Michael Baur

Michael Baur
Fordham University · Department of Philosophy

Professor

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84
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Publications (84)
Book
In the history of philosophy, Fichte's thought marks a crucial transitional stage between Kant and post-Kantian philosophy. Fichte radicalized Kant's thought by arguing that human freedom, not external reality, must be the starting point of all systematic philosophy, and in Foundations of Natural Right, thought by many to be his most important work...
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Michael Baur, "Situating Hegel: From Transcendental Philosophy to a Phenomenology of Spirit," in the Palgrave Hegel Handbook, edited by Marian Bykova and Kenneth Westphal (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
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"Winckelmann's Greek Ideal and Kant's Critical Philosophy," Chapter 3 of Kant and His German Contemporaries, vol. 2: Aesthetics, History, Politics, and Religion.
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Marx's theory of historical materialism seeks to explain human history and development on the basis of the material conditions underlying all human existence. For Marx, the most important of all human activities is the activity of production by means of labor. With his focus on production through labor, Marx argues that it is possible to provide a...
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The thought of G. W. F. Hegel (1770 -1831) has had a deep and lasting influence on a wide range of philosophical, political, religious, aesthetic, cultural and scientific movements. But, despite the far-reaching importance of Hegel's thought, there is often a great deal of confusion about what he actually said or believed. G. W. F. Hegel: Key Conce...
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Twentieth-century Canadian philosopher Bernard J. F. Lonergan and nineteenth-century German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel regarded themselves as Aristotelian thinkers. As Aristotelians, both affirmed that human knowing is essentially a matter of knowing by identity: in the act of knowing, the knower and the known are formally identical. In spite of th...
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As Richard Bernstein has suggested, there is a very rich and interesting story to be told about how the classical pragmatists (Dewey, Peirce, and ames) understood G. W. R Hegel, made use of Hegel, and ultimately distanced themselves from Hegel. That story cannot be told here. Indeed, the story is so rich and complicated that even its beginnings can...
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Understood in its widest sense, the term “hermeneutics” can be taken to refer to the theory and/or practice of any interpretation aimed at uncovering the meaning of any expression, regardless of whether such expression was produced by a human or non-human source. Understood in a narrower sense, the term “hermeneutics” can be taken to refer to a par...
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In his 2009 encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI (2009b, #53), citing an encyclical letter of Pope Paul VI (1967, #85), observes that "the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking." To be sure, the world is in trouble for reasons unconnected to the lack of thinking; but, even while that is true, the lack of thinking d...
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In the modern period, the most original and influential theories about law and politics were developed in connection with a set of far-reaching, interrelated questions about the definition of law, the purpose of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the existence of natural law and natural rights. In this entry I summarize the contrib...
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The various essays in this volume by colleagues and former students of Schmitz examine his thought and the subjects of his teaching. In addition to an overall exposition of his own thought, the collection treats themes such as gift, faith and reason, culture and dialogue, modernity and post-modernity. © 2011 The Catholic University of America Press...
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Aquinas's account of law as an ordering of reason for the common good of a community depends on the mereology that covered his theory of parthood relations, including the relations of parts to parts and parts to wholes. Aquinas argued that 'all who are included in a community stand in relation to that community as parts to a whole', and 'every indi...
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Hegel’s most abiding aspiration was to be a volkserzieher (an educator of the people) in the tradition of thinkers of Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), and Friedrich Schiller (159-1786). No doubt, he was also deeply interested in epistemology and metaphysics, but this interest stemmed at least in part from his bel...
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This companion provides original, scholarly, and cutting-edge essays that cover the whole range of Hegel's mature thought and his lasting influence. • A comprehensive guide to one of the most important modern philosophers • Essays are written in an accessible manner and draw on the most up-to-date Hegel research • Contributions are drawn from acros...
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With his contribution on "The Natural Law in the American Tradition," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain has begun the indispensable task of laying the groundwork for sound jurisprudential reasoning in the natural law tradition. It is on the basis of this groundwork that we can begin to appreciate what natural law reasoning might mean, and what it does not...
