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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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The Critique of Metaphysics: The Structure and Fate of Kant's Dialectic

The Critique of Metaphysics: The Structure and Fate of Kant's Dialectic

(p.134) 6 The Critique of Metaphysics: The Structure and Fate of Kant's Dialectic
Kant and the Historical Turn

Karl Ameriks (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter combines an analysis of the structure of Kant's critique of earlier metaphysics with a historical account of how this critique could have had as its fate the remarkable rise of a new kind of metaphysics in the era of German Idealism. It begins with the general observation that the Dialectic of the Critique of Pure Reason does not attempt, let alone accomplish, the kind of complete destruction of metaphysics that many of its readers have supposed. Many traditional transcendent metaphysical ideas are allowed to be not only coherent but also assertable, once the demands of regulative and practical reason are allowed to supplement the thoughts of constitutive theoretical reason. Moreover, the Critique's stress on notions such as idealism, things in themselves, and the ‘unconditioned’ created (as William Hamilton noted) a ‘spectre’ that ‘haunted’ and stimulated German Idealism's new metaphysics of the ‘absolute’. Although Kant offers a radical critique of all earlier systems of a spiritualist or materialist kind, he also believes that something metaphysical should be affirmed beyond the spatiotemporal features of our experience. It is argued that for both Kant and German Idealism, this metaphysics is at least not any kind of subjectivism, and it need not present a special threat to most of our common realist beliefs.

Keywords:   Kant, metaphysics, Critique of Pure Reason, German Idealism, subjectivism, Dialectic

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