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Kant and the Historical TurnPhilosophy as Critical Interpretation$
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Karl Ameriks

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199205349

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205349.001.0001

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Idealism from Kant to Berkeley

Idealism from Kant to Berkeley

(p.67) 3 Idealism from Kant to Berkeley
Kant and the Historical Turn

Karl Ameriks (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter critically examines the most common way in which Anglophone philosophers have offered a subjectivist reading of Kant's own metaphysics, namely, by characterizing it as a system very similar to Berkeley's phenomenalist idealism. Numerous terminological complications, along with the infamous difficulties of Kant's doctrine of transcendental idealism, make it understandable that many readers would attempt to give at least some kind of familiar meaning to Kant's thought by interpreting it in terms of other well-known theories, such as Berkeley's, that at least share the term ‘idealism’. Nonetheless, it is argued here that there are numerous exegetical and systematic reasons why this popular interpretive move, ‘from Kant to Berkeley’, should be strongly resisted. The fundamental error here — the presumption that Kant, like Berkeley, is committed to an equation of existence and representation — expresses an unfortunate idea that can also be found in Reinhold and was highly influential in post-Kantianism and after.

Keywords:   Kant, metaphysics, Anglophone philosophers, Berkeley, Reinhold, phenomenalist idealism

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