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However, the two philosophers’ approaches to Kant differ in several fundamentally different ways: while Singer presents Kantian ideas in fluid form, embedded in the context of a linear history developing the concept of the “aesthetic”, Warnock presents Kant analytically: developing Kantian ideas in a systematic, step-by-step fashion. In fact, these two approaches may be applied to the entireties of the two works. While Singer tries to build a narrative history for the reader, Warnock’s piece is much less designed for the non-philosopher.
She presents difficult concepts in a linear fashion, and builds on them progressively to reach conclusions, whereas Singer embeds philosophical ideas into his logical edifice. Paying close attention to the way in which both accounts present Kant’s relation of imagination to the human production of art, we can see how well both approaches work in achieving the same end: understanding of what the aesthetic really is and how imagination is related to it.
Mary Warnock begins her chapter on imagination’s relation to the aesthetic with a discussion of what David Hume had to say on the matter.
She moves on to Kant’s Critique of Judgment, which is his seminal work in aesthetic philosophy. Warnock notes immediately the difficulty of assessing Kant’s message in the third Critique, which is ambivalent towards its overarching purpose, and she makes a sharp contrast between Hume and Kant, the latter having placed a much greater emphasis upon the world of reason and understanding. So, whereas Hume thought of an idea as a sensation, or a shallow impression, Kant saw it as a magnificent entity produced in the highest of faculties.
Between reason and understanding lies judgment for Kant. the reflective judgment, Kant says, can be illustrated by both natural science and the aesthetic.