Formal Idealism and the Aesthetic Condition of Experience

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:
Formal Idealism and the Aesthetic Condition of Experience

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While Gerd Buchdahl, Henry Allison and Béatrice Longuenesse provide a robust defence of Immanuel Kant's formalism, each of their accounts fail to give an adequate account of the relation in which form stands to matter. This chapter offers an alternative account of the relation between representation and material given. It discusses how Kant's characterisation of his epistemology as amounting to formal idealism, as opposed to material idealism, reveals his commitment to an extramental world of objects. The chapter also examines Kant's ‘Copernican revolution’ and considers some of the passages in the ‘Transcendental Aesthetic’. Sensibility is dual-faced, its mental component being the formal condition of our capacity to be affected by something given in experience. Kant did not provide an adequately forceful account of the affective side of sensibility, often leaving the impression that the a priori forms of intuition were not so much modes of receptivity, as that they actively shape matter.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; experience; formalism; representation; sensibility; epistemology; formal idealism; material idealism; Copernican revolution; Transcendental Aesthetic

Chapter.  11249 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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