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Neo-Kantianism

By its broadest definition, the term Neo-Kantianism names any thinker after Kant who both engages substantively with the basic ramifications of his transcendental idealism and casts their own project at least roughly within his terminological framework !n this sense, thinkers as diverse as "chopenhauer, #ach, $usserl, %oucault, "trawson, Kuhn, "ellers, Nancy, Korsgaard, and %riedman could loosely be considered Neo-Kantian #ore specifically, Neo-Kantianism refers to two multifaceted and internally-differentiated trends of thinking in the late Nineteenth and early &wentieth-'enturies( the #arburg "chool and what is usually called either the Baden "chool or the "outhwest "chool &he most prominent representatives of the former movement are $ermann 'ohen, )aul Natorp, and *rnst 'assirer +mong the latter movement are ,ilhelm ,indelband and $einrich -ickert "everal other noteworthy thinkers are associated with the movement as well Neo-Kantianism was the dominant philosophical movement in .erman universities from the /0123s until the %irst ,orld ,ar !ts popularity declined rapidly thereafter even though its influences can be found on both sides of the 'ontinental4+nalytic divide throughout the twentieth century "ometimes unfairly cast as narrowly epistemological, Neo-Kantianism covered a broad range of themes, from logic to the philosophy of history, ethics, aesthetics, psychology, religion, and culture "ince then there has been a relatively small but philosophically serious effort to reinvigorate further historical study and programmatic advancement of this often neglected philosophy

Table of Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. a. b.
Proto Neo-Kantians Marburg Baden Associated Members Legacy References and Further Reading Principle Wor s by Neo-Kantians and Associated Members !econdary Literature

1. Proto Neo-Kantians
5uring the first half of the Nineteenth-'entury, Kant had become something of a relic &his is not to say that major thinkers were not strongly influenced by Kantian philosophy !ndeed there are clear traces in the literature of the ,eimar 'lassicists, in the historiography of Bartold .eorg Niebuhr 6/117-/08/9 and :eopold von -anke 6/1;<-/0079, in ,ilhelm von $umboldts philosophy of language 6/171-/08<9, and in =ohannes )eter #>llers 6/02/-/0<09 physiology %igures like "chleiermacher 6/170-/08?9, !mmanuel $ermann %ichte 6/1;7/01;9, %riedrich *duard Beneke 6/1;0-/0<?9, 'hristian $ermann ,ei@e 6/02/-/0779, the %ries-influenced =>rgen Bona #eyer 6/0A;-/0;19, the %renchman 'harles -enouvier 6/0/</;289, the evangelical theologian +lbrecht -itschl 6/0AA-/00;9, and the great historian of philosophy %riedrich Beberweg 6/0A7-/01/9, made calls to heed Kants warning about transgressing the bounds of possible eCperience $owever, there was neither a systematic nor

programmatic school of Kantian thought in .ermany for more than siCty years after Kants death in /02? &he first published use of the term Neo-Kantianer appeared in /07A, in a polemical review of *duard Deller by the $egelian Karl :udwig #ichelet But it was Etto :iebmanns 6/0?2/;/A9 Kant und die Epigonen 6/07<9 that most indelibly heralds the rise of a new movement $ere =ohann .ottlieb %ichte 6/17A-/0/?9, $egel 6/112-/08/9, and "chelling 6/11<-/0<?9, whose idealist followers held sway in .erman philosophy departments during the early decades of the /;th 'entury, are chided for taking over only Kants system-building, and for doing so only in a superficial way &hey sought to create the world from scratch, as it were, by finding new, more-fundamental first principles upon which to create a stronghold of interlocking propositions, one following necessarily from its predecessor !nsofar as those principles were generated from reflection rather than eCperience, however, the descendants would effectively embrace Kants idealism at the eCpense of his empirical realism &he steep decline of $egelianism a generation later opened a vacuum which was to be filled by the counter-movement of scientific materialism, represented by figures like Karl Fogt 6/0/1/0;<9, $einrich 'Golbe 6/0/;-/0189, and :udwig B>chner 6/0A?-/0;;9 By reducing speculative philosophy to a system of naturalistic observation consistent with their realism, the materialists utiliGed a commonsense terminology that reopened philosophical inHuiry for those uninitiated in idealist dialectics 5espite their successes in the realm of the natural sciences, the materialists were accused of avoiding serious philosophical problems rather than solving them &his was especially true about matters of consciousness and eCperience, which the materialists were inclined to treat unproblematically as given +gainst the failings of both the idealists and the materialists, :iebmann could only repeatedly call, IDur>ck Gu KantJK &he /072s were a sort of watershed for Neo-Kantianism, with a row of works emerging which sought to move past the idealism-materialism debate by returning to the fundamentals of the Kantian &ranscendental 5eduction *duard Dellers 6/0/?