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Synopsis

The Critique of Judgement
by Immanuel Kant

In THE CRITIQUE OF JUDGMENT (1790), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) seeks to establish the a priori principles underlying the faculty of judgement, just as he did in his previous critiques of pure and practical reason. The first part deals with the subject of our aesthetic sensibility; we respond to certain natural phenomena as beautiful, says Kant, when we recognise in nature a harmonious order that satisfies the mind's own need for order. The second half of the critique concentrates on the apparent teleology in nature's design of organisms. Kant argues that our minds are inclined to see purpose and order in nature and this is the main principle underlying all of our judgements. Although this might imply a super sensible Designer, Kant insists that we cannot prove a supernatural dimension or the existence of God. Such considerations are beyond reason and are solely the province of faith.

Were judgements of taste (like cognitive judgements) in possession of a definite objective principle, then one who in his judgement followed such a principle would claim unconditioned necessity for it. Again, were they devoid of any principle, as are those of the mere taste of sense, then no thought of any necessity on their part would enter one's head.

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