Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 April 2022
Chapter 3 tackles the considerable exegetical difficulties posed by the antinomy of teleological judgment. Although the Dialectic of Teleological Judgment poses an antinomy between regulative maxims of reflective judgment, it also presents a conflict between would-be constitutive principles of determinative judgment. This fact has led a number of readers to conclude that the latter conflict is the antinomy of teleological judgment and the former is its resolution – Kant’s explicit claims to the contrary notwithstanding. The chapter argues that posing the conflict between would-be constitutive principles of determinative judgment is explained by the attempt to assimilate characteristic features of a dialectic, specifically the fact that it ensnares ordinary understanding. Building on the earlier discussion of the distinction between explanation and description, it further claims that the regulative maxims of reflective judgment do not contradict one another, even as they are first presented, but in fact essentially complement one another. The maxim of teleology governs the description or observation of organisms as self-organizing beings; the maxim of mechanism directs us to seek to explain their generation and the processes they undergo mechanistically, just as all other causal processes are to be explained.
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