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The Critique of Judgment is concerned with “judgment” as a power of the mind that is expressed in particular acts of judging. This is the sense we draw upon when we say of someone that they have good judgment, or when we put our trust in someone’s judgment. I consider Kant’s regress argument concerning judgment in the Analytic of the Principles of the first Critique. Kant has been read as concluding that if cognition is to be possible it must, on pain of infinite regress, bottom out in some non-rule-governed, “immediate” act or entity. I argue that this interpretation misconstrues the moral of Kant’s argument, as it does that of the rule-following passages in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations with which it is sometimes aligned. The point of Kant’s argument is that judgment must be exercised: this is its condition. Kant shares with Wittgenstein (properly read) an awareness of the desire that we may have to evade the exercise of judgment and the revelations of the self that it entails. Reflective judgment, as introduced in the third Critique, is a further development of the notion of judgment as necessarily exercised and reflective of a particular mind.
This chapter turns to the question of how the judgment of taste is related to cognition and to the larger conception of judgment discussed in Chapter 2. It offers a new reading and contextualization of the argument of §21, in the Fourth Moment of the Analytic of the Beautiful, which establishes a “common sense” as a necessary condition of the universal communicability of cognition. On my reading, Kant does not provide, or seek to provide, a deduction of the judgment of taste avant la lettre. His point, instead, is to show that cognition involves its own form of reflective judgment. Cognitive judgment considered from the perspective of the third Critique – actual, situated judgment – depends on a norm beyond that of correctness: of aptness or appropriateness; of what calls for judgment. My reading is an alternative not only to the widespread “aesthetic” construal of Kant’s argument, on which it is meant to establish an aesthetic common sense, but also to the “epistemic” construal proposed by Henry Allison, on which it is meant to establish an epistemic common sense.
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