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International Phenomenological Society

Hegel's Critique of Kant's Theoretical Philosophy


Author(s): Karl Ameriks
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Sep., 1985), pp. 1-35
Published by: International Phenomenological Society
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Philosophyand PhenomenologicalResearch
Vol. XLVI, No.
i, Septemberi985

Hegel's CritiqueofKant's
TheoreticalPhilosophy
KARL AMERIKS
of Notre Dame
University

Ivan Soll has remarkedthat "Hegel's entireprogramand conceptionof


philosophydependedupon refutingKant's limitationof reason."' But
whileSoll discussesHegel's attemptsin thisregard,he admitshe has not
"attemptedto corroborateor criticizeHegel's interpretation of Kant."'
Soll is notalone here,forevenwiththegreatrenewalof interestin Hegel
today,3therehas been surprisingly littlecriticaldiscussionof Hegel's
treatment ofKant,especiallywithregardto thedifficult coreofthattreat-
ment,namely,therejectionofthetwo centralcomponentsofKant'stheo-
reticalphilosophy:thetranscendental deductionofthecategoriesand the
doctrineof transcendental idealism.
Therehave been a fewhelpfuldiscussionsof thissubjectrecently,4 but
none has givena systematic accountof thedistinction betweenthesetwo
crucialcomponentsin Kant's own view and of the generalnatureand
groundofHegel's treatment ofthedistinction. In thefollowingsections,I
firstoffersuchan account (in sectionI) and thendistinguish and evaluate
Hegel's threetypesof objectionsto Kant's deduction(in sectionsII-IV)
and his threetypesof objectionsto Kant's idealism(in sectionsV-VIII). I
argue theseobjectionsall fail because of a closelyrelatedset of errors,
errorswhichare understandablebecause theyconcernsome of themost

Ivan Soll, An Introductionto Hegel's Metaphysics(Chicago: Universityof Chicago


Press,i969), pp. 48-49.
2 Ibid., p. xiv.
See, e.g., CharlesTaylor,Hegel (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press,1975); Rich-
ard Bernstein,"WhyHegel Now?" Review of Metaphysics31 (1977): z9-60; William
Maker, "UnderstandingHegel Today," Journal of the History of Philosophy 19
(1981): 343-75.
4 See especiallyJohn Smith, "Hegel's Critique of Kant," Review of MetaphysicsZ6
(1973): 438-60; IngtraudGorland,Die Kantkritik des jungenHegels (Frankfurt:
Klos-
termann,I966); and Klaus Dusing, Das Problem der Subjektivitatin Hegels Logik
(Bonn: Bouvier,1976), pp. I09-z0.

HEGEL'S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I


issuesin Kant'sphilosophy.I also contendthattheseerrorsillus-
difficult
tratecertaingeneralpatternsof approachingtranscendental philosophy
and hencean especiallyappropriateroute
whichare stillveryinfluential,
"back to Kant" in our own timeis via there-examinationof Hegel's cri-
tique of thatphilosophy.5
of Kant'stranscendental
I. Hegel's treatment deductionturnsout to be
so closely connectedto his objectionsto transcendentalidealismthat
beforeanyassessmentcan be madeofhisspecificattacks,itis necessaryto
reviewthe essentialsof the generalrelationof Kant's deductionto his
idealism.6The pointof Kant's deductionis basicallythecentralclaim of
the TranscendentalAnalyticof the Critiqueof Pure Reason, namely,
that (i) thereare determinablea priori principlesfor spatiotemporal
experience,principlesinvolvingcategoriessuch as substanceand causal-
ity.The pointof Kant'sidealismis basicallythecentralclaimoftheTran-
scendentalDialecticof the Critique,namely,that(z) metaphysically the
spatiotemporalrealmhas a nonultimatestatus,so thatwhateverwe or
otherbeingssuchas God maybe in themselves, suchthingsin themselves
cannothave intrinsic materialproperties.Ifwe combinethesepointsand
add that (3) our objectivetheoreticalknowledge7cannottranscendthe
realmgovernedbytheprinciplesofAnalytic,we thengetthelessonofthe
Critiqueas a whole,a doctrinewhichhas been called Kant's "restriction
thesis,"namely,that(4) althoughour knowledgehas a prioristructure, it
is all onlyphenomenal.
Understoodsimplyin theseterms,the centralclaims of the Analytic
and theDialecticare independentin meaning,and in factthereare many
philosopherswho have acceptedonlytheone or theother.However,the
claims are not completelyseparatedin the Critiqueforalreadyin the
deductionof thecategories(as in thetranscendental expositionof space)
Kant discussesbothpoints.That is, he firstestablishesthe contentand
validityof certaina prioripropositions,and thenhe assertsthetranscen-

In addition,I believethisevaluationis thepreconditionforanythoroughassessmentof


Hegel's evenmoreinfluential objectionsto Kant'spracticalphilosophy,especiallysince,
as Soll emphasizes,Hegel's conceptionsof truthand freedomgivea uniqueunityto this
theoreticaland practicalphilosophy(Introduction, pp. 73ff).This topicwillbe thefocus
of the sequel to thispaper.
6 Cf. R. C. Walker,Kant (London: Routledge& Kegan Paul, 1978), pp. zz-z3; Karl
Ameriks,"Recent Work on Kant's TheoreticalPhilosophy,"AmericanPhilosophical
Quarterly i9 (i98z): I-z4.
By "knowledge"I will mean generally(withoutalways makingit explicithereafter), as
Kant does, "objective"or determinate as opposed to merelyanalyticor formalknowl-
edge,and "theoretical"as opposed to practicalknowledge,wherepracticalknowledgeis
any knowledgebased on some premiseassertingan obligation.

Z KARL AMERIKS
dentalidealityof what is coveredby thosepropositions.8 But whilethis
meansthatto a certainextenttheDialecticis anticipatedearlierintheCri-
tique,thefactremainsthattheidealityof Kant'sprinciplesis nota partof
the argumenttowardtheirvaliditybut is ratheran explanationoffered
onlyaftertheyhave been shownto be valid and therefore seen as in need
of a metaphysicalaccount.Moreover,Kantindicatesthatitis theDialec-
tic which nails down the strongclaim that our (objectivetheoretical)
knowledgeis absolutelylimitedto spatiotemporalpropertiesand that
affirming theidealityof thespatiotemporalgivesus not merelya "best"
accountbutratheran absolutelynecessaryone.9More specifically, while
theAestheticarguesthatthereis a varietyof particulardifficulties with
each of thetraditionalaccountsof space and time(theNewtonian,Leib-
nizian,and Berkeleyan),and thatthereis thegeneralproblemthatnoneof
them"makes intelligible"synthetic a prioriknowledge,it is onlyin the
Antinomiesthat Kant shows transcendentalidealism is inescapable
because withoutit we are leftin contradiction.This is Kant's ultimate
groundfor(z), and it is onlyvia thisclaim and (3)10 thathe concludes
withhisrestrictionthesis.Hence forKanttherestriction thesiscan be nei-
therconflatedwithnorwhollycut offfromthededuction:thededuction
alone does not provethespatiotemporaldata we deal withare onlyphe-
nomenal,and theAntinomiesalone does notprovethattherealmofthese
data exhaustswhat we can know.
Hegel was not veryclear about theserelationsbetweenKant's basic
argument.For example, he says repeatedlythat in using the term
"transcendental" intheproofofthecategories,Kantmeansto be express-
ingtheirideality."This is simplyto overlookthetwo stagesin thededuc-

8 See e.g.,B 41, B 146. "A" and/or"B" willrefer,


as is customary, and/orsecond
to thefirst
editions of the Critique of Pure Reason. Cf. K. Ameriks,"Kant's Transcendental
Deductionas a RegressiveArgument,"Kant-Studien69 (1978): z73-87.
9 B xix.
0 The basis for (3) is Kant's doctrineof judgment,i.e., that our objectiveknowledge
requiresbothconceptsand intuitions, iftheprinciplesoftheAnalyticgov-
and therefore
ernthewhole domain of our intuitionthenour objectiveknowledgecannottranscend
that domain. See A 5i/ B 75f, A 68/ B 93f, B 146-50.
"That Unity . . . Kantcalledtranscendental only;and he meanttherebythattheunity
was onlyin our mind." Hegel, Encyclopedia,%4z, Zusatz z. Page references to Hegel's
textswill be to the relevantvolume of the recentTheorie-Werkausgabe(Frankfurt:
Suhrkamp,1970), and, when appropriate,to themostconvenientEnglishtranslation,
whichin thiscase is Hegel's Logic, by WilliamWallace (Oxford: Oxford University
Press,1975). The references will always givethe volumeand page fromthe Werkaus-
gabe, followedbytheauthorand thepage oftheEnglishtranslation, thus(forthelastref-
erence),VIII: i i8, Wallace, p. 70. Cf. Hegel, Vorlesungenuiberdie Geschichteder Phi-
losophie,XX: 338, "Das Transzendentalebestehtdarin,in subjektivenDenken solche

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 3


tionnotedearlier,and to missthefactthatin suchtypicalphrasesas "the
transcendental deduction,"the term"transcendental"distinguishes not
themetaphysical statusoftheelementsdeduced,butratherthemannerof
theirbeing deduced, namely,as conditionsnecessaryforexperience.
Thus,to saya unityofapperceptionis transcendental is notto meanthatit
mustattach to what is beyondexperienceand intrinsically nonspatio-
temporal,butis justto say thatit is a kindof apperceptionnecessaryfor
experience.
Some historicalconsiderationsmayhelpaccountforHegel's confusion
here.'3We knowthatin his crucialformative yearsHegel neglectedclose
studyof thecentraltheoreticalcomponentsof Kant's philosophy,'4and
when he did approach themit was throughthe perspectiveof someone
alreadyindoctrinatedby the interpretations of Fichteand Schelling-
interpretations which give a verypeculiar slant to Kant's work. Thus
Fichte'srouteto therestriction thesis'5restson cruderepresentationalist
worries'6and ignoresthe specificargumentsof the deductionand the
Antinomies.Hegel followedFichte'slead in skippingover these argu-
ments,and evenin hislatestand mostsystematic accountsofKantthereis
no patientanalysisof thesetextsand henceno clearstatementofthetwo
stages in Kant's argument.Fortunately,though,Hegel did not accept
Fichte's representationaliststartingpoint. He appears to have been
spurred to idealism ratherbySchelling'snotionthatourfreedomimmedi-
ately demonstratesthat our ordinaryknowledgeis merelyphenome-
nal.'7Thus Hegel arguesthattheitemswithintheworldare merelyphe-
[kategoriale]Bestimmungen aufzuzeigen."Some recentcommentatorshave reversed
Hegel's idea, thatis,theyhave equated Kant'sdeductionand idealismin sucha way that
theidealismis reducedto a mereexpressionof theargumentof thededuction,whereas
Hegel reduces Kant's deductionto an argumentfor idealism.See Ameriks,"Recent
Work," p. 5.
By "experience"I will mean,generallyas Kant does, putativeempiricalknowledge,and
not precognitive consciousness.See B i6i, B zi8f, and Walker Kant, p. io.
See H. S. Harris,Hegel's Development(Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press,I97z), espe-
ciallypp. xx, 68, 79, 107.
4 See Briefevon und an Hegel, ed. J. Hoffmeister (Hamburg:Felix Meiner,i969, third
edition),vol. i, p. i6; and G. Lukdcs,The YoungHegel, trans.R. Livingstone,(Cam-
bridge:MIT Press,I966), p. 6: "FromtheBerneperiodthereis not a singleremarkthat
would suggestmorethan a superficialinterestin the problemsof the Critiqueof Pure
Reason and withepistemologyin the narrowersense."
5 Note thathereI am referring onlyto Fichte'sconceptionoftheoreticalphilosophy.Fichte
did believethatmoral-practical considerationsallow us to-goway beyondtherestriction
thesis.
See especially Fichte's Vocation of Man, trans. Roderick Chisholm (Indianapolis:
Bobbs-Merrill,I956). The "doubt" thatFichtegeneratesat the beginningof his book
restsclearlyon a reductionof thoughtsto mentalimages,so thatperceptionbecomesa
mereseriesof privatepictures.

4 KARL AMERIKS
nomenalsimplyin thesensethattheydo not have theirgroundin them-
selves(as an absolutelyfreebeingsupposedlydoes).'8 In thisway Hegel
can manage to hold on to the metaphysicaldowngradingof space and
time'9thatis at theheartoftranscendental idealism,whileavoidingcom-
mitment thesisor anyof thespecificargumentsto it.
to Kant's restriction
As a consequence,however,it becomes all the easier forHegel to miss
what is reallyinvolvedin Kant's deductionand idealism."
II. We can now beginto considerthethreemajorweaknessesthatHegel
findsin Kant's deduction:(A) thetreatment ofthe"I", (B) theaccountof
necessityin our knowledge,and (C) thenotionthata preliminary studyof
knowingis feasible.
The firstobjectiondemonstratesFichte'sinfluence,forHegel repeat-
edlyremarksthatFichteis to be givencreditforbeingmoreconsistent and
rigorous,forat leasttryingto deduceall of thecategoriesfromthe"I"."
17
F. W. Schelling,Werke,(Stuttgart: J.G. Cotta, 1856), Vol. I, p. 340. Cf. Hegel, I: z34.
Note thatwhereasFichteand Schellingagreethatour practicalfeelingof freedomitself
provesidealism,Kantarguesthatunlessone firstcan makeroomforthetheoreticalpos-
sibilityof idealism,the impressionof freedommustbe givenup as an illusion(B xix).
Note also thatHegel, like Fichte,seems to believethatallowingthingsin themselves
would threatenour freedom,as if our receptivity vis-A-vissome thingswould have to
entailultimatepassivity.
8See Hegel, Encyclopedia,?45, Zusatz, VIII: izz, Wallace, p. 73: "The thingsimmedi-
atelyknownare mereappearances- in otherwords,thegroundoftheirbeingis not in
themselvesbut in somethingelse." The same pointis made at ?50, VIII: 13, Wallace, p.
8z, butthetranslationis misleading.Hegel is notsaying,"thebeingwhichtheworldhas
is onlya semblance,no real being"- as ifit onlyappearedthattheworldexists,butit
reallydoesn't. On the contrary,he is saying,"the world does [indeed]have being,but
onlythe beingof appearance." That is, its beingis foundedon something, namely,the
self-grounding reason whichHegel calls God.
9 Cf. Hegel's downgradingof matterat II: 104, The Difference BetweentheFichteanand
theSchellingianSystemof Philosophy,trans.J. P. Surber(Resida, California:Ridgway
Press,1978), p. 8o. Cf. also hisapprovaloftheidea thatspatiotemporalcausal relations
have onlythebeingof appearances,at II: 338, Faithand Knowledge,trans.WalterCerf
and H. S. Harris (Albany:StateUniversity of New York Press,I977), p. IOI.
20 Here I suspectHegel was influenced bythetendencyof thoselike Reinhold,who stated
thathis philosophywould "finallyprovidefullconfirmation fortheessentialresultsof
the Critique of Pure Reason independentlyof those profoundmeditationsthrough
whichtheyhave been establishedin Kant's own works" (Versucheinerneuen Theorie
des menschlichenVorstellungsverm6gens, 1789, reprintedition,Darmstadt:Wissen-
schaftlicheBuchgesellschaft, i963), pp. 67-68. The remarkis cited and translatedby
Daniel Breazeale in "Reinhold's ElementaryPhilosophy,"Review of Metaphysics35
(1982), p. 789.
"L ?42, VIII: II7, Wallace,p. 69; ibid.,?6o, Zusatz2, VIII: 141,
Hegel,Encyclopedia,
Wallace, p. 94; Scienceof Logic, VI: 505, trans.W. H. Johnsonand L. G. Struthers(z
vols., London: GeorgeAllenand Unwin,I929), vol. 2, pp. 431-3z ; XX: 386-401. It is
clearthatFichtein turnowes thisproject- as well as anotherconceptcentralto Hegel's

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 5


Thisobjectionalso revealshow uncertainHegel could be about Kanthim-
self,forwhenhe firstexpresseshis ideal conceptionof thededuction,he
hesitatessayingKant did notsee thisideal. In "principleor spirit,"ifnot
in "form,"Kantis allowedto haveunderstoodthefundamental truththat
all realityis relatedto and foundedin an I, an absolute mind." Or, to
notetwo otherwaysHegel has of expressingthisfundamental truth,it is
said thatthe "principleof the deduction"is just the Fichteannotionof
"genuineidealism" (whichis supposed to rejectany distinct"thingin
and thatthisis the same as the "generalprincipleof specula-
itself"),"3
tion," the principleof the absolute (and not merelyformal)identityof
subjectand object.'4Verysoon, however,Hegel changedhis estimateof
Kant,and althoughhe continuedto hold to thefallacynotedearlier,the
idea thata transcendental deductionmustby itselfbe an argumentfor
idealism,he came to recognizethatevenin thevery"spirit"of his work
Kant himselfwas not directedtowardthe formof idealismwhichdoes
withoutthingsin themselves."5 Hegel thenchargedKant with internal
inconsistency, forhe heldthattheprincipleof Kant'sown deduction(the
"I") demandedsuch idealism,despitewhateverKant himselfsaid.
Beforewe evaluateHegel on thispointit should be made clearthatin
callingfora deductiontieddirectly to absoluteidealismand based entirely
on a simple,mentalstartingpoint (thepure representation of the "I"),
Hegel did not meanto insiston a Cartesianor egoisticbasis forphiloso-
phy.On thecontrary, he stressedthatitis preciselya virtueofhisview,as
opposed to what he now understands as the "subjective" or
"psychological"idealismof Kant, that thereis no suggestionthat the
formofrealityarisesfromour imposition,as ifitwereliterally up to us,as
particularminds,to determine
finite, thecategoriesthatobtain."6Unfor-
tunately, whilethisclaimshowsHegel's own viewis at leastnotas radical
as some have feared,it revealsbut anotherinjusticeto Kant,who would
have beenonlytoo happyto agreethatsucha subjectiveidealismis inap-

critique,namely,therejectionofthethingin itself- to theinfluence of Reinholdand G.


E. Schulze.See above n. zo and below n. 87, and D. Breazeale,"Fichte'sAesnesidemus
Review and the Transformationof German Idealism," Review of Metaphysics34
(I981): 545-68.
2
Hegel, II: IO, Surber,p. i.
23
Hegel, II: 9, Surber,p. i. Hegel goes on to arguethatFichtehimselfdid nothold trueto
thisidealism.
Z4 Hegel, II: iO-II, Surber,p. z; cf. II: 338, Cerfand Harris,p. ioi.

Z5 Hegel thusgoes on to saythatKant'sprincipleofspeculationis notthatofabsoluteideal-


ism but ratheritsveryopposite,theseparationof thoughtand being(II: 338, Cerfand
Harris, p. IoI).
26 Hegel,Encyclopedia,?4z, Zusatz i, VIII: ii8, Wallace, p. 69. Cf. II: 309-II, 315, Cerf
and Harris, pp. 74-75, 79.

6 KARL AMERIKS
propriate.It is preciselyforthisreasonthatKant stresses(as Hegel may
see elsewhere"7)thatthe formof the individualempiricalego is just as
limitedto theconditionofmerephenomenality as is therestofthespatio-
temporalrealm,and thatthephenomenality ofthisrealmrestsultimately
on thedistinctive quantitativefeaturesofspace and time,featuresthatare
a prioriand not imposedby humansin anyimaginablesense."8Thus ifit
is wrongto beginwithto connectKant'sdeductiondirectly withidealism,
itis evenmoreunfairto connectitat all witha subjectiveversionofideal-
ism.
This all stillleavesitunclearjustwhyHegel believedone shoulddevote
the deductionto an argumentforabsoluteidealism.In generalterms,I
believetheanswerhererestson theidea thatifthecategoriesofthingsin
themselves werecompletelydeterminable fromwhatis involvedin a pure
representation of the I, thenthis would demonstrate the basic subject-
objectidentity to whichHegel is committed. Thentheworldwould notbe
themereimageof a particularself,as in egoisticidealism(solipsism),nor
would its ultimatefeaturesbe beyondthe reach of all such selves,as in
Kantianidealism,'9but it would ratherbe distinctfromus and yet (in
essence)whollyaccessibleto our mind.Expressedsimplyin theseterms
Hegel's positionis not all thatimplausible,althoughforit to be distin-
guishablefromordinaryrealism,as Hegel surelytakes it to be, he also
needs to show how the "pure" representation withwhichhe wants the
deductionto begincan have some kindof mentalor subjectivemeaning
withoutbeing identicalwith the notionof a mereempiricalego. Here
everything restson preciselywhat Hegel understandsby thepure repre-
sentationof the I.
In so faras Hegel criticizesKant fornot havingmovedproperlyfrom
thisnotion,itwould seemthatone could findout whatthenotionis sim-
plybylookingat whatKant says.Yet, thefactthatKant reachesconclu-
sionsverydifferent fromwhatHegel expectsalreadysuggeststhatKant's
own starting pointmaybe unlikeHegel's,and whathas alreadybeenseen
of Hegel's interpretation would support such a suggestion.Further
confirmation forit can be foundin thefactthatat one pointHegel takes
thenotionoftheI to standforan absoluteidentity whichis expressednot
is
in what called the "shallowness"3" of the argument of the deduction
itself,but ratherin Kant's referenceto the "productiveimagination,"

7 Hegel, IV: 440.


Hegel deniesour beingin a receptiverelationto space and timeat II: 305, Cerfand Har-
z8

ris,pp. 69-70. For a critique,cf. Dfising,Das Problem,p. ii 8.


29 Once again, the restrictionto theoreticalknowledgeshould be keptin mind.
30
Hegel, II: 304, Cerfand Harris,p. 69.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 7


whichis said to be thegroundofboththe"subjectiveI" and the"objective
world."3' ElsewhereHegel identifies thisfacultywitha unitythatis the
"absolute identityof self-consciousness, whichpositsjudgment[and so
theunityof subject and predicate, 'particular and universal']absolutely
out of itself."3Hegel thusmoves farbeyondthetext,forKant himself
(unlikeFichte)does not speak of such a "positing"absoluteconscious-
ness, nor does he hypostatizethe productiveimagination.Althoughit
soundsquiteforeboding, "productiveimagination"in theCritiquecan be
understoodas a termthatstandsforlittlemorethanthefactthatthereare
a priori(and hence "productive"ratherthan "reproductive"or merely
contingent)rules which governparticularformsof sensibility(hence
"imagination"ratherthan abstractthought)."
Hegel sensesthisrestraintin Kant's own talk,and he chargesthatit
leaves Kant with the absurd picture of an empty (not literally
"productive")I confrontingan absolutelydistinctmanifoldof data,
which as such would retain an unsurpassableprimacyvis-A-visthe
mind.34The pictureis called absurdbecause Hegel thinksthatthe I and
themanifoldmakesenseonlyas componentsabstractedfroma successful
synthesis.As faras I can see,itis onlywitha question-begging assumption
of absoluteidealismthatHegel can forceon Kant thekindof all encom-
passing"productive"representation of theI thathe does. Thus theques-
tionis reallynotwhyKantfailsto movefroma "genuinelyidealistic"rep-
resentation oftheI to a fullidealisticsystem(directly deducingcategories
applyingto thingsin themselves)- forhe reallyneverdoes have such a
startingpoint- but is ratherwhyHegel would thinkthatwe all should

3 Hegel, II: 308, Cerfand Harris,p. 73. Exceptfortheidentification of productiveimagi-


nationwithspeculativereason,a similarview can be foundin M. Heidegger,Kant und
das ProblemderMetaphysik(Bonn, igz9). This viewhas beendecisivelychallengedby
D. Henrich,"Uber die Einheitder Subjektivitit,"PhilosophischeRundschau3 (i955):
28-69.
3Z Hegel, II: 306, Cerfand Harris,p. 71. Hegel hereis playingon the componentsof the
term"Urteil."At thispointhe also makesthebizarresuggestionthatthis"speculative
unity"is Kant'ssolutionto theproblemofsynthetic a priorijudgment.As Dilsingpoints
out (Das Problem,pp. I 10-I 5), Hegel seemsunawarethatsincesuch unitycan also be
foundin analyticjudgmentsit can hardlybe the solutionto Kant's problem.Hegel
appears to have conflatedthe psychologicaland logical meaningsof synthesisin judg-
ments.Cf. VI: 254, 505, Johnstonand Struthers, vol. 2, pp. zi8, 43if; and XX: 389.
33 Cf. K. Ameriks,"Kant and Guyeron Apperception,"ArchivfurGeschichtederPhilos-
ophie 65 (i983): 174-86.
34 Hegel, II: 306, Cerfand Harris,p. 71. Cf. VI: z58, z6i, Johnstonand Struthers, vol. z,
pp. zzi, zz5. In his late lectures(XX: 348) Hegel makestheremarkableproposal that
Kant's doctrineof the schematismpoints to an intuitiveintellect("ein anschauender
intuitiverVerstand,oderverstandiges Anschauen"),buthe allows thatKanthimselfdid
not comprehendmattersthisway.

