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1. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Robert Piercey Orcid-ID

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One of the core principles of Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is that interpretation culminates in application, or appropriation. But what exactly is an appropriation, and what makes some appropriations better than others? I try to shed light on these difficult matters by examining Ricoeur’s own appropriation of Alasdair MacIntyre’s notion of the narrative unity of a life, and by contrasting it with Richard Rorty’s appropriation of the same notion. I argue that Ricoeur’s appropriation is more successful than Rorty’s, and that the best explanation of its success is that it respects a distinctive norm that governs the activity of appropriation. I conclude by describing this norm, which I call the principle of ultimate compatibility.
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2. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
David Scott Orcid-ID

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In his Meditations Descartes advances an argument that contains the essentials of the so-called “hard problem” of explaining consciousness. I show how this Cartesian argument was taken up in the twentieth century by C. A. Campbell, the moral libertarian and student of idealist Henry Jones. Campbell can be regarded as the model of what John Passmore and Simon Glendinning have respectively dubbed a “recalcitrant metaphysician” or “honorary Continental” philosopher—labels that attach largely to metaphysically-minded, mainly British thinkers who, with varying degrees of affiliation to idealism, resisted the twentieth-century trends of logical behaviorism and the “revolutionary” linguistic method. In the course of this paper, I situate Campbell’s version of Descartes’ argument within the broader history of the development of the hard problem.
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3. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Mike Stange

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In Fichte’s early views of the basic laws of traditional formal logic, primarily the law of identity, there is a tension that has gone surprisingly unexplored: While Fichte holds the statements of these laws to be self-evidently true and absolutely certain, he nevertheless claims that they remain to be justified by his “Science of Knowledge.” The aim of this article is to make sense of this tension and to explore how it translates into the dialectical structure and methodology of Fichte’s first Jena Wissenschaftslehre. This is done by, first, conjecturing—in a somewhat ahistorical, yet Fichte-based, fashion—a reason for Fichte’s justificatory demand. It is argued that the validity of the law of identity can be questioned because our belief in its absolute generality appears to be self-refuting in that it involves an antinomy akin to Grelling’s semantic antinomy of the heterological. This antinomy, when, secondly, related to Fichte’s purported justification of the law of identity, serves as a key to understanding why there is an antinomic conflict between Fichte’s supreme principle—namely, the self-positing pure I—and its adversary, the not-I, in the first place. Tracing their contradiction (whose synthetic resolution is the main goal of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre) back to that semantic antinomy inherent in our formal-logical certainties opens up a new way of seeing Fichte as radicalizing Kant’s critical philosophy, understood as the project of the self-preservation of reason against reason’s own antinomies.
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4. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Elisabeth Widmer

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This paper challenges the hitherto common distinction between Hermann Cohen’s early phase of Völkerpsychologie and his later phase as a critical idealist. Recently, it has been claimed that Cohen’s turn was not a rapid conversion but a development that was already inherent to his early view. This paper argues that even in Cohen’s mature critical idealism, a thin basis of Völkerpsychologie continues to exist. Cohen’s critical programme is presented as having a twofold aim: On the one hand, it strives to give an account of pure, formal, and logical laws that regulate critical thinking; on the other hand, it offers a reading of Kant’s dualism between matter and form that allows critical thinking to be seen as inevitably embedded in causal laws of psychology, history, and physiology. Concerning the latter, the paper argues that Cohen remained in the tradition of Völkerpsychologie in his mature ethical thought.
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book review

5. Idealistic Studies: Volume > 51 > Issue: 3
Rolf Ahlers

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