Sila Özkara (Duqesne University)
“Cognition and Foundationalism in German Idealism”
Date: Wednesday December 21, 2016
Abstract: In this paper I will discuss the notion of cognition as it is found in German Idealism and will present an overview of it in terms of issues related to foundationalism. I will argue that starting with and following Kant’s Copernican Revolution, cognition, or its derivatives, is problematized as the notion(s) that ought to be the foundation of the system of philosophy. Given the German Idealists’ emphasis on systematicity, this laying of a foundation for the whole system is significant and characterizes the trajectory of the projects of the philosophers involved in the German Idealist tradition. I will frame the issue through Hegel’s criticism of the “founding and grounding tendency”, and present Kant’s, Schelling’s, Fichte’s, and Reinhold’s approaches to foundationalism based on cognition. Then I will suggest a Hegelian alternative, which is an epistemology based on a self-justifying, in Hegel’s terms, “circular” (but non-fallacious) pattern of the interrelation of knowledge-claims.