pure ). Il permet de penser le monde sensible en référence

au monde intelligible, sans pour autant confondre ces deux ordres. Le refus d’une telle confusion s’exprime entre autres à la fin de l’essai « Sur l’usage des principes téléologiques en philosophie » :

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24

«Il fallait démontrer encore spécialement la possibilité d’une validité objective de tels concepts apriori par rapport au domaine empirique, pour qu’ils ne soient pas considérés ou comme étant sans signification ou comme issus de l’expérience».

Là où le jugement constitutif est impuissant, la tâche du jugement téléologique consiste à dépasser la connaissance purement accidentelle et désordonnée par une

« histoire systématique », en ramenant les faits incohérents à certains principes



21 Critique de la faculté de juger, « Méthodologie du jugement téléologique », § 85, W VIII, 566, trad. fr. par

A. Philonenko, Paris, Vrin 1965, p. 250.


22 Cf. Über den Gemeinspruch..., W IX, 127.

23 Critique de la Raison pure, W IV, 700 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 562.

24 « Sur l’emploi des principes téléologiques dans la philosophie », W VIII, 170 ; trad. fr. par S. Piobetta, in : Kant : La Philosophie de l’histoire, Paris, Aubier-Montaigne 1947, p. 210sq.


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ordonnateurs, car « un système ne peut être construit par la simple collection de faits ». Si

elle n’en est pas l’accomplissement, qui ne serait atteint que par une construction déductive, la téléologie se veut le premier pas vers une « science historique » (historische Wissenschaft) qui serait une « science rationnelle » (Vernunftwissenschaft). C’est sans doute pourquoi Kant, malgré la nécessité de mettre en œuvre un type de jugement spécifique, ne perd jamais de vue le modèle physico-mathématique et ne manque pas de le faire valoir dès que l’occasion s’en présente. De même qu’un Kepler et un Newton ont pu démontrer, l’un, le mécanisme rigoureux des corps célestes et l’autre celui des corps terrestres, l’histoire attend son Newton ou son Kepler.

Trois modèles de sciences constituent l’horizon de scientificité que l’histoire doit

viser même si elle ne doit jamais l’atteindre : l’astronomie, la physique et la biologie. La

26

métaphore de l’astronomie, qu’il doit du reste peut-être à… Buffon , se trouve au moins à

deux endroits décisifs : dans l’introduction de l’Idée d’une histoire universelle d’un point

27

de vue cosmopolitique et dans le Conflit des facultés.

L’introduction à l’Idée d’une histoire universelle est le passage le plus connu : c’est là que Kant invoque Newton et Kepler. Le passage du Conflit n’est pas moins suggestif puisqu’il reprend à son compte le principe de la révolution copernicienne :

28

28

«Peut-être aussi que si le cours des choses humaines nous paraît si insensé, cela tient au mauvais choix du point de vue sous lequel nous le considérons. Les planètes, vues de la terre, tantôt vont en arrière, tantôt s’arrêtent et tantôt vont en avant. Mais si notre point de vue est pris du soleil, ce que seule la raison peut faire, leur course s’effectue régulièrement d’après l’hypothèse de Copernic. Il plaît toutefois à quelques-uns, qui ne sont pas d’ailleurs des sots, de s’en tenir obstinément à leur façon d’expliquer les phénomènes et au point de vue une fois adopté ; quand bien même ils s’embarrasseraient jusqu’à l’absurde dans les cycles et les épicycles de Tycho. – Le malheur est précisément que nous ne puissions pas nous placer à ce point de vue quand il s’agit de prévoir des actions libres. Car ce serait celui de la Providence, qui est au-delà de toute sagesse humaine […]».

En 1784, dans Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht, c’est le paradigme de la physique qui prédomine. Il régit l’équilibre des forces de la sociabilité et


25 Logik-Nachlaß, Nr. 2233.

26 Ce qui reflète le contexte de dialogue épistémologique dans lequel s’accomplit le « tournant historique ».

27 « Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht », W IX, 34 ; trad. fr. par S. Piobetta, op. cit., p. 61.


28 Conflit des facultés, W IX, 355 ; trad. Fr., op. cit., p. 98sq.


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de l’asocialité et l’idée que le droit est l’équilibre entre un maximum de liberté et un maximum de contrainte. Il en va de même à propos de la guerre :

29

29

«La nature a donc utilisé […] l’incompatibilité des hommes et même l’incompatibilité entre grandes sociétés et corps politiques auxquels se prête cette sorte de créatures, comme un moyen pour forger au sein de leur inévitable antagonisme un état de calme et de sécurité. Ainsi, par le moyen des guerres, des préparatifs excessifs et incessants en vue des guerres et de la misère qui s’ensuit intérieurement pour chaque Etat, même en temps de paix, la nature, dans des tentatives d’abord imparfaites, puis finalement, après bien des ruines, bien des naufrages, après même un épuisement intérieur radical de leurs forces, pousse les Etats à faire ce que la raison aurait aussi bien pu leur apprendre sans qu’il leur en coutât d’aussi tristes épreuves, c’est-à-dire à sortir de l’état anarchique de sauvagerie pour entrer dans une société des nations. […] Toutes les guerres sont de ce fait autant de tentatives (non pas bien entendu dans l’intention des hommes, mais dans celle de la nature) pour réaliser de nouvelles relations entre les Etats, et, par leur destruction, ou du moins par leur démembrement général, pour former de nouveaux corps ; ceux-ci à leur tour, soit dans leurs rapports internes, soit dans leurs relations mutuelles, ne peuvent se maintenir, et par conséquent doivent subir d’autres révolutions analogues. Un jour enfin, en partie par l’établissement le plus adéquat de la constitution civile sur le plan intérieur, en partie sur le plan extérieur par une convention et une législation communes, un état de choses s’établira qui, telle une communauté civile universelle, pourra se maintenir par lui-même, comme un automate».


Ce passage est important à plus d’un égard. D’abord parce qu’il véhicule encore le regard baroque sur le monde de ruines provoquées par la folie humaine. Pour surmonter la vision baroque du monde – ce qui est l’enjeu de la philosophie kantienne de l’histoire – il substitue expressément et avec insistance le modèle mécanique au modèle organiciste qui dominait la conception chrétienne de l’histoire. Et il le fait de telle sorte que le simple mécanisme des relations entre les Etats est désormais de nature à ré-organiser (au sens fort) et à constituer (au sens fort également) des corps politiques. Il ne fait guère de doute que c’est cette prétention que les Romantiques récuseront en déniant aux constructions politiques mécaniques la faculté de se substituer à une constitution organique issue de l’histoire. Enfin, on y reviendra plus loin, le paradigme mécanique, s’il est à la hauteur de cette ambition, confirme l’alliance de Copernic et de Newton proclamée dans l’introduction, et les révolutions politiques sont du même coup conçues comme des révolutions astronomiques.


29 « Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht », septième proposition, W IX, 42sq. ; trad. fr. par S. Piobetta, op. cit., p. 69sq.


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Il en résulte au demeurant une singulière conception de la Providence – une conception fort peu chrétienne et bien plutôt stoïcienne ainsi que l’a montré Reinhard

30

Brandt . Brandt relève même des parentés avec le matérialisme d’Epicure et notamment

avec la conception de la chute des atomes, que Kant discute d’ailleurs dans la septième proposition de l’Idée d’une histoire universelle et à laquelle Marx consacrera sa thèse de doctorat. Kant se demande :

31

31

«Est-ce d’un concours épicurien des causes efficientes qu’il nous faut attendre que les Etats, comme les atomes de la matière, essaient, en s’entrechoquant au hasard, toute sortes de structures qu’un nouveau choc détruira à leur tour, jusqu’à ce qu’enfin, un jour, par hasard, l’une d’elles réussisse à se conserver dans sa forme (heureux hasard dont on n’imagine pas sans peine la réussite) ?».


En 1795, dans Zum ewigen Frieden, il reprend expressément le problème posé par

e

la 6 proposition: « Ordonner une foule d’êtres raisonnables qui réclament tous d’un

commun accord des lois générales en vue de leur conservation, chacun d’eux ayant

d’ailleurs une tendance secrète à s’en excepter. » Kant n’hésite pas à dire qu’« un pareil problème doit (muß) pouvoir se résoudre car il ne requiert pas l’amélioration morale des

32

hommes. »

Cette adhésion à l’évolution historique acquiert ici la valeur de l’affirmation d’une logique, car tel est le sens fort de nécessité du verbe müssen. Mais on connait bien sûr la restriction que Kant apporte, dans la septième proposition de 1784, à cette réduction potentielle du politique à une légalité physique ; elle peut sans doute expliquer la civilisation, mais elle ne peut fonder la moralité : « Nous sommes civilisés au point d’en

être accablés pour ce qui est de l’urbanité et des bienséances sociales de tout ordre. Mais

33

quant à nous tenir déjà pour moralisés, il s’en faut encore de beaucoup . » Kant n’est donc

pas prêt à assimiler, comme Leibniz dans les Nouveaux Essais ou comme Wolff, la mathématique et la science juridique ; la Critique de la raison pure est du reste claire sur ce point:


30 Brandt (2007, p. 196).

31 « Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht », septième proposition, W IX, 43 ; trad. fr. par S. Piobetta, op. cit., p. 70.


32 Zum ewigen Frieden, W, IX, 224.

33 « Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht », septième proposition, W IX, 44 ; trad. fr. par S. Piobetta, op. cit., p. 72.


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34

34

«La philosophie fourmille de définitions défectueuses, surtout de définitions qui contiennent bien, réellement, certains éléments de la définition sans les contenir tous encore. [...] Dans la mathématique, la définition a rapport à l’esse, dans la philosophie au melius esse. Il est beau, mais souvent très difficile d’y arriver. Les jurisconsultes cherchent encore une définition pour leur concept de droit» .

Il s’ensuit que le problème du droit ne peut être résolu de façon satisfaisante d’un pur point de vue scientifique ; il requiert la raison pure pratique et la référence au devoir. En ce point le risque est grand, du même coup, de retomber dans la lecture moraliste et massivement

normative qui a longtemps fait florès et qu’il reste extrêmement difficile de surmonter.

35

Kant appelle aussi l’ « histoire systématique » histoire morale . Certes, il ne faut

pas entendre par là simplement une histoire des mœurs, au sens des historiens de l’époque

36

immédiatement antérieure, de Voltaire ou de Montesquieu. Mais ce qu’il faut entendre,

ce n’est pas non plus une histoire sur laquelle la morale, l’impératif catégorique, le devoir auraient la prétention d’étendre une poigne de fer. C’est bien plutôt une histoire dont l’enjeu est la mise en relation du matériau historique avec la morale (une sorte de

« métaphysique des mœurs » dans le domaine historique). Cette mise en relation est la tâche du jugement réfléchissant, dont le mode de fonctionnement rompt avec l’usage dogmatique de la téléologie en utilisant la morale (l’Idée) pour interroger (rétrospectivement) des séquences d’événements historiques et tenter de rendre plausible le système de cette séquence de séquences qu’est l’histoire universelle (ou

« cosmopolitique »). Ce faisant ni la morale, ni la téléologie ne sont fondamentales ; elles remplacent ensemble de façon critique, par leur tension, le fondement cosmo-théologique traditionnel.


3.


Pour bien comprendre ce qu’il faut entendre par « critique », il suffit de penser à la façon dont Leibniz « récupère » la cosmothéologie précritique : la monade est à la fois libre (historique) et déterminée ; elle est libre au sens où elle n’a besoin que de soi pour son développement, mais elle est déterminée dans la mesure où ce dernier s’inscrit dans

34 Critique de la Raison pure, W, IV, 625 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 503. Cf. Philonenko (1968, p. 34).

35 « Sittengeschichte » (Conflit des facultés, 2e section, W IX, 351 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 94.

36 Essai sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations et sur les principaux faits de l'histoire depuis Charlemagne jusqu'à Louis XIII (1756), Essai sur L'Histoire générale et sur les Mœurs et l'Esprit (1764). En 1769, Voltaire fera de sa Philosophie de l'histoire (1765) le « Discours préliminaire » de l'Essai.


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l’harmonie préétablie d’un ordre général. Kant réprouve cette confusion des genres entre pratique et physique (déterminisme), physique et métaphysique (parce que et comme si) : la monade est libre mais tout se passe « comme si » elle était déterminée. Pour lui, ou bien elle est déterminée (et l’on est dans l’ordre physique du parce que), ou bien elle est libre et tout « se passe comme si » – on est alors dans la métaphysique, ou bien précisément dans

l’ordre de l’histoire. Kant, comme le dit Philonenko, a compris « qu’il doit édifier la

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théorie de l’histoire sur le comme si », et c’est bien ce qui fait toute l’exigence de cette

entreprise car elle est appelée à remplacer de façon critique la métaphysique, ou du moins la métaphysique est appelée à se réaliser en elle.

Kant refuse que cette historicisation critique de la métaphysique se fasse sur le

e

mode vulgaire des téléologies du 18 , qui prennent seulement la relève de la théologie en

substituant à l’autorité de la Révélation l’argument physico-théologique, ou sur le mode de cette autre forme de téléologisme dogmatique qui se développe dans les spéculations scientifiques. L’essai « Sur l’usage des principes téléologiques en philosophie » est à ce titre dirigé tout autant contre Herder que contre l’usage dogmatique de la téléologie dans les sciences. La téléologie herderienne cumule aux yeux de Kant ces deux défauts dans une sorte d’anthropo-théologie. Kant renouvelle ce refus farouche du dogmatisme de la finalité dans le § 63 de la Critique de la faculté de juger. Dans la Lettre aux amis de Lessing de Mendelssohn un Groenlandais, se promenant sur la banquise avec un missionnaire,

s’exclame : « Ah ! Si l’aurore est belle, combien plus beau doit être Celui qui l’a faite ! »

38

Le Groenlandais, rappelle Philonenko , c’est pour l’homme des Lumières ce qu’est

proverbialement le Belge pour le Français, le Frison pour l’Allemand, l’Acadien pour le Québécois – un Untermensch, un imbécile. L’argument physico-théologique est donc imbécile. Kant dans le § 63 de la Critique de la faculté de juger « évoque le limon déposé

sur les terres et qui en accroît la fertilité. Il n’y a en cela aucune finalité de sens

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dogmatique : c’est un effet de la nature que l’homme utilise ». L’herbe n’est pas plus

faite pour le mouton que le mouton pour être mangé par l’homme qui serait fait pour être mangé par le lion, fait pour être chassé par l’homme, etc. Raisonner ainsi conduirait, dit Kant au § 67, à affirmer que « les insectes qui infestent les habits, les poils et les lits de


37 Philonenko (1986, p. 16).

38 Philonenko (1986, p. 34).

39 Ibid.


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l’homme constituent, par une sage disposition de la nature, un aiguillon pour la propreté,

40

en soi un point bien important déjà pour la conservation de la santé ». En outre,


41

41

«Supposer une structure finale du monde déterminée par des solutions déjà préparées, c’est figer tout mouvement, évacuer les notions de réussite et d’échec et finalement nier la temporalité, source de progrès et d’adaptations» .

Il s’ensuit que « la finalité relative, bien qu’elle donne hypothétiquement des indications,

42

n’autorise aucun jugement téléologique absolu ».

e

Dans le Conflit des facultés (2 section, V) Kant reprendra cette idée en soulignant

43

que l’étude de l’histoire empirique ne fournit que des signes (Geschichtszeichen ). Il faut

donc parvenir à fonder la convergence de la nature et de la raison, montrer que les fins de la nature et les fins de la liberté concordent sans retomber dans le dogmatisme métaphysique, c’est-à-dire sans que la théologie ou le finalisme naturel envahissent la philosophie de l’histoire, comme c’est le cas chez Herder, qui cumule ces deux défauts. Le traité de 1791 sur les progrès faits par la métaphysique depuis Leibniz et Wolff consacre une section à la critique de la finalité dogmatique, et il est intéressant de remarquer que

dans cette section Kant se réfère à Epicure, le penseur du hasard, et qu’il voit une fois de

44

plus en lui – fût-ce ponctuellement –pour s’opposer à la « métaphysique de la nature » .

Le progrès ne consiste pas plus – malgré le caractère captieux et ambigu des déclarations de Kant sur le « plan de la nature » ou de la « Providence » – en un « choix » intentionnel, délibéré, de la Nature qui reviendrait à une nécessité, à un déterminisme, qu’en une substitution consciente et voulue par les hommes des moyens de la culture – la moralité et le droit au déterminisme naturel. Kant se garde de substituer au désordre de la matière historique une Naturphilosophie et de surestimer l’idée de garantie naturelle ; lorsqu’on lit les déclarations qui parlent de cette dernière, par exemple dans Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte, on doit toujours conserver à l’esprit que cette « garantie » n’a pas valeur de fondement mais qu’elle est établie par le jugement réfléchissant et que sa validité reste


40 Critique de la faculté de juger, § 67, W VIII, 492.

41 Philonenko (1986, p. 34).

42 « [...] so folgt, daß die relative Zweckmäßigkeit, ob sie gleich hypothetisch auf Naturzwecke Anzeige gibt, dennoch zu keinem absoluten Urtheile berechtige. » (Critique de la faculté de juger, § 63, W VIII, 479).


43 Conflit des facultés, 2e section, W IX, 357.

44 Preisschrift : Welches sind die wirklichen Fortschritte der Metaphysik seit Leibniz’ und Wolffs Zeiten in Deutschland, W V, 630sq.


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dans les limites heuristiques de ce dernier. A l’inverse, il est vrai que « comme une pure téléologie pratique, c’est-à-dire une morale, est destinée à réaliser ses fins dans l’univers,

elle ne pourra négliger la possibilité de ces fins dans cet univers [...], la téléologie

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naturelle ». Ni, ni. Il faut se garder par cette double exclusion de toute confusion entre

l’ordre physique et l’ordre moral, entre l’objectif et le subjectif. « Nous n’observons pas dans la nature des fins intentionnelles comme telles » ; c’est seulement « en réfléchissant

sur ses produits [que] nous ajoutons par la pensée ce concept comme fil conducteur pour le

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jugement ». On ne peut que – mais on peut – dégager des régularités séquentielles. Dans

sa période précritique, espérant sans doute y trouver une science mathématique sur laquelle fonder l’histoire, Kant s’est intéressé à l’avènement de la statistique et à sa capacité à fournir à tout le moins des indices de régularités, donc de légalité (voir notamment la

quatrième considération dans la seconde partie de l’Unique fondement possible d’une

47

démonstration de l’existence de Dieu en 1763 ). L’idéal n’a pas disparu ; il a changé de

48

statut .

Il ne faut pas confondre l’objectif et le subjectif : pour qu’il y ait fin de la nature, il faut qu’il y ait un rapport de cause à effet et que l’idée de l’effet soit déjà présente dans la

49

causalité « comme condition fondamentale pour la possibilité de l’effet ». A cette seule

condition, c’est-à-dire lorsque la chose se comporte vis-à-vis d’elle-même à la fois comme cause et comme effet, on peut parler de finalité objective ou naturelle. Dans tous les autres cas, tout se passe « comme si » une finalité existait mais elle est introduite par le sujet et ne se présente dans la nature elle-même que sous forme de finalité relative. En fait nous ne rencontrons la finalité naturelle de façon indéniable que chez les êtres organisés (réponse de Kant à la monade leibnizienne) qui, précisément, s’organisent eux-mêmes et chez lesquels la causalité peut être conçue aussi bien de façon « descendante » – série de causes efficientes et d’effets – que de façon « ascendante » – « liaison finale », nexus finalis ;


45 « Sur l’emploi des principes téléologiques dans la philosophie », W VIII, 170 ; trad. fr. par S. Piobetta,

  1. 208sq.


    46 Critique de la faculté de juger, § 75 - W, VIII, 515).

    47 W II, 676sq.

    48 On peut déceler ce changement de statut dans la critique des inutiles énumérations et calculs (« Aufzählung » et « Berechnung ») à la fin du chap. 5 de la 2ème section du Conflit (W IX, 357 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 100).


    49 Critique de la faculté de juger, § 63, W, VIII, 477.


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    c’est-à-dire que la liaison des parties est telle que chaque partie semble déterminée par le

    tout et qu’à l’inverse le tout n’est possible que par la liaison des parties. On parle alors de

    50

    finalité intérieure .


    51

    51

    «Un produit organisé de la nature est un produit où tout est fin et moyen réciproquement; en lui rien d’inutile, sans but, ou dû à un aveugle mécanisme naturel».

    C’est en ce point qu’intervient le modèle de la science biologique. Les « germes » (Keime) et les dispositions innées « programment » en quelque sorte la finalité intérieure des individus selon une légalité supra-individuelle. Kant n’est pas le seul à s’y référer à son époque ; on trouve ce modèle notamment chez Isaak Iselin. C’est ce même modèle qui est affirmé dès les deux premiers paragraphes d’Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte. L’articulation avec le modèle dynamique de la physique se fait dans la proposition 4, où Kant expose qu’il y a en l’homme à la fois les germes du Bien et des germes de discorde. Mais il est encore plus intéressant de retrouver ce modèle dans l’Opus postumum, où même les révolutions politiques sont ainsi comprises – en sorte que placée sous la double égide du modèle astronomique et du modèle biologique elles redeviennent des révolutions au sens naturel et cyclique.

    52

    52

    «Les êtres organisés forment sur terre, du point de vue de leurs fins, un tout qui, a priori, conserve ses espèces et celles de ses rejetons comme autant d’existences issues du même germe (d’un même œuf couvé en somme) et ayant besoin les unes des autres. Cela vaut aussi des révolutions de la nature qui ont engendré la nouvelle espèce à laquelle appartient l’homme».


    4.


    Il ne faut pas pour autant confondre les modèles scientifiques et leur usage téléologique, pas plus que la finalité dans l’ordre de la nature et l’usage de la notion de finalité dans l’interprétation de l’histoire. A cause de sa généralité le jugement réfléchissant « ne peut reposer uniquement sur des raisons empiriques ; il doit se former sur quelque principe a priori, ne serait-il que régulateur et même si ces fins se trouvaient uniquement dans l’idée


    50 Cf. ibid., § 65.

    51 Ibid., § 66, W VIII, 488.

    52 « Die organisirte Geschöpfe machen auf der Erde ein Ganzes nach Zwecken aus, welches a priori als aus einem Keim (gleichsam bebrütetem Ey) entsprossen wechselseitig einander bedürfend seine und seiner Geburten Species erhält. Auch Revolutionen der Natur die neue Species wozu der Mensch gehört hervorbrachten. » (Akademie-Ausgabe, op. cit., t. 22: Opus postumum, p. 241sq.)


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    53

    de celui qui juge et nulle part dans une cause efficiente ». Il remonte de l’observation de

    faits particuliers à ce principe général – lequel n’est que régulateur et ne saurait donc se substituer à la connaissance des causes efficientes :

    54

    54

    «Il va de soi que ce principe n’est pas pour le jugement déterminant mais pour le jugement réfléchissant, qu’il est régulateur et non constitutif; il nous fournit un fil conducteur pour considérer les objets de la nature par rapport à un principe de détermination déjà donné, suivant un nouvel ordre de lois et d’élargir ainsi la science de la nature d’après un autre principe, celui des causes finales, sans dommage toutefois pour celui du mécanisme de la causalité» .

    L’explication causaliste des phénomènes doit être poussée aussi loin que possible parce qu’elle seule est en mesure de constituer des connaissances; mais là où cette explication ne suffit pas, on peut et même on doit lui superposer le jugement de finalité, sans toutefois le confondre avec une connaissance à proprement parler. Le § 74 de la Critique de la faculté de juger oppose en ce sens l’usage dogmatique et l’usage critique :

    55

    55

    «Nous procédons avec un concept d’une manière purement critique lorsque nous le considérons seulement en relation à notre faculté de connaître, donc aux conditions subjectives pour le penser, sans entreprendre de décider quoi que ce soit à propos de son objet. Le procédé dogmatique, avec un concept, est donc celui qui fait loi pour la faculté de juger déterminante, le procédé critique celui qui fait loi pour la faculté de juger réfléchissante».

    Il en va de même en histoire. L’idée d’une histoire philosophique (ou « systématique »)

    n’est donc en rien un ersatz de théologie coupant court aux insuffisances de l’historiographie empirique – ce qui est pour Kant de la métaphysique, et qui plus est « de

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    la métaphysique très dogmatique » Elle est tout le contraire : elle s’appuie sur l’histoire

    empirique et ses progrès scientifiques; mais comme ceux-ci ne suffisent toujours pas à permettre une vision globale qui ne sera sans doute jamais possible, elle les soumet à un traitement critique à la lumière des fins de la Raison morale-pratique sans pour autant



    53 Critique de la faculté de juger, W VIII, 488.

    54 Ibid., § 67, W, VIII, 492).

    55 « Wir verfahren mit [einem Begriffe] bloß kritisch, wenn wir ihn nur in Beziehung auf unser Erkenntnisvermögen, mithin auf die subjektiven Bedingungen, ihn zu denken, betrachten, ohne es zu unternehmen, über sein Objekt etwas zu entscheiden. Das dogmatische Verfahren mit einem Begriffe ist also dasjenige, welches für die bestimmende, das kritische das, welches bloß für die reflektierende Urteilskraft gesetzmäßig ist » (Ibid., W, VIII, 510sq).


    56 « Compte rendu de Herder: Idées en vue d’une philosophie de l’histoire de l’humanité » (Rezensionen von Herders Ideen, 1785), W X, 792).


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    Gérard Raulet

    Gérard Raulet


    conférer à cette dernière un statut fondamental qui la transformerait en « néo-théologie ». On pourrait dire que le reproche que Kant adresse à Herder, c’est d’avoir clos avoir trop de confiance, c’est-à-dire de foi et par conséquent de façon théologique, le conflit entre l’empirique et le moral. Herder a en fait bâti toute sa tentative de critique et de dépassement des philosophies pessimistes et optimistes de l’histoire sur un court-circuit qui est chez Kant tout l’enjeu du jugement réfléchissant. Car ce dernier réclame seulement l’autorisation d’intervenir là où « il n’y a pas assez de théorie », étant entendu que, ce faisant,

    57

    57

    «ce ne sont pas les fins de la nature, fondées uniquement sur des preuves tirées de l’expérience, mais une fin déterminée a priori par la raison pure pratique (dans l’Idée du Bien suprême), qui doit suppléer au défaut et aux insuffisances de la théorie. C’est un droit, ou plutôt un besoin analogue, de partir d’un principe téléologique là où la théorie nous abandonne, que j’ai essayé de justifier dans un petit essai sur les races humaines» .


    « Critique » signifie donc que, dans l’usage qu’il fait de la téléologie, Kant, en lui refusant tout statut fondamental, met entre parenthèses les catégories de début et de fin en tant que catégories objectives et les remplace par la tension entre des « conjectures » et une

    « Idée ». A la fin de sa recension des Idées de Herder il précise que le philosophe ne verra

    dans la fin de l’Histoire qu’« une idée très utile du but vers lequel nous devons orienter nos

    58

    efforts conformément à la Providence ».

    Cette mise entre parenthèses d’un commencement et d’une fin transforme la prima philosophia et la téléologie dogmatique qui en avait pris la relève en ce qu’on peut appeler une dynamique (au sens propre, dont Kant ne cesse de jouer dans ses écrits téléologiques sur l’histoire : un jeu de forces – même si on ne peut le réduire à une approche strictement physique qui permettrait de le connaître comme on connaît la connexion des phénomènes de la nature). Dans son essai sur le concept de race humaine (1785) Kant oppose la

    « description naturelle », statique, et « l’histoire naturelle » qui s’attache aux évolutions, lesquelles peuvent cependant à leur tour être considérées d’un point de vue déterministe (succession causale des phénomènes) ou comme « histoire pragmatique » (pragmatische Geschichte), c’est-à-dire comme développement d’une finalité. Il s’agit d’une des désignations d’une théorie globale de l’histoire susceptible de rendre compte du mouvement sans être déterministe ni dogmatiquement finaliste – une théorie qui surmonte


    57 « Sur l’emploi des principes téléologiques dans la philosophie », W VIII, 139 ; trad. fr., op. cit., p. 175sq.

    58 « Compte rendu de Herder », W X, 806.


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    La téléologie critique et ses paradigmes scientifiques


    l’abîme entre une approche transcendantale impossible et l’effectivité déroutante de l’histoire en actes.


    Bibliographie


    Les œuvres de Kant sont citées selon l'édition de W. Weischedel, Wiesbaden, Insel 1964 (en abrégé : W, tome, page), à l’exception de l’Opus postumum, cité selon l'édition de l'Académie de Berlin (volume en chiffres romains, page en chiffres arabes : AK III, 21). Les références aux traductions françaises utilisées figurent en note.

    Althusser, L. (1969). Montesquieu. La Politique et l’Histoire, Paris, PUF. Brandt, R. (2007). Die Bestimmung des Menschen bei Kant, Hamburg, Meiner.

    Cassirer, E. (1966). La Philosophie des Lumières (1932), trad. fr. par P. Quillet, Paris, Fayard.

    Crampe-Casnabet, M. (1996). « Le ‘Conflit des facultés’ : contre le terrorisme et l'abdéritisme, une théorie des indices en histoire », Revue germanique internationale, 6 : Kant : philosophie de l’histoire, pp. 129-137.

    Philonenko, A. (1986). La théorie kantienne de l’histoire, Paris, Vrin.


    —(1968). Théorie et praxis dans la pensée morale et politique de Kant et Fichte en 1793, Paris, Vrin.

    Raulet, G. (1996). Kant. Histoire et citoyenneté, Paris, PUF (coll. Philosophies), réédition in : Paul Clavier / Mai Lequan / G. Raulet / André Tosel / Christophe Bouriau (2003), La philosophie de Kant, Paris, PUF (coll. Quadrige), pp. 217-412.

    • (1996a). « Kant était-il européen? », in Michèle Madonna-Desbazeille (dir.), L'Europe, naissance d'une utopie?, Paris, L’Harmattan.

    • (1996b). « Citizenship, otherness and cosmopolitism in Kant », in : Social Science Information, London/New Delhi, 35 (3).

    • (1998). « Citoyenneté, altérité et cosmopolitisme chez Kant », in : Rada Ivekovic / Jacques Poulain (dir.). Guérir de la guerre et juger la paix, Paris, L’Harmattan, pp. 75- 100.

    Riedel, M. (1985). Schriften zur Geschichtsphilosophie, Stuttgart, Reclam.


    Rousseau, J.-J. (1966). Emile ou de l’éducation, Paris, Garnier- Flammarion.


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    Sobre o aperfeiçoamento moral como destino da espécie humana


    On Moral Perfection as Destiny of the Human Species


    CINARA NAHRA


    UFRN, Brasil


    Resumo


    O objetivo deste artigo é discutir a idéia de aprimoramento moral em Kant. Mostramos que o aprimoramento moral se relaciona a idéia de agir por dever e que enquanto indivíduos tudo o que podemos fazer é agir moralmente e nos aprimorar moralmente, contribuindo assim para o aprimoramento moral da espécie. Este aprimoramento requer não apenas que trabalhemos pelo nosso próprio aperfeiçoamento, mas também, que trabalhemos pela felicidade dos outros. Porém por mais que trabalhemos pela felicidade dos outros, a realização do bem perfeito no mundo (consummatum), ou seja, a felicidade para os virtuosos, não depende inteiramente de nós e de nossos esforços individuais e como espécie. O destino humano então é o de nos aperfeiçoamos moralmente enquanto indivíduos, contribuindo desta forma para a mudança do caráter da espécie, nos tornando uma espécie não apenas capaz de moralidade, mas efetivamente moral, realizando o soberano bem (supremum) ao mesmo tempo que esperamos que todos estes seres morais sejam felizes, ou seja, que se efetive o soberano bem perfeito (consummatum).


    Palavras chave


    Kant; aperfeiçoamento moral; soberano bem (supremum); soberano bem (consummatum)


    Abstract



    Professora Doutora do Departamento de Filosofia da UFRN (Brasil). E-mail de contato:

    [email protected]


    [Recibido: 4 de abril de 2015/ 46

    Aceptado: 25 de Mayo de 2015]

    Sobre o aperfeiçoamento moral como destino da espécie humana


    The main of this article is to discuss the idea of moral enhancement in Kant. We will show that moral enhancement is related do idea of acting from duty and as individuals all that we can do is to act morally and enhance ourselves morally, contributing for the moral enhancement of the human species. To achieve the moral enhancement of the human species, however, it is necessary not only to work for our enhancement, but also to work for the happiness of others. But even if we work for other´s happiness, the accomplishment of the highest good (consummatum), I mean, the happiness for the virtuous, does not depend entirely on us and our efforts as individuals or as species. Human destiny ,then, is to morally improve ourselves as individuals, contributing this way to change the character of the species, becoming not only a species capable of morality but de facto moral, achieving the highest good (supremum), while hoping for the happiness of the virtuous, i.e., hoping for the accomplishment of the highest good (consummatum).


    Keywords


    Kant; Moral Enhancement; Highest Good (supremum); Highest Good (consummatum)


    1. Introdução


      Em vários momentos de sua obra Kant discute a espécie humana, sua destinação e seu aperfeiçoamento do ponto de vista moral. Na Antropologia (AA 07 322) ele sugere que uma boa caracterização do ser humano no sistema da natureza viva seria a de que «o ser humano tem um caráter que ele mesmo cria para si enquanto é capaz de se aperfeiçoar segundo os fins que ele mesmo assume», e a seguir sugere que «o homem se faz um animal racional na medida em que realiza o aperfeiçoamento mediante cultura progressiva, ainda que com muito sacrifício da alegria de viver».

      Na Crítica do Juízo (AA 05 392) Kant nos esclarece o que ele entende por cultura. Afirma que cultura é a produção da aptidão de um ser racional para fins desejados em geral. É por isso,diz ele, que só a cultura pode ser o fim último ao qual se atribui à natureza a respeito do ser humano, e não,salienta Kant, a sua própria felicidade na terra.Aqui nos chama a atenção Kant sobre a importância da cultura da disciplina, que é negativa e consiste na libertação da vontade em relação ao despotismo dos desejos.

      Em Sobre a Pedagogia (AA 09 441) Kant clarifica o tema da disciplina. Logo após afirmar que «a espécie humana é obrigada a extrair de si mesma, pouco a pouco, com suas próprias forças, todas as qualidades naturais que pertencem à humanidade, sendo que uma geração educa a outra», Kant reafirma que a disciplina é que impede o homem de desviar-


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      Cinara Nahra

      Cinara Nahra


      se de seu destino, de desviar-se da humanidade, através de suas inclinações animais. Adiante (AA 09 443) ele nos diz que o homem só se torna um verdadeiro homem pela educação. Kant (AA 09 444) chega a afirmar que o grande segredo da perfeição da natureza humana se esconde no próprio problema da educação, e aposta no aperfeiçoamento da espécie humana a través das gerações, sugerindo que

      «talvez a educação se torne sempre melhor e cada uma das gerações futuras dê um passo a mais em direção ao aperfeiçoamento da humanidade”. Entusiasmado nos diz Kant que “é entusiasmante pensar que a natureza humana será sempre melhor desenvolvida e aprimorada pela educação, e que isto abre a perspectiva para uma futura felicidade da espécie humana».


      Observe-se que aqui Kant resgata a felicidade como fazendo parte daquilo a que nós humanos estamos destinados. Enquanto a felicidade humana não é o fim último humano, como Kant salienta em vários momentos de sua obra, a felicidade como um fim subordinado à moralidade se mostra possível, exatamente como Kant já previra na noção de soberano bem (consummatum), ou seja, o soberano bem perfeito.Este desenvolvimento, porém, rumo a nossa destinação, só pode acontecer através dos tempos, através das sucessivas gerações que aprendem e por sua vez transmitem às próximas gerações aquilo que acumularam. Para Kant em Sobre a Pedagogia (AA 09 446):

      «Cada geração, de posse dos conhecimentos das gerações precedentes, está sempre melhor aparelhada para exercer uma educação que desenvolva todas as disposições naturais na justa proporção e de conformidade coma finalidade daquelas, e assim, guie toda a espécie humana a seu destino».


      Qual é, entretanto o destino maior da espécie humana, que se realiza através das sucessivas gerações, que aprendem e deixam seu legado para as próximas e como ele se realiza no homem.1


    2. A espécie humana e seu destino



      1

      Tomamos como base para a elaboração deste artigo a Antropologia de um ponto de vista pragmático (Anth

      AA 07) a Crítica da Faculdade do Juízo (KU AA 05) e Sobre a Pedagogia (Päd AA 09). Não trabalhamos diretamente com a literatura secundária aqui, mas é importante mencionar, para que se entenda a discussão aqui desenvolvida sobre o aperfeiçoamento moral em Kant, nas suas diversas perspectivas, os artigos de autores como Alex Cohen, Chris Suprenant, Felicitas Munzer, Gerard Lebrun, Johannes Giesinger, Pauline Kleingeld, Paul Formosa, cujas obras mais relevantes para esta discussão estão citadas na bibliografia.


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      Sobre o aperfeiçoamento moral como destino da espécie humana


      Diz-nos Kant na Antropologia (AA 07 324) que diferentemente de todos os outros animais, aonde cada indivíduo alcança sua plena destinação, entre nós humanos apenas a espécie o alcança, de modo que o avanço do gênero humano até sua destinação se dá mediante o progresso em uma série imensa de gerações. Mas porque Kant seria tão cético em relação a possibilidade de que este aprimoramento completo seja atingido individualmente e não apenas pela espécie?

      Uma das razões é justamente o pouco tempo de vida que têm os seres humanos individualmente. Afirma Kant explicitamente (AA07 326):

      «O impulso à ciência como uma cultura que enobrece a humanidade, não tem, no todo da espécie, proporção alguma com a duração da vida.Quando o douto avançou na cultura até o ponto de ampliar por si mesma o campo dela, é ceifado pela morte, seu lugar é ocupado por um discípulo que ainda está aprendendo o bê-á-bá, discípulo que pouco antes do fim da vida e depois de ter dado um passo adiante, cede por sua vez o lugar a um outro. Que massa de conhecimentos, que invenção de novos métodos não teria legado um Arquimedes, um Newton ou um Lavoisier com seus esforços e talentos, se tivessem sido favorecidos pela natureza com uma idade que perdurasse um século sem diminuição da força vital?».

      Uma afirmação semelhante aparece na Ideia de uma História Universal de um ponto de vista cosmopolita (AA 08 19) quando na segunda proposição afirma Kant que no homem (como única criatura racional sobre a terra) as disposições naturais que visam o uso da sua razão devem desenvolver-se integralmente só na espécie e não no indivíduo. A razão disto, afirma Kant na sequência, é que a razão precisa de exercício e aprendizagem para avançar de um estágio de conhecimento para outro, e assim sendo cada homem teria de viver um tempo incomensuravelmente longo para aprender como deveria usar com perfeição todas suas disposições naturais, e se a natureza estabeleceu um breve espaço de tempo para nossas vidas é necessário uma série incontável de gerações, das quais uma transmite as outras o seu conhecimento, para que seu germe, inscrito na nossa espécie, alcance o estágio de desenvolvimento adequado a sua intenção. Aqui Kant reconhece que é enigmático que tantas gerações trabalhem para que apenas as gerações futuras desenvolvam totalmente suas capacidades, especialmente a da razão, mas isso é necessário para que nossas disposições naturais se desenvolvam a um nível de perfeição, ou seja, é necessário que assim seja para que a razão se desenvolva plenamente. Diz-nos Kant na terceira proposição da Ideia (AA 08 20):


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      «Causa sempre surpresa que as velhas gerações se empenhem aparentemente nas suas ocupações trabalhosas só em vista das futuras, para lhes preparar um estágio a partir do qual possa m elevar ainda mais o edifício que a natureza tem como intento; e que só as últimas gerações terão a sorte de habitar na mansão em que uma longa série dos seus antepassados (talvez, decerto, sem intenção sua) trabalhou, sem no entanto poderem partilhar da felicidade que prepararam. Embora isto seja muito enigmático, é ao mesmo tempo necessário, se alguma vez se conjecturar que uma espécie animal deve ter razão e, como classe de seres racionais, sujeitos à morte no seu conjunto, chegará todavia à perfeição do desenvolvimento das suas disposições».


      Assim é que nossa finitude torna praticamente impossível desenvolver as nossas disposições individualmente ao nível da perfeição. Mas a nossa finitude individual, que não permite um desenvolvimento da nossa racionalidade a nível da perfeição, não é empecilho para que este desenvolvimento se realize ao nível da espécie,pois esta se perpetua. Assim, por mais que nos aperfeiçoemos cognitiva e moralmente individualmente (e Kant exige que trabalhemos para este aprimoramento) é só a espécie, no seu desenvolvimento ao longo das gerações, que atingirá a perfeição, especialmente a perfeição moral. Mas o que seria a perfeição moral?


    3. Da Perfeição e do Aperfeiçoamento Moral


      Entre os seres racionais terráqueos, para Kant única e exclusivamente a espécie humana, o fim colocado pela própria natureza é atingir o bem e propagar o bem. Um dos aspectos do aprimoramento moral, no desenvolvimento do bem através dos tempos, é justamente o aprendizado do rechaço do egoísmo. Diz-nos Kant (AA07325) que o ser humano está destinado por sua razão a se cultivar, civilizar e moralizar por meio das artes e das ciências e destinado a se tornar ativamente digno da humanidade na luta com os obstáculos dados por sua natureza rude. Com o aumento da cultura (que como vimos, pode ser o fim último ao qual se atribui à natureza a respeito do ser humano e que envolve educação, disciplina e instrução) também os homens percebem cada vez mais os males que causam uns aos outros pelo egoísmo (AA 07 329).É o egoísmo prático, ou moral, aquele

      que Kant parece estar se insurgindo aqui2. Egoísta moral, nos diz Kant (AA07130) é aquele



      2

      Na Antropologia (AA 07 129) Kant classifica três tipos de egoísmo. O egoísmo lógico, o egoísmo estético e

      o egoísta moral. O egoísta lógico acha desnecessário examinar seu juízo também pelo dos outros, como se desnecessário fosse o criterium veritatis externum. O egoísta estético é aquele ao qual o próprio gosto basta, se isolando em seu juízo e aplaudindo a si mesmo e o egoísta moral é o eudaimonista, que coloca sua própria


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      que reduz todos os fins a si mesmo, que não vê utilidade senão naquilo que lhe serve e que como eudemonista coloca na própria felicidade, e não na representação do dever, o fundamento de determinação supremo de sua vontade.

      Assim é que o aprimoramento moral se relaciona necessariamente como não poderia deixar de ser, a ideia de agir por dever, tomando como princípio de nossas ações a lei moral. Diz-nos Kant na Metafísica dos Costumes (TL AA 06 387)quando escreve sobre nossa própria perfeição como um fim que é também um dever, que o cultivo da moralidade em nós mesmos é a maior perfeição moral do homem, no sentido de agirmos “por dever”, e não estarmos apenas em conformidade com a lei moral, já que nós seres humanos temos de cultivar nossa vontade até a mais pura disposição virtuosa, na qual obedecemos a lei “pelo dever”. Afirma também Kant na Crítica do Juízo(KU AA 05 422) que se deve haver um fim terminal que a razão tem de indicar este não pode ser outro senão o homem(qualquer ser racional do mundo) sob leis morais.Segue Kant(KU AA 05 423) afirmando que as leis morais têm como característica peculiar o fato de prescreverem incondicionalmente à razão algo como um fim. Por isso a existência de uma tal razão, que pode ser a lei suprema, a existência de seres racionais sob leis morais, pode por isso ser pensada como fim terminal da existência do mundo.

      Observe-se que a destinação da razão, escreve Kant na GMS (AA 04 396) é a de produzir uma boa vontade. Diz-nos Kant que pode ser que esta vontade não seja o único bem nem o bem completo, mas ela, contudo necessariamente o bem supremo (das hochste Gut), condição da qual depende todo outro bem, e mesmo todo merecimento à felicidade. Kant sugere aqui na FMC que a boa vontade (guter Wille) é o bem supremo incondicional (supremum). Uma vontade boa porém, nada mais é do que uma vontade que age moralmente, ou seja, que age determinada apenas por aquilo que a razão pura prática determina,o que significa, em outras palavras, que um ser como é o homem, age de boa vontade quando ele age racionalmente, ou seja,quando age movido pela lei moral. A efetivação, então, do bem supremo incondicional, que é um fim terminal, para nós, seres racionais do planeta terra, nada mais é do que o agir moral. Se todos os homens agissem de boa vontade, ou seja, agissem moralmente sempre, teríamos alcançado o bem supremo


      felicidade acima do dever. Ao egoísmo, diz Kant, se opõem o pluralismo, isto é o modo de pensar que consiste em não se considerar nem em proceder como se o mundo inteiro estivesse encerrado no próprio eu, mas como um simples cidadão do mundo.


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      incondicionado, aquele fim que não é condicionado por nenhum outro, embora não seja ainda o fim perfeito, porque o fim perfeito pressupõe que a moralidade seja acompanhada pela felicidade.

      Porém, na GMS (AA 04 394) Kant levanta a possibilidade de que talvez não existam ações morais, ações realizadas pela mera representação do dever. Assim sendo, se existe a possibilidade de que nenhuma ação no mundo seja efetivamente moral, não há como Kant afirmar que o soberano bem incondicional (supremum) necessariamente se realizará. O que há, segundo Kant, é a necessidade prática de trabalhar para a realização do soberano bem (KpV, AA 05 125). Uma necessidade da razão pura prática que é fundada sobre um dever, aquele de tomar alguma coisa (o soberano bem) como objeto de minha vontade para trabalhar por todas as minhas forças para realizá-lo (KpV AA 05 126). Este dever se funda sobre a lei moral. Esta afirmação da Crítica da Razão Prática parece estar em consonância com o que diz Kant na KU (AA 05 423) que a lei moral nos determina a priori o bem supremo, como fim terminal. Esta determinação a priori do bem supremo, entretanto, no que concerne aos indivíduos, não pode ser nada mais do que a determinação da obrigação que temos de trabalhar pela sua existência, e não a obrigação de que o bem supremo se realize, já que esta efetivação depende do conjunto dos indivíduos e da espécie como um todo, ou seja efetivar o bem incondicionado significa que em algum momento da história todos nós estaríamos agindo moralmente, ou seja , teríamos mudado o caráter da espécie, teríamos nos aprimorado a ponto de termos transformados a nós humanos, de animais dotados da faculdade da razão (animal rationabile) em animais racionais (animal rationale) (AA 07 322).

      Se um dia nos tornarmos animais racionais agiremos todos moralmente, tomando como máxima de nossa ação o imperativo categórico. Neste momento poderemos dizer que a espécie terá mudado o seu caráter e teremos então, como espécie,nos aprimorado moralmente, realizando o soberano bem incondicionado. A chegada a este ponto, porém depende fundamentalmente de um fator, qual seja, o aperfeiçoamento de nós próprios, desenvolvendo nossas disposições morais e realizando, através de nossa capacidade de nos colocar fins, o fim incondicionado que é a efetivação do bem e da moralidade no mundo. Afirma Kant (AA 09 446):



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      «O homem deve antes de tudo desenvolver as suas disposições para o bem; a Providência não as colocou nele prontas; são simples disposições sem a marca distintiva da moral. Tornar-se melhor, educar-se, e se formos maus, produzir em si a moralidade: eis o dever do homem».


      Cumpriríamos assim parte de nosso destino, como espécie, de cada vez mais agir tomando como máxima da ação princípios racionais e cada vez menos tomando como princípio da ação as determinações sensíveis. Teríamos nos aprimorado moralmente pelo desenvolvimento livre e autônomo das nossas disposições a través do permanente exercício da razão através dos tempos e na transmissão de conhecimento de uma geração para outra através da educação.


    4. O Soberano bem perfeito


Como já observamos a noção de felicidade, que não pode servir como princípio determinante de nossas ações, nunca foi entretanto abandonada por Kant, tendo um papel importante em todo seu sistema prático. Isso fica claro em vários momentos de sua obra especialmente em dois, na doutrina das virtudes, quando Kant estabelece dois fins que são ao mesmo tempo deveres, procurar a perfeição própria e a felicidade dos outros, e quando ele estabelece o conceito de soberano bem na Crítica da Razão Prática. O soberano bem em Kant, pode ter dois sentidos, significando supremo (supremum) ou perfeito

(consummatum), que chamei aqui de bem supremo incondicionado e bem supremo perfeito3 (KpV AA 05 110) Enquanto podemos atingir o soberano bem incondicionado (supremum) nos tornando como espécie, morais, através da nossa liberdade, agindo virtuosamente ou seja, moralmente (por dever), o soberano bem perfeito (consummatum)

segundo Kant, requer não apenas que a espécie humana venha a se tornar efetivamente moral, mas requer também, que a moralidade seja acompanhada pela felicidade, ou seja, que aqueles que agem moralmente, e que portanto merecem a felicidade , efetivamente o sejam. Porém, para Kant (KU AA 05 424) não podemos pensar estas duas condições do fim terminal que nos é determinado pela lei moral como ligadas na natureza, e por isso



3

Adverte-nos Kant que o conceito de soberano bem contém em si uma ambiguidade que, se não prestarmos

atenção, pode causar inúmeras controvérsias desnecessárias. O soberano bem pode significar tanto supremo (supremum) quanto completo (consummatum). No primeiro sentido ele é tomado como sendo uma condição que é ela própria incondicionada, isto é, não subordinada a nenhuma outra condição (originarium), e no segundo como um todo que não é parte de um todo do mesmo tipo (perfectissimum).


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Cinara Nahra


temos de admitir um autor do mundo para que se realize o soberano bem perfeito

(consummatum), conforme a moralidade exige.

Aqui a espécie humana se depara com um limite. Ainda que um dia venhamos como espécie atingir um estado de moralidade, ainda que todos nós venhamos a agir sempre moralmente, ainda assim não poderíamos garantir que seremos felizes, porque enquanto que ser moral é ser livre, bastando para ser moral que sigamos o que determina a razão pura, ou seja, que escolhamos seguir as determinações da razão pura, a exigência de que a felicidade acompanhe a moralidade não depende inteiramente de nossas escolhas, e sim da organização cósmica do universo, incluindo nisto um autor do mundo, que deve permitir a harmonia das ordens da natureza e da razão. A esperança de que assim seja, entretanto, não exime a humanidade da obrigação de fazer tudo que estiver a seu alcance para que este fim se realize, e muito menos da obrigação de seguir sempre a lei moral.

Assim, enquanto indivíduos tudo o que podemos fazer é agir moralmente e nos aprimorar moralmente, contribuindo assim para o aprimoramento moral da espécie. Este aprimoramento requer não apenas que trabalhemos pelo nosso próprio aperfeiçoamento, mas também, que trabalhemos pela felicidade dos outros. No que se refere à felicidade Kant já nos adverte de que a perseguimos naturalmente, mas isto não basta. Ao estabelecer a promoção da felicidade dos outros como sendo um fim que é ao mesmo tempo um dever, Kant nos lembra de que temos a obrigação de fazer a nossa parte para que esta finalidade se efetive, e é por isso que temos o dever indireto de ajudar os outros, ou seja, não temos o dever de ajudar a todos sempre e na mesma proporção mas temos o dever de ser benevolentes e com isso contribuímos para a promoção dessa felicidade.

Assim é que se cada um de nós se aprimorar pessoalmente poderemos atingir o bem supremo incondicionado, a moralidade no mundo. Ao obedecermos ao dever de trabalhar pela felicidade dos outros, sendo benevolentes mas respeitando a liberdade alheia,contribuímos para a consecução também do soberano bem em seu segundo sentido, enquanto perfeição, o soberano bem perfeito, ou total (consummatum). Aqui, no entanto, esbarramos nos nossos limites. Por mais trabalhemos pela felicidade dos outros, a realização do bem perfeito no mundo, ou seja, a felicidade para os virtuosos, não depende inteiramente de nós e de nossos esforços individuais e como espécie. Podemos agir moralmente, podemos ajudar os outros a realizar seus fins compatíveis com a moralidade, e assim serem felizes, mas não podemos nunca garantir que aqueles que merecem a



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felicidade a obterão, porque por mais que tenhamos modificado o caráter da espécie humana nos tornando efetivamente morais e concretizado o soberano bem incondicionado, a ligação da moralidade com o segundo termo do soberano bem perfeito, ou seja, com a felicidade, e não apenas com o merecimento da felicidade, não está garantida na natureza, e não depende apenas de nossos esforços.

Eis aí então o nosso destino: nos aperfeiçoar moralmente enquanto indivíduos e contribuir desta forma para a mudança do caráter da espécie, nos tornando uma espécie não apenas capaz de moralidade, mas efetivamente moral, realizando o soberano bem (supremum) ao mesmo tempo que esperamos que todos estes seres morais sejam felizes, ou seja, que se efetive o soberano bem perfeito (consummatum). É isso o que nós, os homo sapiens, devemos fazer, e é isso o que nos é permitido esperar.


Referências bibliográficas:


Cohen, A. (2008), “Kant´s answer to the question what is man and its implication to anthropology”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, v.39, n.4, pp 506-514


Formosa, P. (2012), “Discipline and autonomy: the Kantian link between education and morality”, em: Klas Toth e Chris Suprenant (eds), Kant and Education: Interpretation and Commentary, Routledge, New York.


Giesinger, J. (2001), “Kant´s account of moral education”, Educational Philosophy and Theory v. 44, n.7, pp 775-786.


Kant, I (2006), Antropologia de um Ponto de Vista Pragmático (Anth AA 07),trad. Clelia Aparecida Martins, Iluminuras, São Paulo.


(1997), Ground work of the Metaphysics of Morals (GMS AA 04), trad. Mary Gregor,Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


(2005), Crítica da Faculdade do Juízo (KU AA 05), trad. Valério Rohden e Antonio Marques, Forense, Rio de Janeiro.


(1996), Sobre a Pedagogia (Päd AA 09), trad. Francisco Cock Fontanella, Unimep, Piracicaba.


(2009), Ideia de uma História Universal com um propósito cosmopolita (IaG AA 08 ), trad Artur Morão. In : A Paz Perpétua e outros opúsculos, Edições 70, Lisboa.

(1991), The Metaphysics of Morals (MS TL AA 06 ), trad. Mary Gregor, Cambridge University Press, USA.


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(2002), Critique of Practical Reason (KpV AA 05), trad. Werner Pluhar, Hackett Publishing Company, USA.


Kleingeld, P. (1999), “Kant, History and the Idea of Moral Development”, History of Philosophy Quarterly v.10 n.1.


Lebrun, G. (1986), “Uma escatologia para a Moral”, em: Terra, R (org), Idéia de Uma História Universal, Brasiliense, São Paulo, p. 75-101.


Munzel, F.(1999), Kant´s Conception of Moral Character, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.


Suprenant, C. (2010), “Kant´s contribution to moral education”, Journal of Moral Educationv.39, n.2 p.165-174.


Toth, K. e Suprenant, C. (eds) (2012), Kant and Education: Interpretation and Commentary, Routledge, New York.



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Kant’s Prudential Theory of Religion:

The Necessity of Historical Faith for Moral Empowerment


La teoría prudencial de la religión en Kant:

La necesidad de la fe histórica para el empoderamiento moral


STEPHEN R. PALMQUIST


Hong-Kong Baptist University, China


Abstract


Given his emphasis on deontological ethics, Kant is rarely regarded as a friend of prudence. For example, he is often interpreted as an opponent of so-called “historical faiths” (i.e., empirical religious traditions). What typically goes unnoticed is that in explaining the legitimate (indeed, indispensable) role of historical faiths in the moral development of the human race, Kant appeals explicitly to their prudential status. A careful examination of Kant’s main references to prudence demonstrates that the prudential status of historical faith is the key to understanding both its limitations (as merely the vehicle of true religion, not its essential core) and its real value (as a necessary means of moral empowerment). The wise person adopts some form of historical faith, because to abandon any and all prudential appeals to a faith-based vehicle for morality would render the goal of living a good life virtually impossible for embodied beings to achieve.


Keywords


Immanuel Kant; Historical Faith; Prudence; Moral Religion; Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason


Professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department of the Hong-Kong Baptist University of China. E-

mail for contact: [email protected] .


[Recibido: 19 de febrero de 2015/ 57

Aceptado: 22 de marzo de 2015]


Stephen R. Palmquist

Stephen R. Palmquist


Resumen


Dado su énfasis en la ética deontológica, Kant es considerado raramente un amigo de la prudencia. Por ejemplo, con frecuencia es interpretado como opositor de la llamada “fe histórica” (por ejemplo, tradiciones religiosas empíricas). Lo que típicamente pasa inadvertido es que al explicar la función legítima (en realidad, indispensable) de la fe histórica en el desarrollo de la especie humana, Kant apela explícitamente a su estatus prudencial. Un examen cuidadoso de las principales referencias de Kant a la prudencia demuestra que el estatus prudencial de la fe histórica es la clave para comprender tanto sus limitaciones (como mero vehículo de la religión, no su núcleo esencial) como su valor real (como medio necesario del empoderamiento moral). La persona sabia adopta alguna forma de fe histórica, habida cuenta de que abandonar todo recurso prudencial a un vehículo para la moralidad basado en la fe volvería el objetivo de vivir una vida buena virtualmente imposible de alcanzar para seres encarnados.


Palabras clave

Immanuel Kant; fe histórica; prudencia; religión moral; Religión dentro de los límites de la mera razón


  1. Was Kant Opposed To Prudential Reasoning?


    Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy is widely regarded as leaving little (if any) room for a legitimate influence on moral decision-making from any source other than what he calls the “moral law”. Because so much of his ethical writing focuses on constructing rational arguments that appeal to the pure form of this law(i.e., the “categorical imperative”) and encourages moral agents to disregard the consequences of their actions, few scholars would turn to Kant’s writings for insight into prudence. Indeed, portrayals of Kant’s moral theory (especially by those who seek to discredit it)sometimes go so far as to claim that Kant was positively opposed to prudential reasoning as such, leaving it no legitimate role. While he does refer on several occasions to the “rules of prudence”, such interpreters take this heading as little more than a negative place holder, indicating why the

    maxims that many people would regard as constituting wise ethical advice are actually of

    1

    no use to moral and/or political reasoning.



    1

    For typical examples of such a caricature, see Beiner 1983, 63-71, and Davie 1973, 57. A more recent

    example is McGaughey 2013, who claims that Kant’s “methodological skepticism” (154) causes him to “reject” forms of prudential reasoning, such as a belief in “special acts of grace”, that aim to supplement bare moral reasoning. For brief responses to McGaughey’s misreading of Palmquist 2010 on this specific issue, see notes 7 and 10, below. Contrary to McGaughey’s caricature of my position, I do not equate Kantian religion with “historical religion based on particular revelation” (155); rather, as clarified in the present


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    Kant’s Prudential Theory of Religion


    A closer look at Kant’s references to prudence (Klugheit) reveals that he actually assigns to it a very important role: one that at least complements, and possibly (in some pragmatic contexts) even supersedes, the role of pure moral deliberation. In what follows, I shall begin (in §2) by sketching the role Kant assigns to prudence in his three Critiques; I shall then argue (in §3)that his theory of “historical faith” (i.e., adherence to an empirical religious tradition), as defended in Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason, is one of the key contexts (and possibly the most important one) where reason must acknowledge its need for a prudential supplement, to shed light on the path to wisdom. I shall therefore conclude (in §4) that, although several recent studies of Kantian prudence have likewise sought to rehabilitate the notion as a powerful tool that complements Kant’s ethical

    formalism, these studies have missed an essential feature of Kant’s theory by focusing

    2

    (almost without exception) on the role of prudence in politics.


  2. How To Avoid Milking a Ram: Prudence in Kant’s Three Critiques


    Kant’s first use of “Klugheit” in his Critique of Pure Reason is rarely recognized as such by English readers, because translators have used words other than “prudence” in this context. In A58/B82 Kant opines that persons who know the proper question to ask in a given context possess “sagacity” (as Pluhar and Kemp Smith translate it or “cleverness” (according to the Cambridge Edition, while those who lack this skill put themselves into an


    article, the form of necessity I claim Kant ascribes to the elements of Christian doctrines, or to those of any other historical faith for that matter, is entirely subjective and prudential.

    2

    See Nelson 2004, 305-8, for references to several critics of Kant’s theory of prudence in the political realm

    who view it as inferior to “Aristotelian phronesis, Confucian propriety, or hermeneutic tact” (306); Nelson also cites several passages where Kant does seem to cast political prudence in a largely negative light. Whereas Nelson grants “that Kant mostly used Klugheit in the…sense” of “instrumental rationality”, he argues that he also allows “an important role” for prudence in the sense of “context-sensitive judgment” (307). Properly understood, Kant’s negative assessments of prudence relate only to those who “seek to ground morality in conditional reasoning” (308, emphasis added) rather than in the categorical imperative. Whereas Nelson focuses on Kant’s political philosophy in his attempt to revive Kant’s notion of prudence, I shall focus on the role of prudence in Kant’s theory of religion. But in both cases, “prudence is…secondary to morality…yet essential”, functioning as “a cultivated ability to participate with others in public life with a view towards the interests of others and the general welfare” (310). Whereas Nelson is mostly right to claim that Kant merely “hints” at this position (314)—indeed, “Kant did not articulate this ethics of prudence in his moral writings. He presupposed it”—we shall see that in Religion (which Nelson never cites) it comes to the fore. For a helpful analysis of the differences between Aristotelian “flourishing” and Kantian prudence, see Hill 1999, especially 166-74. And for references to several other recent scholars who share Nelson’s focus on politics, see note 5, below.


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    3

    embarrassing situation: they may mislead “the incautious listener” to attempt what will

    inevitably amount to “absurd answers”, thus causing both parties to appear equally foolish. He then compares such a situation (A58/B82-83 to “the ridiculous spectacle where (as the ancients said) one person milks the ram [den Bock melkt] while the other holds a sieve underneath.” One party in this comic scene foolishly fails to realize that “rams” (i.e., ill- formed questions) can give no “milk” (i.e., insightful answers), while the other naively awaits an answer while holding a receptacle (i.e., a mind that has not gone through the discipline of critique) that would not be able to hold the milk (i.e., appreciate the wisdom) even if it were somehow to be produced. Once we recognize that Kant poses this well- known, humorous metaphor in a context where he is admonishing us to be prudent, it takes the form of a riddle. Who is the foolish questioner that Kant portrays as using a “sieve” to collect the “milk” of insight from the animal of philosophy? And who is the foolish answerer that we are to think of as attempting to extract such insight-milk from a “ram” rather than from a ewe? Holding these questions in abeyance as we examine some of Kant’s other key references to prudence over the 12 years that followed, we shall return to this question at the close of this article.

    The first explicit mention of “prudence” in (the English translations of) the first Critique comes in the first edition’s version of the chapter on Phenomena and Noumena, where Kant explains why the previous chapter has not included a thorough account of the schematized version of each of the twelve categories he had presented earlier. He claims to have employed

    «a not unimportant rule of prudence: viz., not to venture immediately upon defining [a concept], and not to attempt or allege to attain completeness or precision in determining a concept, if one can make do with anyone or another of its characteristics» (A241).

    In other words, prudence excuses us from exploring each and every potential application that some theory may have, if exploring a sampling of key applications suffices to justify the theory’s usefulness.



    3

    Unless otherwise noted (as here), all translations from the three Critiques and from Kant’s Religion are to

    Werner S. Pluhar’s translations, as follows: Critique of Judgment (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987); Critique of Pure Reason (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996); Critique of Practical Reason (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2002); and Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2009). References to Kant’s works will normally be included in the main text, citing the Berlin Academy Edition volume and page numbers, except in the case of Critique of Pure Reason, for which the standard A/B referencing system will be used to refer to the pagination of the original A and B editions, respectively. Quotations from Religion will be based on my revised translation, as found in Palmquist 2015.


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    Kant’s Prudential Theory of Religion


    Kant’s next use of the term comes in the second part of the Transcendental Dialectic, where he considers how best to respond to the four Antinomies of Pure Reason that threaten to cast doubt on reason’s reliability. Kant begins his overall solution to the Antinomies by observing (A485/B513) that “we act prudently if at the outset we leave aside the supposed bases for answering them, and consider first of all what we would gain if the answer fell to the one side, and what if it fell to the opposite side.” That is, when pure reason offers us two plausible options, it is not only acceptable but advisable to make our selection based on which option produces the best results. However, in discussing how to respond to the limits placed by the Critique on our knowledge of the three metaphysical ideas of reason (i.e., God, freedom, and immortality), Kant warns his reader against the temptation to employ illusory methods in the service of the good; because so many well- meaning religious people employ arguments and justifications that entail dishonesty (A749-50/B777-8), we end up with the ironic result that “this cause [of upholding these rational ideas] has perhaps more upright and righteous opponents than defenders.” So Kant allows us to use prudent tactics, as long as we do not compromise our moral integrity in the process. A merely prudential reason for belief risks dishonesty, so if someone is genuinely uncertain regarding God’s existence, then Kant would rather have the person be an honest skeptic than a dishonest believer. As is well known, Kant thinks the proper way out of this impasse (given that theoretical reason necessarily fails in its attempt to demonstrate that God exists) is to ground our certainty in moral reason.

    Kant’s first technical definition of prudence comes in the “Canon” chapter of the first Critique’s Doctrine of Method (A800/B828):


    «in the doctrine of prudence, the entire business of reason consists in taking all the purposes assigned to us by our inclinations and uniting them in the one purpose, happiness, and in harmonizing the means for attaining this happiness. Consequently, reason can here supply none but pragmatic laws of free conduct that is aimed at attaining the purposes commended to us by the senses, and hence can supply no laws that are pure, i.e., determined completely a priori».


    Prudence cannot play any constitutive role in moral decision-making because, as Kant here reminds us, its laws are never pure and a priori, as genuine moral laws must be. Nevertheless, this passage clarifies that we are allowed to consider prudential reasons, especially when it comes to harmonizing our various efforts to reach the highest good


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    (which Kant views as the synthesis of virtue, or moral goodness, with happiness). Significantly, the Canon is entitled “On the Ultimate Purpose of the Pure Use of Our Reason” (A797/B825): even though prudence can play no direct role in the attainment of goodness as such (i.e., in defining virtue), it can and should play a role in attaining the ultimate purpose of being good, which is to harmonize goodness with happiness. A pragmatic maxim that helps us attain this ultimate purpose is called a “rule of prudence” (A806/B834; cf. CPrR 5:22-26); such a rule “advises [us] what we must do if we want to partake of happiness” and

    «is based on empirical principles; for in no other way than by means of experience can I know either what inclinations there are that want to be satisfied, or what the natural causes are that can bring about the satisfaction of those inclinations».


    Turning to the Critique of Practical Reason, we find that Kant is far more cautious about prudence in moral contexts. Following a rule of prudence is reprehensible if doing so causes a person to disobey the moral law (5:35): one’s duty must always take precedence over the desire for happiness. He thus reminds us (5:36): “The maxim of self-love (prudence) merely counsels; the law of morality commands.” But for this very reason, knowing how to be genuinely prudent is actually far more difficult than knowing how to be good: “the commonest and most unpracticed understanding” (5:36) instinctively knows how to be good in specific circumstances, even though such a person may have no “worldly prudence” when it comes to promoting the happiness required for the highest good in human society as a whole. To clarify his theory of prudence, Kant repeatedly compares it with the contrasting theories defended by two ancient Greek philosophical schools, the Epicureans and the Stoics (5:111; cf. 126-7): “To the former, prudence was tantamount to morality; to the latter, who selected a higher designation for virtue, morality alone was true wisdom.” For Kant, by contrast, true wisdom entails applying prudence as a necessary supplement to virtue, so that we can somehow attain both virtue and happiness simultaneously.

    In the long (unpublished) Introduction to his Critique of Judgment (1790), Kant refines his previous position, clarifying that these pragmatic “rules of prudence” are a species of “technical imperatives” or “imperatives of art” (20:200n): they “command under the condition of an actual and even subjectively necessary purpose,…[namely] one’s own happiness”. In the shorter (published) Introduction (5:172) he adds that such rules


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    «must be included only in theoretical philosophy, as corollaries. For they concern nothing but the possibility of things according to concepts of nature; and this includes not only the means we find in nature for producing them, but even the will (as power of desire and hence as a natural power), as far as it can be determined, in conformity with the mentioned rules, by natural incentives».


    Kant’s crucial point here is easily missed: rules of prudence form a bridge between the theoretical and the practical, such a bridge being precisely the focus of the third Critique

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    and (as I have argued elsewhere) of Kant’s Religion. To be prudent is to consider how

    one’s will (i.e., one’s free volition) can be used to satisfy the natural requirements associated with one’s embodiment(i.e., one’s natural inclinations), yet without contravening the moral law. As such, prudence holds the status of being a “subjectively necessary purpose” (emphasis added).

    Toward the end of the third Critique (in §91 of the methodological Appendix on moral teleology), Kant adds an important caveat that provides a natural segue to his subsequent discussion of prudence within religion (5:470):

    «But assent in matters of faith is an assent from a pure practical point of view, i.e., it is a moral faith that proves nothing for theoretical pure rational cognition, but only for pure practical cognition that aims at [our] complying with [our] duties; it does not at all expand our speculation, nor our practical rules of prudence governed by the principle of self-love».


    This is a crucial text, if we wish to understand the role of historical faith in Kant’s explicitly religious writings, for in the foregoing passage Kant is referring only to the more limited phenomenon of “moral faith”. Although he does not say so at this point, what we shall find as we now turn our attention to the role of prudence within religion, is that Kant uses the term “historical faith” to refer to a broad set of prudent means of putting moral faith into practice, and that a wise person must employ some such non-moral means in order to complement the purity of moral faith; for historical faith offers a form of theoretical cognition that, as Kant explicitly states in the passage quoted above, is inherently beyond the reach of pure moral faith.


  3. Historical Faith as a Prudent Necessity in Kant’s Religion



    4

    I first argued for this status in Palmquist 1986; revised and reprinted as Chapter III of Palmquist 1993. For

    my most detailed defense of this claim, see Palmquist 2015.


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    Stephen R. Palmquist


    Among the several recent studies of Kantian prudence, I know of none that

    acknowledges how his theory reaches its highest expression in Religion within the Bounds

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    of Bare Reason (1793/1794); yet only in this work does he give full expression to his view

    that prudence is, in at least one sense, essential to the successful implementation of his ethical theory in the real world—i.e., to the project of bridging the theoretical and the practical standpoints. For in Religion Kant argues that our moral efforts inevitably fail on their own, due to the corrupting influence of what he calls “radical evil” on all human decision-making. Because we are all beset with the tendency (or “propensity”) to shape moral maxims in a way that gives priority to our self-interest, attending to the demands of the moral law only as (at best) a secondary consideration, we have the almost irresistible



    5

    For example, Kain 2001 draws his interpretation primarily from Kant’s Groundwork and Metaphysics of

    Morals. In the former work, Kant provides helpful descriptions of prudence as “skill in the choice of means to one’s own greatest well-being” and “the sagacity to combine all [one’s] purposes for his own lasting advantage” (4:416). Most studies of Kantian prudence focus on its application to Kant’s political theory (see note 2). In the course of arguing that Kant’s theory of prudence provides a decisive response to critics of John Rawls’ (Kantian) political theory, Taylor (2005, 606) points out that an important “task of Kantian prudential reasoning is to unite or integrate the inclinations into a single scheme of happiness.” The process is “closer to gardening than to mechanics” (607).But Taylor, like Nelson before him (see note 2) and Flikschuh 2011 after him, focuses almost entirely on the political implications of Kantian prudence; though he does make a few passing references to Religion, he never cites the passages where Kant actually mentions prudence.

    Unlike Nelson or Taylor (whose work she does not cite), Flikschuh clearly recognizes that the role of religion in Kant’s system of practical faith is crucial; yet she, too, makes no explicit references to prudence in Religion itself and focuses instead on its political implications, suggesting (109) we should “understand the role of prudence in Kant’s political morality as a form of transcendentally oriented practical faith.” As we shall see, this suggestion becomes all the more plausible when we see how prudence functions in Kant’s theory of religion. For, after making a helpful distinction (111) between “mundane prudence” (“a practical response to insufficient factual information”) and “existential prudence” (a practical response “to theoretical unknowability in the metaphysical sense”), Flikschuh opines that “Kant nowhere explicitly discusses the requirements of existential prudence” (114). Yet those requirements, as we shall see, are to be found in Religion, precisely because (as Flikschuh rightly acknowledges) Kantian “practical faith” absolutely requires “faith in God, due to “our own inscrutability: …we cannot know ourselves” (73). Flikschuh closes her essay by raising the tantalizing prospect, “whether, in the absence of [“Reinhold’s and Fichte’s important interventions” in the history of Kant interpretation]…, a less radically humanistic Kantianism might have survived” (74).An affirmative reply is suggested by the evidence amassed in Palmquist 2015, that the single major influence on Kant’s decision to write a second edition of Religion (the only book other than the first Critique that Kant published in a significantly revised edition) was his desire to respond to the feedback to the first edition that had been offered by the influential German theologian, G.C. Storr.

    That the once common caricature of Kant the prude (i.e., the enemy of prudence) is quickly fading among Kantian ethical theorists is evidenced by the fact that Taylor quotes passages from Paul Guyer, Henry Allison, and Allen Wood that show their respective (and quite accurate) understandings of prudence as a much-needed (happiness-producing) balance to the formalism of the moral law (Taylor 2005, 608-9). Of these three influential Kant-scholars, the one whose work offers the most thorough account of Kantian prudence is Wood 1999; see especially pp.65-70. As Wood emphasizes (352n): “The essence of prudential reason [as opposed to instrumental reason] is that happiness has a rational claim on us distinct from and superior to that of any arbitrarily chosen end.”Wood offers a lengthy discussion of the ethical status of historical faith in Kant; however, he never mentions Kant’s explicit application of prudence to historical faith in Religion.


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    temptation to deceive ourselves regarding the status of our own moral character (see e.g., 6:20). The proper task of religion is to empower us to overcome this universal propensity to evil by influencing how we motivate ourselves to act. Without recounting all the details of Kant’s argument here, let it suffice merely to note that the key for Kant is for us to call upon an archetypal idea of moral perfection that resides within each human person, then to band together with other, similarly good-hearted people to form a community whose purpose is to encourage each other to aim at the highest possible moral goal, holiness. Although we will inevitably fail to achieve the community’s transcendent goal of holiness,

    aiming at this essentially religious ideal is the best (if not the only) way that an individual

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    human being can become virtuous.

    While empowering human beings to be virtuous is the proper moral goalof all true religion, Kant repeatedly argues that this is not the sum-total of what makes religion

    7

    actually work; rather, the means for achieving religion’s moral goal are bound to be non-

    moral, historically-conditioned features that arise out of our embodied nature. Kant explicitly rejects the view that our bodies are to be blamed for radical evil; in Religion he clearly and repeatedly insists that evil is a defect of the will. Thus there is no contradiction for Kant to argue that the proper solution to “this weakness of ours” (6:43; see also 6:29, 59n,103,169,191) is to take refuge in some historical (embodied) religious tradition. With this in mind, he distinguishes between what is essentially religious (and therefore universally true, by virtue of its grounding in moral reason) and the complement of some historical religious tradition that must inevitable accompany it (though the latter by its very nature is contingent and ever-changing). Interpreters of Religion have typically assumed



    6

    For a more detailed summary of Kant’s argument in Religion, see Palmquist 2009. And for an interpretation

    and defense of those details, see Part Three of Palmquist 2000.


    7

    See Palmquist 1992, revised and reprinted as Chapter VI of Palmquist 2000. That article/chapter concludes

    by demonstrating that Kant’s goal in Religion is actually to raise morality to the level of religion, not vice versa. The nuanced, essentially perspectival character of my position on Kantian religion is ignored by McGaughey 2013, who constructs a straw man by imputing an absurd set of interpretive positions to me in support of his allegation that I have misrepresented Kant. He claims, for example, that I interpret “Kantian religion” to be entirely empirical, whereas he claims Kantian religion is entirely pure; this, together with the ten other diametrical oppositions, most of them equally facile, that McGaughey displays in tabular form to enhance the impression of an alleged dichotomy, portrays the options for Kant-interpreters as a specter that is no less ridiculous than that of holding a sieve while milking a ram! Fortunately, the straw man that McGaughey sets up bears virtually no resemblance to the interpretation of Kantian religion that I actually defend in Palmquist 2010 or anywhere else. Not surprisingly, McGaughey’s one-sided polemic contains very few quotations from Palmquist 2010 or from any of my other previous publications, and the quotes that do appear are all taken out of context.


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    Stephen R. Palmquist


    that Kant, as a child of the Enlightenment, must be disparaging the various historical religious traditions that he mentions throughout the book (see e.g., note 7), just as it is easy

    to read Kant’s ethical writings as if he is disparaging prudence in general. However, if we

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    take Kant at his word, this was not his intention. What I shall demonstrate in the

    remainder of this article, by focusing on the passages in Religion that explicitly mention prudence, is that Kant’s distinction between pure (moral) religion and impure (historical) faith is a two-edged sword: it not only seeks to protect religious believers from the delusion of assuming that they can please God without becoming good; it also conveys wise counsel to all who recognize the need to be good; for we can hardly expect to succeed in actually becoming good without engaging in certain non-moral activities that are properly called “prudent”.

    Kant uses forms of the root word, “Klug”, a total of 12 times in Religion, twice in each of the first three Pieces and six times in the Fourth Piece. He also alludes to the notion on numerous other occasions by employing a variety of metaphors that vividly portray the relationship between the moral core of religion and its prudent means of application. In the second Preface, for example, he explains that the two “Versuch(en)” (“experiment(s)”) that he conducts throughout the book relate to each other as “concentric” spheres “of faith” (6:12): identifying the inner sphere with moral faith and the outer sphere with historical faith entails that the latter serves a prudential role in relation to the former. The same holds true for Kant’s frequent references to the inner “seed” or “kernel” of religion in its relation to the outer “husk” or “shell”: the latter perform a necessary function, even though they are of only secondary (i.e., prudential) importance to the former. A growing ear of corn needs the husk in order to mature into an edible vegetable, even though we typically throw away the husk as if it were useless, once the kernels are



    8

    For example, in the Preface to his 1797 book, Conflict of the Faculties, p.8 (German pagination), Kant

    writes: “Since…I make no appraisal of Christianity, I cannot be guilty of disparaging it. In fact, it is only natural religion that I appraise.” Many readers of Kant’s Religion question the accuracy of this claim. However, if we keep in mind that by “Christianity”, he is referring to the historical religious tradition that goes by this name, then what he means is that his focus in Religion was on insisting that, in order to maximize its prudential purpose, the doctrines of faith must serve as morally empowering aids to the religion of bare reason. Kant clearly does point out many examples of how Christian doctrines, symbols, and rituals may be interpreted as non-moral, and hence as lacking in prudence; his claim in this Conflict passage is that he did not thereby intend to be assessing their historical truth, as legitimate features of the tradition (for appraising that is the job of the biblical theologian, not of the philosopher). Rather, he was merely assessing their prudential value, as vehicles for moral faith. McGaughey 2013 completely ignores this crucial nuance in my reading of Kant, assuming that I take Kant to be referring always and only to historical religion per se, rather than to historical faith as empowered by moral religion (see notes 1, 7, and 10).



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    ripe enough to eat. Elsewhere Kant uses metaphors such as “vehicle” (“Vehikel” [6:106])

    and “channel” (“Leitmittel” [6:115]) to describe the necessary function that the historical elements of a religious tradition fulfill in conveying to us the content of moral faith. And, of course, the clothing metaphor that pervades the entire book, starting with the title, also stresses the distinction between the “bare” (“blossen”) body of moral religion and the various types of historical faith that “cloak” (e.g., 6:83) it in ways that can be either wise or foolhardy. However, for the remainder of this article, my focus will be limited to Kant’s explicit uses of the term “prudence”.

    Although Kant’s two references to prudence in the First Piece of Religion are both closely connected to his theory of radical evil, they are not as negative as might at first appear. The first occurs as a side-comment in a footnote added in the second edition: “the self-torment of a repentant sinner […] is very ambiguous and is usually only an inward reproach for having violated the rule of prudence” (6:23n). Here prudence is presented ambivalently, as a good tool that is easily used in the service of evil: all too often a religious person experiences great psychological pain during repentance, not out of a sincere conviction that a change of lifestyle is required, but only as a show, prompted by a secret disappointment at having been foolish enough to have been caught in the act of some wrongdoing. This illustrates a general theme that runs throughout the First Piece, even though Kant never uses the word “prudence” when discussing it: we often try to keep our actions consistent with the demands of the moral law, not out of respect for the moral law, but for prudential reasons; in such cases, Kant says (6:37), “the empirical character is good, but the intelligible character is still as evil as ever.” This is the essence of what Kant calls “the disingenuousness […] of the human heart” (6:29) and is one of the three sources of the “innate guilt” (6:38) that he claims every human being has. But such disingenuousness (and the accompanying guilt) is not caused by our need to be prudent; rather, prudence arises as a response to the threefold evil (frailty, disingenuousness, and perversity) that is presented to us by the human situation.


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    For further discussion of the concentric circles metaphor, see Palmquist 2015, §0.4. Without portraying it as

    Kant’s position on the matter, Green 1988 (127) aptly expresses the difference between Kant’s special type of pragmatic necessity and the stricter, moral type of necessity: “prudence is prior to morality in the order of learning. If we were not already, as a part of our first nature, prudential creatures [cf. Kantian “animality”], we could not later, as a part of our second nature [cf. Kantian “personality”], become moral creatures.” After setting out an economic model for a theory of prudence, Green offers a conclusion that accords well with Kant’s prudential theory of religion (141): prudence is “the non moral seed…which, when planted in brutish soil, enables a moral education to take root and without which it may not. But prudence…is not a brutish capacity. It is rather a central part of any education that aims at moral maturity.”


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    When recounting examples of the “long melancholy litany of charges against humanity” that easily come to mind when we examine the empirical character of human beings in their social interactions, Kant’s first example cites the “secret falsity even in the most intimate friendship” that leads us to include “moderation of trust in reciprocal openness by even the best friends” as part of “the universal maxim of prudence” (6:33). A quick reading of this second reference to prudence might give the impression that Kant is depicting prudence as contributing to radical evil. But on closer inspection, this is not what he says. Rather, his argument assumes that radical evil makes us untrustworthy in our interpersonal relationships; an implied premise is that if we were perfectly good (i.e., holy, as opposed to being creatures of virtue), then we could tell our friends all of our deepest, darkest secrets and not worry about having our trust abused; but because we are not holy, and must struggle merely to be virtuous, prudence is necessary—even to the point of being a “universal maxim”. Indeed, Kant elsewhere defends this maxim in detail, warning friends not to share personal details about themselves that could be used against them, should the friendship someday cease (Kant 1979, 200-209).

    Kant begins the Second Piece with some reflections on where the ancient Greek Stoics went wrong, and his next reference to prudence appears in this context (6:58):

    «Natural inclinations, considered in themselves, are good, i.e., irreprehensible; and not only is it futile, but it would also be harmful and censurable, to want to eradicate them. Rather, one must only tame them, so that they do not themselves wear one another out but instead can be brought to consonance in a whole called happiness. The reason…that accomplishes this is called prudence. Only the moral-unlawful is in itself evil, absolutely reprehensible, and must be eradicated; but the reason that teaches this…alone deserves the name of wisdom…».


    Far from disparaging the body, Kant shows himself here to be deeply aware of the significance of human embodiment. Although our inclinations contribute to the process whereby the will is led to give priority to the principle of self-love over the demands of the moral law (this being Kant’s definition of radical evil), the proper solution is to eradicate not the inclinations, but the foolish will that refuses to tame them. Clearly, Kant is here implying that the Epicurean is no better off than the Stoic: the former lets the inclinations run wild; the latter tries to eradicate them. The wise person (i.e., the person who combines genuine virtue with prudence), by contrast, recognizes that both solutions suffer from a weakness of will whose only effective solution is to find prudential ways of allowing our


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    inclinations to exist in consonance with each other and with the moral law.

    A passage reminiscent of Kant’s first use of “Klugheit” in the first Critique, some 12 years earlier, appears in a footnote added to his discussion of the “second difficulty”

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    that arises out of any attempt to believe that evil can be overcome by divine grace. In

    discussing certain “children’s questions “Kant observes that, even if clear answers could be given, “the questioner would still not understand how to make them prudent [Kluges]” (6:69n). Among such theological questions, he says, is “whether the punishments of hell will be finite or eternal punishments.” Our interest here is not with the question as such, but with Kant’s emphasis on how to make the question prudent. Kant’s point is that asking and/or attempting to answer such speculative questions, like trying to collect a ram’s milk with a sieve, leaves us unable to do anything with any attempt at an answer, even if we could determine what the supposedly “correct” answer should be. Here again, therefore, Kant is not downplaying the role of prudential considerations in religion, as traditional interpreters such as McGaughey assume, but is raising it to the level of a factor that determines whether or not a given question is even worth asking.

    Kant’s first reference to prudence in the Third Piece (6:121) comes in a

    paraphrased quote from 1 Corinthians 13:11, where Kant uses “Klug” to stand in place of three Greek verbs used in that verse:

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    «As long as he (the human genus) “was a child, he was prudent as a child” and knew how

    to associate with ordinances—which had been imposed on him without his collaboration— presumably scholarship as well, and indeed even a philosophy subservient to the church: “But now that he becomes a man, he puts away what is childish».

    The original biblical passage points out that nobody blames a young child (νηπιος) for speaking (ελαλουν), thinking (εφρονουν), or reasoning (ελογιζομην) in child-like ways, but admonishes readers to beware not to import child-like principles into their adult situation.


    10

    The second difficulty is the theological problem often known as “eternal security”: can a person be assured

    that he or she really is called by God? And if called, is such a state guaranteed to be permanent? For a discussion of this and the other two difficulties, see Palmquist 2010. In his misconstrual of my interpretation of Kantian religion (see notes 1 and 7, above), McGaughey 2010 portrays the argument of Palmquist 2010 as if I read Religion as a defense of Christianity as such, and as promoting a form of the doctrine of divine grace that is exclusively and necessarily Christian. What I actually read Kant as arguing, by contrast, is that pure moral religion leaves a space for divine grace, telling us nothing about whether or not such grace actually occurs, but requiring any historical faith that affirms a doctrine of grace (whether it be Christian or otherwise) to interpret it in a particular way (i.e., as not contradicting moral religion, and preferably as empowering the believer to be more fully moral).


    11

    Pluhar uses “astute” for “Klug” here, and for “kluge” at 6:188n, where Kant expresses reservations about

    using the phrase “freedom of thought”, even though “prudent men” sometimes use it.


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    Kant gives the passage a moral interpretation by applying the same distinction to the whole human race: he compares the child’s admirably prudent character to the tendency among underdeveloped (i.e., pre-Enlightenment) human cultures to focus their religious understandings on “ordinances”, “scholarship”, and “a philosophy subservient to the church.” Kant is comparing the religion of bare reason to the biblical author’s adult human being, who always seeks to speak, think, and reason in a spirit of love, rather than merely following rules blindly. Note, however, that he is also implicitly assuming that childlike faith has a proper role to play in the historical development of the human race, just as it does for human individuals. Here we see, in the form of a simple, biblically-inspired metaphor, Kant’s theory of historical faith in a nutshell: its prudential value is to serve as a

    good and useful channel for the transmission of goodness to the human race for as long as

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    we find ourselves unable to follow the dictates of bare reason merely for their own sake.

    A few pages later (6:126), referring to the Ten Commandments, Kant points out that in the Jewish tradition,

    «both reward and punishment were intended to affect even the progeny, which had taken no practical part in those deeds or misdeeds, which in a political structure can indeed be a prudential means [Klugheitsmittel] for providing oneself with compliance, but in an ethical one would be contrary to all equity».


    Even though prudence has no proper place in ethical decision-making as such, “prudential means”—such as the belief that one’s children may suffer as a result of one’s wrong- doings—can serve a legitimate role in motivating good behavior. Believing that God will punish “the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 5:9) will not make a person more virtuous; but it may well persuade a person to act in a manner that is at least legally correct (i.e., in compliance with the Ten Commandments, in this case). Kant assigns the same function to all the myths, rituals, and symbols that arise within historical religious traditions.

    In the first of the four main references to prudence in the Fourth Piece (toward the



    12

    Once we recognize that the “weakness” Kant mentions at various points in Religion (see references cited

    above) refers to our embodiment as human beings, it seems plausible to assume that Kant’s position is that we will probably never come to the stage of human history when the need for the prudent vehicle of historical religious traditions totally ceases. Kant explicitly calls attention to this nuance of his theory in a footnote added in the second edition to a first edition footnote. Having pointed out that all historical faith must be treated as if it can cease, he adds (6:135n): “Not that it will cease (for it may perhaps always be useful and needed as a vehicle), but that it can cease; whereby is only meant the inward firmness of the pure moral faith.”


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    end of Part One, Section One) , Kant considers the likely inferences drawn by a

    rationally-minded person who is ruled “by self-interest—by the god of this world” (6:161); once such a person considers the possibility of a future life, he or she might easily come to the realization that kindness is actually preferable to mean actions that are technically justified. The person who acts with calculated kindness

    «proceeds indeed, as regards the incentive of such beneficent actions, more prudently than morally, yet nonetheless in accordance with the moral law, at least according to its letter, and he may hope that this too may not remain unrequited to him».


