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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 22, Issue 2, Spring 2018

Robert Clewis
Pages 411-427
DOI: 10.5840/epoche201819109

Kant’s Physical Geography and the Critical Philosophy

Kant’s geographical theory, which was informed by contemporary travel reports, diaries, and journals, developed before his so-called “critical turn.” There are several reasons to study Kant’s lectures and material on geography. The geography provided Kant with terms, concepts, and metaphors which he employed in order to present or elucidate the critical philosophy. Some of the germs of what would become Kant’s critical philosophy can already be detected in the geography course. Finally, Kant’s geography is also one (though not the only) source of some of the empirical claims in his philosophical works, including the Critique of the Power of Judgment. To give an example of this, I examine his account of the sublime.