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Philosoph und Philologe der Aufklärung
Series: Werkprofile, 14

Abstract

Kantian defenders of suicide for the soon-to-be demented claim that killing oneself would protect rather than violate a person’s inherent worth. The loss of cognitive functions reduces someone to a lower moral status, so they believe that suicide is a way of preserving or preventing the loss of dignity. I argue that they misinterpret Kant’s examples and fail to appreciate the reasons behind his absolute prohibition on suicide. Although Kant says that one may have to sacrifice one’s life to fulfill a moral duty, suicide is not morally equivalent to self-sacrifice because it involves treating oneself merely as a means. Furthermore, people facing the onset of dementia would not protect their dignity by killing themselves while they are still rational and would not avoid a demeaning existence.

Abstract

This paper shows that Cassirer’s philosophy of mathematics underwent a significant transformation by the end of the 1920s. This transformation was due to Cassirer’s reception of the ‘foundational crisis’ within mathematics itself. David Hilbert’s conception of the ‘ideal elements’ of mathematics attracted Cassirer’s particular attention. Indeed, he sought a ‘transcendental deduction’ of these elements. Reflection on this issue is therefore essential to providing an adequate interpretation of the later Cassirer’s enterprise in the philosophy of mathematics.

Abstract

According to a familiar reading of Kant, he denies the possibility alleged by the rationalists of our having non-sensible or intellectual intuition. I argue in this article that he simply holds the possibility to be groundless. To put the contrast in terms of a distinction Kant makes in the A-Paralogisms, he raises a “dogmatic” objection to the rationalists in the former case, and a “critical” one in the latter. By analyzing the two-step argument in the B-Deduction, I defend the “critical” reading, which may, I hope, shed light on how Kant can justify his claim – which may be regarded as a second-order, methodological one pivotal to his Critical project – that possible experience serves as the only guideline for proving that we can cognize objects a priori.

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Abstract

This paper offers the first French translation of the “Introduction” (“Einleitung”) of the only available manuscript of the natural law course (which Kant taught between 1767 and 1788) known as Naturrecht Feyerabend (1784). The translation is preceded by a “Présentation” which, in particular, aims to establish the important but often ignored place of the “Introduction” of the Naturrecht Feyerabend in the development of Kant’s moral thought. The most obvious interest of the Naturrecht Feyerabend is related to the year in which this course was taught: 1784, a crucial year in the evolution of Kant’s moral thought, where Kant worked to complete the Grundlegung der Metaphysik der Sitten. In this regard, the “Présentation” that we propose for the French translation of the “Introduction” emphasizes that the Introduction of the NF contains arguments which are not found in the Grundlegung der Metaphysik der Sitten (among others the arguments that only freedom gives dignity and makes rational beings ends in themselves and that freedom must be a law to itself). To this extent, this “Présentation” aims to contribute to showing that the Introduction of the NF is a valuable text for the historian of Kantian thought who wants to reconstruct the development of Kant’s moral thought.