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Welfare in the Kantian State$

Alexander Kaufman

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294672

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294670.001.0001

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Political Judgment

Political Judgment

Chapter:
(p.109) 5 Political Judgment
Source:
Welfare in the Kantian State
Author(s):

Alexander Kaufman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198294670.003.0006

Abstract and Keywords

Kant's argument for ‘man under moral laws’ as the ‘final purpose of creation’, to which all subjective purposiveness in experience must be subordinated, provides the basis for subordinating the teleological interpretation of experience to an account of the necessary commitments of a rational subject. This argument thus grounds the practical employment of teleological judgement. The faculty of teleological judgement may therefore ground judgements through which the metaphysical principles of right may constrain and influence the content of positive law. In addition, Kant's argument for man under moral law as a final purpose of creation constitutes the basis for Kant's otherwise obscure claim, in Perpetual Peace and Conflict of the Faculties, that rational beings are obligated to further the realization of the highest political good (a form of civil society in which citizens, through legal motivation, act consistently with the requirements of morality).

Keywords:   analogical reasoning, civil society, highest political good, morality, positive law, purpose of nature, reflective judgement, teleological judgement

In Chapter 4, I argue that Kant's account of systematicity, in the Critique of Judgment, does in fact ground judgments regarding the moral salience of objects in experience. Kant's account of systematicity, however, grounds teleological interpretation of experience without necessarily grounding practical judgments. In order to constitute a basis for practical judgment, teleological judgment must subordinate the teleological interpretation of experience to an account of the necessary commitments of a rational subject.

Kant argues that it is possible to judge reflectively that (i) the form of an object of experience embodies a purposive concept;1 and (ii) such a purposive concept is embedded in an ordered system of purposes of nature.2 Therefore, it might seem that reflective judgment should provide a decisive input to an agent's practical deliberations regarding objects and their relations in experience. Reflectively, we can identify the ultimate end of nature and the principles governing the subsumption of other forms of purposiveness to that end. Therefore, in our relation to objects in experience, we should act to further purposes which advance the (p.110) realization of the ultimate end of nature, or failing that, the highest‐order subsidiary end which it is possible to further. Thus, reflective judgment should determine the significance of the purposiveness manifest in empirical objects for our practical deliberations.

In fact, the judgment that an object's form embodies a purposive concept is a necessary, rather than sufficient, condition for determining the significance of such an object for practical reason. Such a judgment provides merely the basis for a further judgment regarding the practical significance of such an empirical object. For example, the judgment that a tree embodies a higher order of purposiveness than a watch (because the elements of the tree, unlike those of the watch, ‘are reciprocally the cause and effect of their form’ (CJ 373) contributes to the specification of the systematicity of nature, but provides no ground for a maxim of action. The higher‐order status of the tree, in itself, does not alter the agent's process for evaluating his subjective maxims of action.

At this point in Kant's argument, the systematic order of nature is not specified in a way which necessarily grounds practical judgments. The logic of Kant's argument grounds the judgment that man's capability for purposes is the ultimate end of nature, and that a culture of discipline will further this ability more effectively than a culture of skill. Yet this judgment provides (i) a principled basis for interpreting history as consistent with moral progress, rather than (ii) a ground for a potential maxim of action. As such, the judgment is not practical.

The identification of the form of an empirical object with an underlying purposive concept merely constitutes the precondition for a teleological judgment. The judgment itself involves the comparison of the purposive concept of the object with a concept of ‘what [the object] is [meant] to be’ (FI 240). We must derive an ideal concept from the purposive concept instantiated by the object, and use this second notion as a criterion to evaluate the first concept (that is, the purposive concept implicit in the form of the object).

Through this procedure, Kant believes, teleological judgment can generate normative claims grounded in the systematic purposiveness of nature. We necessarily judge that an object is ‘meant’ to be realized in a way which is incompletely reflected in its current condition; this judgment reflects an orientation towards nature which we hold necessarily as rational creatures. Therefore, (p.111) in acting rationally, we ought to act on a maxim of furthering the object's more completely realized state.

In this chapter, I will examine: (i) the methodology of teleological judgment; (ii) the political significance of Kant's political teleology; and (iii) the intersubjective quality of the judgment.

1. Methodology

In teleological reflection on the purposive concept associated with an object, judgment: (i) derives, from the purposive concept implicit in the form of the object, ‘a prior concept of the thing that contains the basis of that form’3 (CJ 192); (ii) compares this derived concept to the purposive concept implicit in the object's form; and (iii) applies conclusions arising from this comparison to the object. Several aspects of this account are problematic. First, how does one form a concept ‘that contains the basis for [the object's] form’? Second, what kind of comparison is appropriate between purposive concepts; and why should the results of such a comparison have normative implications for our relations to objects in experience? Finally, how do we apply the results of a conceptual comparison to an object or relation in experience?

In order to derive an ideal concept of the object, we need to (i) exhibit the salient aspects of the object's purposive concept, and (ii) develop their substantive implications. In the ‘Methodology of Teleological Judgment’, Kant employs such an approach to derive an ideal concept (the concept of a final purpose of creation) from the concept of an object as it exists in nature (the concept of autonomous humanity as the ultimate purpose of nature).

Kant's account of his methodology, however, is curiously episodic. Kant first presents a sketch of the method of symbolic exhibition (CJ 351ff.), and describes the method as ‘deserv[ing] fuller investigation’, but not at that point in the text (the discussion of ‘Beauty as the Symbol of Morality’).4 Kant then employs this method in the argument identifying a final purpose of creation (p.112) (CJ 434 ff.). The method relies heavily on inference by analogy; yet Kant has neither (i) discussed the warrant for employing analogical reasoning in practical judgment, nor (ii) described the constraints under which analogical reasoning is properly employed. Finally, almost as an afterthought, Kant explains his reliance on inference by analogy, and describes the conditions under which analogical reasoning can be reliably employed (CJ 464–5).

In order to clarify Kant's logic, I will deviate from his order of presentation. First, I will discuss the methodology Kant describes in his discussion of ‘symbolic exhibition’. Second, I will present and evaluate Kant's arguments for the use of analogical reasoning in judgment. Finally, I will examine Kant's use of this method in the argument identifying a final purpose of creation.

A. Symbolic Exhibition

Symbolic exhibition ‘[serves] as a means for reproducing concepts in accordance with the imagination's law of association’ (CJ 352). The method is employed to exhibit concepts of reason ‘to which no sensible intuition can be adequate’ (CJ 351).