    Jesus, by contrast, portrayed genuinely godly behavior (i.e., holiness) as not being motivated by any desire for reward (6:162). Prudence, therefore, is not a bad thing, for it can lead a perverse person to do things that are at least legally good; its shortcoming is simply that it is not the best option, for it allows our motives to remain impure if treated as an end in itself (as Kant thought Judaism does).

    A few pages later, in a section entitled “The Christian Religion as a Scholarly Religion”, Kant observes that “the first proliferators of Christ’s teaching” proceeded “prudently” by adopting a procedure that would “procure for it access among their people”: they taught “that every Christian must be a Jew whose Messiah has come” (6:165- 6). Kant refers to this teaching as “faith”, clearly taking it as a typical example of what he often calls “historical faith”; in calling the procedure prudent, he is not implying that it is mistaken, but only that it must not be “taken to be a component of the religion itself, holding for all times and peoples”. In other words, the teachings and practices of particular historical religious traditions may be not only acceptable, but wise, provided their adherents do not claim too much for them. Kant thus goes on to exemplify how such a religious teaching might be interpreted in a way that transforms the prudence of rationally- grounded historical faith into the foolishness of an irrational demand for knowledge: the claim that Jesus’ teaching requires a person to become Jewish “does not well cohere with “the fact that Jesus also taught that a person “is actually not bound to any law of Judaism



    13

    One of the other two references in the Fourth Piece has already been mentioned (see note 11). The other

    one (in Part Two, §4, on “Conscience”) warns against false prudence (6:189): Kant points out “the utmost danger and unsafety with the supposed prudential means, to circumvent in a crafty way the detrimental consequences that might arise for me from not confessing and, by siding with both parties, to ruin one’s standing with both.” The warning here is against the danger of trying to “play it safe” by affirming a confession of faith even when one has serious doubts as to whether it is legitimate. As such, even here Kant is not discrediting genuine prudence; rather, he is implicitly affirming its value, if understood with proper (i.e., moral) limitations.


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    (as statutory)” (6:166);for according to the former claim, a believer “nevertheless would have to accept faithfully the entire Holy Book of this people as a revelation that is divine, given to all human beings.”

    The next paragraph concludes Section Two (and Part One) of the Fourth Piece by distinguishing between “the first founders of [Christian] congregations” and “the founders of the church” (6:167): the former, quite legitimately, “found it necessary to entangle with [Jesus’ message] the history of Judaism, which was a prudent action in view of their situation at that time—though perhaps only for that situation”; the latter, by contrast, mistakenly “took up these episodic means of recommendation among the essential articles of faith and augmented them…with interpretations that held inherent legal power from councils or were authenticated through scholarship.” Such a dependence on historical facts that are subject to change, and therefore not universally communicable, “cannot be avoided as long as we seek religion not within us but outside us.” Kant’s point here is twofold. First, bare reason provides us with an ideal picture of what being religious entails, and of why people should take advantage of this inward source of moral empowerment. Second, because we are embodied, historical beings, we inevitably end up appealing to symbols, beliefs, and/or rituals that have only a prudential value. We need such non-ultimate, subjective aids, as noted above, because of our “weakness” as embodied beings; prudence becomes wisdom, however, only if we recognize that all such prudential means are just that: non-ultimate aids to empower us to do what, in an ideal world, we would do out of a pure sense of moral motivation.

    The final reference to prudence in Religion comes in Part Two of the Fourth Piece,

    §3 (entitled “On Priestery as a Governance in the Pseudoservice of the Good Principle”),in a lengthy paragraph that is worth quoting in full (6:182):

    «It is, therefore, not only to act prudently to start from this [rational] faith and to let the historical faith that harmonizes therewith follow it, but it is also one’s duty to make [the former] the supreme condition under which alone we can hope to come to partake of whatever wholeness a historical faith might promise us; namely we can hope this in such a manner that we can or may let the historical faith count as universally binding only according to the interpretation given to it by the pure religious faith (because this faith contains universally valid doctrine), whereas the moral-faithful person is yet also open to the historical faith insofar as he finds it conducive to the animation of his pure religious conviction [Gesinnung]. In this way alone does this historical faith have a pure moral worth…».


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    Here Kant confirms his position on both prudence in general and historical religion in particular (as an example of prudence): we can and even should make good use of some such non-essential means, provided we remember that they are means to a higher end.

    Kant’s theory of the prudential value of historical religion has important implications for the issue of religious pluralism in this age of globalization: it requires us to recognize that, given the multiplicity of religious traditions, each carries an equal potential (at least in principle, though not necessarily in practice) to serve as a prudent means of empowering people to be good. What is abundantly clear in the above passage is that, if any aspect of a person’s historical faith should cease to be “conducive to the animation of his pure religious conviction”, as Kant puts it in the previously-quoted passage, then we are justified in laying it aside as a tradition that is now empty, inasmuch as it no longer carries with it “a pure moral worth”. Looking around the world at the abundance of choices we have for possible religious and/or pseudo-religious beliefs and practices, we as citizens of the twenty-first century should acknowledge Kant’s position to be perhaps even more relevant to us today than it was to the people of eighteenth-century Europe.


  4. Concluding Reflections on the Role of Prudence in Kant’s System


    Having now explored Kant’s view of the role of prudence in religion, let us return to the riddle Kant presented in his very first use of Klugheit in the first Critique. Although Kant may not have intended such an application, the metaphorical scenario of one person milking a male animal while a co-worker holds a sieve underneath can aptly elucidate the defects he saw in both sides of the ancient debate between the Stoics and Epicureans over the question: “What is the highest good?” The Epicurean is the presumptuous questioner who, like the imprudent man who holds a sieve under an animal that he takes to be female, fails to realize that, even if the animal being milked were female (i.e., even if a life of pleasure-seeking could be called “good”), his container (i.e., his inward conviction) could not hold the desired product (because it lacks genuine virtue). For the Epicurean foolishly believes that happiness is the highest good; should other people (such as the person milking the animal overhead) actually offer the desired product, the milk of genuine, morally-grounded contentment would flow straight through the Epicurean’s un-virtuous sieve, for the Epicurean has no legitimate means of preserving (i.e., no worthiness to



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    receive) the deep satisfaction that Epicureans believe will come from fulfilling one’s inclinations. Likewise, the Stoic is the trusting but duped answerer, who fails to realize that the “ram” of pure, unaided virtue cannot produce the “milk” of happiness, and whose moral theory therefore provides no container (i.e., no adequate conception of the highest good) to catch the milk, even if the ram could produce it. In other words, both of these classical positions lack prudence, but in different ways.

    The all-too-common way of viewing Kant’s moral theory, as a deontological rejection of any general doctrine of prudence (as if we could be good without the specific supplements provided by an appeal to some historical faith), so that his philosophy of religion relies instead on nothing but the postulates of practical reason (i.e., God and immortality, as defended in the second Critique), tends to make Kant look like the gullible dairy worker who faithfully sits on his stool holding a large and well-constructed bucket, hoping that God on High will pour milk down from heaven! It is no wonder that so few readers have been persuaded by Kant’s philosophy of religion, when it is interpreted in this traditional way, whereby religion has to be reduced to a formalistic moral theory in order to be meaningful. In stark contrast to that black-and-white reading of Kant (see notes 7 and 10), our foregoing examination of Kant’s theory of the prudential role of historical faith in transmitting moral religion to human communities demonstrates that, unlike the foolish approaches of the Stoics and Epicureans (or, we might add, of the deontologists and constructivists among Kant-interpreters), genuine Kantian wisdom welcomes the person who aims to be virtuous(i.e., the one who is willing to live the kind of good life that would serve as a suitable container) to walk the nuanced path of prudence (i.e., to find the genuine doe of a worthy historical faith that supplements pure rational religion in a way that produces justified happiness). Because our attempts to be good are all bound to be imperfect as a result of radical evil, Kant wisely argues in Religion that the prudent person should “milk” a “doe” that belongs to a reliable “dairy”: that is, we are most likely to succeed (in seeking the highest good) when we associate ourselves with amorally- grounded historical faith.


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Beiner, Ronald (1983), Political Judgment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).


    Davie, William (1973), “Being Prudent and Acting Prudently”, American Philosophical



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    Quarterly 10, pp.57-60.


    Hill, Thomas E. (1999), “Happiness and Human Flourishing in Kant’s Ethics”, in Human Flourishing, ed. E.F. Paul, E.D. Miller, and J. Paul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp.143-75.


    Flikschuh, Katrin (2013), “Hope as Prudence: Practical Faith in Kant’s Political Thinking” in Reading Onora O’Neill, ed. David Archard, Monique Deveaux, Neil Manson, and Daniel Weinstock (New York: Routledge), 55-76. Reprinted from Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus: Glaube und Vernunft, ed. Fred Rush and Jürgen Stolzenberg (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011), pp.95-117.


    Green, Thomas F. (1988), “The Economy of Virtue and the Primacy of Prudence”,

    American Journal of Education 96.2, pp.127-42.


    Kain, Patrick Paul (2001), “A Preliminary Defense of Kantian Prudence”, in Kant und die Berliner Aufklarung: Akten des IX. InternationalenKant-Kongresses, ed. Volker Gerhardt, Rolf-Peter Horstmann, and Ralph Schumacher (Berlin: de Gruyter), Vol. III, pp.239-46.


    Kant, Immanuel (2009), Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason, tr. Werner S. Pluhar(Indianapolis: Hackett).


    ——— (2002), Critique of Practical Reason, tr. Werner S. Pluhar(Indianapolis: Hackett).


    ——— (1996), Conflict of the Faculties, tr. Mary Gregor and Robert Anchor, in (ed.) Allen W. Wood and George di Giovanni, Religion and Rational Theology(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp.239-327.


    ———(1996), Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals , tr. Mary J. Gregor, in (ed.) Allen W. Wood, Practical Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp.43-108.


    ——— (1996), Critique of Pure Reason, tr. Werner S. Pluhar(Indianapolis: Hackett).


    ——— (1987), Critique of Judgment, tr. Werner S. Pluhar(Indianapolis: Hackett).

    ——— (1979), Lectures on Ethics, tr. Louis Infield (London: Methuen). McGaughey, Douglas (2013), “Historical and Pure Religion: A Response to Stephen

    Palmquist”, The Journal of Religion 93.2 (April), pp.151-76.


    Nelson, Eric S. (2004), “Moral and Political Prudence in Kant”, International Philosophical Quarterly 44.3, pp.305-19.


    Palmquist, Stephen R. (2015), Comprehensive Commentary on Kant’s Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).


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    ——— (2010), “Kant’s Ethics of Grace: Perspectival Solutions to the Moral Difficulties with Divine Assistance”, The Journal of Religion 90:4 (October), pp.530-53.


    ———(2009), Introduction to Immanuel Kant’s Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason, trans. W. Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett), pp.xv-xlix.


    ——— (2000), Kant’s Critical Religion: Volume Two of Kant’s System of Perspectives

    (Aldershot: Ashgate).


    ——— (1993), Kant’s System of Perspectives: An Architectonic Interpretation of the Critical Philosophy (Lanham, MD.: University Press of America).


    ——— (1992), “Does Kant Reduce Religion To Morality?”,Kant-Studien 83:2, pp.129-48.


    ——— (1986), “The Architectonic Form of Kant’s Copernican Logic’, Metaphilosophy

    17.4 (October), pp.266-88.


    Taylor, Robert S. (2005), “Kantian Personal Autonomy”, Political Theory 33.5, pp.602-28. Wood, Allen W. (1999), Kant’s Ethical Thought (Cambridge: Ca


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    L’horizon transcendantal du droit selon Kant

    The transcendental horizon of Right in Kant


    SIMONE GOYARD-FABRE


    Professeur Émerite des Universités, France



    Résumé


    « Une Constitution juridique parfaite parmi les hommes, voilà la chose en soi elle-même », I. Kant, Doctrine du droit, Conclusion.


    La procédure judiciaire a fourni à Kant le modèle méthodologique de sa révolution critique. Soumettant le droit au tribunal de la raison, il ne s’attache pas, comme le font encore les jurisconsultes de son temps, à la question essentialiste Quid jus ?, mais, en posant, comme au sein du prétoire, la question Quid juris ?, il s’interroge sur les conditions de possibilité et de validité des catégories et des concepts du droit. Loin d’être « déduite » métaphysiquement d’une puissance transcendante, la juridicité procède, selon la « déduction transcendantale », de l’horizon pur où s’inscrivent les exigences a priori qui lui accordent le statut d’ « Idée de la raison » : statut sublime qui la rend inaccessible et irréalisable. Le droit ne serait-il pas de ce monde ? A tout le moins serait-il aujourd’hui nécessaire, dans une perspective critique, de réviser la notion de

    « transcendantal » et de restructurer la raison.


    Mots clefs


    Criticisme ; déduction transcendantale ; exigence a priori ; Idée de la raison ; Idée pure ; jurisprudence ; méthode ; Quid jus ?; Quid juris ?

    Abstract


    Professeur émerite des universités. E-mail de contact: [email protected]


    [Recibido: 4 de marzo de 2015/ 77

    Aceptado: 20 de marzo de 2015]


    Simone Goyard-Fabre

    Simone Goyard-Fabre

    Kant has found the pattern of his critical philosophy in the jurisdictional process. In the Rightslehre (1796), he uses his critical method and, to answer to the question Quid juris?, he examines the categories and concepts of law ( in occidental thought, but without interrogation upon the British Common Law ). He explains that, before the critical Court of reason, the “transcendental deduction” discovers the rational and pure Idea which is the a priori principle of law. But as all the “Ideas of reason”, this sublime Idea of law does not belong to our world. Then, it is necessary to- day to revise the notion of “transcendental” and to transform the structures of our reason.

    Key words


    Criticism ; Transcendental Deduction ; A priori Necessity ; Idea of Reason ; Pure Idea ; Jurisprudence ; Methode ; Quid jus? ; Quid juris?


    Les relations entre Kant et les juristes de son temps ont été difficiles en raison du climat d’ambivalence et de suspicion dans lequel elles se sont déroulées. Kant, au soir de sa carrière, a tiré, dans Le conflit des Facultés, l’enseignement philosophique de ces rapports houleux. En effet, si la question du droit ne semble pas être pour le philosophe une question primordiale, elle est bel et bien au cœur de sa réflexion ; et même à un double titre car il convient d’en distinguer la dimension épistémologique et l’aspect philosophico- théorique. D’une part, quelles qu’aient été les relations conflictuelles, vécues et pensées, entre la philosophie et le droit, le clivage n’a rien d’absolu : c’est l’activité des jurisconsultes, et notamment la procédure judiciaire, qui ont fourni à Kant le modèle méthodologique de sa démarche criticiste et qui sont demeurés, tout au long du grand œuvre, le canevas sur lequel le philosophe, en posant la question Quid juris ? a exploré, d’un pas jusqu’alors inédit, le champ théorique aussi bien que le champ pratique de la pensée. D’autre part, la méthode étant la clef d’un engagement heuristique, Kant, après les trois grandes Critiques, a voulu mettre la théorie juridique à l’épreuve de la rationalité critique afin de dégager les arcanes philosophiques dont elle est le développement : ce fut, en 1796, sa Rechtslehre.

    1

    La Doctrine du droit est un ouvrage généralement considéré comme mineur et

    souvent décrié. Il n’en offre pas moins une investigation philosophique audacieuse en sa nouveauté. Il pose en effet la question fondamentale de la fondation d’un univers juridique dont, depuis des siècles, l’existence humaine n’a pu faire l’économie. Le point de vue



    1

    Le texte se trouve au tome III des Œuvres complètes, Gallimard, p. 449 – 650 ; AA 06 : 201-374.


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    méthodologique et le point de vue doctrinal ont donc une assise commune que, au cœur même de la question-clef Quid juris ? recèlent à la fois la problématique générale du criticisme et la réponse à l’interrogation jusqu’alors sans fond, et évidemment sans réponse, que résume l’impressionnante et indéchiffrable question Quid jus ?

    En ces quelques pages, nous voudrions, en un premier point, explorer dans la lettre même des textes et en historien de la philosophie, le double cheminement qu’a suivi Kant. En un second point, nous demanderons, cette fois en philosophe du droit, quel peut être, par-delà le retentissement qu’eut en son temps la recherche conduite par Kant, l’éclairage qu’apportent ses analyses sur l’univers juridique. Enfin, une ultime interrogation nous conduira à projeter les conclusions de Kant à l’époque actuelle et à juger de leur pertinence.

    1. Répudier les théories «vermoulues»


      La pensée de Kant a toujours été multidimensionnelle ; mais, singulièrement, dès avant 1770, elle s’est attachée, dans des leçons et des séminaires, aux questions juridiques. Les Reflexionen ainsi que de nombreux fragments des Lose Blättern témoignent de l’intérêt que portait le philosophe à l’univers conceptuel et architectural du droit. Cependant, Kant est assez avare de confidences sur son propre cursus intellectuel en ce domaine. Nous savons seulement que, à travers les juristes de son siècle, il aimait – non sans une certaine coquetterie – se référer au Corpus juris civilis. Surtout, il n’ignorait nullement le vaste mouvement jusnaturaliste qui s’était développé en Europe depuis Grotius et Pufendorf. Ainsi connaissait-il le traité d’Achenwall – le Jus naturae paru en 1750 – qui faisait alors

      autorité dans le monde germanique ; il en avait recopié divers paragraphes et avait annoté

      2

      l’exemplaire qu’il possédait dans sa bibliothèque . Kant avait aussi rédigé une recension du

      livre que Hufeland avait consacré au droit naturel et publié à Leipzig en 1785 : Versuch über den Grundsatzdes Naturrecht. Le courant des juristes leibnizo-wolffiens l’intéressait

      et, tout ensemble, l’agaçait, éveillant en lui réticences et questions. Il n’est pas exact de

      3

      dire qu’il voulait, au fil de ses lectures, traiter du droit « en moraliste » ; il apparaît bien

      plutôt, dès ses premières « réflexions », qu’il est à la recherche d’une théorisation du droit



      2

      Reflexionen, AA 19 : 326-342.

      ¡

      3

      Cf. Introduction de Fernand Alquié à la Métaphysique des mœurs, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, tome III,

      p.445.


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      différente de celle véhiculée par le pas hypothético-déductif d’une tradition longue et dogmatique.

      La pensée allemande, telle que la révèle l’enseignement universitaire à l’époque de Kant, est fortement spéculative. Aux yeux du philosophe qui, au début de son interrogation sur le droit, ne distingue pas clairement l’aspect théorique et doctrinal de la discipline juridique et l’aspect pratique de la jurisprudence, est frappé par le fait que la pensée du droit, le plus souvent inspirée par les systèmes de Leibniz et de Wolff, fait culminer en ses développements la rationalité déductive et démonstrative dont Grotius, au XVIIe siècle, avait fait le fer de lance de la pensée du droit. Or, à ses yeux, ce type de pensée est, au même titre que la vieille métaphysique, totalement obsolète et « vermoulu » ; partant, il est insusceptible de mettre en évidence les principes d’intelligibilité qui confèrent leur sens et leur valeur aux catégories et aux concepts du droit. Kant s’applique donc à forger un autre mode d’investigation.

      La tâche était à la fois difficile et grandiose. Aussi est-ce seulement au terme de sa carrière que le philosophe fut en mesure d’écrire sa « doctrine » (Lehre) du droit. Cependant, durant presque deux décennies, il avait scruté à la fois la méthode de travail des jurisconsultes et examiné le contenu substantiel des théories qu’ils proposaient. Son dessein était de rectifier la problématique à laquelle, depuis Platon, avait répondu l’effort des philosophes pour comprendre la nature du domaine juridique : il s’agissait moins pour lui d’exprimer ce qu’est le droit d’un point de vue essentialiste que de montrer par une analyse épistémologique ce qui est de droit et à quelles conditions.

      Le regard alors porté par Kant sur les ouvrages des juristes de son siècle tels que

      4 5 6

      Thomasius , Heineccius ou Achenwall est lucide et sans concessions. Ces magistrats se

      prennent, estime-t-il, pour des « professeurs » qui, tous, sont soumis à l’influence de Leibniz et de Wolff. Certes, Kant admet qu’ils introduisent de l’ordre dans les lourdes compilations des Institutes et que leur mathématisme d’inspiration leibnizienne fait pièce à



      4

      Christian Thomasius (1655-1728) avait fait paraître en 1694 son Ethique pratique


      5

      Johann-Gottlieb Heineccius (1681-1741) disait couloir atteindre la certitude dans la jurisprudence en

      mettant en œuvre une « méthode axiomatique » plus simple même que la logique wolffienne dont elle s’inspirerait.


      6

      G. Achenwall (1719-1772) avait fait paraître en 1750 un Jus naturae qui connut de nombreuses rééditions.

      Kant le cite à plusieurs reprises : cf. Notamment, voir note 1 - Reflexionen, AA 19 : 326-342.


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      L’horizon transcendantal du droit selon Kant

      l’éclectisme des opinions et des coutumes. Mais la volonté rationaliste intransigeante qui, par exemple chez Achenwall, commande leur manière de raisonner, les incline vers le

      7

      systématisme et le dogmatisme métaphysique . Si l’architecture formaliste et synthétiste de

      leurs traités a le mérite d’aider à la compréhension des longues chaînes de droit, elle a le tort d’étouffer les requêtes mouvantes d’un humanisme concret et vivant.

      8

      Kant, certainement influencé par la réflexion pragmatique de J.J.Moser et de

      9 10

      K.F.Hommel en Allemagne, et par celle de J.B.Vico en Italie, mais éloigné de l’anti-

      wolffisme offensif et virulent qui sévissait à Berlin et à Königsberg, entreprit donc d’ouvrir une voie nouvelle. Dans la page célèbre de la Critique de la raison pure qui contient la quintessence de la décision criticiste, il tira la leçon – d’abord principalement méthodologique – qu’il avait retenue de sa lecture du Contrat social de Rousseau. Sans distinguer encore avec netteté les points de vue de la pratique et de la théorie, il entendit expliquer que, au tribunal de la raison, il ne faut pas, pour trancher un litige entre des parties adverses, ou de manière plus ambitieuse, pour élaborer la connaissance du droit, déduire les conséquences d’un principe. La « déduction » juridictionnelle existe bien mais elle est inassimilable à une déduction logico-mathématique. De même, la théorisation du droit ne résulte pas d’un processus qui déduit les conséquences métaphysiques d’une postulation première. Lors même, estime Kant, que, depuis Grotius, la plupart des jurisconsultes modernes se sont trompés en dessinant, selon les voies d’une logique causale, l’architectonique de leur systématisation du droit, ils ont cependant, pense-t-il, le mérite d’avoir mis en œuvre une méthode de travail qui, dans l’examen des litiges, sait distinguer les questions Quid facti ? et Quid juris ? Or, rechercher les conditions qui rendent un jugement possible et valide, voilà la démarche qui fournit la clef de la révolution épistémologique appelée à bouleverser l’approche du monde juridique. Comme



      7

      Tel est le reproche virulent que le Suisse Jean-Pierre de Crouzas (1683-1749) faisait dans ses Observations

      critiques sur l’abrégé de la logique de Monsieur Wolff, Leipzig, 1744.)


      8

      Johan Jacob Moser (1701-1785 est l’auteur d’un ouvrage Le Maître et le serviteur (1759) qui connut un

      grand succès politique en Allemagne.)


      9

      Karl Ferdinand Hommel (1722-1781), professeur de droit renommé à Leipzig, était criminaliste. On l’a

      parfois considéré comme un précurseur de Beccaria.


      10

      Giovanni Batista Vico (1668-1744), juriste napolitain, avait consacré divers travaux à la théorie juridique

      avant de se rendre célèbre par la Scienza nuova.


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      cette révolution est aussi un engagement philosophique, elle inaugure la nouvelle silhouette de ce qui deviendra bientôt la « philosophie du droit ».

      Ce point est évidemment de prime importance. En effet, l’erreur méthodologique des théories du XVIIIe siècle, si brillantes qu’elles aient été, s’est doublée, selon Kant, de la méprise philosophique profonde qu’ils ont commise dans le sillage de la

      déthéologisation et de la désacralisation du droit tracé par Grotius et Pufendorf. Substituer

      11

      les axiomes du rationalisme moderne, comme l’a fait Thomasius , au principe d’autorité

      métaphysique ou théologique voulu par les jurisconsultes romains et les canonistes médiévaux a été, assurément, pense Kant, une démarche nécessaire ; mais elle n’est pas satisfaisante. Le nouveau jusnaturalisme qui fonde la fonction normative des règles de droit dans la norme méta-juridique suprême du jus naturae conduit à une conception utopique et fausse de l’univers juridique. Aussi bien s’impose le réexamen de la thématique et des instruments conceptuels dont, leurs ouvrages eussent-ils été magistraux, se sont servi les jurisconsultes modernes. C’est à ce prix que sera rendue pertinente, avec la rectification du schéma fondamental du droit, la mutation de son intelligibilité.

      La boucle est tout près, désormais, d’être bouclée. Mais, au terme d’un long parcours, il n’a fallu rien de moins que la révolution « critique » par laquelle Kant a bouleversé la problématique fondamentale du droit et apporté une réponse inédite à la question primordiale de sa fondation.


    2. Assigner le droit au tribunal critique de la raison


      Kant n’est pas juriste ; il n’a ni voulu ni prétendu l’être. Mais si la Rechtslehre qu’il

      publie en décembre 1796 à l’âge de 72 ans a été reçue par l’intelligentsia comme l’ouvrage d’un vieillard fatigué, elle n’en constitue pas moins le témoignage fort de la place que,

      12

      considéré du point de vue théorique ( dans les codes, les compilations et la doctrine) ou

      du point de vue pratique ( lors de la mise en mouvement du droit par le magistrat dans le



      11

      Christian Thomasius avait publié en 1705 un ouvrage intitulé Fondation du droit naturel et du droit des

      gens. La démarche adoptée par ce jurisconsulte est celle qui a particulièrement frappé Kant .


      12

      On sait l’importance qu’attache Kant, dans toute son œuvre, à la notion de ‘point de vue’. Cf. Fondements

      de la métaphysique des mœurs, troisième section : « Le concept d’un monde intelligible n’est qu’un point de vue que la raison se voit obligée d’adopter en dehors des phénomènes, afin de se concevoir elle-même comme pratique », Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, tome II, p.330, AA 04 : 458.


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      L’horizon transcendantal du droit selon Kant


      prétoire), le droit occupe dans son gigantesque opus philosophique en attestant les puissances de la raison critique.

      En tournant le dos aux « philosophies d’école », les chemins de la réflexion kantienne sur les codes et sur la jurisprudence prennent leur point de départ dans une

      problématique inédite qui, en assignant le droit au tribunal de la raison comme le veut la

      13

      démarche critique , doit en examiner le contenu et la légitimité. Elle revient à chercher en

      quoi et comment le corpus juridique – le droit positif, bien entendu, et quelle qu’en soit la texture complexe et noueuse – puise en sa fondation même les conditions de sa possibilité

      et de sa validité : tâche non pas elle-même juridique mais éminemment philosophique qui

      14

      est en quête d’ « une méta-physique du droit » , c’est-à-dire de ce qui, dans la positivité

      15

      des règles juridiques fait et justifie leur légitimité. Le « système issu de la raison » que

      veut élaborer Kant refuse ce qui est facile, aléatoire ou incertain. Parce qu’il est la recherche du bien-fondé de l’appareil juridique en général, il ne sera ni une description ou une analyse empirique du droit positif ni un discours sur l’idéal. Aux antipodes de la

      « philosophie populaire » que souhaitent Mendelsohn et Garve, il sera une théorie pure du

      16

      droit strict .

      La mise en oeuvre du projet heuristique dont l’objectif est de déplacer la rationalité spéculative vers la normativité de la raison pratique obéit, dans l’orthodoxie critique, à un impératif méthodologique : le philosophe doit s’attacher aussi bien à la question de fait dont la visée est informative et objective (elle commande la recherche de ce qui est ou a été) qu’à la question de droit dont la visée est justificative et fondationnelle (elle s’enquiert de ce qui doit être ou aurait dû être). Le lecteur de Kant pouvait donc s’attendre à ce que le philosophe construise sa « doctrine » en deux moments respectivement voués à l’examen de sa double interrogation. Or, si l’ouvrage de Kant comporte bien en effet deux parties, elles sont vouées respectivement, selon un autre dualisme, aux deux champs juridiques que l’on désigne, conformément à la tradition romaniste, comme étant ceux du « droit privé » (Privatrecht) et du « droit public » (Offentlichesrecht). La méprise serait de considérer


      13

      Rappelons ici que cette démarche est celle-là même que les jurisconsultes mettent en œuvre dans le

      prétoire lors de l’examen d’une « espèce ».


      14

      Doctrine du droit , Préface, p.449 ; AA 06 : 205.


      15

      Ibid., Préface, p. 449 ; AA 06 : 205.


      16

      Dans l’investigation kantienne, le « droit strict » exclut le « droit large » comme l’équité ou le droit de

      nécessité en quoi la contrainte n’a pas de place, Doctrine du droit, p. 483 ; AA 06 : 233.


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      qu’en ce dualisme se reflète la dichotomie méthodologique de l’interrogation critique. En procédant à l’examen des deux volets de l’édifice juridique, Kant retrouve bien la summa divisio qu’utilisent les juristes de son siècle mais son originalité est de montrer, au fil de ses investigations, comment s’articulent subtilement les deux figures du questionnement criticiste.


      Que connote donc le concept de droit privé ?

      La réponse, de prime abord, peut paraître simple, claire et sans équivoque : le pilier autour duquel se construit l’architecture du droit privé est le concept de « propriété ». Mais, pour le décrypter, Kant en appelle à un regard dont les deux visées criticistes s’articulent et se complètent.

      Le problème du mien et du tien (meum juris) concerne la possession d’un objet extérieur. Kant procède d’abord à « l’exposition » du concept de possession. Ce concept, rappelle-t-il, ne connote ni simple détention ni propriété : la possession se définit par l’usage – définition tout à fait classique. Mais Kant introduit une distinction totalement étrangère au juriste, doctrinaire ou praticien, entre la « possession sensible » qui s’attache à une chose située dans l’espace et le temps (le champ que je peux labourer, le livre dont je peux me servir…) et la « possession intelligible ou nouménale » qu’établit la

      déduction transcendantale en mettant en lumière les conditions qui rendent le droit de

      17

      possession possible, qui le fondent et le légitiment . Nous sommes en ce point loin du

      droit des juristes et même loin de la vulgate doctrinale généralement reçue.

      C’est qu’en vérité, nous sommes ici plongés au cœur de la démarche criticiste en laquelle la doctrine kantienne s’éloigne radicalement des thèses jusnaturalistes de

      Thomasius, Nettelbladt ou Achenwall qui pensaient le droit par référence à l’archétype

      18

      transcendant d’un droit naturel inhérent au sujet . Selon Kant, la « déduction »

      transcendantale, corrélée à l’ « exposition » du droit, vient la compléter et l’approfondir. D’ores et déjà, se déchiffre la double signification de l’analyse criticiste.

      D’abord, la distinction de la possession sensible et de la possession intelligible signifie qu’il est impensable, donc impossible, qu’une chose ne soit à personne ; la res



      17

      Doctrine du droit, § 1, p. 494-495 ; AA 06 : 245.


      18

      Cf. Thomasius, Fundamenta juris naturae et gentium, 1705. Daries, Institutiones jurisprudentiae

      naturalis, 1740. Nettelbladt, Systema elementaris jurisprudentiae naturalis, 1748. Achenwall, Prolegomena jurisnaturalis et jus naturae, 1781.


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      19

      nullius est un concept creux . Néanmoins, son impossibilité dévoile le « postulat de la

      raison pratique », c’est-à-dire la « loi permissive » ou la « présupposition a priori de la raison pratique » d’après laquelle « tout objet de mon arbitre » est un mien possible.

      Ensuite, il apparaît que la nature juridique de la possession ne réside ni dans

      20

      l’aspect matériel de la chose possédée ni dans l’aspect physique du fait de posséder . La

      possession dans le phénomène ne se suffit pas à elle-même. C’est dire que la possession implique la nécessaire liaison de l’objet possédé et du sujet possédant. Or cette liaison, loin d’être empirique, est la condition sine qua non qui rend possible (c’est-à-dire pensable) toute possession : sa nécessité est a priori et transcendantale. Comme telle, elle indique le

      niveau auquel se situe le droit de possession : il se présente comme « un pur concept

      21

      rationnel de l’arbitre sous les lois de la liberté » . Telle est l’exigence juridique

      principielle de la raison pratique, exigence qui est la condition d’intelligibilité de tout le droit privé.

      Une telle exigence ne relève en aucun cas du sujet empirique mais toujours du sujet fondamentalement transcendantal (lequel, évidemment, n’a rien de subjectif). Donc, le droit de possession, en tant qu’il est l’ideal-type du droit privé, dépasse tout individualisme

      et n’a de sens que dans l’intersubjectivité universelle. Seulement, il n’est, à ce niveau,

      22

      qu’un « droit provisoire » et non un « droit péremptoire » . Comme tel, il n’est encore

      23

      qu’une « présomption juridique » . En son exemplarité, il enseigne que, de manière

      générale, le droit privé est privé de l’effectivité qui s’attache à la juridicité du droit positif. Certes, il s’impose à chacun comme l’obligation de ne pas faire usage de l’objet que tout

      24

      autre possède et cette obligation porte en elle-même, a priori, sa propre garantie. Mais

      comme, dans la sphère d’effectivité où se déploie le droit, son observance ne va pas de soi,



      19

      Doctrine du droit, § 2 , p. 495 ; AA 06 : 246, p.120.


      20

      Dans les Fondements de la métaphysique des mœurs, Kant déclarait dans le même esprit, mutatis mutandis,

      que la valeur morale d’une action ne dépend ni de sa teneur propre (son contenu) ni du but qu’elle recherche ni même de sa réussite.


      21

      Doctrine du droit, § 5, p. 499 ; AA 06 : 249.


      22

      Ibid., § 9, p. 509 ; AA 06: 217, p. 509.


      23

      Ibid., § 9 , p. 509 ; AA 06: 217.


      24

      Ibid., § 8, p. 508 ; AA 06: 508.


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      il est nécessaire qu’ « une volonté collective et universelle (Kollectivallgemeine) » vienne, par une loi de contrainte, en assurer la l’effectivité et la sécurité.

      En ces analyses – dont les juristes n’approuveraient probablement pas toujours la facture technique – l’originalité de Kant est de montrer que le droit privé est à la fois promesse juridique et carence juridique. Selon Kant, le « droit réel » (jus in re) et le « droit personnel » (la possession de l’arbitre d’un autre) et même cette catégorie insolite qu’invente le philosophe en l’appelant « le droit personnel selon une modalité réelle » ne se rapportent qu’à une virtualité juridique qui se caractérise comme du « droit naturel / rationnel ». Tous les concepts juridiques du droit privé statutaire, tels que l’occupation, la

      spécification, la donation, l’hérédité … ne sont intelligibles qu’en vertu du principe formel

      25

      de possibilité, lequel, présupposé , n’a rien du principe transcendant invoqué par les

      jusnaturalistes. Le transcendantal n’est pas transcendant. Le principe fondateur du droit

      privé est en effet « un besoin de la raison », c’est-à-dire une exigence rationnelle pure et a priori qui ne se rapporte pas à l’individualité de l’homo phaenomenon mais à l’homo

      26

      noumenon, c’est-à-dire à l’humanité de l’homme dans son universalité . Cette exigence

      pure, d’ordre transcendantal, a une vocation rectrice et régulatrice. Rien de tel n’a jamais transparu dans les ouvrages des jurisconsultes : la cathédrale juridique qu’ils ont dessinée selon une géographie intellectuelle, aux yeux de Kant, mutilée, ressemble, tant son

      déductivisme est dogmatique, à la tête de la fable de Phèdre : elle est belle, mais elle n’a

      27

      pas d’âme .

      La révolution criticiste de la doctrine du droit est accomplie. Du moins ne l’est-elle encore qu’à demi. En effet, si, selon Kant, le droit privé, en sa nature rationnelle, ne demeure qu’une promesse, il faut, pour que celle-ci se réalise effectivement, que la sanction de la loi publique vienne la consacrer et l’avaliser. Accomplir cette « révolution »

      - copernicienne si l’on veut ou galiléenne – c’est montrer philosophiquement que le « droit naturel » invoqué généralement en sa posture métaphysique transcendante comme la plus profonde racine du droit, n’en est ni la source ni le modèle ou le paradigme. Mais, dans la démarche kantienne, la critique prend un autre tour et bien plus important. Pour que le



      25

      Doctrine du droit, § 7, p. 506 ; AA 06 : 254.


      26

      Ibid., § 35, p. 558 ; AA 06: 295.


      27

      Ibid., Introduction, p . 478 ; AA 06: 230.


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      28

      droit privé, de « provisoire » devienne « péremptoire » , il doit être subsumé par le droit

      public étatique qui relève, lui aussi, comme nous allons le voir, d’une logique transcendantale.


      Que connote le concept de droit public ?

      S’interroger sur le concept de droit public, des deux points de vue politique et

      29

      cosmopolitique que distingue Kant , n’est pas un questionnement nouveau. Mais la

      manière de conduire cette interrogation prend, dans l’écriture de Kant, un tour spécifique et inédit.

      Dans le cadre auquel accède la démarche critique, la fondation transcendantale du droit privé éclaire la signification naturelle/rationnelle de tous ses concepts ; mais ceux-ci demeurent des virtualités juridiques privées de la garantie et de l’effectivité que, seul, le droit public peut leur conférer. Il est donc de première importance de saisir non pas

      seulement, comme l’a fait une longue tradition, ce que sont les « pouvoirs » de l’Etat et

      30

      comment ils se manifestent , mais de capter, dans le droit public, en deçà de sa quiddité,

      ce qui fait sa juridicité et sa légitimité. A cette immense question, Kant répond par l’analyse du « contrat », qu’il définit comme l’acte juridique qui conditionne le passage,

      31

      « impératif » et « nécessaire », de « l’état de nature » à « l’état civil » .

      32

      On pourrait penser que cette problématique, formulée de longue date par Kant ,

      n’a rien de bien original. Le philosophème du contrat, dont la spécificité avait été pressentie par les Monarchomaques protestants du XVIe siècle, est devenu, deux siècles plus tard, comme le dit Vaughan, un « lieu commun » porté par une vague puissante. Hobbes et surtout Rousseau, mais aussi Locke, Pufendorf, Burlamaqui, alors célèbres, l’ont abordée avec soin. Kant connaît bien ces auteurs. Mais, s’écartant de l’idée du pactum societatis analysée par la plupart d’entre eux comme la source de la société civile et de son



      28

      Ibid., § 15, p. 519 ; AA 06 : 264.


      29

      Dans la synopsis du droit que dessine Kant, les deux perspectives sont nettement distinguées dans les deux

      sections consacrées à l’étude du droit public.


      30

      Doctrine du droit, § 46 à 49, p. 578 – 584 ; AA 06 : 314-318, ainsi que la longue « remarque » qui fait

      suite à cet examen.


      31

      Doctrine du droit, § 42, Pléiade, tome III, p. 573 ; AA 06 : 307.


      32

      Cf. Reflexionen 1773-1775 ; Idée d’une histoire universelle d’un point de vue cosmopolitique, 1784 ;

      Théorie et Praxis, 1793.


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      droit, il s’interroge sur le pactum unionis civilis qui n’en est pas l’origine mais la

      33

      condition . Il prend ainsi largement ses distances avec ses devanciers et, écartant l’idée du

      34

      fondement traditionnel mais « insondable » du droit public , il préfère en rechercher la

      fondation, qui n’en est pas la source mais la condition d’existence. Dans la quête logique de ce principe fondateur, le philosophe élève la pensée à une altitude jamais atteinte.

      Lorsqu’il étudie le contrat comme principe de la société civile, Kant s’applique d’abord à une critique de Hobbes. En 1793, dans Théorie et pratique, il a insisté sur les déficiences de la théorie du contrat qu’exposait le Léviathan. Hobbes, déclare-t-il, s’est trompé : son erreur est profonde à cause de la postulation individualiste et mécaniciste de sa philosophie. Il a ainsi confondu les notions de « société » et de « société civile » ou politique, confusion d’où est sortie une seconde méprise par laquelle il a assimilé le contrat social à un contrat ordinaire aux termes duquel une « affaire » est traitée comme un calcul téléologique d’intérêts. Loin de ce pas réductionniste, Kant recherche au contraire la nature spécifique du contrat social dont il laisse entendre d’emblée que la vocation est de permettre, sous une Constitution civile, la mutation de la liberté. L’état civil, dit-il, exprime, conformément à l’impératif de la raison pratique, l’exigence pure et a priori d’une Constitution civile (Verfassung) habilitée à fixer par des lois publiques les rapports possibles d’hommes libres pourtant soumis à des lois de contrainte. L’idée, assurément, peut paraître difficile. Mais Kant a expliqué à plusieurs reprises que des lois de contrainte, loin de s’opposer à la liberté, sont au contraire ce qui fait obstacle à tout ce qui fait obstacle à la liberté.

      Toute difficulté à cet égard étant ainsi levée, Kant peut étudier les lois juridiques a

      35

      priori nécessaires que sont, dans la civitas, les « trois pouvoirs » (trias politica) : le

      souverain, l’exécutif et le judiciaire. La démarche, après les analyses de Hobbes, Pufendorf, Locke, Montesquieu ou Rousseau, peut paraître tout à fait classique. Mais du point de vue réflexif-philosophique adopté par Kant, ces trois pouvoirs représentent les trois propositions d’un raisonnement de la raison pratique : la majeure contient la loi d’une volonté ; la mineure contient l’ordre de se conduire d’après la loi (c’est-à-dire la



      33

      Cf. Théorie et pratique , Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, tome III, p. 279 ; AA 08 : 297.


      34

      « Une telle idée ne saurait donner lieu qu’à des ratiocinations tout à fait vides », Doctrine du droit,

      Remarque A, p. 585 ; AA 06 : 319.


      35

      Ibid., § 45, p. 578 ; AA 06: 313.


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      subsomption sous la majeure) ; la conclusion, qui réside dans la sentence, contient ce qui est « de droit » dans l’espèce dont il s’agit. Il en résulte que tous les concepts qui sont afférents à ces trois pouvoirs sont portés par la condition formelle et sine qua non que constitue le pactum unionis civilis. Autrement dit, le droit statutaire (ou positif) répond à

      « l’Etat selon l’Idée » (in der Idee) tel qu’on conçoit qu’en toutes ses formulations, il doit

      être (Sollen). Quelle que soit donc la « réalité pratique indubitable » du contrat générateur

      36

      de la société civile, celui-ci procède d’une « simple Idée de la raison » .

      Aussi bien le contrat social n’a-t-il rien à voir selon Kant avec un pacte « primitif » qu’il faudrait situer en une hypothétique proto-histoire. C’est seulement « en Idée » qu’il a un sens et à ce niveau seulement qu’il puise les raisons de son efficience possible. On peut, bien sûr, l’appeler si l’on veut contractus originarius mais ce caractère « originaire » ne signifie pas qu’il est un fait premier. Il connote au contraire, chez un peuple, la connexion

      (ou le nexus) de toutes les volontés particulières qui s’érigent de la sorte en une volonté

      37

      commune . Kant semble en cela bien proche de Rousseau dont il est un lecteur avisé.

      Mais il lui apparaît que Rousseau est resté en chemin : faute d’un outillage conceptuel

      38

      suffisant, il n’a pas su dire que cette connexion est « une simple Idée de la raison » ,

      qu’elle exprime un principe a priori, qu’elle appartient à la raison pure et qu’à ce titre, elle possède un statut transcendantal. C’est pourtant là l’essentiel. Le contrat qui fait naître la société civile ou Etat en quoi, par la tâche propre aux trois pouvoirs, se déploie le droit statutaire (willkürliches Recht), est donc inséparable de la légalité pure et a priori qui est intrinsèque à tout acte de la pensée juridique. Le dire « originaire », c’est le reconnaître non pas comme « primitif » mais comme principiel ; c’est en saluer l’aspect normateur.

      L’Idée pure du contrat, précise Kant, « sert de fil conducteur (norma) à toute unification

      39 40

      effective visant la chose publique (sur le plan interne ) » .

      Le langage de Kant est à coup sûr étranger et peu compréhensible aux juristes publicistes. Rousseau, sans doute, eût compris ; mais il n’était pas juriste et – nous l’avons

      36

      Ibid., § 44, Remarque p. 577 ; AA 06: 313.


      37

      Doctrine du droit, § 47, p. 581 ; AA 06 : 315.


      38

      Théorie et pratique, II, Corollaire, Pléiade tome III, p. 279 ; AA 06 : 297.


