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Kant und die Imagination der Tiere

Kant und die Imagination der Tiere

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Kant's reflections on animals open up a hitherto overlooked approach to his conception of human intuition and imagination. In her book, Rahel Villinger shows how Kant's aesthetics, epistemology, and theory of history become completely readable against the background of the assumption of animal cognition through intuition and imagination. Kant as a frigid thinker of human reason, who sees in the forces of sensuality nothing but immorality and animal lethargy: this prejudice is still widespread. In fact, sensuality for Kant is an intrinsic and independent faculty of knowledge through intuition and imagination. Kant radically upgraded sensuality, which was independent of reason, from the rationalistic school philosophy of his day and also against the newly emerging philosophy of German idealism. We need the imagination of other animals to be able to think our own and to critically push the boundaries. Therefore, an imagination of animals with Kant includes both: the notion of a superhuman power of purely sensual intuition and imagination whose singularity and immediacy reflect the perfection and infinity of divine intuition; and the specific imagination of rational animals, whose descriptive activity combines image and writing, vividness and concept, and which becomes possible only through the imagination of their premature origin - their animal prototype. The guide to his reflections on animals thus reveals a hidden ambiguity in Kant's thinking of sensual nature, which determines the foundations of modern aesthetics, poetics, and pictorial theory.

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Keywords

  • Aesthetics
  • Animals
  • Cognition
  • Epistemology
  • History of Philosophy
  • Imagination
  • Intuition
  • Kant
  • Theory of History

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