"Logic, Method and System in post-Kantian German Idealism"
In this paper, I defend a novel account of the post-Kantian philosophical movement known as “German idealism.” On my account, idealism is a movement preoccupied with questions in the philosophy of logic. The idealists are eager to avoid Kant’s uncritical reliance on the logic of the day. They believe doing so requires nothing less than a method of rational argument which does not rely on the laws and materials of formal logic. The central question of the paper is whether and how this might be possible. In part 1, I offer a new interpretation of a well known idealist (“meta-critical”) objection to Kant. I argue that the objection implicates the role of logic in the first Critique. In part 2, I defend an interpretation of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre [Science of Knowledge] as an attempt to derive formal logic’s laws and materials from a post-Kantian version of Descartes' Cogito argument. In part 3, focused on Hegel’s Wissenschaft der Logik [Science of Logic], I offer a sympathetic treatment Hegel’s attempt to differentiate dialectical logic from the formal variety. I do so by focusing on the role of contradiction in each. In the conclusion, I briefly relate my interpretation of post-Kantian idealism to Michael Friedman’s idea of a "parting of the ways” between anglophone and continental traditions in philosophy.