Foreword

in Mind and the Present
AutorIn: Peter Rohs
Freier Zugang

In the book Feld – Zeit – Ich (1996) I attempted to justify the thesis that time has to be seen as the link between mental and physical processes, that it allows the integration of these into a unified schema, where freedom can also obtain a place. Because this conception came about after many critical analyses of Kantian philosophy, I subtitled the book Entwurf einer feldtheoretischen Transzendentalphilosophie. The addition “field-theoretical” should remind one that physical reality can also be interpreted based on spacetime structures. It was obviously misleading, as a theory of mind should not be developed field-theoretically. The “free subject” should be understood as antipole to the field, and transcendental philosophy offers an alternative to the present widely spread naturalism in the philosophy of mind.

I continued to develop this conception in the following years in a series of articles. The suggestion to publish a collection of essays of the most important articles actually motivated me to produce a new account. This at least avoids the repetition of a collection of essays, and I could also attempt to fill any holes that would have remained in such a collection. In any case, I have often made recourse to these essays and have occasionally cited entire paragraphs from them. I hope that something has emerged that is cohesive and improved through the work since 1996.

For the designation “analytic transcendental philosophy,” I would like to thank the organizers of the “Münster Lectures” (Münsterschen Vorlesung), Attila Karakus, Martin Pleitz, and Christian Weidemann. They entitled the book of the proceedings Freie Subjekte in der Welt der Physik—to show that they are possible is indeed one of my main goals—and subtitled it Die analytische Transzendentalphilosophie von Peter Rohs in der Discussion. This new designation fits my intentions better than the earlier one that I myself used: a theory in which the most important insights of Kant in relation to the epistemic and practical activities of intelligent beings are defended, in which, though, the developments that have occurred in philosophy and science since Kant’s day are appropriately taken in consideration. At the same time, I have endeavored to render my arguments as transparent as possible. This is what is intended above all with the predicate “analytic.” In his introduction to this collection of essays, Martin Pleitz answers the question whether Rohs’ philosophy is actually an analytic transcendental philosophy with a “cautious yes.” I would be pleased if this question could also be answered affirmatively for this book.

I would like to thank the organizers for this suggestion and for allowing me to adopt it; I would like to thank them and all contributors to the book for their inquiries and objections. In many cases, the discussions presented in the book were continued verbally after its publication. I was able to present several chapters of the new work at the Münster Colloquium for Theoretical Philosophy directed by Ulrich Krohs and Oliver Scholz—and I would also like to thank the participants there for their helpful suggestions. I would like to thank, above all, Marcus Willaschek for his readiness to write an introduction to this book. He has presented my arguments so clearly on other occasions that I myself was surprised at how plausible they sound! I would also like to extend my warmest thanks to Rebecca Walsh for translating this book into English.