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In this article, I take on a classic objection to Kant’s arguments in the Antinomy of Pure Reason: that the arguments are question-begging, as they draw illicit inferences from claims about representation to claims about reality. While extant attempts to vindicate Kant try to show that he does not make such inferences, I attempt to vindicate Kant’s arguments in a different way: I show that, given Kant’s philosophical backdrop, the inferences in question are not illicit. This is because the transcendental realists that Kant was arguing against have certain philosophical commitments about the nature of ground which, if true, warrant the inferences that Kant draws. This historical corrective not only allows us to better understand Kant’s own thinking in the Antinomies but it also has important upshots for our understanding of Kant’s transcendental idealism.
Hegel dedicates ‘Teleology’ in his Logic to resolve Kant’s antinomies about causality: the third antinomy of reason and the antinomy of judgement. This chapter first connects these distinct Kantian antinomies. I argue that Hegel is right that the opposition of the causal concepts involved in them is substantially the same. I also advocate that Hegel is right too in supposing that for Kant the conflicting concepts remain opposed after the ‘solution’ to the different logical conflicts in the various Critiques is reached. I argue that, in contrast, Hegel’s own resolution tries to deliver a proper unification of these concepts.
This chapter introduces the most important terms of Hegel’s account of teleology, viz. ‘external purposiveness’ and ‘inner purposiveness’, which Hegel inherits from Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgement. Kant claims that our inclination to judge nature as analogous to the products of human art, and therefore as having ends as our actions have ends, is not properly justified from an objective standpoint. Consequently, the concept of a ‘natural end’ seems irremediably problematic for him. For Hegel, in contrast, the concept of an ‘objective end’ is an entirely appropriate concept, and, indeed, the concept of a true purpose, which we can apply similarly to both nature and spirit. Hegel sees himself as recasting and reviving Kant’s undertaking with the notion of ‘inner purposiveness’.
This chapter develops a novel reading of ‘Teleology’. The chapter shows why there is application for the concept of purpose if an objective process can be conceived of as realising an end. ‘Teleology’ examines what the relevant objective process must consist of. Hegel advocates that where there are causal processes that produce themselves by their peculiar configuration and dynamism, there are purposes that are carried out, provided that such self-production occurs at the expense of objectivity. The implication is that only where there is self-production and because of it, there is purposiveness – inner purposiveness, to be exact. As a consequence, the concept of inner purpose (or end in and for itself) captures the only paradigmatic meaning that the concept of purpose has. In light of Hegel’s argument, the claim that what is made of mechanical processes can truly be an end in and for itself becomes intelligible.
Chapter 3 tackles the considerable exegetical difficulties posed by the antinomy of teleological judgment. Although the Dialectic of Teleological Judgment poses an antinomy between regulative maxims of reflective judgment, it also presents a conflict between would-be constitutive principles of determinative judgment. This fact has led a number of readers to conclude that the latter conflict is the antinomy of teleological judgment and the former is its resolution – Kant’s explicit claims to the contrary notwithstanding. The chapter argues that posing the conflict between would-be constitutive principles of determinative judgment is explained by the attempt to assimilate characteristic features of a dialectic, specifically the fact that it ensnares ordinary understanding. Building on the earlier discussion of the distinction between explanation and description, it further claims that the regulative maxims of reflective judgment do not contradict one another, even as they are first presented, but in fact essentially complement one another. The maxim of teleology governs the description or observation of organisms as self-organizing beings; the maxim of mechanism directs us to seek to explain their generation and the processes they undergo mechanistically, just as all other causal processes are to be explained.
Kant states in §76 of the third Critique that the divine intuitive intellect would not represent modal distinctions. Kohl (2015) and Stang (2016) claim that this statement entails that noumena lack modal properties, which, in turn, conflicts with Kant’s attribution of contingency to human noumenal wills. They both propose resolutions to this conflict based on conjectures regarding how God might non-modally represent what our discursive intellects represent as modally determined. I argue that (i) these proposals fail; (ii) the viable resolution consists in recognizing that we modalize human noumenal wills as a merely regulative-practical principle in our judgements of imputation.
