Exemplary Originality in the Ethics and Aesthetics of Kant: The Case of Naiveté

Annie Hounsokou

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/33062


The following is an exploration of Kant’s use of the expression “exemplary originality” in his practical philosophy and in his aesthetics. In the Critique of Practical Reason and in Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant claims that there can be no exemplary originality in morality because (1) there is no way for us to know whether an act is really exemplary (2) it is not licit for us to imitate others, because we must always act from duty, i.e. from our own call to duty. In the Critique of Judgment, exemplary originality is what makes a work of art a standard to follow, i.e. a work of genius. After comparing and contrasting the two, I use the definition of the Critique of judgment to clarify the definition of Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason. I then examine the status of naiveté, a third, and puzzling, kind of exemplary originality.

Słowa kluczowe

exemplary;originality; genius; moral education; naïveté

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