Chapter

Formalism and the Circle of Representation

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621224.003.0002
Formalism and the Circle of Representation

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This chapter shows how formalism is defended by some of Immanuel Kant's most important recent supporters. Gerd Buchdahl's Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science, first published in 1969, set the scene for the riposte to the dominant Strawsonian critique of Kant, published in 1966. Henry Allison openly acknowledges his debt to Buchdahl, as does Robert Pippin in his less sympathetic interpretation of Kant. Béatrice Longuenesse's direct reference to Buchdahl is restricted to one critical note, but his influence can be indirectly traced through Allison. While the accounts of formalism offered by Buchdahl, Allison and Longuenesse are more positive than those offered by Kant's critics, this chapter argues that there is an emphasis on subjective structure at the expense of a convincing account of the relation between subjective form and the material given in experience. Both Buchdahl and Longuenesse risk falling into what the chapter calls a circle of representation. Allison has a more convincing account of affection, but still fails to provide a sufficiently robust account of the material side of experience.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; experience; formalism; Gerd Buchdahl; Philosophy of Science; Henry Allison; Robert Pippin; Béatrice Longuenesse; circle of representation; material

Chapter.  15415 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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