Advertisement

“Ein Spiel der Sinnlichkeit, durch den Verstand geordnet:” Kant’s Concept of Poetry and the Anthropological Revolution of Human Imagination

  • Fernando M. F. Silva
Chapter
  • 102 Downloads

Abstract

The present essay proposes a new reading of Kant’s concept of poetry in his Lecture on Anthropology and within his anthropological thought in general. Rather than seeing poetry as merely an anthropological category or even as a disposition of the human spirit falling within the scope of anthropology, in this reading poetry is a key link between most of Kant’s anthropological topics and is therefore of paramount relevance for an understanding of Kant’s anthropological thought as a new science of human beings. In short, this reading aims to fill an important void in Kantian analysis. Until now, Kantian scholars have mostly failed to grasp the importance of Kant’s concept of poetry and, especially so, of Kant’s concept of poetry from a pragmatic point of view. The latter is neglected, or seen as the mere outcome of a special imaginative process—one which, however, is unrelatable to rationality, for poetry cannot be seen as a self-driven force, capable of enlivening the faculties of the spirit, nor as a driving force endowed with a purpose other than to delight or create new images. However, it is our view that Kant’s anthropological concept of poetry is indeed presented as relevant, especially in the sections devoted to the problem of human imagination [Einbildung]. Here, Kant proposes a revolution in the position, function, and whole joint disposition of the human faculties, one which displays the singularity of Kant’s proposition of a pragmatic anthropology as a science. In short, we aim to discover those potentialities that, to Kant, were unique in the human being’s poetic disposition; to show how Kant’s concept of poetry not only presupposes, but is also presupposed by an indeed revolutionary rearrangement of the inferior imaginative faculties; and to clarify how such a unique poetic disposition of the inferior faculties benefits the superior faculties, as well as rational knowledge, and hence fulfills a greater objective in Kant’s anthropology: to achieve that rare harmonious plane in human being’s state of mind which brings about a unique kind of anthropological pleasure—the pleasure of finding out something common to all mankind, which is clearly at the basis of the philosopher’s critical enterprise.

Keywords

Inferior Faculties Poetic Disposition Superior Faculties Pragmatic Anthropology Harmony Game 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Best, Otto F. 1989. Der Witz als Erkenntniskraft und Formprinzip. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.Google Scholar
  2. Brandt, R. 1999. Kritischer Kommentar zu Kants Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht [1798]. Hamburg: Felix Meiner.Google Scholar
  3. Catena, Maria Teresa. 1998. Inganno e illusione. Un confronto accademico, 65–102. Napoli: Guida Editori.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, Alix (ed.). 2014. Kant’s Lectures on Anthropology: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Deuber-Mankowsky, Astrid. 2010. Ästhetische Illusion als Bestandteil des Wissens. Zu Kants Opponentenrede. In Ästhetisierung. Der Streit um das Ästhetische in Politik, Religion und Erkenntnis, ed. Ilka von Brombach, Dirk Setton, and Cornelia Temesvári, 67–83. Zürich: Diaphanes.Google Scholar
  6. Dürbeck, Gabriele. 1998. Einbildungskraft und Aufklärung. Perspektiven der Philosophie, Anthropologie und Ästhetik um 1750. New York and Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  7. Hlobil, Tomás. 2009. Immanuel Kant on Language and Poetry: Poetry Without Language. Kant-Studien 89 (1): 35–43.Google Scholar
  8. Hume, David. 1987. A Treatise of Human Nature [1739]. In Hume: The Essential Philosophical Works. Great Britain: Wordsworth Editions.Google Scholar
  9. Kant, Immanuel. 1900 ff. Gesammelte Schriften. Hrsg. Von der Königlich-Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin (Akademie-Ausgabe). Berlin: Georg Reimer (AA).Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1996 ff. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant, ed. Paul Guyer, Allen W. Wood et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Makowiak, Alexandra. 2009. Kant, l’imagination et la question de l’homme. Grenoble: Jérôme Millon.Google Scholar
  12. Mason, John. 1746. Self-Knowledge: A Treatise, Shewing the Nature and Benefit of that Important Science. London: J. Waugh.Google Scholar
  13. Mclaughlin, Kevin. 2014. Poetic Force: Poetry After Kant. Stanford: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Meerbote, Ralf. 1992. Concerning Sensory Illusion and Poetic Fiction. In Kant’s Latin Writings, 161–168. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  15. Meo, Oscar. 2000. Kantiana minora vel rariora. Genova: Il Melangolo.Google Scholar
  16. Park, Roy. 1968. Coleridge and Kant: Poetic Imagination and Practical Reason. The British Journal of Aesthetics 8 (4): 335–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Penny, Laura. 2008. The Highest of All the Arts: Kant and Poetry. Philosophy and Literature 32: 373–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Platner, Ernst. 1772. Anthropologie für Ärtzte und Weltweise. Leipzig: in der Dyckischen Buchhandlung.Google Scholar
  19. Ritzel, Wolfgang. 1991. Kant über den Witz und Kants Witz. Kant-Studien 82 (1): 102–109.Google Scholar
  20. Rodríguez, Manuel Sánchez. 2013. Witz und reflektierende Urteilskraft in Kants Philosophie. In Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht, vol. IV, ed. Stefano Bacin, Alfredo Ferrarin, Claudio La Rocca, and Margit Ruffing, 487–496. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  21. Santos, Leonel Ribeiro dos. 2014. Sobre a ilusão poética e a poética da ilusão. Estudos Kantianos 2 (2): 291–314.Google Scholar
  22. Schmid, Carl Christian Erhard. 1996. Wörterbuch zum leichtern Gebrauch der Kantischen Schriften, ed. Norbert Hinske. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1996 (W).Google Scholar
  23. Schmidt, Bernhard Adolf. 1911. Eine bisher unbekannte lateinische Rede Kants über Sinnestäuschung und poetische Fiktion. Kant-Studien 16: 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Silva, Fernando M. F. 2015. “Zum Erfinden wird Witz erfordert“. On the Evolution of the Concept of ‘Witz’ in Kant’s Anthropology Lectures. In Kant’s Lectures/ Kants Vorlesungen, ed. Bernd Dörflinger, Claudio La Rocca, Robert Louden, and Ubirajara Marques Rancan de Azevedo, 121–132. Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando M. F. Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre of PhilosophyUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations