Kant, Kantianism, and Idealism: The Origins of Continental Philosophy

Thomas Nenon (ed.), Kant, Kantianism, and Idealism: The Origins of Continental Philosophy, 343pp., vol. 1 of Alan D. Schrift (ed.), The History of Continental Philosophy (8 vols.), University of Chicago Press, 2010, 2700pp.

Reviewed by J. M. Fritzman, Lewis & Clark College

This is the first of eight volumes in the series The History of Continental Philosophy. In his introductory chapter, Thomas Nenon notes that, in contrast to analytic philosophy, continental philosophy developed through a deep and sustained dialogue with Kants philosophy and those thinkers influenced by it in France and Germany during the nineteenth century. He is correct; Kants philosophy begins its rehabilitation in analytic philosophy with the 1966 publications of Jonathan Bennetts Kants Analytic and Peter Strawsons Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kants Critique of Pure Reason. He also observes that, although Kants philosophy has now been appropriated by both analytic and continental philosophy, the other philosophers discussed in this book have generally been ignored in analytic philosophy.

Nenon writes that the French Revolution was taken by Kant to directly challenge two of the fundamental beliefs of the Enlightenment. The first belief was that enlightenment is compatible with order, stability, and the gradual reform of political and social institutions. The second was that progress in any one area of human endeavor would be mirrored by progress in other areas. Nenon suggests that there were two chief responses to this challenge. The “romantic view” of Fichte, the early Hegel, and Marx maintained that progress will result in the elimination of the state. The “realist position” of the later Hegel held that the rational state is not only required for progress but is itself an instance of that progress.

Following this introductory chapter, there are ten that discuss specific philosophers.

via Kant, Kantianism, and Idealism: The Origins of Continental Philosophy // Reviews // Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame.

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