‘Kant and the Unity of Reason’ by Angelica Nuzzo

Published by Purdue University Press in 2005.


Kant and the Unity of Reason is a comprehensive reconstruction and a detailed analysis of Kant’s Critique of Judgment. In the light of the third Critique, the book offers a final interpretation of the critical project as a whole. It proposes a new reading of Kant’s notion of human experience in which domains as different as knowledge, morality, the experience of beauty and life are finally viewed in a unified perspective. The book proposes a reading of Kant’s critical project as one of the most sophisticated attempts in the history of philosophy to articulate a complex notion of human “sensibility” as an alternative to both 18th century empiricism and rationalism.

The fundamental contribution of rationality to human experience cannot be fully appreciated if the sensuous component of experience is not adequately taken into account. For Kant, “sensibility” includes functions as different as sensation, intuition, perception, emotion, passion, drive, moral feeling, and feeling of pleasure and displeasure. Kant’s idea of “reflective” judgment is the peculiar discovery of the third Critique. Reflective judgment articulates the interplay between sensibility and rationality, the world of nature and the human mind in order to constitute human experience and the sphere of human intersubjective relationships. In the act of reflection, Kant’s philosophy finally comes to reflect upon itself and the meaning of its critical endeavor.

Angelica Nuzzo is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She has been Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study of Harvard University (2000-2001). She is the author of two books on Hegel-Logica e sistema. Sull’idea hegeliana di filosofia (1992), and Rappresentazione e concetto nella ‘logica’ della Filosofia del diritto di Hegel (1990)-and one on the idea of “system” in Kant and Hegel Spinoza, modern philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and the theory of translation.

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