Abstract and Keywords
Kant’s transcendental philosophy sets the stage for the nineteenth century critique of transcendent metaphysics and its suggestion that we may believe in a world beyond all phenomena or experience. Kant also tries to save some functions of traditional metaphysical thinking in a logical analysis of the preconditions of empirical judgement and in the domain of ethical attitude—and Hegel follows suit. The canonical story, that the German Idealists allegedly return to rational theology, and that only the Hegelian left develop critical philosophy, results from a deep misunderstanding of the generic form in which large scale speculations or ‘topographies’ about the different forms of knowledge have to be expressed. Stirner’s too hasty criticism of the allegedly ‘metaphysical’ language of Hegel, for example, influences Nietzsche and Weber, Mauthner, Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle and threatens to lead us back to a pre-critical criticism of metaphysics or empiricist ‘quietism’ that does not solve the problems but only turns our interest to other things.
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