About cmccall

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elmira College in Elmira, NY. Research interests include 19th and 20th c. European philosophy, American philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and the history of modern philosophy more generally. Since I'm a one person department, I'm a jack-of-all-trades (and master of none) when it comes to teaching.

Maimon Reading Group: Chapter 6 – Identity, Difference, Opposition, Reality, Logical and Transcendental Negation


[by Corey McCall, Elmira College]

The concepts of identity and difference are more general than the categories.  Identity and difference refer to determinable things rather than determined things, while the categories refer to determined things (i.e. they are conditioned).  Identity and difference are relational concepts, which means that they are reciprocally determining, but they are determinable with respect to the categories.  A and B must be thought as different, for they are more than thing.  A=A refers to more than one thing as well, insofar as we are referring to things at different times. While concepts can be self-identical, an object cannot.  Maimon’s point here recalls Hume’s notion of the emptiness of metaphysical speculation in The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: “Man is a reasonable being; and as such, receives from science his proper food and nourishment: But so narrow are the bounds of human understanding, that little satisfaction can be hoped for in this particular, either from the extent or security of his acquisitions” (Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 3).  It also recalls Maimon’s own point from the end of Ch. 4 that these syntheses only occur within time (54). Continue reading

Maimon Reading Group: Chapter 5 – Thing, Possible, Necessary, Ground, Etc.


[by Corey McCall, Elmira College]

1. Introduction

I’ve divided my post on the fifth chapter into two unequal parts.  The first, lengthier part deals with modality and covers approximately the first two pages of Maimon’s text.  Once I realized I’d never post anything worth reading if I kept going at this pace, I decided to wrap up with a much shorter section on the notion of the thing, which roughly covers the rest of the chapter.  It amounts to a series of notes which are my attempt to make sense of what’s going on in the chapter.  I discuss David Lachterman’s article “Mathematical Construction, Symbolic Cognition, and the Infinite Intellect: Reflections on Maimon and Maimonides,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, 30 (1992), pp. 497-522; I believe all the remaining texts that I cite have been cited by either Jon or Nick in their posts.  I’m becoming increasingly interested in the role that the imagination plays in Maimon’s work, and I’m hoping to be able to write something more on this in my post on the symbolic cognition appendix during the first week in August.  I’ll post on chapter six in the next couple days. Continue reading