Critique of Judgment

The Critique of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft), also translated as the Critique of the Power of Judgment, is a 1790 book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Sometimes referred to as the "third critique," the Critique of Judgment follows the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and the Critique of Practical Reason (1788).

Critique of Judgment
Critique of Judgment, German title page
Title page of the 1790 original work
AuthorImmanuel Kant
Original titleCritik der Urtheilskraft a
CountryGermany
LanguageGerman
SubjectsAesthetics
Teleology
Published1790
Media typePrint
a Kritik der Urteilskraft in modern German.

Foundations

Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment completes the Critical project begun in the Critique of Pure Reason and the Critique of Practical Reason (the First and Second Critiques, respectively). The book is divided into two main sections: the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment and the Critique of Teleological Judgment, and also includes a large overview of the entirety of Kant's Critical system, arranged in its final form. The so-called First Introduction was not published during Kant's lifetime, for Kant wrote a replacement for publication.

The Critical project, that of exploring the limits and conditions of knowledge, had already produced the Critique of Pure Reason, in which Kant argued for a Transcendental Aesthetic, an approach to the problems of perception in which space and time are argued not to be objects but ways in which the observing subject's mind organizes and structures the sensory world. The end result of this inquiry is that there are certain fundamental antinomies in human Reason, most particularly that there is a complete inability to favor on the one hand the argument that all behavior and thought is determined by external causes, and on the other that there is an actual "spontaneous" causal principle at work in human behavior.

The first position, of causal determinism, is adopted, in Kant's view, by empirical scientists of all sorts; moreover, it led to the Idea (perhaps never fully to be realized) of a final science in which all empirical knowledge could be synthesized into a full and complete causal explanation of all events possible to the world.

The second position, of spontaneous causality, is implicitly adopted by all people as they engage in moral behavior; this position is explored more fully in the Critique of Practical Reason.

The Critique of Judgment constitutes a discussion of the place of Judgment itself, which must overlap both the Understanding ("Verstand") (whichsoever operates from within a deterministic framework) and Reason ("Vernunft") (which operates on the grounds of freedom).

Aesthetics

The first part of the book discusses the four possible aesthetic reflective judgments: the agreeable, the beautiful, the sublime, and the good. Kant makes it clear that these are the only four possible reflective judgments, as he relates them to the Table of Judgments from the Critique of Pure Reason.

"Reflective judgments" differ from determinative judgments (those of the first two critiques). In reflective judgment we seek to find unknown universals for given particulars; whereas in determinative judgment, we just subsume given particulars under universals that are already known, as Kant puts it:

It is then one thing to say, “the production of certain things of nature or that of collective nature is only possible through a cause which determines itself to action according to design”; and quite another to say, “I can according to the peculiar constitution of my cognitive faculties judge concerning the possibility of these things and their production, in no other fashion than by conceiving for this a cause working according to design, i.e. a Being which is productive in a way analogous to the causality of an intelligence.” In the former case I wish to establish something concerning the Object, and am bound to establish the objective reality of an assumed concept; in the latter, Reason only determines the use of my cognitive faculties, conformably to their peculiarities and to the essential conditions of their range and their limits. Thus the former principle is an objective proposition for the determinant Judgment, the latter merely a subjective proposition for the reflective Judgment, i.e. a maxim which Reason prescribes to it.[1]

The agreeable is a purely sensory judgment — judgments in the form of "This steak is good," or "This chair is soft." These are purely subjective judgments, based on inclination alone.

The good is essentially a judgment that something is ethical — the judgment that something conforms with moral law, which, in the Kantian sense, is essentially a claim of modality — a coherence with a fixed and absolute notion of reason. It is in many ways the absolute opposite of the agreeable, in that it is a purely objective judgment — things are either moral or they are not, according to Kant.

The remaining two judgments — the beautiful and the sublime — differ from both the agreeable and the good. They are what Kant refers to as "subjective universal" judgments. This apparently oxymoronic term means that, in practice, the judgments are subjective, and are not tied to any absolute and determinate concept. However, the judgment that something is beautiful or sublime is made with the belief that other people ought to agree with this judgment — even though it is known that many will not. The force of this "ought" comes from a reference to a sensus communis — a community of taste. Hannah Arendt, in her Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy, suggests the possibility that this sensus communis might be the basis of a political theory that is markedly different from the one that Kant lays out in the Metaphysic of Morals.

