From the Critique of judgment to the hermeneutics of nature: Sketching the fate of philosophy of nature after Kant
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This paper proposes an interpretative framework for some developments of the philosophy of nature after Kant. I emphasize the critique of the economy of nature in the Critique of judgement. I argue that it resulted in a split of a previous structure of knowledge; such a structure articulated natural theology and natural philosophy on the basis of the consideration of the order displayed by living beings, both in their internal organisation and their ecological distribution. The possibility of a philosophical discourse on nature that is neither mathematical nor theological stemmed from this shift. I call “hermeneutics of nature” such a program, since it aims at unpacking an immanent meaning in nature that is not explicated by the sciences of nature, which are dealing with the laws of nature. The Naturphilosophie, undertaken by Schelling, as well as the philosophies of nature of Hegel and Schopenhauer, are several realizations of this program. I highlight the structural traits that they share, such as a pregnant sense of conflicts in nature, an emphasis on the riddles of gender, and above all a prominent status given to organisms as a clue to the meaning of nature. Finally, I try to sketch the ramifications of this hermeneutics of nature in contemporary philosophy, especially phenomenology, and argue that the coming philosophy of nature, as shown by the attempts of syntheses between phenomenology and ecology, seems to depart from this hermeneutical program.
KeywordsNiche Construction Philosophical Discourse Natural Theology Teleological Explanation Metaphysical Foundation
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