      39

      Le droit public comporte aussi une dimension cosmopolitique à laquelle se rapportent assez brièvement les

      analyses suivantes de la Doctrine du droit. Le pas du questionnement et le résultat philosophique de l’analyse aboutissent aux mêmes conclusions.


      40

      Doctrine du droit, § 45, p. 578 ; AA 06 : 313.


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      dit – il s’est arrêté en chemin. Même les plus philosophes d’entre les jurisconsultes tels que Montesquieu, Vattel ou Hufeland, ignorent la dimension transcendantale que la pensée critique inscrit au fronton de l’architectonique juridique. Ainsi s’explique en grande part l’âpreté du « conflit des facultés ». En revanche, pour le philosophe, l’enseignement est riche et significatif. A l’ontologie méta-juridique de la tradition jusnaturaliste à laquelle, avec une conscience plus ou moins claire de cette appartenance, se rapportent les certitudes dogmatiques des jurisconsultes de son temps, Kant substitue la perspective transcendantale d’un normativisme qui est, jusque dans le républicanisme du droit international, un humanisme juridique non-métaphysique. Même « un peuple de démons » (à condition qu’il

      ait l’intelligence) saurait résoudre le problème de la Constitution civile des points de vue

      41

      politique et cosmopolitique . La Doctrine du droit assume ainsi pleinement la révolution

      criticiste : en sa topique transcendantale, la raison pure pratique impose impérativement à l’univers juridique l’horizon d’idéalité et de « pure rigueur » qu’exige la liberté nouménale sans quoi aucune catégorie, aucun concept, aucune règle de droit n’auraient de sens, de valeur et d’effectivité.

      La congruence des analyses du droit privé et du droit public proposées par Kant atteste la parfaite cohérence de sa pensée. Dans son obligatoriété, le droit - qu’il commande, autorise ou habilite - impose « un devoir saint» qui est « sacré ». Sa fondation rigoriste est inflexible, et sa puissance est capable d’en hausser la pensée même au niveau de la pureté transcendantale a priori. Celle-ci seule permet de comprendre pourquoi l’obéissance à la loi étant un impératif absolu, toute violation du contrat est non seulement, du point de vue de la logique formelle, une illégalité et une contradiction mais, du point de vue juridique, un défi aux dictamina de la raison.

      Seulement, si Kant, par le regard critique qu’il porte sur l’univers du droit, peut

      42

      assimiler la Constitution juridique parfaite à la chose en soi , la puissance de sa démarche

      en est aussi la faiblesse : quelle que soit l’altitude de ses exigences transcendantales, le pactum unionis civilis qui rend possible et valide le dispositif juridique de l’Etat, ne l’inscrit cependant que dans les « limites de la simple raison ».



      41

      Cf. Projet de paix perpétuelle, p. 333- 392 ; AA 08 : 343- 386.


      42

      Doctrine du droit, Remarques explicatives, Conclusion, p. 649 ; AA 06 : 371.


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      L’horizon transcendantal du droit selon Kant


    3. L’impossibilité d’échapper aux limites de la simple raison


L’originalité de Kant est, comme nous venons de le voir, de s’interroger sur la

« fondation » du droit plutôt que sur ses fondements, qu’il répute d’ailleurs « insondables du point de vue pratique ». Son questionnement, que résume la formule Quid juris ?, est, par soi seul et déjà, une réponse au souci de « pureté » qui hante de part en part sa démarche critique. Refusant d’inscrire le droit dans l’ordre phénoménal où se manifestent

les mobiles psychologiques que sont les inclinations et les justifications sociologiques que

43

sont les intérêts , Kant considère que le système du droit, dans son entier, relève

catégoriquement et inconditionnellement de l’ordre nouménal. C’est en ce lieu transcendantal précisément que résident à la fois la force et les limites de la raison pratique qui l’inspire.

Les analyses qui précèdent convergent pour montrer que l’Idée du droit, par la pureté transcendantale a priori qu’elle tient de sa rationalité, est la clef de voûte de l’édifice juridique et le principe régulateur (mais non pas constitutif) du fonctionnement de son dispositif. Cette thèse nouvelle s’insère dans la perspective criticiste d’où sont écartées définitivement les théories essentialistes qui se sont essoufflées en recherchant la quiddité du droit, aussi bien que les déclarations empiristes assimilant peu ou prou le droit à la force ou à l’intérêt ; comme telle, elle doit permettre, selon Kant, de donner enfin la définition du

concept du droit que les juristes, nonobstant leurs efforts, n’ont jamais pu trouver

44

jusqu’alors .

L’impossibilité, jamais surmontée, d’accéder à la définition du droit provient sans doute de la multivalence et de la malléabilité des appareils juridiques, donc, du vertige sémantique qui entoure le terme même de droit. Mais cette difficulté, sur laquelle Kant ne s’attarde pas, ne lui apparaît pas comme un accident de l’histoire ; et il y a en elle quelque chose d’infiniment plus important. Cette difficulté est en tout cas assez grave pour qu’il faille lever l’amphibologie qui, depuis toujours, rôde dans la sphère juridique. C’est d’ailleurs pourquoi le philosophe, ayant assigné le droit au tribunal de la raison en donnant



43

Dans ce rejet, Kant vise particulièrement les prises de position philosophiques de Hume et de Bentham.


44

Critique de la raison pure, seconde édition de 1787, Pléiade, tome I, p. 1311, note : « Les juristes

cherchent encore une définition pour le concept du droit ».


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congé à la question Quid jus ?, lui a substitué la question critique Quid juris ? Dans la démarche qui s’en est suivie, le droit s’est profilé comme ce qui a intrinsèquement vocation à réaliser dans le monde sensible la coexistence d’êtres raisonnables. S’il en est ainsi, c’est que la contrainte légale se dévoile comme son critère premier : la juridicité est en effet l’exigence inconditionnelle par laquelle le droit lie la possibilité de son existence à la loi universelle de la liberté et le caractérise comme besoin d’ordre. Le droit obéit donc à un « besoin de la raison » : fiction heuristique de premier plan, ce « besoin » traduit l’Idée régulatrice d’après laquelle l’ordre juridique n’est concevable qu’en vertu de l’exigence impérative qui oriente toujours et universellement la raison vers la liberté.

Le droit se détermine ainsi comme le devoir-être inconditionnel qui, dans l’appareil du droit positif, fonde la synthèse du conditionnel. Eo ipso, la doctrine du droit réfute aussi bien le constructivisme que la facticité historique empirique. Par sa dimension pratique, l’ordre juridique échappe à toute théorisation spéculative. Sa pensabilité et sa légitimité sont transcendantalement fondées : ce pourquoi, indépendamment de leur contenu, c’est-à-dire formellement, les maximes juridiques possèdent un caractère d’obligatoriété. La loi du droit est de la sorte le postulat même de la raison pratique : le droit répond au principe non pas constitutif mais régulateur sans lequel la destination de l’humanité ne serait pas même pensable. L’Idée du droit fait donc bien de lui un devoir. C’est sa règle d’or. Assumer ce devoir, c’est-à-dire tenter la réalisation de son Idée pure n’est rien de moins qu’opérer la synthèse qui, unissant l’Idéalité de la liberté à la naturalité de l’homme, tend à l’accomplissement de son humanité. Le droit est ainsi appelé à insérer la légalité de l’ordre dans le désordre des comportements humains : tâche sublime en sa dimension nouménale. Le droit ne trouve sa vérité que sur l’horizon transcendantal.


Mais l’Idée du droit, par sa « pureté » même, s’avère – comme toute Idée de la raison – inaccessible à l’homme et irréalisable.

Assurément, Kant voit juste lorsqu’il pense que ce n’est pas en regardant le Ciel

pour y trouver les lumières transcendantes et surnaturelles que l’on peut comprendre la juridicité du droit. Il voit juste encore quand il dit que ce n’est pas non plus en assimilant le

45

droit à la morale ou à la philanthropie (c’est-à-dire en voyant dans l’organisation de la



45

« Cette Idée de la raison qu’est une communauté générale … de tous les peuples de la Terre qui peuvent

nouer entre eux des rapports actifs, n’est pas quelque chose de philanthropique (éthique) mais c’est un

principe juridique », Doctrine du droit, § 62, p. 625 ; AA 06 : 352.


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République le chemin qui conduit au règne des fins) que l’on atteindra les arcanes du droit. Dans un cas comme dans l’autre, il n’y a que la vaine rêverie des utopies. L’horizon intelligible du droit intime à son concept la perfection d’un modèle critique qui, par son prestige inaltérable, doit servir de règle et de fil conducteur à la sphère juridique (Rechtsschnur), en ce qui concerne son organisation comme en ce qui se rapporte à son fonctionnement.

L’illusion, toutefois, consiste à croire que la perfection nouménale pure de l’Idée du droit peut s’objectiver dans le monde phénoménal ou dans l’expérience vécue. La perspective normative-transcendantale dessinée par Kant est inassimilable à un rêve de métaphysicien. Qu’il y soit question de l’ordre que requiert l’espace public de la

République ou, à une autre échelle, de la paix du monde, elle est l’indication de « la fin

46

ultime » du droit et, comme telle, elle s’inscrit dans « les limites de la simple raison » .

Or, pour l’homme raisonnable, ces bornes sont infranchissables.

Ce n’est nullement là un constat d’échec, une prise de position attentiste ou un aveu de désespérance, mais tout au contraire une certitude. Les concepts du droit privé et du droit public jusqu’en sa figure cosmopolitique, en assurant l’armature catégoriale du monde juridique, relèvent tous des « principes de réflexion » contenus en son Idée. Il serait vain de rechercher la juridicité du droit dans ses effets ou dans son utilité. La question n’est pas de savoir si le droit privé réalise la compatibilité des libertés, si le droit public établit l’ordre de la communauté civile, si le droit cosmopolitique rendra quelque jour la paix effective entre les nations … Le problème est de reconnaître dans les principes de réflexion de la raison – dont il faut répéter qu’ils ne peuvent se phénoménaliser et qu’ils ne sont pas non plus des principes constitutifs - des principes avant tout régulateurs. Voilà la réponse à la question Quid juris ? Elle permet de discerner la signification ultime de tous les concepts du droit : si, en eux, la rationalité du normatif ne se laisse pas connaître (erkennen) mais seulement penser (denken), elle est l’indication de la maxime la plus magnanime et la plus prégnante du monde juridique : il faut agir comme si ce qui, peut- être, ne sera jamais, devait être. Une telle maxime a quelque chose de « sacré » ; à travers l’Idée pure du droit, elle est comme la lumière d’un phare qui, en diffusant les requêtes pures de la législation pratique de la raison, arrache l’homme à la terre et l’enlève jusqu’à la « chose en soi ». Sous cette lumière diamantine, les réquisitions de la raison pratique, en



46

Doctrine du droit, Conclusion, p. 629 ; AA 06 : 355.


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leur caractère intangible, servent de guide et de compas. Pour le monde du droit, elles dessinent l’horizon d’attente des esprits et, comme telles, elles en dévoilent le noyau de vérité.

La logique du droit ne fait qu’un avec la légalité de la pensée pure. C’est en elle que l’appareil juridique puise sa fondation philosophique première et trouve sa justification a priori. La juridicité appartient donc à la sublimité de la raison pure pratique. Telle est sa

noblesse. Néanmoins, on ne saurait oublier que cette sublime raison a « besoin de supposer

47

ce qui lui est intelligible » . Telles en sont les limites. Dans l’intervalle de cette grandeur

sublime et de ces limites infranchissables se situe le lieu de l’autorité normatrice du droit.


***

En récusant la viabilité des chemins d’un idéalisme pétri du besoin de l’absolu, Kant avait raison : les absolus n’appartiennent pas au monde des hommes et renvoient philosophiquement à des croyances mortes. Cependant, de même que Rousseau s’était arrêté en chemin sur la voie où sont inscrits les réquisits d’une pensée transcendantale, de même Kant, en pensant la pensée du droit, a sous-estimé l’importance de la dynamique et des métamorphoses qui font du domaine juridique l’arène d’un combat jamais achevé parce qu’il est inachevable. C’est assurément là une déception philosophique. Néanmoins, ce n’est nullement là l’effondrement d’une espérance. En effet, un geste de reprise réflexive-critique devrait permettre, tout en conservant le cadre non-métaphysique de la

démarche kantienne, de tracer la route d’un autre humanisme juridique, renouvelé et

48

rénové, dont la notion d’inter-relationnalité, à peine effleurée par Kant, serait la clef . En

cette perspective post-kantienne, ce n’est pas la complexité structurelle du droit de notre temps qui est en question ; mais il apparaît aujourd’hui que, au-delà des antinomies et des apories auxquelles se heurtait la Doctrine du droit à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, la pensée du droit ne peut plus trouver véritablement ce qui la fonde et l’avalise dans une raison seulement monologique qui, sans sortir d’elle-même et dans les limites qui sont les siennes, ordonne, comme le pense Kant, l’auto-production de ses normes. L’honneur de l’homme n’est pas de pouvoir dire « Je », mais, en suivant le chemin que trace un cogito pluriel, de se tourner, dans tous ses rapports, vers l’horizon commun et universel des



47

Qu’est-ce que s’orienter dans la pensée ? Pléiade, tome II, p. 534 note et p. 536 ; AA 08 : 138-139.


48

Nous renvoyons en ce point à notre ouvrage Re-penser la pensée du droit (2007, p. 131-180).


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esprits, là où peuvent se déployer, dans et par le dialogue, la délibération et l’argumentation. C’est dire qu’il est devenu impossible de couper l’horizon transcendantal des contextes mouvants du temps présent. Il convient par conséquent de repenser et de réactualiser la doctrine du droit : pour la problématique du Quid juris ?, il faut un nouveau point d’ancrage. Sur son horizon transcendantal, le droit a besoin d’une âme qui, au lieu d’être narcissique, s’ouvre à l’altérité et à l’échange. Un post-kantisme viable est à ce prix.

Il ne faut certes pas s’étonner si, de Hegel à Windelband ou de Scheler à Weber, un flot ironique et lourdement polémique a déferlé contre la doctrine du droit de Kant. Kelsen lui-même, qui confiait avoir trouvé son inspiration dans la philosophie kantienne, a pris ses distances de telle sorte que sa Reine Rechtslehre transporte la Rechtslehre de Kant dans un contexte épistémologique plus que philosophique-critique où l’horizon transcendantal de

l’Idée pure du droit s’estompe au profit d’une «hypothèse logico-transcendantale » à partir

49

de laquelle le maître autrichien déclarait « aller au-delà de la pensée de Kant » . Plus près

de nous, on ironise encore sur les exigences inhérentes à l’idéalité transcendantale qui, inaccessible, signifie en définitive que le droit n’est pas de ce monde. Une certaine pensée contemporaine, marquée par le souci empirico-technique souligné par Heidegger, met l’accent sur l’aspect instrumental des règles juridiques qui régissent la propriété, la famille, la fiscalité, la justice, les modes électoraux, les relations internationales … Ou bien encore, avec des accents différents, K.O. Apel ou J. Habermas insistent sur la dimension

« communicationnelle » qui fait des règles de droit une « éthique appliquée »…

Kant, bien sûr, ne se reconnaîtrait pas dans la mouvance de ces thèses. Il reste qu’une relecture de sa doctrine juridique s’impose: cette relecture, sans être, selon une mode contemporaine, une critique du criticisme et l’accès à une pensée « post-critique », doit permettre de repenser et de réévaluer la postulation fondamentale de la doctrine kantienne. L’ampleur de cette tâche est considérable : par-delà l’axiomatisation et la formalisation du droit auxquelles s’est appliquée la doctrine kantienne, il n’y faut rien de moins que la rénovation de la notion de transcendantal et la restructuration de la raison. Sur son horizon d’attente, le droit a besoin d’une âme qui, au lieu d’être narcissique, ouvre les a priori de sa quête logique et de ses compétences catégoriales à l’altérité et à l’échange. Un post-kantisme viable est au prix de cette nouvelle radicalisation de la pensée. Ce n’est rien de moins qu’une « transformation de la philosophie ».



49

Lettre de Hans Kelsen à Renato Treves du 3 août 1933.


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Bibliographie

Nous nous référons dans ce texte aux Œuvres complètes de Kant dans la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade et nous indiquons également la pagination dans l’Edition académique de Berlin (AA).


Achenwall, G. (1781), Prolegomena jurisnaturalis et jus naturae, Göttingen. Daries, J.G. (1740), Institutiones jurisprudentiae naturalis, Jena.

De Crouzas, J.-P., (1744), Observations critiques sur l’abrégé de la logique de Monsieur Wolff, Leipzig.


Goyard-Fabre, S.(2007), Re-penser la pensée du droit, Vrin, Paris. Moser, J.J. (1759), Le maître et le serviteur, Hamburg.

Nettelbladt, D. (1748), Systema elementaris jurisprudentiae naturalis, Halle. Thomasius, Chr. (1705), Fundamenta juris naturae et gentium, Halle.


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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy N.o 1, Junio 2015, pp. 97-113

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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

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doi: 10.5281/zenodo.18507


Normatividade e valor moral:

sobre a necessidade do sentimento moral em Kant


Moral Normativity:

on the Necessity of Moral Feeling in Kant


FLÁVIA CARVALHO CHAGAS


UFPel, Brasil


“Na realidade, os homens sentem, não sem motivo, o fardo da sua existência, embora a causa dele sejam eles próprios”. (Kant, EaD, AA 08: 332)


Resumo


Um dos problemas mais obscuros nas éticas universalistas, de modo geral, e na ética kantiana, de modo particular consiste na justificação de um princípio válido objetivamente a partir da articulação entre a questão da epistemologia e da motivação moral. A partir disso, nosso propósito neste paper consiste em tentar elucidar de que modo o sentimento de respeito conecta figuras como a razão prática, valor moral e autonomia, tanto de uma perspectiva histórica como hermenêutica dos textos kantianos.

Palavras-chave


sentimento moral; valor; razão prática; normatividade; pluralismo moral.


Abstract


Professora do Departamento de Filosofía da UFPel (Brasil). E-mail de contacto :

[email protected] .


[Recibido: 24 de abril de 2015/ 97

Aceptado: 20 de mayo de 2015]


Flávia Carvalho

Flávia Carvalho


One of the most obscure problems in universalists ethics, in general, and in Kantian ethics, in particular, consists in a justification of a objectively valid principle from the connection between the question of the epistemology and the moral motivation. From this, our purpose in this paper is to try to clarify how the feeling of respect connects figures as practical reason, moral value and autonomy, both from a historical perspective as hermeneutics of Kantian texts.

Key words


Moral Feeling; Value; Practical Reason; Normativity; Moral Pluralism.


Podemos dizer que um dos maiores desafios das éticas universalistas, incluindo, portanto, a ética kantiana, consiste em mostrar como elas podem se efetivar a partir do pressuposto natural de que os homens estão propensos, em primeiro lugar, a dar maior importância para a satisfação dos seus desejos e necessidades; ou ainda, na própria felicidade.

No debate contemporâneo, Williams, criticando o projeto de Nagel, afirma que a moral impessoal exige demais do sujeito na medida em que tem que negar aspectos importantes da sua existência1. Um dos argumentos centrais para a defesa das éticas universalistas consiste justamente em chamar a atenção para o fato de que não são apenas os nossos desejos que nos importam enquanto sujeitos, mas também outros interesses e objetivos que não se esgotam na satisfação das inclinações, para utilizarmos as palavras de Kant2.

Obviamente que esta crítica ao paradigma kantiano surge devido à rejeição por parte de Kant da felicidade como o fundamento da ética, embora a sua busca constitua um dever indireto. Ademais, se esta não pode ser o fundamento da ética, o mero agir moral não garante, ou mesmo promete uma futura vida feliz.

Assim, se nós sempre estaremos sob a disciplina da razão prática sendo impossível, portanto, sermos “plenamente” virtuosos ou dignos, de fato, da felicidade e ademais, como

1

Nagel responde: “afinal de contas, supõe-se que essas morais universalistas respondem a algo muito

importante em nós. Elas não se impõem de fora, mas refletem nossa própria disposição de ver a nós mesmos, bem como nossa necessidade de aceitar a nós mesmos de fora. Sem essa aceitação, estaremos alienados de nossas vidas num sentido (muito) importante”. Cf. Nagel, 2004, p. 330.


2

Nesta direção vários filósofos e pensadores contemporâneos, mesmo de tradições completamente

divergentes, tais como Robert Nozick e Amartya Sen, criticam a ideia, sustentada pelo utilitarismo clássico de Jeremy Bentham de que o principal objetivo do homem consiste na busca pelo prazer na satisfação dos próprios desejos. Cf. Nozick, R., State, Anarchy and Utopia, New York: Basic Books, 1977 and Sen, A., Development as Freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.


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Normatividade e valor moral: sobre a necessidade do sentimento moral


não podemos agir esperando recompensas em um mundo futuro, pois isto já tornaria o móbil fundado em heteronomia, a “aridez” permanece.

Com efeito, não obstante Kant tenha visto muito cedo, ou melhor, “descoberto” no critério da universalização o conteúdo do moralmente bom, faltava ainda elucidar como é possível justificar a questão da execução de tal ideia no âmbito da práxis humana. Na solução deste problema, parece-nos que a pista para responder a esta questão passa pela figura do sentimento moral entendido como o único sentimento autoproduzido pela razão pura prática, a saber, o respeito pela lei moral.

Antes de abordar a solução kantiana acerca do sentimento moral e sua relação com a consciência a priori da lei moral, vou me deter na análise de passagens de alguns manuscritos do período pré-crítico e dos últimos textos kantianos no intuito de investigar como aparece a figura do sentimento moral, como ela se desenvolve no período crítico e se há (ou não) a manutenção da concepção kantiana nos textos tardios em relação ao período crítico.

A hipótese a ser investigada neste paper é tentar defender, contra as interpretações intelectualistas da ética kantiana, que o sentimento moral desempenha uma função sistematicamente fundamental no todo da construção do seu sistema prático-moral e que, pelo seu caráter híbrido, desperta não apenas a dificuldade, mas a relutância em integrá-lo no projeto da filosofia crítica-transcendental. Embora em vários momentos do corpus kantiano a figura do sentimento moral esteja vinculada a outras noções, como: os sentimentos do belo, do sublime, do amor e às sensações de prazer e de desprazer, é fundamental “limpar o terreno”, por assim dizer. Caso contrário, corre-se o risco de ou ter que abandonar tal tese acerca da necessária vinculação deste sentimento na arquitetônica da filosofia prático-moral kantiana, ou torná-la tão obscura e incoerente do ponto de vista interno do seu projeto.

  1. A incerteza sobre a origem da moral.


    Em um texto de 1763, cujo título é “Investigação sobre a evidência dos princípios da teologia natural e da moral”, Kant conclui o mesmo em um tom de incerteza sobre o fundamento da evidência dos primeiros princípios da moral:



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    «Daí é de notar que, se deve ser possível alcançar o maior grau de evidência filosófica nos primeiros fundamentos da moralidade, os supremos conceitos fundamentais da obrigação devem, antes de tudo, ser mais seguramente determinados, em vista do que a deficiência da filosofia prática é ainda maior que a da especulativa, devendo ser decidido, antes de tudo, se

    tão-somente o poder de conhecimento ou o sentimento (o fundamento primeiro, interno do

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    poder de desejar) estabelece os primeiros princípios da filosofia prática» (Kant, AA 01: 99) .


    Apesar da oscilação e da incerteza quanto à fonte dos princípios primeiros da moralidade, a saber, se ela se baseia na razão ou no sentimento, Kant parece ter claro o caráter normativo da sua filosofia prática, pois, segundo o texto, a moralidade trata sobre obrigações que contém uma necessidade imediata com respeito a fins possível apenas por princípios formais de determinação da vontade.

    Todavia, apesar do elogio manifesto a “Hutcheson e outros pelas belas observações por meio do sentimento moral” e, ademais, da simpatia explícita pela solução da questão acerca de um “sentimento irresolúvel” (unauflösliches Gefühl) do bem, não encontramos uma proposta de um final feliz para a pergunta sobre a evidência dos princípios da moral neste escrito, tal como é enunciado no título do segundo parágrafo do texto, em que lemos

    que “ os primeiros fundamentos da moral, em sua presente feição, ainda não são suscetíveis de toda a evidência exigida”4.

    Em outro texto do período anterior à Grundlegung e à KpV datado de 1775, em Eine Vorlesüng über Ethik, Kant aponta para o que vem depois a se fundamentar como a teoria crítica da moral a partir da explicitação de que o sentimento moral consiste no único sentimento autoproduzido pela razão que tem como função sistemática servir de fundamento de determinação subjetivo da vontade. De fato, já neste texto “o sentimento irresolúvel” é designado como o fundamento do interesse que o agente pode tomar pela efetivação de máximas morais: o móbil moral!

    Com efeito, nas Aulas sobre Ética, ela já aparece no contexto justamente da solução do problema da motivação moral, em que Kant parece estar delineando a distinção entre as duas tarefas necessárias para solução do problema da fundamentação da ética, quais sejam:


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    Kant, I. Werke in Sechs Bänden. Herausgegeben von Wilhelm Weischedel. Wiesbaden: Insel Verlag, 2011.

    Investigação sobre a evidência dos princípios da teologia natural e da moral. Tradução: Luciano Codato. São Paulo: Editora da Unesp, 2005. Doravante utilizarei as siglas usuais para citar as obras de Kant: Crítica da Razão Prática (KpV), Crítica da Razão Pura (KrV), Fundamentação da Metafísica dos Costumes (GMS), Metafísica dos Costumes (MS).


    4

    Op. cit, A 96.


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    a justificação do princípio de avaliação ou judicação moral e a do princípio de execução moral. Se restam dúvidas acerca da função e do lugar do sentimento moral na arquitetônica da filosofia prática kantiana a partir dos escritos do período crítico, em especial a Grundlegung e a KpV, em um texto tardio de 1794, cujo título é “O fim de todas as coisas”5, Kant, novamente, deixa claro que esta figura ocupa um lugar sistematicamente

    central e necessário na sua fundamentação da ética.


  2. O sentimento moral no período tardio.


    Antes de tratar deste ponto que nos interessa em especial, cabe lembrar que no opúsculo “O fim de todas as coisas” o centro da argumentação se volta à antiga pergunta (tanto para Kant, como em termos da história da filosofia), a saber, acerca do fim último da razão, tal como aparece no Cânone da primeira Crítica, ou do fim último de todas as coisas, conforme o próprio título deste escrito. Tal questão envolve segundo Kant, “o sublime terrível, em parte pela sua obscuridade, em que a imaginação costuma agir com

    maior poder do que na claridade da luz” (Kant, VI, A 496)6.


    Tendo em vista que o objetivo deste paper não consiste na interpretação kantiana do problema do sumo bem como resposta à questão sobre o fim último, mas mostrar como a figura do sentimento moral consegue articular os problemas fundamentais para a justificação de um princípio moral universalmente válido, surge a pergunta sobre o significado deste no contexto da década de 90.



    5

    Kant, VI, Das Ende Aller Dinge. “O fim de todas as coisas”. In: A paz perpétua e outros opúsculos. Trad.

    de Artur Morão. Lisboa, Ed. 70, 1988.


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    Cf. Passagem onde nota-se tanto o ceticismo e a desconfiança de Kant em relação à cultura humana e uso

    da racionalidade por parte dos seres humanos, mas também a esperança dele de que tal projeto da moralização seja possível: “Naturalmente, com os progressos do gênero humano, a cultura dos talentos, da destreza e do gosto (com a sua consequência, a opulência) leva a melhor sobre o desenvolvimento da moralidade; e semelhante estado é justamente o mais gravoso e o mais perigoso, tanto para os bons costumes como para o bem-estar físico, porque as necessidades crescem muito mais depressa do que os meios para as satisfazer. Mas a disposição moral da humanidade, que [como a horaciana poena pede claudo] vai sempre atrás dela claudicando, há-de um dia (como é de esperar sob a orientação de um sábio governador do mundo) ultrapassar a humanidade que, na sua corrida apressada, se perde e muitas vezes tropeça; deve, pois, nutrir-se a esperança, mesmo após a demonstração experimental da superioridade da moralidade da nossa época em comparação com todas as anteriores, de que o Juízo Final terá lugar mais com o passamento de Elias do que com uma descida aos infernos, semelhante à da facção de Coret, e trará consigo o fim de todas as coisas na Terra. Só que esta fé heróica na virtude não parece ter, subjectivamente, uma influência tão poderosa e universal sobre os espíritos para os levar à conversão, como a fé numa aparição acompanhada de terror, que se concebe como antecipando as últimas coisas” (Kant, VI, A 506).



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    Embora não encontremos propriamente ocorrências da expressão “sentimento moral” neste opúsculo, Kant faz referência, em alguns trechos, a outras figuras, as quais ou foram utilizadas como sinônimas nos textos anteriores, ou se referem à mesma constelação teórica, como por exemplo: o sentimento de “respeito”, a figura do móbil moral, “motivos desinteressados”, fundamento de determinação subjetivo da vontade, representação e cumprimento do dever, etc.

    O ponto problemático deste escrito e que pode gerar problemas hermenêuticos quanto à figura do respeito enquanto único sentimento autoproduzido pela razão prática pura é que Kant o descreve como vinculado ao sentimento de amor. Ao fazer um elogio explícito ao Cristianismo devido à constituição moral que infunde a sua doutrina, Kant menciona a possível ligação entre o respeito e o amor:

    «O respeito é, sem dúvida, o que vem em primeiro lugar, porque sem ele também não existe amor verdadeiro algum, embora sem amor se possa, no entanto, nutrir grande consideração por alguém. Mas quando não se trata apenas da representação do dever, mas do cumprimento do dever, quando se inquire o fundamento subjetivo das ações do qual, se for possível prevê- lo, se deve esperar primeiro o que o homem fará e não apenas o fundamento objetivo, isto é, o que ele deve fazer; o amor será então, enquanto livre acolhimento da vontade de outrem submetido às suas máximas, um complemento indispensável da imperfeição da natureza humana (para tomar necessário o que a razão prescreve mediante a lei): pois o que alguém não faz de bom grado fá-lo de modo tão mesquinho e também com pretextos sofísticos sobre

    o mandamento do dever que, sem a participação do amor, não se poderia contar muito com este enquanto móbil» (Kant, VI, A 518/ 519).


    Algumas considerações sobre esta passagem devem ser feitas. Em primeiro lugar, a discussão neste texto e, portanto, nesta passagem, centra-se sobre o fim último de todas as coisas e àquilo que pode ser utilizado como ferramenta pedagógica para o cultivo e aperfeiçoamento moral do homem. Logo, ao utilizar a analogia do respeito e do amor cristão, Kant acaba por trazer à tona a imagem do homem honesto e da noção de virtude neste contexto, tendo em vista que aquele que age moralmente já está em um determinado estágio do desenvolvimento da própria personalidade moral. Ou seja, este não cumpre o dever moral com propósitos mesquinhos ou sob pretextos sofísticos, como afirma Kant neste trecho.

    Além disso, se Kant sustenta que “o respeito é, sem duvida, o que vem em primeiro lugar” e logo a seguir, então, “o amor será então, enquanto livre acolhimento da vontade de outrem submetido às suas máximas, um complemento indispensável da imperfeição da



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    natureza humana (...) enquanto móbil”, fica claro que ele não está afirmando a identidade entre o respeito e o amor. Todavia, se o ponto de partida for a doutrina cristã e a constituição moral por ela fundada, tal sentimento tem que ser considerado como um complemento indispensável. Ora, haja vista que, como lemos na famosa nota de rodapé em que Kant responde à crítica de Schiller no escrito da Religião, e que aqui ele repete quase nos mesmos termos, o amor parece constituir o estado de ânimo ou de temperamento natural do homem virtuoso, tal constituição estética do agente é sempre, para seres imperfeitos como nós, um ideal.

    Por outro lado, para a justificação da ética e das condições de possibilidade para a efetivação da consciência moral, tal sentimento, o amor, não desempenha nenhuma função constitutiva. Com efeito, se o respeito vem em primeiro lugar, parece-nos que a preocupação kantiana é a de que se diferenciem os terrenos da argumentação, garantindo, assim, a separação entre a esfera da justificação moral e a argumentação posterior sobre os postulados do uso prático da razão em vinculação com a discussão sobre a realidade do seu objeto necessário, a saber, o sumo bem.

    Com isso, parece-nos que Kant mantém os resultados da KpV em que o respeito, e não o amor, não é concebido como um mero complemento indispensável, mas, mais que isso, trata-se do único sentimento adequado às exigências da racionalidade prática na medida em que ele consiste na própria consciência moral considerada sob a perspectiva subjetiva; vale dizer, trata-se do respeito pela própria capacidade autolegisladora racional, que na afetividade, reconhece o seu valor como agente capaz de tomar interesse pela moralidade.

    Cabe destacar, por último, que enquanto ideal, a figura do amor cumpre uma função pedagógica importante na medida em que fortifica os corações humanos na busca do bem e da tolerância, este sentimento não pode ser confundido com o sentimento moral na medida em que o tipo de reflexão que o homem honesto pode fazer a partir do auto ajuizamento em seu próprio foro e exame internos pressupõe já a cultura da razão e o interesse do agente na sua formação. Assim, também “é um sinal de autenticidade da ação virtuosa (...) o coração alegre no seguimento de seu dever (não a comodidade em reconhecimento à mesma)”, ou ainda a “firme resolução de fazê-lo melhor no futuro, encorajada pelos bons



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    resultados, (...) pode fazer nascer uma intenção alegre no ânimo“ (Kant, Religion, IV, B 10/11- nota).

    Mas embora Kant reconheça, com Schiller, que o móbil moral, isto é, o sentimento moral, possa estar vinculado a sentimentos “atrativos e agrados da vida”, de modo que “pode ser até aconselhável ligar essa perspectiva de um alegre gozo da vida” ao respeito: “isto somente para manter o equilíbrio dos aliciamentos que o vício em contrapartida não tem necessidade de dissimular e não para pôr aí, sequer em sua mínima parte quando se trata do dever, a verdadeira e própria força motriz” (Kant, Religion , IV, A 158).

    Com efeito, é de extrema importância a determinação do lugar sistemático desta reflexão sobre a constituição estética do agente virtuoso, tendo em vista que a possível confusão entre os domínios da reflexão e da determinação prático-moral resultaria fatal para a justificação dos princípios morais. Ou seja, se sustentamos que o cumprimento do

    imperativo categórico pode se realizar sem que seja necessário um imperativo ou dever moral, então estaríamos de acordo com Schiller7 no que diz respeito à tese de que há uma harmonia entre razão e sensibilidade no ser racional humano.


  3. Normatividade moral e razão prática.


Como sabemos, a tese de Kant é bem conhecida acerca do ceticismo a respeito da solidariedade e do altruísmo humano, pois embora sejamos constituídos naturalmente pela disposição para o bem, esta encontra a resistência de outras “forças” que podem impedir a sua eficácia, a saber, a propensão ao mal. Por isso, voltamos à questão inicial colocada: como se articulam as tarefas da justificação e da aplicação do princípio moral?

Minha primeira suposição é a de que nós não precisamos assumir premissas metafísicas fortes como a realidade noumênica de um “eu inteligível” independente do “eu empírico” para justificar a tese kantiana a respeito da legitimidade do princípio da universalização como o critério da moralidade.



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  • Sobre a posição de Schiller a respeito do vínculo entre as figuras da virtude e das inclinações, ver:

    Schiller, F. “Über Anmut und Würdig” (“Sobre Graça e Dignidade’). Werke in drei Bänden, München, Band II, 1981.


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    A segunda é a de que Kant precisa mostrar que e como tal critério, a saber, a racionalidade prática em seu aspecto formal, é a fonte do valor moral. A hipótese deste paper é a de que esta tarefa (Aufgabe) tem dois passos:


    • O primeiro consiste na solução de um problema de epistemologia moral e só é solucionado com a figura do fato da razão enquanto a consciência que um agente tem do que ele deve fazer não hipoteticamente, mas necessariamente, isto é, a consciência da lei moral enquanto um imperativo categórico por parte de todo ser racional humano;

    • O segundo consiste em mostrar como tal consciência moral se efetiva no nível da sensibilidade humana com a figura do sentimento moral entendido como o único sentimento que é autoproduzido a priori pela razão prática pura.


A partir destes dois passos, parece-nos que Kant consegue garantir, simultaneamente, o pluralismo moral, tendo em vista que o princípio da universalização é um critério normativo de avaliação de máximas, bem como a necessidade ou exigência do respeito em relação às liberdades, tanto do sujeito como dos outros agentes.

Em relação à primeira suposição, o problema gira em torno da justificação kantiana sobre a ontologia e a epistemologia moral. Em outros termos, nós precisamos responder à pergunta sobre “quem é o sujeito moral” na concepção de Kant e, além disso, como ele fundamenta a tese sobre a “consciência moral”, a saber, a afirmação de que todo ser racional humano tem consciência do moralmente bom, não apenas empiricamente, mas também, e, sobretudo, de um modo a priori ou necessário.

Esta é uma das questões mais difíceis de resolver “dentro” e fora da filosofia kantiana, de modo que um caminho promissor consiste em assumir a tese da KrV de que tudo aquilo que “existe” pode ser objeto de um possível conhecimento 8 . Logo, Kant não precisa

sustentar a realidade de um eu noumênico (supra-sensível), de modo que o ponto de partida da justificação do princípio moral é o próprio sujeito empírico na medida em que ele é capaz de agir a partir da representação de regras9. Ou seja, Kant não assume uma dupla



8

Cf. a este respeito o debate entre realistas, construtivistas e pragmatistas, tema este que será tratado em

outra oportunidade.

9

Este foi, aliás, o ponto de partida dos escritos “críticos” da moralidade, ou seja, a GMS e a KpV.


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ontologia com a distinção entre as duas perspectivas que o homem pode representar a si mesmo, como racional e sensível; trata-se, como afirma Kant, de uma distinção epistemológica entre diferentes pontos de vista que o mesmo sujeito pode considerar a si mesmo10.

Assim, se a suposição de que o ponto de partida do argumento de Kant consiste em assumir que a justificação da validade da consciência da lei moral enquanto um imperativo categórico baseia-se na consciência empírica do agente no momento em que ele ajuíza sobre o conteúdo de suas máximas, então nós não precisamos nos comprometer com a sustentação de teses metafísicas inflacionadas.

Com efeito, a passagem do §6 da segunda Crítica pode ser uma pista promissora de interpretação, pois nesta Kant pretende mostrar, em analogia com a filosofia teórica, como nós podemos compreender a necessidade com que se impõe a consciência moral no momento em que o sujeito avalia as suas máximas.

A pergunta (die Frage) neste parágrafo da Anotação do § 6 trata sobre “onde começa o nosso conhecimento do incondicionalmente prático, se pela liberdade ou pela lei prática”? Kant afirma que o conhecimento moral não pode começar pela liberdade “porque seu primeiro conceito é negativo, nem podemos inferi-la da experiência, pois a experiência só nos dá a conhecer a lei dos fenômenos, por conseguinte, o mecanismo da natureza o exato oposto da liberdade”.

Mas se, por um lado, o argumento em defesa de que a distinção entre os dois pontos de vista é, na verdade, epistêmica - portanto, não se faz necessário assumir entidades noumênicas-, por outro, Kant argumenta em favor de um tipo de consciência necessária, ou seja, não-contingente:

«é a lei moral, da qual nos tornamos imediatamente conscientes (tão logo projetamos para nós máximas da vontade) que se oferece primeiramente a nós e que, na medida em que a razão a apresenta como um fundamento de determinante sem nenhuma condição sensível preponderante, antes, totalmente independente delas, conduz diretamente ao conceito de liberdade» (KpV, IV, A 29/30).



10

Ver, por exemplo, as seguintes passagens: GMS, 412; KpV, Ak 8 (note), Ak 10.


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O argumento consiste na tese de que os agentes, ao avaliarem as suas máximas, numa situação de conflito moral, reconhecem necessariamente o que deve ser feito, vale dizer,a consciência moral, se impõe ou se apresenta originariamente (ursprüngliche), como um fato não somente empírico, mas a priori ou independentemente de possíveis fatores empíricos que possam vir a “obscurecer” a exigência da racionalidade prática, de modo que se eu reconheço algo como bom, estou reivindicando “isto que considero bom” como algo bom não só para mim, mas para todo e qualquer sujeito dotado de certas disposições como a razão e a sensibilidade.

Com efeito, a premissa fundamental da ética kantiana é a de que a consciência moral se impõe a priori ou de modo necessário e constitui uma forma de autocompreensão, que não se confunde com nenhuma intuição intelectual, por um lado, e também, por outro, não pode ser resumida na mera consciência empírica de deveres morais. Assim, a consciência que o sujeito tem do que ele deve fazer em uma determinada situação pressupõe não apenas a autoconsciência prática da própria liberdade (Willkür), mas também o reconhecimento de si como um sujeitoprático autoreflexivo (Autonomie).

Em suma, o agente que reconhece que deve fazer X ou que é moralmente necessário algo em uma determinada situação, aprova imediata e originariamente a validade da moralidade; logo, parece descabida ou sem sentido a pergunta, neste momento, como posso saber que tal consciência é real ou não; ou ainda, que além da consciência da necessidade de fazer X ainda preciso de algum tipo de intuição ou garantia teórica de que tal representação não é uma fantasia da imaginação. Isso significa, então que antes da tematização do conteúdo do princípio moral entendido como o imperativo categórico, nós temos que pressupor que todo ser racional humano reconhece originariamente, isto é, a priori, deveres morais, os quais não se confundem com as normas jurídicas, regras e padrões sociais de uma determinada sociedade ou cultura.

Mas aqui nós entramos em outro problema, a saber, a justificação kantiana da tese de que o valor moral baseia-se na razão prática. Ou seja, afinal de contas: por que eu devo agir pela exigência normativa da racionalidade prática entendida a partir do critério da universalização? Embora seja a fonte de debates e diferentes interpretações, parece-nos que este não é meramente um problema de motivação e psicologia moral, mas de justificação e filosofia moral.


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4. Respeito, valor e pluralismo moral.


Podemos reconstruir o argumento kantiano partindo da caracterização geral da vontade enquanto capacidade prática ou disposição para agir de acordo com a representação de regras, tal como aparece nas primeiras duas Seções da GMS e nos parágrafos iniciais da KpV.

Se estas regras são representadas como boas apenas subjetivamente, ou seja, consideradas válidas apenas para a ‘minha’ vontade, então o fundamento de determinação do arbítrio consiste na expectativa das sensações de prazer decorrentes da realização de algum objeto apetecido. Portanto, tais máximas não podem pretender ter validade universal, ou seja, serem consideradas como boas moralmente.

Todavia, tendo em vista que o bom não se confunde nem com o útil, nem com o agradável, máximas erguem a pretensão de serem consideradas como morais se elas podem ser consideradas como válidas para todo ser racional em geral a partir do critério da universalizabilidade dos princípios subjetivos da vontade.

A partir disso, surgem duas perguntas, quais sejam: 1) como eu posso saber se a máxima que “eu” considero como boa pode ser avaliada como válida para “nós” ou “todos”?, 2) como é possível que um ser como o homem pode querer agir de acordo com tais máximas morais abdicando da pretensão em satisfazer as suas inclinações e interesses particulares?

Com relação ao primeiro ponto, é importante lembrar que não há como definir, a priori, o que pode ser dito como uma máxima moral. Ou seja, Kant não pretende determinar, a partir do critério da universalizabilidade das máximas da vontade, um conjunto de ‘verdades’ ou ‘normas’ morais, as quais poderiam ser concebidas consensualmente como boas para guiar as ações.

De fato, a ética kantiana não define o que exatamente deve ser considerado como moralmente bom. Assim, na medida em que o imperativo categórico não designa um conjunto de regras, mas um critério para a avaliação de regras, cabendo ao agente avaliar à luz do critério formal de racionalidade prática o que ele deve fazer, de modo que “a coisa



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certa a ser feita” implica o reconhecimento recíproco do outro como digno de respeito em sua autonomia e liberdade.

Não obstante, como bem aponta Korsgaard11, a ética kantiana foi lida por muito tempo, desde Hegel e Schopenhauer até fins do séc XIX, a partir de uma visão realista tradicional, segundo a qual o princípio moral consiste em uma verdade moral autoevidente, de modo que as ações corretas seriam aquelas que estivessem em acordo com tal verdade.

Mas se não este não parece ser o caminho hermenêutico mais promissor do projeto crítico kantiano, um dos passos da resposta de Kant consiste na tese de que se nós sustentamos certas crenças morais, então elas não devem se fundamentar no costume ou nas preferências subjetivas –úteis ou agradáveis-, nem mesmo em ideias teológicas, mas na própria razão prática, entendida enquanto uma faculdade que delibera não apenas sobre meios, mas também, e sobretudo, sobre fins.

