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Saturday, July 22, 2006

 
Immanuel Kant - Nihilist?

Andrew Sullivan charges Chris Muir with misrepresenting Kant as a nihilist. Muir isn't the first person to characterize Kant's philosophy that way:

Though the term nihilism was first popularized by Ivan Turgenev (see below), it was first introduced into philosophical discourse by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743–1819), who used the term to characterize rationalism, and in particular Immanuel Kant's "critical" philosophy in order to carry out a reductio ad absurdum according to which all rationalism (philosophy as criticism) reduces to nihilism, and thus it should be avoided and replaced with a return to some type of faith and revelation.

Was Jacobi's impression of Kant's "critical philosophy" correct? Have at it, you armchair philosophers out there.

Update: At Obsidian Wings, commenter A White Bear links to Jacobi's arguments as reported on a Stanford University server.




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