Herder’s Concept of Being and the Influence of Kant’s Pre-Critical Consideration of the Ontological Argument

Filozofia 10 (70):842-52 (2015)
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Herder’s earliest philosophical writing, the essay fragment Versuch über das Sein, explores the concept of Being (Sein) in dialogue with Kant’s pre-critical Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes. In this often critically omitted work, Herder arrives at a number of insights that would be determinative for the development of his later thought. This examination details Herder’s concept of Being as the transcendent ground of predication, his contention that Being can never be experienced directly, and his consequent conclusion that the shape of philosophical inquiry should not be one of abstract speculation, but instead one of non-foundational, historically aware, empirical observation. This consideration then briefly addresses how the concept of Being informs Herder’s philosophy of science, history, language and religion.
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