De fato, tal valor axiológico consiste na legitimidade da razão prática enquanto faculdade-guia da vida moral do agente, ao invés de outros candidatos possíveis para preencher tal lugar sistemático enquanto núcleo de justificação moral, como, por exemplo, o prazer, a compaixão, a utilidade, etc.

O ponto parece ser o de que grande parte das críticas feitas à fundamentação da moralidade kantiana desencadearia também problemas para outros modelos de justificação em ética, de modo que o problema não se resume apenas na justificação deste ou daquele critério, mas também de escolha de um valor axiológico razoável para tal defesa filosófica.

O segundo passo da resposta consiste na tentativa de assegurar o pluralismo moral, já que não está pré-determinado quais máximas podem ser dignas de terem valor moral. Esta questão tem sido, ao que nos parece, a fonte de profundos mal-entendidos da ética



11

Korsgaard, C. “Realism and Constructivism in Twentieth-Century Moral Philosophy”. In: Journal of

Philosophical Research: Philosophy Documentation Center, 2003.No debate contemporâneo, muitos teóricos, entre eles, Putnam, Sen, Nagel, Hare, Habermas, Korsgaard rejeitam a tese de que para a pretensão de validade objetiva de juízos de valor depende de que eles possam ser inseridos em um conjunto de proposições descritivas. Com efeito, se por um lado, eles neguem a ideia de que “a solução” para o problema da justificação da moral depende da sustentação de uma posição realista tradicional, por outro, a partir de diferentes perspectivas, eles pretendem oferecer argumentos para recusar o ceticismo moral reivindicando a necessidade de disputar racionalmente sobre questões valorativas.



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kantiana. Com efeito, o cético inevitavelmente ficará profundamente frustrado tendo em vista que, segundo Kant, não há uma única resposta a esta pergunta tendo em vista que se trata de um critério “aberto”, o qual, por um lado, exige que as ações sejam praticadas por respeito ao critério da universalizabilidade das máximas da vontade e, por outro, garante o pluralismo moral:

«Finalmente, o egoísta moral é aquele que reduz todos os fins a si mesmo, que não vê utilidade senão naquilo que lhe serve, e também como eudemonista coloca simplesmente na utilidade e na própria felicidade , e não na representação do dever, o fundamento-de- determinação supremo de sua vontade. Pois como cada ser humano forma conceitos diferentes sobre aquilo que considera fazer parte da felicidade, é precisamente o egoísmo que leva a não ter pedra de toque alguma do genuíno conceito do dever, que, como tal, tem de ser inteiramente um princípio de validade universal. – Todos os eudemonistas são, por isso, egoístas práticos.Ao egoísmo pode ser oposto apenas o pluralismo, isto é, o modo de pensar que consiste em não se considerar nem em proceder como se o mundo inteiro estivesse encerrado em seu próprio eu, mas como um simples cidadão do mundo» (Kant, Anthropologie, VI, BA 8).


Se nos voltarmos ao sentido originário do princípio de universalização, vemos que este não deve ser entendido como uma verdade moral ou como o conteúdo verdadeiro da ética, mas sim no sentido de que ele indica um critério negativo, ou ainda, um conceito- limite que serve para “testar”, mediante o ajuizamento racional, a possibilidade de coexistência de diferentes concepções de bem, ou seja, a possibilidade da máxima que ‘eu’ julgo ser boa, pode, virtualmente, ser considerada como boa para a vontade de todo ser racional em geral.

Umas das discussões contemporâneas mais acirradas têm sido justamente a de mostrar como justificar a pretensão de validade moral dos princípios práticos a partir da perspectiva interna com a perspectiva externa. Com efeito, uma das críticas dirigidas ao argumento kantiano é a impossibilidade de escapar de um solipsismo moral, de modo que ao invés desta figura responsável pela avaliação moral estar localizada na perspectiva do ‘eu’ descontextualizado ou ‘ele’ (a partir de lugar nenhum), esta deve assumir o ponto de

vista do ‘nós’12.



12

Cf. Forst, Rainer. Contextos da Justiça. Filosofia política para além de liberalismo e comunitarismo.

Tradução de Denilson Luis Werle. São Paulo:Boitempo, 2010.



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Por último, o último e terceiro passo da resposta àquelas duas questões remete ao problema da relação entre os problemas da justificação e da motivação moral e sua relação necessária com as figuras do fato da razão e do sentimento de respeito pela lei. Como já tratei desta relação em outras ocasiões13, vale chamar a atenção para uma diferenciação que

é introduzida na GMS e retomada na KpV, a saber, a capacidade humana de ter interesse e de tomar interesse.

Com efeito, além da capacidade de ter interesses e agir de acordo com a representação de regras capazes de promovê-los mediante os imperativos hipotéticos ou de acordo com a famosa racionalidade instrumental, Kant tenta mostrar, com a figura do sentimento de respeito, que nós, enquanto seres humanos racionais, somos capazes também de tomar interesse por algo que supostamente deve nos importar enquanto agentes, a saber, a moralidade; ou ainda, nós e o outro considerados não apenas como um meio mas também e ao mesmo tempo como fins em si mesmos.

Logo, como a relação entre a representação daquilo que eu devo fazer, porque é a coisa certa a ser feita, e a determinação da vontade humana, em fazer isto que é reconhecido a priori como bom, é contingente, isto é, a consciência moral não determina imediata e necessariamente as ações humanas, então Kant tem que mostrar como “eu” posso querer agir com base em tal regra?

Embora tenhamos visto no início do texto que Kant aborda amplamente a figura do respeito e do sentimento moral, podemos dizer que é na GMS e na KpV que encontramos o ‘locus’ central acerca desta problemática, pois em uma nota da Segunda Seção da GMS lemos que

«Chama-se interesse a dependência em que uma vontade contingentemente determinável se encontra em face dos princípios da razão. Este interesse só tem pois lugar numa vontade dependente que não é por si mesma em todo o tempo conforme à razão; na vontade divina não se pode conceber nenhum interesse. Mas a vontade humana também pode tomar interesse por qualquer coisa sem por isso agir por interesse. O primeiro significa o interesse



13

Chagas, F. C. “Respeto, Sentimento Moral e Facto de Razâo”, Pelotas: NEPFil Online, 104 p., 2013; “O

fato de razâo e o sentimento moral enquanto disposiçâo do ânimo”, Studia Kantiana (Rio do Janeiro), v. Dez., n. 11, 2011



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prático na ação, o segundo o interesse patológico no objeto da ação» (Kant, GMS, IV, BA 38).


A partir desta passagem, parece claro que da distinção entre ‘ter interesse’ e ‘tomar interesse’ por aquilo que é reconhecido como algo valoroso, emerge inevitavelmente as figuras da autonomia e do respeito, tendo em vista que se, por um lado, o respeito consiste na representação do valor de nós mesmos enquanto sujeitos capazes de autodeterminação moral, por outro, tal valor implica no reconhecimento do outro como alguém que reivindica necessariamente o respeito, considerado tanto como coautor, mas também destinatário da moralidade.

Assim, ao contrário do que muitos imputam a Kant, a saber, de que ele estaria defendendo a ideia de que a consciência moral é o conhecimento de uma verdade moral que serviria para resolver todo e qualquer conflito moral, a reposta que parece estar mais próxima do texto kantiano é a de que não há tais verdades morais reais e independentes do agente, mas que a consciência do que “eu devo fazer” em uma determinada situação é um “conhecimento prático”, o qual envolve um conjunto de elementos necessários para a sua efetivação, entre eles: a capacidade para tomar interesse pela moralidade, reconhecer a si mesmo e o outro como um sujeito autônomo e digno de respeito, além, é claro, da disposição para dar razões sobre as próprias escolhas.


Referências bibliográficas:


Chagas, F. C. (2013). “Respeto, Sentimento Moral e Facto de Razâo”, Pelotas: NEPFil Online, 104 p.

. (2011). “O fato de razâo e o sentimento moral enquanto disposiçâo do ânimo”, Studia Kantiana (Rio do Janeiro), v. Dez., n. 11, 2011

Forst, R. (2010). Contextos da justiça. Filosofia política para além de liberalismo e comunitarismo. Tradução de Denilson Luis Werle. São Paulo: Boitempo.

Habermas, J. Faktizität und Geltung. Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp, 1994.

Kant, I. (2011). Werke in Sechs Bänden. Herausgegeben von Wilhelm Weischedel. Wiesbaden: Insel Verlag.


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. (2005). Investigação sobre a evidência dos princípios da teologia natural e da moral. Tradução: Luciano Codato. São Paulo: Editora da Unesp.

. (2002). Crítica da Razão Prática. Tradução: Valério Rohden. São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

. (2009). Fundamentação da Metafísica dos Costumes. Tradução: Guido Antônio de Almeida. São Paulo: Discurso Editorial.

. (1988). O fim de todas as coisas”. In: A paz perpétua e outros opúsculos. Trad. de Artur Morão. Lisboa, Ed. 70.


Korsgaard, C. (2003). “Realism and Constructivism in Twentieth-Century Moral Philosophy”. In: Journal of Philosophical Research: Philosophy Documentation Center.


Nagel, T. (2004).Visão a partir de lugar nenhum.São Paulo: Martins Fontes. Nozick, R. (1977). State, Anarchy and Utopia, New York: Basic Books.

Putnam, H. (2002). The Collapse of the Dichotomy of Fact/ Value and other issues.

Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Schiller, F. (1981). “Über Anmut und Würdig” (1793). Werke in drei Bänden, München. Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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The Sublime, Ugliness and Contemporary Art: A Kantian Perspective


Lo sublime, la fealdad y el arte contemporáneo: una perspectiva kantiana


MOJCA KUPLEN


Institute of Philosophy Research Centre for the Humanities / Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungary

Abstract


The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to explain the distinction between Kant’s notions of the sublime and ugliness, and to answer an important question that has been left unnoticed in contemporary studies, namely why it is the case that even though both sublime and ugliness are contrapurposive for the power of judgment, occasioning the feeling of displeasure, yet that after all we should feel pleasure in the former, while not in the latter. Second, to apply my interpretation of the sublime and ugliness to contemporary art, and to resolve certain issues that have been raised in accounting for the possibility of artistic sublimity. I argue that an experience of a genuine artistic sublimity is an uncommon occurrence. I propose that the value of contemporary art can be best explained by referring to Kant’s notion of ugliness and his theory of aesthetic ideas.


Key words


Sublime; Ugliness; Contrapurposiveness; Free Disharmony; Contemporary art; Aesthetic ideas


Resumen


La intención de este trabajo es doble. En primer lugar, pretendo explicar la distinción entre las nociones kantianas de lo sublime y de lo feo, así como responder a una importante pregunta que ha


Junior Visiting Research Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Science. E-mail for contact:

[email protected] .



[Recibido: 21 de abril de 2015/ Aceptado: 26 de mayo de 2015]


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pasado desapercibida para los estudios actuales, a saber, por qué, a pesar de que tanto lo sublime como lo feo son contrarios a fin para la facultad de juzgar, es decir, a pesar de que ambos ocasionan un sentimiento de disgusto, sólo debemos sentir placer en el primero, pero no en el último. En segundo lugar, intentaré aplicar mi interpretación de lo sublime y lo feo al arte contemporáneo, de la misma manera que resolver algunas cuestiones que han sido planteadas al explicar la posibilidad de la sublimidad artística. Argumento que una experiencia de sublimidad artística genuina es un acontecimiento insólito. Propongo que el valor del arte contemporáneo puede explicarse mejor si se refiere a la noción kantiana de lo feo y a su teoría de las ideas estéticas.


Palabras clave


sublime; fealdad; contrafinalidad; desarmonía final; arte contemporáneo; ideas estéticas


1.


It is without a doubt characteristic for contemporary art scene that it can no longer be described as beautiful. Many writers have thus turned to Kant’s notion of the sublime (Erhabene) in order to explain the aesthetic value of contemporary works of art (Crowther 1997). Prima facie, this is not surprising considering how Kant explains the sublime, namely, as an experience of displeasure caused by the perceptual and imaginative incomprehensibility of the object, yet which we overcome by turning to the faculty of reason and its ideas (such as ideas of freedom, morality, humanity etc.). Such an explanation of the sublime presumably fits well with the distinctive character of contemporary art, namely, being one of initial displeasure due to the discomforting perceptual features of the art work, yet also one of indirect pleasure derived from the value of ideas communicated by an art work. Examples that have been described as sublime include Damien Hirst’s terrifying and unsettling sculpture of a dead tiger shark in a vitrine preserved in formaldehyde, entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), or Jenny Saville’s disturbing photograph depicting the artist’s obese naked body squeezed onto glass in Closed Contact A (2002).


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«However, the application of Kant’s notion of sublime to contemporary artistic production

faces two main problems, which must be resolved before the subsumption of contemporary

1

art under the aesthetic of the Kantian sublime can be legitimized».


First, the connection between Kantian sublime and the aesthetic value of contemporary art depends on the assumption that Kant’s theory of the sublime allows for the possibility of artistic sublimity, which however is not as straightforward as one might think. There is in fact a major disagreement among Kant’s scholars regarding the possibility of the sublime in art. This disagreement is mainly due to different interpretations of Kant’s theory of the sublime. Those who argue that no sublimity in art can be encountered emphasize the perceptual criteria of the sublime, namely, that sublime can be occasioned only by objects that are overwhelming in size and power, producing thereby a feeling of phenomenal insignificance in us. Since art works do not have such properties - they have defined limits and we do not find them threatening in any way, they do not have the capacity to produce the sublime (Guyer 1996, p. 264; Brady 2013, pp. 119-146).On the other hand, those who argue for the possibility of artistic sublimity interpret the sublime primarily as a mental activity, which does not necessarily require the presence of external objects (i.e. objects of

great size and power). This view depends on Kant’s claim that: “true sublimity must be sought only in the mind of one who judges, not in the object of nature” (5:256, p. 139).2 Presumably, this implies that ideas of reason, especially moral ideas are sufficient to incite the sublime. Since ideas of reason can be expressed through an art work (as suggested by

Kant in his theory of art and aesthetic ideas), thus art works can elicit sublime (Crowther



1

For a more detailed explanation of the connection between the sublime and Damien Hirst’s art see: Brooks

(1995, pp. 55-67).


2

References to Immanuel Kant are given in the text to the volume and page number of the standard German

edition of his collected works: Kants gesammelte Schriften (KGS). References to the Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reinenVernunft) are to the standard A and B pagination of the first and second editions. References are also given, after a comma, to the English translation of Critique of the Power of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft), ed. Paul Guyer, trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews (Cambridge University Press, 2000), which includes the First Introduction (Erste Einleitung in die Kritik der Urteilskraft,KGS 20). In the case ofAnthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht (KGS 7) I refer to Robert B. Louden’s translation Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).In the case of Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime (Beobachtungenüber das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen,KGS 2) I refer to Paul Guyer’s translation, ed. Patrick Frierson and Paul Guyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).


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1989, pp. 152-174; Pillow pp. 67-116, Wicks 1995, pp.189-193; Clewis 2009, pp. 117-125;

Myskya pp. 253-262).

The second problem refers to the relation between the sublime and ugliness (Häßlichkeit), both depending on the feeling of displeasure. Considering that many examples of art works that have been described as sublime have also been judged by some as ugly or even disgusting, it is reasonable to ask the question as to how we can distinguish between the sublime and the ugly. In fact, the similarity between the sublime and ugliness is suggested by Kant in §23, where he writes that even though a judgment of the sublime is similar to a judgment of the beautiful (Schönheit) in that it is a disinterested judgment, which pleases independently of determinate concepts and with a universal validity, a judgment of the sublime is also similar to a judgment of ugliness in that it depends on the feeling of displeasure, because it:

«appear[s] in its form to be contrapurposive for our power of judgment, unsuitable for our faculty of presentation, and as it were doing violence to our imagination» (5:245, p. 129).


Indeed, if we take a closer look at Kant’s notion of the sublime and ugliness we notice that both involve an element of perceptual and imaginative struggle. In the case of the sublime this struggle is caused by the perception of objects of great size and powers that occasion the idea of limitlessness in us, such as shapeless mountain masses, massive glaciers, dark and raging sea, erupting volcanos, devastating hurricanes, etc. Kant explains that imagination’s ability to comprehend the sensible manifold is limited, thus it happens in the direct perception of such vast and powerful objects that imagination fails to successfully comprehend the sensible manifold and present it as a unified whole. This failure of the imagination produces the feeling of displeasure.

But also experience of ugliness involves an element of frustration in grasping rich yet, chaotic and disintegrated structure of the object. Consider for example certain kind of animals that we usually judge as ugly, such as the monstrous looking and repulsive angler fish, with its exceptionally large mouth, long, sharp teeth and a shiny lure coming out of its head. Or, for example, the utterly disturbing appearance of an animal called naked mole rat, with its large front teeth, sealed lips behind the teeth and pink, wrinkled, almost completely hairless skin. We judge such animals ugly because we find arrangement of their features discomforting and offensive to our perception, as if composed from incongruent


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elements. The displeasure at seeing such animals is accompanied with the feeling of incorrectness due to a combination of features that ought not to be combined in such a way. The perceptual features of an ugly object are too obtrusive and chaotic which makes it difficult for our cognitive abilities to process and to find a resolution for it.

To use Kant’s terminology, both sublime and ugly objects appear to be subjectively contrapurposive for the power of judgment (i.e. they fail to agree with the need of the power of judgment to find harmony and order in the world), thereby producing the feeling of displeasure. But what is distinctive for the sublime, in comparison to ugliness, is that such contrapurposiveness reveals a subjective purposive relationship between imagination and reason, which results in the feeling of pleasure.

Kant’s explanation of the sublime raises the question as to why is it the case that even though both sublime and ugly objects are disordered and ill-adapted to our cognitive abilities, producing thereby the feeling of displeasure, yet that such displeasure in the sublime evokes the faculty of reason, resulting in a positive aesthetic response, while in ugliness no such appeal to reason occurs and judgment ends in a feeling of displeasure alone?

Unfortunately, Kant does not offer an answer to this question. The same can be said about the contemporary discussions, which are primarily concerned with clarifying the distinction between the sublime and beauty, and little attention is given to Kant’s notion of the sublime in contrast to ugliness. This is not surprising considering that ugliness in Kant’s aesthetics is itself considered a problematic aesthetic notion, if at all epistemologically possible, and therefore no separate discussion on clarifying the

distinction between the sublimity and ugliness seems to be required.3



3

Among Kant’s scholar there is a major disagreement as to whether judgments of ugliness can be

accommodated into the Kantian aesthetic picture. There are two main objections to the idea that pure judgments of ugliness are possible. The first objection was made by David Shier (1998), who claimed that accommodation of the state of mind required for judgments of ugliness is inconsistent with Kant’s argument for the universal validity of judgments of taste. In short, Shier argues that, according to Kant’s argument, the state of mind on which judgments of taste depend can be nothing else but the free harmony of cognitive powers. But free harmony produces pleasure. But this means that that the universal state of mind of judgments of taste can only be the state of mind that produces pleasure. Consequently, judgments of taste are judgments of the beautiful alone. The second objection was made by Guyer (2005, p. 145-147), who claimed that the state of mind required for judgments of ugliness is inconsistent with Kant’s epistemological theory. His argument is based on the premise that according to Kant’s theory a conceptual harmony between imagination and understanding is required not only for cognition, but in order to have an experience of the


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This indeed is the view of Herman Parret (2011, p. 30) who argues that ugliness is something that comes over and above the sublime “as radically unconceivable and ungraspable by our representational faculties and our imagination.” An exception to such views is an account given by Theodore Gracyk (1986). According to his position both sublime and ugliness are aesthetic responses to formless objects (i.e. objects that we are unable to perceive as a unified whole), yet that displeasure of formlessness in the sublime, but not in the ugly is eventually resolved by the appeal to the ideas of reason, resulting in the feeling of pleasure: “judgments of sublimity are a method of compensating for formlessness […] cases where no such compensation occurs are simply judged as cases of ugliness” (1986, p. 52). Gracyk’s explanation of ugliness as being part of the sublime experience is not satisfactory, since it fails to give a clear explanation as to why in particular the contrapurposiveness of the sublime resorts to reason while no such invocation of reason occurs in judgments of ugliness. Furthermore, it follows from his account that sublimity appears to consist of a temporal sequence of two separate feelings, displeasure of ugliness and pleasure of reason, while Kant presented the feeling of the sublime as a rather single and complex feeling, identified with the feeling of respect.

Even though Kant does not offer a clear distinction between ugliness and sublimity, his analysis of the notion of the sublime in comparison to beauty nevertheless indicates that he considered sublimity to be a theoretically and phenomenologically different aesthetic concept than ugliness. This is the thesis that I will argue for in the rest of this paper. By examining Kant’s notion of the sublime in contrast to ugliness, I will address the main issues that have been raised regarding the possibility of the sublime in art. I argue against the view of contemporary art being one of the sublime in the Kantian sense, and instead propose that the distinctive aesthetic value of contemporary art can be better explained by employing Kant’s notion of ugliness in connection with his theory of aesthetic ideas.


2.



object in the first place. The possibility of a state mind of sheer disharmony, required for judgments of ugliness, is therefore epistemologically precluded. In response to these problems, numerous different solutions have been proposed in order to accommodate pure judgments of ugliness into Kant’s aesthetics. See: Wenzel (1999, pp. 416-42); Hudson (1991, pp. 87-103); McConnell (2008, pp. 205-228), Cohen (2013,

pp. 199-209); Kuplen (2013, pp. 102-143).


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In the Critique of the Power of Judgment Kant puts forward a view that a beautiful object exhibits subjective purposiveness. In short, an object is subjectively purposive if it occasions in us the state of mind of free harmony between imagination and understanding, the two faculties of the mind that are responsible for our ordinary ability to cognize object. While the imagination synthesizes the sensible manifold, the understanding on the other hand, unifies the manifold under the concept of the object. Kant explains this procedure of bringing sensible manifold to concepts (i.e. to attain the harmony between the imagination and understanding) with his notion of the power of judgment, defined as the: “faculty for the subsumption of the particular under the general” (20:201, p. 8). Both ordinary cognition and perception of a beautiful object satisfy the need of the power of judgment to attain the harmony between cognitive powers, the difference being that in the latter case no concept is applied to the sensible manifold (i.e. free harmony) and thus the judgment results in a feeling of pleasure alone.

On the other hand, Kant also distinguishes a state of mind of free disharmony

between imagination and understanding. For example, he writes:


«For in the power of judgment understanding and imagination are considered in relation to each other, and […] one can also consider this relation of two faculties of cognition merely subjectively, insofar as one helps or hinders the other in the very same representation and thereby affects the state of mind» (20:223, p. 25).


We come across to the same idea in his Anthropology, where he states:


«The judging of an object through taste is a judgment about the harmony or discord of freedom, in the play of the power of imagination and the lawfulness of the understanding» (Anth 7:241, p. 137).


When cognitive powers are in a disharmony (i.e. conflict between the sensible manifold apprehended by the imagination and the unifying principle of the understanding) then the object is found contrapurposive for the power of judgment. In other words, the object fails to agree with the need of the power of judgment to find harmony in the world. The dissatisfaction of this need produces the feeling of displeasure. Even though Kant does not explicitly say so, there is reason to assume that such a disharmonious state of mind is one that grounds judgments of ugliness. After all, when he defines common sense as the subjective principle of taste and as a universally communicable aesthetic feeling, the feeling is not merely that of pleasure, but also that of displeasure: “They must thus have a



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subjective principle, which determines what pleases or displeases only through feeling and not through concepts, but yet with universal validity” (5:238, p. 122).

While in the case of beauty, mutual correspondence of cognitive powers prolong the process of their play, and accordingly, it prolongs aesthetic attention (when we are delighted by an object, we want to remain in this state of mind), in the case of ugliness, the mutual hindrance or frustration between the cognitive powers obstructs their free play, thereby causing us to withdraw attention or to turn away from an ugly object. We do not like to look (seeing a picture of a naked mole rat makes me cover my eyes) or hear (discomforting sounds makes me cover my ears) displeasing objects: “displeasure is that representation that contains the ground for determining the state of the representations to their own opposite (hindering or getting rid of them)” (5:220, p. 105).

But, according to Kant also sublime objects exhibit subjective contrapurposiveness (5:245, p. 129).This is so because of the distinctive character of sublime objects, namely being one of exhibiting certain kind of greatness, either in size or in power. When the object is overwhelming in size, then the experience is called mathematically sublime. For example, the enormous structure of the pyramids in Egypt or the immense Himalayan Mountain massif are typical mathematically sublime objects since they are too vast and difficult for us to perceive them all at once. But when the object is overwhelming in physical power, thereby occasioning in us the feeling of danger, then the experience is called dynamically sublime. Erupting volcanos, devastating hurricanes, extreme ocean storms are typical dynamically sublime objects because their physical power is too great for us to resist. One can notice that what both types of sublime objects have in common is the ability to endanger, in one way or another, the phenomenal side of our being. Objects overwhelming in size endanger our sensible cognition (the object is too vast for our imagination to comprehend it) and objects overwhelming in physical power threaten our physical existence. In both case the perceptual and imaginative failure evokes in us the idea of limitlessness of the object (the limitlessness of size in the mathematical sublime and limitlessness of the destructive and devastating power of nature in the dynamical sublime).

This idea of limitlessness of the object is evoked in us due to the limited capacity of our imagination. Namely, according to Kant’s theory of the threefold synthesis, ordinary



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cognition is performed by the means of two faculties, the imagination and the understanding. The power of imagination performs two kinds of acts: (i) the apprehension or gathering together the manifold of intuition, and (ii) the reproduction or keeping in mind the apprehended sense impressions. While apprehension can go on infinitely, the comprehension or synthesis of reproduction, on the other hand, is limited. 4 Thus, it happens in the perception of a particularly vast object that


«comprehension becomes ever more difficult the further apprehension advances, and soon reaches its maximum, namely the aesthetically greatest basic measure for the estimation of magnitude. For when apprehension has gone so far that the partial representations of the intuition of the senses that were apprehended first already begin to fade in the imagination as the latter proceeds on to the apprehension of further ones, then it loses on one side as much as it gains on the other, and there is in the comprehension a greatest point beyond which it cannot go» (5:252, p. 135).


In other words, the sheer size (or power) of the object, say of the impressive Himalayan mountains, prevents the imagination from successfully reproducing or keeping in mind the succession of apprehended sense impressions (we cannot comprehend in one intuition all the parts and details of the vast mountain) and therefore imagination fails to present the sensible manifold as a coherent and unified whole. It is suggested accordingly that it is only certain kinds of objects, that is, objects that exceed the imagination’s capacity for comprehension (such as objects of great size and power), that can occasion the experience of the sublime: “the sublime […] is to be found in a formless object insofar as limitlessness is represented in it” (5:244, p. 128).


Kant writes, that perceiving an object as formless or limitless refers to an aesthetic estimation of the size (or power) of the object, rather than to a logical or conceptual estimation. That is, the object appears to be formless “in mere intuition (measured by eye)” (5:251, p. 134). In other words, the Himalayan Mountains appear limitless merely in a direct perception, as its size strikes our eyes, but not in a logical estimation of its size, since we can always measure it by choosing an appropriate unit. The same can be said for objects that are typical examples of formlessness such as the starry sky. Even though it is perceptually impossible to comprehend the size of the starry sky, a logical calculation of its



4

I take it that acts of apprehension and comprehension are identical to acts of the synthesis of apprehension

and synthesis of reproduction that Kant distinguishes in the Critique of Pure Reason. This identification has also been suggested by Kirk Pillow (2003, p. 74).


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size is nevertheless possible. Similar is the case of the dynamically sublime objects. We can always measure the power of natural objects, say, the magnitude of an earthquake on the Richter scale, or the strength of the hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale. Thus nothing, as Kant concludes: “can be given in nature, however great it may be judged to be by us, which could not, considered in another relation, be diminished down to the infinitely small” (5:250, p. 134).

In a logical estimation of the size (or the power) of the object the imagination and understanding stand in a harmonious relation. The imagination successfully synthesizes the sensible manifold as determined by the numerical concepts of the understanding. However, in aesthetic estimation of the size (or power) of the object (i.e. in direct perception) we have no numerical concepts of the understanding on which to rely on. Nonetheless, there is still a demand for the imagination to synthesize the sensible manifold and present it as a unified whole. This demand is given to the imagination by the faculty of reason:


«the mind hears in itself the voice of reason, which requires totality for all given magnitudes, even for those that can never be entirely apprehended although they are (in the sensible representation) judged as entirely given, hence comprehension in one intuition, and it demands a presentation for all members of a progressively increasing numerical series, and does not exempt from this requirement even the infinite (space and past time), but rather makes it unavoidable for us to think of it (in the judgment of common reason) as given entirely (in its totality)» (5:254, p. 138).


But because imagination’s ability to comprehend the sensible manifold is limited (it can comprehend only a limited degree of apprehend elements), it happens in the perception of vast and powerful objects that imagination fails to successfully comprehend the sensible manifold and present it as a unified whole. Thus, the failure of the imagination to synthesize the sensible manifold in one intuition is a failure of satisfying the faculty of reason. It is the disharmony between imagination and reason that produces the displeasure felt in the sublime. On the other hand, the fact that imagination fails to satisfy the task given to it by reason (i.e. to sensibly present the rational idea of the infinite size and power) indicates the existence of the supersensible faculty of the mind (i.e. the faculty of reason): “But even to be able to think the given infinite without contradiction requires a faculty in the human mind that is itself supersensible” (5:254, p. 138). The awareness of


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the existence of such a supersensible faculty of the mind produces in us the feeling of intense pleasure:


«What is excessive for the imagination (to which it is driven in the apprehension of the intuition) is as it were an abyss, in which it fears to lose itself, yet for reason’s idea of the supersensible to produce such an effort of the imagination is not excessive but lawful, hence it is precisely as attractive as it was repulsive for mere sensibility» (5:258, p. 141-142).


Kant identifies the concurring experience of displeasure and pleasure in the sublime with the feeling of respect: “The feeling of the inadequacy of our capacity for the attainment of an idea that is a law for us is respect” (5:257, p. 140).The sublime is a feeling of inadequacy of our physical and sensible nature, yet at the same time a recognition of the value of reason and our ability to think beyond the sensibly given. In the mathematically sublime, we value the theoretical part of our reason, the idea of the absolute unity “which has that very infinity under itself as a unit against which everything in nature is small” (5:261, p. 145). In the dynamically sublime we value the practical part of our reason, the elevating idea of our moral freedom and the ability “to soar above certain obstacles of sensibility by means of moral principles” (5: 271, p. 153). The sight of an erupting volcano arouses in us the feeling of terror and fear due to our inability to control the physical force of nature. The feeling of fear leads us to the negative feeling value realization that as physical beings we are imperfect, helpless and subjected to merciless forces of nature. But it is this realization that also awakens in us the idea of a moral supremacy over nature, namely, that in spite of our physical vulnerability we stand morally firm against the greatest power of nature. Our ability to think of ourselves as morally independent of nature and thereby able to surpass our fears of mortality, sickness, and other negative aspects tied to our physical nature, produces in us a feeling of respect for ourselves as rational and moral beings.


One can see that in contrast to beauty and ugliness, sublimity is not attributed to the object itself, but rather to the power of our mind.5The feeling of the sublime is the feeling



5

The fact that sublimity is attributed to subjects rather than objects does not exclude the importance of the

object for the sublime, as it has been suggested by some of Kant’s commentators. For example Clewis (2010,

p. 167-68) argues that what occasion the experience of the sublime is the rational ideas. However, if it is merely rational ideas that invoke the sublime, then it is difficult to explain the source of the feeling of displeasure in the sublime. The object is required for the experience of perceptual and imaginative failure


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of the recognition of the supremacy of our reason over our sensible nature and accordingly it is a feeling of respect


«for our own vocation, which we show to an object in nature through a certain subreption (substitution of a respect for the object instead of for the idea of humanity in our subject), which as it were makes intuitable the superiority of the rational vocation of our cognitive faculty over the greatest faculty of sensibility» (5:257, p. 141).


That is, the feeling of pleasure in the sublime reveals the purposiveness of the subject for the faculty of theoretical and practical reason and its supersensible ideas of infinity and freedom respectively. This contrasts with the feeling of pleasure in the beautiful object, which reveals the purposiveness of the object for our cognitive abilities (of imagination and understanding). The distinction between the two ways that purposiveness can be exhibited is mentioned by Kant in the following:


«The susceptibility to a pleasure from reflection on the form of things (of nature as well as art), however, indicates not only a purposiveness of objects in relation to the reflecting power of judgment, in accordance with the concept of nature, in the subject, but also, conversely, one of the subject, due to the concept of freedom, with regard to the objects, concerning their form or even their lack of form» (5:192, p. 78).


While beauty reveals the objects purposiveness for our cognitive abilities, the sublime, on the other hand, reveals the purposiveness of the subject for the faculty of reason. However, it is not merely the subjective purposiveness of the judging subject that the sublime reveals. Recall that the awareness of the idea of the supersensible is necessitated by the imagination’s inability to satisfy the task of the faculty of reason, that is, to present the rational idea of infinity (infinite size and power). As Kant explains, we feel frustrated in our inability to comprehend the size (or power) of the given object, precisely because we have an idea of a totality for ‘all given magnitudes.’ Since this idea cannot be empirically encountered (otherwise we would be able to perceptually grasp it), this indicates that we must have a supersensible faculty of the mind from which the idea of infinity arises. Accordingly, it is the disagreement between the imagination and faculty of reason that reveals the presence of reason and which brings with it the feeling of pleasure:


based on which the ideas of reason are revealed. The essential role of the object for the sublime is also emphasized by Deligiorgi (2014).



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«The feeling of the sublime is thus a feeling of displeasure from the inadequacy of the imagination […] and a pleasure that is there by aroused at the same time from the correspondence of this very judgment of the inadequacy of the greatest sensible faculty in comparison with ideas of reason» (5:257, p. 141).


The faculty of reason is present in the feeling of displeasure (in fact, it is precisely because of its presence that imagination reveals itself as inadequate); it is merely that this displeasure reveals its existence: “imagination and reason produce subjective purposiveness through their conflict” (5:258, p. 142). The very act of disagreement between imagination and reason is an act of their agreement. Thus, the sublime does not merely reveal the purposiveness of the judging subject, but also his contrapurposiveness.

One can see that the feeling of displeasure and pleasure in the sublime are intrinsically connected. They have the same source and one cannot separate them. The feeling of the sublime is not an independent feeling of pain and positive pleasure, but rather pleasure is present in displeasure. That is, the same contrapurposiveness that gives rise to displeasure also gives rise to the feeling of pleasure. Kant explains the feeling of the sublime as a “vibration, i.e., to a rapidly alternating repulsion from and attraction to one and the same object (5:258, p. 141-142), that is, as an alternation from the feeling of lost on one hand and the feeling of gain on the other. Experience of the sublime is an experience of a negative pleasure (5:245, p. 129).


On the other hand, displeasure of ugliness is the result of disharmony between the imagination and the faculty of understanding. In this relation, there is no failure of the imagination, rather it is the case that sensible manifold successfully apprehended by the imagination conflicts with the understanding and its need to introduce order and unity in our experience of the world. Thus, in judgments of ugliness it is the form (combination of sensible manifold) of the object that is contrapurposive for the power of judgment. After all, Kant writes that the subject of a judgment of taste is the form of the object. But if it is the form of the object that causes contrapurposiveness, then this implies that imagination must have been able to successfully comprehend the form of an ugly object and it is the form itself, that is, the comprehended sensible manifold that disagrees with the understanding. What we perceive as displeasing is the relationship between the imagination and understanding as generated by the particular form of the object. In other words, ugliness is the result of the failure of the object to accord with our cognitive


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abilities. This is clearly evident in our experience of ugliness. When we find an object ugly, we tend to ascribe the cause of the feeling of displeasure not to our inability to comprehend the object, but rather to the object itself and its failure to accord with us and our aesthetic sense. We react to such an object by turning away from it.


But the subject of the sublime reflection is a “formless and non purposive object” (5:280, p. 161). Sublime objects are too great in size (or the power) for the imagination to comprehended all the parts of the object into a unified whole. Hence, there is no determinate form to be judged as purposive. As Derrida (1987, p. 131) nicely puts it, the sublime “cannot inhabit any sensible form.” And if the sublime cannot inhabit any sensible form, then a fortiori the sublime cannot reveal anything about the object itself. The feeling of displeasure in the sublime resides in the subject’s inadequacy to grasp the sensible manifold and in his realizations that as a phenomenal being he is limited. Such an explanation is hinted by Kant in the following passage:


«For the beautiful in nature we must seek a ground outside ourselves, but for the sublime merely one in ourselves and in the way of thinking that introduces sublimity into the representation of the former» (5:246, p. 130).


The sublime does not reveal anything about phenomenal nature but rather it forces us to resort to ourselves, to the noumenal side of our nature. The sublime reveals something about the judging subject, namely that as a phenomenal being he is insignificant in comparison to nature, yet that he also possess a faculty of the mind that is independent of nature and according to which the nature itself is considered as embarrassingly small. The sublime compels us to look for the purposiveness in the same place from which its contrapurposiveness is derived, that is, in us, rather than from outside us, as ugliness does. Because ugliness is not experienced as the indicator of our own cognitive limitations, there is also no need to resort to the faculty of reason in order to compensate for feelings of inadequacy by appealing to the idea of our rational and moral supremacy.


To conclude, ugliness and sublime are theoretically and phenomenologically distinct aesthetic categories. The cause of the displeasure in the sublime and ugliness is different. It is the awareness of the inadequacy of our sensible cognition that we experience as displeasing in the sublime, while displeasure of ugliness is the result of the inadequacy of the object to agree with our cognitive faculties. While disharmony in ugliness reveals


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contrapurposiveness of the object, disharmony in the sublime reveals contrapurposiveness of the subject, which on the other hand reveals the value of reason and our ability to think beyond the sensibly given.


Furthermore, both ugliness and the sublime have their own phenomenological feeling tonalities. An object can be more or less ugly, depending on the degree of disharmony between the imagination and understanding. For example, the African Marabou Stork is less displeasing than the Angler fish, since the perceptual features in the latter seem more chaotically invasive and obtrusive than in the former. Likewise, an object can be more or less sublime depending on the object’s size or physical power. That is, the feeling of respect for our own supersensible faculty of reason is much greater when encountering the immenseness of the Grand Canyon in Arizona than its less famous and smaller cousin of the Black Canyon in Nevada. Even though Kant does not write about the degrees of sublimity, this idea is implied in the following passage:


«that which, without any rationalizing, merely in apprehension, excites in us the feeling of the sublime, may to be sure appear in its form to be contrapurposive for our power of judgment, unsuitable for our faculty of presentation, and as it were doing violence to our imagination, but is nevertheless judged all the more sublime for that» (5:245, p. 129).


The greater the object’s size or its physical power, the more difficult it is for our imagination to aesthetically comprehend the object and accordingly the more sublime our experience of the object is.


6

6

Also both ugliness and the sublime have their own opposites. While opposite of ugliness is the beautiful, the paradigmatic negative aesthetic concept that stands in opposition to the sublime is the ridiculousness. As Kant writes, “Nothing is so opposed to the beautiful as the disgusting, just as nothing sinks more deeply beneath the sublime than the ridiculous” (Beob 2:233, p. 40). Kant does not write about the concept of ridiculousness in the third Critique, but I believe that his explanation of sublimity can give us some insight into the nature of the ridiculousness. In short, my view is that the experience of the ridiculous, as well as the sublime, resides in the subject’s recognition of its own division between two extremes, that is, between the finite, phenomenal and



6

This has also been noted, but not further developed by Christian Strub (1989, p. 423).


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sensuous side, and the infinite, noumenal and rational side of our being. The difference is that in the experience of the sublime, it is the rational side, that is, the reason, that dominates, the recognition of which is experienced through a feeling of respect and awe. In the experience of the ridiculous, however, it is the finite, the sensuous and the smallness of a human character that dominate and which result in the underwhelming feeling of insignificance and nonsense. In both cases, an appeal to the faculty of reason is made. While the sublime agrees with the faculty of reason, the ridiculous on the other hand rejects and contradicts it. The sublime celebrates the victory of the noumena and of the infinite, while the ridiculous mourns its fall. What we find displeasing in the ridiculousness is the recognition of the abandonment of the noumenal subjectivity that the faculty of reason imposes on us in our reflection on the world. In light of such imposition, the sensuous and the phenomenal necessary look insignificant and disappointing. However, precisely for the same reason that the ridiculous displeases us, it also threatens us, because the abandonment of reason anticipates the end of the purpose and meaning in life. It is this latter moment, the recognition of purposelessness inherent in the abandonment of reason that in the end prevails and evokes laughter. The laughter inherent in the ridiculous, I believe, is a defense mechanism against the thread of purposelessness that the loss of reason invokes.

3.


As pointed out in the preceding discussion, an object is judged sublime if it evokes the idea of the supersensible in us (idea of infinity in the case of the mathematical sublimity and idea of moral freedom in the case of the dynamical sublimity), yet that this idea can only be awakened in us by the means of the failure of the imagination and the accompanying feeling of displeasure. The question is whether art works can satisfy this criterion of the sublime. That is, is there a possibility of the artistic sublime?

Before proceeding with answering this question it is, however, necessary to refine the distinction between artistic sublimity and artistic representation of sublimity. This distinction is implicit in Kant’s statement that: “A beauty of nature is a beautiful thing; the beauty of art is a beautiful representation of a thing” (5:311, p. 189).In other words, an art work can present beautiful subject matter, without itself being beautiful. Only if the artistic representation is itself beautiful, can we say that we have genuine artistic beauty.



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Similar is the case of artistic sublimity. It is only when the artistic representation (of a sublime or non-sublime) thing is itself sublime, can we say that we have genuine artistic sublimity. Artistic sublimity is not the result of the sublimity of the subject matter, but rather of the artistic representation itself (i.e. of the structure and organization of the subject matter).7

While there are many artworks, in particular typical for romanticism of 19th century, depicting sublime objects, they are not example of genuine artistic sublimity. For example, Albert Bierstadt’s painting entitled A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie (1866) depicts a stormy sky above the mountain range, a scenery that we would ordinarily find sublime. In this case, the painting merely imitates a naturally sublime object, the subject matter of the work, but without itself (as an artistic representation) being sublime. One might argue that even though the art work itself is not sublime, the subject matter can nevertheless provoke the experience of the sublime, for example through imagining ourselves being amidst of that sublime scenery and “perceiving it as if it were natural” (Clewis 2010, p. 169). Thus, an art work can after all occasion the experience of the sublime. I think, however, that it is unlikely that we can experience perceptual and imaginative failure merely by imagining of looking at a naturally sublime object. Rather what I believe it happens in such case is that we recognize the sublimity of the scenery depicted in the painting (we recognize it because we have experienced sublime feelings when we actually were amidst of a similar scenery), but without the accompanying feeling of the sublimity. That is, the sublimity of the scenery lingers in the painting, yet the feeling

of the sublime is suspended.8

Many writers consider works created by artists such as Mark Rothko, Barnet Newman, Yves Klein and Frank Stella as exemplary instances of genuine artistic sublimity (Abaci 2008, pp. 246-247; Clewis 2010, p. 169). This is because their art works do not merely imitate the sublime, but rather they themselves “present or evoke the sublime” (Clewis 2010, p. 169).Presumably, such works of art present the sublime by intentionally using specific combination of colors, texture, shapes and lights in order to create the impression of formlessness and limitlessness in the viewer, thereby disrupting our



7

A similar distinction is noted by Abaci (2008, pp. 246-247).

8

See Abaci (2008, p. 247) who also argues against the possibility of such works of art occasioning the

feeling of the sublime.


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perceptual and imaginative resources and pushing us to the world of ideas. For example, Yves Klein’s painting La Vague (1957) exhibits a unique color of blue that triggers its association with the limitlessness of the sea and thereby produces a sense of infinite space. Another example is Anish Kapoor’s 150 meters long installation Marsyas (2002). The overwhelming vastness of this piece, which allows the viewer to experience the weight of the material, and the giant blood-red rings that is reminiscent of an open mouth swallowing its surroundings, evokes a feeling of fear and terror, thereby inducing the experience the sublime.

If artistic sublimity is possible then it must be looked for in cases such as this, where the artistic representation itself, rather than the subject matter, is perceptually challenging for the viewer. The question is whether artistic representation itself can occasion genuine experience of the sublime?

There is reason to doubt that this can be the case. My reasoning is the following. According to Kant, the feeling of sublime is evoked by the mere apprehension of the size or the power of the object. Yet, art works are objects that are intentionally produced for a certain purpose and in judging the value of an art work this purpose must be taken into account (what it ought to be). Even more, as Kant claims, not only that art works and artifacts cannot be judged without taking into account the concept of a purpose, but that they cannot even be perceived independently of the concept of a purpose:

«[T]he fact that they are regarded as a work of art is already enough to require one to admit that one relates their shape to some sort of intention and to a determinate purpose. Hence there is also no immediate satisfaction at all in their intuition» (5:236, p.120).


