Reflective Judgment and Non-Discursive Intelligibility in Kant's "Third Critique"

Dissertation, The University of New Mexico (2003)

In my examination of Kant's Critique of Judgment I evaluate the unusual elements of his mature picture of taste. Kant's picture of taste differs both from commonsense aesthetics and from his own early conception of the limitations of judgment. Specifically, Kant's emphasis on the role of aesthetic feeling in taste represents a reversal of his position that feelings could never be the basis of a legitimate judgment. ;Kant argues that judgments of taste are subjective claims yet universally valid judgments nevertheless. Kant describes judgments of taste as a species of "reflective judgment," a notion that he first formulates in the Third Critique. ;An act of reflective judgment begins with individual appearances and develops a concept that can cover those phenomena. Kant contrasts this to "determinative judgment" in which we have concepts ready to apply to individual appearances. Judgments of taste are said to be a unique species of reflective judgment because they are "merely subjective." Yet Kant claims that taste makes a legitimate universal demand by drawing on our capacity for judging reflectively. ;I argue that taste can sustain a demand for universal assent because it operates through non-discursive intelligibility. That is, while we cannot conceptualize or articulate what is unique about aesthetic pleasure, I think that the pleasure can still be construed as an intelligible dimension of experience. ;To defend my position, I point out that the judgment of taste includes a recognizable element. I suggest how it makes a meaningful claim. Finally, I conclude that it is a sharable claim. ;This account of taste explains "the principle of the purposiveness of nature," the subjective principle that guides our power of judgment. The principle recommends we assume that nature is based upon organizing principles that our cognition can model. Using this principle helps me to explain Kant's confusing claim that the indeterminate concept he calls the "supersensible substratum" is at the heart of a judgment of taste. Connecting the supersensible substratum to our taste is key to defending the legitimacy of a judgment of taste
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