By Helmut Holzhey (auth.), Reinier Munk (eds.)

Hermann Cohen (1842-1918) is an unique systematic philosopher and consultant of the Marburg tuition of serious Idealism. The Marburg college was once a number one university in German educational philosophy and in German Jewish philosophy for a interval of over thirty years previous the 1st international battle. at the start status on the entrance of the ‘Return to Kant’ stream, Cohen accordingly went past Kant in constructing a approach of serious idealism within which he provided a critique of and substitute to absolute idealism, positivism, and materialism. A serious idealist in center and soul, Cohen can be well-known as a guy who embodied German Jewish tradition.

Publications on Cohen within the English language are small in quantity and this quantity goals to fill the space. It deals an research of Cohen’s System of Philosophy - the three-volume vintage on good judgment, ethics, and aesthetics - and his writings on Judaism and faith. The booklet highlights Cohen’s contributions in those fields, together with his discussions with Maimonides, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel. It demonstrates the congeniality of Cohen’s serious idealism as expounded within the System and his writings on Judaism, and provides an outline of up to date Cohen learn.

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In what regard is ‘the’ man the subject of ethics? Not as an individual (or only secondarily so). Cohen did not conceive an individualistic ethics. Concentrating on the individual as the ‘core concept of man’ implied for him searching for the methodological foundation of ethics in psychology and thus resigning oneself to naturalism. 61 Cohen, however, did not write a social ethics based on particularity as it is represented for instance by subcultures. His ethics is primarily interested in the principle of ‘totality’.

E. g. in the rule of law. But can a pure jurisprudence67 guarantee the is of the ought? In view of this sceptical question it must be pointed out that the ‘is’ of the ought does not refer to empirically given moral action nor to the 63 Ethik, 3. Ethik, 174. 65 Ethik, 168. 66 Cf. H. Holzhey, ‘Sein und Sollen. Postmetaphysischer Idealismus bei Cohen und Natorp’, in: Sinn, Geltung, Wert. Neukantianische Motive in der modernen Kulturphilosophie, ed. Ch. Krijnen and E. W. Orth (Würzburg, 1998), 139-153.

Religious consciousness possesses ‘peculiarity’ insofar as it functions as a critical supplement vis-à-vis logic, ethics, and aesthetics. e. for theoretical philosophy, by virtue of the fact that it elevates the monotheistic proposition that God is the only being to the standard of all validity of being, thus rejecting all speculative ‘positing’. By raising the problem of the individual, religion helps ethics to alleviate the deficit the latter has in regard to its concept of man, a deficit that only now becomes apparent.

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