This text seeks to question the conventional way historians have treated the relationship between Kant and Hegel and Kant and Nietzsche. It suggests a new way to understand these relationships by showing that the relationship was one of renovation - both keep parts of Kant while rejecting other parts. Though the form and content of human consciousness often enough appear to exhibit great variability, Diderot nevertheless remarks that the final conscious thought, whatever it might be, cannot help but retain some affinity with the first human idea. Diderot thereby shares the insight at the heart of the present study, namely, that human thinking, perhaps especially philosophical thinking, expresses a continuity even in those passages when it seems most intent on opposing preceding thought. The locus of continuity in the present study is figured by the term renovation, and its specific target is the philosophical responses of Hegel and Nietzsche to the project of Kant. There is, however, another wrinkle or, better, a pre-existing continuity already evident within the work of Kant and upon which this study is founded. Kant's project is here presented as itself a work of renovation.
Kant's work is throughout this study made the foundation for the renovating work of Hegel and Nietzsche. What is meant here is not simply that Kant provides the content on which Hegel and Nietzsche come to work their renewals of his project, but rather that Kant begins the philosophical program of renovation. Kant's program inaugurates the philosophical project of renovation because its substance is to present our primary epistemological orientation to the world as the continuous activity of renovation. In short, Kant explains our phenomenal being in the world as an ongoing renovation of the noumenal. Hence, it is not merely the rich content of Kant's works that promotes them as worthy to be taken up by Hegel and Nietzsche in particular, but more significantly, it is the Kantian orientation and insight that are inherited. It is this latter, deeper, and more extensive understanding of renovation that under girds the claim in the present work that Hegel and Nietzsche, in renovating Kant, bring his work to its truth.
Just as Hegel surmised that all philosophy is Spinozism or not philosophy at all, we might say that from the points of view of Hegel and Nietzsche all modern philosophy worthy of its name is a renovating Kantianism. As is appropriate for a work concerned with the continuities of philosophical renovation, so too is this work, properly considered, itself a work of renovation. The present study renovates the standard narrative of how German philosophy progressed from Kant to Hegel and Nietzsche. It rejects the long-held assumption that Hegel and Nietzsche overturn Kantian metaphysics and aesthetics. It instead demonstrates, through clear and insightful discussions, the very particular manners in which Hegel and Nietzsche, in regard to questions of truth, value, and beauty, renovate and bring to fruition these three key aspects of Kant's "Critical Philosophy". This renovating work of scholarship deserves a wide readership. Its exposition and illustrations are sparklingly lucid, polished, and most importantly, to the point.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd