The Ockham Society (Thursday - Week 8, HT22)

Ockham Society

In this essay I delineate the main thrust of my current research project “Articulated Unity: Kant’s Turn Towards Self-Consciousness as a Method for Critical Metaphysics”. My main concern is with the primary method of philosophy. For my purposes, philosophy at its core is to be understood as metaphysics—the attempt to find out, in the most general sense, how things are and what their relation to human thought is. In the current debate there are broadly two approaches to this: one is focused on systematicity, the other on diagnosis. Proponents of systematicity see philosophy as a scientific discipline: its task is to present explanatorily satisfying theories. These theories are designed in order for us to gain knowledge about their respective object of inquiry—in this case, the most general and fundamental relation of things and thought. Proponents of diagnosis regard this as a confusion: according to them, philosophy has no genuine object of its own about which there is any knowledge to be gained. The philosophical aspiration lies instead in a perspicuous presentation of what we already know insofar as we are thinkers. Philosophy, then, is only about making explicit what is implicitly already there. It ought to help us attain an explication or, if need be, a therapeutic elucidation of our thinking.

I will try and bring out (a) the primary philosophical concern that lies at the heart of these issues, and (b) the bifurcation in current philosophical methodology. Towards the end I will also suggest why I think that Kant’s first Critique offers us the tools needed to view systematicity and diagnosis for what they really are: complementary aspects of one philosophical undertaking—the articulated unity of human thought.

Ockham Society Convenors: Lara Scheibli and Kimon Sourlas - Kotzamanis | Ockham Society Website