-/;209 Ueber Bedeutung und Aufgabe der Erkenntnishteorie 6/07A9 placed a call similar to :iebmanns to return to Kant, maintaining a transcendental realism in the spirit of a general epistemological critiHue of speculative philosophy Kuno %ischers 6/0A?-/;219 Kants Leben und die Grundlagen seiner Lehre 6/0729, and the second volume of his Geschichte der neuern Philosophie 6/0729 manifested the same call, too, in what remain important commentaries on Kants philosophy %ischer was at first not so concerned to advance a new philosophical system as to correctly understand the more intricate nuances of the true master &hese works gained popular influence in part because of their major literary improvement upon the commentaries of Karl :eonhard -einhold 6/1<1-/0A89, but in part also because of the controversy surrounding %ischers interpretation of Kants argument that space is a purely subjective facet of eCperience ,orried that the ideality of space led ineCorably to skepticism, %riedrich +dolf &rendelenburg 6/02A-/01A9 sought to retain the possibility that space was also empirically real, applicable to the things-in-themselves at least in principle %ischer returned fire by claiming that treating space as a synthetic a posteriori would effectively annul the necessity of Newtonian science, something %ischer emphasiGed was at the very heart of the Kantian project &heir spirited Huarrel, which enveloped a wide circumference of academics over a twenty-year span, climaCed with &rendelenburgs highly personal Kuno Fischer und sein Kant 6/07;9 and %ischers retaliatory Anti-Trendelenburg 6/0129 +lthough such personal diatribes attract popular attention, the genuine philosophical foundations of Neo-Kantianism were laid earlier Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz 6/0A/-;?9 outstripped even the scientific credentials of the materialists, combining his eCperimental research with a genuine philosophical sophistication and historical sensitivity $is advances in physiology,

ophthalmology, audiology, electro- and thermo-dynamics duly earned him an honored place among the great .erman scientists $is ber die Erhaltung der Kraft 6/0?19 ranks only behind The rigin of !pecies as the most influential scientific treatise of the Nineteenth'entury, even though its principle claim might have been an unattributed adoption of the precedent theories by =ulius -obert von #ayer 6/0/?-/0109 and =ames =oule 6/0/0-/00;9 $is major philosophical contribution was an attempt to ground Kants theoretical division between phenomena and noumena within empirically verifiable sense physiognomy !n place of the materialists faith in sense perception as a copy of reality and in advance of Kants general ignorance about the neurological conditions of eCperience, $elmholtG noted that when we see or hear something outside us there is a complicated process of neural stimulation *Cperience is neither a direct projection of the perceived object onto our sense organs nor merely a conjunction of concept and sensuous intuition, but an unconscious process of symbolic inferences by which neural stimulations are made intelligible to the human mind &he physical processes of the brain are a safer starting point, a scientifically-verifiable ground on which to eCplain the a priori necessity of eCperience, than Kants supra-naturalistic deduction of conceptual architectonics Let two key Kantian conseHuences are only strengthened thereby %irst, eCperience is revealed to be nothing immediate, but a demonstrably discursive process wherein the material affect of the senses is transformed by subjective factors "econd, any inferences that can possibly be drawn about the world outside the subject must reckon with this subjective side, thereby reasserting the privileged position of epistemology above ontology $elmholtG and the materialists both thought that Newtonian science was the best eCplanation of the worldM but $elmholtG realiGed that science must take account of what Kant had claimed of it( science is the proscription of what can be demonstrated within the limits of possible eCperience rather than an articulation about objects in-themselves *mpirical physiognomy would more precisely proscribe those limits than purely conceptual transcendental philosophy Friedri h !lbert Lange 6/0A0-/01<9 was, at least in the Nineteenth-'entury, more widely recogniGed as a theorist of pedagogy and advocate of #arCism in the "ereinstag deutscher Arbeiter#ereine than as a forerunner to Neo-Kantianism But his influence on the #arburg school, though brief, was incisive $e took his professorship at #arburg in /01A, one year before 'ohen completed his $abilitationschriftthere :ange worked with 'ohen for only three years before his untimely death in /01< #uch of :anges philosophy was conceived before his time in #arburg +s