"we Understand Him even Better Than He Understood Himself": Kant and Plato on Sensibility, God, and the Good

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Abstract

Kant criticizes Plato for his interest in positing ideas that are entirely purified from any sensible elements, but which, nonetheless, exist in some supra-sensible reality. I argue that Kant's criticism can be repositioned and even countered if, in our assessment of Plato, we assign a wider scope of significance and greater value to the senses. In order to lend focus to my article, I analyze Socrates' presentation of what I translate as the "look of the Good"(τοv, 508e) in the Republic so as to show the proximity between Plato and Kant on the question of sensibility. I also draw on the Phaedo and extant literature that goes against the traditional view regarding the status of Ideas or Forms, including the Idea of the Good. I further discuss an affinity between the Good that is "beyond being"(509c) in the Republic and Kant's view of God as an Ideal of Reason. Given my articulation of the importance of the sensible dimension in Plato, there is a continuity between Kant and Plato on the question of the illegitimacy of certain ideas. In other words, in my reading (and contrary to Kant's view of Plato), Kant does not so much overturn Plato's metaphysics, but develops further the view that is already inscribed in Plato.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220272
JournalOpen Philosophy
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2024

Keywords

  • Critique of Pure Reason
  • idealism
  • metaphysics
  • Plato's Republic
  • Plato's Theory of Forms (Ideas)
  • Transcendental Dialectic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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