8 KARL AMERIKS
have such a startingpointand thatthisis at least in some way strongly
hintedat by what Kant has to say.
The mainclue forhandlingthiscomplexquestionhas to do withsome
basic ambiguitiesin thenotionof apperceptionin thepurerepresentation
oftheI. For Hegel,as forKant,thenotionofa purerepresentation oftheI
is mostcommonlyexpressed as the notionof a necessarysyntheticunity
of apperception.However,bysayingthereis necessarysynthetic unityof
apperception,one could mean either:
(i) mustbe able to belongto one self-con-
(a) all representations35
sciousness;
the unity
(b) since thereis a manifoldof such representations,
even when it involvesanalytic
here can be called synthetic,
relationsamong-thecontentsof the representations;
(c) and sinceit is a unitywithin(and potentiallyfor)a self-con-
scious being,it can be called apperceptive,even ifthereis at
no pointan actual all-encompassing thoughtof the form,"I
think . .
or
in our cognitionare componentsof judg-
(ii) (a) all representations
ment and express an objectiveunityof terms,which can
always be formulated,"I think . . . is .
(b) sincethereis a manifold . (as above);
representations
(c) and sinceit is a unity . . . "I think"(as above).
Note that(i) stressesa conditionon thoughtsas representations simply
had byus, whereas (ii) a
stresses conditionon themas cognitive elements,
i.e., stateswhich at least make a claim that can be trueor false.They
emphasizeinturnwhatI willcall thepossessiveand theepistemicrelation
of representations to consciousness.Keepingthese relationsdistinctis
important, especiallyin viewofthefactthatKantmaymeaneventuallyto
arguethatforus thesetsofitemsto whichtheyapplyturnout to be coex-
tensiveand necessarilyrelated.That is, he maywantto show thatall the
representations we can possess must be cognitiveeitherdirectly,as in
judgments experiencesuchas "x is y," or indirectly,
of as in judgmentsof

3 I believethisprincipleshouldbe restricted fora mindlikeours,butin


to representations
factthosewho employthisunderstanding of apperceptionoftenneglectto make this
restriction.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT' S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 9


perception,suchas "x seemsto be y," whichnecessarily can be embedded
in the cognition,"it is the case thatI thinkx is y.,,36
These distinctions have greatconsequencesfortheissueoftheapplica-
bilityofthecategories.An argumentwhichmovesfirst fromonlytheepis-
of
temicsense apperception would show thatthe categoriesare necessary
in so faras theyare necessaryforjudgment(as in Kant's "metaphysical
deduction").Ifone thenholds,as Kantdoes,thatour (determining) judg-
mentsdependon givenintuitions, and so on particularformsof sensibil-
ity,a beliefin theidealityof thoseformswill block usingthe categories
which are deduced (via the epistemicrelation)to determinethingsin
themselves.On the otherhand, if one believescategoriesare deducible
fromthemerepossessivesenseofapperception, thentherewillbe no such
originalrestrictionof thecategoriesderivedand notevena clearneedfor
considerationof whatis involvedin theconditionsof judgment.In other
words,one willbe in a naturalpositionto be an absoluteidealistand to be
perplexed,as Hegel was, by any "restriction thesis."(Note also thatthis
kindofunderstanding ofapperceptioncan meettheneeddiscussedearlier
forsome kindof mentalelementwithoutimmediatesubjectivistic conse-
quences.)
I contendthisline of thoughtrepresentsnot onlya path Hegel could
have takenbuttheone he actuallytook.37He explicitlycommitshimself
to the crucial conflationnecessaryfor this line when he definespure
apperceptionas the"act bywhichthe'I' makesthematerials[ofrepresen-
tation] 'mine'."38Elsewherehe contends similarlythat the "specific
groundofthecategoriesis declaredbythecriticalsystemto lie in thepri-
maryidentity of the 'I' in thought- what Kant calls thetranscendental
unityof self-consciousness."39
This conflationis not unprovokedby Kant's language.In additionto
thecomplicatedclose connectionultimately existingbetweenwhatis cov-
eredbythetwo sensesof apperception,40 thereis thefactthatKantsome-

That thisis Kant's positionis arguedin Ameriks,"RecentWork," pp. 14-i8.


3 Here I am passingover the contrastbetweenHegel's radical (theone thatemphasizes
productiveimagination)and tame (the one thatspeaks merelyof thepossessivesense)
modelsof theI, and I takemyselfto be doinghima favorbyconcentrating on thetame
model.Thereis of coursea close relationbetweenthesemodels,sinceit appearsthatfor
Hegel the primordialsubject-object,particular-universal relationis instantiatedwhen
one generatesone's thoughtand considersitto be one's own and subjectto theprinciple
vol. 2, p. 219. See also below,at n.
ofapperception.Cf. VI: z5 5, Johnstonand Struthers,
45-
38 Hegel, Encyclopedia,?42, Zusatz i, VIII: i i 8, Wallace, p. 69. Here Hegel speaks of a
remarkable"Tdtigkeitdes Vermeinigens."
39 Hegel, Encyclopedia,42, VIII: ii6, Wallace, p. 68. My emphasis.
40
See above, n. 36.

IO KARL AMERIKS
timesspeaks as ifhis principleof apperceptionhas an ontologicalmean-
ing,as ifthepointis how all our possiblerepresentations are necessarily
relatedto our beingone and thesame thinkerhavingthem.Fortunately,
Kant also says enoughelsewhereto indicatethe difficulties withresting
the deductionon the possessivesense of apperception.4" In the Paralo-
gisms he indicatesthat the argumentwould go througheven on the
hypothesis thatthereis an ultimatepluralityofsubstancesunderlying the
act in whichthoughtis synthetically united.42 And withinthe deduction
itself,he stressesthat'itis theepistemicconditionofthe"objectiveunityof
apperception"whichis reallythepremiseof his argument,43 and not the
merefactthatrepresentations belongto one consciousness,as obtainsina
subjectiveunityof associativerelations.
A furtherdifficulty with stressingthe possessive sense is that it is
unclearjustwhatcan be meantbysayingitis an actofoursthatmakesour
representations our own. As Hegel himselfindicates,in mockingtalk of
representations being merely"accompanied" by a mind," we have no
relevantnotionof a representation thatis not a representation had by a
mind. The dependentnatureof representations makes them ready to
belongto us quite independentof whateverwe do. Moreover,if there
weresomeact bywhichrepresentations weremadecapable ofbeingours,
it is remarkablethattheveryprincipleof apperception(on thisreading)
impliesthatthereis no special effector limitationthatthisactionwould
involve- any and all representations are subjectto it,and by beingput
intorelationwithoneselftheythemselvesare not supposedto change.(I
suspectthisfactis relatedto theearlierpointthatHegel stressedaboutthe
manifoldhavingto be whollyamenableto us. Thisis obviouslytruein the
sense that thereis nothingdata would have that would block thema
priorifromthiskindof "act" ofmind.)On theotherhand,ifitis said that
whatis meantbytheact of apperceptionis simplythefamiliarprocedure
of explicitlybringingsome specifictrainof representations to mindand
givingthema featureofvivacitythatotherrepresentations would lack,it
mustbe counteredthatthisis to invokean empiricalnotionof appercep-
tionwhichis preciselywhat was to be excludedby thenotionof a pure
representation oftheI. Suchapperceptionmightbe responsiblefora quite
intelligiblerelationto representations, but it would have no chance of

4' See K. Ameriks,Kant's Theoryof Mind (Oxford: ClarendonPress,i982), pp. 137-42.


4
A 364.
4
B i39-40.
44 Hegel,Encyclopedia,?zo,VIII: 74,Wallace,p. 3';VI: z54,JohnstonandStruthers,vol.
Z, p. zi8; XX: 343.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY II


claiminga priorito be applicableto all representationsand would failthe
requirements of both transcendental philosophyand absolute idealism.
ofKantappearsat bestto tradeon a conflation
So far,Hegel's criticism
of the substantivebut not absolutelyuniversalapplicabilityof the epis-
temicformof theprincipleof apperceptionwiththegenuinelyuniversal,
but only apparentlysubstantivecharacterof the possessiveformof the
principle.This is not the whole story,forin his last treatmentof Kant,
Hegel givesa moredetailedattemptto spellout thekindof actionthathe
takes to be involvedin apperception,admittingthatit is "not exactly"
explainedthisway by Kant himself:
I am theentirely universal,thecompletely abstract.Insofaras I setan empir-
indeterminable,
ical contentin theI, i.e., apperceiveit,itmustcomeintothissimplicityoftheI. In orderfora
contentto be able to enterintothe One (das Eine), thesimplicity of theI, it itselfmustbe
made simpleand infectedby simplicity.A contentin consciousnessthus becomes One,
becomesmycontent.I am I, am One. Thus thethoughtis put intoa unityand so becomes
one . . . What thought produces is unity, and thus it produces itself,for it is
one . . . WhateverI touchmustbe able to allow itselfto be forcedintotheseforms[ofthe
synthesisof apperception]of unity.45

In thisargumentHegel expressesa combinationof his earlierradical


interpretationoftheI in termsofa productivepower,and hislaterposses-
sive conceptionof apperception,a combinationwhich he may have
alwayshad in mindbutnevermade so clearbefore.The I is now givena
veryspecificpower,one whichis to go beyondthemeredesignatingof a
representationas one's own. Apperceptionis said to involvetheimposing
ofa formon therepresentation, theformofsimplicity, whichis whatthen
allows therepresentation to becomeone's own. Unfortunately, themere
notionof simplifying a thoughtremainsas mysterious as thatof directly
makingit mine. Once again, it is not explainedhow anythingis really
givento thethoughtthatit does not alreadyhave. On theotherhand,if
some ordinaryactionis proposed,such as somehowmakingthethought
simplebygivingita specialvividor personaltone,thenthisagainconflicts
withthenecessaryuniversalscope thatis to be attachedto apperception.
One way out of thisimpassewould be to switchfromdiscussingwhat
mustbe done to a thoughtor representation to makeitsimpleto discuss-
ingtheconditionsformakinga manifoldor "congeries"ofdata simplein
the sense of being united.46 But then anotherdilemmareturns,for it
seems thateithertheseconditionscan be spelled out in minimalterms
which,as Hume indicated,requireno reference to an I, letalone absolute
idealism,or one focusseson a richerkindof unity,such as thatof judg-

4s Hegel, XX: 344.


46 Hegel XX: 347; Encyclopedia,?42, VIII: ii6, Wallace, p. 68.

I2 KARL AMERIKS
ment,therebybringingin the epistemicsense of apperceptionwhich
Hegel avoids and whichis whatmakesKant's approachdistinctfromhis
own.47
AlthoughHegel's firstobjectionthusfailsbecause it restson an inter-
pretationwhichis inaccurateas well as intrinsically
inadequate(giventhe
limitedconsequencesof theHegelian notionof apperception),it should
be notedthatitat leastfitsintothemainstream ofrecentinterpretations
of
transendental arguments,and especiallyof themanyquasi-Strawsonian
reconstructions of the deductionwhich abstractfromthe featuresthat
eventuallyled Kant to an espousal of transendentalidealism.48In this
way Hegel's attack expresses a very influentialand understandable
responseto Kant thatin principle,ifnot in origin,is largelydetachable
fromany peculiarmetaphysics.Moreover,even ifHegel mayhave gone
too farin callingfora dialecticalargumentfromone categoryto all the
others,and evenifhe is unfairinchargingKantwitha merely"historical"
and "psychological"methodin the metaphysicaldeduction,49 one can-
nothelp but feelthatHegel has at least a strongersenseof theneed fora
completeand fullypersuasivemetaphysicaldeduction,and to thisextent
his call fora more rigorousproofof the categoriesis well taken.
III. The considerationsadvancedso farmakeitrelatively easyto deal with
Hegel's second objection,namely,thatwithKant the "universality and
necessitywe findin cognition . . . remains a presuppositionafter
all; . . . Kant did no morethanofferan explanationof thisfact."50The
heartof thisobjectionis theidea thatKant'smainpointis justthepicture
ofimposition,thatthedeductionamountsmerelyto a metaphysical story
ofhow thecategoriesare imposedbyus and so do nothave absolutereal-
ity.Here again Hegel is conflatingtheargumentof thedeductionproper
with(hisunderstanding of) Kant'sdoctrineofidealism,a conflationmade
understandable bythejustnotedfactthatHegel missedKant'sown argu-
mentto thecategories.This conflationmayalso havebeenencouragedby
thefactthatinKant'sProlegomenathe"necessityincognition"is ineffect
takenas a presupposition."We know,however,thatthemethodof the

Hegel mayappear to approachKant herewhenhe linkspossessingwithconceiving,but


unfortunately he uses the formerto understandthe latter,ratherthan vice-versa:"In
orderto recognizewhata notionis,one is to considerthenotionoftheI." (VI: 25 5,John-
ston and Struthers, vol. z, p. zi9). My translation.
48 See Ameriks,"RecentWork," p. 13. Cf. below, at n. 54.
49 See,e.g.,VI: 289, Johnstonand Struthers, vol. 2, p. z247;and XX: 346. Hegelis wellchal-
lengedhereby Smith,"Hegel's Critique,"pp. 445-48.
50
Hegel, Encyclopedia,540, VIII: 113, Wallace, p. 65; cf. XX: 336.
51
KantsgesammelteSchriften (Berlin:KoniglichePreussischeAkademiederWissenschaf-
ten, i9ozf), IV: 279.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I3


