Scientists Allowed: A Revision of Kant's Conception of Genius Analytical Essay by Righter

Scientists Allowed: A Revision of Kant's Conception of Genius
An in-depth analysis and critique of Immanuel Kant's concept of genius.
# 153707 | 1,616 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Oct 22, 2013 in Philosophy (History - 18th Century) , Philosophy (General)

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This author provides an explanation of Kant's understanding of genius and the ideas surrounding this conception, and focuses on his emphasis on beautiful art and its necessary relation to genius. Next, the author addresses Kant's possible reasons for not positively including science in his account of genius, and then suggests an alternative account of genius, which allows for the inclusion of science. The author argues strongly that his conception of genius is better than that of Kant.

An Original, Exemplary, and Natural Talent: Kant's Conception of Genius
Beautiful Art Alone: Kant's Circumscription of Genius
Scientists Allowed: A Revision of Kant's Conception of Genius

From the Paper:

"In 46 of the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Immanuel Kant defined genius as "the
talent (natural gift) that gives the rule to art." Although this is a brief definition, it is
nevertheless a loaded definition that requires elucidation. Most of this essay will deal with an attempt to understand the meaning of Kant's definition and provide an elaboration upon it. Kant emphasized the fact that, according to this definition and other aspects of the defined term, works of science may not be included among the products of genius. That is, only beautiful art can be produced by a genius. Kant said scientists could not be geniuses because "the greatest [scientific] discoverer...differs in kind from someone who is gifted by nature for beautiful art." For Kant, the crucial distinction "in kind" between science and beautiful art was that the principles of the former could be learned whereas one could not learn to create the latter. He said, "Everything that Newton expounded in his immortal work on the principles of natural philosophy, no matter how great a mind it took to discover it, can still be learned; but one cannot learn to write inspired poetry." I disagree with Kant's contention that a scientist cannot be a genius. I wish to say that one can and must gain proper knowledge, i.e. one must learn the right rules in both science and art in order to procure even the possibility of creating a product worthy of the appellation

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bruno, Paul W. Kant's Concept of Genius: Its Origin and Function in the Third Critique. New York, NY: Continuum. 2010.
  • Crawford, Donald W. Kant's Aesthetic Theory. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 1974.
  • Guyer, Paul. Kant and the Claims of Taste. 2nd Edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 1997.
  • Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 2000.
  • Wenzel, Christian Helmut. "Beauty, Genius, and Mathematics: Why Did Kant Change His Mind?" History of Philosophy Quarterly. Vol. 18. No. 4 (October 2001) pp. 415-432.

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