Immanuel Kant’s Third Critique has been extraordinarily influential. Some see it as a foundational text for aesthetics and the philosophy of art. For others, it is the cap stone to Kant’s critical project. It makes aesthetics revelatory of the conditions of human cognition, and so is central to Kant’s reception generally. Stefano Marino and Pietro Terzi’s collection of essays is an enjoyable and rewarding testament to the diversity of twentieth-century thinkers in the West for whom the first half of the Third Critique has been an inspiration. Arranged over eighteen chapters, this book provides readers with a history of the influence of the Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgement (“CAPJ”). It describes how key thinkers have turned to the CAPJ and the complex relationships between key twentieth-century ideas and Kant’s text. The volume does not aim to address the reception of the Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgement.
It is not practical to summarise the contents of eighteen chapters. Even so, in this review I want to give a sense of the topics covered. I will discuss the aims of Marino and Terzi’s edited collection, how it sets about this task and what contribution it makes. I should clarify that the aim of the book is not to provide an explanatory approach to the interpretation of the CAPJ within the terms of Kant’s own project. As the book’s subtitle indicates, it is not so much a companion to the text itself as a companion for those interested in tracing its legacy. The book is motivated by two thoughts. First, the CAPJ’s far-reaching influence has nourished many debates, broadly spread across different philosophical traditions and disciplines. Secondly, in comparison to the history of nineteenth-century romanticism and German idealism, scholars have overlooked the far-reaching influence of the CAPJ on twentieth-century philosophy. Marino and Terzi explain that their aim is to address this blind spot with contributions from experts in various fields. They have produced a book that describes a history of reception ‘capable of cutting in a unique way across different traditions, movements and geographical areas’ (30). They are at pains to explain their intention is to bridge any gap between the so-called analytic and continental traditions.
Marino and Terzi gather a collection of essays by sixteen different academic philosophers, in addition to themselves, from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Each chapter, generally, takes up one or two Western twentieth-century philosophers and explores how they have turned to the CAPJ in order to advance their own philosophical projects. The editors’ multi-author approach ensures ‘a plurality of perspectives and competences’ (28). Fifteen chapters tend to prioritise describing how twentieth-century thinkers turned to Kant. That said, many chapters also draw attention to how these interpretations have aften been tendentious and strained readings of Kant. The body of book is organised broadly chronologically and according to the geographies of Germany, France, Italy and USA. This seems to be a pragmatic choice and it makes the structure of the book easy to navigate. These chapters are positioned between an introduction and, at the end of the book, two contributions that explore the influence of the CAPJ on two contemporary issues. The helpful introduction offers a brief history of the Third Critique’s reception, first in the nineteenth century and then in the twentieth century. It discusses the methodology underlying the collection of essays. In what follows, I want to give an overview of the topics covered in subsequent chapters.
Arno Schubbach opens the first group of chapters on German philosophers with a contribution on how the Third Critique is taken up by Hermann Cohen and Ernst Cassirer. Schubbach explores different interpretations of the position of the Third Critique within Kant’s overall philosophical system, and how these interpretations inform Cohen’s and Cassirer’s own philosophies of culture. It makes an interesting contrast between two adaptations of the CAPJ by philosophers developing their own systematic theories. According to Schubbach, Cohen performed ‘interpretive violence’ (42) on Kant’s text to construe aesthetics narrowly as a philosophy of the experience art. Cassirer, by contrast, argued for a systematic connection between the aesthetic and teleological sections within the Third Critique. Schubbach explains how Cassirer’s interpretation of the structure of Kant’s critical project is ‘a question of systematic importance for Cassirer’s philosophy of culture’ (50).
In the next chapter, Gunter Figal explores how Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer criticised Kant for failing to account for an essential truth-character of art. Heidegger took philosophical aesthetics to be fundamentally concerned with emotional responses and a hedonistic consumption of art. Yet for Heidegger, the significance of art did not lie in emotional responses. Figal observes that Heidegger seemingly entirely ignored Kant’s Third Critique, and interpreted the CAPJ as offering an account of art as nothing but an object of emotional experience. Figal points out that Kant’s conception of aesthetic experience is far more sophisticated than the simplistic picture Heidegger maintained. Gadamer also shared the view that art had an essential truth-character. Nonetheless, he did engage with the Third Critique. Gadamer’s criticism of Kant, according to Figal, was that aesthetic experience for Kant is an autonomous and purely subjective sphere that fails to grasp the cognitive value of art. Figal turns from Heidegger and Gadamer to advance his own argument: that ‘the Third Critique offers the most elaborate version of an aesthetical conception of art’ (69). Even so, Kant’s aesthetics is too narrow to accommodate any cognitive value of art. Figal’s objection is that artworks are ‘a kind of blank spot’ in Kant’s conceptual framework. That said, Figal does not address Kant’s notion of dependent beauty or how Kant conceives of fine art as expressions of aesthetic ideas.
