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Immanuel Kant’s argument in the essay ..

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As Immanuel grew older, hardships befell the family. After thedeath of his maternal grandfather (1729), the Kants suffered from aseries of events that would eventually ruin the family. The deathleft the harness-shop downtown without leadership and Anna's motherwithout a provider. To compensate, the Kant's moved into the home ofAnna's mother on the outskirts of the city, inthe Sattlerstrasse, the saddler-street, a less prosperouspart of the city. The saddlers, a guild distinct from harness-makerswhile producing similar goods, did not welcome thecompetition. Johann Kant became the target of the saddle-makers'hostility, and the business failed to prosper in the newlocation. Income steadily declined, and further hardship occurredwith the death of Anna Regina (1737). Just thirteen years old,Immanuel must have keenly felt the loss of his first tutor regardingnature and religious sentiment.[]

New Essays on the Precritical Kant

This new look at Kant's pre‑critical ..

On the face of it, it seems inexplicable how Kant could applyNewton's theory of the tides to the fate of Earth's axialrotation. But in the Spin-Cycle essay (1754), Kant arrived atthe right result for the right reasons. Newton showed that theprimarily lunar gravity acts on ocean tides. This action, Kant argues,constitutes a retarding moment on the Earth's surface (1:187); thisretardation, he infers, slows down the Earth's rotation (1:188); andthe lunar brake only lets go, he concludes, when days are as long aslunar months (1:190). He found the solution despite multiplehandicaps: minimal data, unimpressive formal skills, and noinstruments.


But Hegel presents us with at least one more option. I have stressed that on the issueof freedom, like other sensitive issues, Hegel "plays it safe" and seems to usethe language of freedom while not being always open about the deterministic implicationsof his system and the need to address more directly the issue of whether he is reallyespousing compatibilism. To this extent, Hegel seems to be methodologically less admirablethan Kant. The investigations in Chapter 6 of his theoretical discussions of Kant provideevidence that his doctrine of freedom, like his treatment of other basic issues, could berooted not in hidden depth but simply in some bad and unfair arguments. But theinvestigations in Chapter 7 reveal that at the origins of Hegel's philosophy there aresome complex and impressive considerations about precisely one of the most difficultaspects of the whole Kantian doctrine of freedom - the problem of making comprehensiblehow it could be at all attractive to think of oneself as so "free" that onecould freely commit one's whole "cast of mind" against morality, and yet findsomething in oneself that would allow for an autonomous "revolution" back towardmorality. From Hegel's perspective, Kant's discussion of "moral conversion" intraditional metaphysical terms departs too much from understandable natural senses of"autonomy, "3 senses where the fulfilled self is (as Bradley put it) not onethat "is fallen from heaven." Hegel is still attracted to the overriding valueof some kind of autonomy, but one without the commitment to libertarianism that definedReinhold and Fichte. His alternative is to redefine the self-determining "self"in explicitly social and historical terms, and to emphasize the autonomy of reason as animmanent whole.

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With these works Kant secured international fame and came to dominateGerman philosophy in the late 1780's. But in 1790 he announced that theCritique of the Power of Judgment brought his critical enterprise to anend (5:170). By then K. L. Reinhold (1758–1823), whose Letters on theKantian Philosophy (1786) popularized Kant's moral and religious ideas,had been installed (in 1787) in a chair devoted to Kantian philosophyat Jena, which was more centrally located than Königsberg andrapidly developing into the focal point of the next phase in Germanintellectual history. Reinhold soon began to criticize and move awayfrom Kant's views. In 1794 his chair at Jena passed to J. G. Fichte,who had visited the master in Königsberg and whose first book,Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation (1792), was publishedanonymously and initially mistaken for a work by Kant himself. Thiscatapulted Fichte to fame, but he too soon moved away from Kant anddeveloped an original position quite at odds with Kant's, which Kantfinally repudiated publicly in 1799 (12:370–371). Yet while Germanphilosophy moved on to assess and respond to Kant's legacy, Kanthimself continued publishing important works in the 1790's. Among theseare Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793), which drew acensure from the Prussian King when Kant published the book after itssecond essay was rejected by the censor; The Conflict of the Faculties(1798), a collection of essays inspired by Kant's troubles with thecensor and dealing with the relationship between the philosophical andtheological faculties of the university; On the Common Saying: That Maybe Correct in Theory, But it is of No Use in Practice (1793), TowardPerpetual Peace (1795), and the Doctrine of Right, the first part ofthe Metaphysics of Morals (1797), Kant's main works in politicalphilosophy; the Doctrine of Virtue, the second part of the Metaphysicsof Morals (1797), a catalogue of duties that Kant had been planning formore than thirty years; and Anthropology From a Pragmatic Point of View(1798), based on Kant's anthropology lectures. Several othercompilations of Kant's lecture notes from other courses were publishedlater, but these were not prepared by Kant himself.

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Part II (the 1750s) is about the emergence of theprecritical project. Kant signaled his conversion to Newtonian physics with theSpin Cycle essay, a conversion that gave the incipient precritical project itsdirection. Now he began to build a grand system of nature. He tried to reconcilephysical processes with purpose in the Universal Natural History, endeavored todeduce the compatibility of mechanical determinism with freedom in the NewElucidation , and attempted to link physics, teleology, and ontology through atheory of active matter outlined in the Physical Monadology.