Linked bibliography for the SEP article "Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology" by Hannah Ginsborg

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A. Primary Sources

The two most important sources for Kant’s views on aesthetics and teleology, Critique of Judgment and “First Introduction”, are both published in the standard German edition of Kant’s works, the so-called Academy edition:

Page references given in this article follow the pagination of the Academy edition, which is indicated in the margins of the two most recent English-language editions (see below). Unless otherwise stated, all references are to the Critique of Judgment. References to the First Introduction are introduced by the abbreviation “FI”. Quotations follow the Cambridge translation (see below), with occasional divergences.

The two most recent English-language editions of the Critique of Judgment are to be preferred over earlier translations. The recent translations are:

The earlier translations are those of J.H. Bernard (London: Macmillan, 1892; revised edition 1914) and J.C. Meredith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952); the edition just cited is a combination of translations of the two main sections of the work that were published separately in 1911 and 1928 respectively.

Both the Hackett and the Cambridge editions include the First Introduction, and both provide further bibliographical references (the Hackett edition has a good bibliography of secondary literature up to 1987). The Hackett edition is more readable, and contains explanatory notes which will be useful to the less specialized reader. The Cambridge edition contains excellent editorial notes aimed at a more specialized readership, and includes copious references to other relevant writings by Kant.

There are substantial differences among the various available English-language editions, in particular in the translation of certain frequently occurring terms, and these differences are reflected in variations in the terminology used in the secondary literature. Some issues regarding the translation of the text are discussed in section IV of the Editor’s Introduction to the Cambridge edition and in Ginsborg (2002).

Turning now to other primary sources: there is a considerable amount of material on aesthetics, reflecting Kant’s views at various stages of his philosophical development, in the lectures and reflections on logic and anthropology. For more details on relevant material from these texts, the reader is referred to the endnotes of the Cambridge edition of the Critique of Judgment. Kant’s early work, Observations on the Sublime and the Beautiful (1764), has, in spite of its title, very little bearing on Kant’s aesthetic theory, and is more a work in popular anthropology.

While Kant’s most systematic and mature discussion of teleology is in the Critique of Judgment, there is also extensive discussion of the topic in the Only Possible Argument for the Existence of God (1763), included in Theoretical Philosophy 1755–1770 (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant), translated and edited by David Walford and Ralf Meerbote (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). Kant also discusses teleology in two essays about race, “Determination of the Concept of a Human Race” (1785) and “On the Use of Teleological Principles in Philosophy” (1788); both are included in Anthropology, History, and Education (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant), edited by Gunter Zöller and Robert B. Louden.

B. Secondary Sources

There is a large and ever-increasing secondary literature on Kant’s aesthetics and teleology. The list of references below is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography. Previous editions of this entry recommended Wenzel 2009 and Henning 2009 as sources of further references in Kant’s aesthetics and teleology respectively; the author is not aware of comparable sources which cover more recent literature.

This article has not addressed the historical origin or reception of Kant’s views on aesthetics and teleology, so I mention here some readings which might serve as points of departure for the reader interested in these areas. The introduction to the Cambridge edition of the Critique of Judgment provides a useful discussion of the historical sources of the work as a whole. For a more extended account, see Zammito’s (1992) book on the origin of the Critique of Judgment. More recent work on the historical origins of Kant’s aesthetics more specifically includes Zuckert 2007b and Rueger 2009, both of which emphasize Kant’s relation to his rationalist predecessors, and Guyer 2008, which explores the influence on Kant of earlier writers on aesthetics in the empiricist tradition. Regarding the reception of Kant’s aesthetics, Guyer 2017b offers a brief but illuminating discussion of Kant’s importance to Anglo-American aesthetic theory, as illustrated by the prevalence of articles about Kant that have appeared in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism since its founding in 1941.

Marino and Terzi 2020 discuss the reception of the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment in the twentieth century with an emphasis on the Continental tradition and references to American pragmatism, with figures like Hermann Cohen, Cassirer, Adorno, Arendt, Deleuze, Derrida, Lyotard, Eco, and Cavell.

Regarding the historical background to Kant’s views on natural teleology, specifically regarding the biology of his time, McLaughlin 1990 remains an excellent guide; further work on this topic includes M. Fisher 2014, Goy 2014a, Zuckert 2014a. The reception of Kant’s biological work is discussed in Lenoir’s influential 1980, which argues that Kant’s ideas played a major role in shaping German biology in the 1790s. Lenoir’s view is challenged in Richards 2000 and in Zammito 2012, which is also a useful source of references to literature on the topic; Zammito’s (2018) study of the origin of German biology contains a wealth of information about the history and reception of Kant’s views on biology. Huneman (2006) discusses the influence of Kant’s views on French biology in the nineteenth century.

This article, and much of the literature referred to, approaches Kant’s views largely from the perspective of the analytic tradition in philosophy. English-language treatments of Kant’s aesthetics which accommodate more of a “continental” perspective include Makkreel (1990), Pillow (2000), and Gasché (2002). See also the references given in the final paragraph of section 2.9.

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