- Slides: 21
Why a third Critique? Seminar “Kant: Critique of the Power of Judgment” University of Iceland Session 1 18/9/2007 Text: Preface Claus Beisbart
Kant’s critical philosophy – important dates 1781 Critique of Pure Reason (1 st edition) 1783 Prolegomena 1785 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 1786 The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science 1787 Critique of Pure Reason (2 nd edition) 1788 Critique of Practical Reason 1790 Critique of the Power of Judgment 1797 Metaphysics of Morals
Kant’s critical philosophy – the ansatz We issue a priori judgments (we reason following a priori judgments) Before we do so, we should ask ourselves: Are we able to issue these kinds of a priori judgments? Is this within the range of our cognitive capacities? Is it legitimate to issue these judgments? Critical examination of our cognitive capacities
Kant’s critical philosophy – an example e. g. , metaphysics (metaphysics of nature) (aprioristic) Substantive questions, e. g. : Is there a God? Is there free will? Critical philosophy: Before turning to substantive questions: Ask yourself: Are you entitled to issue judgments regarding the existence of God, etc. ?
Kant’s critical philosophy – important dates reexamined 1. 2. 1. 2. 1781 Critique of Pure Reason (1 st edition) 1783 Prolegomena 1785 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 1786 The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science 1787 Critique of Pure Reason (2 nd edition) 1788 Critique of Practical Reason 1790 Critique of the Power of Judgment 1797 Metaphysics of Morals
A priori principles – examples “Every alteration has its cause” (metaphysics of nature, theoretical philosophy) (principle of universal causation) Why is it a priori? 1. Strict generality: it speaks about every process 2. Necessity: Causation means necessitation: the cause necessitates the effect Categorical imperative (metaphysics of morals, practical philosophy) “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. ” Translations: Kemp Smith, Bennett
A priori principles – a side remark Some a priori principles/judgments hold true in a trivial way e. g. “Every bachelor is unmarried” A priori, because no experience is needed in order to justify this judgment (also: strict generality and maybe also necessity) It follows from the meaning of the concepts involved. A bachelor is just defined as an unmarried man. Kant: synthetic and analytic judgments Def. : A judgment of the form: “[predicate] P applies to [subject ]S” is analytic, if what P says is already entailed in S. It is synthetic, if it is not analytic Kant’s concern are a priori principles/judgments that are synthetic
A priori principles – justification General idea: some a priori principles are constitutive principles (p. 55) What does this mean? 1. Metaphysics of Nature 2. Principles are constitutive of Nature/experience 2. Metaphysics of Morals Principles are constitutive of free agency
Constitutive principles of experience (I) Experience is often taken to be a very simple thing. We are just receptive (passive) and receive knowledge from Nature. Kant: It’s not that simple. We are not only receptive, but also spontaneous (active). For instance, we only perceive things in the way we perceive them, and this indicates that we make a contribution ourselves. Kant’s question: What are the necessary conditions of the possibility of experience?
Cf. Kant’s Copernican revolution How does knowledge work? Old paradigm: We (the subject) or our thought has to conform to the object New paradigm: The subject has to conform to us, to our abilities. Cf. the Copernican revolution in astronomy Old paradigm: The sun revolves around the earth. New paradigm: The earth revolves around the sun.
Constitutive principles of experience (II) How does empirical knowledge arise? Sensibility Understanding concepts Kant: “Without sensibility no object would be given to us, without understanding no object would be thought” (A 51) NB. : the understanding needs empiric input.
Constitutive principles of experience (III) We need certain concepts to structure and frame our experience. E. g. , for empiric knowledge of objects we need the concept of substance. Categories of the understanding, e. g. substance, causality The categories are connected to certain principles. Justification of a priori principles: They provide the framework for experience, they enfold our conceptual scheme that is prior to experience. (Transcendental deduction of the categories of the understanding)
Constitutive principles of experience (IV) Kant’s metaphor: The understanding prescribes something to Nature. (it has a legislation for Nature/gives laws to Nature) The understanding prescribes something to cognition (of the world) Summary: Some a priori principles can be justified as constitutive principles for Nature/experience. They spell out the aprioristic framework for experience.
Constitutive principles of experience (V) Remarks: 1. “constitutive” from Latin, “constituere”=“to build up” 2. Thus, constitutive principles of Nature provide something like basic building blocks for empiric knowledge. 3. Kant: “[…] it may well be that even our empirical knowledge is made up of what we receive through impressions and what our own faculty of knowledge supplies from itself. ” (Critique of Pure Reason, B 1) Translation: Kemp Smith
Constitutive principles of experience (VI) Remarks: 2. Kant is not concerned with a temporal analysis of the acquisition of empiric knowledge. 1. Kant: “But though all our knowledge begins with experience [temporal relation], it does not follow that it all arises out of experience [structural relation]. ” (B 1) Translation: Kemp Smith
A constitutive principle of action Kant’s justification of the Categorical Imperative (CI): The Categorical Imperative spells out, what free agency amounts to. (Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Section III) Kant’s metaphor: Reason prescribes something to our will/our faculty of desire. NB. This time it is reason and not understanding, because no empiric input is needed for the CI.
Constitutive principles – summary understanding reason Prescriptions/legislation cognition 1 st Critique theoretical philosophy will/faculty of desire Is there more than this? 2 nd Critique practical philosophy
Constitutive principles – summary Reason in the broad sense understanding power of judgment reason ? cognition faculty of pleasure/ displeasure will/faculty of desire 1 st Critique 3 rd Critique 2 nd Critique theoretical philosophy ? practical philosophy
Why a third Critique? – Summary Reason in the broad sense is the faculty of issuing a priori judgments Reason in the broad sense encompasses reason (in a narrower sense), understanding and the power of judgment. Unless the power of judgment of power isn’t examined, the critical assessment of reason in the broad sense is not complete. Kant: “A critique of pure reason, i. e. , of our faculty for judging in accordance with a priori principles, would be incomplete if the power of judgment, which also claims to be a faculty of cognition, were not dealt with as a special part of it. ” Translation: Guyer/Matthews, 56
The task of the third Critique Kant: “Now whether the power of judgment […] also has a priori principles for itself; whether these are constitutive or merely regulative […] and whether it gives the rule a priori to the feeling of pleasure and displeasure […]: it is this with which the present critique of the power of judgment is concerned. ” NB. Regulative principles have a status different from that of constitutive principles. Roughly, they do not spell out what something amounts to, rather, they set certain tasks. Translation: Guyer/Matthews, 56
Questions left What is the power of judgment? What are its principles? Introduction