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Knowledge, Being and the Human

Some of the Major Issues in Philosophy

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Jan Hartman

This book, in the form of a classical philosophical treatise, presents a large-scale theoretical project: It uses a metaphilosophical perspective to present the framework for postmetaphysical thinking, situating it in the domain of the metaphysics of morality. It offers an innovative defence of scepticism based on a critical and radical analysis of the concepts of knowledge and truth. Metaphysical and transcendental traditions are deconstructed, mainly in relation to the paradoxes of so-called realism and idealism, which are the consequence of dependence on an archaic substance theory. Moreover, the book proposes a certain form of philosophising in spite of everything, i.e. within a sceptical approach. The critique of ethics leads to an a-ethical concept of the will and the values of life.

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Introduction ........................................................................................................... 7 Part I Knowledge. A Review of the Issue of Scepticism ............................................. 9 1. The importance of the questions of scepticism and dogmatism in the history of philosophy .......................................................................... 11 2. The right and wrong way to look at the problem of scepticism; the difference between ignoring and solving the problem ........................... 13 3. Paradoxes of the concept of knowledge and related concepts such as “truth” and “philosophy” ................................................................. 17 4. The psychological subjectivity of cognition ................................................ 25 5. “Thirst for knowledge” and wisdom ............................................................ 31 6. Eliminating the concept of knowledge ......................................................... 37 7. Cognition as posing questions and giving answers ...................................... 40 8. The “realism – idealism” debate and the supposed defeat of scepticism by the transcendental method ................................................. 46 9. The question of the cogito (subjectivity) and scepticism ............................. 56 10. Optimistic scepticism ................................................................................... 60 Part II Being. The Impossibility and Possibility of Metaphysics .............................. 65 1. The futility of transcendentalism .................................................................. 67 2. Obstacles in the pursuit of metaphysics ....................................................... 71 3. Paradoxes of a realistic theory of substance ................................................. 80 4. Metaphysics free from redundancy .............................................................. 96 5. Beyond materialism and idealism .............................................................. 100 6. Experiencing and thinking: the Idea ........................................................... 105 7. The concept as resonance of experience .................................................... 112 8. The psychology of abstraction and metaphysics ........................................ 118 9. Between life and the Idea ........................................................................... 123 Part III The Human Being. Towards a Moral Metaphysics ..................................... 127 1. A lesson from Kant and Schopenhauer ...................................................... 129 2. The defeat of moral discourse .................................................................... 141 3. What do human beings desire? ................................................................... 157 4. The will of good ......................................................................................... 164 Index ................................................................................................................. 195

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