Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism

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

10
Schulze and
Post-Kantian Skepticism

Whatever else we might say about Reinhold, two points are incontrovertible. The first is that the program of philosophy he developed had to appear, inasmuch as its aim was to quell the philosophical controversies that were raging over terminological and foundational problems in Kant's critical philosophy. The independent Kantians widely accepted Reinhold's conviction. The second point is that we must distinguish Reinhold's programmatic ideals from the one-dimensional theory anchored in the faculty of representation. Virtually everyone, including Reinhold, rejected this theory. Kantians and their opponents (the defenders of Leibniz and Wolff) alike criticized this theory. The ironic combination of accepting Reinhold's programmatic ideals while rejecting his actual proposal prompted the development of the conviction that the true foundation of knowledge lay elsewhere than Reinhold had imagined. Indeed, the conviction grew, incorporating the notion that a one-dimensional theory cannot remain within the boundaries that Kant had set regarding the scope of philosophical thinking and of common sense. So we must say that, in the end, Reinhold only designed the method by which to present the doctrines of philosophy; it remained for Fichte and Hegel to propose such theories.

In Reinhold's basic proposition on consciousness, two elements quickly became evident: a fundamental weakness and another direction in which a theory such as his might move. Let's repeat the basic proposition: "In consciousness the representation is distinguished by the subject from the subject and the object and related to both of them."1 The proposition, as we

1. K. L. Reinhold, "Neue Darstellung der Hauptmomente der Elementarphilosophie"
[1790], in Beytr. I, p. 167.

-140-

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