Techniques of Bridging the Gulf: Dialectic and Reductionism in McDowell and Fichte

Edukacja Filozoficzna 69 (1):7-36 (2020)
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Abstract

“Dialectic” has been a matter of growing interest in contemporary philosophy. The present article analyzes dialectical methods and positions them by reference to two paradigmatic texts of German idealism and analytic philosophy, i.e. J.G. Fichte’s Science of Knowing (1804) and J. McDowell’s Mind and World. Both dialectical approaches will be interpreted with regard to their contribution in the debate on reductionism and anti-reductionism: both Fichte and McDowell claim that philosophical positions and logical terms stand in a dualistic relationship to one another, on the one hand, but are separated by a gulf, on the other. I will argue that for McDowell dialectic seems to be an alternative to one-sided reductionisms as well as to normal anti-reductionistic holism. Furthermore, for Fichte dialectic is an adequate method for describing the relationship of reductionism and anti-reductionism itself. Both see in dialectic a technique for bridging the gulf between binary opposite terms of logic as well as mutually exclusive positions, such as mind and world, subject and object, or idealism and realism.

Author's Profile

Jens Lemanski
University of Münster

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