In the symbolic exhibition of a concept, judgment ‘applies’ the concept to a sensible intuition to which we have reflectively related the concept by analogy. Judgment then reflects upon the intuition in light of the concept, and finally applies the ‘mere rule by which it reflects on that intuition’ to ‘an entirely different object, of which the former is only the symbol’.5

While this account is suggestive, it is also ambiguous. What is the relation between the initial concept and the ‘analogous’ sensible object? How is the symbolic object selected, and what is its relation to the initial sensible object? How are we to specify the ‘mere rule’ of reflection? Kant's description of symbolic exhibition is only a sketch, and it must be read together with his comments on examples and related issues in order to present anything resembling a workable method.

Kant provides two examples in which one object symbolically represents another: (i) a constitutional monarchy may be presented (p.113) as an animate body; (ii) an absolute dictatorship may be presented as a mere machine. The relevance of these examples to Kant's account of symbolic exhibition is initially obscure, because Kant fails to indicate the concept the objects are to exhibit. All of the sensible objects mentioned (a monarchy,6 a machine, an animate body), however, are complex systems in which ‘the possibility of its parts (as concerns both their existence and their form) [depends] on their relation to the whole’ (CJ 373). Thus, Kant's examples all satisfy the first of Kant's two requirements for the specification of a purpose of nature.

An object in nature exhibiting such purposiveness but not reciprocal causation between the parts and the whole (the second requirement), however, is ‘merely a work of art’ (CJ 373). Thus, the degree to which the objects satisfy the second requirement distinguishes works of art (artifice), such as a watch, from purposes of nature. Objects which satisfy both requirements can be further distinguished by the degree to which the purposiveness manifested is unconditioned.

The examples of complex systems which Kant employs as symbolic representations (an animate body, a machine) therefore constitute archetypes which can be ranked by: (i) form of purposiveness (artistic or natural); (ii) degree to which the purposiveness is unconditioned. Such a ranking provides the basis for a scale of organized purposiveness in nature. Each potential exhibition of a given concept can thus be ranked according to the degree to which the object of the exhibition approaches unconditioned purposiveness. An animate body therefore exhibits a higher form of purposiveness, on Kant's scale, than a machine.

Thus, by (i) comparing the concept of an organized being, by analogical reasoning, to forms of political organization; and (ii) representing different forms of regime by archetypes of organized beings presenting different degrees of purposiveness, Kant provides a basis for deriving from the concept of a merely artistic form of purposiveness in political organization (a tyranny) the concept of ‘what it is [meant] to be’, that is an unconditionally (p.114) purposive realization of this form of complex system (a constitutional monarchy).

Generally, judgment identifies a purposive concept implicit in the form of a given object, and specifies a formal characteristic of the purposive concept (e.g. the possibility of the parts depends on their relation to the whole) which applies identically to the concept and to a second empirical object. The concept is presented symbolically by this second empirical object, which is identical to the concept in terms of the formal characteristic, but which is merely one member of a hierarchy of empirical objects representing different degrees of realization of the purposive concept. Finally, judgment reflects on the rule of reflection governing the hierarchy. This reflection locates the initial object in the hierarchy determined in nature by the purposive concept; a comparison of the symbolic presentation of the concept (the second empirical object) with other objects in the hierarchy grounds a reflective judgment determining the most complete realization of the initial object.

In order to understand Kant's employment of analogical reasoning in teleological judgment, we need an account of (i) the warrant for critical employment of analogical reasoning and (ii) the necessary conditions for its proper employment. Before examining Kant's account of analogical reasoning, however, I will note two potential objections to this account of the role of symbolic presentation in reflective judgment.

First, Kant's only explicit discussion of symbolic presentation is presented in a discussion of aesthetic, not teleological judgment. While Kant's discussion is physically located in the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, however, Kant is careful to indicate that the discussion of symbolic presentation is not limited to applications in that particular context: ‘This function [of judgment] has not been analyzed much so far, even though it very much deserves fuller investigation; but this is not the place to pursue it’ (CJ 352). Moreover, Kant appears committed to the claim that exhibition for teleological judgment must be symbolic. He claims that all exhibition must be schematic or symbolic. Schematic exhibition applies only to concepts of the understanding, while the purposive concepts of teleological judgment are concepts of reason. Therefore, the concepts of teleological judgment can only be exhibited symbolically. Finally, the examples of symbolic exhibition which Kant offers (constitutional monarchy; absolute dictatorship) have no tangible relation to aesthetic judgment.

(p.115) Second, it can be argued that no exhibition of the purposive concept of a natural purpose is necessary: the object which we have judged to be a natural purpose is the exhibition. This is technically true. An exhibition ‘place[s] beside the concept an intuition corresponding to it’ (CJ 192–3). The empirical object prompting our reflection on natural purposiveness is the intuition corresponding to our concept of a natural purpose.7 The concept of natural purpose is not, however, a concept of the object, but ‘only a principle of judgment by which it provides itself with concepts in nature's immense diversity (so that judgment can orient itself in this diversity)’ (CJ 193). The empirical object which prompts the reflection leads us to the concept, but the concept is not limited to the object. It is relevant to note that symbolic exhibition is appropriate where no empirical intuition is ‘adequate’ to the concept in question (CJ 351).

In fact, since Kant seems committed to the position that the exhibition of concepts of reason must be symbolic, an empirical object cannot constitute the exhibition of the concept of a natural purpose: symbolic presentations ‘contain nothing whatever that belongs to the intuition of the object; their point is the subjective one of serving as a means for reproducing concepts in accordance with the imagination's law of association’ (CJ 352).

In ‘What is Orientation in Thinking’, Kant appears to endorse this account of reason's employment of analogical reasoning in its self‐orientation. When reason ‘seeks to extend its sphere beyond the frontiers of experience and no longer encounters any objects of intuition whatsoever’, reason ‘reduce[s] at least the relationship between the [merely intelligible] object in question and objects of experience to pure concepts of the understanding’. Through this process, we ‘think of something which is itself supra‐sensory as capable of being applied by our reason to the world of experience’ (WOT 240).

B. Inference by Analogy

Analogical reasoning plays a prominent role in Kant's account of teleological judgment. In particular, this approach is employed in both the account of symbolic exhibition and the argument identifying (p.116) final purposes in nature. Yet Kant has offered no account of the method of analogical reasoning or defence of its validity.

In fact, such a method of reasoning appears to invite the transcendent illusion of traditional metaphysics. As noted in Chapter 4, Kant held that the traditional error was to take the conditioned as a thing in itself, rather than an appearance (A499/B527). Reflective judgment was to avoid such an error by taking only the form, but not the matter, of conditioned empirical objects as given.