Dennis Schmidt’s chapter describes in more detail Gadamer’s critique of notions of aesthetic experience that separate it from the possibility of claims to truth. According to Schmidt, Gadamer exposed once dominant guiding assumptions about how art is thought and experienced as autonomous. He did this through tracing the historical development of this idea back to Kant’s Third Critique. Gadamer’s criticism of Kant’s aesthetics was that it closed-down questions about art. Schmidt explains, ‘from the vantage of pure aesthetic judgement, the work of art contributes nothing to what is disclosed’ (80). Gadamer argued that this was even the case in Kant’s treatment of fine art and genius. With Kant, the aesthetic object disappears. Although it is recuperated by his successors, it is as an autonomous phenomenon. Tracing a close association of aesthetic experience with subjectivity led Gadamer to develop the idea of ‘aesthetic differentiation’ (88) to explain how the artwork lost its place in the world to which it belonged. As Schmidt points out, Gadamer’s intention towards Kant was not to get the Third Critique right. Instead, Gadamer’s reading played a pivotal role in his argument about the contingent historical disengaging of art from questions of truth during parts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Hans-Peter Krüger’s chapter concerns Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical reflections on the conditions for empirical law formation. Krüger states that Plessner ‘functionalizes Kant’s reflective judgement for modern research into a procedure’ (95). Plessner’s thought was that reflective, rather than determining, judgements are central to scientific research that is directed towards discovering something new. Krüger gives an overview of Kant’s teleological judgement and its regulative a priori principle. He also summarises the demand for universal agreement in judgements of taste, even though they cannot be proven. Plessner argued that these characteristics of reflective judgement inform modern research procedures.
Tom Huhn develops an account of how Theodor Adorno took up themes in Kantian aesthetics, read in part through Hegel. According to Huhn, Adorno criticised Kant for leaving no room for the historically conditioned nature of the relationship between artwork and subject. Kant mistook a historically specific feature – a sentiment described as aesthetic pleasure – and made it universal and timeless. Whereas for Adorno, pleasure is a ‘historically specific feature of aesthetic experience’ (117). According to Huhn, Adorno took from Hegel the idea that the history of consciousness involves a ‘resistance’ between sensuousness and rational consciousness within aesthetic experience. In Adorno’s view, Kant ‘misses the objectivity of resistance within subjective consciousness’ (120). Rather than aesthetic experience merely registering as purely subjective affect, the experience some artworks afford includes a ‘resistance’ in the relation between sensuousness and rational consciousness. For Adorno, such artworks are at odds with the world they are in, eliciting a correlate sensuous otherness of subjective experience. Huhn’s overall approach is not to assess the fairness of Adorno’s criticism of Kant. He describes how Adorno picked-up on ideas like taste, disinterestedness and beauty, to argue that Kant’s account of taste was inadequate to ‘measure the meaning and truth of the artwork’ (123). This helped Adorno to develop his own aesthetic theory.
According to Nicola Emery, there is a Kantian notion taken from the Third Critique that oriented Max Horkheimer’s thoughts throughout his life. Horkheimer had an early interest in the potential of modernist art. By referring to Kant’s sensus communis, ‘albeit very concisely’ (137), Horkheimer related modernist art’s emancipatory potential (from dominating social conditions) to an otherwise hidden shared ‘communitarian sense’ of free people. However, for historical and methodological reasons, Horkheimer could not endorse the empirical possibility in modernity of a communitarian sense of aesthetic experience. Even so, Emery argues for Horkheimer’s ‘covert recovery of the sublime’ (149). He links Horkheimer’s ideas about ‘inhospitable’ modernist art with the counter-purposiveness of the sublime. Emery suggests that Horkheimer’s later rejection of modern art was because of its failure in practice to go beyond art for art’s sake. In the end, it was modern art’s failure to revive the experience of the sublime that led Horkheimer to declare modern art a failure. Even so, Emery claims, Horkheimer retained a somewhat Kantian notion of communitarian sense, which underpinned the possibility of critical analysis of modern society.
