Consideration of Definition as the Place of the Explicability of
the Concept and the Return to the Ground of Definition

§3. The Determination of the Concept through the
Doctrine of Definition in Kant’s

“Logic” answers the question: what is meant by concept? There is no “logic” in the sense that one speaks of it simply as “logic.” “Logic” is an outgrowth of Hellenistic scholasticism, which adapted the philosophical research of the past in a scholastic manner. Neither Plato nor Aristotle knew of “logic.” Logic, as it prevailed in the Middle Ages, may be defined as a matter of concepts and rules, scholastically compiled. “Logical problems” emerge from the horizon of a scholastic imparting of issues; its interest lies not in a confrontation with things, but rather with the imparting of definite technical possibilities.

In this logic, one speaks of definition as the means by which the concept undergoes determination. We will, therefore, be able to see, in the consideration of definition, what one properly means by concept and conceptuality. We wish to keep to the Kantian Logic in order to see what is said about definition in the context of actual research, that is, in the only one since Aristotle. Kant is the only one who lets logic become vital. This logic operates in its entirely traditional form afterward in the Hegelian dialectic, which in a completely uncreative way merely adapts traditional logical materials in definite respects.

When we consult Kant’s characterization of definition, we are struck by the fact that definition is treated in the chapter entitled “General Doctrine of Method.”1 Definition is a methodological issue, designed to lend precision to knowledge. It is treated as the means for conveying the “precision of concepts with regard to their content.2 Through definition the precision of concepts is conveyed. However, definition is, at the same time, a concept: “The definition alone is [. . .] a logically complete concept.”3 Therefore, we do not discover,

1. Vorlesungen Kants über Logik, edited by A. Buchenau, in Immanuel Kant’s Werke, edited by E. Cassirer, Volume VIII, Berlin 1923, II. Allgemeine Methodenlehre, §§99–109, pp. 323–452.

2. A.a.O., §98.

3. A.a.O., §99 note.

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