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Title: 'Dementia is a Fiction'
Subtitle: Kant on the Mental Disturbances of the Human Soul
Author(s): SILVA, Fernando M.F.
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 81    Issue: 4   Date: 2019   
Pages: 657-680
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.81.4.3287347

Abstract :
According to Kant, folly directly depends on the human capacity to imagine, i.e. the capacity to adequately connect or disconnect, through the power of imagination, object, and representation. Likewise, the sane use of the productive power of imagination and its characteristic forces all depend on a singular connection between object and representation, and their respective presentation. The problem, however, lies in the quasi-indistinction between these two modes of human representation, which are based upon one and the same imaginative capacity (the Einbildungsfähigkeit) and must be referred to by two analogous, yet ultimately different, uses of the latter. It is Kant’s view that between both courses of human imagination — that of genius and that of folly, and the powers of the spirit they resort to — there are common processes, but also a threshold that the supplanting of which distinguishes these two imaginative applications of representations. This threshold is not a mere division, rather it is a hybrid beam of mutual appropriations and concessions between the two courses of human representativeness. I argue that, according to Kant, such a singular space is that of the complex, non-linear relation between universality and individual-subjectivity, between health and illness, in a word, between the truth and falsehood of human representations. As such, I wish to diverge from studies which fully separate Kant’s theory of sane imagination from his positions on disturbed imagination. Instead, I propose that these have a common basis, are inter-dependent, and that they are only inverse in their application. Furthermore, I wish to expound how precisely genius and folly demonstrate the faint uniting-dissociative character of these two applications of human imagination. Finally, it is my aim to show how genius and folly, in their apparent indistinction, succeed in portraying the private, egoist vision of the disturbed (sensus proprius) and the philanthropic, cosmopolitan view of the poet (sensus communis), thus once and for all dissociating sane and insane human imagination.

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