On aesthetic judgement and our relation to nature: Kant's concept of purposiveness

Inquiry 49 (6):547-572 (2006)
Abstract
I offer a critical reconstruction of Kant's thesis that aesthetic judgement is founded on the principle of the purposiveness of nature. This has been taken as equivalent to the claim that aesthetics is directly linked to the systematicity of nature in its empirical laws. I take issue both with Henry Allison, who seeks to marginalize this claim, and with Avner Baz, who highlights it in order to argue that Kant's aesthetics are merely instrumental for his epistemology. My solution is that aesthetic judgement operates as an exemplary presentation of our general ability to schematise an intuition with a concept at the empirical level. I suggest that this counts as an empirical schematism. Although aesthetic judgement is not based on empirical systematicity, it can nevertheless offer indirect support for the latter in so far as it is a particular revelation of purposiveness in general.
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