Thus, Kant's account of inference by analogy involves the consideration of the merely formal aspects of objects: ‘Analogy . . .is the identity of the relation between bases and consequences insofar as it is present despite what difference in kind there is between the things themselves’ (CJ 464 n.). Analogy provides a reliable basis for inference only when the ‘basis’ on which we draw our inference is ‘the same’ in the two objects compared (when ‘we do have par ratio [the same grounds]’). By abstracting away from the substantive and focusing on the purely formal aspects, the method avoids the danger of illusion. In addition, by limiting inferences to cases in which the formal aspect which grounds the judgment is identically present in both objects, the method ensures that the grounds of the judgment are the same for both objects.

Objects and relations in experience are not ordered by a priori principles; thus, Kant's account of the systematicity of nature requires some methodology for generating principles which are to govern such a lawlike system. Since inference by analogy is a necessary condition for the possibility of systematicity of nature (which is itself a necessary condition of cognition), such inferences are objective if they are properly grounded. Inference by analogy thus features prominently in Kant's teleological theory because the systematicity of nature can only be specified for human understanding through the employment of such inferences.

C. Symbol, Analogy, and Final Purposes

Symbolic exhibition provides a method for applying analogical reasoning to the fundamental problem of teleological judgment: specification of a systematic purposive relationship holding, at least for human judgment, between objects in experience. Exhibition provides the basis for locating objects and relations in experience within an ordering structured by the systematic logic of purposes (p.117) which reason necessarily judges to characterize objects in nature. Exhibition therefore defines a range of relations between empirical objects over which an exhibited concept extends. Once this range is specified, the relations between the objects in this range can be determined by reflecting on the nature of the complex organization that they manifest. In identifying and ordering a range of objects in experience, reflective judgment defines the concept's role in specifying the systematic order of objects in experience.

Kant's argument for humanity as the ultimate purpose of nature (discussed in Chapter 4) provides a good example of Kant's use of symbolic exhibition in his examination of the systematicity of nature. Kant begins with the concept of a purpose of nature (which judgment requires to account for the causality we encounter in complex natural objects). It is specifically the task of teleological judgment to provide an account of the purposiveness characterizing relations among complex systems in nature; thus, the notion of a complex object as a purpose of nature provides the basic unit of analysis for teleological judgment.

Kant considers objects to which this concept applies in nature: self‐organized beings (e.g. organic entities). The common quality exhibited by such objects is a suitability for purposes: even the most primitive organic units aim at their own nourishment and reproduction. Thus, such suitability for purposes provides the ground for analogical extension of the concept.

Since the highest‐order principle for teleological judgment must ground ‘the connection in terms of purposes of the world’, an ultimate purpose of nature (as determinable by human reason) must be a purpose ‘by reference to which all other natural things constitute a system of purposes’ (CJ 429). Therefore, reason requires a highest‐order principle of the greatest generality. The most general principle associated with a suitability for purposes within nature must be ‘man's aptitude in general for setting himself purposes’ (CJ 431). Therefore, organisms embodying such generalized purposiveness (mankind in general) are specified as the ultimate purpose of nature.

Thus, judgment reflectively identifies: (i) the quality which grounds the system of purposes in nature (for reason); and (ii) the empirical object which embodies this quality. Kant begins by applying the concept of a purpose of nature to objects in nature, and then proceeds to identify a basis in these objects (suitability for (p.118) purposes) to ground an analogy with a second set of objects which exemplify such purposiveness generally, unconditioned by any reference to other purposes. This employment of analogical reasoning permits the specification of a unique ultimate purpose: only rational beings exhibit highest‐order suitability for purposes.

It is relevant to note that Kant's earlier argument (for an ordering of organized beings distinguishing and ranking complex systems according to the purposive principle implicit in their form) is essential for orienting the analysis. Only with respect to such an ordering can judgment conclude that the form of organized being which demonstrates the highest order of self‐organization constitutes a standard for the lower‐order forms.

Kant applies the same form of reasoning to the argument for ‘man under moral law’ as the final purpose of creation. A final purpose is a purpose ‘that requires no other purpose as a condition of its possibility’ (CJ 434). Kant argues that, ‘if we assume that the connection in terms of possibility in the world is real’ (as we must qua rational being, since teleological judgment holds necessarily for human reason), then the determination of the ends which objects serve in nature is merely an additional conditioned determination (in the series of determinations grounded in the concept of purposes).

Since reason requires an unconditioned determination for every series of conditioned determinations, reason requires that each sequence of determinations exhibiting the structure that a purposive concept imposes on nature must culminate in an unconditioned determination. If judgment determines that organized beings ‘have the form they have’ for the sake of some end of nature (CJ 434), the determination remains conditioned upon the existence of purposes in nature. An unconditioned final determination must specify the ‘objective basis’ for the existence of purposes in nature, per se (independent of other purposes or objects in nature).8 Such an objective basis is a purpose of the existence of (p.119) nature itself, ‘to which all of nature is subordinated’ (CJ 436 n.), and therefore cannot be grounded in some relation to objects existing in nature. Thus, reason requires a concept of purposiveness unconditioned by any aspects of empirical nature (a final purpose).

Thus, the highest‐order principle associated with a suitability for purposes in general must be unconditioned purposiveness. Kant's argument extends the notion of unconditioned purposiveness beyond mere abstraction from empirical causation (which merely required that the purposiveness originate independent of mechanistic chains of causes). A final purpose must be a form of purposiveness which is entirely unconditioned. Kant claims that we have knowledge of one unique causality sufficient to determine a purposiveness of this type: ‘the moral principle that determines us to action’ (CJ 436 n.). Thus, ‘man under moral law’ must be the final purpose of creation.

As in his investigation of the notion of an ultimate purpose of nature, Kant here applies a purposive concept (in this case the concept of a purpose of nature) to objects (actual purposes of nature), and specifies a basis for the extension of the concept to a more fully realized conception. The basis is general purposiveness, and Kant extends the concept to the furthest point in the sequence of determinations by demanding unconditioned purposiveness of this type. Reasoning from this basis, Kant specifies an object within experience which manifests unconditioned purposiveness, and thus represents the full realization of the concept: man under moral law. In specifying this object, judgment symbolically represents the determinate implications of the underlying moral concept (humanity) for relations in experience.

D. Conclusion: The Method of Teleological Judgment

Teleological judgment involves two discrete, but related, operations. The first, prejudgmental, operation, identifies the purposive concept underlying the form of an organized being in nature. Kant argues that the transcendental necessity of a principle of the systematicity of nature licenses the application of the concept of a purpose of nature to organized objects in nature manifesting reciprocal causality.

The concept of a purpose of nature provides the basic unit of analysis for an understanding of nature as a lawlike system of (p.120) interrelated purposes. The licence to apply this concept to organized entities in nature warrants the interpretation of events in nature as, in fact, organized to achieve the ends to which nature is teleologically subordinated. Thus, this application of the transcendental principle warrants the judgment that the teleological ends of nature are realizable within nature9 (CJ 444, TPP 108, 112–12, 121–3, CF 85; but see CJ 450).

The second operation associates a concept with a range of objects in experience which can be ordered according to the ‘objective purposiveness . . . of the whole of nature’ (CJ 380) identified by the first operation of teleological judgment. The second operation grounds normative claims, in a dual sense, by establishing ‘man under moral law’ as the purpose of nature itself. First, as discussed in Chapter 4, this judgment exhibits substantive implications of the fundamental moral concept. Second, such a judgment holds necessarily for human reason: if rational beings, qua rational, necessarily judge that it is the purpose of nature to achieve a specific moral end, then every rational being must judge that he or she ought to realize such an end. This final determination renders the systematicity of nature, and complex forms of life within nature, transparent for human reason.

Thus, reflective judgment specifies both the purposive concept underlying an object's form and the logic governing the object's possible evolution or reformulation to realize this underlying concept. In specifying the logic governing the realization of a concept in experience, reflective judgment mediates between concepts and objects in experience exemplifying such concepts. The political application of reflective judgment should therefore make possible a mediation between the principles of natural law and the institutions, legislation, and norms exemplifying those principles in experience.

(p.121) 2. Political Significance

While teleological judgment orients practical choice, the exercise of this faculty might not ground the judgment that any particular political institutions are practically necessary. The final purpose of creation, which orients reflective judgment's practical determinations, is specified as ‘man under moral laws’ (CJ 448 n.). Examination of an alternate formulation, which Kant rejects, suggests the potential of teleological argument to eliminate, rather than enhance, the useful role of political theory within Kantian philosophy.

The basis for the reflective specification of a final purpose of creation is the notion of unconditioned purposiveness. The fullest conception of unconditioned purposiveness might seem to be: ‘man in accordance with the moral law’, since such a formulation requires that man act directly from a pure rational motivation. Yet Kant rejects such a characterization of the final purpose: ‘the latter expression would say more than we know . . . [such a view would imply] that we had insight both into the supersensible substrate of nature and into the identity of this substrate with what the causality [that acts] through freedom makes possible in the world’ (CJ 449 n.).

It is revealing to consider the implications of this rejected formulation. If the final purpose which orients necessary judgments about objects and relations in experience were a notion of man acting from pure ideas of reason, then the final purpose could only be represented by a direct application of ideas of reason to objects in experience; yet Kant denies that such an application is possible. Reflective judgment is intended to offer an indirect bridge between pure ideas and empirical objects and relations in experience. Yet if the final purpose, the highest‐order value which orients all practical reflective judgments, could only be specified through the direct application of a pure idea to objects in experience, the entire argument would merely restate the problematic of the gulf between reason and experience.

It is relevant to note that this is precisely the result in Kant's moral teleology. The required object of a rational will is specified as a pure idea. Since such an idea cannot be realized through any causality known in experience, the necessity of such an object of (p.122) the will requires the postulate of a divine intelligence securing the final goal required by reason.

Kant avoids this result, in the Critique of Judgment, by defining the final purpose of creation as ‘man under moral laws’ (CJ 445, 449n.). Since we do not have direct knowledge of the supersensible substrate, we cannot realize in nature an objective (man in accordance with moral laws) which requires a supersensible form of causality. Rather, we can only approximate such an objective through symbolic exhibition of the concept of an ultimate purpose of nature. Thus, within the constraints of experience, we can only conceive of a final purpose which instantiates ‘man under moral laws’.

This specification provides the condition under which political institutions become necessary. First, if man is ‘under’ the moral law, then he is not acting purely from moral motivation. Some external incentive is required to motivate, or coerce, compliance with the requirements of the moral law. Political institutions, preeminently, supply this incentive. Kant sketches the outlines of the necessary institutions in the Critique of Judgment:

The formal condition under which nature can alone achieve this final aim is that constitution of human relations where the impairment to freedom which results from the mutually conflicting freedom [of individuals] is countered by lawful authority within a whole called civil society. For only in this constitution of human relations can our natural predispositions develop maximally. But this constitution requires something further . . . a cosmopolitan whole, a system of all states that are in danger of affecting one another detrimentally. (CJ 432)

Thus, reflective judgment determines that political institutions must, at a minimum: (i) guarantee mutual external freedom; and (ii) further the realization of a cosmopolitan whole which will ensure world peace. Each of these general requirements grounds a system of subsidiary requirements. The requirement of mutual external freedom grounds the entire substance of the Rechtslehre10 and ‘Theory and Practice’,11 while the requirement of furthering a cosmopolitan whole grounds the moral argument for political (p.123) obligation developed in Towards Perpetual Peace, and other late essays.

While this passage (CJ 432) describes the necessary conditions for the realization of the ultimate (not the final) purpose of nature, the conditions necessary to realize such a ‘maximal’ development of man's ‘natural predispositions’ in fact define the final purpose of creation: man under moral law. This coincidence results because the task of sustaining the unconditioned quality of man's purposiveness and the task of respecting man's humanity are, in fact, identical. Our reflective judgment specifying the purpose of nature and our reflective judgment determining our obligation within nature coincide, defining one end which is both obligatory and the ultimate end which reason determines that nature must be organized to further.

It is instructive to note how ‘Towards Perpetual Peace’ develops the argument in the Critique of Judgment. Kant advances two independent claims: (i) ‘[t]he mechanical process of nature visibly exhibits the purposive plan of producing concord among men’ (TPP 108); and (ii) ‘it is a moral task . . . to bring about perpetual peace . . . as a state of affairs which must arise out of recognizing one's duty’ (TPP 122).12

As in the Critique of Judgment, Kant argues for the necessity of judging that: (i) our observations of events within nature permit the interpretation of nature as a lawful system furthering a(n) (ultimate) purpose; and (ii) we are obligated to further a final purpose of creation (which coincides with the necessary conditions for realization of the ultimate purpose of nature). Reflective judgment determines both: (i) an ultimate purpose towards which all purposes within nature are directed [which structures the system of purposes within nature]; and (ii) an unconditioned obligation to realize a final end which is the purpose of the existence of nature itself.

Kant's claim that perpetual peace can be realized ‘within the mechanism of nature’ is essential to the validity of an obligation to realize perpetual peace: moral aims cannot amount to duties unless it is not ‘demonstrably impossible to fulfill them’ (TP 89, see TPP 116). Thus, Kant takes some care to argue for the plausibility of (p.124) interpreting nature as a teleologically organized system of purposes directed towards an ultimate purpose.

Kant's argument for the possibility of achieving the ultimate purpose of nature takes the following form. Kant first notes that ‘many maintain that [a republican constitution] would only be possible within a state of angels’ (TPP 112). In fact, Kant claims, ‘nature comes to the aid of the universal and rational human will’ in realizing republican government and perpetual peace: ‘the mechanism of nature can be applied to men in such a manner that the antagonism of their hostile attitudes will make them compel one another to submit to coercive laws, thereby producing a condition of peace within which the laws can be enforced’ (TPP 113). Thus, the mechanism of nature ‘can be used by reason to facilitate the attainment of its own end, the reign of established right’ (TPP 113).

Thus, Kant claims, nature in a sense ‘guarantees’ the realization of man's moral end13 (TPP 114). Kant's claim for such a guarantee, here and elsewhere in ‘Towards Perpetual Peace’, might seem to be of the dogmatic type which he criticizes in the Critique of Judgment.14 Yet, in the same paragraph, Kant asserts that the ‘likelihood of [this goal's] being attained is not sufficient to enable us to prophecy the future theoretically’ (TPP 114). Rather, the likelihood is simply ‘enough for practical purposes’. Thus, Kant's claim for the guarantee is, in fact, practical rather than dogmatic.15 The argument for a ‘guarantee’ is important because it establishes that perpetual peace is ‘more than an empty chimera’; therefore, since the goal is possible, it is ‘our duty to work our way towards this goal’ (TPP 114).

(p.125) It is important not to conflate Kant's argument for a guarantee within nature with his argument for a moral obligation to further perpetual peace: ‘if I say that nature wills that this or that should happen, this does not mean that nature imposes on us a duty to do it, for duties can only be imposed by practical reason, acting without any external constraint’ (TPP 112). In fact, Kant asserts, it is ‘our duty to promote [perpetual peace] by using the natural mechanism’ (TPP 109, emphasis mine).

Thus, reflective judgment specifies both the purpose of civil society (realizing ‘man under moral laws’) and the logic governing the possible evolution or reformulation of a society to realize this underlying concept (approximation of such an objective through symbolic exhibition of the concept of an ultimate purpose of nature). The political application of reflective judgment therefore makes possible a mediation between the principles of natural law and the institutions, legislation, and norms exemplifying those principles in experience.

3. Unity of Reflective Judgment: The Sensus Communis and the Intersubjectivity of Teleological Judgment

The argument presented in sections 1 and 2 suggests that reflective judgment grounds judgments regarding empirical objects in experience which hold necessarily for human judgment. Yet, as Kant is aware, each individual is presented with a unique perspective. Sensible impressions form the basis for reflective judgments; yet the presentation of these impressions to the individual is necessarily contingent. Reflective judgment specifies purposive principles implicit in the systematicity of nature, but the content of an individual's reflective judgments is constrained by the set of sensible impressions to which he is exposed, and by the context and order of their presentation. Thus, while reflective judgment constitutes the formal condition for subjective universal judgments regarding objects in experience, in practice such subjective universality might seem unattainable.

In fact, however, subjective universal reflective judgments may be attainable in practice because an intrinsic feature of reflective judgment involves taking account of the possible judgments of others. In order to establish that this intersubjective feature (p.126) characterizes teleological, as well as aesthetic judgment, I will argue for the unity of reflective judgment as a faculty.16 In developing this argument, this section (i) examines the analytic approach which grounds the use of analogical reasoning in both aesthetic and teleological judgment; and (ii) argues for the grounding of both faculties of reflective judgment in the sensus communis.

A. Analytic Approach

The employment of analogical reasoning in teleological judgment appears to be grounded in insights from Kant's account of aesthetic judgment. Teleological judgment, however, extends this form of analysis to produce determinate judgments regarding empirical objects in experience, and to produce judgments with practical significance. Symbolic exhibition, a fundamental procedure of teleological judgment, is clearly conceptually related to the exhibition of a rational idea necessary to specify an archetype of taste (see CJ 232 ff.). In both cases: (i) the form of the object must be subjected to a specification or categorization prior to the reflective judgment; and (ii) reflective judgment exhibits the purposive concept implicit in the form of the object in order to represent the object's significance for human judgment.

An archetype of taste must be specified relative to a ‘standard idea’ of the object, which is a ‘common standard’ for a category of object which the imagination specifies. By preconsciously comparing images, the imagination specifies a generic image of a standard specimen of the genus17 (CJ 234). In order to exhibit beauty, however, the form of the object must be determined by ‘some underlying idea of reason’ (CJ 233). The presentation of a beautiful object, therefore, must exhibit the (indeterminately purposive) idea of reason which determines its form, although ‘the greatest purposiveness in the structure of that shape resides merely in the judging person's idea’ (CJ 233).

In a teleological judgment, the object's form is the basis for a determination that the object is a purpose of nature; and judgment (p.127) exhibits the concept of that object as a purpose of nature in order to provide the basis for a representation of the highest form of realization of that object. The teleological judgment thus exhibits the determinate purposive concept implicit in the object's form.

B. Relation to the Sensus Communis

While reflecting a similar analytic approach, the two forms of reflective judgment are distinct in two respects. First, the purposive concept to be exhibited is determinate for teleological judgment, but indeterminate for aesthetic judgment. Second, an account of the purposiveness of the object's form can only be specified through an aesthetic judgment, but must be specified in advance in order to ground and warrant a teleological judgment. As a result, only teleological exhibition grounds determinate conclusions regarding the development of empirical objects.

While an aesthetic exhibition determines a concrete representation of an ideal associated with a purposive concept, a teleological judgment exhibits the concept's determinate implications for the object's optimal development. Since teleological judgement begins with determinate concepts and produces exhibitions with determinate implications, teleological exhibition, in contrast to aesthetic judgment, provides a potential basis for practical judgments.

