Wilhelm Dilthey was born in Biebrich on the Rhine in 1833, and died in 1911. The son of the preacher to the Count of Nassau, Dilthey followed family tradition by starting his university studies at Heidelberg in theology. There he was drawn to the philosophical systems of G. W. F. Hegel and Friedrich Schleiermacher by Kuno Fischer. In 1853 Fischer was accused of being a pantheist and his right to teach was withdrawn. As a consequence, Dilthey moved to the University of Berlin, where he came under the influence of Schleiermacher's students Friedrich von Trendelenburg and August Boeckh. Increasingly, Schleiermacher became the focus of Dilthey's interests. In 1859 he was asked to complete the editing of Schleiermacher's letters. That year the Schleiermacher Society also organized an essay competition on his hermeneutics. Dilthey submitted an essay entitled “Schleiermacher's Hermeneutical System in Relation to Earlier Protestant Hermeneutics” in 1860, which was published in part in 1893, but not fully until 1966 (see Dilthey 1996: 31). It was awarded the first prize and led to a second commission, namely, to write Schleiermacher's biography. The first volume of this biography was published in 1870 (Dilthey 1979b). It is a large volume that places Schleiermacher not only in his theological setting but also in the context of the literary and philosophical movements astir in Berlin from 1796 to 1807. The work displays Dilthey's own expanding interests in aesthetical and philosophical issues. He finally wrote his dissertation in philosophy on Schleiermacher’s ethics.
Although Kant considers a pure aesthetic judgment to be reflective in nature, he is also able to account for a wider range of prejudgmental and judgmental aesthetic responses. In the case of works of art, I will show that he allows for both reflective judgments about their beauty and determinant judgments about their meaning. But such an intersection of reflective and determinant judgments should not be seen as supporting the conclusion that their judgmental functions merge. Since determinant judgment proceeds from a given universal to particulars, it clearly involves a subordinating mode of thought. I will argue, however, that reflective judgment, which tends to begin with particulars, is a coordinating mode of thought. Determinant judgment appeals to universals to either describe the nature of particular objects or explain their behavior by subsuming them under the laws of the understanding. Reflective judgment, by contrast, is an expansive mode of thought that appeals not just to the understanding, but to reason as a framework for interpreting particulars. Because Kant calls reflection the power to compare a representation either with other representations or with our own cognitive powers, I want to underscore that reflective judgment is not so much about objects per se as about their relations to us. I will also make a case for the thesis that reflective judgment is orientational in that it enables the apprehending subject to put things in context while discerning his or her own place in the world.
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