Salomon Maimon: Rational Dogmatist, Empirical Skeptic: by G. Freudenthal

By G. Freudenthal

The essays of prime students accumulated during this quantity concentrate on Salomon Maimon’s (1753-1800) synthesis of 'Rational Dogmatism' and 'Empirical Skepticism'. This assortment is of curiosity to students operating within the fields of background of philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, rationalism and empiricism in addition to Jewish experiences.

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Maimon's fundamental transcendentalism, while critical of Kant in many important respects, blocked his way back to authentic Leibnizianism. It is not that he failed to understand Leibniz. But the vital sense of Leibniz' program and of his basic philosophical motivations was lost. The general idea on which this study is based - and whereof it is meant to serve as an illustration - is that one can convincingly speak of a 'Leibnizian moment'. I hereby submit the heuristic hypothesis that Leibniz' philosophy is the apogee of a specific period in the history of modern thought.

Saying, for instance, that a triangle can be a rightangled triangle amounts to claiming that the latter has new consequences. How can this new determination be achieved? First, Maimo11 thinks that this kind of synthesis obeys the LOD. The sllbject is independent of the predicate in several ways. It can be 35 Later I will discuss the status and role of construction in Maimon's philosophy. SA TZ DER BESTIMMBARKEIT AND THE ROLE OF SYNTHESIS 39 thought without the predicate, whereas the predicate cannot be thought without the subject.

But mathematics, with the aid of 'construction', provides us with. the model for an intellect that not only obeys the conditions of the LOD, but also with the sense of how this intellect can create new concepts. One cannot deduce the concept of 'right-angled triangle' from the concept of 'triangle', but one can construct this new concept on the basis of the former concept. 49 This demonstration, I believe, affords us a new model of knowledge which neither Leibniz nor Kant could offer. It is a logic of generating concepts without relying on deductions and identities.

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