Pri#atdo%ent at Bonn, :ange attended $elmholtGs lectures on the physiology of the senses, and later came to agree that the best way to move philosophy along was by combining the general Kantian insights with a more firmly founded neuro-physiology !n his masterpiece, Geschichte des &aterialis'us und Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der Gegen(art 6/0779, :ange argues that materialism is at once the best eCplanation of phenomena, yet Huite naNve in its presumptive inference from eCperience to the world outside us &he argument is again taken from the progress of the physiological sciences, with :ange providing a number of eCperiments that reveal eCperience to be an aggregate construction of neural processes ,here he progresses beyond $elmholtG is his recognition that the physiognomic processes themselves must, like every other object of eCperience, be understood as a product of a subjects particular constitution *ven while denying the given-ness of sense data, $elmholtG had too often presumed to understand the processes of sensation on the basis of a nonproblematic empirical realism &hat is, even while $elmholtG viewed knowledge of empirical objects as an aggregate of sense physiognomy, he never sufficiently reflected on the conditions for the eCperience of that very sense physiognomy "o even while visual

eCperience is regarded as derivative from the physiognomy of the eyes, optic nerves, and brain, how each of these function is considered unproblematically given to empirical eCperience %or :ange, we cannot so confidently infer that our eCperience of physiognomic processes corresponds to what is really the case outside our eCperience of themOthat the eyes or ears actually do work as we observe them toOsince the argument by which that conclusion is reached is itself physiological Neither the senses, nor the brain, nor the empirically observable neural processes between them permit the inference that any of these is the causal grounds of our eCperience of them ,ith such skepticism, :ange would naturally dispense, too, with attempts to ground ethical norms in either theological or rationalistic frameworks Eur normative prescriptions, however seemingly unshakeable by pure practical reason, are themselves operations of a brain, which develop contingently over great spans of evolutionary history &hat brain itself is only another eCperienced representation, nothing which can be considered an immutable and necessary basis of which universal norms could be considered derivative :ange thought this opened a space for creative narratives and even myths, able to inspire rather than regulate the ethical side of human behavior &hrough their mutual philology teacher at Bonn, %riedrich -itschl, :ange was also a decisive influence on the epistemology and moralpsychology of %riedrich NietGsche &he progenitors of Neo-Kantianism, represented principally by :iebmann, %ischer, &rendelenburg, $elmholtG, and :ange, evince a preference for Kants theoretical rather than ethical or aesthetical writings ,hile this tendency would be displaced by both the #arburg schools social concerns and the Baden schools concentration on the logic of values, the proto-Neo-Kantians had definite repercussions for later figures like $ans Faihinger 6/0<A/;889, the so-called empirio-positivists like -ichard +venarius and *rnst #ach, and the founder of the Fienna 'ircle, #oritG "chlick 6/00A-/;879

". #arburg
Herman Cohen 6/0?A-/;/09 was :anges friend and successor, and is usually considered the proper founder of Neo-Kantianism at #arburg &he son of a rabbi in 'oswig, he was given a diverse schooling by the historian of =udaism Dacharias %rankel 6/02/-/01<9 and the philologist =acob Bernays 6/0A?-/00/9 #oving to Berlin, he studied philosophy under &rendelenburg, philology under +ugust Boeckh 6/10<-/0719, culture and linguistics with $eymann "teinthal 6/0A8-/0;;9, and physiology with *mil 5u Bois--eymond 6/0/0-/0;79 Ene of his earliest papers, IDur 'ontroverse Gwischen &rendelenburg und Kuno %ischerK 6/01/9, was a sort of coming-out in academic society +gainst %ischer, the attempt above all to understand the letter of Kant perfectly Peven the problems that persisted in his workOwas tantamount to historiciGing what ought to be a living engagement with serious philosophical problems +lthough roughly on the side of his teacher &rendelenburg, 'ohen stood mostly on his own ground in denying that objectivity reHuired any appeal to eCtra-mental objects .ranted a professorship at the Bniversity of #arburg in /017, 'ohen came to combine Kantinterpretation with :anges instinct to develop Kants thinking in light of contemporary developments( a IFerbindung der systematischen und historischen +ufgabe K !t was 'ohen who published :anges Logische !tudien 6/0119 posthumously and produced several new editions of his Geschichte des &aterialis'us #ore interested in logic than science, however, 'ohen took :anges initiatives in a decidedly epistemological direction 'ohens early work consists mainly in critical engagements with Kant( Kants Theorie der Erfahrung6/01/9, Kants Begr)ndung der Ethik 6/0119, and Kants Begr)ndung der Aesthetik 6/00;9 ,here he progresses beyond Kant is most plainly in his attempt to

