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From Kant to Durkheim

Stedman Jones, Susan G. (1985) From Kant to Durkheim. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86230) (KAR id:86230)


This thesis concerns the relationship between Kant and Durkheim as expressed in the philosophy of Charles Renouvier. His 'Neo-Criticisme' presents itself as both a retention and critique of the principles of Kant's 'Criticisme'. And it contains the theoretical premises of Durkheim's socioloay. The thesis traces the transformation of thought effected by Penouvier to Kant's Critical Philosophy. In particular it is claimed that the Copernicanism which marks the interpretation of human reality for Renouvier and Durkheim, has its oriqin in the philosophical revolution in epistemology and morality effected by Kant. Part One examines the historical and analytic preliminaries for the development of the ideas in Part II, III and IV. The development of Durkheim's sociology is seen as occurring during a period of thought marked by a return to Kant. Part One traces the development of Durkheim's idea of the sociology of knowledge as a form of post-Kantian Copernican science. The goal of this is to discover the principles involved in human knowledge: these are the categories which express the a priori in knowledge. For Durkheim the origin is social, whereas for Kant these principles are intellectual. Renouvier's critique of Kant Abstract 1 ~ • is seen as providing a transition between the two. Part III looks at the conflict of reasons in the Kantian system entailed by determinism and how Renouvier develops a non-deterministic conception of causality that is available to a human science, and through this reconciles the reasons split by Kant. This analysis reveals that for Renouvier and Durkheim in contradistinction to Kant, the necessity which governs all of human experience is a moral necessity. Part IV looks at the laws of the moral order: the principles of a Copernican morality are Duty, Unity and Autonomy

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86230
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Charles Renouvier's critique
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Philosophy
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:36 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 11:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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