Kant and the Turn to Romanticism (from Kritike)


Here‘s an interesting essay on Kant and Romantics by Vinod Lakshmipathy – the opening sections give a decent review of Kant’s “problem” (how do rules of understanding apply to intuitions) and could be helpful for anyone interested in the post-Kantian developments:

The ontological specialty of human beings is that there is in “man a power of self-determination, independently of any coercion through sensuous impulses.” Human reason creates for itself the idea of spontaneity, which corresponds to the power of beginning a state spontaneously.8 This power of reason accounts for human freedom—the freedom to transcend the domain of the phenomenal, as it were. However, once a state is begun spontaneously, the consequent chain of actions is subject to the mechanical laws of the natural world of phenomena. That is, an effect “notwithstanding its being thus determined in accordance with nature, [may at the same time] be grounded in freedom.” Hence the peculiarity of human beings is that they are able to “bridge” the two realms— noumena and phenomena. But Kant is unclear about how exactly this interaction is possible. There is an irreducible dualism.

I like the phrase “ontological specialty” here – if objectology is correct and there’s no real ontological difference between humans and objects, then at the very least, one can emphasize some relations once in a while as a kind of menu specialty. “Today’s ontological specialty is the relationship between shoes and shoelaces with a side of cotton-on-fire action.”

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