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A general term for any doctrine in metaphysics or ethics owing its inspiration to Kant, but more particularly a term for various philosophical trends of this kind prominent in Germany between 1870 and 1920. The slogan ‘back to Kant’ was pronounced by Kuno Fischer (1824–1907) in 1860, partly as a reaction to the prevailing naturalism of the time, and ethically in opposition to the evolutionary ethics beginning to gain ground and to propagate myths of biological determinism and racial superiority. The general tendency was to separate the humane from the natural sciences (see Dilthey, Verstehen), and to reduce emphasis on the noumenal, so interpreting Kant's thoughts as a more positivistic blend of empiricism and rationalism. Neo-Kantianism was especially influential in the social thought of Durkheim and Weber.

Subjects: Philosophy

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