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The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist$
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Zachary Sng

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770170

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770170.001.0001

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Kant and the Error of Subreption

Kant and the Error of Subreption

Chapter:
(p.76) Three Kant and the Error of Subreption
Source:
The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804770170.003.0004

This chapter examines the “as if ” prescription found in the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant and its relation to what he calls the “error of subreption.” Kant acknowledges resemblance as a dangerous source of confusion for reason, but argues that it is a necessary precondition of thought, and stresses the importance of carefully regulating the limits of its effects. Thus, judgment, which necessarily involves more than one faculty, becomes a particularly precarious exercise. In judgment, an “as if” that has, strictly speaking, no ground, must be used. However, the impossible analogy that underlies the so-called regulative use of transcendental ideas is constantly threatening to make it slip into error. The chapter considers the unstable distinction between analogy and error in Kant's philosophy by discussing Pheng Cheah's reading in Spectral Nationality, in which he turns to the reversibility of the gift-economy that obtains between reason and nature in Kant. It also analyzes Jacques Derrida's remarks on the exemplarity of literature and Kant's use of literary examples in the Critique of Judgment.

Keywords:   philosophy, Immanuel Kant, error of subreption, reason, thought, analogy, error, Pheng Cheah, gift-economy, Jacques Derrida

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