reflecting judgment (see below for the distinction); 5) even to be able to make a universal judgment of beauty in nature without a concept;1 Any- and everyone who has not had the capacity beaten or trained out of her-/himself would find the scene of a sunrise over Three Finger Jack above Lower Burley Lake in Central Oregon beautiful although there is no concept “beauty” that unites the phenomena sunrise, mountain, lake, much less, water fall.)) 6) not to speak of the ability to judge the difference between “what is” and “what ought to be.”
Thesis 4: humanity is able to generate causal explanations for the phenomena that it experiences. Humanity is not limited to instinct, and each individual for her-/himself must generate and learn symbolic systems, which, again, are not given in the phenomena themselves, in order to explain events. What we perceive are the effects of causes. Causes are experienced only indirectly through perceived phenomena. This, in part, is what makes it possible for us to come up with multiple explanations for a set of phenomena. Given that the cause itself is not empirically perceptible (a consequence of the limits to human reason), there is no absolute proof or disproof of a causal explanation. However, what humanity has learned (it does not have it by instinct) is that we understand and explain phenomena best to the degree that we can identify a “law” (for example, a physical law, statistical significance, or algorithm) to the phenomena. This strategy is what allows us to distinguish between nocturnal dreams and the waking state. The former is not, the latter is governed by “laws.2 ” Nonetheless, causal explanations involve “good” and “bad” news: the good news is that there is no absolute proof that one’s explanation is wrong (for example, one can always account for the dismissing judgment as having ignored secondary causes); the bad news is that there is no absolute proof that one is right. It helps to have a community that agrees with the one offering and accepting the causal explanation, but, even then, one can be led astray by one’s pursuit of status and prestige within the group. In any event, those causal explanations that can be shown to conform to imperceptible “laws” (especially, when capable of mathematical formulation) are the most trustworthy causal explanations.
- In contrast to what is “agreeable” and “good,” which are concerned with personal interest, the beautiful “is the faculty for judging an object or a kind of representation through a satisfaction or dissatisfaction without any interest. The object of such a satisfaction is called beautiful.” (Critique of Judgment AA V: 211) However, Kant adds that beauty is not a “property of the object.” (Ibid., AA V: 211) Although it is a logical judgment, “[…] this universality cannot originate from concepts.” (Ibid., AA V: 211; see as well AA V: 215-216
- See Kant’s discussion of dreams in Metaphysik Mrongovius AA XXIX: 884f, 927. Kant wrote: “The dream is another phenome-non of the imagination. It occurs entirely naturally. Because the imagination is constantly at work and in sleep the effects of understanding have ceased, only the imagination remains and is thereby given free rein. It gives us representations of things [in the dream] rather than understanding … [The] productive imagination is especially manifest in a dream. The dream is a sequence of fabrications that are involuntary. When awake, we are in a shared world; in the dream, though, we are in our own world. – The dream’s creativity is similar to that of the waking world but with a difference: in the dream the productive imagination is involuntary, without order and intentionality. In the waking world, in contrast, I can link my fantasy in many ways in all kinds of directions ac-cording to an order, and I can always call myself back from my fantasy whenever I wish. In the waking world, fantasy is also involuntary but the creative idea is not so strong as in the dream because in the waking world sense impressions limit us whereas in the dream all of the senses are suspended and only the field [in contrast to territo-ry, where order is possible, and domain where order is necessary] of the productive imagination is active. This is because the dream suspends entirely our consciousness of our circumstance. As a consequence, we have that pecu-liar experience that we can represent the past without knowledge that it is past. Here a subject of the reproductive imagination is opened up in which we swim in fancies without being conscious of our actual situation.” (Ibid., 885) ([McGaughey’s translation] See as well, Kant’s Prolegomena To Any Future Metaphysics AA IV: 290-291; and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason B 520–21.