You are on page 1of 10

Klaus Hartmann: A Philosophical Appreciation

Author(s): Terry Pinkard
Source: Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, Bd. 46, H. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1992), pp. 600-608
Published by: Vittorio Klostermann GmbH
Stable URL:
Accessed: 19-02-2016 03:22 UTC

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content
in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship.
For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Vittorio Klostermann GmbH is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Zeitschrift für
philosophische Forschung.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

No. whatever) nor was it the rigorousdescriptionof anything (transcendental consciousness. major intellectual Marx ism and.existentialism.) Hartmann argued for a distinct way of doing philosophy that was neither the analysis of anything (ordinary language.70 on Fri. XX. BERICHTEUND MITTEILUNGEN Terry Pinkard."' In that paper (which with his characteristic modesty he disclaimed as not being a piece of "research". Hartmann's thought represented a revised and purified form of neo-Hegelianism that attempted to respond to and complete the development of neo-Kantianism in modern Ger man thought just as Hegel himself had attempted to complete the development of Kantian idealism in his own day. 4 This content downloaded from 144. Hegel. Hartmann published "On Taking the Transcendental Turn." Review ofMetaphysics. but only a "series of reflections" on a "method"). Hartmann also wrote little on Hegel himself. who wrote little on Kant himself. In I966. he con tentedhimselfwith developingneo-Hegelian responsesand reflectionsto the movementsof his own day. The Linguistic Turn. Vol. Band 46 (I992). Fichte. Zeitschrift fur philosophische Forschung.livedexpe rience. Klaus Hartmann left behind a very significant body of work that belongs broadly to that tradition of modern German neo-Kantianism that centered around figures such as Rickert and Cohen. logical form. Sartre and Heidegger themselves. it was already a tradition that could point to some standard problems and some impressive results. whatever). later in his career.particularly. even (on Hartmann's reading) large segments of Husserl.32. His neo-Hegelianism was always attempting to answer the criticisms from both sides. Instead. This was amode of philosophy as explanatory and as founda tional. Like the neo-Kantians. developments in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. It was moreover a mode of philosophy with an impressive pedigree: Kant. Many of the themes that were to resonate during his entire career as a teacher and a writer are to be found in embryo in this piece. Hartmann outlined what he took to be the elements of transcendental philosophy. 2 (December I966). 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .128. its problems and the possible reasons for preferring it to other conceptions of phi losophy. Hartmann's thought always had one foot in the immediate present and one foot in the neo-Kantian past. Washington Klaus Hartmann: A Philosophical Appreciation At his death in I99I. "Taking the Transcendental Turn. It thus could claim to be more than a research program. 1 Klaus Hartmann. (The title of the piece was also a humorous counterpoint to his friend Richard Rorty's book.

p.not analysisor description. p. 238.Rather than just granting the applications of the categories and reconstructing them on that philosophytriesto operateentirelyon the categorial basis. but that assumption can be justified only on the transcendental level itself.Second. since it must simply take as given whatever is on the ordinary level and then move to the presuppositions of that level... transcendental level really is different from the ordinary level." ibid. First."3 The problem is to justify the categories.he says. it was Hegelwho firstrealizedthat for the transcendental project to succeed.4 Once one is at the categorial level. then we have a reason for moving to the transcendental level. KlausHartmann:A Philosophical Appreciation 6oi Hartmann characterizestranscendental philosophy as having severalaims. ifwe assume that the distinction of levels is valid.has two distinguishingcharacteristics. Of course. (i) the circu larityof theopening argument.Hegel'sLogic 2 See Klaus Hartmann.the ideal formof explanationwould be purelyon the categoriallevel itself.The usual transcendental method was to show that they are presupposed by the ordinary level.although itmay be indifferenttomore particularknowl edge claims.These problemsof justificationof the ontologicalcategoriesare a priori problems.70 on Fri. it is concerned with basic categories. Hartmann argued thatsuch amethod of lookingforpresuppositionsactuallybegged thequestion. for example.Third. If a person rejectsthe transcendentallevel itself. This content downloaded from 144. Such a theory.occurring in "thatdomainwhere truth is available without an actually performed reference to a referent. 234. and ifwe assume that the categorial level may be reconstructed in terms appropriate to itself so that it is self-justifying. it offersa kind of 'grounding'of a very generalclaim to knowledgeof the real.2 The most basic categoriesexpressour ontology.not with individualpropositionsor ordinaryempirical classifications. "Taking the Transcendental Turn." ibid." p. To look only for presuppositions is to fall back into what Kant called dogma tism. Hartmannnoted thatreachingthis transcendental standpointwas difficult. On Hartmann's view. 3 See "Taking theTranscendental Turn. 225.our common-senseunderstand ingof thebasickindsof things thereare.32. 4 See "Taking theTranscendental Turn. then how would we ever move from the ordinary level to the more esoteric categorial level? Hartmann argued that there could be no princi pled way to do this.128. 'pure'transcendental level itself.and (2) a commitment to the two levelcharac terof transcendental explanation:the levelof ordinaryclaims to knowledgeand the levelof basic categoriesof experiencewhich arepresupposedby that level.If the categorial.To take the transcendentalturn consists in being committed to philosophical theorywith the above three aims. it offersexplanations.Hartmann argues. one is in an autonomous domain of thoughtinwhich the categoriesare to be justifiedby a self-validating proce dure that does not need to refer to the 'ordinary level' in order to be justified. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .finding. These are. since any argument to get us there would be circular. and itsproceduresfor justifyingitselfreallyare independentof theproceduresof the ordinary level.

