Ebbinghaus put forward the idea that Kantian philosophy needed to be freed from the misunderstandings and distortions
that had amassed over more than a century. Also owing to him was the unexpected and above all incredible view that
the thousandfold discussed, commentated, improved, and supposedly refuted Kantian philosophy was in truth unknown
and that its discovery was still awaited. It was through the works of Klaus Reich, and in particular his first work,
that these ideas became persuasive and even obvious.

Despite his lifelong preoccupation with Kant`s philosophy, Reich
was far from sharing in any Kant orthodoxy. The comprehensive
historical knowledge of this great scholar and his precise
understanding of the significant texts of the past needed to
fear no comparison. If he, therefore, came to the conclusion,
on the basis of his critical separation of the untenable from
the philosophically promising in the history of philosophical
thought, that it was Kant`s philosophy which most deserved to
be analysed, explained, and defended, this philosophy-historical
option was grounded in an entirely contemporary interest in
truth and in the capacity of knowledge to have ultimate grounds.
It was thus far from the the preference of the historian for
particular epochs and from a self-sufficient philological
hermeneutics. Reich believed that Kant had landed upon solid
ground capable of further development, especially with respect
to his theory of space, his doctrine of judgement, and his
philosophy of law. Reich`s historical studies, however, imbued
with the spirit of critique, were, in the working out of Kantian

problems and the history of their solutions, in the end only interested in the entirely unhistorical question of the
sufficient grounds for the claims investigated, that is, in systematic philosophy. His thus-understood and practised
art of examination reserved the right at all times to expose the untenability of any reconstructed line of thought.
Since this possibility existed at any point in the future, the sceptical non liquet naturally also applied to Kant`s
truth claims. This was not meant as an easy way out for the ignava ratio but rather as a call for further investigations
and an independent solution to Kantian problems which could be welljustified in the face of the well-founded claims
of contemporary science.
This spirit of enlightenment was represented by a man who was well aware of the untimeliness of his way of thinking,
and who gladly accepted the consequently inevitable outsider status. His relationship to the greatest philosophy of
the past, which finds an equivalent only in the history of the exact sciences and not in that of art or poetry, can
be justified by no one better than by the revolutionary thinker Kant himself: "If one wishes to be an inventor, one
wants to be the first; if one only demands truth, one wants predecessors." (Ak XVI, 255; R 2159)

Quelle: Manfred Baum, Wuppertal