Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism

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

6
Jacobi and the
"Spinozism of Freedom"

We have now completed the general account of the systematic structure of Kant's philosophy and have begun to look at the arguments against his implicitly multidimensional system. We have also considered briefly various forms of mysticism, which are distinguished by the way in which they relate philosophical theory, built on ordinary philosophical arguments, to an insight that transcends them. In light of these considerations, we noted that Kant defined the distinction between his critical philosophy and the positions of those successors—who could not be reduced to positions with which he was familiar when he wrote the first Critique—as that between philosophical labor and mysticism. Indeed, Kant's description of mysticism also implies self-criticism, in the sense that it rejects a position toward which he had been inclined before he arrived at the critical system. For this reason, Kant's criticism of mysticism is limited, and does not encompass within its scope much of what we would designate, in some sense, as mystical theories.

Idealism is not identical with the three senses of philosophical mysticism mentioned in Lecture 5. Nonetheless, we see it best as standing within a tradition to which neo-Platonic mysticism also belongs. Moreover, some idealists even developed theories that include mystical elements, as for example, the late philosophy of Fichte. It is therefore useful for us to see idealism not only in its relationship to Kantianism, but also in its relationship to those traditions it attempts to reconcile and unite with Kant's discoveries. Kant, of course, personally believed that it was obviously nonsense to detect something that he might share with these traditions, because he believed that these traditions were in direct opposition to what he was proposing.

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