The Centrality of the Problem of Formalism

Fiona Hughes

in Kant's Aesthetic Epistemology

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748621224
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652327 | DOI:
The Centrality of the Problem of Formalism

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Immanuel Kant's critics claim that his insistence that the form of experience arises from our minds, finally makes the empirical world of objects dependent on a form of subjectivity. While Kant's critics are right to link formalism with a turn to the subject, they are telling only one side of the story. The project of the Copernican revolution is exactly that of showing how the turn to the subject will secure the possibility of knowledge of an objective world. But the full version of this project does not involve reducing objectivity to the subjective conditions of experience, which are necessary and not sufficient. This chapter shows how formalism has been seen as a central issue for Kant's epistemology. It looks at authors who conclude that Kant's position is a formalist one. Paul Guyer and Peter Strawson argue that formalism results in the position that mind imposes order on objects, a thesis known as ‘impositionalism’. Robert Pippin and Dieter Henrich resist this conclusion.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; experience; formalism; subjectivity; epistemology; Paul Guyer; Peter Strawson; impositionalism; Robert Pippin; Dieter Henrich

Chapter.  17257 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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