Kierkegaard and the Refusal of Transcendence (Radical by Steven Shakespeare

By Steven Shakespeare

Kierkegaard and the Refusal of Transcendence demanding situations the traditional view that Kierkegaard's God is infinitely except the realm. It argues that his paintings immerses us within the paradoxical nature of lifestyles itself, and opposes any flight into one other global.

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By seeking to apply technique to nature, the artist is giving form to the underlying paradox of thought and morality, the interaction of freedom with mechanism. Our free actions must have an effect in a world determined mechanically by cause and effect; the products of nature exhibit a purposiveness that exceeds definition in mechanical terms. Kant’s avowal of the spirit’s need for a constraint is therefore no marginal admission isolated to the nature of art. To risk an un-Kantian expression, it suggests the need for a deduction of the Transcendental Machine without which freedom could not take body.

Kant is sure that it is irreducible to the determinant judgment of the understanding. Nevertheless, there must be relation between the two, which Kant attempts to achieve by mapping the logical functions of judgment in the understanding on to judgments of taste. Derrida argues that this appeal to the understanding itself constitutes a parergon, a framing of aesthetic judgment to make up for a lack within it. It is the understanding that works by virtue of the distinction between form and matter, an overbearing philosophical distinction that is then made to define the aesthetic (only the form of the object defines its beauty).

19 As much as Kant will try to embed the universal in the judgment of beauty and exclude all mere inclination from it, he must absolutely foreground the specific, felt figure of beauty over any intellectual form. The figure is dense, textured, and resistant to being vaporized in an act of intellectual appropriation. Derrida follows the ways in which this leads to all sorts of contortions in Kant’s project, as the Critique seeks to fend off vulgar notions of gratification, decoration, or frames.

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