The central concept of Kant's analysis of the judgment of beauty is what he called the ″free play″ between the cognitive powers of imagination and understanding.[2] We call an object beautiful, because its form fits our cognitive powers and enables such a ″free play″ (§22) the experience of which is pleasurable to us. The judgment that something is beautiful is a claim that it possesses the "form of finality" — that is, that it appears to have been designed with a purpose, even though it does not have any apparent practical function. We also do not need to have a determinate concept for an object in order to find it beautiful (§9). In this regard, Kant further distinguishes between free and adherent beauty. Whereas judgments of free beauty are made without having one determinate concept for the object being judged (e.g. an ornament or well-formed line), a judgment of beauty is adherent if we do have such a determined concept in mind (e.g. a well-built horse that is recognized as such). The main difference between these two judgments is that purpose or use of the object plays no role in the case of free beauty. In contrast, adherent judgments of beauty are only possible if the object is not ill-suited for its purpose.

The judgment that something is sublime is a judgment that it is beyond the limits of comprehension — that it is an object of fear. However, Kant makes clear that the object must not actually be threatening — it merely must be recognized as deserving of fear.

Kant's view of the beautiful and the sublime is frequently read as an attempt to resolve one of the problems left following his depiction of moral law in the Critique of Practical Reason — namely that it is impossible to prove that we have free will, and thus impossible to prove that we are bound under moral law. The beautiful and the sublime both seem to refer to some external noumenal order — and thus to the possibility of a noumenal self that possesses free will.

In this section of the critique Kant also establishes a faculty of mind that is in many ways the inverse of judgment — the faculty of genius. Whereas judgment allows one to determine whether something is beautiful or sublime, genius allows one to produce what is beautiful or sublime.

Teleology

The second half of the Critique discusses teleological judgement. This way of judging things according to their ends (telos: Greek for end) is logically connected to the first discussion at least regarding beauty but suggests a kind of (self-) purposiveness (that is, meaningfulness known by one's self).

Kant writes about the biological as teleological, claiming that there are things, such as living beings, whose parts exist for the sake of their whole and their whole for the sake of their parts. This allows him to open a gap in the physical world: since these "organic" things cannot be brought under the rules that apply to all other appearances, what are we to do with them?

Kant says explicitly that while efficiently causal explanations are always best (x causes y, y is the effect of x), "it is absurd to hope that another Newton will arise in the future who will make comprehensible to us the production of a blade of grass according to natural laws",[3] and so the organic must be explained “as if” it were constituted as teleological. This portion of the Critique is, from some modern theories, where Kant is most radical; he posits man as the ultimate end, that is, that all other forms of nature exist for the purpose of their relation to man, directly or not, and that man is left outside of this due to his faculty of reason. Kant claims that culture becomes the expression of this, that it is the highest teleological end, as it is the only expression of human freedom outside of the laws of nature. Man also garners the place as the highest teleological end due to his capacity for morality, or practical reason, which falls in line with the ethical system that Kant proposes in the Critique of Practical Reason and the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals.

Kant attempted to legitimize purposive categories in the life sciences, without a theological commitment. He recognized the concept of purpose has epistemological value for finality, while denying its implications about creative intentions at life and the universe's source. Kant described natural purposes as organized beings, meaning that the principle of knowledge presupposes living creatures as purposive entities. He called this supposition the finality concept as a regulative use, which satisfies living beings specificity of knowledge.[4] This heuristic framework claims there is a teleology principle at purpose's source and it is the mechanical devices of the individual original organism, including its heredity. Such entities appear to be self-organizing in patterns. Kant's ideas allowed Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and his followers to formulate the science of types (morphology) and to justify its autonomy.[5]

Kant held that there was no purpose represented in the aesthetic judgement of an object's beauty. A pure aesthetic judgement excludes the object's purpose.[6]

Influences

Though Kant consistently maintains that the human mind is not an "intuitive understanding"—something that creates the phenomena which it cognizes—several of his readers (starting with Fichte, culminating in Schelling) believed that it must be (and often give Kant credit).

