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Ideas in Kant’s Philosophy (Il Pensiero special issue)

12 Jan 2024 9:42 AM | Eli Benjamin Israel (Administrator)

Submission deadline: June 3, 2024

Volume editor: Alfredo Ferrarin – University of Pisa

«The scientific concept of reason contains the end and the form of the whole», Kant writes at the beginning of the Architectonic of the Critique of Pure Reason. In much recent literature on Kant there is a rediscovery of ideas in their architectonic, heuristic, regulative sense, and a new centrality of reason in the narrow sense. Indeed, Kant introduces a fundamental novelty when he distinguishes ideas from concepts and separates understanding (Verstehen) from comprehending (Begreifen). And yet, ideas are not as heterogeneous with concepts as, for example, intuitions: if understanding is the faculty of rules and the power of judgment, reason is the faculty of inferring and concluding (schliessen) from concepts themselves, and of syllogistically organizing the understanding’s knowledge with a view to maximum coherence. This is why reason has no object of its own but is directed to the understanding, and why ideas, before being the transgression of the empirical use of reason that ventures into the supersensible, are methodological guides and maxims for reason’s need for unity: they are, that is, the way reason guides, plans and produces itself in its activities. Without ideas, the intellect risks being incoherent, like an aggregate without unity. On the 300th anniversary of Kant’s birth, «Il Pensiero» is hosting a call for papers on Ideas in Kant.

Some outstanding questions on controversial points that can be taken as examples for thematic insights are these: Are ideas themselves dialectical, and therefore a source of transcendental appearance, or is it only their transcendent use that makes them so? Can a balance be struck between the negative and positive results of the Transcendental Dialectic, beyond Kant’s explicit attitude that devotes disproportionate space to the critique of special metaphysics and transcendental ideas and relegates the positive meaning of ideas to an appendix? Is the systematic unity of nature a logical or transcendental principle, and is it the object of a deduction or not? What is the relationship between regulative and architectonic use of the ideas of reason? Is there a difference between the definition of reason in the strict sense as a faculty of ideas and as a faculty of principles? How does the principle of analogy help to identify the logic of reason and the bridge it tries to build between heterogeneous domains? Is any particular language given as more suitable for identifying, by contrast with the categorical predication of determinative judgment, the mode of expression of ideas? If we compare the Appendix of the Transcendental Dialectic with the Critique of the Power of Judgment, how can we isolate unambiguous differences, and establish any changes in Kant’s thought, between the principles of homogeneity, specification, and continuity in 1781 and the law of specification of nature with regard to empirical laws introduced with the concept of finality (Gesetzmässigkeit) and technique of nature in 1790, then between the hypothetical use of reason and the principle of Reflective Judgment? Why are speculative, practical and aesthetic ideas, which manifestly have a different formation and definition, all equally called ideas? Is it worth safeguarding a difference of ideas from the noumenon, the thing-in-itself, the unconditioned, the supersensible? Why do some transcendental ideas, but not others, assume the figure of postulates in the practical sphere?

Deadline for submission of contributions is June 3, 2024; response will be communicated by the editors by August 31, 2024. The articles may be in a language chosen from Italian, English, French, Spanish, German.  Submissions should not exceed 45.000 characters, including spaces and footnotes, and should be accompanied by an abstract in Italian and English, maximum 1200 characters each, and 5 keywords (in Italian and English). Click here for more info:

The issue is scheduled for release in November 2024.

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