Nicolas Lema (Somerville College, University of Oxford)
This week, we're delighted to be welcoming Nicolas Lema from the University's Faculty of Philosophy; he'll be speaking to us about Nietzsche's response to Kant's notion of teleology:
In 1868, Nietzsche planned to write a dissertation on Kant’s Critique of Judgment (1790) specifically focusing on Kant’s concept of teleology. Nietzsche, however, abandoned the project and left us with a set of notes entitled “On Teleology.” These complex series of notes reinterpret and radicalize some of Kant’s most cherished concepts used in the Third Critique to study both art and biology. Here I will focus on Nietzsche’s critique and radicalization of Kant’s notions of regulative principle and reflective judgment. For Kant, reflective principles of judgment guide our cognition about particulars in nature in the form of a subjective rule; not as an ontological claim about nature. For scientific purposes, however, a principle of natural teleology—a principle that claims things in nature happen for the sake of something—must be presupposed in order to guide research. This principle acts as a ‘regulative maxim’ that guides experience. I will argue that Nietzsche’s notes point to the essential ‘aesthetic’ content, not only of regulative principles, but also of the whole realm of metaphysics. Teleology becomes nothing but an “aesthetic product,” as Nietzsche puts it. This will lead Nietzsche to an implicit critique of Kant’s harmonic view of reason as architecture.
As ever, all are most welcome to attend both the seminar and the wine reception - we look forward to seeing you then!