Having read Kant’s political writings for some time now, and having often compared his political advice (no resistance, reforms from above only) to his philosophical advice (revolution and undermining critique), I am slowly coming to an uncomfortable conclusion that was somewhat pressed upon me this week while I reread sections of “The Doctrine of Right” and The Conflict of Faculties – Kant was a conservative and naive citizen of Prussa whose use of the imagery of “revolution” vis-a-vis his own philosophical discoveries (and multiple autobiographical events such as famous “dogmatic slumber” incident or a discover of Rousseau) did not propel him to leave his provincial shell of a “teacher of the people” and see radical political implications of his own discoveries. How Heine could possibly compare Kant to Robespierre is beyond me. How can we change our society for the better? According to Kant, we cannot do much – we hope and pray that the state “reforms itself from time to time” but ultimately we can only hope for a miracle, “a kind of new creation (supernatural influence)” [7:92] – What sort of reactionary flaming pile of shit is this? And coming for Kant? I better go read some Marx (or maybe Fichte) to get me away from this idiocy…
Marxist-Leninist afternoon continues with a section from Althusser’s Lenin and Philosophy:
In a lecture now a year old, published in a small volume by Maspero under the title Lenin and Philosophy, I have attempted to prove that Lenin should be regarded as having made a crucial contribution to dialectical materialism, in that he made a real discovery with respect to Marx and Engels, and that this discovery can be summarized as follows: Marx’s scientific theory did not lead to a new philosophy (called dialectical materialism), but to a new practice of philosophy, to be precise to the practice of philosophy based on a proletarian class position in philosophy.
This discovery, which I regard as essential, can be formulated in the following theses: Continue reading
It doesn’t seem like a good idea to attempt to silence a people that is basically brought up on the idea of revolution, especially if that revolution took place during the lives of many and its ideas formed the foundation of a nation. It would be like trying to install monarchy in the United States in 1800. In any case, it’s difficult to get a sense of what is happening, but this has been a news item – Grand Ayatullah Husayn (Hossein) ‘Ali Montazeri has issued a statement condemning the electoral fraud: Continue reading
As I have stated earlier, Kant’s critical project is full of legal metaphors, especially when it comes to claims to legitimate use of reason. While reading an essay by George di Giovanni recently (“Faith Without Religion, Religion Without Faith: Kant and Hegel on Religion” from Journal of the History of Philosophy, 41:3, 2003, 365-83), I came across an interesting passage that got me thinking again about the “executive decrees” which would be my humble and possibly misguided attempt at translating the German die Machtsprüche: Continue reading