Serena Feloj explains that Hannah Arendt’s interpretation of the Third Critique departed fundamentally from Kant’s own position. Feloj claims that Arendt was unusual in taking seriously Kant’s claims, in the two introductions to the Third Critique, that his fundamental concern was with judgement in general, rather than only with the specific forms of aesthetic and teleological judgement. Feloj suggest that sensus communis displays in Kant ‘a very peculiar transcendental character’ (164). For Kant ‘shared humanity is what lays the ground for the public dimension of judgment, not the human need for communicating with one’s peers’ (164). According to Feloj, Arendt’s distinctive suggestion was that the significance of the Third Critique resided in political philosophy. Arendt claimed that Kant’s theory of judgement ‘is based on men’s needs to communicate with the others and that sociability is the prerequisite for the functioning of the capacity for judging’ (166). Sociability and communicability make judgements by people possible. As Feloj points out, Kant himself denies that such an explanation is adequate. Yet Arendt reinterpreted Kant’s transcendental principle as an empirical foundation for the possibility of judgements that we share with others.
Opening a group of chapters on France, Patrice Canivez explains German exile Eric Weil’s interpretation. On Weil’s view, the major discovery of the Third Critique was a way of understanding nature which left room for the possibility of answering ‘how can meaningful (moral) ends be pursued in a world of meaningless (natural) facts’ (178). The natural facts in question were the beautiful, the sublime, artistic genius and the purposiveness of living organisms. In their presence we experience the world as meaningful and ‘we affirm that all human beings have the same cognitive structure’ (180). According to Canivez, Weil argued that Kant’s discovery was a great turning point in the history of philosophy, although ‘this result is obscured by the way Kant presents it’ (184). The conceptual language Kant had to use to reach his contemporary audiences meant that Kant was compelled to view the existence of meaningful natural facts as fortuitous. In contrast, Weil argued that experiencing the world as meaningful was foundational: ‘the experience of such reality is prior to any distinction between the possible and the necessary’ (187). Canivez uses the idea of Kant being committed to a particular conceptual language to introduce Weil’s own ideas about how distinct philosophical categories develop distinct discourses around particular concepts.
Anne Sauvagnargues argues that Giles Deleuze developed his philosophy of art through a ‘critical and renewed mediation’ (195) on Kant’s work. She chooses ‘meditation’ carefully. Her argument is that Deleuze created something personal and original through his reading of Kant. Sauvagnargues describes how Deleuze took from Kant questions about the relationship of the faculties of imagination, understanding and reason to one another. Deleuze at first regarded Kant’s three critiques as all on the same level, unified in their analysis of the faculties, and each focussing on internal relationships where one faculty takes the regulatory lead over the others. But Sauvagnargues tells us that Deleuze subsequently elevated the Third Critique, discovering in it something innovative and important about art. Deleuze reworked the ‘Analytic of the Sublime’. Sauvagnargues notes: ‘but this is where Kant is forced by Deleuze to undergo a radical distortion’ (198). What he found there was a productive ‘discordant accord’ of the faculties, which ‘carries the faculties to their point of maximum tension’ (202). For Deleuze, this discordant accord of the faculties was involuntary and played a crucial role for the possibility of creative thought. Through his reflections on Proust, Deleuze argued that the discordant accord, where cognition is pushed to its limits, reveals the importance of art for philosophy.
Pietro Terzi tells us how Jacques Derrida used the CAPJ to illustrate a claim about how philosophy, as an academic discipline, deals with a subject area (in this case art) through imposing its own legislative function on that subject. Philosophy does so by reserving for itself the right define the subject area as a distinct area of practice and experience. This presupposes some kind of unity of meaning for the subject area and its concepts. But in the end these definitions are the result of well-established discursive “protocols” of conceptualisation. Derrida illustrated this claim through an analysis of the CAPJ. According to Terzi, Derrida emphasised that Kant’s aesthetic pleasure turned the discourse of beauty into its purely formal elements, stripping from artworks any social or historical significance. Derrida questioned what called for this formal pureness that separates art from contextual concerns and from sensuous “charms” and “emotions”. He argued that it follows from epistemological presuppositions drawn from the First Critique, namely the four categories of the logical form of judging. In this way, questions about art were inscribed within a theory of logical judgements. Derrida argued this inscription was arbitrary: ‘the frame fits badly’ (220). Art is subordinated to a particular purpose through the imposition of a theory of judgement.
