SHS Web Conf.
Volume 161, 202312th Kant-Readings International Conference “Kant and the Ethics of Enlightenment: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance”
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Kant’s Ethics in Neo-Kantianism|
|Published online||08 March 2023|
The reception of Kant’s doctrine of postulates in Neo-Kantianism
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Faculty of Theology, Franckeplatz 1, Haus 30, 06110 Halle (Saale), Germany
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
The Doctrine of Postulates is one of the most disputed segments in Kant’s philosophy. How could the objective reality of the immortality of the soul and the existence of God fit in an understanding of modernity that is brought up as “secular” and “rational”? Leading scholars see the Highest Good as a “theological” denial of modernity itself. The question is how this central critique emerged in the discourse. Traces in modern Kant research lead to the period around 1900, when Neo-Kantianism was claimed to be the most important philosophy dealing with Kant. Today, most philosophers regard Neo-Kantianism as a consistent set of philosophical practices that refer to one specific meaning. In fact, “Neo-Kantianism” was thrown into the discourse within the debate between Neo-Kantian authors – Friedrich Paulsen, Hans Vaihinger, Hermann Cohen – and the famous Darwinist Ernst Haeckel, who published his wide-ranging best-seller The Riddles of the Universe in 1899. Haeckel undertook a sharp critique against the Highest Good, arguing it contained occultism, and “Neo-Kantianism” promoted this owing to its Kant “obsession”. He refers to the 1888 Kant interpretation by German occultist Carl du Prel. The reaction of Neo-Kantian authors was a broad rejection of the doctrine of the postulates, which subsequently constituted the new “essence” of Neo-Kantianism. Every differing position was excluded as non-Neo-Kantian und occult. The claimed unity of Neo-Kantianism was produced in a specific historical context to reject the postulates. The “essence” of Neo-Kantianism was then defined to provide the “right” non-occult interpretation of the postulates.
Key words: Neo-Kantianism / doctrine of postulates / highest good / spiritism / materialism / Kant / Swedenborg
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
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