Kant's discussions of schema and symbol late in the first half of the Critique of Judgement also raise questions about the way the mind represents its objects to itself, and so are foundational for an understanding of the development of much late 20th century continental philosophy: Jacques Derrida is known to have studied the book extensively.

In Truth and Method (1960), Hans-Georg Gadamer rejects Kantian aesthetics as ahistorical in his development of a historically-grounded hermeneutics.[7][8][9]

Schopenhauer’s comments

Schopenhauer noted that Kant was concerned with the analysis of abstract concepts, rather than with perceived objects. "…he does not start from the beautiful itself, from the direct, beautiful object of perception, but from the judgement [someone’s statement] concerning the beautiful…."[10]

Kant was strongly interested, in all of his critiques, with the relation between mental operations and external objects. "His attention is specially aroused by the circumstance that such a judgement is obviously the expression of something occurring in the subject, but is nevertheless as universally valid as if it concerned a quality of the object. It is this that struck him, not the beautiful itself."[10]

The book's form is the result of concluding that beauty can be explained by examining the concept of suitableness. Schopenhauer stated that “Thus we have the queer combination of the knowledge of the beautiful with that of the suitableness of natural bodies into one faculty of knowledge called power of judgement, and the treatment of the two heterogeneous subjects in one book.”[10]

Kant is inconsistent, according to Schopenhauer, because “…after it had been incessantly repeated in the Critique of Pure Reason that the understanding is the ability to judge, and after the forms of its judgements are made the foundation–stone of all philosophy, a quite peculiar power of judgement now appears which is entirely different from that ability.”[11]

With regard to teleological judgement, Schopenhauer claimed that Kant tried to say only this: "…although organized bodies necessarily seem to us as though they were constructed according to a conception of purpose which preceded them, this still does not justify us in assuming it to be objectively the case."[12] This is in accordance with Kant's usual concern with the correspondence between subjectivity (the way that we think) and objectivity (the external world). Our minds want to think that natural bodies were made by a purposeful intelligence, like ours.

See also

Books
People
Topics

Notes

  1. ^ Kant, Critique of Judgment, section 75.
  2. ^ Guyer, Paul (2005). Values of Beauty. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Wolfram, Stephen (2002). A New Kind of Science. Wolfram Media, Inc. p. 861. ISBN 1-57955-008-8.
  4. ^ Use as a regulative principle contrasts to that of a constructive principle.
  5. ^ Huneman, Philippe (2007). Understanding Purpose. University of Rochester Press. pp. 1–37. ISBN 1-58046-265-0.
  6. ^ Copleston, Frederick (1960). A history of philosophy: the enlightenment Voltaire to Kant, Volume 6. Continuum. pp. 360–361. ISBN 0826469477."Beauty is the form of the purposefulness of an object, so far as this is perceived without any representation of a purpose."
  7. ^ Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1960). Truth and Method (2002 ed.). Continuum. p. 36. ISBN 082647697X.
  8. ^ Davey, Nicholas (2007). "Gadamer's Aesthetics". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  9. ^ Dorstal, Robert (2010). "Review: Gadamer and the Legacy of German Idealism by Kristin Gjesdal". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. University of Notre Dame.
  10. ^ a b c The World as Will and Representation, Vol. I, Appendix, p. 531
  11. ^ The World as Will and Representation, Vol. I, Appendix, p 531 f.
  12. ^ The World as Will and Representation, Vol. I, Appendix, p. 532

Bibliography

  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, Translated by J. H. Bernard, New York: Hafner Publishing, 1951. (Original publication date 1892)
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, Translated by James Creed Meredith, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007 (original publication date 1952), Oxford World's Classics. ISBN 978-0-19-280617-8. Among the reprints of this translation, in volume 42 of Great Books of the Western World
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, Translated by Werner S. Pluhar, Hackett Publishing Co., 1987, ISBN 0-87220-025-6
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, Edited by Paul Guyer, translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Mathews, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. ISBN 0-521-34447-6
  • Immanuel Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft, hrsg. von H.F. Klemme. Mit Sachanmerkungen von P. Giordanetti, Meiner, Hamburg, 2001 (2006)
  • Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Volume I, Dover Publications, 1969, ISBN 0-486-21761-2

Further reading

  • Doran, Robert. The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

External links

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful is a 1757 treatise on aesthetics written by Edmund Burke. It was the first complete philosophical exposition for separating the beautiful and the sublime into their own respective rational categories. It attracted the attention of prominent thinkers such as Denis Diderot and Immanuel Kant.

Critical philosophy

Attributed to Immanuel Kant, the critical philosophy (German: kritische Philosophie) movement sees the primary task of philosophy as criticism rather than justification of knowledge; criticism, for Kant, meant judging as to the possibilities of knowledge before advancing to knowledge itself (from the Greek kritike (techne), or "art of judgment"). The basic task of philosophers, according to this view, is not to establish and demonstrate theories about reality, but rather to subject all theories—including those about philosophy itself—to critical review, and measure their validity by how well they withstand criticism.

"Critical philosophy" is also used as another name for Kant's philosophy itself. Kant said that philosophy's proper enquiry is not about what is out there in reality, but rather about the character and foundations of experience itself. We must first judge how human reason works, and within what limits, so that we can afterwards correctly apply it to sense experience and determine whether it can be applied at all to metaphysical objects.

Critique

Critique is a method of disciplined, systematic study of a written or oral discourse. Although critique is commonly understood as fault finding and negative judgment, it can also involve merit recognition, and in the philosophical tradition it also means a methodical practice of doubt. The contemporary sense of critique has been largely influenced by the Enlightenment critique of prejudice and authority, which championed the emancipation and autonomy from religious and political authorities.The term critique derives, via French, from Ancient Greek κριτική (kritikē), meaning "the faculty of judgment", that is, discerning the value of persons or things. Critique is also known as major logic, as opposed to minor logic or dialectics.

Formalism (art)

In art history, formalism is the study of art by analyzing and comparing form and style. Its discussion also includes the way objects are made and their purely visual or material aspects. In painting, formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape, texture, and other perceptual aspects rather than content, meaning, or the historical and social context. At its extreme, formalism in art history posits that everything necessary to comprehending a work of art is contained within the work of art. The context of the work, including the reason for its creation, the historical background, and the life of the artist, that is, its conceptual aspect is considered to be external to the artistic medium itself, and therefor of secondary importance.

Genius

A genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creative productivity, universality in genres or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of new advances in a domain of knowledge. Despite the presence of scholars in many subjects throughout history, many geniuses have shown high achievements in only a single kind of activity.There is no scientifically precise definition of genius, and the question of whether the notion itself has any real meaning has long been a subject of debate, although psychologists are converging on a definition that emphasizes creativity and eminent achievement. Usually, genius is associated with talent, but many authors (for example Cesare Lombroso) systematically distinguish these terms.

Hannah Ginsborg

Hannah Ginsborg is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a B.A. in Philosophy and Modern Languages (French) from the University of Oxford in 1980 and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University in 1989. Her education included a year in Paris (1978-1979) studying logic and philosophy at the Université de Paris-I, and a year in Berlin (1985-1986) affiliated with the Freie Universität. Since 1988 she has been teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004-2005 she was a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She spent the academic year 2010-2011 as a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and the fall of 2014 as a Visiting Research Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich.

Heinz Cassirer

Heinrich (Heinz) Walter Cassirer (9 August 1903 – 20 February 1979) was a Kantian philosopher, the son of a famous German philosopher, Ernst Cassirer. Being Jews, the Cassirer family fled the Nazis in the 1930s. Heinz went to University of Glasgow working with Professor H. J. Paton, who persuaded him to write a book on Kant's third Critique, the Critique of Judgment. Following Paton, he moved to Oxford, lecturing at Corpus Christi College.

He was a noted scholar on the thought of Kant. He thought highly of Karl Barth's understanding of Kant. Cassirer, a "translator and interpret of Kant, is reliably reported to have asked, ‘Why is it that this Swiss theologian understands Kant far better than any philosopher I have come across?’" (Gunton 2002: xvi). While at Glasgow, his observations of society in Scotland led him to speak of "'Highland ravings' - the obsessive clinging on to what is wholly illusory" (Weitzman 1997: 30).

