Tijdschrift voor Filosofie vol:71 issue:3 pages:475-498
Throughout the twentieth century, critical philosophy has proceeded by confronting a particular position by a criterion that it considered to be contained within itself This method has been extremely productive. I argue, however, that it relies on a tension between particularity and universality the implications of which have not been sufficiently acknowledged. In order to expose this tension I go back to the roots of this method in modern philosophy, that is, to Kant's first Critique and Hegel's essay entitled 'On the Essence of Philosophical Critique as Such and its Relation to the Present State of Philosophy in Particular' (1802). The fact that Kant and Hegel drew most divergent criteria from what they considered to be pure reason seems to compromise not merely their universality, but also their alleged immanence in the philosophical systems under critique. Even though the method initiated by Kant and Hegel is haunted by the tension between particularity and universality, I do not wish to suggest that the idea of immanent critique should be abandoned altogether. Contemporary critical philosophy should rather affirm that paradigms tend to conceive of their own particular principles as universal, and by that very gesture - the essence of ideology - tend to oppose themselves to contrary paradigms.