Chaos in Heinrich Rickert’s Philosophy


  • О. В. Кулик Дніпровський національний університет імені Олеся Гончара
Keywords: Rickert, chaos, concept, formation, neo-Kantianism, cognition, German idealism, epistemology

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyze what neo-Kantian Heinrich Rickert designates by the term‘chaos’. I argue that using this term Rickert means infinite manifolds of human life experiences, thatphilosophers have to convert into ‘cosmos’ of theories by using concept formation. Rickert thinks thatcognition orders chaos. I show that Rickert’s version of ‘chaos’ is different from the ones that were expressedby I. Kant, J. G. Herder, F. W. von Schelling, F. von Schlegel, and F. Nietzsche. I also argue that ideas ofI. Kant influenced the formation of Rickert’s ideas on chaos. Heinrich Rickert uses the term ‘chaos’ in hisepistemological theories that describe the process of cognition. Rickert claims that chaos is a raw materialfrom which a philosopher can form concepts for understanding the world and life. When creating concepts,the building blocks of theories, we order this chaos by dismembering it and marking essential relationships,separating them from non-essential ones. According to Rickert, ways of scientifically grasping reality suchas generalizing and individualizing help us dismember and order the ‘chaos’ of our experiences, creating a‘cosmos’ of theories. Rickert correlates the terms ‘cosmos’ and ‘form.’ He believes that philosophers haveto provide the idea of the clear distinction between form and content and have to see, in the same way,the distinction between cosmos and chaos. Philosophers, with their concepts, can give form to the chaosof experiences of the world and life, that is, they can create theoretical cosmos. Rickert states that only asystem of concepts can order chaos into cosmos. Concepts that are not part of a system cannot represent theworld as a whole. They represent only separate parts of the world, thus they cannot create a ‘cosmos’ as anordered whole. Therefore any philosophy must be formed by a system. Another important part of Rickert’sideas on chaos is his thought that ordering chaos has utility for a person. Through this activity we subduethe chaos of experiences of the world and life and it gives us the possibility of being oriented in reality andto gain mastery over it.

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Published
2019-11-11
How to Cite
Кулик, О. (2019). Chaos in Heinrich Rickert’s Philosophy. Grani, 22(8), 37-46. https://doi.org/10.15421/171982
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