Dazzling Idols and Paintings

Shane Mackinlay

in Interpreting Excess

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231089
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235292 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Dazzling Idols and Paintings

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The second division in Immanuel Kant's table of categories is quality, or intensive magnitude. Marion describes phenomena that are saturated according to quality as dazzling. The intensity of the intuition given by them exceeds one's capacity to see and prevents one from perceiving them as objects. He discusses these phenomena exclusively in terms of visual perception, and proposes the idol as the paradigm of a phenomenon saturated according to quality, describing the way in which paintings can function as idols. Jean-Luc Marion discusses Kant's categories of quality in terms of the “anticipations of perception” that rule their application to objects. In these anticipations of perception, Kant argues that every appearance of the real has an “intensive magnitude; that is, a degree”. Before an object with extensive magnitude is formed by a synthesis of manifold perceptions, every sensation must itself have a magnitude, which indicates its “degree of influence on sense”.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; quality; phenomena; intuition; visual perception; paintings; idols; Jean-Luc Marion; table of categories; intensive magnitude

Chapter.  5726 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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