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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

For Hegel, Kant fails to see that, in positing limits, he is at the same time affirming the power of the mind

Kant refuses, as it were in advance, Hegel’s intellectualizing move, which consists in shifting the ground “from epistemological obstacle to positive ontological condition,” so that “our incomplete knowledge of the Thing [in itself] turns into a positive feature of the Thing which is in itself incomplete, inconsistent” (Zizek 2006, 27). For Hegel, Kant fails to see that, in positing limits, he is at the same time affirming the power of the mind, or Spirit, as that which performs this positing. But when Kant proclaims the limits of thought, he is precisely insisting upon the radical exteriority of objects to the ways that we cognize them. He thereby disqualifies the sort of self-aggrandizing, self-reflexive move that Hegel makes.
The incompleteness of our understanding of the Thing cannot be posited as a feature of the Thing (in) itself. The limits of cognition cannot themselves be cognitivized. In positing limits in this radical sense, Kant opens the way (despite his own cognitive bias) towards a sense of relations that are pre-cognitive and affective. But when Hegel transforms the pre- and non-cognitive into negative cognition, and cognition of the negative, he leaves no room for affect. The relation of Kant to Hegel merits more extended discussion. Steven Shaviro shaviro@shaviro.com The Pinocchio Theory

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