The question of the relationship between faith and reason marks one of the fundamental issues for classical German philosophy. The paper is guided by a systematic interest in identifying some common features in the approaches taken by Kant and Hegel that are also of interest for the contemporary discussion: 1. The specific modernity of Kant’s and Hegel’s considerations, evident in their rejection of the resources traditionally appealed to by religion and rationalist metaphysics; 2. the anti-naturalist conviction that, in contrast to animals, a metaphysical dimension is inscribed into the human mind; and 3. the thesis that metaphysical questions are existential questions arising from an impulse toward freedom, and hence that a purely theoretical approach is inadequate to address them.
In order to understand Hegel’s form of philosophical reflection in general, we must read his ‘speculative’ sentences about spirit and nature, rationality and reason, the mind and its embodiment as general remarks about conceptual topics in topographical overviews about our ways of talking about ourselves in the world. The resulting attitude to traditional metaphysics gets ambivalent in view of the insight that Aristotle’s prima philosophia is knowledge of human knowledge, developed in meta-scientific reflections on notions like ‘nature’ and ‘essence’, ‘reality’ (or ‘being’) and ‘truth’, about ‘powers’ and ‘faculties’ – and does not lead by itself to an object-level theory about spiritual things like the soul. We therefore cannot just replace critical metaphysics of the human mind by empirical investigation of human behaviour as empiricist approaches to human cognition in naturalized epistemologies do and neuro-physiological explanations propose. Making transcendental forms and material presuppositions of conceptually informed perception and experience explicit needs some understanding of figurative forms of speech in our logical reflections and leads to other forms of knowledge than empirical observation and theory formation.
The main aim of this paper is to analyse Hegel’s theory of cognitive reference to the world and, in particular, Hegel’s theory of sensation (Empfindung), in order to verify whether it implies metaphysical commitments (and, if so, to what extent). I will pursue my goal by investigating the problem of sensation in Hegel’s philosophy starting from McDowell’s conception of the relation between mind and world and from his theory of perception. In my view, this strategy offers a threefold advantage that will enable us to do the following: i) persuasively interpret the Hegelian theory of sensation; ii) better understand the authenticity and the limits of McDowell’s ‘Hegelianism’; iii) place the Hegelian theory of sensation within the complex contemporary debate on the status of sensible experience.
To which extent is it justified to adopt Kant as a godfather of cognitive science? To prepare the stage for an answer of this question, we need to set aside Kant’s general transcendental approach to the mind which is radically anti-empiricist and instead turn our attention to his specific topics and claims regarding the mind which are often not focus of Kant’s epistemological investigations. If someone is willing to take this stance, it turns out that there are many bridges connecting Kant with contemporary cognitive science. We investigate possible bridges suggested in the literature between some of Kant’s central claims about consciousness, mental content, and functions of mind, and some specific treatments of these topics in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. While doing so, we offer additional arguments for some proposed bridges, reconstruct others and completely destroy still other bridges by demonstrating that some suggested links between Kant and cognitive science remain only apparent.
Kant’s Refutation of Idealism has often been assessed either from a realistic or from a transcendental point of view. Each of them proves to be unsufficient. The realistic approach wouldn’t it enough the tenets of the Transcendental Esthetics, and the transcendental approach doesn’t allow us to go beyond our representations. We put forward a logical and structural analysis of the famous paragraph from the System of all principles and its rewriting in the Preface to the Second edition of the first Critique. Additional evidence from the Opus Postumum leads us to suggest that Kant more or less willingly endorses an equivocation on the phrase “existing outside me”, which wonderfully serves his double purpose of saving the transcendental deduction and facing the so-called “scandal of idealism.”
There is a strange contrast between, on the one hand, the prominent place generally assigned to Parmenides in the history of Greek philosophy, and on the other hand, the persistent uncertainty in the understanding of his teachings, as demonstrated by the large number of conflicting interpretations. In particular, there is no consent on the question whether Parmenides, in spite of the obvious weaknesses of his arguments, ought to be seen as the first proponent of a purely rational metaphysics, or whether, in view of his assertion of the unreality of change and plurality and of the identity of thinking and being, we should first of all view him as a precursor of Plotinus, or even as a mediator between Indian Advaita-philosophy and Neo- Platonism. That question is the central issue considered in this paper. For it, only the first part of Parmenides’ poem is relevant: his “way of truth”.
By personal freedom I mean the “Kantian” capacity of bringing about spontaneously a new series of events. It is characterized by three conditions: there is an alternative, the explanation of the process needs to use action-words, deterministic laws cannot contain such expressions. The will is not a particular cause, but only a dependent moment in the process. Causality of freedom should be defined by the logical structure of the involved laws. Actions can be explained, but only ex post.