The fundamental similarities between the two forms of reflective judgment ground Kant's assertion that both are ‘contained in one ability, and resting on the same principle’ (FI 244). The distinctions between their ranges of application, however, help to explain why aesthetic judgment, alone, could not provide the basis for unifying the domains of nature and freedom. Aesthetic judgment provides the basis for a form of judgment that bridges the ‘gulf’ between ideas of reason and the empirical world. Aesthetic judgments, however, produce no determinate principles, and therefore have no practical significance. Teleological judgment constitutes an advance because it extends the application of this form of analogical reasoning to judgments involving determinate concepts.

The two forms of exhibition in reflective judgment therefore differ both in the specificity of their content and in their potential for practical application; both, however, are expressions of a (p.128) reflective faculty which supplies a necessary condition for cognition by grounding possible judgments regarding the systematicity of nature. Each form of exhibition is both possible and necessary because judgment is confronted with objects in experience whose form manifests a significance (an implicit purposive principle) which cannot be cognized employing only concepts of the understanding.18 Judgment must reflect on the purposiveness implicit in the forms of such objects in order to determine their status within an account of the systematicity of nature.

Where an object cannot be cognized solely through concepts of the understanding, Kant refers judgment to ‘the subjective conditions for exercising [our] powers’19 (CJ 403). The ‘subjective conditions for the possibility of cognition, as such’ are, for Kant, the ‘proportion between the cognitive powers’ (understanding and the imagination) which grounds aesthetic judgment, and which ‘is also required for the common understanding that we may presuppose in everyone’ (CJ 292–3, emphasis mine). This ‘common human understanding’, or sensus communis, is a ‘broadened’ form of thought in which we take account, a priori, of ‘everyone else's way of presenting’, in order to avoid the errors which naturally arise from a particularistic perspective20 (CJ 293).

Kant's explicit account of the sensus communis stresses its function in aesthetic judgment. Yet, Kant also claims that ‘we must cognize judgment's aesthetic ability, together with its teleological ability, as contained in one ability and resting on the same principle, since teleological judgments . . . belong to the reflective . . . power of judgment just as much as aesthetic ones do’ (FI 244).21

(p.129) If (i) aesthetic and teleological judgment are contained in one ability and rest on the same principle; (ii) the principle upon which aesthetic judgment rests is merely subjective;22 and (iii) the subjective principle of aesthetic judgment is a power to judge that takes account (a priori) of everyone else's way of presenting the object (CJ 238–9, 294); then (iv) the (subjective) principle of teleological judgment must be a power of judgment which takes account of everyone else's way of presenting.

Kant argues that the sensus communis constitutes a necessary condition for cognition in cases not involving aesthetic judgment (CJ 292–3), indicating that the sensus communis grounds judgments that are not aesthetic. Moreover, Kant refers to taste (and therefore aesthetic judgment) as ‘a kind of sensus communis’ (CJ 293, first emphasis mine),23 suggesting that the sensus communis is a more abstract and fundamental faculty of judgment that grounds more particularly focused faculties, such as aesthetic judgment. Therefore, it seems reasonable to argue that Kant presents aesthetic judgment as merely one member of a set of faculties grounded in the sensus communis.

When judgment is referred to the subjective conditions for cognition in cases in which aesthetic judgment is inapplicable (because cognition of the object requires a reference to concepts, as in the case of a purpose of nature), the sensus communis must ground determinations through a different faculty of reflective judgment (such as teleological judgment). The members of the set of reflective faculties grounded in the sensus communis are, I will argue, unified by their common grounding in the faculty of broadened thought.

Yet teleological judgment is fundamentally distinct from aesthetic judgment in one feature which might seem to render problematic Kant's claim that both faculties rest on the same principle: (p.130) teleological judgment necessarily brings the understanding into a relation with reason and concepts of reason. Aesthetic judgment, in contrast, judges ‘a priori the communicability of the feelings that (without mediation by a concept) are connected with a given presentation’ (CJ 296).

Kant, however, appears to separate the subjective principle of aesthetic judgment (the sensus communis) from the aconceptual aesthetic judgment, itself.24 Kant does not state that the sensus communis is the ground solely of aesthetic judgment, but that ‘taste can be called a sensus communis more legitimately than can sound understanding’ (CJ 295). Kant's explicit discussion of the sensus communis (CJ 293–5) makes no reference to pleasure in the formal purposiveness of the object, or to attunement between the imagination and the understanding. Rather, Kant's discussion focuses on the notion of a form of broadened thinking which ‘takes account . . . of everyone else's way of presenting [something] . . . by transferring [the individual] to the standpoint of others’ (CJ 293–5). When Kant returns to the relation between the sensus communis and aesthetic judgment, Kant refers to the explicit discussion of the sensus communis as a digression.25

While teleological judgment, unlike aesthetic judgment, is not grounded solely in an aconceptual attunement between the imagination and the understanding, the relation between the three faculties which ground teleological judgment (imagination, understanding, reason) must (it seems) instantiate the notion of ‘broadened thinking’, in which one ‘reflects on his own judgment from a universal standpoint (which he can determine only by transferring himself to the standpoint of others)’ (CJ 295). The generation of a concept of ‘what the object is [meant] to be’ requires the employment of analogical thinking to produce a new concept which is independent of the empirical object and holds necessarily for human reason. The fact that this product of reflective judgment is intersubjectively valid indicates that the operation of analogical reasoning (in generating the concept) has modelled, and taken account of the possible judgments of ‘everyone else’.

(p.131) Thus, Kant appears to require that teleological judgments must be in some sense intersubjective in character. In fact, this intersubjective character appears to be a necessary feature of teleological judgment, since, I will argue, teleological judgments must exhibit both adaptability and subjective universality. Teleological judgments must be adaptable, since the judgment assesses a sensible object within its context and judges it reflectively, reasoning from the principle embodied by the observed particulars to general principles which hold necessarily for human reason. The principle embodied by such particulars is in an important degree determined by the context in which the judgment is made. For example, if everyone plays tennis at 6.00 a.m., then a maxim of playing tennis at this time will embody a different principle (playing tennis when everyone else is playing) than the same maxim will embody if no one else plays at 6.00 a.m. (Then, the maxim might be to avoid unnecessary waiting time.)

The adaptable character of reflective judgment is of fundamental significance to Kant's idea of political judgment. If political judgment is adaptive to context, then the substantive content of the political ideal, which reflective judgment determines necessarily for human reason, will nevertheless vary as fundamental elements of the empirical context vary. For example, if a society's traditions regarding property involve notions similar to the modern idea of private property, then the society's ideal political institutions will be likely to protect rights of private property resembling those protected in most western democracies. If the society's traditional notion of property is of a common asset (as in the Greek city states, for example), then the society's ideal institutions may emphasize collective, rather than individual rights (e.g. the rights of citizens, rather than those of individuals).

