Between insight and judgment: Kant's conception of genius by Lara Ostaric

By Lara Ostaric

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A mechanical conception of nature implies a contingency, or the fact that things could have been otherwise. 21 Kant already speaks of this “natural predisposition of reason” not to be satisfied with a “horizontal” explanation and to look for a “vertical” explanation for the existent states of affairs in the B Introduction to the first Critique: “For human reason, without being moved by the mere vanity of knowing it all, inexorably pushes on, driven by its own need to such questions that cannot be answered by any experiential use of reason and of principles borrowed from such a use; and thus a certain sort of metaphysics has already been present in all human beings […] and it will also always remain there” (KdrV, B21).

25 Similarly within the context of the 24 My emphasis. 25 That said, then Longuenesse is right to identify the ens realissimum of the first Critique with intellectus archetypus of the third Critique. Just as the ens realissimum is the Idea of the whole of nature that is not the outcome of the sum total of its parts, the 30 Transcendental Ideal Kant speaks of the relation of individual existing things as being a priori determined by considering the Idea of the whole of reality. Let me now turn to a more detailed consideration of what Kant understands by Transcendental Ideal.

The purpose of the Transcendental Ideal was to show that although we cannot know it as demonstrated by the conclusions of Kant’s Analytic, our reason has an “urgent need to presuppose” (KdrV, A583/B661) the Idea of the ens realissimum, and moreover, that this Idea of an ens realissimum, although it is a “mere idea” (KdrV, A652/B680) in the sense that it does not have a known objective reality, nevertheless has its transcendental and practical function. It is in this 39 sense that Kant’s debt to the rationalist tradition is much stronger than Longuenesse seems prepared to admit.

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