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Critical Idealism for Beginners by Douglas R McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Critical Idealism: A Brief Introduction
Critical Idealism has been out of favor at least since the Vienna Circle imperially proclaimed in the first third of the Twentieth Century that there are no such things as a priori synthetic judgments. Because that’s what intellectuals in Europe wanted to hear as they turned away both from religious revelation and from Hegel’s spiritual meta-narrative toward the physical world, few (if any) bothered to ask just what an a priori synthetic judgment was – according to Immanuel Kant. In fact, the Vienna Circle presupposed precisely what it denied. The critical moment in reflection shifts the focus from (usually external) contents (those things about which we claim to have knowledge) to focus on the (internal) necessary conditions that make it possible for us to experience any contents in the first place. The silent presupposition of these necessary conditions of any and all experience requires the critical reflection that Kant called reflecting judgment in addition to determining judgment. A determining judgment already „possesses“ the concept that it needs to classify the phenomena to which it refers. A reflecting judgment has no pre-established concept for the phenomena and must seek out the appropriate concept in order to classify the phenomena to which it refers (see “IV. On the Power of Judgment as an a priori Legislative Faculty” in the Introduction to Kant’s Critique of Judgment). Reflecting judgments illustrate the activity of consciousness that adds to the phenomena of experience the concept that is given in the phenomena only as a concealed relationality (functionality) of the appearances among themselves, which require consciousness to grasp the relationality by means of a symbolic concept. … read more