This week we’ll be discussing the relation between Kant’s critical philosophy and that of Spinoza’s, especially as this played out in the infamous Pantheismusstreit (Pantheism dispute) between Friedrich Jacobi and Moses Mendelssohn. The prospect of Kant’s philosophy forming a rational basis for overcoming the “nihilism” of Spinoza’s monism becomes one of the central issues in the development of post-Kantian German philosophy.
- Jacobi, Letters on Spinoza (1st ed) pp. 179–203, 216–228, 233–4
- Mendelssohn, Morning Hours, ch. 10, excerpt
- Kant, “What is it to orient oneself in thinking?”
- Kant, excerpt from the Critique of Judgment
- GRADS: Allison, “Kant’s Critique of Spinoza”
- Notes: Kant, Spinoza, & the Pantheism Dispute (PDF)
- (Recommended) Kant (student notes), Pölitz Religion lectures, pp. 358-98, 432-40
- (Recommended) Beck, “Lessing” - from Early German Philosophy
- (Recommended) Beiser, The Fate of Reason, chs. 2-3
- What is the “Pantheism dispute”?
- What is Spinoza’s significance for the dispute?
- Why does Jacobi think philosophy is “nihilistic”?
- In what ways do Kant’s and Spinoza’s philosophical system agree or differ?