Kant on Beauty and Biology: An Interpretation of the 'Critique of Judgment' (Modern European Philosophy)

Kant on Beauty and Biology: An Interpretation of the 'Critique of Judgment' (Modern European Philosophy)

Rachel Zuckert

Language: English

Pages: 424

ISBN: 0521172330

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Kant's Critique of Judgment has often been interpreted by scholars as comprising separate treatments of three uneasily connected topics: beauty, biology, and empirical knowledge. Rachel Zuckert's book interprets the Critique as a unified argument concerning all three domains. She argues that on Kant's view, human beings demonstrate a distinctive cognitive ability in appreciating beauty and understanding organic life: an ability to anticipate a whole that we do not completely understand according to preconceived categories. This ability is necessary, moreover, for human beings to gain knowledge of nature in its empirical character as it is, not as we might assume it to be. Her wide-ranging and original study will be valuable for readers in all areas of Kant's philosophy.

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Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence

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formation is grounded, preeminently, in the recognition of differences is, I am suggesting by contrast, justified. Because we are attending to representations in the absence of an empirical concept that would determine them as similar – i.e., the concept we aim to form – these particular representations are (as far as their empirical, qualitative ‘‘content’’ is concerned) in principle ‘‘different,’’ heterogeneous from one another (for us). Kant accentuates such differentiation in his example by

but I note in anticipation that, in terming judgments of utility judgments of ‘‘objective’’ purposiveness, Kant suggests that purposiveness ‘‘for us’’ need not be understood as equivalent to ‘‘merely subjective’’ purposiveness. Correlatively, aesthetic ‘‘subjective’’ purposiveness need not be understood (as it frequently is) to mean – simply – serving our purposes (whether as pleasing, or occasioning the harmony of the faculties). REFLECTIVE JUDGMENT AND ITS PRINCIPLE 81 three main types of

purposiveness of beautiful form, and the purposiveness of organisms may be said to be purposiveness without a purpose. In all three cases, Kant appears to hold that we judge objects both only ‘‘as if ’’ they are made in accord with concepts, and only ‘‘as if’’ they serve conceptually specified ends. This ‘‘as if’’ character of purposiveness without a purpose brings us, however, to the second objection above: that judging in accord with this principle does not and cannot ground any substantive

Teleology, pp. 15–19, 31), however, on the historical importance of plasticity for the philosophy of biology of Kant’s time. The unity of a species ought, perhaps, to interest Kant more than it does, for it could help in our systematic project of classifying objects into empirical natural kinds, as, e.g., Michael Kraft suggests (‘‘Kant’s Theory of Teleology,’’ International Philosophical Quarterly 22 [1982], 41–9). Though Kraft rightly stresses the connection between systematicity and Kant’s

concept of force to explain the interactions of bodies. See MFNS iv:532–3; Daniel Warren, ‘‘Kant’s Dynamics,’’ in Watkins, ed., Kant and the Sciences, pp. 93–116. I shall not consider this sort of THE ANALYTIC OF TELEOLOGICAL JUDGMENT 103 This third concept of mechanism (which I shall call ‘‘physical mechanism’’), I suggest, is the core meaning of ‘‘mechanism’’ in the CTJ, which unites the other two. For, first, efficient causality, as it applies to material objects (as such), takes this

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