Determinate and Indeterminate Judgments and the Unity of Kant's Critical Philosophy

Dissertation, The Catholic University of America (2000)

The aim of this dissertation is to propose and justify the thesis that Kant's theory of judgment, which plays a vital role in the Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, and Critique of Judgment, is fundamentally theoretical in nature, and that this theory insures the unity of the critical philosophy. Most of the contemporary writers who have dealt with the question of the unity of Kant's philosophy on the basis of his theory of judgement have emphasized the priority of either practical, aesthetic, or even political judgment. Such interpretations, however, seem at odds with the fact that Kant's theory of judgment is rooted in the non-practical, theoretical discipline of formal logic, a discipline that underlies the structure of all three Critiques. The "theoretical" understanding of judgment is first developed in the Critique of Pure Reason wherein Kant distinguishes between general and transcendental logic. This distinction governs the distinction between two ways of employing the same logical form of judgment, viz., indeterminately and determinately. The determinate-indeterminate distinction with respect to judging is elaborated in both the first and the second editions of the Critique of Pure Reason as well as in the Prolegomena and the Preface to the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science . ;In the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals , Kant distinguishes between "general practical philosophy" and "the metaphysics of morals." In fact, general practical philosophy "differs from a metaphysics of morals in the same way that general logic is distinguished from transcendental philosophy." Thus, the distinction between general practical philosophy and the metaphysics of morals in Kant's practical philosophy represents the distinction between indeterminate and determinate functions of judging practically, i.e., of willing. ;In the Critique of Judgment , the determinate-indeterminate distinction is expressed by means of the distinction between determinative and reflective power of judgment . Kant shows that while the determinative Urteilskraft gives rise to scientific and moral judgments, the reflective Urteilskraft makes possible both aesthetic and teleological judgments by leaving something undetermined, viz., the cognizability of an object and the intentionality of the purposiveness of nature, respectively
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