It has been the great temptation on the part of transcen dental philosophers to want to have things both ways in their theories: to have a transcendental theory developed and refined exclusively on the transcendental level and at the same time to include such interrelationships on the ordinary level in their theory. VI. he extended the no tion of categories to include what he called social categories. "Hegel: A Non-Metaphysical Interpretation. of least the tran scendental philosopher . circularity in the reconstruction of what is granted." p.must in Hartmann's view learn to be more humble. Categorial questions are luxury ques tions.602 Terry Pinkard or too esotericto be acceptable. pp. Tran scendental philosophy. It would seem that transcendental philosophy must adhere toWittgen stein's aphorism in the Tractatus that having climbed the ladder." Hart mann elaborated on this notion of transcendental philosophy.howevertemptingthatmight be. once we are at that level. In another piece. I12 113. But reason is only satisfied if it can accept things on its own terms. however. I968. 237." Klaus Hartmann.While there may be many propaedeutical tricks to get us to jump from one level to another. Although Hegel himself does not use the term. 6 For example: "The price is.32. 5 See "Taking the Transcendental Turn.70 on Fri.) Hegel. In this essay (as he had done in the original essay and two previous books). like those relating to the objects of knowledge in space and time." "Hegel:A Non-Metaphysical Interpretation. Hartmann claims that "[C]ategorial theory answers only the peculiar questions a philosopher may have as to what it is that a certain discipline is about. pp. are developed and justified on the transcendental level. 92-95. it leads us away from the ordinary level in order to prepare us for the more esoteric transcendental level of the Science of Logic.Vol. Hartmann interprets the basic concepts of the third section of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (the section on "Sittlichkei") as a doctrineof socialcategories. Succumbing to this temptation is described by Hartmann as "transcendental illusion. "Hegel: A Non-Metaphysical Interpretation.5 In a later essay in I972." It is a special form of philosophical hubris. This content downloaded from 144. He or she may not legislate categorially for more than their austere method al lows. The philosopher . part of the desire to legislate a priori for the world.A Collection of Essays (Garden City: Doubleday.then therecouldbe noth just incomprehensible ing at the ordinary level that would logically compel that person to move to the transcendental level.128. I972). we need not look back. see also his review of Jacob Loewen berg.6 Here Hartmann discusses the possibility of extending the transcendental categorial program in itiated by Kant and purified by Hegel into the social realm.within the immanence of thought." in Alasdair Maclntyre (ed. These social categories. has no means of conceptualizing those types of interrelationship that fall outside of the serial ordering that is inherent to tran scendental procedure.Hartmann ingeniouslyinterpreted Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit as such a propaedeutic. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." p. 117. we must throw it awaybehind us. Hegel 'sPhenomenology:Dialogues on theLife of theMind in Journal of theHis toryof Philosophy.

128.Having introducedvia thedialectic procedure)the categoriesof family. Hartmann defended the claim that only a transcendentally understoodHegelian theory can adequatelyac count for the legitimacy of the state. finite particu larpartners can be further conceived as less limited inmore universal. PolitischePhilosophie. the ways in which the social classes of civil society were to be taken up into the constitutionof the state and so forth."7 Hartmann argued in his three books on Marx and Sartre thatboth thinkersmake argumentsthatpresupposethe practiceof transcen dentalphilosophy (although. this inabilityto entertainthe interrelation authority.asHartmann acknowledges.and it is an illusionfor the transcendental philosopherto think that he or she can give theirvarious concreteopinions the backingof transcendental Moreover. p. I24. As Hartmann sees it. then plural and finally all encompassing social formations. (his transcendental Hegel wished to showwithin his dialectic thedevelopmentof themilitary. illusion. 8 "Hegel sees the determinations of thewill as free not in law (inmoral or civil law as a rule) but rather in the object of the will and in the configurations or shapes consti tuted by object and subject. In addition to a seriesof articlesand books dealingwith categorialtheory. Hartmann has also given us an extended version of his chought on politics in Here he presentedmost of the central issuesof his book. then a relation of the subject to its equal is a higher relation.70 on Fri. classicalpoliticalphilosophyand partiallydefendedhis transcendentalmethod againstthe alternatives.himselfviolated thisbasic restrictionon transcen dental theory-building(althoughHartmann argued in his books on them that Marx and Sartreare the greateroffenders)." p. ships among the concrete is no doubt what Hartmann had in mind when he spokeof "deficienciesthatmay be inherentin the speculative'ortranscendental method as such. 6o (I978). "Moralitat und 'kon kretesAllgemeines'. a coming to itself (Zusichkommen)of the will in the identical other." Archivfuir die Geschichteder PhilosophieVol. and he accused both of them of falling prey (just Hegel) to the temptationsof transcendental like theirpredecessor. This content downloaded from 144.neitheracknowledges that it iswhat they are doing).civil societyand state.Howevermuch practicalinsightHegel may havedisplayedin thesematters. It is a matter of a world of freedom. relations or social formations that transcend such duality of particular subjects can also be nominated for consideration: the particularity of only dual. These universals appear as cases of the or chestration (Einordnung) of individuals in a concrete rationality. KlausHartmann:A Philosophical Appreciation 603 Hegel. Hegel thinks of an ordering of objects of thewill according to categorial alienness or congeniality. How ever. Hartmann argued. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in Hegel's theory the state is conceived as a formation 7 "Hegel:A Non-Metaphysical Interpretation. 2.In PolitischePhilosophie. If a relation to a thing is not fitting to a subject. Practicalinsight should not be confusedwith a priori transcendentaltruth." Klaus Hartmann. This yields a series of different relations of will and ob ject that can be normatively evaluated as to their dignity.he oversteppedtheboundsof his theoryin making those claims.32. aworld of relations of affirmation that cannot exist in relations of subjects to the natural world or to things.

at least within the theory. the particular interests of the individuals that are the citizens of the state.604 TerryPinkard (Gestalt)that freedomtakes. it would represent a particular compromise among individual wills. and the state from the perspective of a principle of objective and prac tical spirit (i. To that extent. p. "A solution must obviously interpret the universal of the Hegelian theory so that it is normatively binding.. therecan be conflictsarisingfrompluralismwithin the society .70 on Fri. the religious beliefs of a particular individual conflict with the laws of a state.8 Through a seriesof dialecticalsteps thatprogressin termsof this congeniality. the transcendentalized family. The relation of the will to its object is conceived in terms of its congeniality to the will. 194.Hegel demonstratesthis via a teleologicaldialecticaldevelopment that begins with a concept of the will in relation to its opposite.when. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Since this Hegelian theoryformsconceptionsof individualagents. it is only a matter of an errorwhen the concrete universal is contested in its ideal-legal inter pretation and not only in its positive-legal facticity. In social contract theory. it results in a view of the homogeneity of individual freedom and state freedom. for example. in principle any collision of the individualwith itwould be an error: the individual constitutes only a categorial abstraction as normative. This content downloaded from 144.128.. 10 In his article. the state is pictured as a structure resulting from a series of individual choices. not the categorial Novum (a category that is irreducible to other categories) forwhich Hartmann's version of transcendental theory strives. A conflict between the two cannot appear. Second. there can be two other types of conflict which are important for transcendentaltheory.First. freedom).Moreover.10 Hartmann refers to the first type of conflict as a conflict of ultimate ends between the individual 9 PolitischePhilosophie. aswhen aminority is oppressed and denied certain basic rights by the legitimate powers of the state. However. we arrive at a conception of the state as a categorially higher social structure thansociety.9 The resulting state would be what Hartmann calls an abstract-universal. 5-6. analogous to the way that an ordinary contractual relationship might be pictured as the out come of a series of individual choices. but only in the frarneworkof a project for thewhole" pp.. there can be what we might call civil rights conflicts. not a genuinely new type of category.e.32. Hartmann speaks of two types of collisions between individuals and the state. The resulting conception is that of a dialectical unity of the universal final end of the state (freedom). But if the state was an achievement of so ciety or individuals. The individual could very well play off his privilege of conscience against the positive formation of the community. Hartmann argued that the second type of problem iswell taken care of by Hegelian type of theory. it is thehighest objectiveconfiguration of freedom. However. At best. and the subjective absoluteness of the individual. This categorial conception of the state can be contrasted with the conception of the state in terms of a social contract. itwould then be only a function of society. "Moralitat und 'konkretesAllgemeines' ".

