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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.

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Maimonides and Spinoza as sources for Maimon's solution of the “problem quid juris” in Kant's theory of knowledge

Carlos Fraenkel1

1McGill University, Montreal

Citation Information: Kant-Studien. Volume 100, Issue 2, Pages 212–240, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/KANT.2009.013, July 2009

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Maimon once described the philosophical project underlying his Essay on Transcendental Philosophy as an attempt “to unify Kantian philosophy with Spinozism”. But in the only reference to Spinoza in the Essay, he stresses that Spinoza was not the source of his argument. In this paper I will argue that, notwithstanding the disclaimer, Maimon's solution for the problems that in his view haunted Kant's theory of knowledge was indeed significantly influenced by Spinoza, as well as by the medieval Jewish Aristotelian Maimonides. Since the key concept in the solution proposed by Maimon is the metaphysical doctrine of the “infinite intellect”, my focus will be on clarifying how this doctrine is related to Maimonides' doctrine of the divine intellect and to Spinoza's doctrine of Deus sive Natura. My main contention is that important aspects of Maimon's doctrine of the “infinite intellect” are based on a Spinozistic interpretation of Maimonides' doctrine of the divine intellect.

Key words:: Maimon; Maimonides; Spinoza; Metaphysics; Infinite Intellect

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Margit Ruffing
Kant-Studien, 2011, Volume 102, Number 4

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