Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment: Critical Essays (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (4):499-500 (2004)
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment: Critical EssaysTed KinnamanPaul Guyer, editor. Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment: Critical Essays. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. Pp. xxiii + 253. Cloth, $75.95. Paper, $27.95.The volume under review is a collection of essays on a wide range of topics concerning Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment. All the papers included here have been published previously, although many of them in places where they might not be easily accessible to English-speaking philosophers. While some of the articles will be familiar to Kant scholars, this collection should be useful to specialists and valuable to students first delving into the third Critique.One essay in the volume, Guyer's own piece on "Kant's Principles of Reflecting Judgment," will be of particular interest to Kant scholars. Guyer's thesis here is that the account of reflecting judgment Kant offers in the Critique of the Power of Judgment is both continuous with the account of regulative principles of reason in the Critique of Pure Reason and the basis of the unity of the third Critique as a whole. He supports this by demonstrating how each of the sorts of judgment discussed in the work can be seen as an application of the broader account of reflecting judgment in general. Guyer identifies five such applications, and shows that each of them has three features central to regulative principles: they set a goal of constructing a system within a certain specific range of cognitions; they require the suitability of objects for attainment of the goal in question, and thus are transcendental [End Page 499] and not merely logical principles; and they supply heuristic advice for the investigation of nature. Thus every form of judgment can with justice be considered as an instance of the general activity of reflecting, that is, finding a universal for a given particular.Several of the essays included here concern the most prominent issues relating to the Analytic of the Beautiful. Nick Zangwill's piece deals with the disinterestedness of aesthetic judgment, while Christopher Janaway's "Kant's Aesthetics and the Empty Cognitive Stock" debunks what he sees as misguided readings of the role of concepts in judgments of taste. In "The Idealism of Purposiveness," an excerpt from his 1993 book Kantian Aesthetics Pursued (Edinburgh, 1993), Anthony Savile criticizes what he calls the "established reading" of Kant's claim that beautiful objects exhibit "purposiveness without purpose." On this reading, to say that a thing is purposive without purpose is to say that it appears to be designed, but to no particular purpose. Savile argues instead that we should take purposiveness without purpose to indicate that an object is suitable for a function, but not as a result of conscious design. Articles by Eva Schaper (from her well-known book on Kant's aesthetics) and Malcolm Budd discuss the distinction between free and dependent beauty and the account of the sublime, respectively.Some of the other selections in the volume are interesting for their focus on somewhat neglected aspects of the third Critique. One such aspect is the role of the imagination in Kant's account of aesthetic appreciation, and by extension in cognition more generally. In "Imaginative Freedom and the German Enlightenment," Jane Kneller argues that appreciation of the role of imaginative freedom in Kant's account of aesthetic judgment helps to connect Kant to the Enlightenment rationalist tradition that saw the value of art in its ability to educate and improve those who appreciate it. This education cannot, of course, be of the most straightforward nature, since Kant emphatically argues that to judge a thing beautiful is altogether different from judging it morally good. Instead, Kneller argues, our awareness of our own imaginative freedom provides us with evidence of our ability to realize the "highest good" on earth, evidence otherwise denied us in Kant's philosophy. Also addressing the theme of imagination is Donald Crawford's "Kant's Theory of Creative Imagination," in which he points out striking parallels between Kant's account of the imagination's role in mathematics and in the creation of fine art.Another aspect of Kant...

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Ted Kinnaman
George Mason University

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