Kant's Antinomy of Teleology: In Defense of a Traditional Interpretation

In Violetta Waibel & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Proceedings of the 12th Kant Congress. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 1641-1648 (2018)
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Abstract
Kant’s Antinomy of Teleological Judgment is unique in offering two pairs of oppositions, one of regulative maxims, and the other of constitutive principles. Here I defend a traditional interpretation of the antinomy— as proposed, for example, by Stadler (1874), Adickes (1925), and Cassirer (1921)—that the antinomy consists in an opposition between constitutive principles, and is resolved by pointing out their legitimate status as merely regulative maxims. I argue against recent interpretations—for example, in McLaughlin (1990), Allison (1991), and Watkins (2009)—which treat the regulative pair as itself antinomial. I then address several textual worries having to do with reconciling the traditional interpretation within the overall structure of the Dialectic of Teleological Judgment that have led these scholars to espouse the new view. Throughout the paper, I emphasize hitherto neglected parallels with Kant’s treatment of the antinomy of taste, which sheds light on understanding the antinomy of teleology.
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