Intuition and Nature in Kant and Goethe

European Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):431-453 (2009)
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Abstract

Abstract: This essay addresses three specific moments in the history of the role played by intuition in Kant's system. Part one develops Kant's attitude toward intuition in order to understand how ‘sensible intuition’ becomes the first step in his development of transcendental idealism and how this in turn requires him to reject the possibility of an ‘intellectual intuition’ for human cognition. Part two considers the role of Jacobi when it came to interpreting both Kant's epistemic achievement and what were taken to be the outstanding problems of freedom's relation to nature; problems interpreted to be resolvable only via an appeal to ‘intellectual intuition’. Part three begins with Kant's subsequent return to the question of freedom and nature in his Critique of Judgment. With Goethe's contemporaneous Metamorphoses of Plants as a contrast case, it becomes clear that whereas Goethe can embrace the role of an intuitive understanding in his account of nature and within the logic of polarity in particular, Kant could never allow an intuition of nature that in his system would spell the very impossibility of freedom itself

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Jennifer Mensch
Western Sydney University

References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1998 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by J. M. D. Meiklejohn. Translated by Paul Guyer & Allen W. Wood.
Critique of pure reason.Immanuel Kant - 1781/1998 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
Kant and the exact sciences.Michael Friedman - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The fate of reason: German philosophy from Kant to Fichte.Frederick C. Beiser - 1987 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science.Immanuel Kant - 1970 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Michael Friedman.

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