Irony attempts to critique claims by showing that they do not reflect the tension between appearances and reality. According to Immanuel Kant, this tension stimulates the aesthetic imagination, for example, by enabling us to experience a purpose without having to describe it explicitly. Hence, the more we use irony, the more we cultivate the imagination proper for yielding aesthetic knowledge. Richard Rorty's explanation and use of irony fail this purpose because he sees irony only appealing to appearances as a way to refute realism of any kind. However, Søren Kierkegaard's explanation and use of irony meet this purpose because, with irony, he critiques those overly reliant on realism by appealing to appearances and also those overly reliant on appearances by appealing to reality.


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pp. 17-32
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