In other words, one’s perception of the size (or the power) of an art work is immediately related to the concept of a purpose. But if this is the case, then it follows that one cannot perceive the object as a mere magnitude.9 But if the object cannot be perceived as a mere



9

Clewis (2009, p. 120) argues that even though art works are made with a certain purpose, this purpose can

be abstracted from the mere form of the object and thus we are able to reflect on the mere magnitude of the object. However, as I pointed out this possibility is precluded by Kant’s claim that the concept of the purpose not merely determines our judgments of the work, but also our perception of it. Accordingly, we cannot perceive the form of the object independently as to how this form is conceptualized. There is thus no possibility that one can abstract the concept of a purpose and have the perception of the mere magnitude of the object.


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magnitude, then it can also not give rise to the idea of limitlessness, hence it cannot lead to the experience of the supersensible and of the sublime. Recall, Kant claims that we judge an object as sublime in an aesthetic estimation of the magnitude (that is, in a direct perception). But in the case of art works and artifacts, the perception of the magnitude is mediated by the concept of a purpose; thus not in a direct perception. As we approach such works of art we immediately conceive them in light of the concept of the purpose, and this means considering their magnitude in light of the artist’s intentions. Rather than being overwhelmed by the size or the power of an art work, we appreciate the creative force that

produced it and its beauty (or ugliness).10


The idea that intentionally produced objects cannot occasion the experience of the sublime is additionally supported by the distinction Kant makes between the aesthetic experience of the disorder that devastations of nature leave behind, and the disorder that is produced by the human will, such as the disorder that the devastations of war leave behind. While Kant describes the experience of the former as sublime (5:261, p. 144), the latter he calls ugly (5:312, p. 190). Since one cannot perceptually distinguish the disorder of nature from the disorder of war, then their distinct aesthetic value must be due to the fact that one carries with it the concept of a purpose, while the other does not.

On the other hand, there are some art works that express rational ideas without the preceding experience of a perceptual failure. According to some writers, such works of art deserve to be called sublime. As Robert Clewis (2010, p. 167), one of the proponents of such a view writes:

«The ideas of reason, especially moral ideas, incite the experience of the sublime. We can become explicitly aware of these ideas in response to art. Artworks can express moral ideas and move us to reflect imaginatively on these ideas».



10

A similar argument against artistic sublimity has been given by Abaci (2008). He argues that if one must

take into account the concept of the purpose in judging the value of an art work and if judgments of the sublime are aesthetic judgments (i.e. product of the free play of faculties), then it follows that art works cannot give an experience of pure sublimity. At best, they can leave open the possibility of impure judgments of the artistic sublime. According to my position, however, the restriction of the concept of the purpose precludes even the possibility of impure judgments of the sublime. If there is no perceptual and imaginative failure, then one cannot have an experience of both pure and impure sublimity.


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The object does not need to strictly speaking cause perceptual failure to be able to express rational ideas; rather it is sufficient that it merely serves as a “stimulus for the mental movement” (Clewis 2010, p. 168).

It is true that an object does not need to cause perceptual failure in order to express rational ideas. In his explanation of the beautiful art, Kant alludes to this idea when he writes that “The poet ventures to make sensible rational ideas of invisible beings, the kingdom of the blessed, the kingdom of hell, eternity, creation, etc.” (5:314, p. 192). He gives an example of Jupiter’s eagle with the lightning in its claws expressing the rational idea of a heavenly being. However, there is a substantive difference between the expression of rational ideas and being aware of such rational components in ourselves. That is, an object can express rational ideas, such as an idea of the king of heaven, but without necessarily eliciting in us the awareness of such heavenly component in ourselves. It is the latter, not the former that makes an experience sublime. Consider for example how Kant describes the experience of the supersensible in the following two passages:


«[Sublime objects] elevate the strength of our soul above its usual level, and allow us to discover within ourselves a capacity for resistance of quite another kind, which gives us the courage to measure ourselves against the apparent all- powerfulness of nature» (5:261, p.144-145).


«[S]ublimity is not contained in anything in nature, but only in our mind, insofar as we can become conscious of being superior to nature within us and thus also to nature outside us (insofar as it influences us» (5:264, p. 147).


The sublime is an awareness of our rational and moral superiority over the physical and sensible nature within and outside us. A work of art might indeed express such an idea, but such communication does not necessarily result in eliciting the awareness of such superiority in us. Consider for example a movie Caffe De Flore, by Jean Marc Vallee (2012) which tells two different love stories taking place in a different time and place. One is a story of a young single mother with a disabled son taking place in 1960 in Paris, and the other is a story of a recently divorced man in a present day Montreal. The two stories are connected together through the idea of reincarnation and the existence of past lives. The movie is a beautiful and touching expression of a rational idea of the immortality of



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the soul, which is thought-provoking, but which does not necessarily making us aware of any immortal component in ourselves.

To conclude, in order to experience the sublime, one must first experience the feeling of displeasure due to the perceptual and imaginative failure, because only this failure can reveal the presence of our rational faculty of the mind and its supersensible ideas. An art work can express these ideas, that is, it can sensibly present how these ideas might look like, but it cannot betray their existence.

4.


The sublime is intimately connected with the faculty of reason and its ideas (freedom, god, immortality), and as such is particularly suggestive for the expression of ideas that celebrate the rational and moral side of our being, such as the life-affirming ideas of compassions, peace, virtue, gentleness, courage, altruism, etc. Yet, what is distinctive for contemporary art works, especially of the kind that goes by the name ‘abject’ art is, that they express (and aim to express) ideas that are opposite to rational ideas, namely, ideas of mortality, transience of life, inescapabilty of death, absurdity, alienation, dehumanization, destruction etc., all of them emphasizing the tragic confinement of our sensible and physical being. Thus, the concept of the sublime cannot be applied to such works of art. But if such works of art cannot be subsumed under the notion of aesthetic of the sublime, then how can the concurrence of displeasure and pleasure, distinctive for such works of art, be explained? I argue that this phenomenon can be explained by referring to Kant’s notion of ugliness and his theory of aesthetic ideas.


In short, Kant explains an aesthetic idea as a sensible representation of two kinds of indeterminate concepts. On one hand, invisible beings, hell, eternity, god, freedom, mortality, etc., are rational ideas (ideas of reason). What is distinctive for them is that they can be thought, but not empirically encountered. For example, while one can think of the idea of heaven or hell, one cannot sensibly intuit such ideas. On the other hand, love, fame, envy, death, etc. are abstract and emotion concepts which can be experienced, yet they cannot be directly represented. For example, one can experience an emotion of jealousy, but one does not know how this emotion itself looks like. In other words, one does not have a determinate schema for such an idea (in comparison to the schema of, say, a table).



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What is distinctive for both kinds of concepts is that their sensible representation, that is, an aesthetic idea, cannot be governed by any determinate rules. And this means that an aesthetic idea is a representation of imagination in its free play: “the aesthetic idea can be called an inexponible representation of the imagination (in its free play)” (5:343, p.218). In other words, an aesthetic idea exhibits free harmony between imagination and understanding (i.e. beauty).

Because aesthetic ideas are sensible representations of concepts that cannot be directly represented (there is no image of the idea of hell or of a heavenly being), they can be merely symbolic or metaphorical representations. Kant calls such metaphorical representations aesthetic attributes and describes them as

«forms which do not constitute the presentation of a given concept itself, but, as supplementary representations of the imagination, express only the implications connected with it and its affinity with others» (5:315, p. 193).


Kant gives an example of an image of a Jupiter’s eagle with the lightning in its claws being an aesthetic attribute of the idea of the king of heaven. The image of a Jupiter's eagle is not a logical attribute of the king of heaven, that is, it is not part of the concept of the king of heaven. When we think of the idea of king of heaven, we do not have in mind an image of an eagle. Rather, the image of a Jupiter's eagle only expresses certain associations connected with the idea we have of the king of heaven (in terms of representing power, strength, freedom, being above the material world, etc.). It is the collection of such aesthetic attributes (set of associations or thoughts) that constitute an aesthetic idea.


Kant’s theory of aesthetic ideas showsthat an object can be beautiful (i.e. occasion free harmony between cognitive powers) not merely by its perceptual features alone, but by the combination thoughts and ideas as well (i.e. aesthetic attributes). But if an art work can be aesthetically valuable because of the aesthetic idea it communicates to the audience, then this suggests that one and the same object can have both perceptual beauty (or ugliness) and beauty (or ugliness) of an aesthetic idea. Recall that an aesthetic idea is a combination of aesthetic attributes (i.e. set of associations between different concepts) and as such is not identical with the perceptual form of an art work. While perceptual form, say of an image of an Jupiter's eagle is constituted by the image of an eagle, particular patches


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of colours, shadows and lines, an aesthetic idea, on the other hand, is constituted by set of associations or thoughts that are prompted by the perceptual form. Aesthetic ideas, as Kant writes, are “inner intuition of the imagination” (5:343, p. 219) that are provoked by the visual image of an art work.

The distinction between perceptual beauty (and ugliness) and beauty (or ugliness) of an aesthetic idea can explain how it is possible that we find an art work aesthetically displeasing, yet aesthetically valuable at the same time. Namely, what we find displeasing in such an art work is its perceptual form, but what we find pleasing is the aesthetic idea that the work communicates. So while displeasure of perceptual form of an art work causes us to withdraw our attention from the work, the pleasure of aesthetic idea nevertheless holds our attention. We appreciate the communication of aesthetic ideas, because they give us an intimation of the world of ideas and state of affairs that lie beyond sensory experience. An aesthetic idea gives us an opportunity to intuit and apprehend that which cannot ever be fully presented by sensory experience alone. For instance, while the idea of a heavenly being does not have an empirical intuition (no image of a heavenly being), it can be nevertheless sensibly presented through the depiction of a Jupiter’s eagle. By connecting the idea of a heavenly being with the image of a Jupiter’s eagle we might gain a different perspective on this idea, for example, what the idea of a heavenly being might look like, which can consequently contribute to a richer understanding of this idea. Such a view is implied in Kant’s claim that concepts without intuition are empty (A51/B75). He refers to empirical concepts which need to be connected to empirical intuition in order to make sense of experience. Without empirical intuition, empirical concepts are mere words, without any substantive meaning. But the same can be said about indeterminate concepts, such as the concept of a heavenly being. Only by connecting indeterminate concepts with sensible intuition (by the means of aesthetic attributes)can we truly say that we understand what indeterminate concepts mean.

The value of an art work in spite of the feeling of displeasure it occasions is nicely illustrated by Jenny Saville’s photograph entitled Closed Contact (1995). The photograph presents the viewer with a discomforting image of the artist’s obese naked body squeezed onto glass. The artist distorts the body to the extreme by pushing around the excess of flesh almost to the point of being unrecognizable. The flesh of the body is reduced to a mere



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volume, designating that what is excessive, undesirable and invasive for our perception, thereby elevating the feeling of displeasure almost to the point of the disgust. Nonetheless, even though the artistic representation of the body is itself disordered and displeasing, it can still be expressive and thoughtful. The distorted image of a female body might symbolically represent the destruction of the female body as invented by the patriarchal discourses of Western society. The expression of this idea is stimulating, thought- provoking and for this reason aesthetically significant, even though it is perceived with displeasure.


There is an appealing side to ugliness, because it allows for the imagination to be highly effective and expressive of ideas that cannot be represented otherwise. Its constitutive element is disorder and as such it is particularly suggestive for the expression of ideas that celebrate such disorder. It is related to ideas of alienation, estrangement, dehumanization, destruction, degeneration, disconcertion, absurdity, and with emotions evoking terror, horror, anxiety and fear, and which dominate the contemporary artistic production. The association of ugliness with such ideas and feelings can be explained by referring to Kant’s notion of the reflective power of judgment and the a priori principle of purposiveness. Kant discusses this principle mainly in relation to its use in empirical concept acquisition, but in addition, he suggests that there is a connection between this principle and judgments of taste. For example, in one of many passages supporting this connection, he writes:


«The self-sufficient beauty of nature reveals to us a technique of nature, which makes it possible to represent it as a system in accordance with laws the principle of which we do not encounter anywhere in our entire faculty of understanding, namely that of a purposiveness with respect to the use of the power of judgment in regard to appearances» (5:246, p. 129-30).


The idea seems to be that judgments of taste depend on the principle of purposiveness of nature, which represents nature as a system in which all phenomena are related to each other and therefore amenable to our cognitive abilities. This principle is necessary for cognition (empirical concept acquisition) but also for finding an object beautiful (or ugly). I do not want to go into any details of legitimizing the connection between the principle of purposiveness and judgments of taste, which has already been pointed out by several of Kant’s scholars (Ginsborg 1990, pp 66-68; Mathews 2010, pp. 63-79; Baz 2005, pp. 1-32;


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Kuplen 2013: pp. 124-134). Here I just want to point out how this connection can explain the association of ugliness with certain ideas.


In short, Kant claims that the principle of purposiveness amounts to a certain way of seeing the world, that is, for preferring one way of organizing sensible manifold, to another. This preference for organizing sensible manifold in a certain way, more particularly, in a way that represents nature as a system, is reflected in our cognition, but also occasionally in the feeling of pleasure in finding an object beautiful. For example, in preferring certain combinations (such as the spiral structure of petals in a rose) and disliking others (such as the disorganized aftermath of a storm or tornado). The principle is an idea about how the world is supposed to be, how we expect it to be, so that it allows our understanding to cognize it, and it is an idea that holds only for us, as cognitive beings. The principle determines us, and our need to see the world in a specific way:


«this transcendental concept of a purposiveness of nature […] represents the unique way in which we must proceed in reflection on the objects of nature with the aim of a thoroughly interconnected experience, consequently it is a subjective principle (maxim) of the power of judgment» (5:184, p. 71).


According to this explanation, the feeling of pleasure is a result of the confirmation or satisfaction of the principle of purposiveness. We appreciate forms that are in accordance with the principle of purposiveness, and that reassures us that the world is indeed such as we expect it to be, namely, amenable to our cognitive abilities. Accordingly, the experience of aesthetic pleasure (beauty) is a sign of the familiarity with the world, of feeling at home in the world. This explains why we experience beauty associated with positive feeling value ideas, such as innocence, joyfulness, virtue, hope, optimism, etc.


On the other hand, feeling of displeasure is a result of the dissatisfaction of our expectation that the world is amenable to our cognitive abilities. The inability to know the world occasions the state of estrangement between us, our mental structure, and the world. James Phillips (2011, p. 395) nicely puts this idea by saying: “The displeasure of ugliness is the displeasure of the thought that the world might not want us to know it.” When our expectations of order and our need of organizing the world in a specific way are violated, we do not merely experience displeasure, but also a sense of loss of control over the organization of experience, and this can occasion feelings of fear, anxiety, horror and a


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sense of estrangement, powerlessness, absurdity, mortality, disorientation etc. Ugliness can be a valuable experience, because it is the unique way through which these ideas and emotions themselves, for which there is no adequate sense intuition, can be sensibly represented.

To conclude, in spite of the feeling of displeasure it produces, artistic ugliness can be a valuable experience because it is a unique way through which certain ideas, concepts and emotions, for which we do not have a full empirical counterpart, can be expressed. Ugliness brings forth negative aesthetic ideas, which are uncomfortable, yet are part of our experience of the world and ourselves and therefore worthwhile attending to. Even though perceived with displeasure, ugliness affords an unfamiliar and unexpected perspective on the phenomenal world and an intimation of the world of ideas.


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An Interpretation of Rawls’ “Kantian Interpretation”


Una interpretación de la “interpretación kantiana” de Rawls


VADIM CHALY


Immanuel Kant Federal Baltic University, Russia


Abstract


Calling Kant a liberal philosopher requires important qualifications. Much like his theoretical philosophy, his political transcendentalism was and remains a great enterprise of navigating between the extremes of liberalism and conservatism, of balancing the “empirical” and the “pure” in human society, as well as in human mind. Of all the attempts to enlist Kant among the classics of liberalism, John Rawls’ is the most impressive and thorough. However, it is hardly a success. The reason for this lies in a profound difference in their answering the fundamental (and therefore vague) question “What is Man?”. This paper is an attempt to revise the debate about the extent of Rawls’ Kantianism and to compare the meanings of basic concepts of what could be called “pure political anthropology” in Kant and in Rawls.


Key words


Rawls; Kant; “Kantian interpretation”; Political Anthropology; Autonomy; Rationality vs. Reasonability; Freedom vs. Liberty; Categorical Imperative; Humanity; Liberalism.


Resumen


Considerar a Kant un filósofo liberal requiere de importantes matices. Como su filosofía teorética, su transcendentalismo político fue y sigue siendo una gran empresa de navegación entre los


Vadim Chaly, PhD, Head of Department of Philosophy at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University,

Kaliningrad, Russia. E-mail for contact: [email protected]



[Recibido: 30 de abril de 2015/ Aceptado: 13 de mayo de 2015]


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extremos del liberalismo y del conservadurismo, del equilibrio de lo “empírico” y de lo “puro” en la sociedad humana, como en ocurre en el caso de nuestra mente. Entre todos los intentos realizados para incluir a Kant entre los clásicos del liberalismo, John Rawls es el más impresionante y minucioso. Sin embargo, difícilmente alcanza éxito en su pretensión. La razón para ello reside en una profunda diferencia en su modo de responder a la pregunta fundamental (y, por ello, vaga) “¿Qué es el hombre?”. Este artículo es un intento de someter a revisión el debate sobre el alcance del kantismo de Rawls y de comparar los significados de conceptos básicos acerca de lo que podría llamarse “antropología política pura” en Kant y en Rawls.


Palabras clave


Rawls; Kant; “interpretación kantiana”; antropología política; autonomía; racionalidad vs. razonabilidad; libertad vs. independencia; imperativo categórico; humanidad; liberalismo.


Coherent political philosophies begin with what a human being is, proceed to examine what it can/cannot be, and aim at what it ought and/or ought not to become. Classics were not ashamed to embrace this approach: Plato deliberately mixes anthropology with theory of state, Hobbes meticulously develops one to proceed to the other, and Kant’s famous question “what is man?” can easily be given a political turn. Contemporary political philosophies are often careful to avoid this grand question at all, because normative modes it implies can be, and some have proven to be, speculative and oppressive. Rawls is exceptional, among other things, in his readiness to systematically address this question - that is why in A Theory of Justice the explanation of anthropological presuppositions of his theory occupies far more pages than “theory of justice as fairness” proper.

The normative approach, however dangerous, is unavoidable, because political philosophies cannot afford being purely descriptive, they also have to prescribe aims and means for the development (or conservation) of humanity, they have to guide us, irrespective of our belief in the very possibility of such guidance. Some contemporary political philosophies feature anthropological presuppositions that are implicit, assumed, unquestioned and might even prove conflicting. Kant’s philosophy is prime example of the opposite. It provides us with detailed explication of “pure” mechanisms that are taken to be essential to a human being (Kant even goes further than that, claiming that he has a scheme

for any being endowed with reason), and his “empirical” anthropology, although it

1

received much less attention both from him and his readers , augments the normative part

with recognizable descriptive image of what an actual human being is. Kant’s political



1

Until recently: cf. (Louden 2000, 2011)


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philosophy is a recipe for (potentially) aligning the latter to the former, for straightening

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out the “crooked timber of humanity” - or at least indefinitely trying to .

To current liberal standards this might seem unabashed universalism, so much of contemporary interpretation of Kant’s political philosophy consist in rounding this edge, which, it seems, cannot be done without altering the very essence of Kant’s thought. It is to illustrate this point that I suggest to examine Rawls’ “Kantian interpretation” of A Theory of Justice, because its formulas include - and dramatically alter - some of Kant’s most basic notions: autonomy, freedom, rationality, ends, means, and so on.


1. Rawls


No one has done more to reinvigorate Kantian ideas in contemporary political philosophy than John Rawls, and his account of Kant is among most detailed and sympathetic. Despite early doubts (Nagel 1973, Levine 1974, Johnson 1974, 1977, Hicks 1974, Pogge 1981), it came to be accepted by many that “Kantian interpretation” of Rawls’ theory of justice generally succeeds in its purpose (Darwall 1976, Rawls 1980, DeLue 1980, Tampio 2007, Taylor 2011). I would like to, first, restate these early doubts mentioned, second, advance them further, taking into account some of Rawls’ more recent texts. The focus, however, remains on A Theory of Justice, because the assessment of Rawls’ later modifications requires a separate effort, which has to proceed from solid conclusions regarding the original theory.

Let us begin by collecting Rawls’ definitions of basic terms used in his “Kantian interpretation” to incorporate Kant’s arguments into the new theory. Any of these terms could be the starting point, and Rawls chooses autonomy: “Kant held, I believe, that a person is acting autonomously when the principles of his action are chosen by him as the

most adequate possible expression of his nature as a free and equal rational being” (Rawls

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1999 , p. 222). Rawls’ definition relies on freedom and rationality, and while his brief



2

Questioning the extent of Kant’s liberalism is far beyond the scope of this paper, but a preliminary attempt

can be found in (Chaly 2014), albeit in Russian. The argument in that paper proceeds by emphasizing limits of Kant’s anthropological and, therefore, political optimism ascribed to him, for example, by Howard Williams (Williams 1983, 1992), and relies on Robert Louden’s analysis of Kant’s anthropology (Louden 2000, 2011).


3

The references are to the edition of A Theory of Justice, revised in 1999.


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treatment of freedom in A Theory of Justice as will’s ability to act despite natural constraints seems in line with Kant, his definition of rationality does not.

Rawls takes on rationality first in §25 “The Rationality of the Parties”, and then in more detail in Chapter VII, “Goodness as Rationality” (§§60-68). His first definition is markedly instrumental: “The concept of rationality invoked here … is the standard one familiar in social theory”, where parties attempt “to win for themselves the highest index of primary social goods, since this enables them to promote their conception of the good most effectively whatever it turns out to be (Rawls 1999, p. 124, 125).

His second attempt defines rationality in a wider sense, which means including the answer to the question - what goods it is rational to want. The answer relies on notions of “desire of certain things as prerequisites for carrying out … plans of life”, preference for “wider share of liberty and opportunity and of wealth and income”, and, most importantly, “self-respect and a sure confidence in the sense of one own’s worth” (Rawls 1999, p. 348).

As rationality in broader sense seems to be the ability to form and maintain a “good” plan of life, its definition is due. Defining a life plan, Rawls writes, that “... a person may be regarded as a human life lived according to a plan. […] [A]n individual says who he is by describing his purposes and causes, what he intends to do in his life” (Rawls 1999,

p. 358). Also,

«[...] a rational plan of life establishes the basic point of view from which all judgments of value relating to a particular person are to be made and finally rendered consistent. Indeed, with certain qualifications (§83) we can think of a person as being happy when he is in the way of a successful execution (more or less) of a rational plan of life drawn up under (more or less) favorable conditions, and he is reasonably confident that his plan can be carried through (Rawls 1999, p. 359)».


An end can be explained as something that serves as a primary good for the fulfillment of a rational life plan (such are “for example, life, liberty and one’s own welfare” from §83), an interest as something that leads to an end. Importantly, none of these is fixed:


«as free persons they [members of a well-ordered society] do not think of themselves as inevitably bound to, or as identical with, the pursuit of any particular array of fundamental interests that they may have at any given time; instead, they conceive of themselves as


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capable of revising and altering these final ends and they give priority to preserving their liberty in this regard (Rawls 1975, p. 95)».


Now let us see how these notions work together in Rawls’ formulations of categorical imperative (CI). He writes that CI is “a principle of conduct that applies to a person in virtue of his nature as a free and equal rational being” (Rawls 1999, p. 222), that “the principles of justice manifest in the basic structure of society men’s desire to treat one another not as means only but as ends in themselves” (Rawls 1999, p. 156), and that “the original position may be viewed, then, as a procedural interpretation of Kant’s conception of autonomy and the categorical imperative within the framework of an empirical theory” (Rawls 1999, p. 226). Rawls also writes at length in “Kantian interpretation”:


«The principles of justice are also analogous to categorical imperatives. For by a categorical imperative Kant understands a principle of conduct that applies to a person in virtue of his nature as a free and equal rational being. The validity of the principle does not presuppose that one has a particular desire or aim. Whereas a hypothetical imperative by contrast does assume this: it directs us to take certain steps as effective means to achieve a specific end. Whether the desire is for a particular thing, or whether it is for something more general, such as certain kinds of agreeable feelings or pleasures, the corresponding imperative is hypothetical. Its applicability depends upon one’s having an aim which one need not have as a condition of being a rational human individual. The argument for the two principles of justice does not assume that the parties have particular ends, but only that they desire certain primary goods. These are things that it is rational to want whatever else one wants. Thus given human nature, wanting them is part of being rational; and while each is presumed to have some conception of the good, nothing is known about his final ends. The preference for primary goods is derived, then, from only the most general assumptions about rationality and the conditions of human life. To act from the principles of justice is to act from categorical imperatives in the sense that they apply to us whatever in particular our aims are. This simply reflects the fact that no such contingencies appear as premises in their derivation (Rawls 1999, p. 222-223)».


Thus, Rawls develops the following chain of definitions: autonomy is the combination of freedom and rationality; rationality is the urge to win for oneself the highest index of primary social goods, necessary to maintain a freely chosen plan of life;



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plan of life forms the essence of a person, and its execution results in happiness and self-

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esteem. A plan of life includes ends, such as life, liberty and welfare , as well as interests

that are instrumental to these ends. Rawls, on one hand, admits that people are free to choose their ends, which should mean that transcendent ends are legitimate; on the other hand, even the “veil of ignorance” does not provide space for public discussion or bargaining about such ends.


  1. The Critics


    Some of the definitions in this chain came under criticism. In his 1974 article Andrew Levine argues, that Rawls’ “Kantian interpretation rests on a systematic confusion of an anthropological understanding of Kant’s notion of rational agency (replete with contingent assumptions about human nature) and Kant’s own non anthropological understanding” (Levine, 1974, p. 48). Analyzing Rawls’ original position, which is intended to free our choice of basic principles of justice from what Kant would call “empirical” or heteronomous interests and inclinations, Levine shows, that the kind of considerations we do take in account in original position are not what Kant would call “pure”. Levine states that Rawls tries to frame Hobbesian egoistic rationality in Kantian universalist terms, which leads to incoherence. Levine then argues that instrumental rationality, effectively employed by Rawls, is empirical and therefore heteronomous in Kant’s sense, and suggests that, in order to account for autonomy, a different notion of reasonableness has to be introduced, which would fall in the domain of Kantian “Vernünft”. He concludes that in Rawlsian original position “we express our nature as bundles of appetites for primary goods endowed with a capacity for instrumental rationality; not as bearers of pure practical reason” (Levine 1974, p. 57). In his subsequent works Rawls attempts to elaborate the distinction between rationality and reasonableness, which, as we’ll see, again falls short of complying with Kantian standards.

    Oliver Johnson takes similar stance in his 1974 paper. He argues that Rawls and Kant advance different and irreconcilable models of human being, which make key notions and principles of Kantian moral philosophy - i.e. CI, autonomy, rationality - unusable in Rawls’ theory. Johnson notes that individuals under “veil of ignorance” are still motivated


    4

    It is worth noting that “life, liberty and estate” is Locke’s formula for property (cf. Second Treatise, §§87,

    123), so, perhaps, one way to sum up the difference between Lockean classical liberalism and Rawlsian egalitarian liberalism is to compare “estate” to “welfare”.


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    by what Kant would call heteronomous interests, that Rawls’ notion of CI is in fact equivalent to Kant’s notion of “counsels of prudence”, which is a specific kind of hypothetical imperative, and that, he thinks most importantly, that Rawls’ notion of rationality is opposite to Kant’s.

    Johnson’s claims are contended by Stephen Darwall (Darwall 1976), who writes that the “Kantian interpretation” successfully develops moral foundations for Rawls’ political theory, providing deep explanation and justification for the choice of principles in the original position. His main argument is that, although decisions in the original position are made in view of individual interests so could be considered heteronomous, later decisions to adhere to principles of justice in ordinary life are autonomous in Kantian sense. Still, as Johnson responds (1976), his argument regarding the original position stands.


  2. Criticism revisited


The issues raised by the critics are essentially anthropological, they touch upon Kant's ultimate question of human nature, of what it means to be autonomous, to be rational and reasonable, to pursue interests and ends, etc. While Rawls centers his interpretation on autonomy, Levine, Johnson and Darwall turn towards rational agency. There’s a good reason for this, because, as we’ve seen, Rawls defines autonomy through freedom and rationality, and of these two the latter receives the most attention from him. But the analysis of Rawls’ definition of rationality done above reveals that a life plan is an even more basic notion, and it is in turn defined with mentioning of happiness. From §83 “Happiness and Dominant Ends” we learn that happiness is self-contained and self- sufficient, it comes as the result of one’s success (or of belief into such success - this possibility was later addressed by Nozick’s “experience machine” argument) in implementing one’s life plan. So the ultimate good becomes for Rawls, at least in this important line of arguments, the same as for Aristotle, not Kant.

On this basis one might state that Rawls’ understanding of human nature has more in common with the tradition of virtue ethics than with Kantian anthropology of autonomous agents capable of moral self-legislation and striving for the “kingdom of ends”. There’s nothing transcendental in a Rawlsian person, even in the original position all its substance



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boils down to “what he intends to do in his life”, meaning empirical life, finite and imperfect. Grand ideals and great aspirations fit neither “original position” nor later public life. Rawls is very clear about his reasons for the exclusion of anything grand, ultimate and universal from his political anthropology:


«[Reformation] introduces into people's conceptions of their good a transcendent element not admitting of compromise. This element forces either mortal conflict moderated only by circumstance and exhaustion, or equal liberty of conscience and freedom of thought. Except on the basis of these last, firmly founded and publicly recognized, no reasonable political conception of justice is possible. Political liberalism starts by taking to heart the absolute depth of that irreconcilable latent conflict» (“Political Liberalism”, 1993, p. xxviii).


But for Kant being a person means above all operating ideas and aiming at ends that are beyond the empirical, that, while ever remaining problematic, have precisely those universal pretensions, which Rawls’ liberalism finds dangerous. And it ought to be done not only privately, but also publically, politically. Rawls views grand ideas and final ends as the source of trouble that has to be contained; Kant views them as the main source of hope for humankind’s future (the other source being “Nature” that indirectly supports our moral striving). Perhaps both are right, but one view has to prevail.

To illustrate Kant’s universalism I shall not quote him at length, but only rely on his formulas of categorical imperative. The first “Formula of the Universal Law” contains the word “universal” (“allgemeines”), also present in its acquired name (Universalisierungsformel), it obliges us to evaluate our maxims from the point of view of a general reasonable being, which is not subject to personal empirical interests, but only to duty of promoting reasonability as such. In view of this Rawls’ notion of “mutual disinterestedness”, experienced by agents in original position, appears awkward - Kantian agents are profoundly, transcendentally interested in each other’s essential feature, i.e. reason as the end in itself, which happens to be common to all of them (and not empty, as Rawls says about final ends in the original position). Of course, precisely this is emphasized by the second “Humanity Formula”. This formula is naturally the most popular in liberal philosophy, because on the surface it seems to prescribe treating individuals as ends. Robert Nozick gives a notable example of such reading of Kant: in Anarchy, State and Utopia he writes that “side constraints upon action reflect the underlying Kantian principle that individuals are ends and not merely means; they may not



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be sacrificed or used for the achieving of other ends without their consent. Individuals are inviolable” (Nozick 1974, p. 30-31). Although later in the book Nozick does quote the “Humanity Formula” in its entirety, the word “humanity” is lost in this important paraphrase. It is humanity in individuals that Kant literally proclaims an end, not individuals per se (although, of course, humanity consists of individuals). The danger here is to replace the humans as bearers of reason by humans as persons having empirical interests and inclinations mixed with some moral sentiments, emotions, which we would call “humanity” as an attitude. This would deeply distort the spirit of Kantian philosophy.

It seems that Rawls also treats the second formula of CI rather loosely, when he writes that “the principles of justice manifest in the basic structure of society men’s desire to treat one another not as means only but as ends in themselves” (Rawls 1999, p. 156). When Rawls in A Theory of Justice speaks of “humanity”, he uses the word in the sense of certain attitude, moral character (see Rawls 1999, p. 428-9), not in the sense of humankind (which is discussed at p. 459). But it is worth noting that “Menschheit” of the second formula is frequently used by Kant throughout his writings in contexts where it could mean either humankind or the moral attitude of humanity - or, likely, is intended to mean both as being inseparable (for instance, extensively throughout Anthropology and The Conflict of the Faculties), - whereas the moral attitude of humanity is defined in Metaphysics of Morals as “Menschlichkeit” (MS, AA 6: 456-7). Kant also uses the word “Humanität” when he speaks specifically of the attitude (cf. A, AA 7: 282), and “Menschenrace” and

“Menschengattung” when he speaks of humankind (as in Bestimmung des Begriffs einer

5

Menschenrace) .

This is not to say that treatments of the second formula by Rawls and Nozick are incorrect, it is only to note that they are biased towards individualism that is not quite Kantian in spirit. Allen Wood reminds that “Kantian ethics is grounded on the dignity of rational nature. It requires not only respect for individual rights and the equal worth of



5

The “problem of humanity” is addressed in detail in (Dean 2006). Although Richard Dean is defending the

view that “humanity” is in fact primarily a moral attitude, he does admit that there’s a problem with this term. Indeed, the use of the same word “humanity” to translate two different Kantian terms gives rise to danger of misunderstandings akin to those well familiar in case of “Objekt” and “Gegenstand”. The “problem of humanity” is aggravated by the fact that it is rooted in “Problem der Menschheit”, to which there also seems to be no clear solution: for example, Karl Vorländer makes accent on “Menschheit” as “community of millions of reasonable beings” (Vorländer 1924, 298), whereas Rudolf Eisler opposes “Menschheit” to “Tierheit” as mode of conduct (Eisler 1930, 352). Having neither capabilities nor intentions to propose a solution, I can only point at the fact that the term “Menschheit” of the second formula cannot be treated casually without risk of distorting Kant’s meaning (whatever it might be).


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human beings, but also the idea of a cosmopolitan community in which the ends of all rational beings must form a unity to be pursued collectively” (Wood, 1999). These observations lead to the conclusion that the deep breach between universalism clearly admitted by Kant’s philosophy and liberal particularism of Rawls’ theory seems to exist despite Rawls’ attempts to downplay it. Of course, this is far from saying that Kant, the theorist of personal intellectual liberty and of perpetual peace, with his universalism paved the way to polemos, to what Rawls called “mortal conflict” and Carl Schmitt dwelled upon as political enmity. No doubt, there’s plenty of individualism in Kant’s philosophy to counterbalance universalism, but this balancing does make it harder to pigeonhole him as a

liberal philosopher.

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Here an objection can be and has been raised: can we conceive of a “pure” person,

devoid of all “empirical” (and hence individual) features? Isn’t having empirical interests part of being human, or even a rational being in general? Is there anything to discuss behind the “veil of ignorance” for Kantian transcendental subjects? Can we even use the plural “subjects” to denote this abstraction? While contemplating on this question, we could mix behind the “veil of ignorance” soon-to-be human beings and non-human rational beings and make them discuss the principles of justice being unaware of their future species. We might expect that in order for this discussion to happen at all, these species

have to share some minimal conceptual features, among which has to be something like

7

“belonging to the single unified spatio-temporal world” (in P.F. Strawson’s terms ), and in

this world, as Rawls notes, they have to experience scarcity of resources, i.e. be under condition where justice is necessary. Now these features both of the subject and of the world would qualify as empirical in Kant - it is contingent that our reason is limited (and often misguided and subjugated) by sensibility, and it is contingent that we do not inhabit the “kingdom of ends”. If we get rid of these features, the very idea of original position seems to become empty as well.

Does this mean that Rawls’ thought experiment only works for heteronomous beings, so there’s nothing Kantian in his theory? Maybe not. We can probably further generalize it and imagine rational beings that would decide upon protecting their rationality, morality



6

Cf. Nozick 1974, p. 228.

7

See his “Bounds of Sense” (1966) and, more generally, “Individuals” (1959) for detailed arguments, which

seem to become highly relevant here. Also relevant is Strawson’s “Social Morality and Individual Ideal” (1961), where the notion of a life plan plays a central part and pluralism of ends is defended.


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and autonomy (which are, of course, inseparable for Kantian beings) against possible claims of empirical inclinations that will later in various contingent proportions become part of their nature(s). This would certainly mean treating not only humanity, but also any other form of reasonable being, as an end in itself.

However, this would also mean severely modifying Rawls’ theory in important respects, which he probably wouldn’t have accepted. One of the ways to introduce this modification would be to expand the meaning of rationality, or, more precisely, subjugate rationality to a higher faculty. This “going transcendental” would bring back into the theory universalism Rawls was careful to avoid. If we expand the notion of rationality,

people would not be at liberty while choosing ends (as in Rawls 1975), because the ends

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would be imposed by universal faculty of reason . Autonomy would mean adhering to

these ends, it would ensure freedom in a peculiar sense of being determined by ends, thus making freedom very different and at times even conflicting with what is commonly understood as liberty. Liberty, both negative and positive, would be relegated to the empirical choice of means to pursue ends in individual live, and also to choice of needs and inclinations one embraces and structures as interests. A reasonable (in Kantian, not Rawlsian, sense) as well as rational plan of life would then be if not strictly centered around, then at least loosely attracted towards ends that are transcendental, so might have universal pretensions of the character that political liberalism tries to avoid. Finally, categorical imperative, or a “CI-procedure”, would work behind the “veil of ignorance” not to establish positive rules for constructing a just society, but to merely set something like negative, conservative “side constraints” protecting the “pure” from the “empirical”, reason from instrumental rationality, universal from the particular, freedom from liberty. This is a sketch of an interpretation quite different from the one suggested in A Theory of Justice.

However, there are hints at the possibility of such interpretation in Rawls. For example, it does not suffice for the notion of “rational life plan” to mean a contingent assortment of personal empirical interests and aims (resembling Plato’s “democratic man”), for “even rational plans of life which determine what things are good for human beings, the values of human life so to speak, are themselves constrained by the principles of justice” (Rawls, 1999, p. 348). So Rawls is not certain whether there’s something

8

Here one has to stress that these ends cannot be enforced politically – “paternalism is the greatest despotism

imaginable” (TP, AA 8: 291).


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beyond what instrumental rationality wants, which counters its claims and serves as constraints (“justice” in broader sense), or these constraints are part of rational wants because, on deliberation, we notice that they serve our other empirical interests. Should Rawls choose the latter and embrace reason as mere “slave of the passions”, he would justly be called utilitarian, Humean or Hobbesian; should he pursue the former, seemingly more Kantian, option, then his interpretation would have to be modified significantly.

It seems that Rawls is at least inclined towards the Kantian strategy, for in his later works (1980, 1993) he continuously turns to explaining the difference between being rational and being reasonable:


«Fair terms of cooperation articulate an idea of reciprocity and mutuality: all who cooperate must benefit, or share in common burdens, in some appropriate fashion as judged by a suitable benchmark of comparison. This element in social cooperation I call the Reasonable. The other element corresponds to the Rational: it expresses a conception of each participant's rational advantage what, as individuals, they are trying to advance» (Rawls 1980, 528)


«We tend to use “reasonable” to mean being fair-minded, judicious, and able to see other points of view, and so forth; while “rational” has more the sense of being logical, or acting for one’s own good, or one’s interests. In my own work, and in this discussion, the reasonable involves fair terms of cooperation; while the rational involves furthering the good or advantage of oneself, or of each person cooperating» (Rawls, 1993, p. 54).


But is this notion of “reasonability” Kantian enough? Being cooperative and fair- minded is a viable strategy in non-zero-sum games to advance one’s interests that are again heteronomous (it is often rational to be reasonable). To establish autonomy, “reasonable” would have to mean more than that. Indeed, Rawls himself admits that Kant’s use of the word “vernünftig” is “worlds away from “rational” in the narrow sense. It’s a deep question (which I leave aside here) whether Kant’s conception of reason includes far more than reason” (Rawls 2000, 164-65).

Another question can be raised: doesn’t adherence to the demands of practical reason even in Kantian sense serve, upon yet another round of deliberation, to advance one’s empirical interests? Don’t we stick to them out of hope to someday find ourselves happy amidst the “kingdom of ends”, following the line of reasoning (or, rather, “rationing”) famously expressed in Pascal’s Wager? This is a difficult question. However, there’s one important respect, in which these interests seem to differ from the ones stemming directly from inclinations: they are not agent-specific, personal differences are irrelevant to them,



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they are transcendental in Kantian sense, they are not subject to justice in Rawlsian sense because they’re not subject to conflict. So, perhaps, we could call these interests transcendental ends, which we have to treat as essential in every reasonable being, including ourselves.

All this brings to the conclusion that Rawls himself formulates regarding Kantianism of A Theory of Justice: “... the adjective 'Kantian' expresses analogy and not identity; it means roughly that a doctrine sufficiently resembles Kant's in enough fundamental respects so that it is far closer to his view than to the other traditional moral conceptions that are appropriate for use as benchmarks of comparison” (Rawls, 1980, p. 517). The suggestion of this paper is basically to omit the word “fundamental” – also because it doesn’t fit liberal vocabulary well – and end the sentence with “respects”.


References


Chaly, V. (2014), Kant mezhdu liberalismom i conservatismom (Kant between Liberalism and Conservatism). Kantovsky Sbornik 50 (4), 54-60


Darwall, S. (1976), A Defense of the Kantian Interpretation. Ethics 86 (2), 164-170

Dean, R. (2006), The Value of Humanity in Kant’s Moral Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press DeLue, S. Aristotle, Kant and Rawls on Moral Motivation in a Just Society. The American

Political Science Review 74 (2), 385-393


Eisler, R. (1930), Kant-Lexikon. Nachschlagewerk zu Immanuel Kant. Berlin: Georg Olms Johnson, O. (1974), The Kantian Interpretation. Ethics 85 (1), 58-66

————— (1977), Autonomy in Kant and Rawls: A Reply. Ethics 87 (3), 251-254


Levine, A. (1974), Rawls' Kantianism. Social Theory and Practice 3 (1), 47-63


Louden, R. (2000), Kant’s Impure Ethics. From Rational Beings to Human Beings. New York: Oxford University Press


—————(2011), Kant’s Human Being. Essays on His Theory of Human Nature.

Oxford: Oxford University Press



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Nagel, T. (1973), Rawls on Justice. The Philosophical Review 82 (2), 220-234 Nozick, R. (1974), Anarchy, State and Utopia. New York: Basic Books

Pogge, T. (1981), The Kantian Interpretation of Justice as Fairness. Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 35 (1), 47-65


Rawls, J. (1975), A Kantian Conception of Equality. Cambridge Review 96 (2225), 94-99


————(1980), Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory. The Journal of Philosophy 77 (9), 515-572


———— (1993), Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press


———— (1999), A Theory of Justice. rev. edn. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press


———— (2000), Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press


Strawson, P.F. (1959), Individuals. An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. London: Methuen


Tampio, M. (2007), Rawls and the Kantian Ethos. Polity 39 (1), 79-102


Taylor, R. (2011), Reconstructing Rawls: The Kantian Foundations of Justice As Fairness.

University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press


Vorländer, K. (1924), Immanuel Kant. Der Mann und das Werk. Leipzig, Felix Meiner Wiliams, H. (1983), Kant’s Political Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell

————— (1992), Kant's Optimism in his Social and Political Theory. In Essays on Kant’s Political Philosophy. ed. H. Williams. Cardiff: University of Wales Press


Wood, A. (1999), Kant’s Ethical Thought. New York: Cambridge University Press


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The Systematical Role of Kant’s Opus postumum “Exhibition” of Concepts and the Defense of Transcendental Philosophy


La función sistemática del “Opus Postumum” de Kant. “Exhibición” de conceptos y la defensa de la filosofía trascendental


PAOLO PECERE


University of Cassino and Meridional Latium, Italy


Abstract


Kant’s admission of a “gap” in the philosophical system of criticism, which his unpublished project of the “Transition from the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics” would have been meant to fill, has been the object of controversy among scholars. This article reconsiders the problem by connecting the manuscripts with the operation of “exhibition” of concepts, which already had a systematic role in the 1780s, concluding that the new project was intended to provide not a reform, but a necessary complement of previous works. In the final section Kant’s new awareness of this problem in the 1790s is connected to the contemporary reception of criticism (Garve, Reinhold, Maimon, Beck, Schulze, Tiedemann, Fichte). This context provides more evidence supporting the main argument of the article about the inner development of Kant’s thought.