Prolegomenais not thatof the Critiqueitself,5" and in any case a mere
glance at argumentssuch as the Second Analogyshows Kant is out to
derivea principleof necessityratherthan simplyto assume one."
Hegel does not attendto thesetextualpoints,and in anyeventhe may
have beenunwillingto givethemmuchweight.Givenour analysisof the
firstobjection,itseemslikelythatforanyargumentotherthanone which
defeatsscepticismand partialidealism(by deducingthe structure of the
worldfromwhat is givenin thepossessivesenseof therepresentation of
theI), he would inclineto the view that we are at thelevel ofmere presup-
positionand "explanation"ratherthanof thedemonstration of genuine
necessity.The ascriptionof such a view seemseven moreproperifone
considershow highingeneralHegel's requirements areforwhatcountsas
a proof,and ifone recallshow even manycontemporary interpretersof
transcendental arguments have-tended to assumethatapartfroma refuta-
tion of scepticismKant's deductionloses epistemologicalforceand can
have only an odd metaphysicalmeaning.54Hegel explicitlyshares this
assumptionwhenhe statesthatwiththepresuppositionof "a thingthat
sensesand a thingthatis sensed,all [true]philosophyis drivenfromthe
field."55 There is no appreciationhereforthe Kantian idea of an argu-
mentwhichbeginswithcertaincommonsensepresuppositions and then
moves to unearththeirdependenceon various controversialprinciples
thatare to constitutea necessaryconceptualframework.
In sum,whereasKant presentsa relatively modestargumentfrom(a),
thenatureofempiricaljudgment, to (b), a listofvalidcategories,and then
to (c), a systemof transcendental idealism,Hegel desiresa radicaldeduc-
tionwhichwould beginwithsomethingpriorto (a), such as (aa), a pure
possessiveor "simplemaking"powerof apperception,and whichwould
go beyond(c) to (d), a systemofabsoluteidealism.Not finding sucha rad-
ical argumentworkedout in theCritique,Hegel scoldsKant fornotmov-
ingdirectly from(aa) to (b), and thenforsupposedlynotmovingto (b) at
all butonlymovingfromitto (c). In missingthebasic structure of Kant's
argument, Hegel, likemanyotherinterpreters, also missestheimportant

See ibid.,IV: 274.


S withSmith,
contrasts
SeeA 176/ B zi8, A i89/ B z3z. Heremyinterpretation "Hegel's
Critique,"p. 459. My defenseof Kant hereis also meantto meetat least the firsttwo
pointsofJ.Habermas' (Erkenntnis und Interesse,Frankfurt: Suhrkamp,i968) neo-He-
gelianchallengeto transcendental philosophyforassuming(i) a normativeconceptof
experience(science),(z) an a prioriidentity dis-
of theego, and (3) a sharptheory-praxis
tinction.I have justtriedto showthesefirst two points(in reverseorder)are notinherent
in Kant's strategy.
54 See above, n. 48.
5 Hegel, II: 338. Cerfand Harris,p. ioi (mytranslation).

I4 KARL AMERIKS
ancillaryconsiderations thatare to makepossiblethetransitionsfrom(a)
to (b) and from(b) to (c). The omissionin regardto thelatterinference
willbe stressedlater;themainoversights in regardto theformerconcern
not onlytheepistemicsenseof apperceptionbut also theuse of thepure
formsof intuition, whichis crucialto Kant's conclusionthatthecatego-
rieshave a fullyuniversalapplicabilitywithinour experience."
IV. Hegel's thirdobjectionto Kantdoes notappearto be so closelyrelated
to detailsofthededuction,forin Hegel's originalpresentation itis stated
as a very general problem that applies just as well to Locke.57The
objectionis directedagainst all philosopherswho tryto set down the
scope and limitsof knowledgeby firstexaminingour cognitivefaculties
and forgettherebythatsuch a preliminary inquiryis itselfa part of the
processof knowledge.In the PhenomenologyKant's name is not men-
tionedwhenthisobjectionis made in itsmostfamousform,butitis obvi-
ous thatitis theCritiquethatHegel meansto referto whenhe attacksthe
projectof a preliminary inquiryas motivatedby a conceptionof knowl-
edge as a "medium"or "instrument" to be examinedbeforehandforits
The problemsthat such a criticalphilosophyis taken to
reliability."8
emphasize,thatthemediumof our cognitionmay,as passive,be obscure
or partial,and thattheinstruments of our knowledgemay,as active,be
distorting,are surelymeantto correspondto Kant's conceptionof our a
prioriformsof sensibility and understanding.59
Hegel's explanationof thedifficulty withthisconceptionis veryindi-
rect;his favoriteway of expressingitis thatthecriticalphilosophercom-
mitsthe errorof "refusingto enterthe water untilyou have learntto
swim.,,6, If that is the difficultyinvolved,then it appears it could be
expressedless metaphorically in termsof what RoderickChisholmhas
discussedas the "problemofthecriterion."6' Roughlyspeaking,it seems
thatin orderproperlyto advance a cognitiveclaim, one firstoughtto
knowthattheclaimmeetstheconditionsforbeinga cognition,and yetit

56 This pointwas firstmade clearin D. Henrich,"The Proof-Structure of Kant'sTranscen-


dentalDeduction," Review of Metaphysicszz (i969): 640-59. Cf. above, n. 36.
5 Hegel,II: 304, Cerfand Harris,p. 69. In general,Hegel linksKantcloselyto empiricism.
s8 Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind, III: 68, trans.J.Baillie (New York: Harper, i967), p.
I 3'.
59 Ibid. Cf. R. Norman,Hegel's Phenomenology(London: Chattoand Windus,1976), pp.
19-27; and G. Kortian, Metacritique, trans. J. Raffan (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press,ig80), pp. 34-45.
60 Hegel,Encyclopedia,?4I, Zusatz,VIII: I I4, Wallace,p. 66. Cf.ibid. ?SIO,VIII: 4, Wal-
lace, p. 14; II: I54; XVI: 58ff;XX: 334.
6, See Roderick Chisholm,The Foundations of Knowing (Minneapolis: Universityof
MinnesotaPress,i982), p. 63.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I 5


also seemsthatone cannotknowthat(i.e., whattheconditionsforbeing
such a cognitionare) unlessone alreadyknows some particularthings.
Chisholmhas chosento resolvethisproblembya "particularist" rather
that a "methodist"route.He says there are some particularthings we
know priorto knowingthe generalcriterionwhichmakesthemknowl-
edge,and it is throughreflecting on thesegivenparticularcases thatwe
thencan developa formulation of whatthegeneralcriterionis.6zIn con-
trast,a criticalphilosopherwould appear to be a methodistwho urges
withholdingon particularknowledgeclaims - perhaps because he is
aware of the difficultiesjust noted withour cognitive"instruments"
untilhe has ascertainedcertaingeneralprinciples.On the basis of these
principles,and an examinationof our capacityforsatisfying them,his
preliminary inquirycan thenbe developedintoa fullaccountofthestruc-
tureand scope of our knowledge.
This maywell seemto be preciselywhatKantwas up to inproducinga
deductionof a prioriprinciplesand thenan idealisticaccount of their
scope. And ifone does believethisis whatKantwas up to,thenitis natu-
ralto challengeKant byin effect invokingtheproblemofthecriterion and
askinghow one could hope to deducegeneralprincipleswithoutalready
admittingsome knowledgeclaims,i.e., by askinghow Kant intendedto
learnhow to swimwithoutbeingalreadywet.6' However,if one works
insteadwiththe construalof Kant's projectdevelopedin oppositionto
Hegel's in thefirstpartof our analysis,thenthereis no suchproblemat
thispoint.For,on thatconstrualthedeductionis notout to givea meth-
odistresolutionofthegeneralproblemofa criterion forknowledge,forit
ratherassumesthatthereare somewarrantedstatements6, (e.g., "thereis
somethinghappeningat t") and asks only about the a prioriprinciples
requiredby such statements.Hence ifthereis no moreto Hegel's third
objectionthan what has just been developed,it can be dismissed(as a
directcritiqueofKant)inthesamewaythatthepreviousobjectionswere.
It turnsout thatthereis somethingmore to the thirdobjection,for
Hegel stressesthat closelyintertwined with (what we have called) the
problem of thecriterionone findsthe basic erroroftreatingknowledge,or
our cognitivefaculty,as an instrument. The difficulty(or deep water)

62 Chisholm,Foundations,pp. 69ff.
63 Cf. Hegel,Encyclopedia 4I Zusatz, VIII: 114, Wallace,p. 66: "True,indeed,theforms
ofthoughtshouldbe subjectedto a scrutiny beforetheyare used; yetwhatis thisscrutiny
but ipso factoa cognition?"
64 Actually,all it needsto do is ask whatfollowsifthereare suchstatements,butI am sure
thatKant,like therestof us, believedtherereallyare such. On thesimilarities between
Chisholmand Kant here,see K. Ameriks,"CurrentGermanEpistemology,"Inquiryz5
(i982): I25-38.

i6 KARL AMERIKS
Kant supposedlygetsintohereis mostfrequently explainedby Hegel by
sayingthat in assumingsuch a "tool" conceptionof knowledgeKant
overlookedthe greatdifference betweenit and real tools." Whereasan
ordinarytool can be testedindependently to see if it is proper(e.g., to
check a hammer we do not have to use it, alone hitit witha hammer),
let
our cognitionis such thatit seemsthereis no testforit whichdoes not
itselfappeal to theuse of our cognition.Thus thereis somethingfunda-
mentallyquestionableabout assumingcognitionis a meretool,and once
we have droppedthisassumption,we have droppedwhatHegel givesas
themotivationforthe criticalphilosophy(namely,the idea of checking
beforehandhow thistool works).
Unfortunately, thisnewway of formulating Hegel's objectioninvolves
themisleadingsuggestionthatthetool conceptionof knowledge(as just
explained)is a presupposition -ofKant'sphilosophy.Perhapsitdoes func-
tionthisway forsome philosophers,butin Kant's case it mustbe reiter-
ated thatthetalk of formsof intuitionand understanding is meantpre-
ciselyas the conclusionratherthan the startingpoint of his argument.
Kant no doubt believesit would be wrongto assumethatour empirical
representations directlyrevealthingsin themselves,"forthe groundof
suchan assumptionis hardlyevident,and he also surelybelievesthatthe
historyof metaphysicalcontroversies warrantssome initialwithholding
about thereliabilityof reasonwhen it goes beyondtheempiricalrealm,
but all thisdoes not mean thatfromthestarthe is sayingthatwhat we
have to workwithare onlyour formsof access to objects. On the con-
trary,once theseformsare discoveredand elaborateditbecomesan extra
point to show that theyare only our forms,only our instruments for
tryingto get at somethingin itselfquite distinctfromus.
Here one mightinsistthatHegel's objectionis independentof when
one holds thatthereis such a thingas a tool of cognitiondistinctfrom
thingsin themselves(whatHegel calls "theAbsolute").For as longas itis
truethatknowledgecannotbe likean ordinarytool,thenthiswould seem
to be enoughto make improperany talk of knowledgeas a mediumor
instrument, and so evenifcriticalphilosophyis not offbaseat thebegin-
ning,itis ultimatelyoffbase.The Kantian'sreplyto thispointis thatall he
is evercommitted to is an analogybetweencognitionsand tools,an anal-
ogywitha particularmeaningresultingfroman argumentto a particular
kindof independenceof thingsfromour mind.More specifically, he can
replythatwhilethereflexive capacityof our facultyof cognitionin gen-
eraland theabsolutelyuniversalscope of a certainpartofthatfacultydo

65 See thepassages citedabove at n. 6o.


66 IV: z8z.
See especially,Kants gesammelteSchriften,

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I7


make it quite unlikean ordinarytool, it is also truethatthispartof our
cognitivefacultycan use theprincipleofcontradiction to testotherparts,
and theresultsof thattestcan implythatthosepartshave limitedscope
and to thatextentare like media or meretools. So, if (as in theAntino-
mies)thereare contradictions arisingwhencertainpropositionsof com-
monsenseare combinedwitha particularmetaphysical thesissuchas the
thesisof transcendental realism,thenthecriticalphilosopher(who,once
again,does nothave to be committedto an absolutelypresuppositionless
startingpoint)can assertthenegationofthemetaphysical thesis.And ifit
happens that a consequenceof that negationis the assertionof a gap
betweenwhatwe can empirically determineabout itemsand whatcan be
trueabout themin themselves, thenitis appropriateto saythatin a sense
our empiricalcognitivefacultyis likea tool,one whichreachesso farand
only so far.
One can, of course,challengethespecificargumentsmade in thepro-
cessofdemonstrating theallegedcontradictions,butanysuchobjectionis
no longerone to themereidea of cognitionas a tool butis ratheronlyan
objectionto a particularkind of justification forone formof thisidea.
One can also seek some generalway to oppose Kant's entireattemptto
make a meaningful distinctionbetweenwhat our cognitivefacultiescan
determineand whatthingsare in themselves, and in factthisis justwhat
Hegel does in his secondmajor groupof objectionsto Kant's theoretical
philosophy,thecritiqueofKantianidealism.Thereis a striking argument
alongthislinewhichcould also be consideredanothervariantofthethird
objectionto thededuction,namely,thatifone wereto tryto asserton its
basis thatall we have are principlesthatapplyonlyto phenomena,then
thisbare assertionitselfwould conflictwiththerestriction thesis,forthe
assertionwould not be merelyabout how thingsappear to our tools of
cognitionbutwould ratherbe a claimabout whatis absolutelythecase."
The Kantian'sreplyto thischargemustbe thatitwas neverclaimedthat
thereis nothingwe can knowthatis absolutelytrue.Rather,thepointof
Kant's thesisis only thatthe determination of thingsrequiresintuition
and thatthepredications(and all thatrestson them)oftheintuitive quali-
tiesgivenvia our formsof sensibility cannotcharacterizethingsin them-
selves.The bareassertion,"our sensiblequalitiesmusthavesuchand such
principlesand cannotas suchcharacterizethingsin themselves"conflicts
withtherestriction thesisonlyifitgivesdeterminate knowledgeofthings