overcome the Kantian dualism between intuition and discursive thinking 'ohen argues that formal a priori laws of the mind not only affect how we think about eCternal objects, but actually constitute those objects for us I&hinking produces that which is held to beK 6 Logik der reinen Erkenntnis QBerlin /;2AR, 719 &hat is, the laws of the mind not only provide the form but the content of eCperience, leaving 'ohen with a more idealistic picture of eCperience than Kants empirical realism would have warranted &hese laws lie beyond, as it were, both Kants conceptual categories as well as $elmholtGs and :anges physiognomic processes, the latter of which 'ohen considered unwarrantedly naturalistic &he transcendental conditions of eCperience lay in the most fundamental rules of mathematical thinking, such that metaphysics, properly understood, is the study of the laws that make possible mathematical, and by derivation, scientific thinking ,hile 'ohen did not deny the importance of the categories of the understanding or of the necessity of sensuous processes within eCperience, his own advancement beyond these entailed that an object was eCperienced and only could be eCperienced in terms of the formal rules of mathematics &he nature of philosophical investigation becomes, in 'ohens hands, neither a physiognomic investigation of the brain or senses as persistent things nor a transcendental deduction of the concepts of the understanding and the necessary faculties of the mind, but an eCposition of the a priori rules that alone make possible any and every judgment &he world itself is the measure of all possible eCperience &he view had a radical implication for the notion of a Kantian self Kant never much doubted that something persistent was the fundament on which judgment was constructed $e denied that this thing was understandable in the way either materialism or commonsense presumed, of course, but posited a transcendental unity of apperception as, at least, the logicallynecessary ground for eCperience 'ohen replaces the unity of a posited self, and indeed any faculties of the mind, with a variety of rules, methods, and procedures ,hat we are is not a thing, but a series of logical acts &he importance of his view can be illustrated in terms of 'ohens theoretical mathematics, especially his notions of continuity and the infinitesimally small Neither of these is an object, obviously, in the views of materialists or empiricists +nd even idealists were at pains to decipher how either could be represented By treating both as rules for thinking rather than persistent things, 'ohen was able to show their respective necessities in terms of what sorts of everyday eCperiences would be made impossible without them 'ontinuity becomes an indispensable rule for thinking about any objects in time, while the infinitesimally smallest thing becomes an indispensable rule for thinking about the composition of objects in space &hough a substantial departure from the Kantian ascription of faculties, 'ohen never prided himself so much on ascertaining and propagating the conclusions of Kant as on applying Kants transcendental method to its sincerest conclusions :ike his #arburg colleagues, 'ohen is sometimes unfairly cast as an aloof logical hairsplitter Suite the contrary, he was deeply engaged in ethics as well as in the social and cultural debates of his time $is approach to them is also based on a generally Kantian methodology, which he sometimes dubbed a social idealism 5ismissing the practical and applied aspects of Kants ethics as needlessly individualistic psychology, he stressed the importance of Kants project of grounding ethical laws in practical reason, therein presenting for the first time a transcendentally necessary ought &his necessity holds for humanity generally, insofar as humanity is considered generally and not in terms of the privileges or disadvantages of particular individuals Firtues like truthfulness, honor, and justice, which relate to the concept of humanity, thus take priority over sympathy or empathy, which operate on particular individuals and their circumstances :ike both eCperience and ethical life, civil laws could only be justified insofar as they were necessary, in terms of their intersubjective determinability Because class-strata effectually inculcate authoritative relationships of power, a democratic Por betterO a socialist society that effaced autocratically

