Presentation on theme: "Seminar “Kant: Critique of the Power of Judgment” University of Iceland Session 2 19/9/2007 Text: Introduction (I-II) Claus Beisbart How the first two."— Presentation transcript:
Seminar “Kant: Critique of the Power of Judgment” University of Iceland Session 2 19/9/2007 Text: Introduction (I-II) Claus Beisbart How the first two Critiques leave a problem
Philosophy and its disciplines Philosophy: a priori knowledge 1. “formal knowledge” (logic) 2. “material knowledge” Translation: Bennett Metaphysics of Nature (theoretical philosophy) Metaphysics of Morals (practical philosophy) Concepts of natureConcept of freedom (categories of the understanding) Source: CPJ, Intro I and Groundworks, Preface
Don’t get the distinction wrong Translation: Bennett Simple idea: Practical philosophy is about imperatives Imperatives in the Kantian sense: propositions with an “ought” Kant’s distinction: imperatives hypotheticalcategorical
Hypothetical and categorical imperatives Translation: Bennett Hypothetical imperative: example: “If you want to have a beer, you ought to go to a pub.” Is conditioned on something like an intention; applies only to people who want a certain thing. Categorical imperative: “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” Unconditioned; applies to everybody.
The simple idea refuted Hypothetical imperatives: boil down to kind of technical knowledge example: “If you want to have a beer, you ought to go to a pub.” only about how to get a beer (how a certain effect can be brought about, so it’s ultimately causal knowledge) Kant: not really part of practical philosophy Practical philosophy only about the categorical imperative. (cf. the common idea: morality provides imperatives/reasons that are independent of prior desires or intentions)
Kant’s conception of the distinction Translation: Bennett Theoretical philosophy Practical philosophy Legislation of understanding Legislation of reason Question: Are these legislations compatible?
A problem Translation: Bennett The legislation of reason hinges on free will. Free will (Kant’s definition in the Groundwork, Section 3): “Will is a kind of causality that living beings exert if they are rational, and when the will can be effective independent of outside causes acting on it, that would involve this causality’s property of freedom.” But we have also the a priori principle: “every alteration has its cause.”
Two pictures of moral action Apply both principles to a decision, e.g. the decision to help somebody for moral reasons. decision effects causes The pictures contradict each other from the definition of free will from the principle of universal causation
Cf. Transcendental dialectics Translation: Kemp Smith Third antinomy of pure reason “Thesis: Causality in accordance with laws of nature is not the only causality […]. There is also another causality, that of freedom. Antithesis: There is no freedom […]” (an antinomy is an apparent contradiction reason finds itself caught within. Part of the Transcendental dialectics in the CPR shows that the conflict is only apparent)
Kant’s solution The pictures apply at different levels, respectively causes No contradiction left. decision effects Things in themselves, nuomena, mundus intelligibilis Appearances, phenomena, mundus sensibilis
An objection The distinction is ad hoc. Kant’s reply: We need the distinction anyway. 1. Kant’s Copernican Revolution: Knowledge: The object conforms to us. But this can only be true for objects conceived of as ap- pearances. There must be a second level, viz. of things in themselves. They cannot be known. 2. We need the distinction to resolve a number of contradictions reason would otherwise be caught within (antinomies).
The objection refuted Also, the distinction is not far-fetched at all. “What I am about to say requires no subtle reflection, and presumably even the most ordinary intellect could arrive at it […]. All mental representations that come to us involuntarily (as do those of the senses) enable us to know objects only as they affect us, which leaves us still ignorant of the way they are in themselves.” Groundwork, Section 3 Translation: Bennett
Summary Kant’s construal of practical and theoretical philosophy leaves us with a fundamental dualism: Things in themselves vs. appearances.
A new problem There must be a relation between the world of things in themselves and appearances: Moral actions should have effects in the world of appearances. Kant’s conclusion: There must be a yet different way of looking at things. There must be another capacity There must be a mode of switching between reason and understanding.
The new problem in Kant’s words “Now although there is an incalculable gulf fixed between the domain of the concept of nature, as the sensible [i.e. the world of appearances], and the domain of the concept of freedom, as the supersensible [i.e. as part of the world of things in themselves] […]: yet the latter should have an influence on the former, namely the concept of freedom should make the end that is imposed by yits laws real in the sensible world […]” CPJ, Introduction Translation: Guyer/Matthews, 63
Idea The power of judgment does the job. It provides a yet different perspective on things: Things (appearances) are conceived of as purposeful in themselves. And: the world is beautiful, after all…
Kant, once more: “nature must consequently also be able to be conceived in such a way that the lawfulness of its form is at least in agreement with the possibility of the ends that are to be realized in it in accordance with the laws of freedom [i.e. the Categorical Imperative]” CPJ, Introduction Translation: Guyer/Matthews, 63