Critique of Judgment: A Brief Introduction

Comments and Questions to: John Protevi
LSU French & Italian
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Classroom use only. Do not cite w/o permission.

Course given at University of Warwick Fall 1995

General aim: finish the critical project by bringing back together what it was the purpose of th first two critiques to separate. That is, the CJ is to show the possibility of mediating nature and freedom, understanding and reason.

I. Judgment mediates two notions of the supersensible. Practical reason, autonomy, must be able to bring about change in the natural world, the world disclosed to us by understanding and cognition ("ought implies can"). Thus nature must at least "harmonize" with freedom (AA 176). This harmony rests on a non-cognitive concept of unity between two notions of the super-sensible: "So there must after all be a basis uniting the supersensible that underlies nature and the supersensible that the concept of freedom contains practically, even though the concept of this basis does not reach cognition of it ..." (AA 176).

This harmony is revealed in the thought of the purposiveness of nature: nature thinkable as if it were planned.

II. judgment mediates the relation of the subject to itself. Judgment, as determining feeling of pleasure and pain, mediates reason as faculty of desire (freedom) and understanding as faculty of knowledge (nature).


I. CPR and CPrR award possession of the domains of nature and freedom to understanding and reason. NB the political metaphorics.

II. questions raised in the CJ: does judgment as mediating understanding and reason have its own principles? Are these constitutive or regulative? Does judgment determine a priori the feeling of pleasure and pain?

III. judgment must provide a non-cognitive concept which rules judgment itself.

INTRODUCTION [2nd one written, but only one published]

What is the place of judgment? Kant is architectonic, spatial, but also political: critical philosophy is the assignment of rule. Reason must be able reflect on all subjective activity, and hope to coerce, by rhetoric, different faculties to take different domains. (here we see Kant needs to take into account fact of reading and writing: what he really hopes is that the reading public will be convinced by his demonstrations and cease from bad practices: e.g., speculative war leading to scepticism and indifferentism).

So the question of the CJ is: what is place of judgment? It turns out it has no domain (in which it rules: these are exhausted by nature and freedom, ruled by understanding and reason), but perhaps it has a principle of its own that would have its own "territory": that is, part of a realm (relation to cognitive powers in general) in which cognition is possible. This may only be a subjective principle guiding the search for laws, but it would be enough to establish a territory (this will turn out to be organisms).

Another basis for assigning judgment a place is connection with the feeling of pleasure and pain, which lies between thought and desire. Thus once again, judgment will provide transition between nature and freedom, as, w/in knowing, it provides transition between U and R.

IV: Judgement as A Priori Legislative

K: J in general thinks particular under universal; determinative vs. regulative; determinative is subsumptive under a given a priori law; reflective J gives itself its law, a principle for unifying all empirical laws [given to us only in diverse contingency] into a system

K: we derive the principle in this way: our understanding gives universal laws, but it leaves particular ones indeterminate [hence we discover them as diverse contingency when we investigate]; so we view the particular ones as if they were unified by virtue of the legislation of a higher understanding

K: the principle of RJ is the purposiveness of nature in its diversity: that is, the harmony of nature w/ possible purposes: it could have been the result of a purpose; this is only an analogy with practical purposiveness of humans [cf #90 for distinction between thinking and inferring via analogy]

V: Formal Purposiveness of Nature as T Principle of J

K: transcendental principle: universal a priori condition for cognition in general {e.g., forms of intuition and categories}; metaphysical principle: a priori condition for objects of empirical concepts

K: purposiveness of nature is transcendental principle, while practical purposiveness is metaphysical principle

K: clue to transcendental status of principle of purposiveness of nature comes from the maxims of judgment that guide our investigation of nature: parsimony, continuity, non-multiplication; these are not empirical psychological generalizations [how we do in fact judge], but are regulatives, hence transcendental

K: universal laws of nature based on categories are determinative [formal temporal conditions of experience]; particular empirical laws are contingently diverse; yet we must assume as TPJ a lawful unity beneath the apparent contingent diversity; in other words, we assume that nature is lawful so that our understanding can make sense of it; this explains the joy [from relief of a need to make the assumption] when we discover unity in empirical laws

VI: Pleasure in Purposiveness of Nature

K: that nature in its empirical diversity, should harmonize with our ability/need to grasp its lawful unity is contingent; the fit of nature and our understanding, nature's subjective purposiveness, is given only by judgment;

