Negative Philosophy—Philosophy of Negation: The Concept of the Negative in Classical German Philosophy

Країна: Гонконг

Місто: Hong Kong

Тези до: 01.10.2018

Дати: 25.02.19 — 27.02.19

Область наук: Економічні; Філософські;

Е-мейл Оргкомітету:

Організатори: Chinese University of Hong Kong


The Research Network for Transcendental Philosophy and German Idealism
welcomes the submissions of abstracts of approximately 300 words on the theme of
“Negative Philosophy.” Although English is preferred, papers in either English or
German are welcome.
In his seminal Critique of Pure Reason, Kant constrained the application of
categories of the Understanding to a domain of objects relative to subjectivity.
Accordingly, for Kant, what applies to all categories applies to negation as well.
Negation is a condition for the possibility of experience, whose only sound domain of
application are objects of possible experience. Having drawn a limit to cognition, in
Kant the Absolute remains beyond the scope of the category of negation. Following
Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte attempted to provide a genetic deduction of those very
categories, including negation, from a self-positing first principle.
Although the unknowability of the Absolute presented a profound obstacle to
philosophical knowing, Hölderlin, as well as figures we now classify as early German
Romantics, e.g. Novalis, Schlegel, et alia, turned to Poesie (albeit in various ways) as an
alternative path of conceiving and bringing form to the inconceivable Absolute. In
conjunction with this aesthetic turn, mysticism and negative philosophy found their
way into the center of the discourse. In the Romantic circle at Jena, the thought of
Jakob Boehme was rediscovered and his thought appropriated to address the
problems facing the new philosophy.
Unsatisfied with the limits of cognition imposed upon philosophy by Kant, and
unhappy with the subjectivist turn in Romantic thought, Hegel brought the Absolute
into the purview of philosophical knowing by means of his famed, and often
misunderstood, logic of negation. The contradiction that arose with the attempt to
think the Absolute in Kant was transformed in Hegel’s thought into the very means
by which the Absolute is known: a dialectic in which negation itself is negated. In his
later philosophy, F.W.J. Schelling introduced the distinction between negative and
positive philosophy, from which he would criticize Hegel’s philosophy as an
unsuccessful attempt to generate existence from a pure logic of self-negation. To be
sure, Schelling offered his own alternative to Hegel’s negative philosophy: the positive
In our discussions of negative philosophy, we aim to re-think the role of
negation (and related concepts, such as ‘reality’, ‘determination’, ‘limitation’, ‘finitude’,
etc.) in Classical German philosophy, of which here we have only given the briefest
indication. We welcome all papers related to this theme in German Idealism, Early
German Romanticism, and Transcendental philosophy in the German tradition
broadly construed, from Neo-Kantianism to Husserl’s Transcendental
Phenomenology. We also welcome papers on the relationship between apophatic
theology and classical German philosophy, the putative limitation(s) of knowledge and
cognition, as well as the philosophical legacy of the philosophy of negation in classical
German philosophy as it pertains to contemporary philosophical discourse.

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