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Hegel's Critique of Kant's Standpoint of Finitude

Addison, Daniel (2013) Hegel's Critique of Kant's Standpoint of Finitude. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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My central aims here are (1) to explicate and defend the claim made by Hegel and other post-Kantians that there is a contradiction at the heart of Kant’s theoretical philosophy, and (2) to provide insight into the nature of Hegel’s system by seeing how it is formed in response to this real problem in Kant. Kant is committed to a real contradiction, I claim, with his appeal to affection by the thing in itself. This appeal amounts to the claim that our reception of empirical content is unconditioned by the understanding’s activity. The claim that contradicts this emerges in Kant’s clearest explanation of how the categories make experience possible. We can see that they do so, he argues, by seeing that our reception of empirical content is conditioned by the understanding’s activity. Kant’s followers J.S. Beck and Fichte champion Kant’s latter thought. I claim that their readings are true of Kant’s best thought, even though Kant rejects them. He only rejects their interpretations because he cannot abandon the former thought. But Beck and Fichte see, as Kant does not, that a commitment to thing-in-itself affection in light of Kant’s explanation of how the categories make experience possible would constitute what Hegel later calls “a self-contradictory ambiguity.” Hegel’s critique of Kant’s “standpoint of finitude” diagnoses why Kant is led to affirm both of these incompatible thoughts. The philosophical motivation behind the shape Hegel’s system takes comes to light through an examination of this diagnosis.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcDowell, Johnjmcdowel@pitt.eduJMCDOWEL
Committee MemberBristow,
Committee MemberBrandom, Robertrbrandom@pitt.eduRBRANDOM
Committee MemberEngstrom, Stephenengstrom@pitt.eduENGSTROM
Date: 28 September 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 February 2013
Approval Date: 28 September 2013
Submission Date: 23 July 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 148
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kant, Hegel, Fichte, Thing in Itself, Problem of Affection, Finitude
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2013 20:44
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:14


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