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Title:  The Critique’s Contradiction as the Key to Post-Kantianism Author: Daniel Addison Series: New Studies in Idealism Imprint: Noesis Press 218 pp. soft cover USD 26.00 ISBN 978-1-934542-46-0 March 30, 2014 The Davies Group, Publishers The post-Kantians find a contradiction in Kant’s Critique. They find a “speculative” thought concluding his explanation of how the categories condition the possibility of experience. According to it, our reception of empirical content is conditioned by the understanding’s activity. But Kant is also committed to affection by the thing in itself. This amounts to the claim that our reception of empirical content is unconditioned by the understanding’s activity. Thing-in-itself affection must thus be abandoned to save the speculative thought. Hegel holds that Kant adheres to thing-in-itself affection because of his “standpoint of finitude,” his assumption that things in themselves exist prior to the understanding’s activity. In a bold new historical thesis, The Critique’s Contradiction as the Key to Post-Kantianism suggests that the three major post-Kantians abandon finitude: contra Kantian finitude, they all adopt “non-finitude,” the view whereby “the concept of existence is by no means considered to be a primary and original concept, but is … derived through its opposition to activity” (Fichte). Adopting non-finitude allows them to endorse Kant’s speculative thought while relieving themselves of his thought that contradicts it. Longuenesse too finds the speculative thought in Kant, but unlike the post-Kantians, tries to think it from finitude. The sympathetic critique of her view offered here argues that she thereby retains the Critique’s contradiction, but can solve the problems uncovered in her view by adopting non-finitude. A close-reading of Allison’s critique of her view confirms this suggestion that non-finitude is her view’s natural home. “Daniel Addison's intensely argued book will be required reading for everyone interested in Kant, Hegel, and the relation between them.” — John McDowell “Addison's book is an exciting and impressive contribution to our understanding of the absolutely central issue of the extent to which Kant manages to reconcile the conditioning of sensibility by the activities of the understanding he argues for in the transcendental deduction with his conception of sensibility as involving affection by things in themselves. It displays throughout the combination of boldness of conception, soundness of scholarship, and care in execution that marks the very best of contemporary Kant scholarship.” — Robert B. Brandom “This long essay by Daniel Addison offers a most precise and persuasive account of what is perhaps the most crucial issue separating Kant from his post-Kantian heirs: the question of the role of the given in empirical cognition. With painstaking care, Addison makes the case that the post-Kantians were right to think that Kantian idealism is hopelessly torn between a commitment to the idea that things-in-themselves must be able to directly impinge upon our cognition, and a commitment to the more speculative thesis that all cognition is fully conditioned by the understanding. On Addison’s account, it was their recognition of this contradiction that led Kant’s successors to abandon his commitment to the finitude of the human intellect in favor of more radically unconstrained forms of idealism. Any future discussions of the necessity of post-Kantian approaches to human cognition will have to start here.” — Mark Alznauer Table of Contents Founding Epigrams and Thesis Statement Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 Opening Overview; 1.2 The New Problem of Affection as the Key to Post-Kantianism; 1.3 The Critique’s Contradiction Chapter 2 The Contradicting Syllogisms, Kantian Finitude, and its Other 2.1 The Speculative Syllogism; 2.2 The Reflective Syllogism; 2.3 Hegel’s Critique of Kant’s Standpoint of Finitude: a First Sketch; 2.4 The Ontological Difference between the Standpoints of Kant and the Post-Kantians Chapter 3 Longuenesse vs. the Post-Kantians: Longuenesse’s Retention of the Critique’s Contradiction 3.1 Longuenesse’s critics and the likeness of Longuenesse and Fichte; 3.2 The unlikeness of Longuenesse and Fichte (and Beck); 3.3 Longuenesse’s Solipsism vs. the Post-Kantians’ Non-Solipsism; 3.4 Hegel’s Comprehension of Kant’s Incomprehensibility Chapter 4 The “Collapse” Charge of Allison, et al. Vindicated 4.1 The Formulaic Vindication of the Charges Laid by Longuenesse’s Critics; 4.2 The Comprehensible Incomprehensibility behind Allison’s Difficulty; 4.3 A Response to “A Response to a Response”; 4.4 Longuenesse’s Attempt to Appropriate Kant’s Reflective Theses; 4.5 Preview of Chapter 6 Chapter 5 Reimagining the Debate 5.1 One, Two, Three, Four, We Want Finitude No More; 5.2 Evolving the Debate towards the Question “Kant oder Post-Kantianism?” 5.3 Recognizing the Ontological Distinction Need not be Critical-Diagnostic; 5.4 Longuenesse’s Inexplicitness about Finitude; 5.5 Reimagining Longuenesse: Her Desire for Freedom from Finitude; 5.6 Back to Reality; 5.7 Reimagining Allison: His Fear of Flight from Finitude Chapter 6 Seeking Coherence, Finding Contradiction 6.1 Our Critical-Diagnostic Explanation of (1) and (2); 6.2 Against Two Claims to Coherence Motivating Longuenesse’s Account; 6.3 Critique of Longuenesse’s Referent for B160n’s “Form of Intuition” Notes Bibliography Index About the author Daniel Addison recently earned his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of John McDowell. He is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hunter College/CUNY.
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