Kristi Sweet, Kant on Freedom, Nature, and Judgment: The Territory of the Third Critique – Cambridge University Press, January 2023 [and open access Introduction]

Kristi Sweet, Kant on Freedom, Nature, and Judgment: The Territory of the Third Critique – Cambridge University Press, January 2023

Another expensive hardback, but looks interesting…

[update: the Introduction is available open access]

Kant’s Critique of Judgment seems not to be an obviously unified work. Unlike other attempts to comprehend it as a unity, which treat it as serving either practical or theoretical interests, Kristi Sweet’s book posits it as examining a genuinely independent sphere of human life. In her in-depth account of Kant’s Critical philosophical system, Sweet argues that the Critique addresses the question: for what may I hope? The answer is given in Kant’s account of ‘territory,’ a region of experience that both underlies and mediates between freedom and nature. Territory forms the context in which purposiveness without a purpose, the Ideal of Beauty, the sensus communis, genius and aesthetic ideas, and Kant’s conception of life and proof of God are best interpreted. Encounters in this sphere are shown to refer us to a larger, more cosmic sense of a whole to which both freedom and nature belong.

Argues that the question to which the third Critique speaks is: for what may I hope

Treats historically dismissed sections of the text as central to Kant’s project

Presents two seemingly disparate sections of Kant’s third Critique as part of a unified project of completing his critical system

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7 Responses to Kristi Sweet, Kant on Freedom, Nature, and Judgment: The Territory of the Third Critique – Cambridge University Press, January 2023 [and open access Introduction]

  1. Richard J Tilley says:

    Ouch! That is expensive. Granted, I paid much more for books in grad
    school, but I really try to avoid it now. I’d really like to read this,
    too. I added it to my public wish list. Maybe some soul will consider me
    worth the donation one day.

  2. leatherpress says:

    Yeah, there’s no argument justifying this price tag. Having checked the chapter breakdown on CUP i’d love to read this fascinating title…but not in my lifetime. No pbk…yet, even so if and when it’s released at a 30-4o GBP price point, it’s still expensive. Publishers, from CUP, OUP to Polity, Bloomsbury and the US University Presses have long compromised their obligations to expand access to broader readerships, and thus access to new scholarship remains a realm for those ‘privileged enough’ to buy it. Not a particularly democratic approach, but then criticisms dissipate like vapours, gain no traction, and these practices carry on as though problematic issues around them are of no consequence to anyone.

    • stuartelden says:

      I do try to point out when prices are prohibitive. And many publishers do this kind of pricing, which is indeed a problem for the reasons you say.
      But I don’t think the criticism is fair of Polity and all US university presses. In the past several years, I’ve worked almost exclusively with Polity – nearly all of their books are paperback immediately – and in the US, with Minnesota and Chicago. All my books with these presses have been paperback from the start. It’s part of the reason I’ve tried to publish with them (compared to presses I worked with earlier in my career). I’ve had some work with Verso too, mainly writing Introductions, and there too nearly all books are in paperback from the start.
      Polity do some books in hardback first – i.e. their biographies, which are often translations, and some other translations (Lacan, Bourdieu, for example). But here too, there are generally paperback fairly soon after. For me, part of the point of the criticism is that not all presses are the same in their pricing/publishing strategies. You might point to a few exceptions, but I think in general it’s not a fair criticism of these presses. It certainly is a major factor in my own publishing choices. But it is definitely a fair criticism of many other presses.
      One further qualification is that in my experience it gets a bit easier to insist on paperback with a bit of experience in publishing. Earlier career authors often don’t have the same kind of choice.

  3. leatherpress says:

    Thanks Stuart. I should qualify – perhaps even temper – my intemperate remarks. It was unfair to generalise about Polity and it’s true there’s a lot of variance amongst University Presses re their hardback editions. MIT Press, Harvard, Princeton, and Chicago have quite affordable hardback editions on first publishing. But for many others like SUNYP, Cornell, Duke, and some smaller houses, the difference between their hardback and pbk editions warrants criticism. And a response from them. Not to overstate and labour the point, from a production cost point of view ( understanding that I’m taking this out of the broader pricing equation which these presses operate within ) a hardback at $120 USD as opposed to a pbk at 25 USD is a curious divergence. But i guess these presses price them this way that accords with a bottom line they’ve decided establishes some balance between profitability and cost. It’s all about the margins. As a book/paper conservator the questions around archiving and preservation vis a vis pbks versus hardcovers are interesting and important ones, invitations for another discussion in other fora. cheers and look forward to the next post of ‘books received’.

    • stuartelden says:

      Thanks for this qualification. Yes, I think we are broadly in agreement. You probably know that some presses describe the hardback editions as ‘library cloth’ or similar – the idea being if they can sell perhaps a couple of hundred copies to research libraries they will cover the core costs of production, which are not small, and then can shift to a paperback edition which can be picked up by researchers and possibly students. It means a lot of people don’t have immediate access to an affordable copy, of course, and some books never make it to paperback. But I do know from speaking to editors, that there are significant problems in making books viable, even for non-profit presses like US university presses. There are some cross-subsidies from best-selling to more specialist books, but editors have to justify their overall list. The pirating of books doesn’t help, or the collapse in sales to students. Of course, both of those are as much the product as the cause of expensive books. Thanks for the comments.

  4. Kristi Sweet says:

    Thank you for posting this. I engage with some of your work in it, Professor Elden (albeit briefly). Right now Cambridge has made the Introduction available: https://assets.cambridge.org/97813165/11121/excerpt/9781316511121_excerpt.pdf

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