Kant’s critique of the philosophical discourse

Kant’s critique of the philosophical discourse


As soon as one openly declares that a particular “subject” is specifically philosophical and quite exclusively so, hence, claiming, in fact, that it should be treated by philosophers and solely by philosophers, i.e., philosophically, one finds oneself sooner or later obliged to append or annex all the other sciences to this new field, now, philosophy, thus reducing the “sciences” to silence. But instead of being silent, the advocates of the sciences are vigorously protesting. However, just as soon as the philosophers fancy to silence them by offering them a compromise, throwing at their direction some subjects-matters, which Philosophy has self-willingly chose to relinquish, it becomes quite noticeable that there is no reason to stop the train, and that the sciences should follow this style of a request to the hilt, i.e., to demand scientific independence to all the subjects with the same reason with which philosophy has admitted to justify the abandonment of one of the subjects at the beginning of this process or this later knock-on-effect.


It was by taking advantage of this history lesson that Kant was the first to give up the way of defining Philosophy by its alleged “subject”, by trying to understand it from the way or “method”) in which the philosophers spoke on the “subjects” of which they had spoken; indeed, for Kant, these “subjects” could moreover be arbitrary, when the way is first and its question of application is the very question of their “philosophy”.


It is by proceeding with the courage of despair to such a “Copernican Revolution” of the situation that Kant succeeded in saving Philosophy in extremis, by showing full awareness and giving full account for the “specifically” philosophical behaviour, which he wanted at all costs to maintain in his own philosophy and to ensure for the future. He was able to do this by explicitly giving a fully comprehensible account, and therefore an intelligible definition, of Philosophy, which justified (discursively) “forever” the traditional “universalist” behaviour of philosophers while securing for the first time an “eternal peace” with all the” particular “sciences (and the discourses (Practices), as now promising them, in effect, that no force in the world would henceforth reduce either to Silence or to Philosophy.

The non-philosophers, scientists or not, have ignored and still strong in the habit of overlooking the end-success of the Kantian world revolution, which guaranteed forever, in fact, and for all the philosophers, the universal empire “(and” homogeneous”) of Philosophy.


Thus, even nowadays, the particular sciences believe in occupying little by little the ex-philosophical domain’s, concentrating now on the very last plots. Very recently, “Logistics” believed to annex Logic, while Relative Physics insisted on removing “space and time” from Philosophy. But Kant and the philosophers who understood the Kantian definition of Philosophy and who behaved, philosophically, according to it, regained in a few years all the domains previously lost. To give another example: overcoming the “reserve” that Fichte left to ‘science”, as he was ready to be satisfied with his conquest of Judeo-Christian theology, which he observed vis-à-vis contemporary “science” (of Hellenic origin), Schelling’s work symbolises the reconquest of his predecessors by reintegrating in Philosophy (or, more precisely, in his “philosophy”) all of that which was still existed independent in terms of theoretical speech.


Without a doubt, this untimely campaign of enthusiasts of the Kantian revolution scandalised the world, and the recovery by conquest would certainly have sunk into the anarchy of a general revolt if Hegel had not put the reconquered territory more or less in order, by constituting and ensuring its indivisible unity, in and through this “unsurpassable” system and irreplaceable absolute Knowledge (Natural science (Galileo-Newton’s, that is to say also Hobbes’s) is a pseudoscience > of the working slave. The ex-slave liberated by the revolution (1789) gives it up; his science becomes the philosophy (Hegel’s) based on which man can understand himself as a man (but to that end, the transition through < the stage of > slave labour and its ideology is necessary!). Slave science > leads 1. to transcendentalism, 2. to subjective > idealism. to 3.“phrenology.” that is to say to materialism).

Since then, the universal empire if not of Philosophy, at least of Hegelian discursive Wisdom, has never been called into question again (given the impossibility of doing so, without any response to the question by the System of Knowledge itself which alone allowed it to be asked). Moreover, the “Particular sciences(unlike” practical “discourses) would not have even noticed this empire of the System of Knowledge, if certain” Hegelians had not, here and there and for some time, acted vis-à-vis these sciences, contrary to the armistice that Kant had concluded with them (without them realising it, moreover) and that Hegel could only transform into an eternal peace treaty (but provisionally remained secret).


As for the meaning and the scope of the “miracle of the Marne”, the merit which belongs to Kant alone should be known by now. By stating a fully comprehensive and fully understandable definition of philosophy for the first time, Kant did not modify the latter in any way, nor therefore did he change the (really) philosophical behaviour of (true) philosophers. In fact (and for us post-Kantians), the authentic philosophers behaved after Kant the same way they behaved before him, except that, thanks to his definition of Philosophy, this behaviour became more explicit and more self-consciously.


