Sunday, June 25, 2006

The ABC's of Kant

I'll start with R (taken from Howard Caygill's _A Kant Dictionary_):

reflective judgement

In the first and second introductions to Critique of Judgement Kant distinguishes between determinant and reflective forms of judgment. Judgement in general is described as 'the faculty of thinking the particular as contained under the universal', and if the universal is already given 'then the judgement which subsumes the particular under it is determinant (CJ sec IV). If, on the other hand, 'only the particular is given and the universal has to be found for it, then the judgement is simply reflective (ibid). The reflective judgement 'is compelled to ascend from the particular in nature to the universal' and is, Kant says, 'in need of a principle'. This principle cannot be universal, since this would make the judgement determinant, but is located by Kant in judgement proposing to itself the reflective principle of the 'finality of nature'. In the FI sec V-'Of Reflective Judgment'-Kant is rather more specific. He suggests that judgment be regarded either as a capacity for reflecting on a given representation according to a principle, or as a capacity for making concepts determinant by means of an empirical representation. The former 'compare[s] and combine[s] given representations either with other representations, or with one's cognitive powers...', while the latter schematizes given concepts. In the former case, where no apprpriate concept is given the judgement proceeds reflectively, *either* by means of comparing and combining concepts with each other according to the 'universal but at the same time undefined principle of a purposive, systematic ordering of nature'-the 'technic of nature'-*or* by comparison and combination with the harmonious play of the cognitive powers (sec V). The former yields reflective teleological judgements the latter reflective aesthetic judgements The analytic and dialectic of these judgements form the two major sections of CJ.
Kant hints on occasion in CJ that reflective judgements are in some sense prior to determinate judgement. It is they which form a bridge between the realms of theoretical and practical reason and their judgements. This suggestion proved immensely fertile, with writers such as Schelling (1800) and Nietzsche (1901) attempting to develop further Kant's allusive hints of a potential post-critical metaphysics based on reflective judgement. The theme has returned to prominence in the work of Arendt (1989)-who conceives of political judgement on the basis of reflective judgement-and also Lyotard (1983), who has used the reflective judgement as a means of questioning the dogmatic, determinant structures of judgement prevalent in modern societies. Both thinkers are struck by the potential enhancement of freedom implied in making judgements in the absence of a given law.

1 comment:

srt said...

aww...all for me??

Before reading this very dense post, I actually revamped my deployment of "particular" and "universal" in my paper; I'll post that soon enough.

hope you're dropping hot bombs like this over there...