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Auseinandersetzungen um die civitas maxima in der Nachfolge Christian Wolffs


Cheneval, Francis (2001). Auseinandersetzungen um die civitas maxima in der Nachfolge Christian Wolffs. Studia Leibnitiana, 33(2):125-144.

Abstract

This article studies the reception of Christian Wolff’s theory of the civitas maxima by Hermann Friedrich Kahrel (1719-1787) and Michael Hanov (1695-1773). According to his previous work mentioned in the article (n. 2), the author considers the concept of civitas maxima as a methodological innovation. It is the normative fiction of a presumed rational consensus of mankind and of the states. As the article tries to show, this concept was misunderstood, not only by the enemies of Wolff but also by his followers. Kahrel considered the consensus of mankind and of the states a tacit factual consensus. The innovative idea of a presumed normative consensus was thereby lost. Hanov interpreted the civitas maxima as a civitas dei in the sense of Leibniz. He transformed the normative idea of a presumed consensus into a fact of metaphysics and natural theology. Nevertheless, he introduced a diachrone dimension into the concept of civitas maxima which he sees as an infinite sequence of all generations of mankind. This anticipates Kant’s integration of cosmopolitanism in a certain concept of history. Kahrel and Hanov however misconceived Wolff’s idea of a normative fiction of reason by its reduction to a factual reality, be it natural or metaphysical. They thereby are representative for a common misunderstanding of Wolff’s theory that also leads to an inadequate critique.

Abstract

This article studies the reception of Christian Wolff’s theory of the civitas maxima by Hermann Friedrich Kahrel (1719-1787) and Michael Hanov (1695-1773). According to his previous work mentioned in the article (n. 2), the author considers the concept of civitas maxima as a methodological innovation. It is the normative fiction of a presumed rational consensus of mankind and of the states. As the article tries to show, this concept was misunderstood, not only by the enemies of Wolff but also by his followers. Kahrel considered the consensus of mankind and of the states a tacit factual consensus. The innovative idea of a presumed normative consensus was thereby lost. Hanov interpreted the civitas maxima as a civitas dei in the sense of Leibniz. He transformed the normative idea of a presumed consensus into a fact of metaphysics and natural theology. Nevertheless, he introduced a diachrone dimension into the concept of civitas maxima which he sees as an infinite sequence of all generations of mankind. This anticipates Kant’s integration of cosmopolitanism in a certain concept of history. Kahrel and Hanov however misconceived Wolff’s idea of a normative fiction of reason by its reduction to a factual reality, be it natural or metaphysical. They thereby are representative for a common misunderstanding of Wolff’s theory that also leads to an inadequate critique.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
170 Ethics
Language:German
Date:2001
Deposited On:13 Dec 2011 14:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:13
Publisher:Franz Steiner Verlag
ISSN:0039-3185
Related URLs:http://www.steiner-verlag.de/Studia/Studia5.html
http://www.jstor.org/stable/40694388

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