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“Schopenhauer’s Transcendental Aesthetic” by Desmond Hogan (Princeton University)

Date: 3:30pm - 5:00pm PST November 30, 2012 Location: J.R. Howard Hall 202

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J.R. Howard Hall 202

Schopenhauer’s Transcendental Aesthetic


Desmond Hogan

Princeton University


Schopenhauer famously holds that the proofs of Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic “have such a complete power of conviction that its propositions [belong] among the incontestable truths.” This judgment places Schopenhauer outside of a broad historical consensus according to which the Transcendental Aesthetic’s central argument for the ideality of space and time is invalid. Schopenhauer offers no explicit account of this argument, and the classical commentaries are unmoved by his general appraisal. In reconsidering this appraisal, I first examine a valid argument for transcendental idealism from premises Schopenhauer endorses. While the argument in question invokes a metaphysical premise Kant rejects, Schopenhauer correctly attributes a weakened analogue to him. A parallel argument from this weaker premise remains valid, and I suggest that the basic materials for the valid argument are contained in the Aesthetic. These findings make sense of Schopenhauer’s positive appraisal; they also call for reconsideration of a dogma of contemporary Kant scholarship.

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Claire Kodachi, Administrative Coordinator, Philosophy Department.  503-768-7480
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