decreed legal dicta would better fulfill Kants eChortation to treat people as ends rather than means, as both legislators and legislated at the same time $owever, 'ohen thought that then-contemporary socialist ideals put too much stock in the economic aspects of #arCs theory, and in their place tried to instill a greater concentration on the spiritual and cultural side of human social life 'ohens grounding of socialism in a Kantian rather than #arCist framework thus circumvents some of its statist and materialist overtones, as :ange also tried to do in his /07< *ie Arbeiterfrage $ermann 'ohen also remains important for his contributions to =ewish thought !n proportion to his decreasing patriotism in .ermany, he became an increasingly unabashed stalwart of =udaism in his later writing, and indeed is still considered by many to be the greatest =ewish thinker of his century +fter his retirement from #arburg in /;/A, he taught at the Berlin Lehranstalt f)r die +issenschaft des ,udentu's $is posthumous *ie -eligion der "ernunft aus den .uellen des ,udentu's 6/;/;9 maintains that the originally =ewish method of religious thinking Pits monotheismO reveals it as a Ireligion of reason,K a systematic and methodological attempt to think through the mysteries of the natural world and to construct a universal system of morality ordered under a single universal divine figure +s such, religion is not simply an ornament to society or a mere eCpression of feelings, but an entirely intrinsic aspect of human culture &he grand summation of these various strands of his thought was to have been collated into a unified theory of culture, but only reached a planning stage before his death in /;/0 *ven had he completed it, 'ohens fierce advocacy of socialism and fiercer defense of =udaism, especially in .ermany, would have made an already adverse academic life increasingly difficult 'ohens student Paul Nator$ 6/0<?-/;A?9 was a trained philologist, a renowned interpreter of )lato and of 5escartes, a composer, a mentor to )asternak, Barth, and 'assirer, and an influence on the thought of $usserl, $eidegger, and .adamer +rriving at #arburg in /00/, much of Natorps career was concerned with widening the sphere of influence of 'ohens interpretation of Kant and with tracing the historical roots of what he understood to be the essence of critical philosophy %or Natorp, too, the necessity of Neo-Kantian philosophiGing lie in overcoming the speculations of the idealists and in joining philosophy again with natural science by means of limiting discourse to that which lay within the bounds of possible eCperience, in overcoming the Kantian dualism of intuition and discursive thinking $owever close their philosophies, Natorp stresses more indelibly the eCperiential side of thinking than did 'ohens concentration on the logical features of thought Natorp saw it as a positive advance on Kant to articulate the formal rules of scientific inHuiry not as a set of aCioms, but as an eCposition of the rulesOthe methods for thinking scientificallyOto the eCtreme that the importance of the conclusions reached by those rules becomes subsidiary to the rules themselves Knowledge is an +ufgabe or task, guided by logic, to make the undetermined increasingly more determined +ccordingly, the Kantian thing-itself ceases to be an object that lies outside possible eCperience, but a sort of regulative ideal that of itself spurs the understanding to work towards its fulfillment &hat endless call to new thinking along specifically ordered lines is just what Natorp means by scientific inHuiryOa normative reHuirement to think further rather than a set of achieved conclusions &hus, where Kant began with a transcendental logic in order to ground math and the natural sciences, Natorp began with the modes of thinking found already in the eCperimental processes of good science and the deductions of mathematics as evidence of what conditions are necessarily at play in thinking generally &he necessities of math and science do not rest, as they arguably do for Kant, upon the psychological idiosyncrasies of the rational mind, but are self-sufficient eCamples of what constitutes objective thinking &hus philosophy itself, as Natorp conceived it, does not begin with the psychological functions of a rational subject and work towards its products !t begins with a critical observation of those objectively real formationsO

mathematical and scientific thinkingOto ground how the mind itself must have worked in order to produce them Ene of the conseHuences of Natorps concentration on the continual process of methodological thinking was his acknowledgement that a proper eCposition of its laws reHuired an historical basis "cience, as the set of formal rules for thinking, begins to inHuire by reflecting on why a thing is, not just that it is ,henever that critical reflection on the methods of scientific thinking occurs, there ensues a sort of historical rebirth that generates a new cyclical age of scientific inHuiry &his reflection, Natorp thought, involves rethinking how one considers that object( a genetic rather than static reflection on the changing conditions for the possibility of thinking along the lines of the