This chapter addresses the legitimation of the judgment of taste, the task of its deduction. Kant claims that judgments of taste may be argued about but not disputed. Is there room for a mode of supporting one’s judgment that is distinct from proof (on the one side) and from persuasion (on the other)? This chapter shows that, on Kant’s view, there is, and that aesthetic arguing occupies it. Aesthetic arguing is undertaken with the aim, or in the hope, of opening the way for the other person’s animation: helping the object bring the other person to life, or helping bring her to life for it. The free play of the cognitive faculties expresses or constitutes a caring for the object. To care for or about something or someone is to commit to ongoing engagement with it and to the furthering of one’s care itself. Caring projects an open-ended commitment and looks to the future. It is in this sense that the free play of the cognitive faculties seeks its own indefinite perpetuation. The principle of judgment entails an imperative to care about the world for its own sake, and the judgment of taste models such care.
Kant holds that the origin of our propensity to evil arises in connection with our unsociable sociability. The effective response to it, therefore, must also be social. We must leave the ethical state of nature and join with others in voluntary ethical community, where our shared ends, conceived as the highest good, under the legislation of a divine lawgiver will promote moral progress among human beings. The existing communities of this kind are churches and ecclesiastical faiths, which fall short of their religious vocation but can and should be reformed so as to live up to it. The relation of rational religion to revealed religion is therefore intended by Kant to be dynamic, with the interpretation of revealed religion enriching rational religion and the reform of revealed religion bringing rational and revealed religion into closer harmony, leading gradually toward the founding of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Vladimir Lossky (1903–58) and Sergii Bulgakov (1871–1944) are normally taken as polar opposites in modern Orthodox theology. Lossky's theology is portrayed as being based on a close exegesis of the Greek Fathers with an emphasis on theosis, the Trinity and the apophatic way of mystical union with God. Bulgakov's ‘sophiology’, in contrast, if it is remembered at all, is said to be a theology which wished to ‘go beyond the Fathers’, was based on German Idealism and the quasi-pantheist and gnostic idea of ‘sophia’ which is a form of the ‘Eternal Feminine’ of Romanticism. In short, Lossky's theological approach is what people normally think of when they speak of Orthodox theology: a form of ‘neo-patristic synthesis’ (Georges Florovsky). Bulgakov's theological approach is said to be typical of the exotic dead end of the inter-war émigré ‘Paris School’ (Alexander Schmemann) or ‘Russian Religious Renaissance’ (Nicolas Zernov). Lossky, we are reminded, was instrumental in the 1935 condemnation, by Metropolitan Sergii Stragorodskii of the Moscow Patriarchate, of Bulgakov's theology as ‘alien’ to the Orthodox Christian faith. Counter to this widely held ‘standard narrative’ of contemporary Orthodox theology, the article argues that the origins of Vladimir Lossky's apophaticism, which he characterised as ‘antinomic theology’, are found within the theological methodology of the sophiology of Sergii Bulgakov: ‘antinomism’. By antinomism is understood that with any theological truth one has two equally necessary affirmations (thesis and antithesis) which are nevertheless logically contradictory. In the face of their conflict, we are forced to hold both thesis and antithesis together through faith. A detailed discussion of Lossky's apophaticism is followed by its comparison to Bulgakov's ‘sophiological antinomism’. Lossky at first appears to be masking the influence of Bulgakov and even goes so far as to read his own form of theological antinomism into the Fathers. Nevertheless, he may well have been consciously appropriating the ‘positive intuitions’ of Bulgakov's thought in order to ‘Orthodoxise’ a thinker he believed was in error but still regarded as the greatest Orthodox theologian of the twentieth century. Despite major differences between the two thinkers (e.g. differing understandings of reason, the use of philosophy and the uncreated/created distinction), it is suggested that Lossky and Bulgakov have more in common than normally is believed to be the case. A critical knowledge of Bulgakov's sophiology is said to be the ‘skeleton key’ for modern Orthodox theology which can help unlock its past, present and future.
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