As a middle-aged adult, reading the New Testament for the first time, Cassirer was struck by the writings of St. Paul in relation to ethics. As he studied, he committed himself to the Christian faith and was baptized in the Anglican Church in 1955. He produced a translation of the New Testament from the Greek sources, titled God's New Covenant: A New Testament Translation. His own Jewish heritage and knowledge of Jewish customs is said to have given a unique insight into familiar Bible texts. His translation is also noted for its formal language. Below is a sample passage, Matthew 7:24-25.

"What, then, is the nature of the person, whoever he may be, who hears these words of mine and acts on them? He is like a man of prudence who built his house on a rock. The rain descended, the floodwaters rose, the winds blew and hurled themselves against that house. But it did not fall because it was on rock that its foundations were laid."

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant (; German: [ʔɪˈmaːnu̯eːl ˈkant, -nu̯ɛl -]; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was an influential German philosopher. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time and causation are mere sensibilities; "things-in-themselves" exist, but their nature is unknowable. In his view, the mind shapes and structures experience, with all human experience sharing certain structural features. He drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposition that worldly objects can be intuited a priori ('beforehand'), and that intuition is therefore independent from objective reality. Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant's views continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of epistemology, ethics, political theory, and post-modern aesthetics.

In one of Kant's major works, the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), he attempted to explain the relationship between reason and human experience and to move beyond the failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics. Kant wanted to put an end to an era of futile and speculative theories of human experience, while resisting the skepticism of thinkers such as David Hume. Kant regarded himself as showing the way past the impasse between rationalists and empiricists which philosophy had led to, and is widely held to have synthesized both traditions in his thought.Kant was an exponent of the idea that perpetual peace could be secured through universal democracy and international cooperation. He believed that this would be the eventual outcome of universal history, although it is not rationally planned. The nature of Kant's religious ideas continues to be the subject of philosophical dispute, with viewpoints ranging from the impression that he was an initial advocate of atheism who at some point developed an ontological argument for God, to more critical treatments epitomized by Nietzsche, who claimed that Kant had "theologian blood" and was merely a sophisticated apologist for traditional Christian faith.Kant published other important works on ethics, religion, law, aesthetics, astronomy, and history. These include the Universal Natural History (1755), the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), the Metaphysics of Morals (1797), and the Critique of Judgment (1790), which looks at aesthetics and teleology.

Invagination (philosophy)

In Continental philosophy, the term invagination is used to explain a special kind of metanarrative. It was first used by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (French: invagination) to describe the dynamic self-differentiation of the 'flesh'. It was later used by Rosalind E. Krauss and Jacques Derrida ("The Law of Genre", Glyph 7, 1980); for Derrida, an invaginated text is a narrative that folds upon itself, "endlessly swapping outside for inside and thereby producing a structure en abyme". He applies the term to such texts as Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment and Maurice Blanchot's La Folie du Jour. Invagination is an aspect of différance, since according to Derrida it opens the "inside" to the "other" and denies both inside and outside a stable identity.

Kingdom of Ends

The Kingdom of Ends (German: Reich der Zwecke) is a thought experiment centered on the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Kant introduced the concept in his Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals (4:439). The thought experiment proposes a world in which all human beings are treated as ends (meaning treated as if they and their well-being are the goal), not as mere means to an end for other people.

List of aestheticians

This is a list of aestheticians (or aestheticists), philosophers of art, and aesthetes. That is, people who theorize about the nature of art and beauty.

On Grace and Dignity

On Grace and Dignity (Über Anmut und Würde) is an influential philosophical essay published by Friedrich Schiller in the journal Neue Thalia in mid June 1793. It is his first major support for the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, critically assessing the treatments of ethics and aesthetics in Kant's Critique of Judgment.

In it, in view of man's dual nature as a rational and emotional being, Schiller explained human beauty in terms of Grace (Anmut) and Dignity (Würde). His emphatic answer to this was a Kantian dualism reconciling the physical and spiritual-rational nature in man, in a synthesis seen in 'beautiful souls' (Schöne Seelen) in which duty and nature harmonised. It thus paved the way for Schiller's philosophical and aesthetic masterwork On the Aesthetic Education of Man.