continuing progress of science )latos notion of ideal forms marks the clearest occasion of Pto borrow Kuhns designation for a similar notionOa paradigm shift Bnder Natorps interpretation, )latos forms are construed not as real subsistent entities that lie beyond common human eCperience, but regulative hypotheses intended to guide thinking along systematic lines No transcendent things per se, the forms are transcendental principles about the possibility of the human eCperience of objects !n this sense, Natorp presented )lato as a sort of #arburg NeoKantian a#ant le lettre, a view which garnered little popularity :ike 'ohen, Natorp also had significant cultural interests, and thought that the proper engagement with Kants thought had the potential to lead to a comprehensive philosophy of culture Not as interested as 'ohen in the philosophy of religion, it is above all in Natorps pedagogical writings that he espouses a social-democratic, anti-dogmatic ideal of education, the goal of which was not an orthodoC body of knowledge but an attunement to the lines along which we think so as to reach knowledge *ducation ought to be an awareness of the +ufgabe of further determining the yet undetermined +ccordingly, the presentation of information in a lecture was thought to be intrinsically stilting, in comparison to the guided process of a Huasi-"ocratic method of Huestion and answer +n educator of considerable skill, among his students were Karl ForlTnder 6/072-/;A09, Nicolai $artmann 6/00A-/;<29, =osU Ertega y .asset 6/008-/;<<9, and Boris )asternak 6/0;2-/;729 *rnst 'assirer 6/01?-/;?<9 is usually considered the last principle figure of the #arburg school of Neo-Kantianism *ntering #arburg to study with 'ohen himself in /0;7, though he would never teach there, 'assirer adopted both the schools historicist leanings and its emphasis on transcendental argumentation !ndeed, he stands as one of the last great comprehensive thinkers of the ,est, eHual parts epistemologist, logician, philosopher of science, cultural theorist, and historian of thought $is final work, written after having immigrated to +merica in the wake of NaGi .ermany, wove together 'ohens defense of =udaism together with his own observations of the fascist employment of mythic symbolism to form a comprehensive critiHue of the &/th of the !tate 6published posthumously in /;?79 $is wide interests were not accidental, but a direct conseHuence of his lifelong attempt to show the logical and creative aspects of human life P the 0atur(issenschaften and Geistes(issenschaftenO as integrally entwined within the characteristically human mode of mentality( the symbolic form 'assirers earlier historical works adopt the basic view of history promulgated by Natorp &he development of the history of ideas takes the form of naNve progresses interrupted by a series of fundamental reconsiderations of the epistemological methods that gave rise to those progresses, through )lato, .alileo, "pinoGa, :eibniG, and Kant :ike Natorp, too, the progress of the history of ideas is, for 'assirer, the march of the problems and solutions constructed by the naturally progressive structure of the human mind 5espite this seemingly teleological framework, 'assirers histories of the *nlightenment, of #odernity, of .oethe, -ousseau,

5escartes, and of epistemology are generally reliable, lucidly written eCpositions that aim to conteCtualiGe an authors own thought rather than sHueeGe it into any particular historiographical framework + sort of inverse of $egel, for 'assirer the history of ideas is not reducible to an a priori necessary structure brought about by the nature of reason, but reliable evidence upon which to eCamine the progression of what problems arise for minds over time 'assirers historicism also led him to rethink 'ohens notion of the subject +s 'ohen thought the self was just a logical placeholder, the subject-term of the various rules of thinking, so 'assirer thought the self was a function that united the various symbolic capacities of the human mind Let, that set is not static ,hat the history of mathematics shows is not a timeless set of a priori rules that can in principle be deciphered within a philosophical logic, but a slow yet fluid shift over time &his is possible, 'assirer argued, because mathematical rules are tied neither to any eCperience of objects nor to any timeless notion of a conteCt-less subject ,ays of thinking shift over time in response to wider environmental factors, and so do the mathematical and logical forms thereby *insteins relativity theory, of which 'assirer was an important promulgator, underscores 'assirers insights especially in its assumption of non-*uclidean geometry )ut into the language of 'assirers mature thought, the logical model on which *insteinian mathematics was based is itself an instantiation not of the single correct outlook on the world, but of a powerful new shift in the symbolic form of science ,hat *instein