Nature, interthing intersubjectivity, and the environment: A comparative analysis of Kant and daoism

The Kantian philosophy, for many, largely represents the Modern West’s anthropocentric dominance of nature in its instrumental-rationalist orientation. Recently, some scholars have argued that Kant’s aesthetics offers significant resources for environmental ethics, while others believe that Kant’s flawed dualistic views in the second Critique severely undermine any environmental promise that aesthetic judgments may hold in Kant’s third Critique . This article first examines the meanings of nature in Kant’s three Critique s. It concludes that Kant’s aesthetic view toward sensible nature is indeed inconsistent. The article, however, also suggests that the “I” as “transcendental apperception” discussed in the paralogisms of the first Critique holds some promise of “interthing intersubjective” thinking. The second half of the article demonstrates that Daoism with a dialectic concern similar to Kant’s has something insightful to offer in its idea of interthingness based on a phenomenal account of nature. The article investigates important Daoist ideas of interthing analogical experience, qi , spiritual exercise, and wuwei in its dialect relation to zizan . By bringing Daoism and Kant into dialogue, the author hopes to bring forth a synthetic approach that is better suited to today’s environmental concerns.
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-008-9099-0
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References found in this work BETA
Wing-tsit Chan (1963). A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton, N.J.,Princeton University Press.

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