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Ideal Embodiment

Kant's Theory of Sensibility

Angelica Nuzzo

Publication Year: 2008

Angelica Nuzzo offers a comprehensive reconstruction of Kant's theory of sensibility in his three Critiques. By introducing the notion of "transcendental embodiment," Nuzzo proposes a new understanding of Kant's views on science, nature, morality, and art. She shows that the issue of human embodiment is coherently addressed and key to comprehending vexing issues in Kant's work as a whole. In this penetrating book, Nuzzo enters new terrain and takes on questions Kant struggled with: How does a body that feels pleasure and pain, desire, anger, and fear understand and experience reason and strive toward knowledge? What grounds the body's experience of art and beauty? What kind of feeling is the feeling of being alive? As she comes to grips with answers, Nuzzo goes beyond Kant to revise our view of embodiment and the essential conditions that make human experience possible.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Studies in Continental Thought


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pp. v

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pp. vii-ix

In whichever way the reader will judge this book, and whether or not it will challenge or stimulate, the ideas presented here have changed my way of looking at Kant’s philosophy and at the historical transition from the early modern period to Kant and, successively, to German Idealism. ...

Key to Kant Works Cited

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Transcendental Embodiment

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pp. 1-18

The history of Western philosophy from the nineteenth century to the present has accustomed us to consider Kant to be the champion of an idea of rationality which each successive philosophical enterprise cannot avoid measuring itself by. In the cognitive and practical sphere, Kant’s “Copernican Revolution”1 ...

Part 1.The Body in Theory

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pp. 19

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1. Bodies in Space

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pp. 21-44

There is a curious property shared by a wide variety of creatures, artifacts, and geometrical figures that also plays an indispensable role when we perform such common acts as observing the motion of the sun and stars, reading a geographical map, or moving from the place where we stand toward a given destination. ...

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2. Bodies and Souls

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pp. 45-68

In the tradition of metaphysics with which Kant comes to terms early on in his philosophical career, to address issues concerning the body as res extensa means to confront the intricate question of its separation from and interaction with the soul (commercium), the mind, ...

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3. Disembodied Ideas

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pp. 69-92

In his 1770 Dissertatio, Kant mentions Plato for the first time.1 The reference to Plato has a twofold function there: on the one hand, it gives the theoretical frame of reference for Kant’s introduction of the term “idea” and for his own use of it; on the other hand, it allows him to place the theory of the Dissertatio and the notion of metaphysics proposed therein ...

Part 2.The Body in Practice

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pp. 93

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4. Bodies in Action

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pp. 95-122

Kant ends the Dreams of a Spirit-Seer with a “practical conclusion,” in which he draws attention to the pernicious consequences of the metaphysical doctrine of the soul on moral life. He protests against the common claim that the spiritual nature of the soul is necessary to the conviction that there is life after death, ...

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5. Pure Practical Reason and the Reason of Human Desire

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pp. 123-158

it is Kant’s contention that the concept of freedom constitutes the “keystone (Schlußstein) of the whole architecture of the system of pure reason”—even of speculative reason.1 The concept of freedom is proved by the apodictic law of practical reason, i.e., by the imperative of moral legislation ...

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6. Freedom in the Body

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pp. 159-194

Kant’s efforts in the solution of the third antinomy are to suggest that reason actually and effectively (wirklich) “has causality with regard to appearances,”1 but that its form of causality is not itself appearance. The crucial thesis of the Critique of Practical Reason is that pure reason is effectively (wirklich) practical,2 ...

Part 3.The Body Reflected

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pp. 195

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7. Aesthetics of the Body

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pp. 197-225

In the conclusion of the Meditationes philosophicae de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus (1735) and then in his Aesthetica (1750/58), Baumgarten proposes the idea of a new scientific discipline that should parallel and complement logic by presenting a theory of “sensible cognition.” ...

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8. Reflections of the Body, Reflections on the Body

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pp. 226-267

In the first Critique, Kant concentrates the principal problems of the metaphysical doctrine of rational psychology in his exposition of the paralogisms of speculative reason. To the speculative claim of the soul’s immateriality, incorruptibility, and personality, he adds the difficulties arising from its alleged commercium1 ...

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9. Embodied Ideas

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pp. 268-314

Kant opens the introduction of the Critique of Judgment by sketching out a topological map portraying the inner geography of the human mind. The aim is to provide us with orientation within the new realm of transcendental inquiry to which the last part of the critical project is dedicated. ...

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Transcendental Embodiment: A Final Assessment

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pp. 315-322

In Le Toucher—Jean-Luc Nancy (2000), Derrida examines the reasons that led Nancy to his “altercations” with Descartes in Logodaedalus. At issue is the relation between the mind (Psyche) and the body, and the alleged non-extension and non-spatiality of the mind which is complicated by the theory of the pineal gland. ...


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pp. 323-386


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pp. 387-402


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pp. 403-414

E-ISBN-13: 9780253002785
E-ISBN-10: 0253002788
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253352293

Page Count: 432
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Studies in Continental Thought