McDowell’s Debt to Kant and Hegel: The Question of the Rehabilitation of Objectivity

  • Damian Ilodigwe


John McDowell is one of the emerging thinkers of great importance in contemporary philosophy. McDowell is particularly interested in the vexed problem of the relationship between thought and reality. In seeking to rehabilitate the ideal of objectivity in the face of Rorty's reduction of objectivity to solidarity, McDowell’s inspiration derives from Kant and Hegel. Our aim is to explore McDowell’s debt to Kant and Hegel and how this enables him to address the complex issue of the relation between mind and the world. Our contention is that McDowell’s recourse to Hegel’s correction of Kant enables McDowell to address the problem of relation between realism and idealism without endorsing Rorty’s claim that pragmatism reconciles realism and idealism, so that McDowell distances himself from the problematic reduction of objectivity to solidarity, while maintaining that beyond Cartesianism epistemology retains some kind of role in addressing the problem of knowledge.