K: the attainment of an aim brings pleasure; if the condition of such pleasure is a priori--as it is in reflective principle of nature's purposiveness--then the pleasure would be universally valid [everyone would feel pleasure at finding evidence of the assumed fit of nature and our understanding: achieving the aim of finding such a fit]

K: in fact, we do not feel pleasure at fit of nature w/ categories, because these are unintentional; but w/ finding unity in diversity of empirical laws, we do feel pleasure, even admiration; now this pleasure at the level of particular laws, was once there at a higher level, the unity of nature into genus and species that makes possible such particular laws; but since the unity of nature into genus and species is necessary for even common experience this primordial pleasure faded when mixed w/ mere cognition; so now we need successful completion of conscious effort at finding unity in diversity to feel the pleasure of harmony of nature and cognition

K: we would accept ultimate diversity [but would dislike proximate frustration], but prefer hope of growing simplification and accordance

VII: Aesthetic Presentation of Purposiveness

K: pleasure is idiosyncratically subjective: it contributes nothing to [intersubjectively verifiable] cognition; purposiveness is not a characteristic of the object; purposiveness is thus felt as pleasure; pleasure in formal apprehension expresses fit of object and cognitive powers put into play in RJ on the object [we like the way the object provokes our powers]

K: AJ = judgment that apprehended form of an object is purposive for [is capable of provoking] pleasurable free play of faculties; such an object is called "beautiful" and such an ability to judge is called "taste"

K: aesthetic pleasure is neither sensuous agreeableness nor conceptual approval of the good; as non-conceptual, it is bound to our reflection on a given empirical presentation, which is connected to a feeling of pleasure that is supposed to be universally valid [bcs founded on relation of powers everyone must be assumed to have: imagination and understanding]

K: because they are founded on an a priori principle, JT are subject to a critique [though not a science, since it is a non-conceptual--though a priori--principle]

K: the sublime is not connected to concept of nature though, but to concept of freedom [though via a presentation of natural immensity of size or power]

VIII: Logical Presentation of Purposiveness

K: subjective purposiveness: harmony of form w/ cognitive powers felt as pleasure; objective purposiveness: harmony of form w/ concept of the thing in our understanding of the object

K: exhibition of concept: rendering it intuitable; in art, via imaginative throwing forth of a concept as paradigm that is to be realized; or in nature's technic, where we, in supplement of production, attribute our concept of purpose to nature to judge its product [in cases of organized bodies] as conforming to a concept, that is, as being a "natural purpose"

K: in so far as we judge nature on analogy of a purpose re: our cognitive power in JT [we judge nature as if it were made for our experience of the beautiful], we can call NB the exhibition of concept of formal/subjective purposiveness [that is, NB renders intuitable the concept of the fit of nature and our cognitive powers in general]; and natural purposes are exhibition of concept of real/objective purposiveness [NP render intuitable the concept of the fit of an object w/ its concept]

K: hence we divide CJ into CAJ and CTJ; CAJ is essential, bcs its principle is a priori at basis of reflection on nature [w/o principle of fit between nature and cognition our understanding would be lost]; in contrast, we have no a priori basis for assuming objective purposes: rather J only contains rule for using concept of purposes when we run across cases of organized beings

K: AJ is a special power, while TJ is only RJ using special principles; TJ belongs to theory, while AJ belongs only to critique

IX: How J Connects U and R

K: U legislates for nature; R for freedom: there is a "great gulf" here, w/ no bridge possible; yet freedom is to act in the sensible world: that is, formal principles of freedom [rational self-determination according to form of law as universality and necessity] is to produce an effect in conformity with mechanism [we can use mechanism to act morally]; we have no theoretical insight into how this is possible, but we can refute imputation of contradiction

K: we must presuppose condition under which it is possible to achieve the final purpose [=highest good = virtuous happiness]; that is, we must presuppose harmony of nature and freedom in order to act practically; AJ presupposes just such a harmony in concept of purposiveness of nature; the ultimate condition for this harmony can only be thought of as moral author

K: [how does this mediation come about?] U legislates only for nature as appearance and so hints at indeterminate supersensible substrate; J renders the substrate determinable [as object of intutive understanding, and through supplement of production, as intelligent cause]; R determines the substrate practically [as moral author guaranteeing virtuous happiness as focal point of infinite progress].

K: constitutive principles of higher faculties: knowing = U; feeling = J; desire = R

K: purposiveness of nature is only regulative for knowing, but AJ prompting the concept of purposiveness of nature is constitutive for feeling of pleasure/displeasure; spontaneity of play of cognitive powers mediates nature and freedom since this also promotes receptivity to moral feeling