accomplished was not just another theory in a world full of theories, but the remarkably concise formula for a modified way of thinking about the physical world &he complete eCpression of 'assirers own philosophy is his three-volume Philosophie der s/'bolischen For'en 6/;A8-;9 !n keeping with a general Kantianism, 'assirer argues that the world is not given as such in human eCperience, but mediated by subject-side factors 'assirer thought that more compleC structures constituted eCperience and the human necessity to think along certain pre-given lines ,hat 'assirer adds is a much greater historical sensitivity to earlier forms of human thinking as they were represented in myths and early religious eCpressions &he more compleC and articulate forms of culture Pthe three major ones are language, myth, and scienceO are not a priori necessary across time or cultures, but are achieved by a sort of dialectical solution to problems arising when other cultural forms become unsustainable Knowledge for 'assirer, unlike Natorp, is not so much the process of determination, but a web of psycho-linguistic relations &he human mind progresses over history through linguistic and cultural forms, from the affective eCpressions of primitives, to representational language, which situates objects in spatial and temporal relations, to the purely logical and mathematical forms of signification &he uniHue human achievement is the symbolic form, an energy of the intellect that binds a particular sensory signal to a meaningful general content By means of symbols, humans not only navigate the world empirically and not only understand the world logically, but make the world meaningful to themselves culturally &his symbolic capacity is indeed what separates the human species from the animals +ccordingly, 'assirer saw himself as having synthesiGed the Neo-Kantian insights about subjectivity with the roughly $egelian-themed phenomenology of conscious forms

%. &aden
&he intellectual pride of the #arburg school fostered a prickly relationship with their fellow neo-Kantians &he rivalry developed with the Baden Neo-Kantians 6alternately named the I"outhwestK school9 was not so much a competition for the claim to doctrinal orthodoCy as much as what the proper aims and goals of Kant-studies should be +lthough it is a generaliGation, where the #arburg Neo-Kantians sought clarity and methodological

precision, the Baden school endeavored to eCplore wider applications of Kantian thought to contemporary cultural issues :ike their #arburg counterparts, they concerned themselves with offering a third, critical path between speculative idealism and materialism, but turned away from how science or mathematics were grounded in the logic of the mind toward an investigation of the human sciences and the transcendental conditions of values ,hile they paid greater attention to the spiritual and cultural side of human life than the #arburg school, they were less active in the practical currents of political activity 'ilhelm 'indelband 6/0?0-/;/<9, a student of Kuno %ischer and $ermann :otGe 6/0/1/00/9, set the tone of the school by claiming that to truly understand Kant was not a matter of philological interpretationPper %ischerOnor a return to KantPper :iebmannObut of surpassing Kant along the very path he had blaGed Never an orthodoC Kantian, he originally said IKant verstehen, hei@t >ber ihn hinausgehen K )art of that effort sprung from Kants distinction between different kinds of judgment as being appropriate to different forms of inHuiry ,hereas the #arburg schools conception of logic was steeped in Kant, ,indleband found certain elements of %ichte, $egel, and :otGe to be fruitful #oreover, the #arburgers too-hastily applied theoretical judgment to all fields of intellectual investigation summarily, and thereby conflated the methods of natural science with proper thinking as such &his effectively relegated the so-called cultural sciences, like history, sociology, and the arts P Geistes(issenschaften P to a subsidiary intellectual rank behind logic, mathematics, and the natural science P 0atur(issenschaften ,indelband thought, on the contrary, that these two areas of inHuiry had a separate but eHual status &o show that, ,indelband needed to prove the methodological rigor of those Geistes(issenschaften, something which had been a stumbling block since the *nlightenment !n a distinctly Kantian vein, he was able to show that the conditions for the possibility of judging the content of any of the Geistes(issenschaften took the shape of idiographic descriptions, which focus on the particular, uniHue, and contingent &he natural sciences, on the other hand, are generaliGing, law-positing, and nomothetic !diographic descriptions are intended to inform, nomothetic eCplanations to demonstrate &he idiographic deals in Gestaltungen, the nomothetic in Geset%e Both are eHually parts of the human endeavor &he inclination to seek a more multifaceted