one can see that such theories will always have a plus in terms of affirmativity. That theory is then more 'affirmative' than the others. An example of this is found in Hartmann's criticism of Marx's political scheme and his defense of Hegelian theory against it. (The point is alsomade in his "Hegel:A Non-Metaphysical Inter pretation. it cannot solve the existentialproblemsat the lower level.). 424-425. I96.128. listic"in that it beginswith somethingconcrete (the commodity)and supple ments it with other concretions.Hartmannmaintains. Die Marxsche Theorie (Berlin:Walter de Gruyter. InHartmann'sview. however. 1970). "affirmativity" enters into the evaluationof political theoriesto the extent thatone theorycan demonstratethepossibilityof amore morally attractivepoliticalor social state of affairs. In Capital. for example.70 on Fri.") 13Klaus Hartmann. 12 See Klaus Hartmann. is both unexplainedand unexplainablebyHegel. They beginwith an abstract categorythat becauseof its deficiency requiresupplementationby other cate gories. It is properly dialectical. "Reiner Begriff und Tatiges Leben" in Roman Schnur (ed. See PP. pp."'3Ad equatedialecticalargumentsfollowHegel'smodel. since it operatesat that rarifiedlevel. Staat und Gesellschaft:Studien iiberLorenz von Stein (Berlin:Duncker und Humblot.contradictorycategory.12 Hartmann was thus led to devise a conception of what he called "affirmativ ity" in order to respond to this dilemma.How do we mediate conflictingultimate ends between entities that are on differentcategoriallevels?This problem.thecontradictionsresultfrom the fact that the reasons for positing one category are equally good reasons for Marx's dialectic. Hartmann argued thatMarx falls prey to "transcendentalillusion. "nomina positing another.given that rational agentswould only exchange itemsof equivalentvalue?"Marx comes to the conclusion thatprofitscome about throughtheproductionof surplusvalue in the exploitation of labor.Only the resultingwhole is concrete. To the extent that one acceptsHartmann'sargumentsthat dialectical theoriesare the best suited to demonstrateat the transcendentallevel the higher rationalityof cer tain categories.but. the deficiency lies in the category'sentanglementin contradictions. 1978). I98I).however. 65-95. in that the II Klaus Hartmann."1The Hegelian theorycanhap pily develop theprogressionof categoriesat the transcendentallevel. "How areprofitspossible. The surplus value is the value of the product to the capitalist which is left over after the capitalist pays the worker enough to repro duce the labor power that made the product. KlausHartmann:A PhilosophicalAppreciation 605 and the state. Marx is interpreted by Hartmann in terms of the basic ideas of transcendental theory.Marx's basicquestion is. PolitischePhilosophie (Munich: Karl Alber Verlag.InHegel's case.The linearityof the theory in its relationto the coexistenceof the differentlycategorizedconfigurationsturnsout to be a sharpshortcomingof the theory. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This content downloaded from 144.

14 This "nominalism" (Hartmann's term) of Marx's dialectic necessarily leads to his view of the state as only a function of a society ridden by irreconcilable class conflict. "Exploitation is however a transcendental theorem in the theory: to the abstraction from concrete circumstances (constant capital on the industrial plane).. Capital ends up necessarily therefore being interpreted in a pejorative manner. abstracted out of the industrial process in which they occur. A perfect example is Hegel's beginning his Science of Logic with the category of pure indeterminate being. the category with which Parmenides ended his thought. may be conceptualized without incoherence or contradic tion) that include the possibility of affirmative political action. This "nominalism" is a presupposition." Ibid. which requires further categories for its completion in theconcrete. It is illusion and not just willful procedure because alternatives to a negative processing of actuality appear to be excluded by the depicted means. Hartmann also argued thatMarx's arguments are not only internally flawed.Marx introduces the categories of surplus value and surplus labor. indeed as a function of the abstract foun dations. any attempt to state what it is entangles one in contradiction. Indeed.A reflection on affirmativity is excluded by themethodological perspective. a theory that permits such affirmativity is preferable to one that does not. it is not something which Marx can demonstrate." 15 "Transcendental linearity under conditions of nominalism determines the result as negative. Unlike Hegel's pure being.70 on Fri. and derives the categories of capital out of these earlier categories.6o6 Pinkard Terry beginning is also something abstract. This content downloaded from 144. It is also thismixture thatultimatelyunderminesMarx's dialectic. Marx's category of the commodity. p. since there is no such entity as 'pure being'. and out of which nonetheless the concrete corollaries - constant capital..15 Moreover.128. the avoidance of affirmativity isgrounded in an illusion. 427. It shows that certain political configurations are possible (that is. It is a function of the abstraction. Part of what is objection 14 See ibid. how ever. it is the very deficiency of this initial category that propels one to move on to other more sophisticated categories. after all. as the result of the earlier categories of exploited labor. industry . This is clearly an abstraction. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the Hegelian method.. and we all know that their production and exchange involves a set of background operations. we all know what commodities are. but that Marx's procedure ignores the affirmative alternative. which we never en counter. 425. It is this inadmis sible mixture of the concrete and the abstract that gives Marx's dialectic its plausibility. p. is not like 'pure being'. However. a pejorative concept of the creation of value is attached that cannot exist under such an abstraction. commodities are things that we deal with every day. Hegel's method is both self-generating (in the Logic) and demonstrates the possibility of a better outcome. The fact that such arguments can be given in a rigorous manner shows that the Marxian theory has not exhausted the possibilities.32..are developed.