67 "If theycannotbe determinations


See Hegel's statement, of theThingin itself,theycan
oftheUnderstanding,
stilllessbe determinations to whichwe mustallow at theveryleast
vol. I, p. 57.) Cf. P. F.
thedignityof a Thingin itself."(V: 40, Johnstonand Struthers,
Strawson,The Bounds of Sense (London: Methuen,i966), p. 39; and Ameriks,Kant's
Theory,pp. z8off.

i8 KARL AMERIKS
This it does notdo, foralthoughitgivesa kindof absolute
in themselves.
knowledge,thisis quite negativeand indeterminate and notinconsistent
withany thesisKant wants to hold.
The mostfamousHegelian treatment of thisreplyis in thePhenome-
nology'sintroductory attackon critical
philosophy,whereHegel suggests
Kant's inquirygivesnews thatis not so muchillicitas vacuous:
It seems . . . a remedy. . . to removefromtheresultthepartwhich,in our idea of the
Absolutereceivedthroughthatinstrument, belongsto theinstrument,and thusto getthe
truthin itspurity.Butthisimprovement would,as a matteroffact,onlybringus back to the
pointwherewe werebefore. . . . thethingstandsbeforeus once morejustas itwas previ-
ous to all thistrouble,which,as we now see, was superfluous.68

This statement to theKantianproject


is easilyrecognizableas referring
ofexcludingspace and timefromthenoumenalrealm,butitsobjectionis
mostsurprising.ItprecludestheKantianfrommakinganyuse ofthecon-
ceptofdeterminate negation,whichinitssimplestformis justthethought
thatthe well-groundeddenial of a particularview leaves us not witha
sheerlyemptyresultbutrathersome increasein our own understanding.
Thus, when a Kantian denies the spatiotemporality of thingsin them-
selveshe admittedly does not determinepositively what such thingsare
like,buthe surelyhas improvedhis understanding byovercominga seri-
ous misconception(transcendental realism).
Itmaybe thatHegel'sstatement thatit
is to be understooddialectically,
meansnotthattheKantiancan getnothingfromhisdiscoveryofthelim-
itsofour formsofknowledge,butratherthateitherhe mustsayhe is get-
tingnothingfromthis,or he mustadmitto claimingsomegenuineknowl-
edge, and thenit can be shown thatthisadmissionleads to difficulties.
Thus Hegel goes on to argue:

Or again,iftheexaminationof knowledge,whichwe representas a medium,makesus


acquaintedwiththe law of its refraction, it is likewiseuselessto eliminatethisrefraction
fromtheresult.Forknowledgeis notthedivergence oftheray,buttherayitselfbywhichthe
truthcomes intocontactwithus; and if thisbe removed,the bare directionor theempty
place would alone be indicated.
. . . More especiallyit [thecriticalphilosophy]takes forgrantedthatthe Absolute
standson one side,and thatknowledgeon theotherside,byitselfand cutofffromtheAbso-
lute,is stillsomethingreal; in otherwords,thatknowledge,which,by beingoutsidethe
Absolute,is certainlyoutsidetruth,is nevertheless true . . . [thecriticalphilosophypro-
ceedsby]makingthedistinction thata knowledgewhichdoes notindeedknowtheAbsolute
as sciencewantsto do, is nonethelesstruetoo; and thatknowledgeingeneral,thoughitmay
possiblybe incapableofgraspingtheAbsolute,can stillbe capable of truthofanotherkind.
Butwe shallsee as we proceedthatrandomtalklikethisleads in thelongrunto a confused

68
Hegel, III: 69, Baillie,p. 132.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY I9


between
distinction ofsomeothersort.
anda truth
an absolutetruth .69

Here thebasic objectionis thateithertheCritiqueleaves us witha "bare


direction,"an "emptyplace," or it shouldadmitto a knowledgewhichis
"itselfsomething real." Note,however,thatforall thathas beenexplicitly
argued,theknowledgewhichsupposedlymustbe admitted,and admitted
as an embarrassment to Kant,is notsaid to be thegeneralclaim"we know
onlytheformof our 'tool,' the'law ofrefraction,' notthethingin itself,"
butis ratherthesetof claimsmade throughthistool. In otherwords,itis
beingurgedthatthe particularcontentof our sensibleknowledge(the
"rayitself,"or "knowledgebyitselfand - supposedly- cutoffformthe
Absolute") mustbe admittedas a partof theAbsolute,i.e., as a partof
what is absolutelytrue.
Byitselfsuchurgingis hardlypersuasive,fortheaim oftheAntinomies
is preciselyto argueindetailagainstit.Itis mostlikely,though,thatHegel
did not mean his claim to be persuasivehere,70forit occurs in what is
only a briefIntroduction,and thatthe issue is to be settledonly when
Hegel considersthe Antinomiesitselfmore directlyand systematically.
We will focus on these considerationsin the next section,but firstit
shouldbe made clearhow muchrestson them.The factis thatalthough
Hegel repeatedhis generalattackon Kant manytimesand therefore had
ampleopportunity to fleshout hisgroundsforrejecting thecriticalphilos-
ophy tout court,he neverofferedanythingmore rigorousat this level
than the passage just examined. The talk of "tools," "rays," and
"swimming"is about all thatcan be foundapartfromwhatis in thesec-
tionsdealingspecifically withthe Antinomies.
It is truethatthelatterpartof thelong quoted passage introducesone
new line of argument,but it is not strongenough to bear verymuch
weight.The argumentis thatthemereadmission(whichKant is certainly
willingto make) thatthereare empiricaltruthscountsagainsttherestric-
tionthesisand thephenomenal/noumenal tiedup withit.Sup-
distinction
posedly,thedistinction between"empiricaltruth"and "truthof another
kind"is onlyso much"randomtalk," "wordswhichpresupposea mean-
ingthathas to be gotat."7' This is nota pettyissue,forsurelytheKantian
mustsay somethingabout thedifferent kindsof truthswhichhe consid-
ers,viz.,transcendental formaltruthsabout thestructure ofourempirical
cognition,absoluteformaltruthsabout thestructure of understanding as
such, empiricalmaterial truths about the items of our and
sensibility,

69 Hegel, III: 69-70, Baillie,pp. 13z-33.


70
Note thatHegel says, "we shall see as we proceed" (ibid.).
7I Ibid. Cf. V: 39, Johnstonand Struthers,vol. I, p. 57: "a trueknowledgewhichdid not
know the object of knowledgeas it is in itselfwould be equally absurd."

ZO KARL AMERIKS
noumenalmaterialtruthsabout thecharacterofthingsin themselves. But
I see no problemhereas longas Kantgives,as he surelydoes,someindica-
tionabout how thesetruthsare to be distinguished, such as by different
proceduresof verification transcendental
(respectively: arguments,for-
mal logic, science,intellectualintuition),and as long as it is clear that
thesedistinctions neednotbe meantto implythattruthitselfis ofdifferent
kinds (ratherthan just that thereare different kinds of itemsthat are
foundtrue,and different routesto them).
It is hardto determine Kant'sopinionon thecharacteroftruthitself,as
opposed to thatof knowledgeor itsobjects,72but thereis no reasonthis
should amount to a weakness specificto criticalphilosophy.At most,
Hegel can chideKant fornot beingquite open enoughabout thelimita-
tionsof "empiricaltruth,"sinceforKantitis afterall thecase thatwhatis
empirically trueofx, e.g.,thathisexistenceis temporally limited,does not
entail,as one mightsuppose,a correspondent or basing(in a Leibnizian
way) facttrueofx in itself.On thecontrary, thenoumenaltruthabout x,
e.g.,thathisexistenceis withouttemporallimits,can be quitetheopposite
of what we would empiricallyassertand of what anyonecould analyze
out of such assertions.But thisjust means thatforKant our empirical
truthis truthonly in a particularirreduciblebut limitedcontext,73 and
thisshouldnot be a thoughtwhich,in our linguisticage, mustbe held to
put Kant intospecialdifficulty.74 Thus, evenifin some deep sense "truth
is one," thereis, for all Hegel says, still an understandablepoint and
meaningto thedistinctions betweenthedifferent kindsof truthsthatthe
Kantianwants to introduce;it is hardlyall "randomtalk."75
V. As we turnnow to assessHegel's secondgroupofobjections,hisrejec-
idealism,it mustbe admittedthatthishas
tionof Kant's transcendental
alreadybeen in view forsome timebecause of theway Hegel tendedto
connectitwithhis firstgroupof objectionsto Kant's theoreticalphiloso-
phy.Nonetheless,we have yetto look at Hegel's moredirectattackson

72 See Gerold Prauss, "Zum Wahrheitsproblembei Kant," Kant-Studien60 (1969):


i66-8z, and Hans Wagner,"Zu KantsAuffassung bezfiglich zwischen
des Verhaltnisses
Formal-undTranszendentalLogik," Kant-Studien68 (1977): 71-76.
73 Thereis,ofcourse,no suchlimitationon thenon-empirical statement thatour empirical
truthis limited.
74 Consider,forexample,W. Sellars'discussionoftruthas semanticassertability in Science
and Metaphysics(London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, i968).
75 At one pointHegel himselfseemsto appreciatethisin layingout thedifferent sensesof
"objectivity"in Kant (Encyclopedia,?41, Zusatz 3, VIII: 115f,Wallace,pp. 67f).When
he regretsthat Kant does not allow insightinto noumenal (what Hegel calls "true")
therealessenceofthings,hisdiscussionimpliesKant'sviewis lackingonlyin
objectivity,
not sense.
justification

HEGEL'S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 2 I


theKantiannotionof thethingin itselfand on thespecificargumentsof
theTranscendentalDialectic,whereinKant triesto completehis case for
the restriction thesis.
The generalperspectivefromwhich all theseattacksstartis Hegel's
own absoluteidealism,whichwas discussedearlieras beingremarkably
likea highlyconfident realism,a beliefin thein principletransparencyof
all realityto our rationalfaculty.76 Of course,Hegel also buildsintothis
idealisma setofteleologicaldetailswhicharenotso easyto accept,forthe
worldis said necessarily to be notonlyopen to reason,butalso so open to
it thatit is just as ifa supernaturalIdea, in thefullestprovidentialsense,
generatedrealityand all itsbasic forms(a levelof contingency is allowed
byHegel,butthatthereis sucha levelis somethingthatis itselfdue to the
Idea). Importantas themoreexuberantaspectsofidealismwereto Hegel,
theywill not concernus, forour questionis simplywhetherthereis any
minimalway in which Hegel demonstratesthat the restrictions Kant
imposeson reason mustbe rejected.
Unfortunately, it is not alwayseasy to keep aparttheminimaland the
exuberantsides of Hegel's critique.For example,in tryingto embarrass
the Kantianabout the statusof empiricaltruths,what Hegel eventually
wantsto emphasizeis thathe (Hegel) has thebestexplanationofhow "the
rayitself,"thedomainofappearances,has a kindoftruthwhichis partof
theAbsolute.That is, forHegel thetruthof appearances(and, in a sense,
their"untruth")is theirverynatureas mereappearances,thefactthat,as
merelysensibleand finite,77 theyrequirean ultimateexplanationin a

76 To thisextentHegelis remarkably closeto whatMichaelDummettcallsFrege'sobjectiv-


ism: "In sayingthatwhatis objectiveis notindependentofreason,Fregedoes not mean
thatitsexistencedependson our thinking. . . he meansthatitcannotbe apprehended
save by, or by referenceto, rationalthought"("Objectivityand Realityin Lotze and
Frege,"Inquiry25 [Ig82], p. i i i). Frege'sown languageis quiteHegelian:"Byobjectiv-
ityI understandan independencefromour sensation,intuition,ideation . . . but not
independencefromthereason,forto answerthequestionwhatthingsareindependent of
reasonwould be as muchas to judgewithoutjudging,to wash thefurwithoutgettingit
wet," citedby Dummett,ibid., p. i IO, fromDie Grundlagender Arithmetik (Breslau,
I884), ?z26
7 Note.thata mathematically magnitude,such as thedomainof evennumbers,is
infinite
stillmetaphysically finiteforHegel,sinceit has an essentialreferenceto another,in this
case the domain of odd numbers.For Hegel, to be trulyinfiniteis to be whollyself-
grounded.Thus withHegel liststhe infiniteitemsthathe insists(contraKant) can be
knownbyus, namely,Freedom,Spirit,and God, theseall ultimately designatethesame
thing,theabsolutelyself-sufficient whole.See theequationsofinfinity and reasoninthese
termsat Encyclopedia,?45, VIII: i z i, Wallace,p. 72, and V: 5z, Johnston and Struthers,
vol, I, p. 67. For a finetreatmentof Hegel's viewoftheinfinite, see Paul Guyer,"Hegel,
Leibniz, and the Contradictionin the Finite," Philosophyand Phenomenological
Research40 (1979): 75-98.

22 KARL AMERIKS
self-grounded notionof reason."8Appearanceshave truthinsofaras they
are groundedin reasonin a way thatcan be revealedeitherfromthebot-
tom up, as in thePhenomenology, wherelimitedconceptionsof limited
thingslead us to an all embracingexplanation,or fromthetopdown,as in
theLogic,wherethesequenceof basic logicalcategoriesunfoldsin sucha
way as to disclosethestructure of theempiricalworld.For theKantian,
on theotherhand,thegap betweenappearancesand thingsin themselves
is absolute,forin neitherdirectionare we able to derivethe (particular
positive)qualitiesoftheone fromthoseoftheother.Similarly, thetruthof
theempiricalliesnotin itsbeinggroundedin an ultimately finalexplana-
tion,a knownIdea, butratherin an internalconsistency withthelimited
(thougha prioristructured) proceduresof our empiricalinquires.
Whatthismeansis thatapartfromthegeneraloppositionto Kant'sdis-
tinctionof truthlevels,reviewedin theprevioussection,Hegel's ultimate
objectionto Kantrestson a veryelaborateclaimabout how appearances
and realityentaileach other.Thereis no wayto testthisclaimnow,and so
I will admitto be challengingHegel onlywithrespectto thoseaspectsof
his critiquethatare detachablefromthedetailsof hisown positivemeta-
physicalsystem.Sucha challengewillno doubtstrikean orthodoxHegel-
ian as incompleteand unfair,but I will assumethereare understandable
reasonsforit,and thatifa Hegelian is reallyto hope somehowto break
into contemporarydiscussionsin theoreticalphilosophyit must be by
somearguments thatdo notalreadyrequireappeal to the(moreelaborate
partsof theHegelian) system.Moreover,I presumeHegel himselfwould
nothaveto regardmytacticas whollyunfair,for,as our manyquotations
fromtheearlyJenapublicationshaveshown,Hegel clearlyformulated his
basiccritiqueofKantbeforedevelopinghisown system,and (as theparal-
lel citations from much later texts show) what he formulatedthen
remainedto the end the core of his directcritique.
Thereremainto be examinedthreebasicaspectsofthiscritique:(A) the
generalattackon theconceptionof a thingin itself;(B) thegeneraltreat-
mentofKant'sbasic argumentforidealismin theAntinomies;and (C) the
specifictreatment of individualdoctrinesin theTranscendentalDialectic
thatare developedin line withtranscendental idealism.
The first-kind
of objectioncomes in variousforms, buttheseall appear
to reston thepresumptionthatKant's categoriesare to be equated with
theirsensiblemeaning.79 Thus therestrictionthesisis read in such a way

78
See Hegel, Encyclopedia?13i, Zusatz, VIII: z6zf, Wallace, p. i87.
79 It is notablethatanotherway in whichHegel expressestheprincipleoftrueidealismis in
termsoftheidea thatrelateditemshave no sensein isolation,and he takesas an expres-
sion of thisview Kant's doctrinethatconceptsand intuitionsalone are each insufficient
(II: 30zf, Cerfand Harris,p. 68). Here Hegel (like manycurrentinterpreters) already

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 23


as to implythatsincewe cannotapplythecategoriesbeyondthesensible
and phenomenalconditionsspelledout in theSchematismand Principles,
thedomainofthingsin themselves is wholly,and absurdly,blockedfrom
our thought:"realityis absolutelybeyondtheNotion,"" "theobject,as
a thingin itself,simplyremainsa somethingbeyondthought."8i Time
and again Hegel asserts that the essence of Kant's idealism is its
"subjectivity,"its wholly limitingthe categoriesto our mind,so that
whereasforJacobithecategoriesare limitedbecausetheyapplyto a con-
ditionedand finitedomain,forKant thelimitationcomes directlyfrom
theirsource in a merelypsychologicalconceptof the self.8,
The traditionalKantianwould replythatsuchchargeswhollymissthe
essentialdistinctionbetweenthepureand theschematizedmeaningofthe
categories.On thebasisofthisdistinction theKantiancan saythat(contra
Jacobi)whatgoes beyondthesensibleis nota whollyamorphousdomain
butrathersomething whichcan be allowedsomesortofconceptualorder.
This orderis one thatholdsforall thinkers, and itcan evenbe madedeter-
minateby us as long as we have anothertypeof data thanthespatiotem-
poral to makeuse of,as in factoccurswithour moralfaculty.83 So evenif
as
schematizedcategories,such thosefound in our ruleof temporalcaus-
ality,are notto be appliedto thingsin themselves, suchthingsneednotbe
whollybeyondthought,and in factKant believeswe mustthinkthemin
accord witha kind of pure,moral causality.
Hegel's objectioncan also be counteredbynotingagain thathe misses
thetwo stepformof Kant's deduction,forifidealitywereattachedto the
categoriesas such, then obviouslyany deductionof categorieswould
immediately be limitedto mereappearances.But Kant sees thatprecisely
becausethesourceofthecategories(forhim)restson a capacityforjudg-
mentwhichdoes not immediately have such limits,extraconsiderations
are neededto getto therestriction thesis.Werethisnotso, therewould be
no needforhisfocuson thefactthatouruse ofthecategoriesinvolvespar-
ticularformsof sensibility,or fortheargumentof theAntinomiesabout
the specificlimitationsof theseforms.84
seems to have missedthe factthatforKant conceptscan have some meaningeven if,
withoutintuition,theyare "empty."See J. Nolan, "Kant on Meaning: Two Studies,"
Kant-Studien70 (1979): 113-30; and J. Smith,"Hegel's Critique,"pp. 4soff.
8o Hegel, VI: 266, Johnstonand Struthers, vol. z, p. 227.
8I Hegel, V: 37, Johnsonand Struthers, vol, I, p. 55.
8Z
See especially,Hegel,V: 59 Johnstonand Struthers, vol. I, p. 73; VI: z6i, Johnstonand
Struthers, vol. z, p. 224; Encyclopedia?42, Zusatz 3, VIII: ii8f, Wallace, p. 70; Ency-
clopedia, 56z, VIII: 149, Wallace, p. 96; XVIII: 318; XX: 322, 350.
83 See above, n. 79, and KantsgesammelteSchriften, V: 484-85, VIII: 136.
84
It is truethatKant notes his deductionassumesthe passive natureof our intuition(B
I45), and so is notclaimedto applyforknowerssuchas God, who mightcognizethings

24 KARL AMERIKS
Hegel is notunawareofthisKantianresponse,forhe triesto blockitby
remarking, "it is no escape to turnaround and explainthatreason falls
intocontradictionsonlyby applyingthe categories."8"This suggestsan
acceptancethattheKantainneednotbelievethatthingsin themselvesare
directlyunreasonable,and therefore fully"beyondthought."Nonethe-
less,Hegel does not allow thispointto make any difference, forhe adds
immediately, "applicationofthecategoriesis maintainedto be necessary,
and reasonis not supposedto be equippedwithanyotherformsbutcat-
egoriesforthe purpose of cognition.But cognitionis determining and
determinate thinking:so that if reason be merelyemptyindeterminate
thought,it thinksnothing."86This chargeinvolvesserious confusions.
Hegel appearsto conflatethefactthat(forKant) theapplicabilityof the
categoriesis necessaryin thatit is indispensableforour empiricalcogni-
tion(see quote above),withtheidea thatsomehowwithoutsuchan appli-
cationthecategoriesthemselveswould be senseless.Thereis no basis for
concludingthat withoutapplyingthe categoriesreason is absolutely
empty,it "thinksnothing."When I considerGod as the groundof the
world,I do not cognizehim in accord withthe principleof the Second
Analogy,I do notapplythecategoryofcausalityin itsschematizedmean-
ing,and yetI stillhave somethingotherthana "merelyempty"represen-
tation.In particular,I can be thinking- perhapswithoutjustification,
but stillwithsense - thatsomehowGod standsin at least thatgeneral
relationto theworld in whichany necessaryreal conditionof a thing's
beingstandsto thatbeing.
There are two othertextswhichcan help explainwhyHegel did not
appreciatethis point. In one passage he remarksthat "transcendental
idealism,carriedmore consistently to its logical conclusion,has recog-
nized the emptinessof thatspectreof the thingin itself."8"This implies
Hegel mayhave begunby simplyacceptingtheverdictof his contempo-
raries,i.e., acceptingthefamouscritiqueofJacobiand Fichte(thephilos-
opherswho carriedtranscendental idealismto "its logical conclusion")
thatKant could notconsistently use causalityas a principleof experience
and as a principlethatholds fora relationinvolvingthingsin themselves.

byan activeintuition.But eventhismeansonlythatGod mightnotneed to use thecat-


egories,not thattheylack a pure meaningwhichapplies,in some way thatwe cannot
determinetheoretically,to thingsin themselvessuch as even God and his powers.This
pointis borneout in detailin Kant,Lecturesin Rational Theology,trans.A. W. Wood
and G. M. Clark (Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, I978), and A. W. Wood, Kant's
Rational Theology(Ithaca: CornellUniversity Press,1978).
85 Hegel, Encyclopedia,?48, VIII: Iz7, Wallace, p. 77.
86 Ibid.
87
Hegel,V: 41,Johnstonand Struthers, vol. I, p. 58. Cf. II: 338, Cerfand Harris,p. ioi. A
contraryview is expressedby Soll, An Introduction,p. 8i.

HEGEL'S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 25


But thischarge,just like Hegel's own, restson a refusalto distinguish
betweenpureand empiricalmeaningsofthecategories.As longas thelat-
ter (thetemporalmeaningof causality)is not applied to the noumenal,
and as long as the formeris not used to make any determinateclaims
about particularobjects,thereis no directcontradiction of Kant'sprinci-
ples.88
In a secondtextHegel makesa claimthatalso leads intothesecondof
his objectionsto Kant's idealism,the objectionsconcerningthe general
argumentof the Antinomies.On Hegel's readingthe argumentis that
"insofaras itis determined bythecategories,theinfinite entanglesitselfin
contradictions."89 On thisreading,the restrictions Kant is layingdown
forpure reason are requiredby reason all by itself,and the specificfea-
turesofspace and timebecomewhollysecondary.Ifone acceptsthisread-
ing,thenit is naturalto say (as in Hegel's objectionto Kant's idealism)
thatforKant objectsmustbe absolutelybeyondthought,thatthingsin
themselvesmustbe above thecontradictory facultiesof themind.It then
becomesnaturalto object,as Hegel does repeatedly, thatKantis beingtoo
hardon reason,90 foritdoes seemtoo muchto thinkthatreasonitselfis a
contradictory faculty.
This objectionis unfairbecause Kant's Antinomiesis not about the
contradictions of reason as such,the entanglements thatarise fromthe
mereconceptoftheinfinite. On thecontrary, thechapteris abouthow the
infiniteor unconditional(supposedly)cannotbe determined to be present
in theempiricalrealm.Wheresuchdetermination is notconsideredneces-
sary,wherethereis nothingdemonstrably inconsistent about an endless
(and supposedlyindeterminate) seriesof complex,or dependent,or con-
tingentitems,Kant proposes it is enough to say thattheremay be an
unconditionedfoundin a realmof thingsin themselves.Thus theremay
be bothsimple,free,and necessarilyexistentnoumenalbeings,as well as
complex,determined and contingent sensiblecharacters.9' None of these

88
This obviouslyraisestheso-calledproblemof "double affection."See Ameriks,Kant's
Theory,pp. z84-86, and M. Westphal,"In Defenseof theThingin Itself,"Kant-Studien
59 (i968), pp. 135-41.
89
Hegel,XX: 3 53. Cf. V: 39, Johnstonand Struthers,vol, I, p. 56, whereKantis attacked
fortheerrorofsupposingitis reasonthatis in contradiction withitself,and fornotreal-
izingthatthecontradictions arise"justfromtheliftingofReason above thelimitations of
the Understanding."
90 Hegel, Encyclopedia,?48, VIII: iz6, Wallace, p. 77. Cf. XX: 359.
9' Actually,althoughthisis his officialsolutionforthesetopics,Kant says preciouslittle

about preciselywhy he does not accept the dogmaticargumentsto the effectthatthe


absenceof a simple,or free,or necessarybeingin noumenawould be contradictory. All
too oftenhe merelypointsout how itwould be a mistaketo assertsuchbeingsmustexist
phenomenally.

