Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism

By Dieter Henrich; David S. Pacini | Go to book overview

5
The Allure of "Mysticism"

The preceding lectures describe the systematic structure of Kant's philosophy. My intent has been to explain the strange fact that while all the successors of Kant claimed to be working in consonance with his intention, Kant and others around him entirely rejected this claim. Only a few years after a school of followers grew up around Kant, a split took place. One party to the dispute was the group whose members considered themselves to be orthodox Kantians, including Kant himself. They rejected the philosophical claims that Reinhold, Fichte, and Hegel made. The other party to the dispute included those who conceded that the critical philosophy was the opening of an entirely new dimension of investigation that, in order to fulfill the Kantian intention, had to be pursued. Reinhold, Fichte, and Hegel, among others, belonged to this group. What is the real relationship between Kantianism as a system and idealism as a system? Answers to this question have been controversial ever since that split took place.

By beginning with the seemingly backward orientation of Kant—solving the problems that metaphysics raises—it becomes possible to see that his primary orientation has a deeper function in the structure of the system. This function is more difficult to discover than his dominant interest. It has to do with the distinction between the intellectual and sensible worlds and his point of departure in the analysis of mental activity. Relating the ontological framework to the basic analysis of mental activity was a systematic requirement Kant inherited from his predecessors in philosophy. By tracing the way in which Kant's system became multidimensional from its dualistic inception—of intuition and concept, of sensibility and understanding—we saw how he established the ontological framework for his system. But Kant established this framework by way of a fur-

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