Goodbye Kant! What Still Stands of the Critic of Pure Reason
September 6, 2004
September 10, 2004
International Summer School of Philosophy, Heidelberg.
Maurizio Ferraris (University of Turin, Italy)
Goodbye Kant! What Still Stands of the Critic of Pure Reason.
The Kantian revolution – The Transcendental Fallacy – Conceptual Schemes and Phenomena – Space, Time, Substance and Causality
Please, submit request of participation (with curriculum vitae) within the first August, to Dott. Giandomenico Bonanni
Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Scuola di Heidelberg, Apothekergasse 3, 69117 Heidelberg.
Maurizio Ferraris (University of Turin)
What still stands of the Critique of Pure Reason
Königsberg, where Kant was born and lived, is one of the many cites that changed its name
after the Second World War. Then it was in Prussia; today it is a Russian enclave between
Poland and Lithuania and is called Kaliningrad. Its passing in 1945 from German to Russian
seems to mirror the return of Leningrad/St Petersburg from Russian to German after 1989.
And it helps us to realise, as if on a journey through time rather than space, how much water
and flowed under the bridge, not only in history (which is obvious enough) but also in
philosophy (which often less so).
Prompted by the bicentennial of Kant’s death, this seminar aims to set out his
revolution, the so-called Copernican revolution, with the same affectionate irony with which
the film Goodbye Lenin! treats the Soviet revolution. Just as in Kant, so in Wolfgang Becker’s
DDR, we find pickled gherkins and dilapidated Trabant cars mixed in with the ideals of a
more secure and less unjust world, with the yearning for a totalising refoundation of
knowledge and morality.
The spirit in which we proceed is thus quite different from that which, a hundred and
fifty years ago, drove Franz Prˇíhonsky´ (1788-1859), a pupil of the Austrian philosopher
Bernhard Bolzano (1781-1848), to write a book whose title represents its programme, The
New Anti-Kant, which itself tells us that it was not the first. What I offer is not a Newest Anti-
Kant. And the aim is not to desecrate a monument but rather, if possible, to scrape off some of
the rust and to give it back to the present day.
I am convinced that a listing of the Trabants and the gherkins that are to be found in
the Critique of Pure Reason would be a way not to say what is living and what dead in the
Copernican revolution (who would dare so vast a task?), but to present from another –
perhaps better-disposed – point of view a classic of philosophy that has become embalmed by
the passage of time and its own success.
For any further information please contact:
Dott. Giandomenico Bonanni
Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici
Scuola di Heidelberg
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