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Title page for ETD etd-11272004-172937

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cunningham, Sarah Bainter
URN etd-11272004-172937
Title The Compass of Reason: Intellectual Interest in the Beautiful as a Mode of Orientation
Degree PhD
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gregg M. Horowitz Committee Chair
David Wood Committee Member
John Compton Committee Member
John Lachs Committee Member
Victor Anderson Committee Member
  • orientation
  • freedom
  • trickery
  • art
  • poetry
  • judgment
  • intellectual interest
  • Kant
  • aesthetics
Date of Defense 2004-11-29
Availability unrestricted
Kant’s Critique of Judgment discusses reflective judgment as a faculty that mediates the concept of nature and freedom. The dissertation provides a detailed exploration of the concept of intellectual interest as a significant moment of reflective thinking, a moment unexamined by secondary literature on Kant. In Chapter I, I provide an overview of my examination of intellectual interest. Chapter II, Overview of Judgment, explains the basic characteristics of aesthetic judgment in order to provide a foundation for exploring taste in greater technical detail. Chapter III, Review of the Literature, examines the work of Paul Guyer, Henry Allison, Dieter Henrich, Jean-Françoise Lyotard and Gregg Horowitz. This chapter situates intellectual interest within contemporary discourse on Kant. Chapter IV, Orientation: The Compass of Reason, examines the essay “What is Orientation in Thinking?” in order to depict the notion of cognitive orientation. Chapter V, Interest, provides a detailed exegesis of the Sections 41 and 42 of the third Critique. Chapter VI, Disinterest, Freedom and Negative Darstellung, uses the interpretation of intellectual interest to redefine disinterest as an occasion of the emergence of freedom. Chapter VII, Poetic Language: Giving Life to Concepts, examines Kant’s division of the arts in order to recognize poetry as the highest art. This chapter relates Kant’s comments on poetry back to the problem of language that haunts the third Critique, a problem that has emerged briefly in earlier chapters. Finally, Chapter VIII, Conclusion: The Trick, completes the exegesis of Section 42 by exploring how we might understand art in relation to intellectual interest. This chapter discusses disorientation in relation to reflective judgment and the implications of aesthetic failure in relation to cognition and morality.
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