The Origins of Kant's "Critique of Judgment"

Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison (1995)

Ted Kinnaman
George Mason University
In this dissertation I argue that Kant intended the Critique of Judgment to offer a transcendental deduction for the ideas of pure reason. The structure of my argument is as follows: In the first two chapters I look at Kant's account of understanding and reason in the Critique of Pure Reason. Here I make two claims: First, I argue that Kant wanted not only to limit but also to defend an important positive role for reason, namely the role of constructing a system organized around ideas. Second, I show that despite the importance of this positive conception of reason in the first Critique, his argument for the legitimacy of the ideas of pure reason is unsatisfactory, leaving him open to the criticism that these ideas are mere empty illusions. In Chapter Three, I look at important criticisms of Kant in the 1780s, and argue that they can be understood as making exactly this point. Finally, in the last two chapters and in the conclusion I argue that the Critique of Judgment as a whole and the "Critique of Aesthetic Judgment" in particular are best understood as Kant's attempt to address this problem by providing a transcendental deduction of the "principle of the puruposiveness of nature," which is essentially just the proposition that nature is suitable for the formation of the sort of system Kant describes
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