Dario Cecchi explains Jean-François Lyotard’s interest in Kant’s notions of the faculty of judgement and of the sublime. For Lyotard, no unified system or theory can subsume all human experience. There are ‘islands of cognition’ that make up ‘archipelagos of experience’, each with its own theory and language. A central concern for Lyotard was the question of how to transition from one field of experience to another. His interest in Kant’s theory of reflective judgement related to the question of what theory and language is most appropriate. The sublime was the focus of Lyotard’s use of the Third Critique, even though for Kant it was a ‘mere appendage. In the sublime, the relationship between aesthetic judgement and ideas of reason is characterised as a struggle between reason and imagination. Reason diverts imagination’s attention from its usual task of the synthesis of sensible experience. Instead, imagination presents ideas of reason to the subject. These are not direct representation, because ideas of reason exceed the bounds of sensible experience. The significance of the sublime, for Lyotard, lay in the faculty of reason forcing the imagination to ‘present the unpresentability’ (239) of ideas like freedom, justice and moral law. In the sublime, these ideas are experienced as signs which open the subject’s experience on to an ethical realm. Cecchi ends his chapter by explaining the political significance of the sublime for Lyotard. It resided in the possibility of art offering audiences an array of sublime feelings, including respect and commitment.
For a stopover in Italy, Claudio Paolucci describes how Umberto Eco connected the Third Critique to more recent work in cognitive sciences on Predictive Processing, and to an earlier idea of abduction offered by Charles Sanders Pierce. The issue in common is explaining how perceptions are partly conceptualised. According to Paolucci, in Predictive Processing the brain is active in providing ‘top down’ predictions of sensory inputs and comparing those predictions with actual sensory evidence in forming world-revealing perceptions. Paolucci explains how this topic has an antecedent in Pierce. Eco picked up certain key Kantian ideas, developed in the Third Critique, but was not primarily concerned with a close analysis of Kant’s claims themselves. Eco claimed that the relationship between perception and prior knowledge that the brain stores about the world is a reformulation of the Kantian notion of schematization. Reflective judgement produces or finds concepts through which experience is made possible. According to Paolucci, Eco developed this with the help of further Kantian notions of regulative principles and ideas of reason. For Eco, we interpret the world as if it were a narrative. Yet nothing in the world guarantees our conjectures. We pursue the semblance of order we need to find in the world in order to make experience possible. But the principles that underpin the kind of order or narrative with which we structure the world are not constitutive.
Turning to America, Scott Stroud describes how Kant’s aesthetics motivated John Dewey’s own pragmatist theory of aesthetics and art. According to Stroud, ‘Kant becomes the foil for the pragmatist’s novel theorizing, a respected, but wrong, thinker who set so many on the wrong path’ (274). Whilst Dewey had broader objections to Kant’s transcendental idealism, he specifically rejected Kant’s conception of aesthetic experience as essentially disinterested contemplation. Dewey objected to Kant’s separation of distinct domains of human experience and distinct faculties of the mind. Kant’s domain aesthetic experience is markedly separated from the fields of knowledge and practical action. In contrast, Dewey sees aesthetic experience on a continuum with the practical nature of human activity, always located in some context or environment. Stroud is careful not to become involved in analysing whether Dewey’s reading is right or not. His aim is to explain how resistance to Kant’s ideas, together with Dewey’s commitment to humans belonging to a Darwinian natural world, helps explain why Dewey’s ideas on the experience of art took the shape they did. Despite Dewey’s outward antagonism towards Kant, Stroud tries to find some common ground. Although continuous with other forms of experience, Stroud explains some characteristics of aesthetic experience for Dewey. These include the sense that aesthetic experience has a kind of intensity and absorption. Stroud finds parallels between this and what he sees as Kant’s internalising of ends to the means of aesthetic experience, and with Kant’s claim that the experience of the beautiful is a symbol of the morally good.