26 KARL AMERIKS
topics are taken to forceone to transcendentalidealism: theysimply
encourageit as an option to be keptin mind.On the otherhand, when
Kantdiscussesspace and time,thereis no roomevento entertaina sepa-
ratenoumenalcharacter.WhereastheThirdAntinomy, forexample,can
introducethe idea of noumenalfreedom,thereis no idea of a separate
noumenalfinitudeor infinitude of thespatiotemporaldimensionsof the
world forthe FirstAntinomyto encourage.
In his basic argumentKant presumesthatif spatiotemporalrelations
were transcendentally real, thenthe world would have to have eithera
determinateand infinitely or a determinateand finitespatiotemporal
magnitude.93The particular argumentsof the First Antinomyare
advanced to show that neitherof these disjunctsare possible, and
preciselyratherthanassertthatreasonitselfis contradictory, Kant con-
cludesonlythatthepremiseof transcendental realismmustbe givenup
(unfortunately he does notconsidergivingup insteadwhathe presumesto
followfromthispremise,i.e., thesupposedlyexhaustivedisjuncts).None
of the stepsto thisconclusion,questionableas theymay be, invokethe
claim thatthenotionof theinfinite itselfentanglesus in contradictions,
and Kant evenseemswillingto allow an infinite future.Thereis no asser-
tionofa singleand basic difficulty withreason;rather,thereis a sequence
of verydifferent considerationsabout space and timewhichsupposedly
lead to conclusionsabout theworld's dimensionsthatin turninvolvea
certainlimitedrestriction of reason.
Hegel neveracknowledgedtheroleand structure ofthebasic argument
of theFirstAntinomy.In a letterof I 8I 2, he explainsthatas faras he is
concernedthe contentof the Antinomiesshould be explicatedlogically
withoutany reference to cosmology:"indeed,all further contentabout
theworld,matter,etc.,is a uselessballast,a confusingimage(Nebelbild)
of the imagination."94 The same view is expressedin the Logic, where
Hegel makes no basic distinctionbetweenthe various antinomiesand
assertsthatall conceptsof the sensibleworld involvecontradictions
becausetheyare about mereparticulars,notbecausetheyare conceptsof
reason.95His casual attitudeto the textmay again explain whyHegel's
secondobjectionto Kant's idealism,likehis first, appliesonlyagainstan
absurdidea in theone case, thatofan unthinkable
- object,in theother,

92 See A 529-3I/ B 557-59.


93 See A 503-7/B 531-35. For Kant's difficultieswiththenotionof infinity, see J.Bennett,
Kant'sDialectic(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press,1974), pp. 1 14-42. Cf. Hegel,
V: z83ff,Johnstonand Struthers, vol. I, pp. 259ff.
9 Hegel, IV: 407; cf. ibid., 414.
95 Hegel,V: 217, Johnstonand Struthers, vol. I, p. 205; VI: 36i, Johnstonand Struthers,
vol. z, p. 309.

HEGEL'S CRITIQUE OF KANT'S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 27


thatof an internally reason- whichis notat all a partof that
incoherent
idealism.
VI. Similarproblemsariseas we movefromHegel's generaltreatment of
theAntinomiesto his thirdand last groupof objectionsto Kant's ideal-
ism,thosewhichconcerntheindividualtreatment ofthespecifictopicsof
theDialectic.In each case Hegel urgesthatKanthas failedto be idealistic
in the genuinesense in thathe has remainedfixedon a choice between
abstractlyopposed alternativesand has overlooked furtheroptions
withintheknowablerealm.Expressedin thesegeneraltermshisobjection
pointsto whatis no doubta propercriticism ofKant,and yetas one looks
morecloselyat exactlyhow Hegel worksout hisown critique,itbecomes
moredifficult to approve of it.
Hegel's tendenciesare alreadyrevealedin his earlyessay,Faith and
Knowledge,whichgives an overviewof the entireKantian philosophy
and emphasizeshow Kant has misseda "positive"mediatingsolutionto
the Antinomies. 6 The First Antinomyis describedas arisingsimply
because "being-other is positedas well as being,i.e., thecontradictionin
itsabsoluteinsuperability. Hence one sideoftheantinomymustconsistin
positingthedeterminate point,and therefutation inpositingtheopposite,
thebeing-other . . ."97 This is an way
elliptical of sayingthatwe seem
forcedto posita firstpointofspace and time,and thenalso a pointbeyond
that.Nothingis said hereto challengethespecificsof theroutetakento
thisdilemma.Instead,Hegel again expresseshis generaldisappointment
withKant's goingon to insiston transcendental idealism,and he stresses
thatKant's arguments are difficultto reconcilewithhislatertalkabout an
"endlessprogress"in our morallife.98 Correctas he is on thelatterpoint,
Hegel's discussion adds nothing to solve the particular theoretical
problemat stake.
A fewyearslater,whileteachinginNuremberg, Hegelprovidedhisstu-
dentswitha moredetailedtreatmentof the Antinomies,whichat least
includesa synopsisof thevariousargumentsas well as theclaimthatthe
problemcan be resolvedbecausetheconceptsof a limitedand an endless
time(and space) each involvetheother,forthelimitedis whatcan be tran-
scended,and theendlessis what transcendslimits.99 In contrastto these
interdependent and hence insufficient concepts,Hegel introducesthe
notionof an all-inclusiveor "trueinfinity", whichconcernsnot thetem-

96 Hegel, II: 3z0, Cerfand Harris,p. 84.


9 Hegel, II: 319, Cerfand Harris,p. 83.
98 Hegel, II: 3z0, Cerfand Harris,p. 84.
vol. I, p. 252 ("the thesisand the
9 Hegel, IV: i85-86; cf.V: 275. Johnstonand Struthers,
antithesis. . .").

28 KARL AMERIKS
poral as suchbutratherreason,whose reflexivity "penetratestheconcept
and essenceof the world.""'0This is, of course,one of Hegel's favorite
ideas - thatreflection has thepeculiarkindof endlessnesssuggestedby
theformofa circle,everturningupon itself,whereasthenon-spiritual has
a merelylinearform(and "bad infinity"). But whateverthevalue of this
idea, it too simplybypassestheoriginalproblem,thefactualquestionof
theworld'sphysicaldimensions,whichremainsevenifthereis thekindof
necessaryrelationHegel stressesbetweentheconceptsof thelimitedand
the endless.
Similarlyfrustrating is the treatmentin the Encyclopedia,wherethe
FirstAntinomyis describedsimplyas implying"recognitionof thedoc-
trinethat space and time presenta discreteas well as a continuous
aspect . . . we can go beyondeverydefinitespace and beyondevery
definite time,butitis no lesscorrectthatspace and timearerealand actual
onlywhentheyare definedor specializedinto'here'and 'now'.""'0 Here
thesubjecthas changedagain- and in a thirdnewway- forthereis no
reasonto presumethatanypartyto theAntinomywould have to dispute
the"discreteness"of timeand space in theway thatitis introducedhere.
The questionat issue,though,is how largetheworldis, and to thisHegel
is givingeithera strangedogmaticanswer,namely,thatwe reallycan go
beyond "everydefinite"point,or no answerat all. In his finallectures
Hegel takes the same ambivalentline. He repeatsthe points made in
Nurembergand concludesthat"theworld,as theuniverse,is thewhole;it
is thusa universalIdea, and therefore can be determined eitheras limited
or unlimited.`02
VII. The distinctiverole of the FirstAntinomymakes Hegel's indirect
approachto itespeciallydisturbing, and all themoreso becausehe might
wellhave madespecificobjections(e.g.,to theexhaustiveness ofthebasic
disjunctionKant poses) that would have blocked Kant's argumentto
transcendentalidealism. Hegel's treatmentof the otherAntinomiesis
even briefer,and the evaluationof the treatment is even moredifficult.
Since Hegel believesthatthe argumentof the Second Antinomyis basi-
callythesame as thatof theFirst,'03and thatthatof theFourthis basi-
cally the same as thatof the Third,'04we shall examineonly his treat-

100
Hegel, IV: 386.
"' Hegel,
Encyclopedia,?48, Zusatz, VIII: iz9, Wallace, p. 79. Cf. Encyclopedia,?ioo,
VIII: ZIAf,Wallace, p. ioo.
102 Hegel,XX: 357.
103
Hegel,IV: I87-89. Cf.V: z'7ff,Johnstonand Struthers,
vol. i,pp. z05ff;VI: 171,John-
ston and Struthers,vol. z, p. 146; XX: 357.
104 Hegel, IV: 19z; XX: 357f.

HEGEL'S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 29


mentof the ThirdAntinomy.
Hegel's basic positionis that"freedomand necessity, as understoodby
abstractthinkers,are not independently real, as thesethinkerssuppose,
but merelyideal factors(moments)in the truefreedom."'"5This might
be read as an expressionofthetraditionalcompatibilist position,and one
mightimagineHegel pressingagainstKantthechargethatthewholeneed
and motivationfortheprojectof tryingto cleara way fortranscendental
idealism disappears if therecan be an account of human action and
moralitywhichallows metaphysicalnecessity.Thus, one mightimagine
Hegel challengingKant bypointingout how littleKant had said directly
againstsucha position,and how muchHegel and othershad said in their
accountsof action and moralitywithoutinvokingtranscendental free-
dom.106In fact,however,Hegel does not take thisroute,and insteadhe
declaresagain thatboththesisand antithesiscan be true,thatboth(abso-
lute) freedomand necessityhold, thoughonlyas partof a largertruth.
Preciselywhat Hegel has in mindhereis difficult to determine,forhe
does notopt fortheKantiansolution,thatwhatcan holdis bothtranscen-
dentalfreedomand phenomenalnecessity, nor,I believe,forthecompat-
ibilistpositionthata lack of transcendentalfreedomstillleaves a merely
phenomenalbut adequate kindoffreedom(viz.,rationalself-determina-
tion)thatis consistentwithabsolutenecessity.It is truethatsometimesit
appearsthatall Hegel has in mindbyour freedomis theordinaryself-de-
termination of thecompatibilist,or our participationin thebroaderself-
determination of the rationalcourse of theworld as a whole.'07In fact,
however,he also implies(as a partof his generalstrategyof adoptinga
synthesisthatincludesbothof theopposingtheses)thatwe do have the
absolute freedomwhich concernsthe Kantian,the "abilityto abstract
fromeverything whatever,"thenegativefreedomto be completelyunde-
termined(in some contexts)by anythingoutside one."08 What Hegel
argues is not that such freedomis unrequitedbut ratherthat it is
that,as Kantindicated,we wantnotonlytheabilityto choose
insufficient,

105
Hegel,Encyclopedia,?48, Zusatz, VIII: i29, Wallace, p. 79; cf. ?35 Zusatz, VIII: Io0,
Wallace p. 55f.
i06 See Ameriks,Kant's Theory,pp. i85-233.
107
See thesketchfor"a proofthatthewill is free"in Hegel's Philosophyof Right,?S4-5,
VII: 48-50, trans.T. M. Knox (Oxford: ClarendonPress,1952), pp. zi-zz.
Io8 Ibid. I believethispointis notstressedenoughin R. Schacht'sfineessay,"Hegel on Free-
dom," in Hegel: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. A. MacIntyre(Garden City:
Doubleday Anchor,1972), pp. 289-3z8. For example,Schachtsays,"The experienceof
freedomis takenbyHegel . . . to reflect thefactthatwhatare commonlyreferred to as
the laws of naturedo not governthe whole of phenomenalreality"(ibid., p. 301).
Schachtdoes notpointout how importantthisclaimis and how nonethelessHegel fails
to say it clearlyand failsto offerjustification.

