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Hegel and the Transformation of Philosophical Critique$
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William F. Bristow

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290642

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290642.001.0001

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Is Kant's Idealism Subjective?

Is Kant's Idealism Subjective?

(p.19) 1 Is Kant's Idealism Subjective?
Hegel and the Transformation of Philosophical Critique

William F. Bristow (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Hegel consistently characterizes Kant's transcendental idealism as ‘subjectivism’. This chapter develops Hegel's interpretation of Kant's idealism as subjectivism, and provides a limited defence of it. It is argued that Kant's relativization (and corresponding restriction) of our knowledge is primarily a consequence of his principle of apperception and of the role it plays in the transcendental deduction of the categories. The principle of apperception articulates the essential role of our epistemic agency in cognition. The identification of the essential role of our epistemic agency in cognition enables Kant to solve his main epistemological problem (the problem of the possibility of synthetic, a priori knowledge), but only at the cost of subjectivism, of the relativization of our knowledge to our standpoint. Kant's relativization of knowledge to our human standpoint follows from his articulation in the transcendental deduction of a normative structure according to which we, as knowing subjects, can understand ourselves to be bound by norms in the norm-governed activity of knowing only to the extent that the highest order norms of the activity have their source ultimately in us.

Keywords:   Kant, subjectivism, idealism, relativization, knowing subjects

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