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Main article: A History of Western Philosophy. Main article: Unpopular Essays. Main article: The Impact of Science on Society. Main article: The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Disputed [ edit ] Not enough evidence God! Not enough evidence! As quoted in Wesley C.

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May 11, by Emily Eakin: "Asked what he would say if God appeared to him after his death and demanded to know why he had failed to believe, the British philosopher and staunch evidentialist Bertrand Russell replied that he would say, 'Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence. There, Rosten writes : "Confronted with the Almighty, [Russell] would ask, ' Sir, why did you not give me better evidence?

This has often been published as a quotation of Russell, when an author is given e.

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In all affairs — love, religion, politics, or business — it's a healthy idea, now and then, to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. As quoted in The Reader's Digest , Vol. If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years. As quoted in Think , Vol. After all, I may be wrong. When asked asked if he was willing to die for his beliefs.

The Times book of quotations , p. I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty.

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I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex. No known source; also attributed to Susan Sarandon. I am neither as drunk as a Lord, nor as sober as a judge. I am more in the condition of a Lord Justice. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies.

To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Kant and the speculative end s of human history.

Wesley Phillips. Kant and the Speculative End s of Human History Wesley Phillips Translation, far from clouding the original text, may shed new light upon it. Foreign words make evident a concept that was not self-evident from the original, according to a comprehension of the text as a constellation of concepts. At the time, the Anglophone literature on Kant possessed H. Second, Humphrey seeks to connect the mutmasslich to the speculativ, the latter of which weighs heavier in the Kantian lexicon.

Although speculation has revealingly become synonymous with conjecture in more general usage, philosophical speculation ought not be mere guesswork, as we shall see. Nisbet Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , Theoretical cognition is speculative insofar as its object cannot be given in experience. But cognition is very far from being nothing. However, judging from the Prolegomena to any future metaphysics , speculative philosophy cannot become a critique of pure reason, since it remains bound to the old, dogmatic metaphysics.

There can be no future speculative philosophy. In one sense, Kant reserves his definition of the speculativ for the highest point of the Critique, at the end of the Doctrine of Elements. But in another sense, it comes too late, after everything has already happened. We cannot but help feel that Kant is going over old ground in these reflections upon arguments for the existence of an absolute being.

This ambivalent status of speculation can be extended to the Kantian corpus. For, if speculative philosophy is dead then why does Kant continue to deploy the term positively in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason and in the two subsequent Critiques? Ted Humphrey Indianapolis: Hackett, , Henry Allison and Peter Heath, trans.

Rather then being inconsistent, the Critique and the anthropological essays can up to a point be shown to be mutually supporting. Where the former receives a critique of idealism from the latter, the latter becomes metaphysically substantial through the former. Speculative history: Kant or Hegel? What is the nature of this anticipation? The first, as the term suggests, comprises a vision of the whole, or a unifying vision.

From a Kantian perspective, speculation thus stated lapses into dogmatic metaphysics namely, 5 G. For Kant, the queen of the sciences is concerned with looking at the bounds of knowledge. For Hegel, science as such Wissenschaft must also go beyond these bounds, since Hegel understands knowledge in a different way to Kant.

In both Kant and his idealist critics, a moment of contingency must be constitutive of speculative philosophising. Speculation includes the as yet unseen as well as the seen, however clear the vision might be — as if through a glass darkly. From the standpoint of our flawed historical present — one that Kant knew about — we actually want something contingent in our philosophical system, since this opens up the possibility of a different future.

Such possibility is negated as impossibility when the totality of knowledge, the end of history, has already been seen by the philosopher in advance of that end. This concept of the speculative vision of the whole then risks a form of panlogicism that negates speculation from the outset. Critical theorists from Theodor W. If the infinite task never gets a hold on the finite, 6 Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. Ashton London: Routledge, , The latter issue has appeared, in a more narrowly epistemological context, within recent scholarship on Kant and German idealism.

Yet these fundamentals lie concealed and are recognized in the antinomies so to speak unthinkingly and insufficiently in their truth. On the other hand, the antinomies really constitute all too poor a dialectic. Nothing beyond tortuous antitheses … The third form is the truly speculative form, i. Only this speculative stage is truly philosophical. Hegel, The Letters, trans. This is an acute issue for Rose, given that the concept of non-identity, often associated with Adorno, seems to come out of a philosophy of reflection that, in Hegelian terms, remains Kantian.

Can an alternative concept of the speculative be found in an alternative reading of Kant — one that Hegel did not, after all, grasp? In the difficult opening paragraph, the most important of the entire essay, Kant remarks, to produce a history entirely from speculations [Mutmassungen] alone seems no better than to sketch a romance [Roman]. Thus it could not go by the name of speculative history but rather only that of fiction [Erdichtung].

But this appearance is deceptive. If we read more 12 Rose, Hegel, There is a quasi- transcendental critique of the art and science of history here.

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Conversely, the science of history becomes philosophical only through being speculative. This first beginning or principle arises as a problem from knowledge of human history, but does not comprise conceptual knowledge in itself. Louden Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , Universal history with a cosmopolitan intent is not mere conjecture. Nor is it merely given, as something already achieved. Rather, universal history is speculative.

Kant is particularly horrified by the continuation of warfare in Europe. Ronald Beiner Brighton: Harvester, , 8. But ends are ultimately already there before each of us within a community of rational souls. Zwecken are regulative ideals — human relations that we repeatedly try and fail to meet. No matter how good I am, I cannot pass on my goodness to the next person or the next generation.

This suggests a cyclical rather than liner history, as if modelled upon the cycles of life and death in the world of nature. How can there be historical change if each generation must begin anew? The original capacities do not appear, but can nevertheless be deduced from their products. Philosophy can identify the faculties of the understanding, imagination, the will, and so on. In an analogous manner, the first beginnings of humanity remain unknown to us, yet we are surrounded by their present-day effects — effects that 22 Rose, Judaism and Modernity, 9. Kant is not attempting a transcendental deduction of the genetically or even evolutionary first beginning of the human species, since that would be impossible a rational deduction of the biological?

Matters stand the other way around: Kant seeks to empirically confirm his transcendental and moral accounts of rational being in an anthropological account of human being hence the shadow of anthropocentrism. The circularity cannot be avoided — assuming that the latter argument is not intended to function post facto.

A teleological concept of nature resolves the opposition between necessity and freedom, since nature can be understood either as causal mechanism or as purposive organism. The issue revolves around the relationship between human generation and human generations. Generations and the conditions of human reason Kant is troubled by the notion of a first generation of the human species because this generation is different in principle from all subsequent generations. The book of Genesis provides a mythical report, handed down through the generations. We cannot dismiss the fact of creation myths.

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There must be a first development — this is not, as a question, open to conjecture. However far back we go, the problem of a first development — of the genesis of self- consciousness — does not go away. What the beginning is does not coincide with that the beginning is. Genesis overlays the two beginnings: Adam and Eve being at once the first generation and the first free, having gained knowledge of good and evil. The two senses of condition that need to be briefly differentiated are 1 logical, and 2 genetic or, serial.

The whole of conditions for the thinking subject corresponds to 1. The inferential use of reason, which is cognitive and never discursive, ascends from the particular to the general. Premises are opened up to the scrutiny of reason. The whole of conditions for a given inference then corresponds to the exhaustive scrutiny of its premises. Conversely, the idea of the world corresponds to 2. This genetic condition has less to do with logic and more to do with causation — less Aristotle and more Newton. Kant attempts to blend 1 and 2 into a general concept of pure reason that is to be criticised.

Hence, the question of the unity of manifoldness — the coherence of world experience — is at stake in both accounts. Transcendentally logical and genetic conditionality retain fundamental differences, however. Notably, it is not clear how 29 Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Our claim is that the cosmological rather than the psychological or theological ideas provide the basis for the question of the exhaustiveness of reason in the Dialectic — taken as a whole or a unity.

And the last two antinomies, not cosmological but psychological and theological respectively, are also constructed according to the genetic paradigm. The four antinomies can be read as variations upon a single theme: the problem of finitude and infinitude. For, the genetic determination of reason leads to anxiety about its limits. Seriality implies an unconditioned first condition, just as the concept of generations implies an unreportable first development.

In principle, a first condition can be equally well considered finite or infinite, since we can know the unconditioned no better in either case. The unconditioned can be the first condition for all possible series the first antinomy of space and time or the first condition of a series within already conditioned series the third antinomy of freedom.

Considered in terms of the problem of human generations, the first generation corresponds to the former and the freedom of subsequent generations to the latter. Of course, even the pre-Darwinian Kant did not conceive of humanity as having existed for infinity. Self-consciousness both has and had a beginning not literally in the Garden of Eden, but it was somewhere, or perhaps a plurality of somewheres. In light of the essays, the task becomes futural and concerns the question of an historical whole.


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The cosmological whole becomes the idea of human - natural history. If space and time are infinite, macroscopically or microscopically, if there is a free will and if there is an absolute being, then there is in each case a contradiction of the principle of sufficient reason. The genetic paradigm of reason melts away. If, on the other hand, space and time are finite, there is no free will, and there is no unmoved mover in the world, then reason is entirely conditioned — fatalistically so. The problem is that reason must accept both the theses and the antitheses taken on their own terms.

The deflationary approach views the antinomy as the mere confirmation of an already deduced transcendental idealism. Since we can only know conditioned appearances, we can say nothing of a cosmic totality. But Kant here repeats arguments already contained within the antinomies themselves. A whole series of conditions is given purely, as an idea, where the conditioned is given empirically, as an appearance. Kant now worries that we might over-hastily infer some cosmic totality — whether natural or historical — from the synthetic unity of a particular; a Leibnizian monad.

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The criticism that inference might be empirical does not thereby constitute a new criticism. The former, negative utility involved reflection upon its faulty construction, whereas the positive utility relies upon its sound construction. This is why the ideas and antinomies are, like the categories, limited in number.

Dissolution is not an option. It is important to take into account the deflationary account, however, as a symptom of doubt over the regulative one. We can regard the twin response as a continuation of, not ultimate answer to the antinomy. Infinity and world historical coherence Kant himself sees that the determination of reason as regulative does not negate, but rather carries-over the question of a regressive infinity. This is despite the fact that Kant does not explicitly acknowledge the possibility that reason might slip back into the thetic position of the antinomy, siding with infinity after all.

Rather, Kant is drawn in to a new discussion of infinity. He attempts a distinction between two kinds of infinities, as a possible resolution.