A central figure in Diarmuid Costello’s contribution is the American art critic Clement Greenberg. Greenberg was the leading modernist art critic and theorist. In the 1970s, when his ideas were facing serious challenges, Greenberg co-opted a kind of Kantian aesthetics to bolster his argument. Greenberg’s theories were nevertheless discredited. Costello argues that aesthetics in general, and Kantian aesthetics in particular, became marginalised as Greenberg hegemony was overthrown. This was because postmodernist art theorists continued to operate with a Greenbergian view of aesthetics. Costello explains how Greenberg’s aesthetics were a misreading of Kant, and claims that subsequent theorists continued to operate with a distorted view of the Third Critique. He argues that both Thierry de Duve, in his attempt to revive Kantian aesthetics for contemporary art theory, and Arthur Danto, in his rejection of aesthetics as an adequate basis for explaining contemporary art, both perpetuated aspects of Greenberg’s misreading. The reproaches levelled at both by Costello are, first, their failure to recognise Kant’s distinction between free and dependent beauty (which is centrally important to aesthetic evaluations of works of art), and, secondly, their failure to engage adequately with Kant’s theory of artworks as expressions of aesthetic ideas. Costello goes on to argue for a rehabilitation of Kantian aesthetics within the discourse of contemporary art, an interpretation that Costello sees as more faithful to the original text. Costello identifies resources within the CAPJ that have been overlooked in contemporary theory.
Thomas Teufel aims to articulate a more systematic interpretation of the Third Critique than that offered in the writings of his chosen author, Stanley Cavell. Teufel turns his attention to Kant largely in defence of the methodological commitments that Cavell employed. Teufel describes Cavell’s ‘kindredness of spirit’ (301) with Kant generally. He explains Cavell’s position in relation ordinary language philosophy and the foundations of language, and some ‘scathing’ criticism Cavell received. Cavell investigated self-descriptions by ordinary language philosophers, as native speakers, of their linguistic communities’ practices and conventions. Cavell defended a position which claimed that such statements could reveal truths about what we mean when we say what we say. In response to his critics, Cavell found parallels with pure judgements of taste and argued that meta-linguistic statements had a normative force analogous with the legitimacy of judgements of taste. Teufel shows some weaknesses in how analogous Cavell’s position is to that of Kant. But he goes on to offer a deeper analysis of reflective judgements and suggest a closer affinity between Cavell and Kant than Cavell himself made explicit. In doing so, Teufel touches one of the central debates in contemporary scholarship of the Third Critique. This is the question of whether Kant made a convincing case in support of his aim to demonstrate a unifying theme that links aesthetic judgements, teleological judgements and reflective judgements in general.
The final two chapters mark a change of tack. They do not offer a commentary or explanation of leading twentieth century interpretations. They introduce two areas of contemporary philosophy and discuss their relation with the CAPJ. Alessandro Bertinetto and Stefano Marino’s chapter discusses the CAPJ in the context of improvisation, especially in jazz music performances. The central claim is that Kant’s aesthetic reflective judgement helps illuminate the creative process of artistic improvisation. The authors find parallels in self-regulating and non-ruled driven characteristics. As the chapter acknowledges, indeed relishes, this is ‘surely a free interpretation’ of the Third Critique; although, as the authors say, it is not arbitrary. This stands in contrast to the more systematic interpretations of Kant offered in the previous two chapters by Costello and Teufel. Whilst this is illuminating of the kind of service for which the CAPJ is conscripted, it is not immediately clear why the topic of musical improvisation was chosen. The chapter certainly does help ‘testify to the plurality’ of readings and philosophical practices. And perhaps illustrating how Kant can be called upon, in a very loose way, to illuminate a present-day area of interest explains why this topic was chosen.