The ideals of a particular culture, thus, may lack objectivity from the perspective of a different culture. From within a given culture, however, Kant's argument appears to require that such ideals will be objective, but revisable (in case additional conceptual resources become available). It will not be the case, however, that every ideal grounded in a culture's tradition will be objective, even within the culture. Since the moral faculty is subjectively constitutive (CJ 453), rational beings remain capable of evaluating and rejecting traditions which are fundamentally inconsistent with the requirements of morality. Thus, while an ideal of constitutional monarchy (p.132) may be objective for some cultures, an ideal incorporating inescapable slavery will be unacceptable in all cultures.

The potential implications of adaptability in political judgment can be made more concrete by considering the general implications of Kant's analysis for evaluation of form of regime. Kant argues for representative republicanism as the ideal form of regime. Yet, if the concept of republicanism were unavailable in a particular context, teleological judgment would ground the judgment that a constitutional (or constrained) monarchy was superior to an absolute monarchy, since a constitutional monarchy embodies a higher‐order purposive concept.

Kant acknowledges that adaptability is a necessary feature in aesthetic judgment26 (CJ 234). Since teleological and aesthetic judgment are ‘contained in one ability’, it seems reasonable to assume that they share this characteristic. Moreover, since the formal characteristics of teleological judgment appear to require adaptability, and Kant's comments indicate that aesthetic judgment exhibits this characteristic, adaptability may plausibly be ascribed to reflective judgment in general.

Yet teleological judgment holds necessarily for human judgment; we can assert the necessity of the judgment to any other rational being. If (i) teleological judgments vary depending on the set of sensible particulars grounding the judgment; and (ii) each individual may be presented with a distinct set of sensible particulars; then (iii) the judgments can only hold necessarily for all rational agents if each agent successfully anticipates the possible judgments of others and incorporates this information in his judgment. Moreover, the consideration of the possible judgments of others must be decisive when different reflective judgments grounded in the same set of particulars are plausible.

This consideration of the possible judgments of others, however, does not reduce reflective judgment to a faculty which predicts and aggregates potential judgments. In taking account of the potential judgments of others, we consider others as rational beings operating in a particular environment with interests similar (p.133) and faculties identical to our own. Thus, the intersubjective aspect of reflective judgment constitutes a form of orientation which judgment determines is necessary for rational creatures within a given context.

The centrality of the notion of intersubjective, or broadened, thought in reflective judgment helps to explain the role of analogical thinking in teleological judgment. In taking account of the possible judgments of others, we cannot take account of a phenomenon existing in experience. Rather, we must construct an account of these hypothetical judgments by ‘transferring [ourselves] to the standpoint of others’ (CJ 295). Since we can do this only by analogy, a principled employment of inference by analogy is necessary. Kant's explicit emphasis on the intersubjective character of the sensus communis, in its cognitive employment, supports such a reading.27

Thus, a political teleological judgment would be necessary in modality and intersubjectively universal in quantity. These two qualities of political judgment would meet the necessary conditions for the determination of a political ideal. The judgment would be intersubjective, thus legitimately grounding judgments regarding issues of collective action. In addition, the judgment would be necessary for human judgment, thus meeting Kant's criterion for just legislation: ‘so long as it is not self‐contradictory to say that an entire people could agree to such a law . . . the law is in harmony with right’ (TP 80–1). Since teleological judgments hold necessarily for human judgment, any legislation grounded in a teleological judgment is ‘in harmony with right’: it is not merely conceivable, but necessary, that an entire rational people could agree to such a law.

Conclusion

An adequately specified Kantian political theory requires an account of a faculty of political judgment that links Kant's account of systematicity to normative conclusions arising from the relations (p.134) of objects within that system. In particular, such an account must clarify the role of the principles of natural law in influencing and constraining the content of positive legislation.

In Chapters 4 and 5, I argue that the faculty of reflective judgment grounds judgments through which the principles of natural law may constrain and influence the content of positive law. In order to specify the implications of the pure principles of natural law for objects and relations in experience, reflective judgment must determine both: (i) the moral salience of particular objects and relations in experience; and (ii) the implications of the principles of natural law for objects and relations characterized in this way. In Chapter 4, I argue that reflective judgment performs two distinct operations. The first operation specifies the moral salience of particular objects and relations in experience. In Chapter 5, I argue that a second operation of reflective judgment specifies the practical implications of pure concepts, such as the principles of natural law. In addition, reflective judgment allows us to construct an account of intersubjective judgments grounded in pure concepts, thus deepening our understanding of the concepts and their practical implications. If reflective judgments reliably specify both moral salience and the practical implications of pure concepts, then the faculty of reflective judgment provides resources sufficient to define the relation between natural and practical law and to specify the policy implications of the principles of natural law.

In addition, the account of teleological judgment in Chapters 4 and 5 suggests a modified role for a political ideal. A full specification of such an ideal is no longer necessary, since Kant claims to have provided an account of judgment which locates any particular empirical phenomenon relative to the lawful systematicity of nature and experience. Moreover, in specifying an account of the systematicity of relations in experience, reflective judgment exhibits the fundamental moral concept of humanity. Thus, two strands of Kant's philosophy converge. Reflective political judgments: (i) hold necessarily for human judgment; and (ii) embody the determinate implications of the moral law.

Notes:

(1) We present the purposiveness of the object ‘on an objective basis: as the harmony of the form of the object with the possibility of the thing itself according to a prior concept of the thing itself that contains the basis of that form’ (CJ 192). Teleological judgments ‘connect with the presentation of an object a determinate concept of a purpose and regard the possibility of the object as based on that concept . . . our judging of the object's possibility is based on a concept (of a purpose) that precedes a priori [that possibility]’ (FI 239–40).

(2) The concept that an object is a natural purpose ‘on account of its intrinsic form . . . leads us necessarily to the idea of all of nature as a system in terms of the rule of purposes’ (CJ 378–9). ‘[T]his principle [for judging nature teleologically] . . . serves us as a guide that allows us to consider natural things in terms of a new law‐governed order by referring them to an already given basis [a purpose] as that which determines them’ (CJ 379). ‘[W]e are then entitled to go further; we may thereupon judge products as belonging to a system of purposes even if they . . . do not require us . . . to look for a different principle beyond the mechanism of blind efficient causes’ (CJ 380–1).

(3) Or, analogously, judgment determines a concept of ‘what [the object] is [meant] to be’ (FI 240).

