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Chapter 2 argues that although the Analytic of the Teleological Power of Judgment offers an argument for the necessity of teleological judgments of organisms, Kant is ultimately interested in the conceptual purposiveness of nature as a whole. He constructs an argument from the organism to this conclusion, because it allows him to assimilate characteristic features of a dialectic, specifically the fact that it ensnares ordinary understanding. This serves the end of showing that although the principle of the purposiveness of nature is a transcendental principle of reason, employing it is free of the sort of contradictions that typically beset reason. It has a legitimate and indeed necessary role to play in experience. The chapter further argues that the discussion of the methodology of biology is of great philosophical interest. For Kant all causal explanations are mechanistic and he develops a unique model for mechanistic explanations of the processes through which organisms produce or organize themselves. Teleological judgments of organic nature are not therefore a threat to the project of the comprehensive mechanistic explanation of the natural world. The chapter demonstrates this by examining Kant’s views of contemporary theories of generation, Blumenbach, his papers on human races and his evolutionary speculation.
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