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With its June 2004 statement Catholics in Political Life, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opened an important and far-reaching discussion about how Catholic individuals ought to comport themselves in political life, and-indirectly-about how Catholic institutions-including Catholic law schools-ought to decide whether or not to give...
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Alasdair MacIntyre has argued that our contemporary discourse about "rights," and "natural rights" or "human rights," is alien to the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas. His worry, it seems, is that our contemporary language of rights is often taken to imply that individuals may possess certain entitlement-conferring properties or powers (typically c...
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One of the best-known members of the United Nations Commission which drafted the 1948 "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Jacques Maritain, famously held that the "natural rights" or "human rights" possessed by every human being are grounded and justified by reference to the natural law.' In many quarters today, the notion of the natural law,...
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More than thirty-five years after its first release in 1971, Don McLean’s “American Pie” still resonates deeply with music listeners and consumers of popular culture. In a 2001 public poll sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America, McLean’s eight-and-a-half-minute masterpiece was ranked numbe...
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Shortly after the bus and subway bombings in London on July 7, 2005, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called upon world leaders to reach consensus on a definition of terrorism, one that would facilitate 'moral clarity' and underwrite the United Nations convention against terrorism. The Secretary General's plea to world leaders help to hi...
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As I hope to show in this paper, Fichte’s rejection of traditional social contractarian accounts of human social relations is related to his rejection of the search for a criterion, or external standard, by which we might measure our knowledge in epistemology. More specifically, Fichte’s account of the impossibility of a normative social contract (...
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In spite of their lack of interest in traditional philosophy and their explicit disavowals about the deeper meaning of their songs, there are also good reasons to approach and interpret the Beatles and their work from a philosophical point of view. In his Playboy interview from September of 1980, John praised Paul for the philosophical significance...
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In his paper, "Free Choice, Incommensurable Goods and the Self-Refutation of Determinism,"' Joseph Boyle seeks to show how the argument for the self-refutation of determinism - first articulated over twenty-five years ago - is an argument whose force depends on (first) a proper understanding of just what free choice is, and (secondly) a proper unde...
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The movie Memento (2000) broaches several interrelated philosophical questions concerning human knowledge, personal identity, and the human search for meaning. For example, is our knowledge based mainly on conclusions reached through our own reason, or is it based instead on habituation and conditioning brought about by forces outside of us? What i...
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On September 11, 2001, Americans were painfully reminded of a truth that for years had been easy to overlook, namely, that terrorism can affect every person in the world – regardless of location, nationality, political conviction, or occupation – and that, in principle, nobody is beyond terrorism’s reach. However, our renewed awareness of the ubiqu...
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This paper focuses on Newman' s approach to what we might call "the problem of the partiality and unity of the sciences." The problem can be expressed in the form of a question: "If all human knowing is finite and partial, then on what grounds can one know of the unity and wholeness of all the sciences?" Newman' s solution to the problem is openly...
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One of the defining characteristics of Kant's 'critical philosophy' is what has been called the 'critique of immediacy' or the rejection of the 'myth of the given'. According to the Kantian position, no object can count as an object for a human knower apart from the knower's own activity or spontaneity. That is, no object can count as an object for...
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Journal of the History of Philosophy 41.1 (2003) 134-135 Hegel's notorious use of literary references in his Phenomenology of Spirit has been a source of numerous interpretive difficulties, sparking disagreements not only about the actual referents of Hegel's literary allusions, but also—and more importantly—about the meaning and purpose of such al...
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In this Essay, I examine some apparent difficulties with what I call the "actualization criterion" connected to Rawls's notion of public reason, that is, the criterion for determining when Rawlsian public reason is concretely actualized by citizens in their deliberating and deciding about constitutional essentials and matters of basic justice. Whil...
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In this paper, I offer an immanent critique of John Rawls's theory of justice which seeks to show that Rawls's understanding of his theory of justice as criteriological and contractarian is ultimately incompatible with his claim that the theory is grounded on the primacy of the practical. I agree with Michael Sandel's observation that the Rawlsian...
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Kant’s “moral proof” for the existence of God has been the subject of much criticism, even among his most sympathetic commentators. According to the critics, the primary problem is that the notion of the “highest good,” on which the moral proof depends, introduces an element of contingency and heteronomy into Kant’s otherwise strict, autonomy-based...
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As Alexander D’Entrees observed over forty years ago, the case for natural law “is not an easy one to put clearly and convincingly.” Furthermore, even if one can make the case for natural law in a clear and convincing manner, one should not expect such an argument to be clear and convincing for all time. Instead, the case for natural law must be an...
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In the opening chapter of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke explains that the self-understanding or self-measure of the human mind includes an account of the mind’s limits, and so the mind’s self-understanding can provide adequate grounds for intellectual self-moderation or self-control: “If we can find out, how far the Understan...
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Immanuel Kant's "critical philosophy" is rightly renowned for its criticism of the metaphysical pretensions of reason unaided by experience. It therefore seems ironic that, within a single generation, some of Kant's most important followers argued that the critical philosophy could be made fully critical only by recourse to the very metaphysical th...
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According to Immanuel Kant’s well-known account of his own intellectual development, it was the skeptic David Hume who roused him from his dogmatic slumber. According to some popular accounts of post-Kantian philosophy, it was the soporific speculation of the idealists that quickly returned German philosophy to the Procrustean bed of unverifiable m...
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Kant’s “transcendental” or “critical” philosophy is an instance of what can be called the “critique of immediacy.” As part of his critical project, Kant argues that one cannot merely assume that there is a reestablished harmony between thought and being. Instead, one must effect a “return to the subject” and examine the forms of thought themselves,...
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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) is considered a philosopher of the Tradition, both in the sense that his work is rooted in the political, artistic, religious, and philosophical traditions of European culture and in the sense that he takes up the notion of tradition as an object of philosophical investigation. This collection examines Hege...
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According to some critics, the putative superficiality of Winckelmann's appropriation of the Greek legacy is just one instance of the emptiness that characterizes the appropriation of the Greeks by the Germans in general. Thus Eliza Maria Butler has spoken of the 'tyranny of Greece over Germany': 'If the Greeks are tyrants, the Germans are predesti...
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The thought of Martin Heidegger has been influential in postmodernist discussions concerning the “death of the subject” and the “deconstruction” of the metaphysics of presence. In this paper, I shall examine Heidegger’s understanding of Dasein in terms of care and temporality, and his corresponding critique of the metaphysics of presence, especiall...
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American in rem, or civil, forfeiture laws seem to implicate constitutional concerns insofar as such laws may authorize the government to confiscate privately owned property, regardless of the guilt or innocence of the owner. Historically, the justification of in rem forfeiture law has rested on the legal fiction that “[t]he thing is . . . primaril...
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The Hegelian and the Thomistic accounts of self-knowledge are solidly Aristotelian in their origins and motivations. In their conclusions and consequences, however, the two accounts exhibit significant differences. Hegel argues that genuine self-knowledge is necessarily social and historical, while Aquinas says nothing about history or society in h...
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When it comes to understanding the genesis and development of Heidegger’s thought, it would be rather difficult to overestimate the importance of the “Aristotle-Introduction” of 1922, Heidegger’s “Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle.” This text is both a manifesto which describes the young Heidegger’s philosophical commitment...
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The purpose of the present essay is to explicate the basic movement which the Understanding exercises upon itself at the end of the chapter on “Force and the Understanding” in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Unlike many other commentators on the Phenomenology, I hope to show how Hegel’s argumentation in this chapter applies not merely to the Newto...
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According to the received view of scientific theories, a scientific theory is an axiomatic-deductive linguistic structure which must include some set of guidelines (“correspondence rules”) for interpreting its theoretical terms with reference to the world of observable phenomena. According to the semantic view, a scientific theory need not be formu...
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What one conceives philosophy to be is largely a function of one’s own philosophical position. So if the history of philosophy has been characterized by radical disagreement between different philosophical positions, it should be no surprise that a similar disagreement happens to characterize discussion on just what philosophy itself is. In the fol...
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The so-called problem of arguing “from what is to what ought to be” was popularized by G.E. Moore in Principia Ethica (1903), and has received much attention from modern philosophers. I would like to argue that this apparent problem rests on a false dichotomy between our knowing and our doing.