(4) ‘This function [of judgment] has not been analyzed much so far, even though it very much deserves fuller investigation; but this is not the place to pursue it’ (CJ 352).

(5) ‘Symbolic exhibition [of a concept of reason] uses an analogy (for which we use empirical intuitions as well), in which judgment performs a double function: it applies the concept to the object of a sensible intuition; and then it applies the mere rule by which it reflects on that intuition to an entirely different object, of which the former is only the symbol’ (CJ 352).

(6) Kant does not explicitly describe a monarchy as a complex system in nature. Moreover, much of Kant's discussion of teleological judgments regarding complex systems deals with discrete natural entities, rather than forms of social organization. Kant's later discussion of the body politic as a natural purpose, however, indicates that Kant interpreted political units as a kind of complex system in nature.

(7) In fact, Kant states that we ‘may regard natural purposes as the exhibition of the concept of a real (objective) purposiveness’ (CJ 193).

(8) If ‘we find in the world arrangements in terms of purposes, and we follow reason's inevitable demand to subordinate these merely conditioned purposes to a supreme unconditioned one, i.e. a final purpose, then, to begin with, we are obviously not concerned with a purpose of (i.e. within) nature, so far as nature [already] exists, but with the purpose of the [very] existence of nature and all its arrangements’ (CJ 443). Reason requires an account of ‘a basis determining [the object] that is not always conditioned in turn . . . [it] must be of such a kind that in the order of purposes, it depends on no condition other than the idea of it (CJ 435).

(9) ‘[The general will as it is given a priori] can also, within the mechanism of nature, be the cause which leads to the intended result and gives effect to the concept of right’ (TPP 123). In addition, Kant offers, in support of the claim that ‘the human race [is] continually improving’, the assertion that interference with such progress is ‘a reversal of the ultimate purpose of creation’ (CF 185). Unlike the ‘convulsions which . . . engulfed the animal and vegetable kingdoms’, a similar convulsion engulfing human progress would reverse the ultimate purpose of creation; therefore, we must regard it as ‘tenable within the most strictly theoretical context’ that such progress towards the ultimate purpose will continue.

(10) ‘Right is therefore the sum of the conditions under which the choice of one can be united with the choice of another in accordance with a universal law of freedom . . . “Any action is right if it can coexist with everyone's freedom in accordance with a universal law’ ” (MJ 231).

(11) ‘Right is the restriction of each individual's freedom so that it harmonizes with the freedom of everyone else’ (TP 73).

(12) ‘[The general will], if only it is put into practice in a consistent way, can also, within the mechanism of nature, be the cause which . . . gives effect to the concept of right’ (TP 123).

(13) ‘In this way, nature guarantees perpetual peace by the actual mechanism of human inclinations’ (TPP 114).

(14) ‘[W]e have no a priori basis whatever for the following presumption: how purposes that are not ours . . . yet are to constitute, a special kind of causality, or at least a quite distinct lawfulness of nature. Not only [do we have no a priori basis for such a presumption,] but even experience cannot prove that there actually are such purposes, unless we do some subtle reasoning, and simply slip the concept of a purpose into the nature of things rather than take it from objects and our empirical cognition of them’ (CJ 359).

(15) Kant seems primarily concerned to respond to the claim that perpetual peace and its constituent elements can only be achieved in ‘a state of angels’. Kant's real concern is to establish that furthering perpetual peace is possible, rather than certain: ‘A problem of this kind must be soluble . . . it only means finding out how the mechanism of nature can be applied to men in such a manner that the antagonism of their hostile attitudes will make them compel one another to submit to coercive laws, thereby producing a condition of peace within which the laws can be enforced’ (TPP 113).

(16) Teleological and aesthetic judgment are both ‘contained in one ability, and resting upon one principle’ (FI 244).

(17) ‘[T]he imagination projects, as it were, one image onto another, and from the congruence of most images of the same kind it arrives at an average which serves as the common standard for all of them’ (CJ 234).

(18) In aesthetic judgment, we cannot specify a determinate concept of the beautiful object, while in teleological judgment, our understanding possesses no causal concept adequate to present the reciprocal causality manifested by some objects in experience.

(19) Cognition involves the subsumption of sensory impressions under concepts of the understanding. This process, in general, is referred to as the exercise of judgment. Thus, Kant's reference is clearly to the exercise of our powers of judgment, in general.

(20) The sensus communis is ‘a power to judge that in reflecting takes account (a priori) in our thought of everyone else's way of presenting [something], in order as it were to compare our own judgment with human reason, and thus escape the illusion that arises from . . . mistaking subjective and private conditions for objective ones’ (CJ 293).

(21) See Ginsborg (1990): ‘If a judgment of taste consists in the purely formal exercise of reflective judgment, then its legitimacy cannot be plausibly separated from that of reflective judgment in its substantive, that is, cognitive employment’ (75).

(22) ‘[J]udgments of taste . . . have a subjective principle, which determines them only by feeling rather than by concepts’ (CJ 238).

(23) Judgments of taste ‘must have a subjective principle . . . Such a principle, however, could only be regarded as a common sense . . . Only under the presupposition, therefore, that there is a common sense . . . can judgments of taste be made’ (CJ 238); ‘[T]aste is our ability to judge a priori the communicability of the feelings that (without mediation by a concept) are connected with a given presentation’ (CJ 296, emphasis mine). ‘This pleasure [the basis of aesthetic judgment] must of necessity rest on the same conditions in everyone, because they are subjective conditions for the possibility of cognition, as such, and because the proportion between these two cognitive powers that is required for taste is also required for the sound and common understanding that we may presuppose in everyone’ (CJ 292–3).

(24) It is relevant to note that the title of section 40 is ‘On Taste as a Kind of Sensus Communis’ (emphasis added), rather than ‘On Taste as the Sensus Communis’. Kant appears to leave open the possibility that the sensus communis manifests itself in faculties independent of aesthetic judgment.

(25) ‘Resuming now the thread from which I have digressed, I maintain that taste can be called a sensus communis’ (CJ 295).

(26) ‘[I]f . . . we try to find for this average man the average head, . . . then it is this shape which underlies the standard idea of a beautiful man in the country where this comparison is made. That is why, given these empirical conditions, a Negro's standard idea of the beauty of the [human] figure necessarily differs from that of the white man, that of the Chinese from that of the European’ (CJ 234).

(27) A man achieves a ‘broadened way of thinking’ only if he ‘overrides the private subjective conditions of his judgment, into which so many others are locked, as it were, and reflects on his own judgment from a universal standpoint (which he can determine only by transferring himself to the standpoint of others)’ (CJ 295).