Key words


Opus postumum; Physics; “Exhibition”; System of Trascendental Idealism


Confirmed Researcher at the University of Cassino and Lazio Meridionale. E-mail for contact:

[email protected]



[Recibido: 17 de marzo de 2015/ Aceptado: 17 de abril de 2015]


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Resumen


La admisión de Kant de un “hiato” en el sistema filosófico del criticismo, que su proyecto inédito “Transición de los Principios metafísicos de la ciencia natural a la física” pretendería cubrir, ha sido objeto de controversia para los estudiosos. Este artículo reconsidera este problema conectando estos manuscritos con la operación de “exhibición” de conceptos, que ya cuenta con una función sistemática en los años ’80, concluyendo que el nuevo proyecto tenía la intención de proveer no una reforma, sino un complemento necesario de obras previas. En la sección final, la nueva conciencia de Kant acerca de este problema en los años ’90 se vincula a la recepción contemporánea del criticismo (Garve, Reinhold, Maimon, Beck, Schulze, Tiedemann, Fichte). Este contexto provee mayor evidencia y apoyo para el principal argumento del artículo acerca del desarrollo interno del pensamiento de Kant.


Palabras clave


Opus postumum; Física; “Exhibición”; Sistema del Idealismo Trascendental


  1. The Opus postumum and the “gap” in Kant’s system: a critical survey.


    Kant’s manuscripts on the Transition from the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics (Übergang von den Metaphysischen Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft zur Physik, 1796-1803) provide a most precious source for the understanding of Kant’s late thought, whose philosophical relevance has been acknowledged by a large number of scholars, yet the systematical role of the unfinished work in the context of Kant’s criticism is very debated. According to Kant’s statements, in two letters of 1798, the new work would have to fill a «gap» (Lücke) in the system of

    critical philosophy.1 But it is difficult to say what exactly this gap was, and whether its

    discovery involves any retrospective relevance for the understanding of Kant’s published works. The several drafts of the «Elementary system of moving forces», as well as the astonishing «proofs» of the existence of the «World-Matter» – which together form the most developed part of the manuscripts – may well answer to open issues in Kant’s foundation of empirical physics, but do not seem, at first glance, to have any essential connection with the problems of transcendental philosophy. Indeed, in the Preface to the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant had written that the critical task was completed



    1

    Letter to Christian Garve, 21 September 1798, Br, AA 12: 257.08-11; to Johann Kiesewetter, 19 October

    1798, AA 12: 258.19-26.


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    (KU, AA 5: 179.19). Hence his later enthusiasm about the unfinished work has been widely underestimated in the interpretation of transcendental philosophy.

    On the contrary, according to a growing number of distinguished Kantian scholars, Kant had good reasons for connecting his new project with the core of transcendental philosophy. 2 At the beginning of this historiographical tradition Vittorio Mathieu and Burkhard Tuschling insisted on the radical transcendental turn in the Opus postumum,

    arguing that Kant essentially gave up some of the tenets of his previous writings about physics in order to leave room for his new remarkable doctrines: according to Mathieu, Kant gave up the solution to the problem of the multiplicity of empirical laws presented in the third Critique, which was grounded on the weak idea of the subjective («as if») principle of the conformity of nature to laws, and he looked in the Opus postumum for a

    «completely new principle», that is a whole supplement to the transcendental doctrine of determinant judgment;3 according to Tuschling, Kant was not satisfied with the dynamical explanation of matter of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft) 4 and therefore sketched a new «transcendental dynamics», ending up, around year 1799,with a complete transformation of criticism in a kind of speculative idealism.5 In the light of these pioneering works Michael Friedman and Eckart Förster readdressed the question and agreed that the Transition was devoted to open questions of the critical framework, while keeping the most of Kant’s previous results: Friedman considers as the main function of the new projected work that of connecting “top-down” determinate judgment and “bottom-up” reflective judgment, whose principles


    2

    2

    For a recent account see Hall, Bryan: The Post-Critical Kant: Understanding the Critical Philosophy Through the Opus Postumum, London 2014. For the history of interpretations see Basile, Giovanni Pietro: Kants Opus postumum und seine Rezeption, Berlin-Boston 2013.



    3

    3

    Mathieu, Vittorio: L’opus postumum di Kant, Napoli 1991, 48. See also the groundbreaking book of the same author: La filosofia trascendentale e l’«Opus postumum» di Kant, Torino 1958.


    4

    I will use the standard english translation of this title, although a more correct translation would be

    Metaphysical Principles of Natural Science, since Kant openly intended to provide a complement to mathematical physics, thinking of Newton’s “mathematical” principles as an exemplary modelof the latter (MAN, AA 04: 478.21ff.).


    5

    5

    Tuschling, Burkhardt: Metaphysische und transzendentale Dynamik in Kants opus postumum, Berlin-New York 1971 and – for a more radical emphasis on the “revolution” in Kant’s late thought – Übergang: von der Revision zur Revolutionierung und Selbst-Aufhebung des Systems des transzendentalen Idealismus in Kants Opus postumum, in H.F. Fulda, J. Stolzenberg (hrsg.),Architektonik und System in der Philosophie Kants, Hamburg 2001, 129-170.


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    were laid down respectively in the first Critique and the Metaphysical Foundations, on the one hand, and in the Critique of the Power of Judgment on the other hand.6 Given this general framework Förster tried to focus on the exact problem faced by Kant in his last manuscripts. Förster’s claim can be articulated in two main steps: 1) the «exhibition»

    (Darstellung) of concepts, that is the operation of providing examples in concreto for the categories, which was one of the main issues of the MAN, constituted at the same time a substantial «supplement» to the transcendental deduction, thereby contributing to the proof of the objective validity of the categories; 2) Kant’s treatment of the issue in the MAN suffered from severe problems, which were addressed in the immediately successive manuscript reflections, and the recognition of these problems eventually led Kant to the awareness of the systematical «gap», during the early phase of work on the Transition project. In particular, these problems affected the dynamical construction of the concept of body, which according to Förster provided the main contribution of the metaphysics of bodily nature to the exhibition of concepts. Therefore – this is Förster’s striking conclusion

    – the transcendental deduction itself, this core doctrine of transcendental idealism, would require the Transition in order to be completed.7

    I think that Förster detected the crucial point of the systematical issue – the concept of exhibition and its connection with the foundation of physics – thus paving the way to a correct understanding of the highly technical problems lying beneath the problem of the “gap”. However I disagree with two major points of Förster’s reconstruction. First, I do not think that the “gap” in Kant’s system regarded the transcendental deduction and its proof of the objective validity of the categories. The deduction’s aim, in fact, was to prove the possibility of the empirical reference of categories, by means of which the latter get «sense and meaning», and the abstract argument was already supplemented by the schematism doctrine, which grounds the possibility to apply discursive logical forms in the synthesis of

    single empirical intuitions.8 The exhibition of concepts, on this background, was simply

    devoted to give examples in concreto, in order to show how categories are applied to


    6

    6

    Friedman, Michael: Kant and the Exact Sciences, Cambridge Mass. 1992, 242-264.


    7

    7

    Förster, Eckart: Kant’s Final Synthesis. An Essay on the ‘Opus postumum’, Cambridge Mass. 2000, 56-61, 72.


    8

    8

    See Friedman, Michael: “Matter and Motion in the Metaphysical Foundations and the First Critique: the Empirical Concept of Matter and the Categories”, in E. Watkins (ed.),Kant and the Sciences, Oxford 2001, 53-69, in part. 56-59.


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    different kinds of concrete objects, thus providing a useful service for general metaphysics (MAN, AA 04: 472f.; in particular, in the MAN, it turns out that this application always requires some reference to bodies and is fruitful only in physics). Second, I contend that the construction of matter was never the objective of the MAN, which more modestly provided principles for this construction, leaving the task of its realization to mathematical physics. And here we find, in a different theoretical place, the open problems of the dynamical theory of matter which led to the new systematical “bridge” of the Opus postumum, whose building eventually needed the employment of new transcendental arguments: to sum up, it was not the proof of the objective validity of the categories, but rather the operation of their exhibition, that needed a theoretical supplement, and even a transcendental one.

    I will elaborate in § 2 on this connection between “exhibition” and the Transition manuscripts, thereby proposing an original view of the exact open problem that Kant was dealing with and of how it connects with the complex argumentative machinery of the Metaphysical Foundations. Since the whole of this reconstruction draws from the inner, rather subtle, and often implicit problems of Kant’s systematical thinking, one may wonder why he suddenly decided to face such intricacies in his old age, though aware of lacking the energies for a substantive reform of his work. I will suggest in § 3 that Kant’s awareness of this open problem in his system could have well been fostered by contemporary discussions on his new transcendental philosophy. As it is well known, indeed, many distinguished thinkers, both followers and opponents, agreed in different ways that Kant’s criticism was not able to fulfill its main objectives and had to be either rejected or perfected. These discussions probably urged Kant, after much hesitation, to project a full-fledged reply, in order to show how transcendental philosophy in its original formulation –with the add-on of a more detailed connection to empirical physics, provided

    by the Transition– was well capable of conducting to a realistic account of the empirical world without any flaw.9



    9

    According to Westphal the main task of Kant’s late writings on physics was a «transcendental proof of

    realism» (Westphal, Kenneth: Kant’s Transcendental Proof of Realism, Cambridge 2004). I find Westphal’s original reconstruction of the systematical role and open problems of the MAN as both correct and thought provoking, although I find his concept of a realism «sans phrase» untenable in the framework of Transcendental Aesthetics.


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  2. The problem of “exhibition”: from the Metaphysical Foundations to the Opus postumum.


Kant’s statements of 1798 about the “gap” raise a basic question, without giving any answer: how could a transition to physics give any contribution, not just to natural philosophy, but even to the conclusion of critical philosophy itself? We find an interesting suggestion in the biographical account by Reinhold Jachmann, which contains a valuable testimony on Kant’s views about the Übergang project. According to Jachmann, Kant claimed that the new work would be «der Schlußstein seines ganzen Lehrgebäude […] und die Haltbarkeit und reelleAnwendbarkeit seiner Philosophie vollgültig dokumentiren

sollte».10 Although the book by Jachmann is not always a reliable source of historical

information, with its emphasis on the applicability it actually points out a correct connection between transcendental philosophy and physics. As the original title of the unpublished project suggests – Übergang von den Metaphysischen Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft zur Physik – a first systematical “bridge” between transcendental philosophy and physics was provided by the “metaphysics of bodily nature” exposed in the Metaphysical Foundations of 1786. Kant stressed the theoretical relevance of this new work for transcendental philosophy in a striking page of the Preface to this work (MAN, AA 04: 478.03-20):


«Es ist auch in der That sehr merkwürdig (kann aber hier nicht ausführlich vor Augen gelegt werden), daß die allgemeine Metaphysik in allen Fällen, wo sie Beispiele (Anschauungen) bedarf, um ihren reinen Verstandesbegriffen Bedeutung zu verschaffen, diese jederzeit aus der allgemeinen Körperlehre, mithin von der Form und den Principien der äußeren Anschauung hernehmen müsse und, wenn diese nicht vollendet darliegen, unter lauter sinnleeren Begriffen unstät und schwankend herumtappe. Daher die bekannten Streitigkeiten, wenigstens die Dunkelheit in den Fragen über die Möglichkeit eines Widerstreits der Realitäten, die der intensiven Größe u. a. m., bei welchen der Verstand nur durch Beispiele aus der körperlichen Natur belehrt wird, welches die Bedingungen sind, unter denen jene Begriffe allein objective Realität, d. i. Bedeutung und Wahrheit, haben können. Und so thut eine abgesonderte Metaphysik der körperlichen Natur der allgemeinen vortreffliche und unentbehrliche Dienste, indem sie Beispiele (Fälle in Concreto) herbeischafft, die Begriffe und Lehrsätze der letzteren (eigentlich der Transscendentalphilosophie) zu realisiren, d. i. einer bloßen Gedankenform Sinn und Bedeutung unterzulegen».


10

10

Jachmann, Reinhold Bernhard: Immanuel Kant geschildert in Briefen an einen Freund, Königsberg 1804 (repr. Bruxelles 1968), Dritter Brief, 17-18.


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According to these lines – whose content is further developed in the new General Note on the System of Principles included in the second edition of the Critique (KrV, AA 03: 200-

202) – metaphysics of bodily nature is a necessary condition for the sensible «exhibition» (Darstellung) of the concepts of intellect (for this concept see also KU, AA 05: 342f.). The Critique has sufficiently shown that these concepts must be referred to sensible intuition, and that they can indeed be applied to our sensible intuition (through schematism); but transcendental philosophy could not provide the actual exhibition of the concepts, by means of examples in concreto, because it could not give a purely intellectual explanation (verständlich machen) of the possibility of a thing. According to the Preface of the MAN, in order to give a corresponding intuition to the categories it is not sufficient that we refer to the empirical intuitions, but we need the contribution of the metaphysics of bodily nature: without this last step the concepts of transcendental philosophy would remain without any reference to actual empirical things, and therefore devoid of any «Bedeutung,

d.i. Beziehung aufs Objekt» (KrV AA 03: 205.14-23).11 Now, it is not immediately clear why this exhibition cannot be achieved by simple empirical intuition and should require also a new part of metaphysical science. Nonetheless this is exactly what Kant means in the quoted page and we can actually retrace the development of this claim throughout the whole machinery of the work.

First, let us consider the necessary role of metaphysics in the demonstration of the possibility of a body, which is of an impenetrable extended thing. In order to give an explanation of the physical filling of space, and thereby provide a physical meaning to the concepts of conflict and intensive magnitude, Kant demonstrates in the Dynamics chapter the necessity of two fundamental forces, repulsive and attractive force, whose interplay generates an «anzugebende Quantität Materie» (MAN, AA 04: 508, 31-32), i.e. a certain degree of density, in every given place of physical space. This sort of dynamical theory of matter had been a main feature of Kant’s natural philosophy since the pre-critical years, and it is very similar indeed to the one presented in the Monadologia physica of 1756. Nonetheless, in the frame of critical philosophy, there is at least one major difference



11

On empirical intuition as a condition of the possibility of the thing compare, e.g., KrV, AA 03: 207.29-33;

473.05-18. For a detailed analysis of the concept of exhibition of concepts and its different aims compared to the transcendental deduction and the schematism see Pecere, Paolo: La filosofia della natura in Kant, Bari 2009, 185-202.


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compared to the older theory, which is of great importance for our problem: metaphysics is not anymore sufficient in order to provide a construction of the body. Kant makes clear that from the combination of the original attractive force with the original repulsive force

«müßte […] die Einschränkung der letzteren, mithin die Möglichkeit eines in einem bestimmten Grade erfüllten Raumes abgeleitet werden können, und so würde der dynamische Begriff der Materie als des Beweglichen, das seinen Raum (in bestimmtem Grade) erfüllt, construirt werden»; but this task, which would require a law of the ratio of both forces, is now presented as a «reine mathematische Aufgabe […] die nicht mehr für die Metaphysik gehört» (MAN, AA 04: 517.18-26; 32-33. Italics are mine). Moreover, Kant’s mathematical hypothesis on this law of forces, which led in the Monadologia physica to a demonstration of the volume of particles (MoPh, AA 02: 484f.), is very prudently presented now as a «kleine Vorerinnerung zum Behufe des Versuchs einer solchen vielleicht möglichen Konstruktion» (MAN, AA 04: 518.33-34). Kant is trying to carefully separate the metaphysical truth – matter requires the action of two fundamental forces – from the mathematical hypothesis on the law of forces, which he no longer considers to be certain. Therefore he insists, in the Allgemeine Anmerkung zur Dynamik, that in metaphysics «der Begriff der Materie wird auf lauter bewegende Kräfte zurückgeführt», in particular the two fundamental repulsive and attractive forces, but that

«von dieser ihrer Verknüpfung und Folgen können wir allenfalls noch wohl a priori urtheilen, welche Verhältnisse derselben untereinander man sich, ohne sich selbst zu wiedersprechen, denken könne, aber sich darum doch nicht anmaßen, eine derselben als wirklich anzunehmen» (MAN, AA 04: 524.26-27, 34-37). Kant concludes that, according to the new metaphysical dynamics, «uns alle Mittel abgehen, diesen Begriff der Materie zu construiren und, was wir allgemein dachten, in der Anschauung als möglich darzustellen» (MAN, AA 04: 525.10-12).

This conclusion clearly draws a gap between the principles of pure physics and the exhibition of the actual object of outer sense, i.e. material substance. In fact, this is precisely what Kant made clear in the Preface, where he wrote that the new metaphysical principles are «Principien der Construction der Begriffe, welche zur Möglichkeit der Materie überhaupt gehören» (MAN, AA 04: 472.03-04): these principles are necessary but not sufficient for the construction of the concept of matter, which requires moreover quantitative details as well as data of experience (MAN, AA 04: 534.15-18), and therefore


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has to be accomplished by experimental physics. From the systematical point of view, this means that the new principles, though certainly required for exhibiting examples in concreto of the metaphysical concepts, are not sufficient in themselves to present these examples.

The most important confirmation of this conclusion regards the concept of material substance. Theorem 4 of Dynamics shows that matter is infinitely divisible as well as space, and that therefore, being an object of outer intuition, it is nothing in itself. This phenomenalistic solution to the problem of infinite divisibility is turned against monadism, who allowed of empty spaces between point-like monads (according to Kant’s own theory in the Monadologia physica). Kant holds now that every part of the physical continuum contains material substance (MAN, AA 04: 503f.), which is now similar to a continuous

fluid.12 On the other hand, in the Mechanics chapter, Kant assumes that material substance,

as separated in coherent parts (bodies), has a determinate extensive magnitude and provides an a priori theory about its quantitative estimate (AA 04: 537f.). We can then wonder why the transition from the material continuum of Dynamics to the discrete body of Mechanics cannot be made by means of simple empirical intuition.

The answer is to be found starting from the large General Note to Dynamics, which joins the Dynamics and Mechanics chapter, and precisely addresses those physical concepts that pure metaphysics was not able to introduce. The first two concepts under discussion are the concept of body itself and that of a particular force of cohesion that – as commonly happened in Newtonian physics – could be introduced in order to explain the body’s figure(MAN, AA 04: 525f.). The hypothesis of a purely intuitive origin of the concept of body is here considered as a fault of mechanical natural philosophy, that «vom

altern Demokrit an bis auf Cartesen» (MAN, AA 04: 533:2f.) feigns filled space and void in order to explain phenomena such as the variable density of matter. Even though Kant recognizes that this method could allow of an intuitive construction of matter, he sharply criticizes it because of its being grounded on a «leeren Begriff (der absoluten Undurchdringlichkeit)» which allows too much freedom of imagination in the field of philosophy (MAN, AA 04: 525.14). This same defect affects the empirical intuition of the body, which isof course not empty and is indeed the starting point of pure physics, but



12

12

On this transition to a new concept of matter see Friedman, Michael: Kant’s Construction of Nature. A Reading of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Cambridge 2013,130-154.


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cannot explain by itself the possibility of bodies if not by surreptitiously introducing the non-empirical concept of the «solid», as an absolutely filled extension (MAN, AA 04:497.30-33, with reference to «Lambert und andere»13).

Generally speaking, both Cartesian mechanism and empirical deduction of the body share the conception of impenetrability as an intrinsic (not relative) property of bodies, that is as a purely logical determination, rather than as a real determination grounded on a measurable conflict of magnitudes (a mistake that is in Kant’s view is also shared by Leibnizian philosophy of nature, though the latter constitutes the fundamental historical origin of Kant’s anti-mechanistic dynamism). Contrary to these views, dynamical natural philosophy is preferred because it «der Experimentalphilosophie weit angemessener und beförderlicher ist, indem sie geradezu darauf leitet, die den Materien eigene bewegende Kräfte und deren Gesetze auszufinden» (MAN, AA 04: 533.21-24). Indeed, the explanation of the filling of space as a dynamical property is presented not only as heuristically more suitable, but (following Dynamics’s theorems 1 and 5) as an a priori, demonstrative result of metaphysics (MAN, AA 04: 534.31-36).

In the light of these developments we can see that Kant’s new metaphysics of bodily nature could not anymore rely on any purely rational or merely empirical deduction of body as the material substance, yet could offer a conclusive account of the possibility of the construction of the body, as it was the case with the old monadological metaphysics of Kant. This problematic situation remained latent and unnoticed in the intricacy of the new work, where it is made clear only in the lengthy General Note to Dynamics, but did worry Kant in the following years. In fact, not only was an a priori construction of body as the material substance beyond the boundary of his metaphysics of bodily nature (as Schelling

and Hegel correctly recognized, considering this as a fault of Kant’s metaphysical dynamism14); moreover, even the hypothetical deduction of the finite degree of density– given the boundary of matter which makes possible the interplay of attractive (penetrating)


13

13

See Lambert, Johann Heinrich: Anlage zur Architektonik, oder Theorie des Einfachen und Ersten inder philosophischen und mathematischen Erkentniss, Riga 1771, Bd. I, § 88, 68, where «absolute density» is attributed to the solid body. About the origin of this concept Lambert himself referred to Locke in a letter to Kant (Br, AA 10: 66; see Locke’s Essay, II, 4). Another reference of Kant’s criticism was quite certainly Euler, in whose natural philosophy– contrary to Kant’s theory– an (absolute) impenetrability is the foundation of moving force.

14

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm: «Allgemeine Deduction des dynamischen Prozesses oder der Categorien der

2

2

Physik», §§ 30f.., in: Zeitschrift für speculative Physik, I.1-2. Jena-Leipzig 1800, now in Werke, Bd. 8, Stuttgart 2004, 318-20. Hegel, Georg Friedrich: Wissenschaft der Logik, Berlin 1832 , I.III.C.c.,Anmerkung. In: Gesammelte Werke, 1968f., Bd. 21, Hamburg, 167f.


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and repulsive (surface) force – appeared to Kant as subject to a logical circularity, since both forces are proportional to the same dynamical factor of intensive filling.15 On the whole, pure physics had provided principles for the exhibition of concepts, but this foundation was not complete and needed supplementary work.

The metaphysical issue of material substance overlaps with an inquiry into the conceptual and methodological foundations of empirical physics, and here is exactly where many recent scholars usually place the “gap” crossed by the Transition. It would separate the general principles of determinant judgment and the multiplicity of empirical laws as a field of investigation for reflective judgment. This is generally correct, but does not explain as such the connection of the gap with the tenability of the whole critical system. The aesthetic principle of the conformity of nature to laws, introduced in the third Critique in order to ground our expectation to find a system of empirical laws, still leaves undetermined how to connect the concepts of metaphysics with their dynamical exhibition in empirical physics. This is precisely the main problem of the Transition manuscripts. In the writings of the years 1786-1796 Kant was already looking for a new representation of the conflict of realities, grounded on the joint consideration of moving forces and the concept of ether or caloric. The work on the «Elementary System of Moving Force», started in 1796, concerned the basic concepts which were instrumental for this research, such as body, density, cohesion, rigidity, and ether. Lacking a dynamical theory of conflict, Kant tried to systematically organize all the concepts involved in such a theory according to the guiding thread of categories, connecting them with «a priori thought» moving forces (OP, AA 21: 289f.). Next to this classification, the new proofs of the existence of world- matter where connected to the project of a new «schematism of the faculty of judgment» (OP, AA 22: 263; 21: 363; 168; 174), since they were intended to provide an omnipresent and «all-moving» World-matter as the substratum for the hypothetical, yet a priori

anticipation of moving forces.16



15

See letter to J.S. Beck of 16(17) October 1792 and Kant’s preliminary notes (Br, AA 11: 375-377; 361-

365).


16

On the “ether-proofs” see: Guyer, Paul: «Kant’s Ether Deduction and the Possibility of Experience», in:

Funke, Gerhardt (hrsg.), Akten der siebenten Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, Bonn 1991, 119-132. Mathieu, Vittorio: L’opus postumum cit., 117-133. Friedman, Michael: Kant and the Exact Sciences cit., 290-

341. Förster, Eckart: Kant’s Final Synthesis cit., 82-101. Emundts, Dina: Kants Übergangskonzeption im Opus postumum, Berlin 2004. Pecere, Paolo: «Space, Aether and the Possibility of Physics in Kant’s Late Thought», in: Pecere, Paolo-Cellucci, Carlo (eds.), Demonstrative and Non-Demonstrative Reasoning in Mathematics and Natural Science, Cassino 2006, 237-306.


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Kant's recognition that this whole new enquiry was connected with the problem of exhibition appears in the sheets ‘A-Z’ (1799), where the fundamental question finally appears: «how is physics as a science possible?». In sheet ‘G’, Kant discusses the a priori anticipation of moving forces which is necessary in order to represent the physical object, as different from the perceptual object (the theory of «indirect appearance»), and there he writes:


«Der Gegenstand einer indirecten Anschauung ist die Sache selbst d.i. ein solcher den wir nur in so fern aus der Anschauung herausheben als wir sie selbst hineingelegt haben d.i. in so fern unser eigenes Erkenntnisproduct ist.

Wir würden nämlich kein Bewustseyn von einem harten oder weichen, warmen oder kalten usw. Körper als einem solchen haben wenn wir nicht vorher uns den Begriff von diesen bewegenden Kräften der Materie (der Anziehung und Abstoßung oder der diesen untergeordneten der Ausdehnung oder des Zusammenhängen) gemacht hätten und nun sagen könnten daß eine oder die andere derselben unter diesen Begriff gehöre. – Also sind a priori Begriffe als für das empirische Erkenntnis gegeben die darum doch nicht empirische Begriffe sind zum Behuf der Erfahrung [...] und nur dadurch daß wir den Gegenstand der empirischen Anschauung (der Wahrnehmung) selber machten und für die Empfindungswerkzeuge durch Zusammensetzung selber in uns hervobrächten und so ein Sinnenobject für die Erfahrung nach allgemeinen Principien derselben darstelleten» (OP, AA 22: 340.30-341.16, my italics).


In page 2 of the same sheet Kant concludes:


«Wir können aus unseren Sinnenvorstellungen nichts anders ausheben als was wir für die empirische Vorstellung unserer selbst hineingelegt haben mit dem Bewustseyn seiner Darstellung d.i. durch den Verstand (intellectus exhibit phaenomena sensuum) und diese Darstellung macht aus einem Aggregat der Wahrnehmungen ein System nach den formalen Bedingungen der Anschauung und ihrer Coexistenz im Subjekt ein Erkenntnis des äußeren Sinnenobjects als Erscheinung zum Behuf der Möglichkeit der Erfahrung» (OP, AA 22: 343.09-16).


In the light of this new conception of exhibition Kant can write on the margin: «nur das System ist die Sache selbst» (OP, AA 22: 343.07). The new theory of physics, grounded on the idea of an a priori determination of any physical object according to a system of moving forces (actually properties which must be later reduced to forces), provides a new justification of the exhibition of concepts of the intellect. The exhibition is not achieved by simple intuition of outer senses, but by the whole (intellectual and schematical) determination of the physical object, whose basic concepts and method are provided by the



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Übergang. And this, in my view, is the essential contribution that the «transition to physics» had to give to transcendental philosophy.

Lest we do not think that this rarely mentioned and unfinished conclusion of the whole “exhibition” doctrine constitutes a merely historical curiosity, we can consider how the problematic of a dynamical construction of matter was taken up by Neokantian philosophers, notably by the Marburg school grounded by the work of Hermann Cohen. One of the main features of Cohen’s critical reading of Kant was the denial that empirical intuition can provide by itself the concept of matter, and the bold statement that a consequent philosophical criticism must involve a pure construction of matter (as well as

of space and time).17 This construction, according to Cohen and his followers Natorp and

Cassirer, does not happen in the abstract realm of speculative metaphysics, but is to be found in the concrete, historical development of physical science. This historical reform of the concept of a priori knowledge led the philosophers of the Marburg school to the problem of how to justify the validity of pure concepts – such as substance – by referring to the ever changing forms of the latter’s applications in empirical science of nature. Their overall approach to this problem was grounded on the claim that historical evidence allows to read off an idealistic and constructive tendency in the development of natural science. For instance, the primacy of a dynamical and mathematical understanding of matter in physics was detected in several groundbreaking theories of post-Newtonian physics, such as the energetic theory of late XIX century, the electromagnetic theory of matter and the

relativistic field theory.18Although these authors did not recognize the importance of the

Opus postumum for the understanding of Kant’s philosophy of natural science, their philosophy of natural science, their struggle to extract some stable logical elements from


17

17

Cohen, Hermann: Kants Theorie der Erfahrung, Berlin 1871 (= Werke, Hildesheim-Zürich-New York 1987–, Bd. 3/1), 49.


18

18

For Cohen’s confrontation with contemporary physics see the three editions of his Einleitung mit kritischem

2 3

Nachtrag zu F.A. Lange, “Geschichte des Materialismus”, Iserlohn-Leipzig 1896, 1902 , 1914 . Energetics

and electromagnetic theory of matter receive particular attention in Natorp, Paul: Die logischen Grundlagen der exakten Wissenschaften, Leipzig-Berlin 1910 and Cassirer, Ernst: Substanzbegriff und Funktionbegriff. Untersuchungen über die Grundlagen der Erkentnisskritik, Berlin 1910. In the 1920s, Cassirer started emphasizing the epistemological meaning of relativistic field theory, with particular reference to the work of Hermann Weyl. E.g. see Cassirer, Ernst: Philosophie der symbolischen Formen, III, Phänomenologie der Erkenntnis, Berlin 1929, in Gesammelte Werke, Bd. 13, 541, 548f. For the connection of Kant’s interpretation and the understanding of contemporary physics in the Marburg School see Pecere, Paolo: «Il “platonismo” e il problema della conoscenza scientifica da Cohen a Cassirer», in: Chiaradonna, Riccardo (a cura di), Il platonismo e le scienze, Roma 2012, 193-216, in part. footnotes n. 1 and 19 for an appraisal of the Opus postumum in this context.


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the cauldron of empirical concepts of physics, as well as their particular attention to a dynamical interpretation of matter and ether, as a way to deduce the representation of the body from concepts of mathematical physics, actually takes up in the light of XIX and XX century mathematical physics the open problems faced by Kant himself in his last manuscripts within the framework of late XVIII century Newtonian natural science.19


3. Connecting the Transition to the defense of transcendental philosophy: a look at the context.


The present reconstruction of the systematical role of the Transition project, grounded on the intrinsic importance of the exhibition of concepts, may sound a little scholastic, since it builds on inner, open problems of Kant’s writings, by abstracting so far from the actual defense of his philosophy in the years of criticism. I will try to show, now, that Kant's new reflections on the technical problem of exhibition could have been stimulated by the polemical context of the interpretation of transcendental philosophy in the years of criticism. From this point of view, indeed, the problem of providing examples in concreto

–or «meaning» – to ontological concepts appears as a possible source of Kant’s increased awareness of the crucial importance of his new work around the year 1798, which corresponds to the transcendental turn in the manuscripts.

As a first source of the problem we can consider the well known charge of idealism, which Kant had to challenge since the publication of the Critique. In order to contrast the Garve-Feder review he had tried in several places to reconcile transcendental idealism with common realistic views, stressing the difference between transcendental ideality and empirical reality of the forms of intuition (and therefore of phaenomena), in contrast with the material idealism attributed to Berkeley. The very idea that only external intuition, and physics, can objectively realize the pure concepts of metaphysics, presented in the Metaphysical Foundations, appears as a consequent development of this general point of view. Although Kant publicly refused to connect these charges of idealism or skepticism with open problems of his works, in the early 1790s he also composed several manuscript attempts at building a new refutation of material idealism. The awareness of this problem



19

Kant’s own original and critical appraisal of Newton’s physics was also connected to his search for a

theory of matter as a continuum. See Pecere, Paolo: «Kant’s Newtonianism: A reappraisal», in: Estudos Kantianos, 2.2, 2014, 162-171.


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runs parallel to the conception of the new work, which was already in the process of elaboration by 1795.20

Yet the most worrying ‘idealistic’ interpretations could come from the followers, rather than from the critics. The only pure rational treatment of the traditional concepts of metaphysics in the frame of criticism, as Kant made clear in several occasions, had to be found in moral philosophy; nonetheless the problematic concept of the thing in itself– whose treatment in the Critique could easily lead to doubts – continued to suggest a possible esoteric noumenal knowledge, and therefore the need for an integration of Kant’s original transcendental philosophy. In a note to the Preface of the MAN Kant already replied to one of the first followers who asked for a deeper treatment of noumena, Johann Schulz(MAN, AA 04: 474-476).In the second edition of the Critique, then, Kant was very careful to avoid possible misunderstandings of his idealism: he stressed the “negative” aspect of the thing in itself, as a pure thought-object; he tried to contrast material idealism with a new Refutation which did not involve any reference to the thing in itself; and again he referred to the crucial role of empirical intuition of matter in order to give objective meaning to any metaphysical thinking (KrV, AA 03: 193.06-12).

But the issue was far from closed; on the contrary, it was beginning to gain a major role in the discussions on criticism. Karl Leonhard Reinhold, whose influent Briefe über die kantische Philosophie appeared in 1786-87, while defending Kantian philosophy considered possible, and necessary, a further foundation of the basic concepts of the Critique, first of all representation. Kant tried to discredit this idea in his essay Über den Gebrauch teleologischer Prinzipien in der Philosophie (1788), insisting on the necessity and validity of the transcendental deduction in its actual form. In 1789 Kant also received, by his follower Markus Herz, a first draft of Maimon’s Versuch zur Transzendentalphilosophie, which contained the claim that only a speculative foundation of criticism could avoid the latter’s skeptical overturn. Since the author was still not known Kant contented himself by dismissing this idea in private form and even expressed sincere appreciation of Maimon as the one among its critics who best understood his own theoretical problems (Br, AA 11: 48f.). Kant appeared open to recognize that criticism did have some problems, insofar as these problems were to be solved without a substantial


20

20

These include the so called Kiesewetter Aufsätze (Refl. 6311-6316), AA 18: 607-623. In a letter of June 8, 1795, Kiesewetter noted that the work on the Transition project had been communicated to him by Kant in the same year (Br, AA 12: 23).


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reform of his philosophy. Yet Reinhold’s exposition and interpretation became very popular, and in 1792 they became the main object of Gottlob Schulze’s attack to criticism in his Aenesidemus. Schulze, by advancing the famous objection of the inconsistency of the concept of the thing in itself, concluded that critical philosophy was not able to

establish nothing certain neither about the existence (or non-existence) of things-in-itself, nor about the limits of human knowledge.21 Such a statement, as it were, sets the stage for the extensive discussions on transcendental philosophy which took place in the next years: the idea that the Critique could not, or at least was not sufficient to ground a new

philosophy, and thus eradicate both dogmatic metaphysics and skepticism, became a spread view among followers as well as opponents of criticism.

Though aware of these opposite tendencies of skeptical meta-criticism and speculative developments, Kant did not show much preoccupation in the early 1790s. In 1794, answering to Johann Sigismund Beck, who projected a refutation of Aenesidemus by means of a new treatment of pure synthesis as preceding the representation of objects, he commented evasively that a representation with no reference is a nonsense, which would be as much as a private and incommunicable feeling, and that anyway he had no more

energy to work on such «einfache dünne Fäden unseres Erkenntnisvermögens».22Beck was

not satisfied and in the third and final volume of his Erläuternder Auszug aus den critischen Schriften des Herrn Prof. Kant (1793-96), the Einzig-möglicher Standpunct, aus welchem die critische Philosophie beurtheilt werden muß (1796), he insisted on the need of a deeper foundation of criticism by means of an examination of the «original» act of representing. He did not – or did not want to – catch Kant’s point about the lack of meaning of philosophical investigations. Indeed, Kant’s was thinking to his own procedure for establishing the objective reference of the concepts of the intellect by means of intuitive examples, i.e. exhibition, whose treatment lay hidden in the intricacies of the Metaphysical Foundations and as such was not suited to satisfy the philosophical community. In1794, as Kant was trying to convince his follower Beck to abtrain from useless speculations, the


21

21

[Schulze, Gottlob]: Aenesidemus, oder die Fundamente der von dem Herrn Professor Reinhold in Jena gelieferten Elementar-Philosophie: Nebst einer Verteidigung des Skeptizismus gegen die Anmassungen der Vernunftkritik, [s.l.] 1792, 24.


22

Letter to J.S. Beck of 1 April 1794 (Br, AA 11: 514-516).


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charge of idealism was repeated in Tiedemann’s Thäetet.23Quite significantly, “Thäetet”’s name will appear, together with “Aenesidemus”, in the latest sheets of the Opus postumum, in what appears as a list of possible critical objectives of the new work (OP, AA 22: 20.26).

Most interesting, in order to connect these questions with the Transition project, are the public documents of Kant’s renewed involvement with the problem of objective meaning of concepts in the years 1798-99, again stimulated by a new interpretation of transcendental philosophy: Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre of 1794. Fichte had struggled with the problem of a subjectivistic interpretation of criticism since his reading of Hume and the “neo-Humian” charges in the writings of Jacobi, Platner, Schulze, Maimon. He correctly saw a common point in the critical writings of Kant's opponents, and his early work can be

seen as an effort to reply to these critics by taking Kant's parts.24 Nonetheless his attempt to

rebuild criticism on a firmer foundation eventually appeared to Kant – who had at least some first hand knowledge of the Wissenschaftslehre – as itself dangerously grounded on a formalistic view of criticism. After declaring his perplexities in a letter to Johann Heinrich Tiefrunk of 5 April 1798 (Br, AA 12: 240f.), Kant finally decided to openly state his dissent in the Declaration on the Wissenschaftslehre of 7 August 1799. There he lamented the absurdity of the idea of developing transcendental philosophy through a reflection grounded on pure form and no material of knowledge – which is in fact «bloße Logik» (Br, AA 12: 370.17).

Again these were mere “negative” reproaches: Kant’s way of avoiding the risk that the concepts of transcendental philosophy remain «mere forms of thought» was still connected with the old work on the physical exhibition; but that work was now being revised. Indeed, a look at contemporary manuscripts of the Opus postumum shows that Kant now recognized the importance of the new work for supplementing the “formalistic” idea of critical philosophy as mere propedeutic. In sheet ‘B Übergang’, for instance, he writes: «diese Übergang ist nichtblos Propädeutic, denn das ist ein schwankender Begriff und betrifft nur das Subjective der Erkenntnis» (OP, AA 22: 240.25f.). And in a Draft of Introduction to the new work he insists on the «completeness of the system» of knowledge


23

23

Tiedemann, Dietrich: Thäetet, oder über das menschliche Wissen: ein Beitrag zur Vernufntkritik, Frankfurt

a.M. 1794. See e.g. KgS XXII, 19-20.


24

24

For this point see Beiser, Friedrich: German Idealism. The Struggle against Subjectivism, 1781-1801, Cambridge Mass. 2002, 223ff.


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of nature, articulated in the «three degrees» of metaphysics of nature, physiology and physics, where the latter two are to be connected by the new “Transition” (OP, AA 21: 361.04-19). In sheet ‘Übergang u[sw]’, opening a new draft of Introduction, he comes back to criticism of the Wissenschaftslehre, as a circular enterprise that «von der Materie derselben (den Objekten der Erkenntnis) abstrahirt» (OP, AA 21: 207.23f.). According to the standard dating, these sheets were written approximately in the same year as the ones – quoted and discussed in § II – that regard the new transcendental theory of physical knowledge and its consequence for the doctrine of exhibition: completing the system of critical philosophy and contrasting Fichte’s formalism are evidently two sides of the same problem.

An analogous move appears in Konvolut I (1800-1803), where Kant, considering the idea of the «system of transcendental idealism» challenges the Spinozist development of the problem by Schelling and Lichtenberg (OP, AA 21: 87.29-30). Spinozism had notably been a major worry for Kant, who had to reply to Jacobi’s charges and at the same time recognizes, in metaphysical lectures, that Spinozism is the consequent form of

«transcendental realism» (e.g.AA 29: 977-8;28: 732; 29: 1008-9). In the very sparse and fragmentary reflections of KonvolutI, which contain his last philosophical writings, Kant argues that transcendental idealism is a condition of empirical realism, in that it catches in its own way the true (transcendental-idealistic) idea of spinozism:


«Wir können keine Gegenstände weder in uns noch als ausser uns befindlich erkennen als nur so daß wir die actus des Erkennens nach gewissen Gesetzen in uns selbst hineinlegen. Der Geist des Menschen ist Spinozens Gott (was das Formale aller Sinnengegenstände betrifft) und der Transcendentale Idealism ist Realism in absoluter Bedeutung» (OP, AA 21: 99).


Here, trying to interpret in his critical way spinozism – which he considers throughout the critical years as the most exemplar kind of transcendental realism – Kant evidently presupposes his recent work on the foundations of physics: first, the proofs of the existence of the World-matter, which is conceived as a substrate of moving forces and a phenomenal analogous of the transcendental ideal of the Critique, that «liegt in den Vorstellungsvermögen des Subjekts» (OP, AA 21: 574.29); second, the consequent, new view of knowledge as grounded on «self-affection» of the subject and the anticipation of the indirect phenomenon, which can be considered as a development of the “exhibition”



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doctrine which we have examined.25 His new epistemology of physics, which has reshaped the task of exhibition, plays now a crucial role for the reconsideration of transcendental philosophy as a whole. This feedback from the new enquiry on physics to transcendental philosophy is finally recognized in Konvolut I, where Kant writes of a «Übergang von der Physik zur Transzendentalphilosophie» (OP, AA 21: 17.21).


4. Conclusion.


Let me resume the two threads of my argument. As we have seen, the task of the “exhibition” of concepts connected transcendental philosophy to physics, and different open problems of the MAN determined the systematical importance of the Transition project. On the other hand, in the years 1798-1799, we have found growing evidence of Kant’s concern with attacks to critical philosophy, whose common point was the Critique’s inadequacy to fully justify the reference to real objects (in space) as well as the exact meaning of the thing in itself, in order to refute material idealism and, at the same time, to ground a new natural philosophy. Both skeptical overturn and dogmatic developments of transcendental idealism shared this view, whose direct rejection, in Kant’s original philosophy, required a full treatment of “exhibition” as well as a more subtle distinction of the concepts of objectivity.

Such a treatment can be found in the Transition manuscripts. Besides elaborating on the “exhibition” and the schematic anticipation of physical objects, Kant repeatedly insists on characterizing the thing in itself as the «thinkable» (cogitabile), defined by contrast with the «real (dabile)» (OP, AA 21: 24.1), as the «ens rationis», by contrast with proper objects (OP, AA 22:27.25; 31.4), as the idea of an «ens per se» (OP, AA 22: 26.28) which is actually the correlate of phenomena (OP, AA 22: 412.19) or a different way of

considering phenomena («respectus», OP, AA 22:26.29, 44.22). 26 On the whole Kant

sharply distinguishes between three moments of objectivity: (1) phenomenon as intuitive datum, (2) sense-object as the result of intellectual synthesis (in the case of matter, by


25

25

On “self-affection” and “indirect phenomenon” see Pecere, Paolo: La filosofia della natura in Kant cit., 775-785.


26

I thank an anonymous referee for suggesting the relevance of these definitions in the present context, as

possible ways of reacting to Reinhold, Schulze and Maimon.


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means of the systematical anticipation of moving forces), and (3) thing in itself as the merely negative representation of a non-sensible objectivity.27

The importance of grounding the process of objective determination had an indirect, yet crucial role for perfecting Kant’s original views on metaphysics. On the one hand, Kant’s late writings on metaphysics and physics – from the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to the Opus postumum – make clear that the realization of metaphysical concepts needs a full foundation of the empirical synthesis in natural science. On the other hand, this full path of theoretical philosophy has to be completed, in order to contrast the domain of objective knowledge with the field of the moral ideas of reason, which forms the background of Kant’s exploration of the pure rational side of autonomy and reshaping of the traditional ideas of metaphysics. Indeed, given the new findings in his work on the Transition, Kant finally felt free, in Konvolut I, to sketch a new systematical exposition of the ideas of «World, Man and God». From this point of view we can credit Jachmann’s account and understand why the unpublished Transition, focusing on the «real applicability» of his philosophy, may have appeared to Kant as a fundamental and missing piece for the full understanding of his philosophy. Unaware of this work, indeed, the followers of transcendental idealism were heading toward radically different developments.


References

AA = Kant, Immanuel: Gesammelte Schriften, ed. by the Königlich Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, Reimer/de Gruyter, 1900ff.


Basile, Giovanni Pietro (2913), Kants Opus postumum und seine Rezeption, Berlin-Boston.


Beiser, Friedrich (2002), German Idealism. The Struggle against Subjectivism, 1781-1801, Cambridge Mass.


Cohen, Hermann (1871), Kants Theorie der Erfahrung, Berlin (= Werke, Hildesheim- Zürich-New York 1987–, Bd. 3/1).


——————— (1896, 19022, 19143)Einleitung mit kritischem Nachtrag zu F.A. Lange, “Geschichte des Materialismus”, Iserlohn-Leipzig.



