Culture and the Unity of Kant’s Critique of Judgment

Sabina Vaccarino Bremner

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This paper claims that Kant’s conception of culture provides a new means of understanding how the two parts of the Critique of Judgment fit together. Kant claims that culture is both the ‘ultimate purpose’ of nature and to be defined in terms of ‘art in general’ (of which the fine arts are a subtype). In the Critique of Teleological Judgment , culture, as the last empirically cognizable telos of nature, serves as the mediating link between nature and freedom, while in the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment , the connection between art and morality passes through culture. In either case, Kant offers distinct, yet interdependent, arguments for how culture demonstrates the amenability of nature to its supersensible ground: the central question Kant claims in the Introduction that the work seeks to answer. Thus, not only does this account advance a concept essential to both parts of the work; it also demonstrates how the two parts can be conceived as complementary, with each supplementing the other to solve Kant’s central question. As such, understanding the Critique of Judgment in terms of culture enables us to see how the two parts of the work do not merely share points of similarity or common themes, but presuppose one another in order to understand how nature is amenable to freedom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-204
Number of pages36
JournalArchiv für die Geschichte der Philosophie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9-Jun-2022

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