Is Kant a neo-Platonist

The apocalyptic speaker behaves obscenely because he with relish withdraws himself from the listening crowd and in an exhibitionist manner reveals the ultimate truth: The end is near. How close is it


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From K├Ąthe Trettin

In 1796 appeared in the Berlin monthly a polemical article by Immanuel Kant under the title "Of a recently raised noble tone in philosophy", in which a group of "mystagogues" is targeted, who - inspired by a poorly understood or "bad" Plato - an obscurant, quasi -to bring a poetic, "elegant" tone into philosophy, which would lead to nothing less than the death of philosophy.

Jacques Derrida allowed himself to be seduced by this marginal Kantian text into a parodistic transformation. Title: "From a recently raised apocalyptic tone in philosophy." The key words seem clear: death - apocalypse - mystagogy. Anyone who expects a philosopher to speak up here in the jargon of general uncertainty about the end of times, atomic death, nuclear catastrophe, ecological disaster, does not have in mind that in France (since Voltaire and Montesquieu) one is more subtle with the interference of intellectuals in politics Done bypasses. So it is a philosophical and highly politically engaged essay.

The demystification begins with the simple translation of apocalypto, which means as much as, I discover, I reveal, I reveal. Apokekalymmenoi logoi were "offensive speeches" in Greek. Even then, the exhibitorial aspect of the apocalypse had the meaning of sex and death. So that Kant, who wrote with a pointed pen against the romanticist Neoplatonists (who would rather guess the truth under a veil of Isis than to trust the voice of reason) here not only presents himself as a hero of the Enlightenment, but also claims apocalyptic speech takes: This mystagogy leads to the death of philosophy. Kant reserves the right to make this "obscene" statement. Kant as the herald of the end (in this case philosophy), Kant as the apocalyptic.

Revealing the veil (of Isis), discovering the truth in its nakedness: that is neither what Kant was concerned with in the empirical sense, nor is Derrida, in his adaptation to this pamphlet, concerned with decisive action. It's about talking / speaking / writing about the ending. It's about the Proclamation of death, to the obnoxious talk of the absolute end. It is obscene that the person who proclaims this pulls himself out of the listening crowd with relish, reveals the ultimate truth in an exhibitionist manner and himself - possibly with a few initiated - behaves mystagogically, as a guide / duce (and again we go to affirmation back to the Greek sense of the word, something that must have impressed Derrida with Heidegger: that Agogic means the leading, leading, leading). The enlightener - Derrida develops this in his loving, not dogged travesty of Kant - becomes willy-nilly to the mystagogue against whom he competes in his combat script.