The Discipline of Genius: Nature, Freedom and the Emergence of the Idea of System in Kant's Critical Philosophy
Grady, Kyle R.
Doctor of Philosophy
Date of Defense:
April 15, 2008
Dennis Schmidt, Committee Chair/Co-Chair John Philip Christman, Committee Member Christopher P Long, Committee Member Daniel Leonhard Purdy, Committee Member
practical philosophy theoretical philosophy taste beauty art genius Darstellung imagination judgment system freedom nature critical philosophy Kant Critique of Judgment Critique of Pure Reason Critique of Practical Reason
The purpose of this dissertation is to provide an account of the movement toward systematic unity in Kant’s three Critiques by reading the discussion of artistic genius in the Critique of Judgment as a figure for the mediating power of the transcendental imagination. Though the Critique of Pure Reason and the Critique of Practical Reason manage to secure the domains of theoretical and practical knowledge, respectively, they do so at the expense of the coherence of Kant’s transcendental philosophy and of the consciousness whose possibility it is likewise meant to establish. The “immense gulf” that is fixed between nature and freedom can be overcome only by liberating the imagination from its subordination to the understanding in the synthesis of objective cognition, granting it access to a higher order of synthetic activity embodied by the talents belonging to the genius. Once the talents of the genius are distanced from the context of the beautiful artworks with which they are ordinarily associated, their full impact upon the concepts of experience and of morality can be appreciated, and the artist can be understood as model for the essential human task of uniting nature and freedom.