In this philosophically sophisticated and historically significant work, John H. Zammito reconstructs Kant's composition of The Critique of Judgment and reveals that it underwent three major transformations before publication. He shows that Kant not only made his "cognitive" turn, expanding the project from a "Critique of Taste" to a Critique of Judgment but he also made an "ethical" turn. This "ethical" turn was provoked by controversies in German philosophical and religious culture, in particular the writings of Johann Herder and the Sturm und Drang movement in art and science, as well as the related pantheism controversy. Such topicality made the Third Critique pivotal in creating a "Kantian" movement in the 1790s, leading directly to German Idealism and Romanticism.
The austerity and grandeur of Kant's philosophical writings sometimes make it hard to recognize them as the products of a historical individual situated in the particular constellation of his time and society. Here Kant emerges as a concrete historical figure struggling to preserve the achievements of cosmopolitan Aufkl-rung against challenges in natural science, religion, and politics in the late 1780s. More specifically Zammito suggests that Kant's Third Critique was animated throughout by a fierce personal rivalry with Herder and by a strong commitment to traditional Christian ideas of God and human moral freedom.
"A work of extraordinary erudition. Zammito's study is both comprehensive and novel, connecting Kant's work with the aesthetic and religious controversies of the late eighteenth century. He seems to have read everything. I know of no comparable historical study of Kant's Third Critique."-Arnulf Zweig, translator and editor of Kant's ;IPhilosophical Correspondence, 1759-1799;X
"An intricate, subtle, and exciting explanation of how Kant's thinking developed and adjusted to new challenges over the decade from the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason to the appearance of the Critique of Judgment."—John W. Burbidge, Review of Metaphysics
"There has been for a long time a serious gap in English commentary on Kant's Critique of Judgment; Zammito's book finally fills it. All students and scholars of Kant will want to consult it."—Frederick Beiser, Times Literary Supplement