This “Kantian” take of a complete consciousness allowed Hegel to transform Philosophy into a System of Knowledge (which no one will be able to bring back to Philosophy any longer, given the impossibility of questioning it). It is generally said that Kant’s originality consists in the reduction of Philosophy to a “theory of knowledge” or “Gnoseology”, even to “Epistemology”. Without being false, this paraphrase of the Kantian definition lends itself to misunderstanding: On the one hand, by hearing about Kantian reduction, one does not understand the post-Kantian expansion, which, however, undoubtedly results from it. And by misunderstanding it, we tend to oppose it: “in the name of Kant”, of course. On the other hand, the words “theory” and “-logy” do not sufficiently separate the idea that this could be a “particular” or “isolated” discourse, in a way “independent” from others. In other words, one might believe that it is possible, according to Kant, to develop the “theory” of one “knowledge”, without thereby creating (if only implicitly) “knowledge”, even if one makes a “theory”, even the “knowledge” as such, that is to say, taken as a whole.


Of course, Kant never contradicted himself to the point of saying such a thing. He spoke of Philosophy as a criticism of knowledge, a criticism which implies and presupposes, of course, the whole of the knowledge criticised. On condition of being “critical” (that is to say already criticised or at least open to criticism in the future), all “knowledge” (discursive) is therefore philosophical. However, no (discursive) knowledge escapes philosophical “criticism”.As a “critical” discourse, Philosophy is, therefore indeed, a “universal” discourse (that is to say uni-total) and therefore conforms to the “universalist” behaviour shown by all the philosophers worthy of the name. But insofar as any discourse is not “critical” (at least virtually), it is outside the philosophical discourse aIt speaks and can remain there in peace as long as it wishes. In other words, the particular sciences” (by definition not philosophical) can appropriate and share all the discourses (coherent or not) insofar as they are not “criticised”; but each of these discourses is transformed into a philosophical course or, more exactly, into a constitutive or integrating element of the Philosophical Discourse (coherent, that is, completed System of Knowledge), as soon as it is criticised or put to its “criticism” (by philosophical definition) and thus makes one with it.


Briefly and clearly, Philosophy has been understood since Kant as the (coherent) set of (coherent) discourses which speak of everything (or anything) while also speaking of itself. We can also say that any “science” is philosophical, which speaks about what it speaks about and because it speaks about it and that it is the one person who is speaking about it. Conversely, any discourse which does not speak of itself (as of discourse) is therefore outside Philosophy and can therefore live indefinitely in peace with it by ignoring it completely.


So, for example, when a mathematician is no longer content to “do mathematics”, but begins to talk about what he does while doing it, he (discursively) develops what he nowadays calls a “meta-mathematics “, that is to say what was called” metaphysics “in the good old days and what the Neo-Kantians in the narrow sense of the term prefer to call this critical philosophy (of mathematics)” (sometimes forgetting that one cannot “criticise” mathematics by “disregarding it”, that is to say by excluding it, even as implicit, from the “philosophical” discourse which they would like to develop). Likewise, a physicist does physics when he says, for example, that everything he talks about must be reduced to (measurable) interactions between “electrons”, neutrons “, protons” or other entities of the same kind, but excludes from what he talks about everything he says about it himself; but as soon as he includes it, by saying that what he says must also be reduced to the interactions of which he speaks, he speaks no longer as a physicist, but as a philosopher, who integrates a (could be good) physics in a (really bad) “philosophy” (called “materialist”, which moreover eliminates itself from the System of Knowledge, since it reduces itself to silence by counter-saying it). Or again, when a theologian develops the bare tale of a “revelation” or talks about how it was given (in general and to him in particular), he makes theology. If he explains himself as speaking through revelation, then he is doing philosophy to the extent.


In short, the “philosophical sciences” are the only “Sciences” which speak for themselves, while also speaking of what they say about them, and it is precise to the extent that they do so that they are not Sciences proper (“particular” and “Exclusive”, since each of them excludes all the others and, in any case, leaves it to others to speak of itself as speaking of itself), but the same Philosophy (developable, at the limit, in one and unique Knowledge System). Therefore, we can also say that only the philosophers speak of Philosophy and speak only of it. But we must add that they can only talk about it by speaking (at least implicitly) of everything that we can say (without contradicting each other) and that they must therefore re-say it in its entirety, if not at all. to do so only in an implicit way (the complete clarification of all the implications of their philosophical discourses transforming them into this unique discourse and one that is the Hegelian System of Knowledge

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