Critique and Totality by Pierre Kerszberg

By Pierre Kerszberg

This publication follows and expands the unfavorable a part of Heidegger's perception touching on Kant's critique: specifically, the conviction that transcendental wisdom can't be equated with the grounding of the optimistic sciences.

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20 Hence the distinction concerning magnitudes in general that Kant makes between the pure image and the pure schema (A142/B182). Time and space are called pure images of all magnitudes, whether for inner sense in the case of time or whether for outer sense in the case of space. This is simply a consequence of the fact that mathematics deals primarily with pure figures in space, since even counting presupposes at the very least the representation of points in space for each number; when large numbers are dealt with, the corresponding images are no more than convenient signs in which the original relation to the magnitude is wholly arbitraryit does not have the necessity of a schema.

This is how the modern philosophers of nature speak about the Greeks in order to distinguish their own achievement. But did not the moderns overrate their differences with the Greeks precisely in order to point them out with more punch? Kant refers to the ancient geometers who were eager to investigate the properties of such lines as conic sections, "not letting themselves be disconcerted if asked by narrow minds of what use such knowledge might be" (CJ 363). Such figures allow us to solve a multitude of problems, because they are fertile in many infinitely splendid properties which can be generated spontaneously, as it were.

Indeed, the distance between them looks so thin: he sees the former as knowledge gained by constructing concepts, while the latter is more simply knowledge by concepts. How does philosophy mature, and how do transcendental philosophers emancipate themselves from the tempting mirages of mathematical enthusiasm by dropping the demand for construction from its premises? The concept of construction, inasmuch as it meddles so closely in the affairs of philosophical knowledgeeven if it is only to withdraw from it, should come into relief as the sign that humanity in modern times remains in partial bondage to cognitive demands or ideals that we can never adequately fulfill.

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