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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.

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Kant's Non-Teleological Conception of Purposiveness

Thomas Teufel1

1New York

Citation Information: Kant-Studien. Volume 102, Issue 2, Pages 232–252, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: 10.1515/kant.2011.017, June 2011

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In this paper I argue, first, that Kant's technical definition of purposiveness in § 10 of the third Critique is designed to abstract from all forward-looking considerations (teleological, intentional, normative, etc.) that accompany the conventional understanding of the term. Kant seeks to establish a strictly backward-looking, etiological conception of purposiveness in order to capture the causal link connecting artifacts with their concepts. I argue, second, that he succeeds. Kant's etiological conception of purposiveness neither collapses into mere mechanism, nor smuggles normative considerations in through the backdoor. I frame my discussion by critically engaging Hannah Ginsborg's reading of § 10 – a leading representative of normative interpretations of Kant's notion of purposiveness.

Keywords:: purposiveness; conceptual causality; normativity; Hannah Ginsborg

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