conception of subjectivity was a hallmark of the Baden Neo-Kantians &he mind is not a purely mathematical or logical function designed to construct laws and apply them to the world of objectsM it works in accordance with the environment in which it operates ,hat is constructed is done as a response to a need generated by that socio-cultural-historical background &his notion was a sort of leitmotif to ,indelbands own history of philosophy, which for the first time addressed philosophers organically in terms of the philosophical problems they faced and endeavored to solve rather than as either a straightforward chronology, a series of schools, or, certainly, a sort of $egelian conception of a graduated dialectical unfolding of a single grand idea Heinri h (i )ert 6/078-/;879 began his career with a concentration on epistemology +longside many Neo-Kantians, he denied the cogency of a thing itself, and thereby reduced an ontology of eCternalities to a study of the subjective contents of a common, universal mind $aving dissertated under ,indelband in /000 and succeeding him at $eidelberg in /;/7, -ickert also came to reject the #arburgers assumption that the methodologies of natural science were the rules for thinking as such -ickert argued instead that the mind engages the world along the dual lines of Geistes(issenschaften and 0atur(issenschaftenaccording to idiographic or nomothetic judgments respectively, the division which -ickert borrowed from his friend ,indelband and elaborated upon 6although it is sometimes attributed to -ickert or even 5ilthey mistakenly9 +nd similar to him as well, -ickert considered it a major project of philosophy to ground the former in a critical method, as a sort of transcendental science of culture ,here -ickert

went his own way was in his critiHue of scientific eCplanations insofar as they rested on abstracted generaliGations and in his privilege of historical descriptions on account of their attention to lifes genuine particularity and the often irrational character of historical change ,here ,indelband saw eHuality-but-difference between the GeistesO and 0atur(issenschaften, -ickert saw the latter as deficient insofar as it was incapable of addressing values $istory, for -ickert, was the eCemplary case of a human science $istorians write about demonstrable facts in time and space, wherein the truth or falsity of a claim can be demonstrated with roughly the same precision as the natural sciences &he relational links between historical events P causes, influences, conseHuences P rely on mind-centered concepts rather than on observable features of a world outside the historianM though this of itself would not preclude the possibility of at least phenomenal eCplanations of history #ore importantly, historians deal with events which cannot be isolated, repeated, or tested, particular individuals whose actions cannot be subsumed under generaliGations, and with human values which resist positive nomothetic eCplanation &hose values constitute the essence of an historiographical account in a way entirely foreign to the physical sciences, whose objects of inHuiry P atoms, gravitational forces, chemical bonds, etc Oremain valueneutral + historian passes judgment about the successes and failures of policies, assigns titular appellations from +leCander the .reat to !van the &errible, decides who is king and who a tyrant, and regards eras as contributions or hindrances to human progress &he values of historians essentially comprise what story is told about the past, even if this sacrifices historys status as an eCact, demonstrable, or predictive science -ickerts differentiation of the methods of history and science has been influential on postmodern continental theorists, in part through his friend and colleague, Karl =aspers 6/008/;7;9, and through his doctoral student, Martin "eidegger 6/00;-/;179 &he traditional scientific reliance on a correspondential theory of truth seemed woefully uncritical and thereby inadeHuate to the cultural sciences &he very form of reality should be understood as a product of a subjects judgment $owever, -ickerts recognition of this subjective side did not entangle him in value relativism +lthough the historians values, for eCample, do indeed inform the account, -ickert also thought that values were nothing eCclusively personal Falues, in fact, eCpress proCimate universals across cultures and eras )hilosophy itself, as a critical inHuiry into the values that inform judgment, reveals the endurance and transcultural nature of values in such a way that grounds the objectivity of an historical account in the objectivity of the values he or she holds &hat truth is something that ought to be sought is perhaps one such value But -ickert has been criticiGed for believing that the values of historians on issues of personal ethics, the defensibility of wars, the treatment of women, or the social effects of religion were universally agreed upon