New Contributors.

Just wanted to use this quick post to introduce two new contributors to our discussion of Maimon (and hopefully other related or unrelated matters):

Jeffrey A. Bell is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and an author of several books on Deleuze, Hume and other figures. He has a new blog over here, for anyone interested.

Nick Midgley is a philosopher and translator based in London. He is of course one of the translators of Maimon’s Essay and an author of the detailed Introduction to the book.

That’s a very short intro, I know. If anyone wants to add some awesome details, please feel free. Preference is given to something cool like “also collect South American butterflies”…


Kant’s Philosophy of Mathematics

I’m slowly making my way through Gideon Freudenthal’s “Definition and Construction: Salomon Maimon’s Philosophy of Geometry” and I came across a reference to Louis Couturat‘s discussion of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics (Les Principes des Mathematiques: avec un appendice sur la philosophie des mathématiques de Kant) – it is available on Google Books (as a PDF) in German as “Kants Philosophie der Mathematik” published as an appendix to Die philosophischen Prinzipien der Mathematik (Leipzig, 1908). Continue reading

Maimon Reading Group: Chapter 2 – Sensibility, Imagination, Understanding, Pure A Priori Concepts of the Understanding or Categories, Etc Etc.

1. Buzaglo’s Interpretation and My Interest.

Chapter 2 is really important for Buzaglo’s interpretation of Maimon. The crucial background issue is Kant’s chapter on the schematism, where Kant presents a prima facie problem for applying pure concepts of the understanding (categories) to intuitions, and then argues that time presents an intermediate term between these two. Maimon uses examples from geometry to argue that Kant’s solution does not work, and motivates going back to a Leibnizian monistic view that does not accept a dualism between concept and intuition. For Buzaglo, Maimon’s own philosophical views all come from working this out.

Part of why I’m so interested in this is that there is a slightly non-superficial connection between the problem Kant presents in the schematism and two central problematics in contemporary analytic philosophy: the myth of the given problematic and the Kripke-Wittgenstein paradox. As Buzaglo states, “Perhaps the most interesting question is about the relation between Maimon’s critique of Kant’s dualism and modern discussions around the myth of the given (Buzaglo 2002, 76).”

In what follows I’ll briefly present these problems in terms of how they would effect Kant, and then present the problem of the schematism. Though they are seperate problems, my intuition is that solutions to the schematism problem would work as solutions to both the contemporary problems (and for that matter that Kant’s discussion of teleology in the Third Critique should be understood this way). I realize that this is all a bit of a stretch, but here goes anyhow. Continue reading

When It Is All Over

Reading around about quantum mechanics this morning (sounds so important and smart, but really it was a kind of amateurish voyage inspired by another BBC documentary, my ultimate source of information about science and world in general), I came across this exchange:

Amusing SR style puzzle: when the universe dies in heat death in about 10^100 years where the last black-holes are decayed according to Hawking and classical matter has disintegrated to nothing, what will there be?

Continue reading

Hegel’s Heidelberg Writings Reviewed

This text — first in a projected series, under the general editorship of Michael Baur — presents two essays from Hegel’s stint at Heidelberg in 1816-18. One essay, previously untranslated, reassesses the philosophical significance of F.H. Jacobi, who had been roundly criticized by the young Hegel in Faith and Knowledge (1802). The other, partially translated by T.M. Knox in Hegel’s Political Writings (Oxford, 1964), is an extended polemic against the Proceedings of the Assembly of the Württemberg Estates, 1815-16. The series aims to offer “translations of the best modern German editions of Hegel’s work in a uniform format suitable for Hegel scholars, together with philosophical introductions and full editorial apparatus” (p. i). This inaugural volume gets things off to an excellent start.

The rest of the review is here.

Maimon Reading Group: Chapter 1 (Comments)

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who was reading and commenting this week (first week of our reading, so hopefully there’s much more to come). I have to say that I have had a chance to revisit some of the most fascinatingly difficult themes that have always puzzled me, so this has been a great opportunity to try and think about them again.

Let me begin with Nick Midgley‘s imaginary encounter between Kant and Leibniz. Here’s Leibniz (looking as eager to communicate with other scholars as he ever):

‘You say that space and time are the forms of our sensibility, they belong to our faculty of cognition whereas sensations are given to us from without. Now what I don’t understand is how you think sensations are brought under these forms. For if what we are given is non-spatio-temporal, then it is either one or manifold. If it is one than I do not see that any principle for making it spatio-temporal is possible, and if it is manifold, that is to say differentiated, then you need a principle for mapping the differences onto space and time. For example, if what is given is red and green how is it decided that the red is to the left of the green and not vice-versa? or that the red came before the green and not after it? I have been mocked for arguing that this is the best of all possible worlds, but what I meant by this is to propose that the world is organized to achieve a maximum of continuity. Now it seems to me that only a principle such as this could take you from a manifold of different sensations to a particular ordering of them in space and time. This is why Herr Maimon is right to suggest (chapter 8, s.77) that the principle of continuity is an a priori principle that your transcendental philosophy requires. Finally, in your Amphiboly of the Concepts of Reflection you attack me for claiming that the principle of the identity of indiscernibles applies to the sensible world. You would say there is no reason why two identical peas should not lie side by side in a pod. But I reply that your own theory counts against this, for if two non-spatio-temporal sensations are identical then we are agreed that they are not two but one, but to be placed side by side they must first be distinguished from one other, contrary to the hypothesis.’ Continue reading