Reject Kant's philosophy

Think more beautifully with Kant and Hegel

Without the old swords, not much is possible in contemporary philosophy. This is shown by an international congress in Basel. But what exactly is the topicality of the German master thinkers?

What do the philosophers actually do? You are reading Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831). And Kant, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). And Fichte and Schelling. They cultivate their master thinkers as if, intellectually, not much has happened in two hundred years. So do the philosophers act like the theologians who have interpreted their canonical texts for two thousand years? No. The philosophers remain with their idols, even if they believe they are superhuman, in the realm of reason and science, while for theologians the Bible is ultimately more than the work of man because it tells of the divine.

Above all, however, the philosophers debate their canon controversially. Serious young men, predominantly of German origin, put forward arguments with considerable acumen and rhetorical dexterity, examine them, reject them or accept them. They recite Kant and Hegel passages from memory. Every sentence has to be right, no utterance without a reason. The philosopher gets to the point, and if not, his fellow philosophers kindly but firmly point out what is causing him to brood. The philosophers are even able to discuss a lecture read by an Asian in incomprehensible German, drawing Cassirer over.

Where are the women?

And what do the philosophers do? They, too, talk about Hegel, Kant and Fichte, and they too do not allow themselves to be disturbed by the popping folding seats when someone in the lecture hall has got up again. Only this happens much less often because there are far fewer women philosophers than there are philosophers. Anyone who says that the natural sciences have a “women's problem” has never attended a philosophy conference, for example last week at the University of Basel, where the Swiss Philosophical Society organized an international “symposium”.

Of the almost seventy short lectures on the subject of "What is spirit?" primarily concerned with Hegel and Kant, less than a tenth of women were presented. Is there a ghost at work or several that scare them off? - Instead, the philosophers were strongly represented in the main lectures given by Sabina Lovibond (Oxford), Grit Schwarzkopf (Heidelberg), Alexandrine Schniewind (Lausanne) and Gian Francesco Giudice (Cern). It wasn't just about Kant, but also about Wittgenstein, among other things. Not a single conference paper dealt with a female philosopher.

Philosophy occupies a special position among the humanities; it is the epitome of them. Only she has dared to ask questions as big as simple as questions about the truth and the good life for centuries. And only she deals consistently with the "spirit": with the subjective spirit of "man", as she says, that is, with thinking, feeling, consciousness and perception, and with the objective spirit, as it is, for example, in manifest in the laws or in the state.

A super science

The object of philosophy, however, always remains philosophy itself; it has no other, whether it is called "continental philosophy" and deals with German idealism (i.e. with Kant and Co.) or critical theory (Horkheimer, Adorno), analytical philosophy, phenomenology, ancient philosophy or feminist philosophy. This distinguishes it from all sciences, including technical and natural sciences. Philosophy is a super science like no other discipline.

The analytical philosophy, which is strongly represented in the international academy, was noticeably weakly represented in Basel. Gunnar Hindrichs, organizer of the conference and professor at the university there, explains that the announcement was kept open and that it was hoped that the subject of the mind, which, strangely enough, often remains a blind spot, would then be thought through by the many schools of philosophy and that it would be considered want to get into conversation with each other. At least those present entered into a lively dialogue.

The peculiarity of philosophy gives it a special position in society and everyday life. “Philosopher” is called the clever head, but also the eccentric spinner. The philosophy - at least the one present in Basel - largely manages without hermetic technical language, but is nonetheless an aristocratic matter. Anyone who wants to have a say in the intellectual aristocracy must have studied the difficult German classics thoroughly and should be able to interpret their considerations appropriately.

Where the spirit blows, the material, profane, "social being" disappears. Marx criticized German idealism for this. Philosophical education is applied distinction even more than knowledge of art. When the particle physicist mounts the wire, the biochemist cleans the test tube and the sociologist starts the statistics program, the philosopher pauses and frowns.

Free of disinformation graphics

But he should continue to maintain that. Because philosophy defends the refuge of reflection and deliberation like no one else in the humanities and social sciences - this was impressively demonstrated by the symposium in Basel. No pseudo-statistics, disinformative graphics and unimportant illustrations distract from the struggle for the term, for the right argument. What do i want to say What is the paradox to be resolved? The layman is infatuated by sentences that he does not understand, even though they have no technical terms - so stupendous is their simplicity expressing complexity.

In chanting diction, as crystal clear and razor-sharp, Grit Schwarzkopf presented the expansion of the Kantian concept of spirit in the light of the quantum physical discoveries of the twenties: "Either Kant's Telos can be obtained scientifically, or it cannot be obtained scientifically." It must be like that. The building blocks with which the classic causality is to be expanded are there, now they have to be put together. Philosophers simply think more beautifully.