In 1790, just three years after publishing the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason and two years after the Critique of Practical Reason which had grown out of his work on that revision, Kant published the Critique of the Power of Judgment, a third critique that had not been promised in either of the first two.This third critique comprises two main parts, the “Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment” and the “Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment.” The first of these discusses our judgments about beauty and sublimity in both nature and art, judgments we now call “aesthetic” (although the philosophical specialty of aesthetics has concentrated almost exclusively on art since Hegel’s famous lectures three decades after Kant’s book).1 The second part discusses our judgments about the systematic organization of specific things within nature, namely organisms, as well as our tendency to think of nature as a whole as if it were a single and well-designed system and to that extent like one big organism itself. Kant had discussed both the nature of aesthetic judgment and the system of the arts in his lectures on anthropology, logic, and metaphysics, and had published an early book entitled Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime (1764), although that had not contained much analysis of these two central concepts of aesthetics themselves, offering instead what we would now consider sociological observations on differences in taste between men and women, different nations and races, and the like. He had touched upon the teleological conception of nature as a goaldirected system in both an early work like the Only Possible Basis for a
Demonstration of the Existence of God (1763) as well as in the Appendix to the “Transcendental Dialectic” of the Critique of Pure Reason. But he had never connected the two subjects of aesthetics and teleology. Why did he suddenly bring them together in a third critique?