Coleridge and Kant

  • D. M. MacKinnon


Coleridge is commemorated chiefly, if not entirely, as a poet. If one who is professionally concerned with philosophy and theology ventures comment on his treatment of Kant, he must therefore do so in full awareness that in Coleridge’s appraisal of the philosopher he has to do with a poet’s understanding of one of the most commanding figures in the whole history of Western philosophy. It therefore becomes him to eschew any form of pedantry and to be ready to receive insights as unexpected as they are unsystematic; he must not be deterred by the presence of sharp contradiction in the poet’s expressed attitude towards the philosopher. After all, no one who has studied Kant to any depth has any excuse for forgetting the extent to which that philosopher’s thought developed and underwent significant changes before his Inaugural Dissertation of 1771, then again between the delivery of that formidable lecture and the publication of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, then again between the publication of that edition and of the second edition of 1787, and indeed in the whole period during which the massive structure of the critical philosophy was itself being elaborated.


Pure Reason Critical Philosophy Commanding Figure Inaugural Dissertation Sharp Contradiction 


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  1. 8.
    Letter to Place, 6-Dec 1817: Graham Wallas, Life of Francis Place (1898) p. 91.Google Scholar

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© John Beer 1974

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  • D. M. MacKinnon

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