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The polysemy of the transcendental: an inquiry on the development of Kant's Theoretical Philosophy, in the light of German Dogmatism

Grant number: 21/05249-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2021
Effective date (End): October 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Maurício Cardoso Keinert
Grantee:André Rodrigues Ferreira Perez
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The aim of the research is to investigate the provenance and development of the concept of "transcendental" in Kantian Theoretical Philosophy. Having gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in the midst of a neo-Kantian environment, the research on the transcendental is far from producing an agreement between the interpreters. Throughout its history in the Kant-Forschung, the dispute focuses on two complementary points: I. the discrimination of the philosophical tradition whose legacy was incorporated and worked out by Kant, focusing on four main sites, namely, medieval scholasticism, 17th century germanic aristotelianism, Wolff and wollffian Cosmology and Baumgarten's Ontology; and; II: if the taking up of the "transcendental" concept by Kant has the character of rupture or continuity. We understand that the only safe criterion for, avoiding speculation, assessing textual evidence of the transcendental legacy is the focus on Kant's use of the concept. Always taking the use of the transcendental in the first critique as a focal point, it is a matter of addressing, on the one hand, the only two occurrences in published works, before the critique of Pure Reason, in the Monadologia Physica, from 1756, and in the Dissertation of 1770. The analysis of the transcendental in these works refers to the wollfian transcendental, especially to Cosmology, whose accentuation is markedly theoretical-scientific. On the other hand, in unpublished works (in which the concept occurs: in class notes, the first time in 1762; in reflections, in the mid-1760s; in correspondence, for the first time in 1772) there is great evidence of extensive Kant occupation in dealing with the concept in question. The analysis of these texts leads to the transcendental of Baumgarten's Metaphysics, especially that of Ontology. We submit that the influx of these two traditions (with that of Baumgarten being always crescent) is preserved and continuously tensioned, twisted and reworked throughout the development that leads to the composition of the critique of pure reason. Our hypothesis is that, unlike the novelty of criticism, the transcendental is conceived by Kant as an old problem, characterizing the Kantian as a rearticulation or twist, and not exactly a demolition of tradition. In this sense, the very conception of a Transcendental Philosophy, in the grammar of the new Kantian language, would be immersed in a lively dispute with tradition. We intend, therefore, to defend the thesis that the use of the transcendental by Kant is polysemic, which is precisely due to encompassing - in its tense restructuring or refounding - both the cosmological meaning, that of the foundations of physics (of Wollfianism), as the ontological, that of the first predicates of being (of Baumgarten). (AU)

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