In the final chapter, Thomas Leddy argues that the CAPJ offers resources for understanding everyday aesthetics. Like the previous chapter, the aim here is not to offer an account of another leading thinker’s reading of Kant. Leddy explores to what extent the concerns of the Third Critique illuminate an area of contemporary aesthetics. In everyday aesthetics such an appeal might appear at first sight a stretch. ‘Everyday aesthetics takes its origins … not from a transcendental philosophy but from one that is naturalistic and pragmatist’ (339). This being so, a priori transcendental principles for reflective judgement have little appeal. Moreover, making rigid distinctions between pleasures of mere sensation, delight in the morally good and reflective aesthetic pleasure in the beautiful lacks plausibility for many involved in contemporary everyday aesthetics. Leddy nevertheless argues for series of areas of overlap. These include free and dependent beauty, the ideal of beauty, the rejection of geometric regularity and the expression of aesthetic ideas. During his analysis, Leddy addresses what, on the face of it, seems a large obstacle to appeals to Kant to explain everyday experiences and objects: the notion of disinterested pleasure. Leddy’s response is to argue that disinterestedness helps to illustrate the differences in attitudes we adopt towards objects of aesthetic attention. This is to say that aesthetics is not solely a matter of classification of objects, whether every day, fine art or natural. Leddy’s claim is that, with some modification, an interpretation that resists the radical separation between aesthetic categories (as Kant may have insisted on), ‘we end up instead with a multifarious usage of Kant for everyday aesthetics’ (356).
What major contribution does this book make? The editors explain that they aim to offer a comprehensive and coherent contribution to the investigation of the legacy of the Third Critique. ‘We hope other scholars will dare to follow this promising lead’ (33). I imagine that the book will primarily appeal to readers already familiar with the CAPJ, especially those concentrating on a particular aspect of the text or its reception. This absorbing book helps to widen, dramatically, readers’ grasp of the kind influences the text has provoked. It gives readers a way, via Kant, into the work of thinkers outside their own areas of familiarity.
As to the editors’ selection of contributions, the aim seems to be eclectic, reflecting a wide range of philosophical topics and disciplines covering analytic and continental traditions (31). The editors themselves raise a worry about such a volume, which aims to ‘provide a selective and synoptic view’: it risks appearing ‘scattered or extremely partial’ (32). Whilst I am not sure that this concern is properly answered, the volume certainly succeeds in tracing enough of the history of the CAPJ’s reception to capture a strong sense of variegated and pluralist interpretations. Overall, this makes the book lively and engaging. The contributions evidence the breadth of influence, and how that influence is performed through very different kinds of interpretations, or uses, of Kant. Some take aspects of the CAPJ as points of resistance, others employ highly selective readings, still others represent more systematic engagements. The book gives a wide-ranging account of ‘the various appropriations of a complex but crucial text’ (32).
Understanding the key ideas in the reception of Kant’s Third Critique can at times be as forbidding as reading the text itself. The complexity seems amplified when subsequent twentieth thinkers have used Kant as a provocation for their own complex claims. Indeed, many of the contributors note how their authors “do violence” to the spirit of Kant’s claims. However, the reader is offered, in a relatively compact volume, an introduction to how philosophers have attempted to relate their own work to Kant’s. As such, it offers a fascinating overview of how the Third Critique has taken on a life of its own. A volume like this, dedicated to tracing Kant’s legacy across different philosophical traditions, seems to face an inescapable trade-off. Were such a volume to be written by a single author, it might offer an organising style and thread (beyond chronology and geography). A reader might be able to follow a more thematic exposition of the issues a stake, and more easily make comparative reflections about the ways in which Kant’s ideas have been taken up. As they explain in the introduction, Marino and Terzi instead chose an edited volume in order to capture ‘a polarity of perspectives and competences’ (28). The undoubted richness that this variety offers to readers comes together with problems of wrestling with differences in authors’ styles, and challenges of communicating across philosophical traditions and geographies.
Marino and Terzi make an underlying assumption that texts like the Third Critique have their ‘own performativity’, ‘endowed with a sort of intentionality of their own’ (5). Their volume certainly succeeds in demonstrating that the CAPJ has enjoyed variegated uses. This account of its reception might seem like, in the words of Otfried Höffe, ‘the history of productive misunderstandings’ (318). But it prompts an obvious question: is there something about the particular nature of the Third Critique that underwrites the productivity evidenced in this collection? The book gestures towards, but does not fully address, the source of the CAPJ’s provocative and far-reaching influence. It describes its character as ‘complex, multi-layered, heterogeneous, discontinuous and, so to speak, “patchy” work’ (4). Bertinetto and Marino seem to suggest the source of its productivity resides in the ‘ambiguities and obscurities’ of the work (317). This all may be true, but seems unsatisfactory as an explanation of the extraordinarily productive status of the Third Critique and the richness of thought it helped to spawn. This volume does not aim to provide an answer. But it is certainly is an engaging and ‘promising lead’ in motivating questions like this.