January 11

Kant posits the faculty of judging as bridging the gap between pure reason and practical reason. He emphasizes aesthetic and teleological sorts of judgments as occupying this position.

-What does Kant mean by “critique”?
Critique is not negative for Kant. Critique is an inquiry into the possibility of something, a transcendental inquiry. So, for example, the critique of reason is an attempt to delineate the limits and possibilities of reason.
A major question we might ask at this point is whether or not Kant is continuing the foundationalist project. Foundationalism holds that truth depends on knowledge, knowledge depends on certainty, and that we can only derive certainty from some foundational aspect of reality. Both empiricism and rationalism traditionally attempt to seek out certainty as epistemologically foundational.
So for Kant, we might ask: Is transcendental inquiry foundation?

-Teleology in Kant:
Telos: end, limit, purpose, finality, that for the sake of which something is.

What role does telos play in the philosophy of Plato (as distinguished from Platonism). In Timaeus, God knows the forms and creates them, but doesn’t create them with us in mind. The eternity of ideas for the Greeks is more real than the mind of God. The Greeks were more comfortable with purposelessness than with not having atemporality. Ideas are atemporal, they are perfect, they are the beginning, and they are the end. Bergson suggests that the Greeks thought of ideas as images at their moment of perfection. We judge according to that perfect moment. So the essence of the rose is the perfected image of a rose, including the logic by which the rose unfolds in its full temporality.

The telos that Kant emphasizes is the futurity of ideas. That is, when ideas become regulative. In the phenomenal world, I have no knowledge of things-in-themselves (noumenal knowledge). There are no things-in-themselves in science.
Experience never adequately fulfills ideas (as Plato says). Because morality has a regulative character, ideas are thought to be future-oriented. What does this imply for Kant’s epistemology?

It is not clear here if Kant fully rejects foundationalism. Peirce, as a Kantian, thinks anything that you need a prior judgments to do, reason alone can get you.

Husserl will say idealizations (such as geometry, which Derrida calls a “fiction”), are something we create that becomes final. Strangely, in this way eternal things may be without an end, but they might have a beginning.

-What is the relationship between the 1st and 2nd Critiques? Are they the same project or different? Is it the same kind of transcendental inquiry?

If they end up being the same, then Kant’s project is foundationalist. Noumenal knowledge comes in through the backdoor of morality. If they end up being different, he can be an antifoundationalist because they are two different ways of knowing.
For science, according to Kant, I discover concepts. I can’t have a science of ideas; I need scientific understanding that is fixed by concepts taken from experience. I can’t get understanding through ideas alone.

How do I know when actions have selfish motives? Nietzsche wants to make this undecideable. But respect, for Kant (essentially a form of secularized Christian love) disregards any knowledge of the person.

Kant needs to show that at least some acts are caused by respect. We don’t need a concept of morality because it is an activity.
Is there a moment when concepts/experience and reason/ideas perfectly coincide? If they can map up, foundationalism is saved. If not, morality and science are epistemologically different.

If that’s what Kant is saying, the rationalist project is to give a moral foundation to science. It might be the case that there are moral posits in science (Nietzsche thinks so). Can I imagine morality in art? Is nature a perfect representation of morality? I can’t see God in nature, but can I go back and add him in?

Here, Kant is responding to two different conversations: one about whether or not beauty is normative and the other about whether there are purposes in nature. Kant asks what kind of judgment these debates are about.

-For Kant, judgment is divided into “reflective” and “determinative” judgments. What do these mean and what kind of faculties are they?

The rendering of the German word vermörgen into “faculty” is poor in English. Vermörgen means “might” or “may,” relating to potentiality. It is a power, a capacity, or a disposition.

Kant’s discussion of faculties centers on the idea that thinking is not one sort of activity; it consists of many activities: judging, willing, imagining, etc. There are basic faculties of thinking, some of which are passive and others of which are active. Attention (important for later phenomenologists) is active, while sensation (important for the British empiricists) is passive.

The most relevant distinction for Kant is not subject/object or mind/matter: It is the pure (without sensation, and so noumenal) versus the empirical (through sensation, and thus impure).

Morality for Kant cannot be empirical because then it could not be universalized. An empirical morality, for Kant, would result in relativism. Empathy can be distorted by simply altering experience, making it impure (Kant prefigures Marx’s concept of ideology here). Thus, Kant wants a pure, rational basis for morality.

What does Kant mean by “the understanding of cognition”? I “stand under” a concept; I apply it based on judgment. Judgment here polices the mind; it decides whether applied concepts are applied well.

So where do concepts come from? I get them from other faculties. What’s the relation between sensation and imagination here? For example, my concept of a unicorn is not directly taken from sensation. Rather, I combine various other sensations (horse, horn, etc.) via the imagination. Do I get any concepts from reason alone? Kant thinks so. He identifies 12 and only 12 concepts that come from reason and are not gained from experience (this becomes important to the neokantians). The pragmatists and phenomenologists think that even these come from imagination. So, science does not create concepts for Kant—it gets them through experience.

What is the difference between reflective and determinate judgment?

Determinate judgment asks how far a concept applies. It is deductive in this sense, it asks “Does this concept apply in this case?”

Reflective judgment is what Aristotle calls metaphor in the Poetics. These are things for which prior categories are uncertain. If I discover something new, what do I call it? Naming something without a name is an act of reflective judgment. So for Kant, there is no difference in judgment between trying to define an art object (such as a sculpture that sells itself on ebay) and a baby’s first experience of a papaya.

Peirce thinks that virtually all concepts come from reflective judgment. He thinks that we’re like children every time we encounter something novel.

Kant isn’t sure there’s ever warranted reflective judgment. If “this is beautiful” constitutes a normative claim, then it is a reflective judgment. I impose a concept on the world and the world accepts it. Kant thinks this happens with art and with purposes in nature—that is, with aesthetics and teleology.

This solves the first two Critiques. I impose morality on the world and the world will accept it, giving me intellectual intuition. But I can only do this through metaphor, through a leap from natural purpose (tree’s have leaves to photosynthesize) to the idea that nature itself has a purpose. Because of this metaphorical character, Kant cannot solve the problem directly.

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