Organism

In biology, an organism (from Greek: ὀργανισμός, organismos) is any individual entity that exhibits the properties of life. It is a synonym for "life form".

Organisms are classified by taxonomy into specified groups such as the multicellular animals, plants, and fungi; or unicellular microorganisms such as a protists, bacteria, and archaea. All types of organisms are capable of reproduction, growth and development, maintenance, and some degree of response to stimuli. Humans are multicellular animals composed of many trillions of cells which differentiate during development into specialized tissues and organs.

An organism may be either a prokaryote or a eukaryote. Prokaryotes are represented by two separate domains – bacteria and archaea. Eukaryotic organisms are characterized by the presence of a membrane-bound cell nucleus and contain additional membrane-bound compartments called organelles (such as mitochondria in animals and plants and plastids in plants and algae, all generally considered to be derived from endosymbiotic bacteria). Fungi, animals and plants are examples of kingdoms of organisms within the eukaryotes.

Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which only about 1.2 million have been documented. More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived are estimated to be extinct. In 2016, a set of 355 genes from the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms was identified.

Rachel Zuckert

Rachel Elizabeth Zuckert is an American philosopher and associate professor of philosophy at the Northwestern University.

She is known for his expertise on Kantian philosophy. Zuckert is the president of North American Kant Society.

Schema (Kant)

In Kantian philosophy, a transcendental schema (plural: schemata; from Greek: σχῆμα, "form, shape, figure") is the procedural rule by which a category or pure, non-empirical concept is associated with a sense impression. A private, subjective intuition is thereby discursively thought to be a representation of an external object. Transcendental schemata are supposedly produced by the imagination in relation to time.

Sublime (philosophy)

In aesthetics, the sublime (from the Latin sublīmis) is the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual, or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.

Teleology

Teleology or finality is a reason or explanation for something in function of its end, purpose, or goal. It is derived from two Greek words: telos (end, goal, purpose) and logos (reason, explanation). A purpose that is imposed by a human use, such as that of a fork, is called extrinsic. Natural teleology, common in classical philosophy but controversial today, contends that natural entities also have intrinsic purposes, irrespective of human use or opinion. For instance, Aristotle claimed that an acorn's intrinsic telos is to become a fully grown oak tree.Though ancient atomists rejected the notion of natural teleology, teleological accounts of non-personal or non-human nature were explored and often endorsed in ancient and medieval philosophies, but fell into disfavor during the modern era (1600–1900). In the late 18th century, Immanuel Kant used the concept of telos as a regulative principle in his Critique of Judgment. Teleology was also fundamental to the speculative philosophy of Georg Hegel.

Contemporary philosophers and scientists are still discussing whether teleological axioms are useful or accurate in proposing modern philosophies and scientific theories. Example of reintroducing of teleology in modern language is notion of attractor. For another instance in 2012, Thomas Nagel, who is not a biologist, proposed a non-Darwinian account of evolution that incorporates impersonal and natural teleological laws to explain the existence of life, consciousness, rationality, and objective value. Regardless, the accuracy can also be considered independently from the usefulness: it is a common experience in pedagogy that a minimum of apparent teleology can be useful in thinking about and explaining Darwinian evolution even if there is no true teleology driving evolution. Thus it is easier to say that evolution "gave" wolves sharp canine teeth because those teeth "serve the purpose of" predation regardless of whether there is an underlying nonteleologic reality in which evolution is not an actor with intentions. In other words, because human cognition and learning often rely on the narrative structure of stories (with actors, goals, and proximal rather than distal causation), some minimal level of teleology might be recognized as useful or at least tolerable for practical purposes even by people who reject its cosmologic accuracy.

The Metaphysics of Morals

The Metaphysics of Morals (German: Die Metaphysik der Sitten) is a 1797 work of political and moral philosophy by Immanuel Kant.

Thing-in-itself

The thing-in-itself (German: Ding an sich) is a concept introduced by Immanuel Kant. Things-in-themselves would be objects as they are, independent of observation. The concept led to much controversy among philosophers.

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