" the idealsof affirmativityfor that society.The given society. Hartmann was working on a foundational treatise on Hegel's Logic in which many of these themes were to be given a more 16 "The critique of theMarxian theory surely requiresno developed philosophical coun ter-position in order to be able to be given. itmust develop itselfpurelyon the transcendentallevel.while on theother hand itmust incorporateempirical facts and historical reality if it is not to lapse into practical incoherence.32.. We are not simply wishing for a different state of affairs or hoping thatMarx iswrong. An affirmativetheory is thereforeone that is part transcendentaland part empiri cal. the originalausterityof transcendentaltheory began to includewhat itscriticssaid it could not.with its in equalities.its classstructureand itshidden centersof power expressesthe "ac tive life" in which the "pureconcept"must find instantiation. they coordinatewith each other. In Hartmann'sdevelopmentof it. p. that incorporatesboth "pureconcept"and "activelife"within itself.a theoreticallysound attention to the sphereof "activelife.Overall. 18 Ibid." Ibid.Hartmann found a precedentfor such an integra tionof Hegelian categorialtheoryand problemsof facticityin thework of Lo renzvon Stein.Hartmann expressesvon Stein'spoint in termsof the differenceof "pureconcept"and "activelife"..18 The constitutionof a given socialand politicalorder expressesthe "purecon cept. the affirmative dialectic." At the time of his death. We are basing our hopes on a rationally defensible alterna tive.70 on Fri.if it is to be a "defenseof rational faith. the distinction is between the political ideals that are the stock and trade of the phi losopher and the real day to day existence in which these ideals are realized and sometimesbetrayed. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This content downloaded from 144. 73.17Von Stein conceivesof the stateand societyas two existences that stand in a 'reflective'relationshipto each other.As two separateentities." pp. KlausHartmann:A Philosophical Appreciation 607 able aboutMarx's 'nominalistic'dialectic is that it excludessuch affirmativity from theoutset."society stands in a relationshipof subordinationto the state. 17 See "Reiner Begriff und Tatiges Leben: Lorenz von Steins Grundkonzeption zum Verhaltnis von Staat und Gesellschaft und von Rechtsphilosophie und Recht.128.An affirmativetheory isverymuch likeKant's defenseof rea sonable faith: it tell us that we may rationally hope for more than Marx has given us. Hartmann thus came to argue that von Stein's accomplishmentwas his pointingout that transcendental philosophy. namely. asmoments of an overall "essence."must be double-sided:on theone hand. 65-95.any adequate theorymust incorporate what Hartmann calls an ele ment of facticityinto itself. 575. p. 16 In order to treat problems such as the coexistence of the state and society (which seemed to be ruledout in termsof the transcendentallinearityof the theory). it does however require an affirmative conception.

32. and.128.itspublicationwill be a sig nificantevent.The manuscriptwas virtuallyfinishedbeforehis death. 19 Feb 2016 03:22:02 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . It is also to be hoped thathis lectureson thehistoryof philoso phy.70 on Fri. for all thosewho find a vitality in the traditionof neo-Kantianismin which Hartmann elaboratedhis neo-Hegelianism. will also see the lightof day. inwhich many of these themeswere givenvery concreteelaborations.6o8 TerryPinkard thoroughexplanation. philosophyof history and the history of ethics. This content downloaded from 144.