27

For a most clear articulation of the three meanings of objectivity see for instance sheet ‘F’, OP, AA 22:

336. Similar reflections on the thing in itself are repeated in the ‘Beylage’ sheets, together with explicit references to “Aenesidemus” and “Thaetet” (see e.g. OP, AA 22: 20, 23f., 28f., 31).


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Cassirer, Ernst (1910), Substanzbegriff und Funktionbegriff. Untersuchungen über die Grundlagen der Erkentnisskritik, Berlin.


——————— (1929), Philosophie der symbolischen Formen, III, Phänomenologie der Erkenntnis, Berlin.


Emundts, Dina (2004), Kants Übergangskonzeption im Opus postumum, Berlin.

Förster, Eckart (2000), Kant’s Final Synthesis. An Essay on the ‘Opus postumum’, Cambridge Mass.


Friedman, Michael (1992), Kant and the Exact Sciences, Cambridge Mass.


——————(2001), “Matter and Motion in the Metaphysical Foundations and the First Critique: the Empirical Concept of Matter and the Categories”, in E. Watkins (ed.), Kant and the Sciences, Oxford, 53-69.

——————(2013) Kant’s Construction of Nature. A Reading of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Cambridge 2013.


Guyer, Paul (1991), «Kant’s Ether Deduction and the Possibility of Experience», in: Funke, Gerhardt (hrsg.), Akten der siebenten Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, Bonn, 119- 132.


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Hegel, Georg Friedrich (18322), Wissenschaft der Logik, Berlin.

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Lambert, Johann Heinrich (1771), Anlage zur Architektonik, oder Theorie des Einfachen und Ersten inder philosophischen und mathematischen Erkentniss, Riga.


Locke, John (1975), An Essay concerning Human Understanding (16891), Oxford.

Mathieu, Vittorio (1958), La filosofia trascendentale e l’«Opus postumum» di Kant, Torino.


——————— (1991), L’opus postumum di Kant, Napoli.


Natorp, Paul (1910), Die logischen Grundlagen der exakten Wissenschaften, Leipzig- Berlin.


Pecere, Paolo (2006), «Space, Aether and the Possibility of Physics in Kant’s Late Thought», in: Pecere, Paolo-Cellucci, Carlo (eds.), Demonstrative and Non-Demonstrative Reasoning in Mathematics and Natural Science, Cassino, 237-306.


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—————— (2009), La filosofia della natura in Kant, Bari.


—————— (2012), «Il “platonismo” e il problema della conoscenza scientifica da


Cohen a Cassirer», in: Chiaradonna, Riccardo (a cura di), Il platonismo e le scienze, Roma, 193-216.


—————— (2014), «Kant’s Newtonianism: A reappraisal», in: Estudos Kantianos, 2.2, 155-182.


Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm (1800), «Allgemeine Deduction des dynamischen Prozesses oder der Categorien der Physik», in: Zeitschrift für speculative Physik, I.1-2, Jena-Leipzig (now in Werke, Bd. 8, Stuttgart 2004).


[Schulze, Gottlob] (1792), Aenesidemus, oder die Fundamente der von dem Herrn Professor Reinhold in Jena gelieferten Elementar-Philosophie: Nebst einer Verteidigung des Skeptizismus gegen die Anmassungen der Vernunftkritik, [s.l.].


Tiedemann, Dietrich (1794), Thäetet, oder über das menschliche Wissen: ein Beitrag zur Vernufntkritik, Frankfurt a.M..


Tuschling, Burkhardt (1971), Metaphysische und transzendentale Dynamik in Kants opus postumum, Berlin-New York.


————————— (2001), Übergang: von der Revision zur Revolutionierung und Selbst-Aufhebung des Systems des transzendentalen Idealismus in Kants Opus postumum, in H.F. Fulda, J. Stolzenberg (Hrsg.), Architektonik und System in der Philosophie Kants, Hamburg, 129-170.



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Genealogy and Critique in Kant’s Organic History of Reason


Genealogía y crítica en la historia orgánica de la razón de Kant


JENNIFER MENSCH

University of Western Sydney, Australia


Abstract


Although scholarly attention has been mostly paid to the many connections existing between Kant and the exact sciences, the landscape of Kant studies has begun to noticeably change during the last decade, with many new pieces devoted to a consideration of Kant’s relation to the life sciences of his day. It is in this vein, for example, that investigators have begun to discuss the importance of Kant’s essays on race for the development of Anthropology as an emerging field. The bulk of the contributions to this recent trend, however, have focused on Kant’s remarks on organic life in the Critique of Judgment, such that Kant’s “theory of biology” is now seen to be firmly located in that text. Amidst such consolidation, there are a few pieces that have begun to address Kant’s appeal to organic vocabulary within the context of his theory of cognition, though these too remain dominated by the interpretive template set by the third Critique. My own strategy in this essay will be different. Kant did indeed borrow from the life sciences for his model of the mind, but in a manner that would reject a naturalized account. His preference for epigenesis as a theory of organic generation needs to be carefully distinguished, therefore, from the use he would make of it when discussing a metaphysical portrait of reason.



I would like to thank Nuria Sanchez Madrid for her invitation to include a discussion of Kant’s Organcism

in this issue of Con-Textos Kantianos—and special thanks go once again to my interlocutors, Günter Zöller and John Zammito, for the time and effort that have gone into their reviews. Portions of this article previously appeared under the title “Kant and the Problem of Form: Theories of Generation, Theories of Mind,” Estudos Kantianos, vol. 2.2, 2014: 241-264, and I am grateful to the editor for their permission to reproduce them here.

Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney. E-mail for contact: [email protected] .



[Recibido:19 de febrero de 2015/ Aceptado: 10 de abril de 2015]


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Key words


Kant; Generation; Epigenesis; Generic Preformation; Reason; Natural History


Resumen


Aunque la atención académica se ha ocupado en mayor medida de las numerosas conexiones existentes entre Kant y las ciencias exactas, el horizonte de los estudios kantianos ha comenzado a cambiar notablemente durante la última década, de la mano de muchas nuevas contribuciones dedicadas a considerar la importancia de Kant para las ciencias de la vida de su tiempo. En esta línea, por ejemplo, algunos investigadores han comenzado a discutir la importancia de los ensayos de Kant sobre la raza para el desarrollo de la Antropología como un campo emergente. La mayoría de las contribuciones de esta tendencia reciente, sin embargo, se han centrado en las observaciones de Kant sobre la vida orgánica en la Crítica del Juicio, de modo que la “teoría de la biología” de Kant es localizada ahora claramente en aquel texto. En esta línea dominante, pocos trabajos han optado por plantear el uso que Kant realiza del vocabulario orgánico dentro del contexto de su teoría del conocimiento, al permanecer demasiado dominados por la plantilla interpretativa impuesta por la tercera Crítica. Mi estrategia en este ensayo será diferente. Kant efectivamente tomó en préstamo de las ciencias de la vida su modelo de la mente, pero rechazando su reducción naturalista. Su preferencia por la epigénesis como una teoría de la organización orgánica precisa distinguirse cuidadosamente del uso que hace de ella cuando está en discusión un retrato metafísico de la razón.


Palabras clave


Kant; generación; epigénesis; preformación genérica; razón; historia natural


While Kant has long been seen as an uncompromising moralist and a committed transcendental idealist, in the past two decades he has been introduced to a new generation of students as an anthropologist, as a physical geographer, and even as a theorist of race. This change has much to do with the recent addition of Kant’s lectures on Physical Geography and Anthropology to the edited collections of Kant’s works. These textual additions to Kant’s corpus and, in their wake, the re-characterization of Kant as something of an eighteenth-century naturalist, have raised all manner of questions for scholars seeking to connect the careful edifice that is the critical system with the wide-ranging discussions now known to have been taking place across the rest of Kant’s work. Paul Menzer raised this question already in 1911 in Kants Lehre von der Entwicklung in Natur und Geschichte, answering then (and in essential anticipation of the view held by the


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majority of subsequent Kant scholars) that it was necessary to view Kant’s forays into natural history as a set of discussions requiring sharp delineation from his epistemology

and ethics, for these were discussions running on “parallel tracks,” as he would put it, and

1

their impact on the critical system, if any, was merely metaphorical.

The first inroads against this policy would be made by researchers investigating the centrality of natural historical considerations in Kant’s early social and political essays, essays such as Idea for a Universal History of Mankind (1784) wherein Kant’s prominent application of teleology to history signaled the continued adoption of a methodological device first used by him in his account Of the Different Races of Human Beings in 1775. Similar connections were made between Kant’s support for Basedow’s attempts to reform educational practices in the mid 1770s and the increasing attention paid by Kant to Bildung, in all its various instantiations, as he sought throughout the 1780s and ’90s to sort

out just what was meant when referring to the formation of character and indeed to the

2

vocation of humankind as a whole. As an increasingly comprehensive view of Kant’s

position came to show, his well-regarded works on ethics and governance simply could not be meaningfully separated from his views on education and history. But these latter views had in turn come out of works in the 1770s, works that had been saturated by natural historical terms: were these now to be also taken into consideration when approaching

Kant’s position on moral and political life? For many researchers today, the answer is an

3

unqualified yes.



1

Paul Menzer, KantsLehre von der Entwicklung in Natur und Geschichte (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1911), 404–

445. For a more recent version of this view see Günter Zöller, who regards Kant’s critical doctrines and his anthropological works to be in a “mutually supplementary relation,” see “Kant’s Political Anthropology,” Kant Jahrbuch 3 (2011): 131–161.


2

Kant used Basedow’s Methodenbuch as a textbook when lecturing on pedagogy during the winter semester

of 1776–1777. A good sense of Kant’s commitment to Basedow’s school during this period emerges from his letter exchanges regarding it, see esp. 10:191–195. There have a been a number of commentators in recent years interested in connecting Kant’s early views of education and his developing approach to character. On this see especially Felicitas Munzel, Kant’s Conception of Moral Character. The Critical Link of Morality, Anthropology, and Reflective Judgement (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998), Kant’s Conception of Pedagogy (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2012) and also Robert Louden’s “Not a Slow Reform, but a Swift Revolution: Kant and Basedow on the Need to Reform Education,” in Kant and Education, edited by K. Roth and C. Suprenant (London: Routledge, 2012), and Louden’s Kant’s Human Being (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), esp. ch. 11.


3

On this see especially Pauline Kleingeld, Kant and Cosmopolitanism. The Philosophical Ideal of World

Citizenship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Robert Bernasconi has done the most work to investigate Kant’s published essays on the natural history of race in terms of their implications for the ethical program developed during the 1780s and ’90s. See especially, R. Bernasconi, “Will the Real Kant Please Stand Up. The Challenge of Enlightenment Racism to the Study of the History of Philosophy,” Radical


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In Kant’s Organicism I proceeded in very much the same vein so far as I investigated the connection between Kant’s theory of cognition and his interest in debates regarding biological generation and development that were taking place at the time. Many of the earliest studies of Kant and the life sciences had emerged from the field of intellectual history, as historians of science sought to make sense of the biological vocabulary scattered among Kant’s works. As interest in Kant and the life sciences grew in the field of philosophy, these investigations, like their forerunners, focused primarily on Kant’s remarks on organic life in the Critique of Judgment, so that Kant’s so-called “theory of biology” is now seen to be firmly located in that text. Amidst such consolidation, there were commentators who addressed Kant’s appeal to biological vocabulary within the context of his theory of cognition, though the majority of these also remained dominated by the interpretive template set by Kant’s discussions in the third Critique. My own strategy in Kant’s Organicism was different. Kant did indeed borrow from the life sciences for his model of the mind, but in a manner that would reject a naturalized account. His preference for epigenesis as a theory for understanding biological generation had to be carefully distinguished, therefore, from the use he made of the theory when discussing a metaphysical portrait of reason. This meant, so far as my investigation was concerned, starting at the beginning of Kant’s career and working up to the Critique of Pure Reason, as opposed to returning to it with the insights yielded by 1790.

The task of Kant’s Organicism is thus to open up a new perspective on Kant, to broaden both the scope and the intellectual resources available for philosophers who are working on this period. The starting point for the book was the enormous transition occurring in the life sciences between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries regarding the proper aim of natural history (ch. 1). And the pivotal figure here was Georges Buffon since it was he who finally managed to wrest natural history from the province of the taxonomists. Under Buffon’s hand, natural history became devoted instead to a description of the history of nature, and it advanced a new method of inquiry altogether (ch. 2). Investigations should be filled with the content of experience, Buffon argued, but they must be led by a speculative gaze. This was all big news in the 1750s, and it certainly reached the ears of Kant. In a chapter called “Kant and the Problem of Origin” I describe the manner in which Kant was especially interested in questions of origin, in cosmological

Philosophy 117 (2003): 13-19, and “Kant as an Unfamiliar Source of Racism,” in Philosophers on Race, edited by T. Lott and J. Ward (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2002): 145-166.


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origin—Buffon too opened his natural history with an account of this—but in theories of biological origin as well (ch. 3). Few scholars have noted that Kant owned an exceedingly rare German translation of Maupertuis’ Versuch von der Bildung der Körper, or that he mirrored his physical geography course on the first two volumes of Buffon’s Allgemeine Historie der Natur (1752, trans. A. G.Kästner). These turned out to be important facts actually, for they made sense of the seeming digressions one finds in the Only Possible Proof essay of 1763, and they certainly provided a different set of coordinates for understanding Kant’s approach to the topography of space in 1768 (in Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space).With the historical context in place, I began to make the case for Kant’s appeal to epigenesis as a model for cognition, emphasizing the epistemic context within which Kant became interested in epigenesis for thinking about the “original acquisition” of concepts (ch. 4), since only attention to this context could make sense of the continued appeal that epigenesis would have for Kant throughout the 1770s (ch. 5). Here I also outlined the difficulties Kant faced once Tetens published his account of cognition, an approach relying on the “Evolution durch Epigenesis” of the soul. For it was by reading Tetens that Kant became clear regarding his own anti-nativism. I closed the book with a rereading of the Critique of Pure Reason and of the Transcendental Deduction in particular. This account began with the Architectonic, taking it to be the “Bauplan” for the whole, and went on to show the interpretive possibilities opened up by attention to the organic vocabularies in play throughout the Critique.

Now that I’ve laid the project out as a rough whole, I want to focus on some of the

details of my investigation in the hope that these remarks will bring us to the points raised by my respondents. We can begin with a reminder regarding the central task facing

th th

generation theorists during the 17 and 18 centuries, for it was one not unrelated to those

philosophers interested in accounting for the uniformity of experience. In each case the conceptual, as much as the practical problem, was to understand the origin of form, a form that could be realized with fidelity across numberless generations of individuals in the biological realm, in much the same manner that concepts could be applied across all manner of experience.

For generation theorists, the specific problem was to explain the origin of a principle of order or of some other explanation of the means by which formal organization


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occurred within the complex system of the embryo. For Maupertuis and Buffon, the problem of form required recourse to supernatural agency. Maupertuis argued that particles had been initially endowed with intelligence by God in order to accomplish the task, and Buffon similarly took the internal moulds of the organism to have been set by God at the creation. Even with crutches like these, however, the problem of form remained unresolved so far as their critics were concerned. Having a mould was one thing, they argued, explaining the precise manner by which the particles were organized by a supposed penetrating force in concert with this mould was something else altogether. On this point no critic was more vociferous than the Swiss physiologist, Albrecht von Haller. As Haller put it, “Mr. Buffon needs a force which has foresight, which can make a choice, which has

a goal, which, against all the laws of blind combination, always and unfailingly brings

4

about the same end.” “In brief,” he concluded, “what is the cause which arranges the

human body in such a way that an eye is never attached to the knee, an ear is never connected to the hand, a toe never wanders to the neck, or a finger is never placed on the

5

extremity of the foot”? Indeed it was on the basis of precisely such difficulties that Kant

took the prospects for any genuine advance in the life sciences to be gloomy. Celestial mechanics, with all their mathematical complexity, still provided a perfectly knowable basis for understanding cosmological construction. Organic construction, by contrast, could not be grasped through mechanical laws, which made it a field of investigation that was simply closed off from examination so far as Kant was concerned.

Despite this, Kant kept abreast of the embryological debates occurring in the life sciences in the 1760s. Remarking that “it would be absurd to regard the initial generation of a plant or an animal as a mechanical effect incidentally arising from the universal laws of nature,” Kant took time in a 1763 piece to consider in turn the top two competing theories of generation. The first was preexistence theory, according to which each individual being was formed at the time of creation. Such a view, as Kant understood it,



4

Haller’s prefaces are available in English translation. See “Reflections on the Theory of Generation of Mr.

Buffon,” trans. Phillip R. Sloan, in From Natural History to the History of Nature, p. 322.


5

Ibid., p. 320. These were of course the identical grounds upon which Caspar Friedrich Wolff attacked

Blumenbach’s Bildungstrieb, since force, as Wolff saw it, was an entirely different biological entity than the intelligent guidance which Blumenbach had mapped on to it. An account of Wolff’s continued critique of Blumenbach is in Shirley Roe’s, Matter, Life, and Generation: Eighteenth-Century Embryology and the Haller-Wolff Debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.



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demanded that “each individual member of the plant and animal kingdoms is directly formed by God, and thus of supernatural origin, with only the reproduction (Fortpflanzung), that is, only the transition from time to time to the unfolding (Auswicklung) [of individuals] being entrusted to a natural law” (BDG, AA 02: 114). The second theory Kant considered appealed to God’s original agency when producing species

lines—a type of generic preformation guaranteeing the reproduction of kinds—but argued

6

for the subsequent generation of individuals according to natural means. Is it possible,

Kant asked when introducing this option, that “some individual members of the plant and animal kingdoms, whose origin is indeed directly divine, nonetheless possess the capacity, which we cannot understand, to actually generate (erzeugen) their own kind in accordance with a regular law of nature, and not merely to unfold (auszuwickeln) them?” (BDG, AA 02: 114). In this account, form was again supernaturally conceived, but while this generically maintained the stability of the species lines, the subsequent work of generating individuals actively belonged to nature.

Kant went on to rehearse positions that would seem to be examples of this, all the while critical of the specific attempts made in each case to provide a mechanical

7

description of the natural means by which individuals would be subsequently generated.


«It is utterly unintelligible to us that a tree should be able, in virtue of an internal mechanical constitution, to form and process its sap in such a way that there should arise in the bud or the seed something containing a tree like itself in miniature, or something from which such a tree could develop. The internal forms proposed by Buffon, and the elements of organic matter which, in the opinion of Maupertuis, join together as their memories dictate and in accordance with the laws of desire



6

A helpful discussion of Kant’s attempt to synthesize preexistence theory and epigenesis in this section is in

Mark Fisher, “Kant’s Explanatory Natural History: Generation and Classification of Organisms in Kant’s Natural Philosophy,” in Understanding Purpose: Kant and the Philosophy of Biology, ed. Philippe Huneman, North American Kant Society Studies in Philosophy, vol. 8 (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2007), 101–121.


7

Paul Menzer takes Kant—wrongly, in my view—to have Caspar Wolff’s position in mind in the opening

lines of this passage. See Menzer, KantsLehre von der Entwicklung in Natur und Geschichte (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1911), 104. That said, in Herder’s notes from Kant’s lectures on metaphysics during the same period as the 1763 piece it is clear that, without naming them, Kant could have understood that the specific difficulty facing Haller and Wolff was the lack of any decisive evidence in favor of one position versus the other. As Herder recorded him, “Die Physikalischenbeobachtungenzeigen, daß der Körperzuerstgebildetwurde, anderedaßsiebei der Schöpfunggebildetsei” (V-Met/Herder, AA 28:889). In his notes Herder went on to report that the main conceptual difficulty facing the life sciences was twofold, at least so far as Kant understood their attempt to discern the processes of generation, namely, the conception of freedom on the one hand, and its generation in the world (die Zeugung seines gleichen im Raum) on the other.


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and aversion, are either as incomprehensible as the thing itself, or they are entirely arbitrary inventions» (BDG, AA 02:115).


But while Kant rejected such accounts as “utterly unintelligible” and “entirely arbitrary inventions,” he was equally resistant to the first hypothesis and its recourse to a supernatural origin for every individual member of a species.

What Kant wanted was something different, a means of avoiding a supernatural solution even if all of the mechanical accounts of individual generation had so far failed. Indeed, as Kant wryly observed, an adequate mechanical explanation of fermenting yeast had yet to be found, but that had hardly led people to suggest supernatural grounds for its existence; the case of plants and animals should be no different. Unless one was willing to rely on God’s constant creation, Kant concluded, “there must be granted to the initial divine organization of plants and animals a capacity, not merely to develop (Auswickelung) their kind thereafter in accordance with a natural law, but truly to generate (erzeugen) their kind” (BDG, AA 02: 115). This position followed the others in appealing to divine artifice in the initial creation of forms, but unlike Maupertuis or Buffon, Kant wanted to emphasize

the need to conceive of an individual’s subsequent capacity for self-organization: for

8

erzeugen as opposed to mere auswickeln. The position that would later be cautiously

endorsed by Kant in 1790—a position explicitly identified by him in the Critique of Judgement as one in line with Blumenbach’s Bildungstrieb—proposed just such a non- mechanical generation of individuals. In this instance generation took place according to an internalized plan for their species as a whole, a plan that was therefore only “generic” for the species line but which nonetheless afforded to nature the power of all subsequent

generation of individuals; it was on this basis that Kant was thus able to identify “generic

9

preformation” with epigenesis (KU, AA 05: 424).



8

In spite of this, Kant simply could not include organic generation as an example of natural laws at work for

unlike the demonstrable laws guiding cosmological construction, the structure of plants and animals appeared to be unconstrained or contingent while still being oriented somehow toward particular ends. In Kant’s words, “Große kunst und eine zufällige Vereinbarung durch freie Wahl gewissen Absichten gemäß ist daselbst augenscheinlich und wird zugleich der Grund eines besondern Naturgesetzes, welches zur künstlichen Naturordnung gehört. Der Bau der Plflanzen und Thiere zeigt eine solche Anstalt, wozu die allgemeine und nothwendige Naturegesetze unzulänglich sind” (BDG, AA 02:114).


9

Kant liked the theory in 1790 for much the same reasons he had liked its outlines in 1763: epigenesis

reduced an appeal to supernatural agency to a bare minimum, since it relied on God for only the original construction of the forms that the species lines would take, and it balanced a mechanical account of nutrition and growth with a teleological explanation of the organism’s purposive development. And Kant singled out


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In Kant’s consideration of Maupertuis and Buffon in the 1763 piece he did not use the term epigenesis. In 1769, however, Kant introduced an explicit discussion of biological epigenesis into his course on metaphysics. Kant always used A. G. Baumgarten’s Metaphysica as the basis for this course, and the topics concerning the soul

ranged from discussions of human understanding to mind-body interaction and the

10

afterlife. In a section devoted to the origin of the soul, Baumgarten had rehearsed the

reigning theories of organic generation: preexistence, spontaneous generation— Baumgarten’s example here was infusoria—creation ex nihilo, and finally, “concreationism,” according to which the soul was produced through some sort of transfer accomplished by the parents, a position derived from Aristotle’s treatment of the matter.


Blumenbach’s notion of a Bildungstrieb for praise, precisely because it seemed to offer empirical evidence of the theory of generic preformation itself. Nonetheless, Kant’s tone of caution regarding the life sciences was unchanged. However convincing our intuitions regarding nature’s organic capacities might be, however promising the advances made by the life sciences might seem, the operating principles of the organism would simply never be revealed in an empirical investigation. Although much has been made of Kant’s endorsement of Blumenbach and of questions regarding Blumenbach’s influence on Kant in his discussion of epigenesis, one should not forget that, whatever influence might be claimed, Blumenbach in fact transgressed a clear boundary set by Kant between thinking about nature as purposive and claiming that nature was in fact purposive. Robert J. Richards emphasizes this difference between Kant and Blumenbach in “Kant and Blumenbach on the Bildungstrieb: A Historical Misunderstanding,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Science 31 (2000): 11–32. See also Richards’s The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), chap. 5., pp. 216–237. As Timothy Lenoir describes Blumenbach’s position, “The Bildungstrieb was not a blind mechanical force of expansion which produced structure by being opposed in some way; it was not a chemical force of ‘fermentation,’ nor was it a soul superimposed on matter. Rather the Bildungstrieb was conceived as a teleological agent which had its antecedents ultimately in the inorganic realm but which was an emergent vital force.” See Lenoir’s “Kant, Blumenbach, and Vital Materialism in German Biology,” Isis 71 (1980): 83. It was precisely this interpenetration of form and force—something Kant explicitly liked about Blumenbach’s theory—that caused Caspar Wolff, the first author to describe vegetative growth and reproduction as a form of epigenesis, to complain about Blumenbach’s position. For Wolff, force simply could not by definition also be responsible for form. See Wolff, “Von der eigenthümlichen und wesentlichen Kraft der vegetabilischen sowohl als auch der animalischen Substanz,” in Zwo Abhandlungen über die Nutritionskraft welche von der Kayserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaft in St. Petersburg den Preis getheilt haben. St. Petersburg: Kayserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1789.


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A reprint of Baumgarten’s text is included in the academy volume devoted to the notes Kant made in his

own copy of the text. See HN, AA 17:5–226. All of Kant’s notes made within Baumgarten’s text are identified in terms of their location and arranged according to their supposed chronology, such that, for example, Kant’s various remarks on §§770–775, “Origo Animae Huminae,” can be traced throughout Kant’s career. Since Kant taught this text every year, determining the chronological sequence of any notes made for a given section is necessarily imprecise in that it can rely only upon placement, ink color, and so on. The academy edition’s two volumes devoted to Kant’s notes on metaphysics (vols. 17 and 18)—including numerous pieces written on so-called loose sheets—follow Erich Adickes’s dating system, a system explained by Adickes at the start of the volumes devoted to Kant’s notes, marginalia, and assorted Nachlaß (HN, AA 14:lx–lxi). Adickes’s system is almost always followed by the Cambridge edition of Kant’s notes, though the editors often suggest longer possible time frames for a given text. Translations are here taken from the Cambridge edition wherever possible. See Immanuel Kant: Notes and Fragments, trans. Paul Guyer, Curtis Bowman, and Fred Rauscher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).


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When preparing his own notes for this section, Kant wrote out the questions that would be addressed in his lecture: Was the soul a pure spirit before birth? Had it lived on the earth before? Did it live in two worlds—the pneumatic and the mechanical—at once? The questions were accompanied by a quick list of the various theories of generation, with Kant noting that the central division was between supernatural approaches to the question of

origin and a naturalistic account, an account Kant described as an “epigenesis

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psychologica” (HN, AA 17: 416). In later years, Kant would use this section of

Baumgarten’s text to discuss the properties of the soul and would invariably dismiss the

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possibility of its epigenesis. In 1769, however, Kant’s commentary focused on the

physical aspect of generation, identifying epigenesis with a theory of blending that was in line with what he knew of Maupertuis’s and Buffon’s use of heredity as a basis for their arguments against preexistence theory.

The next time Kant came to add notes to this section in 1772, epigenesis was again considered in terms of its biological claims, with Kant now explicitly linking the theory to the desired account of species generation he had first sketched in 1763. In his words,

«The question is whether nature is formed organically (epigenesis), or only mechanically and chemically. It seems that nature does have spirit, given that in the generation of each individual there is a unity and connection of parts. And is there not also such a spirit, an animating essence, in animals and plants. In this vein one would have to assume an animating Spirit, operating within an original chaos, in order to explain differences between animals which can now only reproduce themselves» (HN, AA 17: 591).



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Kant’s elaboration of the epigenesist alternative can be compared to the relatively brief remarks—at least

so far as Herder recorded them—when discussing this section of Metaphysica in 1762–1763, see V- Met/Herder, AA 28:889.


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Discussing the same passage in Baumgarten thirty-three years later, for example, Kant continued to use

the term “epigenesis” in contrast to the preexistence theory of origin, but in place of his concern with the physical process of blending—in fact, in place of any consideration of biological generation at all—Kant focused on the Aristotelian-derived account of “concreationism” in Baumgarten’s text, rejecting this option on principle, given the soul’s nature as simple substance. In language deliberately borrowed from chemical analyses, Kant here characterized the soul as either an “educt”—a thing that preexisted its new form—or as a “product,” something newly produced via epigenesis. The latter theory was completely impossible, according to Kant, because a non composite substance like the soul could not be expected to transfer a part of itself to its offspring (V Met/Dohna, AA 28:684—these comments are taken from student lecture notes, “Metaphysics Dohna,” from Kant’s metaphysics course in 1792–1793). Kant made additional notes for this passage, rejecting the soul’s epigenesis because of its immateriality (HN, AA 18:190) and its immortality (HN, AA 17:672, HN, AA 18:429). Kant also considered the epigenesis of the soul separately in terms of a potential transfer of good or bad character (VARGV, AA 23:106–107).


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This two-step model is the same as that proposed in Kant’s 1763 piece, so far as an initially divine organization—out of an “original chaos”—is then followed by the organic capacity for reproduction within the divinely delineated species lines. What these two sets of comments demonstrate for our purposes however, (comments dated by Erich Adickes as having been written in 1769 and 1772, respectively), is that during a period of crucial formation with respect to the development of Kant’s system of transcendental idealism, Kant was actively aware of the epigenesis alternative to preexistence theories of generation.

Now before going any further, I want to first just briefly rehearse three interrelated characterizations of epigenesis that are especially important for understanding the use Kant would make of the theory for his own purposes. The first characterization comes from the seventeenth century English physician William Harvey. Harvey was interested in distinguishing the radical transformations taking place during ‘metamorphosis’ from the more gradual series of transformations that occurred during ‘epigenesis’. In the latter case, Harvey tracked the manner by which a chick embryo developed, describing the process as the embryo’s sequential transition from an initially homogeneous state to one that was increasingly heterogeneous with respect to its parts. The second, though related, characterization of epigenesis concentrated on the capacity of organic structures to be self- organizing during their development, growth, and repair. Although this capacity was oftentimes linked to theories of spontaneous generation and vitalism, there was in fact no consensus position regarding the nature of either the origin or the self-organisation of organisms. In the early decades of the eighteenth century the vitalist Peter Stahl, for example, attributed formation to an anima but distinguished his mechanistic conception from Leibniz’s entelechy. In the 1760s, Casper Wolff understood epigenetic growth in terms of an organism’s transition from liquid secretions to solidified parts, a vegetative process that was driven in some manner by a life force or visessentialis. And by the 1780s, as we have just seen, epigenesis had come to be identified with Blumenbach’s Bildungstrieb. It was this characterization of epigenesis that appeared in the Critique of Judgement, and it understood epigenesis as a theory regarding the generic preformation of form or species types in nature.


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These separate though related characterizations of epigenesis were applied differently by Kant depending upon whether he was thinking about cognition or biological organisms. But although Kant’s comments in 1790 demonstrate an underlying continuity in his thoughts regarding biological organisms since the 1760s, they do not in fact add anything to our understanding of what he meant by the epigenesis of reason. To really understand the distinctive role played by epigenesis for Kant’s theory of cognition, therefore, we need to detach “generic preformation” from the first two characterizations of epigenesis that were in play for Kant.

In order to discover the internal grounds for this detachment we need to consider the specific epistemic context within which Kant’s work on cognition began: his overriding desire to reorient, and thereby protect, metaphysics from the Humean challenge. By 1765, Kant understood that any significant rehabilitation and defense of metaphysics would require its complete reformulation. Though initially conceived in terms of overcoming the problem of ‘subreptive axioms,’ Kant soon realized that the real task was instead to provide an account of cognition that could avoid scepticism without recourse to innatism. This is the epistemic context within which Kant began to formalise his theoretical programme in the 1760s, and it was against the backdrop provided by his first real attempt at such a theory, his Inaugural Dissertation of 1770, that Kant became ready

to identify his own position with epigenesis as a position against the preformation system

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he took to be endorsed by Leibniz. Thus it was at precisely this point that epigenesis

provided ‘a theory by which to work’ for Kant. This was not epigenesis as generic preformation; that theory relied on supernatural forms to keep the species lines intact and was thus akin, for Kant, to both the ‘mysticism’ of Plato and the ‘preformationism’ of Leibniz. In 1770, Kant wasn’t entirely sure what to use as a replacement with respect to accounting for the problem of form, but he was sure about one thing: innatism had to be rejected as much as did his previous reliance on the model of cognition that had been provided by Locke (e.g., HN, AA 17: 352). In their stead, Kant proposed the original generation of intellectual concepts, referring to them in the Inaugural Dissertation as produced by an “original acquisition” by attention to the workings of the mind (MSI, AA 02: 395).



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I lay out the case for this in Kant’s Organicism. Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy

(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), chapter 4.


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So far I’ve described Kant’s use of epigenesis when discussing Baumgarten, but more significant for our purposes now is the set of notes Kant composed shortly after finishing his Dissertation. For in these notes, Kant explicitly connected theories of generation to systems of reason and to claims regarding the origin of ideas in particular. Distinguishing empiricists from rationalists, Kant identified his own position with the most radical possibility of all. As he sketched it, “Crusius explains the real principle of reason on the basis of the systemate praeformationis (from subjective principiis); Locke on the basis of influx physico like Aristotele; Plato and Malebranche, from intuit intellectuali; we, on the basis of epigenesis from the use of the natural laws of reason” (HN, AA 17: 492). It was epigenesis, therefore, that Kant identified with the theory of “original acquisition” for explaining the generation of sensitive and intellectual concepts from the mind’s own laws in the Dissertation. While it cannot be said for certain that Kant took epigenesis as his model when first drawing up his account of the origin of knowledge in 1770—though the evidence from 1769 certainly suggests this—it is certain that in the months following the Dissertation’s completion the connection had been made. The primary textual resources for proving this stem primarily from the 1770s—the so-called 'silent decade'—and they are gathered from Kant’s letters, his lectures, his notes, and the marginal notations he made alongside the textbooks he used for his classes (e.g., HN, AA 17: 492, cf. HN, AA 17: 554, 18: 8, 18: 12, 18: 273–75). Many scholars have relied on these materials for making sense of Kant’s theoretical programme during these years, but rereading this material with an eye to Kant’s frequent appeal to biological vocabulary when describing cognition is what finally reveals the importance of epigenesis for the developing system.

Let us pause now and consider the status of the biological model for Kant. There have been a number of writers over the years to worry about what this particular model might have meant given that Kant urged epistemic caution regarding the various speculative hypotheses coming out of the life sciences at that time. The immediate problem is to ask then how it is that Kant—who was ready to dismiss the claims being made by generation theorists in the 1760s as not only uncertain, but unlikely—could nonetheless have been ready to repeatedly identify his own developing theory of cognition with epigenesis during the 1770s? It is certainly not the case that Kant took himself to be investigating an empirical claim about our physical brains (hence Kant’s well-known



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dismissal of the nativism to be found in Tetens’ psychological account, e.g., HN, AA 18: 23). So what was Kant up to when he identified his own position as epigenetic?

Here it is critically important to remember the epistemic context within which Kant’s investigation was operating, and the significance, therefore, of the fact that he typically juxtaposed his own epigenetic theory with the ‘preformation’ system proposed by Leibniz and Crusius, on the one hand, and the ‘physical influx’ position advanced by sensationalists like Locke, on the other. For once we remember that this is indeed the context within which epigenesis became an interesting third option between innatism and empiricism for Kant, we can begin to make sense of what Kant meant by the “epigenesis of Reason” (KrV, B167). Kant left the 1760s determined to reorient metaphysics by way of attention to a new theory of mind. Central to this was Kant’s sense that scepticism could only be avoided so long as the theories under attack by Hume—those held by the innatists and the empiricists in their various stripes—were also avoided. This story regarding Kant’s intellectual development—Kant’s negotiation between rationalism and empiricism—is of course standard fare in any undergraduate course on the history of Modern philosophy, and it is so because in outline, at least, it fits: it makes sense of Kant’s work in the 1760s and 70s to formulate an epistemological programme, and it makes both the goals and the achievement of transcendental idealism all the more clear. Reading Kant’s notes during the 1770s, it thus makes sense to see that even despite the seeming intrusion of biological vocabulary amidst the worries over logical subordination or the tasks allocated to the various faculties, Kant is consistent whenever it comes to the cast of characters he is up against: Plato, Leibniz, and sometimes Malebranche, grouped together by Kant as mystics, preformationists, supporters of involution, and believers in intellectual intuition; Aristotle, Locke, and Crusius on the other side, supporting ‘physical influx’ or generatio aequivoca; and Kant’s own position in the middle, as an epigenesist. The ‘real principle of reason’, as Kant put it during this period, rests “on the basis of epigenesis from the use of the natural laws of reason” (HN, AA 17: 492).

In the Dissertation, Kant relied on the mental laws for logical subordination as the basis for this generative work, while also leaving the origin of these laws unspecified. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant relied on these laws again, with the Metaphysical Deduction serving as the updated version of the older account’s description of the ‘real



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use’ or means by which concepts could be generated. In the first Critique Kant explained therefore that the logical table of judgment served as the metaphysical ‘clue’ for understanding the origin of the intellectual concepts because the latter were in fact those same judgments, only applied now to sensible intuitions. Having already announced the isomorphic connection between the forms of judgment and the categories of experience, by 1781 Kant was also ready to be specific regarding the question of origin here as well. Like all the heterogeneous faculties which together made-up the so-called “transcendental apparatus,” logic too had its origin in Reason. Experience relied on the concepts and thereby the table of judgments to provide that constancy of form required for coherency in the field of appearances, but the constancy of the form-giving concepts themselves was itself dependent upon Reason. Kant was clear when it came to the hierarchy of the faculties. He was clear that the understanding, for all its spectacular success when it comes to the construction of a coherent field of appearances, was nonetheless dependent upon Reason. To be specific, that the understanding was ‘dependent’ upon Reason in two significant ways: Reason provided the principles which can alone unify and guide

empirical investigations, but Reason was also taken by Kant to encompass the

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understanding and to thus serve as its seat. Indeed, Kant’s account of transcendental

affinity was the key to understanding the precise manner by which an epigenetic Reason

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was ultimately necessary for the success of the Transcendental Deduction. And as for



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Kant would subsequently point to reason as the birthplace of the moral law as well. Thus in the

Groundwork, for example, Kant would explain that “it is here that she has to show her purity as the authoress of her own laws—not as the mouthpiece of laws whispered to her by some implanted sense,” but also not as having received them from experience, which “would foist into the place of morality some misbegotten mongrel patched up from the limbs of a varied ancestry and looking like anything you please, only not like virtue” (GMS, AA 04:425–426). Morality would instead have to be born from out of pure reason itself, for only that kind of pedigree could ensure its sovereignty over the will on the basis of birthright alone. This account of reason’s role in giving birth to individual morality ran parallel to its work to achieve the moral advancement of the species as a whole. Perfect moral advancement would culminate in the creation of a “kingdom of ends,” according to Kant, and bring with it the completion of the history of reason. This was an idea of moral perfection born out of reason itself, an idea that lay invisibly within humanity as something whose conception was “self-developing” (sich entwickelnden) and whose existence needed to be understood as a “self-fertilizing germ” (besamenden Keim) of goodness in the species as a whole (MS, AA 06:122). It was just this aspect of Kant’s philosophy that would earn harsh criticisms from Hegel, however, since he took Kant’s notion of pure reason to be impotent, something capable of supplying only an empty notion of unity, that is, one that had never been lifted out of intellect by the intellectual intuition of itself. On the basis of such sterility, as Hegel saw it, Kant could never explain how practical reason “is nonetheless supposed to become constitutive again, to give birth out of itself and give itself content.” See Hegel’s Faith and Knowledge, trans. Walter Cerf and H. S. Harris (Albany: SUNY Press, 1977), p. 80.

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I defend this claim at length in Kant’s Organicism, op. cit., chapter 7.


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Reason? Reason, as Kant identified it in both the Transcendental Deduction (KrV, B167) and the Architectonic (KrV, A765/B793), was itself epigenetic or ‘self-born.’

This might sound radical, but before we get distracted by that, lets focus on the main point. Kant had a specific epistemic goal, the avoidance of skepticism and the achievement, thereby, of some kind of experiential certainty in the physical (if not the biological) sciences. Transcendental idealism, with empirical realism as its special yield, accomplished precisely that. But it did so on the basis of a story that was being told about the formative control enjoyed by the mind in the case of experience. The transcendental conditions for the possibility of experience relied on the central faculties—reason, understanding, judgement—and their accomplishment of particular tasks. Now Kantians, on the whole, are not prepared to entertain questions regarding the ontological status of these mental faculties. Most will, moreover, emphatically reject a nativist reading of the faculties, even if they feel less confident in rejecting a supernatural origin altogether, given the kinds of passing remarks one finds in the Religion. The safest interpretive route, most feel therefore, is to just stick with Kant’s agnosticism on the point. In my own view, it is important to identify Kant here as a metaphysician in order to explicitly distance him from the consequences of identifying him as a nativist. And it is in light of this that we must understand the epigenesis of reason to be metaphysically real in order to make it clear that Kant was not providing a biological account of the brain. But there is more to this assessment than a simple contrast. Kant takes the mind to be whole. As in Harvey’s model, however, this original unity becomes increasingly heterogeneous, as logically distinct faculties emerge or become realized in the face of the various cognitive tasks required of it. As for Reason itself, the word Kant uses for describing it is in a class of its own within his works: spontaneity. There is neither textual conflict nor indeed controversy regarding spontaneity as a basic definition of Reason, for Kant was clear in the

Critique of Practical Reason regarding the ontological identity between reason in either its

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theoretical or practical guise. Reason, as Kant saw it, both generates and determines



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Kant was clear regarding their identity: “practical reason has the same cognitive faculty for its foundation

as the speculative, so far as they are both pure reason” (KpV, AA 05:90; cf. MS, AA 06:382). But he was also delighted by the manner in which their investigation had proceeded in identical ways. As he summarized his findings in the analytic of practical reason, “Here I wish to call attention, if I may, to one thing, namely, that every step which one takes with pure reason, even in the practical field where one does not take subtle speculation into account, so neatly and naturally dovetails with all parts of the Critique of Pure (theoretical) Reason that it is as if each step had been carefully thought out merely to establish this


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itself, and it is only as such that it could ground both the certainty of cognition within the sensible realm and our duties and character in the moral realm.

Kant was fully prepared to emphasize this aspect of Reason, by employing vocabulary borrowed from the language of organic growth and development when discussing it, and by describing reason’s development from infancy to adulthood as an organic course of formation as a case of the “sheer self-development of reason.” Rehearsing this, Kant explained,

«Systems seem to be formed in the manner of lowly organisms, through a generatio aequivoca from the mere confluence of assembled concepts, at first imperfect, and only gradually attaining to completeness, although they have one and all had their schema, as the original germ, in the sheer self-development of reason. Hence, not only is each system articulated in accordance with an idea, but they are one and all organically united in a system of human knowledge, as members of one whole, and so as admitting of an architectonic of all human knowledge» (KrV, A835/B863).


What this history of reason demonstrated for Kant was that all attempts at metaphysics had been “organically united,” that they were connected by virtue of their common origin in the germ of reason, and that they had been differentiated only as part of reason’s own path of self-development. The history of reason thus provided its investigators with a genuine natural history, for each of its varieties could be traced in their entirety to their point of origin, a common descent that had been easy to overlook given the enormous modifications taking place in the history of the species as a whole. As varieties of reason, the systems of metaphysics functioned organically, like “members of one whole,” so Kant could be precise when describing the manner by which reason had grown into a unified system. As he defined this organic growth, “The whole is thus an organized unity (articulation), and not an aggregate (coacervatio). It may grow from within (per intussusceptionem), but not by external addition (per appositionem). It is thus like an animal body, the growth of which is not by the addition of a new member, but by the

rendering of each member, without change of proportion, stronger and more effective for

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its purposes” (KrV, A833/B862). Kant believed that the connection between the parts of



connection” (KpV, AA 05:106). It was precisely because of this that Kant felt confident in pursuing the strategy he had followed in the first Critique with respect to identifying the table of judgments as the genealogical basis of both the categories and the ideas of reason; in this case, with respect to the genetic grounds upon which he could identify causality and freedom (KpV, AA 05:55–57, 5:65–67, 5:68–70).

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Medieval philosophers described the work that Aristotle had attributed to the “nutritive soul” as a process

of absorption, which they termed “intussusception.” This term was later taken up by René Réaumur in 1709


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the system could be likened to the organic interworking of the organs in an animal body because the unity of the system, like the unity of an organism, determined not only the exact number and placement of its members but the end toward which they aimed. In each of these cases this was an end that had been reflexively defined from the start; in the case of reason it had been contained within the system as an idea of its completion from the very first moment of its self-conception. The end of the history of reason, that is, its idea of itself as a fully developed whole, was originally present within reason—present as an “original germ in the sheer self-development of reason”—a germ or idea that both set the