Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 7, No 1 (2011)

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Critical Idealism and Transcendental Materialism: A Speculative Analysis of the Second Paralogism

Michael James Olson


This paper argues that the critical doctrine of the necessary unity of the thinking subject propounded in Kant's Second Paralogism contains an idealist commitment to the metaphysically exceptional nature of the unifying activity of thought.  Rather than rejecting Kant's transcendental framework as necessarily idealist and antagonistic to the current projects of speculative materialism, it is argued that transcendental philosophy should remain an important ingredient of any contemporary metaphysics.  The implicit metaphysical idealism of Kantian critical idealism, it is claimed, in the end reveals speculative resources within the architecture of transcendental philosophy that can, if I am right, maintain the importance of the project of determining the epistemological legitimacy of metaphysical knowledge without reducing metaphysics to the subjective idealism of Kantian critical philosophy.

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