30 KARL AMERIKS
as an uncausedcause butalso theabilityto choose in thisway to followa
rationallaw. His disputewithKantarisesonlywiththeissueofhow such
a law is to be understood,for Hegel believesthat it can and must be
explainedin a muchless formalway than Kant would accept.
Whatis disturbing about Hegel's positionis that,whilehe does appear
to allow thatabsoluteor "negativefreedom"is at leastpartofwhatman
has,he does notputanyeffort intoarguingforthepossibilityofsuchfree-
dom (he appears to thinkit is obvious on introspection).'09 Kant's doc-
trineoftranscendental idealismis at leastaddressedto thisissue,and itat
least takes seriouslythe deterministic implicationsof scienceand social
life.Thus KantusestheThirdAntinomy to introducetheidea that,despite
universalnaturalnecessity,theremay be some uncaused causality.Of
coursehisargumentmaybe faulty,and itstillprovidesno theoreticalrea-
son to affirm we have suchcausality,but at leastit makesa starttoward
theargumentneeded.Hegel, on theotherhand,simplytriesto have the
bestof bothworlds,thatis,he buildson themetaphysicaldoctrineofour
absolutenegativefreedom,whileimpugningtraditionalmetaphysics and
dismissingall particularargumentsto the doctrine.
Thereis thusin all ofHegel's systematic and textualdiscussionsa kind
of strategicsilenceabout thebasic issue of theexistenceof absolutefree-
dom. In thefirst Jenawritings, forexample,he presentsno detailsof the
discussionsin the Third Antinomyand simplydeclares,"Freedomand
necessityare ideal factors,and thusare not in real opposition . . . Free-
dom is the characterof the Absolute when the Absolute is posited as
something inner . . . Necessityis thecharacteroftheAbsoluteinsofaras
it is observedas somethingexternal . . . Free will (Willkfir)and acci-
dent,whichhave a place onlyin subordinatestandpoints,are banished
fromtheconceptof thescienceof theAbsolute.""0.The firstpartof this
statement sidestepsthefundamental pointthatin one sensefreedomand
necessitymustbe in "real opposition,"forto hold to transcendental or
negativefreedomis to hold to theexistenceof uncausedcausality,and to
holdto transcendental or absolutenecessityis to assertthedirectdenialof
this.The latterpartof Hegel's statement, theremarksabout an arbitrary

lo9 Cf. above, n. 107, and Hegel'sPhilosophyofMind(in theEncyclopedia), ??473-48z,


X: 295-302, trans.W. Wallace and A. V. Miller (Oxford: ClarendonPress,I97I), pp.
234-40.
"1
II: io8, Surber,p. 83. In Faithand KnowledgeHegel does go on to reviewKant'sdiscus-
sion briefly,buthe reducesit to theidea that"when theyare thoughtwithoutanycom-
munionat all freedomand necessitydo not conflict"(II: 320, Cerfand Harris,p. 84).
This is a veryinaccurateexpressionof Kant'sposition,sinceforKantthefreedomofthe
intelligible for,and so is "in communionwith"thenecessity
characterhas responsibility
of the empiricalcharacter.See A 55i/ B 579.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 3I


freewill (Wilikur), mightsuggestthatHegel is comingdownon theside of
thedenialof negativefreedom.But theremarksdo not settlethematter,
forwe know Hegel eventuallyleaves room fortheexistenceof even the
accidental,and the factthatsuch mattersaren'tconsideredpart of the
conceptof an absolute sciencehardlymeans theycannot existat all. It
seemsratherthatonce moreHegel's pointis thatevenifthereis suchfree-
dom, it by itselfis not the higheststate.
In laterworkHegel expressesa slightly differentbutequallyundecisive
position.In Nuremberghe introducestheidea thatthe"truesolution"of
the Antinomyis in the relationof communityor interaction(Wechsel-
wirkung).Each itemin sucha relationis a cause and inthatsenseis said to
be free,"' and yeteach is also an effect,and in thatsense is subjectto
necessity.But clearly,whethersuch a relationexistsor can be proved
would not by itselfsettlethe issue of humanfreedom.The fundamental
questionremainsof whetherand on what basis we can believein some
uncausedcausalityon our part.In theLogic,"' as in theLectureson the
Historyof Philosophy,"3 no new ideas are introducedon thisissue,and
Hegel impliesthatthe matterhas alreadybeen dealt withsatisfactorily.
The argumentsof the Antinomyare dismissedas "proving"theirown
claims only by findingopposed views to be contraryto these original
claims.Thus theargumentsare held to be entirelyquestionbegging:the
determinist disprovesfreedomonlyby findingit inconsistent withdeter-
minism,and viceversa.Here Hegel entirely missestheunderlying aim of
Kant's discussion,theexposureof thedogmaticassumptionthatforthe
law of causalityto hold at all it musthold in a metaphysicallyabsolute
senseas a temporalrule.Once thissuppositionis dropped,we are leftnot
withquestionbeggingclaims,butratherwithconsistentdemonstrations
(givenKant's Analytic)thatitwould be improperto asserttherecan be a
temporalfreecausality,and improperto asserttherecannot be a non-
temporalfreecausality.
Hegel does not consider,let alone use, thissolution,nor does he ever
showpreciselyhow anythingshortofthissolutionwould be satisfactory.
The mostnaturalformulation ofhisown positionis thathe wantsto con-
tinueto assertour freedominthetraditionalsensebutsimplyhas no inter-
estin or meansforbackingthatassertion.A lesscharitablereadingwould
havehimassertingthatthecontradiction offreedomand necessityis nota
mereappearancearisingfromtheintroduction of dogmaticpremisesand

Hegel,IV: i90, Hegel speakshereofan "absolutecausalityoffreedom."Cf.VI: z37-40,


Johnstonand Struthers, vol. z, pp. 203-5.
" Hegel,VI:
44If,Johnston and Struthers, vol. z, p. 377. Cf.II: 3zo, Cerfand Harris,p. 84.
3 Hegel, XX: 357.

32 KARL AMERIKS
themisapplicationof our reasonbutis rathera truthabout our natureas
finitethings,i.e., justwhat one shouldexpectfromitemswhichare only
I willpresume,however,thatwhenHegel seemsto be talkingin
finite."I4
thiswaywe areto saynotthathe is ascribinga literallycontradictory rela-
tionto things,but ratherthathe has in mindsome kindof lesserand at
leastcomprehensible contrastlikethatbetweenwhathe calls thecontinu-
ityand discreteness ofspace and time.Butofcoursethisis onlyto saythat
at bestHegel's treatment of theThirdAntinomyis no betterthanthatof
theFirst;it leavestheoriginalquestion,as well as Kant's treatment of it,
untouched.
VIII. A similarand finalexample of Hegel's treatmentof Kant can be
foundin hisdiscussionoftheParalogisms.The mainissuethatHegel dis-
cusseshere,thesoul's simplicity,is treatedjustliketheissuesoftheAntin-
omies (notinappropriately, forI suspectKantoriginallymeantto treatit
undertheSecondAntinomy).We are to see how bothsidesof thedebate
can be affirmed, for the soul is both simple and complex: "Thus, for
example,whilethesoul maybe admittedto be simpleself-sameness, itis
at the same timeactiveand institutesdistinctionsin its own nature.""15
Here again we finda shiftfromtheoriginalissue,forneitherpartyto the
traditional question need dispute that the soul involves some
"distinctions."The questionis ratherwhetherit is a simplebeingor a
complexof beings;whicheverit is, it can involve"distinction"and need
not be what Hegel calls "a meredead thing."To talk about thesoul as
simpleand somethingelse besides,is to ignorediscussinghow we are to
resolvethe originalquestionof whetherthe soul is simpleat all.
In the same paragraph in which he appears to encourage the
assumptionof thesoul's simplicity, Hegel also seemsto say thatsuch an
assumptionis false,that"predicateslikesimplicity, permanence,etc.,are
inapplicableto the soul.""6 Taken literally,this impliesHegel thinks
thatwhatis simpleand complexis not evensimple,whichis of coursean
absurdthought.Taken morecharitably, hispositionmustbe thatwhatis
simpleand complexin a sense,is not merely simple,i.e., is not "a dead
thing,"and in thatsensealoneis notto be said to be simple.But again,it
would seemthereis no needto makethispoint,forno partyto theParalo-
gismholds such a "dead" view. In fact,however,Hegel ascribedsome-
thingverylikethispositionto Kant.Hegel givesthename "dogmaticsub-
jectivism"to theKantianpositionwhichsupposedlyholds thatthesoul
(qua simple) is only a form,in contrastto the rationalistposition of

14 See, e.g., XX: 359.


15 Hegel, Encyclopedia,547, Zusatz, VIII: iz6, Wallace, p. 76.
6
Ibid.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT' S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 33


"dogmaticobjectivism,"whichholds thatthe soul can be describedin
termsof transcendent objective(materialas opposed to merelyformal)
predicates."I7LaterHegel impliedthatKant'sviewis thatiftheselfis not
a meresensiblething,thenitis notsomethingactual at all."8 Thus Hegel
explainsthatwhereasKant thoughttheterms"being,thing,substance"
are "too high" forthe self,on his own view theyare "too low.""9
Hegel's critiqueof Kant givessome sense to his commentsabout the
soul, but the critiqueitselfis veryquestionable.In particular,(a) Hegel
impliesthat Kant denies the existenceand substantiality of the soul,"'2
somethingwhichKant does not do (what Kant does is criticizecertain
ways of arguingabout thesoul); and (b) Hegel failsto explain on what
basis he meansto defendsuch assertions,giventhosewho argue (partly
underthe influenceof Kant) thatthe soul mightbe a merecomplexof
materialpartswithrationalfunctions.Once again,in thecontextof urg-
ingus to go beyondtwo opposed and limitedpositions- thatthesoul is a
merething,justlikeanyother,and thatitis a mereform,nota thingat all
to a reconcilinghigherview,Hegel whollyfailsto focuson theargu-
mentsbehindeitheroftheoriginalpositions(thatthesoul is simple,or itis
not) and fallsinto a dogmaticacceptanceof one of them(simplicity).
In one importantrespectHegel's handlingof the Paralogismsdiffers
fromhistreatment oftherestoftheDialectic,forthischapterhas a differ-
entrelationto thedoctrineoftranscendental idealism.In theAntinomies,
Hegel's failureto read Kantcloselyhad as itmostimportant consequence
thatitlefthimwithouta directcounterto transcendental idealism.In the
Paralogisms,Hegel's failurehas onlytheimmediateconsequencethathe
misperceivesthe complexityof Kant's position,and so failsto see the
depthof Kant's critiqueof thetradition(a critiquethatwould also apply
to Hegel) as well as the tolerancewithinKant's positiveview (which
allows theselfmayhave all thecomplexityHegel asserts).But a further
consequenceof Hegel's approachhereis thathe missestheepistemologi-
cal complementto Kant's critique of the metaphysicaldoctrinesof
rationalpsychology.Kant's Paralogismsimplynot onlya questioningof
certainkindsof specificclaimsabout thesoul, butalso a challengeto the

17 Hegel, II: 3I9, Cerfand Harris,p. 83.


xx8Hegel, XX: 3 5 5.
91 Hegel, XX: 356.
? See Hegel, Encyclopedia,547, VIII: Iz5, Wallace, p. 75: "That the soul cannot be
describedas the substantial,simple,self-same. . . Kant argues." A similarerroris
made byR. Chisholm,Personand Object (London: Allen& Unwin,1976). p. 42. For a
critique,see K. Ameriks,"Chisholm's Paralogisms," Idealistic Studies ii (i98i):
IOO-IO0, and "Kant's First Paralogism," Akten des V InternationalenKant-Kon-
gresses,ed. G. Funke (Bonn: Bouvier,i98i) Vol. I: 485-9z.

34 KARL AMERIKS
basic methodon whichsuchclaimswerebased,namely,via an appeal to
an allegedlyprivilegedinnerperception.The mainlocus of thischallenge
is in thedoctrineof apperceptionand theRefutationof Idealism,where
Kantarguesthatour self-knowledge notonlyrequiresjudgmentand gen-
eral rules but also is parasiticupon spatial data and externalobjects.
Hegel practicallyignoresthisargument,and whenhe does come to it he.
seriouslymisrepresents it,sayingthatitspointis thattemporaldetermina-
tion requires referenceto somethingpermanentin oneself."' Thus
Hegel missesKant's mostsignificant challengeto themetaphysicaltradi-
tion,thechallengeto explainhow mereself-reflection can giveus determi-
nateknowledgewithoutreference to a publicrealm.Hegel did challenge
theCartesiantraditionin manyways,buthe oftenremainedboundto its
presumptionthatself-perception (as in the metaphysicalarticulationof
theformsof Geist)has a specialprivilege.In thisrespecthis treatment of
of
theParalogismsinvolveshis mostseriousunderestimate Kant's work,
and in thisway his critiqueof theDialecticsuffersfromthesame weak-
nessas thatof his critiqueoftheAnalytic:an overconfidence about what
is obvious fromthe mererepresentation of the I.
IX. In describingand evaluatingHegel's attackon Kant, I have triedto
presentthesimplestand moststraightforward Kantianresponses.These
responsesshould be familiar,but recentdiscussionsindicatethatit has
notbeenappreciatedhow fartheygo to meetthepointsin Hegel's explicit
critique.If thispaper does no morethanprovokea Hegelian counterat-
tack thatattemptsto meettheseresponsesin a comparablystraightfor-
ward way, I would considerthisworkquite justified.In themeantime,a
Kantiancannothelp but draw attentionto the obvious implicationsfor
"Hegel's entireprogramand conceptionof philosophy."

Hegel, XX: 348-49.

HEGEL S CRITIQUE OF KANT S THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 35