Here Are the Materials Strewn Along the Ground – Skepticism, Autonomy and Education in Kant and Romanticism

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Maximilian Gindorf

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that Kant’s work presents an argument against modern skepticism (see Guyer 2008). However, it is less clear what this argument turns out to be and why, after Kant, skepticism blooms again (see Franks 2014). I argue that for Kant, skepticism is a certain disappointment of the human with its own intelligible powers, being torn between the actual and the ideal. Hence, his response to skepticism implies a limitation of knowledge as well as his image of the human as being of two worlds. The overcoming of skepticism implies the recovery of its voice as intelligible being in following the moral law, a constitution he calls autonomy. However, the image of two worlds, the sensual and the ideal, continues skepticism’s most prominent image of two disparate realms (mind vs. body). After Kant, romanticism transforms Kant’s two realms into the idea of the transformability of the human in a process they call Bildung (education). Evoking the literal project of “building” according to an image (Bild) or ideal, romanticism imagines a recovery from skepticism as the “up-building” of man out of fragmentation as aesthetic-educational task; a secularized salvific history by replacing God through man as author of one’s existence.

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Gindorf, M. (2020). Here Are the Materials Strewn Along the Ground – Skepticism, Autonomy and Education in Kant and Romanticism. Humanities Bulletin, 3(2), 91–106. Retrieved from https://www.journals.lapub.co.uk/index.php/HB/article/view/1671
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